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11401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 31, 2009, 07:22:26 PM

Back at 9/10.
11402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 31, 2009, 01:05:17 PM

Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Stating--and Fixing--the Obvious

We've been critical of President Obama on numerous occasions, but today, we'll give him credit for describing last week's breach of airline security as a "systemic failure."

While Mr. Obama's comment might be described as stating the obvious, it was refreshing (if overdue) for someone in the administration to admit that we came periously close to catastrophe in the skies over Michigan on Christmas Day. The President's remarks also made a mockery of earlier statements by other officials, particularly Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano, who initially claimed that the "system worked."

Of course, the President's admission creates a few problems for his national security team. Ms. Napolitano's original assertion was remarkably similar to that of White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, who also made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows. So, claims about the system "working" were clearly based on administration talking points. The White House apparently believed the public would accept that explanation until it became a national joke, forcing other officials--and finally, the President--to offer more realistic assessments. It would be an understatement to say Team Obama has suffered another serious blow to its credibility.

Then, there's the little matter of fixing that gaping security breach. The President, in best bureaucratic fashion, has ordered a "top-level review" of the intelligence failures that caused the near-disaster. A preliminary report is due on his desk on New Year's Eve; a more detailed assessment will follow in 2010. Mr. Obama is also promising accountability in the matter. Presumably, that means that someone will lose his (or her) job because of the screw-up, which nearly resulted in hundreds of fatalities.

Unfortunately, the government's track record in accountability is hardly promising. George Tenet, then-Director of Central Intelligence, kept his job after the debacles that led to 9-11. Ditto for other, senior intelligence officials. There's not much motive for senior bureaucrats to improve their job performance--or that of their subordinates--if everyone keeps their jobs, even after the most glaring intelligence failures.

The guarantee of lifetime employment is also a powerful disincentive to end the turf battles that still beset our intelligence community. Consider the "data trail" that preceded Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt to bring down Flight 253. Abdulmutallab's father, a prominent Nigerian banker and former government economics minister, personally warned the U.S. Embassy in Lagos last month.

Given the elder Abdulmutallab's stature, it's clear he wasn't passed off to some minor consular official who passed the information along in a routine diplomatic cable. Reading between the lines of this AFP report, it seems clear that the CIA station in Lagos was notified immediately, and it's quite likely that agency personnel were involved in conversations with Abdulmutallab's father.

The CIA also insists that it passed the information to the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC), and ensured that Farouk Abdulmutallab's name was entered into a government database. What happened after that is a bit fuzzy; despite the initial report (and later information that highlighted Abdulmutallab's ties to terrorists in Yemen), the "underwear bomber" never made it onto a no-fly list. The failure was compounded by other red flags, also missed by security personnel. He had no checked luggage for his "trip" to Detroit; Adbulmutallab paid for his one-way ticket in cash and was allowed to board the Northwest flight without a passport.

We suspect that the intelligence problems resulted, in part, from differing security classifications for the various databases. The initial report from Abdulmutallab's father was likely classified at the "Secret" level and disseminated via SIPRNET, the government intranet cleared for material up to that level. Meanwhile, reporting that linked the Nigerian to radicals in Yemen might have been based on SIGINT reporting; information of that type is normally held at the "Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (TS/SCI), and disseminated via another network, known as JWICS.

Put another way, it's quite likely that those vital bits of intelligence data were never fused together. That would have given the feds ample reason to bar Abdulmutallab from the flight, although his actions in Amsterdam were more than sufficient for a secondary screening which might have revealed his hidden bomb.

Of course, the intelligence community has an organization that's supposed to "fuse" terrorist-related intel information--the NCTC. But the center is hardly immue from the long-running turf battles between the CIA and the FBI. The two agencies have sparred for years over the counter-terrorism mission and that war has only intensified since 9-11. With billions of budget dollars on the line (and dominance in the counter-terror mission at stake), it's little wonder that the NCTC has become yet another battleground for the FBI and CIA. True, the center actually falls under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), but with the CIA and FBI providing most of the personnel, conflicts over intel sources, methods and information reliability are inevitable.

And the list of problems doesn't end there. Beyond database issues and turf wars, there's the "mindset" that dominates our battles against terrorists. With the arrival of the Obama Team, the U.S. government has returned to a "law enforcement" approach in dealing with terror groups. Closing Gitmo, shipping Khalid Sheik Mohammed to Manhattan for a civilian trial and even the handling of Farouk Abdulmutallab are evidence of a changing mindset, one that will make it more difficult to prosecute terrorists--and implement solutions to deter future attacks.

You see, there's already a successful system for dealing with the types of threats posed by radicals like Abdulmutallab and his handlers in Yemen. It's the Israeli model, based heavily on advanced passenger screening and profiling. Israel's state airline (El Al) and other carriers have used this approach for years, supplemented with additional layers of physical security at the airport and on individual aircraft. Additionally, Israel is the only nation to take the extra measure of installing missile defense systems on passenger jets, protecting them against yet another potential threat.

But enhanced screening and passenger profiling have become dirty words in the United States. Concerns about civil liberties (and the initial cost for such measures) have prevented profiling on U.S. carriers. And, sadly enough, neither the Bush or Obama Administrations have shown any leadership in these areas. Indeed, it will be an uphill battle to install advanced, "full-body" scanners in American airports.

It's easy enough to spot the holes in our existing security system. But mustering the political courage to implement the required fixes is another matter entirely. We're guessing that enhanced passenger screening and profiling measures won't be implemented until an Al Qaida bomber actually succeeds, and brings down a passenger jet, killing hundreds of innocent civilians.

Then--and only then--will our political leaders summon the courage to do the right thing.
11403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 30, 2009, 02:29:36 PM
Intelligence experts have heard chatter for months about the explosive allegedly used by the underwear bomber. So why has the U.S. cut back on machines that detect it?

U.S. security officials had become increasingly worried in the months leading up to the attempted airplane bombing on Christmas Day about terrorists using the explosive agent concealed by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, several counterterrorism experts tell The Daily Beast. Internet chatter about PETN spiked over the summer, as monitored by U.S. intelligence services, the sources add.

Yet over the past 18 months, a Transportation Security Administration employee tells me, the U.S. has stopped using more than half of the Explosive Trace Portals that have capability of detecting PETN. These are dubbed “puffer” machines because they release several puffs of air to shake loose trace explosive particles as passengers walk through. The TSA employee, who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity and does not agree with the reduced use of puffers, says that there are fewer than 40 machines deployed today, down from 94 in service (and more than 200 purchased).
11404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 30, 2009, 11:14:54 AM

TSA Clears Illegal Immigrants To Work At NY Airport
11405  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 30, 2009, 11:01:48 AM

A body scanner at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport would not necessarily have detected the explosives which the would-be syringe bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had sewn into his underwear. A Dutch military intelligence source told De Telegraaf newspaper that Al Qaeda has its own security scanners and has been practicing ways of concealing explosives.

