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11301  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 09:53:47 PM
Crafty, would you care to explain how you think Bush & Rumbo should have handled the torture issue?

I agree fully with Tom in that if we are going to torture people, the president should be honest in that we are doing it and make a case for why we should be doing it instead of

1) pretending we aren't doing it
2) admitting it happened but hanging a few low-level soldiers out to dry for it
3) arguing that what we're doing isn't really torture



Abu Ghraib wasn't any part of any official interrogation effort. It was unprofessional, poorly lead MPs acting out.
11302  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 09:39:50 PM
I'd like all the opponents of what I call "coercive interrogation" to read chapters 17 and 18 and give effective alternatives.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/jihad17chap1.html
11303  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 08:42:48 PM
U.S.: Iraq sheltered suspect in '93 WTC attack
By John Diamond, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities in Iraq say they have new evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime gave money and housing to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, according to U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials.
The Bush administration is using the evidence to strengthen its disputed prewar assertion that Iraq had ties to terrorists, including the al-Qaeda group responsible for the Sept. 11 attack. But President Bush, in contrast with comments Sunday by Vice President Cheney, said Wednesday, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved."

Cheney had said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that "we don't know" if Iraq was involved but said some suggestive evidence had surfaced. He asserted that the campaign in Iraq is striking at terrorists involved in the attacks. Cheney also disclosed the new evidence about the 1993 suspect on the program, but he did not name Yasin.

Military, intelligence and law enforcement officials reported finding a large cache of Arabic-language documents in Tikrit, Saddam's political stronghold. A U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said translators and analysts are busy "separating the gems from the junk." The official said some of the analysts have concluded that the documents show that Saddam's government provided monthly payments and a home for Yasin.

Yasin is on the FBI's list of 22 most-wanted terrorist fugitives; there is a $25 million reward for his capture. The bureau questioned and released him in New York shortly after the bombing in 1993. After Yasin had fled to Iraq, the FBI said it found evidence that he helped make the bomb, which killed six people and injured 1,000. Yasin is still at large.

Even if the new information holds up — and intelligence and law enforcement officials disagree on its conclusiveness — the links tying Yasin, Saddam and al-Qaeda are tentative.

The World Trade Center bombing was carried out by a group headed by Ramzi Yousef, who is serving a 240-year prison term. Federal authorities say Yousef's group received financial support from al-Qaeda via Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. But a direct al-Qaeda role in the 1993 attack hasn't been established.

 

 
 
Find this article at:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-09-17-iraq-wtc_x.htm
11304  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 08:36:18 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/31/60minutes/printable510795.shtml


60 Minutes: The Man Who Got Away
May 31, 2002

(CBS) Abdul Rahman Yasin is the only participant in the first attempt to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993 who was never caught. Yasin, who was indicted in the bombing but escaped, was interviewed by CBS News' Lesley Stahl in an Iraqi installation near Baghdad last Thursday, May 23. Stahl's report appeared on 60 Minutes, Sunday June 2nd.

Abdul Rahman Yasin fled to Iraq after the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. He lived as a free man for a year, but the authorities in Iraq tell CBS News they put him in prison in 1994. After 9/11, President Bush put Yasin on a new most wanted list, with a $25 million reward.

Yasin tells Stahl that the twin towers were not the terrorists' first choice. Ramzi Yousef, the so-called mastermind of the '93 attack, had something else in mind.

"[Yousef] told me, 'I want to blow up Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn.'" But after scouting Crown Heights and Williamsburg, Yasin says, Yousef had a better idea.

"Ramzi Yousef told us to go to the World Trade Center… 'I have an idea we should do one big explosion rather than do small ones in Jewish neighborhoods,'" Yasin says.

They figured the World Trade Center would serve as a more efficient target. "The majority of people who work in the World Trade Center are Jews," Yasin says.

U.S. officials say they never knew that Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn were on the original hit list of Yousef and his lieutenant, Mohammed Salameh.

Yasin, 40, says he is sorry for what he did and that the bombers, whom he said he met for the first time while living in a Jersey City apartment building, talked him into it.

"[Yousef and Salameh] used to tell me how Arabs suffered a great deal and that we have to send a message that this is not right … to revenge for my Palestinian brothers and my brothers in Saudi Arabia," Yasin tells Stahl. He adds that they also prodded him about being an Iraqi who should avenge the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War.

Yasin confirms that Yousef was the maker of the bomb used in the attack and that Yousef learned the process in a terrorist camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, before entering the United States.

"He said that in Peshawar there were schools that taught" bomb-making.

Asked if he knew that Yousef had been trained to come to the United States as a terrorist to make bombs and blow things up, Yasin says, "I knew that after I started working with them."

Yasin was picked up by the FBI a few days after the bombing in an apartment in Jersey City, N.J., that he was sharing with his mother. He was so helpful and cooperative, giving the FBI names and addresses, that they released him.

Yasin says he was even driven back home in an FBI car.

60 Minutes has independently confirmed that the man interviewed is, indeed, Yasin, whose picture is on the FBI Web site along with Osama bin Laden, one of President Bush’s 22 most-wanted terrorists.
11305  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 08:23:05 PM
June 17, 2004, 8:40 a.m.
Iraq & al Qaeda
The 9/11 Commission raises more questions than it answers.


The 9/11 Commission's staff has come down decidedly on the side of the naysayers about operational ties between Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. This development is already being met with unbridled joy by opponents of the Iraq war, who have been carping for days about recent statements by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney that reaffirmed the deposed Iraqi regime's promotion of terror.

The celebration is premature. The commission's cursory treatment of so salient a national question as whether al Qaeda and Iraq confederated is puzzling. Given that the panel had three hours for Richard Clarke, one might have hoped for more than three minutes on Iraq. More to the point, though, the staff statements released Wednesday — which seemed to be contradicted by testimony at the public hearing within minutes of their publication — raise more questions than they answer, about both matters the staff chose to address and some it strangely opted to omit.

The staff's sweeping conclusion is found in its Statement No. 15 ("Overview of the Enemy"), which states:

Bin Laden also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime. Bin Laden had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Laden to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Laden in 1994. Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Laden returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.
Just taken on its own terms, this paragraph is both internally inconsistent and ambiguously worded. First, it cannot be true both that the Sudanese arranged contacts between Iraq and bin Laden and that no "ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq." If the first proposition is so, then the "[t]wo senior Bin Laden associates" who are the sources of the second are either lying or misinformed.

In light of the number of elementary things the commission staff tells us its investigation has been unable to clarify (for example, in the very next sentence after the Iraq paragraph, the staff explains that the question whether al Qaeda had any connection to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing or the 1995 plot to blow U.S. airliners out of the sky "remains a matter of substantial uncertainty"), it is fair to conclude that these two senior bin Laden associates may not be the most cooperative, reliable fellows in town regarding what bin Laden was actually up to. Moreover, we know from press reports and the administration's own statements about the many al Qaeda operatives it has captured since 9/11 that the government is talking to more than just two of bin Laden's top operatives. That begs the questions: Have we really only asked two of them about Iraq? If not, what did the other detainees say?


Inconvenient Facts
The staff's back-of-the-hand summary also strangely elides mention of another significant matter — but one that did not escape the attention of Commissioner Fred Fielding, who raised it with a panel of law-enforcement witnesses right after noting the staff's conclusion that there was "no credible evidence" of cooperation. It is the little-discussed original indictment of bin Laden, obtained by the Justice Department in spring 1998 — several weeks before the embassy bombings and at a time when the government thought it would be prudent to have charges filed in the event an opportunity arose overseas to apprehend bin Laden. Paragraph 4 of that very short indictment reads:
Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.
(Emphasis added.) This allegation has always been inconvenient for the "absolutely no connection between Iraq and al Qaeda" club. (Richard Clarke, a charter member, handles the problem in his book by limiting the 1998 indictment to a fleeting mention and assiduously avoiding any description of what the indictment actually says.)

It remains inconvenient. As testimony at the commission's public hearing Wednesday revealed, the allegation in the 1998 indictment stems primarily from information provided by the key accomplice witness at the embassy bombing trial, Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl. Al-Fadl told agents that when al Qaeda was headquartered in the Sudan in the early-to-mid-1990s, he understood an agreement to have been struck under which the jihadists would put aside their antipathy for Saddam and explore ways of working together with Iraq, particularly regarding weapons production.

On al Qaeda's end, al-Fadl understood the liaison for Iraq relations to be an Iraqi named Mahmdouh Mahmud Salim (a.k.a. "Abu Hajer al Iraqi"), one of bin Laden's closest friends. (There will be a bit more to say later about Salim, who, it bears mention, was convicted in New York last year for maiming a prison guard in an escape attempt while awaiting trial for bombing the embassies.) After the embassies were destroyed, the government's case, naturally, was radically altered to focus on the attacks that killed over 250 people, and the Iraq allegation was not included in the superseding indictment. But, as the hearing testimony made clear, the government has never retracted the allegation.

Neither have other important assertions been retracted, including those by CIA Director George Tenet. As journalist Stephen Hayes reiterated earlier this month, Tenet, on October 7, 2002, wrote a letter to Congress, which asserted:

 Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.   We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda going back a decade.   Credible information indicates that Iraq and Al Qaeda have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.   Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of Al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad.   We have credible reporting that Al Qaeda leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to Al Qaeda members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.   Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of relationship with Al Qaeda suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.
Tenet, as Hayes elaborated, has never backed away from these assessments, reaffirming them in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee as recently as March 9, 2004.
Is the commission staff saying that the CIA director has provided faulty information to Congress? That doesn't appear to be what it is saying at all. This is clear — if anything in this regard can be said to be "clear" — from the staff's murky but carefully phrased summation sentence, which is worth parsing since it is already being gleefully misreported: "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." (Italics mine.) That is, the staff is not saying al Qaeda and Iraq did not cooperate — far from it. The staff seems to be saying: "they appear to have cooperated but we do not have sufficient evidence to conclude that they worked in tandem on a specific terrorist attack, such as 9/11, the U.S.S. Cole bombing, or the embassy bombings."

Kabul...Baghdad...
The same might, of course, be said about the deposed Taliban government in Afghanistan. Before anyone gets unhinged, I am not suggesting that bin Laden's ties to Iraq were as extensive as his connections to Afghanistan. But as is the case with Iraq, no one has yet tied the Taliban to a direct attack on the United States, although no one doubts for a moment that deposing the Taliban post-9/11 was absolutely the right thing to do.
I would point out, moreover, that al Qaeda is a full-time terrorist organization — it does not have the same pretensions as, say, Sinn Fein or Hamas, to be a part-time political party. Al Qaeda's time is fully devoted to conducting terrorist attacks and planning terrorist attacks. Thus, if a country cooperates with al Qaeda, it is cooperating in (or facilitating, abetting, promoting — you choose the euphemism) terrorism. What difference should it make that no one can find an actual bomb that was once in Saddam's closet and ended up at the Cole's hull? If al Qaeda and Iraq were cooperating, they had to be cooperating on terrorism, and as al Qaeda made no secret that it existed for the narrow purpose of inflicting terrorism on the United States, exactly what should we suppose Saddam was hoping to achieve by cooperating with bin Laden?

Of course, we may yet find that Saddam was a participant in the specific 9/11 plot. In that regard, the commission staff's report is perplexing, and, again, raises — or flat omits — many more questions than it resolves.

Don't Forget Shakir
For one thing, the staff has now addressed the crucial January 2000 Malaysia planning session in a few of its statements. As I have previously recounted, this was the three-day meeting at which Khalid al Midhar and Nawaf al Hazmi, eventual hijackers of Flight 77 (the one that hit the Pentagon), met with other key 9/11 planners. The staff's latest report, Statement Number 16 ("Outline of the 9/11 Plot"), even takes time to describe how the conspirators were hosted in Kuala Lampur by members of a Qaeda-affiliated terror group, Jemaah Islamiah. But the staff does not mention, let alone explain, let alone explain away, that al Midhar was escorted to the meeting by Ahmed Hikmat Shakir.
Shakir is the Iraqi who got his job as an airport greeter through the Iraqi embassy, which controlled his work schedule. He is the man who left that job right after the Malaysia meeting; who was found in Qatar six days after 9/11 with contact information for al Qaeda heavyweights — including bin Laden's aforementioned friend, Salim — and who was later detained in Jordan but released only after special pleading from Saddam's regime, and only after intelligence agents concluded that he seemed to have sophisticated counter-interrogation training. Shakir is also the Iraqi who now appears, based on records seized since the regime's fall, to have been all along an officer in Saddam's Fedayeen.

Does all this amount to proof of participation in the 9/11 plot? Well, in any prosecutor's office it would be a pretty good start. And if the commission staff was going to get into this area of Iraqi connections to al Qaeda at all, what conceivable good reason is there for avoiding any discussion whatsoever of Shakir? At least tell us why he is not worth mentioning.

Prague Problem
One thing the staff evidently thought it was laying to rest was the other niggling matter of whether 9/11 major domo Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmed al-Ani in Prague in April 2001. The staff's conclusion is that the meeting is a fiction. To say its reasoning is less than satisfying would be a gross understatement. Here's the pertinent conclusion, also found in Statement Number 16:
We have examined the allegation that Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague on April 9 [2001]. Based on the evidence available — including investigation by Czech and U.S. authorities plus detainee reporting — we do not believe that such a meeting occurred. The FBI's investigation places him in Virginia as of April 4, as evidenced by this bank surveillance camera shot of Atta withdrawing $8,000 from his account. Atta was back in Florida by April 11, if not before. Indeed, investigation has established that, on April 6, 9, 10, and 11, Atta's cellular telephone was used numerous times to call Florida phone numbers from cell sites within Florida. We have seen no evidence that Atta ventured overseas again or re-entered the United States before July, when he traveled to Spain under his true name and back under his true name.
This is ground, again, that I've recently covered. To rehearse: Czech intelligence has alleged that Atta was seen in Prague on April 8 or 9, 2001. Atta had withdrawn $8,000 cash from a bank in Virginia on April 4 and was not eyeballed again by a witness until one week later, on April 11. The new detail added by the staff is that Atta's cell phone was used in Florida on three days (April 6, 9 and 10) during that time frame. Does this tend to show he was in Florida rather than Prague? It could, but not very convincingly. Telling us Atta's cell phone was used is not the same as telling us Atta used the cell phone.

Atta almost certainly would not have been able to use the cell phone overseas, so it would have been foolish to tote it along to the Czech Republic — especially if he was traveling clandestinely (as the large cash withdrawal suggests). He would have left it behind. Atta, moreover, had a roommate (and fellow hijacker), Marwan al-Shehhi. It is certainly possible that Shehhi — whom the staff places in Florida during April 2001 — could have used Atta's cell phone during that time.

Is it possible that Atta was in Florida rather than Prague? Of course it is. But the known evidence militates strongly against that conclusion: an eyewitness puts Atta in Prague, meeting with al-Ani; we know Atta was a "Hamburg student" and represented himself as such in a visa application; it has been reported that the Czechs have al-Ani's appointment calendar and it says he was scheduled to meet on the critical day with a "Hamburg student"; and we know for certain that Atta was in Prague under very suspicious circumstances twice in a matter of days (May 30 and June 2, 2000) during a time the Czechs and Western intelligence services feared that Saddam, through al-Ani, might be reviving a plot to use Islamic extremists to bomb Radio Free Europe (a plot the State Department acknowledged in its annual global terror report notwithstanding that the commission staff apparently did not think the incident merited mention).

