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11401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 05, 2009, 12:26:39 AM
Counterterrorism: Shifting from 'Who' to 'How'
November 4, 2009 | 1918 GMT

By Scott Stewart and Fred Burton

In the 11th edition of the online magazine Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of Battle), which was released to jihadist Web sites last week, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wahayshi wrote an article that called for jihadists to conduct simple attacks against a variety of targets. The targets included "any tyrant, intelligence den, prince" or "minister" (referring to the governments in the Muslim world like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen), and "any crusaders whenever you find one of them, like at the airports of the crusader Western countries that participate in the wars against Islam, or their living compounds, trains etc.," (an obvious reference to the United States and Europe and Westerners living in Muslim countries).

Al-Wahayshi, an ethnic Yemeni who spent time in Afghanistan serving as a lieutenant under Osama bin Laden, noted these simple attacks could be conducted with readily available weapons such as knives, clubs or small improvised explosive devices (IEDs). According to al-Wahayshi, jihadists "don't need to conduct a big effort or spend a lot of money to manufacture 10 grams of explosive material" and that they should not "waste a long time finding the materials, because you can find all these in your mother's kitchen, or readily at hand or in any city you are in."

That al-Wahayshi gave these instructions in an Internet magazine distributed via jihadist chat rooms, not in some secret meeting with his operational staff, demonstrates that they are clearly intended to reach grassroots jihadists -- and are not intended as some sort of internal guidance for AQAP members. In fact, al-Wahayshi was encouraging grassroots jihadists to "do what Abu al-Khair did" referring to AQAP member Abdullah Hassan Taleh al-Asiri, the Saudi suicide bomber who attempted to kill Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with a small IED on Aug. 28.

The most concerning aspect of al-Wahayshi's statement is that it is largely true. Improvised explosive mixtures are in fact relatively easy to make from readily available chemicals -- if a person has the proper training -- and attacks using small IEDs or other readily attainable weapons such as knives or clubs (or firearms in the United States) are indeed quite simple to conduct.

As STRATFOR has noted for several years now, with al Qaeda's structure under continual attack and no regional al Qaeda franchise groups in the Western Hemisphere, the most pressing jihadist threat to the U.S. homeland at present stems from grassroots jihadists, not the al Qaeda core. This trend has been borne out by the large number of plots and arrests over the past several years, to include several so far in 2009. The grassroots have likewise proven to pose a critical threat to Europe (although it is important to note that the threat posed by grassroots operatives is more widespread, but normally involves smaller, less strategic attacks than those conducted by the al Qaeda core).

From a counterterrorism perspective, the problem posed by grassroots operatives is that unless they somehow self-identify by contacting a government informant or another person who reports them to authorities, attend a militant training camp, or conduct electronic correspondence with a person or organization under government scrutiny, they are very difficult to detect.

The threat posed by grassroots operatives, and the difficulty identifying them, highlight the need for counterterrorism programs to adopt a proactive, protective intelligence approach to the problem -- an approach that focuses on "the how" of militant attacks instead of just "the who."

The How
In the traditional, reactive approach to counterterrorism, where authorities respond to a crime scene after a terrorist attack to find and arrest the militants responsible for the attack, it is customary to focus on the who, or on the individual or group behind the attack. Indeed, in this approach, the only time much emphasis is placed on the how is either in an effort to identify a suspect when an unknown actor carried out the attack, or to prove that a particular suspect was responsible for the attack during a trial. Beyond these limited purposes, not much attention is paid to the how.

In large part, this focus on the who is a legacy of the fact that for many years, the primary philosophy of the U.S. government was to treat counterterrorism as a law-enforcement program, with a focus on prosecution rather than on disrupting plots.

Certainly, catching and prosecuting those who commit terrorist attacks is necessary, but from our perspective, preventing attacks is more important, and prevention requires a proactive approach. To pursue such a proactive approach to counterterrorism, the how becomes a critical question. By studying and understanding how attacks are conducted -- i.e., the exact steps and actions required for a successful attack -- authorities can establish systems to proactively identify early indicators that planning for an attack is under way. People involved in planning the attack can then be focused on, identified, and action can be taken prevent them from conducting the attack or attacks they are plotting. This means that focusing on the how can lead to previously unidentified suspects, e.g., those who do not self-identify.

"How was the attack conducted?" is the primary question addressed by protective intelligence, which is, at its core, a process for proactively identifying and assessing potential threats. Focusing on the how, then, requires protective intelligence practitioners to carefully study the tactics, tradecraft and behavior associated with militant actors involved in terrorist attacks. This allows them to search for and identify those behaviors before an attack takes place. Many of these behaviors are not by themselves criminal in nature; visiting a public building and observing security measures or standing on the street to watch the arrival of a VIP at their office are not illegal, but they can be indicators that an attack is being plotted. Such legal activities ultimately could be overt actions in furtherance of an illegal conspiracy to conduct the attack, but even where conspiracy cannot be proved, steps can still be taken to identify possible assailants and prevent a potential attack -- or at the very least, to mitigate the risk posed by the people involved.

Protective intelligence is based on the fact that successful attacks don't just happen out of the blue. Rather, terrorist attacks follow a discernable attack cycle. There are critical points during that cycle where a plot is most likely to be detected by an outside observer. Some of the points during the attack cycle when potential attackers are most vulnerable to detection are while surveillance is being conducted and weapons are being acquired. However, there are other, less obvious points where people on the lookout can spot preparations for an attack.

It is true that sometimes individuals do conduct ill-conceived, poorly executed attacks that involve shortcuts in the planning process. But this type of spur-of-the-moment attack is usually associated with mentally disturbed individuals and it is extremely rare for a militant actor to conduct a spontaneous terrorist attack without first following the steps of the attack cycle.

To really understand the how, protective intelligence practitioners cannot simply acknowledge that something like surveillance occurs. Rather, they must turn a powerful lens on steps like preoperational surveillance to gain an in-depth understanding of them. Dissecting an activity like preoperational surveillance requires not only examining subjects such as the demeanor demonstrated by those conducting surveillance prior to an attack and the specific methods and cover for action and status used. It also requires identifying particular times where surveillance is most likely and certain optimal vantage points (called perches in surveillance jargon) from where a surveillant is most likely to operate when seeking to surveil a specific facility or event. This type of complex understanding of surveillance can then be used to help focus human or technological countersurveillance efforts where they can be most effective.

Unfortunately, many counterterrorism investigators are so focused on the who that they do not focus on collecting this type of granular how information. When we have spoken with law enforcement officers responsible for investigating recent grassroots plots, they gave us blank stares in response to questions about how the suspects had conducted surveillance on the intended targets. They simply had not paid attention to this type of detail -- but this oversight is not really the investigators' fault. No one had ever explained to them why paying attention to, and recording, this type of detail was important. Moreover, it takes specific training and a practiced eye to observe and record these details without glossing over them. For example, it is quite useful if a protective intelligence officer has first conducted a lot of surveillance, because conducting surveillance allows one to understand what a surveillant must do and where he must be in order to effectively observe surveillance of a specific person or place.