The terrorist group has even carried out test runs at smuggling explosives through European airports, the paper reports.
11406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 30, 2009, 09:57:56 AM,2933,581459,00.html

Better aviation security in Somalia?
11407  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 30, 2009, 01:40:38 AM

Not exactly all knowing.
11408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 30, 2009, 01:18:00 AM
Wait, wait, I know! Suspend habeas corpus and lock up everyone who doesn't pay lip service to the political sensitivities du jour while running roughshod over the rest of the constitution.

What did I win?

A big button that says "I got nothin'".
11409  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 29, 2009, 07:55:19 PM
So, how wquld you interdict blue eyed haji converts born and raised CONUS?
11410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 29, 2009, 05:37:30 PM

Crafty, BBG, you approve of El Al's methods?
11411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 29, 2009, 09:12:25 AM
I have no doubt that this was an orchestrated and multi-pronged approach to disrupt not only American air travel, but to create sensitivities in our system to Muslims in order to lower our level of security screening they are put through. We have overt measures by some terrorists to bring down planes and kill Americans in other ways, and we have covert measures by other terrorists to cause law enforcement to be afraid to properly question and screen them. The ACLU and CAIR are as much players in this to use our own civil liberties against us as the overt acts of terror are. Multiple heads from the same snake, IMO.


CAIR April Fools
 By: Joe Kaufman | Friday, March 31, 2006

Once every year, CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations gathers its followers in various ‘hot spots’ around the nation to raise money and flaunt its homemade status as a “civil liberties group,” in an attempt to convince the world that they are something which they are not.  This year’s annual banquet in Florida will fall fittingly on April 1st or April Fools.  The title of the event is ‘Partners for Peace & Justice.’

The keynote speaker for this weekend’s event will be David Cole.  Cole is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, a board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Legal Affairs Correspondent for the publication, The Nation.  As an attorney, he has been involved in a number of high profile cases.  This includes United States v. Eichman, which established that the First Amendment allows for the burning of the American flag.

Cole also played the role of lead counsel for terror operative, Mazen Al-Najjar.  Following a 1997 deportation order for overstaying his student visa, Al-Najjar was jailed as a potential threat to the United States public.  In July, 2001, after a hard fought court battle, Cole and his legal team lost a federal appeal, thereby denying Al-Najjar asylum.  In August of 2002, he was deported to Lebanon.  [Al-Najjar would later be named as a co-defendant in the trial against his brother-in-law, Sami Al-Arian.]

Weighing in on the Al-Najjar case was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which stated, in a May 2002 press release: “Mazen Al Najjar has never been charged with a crime, yet he has spent more than four years behind bars, first on secret evidence that he had no chance to rebut, and for the last six months on no evidence of dangerousness whatsoever.”  But at the time, according to the Department of Justice, Al-Najjar “had established ties to terrorist organizations and held leadership positions in the Tampa-based Islamic Concern Project (ICP) and the World and Islam Studies Enterprise,” groups founded by Al-Arian.

This was not the first instance of the ACLU being wrong about those that fall under the inglorious title of ‘radical Islamist,’ and it seems that the group is continuing the trend, now with the appointment of a leader of CAIR to its ranks.


In a CAIR press release, dated March 8, 2006, the group announced to the world that its National Board Chairman, Parvez Ahmed, had been elected to the board of the ACLU of Florida.  In the past, the ACLU had participated in events with the group and had even ‘locked arms’ in legal actions with CAIR, but never had it gone so far as to take one of its leaders into its ranks.  About his new position, Ahmed, who is also a speaker at the April 1st fundraising dinner, stated: “American Muslims view the protection of civil liberties as one of the most important issues facing our nation today.  By working with the ACLU in Florida, I hope to strengthen constitutional rights and help balance those rights with legitimate national security concerns.”


Ahmed’s reason for making that statement – and for getting involved with the ACLU – is apparent.  Since CAIR has been in existence, it has lost a Civil Rights Coordinator, a fundraiser, a Director of Community Relations, and a founding Director of its Texas Chapter, all through conviction or deportation.  CAIR is currently the defendant in a lawsuit put forward by the family of an FBI agent for his murder, during the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.  Bringing Ahmed into its organization, the ACLU gives CAIR the legitimacy it both craves and needs to survive.


For Parvez Ahmed, it’s just one more step on his quick rise to power.  Ahmed, who is an assistant professor at the University of North Florida, became CAIR’s Chairman of the Board in May of 2005.  He previously served as Board Chairman for the Florida Chapter of CAIR and as a CAIR National Board member.  In addition to this, Ahmed incorporated – in Jacksonville, Florida, where he resides – CAIR’s now defunct Independent Writers Syndicate (IWS).  According to CAIR, the syndicate was created, because “after 9/11… newspapers became hungry for input from Muslims.”  The service would “distribute original commentaries to newspapers and web sites throughout North America.”  Unfortunately, there were problems with many of the writers.  They included:

•Arselan Tariq Iftikhar.  Iftikhar, who is currently CAIR’s National Legal Director, wrote a June 2002 IWS piece, entitled ‘Bush’s Speech – An Interim Insult,’ in which he described Ariel Sharon as a “terrorist.”  He stated, “Ariel Sharon is as much of a terrorist as Yasser Arafat, if not five times more.”  In 2002, Iftikhar was a speaker at a Muslim Students Association (MSA) Conference, which featured numerous Islamist radicals, including Siraj Wahhaj, a man named as a potential co-conspirator to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Zulfiqar Ali Shah, the South Asia Director for KindHearts, an Islamic charity that was recently closed down by the United States government for financing Hamas.
•Riad Z. Abdelkarim.  Abdelkarim was the Coordinator for IWS.  He was also the co-founder of KinderUSA, which suspended operations in December of 2002, amidst an FBI investigation into its Hamas-related activities.  In addition, he had been involved with the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), which the United States government shut down after 9/11, and he was on the Los Angeles board of CAIR.  In May of 2002, Abdelkarim was detained by the Israeli government, along with fellow KinderUSA co-founder, Dallel Mohmed.  The Israelis claimed that the two “charity” workers were “transferring money to sponsor suicide bombings.”
•Fedwa Wazwaz.  In August of 2005, Wazwaz was a ‘Live Dialogue’ guest on Islam Online, a website that features live interviews with leaders of Hamas.  She authored a libelous tirade against Middle East expert Daniel Pipes, in August of 2003, falsely accusing him of “bigotry.”  The title of the piece was ‘Bush Appointee is a Bigot Disguised as a Scholar.’  Wazwaz also, in a November 2002 IWS piece, echoed a conspiracy theory about the Iraq war being started to assist Israel.  She stated, “So the plan to attack Iraq was plotted six years ago by pro-Israelis who now hold key positions in the Pentagon.”
Parvez Ahmed has written some disturbing things in his own right.  In December of 2005, he called for the release of terrorist Sami Al-Arian, in his op-ed entitled, ‘Al-Arian Verdict a Victory for Common Sense.’  Al-Arian had been the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an organization that carries out suicide operations against innocent Israelis.  Al-Arian had also been involved with CAIR’s parent organization, a Hamas-front called the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP).  Ahmed stated, “The Justice Department should respect this sentiment and the verdict reached by Al-Arian’s peers by releasing him so that he may resume a normal life, or as close to normal as possible after such an ordeal.”  Furthermore, Ahmed laments, in the piece, that “the government may retry him on the charges for which the jury could not reach a decision.”