I am perfectly prepared to accept the staff's conclusion about Atta not being in Prague — if the commission provides a convincing, thoughtful explanation, which is going to have to get a whole lot better than a cell-phone record.

What is the staff's reason for rejecting the eyewitness identification? Is the "Hamburg student" entry bogus? Since the staff is purporting to provide a comprehensive explanation of the 9/11 plot — the origins of which it traces back to 1999 — what is their explanation for what Atta was doing in Prague in 2000? Why, when the staff went into minute detail about the travels of other hijackers (even when it conceded it did not know the relevance of those trips), was Atta's trip to Prague not worthy of even a passing mention? Why was it so important for Atta to be in Prague on May 30, 2000 that he couldn't delay for one day, until May 31, when his visa would have been ready? Why was it so important for him to be in Prague on May 30 that he opted to go despite the fact that, without a visa, he could not leave the airport terminal? How did he happen to find the spot in the terminal where surveillance cameras would not capture him for nearly six hours? Why did he go back again on June 2? Was he meeting with al-Ani? If so, why would it be important for him to see al-Ani right before entering the United States in June 2000? And jumping ahead to 2001, if Atta wasn't using cash to travel anonymously, what did he do with the $8000 he suddenly withdrew before disappearing on April 4? If his cell phone was used in Florida between April 4 and April 11, what follow-up investigation has been done about that by the 9/11 Commission? By the FBI? By anybody? Whom was the cell phone used to call? Do any of those people remember speaking to Atta at that time? Perhaps someone would remember speaking with the ringleader of the most infamous attack in the history of the United States if he had called to chat, no?

Are these questions important to answer? You be the judge. According to the 9/11 Commission staff report, bin Laden originally pressed the operational supervisor of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), "that the attacks occur as early as mid-2000," even though bin Laden "recognized that Atta and the other pilots had only just arrived in the United States to begin their flight training[.]" Well I'll be darned: mid-2000 is exactly when Atta made his two frenetic trips to Prague immediately before heading to the United States to begin that flight training.

The commission staff next says, "n 2001, Bin Laden apparently pressured KSM twice more for an earlier date. According to KSM, Bin Laden first requested a date of May 12, 2001," and then proposed a date in June or July. Well, what do you know: all those dates are only weeks after Atta may have had some reason to drop everything and secretly run to Prague for a meeting with al-Ani.   
Or maybe it's just a coincidence.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a former chief assistant U.S. attorney who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others, is an NRO contributor.


   
   
 


    
http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200406170840.asp
11306  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 08:10:30 PM
http://www.fas.org/irp/news/1998/11/98110602_nlt.html

06 November 1998

****Who was President at this time?****

TEXT: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN

4. Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in
the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist
group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their
perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.
In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of
Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on
particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al
Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.
11307  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 08:04:47 PM
http://www.special-operations-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1395

SERE in Transition

   
The Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school at Camp Mackall, N.C., is undergoing some broad changes to make the SERE course an integral part of the Special Forces Qualification Course.

By Major Brian Hankinson



The Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school at Camp Mackall, N.C., is undergoing some broad changes to make the SERE course an integral part of the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) to ensure that all Special Forces soldiers are SERE Level-C qualified; and to ensure that SERE remains relevant to the current operational environment. Under the direction of Major General James Parker, commanding general of the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, SERE has integrated training in peacetime government detention and hostage detention (PGD/HD) into its curriculum and has adopted a new core captivity curriculum (CCC) that will greatly enhance and update resistance training. SERE has also significantly increased its student output and has moved from being taught at the end of the SFQC to becoming part of Phase II of the pipeline.
SERE has always existed as training in support of the Military Code of Conduct. The relationship between SERE training and the Code of Conduct has been formalized in a number of studies and documents since the 1970s. Of importance to Army SERE training is Army Regulation 350-30, Code of Conduct, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Training, originally published in 1985 and updated in 2002. The current AR 350-30 supports Department of Defense level requirements as outlined in Department of Defense Directive 1300.7, Training and Education to Support the Code of Conduct, and Department of Defense Instruction 1300.21, Code of Conduct Training and Education. All of these documents establish three levels of Code of Conduct training.

Level-A is initial-entry-level training that all soldiers, enlisted and officers receive upon entering the service. It provides a minimum level of understanding of the Code of Conduct.

Level-B is designed for personnel whose “jobs, specialties or assignments entail moderate risk of capture and exploitation.” DoD 1300.21 lists as examples, “members of ground combat units, security forces for high threat targets and anyone in the immediate vicinity of the forward edge of the battle area or the forward line of troops.” Current operations in Iraq have shown that practically everyone deployed in theater falls under this category. Consequently, demand for Level-B training has proliferated exponentially, and it has become mandatory for most deploying forces. Level-B is conducted at the unit level, through the use of training-support packets containing a series of standardized lesson plans and videos.

Level-C is designed for personnel whose “jobs, specialties or assignments entail a significant or high risk of capture and exploitation.” AR 350-30 supports DoD 1300.21’s mandate: “As a minimum, the following categories of personnel shall receive formal Level-C training at least once in their careers: combat aircrews, special operations forces (e.g., Navy special warfare combat swimmers and special boat units, Army Special Forces and Rangers, Marine Corps force reconnaissance units, Air Force special tactics teams, and psychological operations units) and military attaché.” The SERE Level-C training facility at Camp Mackall is one of only four facilities within the DoD that is authorized to conduct Level-C training. The Air Force conducts training at Fairchild AFB, Wash., and the Navy has facilities in Brunswick, Maine, and at North Island, Calif. The Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., is in the process of building another Level-C facility.

With the exception of minor periodic adjustments in content and length, SERE instruction at Camp Mackall has changed little since Lieutenant Colonel Nick Rowe conducted the first Level-C course in 1986. The course spans three weeks with three phases of instruction, with the first phase consisting of approximately 10 days of academic instruction on the Code of Conduct and in SERE techniques that incorporate both classroom learning and hands-on field craft.

The second phase is a five-day field training exercise in which the students practice their survival and evasion skills by procuring food and water, constructing evasion fires and shelters and evading tracker dogs and aggressor forces for long distances. The final phase takes place in the resistance training laboratory, a mock prisoner-of-war camp, where students are tested on their individual and collective abilities to resist interrogation and exploitation and to properly apply the six articles of the Code of Conduct in a realistic captivity scenario. The course culminates with a day of debriefings in which the students receive individual and group feedback from the instructors. These constructive critiques help students process everything they have been through to solidify the skills they applied properly and to correct areas that need adjustment.

SERE Ramp-up

Over the past year, SERE has begun a transformation that will bring it on line with the transitioning SFQC, as well as make training more relevant to a broader spectrum of captivity environments. This transformation in SERE consists of three major changes: moving the course from its current position in the pipeline, increasing student output and incorporating new resistance-training techniques in PGD/HD.

Since its inception, SERE has been a stand-alone course, separate from, but working in conjunction with, the pipeline. Slots were primarily allocated to students in the SFQC but were also offered to other Army special operations forces, or ARSOF, such as Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment pilots and civil affairs and psychological operations personnel. The course also slotted students from other Army components, primarily aviators, airborne infantrymen and long-range-surveillance soldiers. Even though AR 350-30 mandates that all SF soldiers require SERE Level-C training, because the SFQC and SERE have been run separately, and because of limited space in the SERE course, not all SF soldiers have received SERE training in the past.

Beginning in 1998, with a directive from the commanding general of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) SERE Level-C became mandatory for all SFQC graduates before their assignment to an SF group. Furthermore, with AR 350-30 and DoD 1300.21 mandating SERE Level-C for all ARSOF, the demand for SERE increased substantially to accommodate all pipeline students, the backlog of SF Soldiers without SERE, and other slots needed for ARSOF and Army-component students. Also contributing to the growing demand for SERE Level-C training is the substantial number of Special Forces recruits, the “18 X-Rays,” who are joining the ranks, succeeding in assessment and selection and entering the SFQC. By fiscal year 2004, the steady state for SERE was 20 classes per year, with an average of 48 students per class, or 960 graduates per year. Even with this substantial output of students, SERE’s placement at the end of the pipeline contributed to a bottleneck effect that the transformation aims to correct.

To eliminate the bottleneck effect and to contribute to a more efficient pipeline, SERE has moved into Phase II of the SFQC. As students finish the fifth and final module of small-unit tactics, or SUT, they will immediately begin a SERE course. Until recently, each module of Phase II SUT was designed for 75-man classes. Now each module is training 90 students. SERE has had to ramp-up its capacity substantially to accommodate Phase II students and to continue to address students at the end of the pipeline, the backlog of SF Soldiers without SERE, and other ARSOF slots.

In April 2005, SERE began training 78 students per class. In October 2005, SERE again increased its student load by in-processing 100 students, the largest class in SERE history. To further accommodate the demand, SERE also increased its number of classes per year from 20 to 22, beginning in fiscal year 2005. At the end of FY 2005, SERE had graduated 1,287 students, a 34-percent increase over the FY 2004 average of 960. At the current rate of 22 classes of 90 to 100 students per class, SERE will have produced between 1,968 and 2,178 graduates by the end of FY 2006, an increase of between 100 percent and 127 percent of that average. The future steady state for SERE is to have the backlog worked off and to conduct 20 classes per year with the number of seats per class sufficient to accommodate the 20 Phase II SUT classes and slots for other ARSOF soldiers.

Peacetime Government/Hostage Detention

In 2002, the commander of SWCS tasked the Directorate of Training and Doctrine to establish a PGD/HD course to offer another high-risk Level-C capability that would focus on a broad spectrum of current captivity environments. The DOTD created a five-day curriculum, modeled after an existing course offered by the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, to teach current DoD policy for the application of the Code of Conduct in a much broader range of captivity scenarios than offered in the traditional, or wartime SERE course. PGD/HD provides students with the situational awareness needed to resist exploitation in a number of unpredictable environments common in the current operational arena, from friendly government detentions to highly volatile hostage and terrorist captivities. PGD/HD incorporates a unique learning tool, the academic role-play laboratory, in which students benefit from observing and critiquing each other in role-play scenarios with the instructors. The course was originally created to instruct 300 students per year in 20 classes of 15.

PGD/HD was short-lived as a stand-alone course. As part of the transformation, Parker also tasked SERE to combine its traditional wartime SERE course with the new PGD/HD (or peacetime) course to ensure that all SF soldiers received the benefits of both. The SERE company merged the PGD/HD cadre and the resistance-training detachment of the wartime course and combined the PGD/HD curriculum with the academic portion of the wartime course to create a 19-day combined SERE program that would fit into the Phase II calendar. August 1, 2005, marked the beginning of the first combined SERE course. Class 16-05 graduated on August 19 with more training in resistance skills than any class in SERE history.

Currently, SERE is successfully operating 90- to 100-man classes in the combined course that have a fairly even mix of Phase II students, end-of-pipeline students and SF backlog. By the end of December 2005, nine classes of the combined course will have graduated, and student and cadre feedback has been positive. A student from Class 16-05 who had just finished Phase II commented, “I hope the rest of the SF pipeline lives up to the experience I have had in SERE. Thank you.”

Core Captivity Curriculum

By instituting the combined wartime and peacetime SERE course, the SERE company created a “bridge plan” to posture itself for the assumption of the core captivity curriculum (CCC). The CCC is a joint effort among the sister-service SERE schools and the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency to create a curriculum that officially merges wartime and peacetime resistance training into an updated curriculum of resistance training that better replicates the ambiguities of the modern global environment. It will effectively eliminate the potential for confusion created by the current state of resistance training, which teaches three separate captivity environments (wartime, peacetime government/operations other than war and hostage). The CCC consolidates resistance techniques across the spectrum of captivity and focuses on producing smarter resisters who have very keen situational awareness. It is important to note that the CCC applies only to resistance training in SERE. It has no effect on the instruction of survival, evasion and escape skills, except for refocusing the field-training exercise scenarios to better replicate appropriate captivity environments.

Transitioning to the CCC was not an overnight process. It entailed a significant paradigm shift among instructors who have been immersed in a wartime scenario for a long time. The bridge plan gave the SERE company the opportunity to cross-train and familiarize the cadre with the coming changes. The SERE Company worked closely with the SERE training developer in the SWCS Directorate of Training and Doctrine to ensure a smooth transition to the new CCC program of instruction. As an integrated part of the pipeline, SERE is also working with the other phases to ensure that SERE scenarios flow logically with the rest of the SFQC training experience. The CCC offers the SERE company a great opportunity to rethink its old ways of doing business, with imagination being the only limitation in creating realistic training scenarios to prepare soldiers for the ambiguous and volatile world in which they will operate.

Conclusion

In his book, In the Company of Heroes, retired 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment pilot CW4 Mike Durant reflected on the SERE training he received at Camp Mackall in the winter of 1988 and the strength it gave him during his 11-day captivity in Somalia in October 1993: “I came away [from SERE] with tools that I never believed I would ever really need, but even in those first seconds of capture at the crash site in Mogadishu, those lessons would come rushing back at me. Throughout my captivity, I would summon them nearly every hour … I thanked [Nick Rowe] silently every day in Mogadishu, and I asked that God bless him, as I tried to plan my next move.” Durant’s words are a resounding testimony to the enduring reputation and efficacy of the SERE course.

SERE remains rooted in the past and takes great pride in recognizing and using the sacrifices of heroes like Rowe and Durant as learning points for future generations of SERE students. The SERE cadre turned out en-masse last November to honor the memory of America’s longest held POW, Colonel Floyd J. Thompson, held in Vietnam for nine years, at the dedication of a street bearing his name on Fort Bragg. In the crowd were the Son Tay raiders who risked their lives in a POW-rescue mission into North Vietnam in 1970. SERE maintains a brotherhood with the Fayetteville Chapter of Ex-POWs, and it invites members of the group of former POWs to speak to every graduating class. The students absorb the tales told by these heroes, and the POWs thrive on sharing the hard-learned lessons of their experiences. Through these efforts, the SERE company draws on the lessons of the past that can truly mean the difference between life and death in the future.

While nourishing its connections to the past, SERE is future-oriented and is successfully transforming to meet the needs of the global war on terrorism by staying relevant in the unstable post-Cold War world of the 21st century. In an operational arena characterized by nationalistic movements, radical religious fundamentalism, rampant terrorism and anti-Western sentiment fueled by globalization and economic disfranchisement, our soldiers will face a broad spectrum of isolation and captivity that has produced unimaginable episodes of horrific violence. SERE remains dedicated to training our soldiers to face this world with every skill they will need to survive and return with honor.

Major Brian D. Hankinson is the commander of Company D (SERE), 1st Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group. He was previously the chief of the Personnel Recovery Branch, Special Forces Doctrine Division, Directorate of Training and Doctrine, JFK Special Warfare Center and School. His previous assignments include: artillery officer, 82nd Airborne Division; detachment commander of ODA 584, 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group; and assistant professor of American history at the United States Military Academy. Hankinson holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland.
11308  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 07:45:45 PM
So all of a sudden every war we get into is another WW2?  They're all pretty much the same as you see it?