Similarly, to truly understand the tradecraft required to build an IED and the specific steps a militant needs to complete to do so, it helps to go to an IED school where the investigator learns the tradecraft firsthand. Militant actors can and do change over time. New groups, causes and ideologies emerge, and specific militants can be killed, captured or retire. But the tactical steps a militant must complete to conduct a successful attack are constant. It doesn't matter if the person planning an attack is a radical environmentalist, a grassroots jihadist or a member of the al Qaeda core, for while these diverse actors will exhibit different levels of professionalism in regard to terrorist tradecraft, they still must follow essentially the same steps, accomplish the same tasks and operate in the same areas. Knowing this allows protective intelligence to guard against different levels of threats.

Of course, tactics can be changed and perfected and new tactics can be developed (often in response to changes in security and law enforcement operations). Additionally, new technologies can emerge (like cell phones and Google Earth) -- which can alter the way some of these activities are conducted, or reduce the time it takes to complete them. Studying the tradecraft and behaviors needed to execute evolving tactics, however, allows protective intelligence practitioners to respond to such changes and even alter how they operate in order to more effectively search for potential hostile activity.

Technology does not only aid those seeking to conduct attacks. There are a variety of new tools, such as Trapwire, a software system designed to work with camera systems to help detect patterns of preoperational surveillance, that can be focused on critical areas to help cut through the fog of noise and activity and draw attention to potential threats. These technological tools can help turn the tables on unknown plotters because they are designed to focus on the how. They will likely never replace human observation and experience, but they can serve as valuable aids to human perception.

Of course, protective intelligence does not have to be the sole responsibility of federal authorities specifically charged with counterterrorism. Corporate security managers and private security contractors should also apply these principles to protecting the people and facilities in their charge, as should local and state police agencies. In a world full of soft targets -- and limited resources to protect those targets from attack -- the more eyes looking for such activity the better. Even the general public has an important role to play in practicing situational awareness and spotting potential terrorist activity.

Keeping it Simple?
Al-Wahayshi is right that it is not difficult to construct improvised explosives from a wide range of household chemicals like peroxide and acetone or chlorine and brake fluid. He is also correct that some of those explosive mixtures can be concealed in objects ranging from electronic items to picture frames, or can be employed in forms ranging from hand grenades to suicide vests. Likewise, low-level attacks can also be conducted using knives, clubs and guns.

Furthermore, when grassroots jihadists plan and carry out attacks acting as lone wolves or in small compartmentalized cells without inadvertently betraying their mission by conspiring with people known to the authorities, they are not able to be detected by the who-focused systems, and it becomes far more difficult to discover and thwart these plots. This focus on the how absolutely does not mean that who-centered programs must be abandoned. Surveillance on known militants, their associates and communications should continue, efforts to identify people attending militant training camps or fighting in places like Afghanistan or Somalia must be increased, and people who conduct terrorist attacks should be identified and prosecuted.

However -- and this is an important however -- if an unknown militant is going to conduct even a simple attack against some of the targets al-Wahayshi suggests, such as an airport, train, or specific leader or media personality, complexity creeps into the picture, and the planning cycle must be followed if an attack is going to be successful. The prospective attacker must observe and quantify the target, construct a plan for the attack and then execute that plan. The demands of this process will force even an attacker previously unknown to the authorities into a position where he is vulnerable to discovery. If the attacker does this while there are people watching for such activity, he will likely be seen. But if he does this while there are no watchers, there is little chance that he will become a who until after the attack has been completed.

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to
11402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: November 04, 2009, 10:49:07 PM
"The war of southern independence" ? Are you f'ing kidding me? The reasons for the civil war were complex, but the forcible end of slavery was the compelling moral cause. Is this something that really needs debate?
11403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: November 04, 2009, 06:58:22 PM
Of course, the best chance most women in the 3rd world have of getting treatment for this will be from those icky christian missionaries or US military personnel.
11404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sorry, America changed.... on: November 04, 2009, 01:52:40 PM

Sorry freedom seeking Iranians, Obama can only fight Fox News.
11405  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yogi akbar! on: November 04, 2009, 01:07:38 PM
Bear mauls, kills two high-ranking separatists hiding in cave in Kashmir
By Ethan Sacks

Originally Published:Tuesday, November 3rd 2009, 10:35 AM
Updated: Tuesday, November 3rd 2009, 10:35 AM

 Mustafa/GettyA Himilayan Black bear like this one mauled two Muslim separatists in Kashmir, police said.

A group of Muslim separatists in Kashmir picked the wrong cave for a hideout.

A police spokesman said an angry bear mauled two high-ranking Hizbul Mujahideen commanders who had set up camp inside its cave in the southern part of the Indian-run state, the Hindustan Times reported.

Though the men were armed with AK-47 machine guns, "the attack seems to have been so violent that both the militants got no chance to fire back at the wild animal," the spokesman, Col. JS Brar, told the Indian newspaper.

Two other militants were injured by the Himilayan black bear, but managed to escape and make their way to a nearby village for help, the BBC reported.

One of the dead men was later identified as Siafullah, the insurgency group's district commander.

Police believe it's the first such mauling of its kind since Muslim separatists launched their 1989 campaign against Indian rule in 1989.

Ironically, wild animal populations like bears and leopards have flourished since the armed conflict intensified - a fact attributed to the absence of poachers in areas of heavy fighting, the BBC reported.

Read more:
11406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: November 03, 2009, 09:56:00 PM
Wow. I had no idea.  shocked
11407  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Update: AZ victim dead on: November 03, 2009, 09:00:03 AM

Arizona: Muslim ran down daughter for being "too Westernized," Islamic apologist hauls out usual denial and deception

Denial and deception instead of any honest effort to come to grips with the root causes of honor killing. "Arizona Police Hunt for Dad Accused of Running Over Daughter: Police Say Faleh Hassan Almaleki Believed His Daughter Was 'Too Westernized,'" by Sarah Netter for ABC News, October 22 (thanks to James):

Police in Arizona are hunting for an Iraqi-American father who they say ran over his daughter with his car to punish her for becoming "too Westernized" and rebuffing the conservative ways he valued.
Memo to ABC News: "conservatives" don't generally run over their daughters with their cars for any reason at all.

Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, was last seen fleeing the parking lot of the Department of Economic Development in Peoria, Ariz., Tuesday after hitting his 20-year-old daughter and her boyfriend's mother with his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Noor Faleh Almaleki is in "life-threatening condition," Peoria Police spokesman Mike Tellef told today. Her boyfriend's mother, 43-year-old Amal Edan Khalaf, is also still hospitalized, but with non-life threatening injuries. "It occured because her not following traditional family values. We've been told that by everybody," Tellef said. "He felt she was becoming too westernized and he didn't like that." [...]

Not "traditional family values." Western non-Muslims who adhere to "traditional family values" do not generally run down their wayward daughters with their cars.

Noor Almaleki had backed out of an arranged marriage about a year ago, police learned, and had been living with Khalaf and her son in a nearby town.
Tellef said the young woman dressed in American clothing and was wearing typical Western attire when she was struck.