Most of the time, though, Ahmed is smart and tries to put a positive spin on matters that would concern most Americans.  In his August 2005 article entitled, ‘A moderate Muslim way to counter terrorism,’ he agrees with the rationale that says suicide bombings have “little to do with the teachings of any religion but [are] rather a response… designed to compel the retreat of an occupation force.”  He says that “Islam… allows for defensive war against combatants but unequivocally forbids the killing of civilians.”

However, to Hamas – the organization that CAIR was born out of – targeting civilians is justified, because all Israelis serve in the military.  And the Hamas charter states explicitly that Israel must be destroyed by religious means.  According to the charter:  “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam witll obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it… It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters… It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Moslem generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis.”

CAIR would not be around, if it weren’t for the fact that so many are willing to buy into the group’s ‘dog and pony show.’  With CAIR, the horrors of terrorism and destruction disappear like magic.  Except that they’re not really gone.  We’re just made to think they are.  This April Fools, once again, CAIR will attempt their magic act on the world.  And they’ll even throw in a comedian for good measure.  If we fall for this act, the real fool is us.
11412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 29, 2009, 08:57:47 AM,0,3794295.story

**How the American Criminal Liberties Union works to get you killed.**

The Bush administration was subjected to withering criticism for the way it managed the no-fly list. The American Civil Liberties Union put the system on its own list of the “Top Ten Abuses of Power Since 9/11,” asserting that “the uncontroversial contention that Osama bin Laden and a handful of other known terrorists should not be allowed on an aircraft” has been exploited “to create a monster.” In one of several lawsuits the group has filed involving terrorist lists, the ACLU alleged that they “violate airline passengers’ constitutional right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and to due process of law.”
Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been one among a chorus of voices that accused the former administration of being far too sweeping, placing “infants, nuns and even members of Congress” on terrorist watch lists. The writer Naomi Wolf has called travel restrictions such as the no-fly list, “a classic part of the fascist playbook” akin to the depredations of Nazi Germany, where “families fleeing internment were traumatized by the uncertainties that they knew they faced at the borders.” This was hysteria directed against Bush counter-terrorism mechanisms that the Obama administration has left almost entirely unchanged.
The Department of Homeland Security has indeed received a high volume of complaints about airport screening by individuals attempting to travel. Yet only a minuscule 0.7% of the complaints stemmed from issues relating to the watch lists. And of that 0.7%, about 51% of the complaints led to the conclusion that the individual in question was appropriately on the watch list. Whatever problems exist, the system is not outrageously over-inclusive. Indeed, if anything, the opposite is the case.
We will never know whether fierce criticism from the left had any direct effect on the processing of Abdulmutallab’s file, but the political environment is important to consider going forward. The officials managing the watch lists are not eager to be hauled before a congressional committee if they blunder and bar innocent people from getting on flights. But they are also acutely aware of the potential price tag of being under-inclusive.
11413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 07:56:57 PM

Wow. Now THIS is security theater. We are soooooooo fcuked.
11414  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 02:05:46 PM

Merry Christmas, from your friends in Yemen.
11415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama springs into action! on: December 28, 2009, 12:32:14 PM

My pet goat, Hawaii edition.
11416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 11:34:05 AM

Pay no attention to the jihadist behind the curtain....
11417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 10:25:02 AM

I blame BoooOOOOOsh!
11418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 10:06:04 AM
Officials: Only A Failed Detonator Saved Northwest Flight
Screening Machines May Need to Be Replaced; Al Qaeda Aware of 'Achilles heel'
Dec. 26, 2009 

Officials now say tragedy was only averted on Northwest flight 253 because a makeshift detonator failed to work properly.

Man accused of attempt to blow up plane was sent on mission by terror leaders. Bomb experts say there was more than enough explosive to bring down the Northwest jet, which had nearly 300 people aboard, had the detonator not failed, and the nation's outdated airport screening machines may need to be upgraded.

"We've known for a long time that this is possible," said Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar and ABC News consultant, "and that we really have to replace our scanning devices with more modern systems."

Clarke said full body scans were needed, "but they're expensive and they're intrusive. They invade people's privacy."
11419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 10:01:19 AM
The point is that 9/11 was more than the lives lost, it had symbolic and IMHO an economic impact that was intended as a form of "Unrestricted Warfare". AQ and others understand that if you kill America's economy, you kill it's military.

The TSA operates under this:

I'm guessing El Al doesn't.

11420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 09:21:56 AM

Abdulmutallab: More Like Me In Yemen
Accused Northwest Bomber Says More Bombers On the Way; Al Qaeda Promises to Hit Americans
Dec. 28, 2009 

American officials have cause to worry there may be more al Qaeda-trained young men in Yemen planning to bring down American jets.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab told FBI agents there are more just like him in Yemen.Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, charged with the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253, told FBI agents there were more just like him in Yemen who would strike soon.

And in a tape released four days before the attempted destruction of the Detroit-bound Northwest plane, the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen boasted of what was planned for Americans, saying, "We are carrying a bomb to hit the enemies of God."
11421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 06:39:27 AM
25 Brits in jet bomb plots By ANTHONY FRANCE
Crime Reporter

Published: Today
COPS fear that 25 British-born Muslims are plotting to bomb Western airliners.

The fanatics, in five groups, are now training at secret terror camps in Yemen.

It was there London-educated Umar Abdulmutallab, 23, prepared for his Christmas Day bid to blow up a US jet.