****No, much like WWII, we are in a fight for the survival of our nation and western civilization. Iraq is one front in that war. Why can't you see that?****

Sorry, but I don't buy this "one front" business.  Either Iraq was an actual, immediate threat or it wasn't.

*****Bill Clinton believed Saddam was a threat. Lots of dems agreed. *****

http://www.house.gov/pelosi/priraq1.htm


Statement on U.S. Led Military Strike Against Iraq

December 16, 1998

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.

The responsibility of the United States in this conflict is to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to minimize the danger to our troops and to diminish the suffering of the Iraqi people. The citizens of Iraq have suffered the most for Saddam Hussein's activities; sadly, those same citizens now stand to suffer more. I have supported efforts to ease the humanitarian situation in Iraq and my thoughts and prayers are with the innocent Iraqi civilians, as well as with the families of U.S. troops participating in the current action.

I believe in negotiated solutions to international conflict. This is, unfortunately, not going to be the case in this situation where Saddam Hussein has been a repeat offender, ignoring the international community's requirement that he come clean with his weapons program. While I support the President, I hope and pray that this conflict can be resolved quickly and that the international community can find a lasting solution through diplomatic means.

******So, was Nancy supporting an illegal war when she supported Clinton's military strikes?*****

Quote
Has the US ever been in a war that wasn't justified?  Or do our leaders just decide we need to go to war and that's all that matters as far as GM is concerned?

****No, unlike you I research and read source documents rather just tossing out slogans like "illegal war".****

Clearly you have no meaningful response, hence you resort to insults.  Clearly this is SOP for GM.

******Pointing out your painful lack of knowledge isn't an insult, though if you wish to take it as one there is nothing I can do about it.*****

Quote
I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

****Again, what part of "violated the cease fire agreement" don't you understand?****

I don't recall Bush saying we had to go to war because Saddam violated a cease-fire.  I do recall him saying Iraq definitely had working WMD and was months away from having the capability to nuke us, both of which turned out to be complete BS.  Clearly this doesn't matter to you.

******Again, if you'll read http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hjres114.pdf you'll see the official reasons we went into Iraq, not media soundbites.*****

Quote
Spare me.  Nobody in this forum bases their opinions on any kind of real political expertise, so we're all pretty much "bumper sticker politicians" here.  You being a cop (what kind of cop, exactly?) makes you no more of an expert than does me being a software engineer.

****I was dealing with right wing militia groups back in the early/mid 90's, my first training on terrorism was from an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force years before 9/11. After 9/11 I gave up a dream job as a District Attorney's Investigator to go to work for the USG, where I developed material used in anti-terrorism training today. I received training in Open Source Intelligence gathering, OPSEC and Improvised Explosive Devices among other things. I've written threat assessments/risk analyses for various entities and have consulted as a terrorism SME for a join federal/local task force investigating a cold case related to terrorism.****

That does sound like an interesting record.  I'm kind of surprised that somebody with your background seems so willing to take so many of our government's claims regarding Iraq, terrorism, etc. at face value.

******I don't take anything at face value. I research. I can say that it's my opinion that the USG has a policy of downplaying/diminishing terror related incidents CONUS, which flies in the face of "Bush hypes terror for political gain" as he's often accused of. Again read the source documents. Read the indictment of OBL issued by the US DOJ in 1998 for interesting information concerning al Qaeda and Saddam.*****

Quote
I agree that some of the stuff coming out of academia is pretty ridiculous (like some college in Southern California offering a class on YouTube as a social phenomenon?), but I would still argue that most of "the left" is regular working people who simply want to have a better life and some semblance of social justice.

****I'd cite California as exhibit A for the damage leftist ideas can do. "Social Justice" sounds nice, but is in fact just a marxist codeword for all sorts of bad policies that run counter to core American concepts.****

Depends what you consider "core American concepts" I suppose.  Clearly you and I don't agree on what those are.  For a state as horrible as you seem to think California is, an awful lot of people pay a lot of money to live here.

*****Funny, I live in one of those western states that was serious impacted by Californians fleeing California. My opinion is that bad policies have California heading into a socioeconomic crisis of epic scale. I guess we'll see if i'm proven correct in time.*****

Quote
Excuse me, but I recall that it was Reagan, Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. and not "the left" that supported Saddam all throughout the 80s, most notably during the time when he was gassing Kurds and committing all the atrocities now cited as justification for our invasion.  That's a simple fact.

****Lost in your simplicity is that at that time the Cold War was center stage and Saddam was a useful foil to contain Iran's expansionist shiite jihad. Still, Saddam was much more of a client state of the Soviets than he ever was of ours.****

BS.  You guys love to cite "cold war expediency" as a catch-all excuse for all kinds of unsavory, un-American things we did back then.  I don't dispute that Saddam was a monster and thug, but where you and I disagree is that I think Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. should also be made to answer for their crimes in supporting him.  Otherwise, all we've done is impose victor's justice.  But clearly that's not a problem for you.  After all, you never know when another Saddam will come along somewhere else who might be useful to us for a while, right?

*****The real world requires choices between bad and worse more often than not. FDR allied himself with Stalin to beat Hitler, and Stalin was a monster. "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." -Winston Churchill*****

Quote
Clear majorities of Iraqis (with the exception of the Kurds) want an immediate withdrawal of US forces.  Apparently (although I don't have a reference right now) smaller, but still pretty clear, majorities of Iraqis consider violent attacks on US forces to be justified.  Maybe there are "other Iraqis" who are doing better, but I think you're exaggerating their numbers.

****Wanting the US out is very different than wanting Saddam back.

To my knowledge, nobody on "the left" has ever called for reinstating Saddam in power.  Can you cite an instance of this?  Regardless, I think you'll agree that the probability of this happening now is exactly 0%.

******Michael Moore's portrayal of a wonderful, peaceful Iraq prior to the war is common with the left. As if there was no problem and then we attacked so Haliburton could get rich. Again, it's an illegal war then so were Clinton's military strikes.*****
11309  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 15, 2007, 04:43:45 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/15/us-nuke-guy-north-korea-and-syria-are-up-to-no-good/

WMD in Syria?
11310  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 04:42:06 PM
Tom,

Was it done out of sadism, or done out of necessity? "Hell week" seems like torture to me that the SEALs use for selection purposes. Ranger School that a friend did pushes the soldiers well beyond normal human endurance. Sleep deprivation, lack of food, being placed in harsh environments while being pushed past physical and mental limits are common parts of military training, especially for elite military units.
11311  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 15, 2007, 03:48:00 PM
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2007/sep/15/na-jihadi-image...onator-video-found1/

'Jihadi' Images, Detonator Video Found

By ELAINE SILVESTRINI, The Tampa Tribune

Published: September 15, 2007


TAMPA - A laptop computer deputies found when they pulled over two University of South Florida students in South Carolina contained a video made by one of the men showing how to use a toy to detonate a bomb remotely, a federal prosecutor said Friday.

On that video, the student, Ahmed Mohamed, said the detonator could 'save one who wants to be a martyr for another day, another battle,' Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hoffer said.

The prosecutor said that video was posted by Mohamed on YouTube, a popular Web site.

Also on the laptop were 'jihadi' images and footage of rockets used by Hamas, Hoffer said.

Although a judge granted bail for the other student, Youssef Megahed, prosecutors immediately appealed, delaying his release until at least next week. Mohamed waived his right to a bail hearing.

Hoffer disclosed the computer evidence Friday as he laid out the prosecution's case that Megahed should be denied bail because he is a danger to the community and a flight risk.

U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Jenkins ruled Megahed could be released on $200,000 bail if he meets a number of strict conditions, including what amounts to house arrest. 'I do agree he poses a danger, no question about that, based on what was found in the car,' Jenkins said. She also said the government failed to demonstrate a specific danger to the community, as required by law.

Hoffer acknowledged under questioning from the judge that he had no specific evidence of Megahed's intentions. Hoffer said that under the current charge, Megahed likely faces less than three years in prison if convicted.

A defense attorney maintained his client was not dangerous and that he has strong ties to the community and no record of violence. The federal courtroom was packed with Megahed's family members and friends, and Jenkins said she had received numerous letters in Megahed's support.

Neither the defense nor the prosecution presented sworn testimony during the hearing.

Megahed's public defender, Adam Allen, said there was no evidence his client made or saw the video that prosecutors said Mohamed made.

Both defendants are Egyptian citizens. Megahed is a legal, permanent resident of the Unites States, and Mohamed is here on a student visa.

Hoffer said that when deputies in South Carolina pulled the pair over for speeding on Aug. 4, they saw Megahed, who was the passenger, trying to put away the laptop computer that belonged to Mohamed. When investigators analyzed the computer, they found that the last-viewed images showed Qassam rockets, which are used by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Also on the computer were videos of discussions of martyrdom and videos showing the firing of M-16 rifles, Hoffer said.

'Explosive Mixture'

In the trunk, deputies found four small sections of PVC pipe, at least three of which were stuffed with a 'potassium nitrate explosive mixture' of potassium nitrate, Karo syrup and kitty litter, Hoffer said. He said the kitty litter served as a binder to keep the substance from coming out of the pipes, which were not capped.

Investigators also found a container of gasoline, 20 feet of safety fuse and an electric drill, which Hoffer said could be used to drill holes in the pipe so fuses could be attached.

'Obviously, that raised the hackles of law enforcement in South Carolina,' Hoffer said. 'That's why we're here.'

Both men are charged with transporting explosives without a permit, relating to the stuffed PVC pipes deputies have described as pipe bombs. Hoffer conceded in court, however, that the devices, while explosive, were not pipe bombs and were not 'destructive devices' under the law.

Allen maintained that the filled PVC pipes couldn't do much damage because there were no caps and no metallic material that could serve as shrapnel.

Mohamed also is charged with demonstrating how to make explosives with the intent of helping terrorists. That charge evidently refers to the video, which Hoffer said Mohamed admitted making in his home in July using a camcorder. Hoffer said Mohamed posted the video on YouTube under another name. It shows Mohamed from the chest down standing in front of a tabletop and taking apart a radio-controlled toy car and pulling a wire from the remote control.

Speaking later from Cairo, Mohamed's father, Abdel Latif Sherif, said his son is being framed.

'This was created and put on his computer to blame him,' Sherif said. 'I can take a computer and put anything on it. They are making this up to make him look bad.'

Hoffer said that in the video, Mohamed makes a statement about the toy car being similar to a boat. The federal prosecutor noted that when investigators searched the Megahed home with the family's permission, they found a remote-controlled boat.

Megahed's South Carolina attorney has said the boat was a 'therapeutic device' for to the defendant's 10-year-old brother, who has Down syndrome.

Allen argued that the judge could set conditions to ensure Megahed would not flee the district if released on bail. For example, the entire Megahed family agreed to surrender their passports and allow investigators to search their home at any time.

The judge also ordered that Megahed be outfitted with the most secure Global Positioning System monitoring device available to probation officials and that Megahed be permitted to leave his parents' house only to see his attorney or attend religious services.

After Jenkins ruled, prosecutors immediately filed an appeal, meaning Megahed may not be released until U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday decides the issue. That can't happen until at least sometime next week.

Ammunition, No Firearms

Under the passenger seat of the car in South Carolina, deputies found ammunition, said Hoffer, but no firearms.

Hoffer said investigators also searched a commercial storage facility. Inside they found a .22-caliber rifle that Megahed had purchased lawfully. Hoffer said Megahed recently tried to purchase a handgun.

Also in the storage facility were welding supplies and scuba diving equipment. Hoffer said Megahed has skill as a welder, so there could be a legitimate reason for those items.

The prosecutor said that when deputies questioned Megahed, he initially denied knowing about 'these rockets or fireworks in the trunk.' But when both defendants were put in the back seat of a patrol vehicle, their conversation in Arabic secretly was recorded, Hoffer said.

A translation summary of the recording shows Megahed asking about what happened to the explosives, Hoffer said, which the prosecutor said shows Megahed was aware of what was in the trunk. The car, Hoffer said, was registered to Megahed's brother.

During the hearing, Allen said the Megahed family was prepared to post $50,000 cash to secure the defendant's release. Hoffer, however, said the government had information that the family has extensive assets and that $50,000 would not be nearly enough to ensure that Megahed would not flee.

Allen said his client is three credits away from earning a bachelor's degree in engineering. Among the glowing letters submitted to the court on Megahed's behalf was one from a university professor, Allen said. Landlords described the Megaheds as an 'on-time, responsible, polite, law-abiding family.'

He said it wouldn't make sense for the defendant to flee the jurisdiction over a charge for which he faces, at most, 33 months in prison.

Hoffer argued that if Megahed flees to Egypt, it will be 'very difficult, if not impossible' for the United States to have him extradited.

Hoffer said Megahed applied to become a citizen last year but was turned down by immigration officials because he had been out of the country for more than 1,600 days during a five-year period that ended in 2003. During that time, he made numerous trips to Egypt, many lasting more than six months, Hoffer said.

Hoffer said Megahed also traveled to Canada, Saudia Arabia and Nigeria, 'which is also of interest to the United States.'

But the judge seemed unimpressed with Megahed's travel, noting it took place when the defendant was 11 to 16 years old.

After the hearing, Megahed family members wouldn't discuss what was said, other than to say they were happy with Jenkins' ruling.

Smiling, his brother, Yahia, said, 'It confirmed our feeling of the justice system.'

Reporter Thomas W. Krause and Editor Howard Altman contributed to this report. Reporter Elaine Silvestrini can be reached at (813) 259-7839 or esilvestrini@tampatrib.com.
11312  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 15, 2007, 03:24:56 PM
http://www.newschannel5.tv/2007/9/14/979646/-Homeland-S...n-Had-Terrorist-Ties

Homeland Security: Woman Had Terrorist Ties

Friday , September 14, 2007 Posted: 06:45 PM



Ahmed Latest at 6


Ahmed caught in McAllen airport in 2004

MCALLEN - For the first time, Homeland Security openly admitted a Pakistani woman captured in McAllen has terrorist ties.

Farida Ahmed was caught at the McAllen-Miller International Airport in 2004. She was on her way to New York with $7,000 in cash and a South African passport.

We learned she had swum across the river into the U.S.

At the time, NEWSCHANNEL 5 uncovered Ahmed was on a terror watch list. The information confirmed off the record through our sources.

Just this week, Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw admitted publicly that Ahmed did have terrorist ties to an insurgent group in Pakistan. The group reportedly smuggles Afghanis and other foreign nationals.

Fred Burton is a counterterrorism expert recently appointed to the Texas Border Security Council.

He says, "You had an individual that had associations with an international terrorist organization all probability that would have been a jihadist group."

Burton recalls the Ahmed case. He tells us there are ongoing investigations right now.

"These individuals are going to take the path of least resistance. And I'm sad to say that that path is the border," says Burton.

NEWSCHANNEL 5 tried to get a phone interview with the Texas Director of Homeland Security in Austin.