The family were all American citizens, though Tallef believes the parents were born in Iraq.

He said it was unclear if Faleh Almaleki intended to kill his daughter, but "it was definitely intentional that he ran them down." [...]

While Tellef had heard of so-called "honor killings" in other parts of the United States, this was the first such crime in Peoria.

Ibrahim Ramey, human and civil rights director for the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation, told that whenever this type of crime involves a Muslim it can serve to elevate the fears of people who may already harbor misconceptions about Islam.

Typical denial and deception.

In the first place, what is the Muslim American Society?

"In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members." -- Chicago Tribune, 2004.

And what is the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Muslim Brotherhood "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." -- "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America," by Mohamed Akram, May 19, 1991.

And secondly, instead of worrying about people getting "misconceptions of Islam," he should be working in the Islamic community to root out the assumptions that lead to honor killing. But you'll notice that he says nothing about that.

"It's reprehensible," he said of honor killings. "It's wrong."
Ramey pointed out that a verse in the Koran specifically states that there is no compulsion in religion, meaning that people can not be compelled or coerced into being Muslim or adhering to a certain set of rules.

"People have to obey or adhere to Islam ... according to the dictates of their own conscience," he said.

Yet despite the fact that Koran 2:256 -- "There is no compulsion in religion" -- is in the Koran, honor killing is broadly tolerated in the Islamic world. No one, of course, dares to confront the root of the problem by pointing out such inconvenient truths as the fact that a manual of Islamic law certified by Al-Azhar as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2).

In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In accord with this, in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values."

Then this ABC story drags in Rifqa Bary:

Honor Killings Unfairly Cast Negative Light on Islam
The notion of an honor killing -- Muslim men murdering female relatives for dishonoring the family by violating Islamic tenets -- made the news over the summer when 17-year-old Rifqa Bary ran away from her parents in Ohio and turned up in the Florida home of Christian pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz. Rafqa Barry [sic] claimed that her Muslim father had threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity.

Rifqa made tearful television appearance, crying on the Lorenzes shoulders, describing how she had to sneak around to attend church.

"They have to kill me because I'm a Christian. It's an honor [killing]. If they love me more than God, then they have to kill me," she told ABC's Orlando affiliate WFTV last month.

Blake Lorenz pointed to other honor killings, including the January 2008 murders of two Texas sisters who were believed to have been murdered by their Muslim father in a religion-fueld [sic] rage.

But Rifqa's father, Mohamed Bary, denied the accusation and said that while he preferred his daughter be a Muslim, she was free to practice whatever religion she chose.

"I don't believe my daughter would say this," Bary told "Good Morning America." "She's completely being coached -- I mean trained, influenced by these people. It's so sad."

An assertion without evidence, contradicted by the fact that she was a Christian for several years before she met those who allegedly coached her.

A Florida judge this month said he planned to send Rifqa back to Ohio after determining there was no evidence that her life was in danger.
See here for the facts.

Ramey said it's expected that incidents such as these will cause some backlash against the Muslim community, especially among Americans who have become fearful of Islam in the years since the war on terror and conflicts in places like Somalia.
But they can also open a door for discussion and questions so the community can understand that Islam is not a violent religion.

"It's certainly not part of the religion," he said," to run people down with vehicles."

That is merely a statement about the manner of killing, not about the killing itself.
11408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 01, 2009, 10:53:21 AM
- FrontPage Magazine - -

Detroit Jihad – by Robert Spencer

Posted By Robert Spencer On October 30, 2009 @ 12:24 am In FrontPage | 43 Comments

Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the imam of Detroit’s Masjid Al-Haqq (Mosque of Truth), was killed Wednesday in a shootout with FBI agents. The agents were trying to arrest him on charges of conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, firearms offenses and more. Agents also arrested eight mosque members; then Thursday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police caught Abdullah’s son, Mujahid Carswell. Two other accused jihadists also fled, and have not yet been found.

According to the indictment, in his mosque in Detroit Luqman Abdullah was preaching “offensive jihad” and the establishment of a Sharia state in North America. This sovereign Isamic state would be ruled by Islamic law – and by the apparent godfather of Abdullah’s movement, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. Al-Amin is the former Black Panther and convert to Islam who gained fame under the name H. Rap Brown. Al-Amin is now serving a life sentence for murdering two police officers, while his disciples, like Luqman Abdullah, carry on the message he articulated so memorably in the 1960s: “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down.”

In the spirit of his mentor, Abdullah has told his flock: “America must fall.” He has encouraged the Muslims in his mosque to support Hizballah, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. He exhorted them to bestir themselves to pious deeds: “We should be figuring out how to fight the Kuffar” – that is, unbelievers. “We got to take out the U.S. government. The U.S. government is nothing but Kuffars.” Among the unbelievers were FBI agents, about whom Abdullah declared: “Deal with them, deal with them the way, the way they supposed to be dealt with…. It’s not that complicated, man….If they are coming to get me I’ll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody.” A law enforcement official wrote in an affidavit that “Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting” – in accord with Abdullah’s dictum that every Muslim believer should “have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed.”

Abdullah found justification for all this in the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, which he said “justified stealing, robbing and other illegal acts, as long as they profit Islam.”

One would think that Muslim spokesmen in America would be anxious to prove their moderate bona fides by repudiating Abdullah, praising the efforts of law enforcement officials, and announcing new measures to teach against the understanding of Islam that prevailed at the Masjid al-Haqq and to shore up the moderate Islam that politically correct orthodoxy insists prevails in all mosques in America in the first place. But no such luck. Instead, they praised Abdullah and excoriated law enforcement.

Dawud Walid of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reinforced CAIR’s image as an unsavory group with numerous ties to terror – an image newly reinforced by numerous revelations in the explosive new book Muslim Mafia — as he tried to paint a very different picture of Abdullah: “I know him as a respected imam in the Muslim community.” He emphasized the Masjid al-Haqq’s charitable activities, perhaps forgetting that Nazi Germany (and Hamas, and Hizballah) ran social programs as well, and thus their existence is no indication that the one operating them is in every sense benign.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Walid said that a group of imams were going to meet with the head of Detroit’s FBI office, Andrew Arena, to complain, about “linking the weapons and smuggling charges to the Muslim faith” – as if the FBI, rather than Luqman Abdullah, had done this. Arena probably won’t need much convincing: he has already asserted, without explanation, that Abdullah taught “a very hybrid radical ideology – one mainstream Muslims “would not recognize.” For his part, Walid also warned that the death of Abdullah and the arrests of other Masjid al-Haqq would anger Muslims and make them even more suspicious of law enforcement than they already are: “As much as our president says nice, flowery things about Muslims and Islam in Cairo or Istanbul, these types of stories just erode that.”

Meanwhile, the Muslim Alliance of North America, of which Abdullah was a member, complained about the shootout in a statement: “This tragic shooting raises deep concerns regarding the use of lethal force by law enforcement agents. We urge law enforcement and the media not to take undo advantage of this tragedy in order to demonize … African American Muslims in particular.”