Read more:
11422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 05:32:46 AM
Beyond the direct costs in lives, how many more 9/11s can we take economically?  I'm a fan of the El Al model of aviation security, what the US has is a reflection of our post-modern culture of victimhood rather than one structured to address the threat.
11423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 05:00:41 AM

Sa'id quotes Osama bin Laden on how the financial crisis plus the extended wars have weakened America's resolve: "This is America today, staggering under the strikes and consequences of the mujahideen. There is a human loss, a political beat, and a financial breakdown. Even it begs small, as well as big countries. Its enemies are no longer afraid of it, and its friends are no longer respects it."

Read more:
11424  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 28, 2009, 04:55:32 AM


Last Updated: 1:35 PM, September 12, 2008

Posted: 3:54 AM, September 11, 2008

SEVEN years ago today terrorists crashed four jetliners into the US economy.

It's downright callous, if not inhumane, of course, for me to talk about the financial fallout of Sept. 11, 2001, since 2,975 people were killed, thousands were injured and everyone was affected by those attacks.

And we will always remember, first and foremost, the human suffering caused by the small group of heartless cowards who hijacked those planes.

But it is a fact that a lot of the financial problems we are now experiencing - including federal deficits, a declining housing market, banking problems, the sickly dollar and a large drop in overall confidence - have, to one degree or another, grown from the aftermath of what happened seven years ago.

11425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 27, 2009, 02:46:41 PM
"According to reports I saw last night on Greta Van Sustern on FOX (i.e. one hopes for confirmation) the father of the jihadi is the head of the largest bank in Nigeria, is a Muslim and a prominent citizen, reported his own son over a month ago as a jihadi risk. The jihadi apparently has been on some lesser risk lists for some two years now. The jihadi got on the plane in Amsterdam with no luggage and paid cash.  Frankly, it seems like the proper use of intel that was already possessed would have been sufficient to stop this one before it even got going. "

**Yes, not exactly an example of omniscient police power.**

Keep in mind that if the device had functioned properly, then no passenger would have had an opportunity to intervene.
11426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 27, 2009, 09:21:11 AM
Yeah, well your mindless slogans and chest thumping will be missed.
11427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 27, 2009, 09:00:30 AM
If you think the US is a totalitarian country, you obviously haven't been to one.
11428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 27, 2009, 08:58:57 AM
11429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 11:36:35 PM
It gathers incidents CONUS and OCONUS and performs analysis and dissemination on threats to aviation/transportation.
11430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 11:19:26 PM
Aside from the screening at airports, there is a lot of protective intel gathering/analysis done by TSA/DHS. Should that end?
11431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 11:04:16 PM

So keeping that in mind, please describe for me the aviation security you want in place the next time your family flies that won't offend your libertarian sensibilities.
11432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 10:09:21 PM

Read/watch the above and tell me what sort of aviation security you want in place the next time you put your wife and kids on a flight.
11433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 26, 2009, 07:00:05 PM
Yes, I am that guy.   sad

However, I will point out that there has been a substantial amount of market manipulation to inflate things beyond their actual value, yes?

11434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 06:47:36 PM
An armed, trained and aware populus is a good thing, but not the complete answer to counter-terrorism policy.
11435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: December 26, 2009, 06:43:17 PM
Gold and silver and investments outside the US. Obama is going to kill the dollar off.
11436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 06:25:18 PM
LA has been on AQ's to do list for more than a decade. If I recall correctly, there is some evidence that some pre-attack surveillance has been done at Orange county schools for a "Beslan".
11437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 01:15:11 PM

Terror threats loom over Las Vegas
Officials fear blow to economy
By Steve Friess, Globe Correspondent  |  December 28, 2003

LAS VEGAS -- A year ago, just before taking office, Las Vegas's newly elected sheriff committed what has been called a major faux pas: He gave an honest assessment of southern Nevada's terror risk.

"Being America's playground, we have to be a prime target for fundamentalists whose beliefs are radically different from ours," Sheriff Bill Young said at a hotel security conference in December 2002. "If we have a terrorist attack here, we're done as a community. We have only one industry -- importing people to come here to have a good time. And it's entirely predicated on people feeling safe and secure to come here."

Those remarks -- for which Young incurred anger from Nevada's political and tourism leaders -- had renewed resonance this week when a new report identified the city as a potential target of a suspected Christmas Day hijacking plot that prompted the cancellation of six Air France flights.

While law enforcement officials, including Young, insisted Friday that the Washington Post was merely speculating when it named Las Vegas as the most likely American city for the would-be hijackers of a Paris-to-Los Angeles flight to crash the airliner, the news brought to the forefront this tourist-dependent economy's sensitivity to even rumors of its vulnerability.
11438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 12:47:50 PM
Can you move beyond childish macho posturing and actually contemplate policy? You might not be aware of it, but Las Vegas is a top tier target city for terror. Imagine a "Mumbai" attack on strip casinos or aircraft slamming into the MGM/New York-New York/Excalibur on a weekend night. Think the economy sucks there now? Let something like that happen and watch the ripple effects.
11439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 10:07:55 AM
An important freedom is not having to decide to jump to your death or burn and get crushed by the collapsing building.
11440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 26, 2009, 09:38:50 AM

The spirit of flight 93.
11441  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Girl abducted in Phoenix rescued by police on: December 26, 2009, 09:02:10 AM
Girl abducted in Phoenix rescued by police
December 26, 2009 9:50 AM EST

PHOENIX (AP) — A patrol officer spotted a suspected kidnapper's car and aided in the rescue of a 5-year-old girl, who was found uninjured in what police are calling Phoenix's "Christmas miracle."

Natalie Flores was rescued at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, more than seven hours after she was scooped up by a stranger while playing with her sisters outside their Phoenix apartment building.

"She is alive and well," police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill said.

Hill credited a "very alert" policeman with taking quick action after spotting what appeared to be the suspect's vehicle driving on a west Phoenix avenue, even though the license plate differed from reports.

Officer Mike Burns pulled alongside and "saw a suspect that matched the description and thought he saw a small child," Hill told The Associated Press.

He said the pickup sped off, and Burns gave chase and alerted the force. Officers put spike strips across the road several blocks away that punctured the suspect's tires, causing him to crash on the roadside.

The man took off on foot but was caught and arrested a block away after a brief struggle.

"She is alive and well thanks to the timely diligence of officer Burns," Hill said. "It is rare in stranger abduction cases so much time can pass without a tragic ending. This was truly a Christmas miracle."

Police said the suspect is a 45-year-old man, but they haven't released his name and or any other details.

Hill said the man was being questioned by police and held on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault on a police officer and felony pursuit.

The sergeant said Natalie appeared to be in good shape but was being examined by health officials.

Police received the call that Natalie had been taken at about 2:15 p.m. An Amber Alert was issued, and authorities began combing the area on foot, by car and with helicopters.