A spokesperson in the Governor's Office told us he wasn't available for an interview. But they stand by the information he released.
11313  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 03:05:04 PM
It's unfortunate that you see it this way.  I guess if "America" is basically a thug with the right to do whatever the hell it wants because it's got the muscle, then yes, I'm an enemy.

**Just like it thuggishly threw it's weight around in asia and europe in the 40's? Flexing it's muscles to end the 3rd. Reich....and it was Japan that bombed Pearl Harbor right? "FDR lied, Nazis died".**

So all of a sudden every war we get into is another WW2?  They're all pretty much the same as you see it?

****No, much like WWII, we are in a fight for the survival of our nation and western civilization. Iraq is one front in that war. Why can't you see that?****

Has the US ever been in a war that wasn't justified?  Or do our leaders just decide we need to go to war and that's all that matters as far as GM is concerned?

****No, unlike you I research and read source documents rather just tossing out slogans like "illegal war".****

Quote
I believe i've asked you in the past and you couldn't answer what law you allege has been violated.

Quote
I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

****Again, what part of "violated the cease fire agreement" don't you understand?****

**As usual, your bumper sticker grasp of geopolitics doesn't begin to approach reality.

Spare me.  Nobody in this forum bases their opinions on any kind of real political expertise, so we're all pretty much "bumper sticker politicians" here.  You being a cop (what kind of cop, exactly?) makes you no more of an expert than does me being a software engineer.

****I was dealing with right wing militia groups back in the early/mid 90's, my first training on terrorism was from an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force years before 9/11. After 9/11 I gave up a dream job as a District Attorney's Investigator to go to work for the USG, where I developed material used in anti-terrorism training today. I received training in Open Source Intelligence gathering, OPSEC and Improvised Explosive Devices among other things. I've written threat assessments/risk analyses for various entities and have consulted as a terrorism SME for a join federal/local task force investigating a cold case related to terrorism.****

Quote
I get the feeling that your image of "the left" is some absurd caricature.

**Aside from reading leading left blogs and periodicals (I was reading "Mother Jones" back in the 80's, when I was young and gullible actually believed that garbage) and my time brushing up against academia (I'll someday post my paper "The American Male, Threat or Menace?" written for the professor that announced she was a lesbian-feminist and taught the Dworkin "rape-culture" theory in my class on sex crimes) I had an ex-girlfriend who was a model for current academic thought. She's teaching at a ivy league school the last I heard from her. So I know today's left very well from firsthand experience, not distant stereotypes.**

I agree that some of the stuff coming out of academia is pretty ridiculous (like some college in Southern California offering a class on YouTube as a social phenomenon?), but I would still argue that most of "the left" is regular working people who simply want to have a better life and some semblance of social justice.

****I'd cite California as exhibit A for the damage leftist ideas can do. "Social Justice" sounds nice, but is in fact just a marxist codeword for all sorts of bad policies that run counter to core American concepts.****

Quote
**The Kurds' lives are much, much better since Saddam's rule ended. Many other Iraqis are doing much better. Once upon a time, the American left was supposed to be about freeing the oppressed, which is what we did in Iraq. Why now does the left love and supprt monsters like Saddam today?**

Excuse me, but I recall that it was Reagan, Rumsfeld, Bush Sr, etc. and not "the left" that supported Saddam all throughout the 80s, most notably during the time when he was gassing Kurds and committing all the atrocities now cited as justification for our invasion.  That's a simple fact.

****Lost in your simplicity is that at that time the Cold War was center stage and Saddam was a useful foil to contain Iran's expansionist shiite jihad. Still, Saddam was much more of a client state of the Soviets than he ever was of ours.****

I've never met or spoken to any war protester that loved (or even slightly liked) Saddam, but I have heard some say (as well as many Iraqis) that life in Iraq under Saddam was preferable to life in Iraq under the current US occupation.  That's not love for Saddam but a simple statement of fact.  According to this article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/26/AR2006092601721.html

Clear majorities of Iraqis (with the exception of the Kurds) want an immediate withdrawal of US forces.  Apparently (although I don't have a reference right now) smaller, but still pretty clear, majorities of Iraqis consider violent attacks on US forces to be justified.  Maybe there are "other Iraqis" who are doing better, but I think you're exaggerating their numbers.

****Wanting the US out is very different than wanting Saddam back. You have to view some of that through the arab cultural mindset. Iraq is complex and difficult, still I find where we are today to be a better position than leaving Saddam in place. I'd rather see Iraq develop into a halfway decent country rather than just install another dictator that would be useful for us in the short term. Certainly abandoning Iraq to Iran and Al Qaeda isn't a viable option.****
11314  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 15, 2007, 01:39:05 PM
My opinion is that the Saudis have only moved against AQ in Saudi Arabia out of fear for their own security. They've deliberately allowed the flow of Saudi youths to the jihad in Iraq so the US could bury them there rather than worry about them as a threat to internal security/stability.
11315  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 01:12:19 PM
GM:

I'd love to read the "The American Male: Threat or Menace" piece!  If you have it handy, would you be so kind as to email it to me?

I'll have to transcribe it. I saw it a while ago and laughed. I think I got B despite the obvious sarcasm.
11316  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 12:59:59 PM
Woof, When I was in the navy I had a couple of friends that went to the navy's SERE school.
They were both Waterboarded there.
I'am pretty sure after listening to their accounts of the experience that they would disagree with GM's asssertion that waterboarding is not tourture.
Then I'am onley taking it from first hand accounts of what it was like to be waterboarded.
Also note that these accounts came from our own service men and my friends.

GM, have you ever been waterboarded or do you know anyone who has?
                                                                                       TG
For those who don't know the Navy's SERE school: Survive Escape Resist and Evade......Usally pilots -aircrew -Seals-EOD and the types attend this school

**Waterboarding isn't offered to police officers, though a individual I know from another board that may have trained with DBMA is a former SEAL. He has stated that after waterboarding he "was ready to behave" but did not see it as torture. If waterboarding is indeed torture, then the US military has been torturing servicemen for decades. Would you agree with that, Tom?**
11317  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:33:43 AM
After Rumsfeld cleared the 24 methods, interrogators approached Kahtani once again. They relied almost exclusively on isolation and lengthy interrogations. They also used some “psy-ops” (psychological operations). Ten or so interrogators would gather and sing the Rolling Stones’ “Time Is on My Side” outside Kahtani’s cell. Sometimes they would play a recording of “Enter Sandman” by the heavy-metal group Metallica, which brought Kahtani to tears, because he thought (not implausibly) he was hearing the sound of Satan.

Finally, at 4 am—after an 18-hour, occasionally loud, interrogation, during which Kahtani head-butted his interrogators—he started giving up information, convinced that he was being sold out by his buddies. The entire process had been conducted under the watchful eyes of a medic, a psychiatrist, and lawyers, to make sure that no harm was done. Kahtani provided detailed information on his meetings with Usama bin Ladin, on Jose Padilla and Richard Reid, and on Adnan El Shukrijumah, one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, believed to be wandering between South and North America.

Since then, according to Pentagon officials, none of the non-traditional techniques approved for Kahtani has been used on anyone else at Guantánamo Bay.

The final strand in the “torture narrative” is the least grounded in actual practice, but it has had the most distorting effect on the public debate. In the summer of 2002, the CIA sought legal advice about permissible interrogation techniques for the recently apprehended Abu Zubaydah, Usama bin Ladin’s chief recruiter in the 1990s. The Palestinian Zubaydah had already been sentenced to death in absentia in Jordan for an abortive plot to bomb hotels there during the millennium celebration; he had arranged to obliterate the Los Angeles airport on the same night. The CIA wanted to use techniques on Zubaydah that the military uses on marines and other elite fighters in Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape (SERE) school, which teaches how to withstand torture and other pressures to collaborate. The techniques are classified, but none allegedly involves physical contact. (Later, the CIA is said to have used “water-boarding”—temporarily submerging a detainee in water to induce the sensation of drowning—on Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Water-boarding is the most extreme method the CIA has applied, according to a former Justice Department attorney, and arguably it crosses the line into torture.)

In response to the CIA’s request, Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee produced a hair-raising memo that understandably caused widespread alarm. Bybee argued that a U.S. law ratifying the 1984 Convention Against Torture—covering all persons, whether lawful combatants or not—forbade only physical pain equivalent to that “accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death,” or mental pain that resulted in “significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years.” More troubling still, Bybee concluded that the torture statute and international humanitarian treaties did not bind the executive branch in wartime.

This infamous August “torture memo” represents the high (or low) point of the Bush administration’s theory of untrammeled presidential war-making power. But note: it had nothing to do with the interrogation debates and experiments unfolding among Pentagon interrogators in Afghanistan and Cuba. These soldiers struggling with al-Qaida resistance were perfectly ignorant about executive-branch deliberations on the outer boundaries of pain and executive power (which, in any case, were prepared for and seen only by the CIA). “We had no idea what went on in Washington,” said Chris Mackey in an interview. A Guantánamo lawyer involved in the Kahtani interrogation echoes Mackey: “We were not aware of the [Justice Department and White House] debates.” Interrogators in Iraq were equally unaware of the Bybee memo.

Nevertheless, when the Bybee analysis was released in June 2004, it became the capstone on the torture narrative, the most damning link between the president’s decision that the Geneva conventions didn’t apply to terrorists and the sadistic behavior of the military guards at Abu Ghraib. Seymour Hersh, the left-wing journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib story, claims that the Bybee torture memo was the “most suggestive document, in terms of what was really going on inside military prisons and detention centers.”

But not only is the Bybee memo irrelevant to what happened in Abu Ghraib; so, too, are the previous interrogation debates in Afghanistan and Cuba. The abuse at Abu Ghraib resulted from the Pentagon’s failure to plan for any outcome of the Iraq invasion except the most rosy scenario, its failure to respond to the insurgency once it broke out, and its failure to keep military discipline from collapsing in the understaffed Abu Ghraib facility. Interrogation rules were beside the point.

As the avalanche of prisoners taken in the street fighting overwhelmed the inadequate contingent of guards and officers at Abu Ghraib, order within the ranks broke down as thoroughly as order in the operation of the prison itself. Soldiers talked back to their superiors, refused to wear uniforms, operated prostitution and bootlegging rings, engaged in rampant and public sexual misbehavior, covered the facilities with graffiti, and indulged in drinking binges while on duty. No one knew who was in command. The guards’ sadistic and sexualized treatment of prisoners was just an extension of the chaos they were already wallowing in with no restraint from above. Meanwhile, prisoners regularly rioted; insurgents shelled the compound almost daily; the army sent only rotten, bug-infested rations; and the Iraqi guards sold favors to the highest bidders among the insurgents.

The idea that the abuse of the Iraqi detainees resulted from the president’s decision on the applicability of the Geneva conventions to al-Qaida and Taliban detainees is absurd on several grounds. Everyone in the military chain of command emphasized repeatedly that the Iraq conflict would be governed by the conventions in their entirety. The interrogation rules that local officers developed for Iraq explicitly stated that they were promulgated under Geneva authority, and that the conventions applied. Moreover, almost all the behavior shown in the photographs occurred in the dead of night among military police, wholly separate from interrogations. Most abuse victims were not even scheduled to be interrogated, because they were of no intelligence value. Finally, except for the presence of dogs, none of the behavior shown in the photos was included in the interrogation rules promulgated in Iraq. Mandated masturbation, dog leashes, assault, and stacking naked prisoners in pyramids—none of these depredations was an approved (or even contemplated) interrogation practice, and no interrogator ordered the military guards to engage in them.

It is the case that intelligence officers in Iraq and Afghanistan were making use of nudity and phobias about dogs at the time. Nudity was not officially sanctioned, and the official rule about dogs only allowed their “presence” in the interrogation booth, not their being sicced on naked detainees. The argument that such techniques contributed to a dehumanization of the detainees, which in turn led to their abuse, is not wholly implausible. Whether or not those two particular stressors are worth defending (and many interrogators say they are not), their abuse should not discredit the validity of other stress techniques that the military was cautiously experimenting with in the months before Abu Ghraib.

That experiment is over. Reeling under the PR disaster of Abu Ghraib, the Pentagon shut down every stress technique but one—isolation—and that can be used only after extensive review. An interrogator who so much as requests permission to question a detainee into the night could be putting his career in jeopardy. Even the traditional army psychological approaches have fallen under a deep cloud of suspicion: deflating a detainee’s ego, aggressive but non-physical histrionics, and good cop–bad cop have been banished along with sleep deprivation.

Timidity among officers prevents the energetic application of those techniques that remain. Interrogation plans have to be triple-checked all the way up through the Pentagon by officers who have never conducted an interrogation in their lives.

In losing these techniques, interrogators have lost the ability to create the uncertainty vital to getting terrorist information. Since the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, the military has made public nearly every record of its internal interrogation debates, providing al-Qaida analysts with an encyclopedia of U.S. methods and constraints. Those constraints make perfectly clear that the interrogator is not in control. “In reassuring the world about our limits, we have destroyed our biggest asset: detainee doubt,” a senior Pentagon intelligence official laments.

Soldiers on the ground are noticing the consequences. “The Iraqis already know the game. They know how to play us,” a marine chief warrant officer told the Wall Street Journal in August. “Unless you catch the Iraqis in the act, it is very hard to pin anything on anyone . . . . We can’t even use basic police interrogation tactics.”

And now the rights advocates, energized by the Abu Ghraib debacle, are making one final push to halt interrogation altogether. In the New York Times’s words, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is now condemning the thoroughly emasculated interrogation process at Guantánamo Bay as a “system devised to break the will of the prisoners [and] make them wholly dependent on their interrogators.” In other words, the ICRC opposes traditional interrogation itself, since all interrogation is designed to “break the will of prisoners” and make them feel “dependent on their interrogators.” But according to an ICRC report leaked to the Times, “the construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture.”

But contrary to the fantasies of the international-law and human rights lobbies, a world in which all interrogation is illegal and rights are indiscriminately doled out is not a safer or more just world. Were the United States to announce that terrorists would be protected under the Geneva conventions, it would destroy any incentive our ruthless enemies have to comply with the laws of war. The Washington Post and the New York Times understood that truth in 1987, when they supported President Ronald Reagan’s rejection of an amendment to the Geneva conventions that would have granted lawful-combatant status to terrorists. Today, however, those same opinion makers have done an about-face, though the most striking feature of their denunciations of the Bush administration’s Geneva decisions is their failure to offer any explanation for how al-Qaida could possibly be covered under the plain meaning of the text.

The Pentagon is revising the rules for interrogation. If we hope to succeed in the war on terror, the final product must allow interrogators to use stress techniques against unlawful combatants. Chris Mackey testifies to how “ineffective schoolhouse methods were in getting prisoners to talk.” He warns that his team “failed to break prisoners who I have no doubt knew of terrorist plots or at least terrorist cells that may one day do us harm. Perhaps they would have talked if faced with harsher methods.”

The stress techniques that the military has used to date are not torture; the advocates can only be posturing in calling them such. On its website, Human Rights Watch lists the effects of real torture: “from pain and swelling to broken bones, irreparable neurological damage, and chronic painful musculoskeletal problems . . . [to] long-term depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, marked sleep disturbances and alterations in self-perceptions, not to mention feelings of powerlessness, of fear, guilt and shame.” Though none of the techniques that Pentagon interrogators have employed against al-Qaida comes anywhere close to risking such effects, Human Rights Watch nevertheless follows up its list with an accusation of torture against the Bush administration.