These kinds of statements fall into a pattern that has played out many times before. An Islamic jihadist plots murder and mayhem, explicitly justifying it all by reference to Islamic texts and teachings. Then putatively moderate Muslims, instead of support law enforcement efforts, criticize them and complain about Muslims being victimized and Islam being unfairly linked to terrorism. Generally this is followed by the spectacle of media and law enforcement officials bending over backwards to make sure that no one gets the impression that Islam had anything to do with the bloody plots that the arrested parties were planning.

The problem with this pattern is that no one involved is doing anything to keep the story of Luqman Abdullah and the Masjid al-Haqq from being repeated in other mosques in the United States in the future. No one is challenging the Muslim community here to clean its own house and stop the dissembling and finger-pointing. No one is speaking openly and honestly about what the Qur’an really says, and what the implications are of that fact. No one, in short, is doing much of anything to ensure that Luqman Abdullah, one of the first clergymen in the United States to be killed in a shootout with the FBI, is not just the first of many.

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11409  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The New Kitty Genovese on: November 01, 2009, 09:22:15 AM|main|dl1|link3|

"Many teens today have had years of exposure to violent video games and media images, Parks said, which studies show desensitizes them to violence. Richmond police said they believe some of the witnesses took cell phone pictures of the girl's ordeal – further proof of possible desensitization, Parks said.

"We've created this environment where adolescents can treat this awful stuff as spectacle," she said."

11410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 01, 2009, 08:52:50 AM

November 1, 2009
Smaller-Scale Terrorism Plots Pose New and Worrisome Threats, Officials Say By DAVID JOHNSTON and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON — After disrupting two recent terrorism plots, American intelligence officials are increasingly concerned that extremist groups in Pakistan linked to Al Qaeda are planning smaller operations in the United States that are harder to detect but more likely to succeed than the spectacular attacks they once emphasized, senior counterterrorism officials say.

The two cases — one involving two Chicago men accused this week of planning an attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the prophet Mohammad, the other a 24-year-old Denver shuttle bus driver indicted in a plot to use improvised explosives — are among the most serious in years, the officials said.

In both, the officials said, the main defendants are long-term residents of the United States with substantial community ties who traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas, where they apparently trained with extremist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda. The officials, from American military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the cases.

According to F.B.I. documents, David Coleman Headley, 49, the principal defendant in the Chicago case, met with Ilyas Kashmiri, who is regarded by Western authorities as one of the most dangerous Islamic militants operating in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas. Mr. Kashmiri turned to terrorism after serving as a Pakistani special operations commando, and has drawn renewed focus from United States officials after surviving an American drone strike in September.

“He’s a consummate opportunist and a master strategist who has both intimate local knowledge and a vicious global agenda,” said Jarret Brachman, author of “Global Jihadism” and a consultant to the United States government about terrorism.

The authorities have been struck in the Denver and Chicago plots by the central roles played by men who seem to have been more security conscious and better organized and trained than many of those involved in terrorism cases brought since 2001, including a surge of arrests in recent weeks. A number of those arrested were young men inflamed with militant zeal but few skills to carry out an attack.

Some officials said that while the Chicago and Denver cases stood out from lower-level terrorism prosecutions in the United States, it was not new for would-be terrorists to travel to Pakistan and other training grounds and return home to engage in militant activity. They said the activities of Najibullah Zazi, the Denver man, closely resembled the methodology of the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the London subway bombings in 2005.

A case last year suggests that young men from the United States are also finding their way to Pakistan to fight American forces. Bryant Neal Vinas, 26, grew up on Long Island and worked as a truck driver for the Long Island Rail Road before going to Pakistan. He made contact with a Qaeda group and took part in a rocket attack on an American base in Afghanistan before being captured in Pakistan and brought back to the United States in November 2008. Since then, Mr. Vinas has cooperated with the authorities, helping to identify other extremists who trained for operations in the West.

The model of young men who have lived for years in the United States before traveling overseas and connecting with militant Islamist groups is not confined to Pakistan.

In October 2008, for example, a Somali-American teenager from Minneapolis carried out a suicide bombing in northern Somalia. The teenager, Shirwa Ahmed, had come to the United States in the 1990s and became a citizen. In the months before the attack, he had traveled to the Horn of Africa and apparently joined up with Al Shabab, a militant Muslim group fighting the Ethiopians.

Government counterterrorism analysts said it was significant that the Chicago and Denver cases involved plots that seem less ambitious than the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks or suspected plots of the past, like those aimed at Los Angeles International Airport or the Sears Tower in Chicago.

Western intelligence officials believed that Al Qaeda’s leadership concentrated on spectacular, mass-casualty attacks to build its credibility in the Islamic world. American analysts said the difficulty of carrying out such grandiose plots offered a measure of protection to the United States.

J. Patrick Rowan, a former top lawyer in the Justice Department’s national security division, said the recent cases could mean shifting away from large-scale plots. “There has always been a view that Al Qaeda wants to duplicate or do something even more substantial than 9/11,” Mr. Rowan said.

“The hypothesis has been that they have focused their resources on carrying out a spectacular attack and decided not to pursue lesser plots,” he said. “These cases would seem to undercut that hypothesis and suggest they might be rethinking their strategy, which is obviously worrisome because smaller operations may be harder to detect and stop.”

One of the most important figures in this emerging trend is Mr. Kashmiri, the operational commander of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, a Pakistani terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, whom one American official described as a “nightmare guy” because he was “an operator who could make things happen.”

Mr. Kashmiri, 45, has a long history of waging guerrilla operations. As a Pakistani army trainer of Afghan mujahedeen, he lost an eye battling Russian forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Later, while working with Kashmiri militants attacking India, Pakistan’s archenemy, he earned wide renown in Pakistan after escaping from an Indian jail where he was imprisoned for two years.

But Mr. Kashmiri turned against the state after President Pervez Musharraf banned his group after the Sept. 11 attacks. He was arrested four years later in connection with an attempted assassination of Mr. Musharraf in December 2003, but released because of lack of evidence.

After the Pakistani government laid siege to Islamic militants in the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July 2007, Mr. Kashmiri moved his operations to North Waziristan and took up arms with Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban there. He is listed as the fourth-most-wanted man by the Pakistani Ministry of the Interior, according to Pakistani media reports.

American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Mr. Kashmiri is among the most dangerous militant leaders in Pakistan today because of training skills, commando experience and strategic vision to carry out attacks against Western targets, like the Danish newspaper.

Mr. Brachman said that while militants like Mr. Kashmiri were not under Al Qaeda’s direct control, they were responding to the terrorist organization’s rallying cry to attack the West.

“For years now Al Qaeda has been calling their movement to arms — sowing seeds across the global movement,” Mr. Brachman said. “What is clear, however, is that the seeds are now starting to sprout.”

Charlie Savage and Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.
11411  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The New Kitty Genovese on: October 31, 2009, 11:24:50 AM
Mob Mentality.  Groups of people are the most dangerous nasty entities an individual will have to face.   A gun helps with that too, since multiple bullets mean a fair chunk of a threatening group is running a significant risk.  That is another factor of being able to carry a firearm.  I like you Unorganized concept of Militia, no group/mob concept just people preparing themselves for self-defense.