Hill said the child had been playing in a common area at the apartment complex with her two sisters, ages 7 and 9, when a man parked his brown pickup in a nearby parking lot and walked over to them carrying a camera.

"He physically grabbed the 7-year-old girl and forcibly took a photo of her," Hill said.

The man then forced Natalie into the truck and drove away. Witnesses reported that as the man was fleeing, he hit a parked car before entering southbound 19th Avenue.

Natalie and her sisters had been staying at an apartment in the complex with an aunt who has legal custody of them, Hill said. The girls' parents live separately out of state.

After the abduction, Natalie's older sister went to a neighbor's apartment and pounded on the door, The Arizona Republic reported. The woman who answered, Donna Reed, said the girl was carrying a ball and appeared to be shaking.

"She said some man just took her little sister," Reed told the newspaper. "She was a nervous wreck."

Reed called 911.


AP writers Katie Oyan and Mark Carlson in Phoenix contributed to this report.
11442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 24, 2009, 06:08:27 PM
Very interesting.
11443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Did Obama exempt Interpol from same legal constraints as American law-enforcemen on: December 23, 2009, 02:13:39 PM

Did Obama exempt Interpol from same legal constraints as American law-enforcement?
posted at 2:55 pm on December 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

During his presidency, Ronald Reagan granted the global police agency Interpol the status of diplomatic personnel in order to engage more constructively on international law enforcement.  In Executive Order 12425, Reagan made two exceptions to that status.  The first had to do with taxation, but the second was to make sure that Interpol had the same accountability for its actions as American law enforcement — namely, they had to produce records when demanded by courts and could not have immunity for their actions.
Barack Obama unexpectedly revoked those exceptions in a change to EO 12425 last month, as Threats Watch reports:
Last Thursday, December 17, 2009, The White House released an Executive Order “Amending Executive Order 12425.” It grants INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) a new level of full diplomatic immunity afforded to foreign embassies and select other “International Organizations” as set forth in the United States International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945.
By removing language from President Reagan’s 1983 Executive Order 12425, this international law enforcement body now operates – now operates – on American soil beyond the reach of our own top law enforcement arm, the FBI, and is immune from Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests. …
After initial review and discussions between the writers of this analysis, the context was spelled out plainly.
Through EO 12425, President Reagan extended to INTERPOL recognition as an “International Organization.” In short, the privileges and immunities afforded foreign diplomats was extended to INTERPOL. Two sets of important privileges and immunities were withheld: Section 2© and the remaining sections cited (all of which deal with differing taxes).

And then comes December 17, 2009, and President Obama. The exemptions in EO 12425 were removed.
Section 2c of the United States International Organizations Immunities Act is the crucial piece.
Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable. (Emphasis added.)
Inviolable archives means INTERPOL records are beyond US citizens’ Freedom of Information Act requests and from American legal or investigative discovery (“unless such immunity be expressly waived.”)
Property and assets being immune from search and confiscation means precisely that. Wherever they may be in the United States. This could conceivably include human assets – Americans arrested on our soil by INTERPOL officers.
Actually, that last argument overreaches.  American law does not consider people as “assets.”  It does mean, though, that Interpol officers would have diplomatic immunity for any lawbreaking conducted in the US at a time when Interpol nations (like Italy) have attempted to try American intelligence agents for their work in the war on terror, a rather interesting double standard.
It also appears to mean that Americans who get arrested on the basis of Interpol work cannot get the type of documentation one normally would get in the discovery process, which is a remarkable reversal from Obama’s declared efforts to gain “due process” for terrorists detained at Gitmo.  Does the White House intend to treat Americans worse than the terrorists we’ve captured during wartime?
Andy McCarthy wonders the same thing:
Interpol’s property and assets are no longer subject to search and confiscation, and its archives are now considered inviolable. This international police force (whose U.S. headquarters is in the Justice Department in Washington) will be unrestrained by the U.S. Constitution and American law while it operates in the United States and affects both Americans and American interests outside the United States.
Interpol works closely with international tribunals (such as the International Criminal Court — which the United States has refused to join because of its sovereignty surrendering provisions, though top Obama officials want us in it). It also works closely with foreign courts and law-enforcement authorities (such as those in Europe that are investigating former Bush administration officials for purported war crimes — i.e., for actions taken in America’s defense).
Why would we elevate an international police force above American law? Why would we immunize an international police force from the limitations that constrain the FBI and other American law-enforcement agencies? Why is it suddenly necessary to have, within the Justice Department, a repository for stashing government files which, therefore, will be beyond the ability of Congress, American law-enforcement, the media, and the American people to scrutinize?
I seem to recall the Left getting hysterical over the Patriot Act extensions that Obama finally backed.  This gives Interpol a much wider operational latitude than anything contemplated in the Patriot Act, and with no accountability at all.
11444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: December 22, 2009, 12:08:31 PM
Sounds good to me.
11445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: December 15, 2009, 09:57:54 AM
Ok, that's a non-answer.
11446  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: December 15, 2009, 05:30:55 AM

Report: U.S. may target Taliban leadership in Quetta with drone strikes
posted at 8:04 pm on December 14, 2009 by Allahpundit