The pressure on the Pentagon to outlaw stress techniques won’t abate, as the American Civil Liberties Union continues to release formerly classified government documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit concerning detention and interrogation. As of late December, the memos have merely confirmed that the FBI opposes stress methods, though the press breathlessly portrays them as confirming “torture.”

Human Rights Watch, the ICRC, Amnesty International, and the other self-professed guardians of humanitarianism need to come back to earth—to the real world in which torture means what the Nazis and the Japanese did in their concentration and POW camps in World War II; the world in which evil regimes, like those we fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, don’t follow the Miranda rules or the Convention Against Torture but instead gas children, bury people alive, set wild animals on soccer players who lose, and hang adulterous women by truckloads before stadiums full of spectators; the world in which barbarous death cults behead female aid workers, bomb crowded railway stations, and fly planes filled with hundreds of innocent passengers into buildings filled with thousands of innocent and unsuspecting civilians. By definition, our terrorist enemies and their state supporters have declared themselves enemies of the civilized order and its humanitarian rules. In fighting them, we must of course hold ourselves to our own high moral standards without, however, succumbing to the utopian illusion that we can prevail while immaculately observing every precept of the Sermon on the Mount. It is the necessity of this fallen world that we must oppose evil with force; and we must use all the lawful means necessary to ensure that good, rather than evil, triumphs.
11318  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:32:08 AM
The soldiers used stress techniques to reinforce the traditional psychological approaches. Jeff (a pseudonym), an interrogator in Afghanistan, had been assigned a cocky English Muslim, who justified the 9/11 attacks because women had been working in the World Trade Center. The British citizen deflected all further questioning. Jeff questioned him for a day and a half, without letting him sleep and playing on his religious loyalties. “I broke him on his belief in Islam,” Jeff recounts. “He realized he had messed up, because his Muslim brothers and sisters were also in the building.” The Brit broke down and cried, then disclosed the mission that al-Qaida had put him on before capture. But once the prisoner was allowed to sleep for six hours, he again “clammed up.”

Halfway across the globe, an identical debate had broken out, among interrogators who were encountering the same obstacles as the Afghanistan intelligence team. The U.S. base at Guantánamo was supposed to be getting the Afghanistan war’s worst of the worst: the al-Qaida Arabs and their high Taliban allies.

Usama bin Ladin’s driver and bodyguard were there, along with explosives experts, al-Qaida financiers and recruiters, would-be suicide recruits, and the architects of numerous attacks on civilian targets. They knew about al-Qaida’s leadership structure, its communication methods, and its plans to attack the U.S. And they weren’t talking. “They’d laugh at you; ‘You’ve asked me this before,’ they’d say contemptuously,” reports Major General Michael Dunlavey, a former Guantánamo commanding officer. “Their resistance was tenacious. They’d already had 90 days in Afghanistan to get their cover stories together and to plan with their compatriots.”

Even more than Afghanistan, Guantánamo dissipated any uncertainty the detainees might have had about the consequences of noncooperation. Consistent with the president’s call for humane treatment, prisoners received expert medical care, three culturally appropriate meals each day, and daily opportunities for prayer, showers, and exercise. They had mail privileges and reading materials. Their biggest annoyance was boredom, recalls one interrogator. Many prisoners disliked the move from Camp X-Ray, the first facility used at the base, to the more commodious Camp Delta, because it curtailed their opportunities for homosexual sex, says an intelligence analyst. The captives protested every perceived infringement of their rights but, as in Afghanistan, ignored any reciprocal obligation. They hurled excrement and urine at guards, used their blankets as garrotes, and created additional weapons out of anything they could get their hands on—including a sink wrenched off a wall. Guards who responded to the attacks—with pepper spray or a water hose, say—got punished and, in one case, court-martialed.

Gitmo personnel disagreed sharply over what tools interrogators could legally use. The FBI took the most conservative position. When a bureau agent questioning Mohamedou Ould Slahi—a Mauritanian al-Qaida operative who had recruited two of the 9/11 pilots—was getting nothing of value, an army interrogator suggested, “Why don’t you mention to him that conspiracy is a capital offense?” “That would be a violation of the Convention Against Torture,” shot back the agent—on the theory that any covert threat inflicts “severe mental pain.” Never mind that district attorneys and police detectives routinely invoke the possibility of harsh criminal penalties to get criminals to confess. Federal prosecutors in New York have even been known to remind suspects that they are more likely to keep their teeth and not end up as sex slaves by pleading to a federal offense, thus avoiding New York City’s Rikers Island jail. Using such a method against an al-Qaida jihadist, by contrast, would be branded a serious humanitarian breach.

Top military commanders often matched the FBI’s restraint, however. “It was ridiculous the things we couldn’t do,” recalls an army interrogator. “One guy said he would talk if he could see the ocean. It wasn’t approved, because it would be a change of scenery”—a privilege that discriminated in favor of a cooperating detainee, as opposed to being available to all, regardless of their behavior.

Frustration with prisoner stonewalling reached a head with Mohamed al-Kahtani, a Saudi who had been fighting with Usama bin Ladin’s bodyguards in Afghanistan in December 2001. By July 2002, analysts had figured out that Kahtani was the missing 20th hijacker. He had flown into Orlando International Airport from Dubai on August 4, 2001, but a sharp-eyed customs agent had denied him entry. Waiting for him at the other side of the gate was Mohamed Atta.

Kahtani’s resistance strategies were flawless. Around the first anniversary of 9/11, urgency to get information on al-Qaida grew. Finally, army officials at Guantánamo prepared a legal analysis of their interrogation options and requested permission from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to use various stress techniques on Kahtani. Their memo, sent up the bureaucratic chain on October 11, 2002, triggered a fierce six-month struggle in Washington among military lawyers, administration officials, and Pentagon chiefs about interrogation in the war on terror.

To read the techniques requested is to understand how restrained the military has been in its approach to terror detainees—and how utterly false the torture narrative has been. Here’s what the interrogators assumed they could not do without clearance from the secretary of defense: yell at detainees (though never in their ears), use deception (such as posing as Saudi intelligence agents), and put detainees on MREs (meals ready to eat—vacuum-sealed food pouches eaten by millions of soldiers, as well as vacationing backpackers) instead of hot rations. The interrogators promised that this dangerous dietary measure would be used only in extremis, pending local approval and special training.

The most controversial technique approved was “mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger, and light pushing,” to be reserved only for a “very small percentage of the most uncooperative detainees” believed to possess critical intelligence. A detainee could be poked only after review by Gitmo’s commanding general of intelligence and the commander of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, and only pursuant to “careful coordination” and monitoring.

None of this remotely approaches torture or cruel or degrading treatment. Nevertheless, fanatically cautious Pentagon lawyers revolted, claiming that the methods approved for Kahtani violated international law. Uncharacteristically irresolute, Rumsfeld rescinded the Guantánamo techniques in January 2003.

Kahtani’s interrogation hung fire for three months, while a Washington committee, with representatives from the undersecretary of defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the air force, army, navy, and marine corps, and attorneys from every branch of the military, considered how to approach the 20th hijacker.

The outcome of this massive deliberation was more restrictive than the Geneva conventions themselves, even though they were to apply only to unlawful combatants, not conventional prisoners of war, and only to those held at Guantánamo Bay. It is worth scrutinizing the final 24 techniques Rumsfeld approved for terrorists at Gitmo in April 2003, since these are the techniques that the media presents as the source of “torture” at Abu Ghraib. The torture narrative holds that illegal methods used at Guantánamo migrated to Iraq and resulted in the abuse of prisoners there.

So what were these cruel and degrading practices? For one, providing a detainee an incentive for cooperation—such as a cigarette or, especially favored in Cuba, a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich or a Twinkie unless specifically approved by the secretary of defense. In other words, if an interrogator had learned that Usama bin Ladin’s accountant loved Cadbury chocolate, and intended to enter the interrogation booth armed with a Dairy Milk Wafer to extract the name of a Saudi financier, he needed to “specifically determine that military necessity requires” the use of the Dairy Milk Wafer and send an alert to Secretary Rumsfeld that chocolate was to be deployed against an al-Qaida operative.

Similar restrictions—a specific finding of military necessity and notice to Rumsfeld—applied to other tried-and-true army psychological techniques. These included “Pride and Ego Down”—attacking a detainee’s pride to goad him into revealing critical information—as well as “Mutt and Jeff,” the classic good cop–bad cop routine of countless police shows. Isolating a detainee from other prisoners to prevent collaboration and to increase his need to talk required not just notice and a finding of military necessity but “detailed implementation instructions [and] medical and psychological review.”

The only non-conventional “stress” techniques on the final Guantánamo list are such innocuous interventions as adjusting the temperature or introducing an unpleasant smell into the interrogation room, but only if the interrogator is present at all times; reversing a detainee’s sleep cycles from night to day (call this the “Flying to Hong Kong” approach); and convincing a detainee that his interrogator is not from the U.S.

Note that none of the treatments shown in the Abu Ghraib photos, such as nudity or the use of dogs, was included in the techniques certified for the unlawful combatants held in Cuba. And those mild techniques that were certified could only be used with extensive bureaucratic oversight and medical monitoring to ensure “humane,” “safe,” and “lawful” application.
11319  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:30:04 AM
http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_1_terrorists.html

How to Interrogate Terrorists
Don't believe the charges. American troops treat terrorists with Geneva-convention politeness—perhaps too much so.
Heather Mac Donald
Winter 2005
It didn’t take long for interrogators in the war on terror to realize that their part was not going according to script. Pentagon doctrine, honed over decades of cold-war planning, held that 95 percent of prisoners would break upon straightforward questioning. Interrogators in Afghanistan, and later in Cuba and Iraq, found just the opposite: virtually none of the terror detainees was giving up information—not in response to direct questioning, and not in response to army-approved psychological gambits for prisoners of war.

Debate erupted in detention centers across the globe about how to get detainees to talk. Were “stress techniques”—such as isolation or sleep deprivation to decrease a detainee’s resistance to questioning—acceptable? Before the discussion concluded, however, the photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison appeared. Though they showed the sadism of a prison out of control, they showed nothing about interrogation.

Nevertheless, Bush-administration critics seized on the scandal as proof that prisoner “torture” had become routine. A master narrative—call it the “torture narrative”—sprang up: the government’s 2002 decision to deny Geneva-convention status to al-Qaida fighters, it held, “led directly to the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq,” to quote the Washington Post. In particular, torturous interrogation methods, developed at Guantánamo Bay and Afghanistan in illegal disregard of Geneva protections, migrated to Abu Ghraib and were manifest in the abuse photos.

This story’s success depends on the reader’s remaining ignorant of the actual interrogation techniques promulgated in the war on terror. Not only were they light years from real torture and hedged around with bureaucratic safeguards, but they had nothing to do with the Abu Ghraib anarchy. Moreover, the decision on the Geneva conventions was irrelevant to interrogation practices in Iraq.

No matter. The Pentagon’s reaction to the scandal was swift and sweeping. It stripped interrogators not just of stress options but of traditional techniques long regarded as uncontroversial as well. Red tape now entangles the interrogation process, and detainees know that their adversaries’ hands are tied.

The need for rethinking interrogation doctrine in the war on terror will not go away, however. The Islamist enemy is unlike any the military has encountered in the past. If current wisdom on the rules of war prohibits making any distinction between a terrorist and a lawful combatant, then that orthodoxy needs to change.

The interrogation debate first broke out on the frigid plains of Afghanistan. Marines and other special forces would dump planeloads of al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners into a ramshackle detention facility outside the Kandahar airport; waiting interrogators were then supposed to extract information to be fed immediately back into the battlefield—whether a particular mountain pass was booby-trapped, say, or where an arms cache lay. That “tactical” debriefing accomplished, the Kandahar interrogation crew would determine which prisoners were significant enough to be shipped on to the Guantánamo naval base in Cuba for high-level interrogation.

Army doctrine gives interrogators 16 “approaches” to induce prisoners of war to divulge critical information. Sporting names like “Pride and Ego Down” and “Fear Up Harsh,” these approaches aim to exploit a detainee’s self-love, allegiance to or resentment of comrades, or sense of futility. Applied in the right combination, they will work on nearly everyone, the intelligence soldiers had learned in their training.

But the Kandahar prisoners were not playing by the army rule book. They divulged nothing. “Prisoners overcame the [traditional] model almost effortlessly,” writes Chris Mackey in The Interrogators, his gripping account of his interrogation service in Afghanistan. The prisoners confounded their captors “not with clever cover stories but with simple refusal to cooperate. They offered lame stories, pretended not to remember even the most basic of details, and then waited for consequences that never really came.”

Some of the al-Qaida fighters had received resistance training, which taught that Americans were strictly limited in how they could question prisoners. Failure to cooperate, the al-Qaida manuals revealed, carried no penalties and certainly no risk of torture—a sign, gloated the manuals, of American weakness.

Even if a prisoner had not previously studied American detention policies before arriving at Kandahar, he soon figured them out. “It became very clear very early on to the detainees that the Americans were just going to have them sit there,” recalls interrogator Joe Martin (a pseudonym). “They realized: ‘The Americans will give us our Holy Book, they’ll draw lines on the floor showing us where to pray, we’ll get three meals a day with fresh fruit, do Jazzercise with the guards, . . . we can wait them out.’ ”

Even more challenging was that these detainees bore little resemblance to traditional prisoners of war. The army’s interrogation manual presumed adversaries who were essentially the mirror image of their captors, motivated by emotions that all soldiers share. A senior intelligence official who debriefed prisoners in the 1989 U.S. operation in Panama contrasts the battlefield then and now: “There were no martyrs down there, believe me,” he chuckles. “The Panamanian forces were more understandable people for us. Interrogation was pretty straightforward: ‘Love of Family’ [an army-manual approach, promising, say, contact with wife or children in exchange for cooperation] or, ‘Here’s how you get out of here as fast as you can.’ ”

“Love of family” often had little purchase among the terrorists, however—as did love of life. “The jihadists would tell you, ‘I’ve divorced this life, I don’t care about my family,’ ” recalls an interrogator at Guantánamo. “You couldn’t shame them.” The fierce hatred that the captives bore their captors heightened their resistance. The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan reported in January 2002 that prisoners in Kandahar would “shout epithets at their captors, including threats against the female relatives of the soldiers guarding them, knee marines in the groin, and say that they will escape and kill ‘more Americans and Jews.’ ” Such animosity continued in Guantánamo.

Battlefield commanders in Afghanistan and intelligence officials in Washington kept pressing for information, however. The frustrated interrogators constantly discussed how to get it. The best hope, they agreed, was to re-create the “shock of capture”—that vulnerable mental state when a prisoner is most frightened, most uncertain, and most likely to respond to questioning. Uncertainty is an interrogator’s most powerful ally; exploited wisely, it can lead the detainee to believe that the interrogator is in total control and holds the key to his future. The Kandahar detainees, however, learned almost immediately what their future held, no matter how egregious their behavior: nothing untoward.