Assuming there was someone with the will to act, and armed appropriately... what sort of special attention do you think they would have received from the police?

Sexual assault counts as "serious bodily injury"and given the threat of HIV, death. In most states, you can use force, including deadly force to protect a 3rd party from serious bodily injury/death.
11412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California Nightmare on: October 31, 2009, 10:40:43 AM,0,2028140.story
California to withhold a bigger chunk of paychecks
The amount goes up 10% on Sunday as Sacramento borrows from taxpayers. Technically, it's not an income tax increase: You'll get the money back eventually.
By Shane Goldmacher and W.J. Hennigan

October 31, 2009

Reporting from Los Angeles and Sacramento

Starting Sunday, cash-strapped California will dig deeper into the pocketbooks of wage earners -- holding back 10% more than it already does in state income taxes just as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks into gear.

Technically, it's not a tax increase, even though it may feel like one when your next paycheck arrives. As part of a bundle of budget patches adopted in the summer, the state is taking more money now in withholding, even though workers' annual tax bills won't change.

Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You'll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less.

But with rising gas costs, depressed home prices and double-digit unemployment, the state's added reach into residents' regular paycheck isn't sitting well with many.

"The state's suddenly slapping people upside the head," said Mack Reed, 50, of Silver Lake. "It's appalling how brash that is."

Brittney McKaig, 23, of Santa Ana said she expects the additional withholding to affect her holiday spending.

"Coming into the holidays, we're getting squeezed anyway," she said. "We're not getting Christmas bonuses and other perks we used to get. So it all falls back on spending. The $40 gift will become a $20 gift."

The extra withholding may seem like a small amount siphoned from each paycheck, but it adds up to a $1.7-billion fix for California's deficit-riddled books.

From a single taxpayer earning $51,000 a year with no dependents, the state will be grabbing an extra $17.59 each month, according to state tax officials. A married person earning $90,000 with two dependents would receive $24.87 less in monthly pay.

California will probably continue to collect the tax at a higher rate for many years -- or find an additional $1.7 billion to slice from a future budget, an unlikely occurrence. All workers who have state taxes withheld will see their paychecks shrink.

"Many families are sitting at their kitchen table wondering how they're going to make ends meet," said state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks). "At the same time, the state of California is taking a no-interest loan."

The provision is one of numerous maneuvers state lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved in the summer to paper over the state's deficit. Many of the changes, including the extra withholding, were little noticed outside of Sacramento.

Savvy taxpayers can get around the state's maneuver by increasing the number of personal withholding allowances they claim on their employer tax forms, said Brenda Voet, a spokeswoman for the state's Franchise Tax Board.

"People can get out of this," she said, noting that most people would have to change their allowances through their employers. California's budget leaders are banking on the hope that most won't.

The increase is coming at a bad time for store owners, many of whom depend on the holiday shopping season to keep their businesses alive.

"I don't think there's any question it's going to impact consumers' spending," said Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Assn. "Any time you reduce people's disposable income, there's going to be a negative effect on the retail sector."

But Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, wasn't so sure.

"It's having a relatively small impact on people's income," Levy said, pointing out that many families will receive only $12 to $40 less each month.

Yet Erika Wendt, 28, of San Diego said she already lived on a tight budget: She rides her bike to work, for instance, to save on gasoline and parking costs.

"I am frustrated as this directly impacts my weekly budget -- what groceries I buy, how much I drive and can spend on gas," she said. "Now money will just be tighter, and I'm not sure where else I can cut back."

The extra withholding comes in addition to tax hikes the state enacted this year.

In February, state income tax rates were bumped up 0.25 of a percentage point for every tax bracket. The dependent credit was slashed by two-thirds. The state sales tax rate rose 1 percentage point. The vehicle license fee nearly doubled to 1.15% of a car's value.

Lawmakers and the governor also approved deep cuts to schools, social services and prisons to fend off one of the steepest revenue losses in California history.

Temporary budget bandages, such as the increase in withholding, were included at several points this year to avoid higher taxes and deeper cuts, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance.

Sacramento, meanwhile, is awash in red ink again. The state controller recently said revenue in the budget year already had fallen more than $1 billion short of assumptions. Outsize deficits are projected for years to come.

Such temporary measures as the withholding tax increase don't really fix the budget gap, "they just more or less hid it," said Christopher Thornberg, a principal with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles. "I call it a fraud."



11413  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The New Kitty Genovese on: October 29, 2009, 08:37:08 PM
This is only notable because it got media attention. Not only do bystanders do nothing, they sometimes deliberately obstruct police investigations and assist the escape of the offenders.
11414  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / L.A. police patrols boosted at Jewish temples after attack on: October 29, 2009, 08:18:05 PM


L.A. police patrols boosted at Jewish temples after attack

Editor's Note: Fred Burton, widely considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on terrorists and terrorist organizations began his law enforcement career as a cop in Montgomery County, Maryland. Now VP of counterterrorism for the private intelligence firm STRATFOR, Burton recently told PoliceOne that while most police officers know where the “high-value targets” are in their patrol area — the power plants, transportation facilities, malls, hospitals, sports complexes, rail yards, radio towers, and public buildings — they should also get to know the locations of the synagogues in their area of responsibility, as well as the mosques. This story, as well as the report from Detroit yesterday, nails home that point. Read the full conversation with Burton here.


Synagogue parishioners huddle at the scene in Los Angeles where a gunman shot and wounded two men in the parking garage of a North Hollywood synagogue early Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009. Jewish schools and temples were put on alert in case it was not a lone attack, authorites said. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

LOS ANGELES — A gunman shot and wounded two men in the parking garage of a North Hollywood synagogue Thursday, frightening worshippers who heard gunshots and screams before the bleeding victims stumbled in during morning services.

Authorities initially put Jewish schools and temples on alert before saying the attack appeared to be isolated.

Police detained a 17-year-old high school student near the temple because he matched a "very loose" description of the attacker, who was described as a black man wearing a hoodie, Deputy Police Chief Michel Moore said. They later released the youth, saying while he was still a potential suspect, they didn't have enough evidence to hold him.

Two men, ages 38 and 53, were shot in the legs near the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Orthodox synagogue in the San Fernando Valley, Moore said. The men, both members of the synagogue, arrived in separate cars for the morning service shortly before 6:30 a.m. and were in a stairwell leading up to the synagogue sanctuary when the gunman shot them several times, police said.

The victims, who were hospitalized in good condition, told police the attacker did not speak, Moore said.

One worshipper, Yehuda Oz, said he and about 14 others were praying in the temple when they heard four gunshots and screams from the parking area. Two men stumbled into the temple, Oz said, and people rushed to stop their bleeding.

No one saw the attacker, he said.

"Maybe it was crazy person," Yehuda told the Los Angeles Times. "Maybe he was drugged up. Maybe it was a Jew. We don't know."

Even as investigators tried to find a motive, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials moved to calm fears that the attack was part of any organized anti-Semitic violence.

"We certainly recognize the location and we're sensitive to that," Moore said. "But we do not know that this was a hate crime at all."