Consider this an unexpected benefit of The One’s eagerness to get out of Afghanistan. He has every incentive to do as much damage to the enemy as possible as quickly as possible, which may encourage him to make moves even Bush wasn’t daring enough to make. It’s been an open secret, and an international disgrace, for years that the Taliban leadership operates relatively freely in the Pakistani city of Quetta; I’ve written about it before but not until just recently did Pakistan itself admit the obvious. We know they’re in the city. The question is, what are we — and, more importantly, Pakistan — prepared to do about it?
Senior U.S. officials are pushing to expand CIA drone strikes beyond Pakistan’s tribal region and into a major city in an attempt to pressure the Pakistani government to pursue Taliban leaders based in Quetta.
The proposal has opened a contentious new front in the clandestine war. The prospect of Predator aircraft strikes in Quetta, a sprawling city, signals a new U.S. resolve to decapitate the Taliban. But it also risks rupturing Washington’s relationship with Islamabad.
The concern has created tension among Obama administration officials over whether unmanned aircraft strikes in a city of 850,000 are a realistic option. Proponents, including some military leaders, argue that attacking the Taliban in Quetta — or at least threatening to do so — is crucial to the success of the revised war strategy President Obama unveiled last week.
“If we don’t do this — at least have a real discussion of it — Pakistan might not think we are serious,” said a senior U.S. official involved in war planning. “What the Pakistanis have to do is tell the Taliban that there is too much pressure from the U.S.; we can’t allow you to have sanctuary inside Pakistan anymore.”…
Pakistan is working with the CIA to coax certain Taliban lieutenants in Omar’s fold to defect. U.S. officials said contacts have been handled primarily by the Saudi and Pakistani intelligence services. The results of the effort are unclear.
The fear, of course, is that drone strikes in a place as crowded as a city will produce a catastrophic misfire and a similarly catastrophic public backlash. Which is why, I assume, this is mostly a bluff aimed at scaring the Pakistanis into sending people in and taking out the leadership itself. But how likely is that? Via Bill Roggio, a bit of insight into our “friends” in Pakistan’s intel service, the ISI:
Champagne popped open this week as Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) celebrated US President Barack Obama’s announcement that American troops would start withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011. Despite the extra 30,000 soldiers and the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) expansion of its unmanned drone operations inside Pakistan’s tribal areas, Islamabad was jubilant. The ISI’s strategy of waiting for the Americans to leave was paying off. Soon, Islamabad would recapture Kabul after eight years of domination by New Delhi…
Clearly, the ISI runs circles around the CIA. The CIA knows it, but can do little except gnash its teeth, because it has no spies among the jihadists. The ISI doesn’t need spies; it created the Taliban.
The Americans ought to demand that the ISI demonstrate sincerity by handing over Mullah Omar, the Taliban chief. The one-eyed Mullah and his cohorts are said to have converted one of Quetta’s suburbs into a kind of mini-Taliban city; it is a place which neither Pakistani police nor journalists dare visit. Houses, shops and mosques have all been purchased by the Taliban (using ISI money, which is basically US military aid; yes, ironic). The ISI is in constant touch with the Taliban hierarchy. And even with expanded CIA drone operations, it will be difficult to get Mullah Omar; the drones have been hitting targets in the countryside and mountains, not in the cities, and even that has swelled anti-American sentiment, according to every Pakistani leader, civilian or military. Imagine what a strike in a crowded urban area would do.
ISI can tell us where they are — and it can also give us bogus information which would cause massive civilian casualties, a resulting PR nightmare, and a very rapid abandonment of the drone-strike strategy in Quetta. Which, I assume, explains why Bush never tried it: It’s likely too hard to get CIA people inside a Taliban citadel so we’re forced to rely on Pakistani intel to hand over their own proxy jihadi army, something they have little incentive to do. In fact, just today there’s a story at the Times about their refusal to crack down on Siraj Haqqani, another creation of ISI who’s been waging war on the U.S. inside Afghanistan from North Waziristan.
The core reason for Pakistan’s imperviousness is its scant faith in the Obama surge, and what Pakistan sees as the need to position itself for a major regional realignment in Afghanistan once American forces begin to leave…
Pakistan is particularly eager to counter the growing influence of its archenemy, India, which is pouring $1.2 billion in aid into Afghanistan. “If American walks away, Pakistan is very worried that it will have India on its eastern border and India on its western border in Afghanistan,” said Tariq Fatemi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States who is pro-American in his views.
For that reason, Mr. Fatemi said, the Pakistani Army was “very reluctant” to jettison Mr. Haqqani, Pakistan’s strong card in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Pakistanis do not want to alienate Mr. Haqqani because they consider him an important player in reconciliation efforts that they would like to see get under way in Afghanistan immediately, the officials said.
It’s a Catch-22: Obama’s eagerness to leave is aimed in part at pressuring Pakistan to help us succeed and get out, but Pakistan has less incentive to help us succeed and get out if it thinks we’re eager to leave. Which brings us back to the main question of how the U.S. can even credibly threaten to hit high-value targets in Quetta without ISI help and, indeed, with the ISI actively trying to thwart them. Presumably there have been defections to our side from inside the city giving us an intelligence presence there, or else there’s some sort of leverage we have over ISI which you and I don’t know about that would cause them to start ratting out big fish like Mullah Omar. Keep an eye out in your news-reading travails for reports of Taliban capos suddenly being arrested. It has, after all, happened before.
11447  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: December 14, 2009, 02:03:58 PM

Lord Monckton rules!
11448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: December 14, 2009, 08:32:05 AM
How would being undercover in real life be different than being U/C online?
11449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: December 14, 2009, 08:10:58 AM
UK Imam: "Non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet"
The Anjem Chaudary video has, of course, been circulating for quite some time -- it was already old when we posted it in December 2006 -- but it bears repeating whenever you hear a Muslim spokesman in the West claiming that Islam forbids the killing of innocent civilians. Why is it so hard to get a definition of "innocent" in this context?

"Report: Non-Muslims Deserve to Be Punished," from FoxNews (thanks to PNM):

A report posted on Islam Watch, a site run by Muslims who oppose intolerant teachings and hatred for unbelievers, exposes a prominent Islamic cleric and lawyer who support extreme punishment for non-Muslims — including killing and rape.
A question-and-answer session with Imam Abdul Makin in an East London mosque asks why Allah would tell Muslims to kill and rape innocent non-Muslims, including their wives and daughters, according to Islam Watch.

"Because non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet," the Imam says, according to the report. "If you don't believe me, here is the legal authority, the top Muslim lawyer of Britain."

The lawyer, Anjem Choudary, backs up the Imam's position, saying that all Muslims are innocent.

Click here to watch the interview with Islamic lawyer Anjem Choudary.

"You are innocent if you are a Muslim," Choudary tells the BBC. "Then you are innocent in the eyes of God. If you are not a Muslim, then you are guilty of not believing in God."

Choudary said he would not condemn a Muslim for any action.

"As a Muslim, I must support my Muslim brothers and sisters," Choudary said. "I must have hatred to everything that is not Muslim."
11450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: December 13, 2009, 11:59:44 PM

U.S. Muslim leader explains how Fort Hood jihadist misunderstands Islam
Here is that rare thing, an attempt to show with specific Qur'anic citations how an Islamic jihadist is misusing the Qur'an and misunderstanding the true, peaceful teachings of Islam. Usually those who assert such things are extremely vague about just how Islam and the Qur'an are being misused.

Unfortunately, however, this is written by Salam al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) -- a fact that immediately arouses suspicion. MPAC, for example, has trafficked in moral equivalence between jihadists and anti-jihadists regarding Israel. It was no surprise when the organization joined CAIR and other groups in 2004 in signing a "Joint Muslims/Arab-American Statement on Israel Violence in Gaza." The organizations echoed some of the most virulent rhetoric that jihadists employ in their offensives against the Jewish state, condemning "Israel's recent indiscriminate killings of innocent Palestinians, including many children," without even mentioning the targeting by Palestinian suicide bombers of Israeli citizens on buses and in restaurants, or the Israeli government's diametrically opposed policy of never targeting civilians.