Many of the interrogators argued for a calibrated use of “stress techniques”—long interrogations that would cut into the detainees’ sleep schedules, for example, or making a prisoner kneel or stand, or aggressive questioning that would put a detainee on edge.

Joe Martin—a crack interrogator who discovered that a top al-Qaida leader, whom Pakistan claimed to have in custody, was still at large and directing the Afghani resistance—explains the psychological effect of stress: “Let’s say a detainee comes into the interrogation booth and he’s had resistance training. He knows that I’m completely handcuffed and that I can’t do anything to him. If I throw a temper tantrum, lift him onto his knees, and walk out, you can feel his uncertainty level rise dramatically. He’s been told: ‘They won’t physically touch you,’ and now you have. The point is not to beat him up but to introduce the reality into his mind that he doesn’t know where your limit is.” Grabbing someone by the top of the collar has had a more profound effect on the outcome of questioning than any actual torture could have, Martin maintains. “The guy knows: You just broke your own rules, and that’s scary. He might demand to talk to my supervisor. I’ll respond: ‘There are no supervisors here,’ and give him a maniacal smile.”

The question was: Was such treatment consistent with the Geneva conventions?

President Bush had declared in February 2002 that al-Qaida members fell wholly outside the conventions and that Taliban prisoners would not receive prisoner-of-war status—without which they, too, would not be covered by the Geneva rules. Bush ordered, however, that detainees be treated humanely and in accordance with Geneva principles, to the extent consistent with military necessity. This second pronouncement sank in: all of the war on terror’s detention facilities chose to operate under Geneva rules. Contrary to the fulminations of rights advocates and the press, writes Chris Mackey, “Every signal we interrogators got from above from the colonels at [the Combined Forces Land Component Command] in Kuwait to the officers at Central Command back in Tampa—had been . . . to observe the Conventions, respect prisoners’ rights, and never cut corners.”

What emerged was a hybrid and fluid set of detention practices. As interrogators tried to overcome the prisoners’ resistance, their reference point remained Geneva and other humanitarian treaties. But the interrogators pushed into the outer limits of what they thought the law allowed, undoubtedly recognizing that the prisoners in their control violated everything the pacts stood for.

The Geneva conventions embody the idea that even in as brutal an activity as war, civilized nations could obey humanitarian rules: no attacking civilians and no retaliation against enemy soldiers once they fall into your hands. Destruction would be limited as much as possible to professional soldiers on the battlefield. That rule required, unconditionally, that soldiers distinguish themselves from civilians by wearing uniforms and carrying arms openly.

Obedience to Geneva rules rests on another bedrock moral principle: reciprocity. Nations will treat an enemy’s soldiers humanely because they want and expect their adversaries to do the same. Terrorists flout every civilized norm animating the conventions. Their whole purpose is to kill noncombatants, to blend into civilian populations, and to conceal their weapons. They pay no heed whatever to the golden rule; anyone who falls into their hands will most certainly not enjoy commissary privileges and wages, per the Geneva mandates. He—or she—may even lose his head.

Even so, terror interrogators tried to follow the spirit of the Geneva code for conventional, uniformed prisoners of war. That meant, as the code puts it, that the detainees could not be tortured or subjected to “any form of coercion” in order to secure information. They were to be “humanely” treated, protected against “unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind,” and were entitled to “respect for their persons and their honour.”

The Kandahar interrogators reached the following rule of thumb, reports Mackey: if a type of behavior toward a prisoner was no worse than the way the army treated its own members, it could not be considered torture or a violation of the conventions. Thus, questioning a detainee past his bedtime was lawful as long as his interrogator stayed up with him. If the interrogator was missing exactly the same amount of sleep as the detainee—and no tag-teaming of interrogators would be allowed, the soldiers decided—then sleep deprivation could not be deemed torture. In fact, interrogators were routinely sleep-deprived, catnapping maybe one or two hours a night, even as the detainees were getting long beauty sleeps. Likewise, if a boot-camp drill sergeant can make a recruit kneel with his arms stretched out in front without violating the Convention Against Torture, an interrogator can use that tool against a recalcitrant terror suspect.

Did the stress techniques work? Yes. “The harsher methods we used . . . the better information we got and the sooner we got it,” writes Mackey, who emphasizes that the methods never contravened the conventions or crossed over into torture.

Stress broke a young bomb maker, for instance. Six months into the war, special forces brought a young Afghan to the Kandahar facility, the likely accomplice of a Taliban explosives expert who had been blowing up aid workers. Joe Martin got the assignment.

“Who’s your friend the Americans are looking for?” the interrogation began.

“I don’t know.”

“You think this is a joke? What do you think I’ll do?”

“Torture me.”

So now I understand his fear, Martin recollects.

The interrogation continued: “You’ll stand here until you tell me your friend.”

“No, sir, he’s not my friend.”

Martin picked up a book and started reading. Several hours later, the young Taliban was losing his balance and was clearly terrified. Moreover, he’s got two “big hillbilly guards staring at him who want to kill him,” the interrogator recalls.

“You think THIS is bad?!” the questioning starts up again.

“No, sir.”

The prisoner starts to fall; the guards stand him back up. If he falls again, and can’t get back up, Martin can do nothing further. “I have no rack,” he says matter-of-factly. The interrogator’s power is an illusion; if a detainee refuses to obey a stress order, an American interrogator has no recourse.

Martin risks a final display of his imaginary authority. “I get in his face, ‘What do you think I will do next?’ ” he barks. In the captive’s mind, days have passed, and he has no idea what awaits him. He discloses where he planted bombs on a road and where to find his associate. “The price?” Martin asks. “I made a man stand up. Is this unlawful coercion?”

Under a strict reading of the Geneva protections for prisoners of war, probably: the army forbids interrogators from even touching lawful combatants. But there is a huge gray area between the gold standard of POW treatment reserved for honorable opponents and torture, which consists of the intentional infliction of severe physical and mental pain. None of the stress techniques that the military has used in the war on terror comes remotely close to torture, despite the hysterical charges of administration critics. (The CIA’s behavior remains a black box.) To declare non-torturous stress off-limits for an enemy who plays by no rules and accords no respect to Western prisoners is folly.
11320  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:24:36 AM
http://www.defenselink.mil/utility/printitem.aspx?print=http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=16270

Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2005 – If you're a Muslim extremist captured while fighting your holy war against "infidels," avoid revealing information at all costs, don't give your real name and claim that you were mistreated or tortured during your detention.
This instruction comes straight from the pages of an official al Qaeda training manual, and officials at the detention facility at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say they see clear evidence that detainees are well-versed in its contents.

Police in Manchester, England, discovered the manual, which has come to be known as the "Manchester document," in 2000 while searching computer files found in the home of a known al Qaeda member. The contents were introduced as evidence into the 2001 trial of terrorists who bombed the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

The FBI translated the document into English, and it is posted on the Justice Department's Web site.

The 18-chapter manual provides a detailed window into al Qaeda's network and its procedures for waging jihad - from conducting surveillance operations to carrying out assassinations to working with forged documents.

The closing chapter teaches al Qaeda operatives how to operate in a prison or detention center. It directs detainees to "insist on proving that torture was inflicted" and to "complain of mistreatment while in prison."

Chapter 17 instructs them to "be careful not to give the enemy any vital information" during interrogations.

Another section of the manual directs commanders to teach their operatives what to say if they're captured, and to explain it "more than once to ensure that they have assimilated it." To reinforce the message, it tells commanders to have operatives "explain it back to the commander."

And at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, detainees take this instruction to heart. Many of the more than 500 detainees are "uncooperative" in providing intelligence, Army Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, told military analysts who traveled to the facility June 24 and reiterated today during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee.

Some detainees have never uttered a single word during more than three years of interrogation. Others give false names or refuse to offer their real names.

This can prove challenging for interrogators at the facility, because many detainees "follow the al Qaeda SOP (standard operating procedures) to the T," according to Army Col. John Hadjis, chief of staff for Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

Officials say they see evidence of the al Qaeda-directed misinformation campaign in allegations of detainee abuse and mishandling of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld expressed frustration over this effort during a June 21 interview on the "Tony Snow Show."

"These detainees are trained to lie, they're trained to say they were tortured, and the minute we release them or the minute they get a lawyer, very frequently they'll go out and they will announce that they've been tortured," Rumsfeld said.

The media jumps on these claims, reporting them as "another example of torture," the secretary said, "when in fact, (terrorists have) been trained to do that, and their training manual says so."

During a February 2004 Pentagon news conference, a DoD official said new information provided by detainees during questioning is analyzed to determine its reliability.

"Unfortunately, many detainees are deceptive and prefer to conceal their identifies and their actions," said Paul Butler, principal deputy assistant secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict.

Butler said the Manchester document includes "a large section which teaches al Qaeda operatives counterinterrogation techniques: how to lie, how to minimize your role."

The document, he said, has surfaced in various locations, including Afghanistan.

The manual's preface offers a chilling reminder of the mentality that drives al Qaeda disciples and the lengths they will go to for their cause.

"The confrontation that we are calling for ... does not know Socratic debates, ... Platonic ideals ... nor Aristotelian diplomacy," its opening pages read. "But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine gun."

Related Sites:
Joint Task Force Guantanamo
The Manchester Document
11321  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:02:35 AM
Waterboarding isn't torture, though torturing al qaeda is just fine with me.

Does that mean you won't mind if somebody kidnaps and waterboards you or a member of your family?

**Please explain the context of your question. Were a family member of mine captured in say, Afghanistan i'd say waterboard away.**

Do you see any obligation to prove that somebody actually is a member of AQ before torturing them?

**What standard of proof do you think the OGA used? What standard do you suggest be used? Let me guess, every "suspected terrorist" captured by the US military get a luxury suite and a team of attorneys, along with a PR flack and a cosmetologist to trim and color his beard.** rolleyes
11322  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 15, 2007, 02:53:17 AM
Not being a white house insider, I don't know if it was always the plan, but I assume so. If you've read George Friedman's "America's Secret War" he asserts that one motivation for moving against Iraq was to pressure the Saudis without direct engagement. As the Saudis are still funding the global jihad as they were prior to 2003, it's obviously not successful, though threatening Iran potentially would be more effective with American forces on two of it's borders.

As usual, this administration couldn't articulate it's self out of a paper bag and is utterly tone deaf to public opinion.
11323  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 15, 2007, 02:35:13 AM
Unlike the Spanish population, the American public would react to the "Next 9/11" by electing a President willing to fight, which of course wouldn't be a democrat these days. It's in Al Qaeda's best interest to get a dem in office who'll attempt to appease them, withdraw from Iraq and allow them the opportunity to recover from the current offensive against them.
11324  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 02:27:20 AM
Carried over from the "Why we fight" thread.

Quote
Way to misrepresent my position there, snookums.  I consider a US "victory" to be the worst possible outcome because the war itself is a criminal enterprise which, whether you agree with it or not, is a defensible position.  There's a big difference between that and and simply hating America (or some such juvenile  BS), which you imply.

**It is a defensible position, for an enemy of America.

It's unfortunate that you see it this way.  I guess if "America" is basically a thug with the right to do whatever the hell it wants because it's got the muscle, then yes, I'm an enemy.

**Just like it thuggishly threw it's weight around in asia and europe in the 40's? Flexing it's muscles to end the 3rd. Reich....and it was Japan that bombed Pearl Harbor right? "FDR lied, Nazis died".**

Quote
I believe i've asked you in the past and you couldn't answer what law you allege has been violated.

I'm not a lawyer, but as I understand it, international law is very clear about "aggressive war" (attacking a sovereign nation that hasn't attacked you) being a big no-no.  We either accept the authority of international law or we don't, but I don't see it as even debatable that we violated it.

**As usual, your bumper sticker grasp of geopolitics doesn't begin to approach reality. The Gulf War was ended by a cease fire agreement which Saddam violated flagrantly. President Clinton was also faced with Saddam's violations and mostly resorted to letters and sticking to economic sanctions that only starved Iraqi children while the Saddam palace construction initiative surged forward aside from the token and ineffectual military strikes he did. Was President Clinton violating international law when he launched "Operation Desert Fox"?

Saddam was killing Kurds, Shiites and anyone he suspected of disloyalty. Read one of Clinton's letters here: http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/offdocs/w960708.htm

Read this article from 7/2000.  http://www.meib.org/articles/0007_me1.htm

Post 9/11, President Bush had the following options:

1. Keep the toothless sanctions in place while Saddam funded terrorists and potentially developed WMD that could be passed on to terrorists.

2. Drop the toothless sanctions and ignore the above listed potential threats. Cross his fingers and hope the next attack on an American city wasn't with something made in Iraq.

3. Risk his easy re-election, go before congress and get the authorization to remove Saddam, which he did. Here is PUBLIC LAW 107–243.
http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hjres114.pdf



Quote
So what exactly do you do?

**I'm a cop.**

I have to admit that I often get a little nervous around cops (especially if they're pulling up behind me), but with very few exceptions the cops I've actually spoken with were perfectly nice guys just trying to do their jobs like professionals.

I get the feeling that your image of "the left" is some absurd caricature. 

**Aside from reading leading left blogs and periodicals (I was reading "Mother Jones" back in the 80's, when I was young and gullible actually believed that garbage) and my time brushing up against academia (I'll someday post my paper "The American Male, Threat or Menace?" written for the professor that announced she was a lesbian-feminist and taught the Dworkin "rape-culture" theory in my class on sex crimes) I had an ex-girlfriend who was a model for current academic thought. She's teaching at a ivy league school the last I heard from her. So I know today's left very well from firsthand experience, not distant stereotypes.**

 I live in Oakland, CA, and there are plenty of hippie types (mostly in Berkeley) that annoy the living *&@% out of me.  But most of the people around here who would probably identify as "the left" are just decent, hard working people who want see America work harder towards making it's people's lives better, and they'd rather see the troops back here living their lives than off fighting a senseless war.  It's pretty tough to argue that these are bad things to want.

**The Kurds' lives are much, much better since Saddam's rule ended. Many other Iraqis are doing much better. Once upon a time, the American left was supposed to be about freeing the oppressed, which is what we did in Iraq. Why now does the left love and supprt monsters like Saddam today?**
11325  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 15, 2007, 12:45:03 AM
I'm thinking the next big attack CONUS will be after the 2008 elections but before the next president is sworn in. It wouldn't surprise me if the deliberately leave a trail for investigators from over the border just so it'll be part of Bush's legacy
11326  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 15, 2007, 12:18:38 AM
I thought it was a good speech, the points are true and I hope we can make Iraq into a semi-fuctional country. The problem is that we have a congressional leadership that wants us to lose for their political gain.
11327  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 14, 2007, 06:00:22 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2007/09/14/breakingmystery-at-goose-creek-update-making-bombs-to-save-a-martyr/

Fireworks!
11328  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 14, 2007, 04:34:49 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZMgIKZUvFQ

The left honors 9/11.
11329  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 14, 2007, 03:44:08 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2007/09/14/all-about-houssein-zorkot-hezbollah-fan-boy/

Med school jihadi.
11330  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 14, 2007, 03:04:27 PM
Waterboarding isn't torture, though torturing al qaeda is just fine with me.
11331  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 14, 2007, 02:58:18 PM
http://www.redstate.com/stories/war/what_if_moveon_org_existed_65_years_ago

They didn't, because treason wasn't cool back then.
11332  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: September 14, 2007, 02:38:22 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/14/holy-land-foundation-prosecutors-savor-rich-creamy-irony/

The HLF trial has exposed CAIR for what it is.
11333  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 13, 2007, 10:57:15 PM
The War on Terror: The German Front   
By Stephen Brown
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, September 13, 2007

Although praise for the United States occurs very seldom in anti-American Western Europe, it was different in Germany last week. Unreported by most media outlets, the largest potential terrorist attack on German soil since the Second World War that saw three men arrested, two of them German converts to Islam, was thwarted with considerable American help.
As it turns out, according to a report in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, CIA officials had been working in close co-operation with German intelligence on this case for months, right up until the arrest of three suspects last week in an inconspicuous village in the state of North Rhineland-Westphalia. A joint team of American and German investigators had already been working in Berlin for some time on “Operation Alberich”, the name of a king in German mythology given to the project. US Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, told Der Spiegel that the cooperation between the two countries’ intelligence services was never closer than during this investigation.