Police searched the area for several hours but found no one. An alert that sent extra police patrols to local Jewish schools and synagogues was called off.

Security camera footage from the synagogue shows the suspect but not the shooting, and the quality is too poor for investigators to identify the man, Cmdr. Jorge Villegas said.

The attack occurred 10 miles from a Jewish community center where white supremacist Buford Furrow wounded three children, a teenager and an adult, in 1999. Furrow later killed a Filipino letter carrier on another street, and is serving a life sentence without chance of parole.

The synagogue is in an area of long boulevards with commercial districts, tree-studded blocks of post-World War II stucco homes and apartment complexes on the north side of the Hollywood Hills. It has the second-largest concentration of Jews in the city, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights group with more than 400,000 members in the United States.

About 6,000 Jews live within walking distance of the synagogue, among many more thousands who live in the San Fernando Valley, Cooper said.

"Adat Yeshurun is a Sephardic synagogue, which means it would attract primarily Jews from Morocco, Yemen, Israelis, some Persians," Cooper said.

It would be easy to scope out synagogue members because they show up every morning at the same time, Cooper said. The synagogue is not on a busy thoroughfare, and Cooper said he believed the gunman may have gone out of his way to attack the men.

"It's a bit of an anomaly about what was that guy doing there, and if he targeted, why there?" Cooper said.

LAPD First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said investigators were trying to determine whether a similar suspect might have been involved in robberies or other crimes in the area.

Shayan Yaghoubi, 13, was walking with his mother to the synagogue's adjoining school but wasn't allowed to cross the police line.

"The cops told us we can't go," he said. "I feel very bad because this is my favorite school ... I have a lot of friends over there. I hope everyone is OK. There's never been a problem with fighting."

Michael Bloom, 30, an Orthodox organizer with Hatzolah, a Jewish volunteer medical response team, grew up in the diverse neighborhood. He said there had been instances of Jews being insulted as they walked to the synagogue on the Sabbath.

"This has been going on for years. Everything from "death to Israel" to "dirty Jew,'" he said. "There are gangs in the area. It's not the safest neighborhood."

But Sholomo Yaghobi, 18, said the neighborhood was "calm, relatively."

His brother attends the temple's school and was worried.

"I'm upset if something would have happened to my brother, who would answer to that?" he said.
11415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: October 29, 2009, 06:48:48 AM

October 28, 2009

Detroit mosque leader killed in FBI raids

The Detroit News

Detroit -- The leader of a Detroit mosque who allegedly espoused violence and separatism was shot and killed Wednesday in an FBI gun battle at a Dearborn warehouse.

Luqman Ameen Abdullah, imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit, was being arrested on a raft of federal charges including conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, and firearms offenses.

Charges were also filed against 11 of Abdullah's followers. Eight were in custody Wednesday night awaiting detention hearings today; three remained at large.

A federal complaint filed Wednesday identified Abdullah, 53, also known as Christopher Thomas, as "a highly placed leader of a nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group." His black Muslim group calls itself "Ummah," or the brotherhood, and wants to establish a separate state within the United States governed by Sharia law, Interim U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg and Andrew Arena, FBI special agent in charge in Detroit, said in a joint statement.

"He regularly preaches anti-government and anti-law enforcement rhetoric," an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. "Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting."

The Ummah is headed nationally by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a state sentence for the murder of two police officers in Georgia.

Early Wednesday afternoon, FBI agents and local police from the Joint Terrorism Task Force surrounded a warehouse and trucking firm on Miller Road near Michigan Avenue where Abdullah and four of his followers were hiding, said Special Agent Sandra Berchtold, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Detroit.

When agents entered the warehouse, four of the men obeyed orders to surrender but Abdullah opened fire and was shot to death, Berchtold said. An FBI dog was also shot and killed, she said.

Through a 45-page complaint filed in the case alleges Abdullah "calls his followers to an offensive jihad" and preaches that every Muslim should "have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed," charges in the case to not include terrorism or national security crimes.

The complaint further alleged that an armed group known as the "Sutra team" protected the mosque.

In January, when members were evicted from a building on Joy Road for non-payment of property taxes, Detroit police confiscated two firearms, about 40 knives and martial arts weapons from Abdullah's apartment, the complaint alleged.

The mosque then relocated to Clairmount in Detroit, the complaint says.

According to the complaint, Abdullah told an informant that if the FBI came to get him: "I'll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody." On another occasion, he said: "We've got to take out the U.S. government," the complaint alleges.

David Nu'man of Detroit, who considered himself a friend of Abdullah, said he is skeptical about the allegations.

"It doesn't seem to be of his character," said Nu'man, who had attended the mosque on Joy Road but was not a member.

Ihsan Bagby, the general secretary of the Muslim Alliance of North America, said Abdullah was a member of the Lexington, K.Y. based group, and his shooting shocked the African American Muslim community nationwide.

"We want to know what happened," said Bagby. "We had no inkling of any kind of criminal activity. This is a complete shock to all of us."

The others charged are:

Mohammad Abdul Salaam, also known as Gregory Stone, 45, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes and sale or receipt of stolen goods.

Abdullah Beard, also known as Detric Lamont Driver, 37, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

Abdul Saboor, also known as Dwayne Edward Davis, 37, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

Mujahid Carswell, also known as Mujahid Abdullah, 30, of Detroit and Ontario, Canada, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

Adam Ibraheem, 38, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

Gary Laverne Porter, 59, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.

Ali Abdul Raqib, 57, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

Mohammad Alsahi, also known as Mohammad Palestine, 33, of Ontario, Canada, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

Yassir Ali Khan, 30, of Ontario, Canada, and Warren, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

Mohammad Abdul Bassir, also known as Franklin D. Roosevelt Williams, 50, of Ojibway Correctional Facility with conspiracy to commit federal crimes, sale or receipt of stolen goods, mail fraud, supplying firearms to felons, possession of weapons by a felon, and altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers.

A.C. Pusha, charged in a separate complaint late Wednesday with conspiracy to receive and sell stolen goods.

Salaam, Saboor, Porter, Beard, Ibraheem, Raqib, and Pusha all appeared in U.S. District Court in Detroit late Wednesday afternoon. Bassir is in state custody. Others charged are still at large.

Prior to the gunfight in Dearborn, the FBI executed search warrants at 4467 Tireman and 9278 Genesee in Detroit, officials said.

Yellow police tape was put up outside the Dearborn warehouse and a Dearborn police car was parked outside."> (313) 222-2069 David Josar, Charlie LeDuff, Oralandar Brand-Williams and George Hunter contributed.
11416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 25, 2009, 12:30:35 PM
“We’re not trying to delve into areas of privacy or grades,” Ms. Daly said. “Our position is that they’ve engaged in an investigative process, and without any hostility, we’re seeking to get all of the information they’ve developed, just as detectives and investigators turn over.”

The students said they had found, among other things, that two eyewitnesses had recanted their testimony against Mr. McKinney and could not have seen him commit the killing because they were watching a boxing championship (Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali). The students collected an affidavit from a gang member who, they say, confirmed Mr. McKinney’s alibi that he was running away from gang members when the shooting took place.