Such extreme rhetoric was nothing new for MPAC. On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, on a Los Angeles radio show, al-Maryati added fuel to the wildest, most paranoid conspiracy theories about the attacks that had just unfolded: "If we're going to look at suspects we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list because I think this diverts attention from what's happening in the Palestinian territories so that they can go on with their aggression and occupation and apartheid policies."

This was not al-Maryati's only outburst of anti-Israeli malevolence. Daniel Pipes recounts a "February 1996 incident when a Palestinian named Muhammad Hamida shouted the fundamentalist war cry, Allahu Akbar (Allah is Great), as he drove his car intentionally into a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem, killing one Israeli and injuring 23 others. Before he could escape or hurt anyone else, Hamida was shot dead. Commenting on the affair, Mr. Al-Marayati said not a word about Hamida's murderous rampage but instead focused on Hamida's death, which he called 'a provocative act,' and demanded the extradition of his executors to America 'to be tried in a U.S. court' on terrorism charges."

Al-Maryati in 1996 equated violent jihadists with the Founding Fathers: "Most Islamic movements have been branded as terrorists as a result of the rising extremism from a handful of militants. American freedom fighters hundreds of years ago were also regarded as terrorists by the British."

"Repentance is the only option for the Fort Hood killer," by Salam al-Marayati in the Wall Street Journal, December 9 (thanks to all who sent this in):

[...] Maj. Hasan took an oath as a member of the U.S. military to defend our country. He also took a Hippocratic oath to protect his patients. The violation of these oaths is a violation of the Quranic principle which states that making a pledge to anyone is tantamount to making a pledge to God. The Quran states: "(Be not like those) who use their oaths as a means of deceiving one another" (16:92).
QED, eh? Salam al-Marayati would have us believe that it's very simple: the Qur'an says don't break your oaths, Hasan broke his oath, and so Hasan, despite appearances to the contrary, is a Muslim heretic, a Misunderstander of Islam.

Unfortunately, however, there are indications in the Hadith that oaths taken to Infidels don't have that unbreakable character. Muhammad, of course, said, "War is deceit." He also said, "By Allah, and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find something else better than that, then I do what is better and expiate my oath."

Muhammad said this in the context of being able to do something better for his men than what he had promised to do, and so al-Marayati may argue that shooting up Fort Hood was in no way better than remaining loyal to the U.S. military, but from the jihadist point of view a jihad against Infidels is certainly better than submitting to those Infidels. After all, Muhammad also said, when asked what was the best deed, that jihad was best after professing faith in Islam. He also recommended to his followers that they break their oaths if they found a better course of action.

Those who would say that Qur'an trumps Hadith whenever there is a contradiction, and that therefore oaths are always and everywhere binding upon Muslims, must then explain why that has never been understood as such in the Islamic world. History is full of examples of Muslims breaking oaths and treaties with Infidels. Were they all misunderstanding Islam?

In any case, al-Marayati mentions none of this. And why not? He could have given a much more convincing and honest presentation if he had acknowledged the existence within Islamic tradition of justifications for oath-breaking, and explained -- if he could -- why they did not excuse Hasan's behavior. But he didn't.

His now infamous PowerPoint presentation is rife with distortions of the Quran. Entitled "The Koranic Worldview As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military," it provides anything but a Quranic perspective. Maj. Hasan's critical fault in understanding the Quran was his failure to distinguish between two very important categories of verses: those tied to the specific context of seventh-century Arabia, and those that are absolute and permanent.
Here al-Marayati implies, without offering specifics, that the martial verses of the Qur'an that Hasan quoted are understood by mainstream Islamic theology to apply only to seventh-century Arabia. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Very early in the history of Islam, Muslims noticed and began to grapple with how Muhammad's messages changed in character over the course of his prophetic career. Muhammad's earliest biographer, a pious Muslim named Ibn Ishaq, explains the progression of Qur'anic revelation about warfare. First, he explains, Allah allowed Muslims to wage defensive warfare. But that was not Allah's last word on the circumstances in which Muslims should fight. Ibn Ishaq explains offensive jihad by invoking a Qur'anic verse: "Then God sent down to him: 'Fight them so that there be no more seduction,' i.e. until no believer is seduced from his religion. 'And the religion is God's', i.e. Until God alone is worshipped."

The Qur'an verse Ibn Ishaq quotes here (2:193) commands much more than defensive warfare: Muslims must fight until "the religion is God's" - that is, until Allah alone is worshipped. Ibn Ishaq gives no hint that that command died with the seventh century.

Nor do all contemporary Islamic thinkers believe that that command is a relic of history. According to a 20th century Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh 'Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid, "at first 'the fighting' was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory." He also distinguishes two groups Muslims must fight: "(1) against them who start 'the fighting' against you (Muslims) . . . (2) and against all those who worship others along with Allah . . . as mentioned in Surat Al-Baqarah (II), Al-Imran (III) and At-Taubah (IX) . . . and other Surahs (Chapters of the Qur'an)." (The Roman numerals after the names of the chapters of the Qur'an are the numbers of the suras: Sheikh 'Abdullah is referring to Qur'anic verses such as 2:216, 3:157-158, 9:5, and 9:29.)

This understanding of the Qur'an isn't limited to the Wahhabi sect of Saudi Arabia, to which Sheikh 'Abdullah belongs, and which many Western analysts imagine to have originated Islamic doctrines of warfare against unbelievers. Jihad theorist Sayyid Qutb, who was not a Wahhabi, subscribes to the same view of the Qur'an. In his jihad manifesto Milestones, he quotes at length from the great medieval scholar Ibn Qayyim (1292-1350), who, says Qutb, "has summed up the nature of Islamic Jihaad." Ibn Qayyim outlines the stages of the Muhammad's prophetic career: "For thirteen years after the beginning of his Messengership, he called people to God through preaching, without fighting or Jizyah, and was commanded to restrain himself and to practice patience and forbearance. Then he was commanded to migrate, and later permission was given to fight. Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to restrain himself from those who did not make war with him. Later he was commanded to fight the polytheists until God's religion was fully established."

Qutb summarizes the stages: "Thus, according to the explanation by Imam Ibn Qayyim, the Muslims were first restrained from fighting; then they were permitted to fight; then they were commanded to fight against the aggressors; and finally they were commanded to fight against all the polytheists." He further quotes Ibn Qayyim as emphasizing the need to wage war against and subjugate non-Muslims, particularly the Jewish and Christian "People of the Book": "After the command for Jihaad came, the non-believers were divided into three categories: one, those with whom there was peace; two, the people with whom the Muslims were at war; and three, the Dhimmies....It was also explained that war should be declared against those from among the 'People of the Book' who declare open enmity, until they agree to pay Jizyah or accept Islam. Concerning the polytheists and the hypocrites, it was commanded in this chapter that Jihaad be declared against them and that they be treated harshly." Qutb says that if someone rejects Islam, "then it is the duty of Islam to fight him until either he is killed or until he declares his submission."