The terrorist cell broken up last week apparently appeared on German intelligence agencies’ radar screens for the first time last fall after a warning from their US counterparts. American authorities alerted the Germans that the Islamic Jihad Union, an extremist, Uzbekistani outfit with ties to al Qaeda and to which these particular terrorists belonged, was setting up a network in their country. It is known that the IJU’s German members arrested last week had trained at terrorist camps in Pakistan in 2006 where they most likely came to the attention of the American security officials stationed there.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America maintains a large, clandestine intelligence-gathering effort that has already resulted in several significant victories, as already reported in FPM (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=2E7A4B89-D83F-4B1C-BA51-78E72EFD3AB6). FBI teams in Pakistan have built up a network of informers, including members of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services, which pass on information for money and, according to one Pakistani writer, even for trips to the United States.

This same writer states that this German cell had probably trained in the camp of al Qaeda commander Abu Hanifah, who trains Turks, Bosnians and Kurds in the lovely Islamist art of blowing up their fellow human beings. Another commander trains Chinese Muslim terrorists and Pakistanis, while still another looks after the homicidal needs of Uzbeks and Tajiks. One of the three suspects arrested last week is a German-Turk, while other Turks are being sought in this case.

It is also now known the cell returned to Germany with a “clear assignment.” Its German leader was even in contact with someone in Pakistan at the end of August who urged the carrying out of his murderous mission within the next fourteen days. And probably due to al-Qaeda’s apparent involvement, Americans were the plot’s main targets and not Germans. Besides American military installations and the Frankfurt airport, the terrorists, in their mindless hatred, were considering attacking discotheques, schools (think of Beslan), bars, or anywhere their sick minds considered there would be American citizens.

According to the Spiegel report, the tracking of the terrorists became an important theme in German-American relations over the past months, most likely because of this Islamist targeting of Americans and their desire to “kill as many people as possible” with bombs a hundred times more powerful than the backpack explosives used in the 2005 London transit bombings. Operation Alberich was considered so important that it was one of the topics of conversation between President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, last June. President Bush was also immediately informed of last week’s terrorist arrests.

The only unfortunate part of the whole affair is that only three of the 49 Islamists that German Federal Intelligence Service chief Jorg Ziercke believes are involved in the plot are in custody where they are remaining silent. The German newspaper, Die Welt, reported Ziercke’s statement regarding the plot’s size as well as the fact that the cell consisted of a solid core of ten terrorists, of whom two are still in Germany but cannot yet be arrested due to a lack of evidence.

But perhaps just as alarming as this large number of potential mass murderers still on the loose and dedicated to killing Americans is the fact that seven persons from German Islamist circles have been arrested in Pakistan over the past months and an additional six are known to be currently in that country. And if such is truly the case, then one can probably expect a lot more friendly words to come America’s way from Western Europe yet.

Stephen Brown is a columnist for Frontpagemag.com. Email him at alsolzh@hotmail.com
11334  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 13, 2007, 10:49:10 PM
It's my understanding that Turkey is majority Sunni. Syria's political elites are mostly Alawites, whom most muslims do not recognize as muslim, but Iran's mullahs have, more out of political expediency that theological agreement IMHO.
11335  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 13, 2007, 08:38:19 PM
The bay area remembers 9/11.

http://zombietime.com/9-11_truth_march_power_to_peaceful/

I know, how could I fail to see the patriotic feeling expressed....
11336  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 13, 2007, 07:47:46 PM
The Milt-Rogt axis rooting openly for American defeat

Way to misrepresent my position there, snookums.  I consider a US "victory" to be the worst possible outcome because the war itself is a criminal enterprise which, whether you agree with it or not, is a defensible position.  There's a big difference between that and and simply hating America (or some such juvenile  BS), which you imply.

**It is a defensible position, for an enemy of America. I believe i've asked you in the past and you couldn't answer what law you allege has been violated. As usual, you spew leftist talking points that go unchallenged in your social circle but can't defend them when they are challenged.**

Quote
In my career, I have seen death up close and I have looked human evil in the eye, but for most my experiences are as alien as a science fiction movie. People watch a werewolf movie and it's scary, but they don't expect to be mauled by a werewolf in the theater parking lot, people watch terrorism today in much the same way. It's horrific, but only in a detacted way that couldn't every really affect them.

So what exactly do you do?

**I'm a cop.**

You might consider the possibility that some of the people you're trashing have had pretty harsh life experiences of their own and/or have seen a *lot* of death up close, and that these experiences may have helped shape their political views.  But I suppose it's easier (or more satisfying?) for you to bark and whine about how "the left" is destroying America.  Yawn.


**Oh, please do tell of the traumas America inflicted on you to make hate it so.**
11337  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 13, 2007, 05:49:06 PM
If true, very interesting indeed. Turkey in the past has had a good relationship with Israel, but I figured that as the jihadists gained power this would disappear.
11338  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 13, 2007, 05:33:42 PM
It's multiple factors in my opinion. The cultural damage done by the left since the 1960's has been profound. The constant droning of how bad western civilization in general and the U.S. specifically is begins early on in the indoctrination system of public education. The MSM and hollywood's agenda also shapes the public's consciousness. This combined with the pampered and protected lives most Americans live results in the mess we have today. Look at the examples we have here. The Milt-Rogt axis rooting openly for American defeat and withdrawl and DogBrian wrapping himself in 9/11 Troofer delusion. Why? Because it's much more comfortable to blame everything on America than to face the ugly truth that there are millions and millions of fanatically motivated people who wish to utterly destroy us and everything we believe in. People who celebrate when they find that their child stapped explosives to his body and detonated them in the midst of families in a pizza parlor.

The average American can't easily grasp that and mesh it with "All people are good once you get to know them" and from the left "Only white males can be evil, if someone with melanin does something bad, it's because of something a white guy or corporation owned by a rich white guy did or didn't do".

In my career, I have seen death up close and I have looked human evil in the eye, but for most my experiences are as alien as a science fiction movie. People watch a werewolf movie and it's scary, but they don't expect to be mauled by a werewolf in the theater parking lot, people watch terrorism today in much the same way. It's horrific, but only in a detacted way that couldn't every really affect them.
11339  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 13, 2007, 04:58:02 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/13/audio-why-ron-paul-is-a-crank-episode-314/

US Marines vs. Mall Security in Ron Paul's mind.
11340  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cultural Contradictions of Libertarianism on: September 12, 2007, 10:12:14 PM
The crucial flaw with most libertarians is they fail to graps the importance of the rule of law to balance a free market. It's a matter of finding the right balance between the great good and individualism. Too far in either direction is bad. The is never a power vacuum in human societies. There is always some form of government, formal or informal. More often than not the typical form of gov't is despotic, corrupt and cruel. The solution is not no gov't, but good (limited) gov't.
11341  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 11, 2007, 10:50:37 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/11/photos-truther-rats-infest-ground-zero-on-911/
Scum.
11342  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 11, 2007, 10:37:59 PM
Good razor wire fences, mine fields, Predator drones and Marine fire teams make for good neighbors.
11343  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 11, 2007, 10:35:42 PM
I tend towards libertarianism, but i'm connected to reality, which means i'm not an actual libertarian. Ron Paul is 70% crazy and much of his supporters are close to 100% looney. I'd vote for the Dowager Empress Clinton before i'd vote for Ron Paul and his ilk.
11344  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 11, 2007, 02:02:35 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/11/and-the-beat-goes-on-2/

Manufacturing dissent.
11345  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 11, 2007, 01:45:24 PM
http://www.theneweditor.com/index.php?/archives/816-What-If-The-September-11-Attack-Was-Thwarted.html

What If The September 11 Attack Was Thwarted?
By Tom Elia

(A version of this parody was originally published in the Vallejo (CA) Times-Herald on September 11, 2002)

19 Arrested In 'Terrorist Plot'

New York, September 12 (AP) -- In what it called "an unprecedented operation in the history of the US intelligence community," the FBI today announced that yesterday it had arrested 19 men from the Middle East in New York and Boston in connection with what was called "a terrorist plot to blow up the World Trade Center, the White House, the Capitol, and the Pentagon."

A spokesman for the FBI said that the men, 15 Saudi Arabians and 4 Egyptians, were carrying "box-cutters, flight-manuals, copies of the Koran, and death shrouds" at the time of their arrests and had booked flights bound from New York and Boston to the West Coast intending to hijack the flights and use them to "crash into various federal buildings."

The FBI said that the group comprised part of the al Qaeda terrorist network run by the Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Islamic fundamentalist and Saudi dissident.

In an interview broadcast on CNN, a spokesman for the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington said, "these men were arrested because they are of Middle Eastern descent. It’s an outrage."

When reached for comment, a spokesman for the Arab-American Anti-Defamation Committee called the arrests "an outrageous example of racial profiling."

Ari Fleisher, President Bush’s press secretary, said the White House would make no comment about the arrests until more was known.


Protests Over The 'Arab 19'

New York, September 17 (AP) - In response to the arrests of 19 men of Middle Eastern descent suspected of terrorism on September 11, protests popped up across the nation.

The New York police department estimated that protesters outside of the United Nations numbered in the "low thousands."

"This is yet another example of the injustice of racial profiling in the United States," said Tiffany Suit, a protester and law student from New York University. "And I’m tired of it."

In Washington, DC, hundreds of protesters gathered across from the White House, in Lafayette Park. Some carried signs that read, "Bush is a Fascist," "Free The 'Arab 19,'" and "The United States of Racism."

Speaking at the rally, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) said, "as a woman of color, I am all too familiar with the horrific reality of racial profiling in America. This Administration wants you to believe that just because these men are of Middle Eastern heritage, they are suspects in some diabolical plot. Box cutters? Get serious. What could anyone do with box-cutters - take down a plane? The Republicans are paranoid. Bush has got to go."

In Boston, a crowd estimated around three thousand showed up to listen to a short speech by MIT linguistics professor, Noam Chomsky.

"The US government wants you to believe that because these men were taking classes at flight training schools that they are somehow dangerous and in need of incarceration. They had flight manuals with them? Of course they did. They were student pilots! The United States is a terrorist regime bent on world hegemony."

In Berkeley, California police, donned in riot gear, were pelted with crumpled pages of the US Constitution by students chanting, "shame, shame, shame."

Some in the crowd said they thought that President Bush was to blame.

Student leader Nathan Cabbage, an anti-globalization activist and environmental studies major at the University of California at Berkeley, said, "Bush is the problem. This is what happens to a country that kills innocent animals for food - they become paranoid nuts. Bush stole the election and now he wants to throw all of us in jail because we are different from him and his rich oil buddies. I stand in solidarity with my Arab brothers. So they had copies of the Koran with them. So what? Bush claims to be religious. Should we throw him in jail because he reads the Bible? America is a racist country."


McAuliffe Calls for Investigation

Chicago, September 21 (AP) -- In a speech at a fundraiser, Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called for an investigation into the arrests of the "Arab 19." "It is time to put an end to racial profiling in America… the airlines should apologize to Arab-Americans," he said.


United, American Apologize: To Start Scholarships

Chicago, September 24 (AP) - United Airlines apologized to all Arab-Americans today and offered to fund a scholarship for the training of pilots of Middle Eastern descent. "We want to correct the false impression that we are anti-Arab. We are not," said a spokesman for United Airlines.

In Dallas, American Airlines announced that it would match the United offer "because we care," said a company spokesman.
11346  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 10, 2007, 12:44:24 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2007/09/09/if-we-cant-counter-tb-how-can-we-counter-terrorism/

TB, the dems and political correctness.
11347  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 10, 2007, 12:41:16 PM
I don't know what the reason in Iraq would be, but this administration seems to have a problem with controlling any borders.
11348  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: September 09, 2007, 02:37:39 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/09/video-dobbs-unloads-on-race-baiting-amnesty-shill-over-new-arizona-immigration-law/

Open borders shill gets his clock cleaned by Lou Dobbs.
11349  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 09, 2007, 11:57:03 AM
Sunday, September 9, 2007
No terrorism, just war?