The students have also suggested alternative suspects in the case and offered witnesses who said they had heard the others admit their involvement.

The students provided their videotaped interviews of critical witnesses and affidavits to the prosecutors, but in June the prosecutors subpoenaed far more — the students’ investigative memorandums, e-mail messages, notes from multiple interviews with witnesses and class grades.

**I think it's pretty clear that they are acting as investigators when rather than researching and reporting, they move into taking statements/affidavits and reconstructing crimes for testimonial purposes for the appealate process. They are acting as defense investigators and not mere journalists, no matter what title they seek.**
11417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 25, 2009, 10:17:30 AM
If they were just writing a story for publication, then the journalist claim should fly. What these projects do goes well beyond that. If you wish to act as an investigator, then everything you do is subject to discovery.
11418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 25, 2009, 10:11:31 AM

BLT isn't anywhere near mainstream christian theology. Judging christianity  by BLT is like judging judism by Kahane Chai.

If you really understood Black Liberation Theology, how could you knowling vote for one of it's adherents?
11419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 25, 2009, 09:23:52 AM

The peculiar theology of black liberation
By Spengler

Senator Barack Obama is not a Muslim, contrary to invidious rumors. But he belongs to a Christian church whose doctrine casts Jesus Christ as a "black messiah" and blacks as "the chosen people". At best, this is a radically different kind of Christianity than most Americans acknowledge; at worst it is an ethnocentric heresy.

What played out last week on America's television screens was a clash of two irreconcilable cultures, the posture of "black liberation theology" and the mainstream American understanding of Christianity. Obama, who presented himself as a unifying figure, now seems rather the living embodiment of the clash.

One of the strangest dialogues in American political history ensued on March 15 when Fox News interviewed Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, of Chicago's Trinity Church. Wright asserted the authority of the "black liberation" theologians James Cone and Dwight Hopkins:

Wright: How many of Cone's books have you read? How many of Cone's book have you read?

Sean Hannity: Reverend, Reverend?


Wright: How many books of Cone's have you head?

Hannity: I'm going to ask you this question ...

Wright: How many books of Dwight Hopkins have you read?

Hannity: You're very angry and defensive. I'm just trying to ask a question here.

Wright: You haven't answered - you haven't answered my question.

Hopkins is a full professor at the University of Chicago's Divinity School; Cone is now distinguished professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary. They promote a "black power" reading of Christianity, to which liberal academic establishment condescends.

Obama referred to this when he asserted in a March 14 statement, "I knew Reverend Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago." But the fact the liberal academy condescends to sponsor black liberation theology does not make it less peculiar to mainstream American Christians. Obama wants to talk about what Wright is, rather than what he says. But that way lies apolitical quicksand.

Since Christianity taught the concept of divine election to the Gentiles, every recalcitrant tribe in Christendom has rebelled against Christian universalism, insisting that it is the "Chosen People" of God - French, English, Russian, Germans and even (through the peculiar doctrine of Mormonism) certain Americans. America remains the only really Christian country in the industrial world, precisely because it transcends ethnicity. One finds ethnocentricity only in odd corners of its religious life; one of these is African-American.

During the black-power heyday of the late 1960s, after the murder of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, the mentors of Wright decided that blacks were the Chosen People. James Cone, the most prominent theologian in the "black liberation" school, teaches that Jesus Christ himself is black. As he explains:
Christ is black therefore not because of some cultural or psychological need of black people, but because and only because Christ really enters into our world where the poor were despised and the black are, disclosing that he is with them enduring humiliation and pain and transforming oppressed slaves into liberating servants.
Theologically, Cone's argument is as silly as the "Aryan Christianity" popular in Nazi Germany, which claimed that Jesus was not a Jew at all but an Aryan Galilean, and that the Aryan race was the "chosen people". Cone, Hopkins and Wright do not propose, of course, to put non-blacks in concentration camps or to conquer the world, but racially-based theology nonetheless is a greased chute to the nether regions.

Biblical theology teaches that even the most terrible events to befall Israel, such as the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, embody the workings of divine justice, even if humankind cannot see God's purpose. James Cone sees the matter very differently. Either God must do what we want him to do, or we must reject him, Cone maintains:
Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love. [1]
In the black liberation theology taught by Wright, Cone and Hopkins, Jesus Christ is not for all men, but only for the oppressed:
In the New Testament, Jesus is not for all, but for the oppressed, the poor and unwanted of society, and against oppressors ... Either God is for black people in their fight for liberation and against the white oppressors, or he is not [Cone].
In this respect black liberation theology is identical in content to all the ethnocentric heresies that preceded it. Christianity has no use for the nations, a "drop of the bucket" and "dust on the scales", in the words of Isaiah. It requires that individuals turn their back on their ethnicity to be reborn into Israel in the spirit. That is much easier for Americans than for the citizens of other nations, for Americans have no ethnicity. But the tribes of the world do not want to abandon their Gentile nature and as individuals join the New Israel. Instead they demand eternal life in their own Gentile flesh, that is, to be the "Chosen People".

That is the "biblical scholarship" to which Obama referred in his March 14 defense of Wright and his academic prominence. In his response to Hannity, Wright genuinely seemed to believe that the authority of Cone and Hopkins, who now hold important posts at liberal theological seminaries, was sufficient to make the issue go away. His faith in the white establishment is touching; he honestly cannot understand why the white reporters at Fox News are bothering him when the University of Chicago and the Union Theological Seminary have put their stamp of approval on black liberation theology.

Many things that the liberal academy has adopted, though, will horrify most Americans, and not only "black liberation theology" (Queer Studies comes to mind, among other things). It cannot be in Obama's best interests to appeal to the authority of Cone, whose unapologetic racism must be repugnant to the great majority of Americans, including the majority of black Americans, who for the most part belong to Christian churches that preach mainstream Christian doctrine. Christianity teaches unconditional love for a God whose love for humankind is absolute; it does not teach the repudiation of a God who does not destroy our enemies on the spot.

Whether Obama takes seriously the doctrines that Wright preaches is another matter. It is possible that Obama does not believe a word of what Wright, Cone and Hopkins teach. Perhaps he merely used the Trinity United Church of Christ as a political stepping-stone. African-American political life is centered around churches, and his election to the Illinois State Senate with the support of Chicago's black political machine required church membership. Trinity United happens to be Chicago's largest and most politically active black church.

Obama views Wright rather at arm's length: as the New York Times reported on April 30, 2007:
Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through," Mr Obama said. "He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.
Obama holds his own views close. But it seems unlikely that he would identify with the ideological fits of the black-power movement of the 1960s. Obama does not come to the matter with the perspective of an American black, but of the child of a left-wing anthropologist raised in the Third World, as I wrote elsewhere (Obama's women reveal his secret , Asia Times Online, February 26, 2008). It is possible that because of the Wright affair Obama will suffer for what he pretended to be, rather than for what he really is.