In fact, some classical Islamic theologians are as far from thinking that the verses commanding jihad against Infidels no longer apply in our own age as you can get. Some assert that the Verse of the Sword (Qur'an 9:5, "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them") abrogates no less than 124 more peaceful and tolerant verses of the Qur'an. Tafsir al-Jalalayn, a commentary on the Qur'an by the respected imams Jalal al-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahalli (1389-1459) and Jalal al-Din 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr al-Suyuti (1445-1505), asserts that the Qur'an's ninth sura "was sent down when security was removed by the sword." Another mainstream and respected Qur'an commentator, Ibn Kathir (1301-1372), declares that Qur'an 9:5 "abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term....No idolater had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara'ah [the ninth sura] was revealed." Ibn Juzayy (d. 1340), yet another Qur'an commentator whose works are still read in the Islamic world, agrees: the Verse of the Sword's purpose is "abrogating every peace treaty in the Qur'an."

None of them say that the Verse of the Sword applies only to the seventh century.

Ibn Kathir makes this clear in his commentary on another "tolerance verse": "And he [Muhammad] saith: O my Lord! Lo! these are a folk who believe not. Then bear with them, O Muhammad, and say: Peace. But they will come to know" (43:88-89). Ibn Kathir explains: "Say Salam (peace!) means, 'do not respond to them in the same evil manner in which they address you; but try to soften their hearts and forgive them in word and deed.'" However, that is not the end of the passage. Ibn Kathir then takes up the last part: "But they will come to know. This is a warning from Allah for them. His punishment, which cannot be warded off, struck them, and His religion and His word was supreme. Subsequently Jihad and striving were prescribed until the people entered the religion of Allah in crowds, and Islam spread throughout the east and the west."

And so today. The Saudi Sheikh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajid (1962-), whose lectures and Islamic rulings (fatawa) circulate widely throughout the Islamic world, demonstrates this in a discussion of whether Muslims should force others to accept Islam. In considering Qur'an 2:256 ("There is no compulsion in religion,") the Sheikh quotes Qur'an 9:29, as well as 8:39 ("And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah), and the religion (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]"), and the Verse of the Sword. Of the latter, Sheikh Muhammad says simply: "This verse is known as Ayat al-Sayf (the verse of the sword). These and similar verses abrogate the verses which say that there is no compulsion to become Muslim."

Underscoring the fact that none of this is merely of historical interest is another Shafi'i manual of Islamic law that in 1991 was certified by the highest authority in Sunni Islam, Cairo's Al-Azhar University, as conforming "to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community." This manual, 'Umdat al-Salik (available in English as Reliance of the Traveller), spends a considerable amount of time explaining jihad as "war against non-Muslims." It spells out the nature of this warfare in quite specific terms: "the caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax." It adds a comment by a Jordanian jurist that corresponds to Muhammad's instructions to call the unbelievers to Islam before fighting them: the caliph wages this war only "provided that he has first invited [Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians] to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya) . . . while remaining in their ancestral religions."

Also, if there is no caliph, Muslims must still wage jihad. In any case, the desire to restore the caliphate ultimately highlights the expansionist, imperialist, totalitarian, globalist aims of the jihad movement, even as today it presents itself as a defensive action against Western evils. That expansionism is based on Qur'anic passages such as 9:29 and the life and teachings of Muhammad. The Pakistani Brigadier S. K. Malik's 1979 book The Qur'anic Concept of War (a book that carried a glowing endorsement from Pakistan's then-future President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who said that it explained "the ONLY pattern of war" that a Muslim country could legitimately wage) delineates the same stages in the Qur'anic teaching about jihad: "The Muslim migration to Medina brought in its wake events and decisions of far-reaching significance and consequence for them. While in Mecca, they had neither been proclaimed an Ummah [community] nor were they granted the permission to take up arms against their oppressors. In Medina, a divine revelation proclaimed them an 'Ummah' and granted them the permission to take up arms against their oppressors. The permission was soon afterwards converted into a divine command making war a religious obligation for the faithful."

Imran Ahsan Khan Nyazee, Assistant Professor on the Faculty of Shari'ah and Law of the International Islamic University in Islamabad, in a 1994 book on Islamic law quotes the twelfth century Maliki jurist Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd. Ibn Rushd reports on a consensus (ijma) among Muslim scholars on jihad warfare - and in traditional Islamic legal terms a consensus among scholars, once reached, cannot be modified. "Why wage war?" asks Ibn Rushd, and then he answers his own question: "Muslim jurists agreed that the purpose of fighting with the People of the one of two things: it is either their conversion to Islam or the payment of jizyah." Nyazee concludes: "This leaves no doubt that the primary goal of the Muslim community, in the eyes of its jurists, is to spread the word of Allah through jihad, and the option of poll-tax [jizya] is to be exercised only after subjugation" of non-Muslims.

But if this is so, why hasn't the worldwide Islamic community been waging jihad on a large scale up until relatively recently? Nyazee says it is only because they have not been able to do so: "the Muslim community may be considered to be passing through a period of truce. In its present state of weakness, there is nothing much it can do about it."

Al-Marayati could, here again, have assuaged doubts by discussing Islam's martial teachings and explained -- if he could -- why Hasan was not appropriating them properly. But he didn't.

He ignores the Quranic mandates, for example, to stand for justice even if it is against your own interest, and to avoid transgression in the pursuit of justice. Yet the most troubling part of his presentation are his conclusions. One of them is: "Muslims are moderate (compromising) but God is not." There are two critical flaws in this one sentence.
First, to make any kind of declaration about God being unforgiving violates Islam's central teachings of mercy and compassion. The Quran makes it clear that human beings are meant to embody God's generous spirit. To argue otherwise is to violate God's will and Islam's goal of peacemaking.

Second, being moderate is about upholding religious values while working with other members of society for the greater good. Extremists believe they are compromising their Islamic values when living in the West. This is not true. And Muslim-haters oblige them with the converse, when they argue that the West should not tolerate Muslims. This is not just.

Maj. Hasan's hodgepodge of verses from the Quran and quotes from extremists left out the most important Quranic verse in his section on enjoining peace and forgiveness: "God invites you into the abode of peace" (10:25). Nor did he include the admonition by the Prophet Muhammad never to harm the innocent and never to target noncombatants....

Here again, it all depends on how one defines "innocent."
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