MARK STEYN
Syndicated columnist

Oh, it's a long, long while from September to September. This year, the anniversary falls, for the first time, on a Tuesday morning, and perhaps some or other cable network will re-present the events in real time – the first vague breaking news in an otherwise routine morning show, the follow-up item on the second plane, and the realization that something bigger was under way. If you make it vivid enough, the JFK/Princess Di factor will kick in: you'll remember "where you were" when you "heard the news." But it's harder to recreate the peculiar mood at the end of the day, when the citizens of the superpower went to bed not knowing what they'd wake up to the following morning.
Six years on, most Americans are now pretty certain what they'll wake up to in the morning: There'll be a thwarted terrorist plot somewhere or other – last week, it was Germany. Occasionally, one will succeed somewhere or other, on the far horizon – in Bali, Istanbul, Madrid, London. But not many folks expect to switch on the TV this Tuesday morning, as they did that Tuesday morning, and see smoke billowing from Atlanta or Phoenix or Seattle. During the IRA's 30-year campaign, the British grew accustomed (perhaps too easily accustomed) to waking up to the news either of some prominent person's assassination or that a couple of grandmas and some schoolkids had been blown apart in a shopping center. It was a terrorist war in which terrorism was almost routine. But, in the six years since President Bush declared that America was in a "war on terror," there has been in America no terrorism.
In theory, the administration ought to derive a political benefit from this: The president has "kept America safe." But, in practice, the placidity of the domestic front diminishes the chosen rationale of the conflict: if a "war on terror" has no terror, who says there's a war at all? That's the argument of the left – that it's all a racket cooked up by the Bushitlerburton fascists to impose on America a permanent national-security state in which, for dark sinister reasons of his own, Dick Cheney is free to monitor your out-of-state phone calls all day long.
Judging from the blithe expressions of commuters doing the shoeless shuffle through the security line at LAX and O'Hare, most Americans seem relatively content with a permanent national-security state. It's a curious paradox: airports on permanent Orange Alert, and a citizenry on permanent … well, I'm not sure there's a Homeland Security color code for "Gaily Insouciant," but, if there is, it's probably a bland limpid pastel of some kind. Of course, if tomorrow there's a big smoking hole where the Empire State Building used to be, we'll be back to: "The president should have known! This proves the failure of his policies over the last six years! We need another all-star commission filled with retired grandees!"
And that would be the relatively sane reaction. Have you seen that bumper sticker "9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB"? If you haven't, go to a college town and cruise Main Street for a couple of minutes. It seems odd that a fascist regime that thinks nothing of killing thousands of people in a big landmark building in the center of the city hasn't quietly offed some of these dissident professors – or at least the guy with the sticker-printing contract. Fearlessly, Robert Fisk of Britain's Independent, the alleged dean of Middle East correspondents, has now crossed over to the truther side and written a piece headlined, "Even I Question The 'Truth' About 9/11." According to a poll in May, 35 percent of Democrats believe that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance. Did Rumsfeld also know? Almost certainly. That's why he went to his office as normal that today, because he knew in advance that the plane would slice through the Pentagon but come to a halt on the far side of the photocopier. That's how well-planned it was, unlike Iraq.
Apparently, 39 percent of Democrats still believe Bush didn'tknow in advance – or, at any rate, so they said in May. But I'm confident half of them will have joined Rosie O'Donnell on the melted steely knoll before the Iowa caucuses. If Iraq is another Vietnam, 9/11 is another Kennedy assassination. Were Bali, Madrid and London also inside jobs by the Bush Gang? It's no wonder federal spending's out of control.
And what of those for whom the events of six years ago were more than just conspiracy fodder? Last week the New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who "allowed the events of 9/11 to happen." And they mean everybody – American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms – everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.
According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one's death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they're after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they'll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen.
But that's the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he's retained counsel. Last week, it was Larry Craig. Next week, it'll be the survivors of Ahmadinejad's nuclear test in Westchester County. As Andrew McCarthy pointed out, a legalistic culture invariably misses the forest for the trees. Sen. Craig should know that what matters is not whether an artful lawyer can get him off on a technicality but whether the public thinks he trawls for anonymous sex in public bathrooms. Likewise, those 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child's death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth.
In his pugnacious new book, Norman Podhoretz calls for redesignating this conflict as World War IV. Certainly, it would have been easier politically to frame the Iraq campaign as being a front in a fourth world war than as a necessary measure in an anti-terrorist campaign. Yet who knows? Perhaps we would still have mired ourselves in legalists and conspiracies and the dismal curdled relativism of the Flight 93 memorial's "crescent of embrace." In the end, as Podhoretz says, if the war is to be fought at all, it will "have to be fought by the kind of people Americans now are." On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all.
11350  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 08, 2007, 10:11:46 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triad_society

Not a bad wiki article on triads.

Before our board's "trufers" get too excited about the reference to the Chinese Freemasons and try to find a link to the illuminati and the Bilderbergers, the Chinese Freemasons have no connection to freemasonry, except for the name.

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A KILLING IN CHINATOWN
Allen Leung, a power in the community and named to a city task force by 2 S.F. mayors, was slain 2 months ago -- and no one is talking to police

Jaxon Van Derbeken, Vanessa Hua, Chronicle Staff Writers
Saturday, April 8, 2006
    More...
Allen Leung's life was one of seeming contradictions.

He was known as the "dragon head" -- a leader in the closed, sometimes illicit world of Chinese brotherhoods known as tongs -- but he also played a very public role in San Francisco as a commissioner of the Taiwanese government and a member of a local economic task force.

He once shot and killed an intruder in his home, but he was considered a peacemaker and resolver of disputes within San Francisco's Chinese community.

He had great power and influence among the city's Chinese Americans but at times feared for his life because of an extortion plot.

In February, the 56-year-old native of China was shot to death in his import-export business on Jackson Street. A gunman wearing a mask demanded cash. Leung agreed but was shot anyway as his wife looked on.

Investigators are struggling to unravel Leung's intricate web of relationships, a life that spanned boundaries of East and West, legal and illicit, public and private. They say they have come up against a wall of silence, even from Leung's closest associates.

"There are people out there," homicide Inspector Dennis Maffei said, "who know a lot more than they're saying."

Allen Ngai Leung, like many immigrants before him, joined tongs to help him make his way in Chinatown.
The youngest of five children, born in southern China, Leung was raised by his sisters after the Communists jailed his mother and forced his father to flee to Hong Kong. Leung went to Hong Kong as a teen and came to the Bay Area in 1971 when he was 20.

Leung honed his English and attended San Francisco State University, where he studied business and philosophy and met his future wife, Jenny. After graduating, he earned a real estate license and became a bilingual counselor at John O'Connell High School.

He helped establish the White Crane martial arts studio with his two brothers, and in 1979 he founded Wonkow International Enterprises Inc., a travel agency on Jackson Street that later became an import-export company.

During these years, he joined the Hop Sing tong and the Chinese Freemasons, two influential brotherhoods in Chinatown.

The tongs grew out of secret societies founded by revolutionaries in 17th century imperial China. In America, they started during California's Gold Rush, helping immigrants endure the hardships of discrimination, and eventually spread to other parts of the country.

Some began offering "protection" to defend interests in gambling, drugs and prostitution. Today, federal authorities still label several tongs, including Hop Sing, as "criminally influenced," meaning some members might engage in illegal activity.

"With any organization, you have a certain percentage of people who may go sideways on you and become organized into criminal activity," said Nelson Lowe, a senior FBI agent and expert in Asian organized crime.

"Although they are associated with a tong, they are not representative of what a tong stands for."

By the 1970s, most San Francisco tongs had become social clubs for aging immigrants. But Hop Sing was torn by violence as younger members struggled for power with older leaders.

One of the upstarts was shot to death on a Chinatown street in August 1973. Four years later, three teenage gunmen opened fire inside the Golden Dragon restaurant, which is in a Hop Sing-owned building. Five patrons were killed and 11 wounded; the apparent target, a Hop Sing enforcer, was unharmed.

Leung's business was just a couple of blocks from Hop Sing headquarters on Waverly Place.
Leung built his business by trading in shark fin, a Chinese delicacy. On his company Web site, he credited himself with successfully urging the U.S. government to back shark fishing. Eventually, limits were imposed to prevent overfishing.

He opened a Hong Kong office in 1985 and expanded into real estate. He bought homes for himself in the Marina district, Las Vegas and Florida.

At the recommendation of Pius Lee, one of Chinatown's best-known figures, Mayor Willie Brown appointed Leung to the board of the Chinatown Economic Development Group in 1999. Mayor Gavin Newsom would reappoint him.

Taipei made him a volunteer commissioner for the government, the highest honorary position for overseas pro-Taiwan leaders. Even though he never lived in Taiwan, his anti-communist sentiments and those of Hop Sing were well known.

"It's the combination together that made him popular," Lee said, naming organizations Leung was involved in. "People knew about him. He liked to negotiate. For any problem, he said: 'Let's sit down with a cup of coffee.' "

Olivia Leung, one of Leung's three children, said in an interview that her father relished being his own boss because it freed him to be involved in the community.

She said her father encouraged his children to network. "Not only to help people," she said, "but to get to know people in the community and to benefit you."

As Leung's businesses grew, he took a larger role in Hop Sing. In 1990, he became the English secretary, able to conduct tong business and translate Chinese documents into English.
After a period of relative quiet, however, the tong was again in turmoil.

According to federal authorities, Chinese organized crime had taken over Hop Sing and other tongs. Two of the reputed leaders were Peter Chong and Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.

Chong came to the United States in 1982 ostensibly to promote Chinese opera. Chow, who claimed to have joined Hop Sing soon after arriving in 1976 at age 16, would later boast that he controlled all Asian gangs in San Francisco.

"If you are asking me which gang did I join, I did not join any gang," Chow told a federal prosecutor in 2002. "I owned the gang. ... All those people who were walking the streets of the Bay Area, all of them were controlled by me."

In 1992, authorities indicted Chong, Chow and 25 others for racketeering, saying Hop Sing was involved in everything from underage prostitution to the international heroin trade.

Chong left for Hong Kong before he could be arrested. Caught in Macao, he was released by Chinese officials skeptical of the U.S. case.

Chow was convicted of gun charges and sent to prison for 25 years to life.

According to the prosecutor in that case, Leung had a minimal role in tong business at the time the two men were in control. With Chow in prison and Chong out of the country, he became a leader. In 1994 he began the first of four stints as Hop Sing president.

He was a "perfect leader" and negotiator who treated even those with whom he disagreed with respect, said the current tong president, Bill Wong.

"Some people don't like him, but he treats them nicely," Wong said in an interview after Leung's death. "He sometimes has a different opinion, but he always tries to compromise. You never hear about him trying to do something in his own interests. He always thinks about the association and the Chinese community."

Leung was an elder in the tong when, in 2003, Raymond Chow was released from prison. His sentence had been cut in half in 2001 when he agreed to testify against Peter Chong. The government used his testimony to secure Chong's extradition and his conviction for racketeering.

Chow got what many in law enforcement said later was an extraordinary deal: Instead of deporting him, the government supported his application for a resident visa.

The San Francisco police soon concluded that Chow was associating with members of Asian gangs, including those in Hop Sing, in violation of his deal.

"The deal shouldn't have been cut with him," said Oakland police Lt. Harry Hu, who took part in the federal investigation. "He's out, and there's practically no leash on him -- they did a disservice to the community."

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney William Schaefer, who helped arrange Chow's deal, said it was made in part because Chow's testimony cemented Chong as the leader of the group.

"He and Mr. Chong were clearly very, very close," Schaefer said.

Not long after Chow got out of prison, one of his associates approached a longtime friend of Leung and said several young members of Hop Sing wanted money "to do business."
The friend was Jack Lee, now 86, a Hop Sing elder who had fended off a challenge to his leadership during the bloody days of the 1970s. He also co-owned the Golden Dragon.

According to the police, Lee solicited other elders from Hop Sing chapters in Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver and Portland, Ore., to contribute a total of $120,000 for what was described as money to start a youth group.

"The elders were skeptical about how the money was to be used," Inspector Jameson Pon, a member of the department's gang task force, said in a subsequent affidavit for search warrants.

As he solicited support for the youth group, Lee was having financial problems involving his restaurant, which paid rent to the tong.

His business partner was having trouble making the payroll, and Lee was embroiled in a court battle over $450,000 he said his restaurant partner owed him.

Nothing had been decided on the youth group request when, on Feb. 25, 2005, someone splattered the headquarters of several Chinatown tongs with red paint. Hop Sing was not hit.

On March 11, Hop Sing unanimously voted down the money proposal. The next day, someone fired rounds into the door of Hop Sing.

Leung became a key source for investigators probing the paint attacks and the shooting. He told FBI Special Agent William Wu about the decision to turn down the request for money. He also told him Chow had shown up at Hop Sing's headquarters in late 2004, demanding $100,000.

Chow -- still on supervised release -- told Wu a very different story. He said Hop Sing board members had approached him and "wanted him to loan-shark the money," according to Inspector Pon's affidavit.

On the same day as the shooting, the police learned from the FBI that immigration authorities had picked up Chow "as a result of the escalating events leading up to the shooting at the Hop Sing tong," Pon said.

Within days, a letter postmarked from San Francisco arrived at Hop Sing, addressed to Leung, Lee and the tong president at the time, Johnny Chiu.

"Someone open fire at your front door, but you're just chicken s -- , no response to it, just keeping your mouth quiet," the letter read. "Having this kind of a leader makes all the tongs lose face. I have a poem to dedicate to you. It says you should be embarrassed for a thousand years and your reputation stink for ten thousand years."

On March 31, Leung approached Pon's partner in the gang task force as the investigator ate lunch in Chinatown. He worried that Chow's emissaries "will try to get him and the board members," Pon said. A week later, Leung told the FBI the same thing.

Federal agents wanted Leung to wear a hidden listening device to further the investigation, but Leung refused. Without direct evidence, police and FBI officials said later, the case died.

Leung's family said he had resumed his normal life. "He wasn't afraid," said Olivia Leung, 23.

"He said we have to take precautions. But I wouldn't say he was paranoid. There is no point in living in fear."

Leung had already proved that he was no one to be trifled with.

One night in April 1997, he opened fire on a burglar who had broken into the family home in the Marina. The man was hit in the chest and died at the scene; the police ruled the shooting justified.

At 4 p.m. on Feb. 27, a man came out of a driving rainstorm into the office on Jackson Street where Leung and his wife were working. He demanded cash and opened fire. The police say it clearly was an execution slaying.
Investigators have not ruled out Chow, who is free as he challenges efforts to deport him, or any of his emissaries as suspects. But it's become clear that others didn't like Leung. Even some of his friends have been reluctant to open up.

Jack Lee was seen eating with Leung at a cafe about an hour before Leung was shot, and the police wanted to talk to him about what he knew.

Before Lee would talk, however, he hired a criminal defense lawyer. Homicide Inspector Dennis Maffei wouldn't say whether Lee has been interviewed.

Lee's lawyer, Garrick Lew, would not comment.

Investigators are looking at Leung's other connections, particularly a brotherhood called the Chee Kung Tong, or Chinese Freemasons.

The tong, one of the oldest in the country, was once powerful, helping to raise money to support Chinese Nationalist Sun Yat-Sen's overthrow of imperial rule. Its headquarters in Chinatown still has a black metal safe that was used to store the money.

Over the years, the tong had evolved into a social organization. "It is no longer a viable group anymore because of its dying and dwindling membership,'' said Marlon Hom, professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.

Leung assumed a leadership role after two elders of the tong died. He inherited a squabble with members in East Coast chapters.

The dispute began in 2002 when a member of the New York tong, Pang Woon Ng, proclaimed himself a leader in the Chinese Freemasons. Leaders in San Francisco objected and accused Ng of usurping authority. In a civil suit, Ng charged the San Francisco leaders with defamation.

Leung tried to settle the dispute while at the same time paying to fight the lawsuit.

The ill will lingered. The New York tong now is blocking a plan to divide up $1.1 million the Freemason chapters received from the mainland Chinese government as compensation for a temple the government demolished in Shanghai.

Major figures from both Hop Sing and the Chinese Freemasons joined hundreds of mourners at Leung's funeral on March 18 in Chinatown. Fu-Mei Chang, a Taiwan cabinet minister, presented a posthumous medal honoring Leung's government service.
Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow was there, stocky with a shaved head, dressed in a white suit, a distinctive figure in a mass of black mourning attire. He was one of the few people called by name to bow before Leung's casket, a sign of honor.

Chow also filed up with the Chinese Freemasons. Before the group bowed, he bellowed exhortations in Chinese about heroes and heroism, a traditional Freemason salute. Then, the group bowed in unison.

He was there to pay respects to "Big Brother," he told Chinese reporters. He said he was saddened by Leung's death but declined to comment on the killing.

The police say they're making progress in what they concede is a complex case.

On March 24, investigators searched the offices of both Hop Sing and the Chinese Freemasons in Chinatown. Investigators expect to go to New York in coming weeks. This week they released a composite sketch of the gunman and said the Hop Sing tong is offering a $250,000 reward for help.

"We are looking at every possibility," Inspector Maffei said.

E-mail the writers at jvanderbeken@sfchronicle.com and vahua@sfchronicle.com.

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