1. See William R Jones, "Divine Racism: The Unacknowledged Threshold Issue for Black Theology", in African-American Religious Thought: An Anthology, ed Cornel West and Eddie Glaube (Westminster John Knox Press).
11420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: October 25, 2009, 09:21:45 AM
I actually support the "Innocence Project", but they better be ready for discovery.
11421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 25, 2009, 09:05:30 AM

Ask those members of Trinity about black liberation theology and what was taught at Trinity.
11422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 25, 2009, 09:02:51 AM
Obama's Church: Gospel of Hate
By: Kathy Shaidle | Monday, April 07, 2008

Barack Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, became a household name last month when ABC News reported on some of Wright’s inflammatory sermons. As his applauding congregation cheered him on, the former leader of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ condemned the U.S. government for “killing innocent people” and for treating American citizens, especially blacks, as “less than human.” “God Damn America,” Rev. Wright preached.

These sentiments were entirely consistent with comments Wright had made many times during his long pastoral career. From the pulpit, Rev. Wright also has taught that AIDS was concocted by the federal government as a genocidal plot against blacks. On another occasion, he declared, “Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run! ... We [Americans] believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God.”

Millions of Americans were shocked to hear such vituperative rage and unrestrained anti-American hatred. They need not have been surprised. Rev. Wright’s passionate disdain for his country, and his belief that black Americans are still singled out for persecution, is entirely in keeping with the political philosophy that underpins his religious views: Black Liberation Theology.

In March of 2007, FOX News host Sean Hannity had engaged Obama’s pastor in a heated interview about his Church’s teachings. For many viewers, the ensuing shouting match was their first exposure to “Black Liberation Theology,” and to the name of one of its leading mouthpieces, James Cone, a professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary and an iconic figure venerated by Rev. Wright.

Until ABC News picked up the story months later, Black Liberation Theology remained a rather obscure discipline, confined to the syllabi of liberal seminaries. But after Wright’s sermons were broadcast again and again on the news and the Internet, Black Liberation Theology once again commanded popular attention. After all, Barack Obama had joined Trinity twenty years earlier, had been married in the Church, and had his daughters baptized there. Obama and his wife had donated $22,500 to Trinity in 2006. The presidential hopeful even took the name of his memoir, The Audacity of Hope, from the title of one of Wright’s sermons. The beliefs held by a presidential candidate’s longtime pastor and spiritual advisor are therefore of great national interest.

And what are those beliefs? Like the pro-communist liberation theology that swept Central America in the 1980s and was repeatedly condemned by Pope John Paul II, Black Liberation Theology combines warmed-over 1960s vintage Marxism with carefully distorted biblical passages. However, in contrast to traditional Marxism, it emphasizes race rather than class. The Christian notion of “salvation” in the afterlife is superseded by “liberation” on earth, courtesy of the establishment of a socialist utopia.

The leading theorist of Black Liberation Theology is James Cone. Overtly racist, Cone’s writings posit a black Jesus who leads African-Americans as the “chosen people.” In Cone’s cosmology, whites are “the devil,” and “all white men are responsible for white oppression.” Cone makes this point without ambiguity: “This country was founded for whites and everything that has happened in it has emerged from the white perspective,” Cone has written. “What we need is the destruction of whiteness, which is the source of human misery in the world.”

If whiteness stands for all that is evil, blackness symbolizes all that is good. “Black theology,” says Cone, “refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.” Small wonder that some critics have condemned black liberation theology as “racist idolatry” and “Afro-Nazism.”

Furthermore, according to Cone, “black values” are superior to American values. Sure enough, the “About Us” statement on Trinity’s web page includes the following Cone-inspired declaration: “We are an African people, and remain ‘true to our native land,’ the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.”

It is troubling that Barack Obama’s closest friends and allies subscribe to an explicitly racist doctrine. Even more worrying is that the main exponent of Black Liberation Theology sees Obama as a kindred spirit. In the wake of the controversy surrounding Obama’s pastor and Church, Cone said: “I’ve read both of Barack Obama’s books, and I heard the speech [on race]. I don’t see anything in the books or in the speech that contradicts black liberation theology.”

It’s tempting to see figures like Cone and Wright as fringe actors with no constituency in the wider black community. Yet Cone considers himself to be the natural successor to Martin Luther King, Jr., and not everyone finds the comparison jarring.

Similarly with Rev. Wright. At a summit of black pastors held shortly after the recent controversy broke, many defended Wright’s sermons as part of the “prophetic preaching” tradition embodied by the assassinated civil rights leader.

Said Rev. Frederick Haynes III, senior pastor at Friendship West Baptist Church: “If Martin Luther King, Jr. were pastoring a church today, it would look very much like Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, and the sermons you would hear him preach would sound very much” like Wright’s.

Stacey Floyd-Thomas, who teaches ethics and serves as Director of black church studies at Brite Divinity School in Texas, explained that King, foreshadowing Wright, had once called America “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Moreover, said Floyd-Thomas, King was assassinated before he could deliver his scheduled Sunday sermon entitled “Why America May Go to Hell.”

Black Liberation Theology, in short, cannot be dismissed as a minority view. Americans are thus left with the troubling knowledge that millions of their fellow citizens consider them to be “devils,” having been taught to think this way by their religious leaders. They must wonder, too, why they should entrust the presidency to a man who has surrounded himself with those who actively despise the very country he seeks to lead.

Kathy Shaidle blogs at Her new book exposing abuses by Canada’s Human Rights Commissions, The Tyranny of Nice, includes an introduction by Mark Steyn.

11423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 24, 2009, 11:16:22 PM
I'm pretty sure that posting an article is somewhat different than attending religious services for 20 years. Louis Farrakhan was the only person to appear on the cover of Wright's church magazine as many times as Obama.

I guess all those issues got lost in the mail.

So Rachel, if your rabbi started doing/saying anything like Wright did, how many decades do you wait until you find another place to worship?
11424  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 24, 2009, 09:56:22 PM
I'm sure that Obama was just shocked to learn of his pastor's opinions. 20 years and this just flew under his radar....

11425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 24, 2009, 09:53:42 PM,DB7611A2-02CD-43AF-8147-649E26813571,frameless.htm

Jeremiah Wright: Messenger of Intolerance



Jeremiah Wright, the pastor emeritus at Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) in Chicago, is once again at the center of a controversy after making inflammatory statements about Jews and Zionists.


Wright blamed Jews for the fact that he has been out of touch with President Barack Obama in an interview with the Daily Press, a Newport News, Virginia-based newspaper, on June 9. Wright noted that "them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."


In the same interview, Wright asserted that Israel is committing ethnic cleansing in Gaza, which he described as "a sin and a crime against humanity," and expressed his belief that the Obama Administration would have sent a U.S. delegation to the 2009 Durban Review Conference in April if not for fear of losing "the Jewish vote, the A-I-P-A-C vote, that's controlling him."

Wright later stated that he misspoke and that he did not mean to refer to Jews, but rather Zionists. "I'm not talking about all Jews, all people of the Jewish faith, I'm talking about Zionists," Wright said. 

Wright's initial comments and subsequent effort to distinguish between Jews and Zionists is reminiscent of his past inflammatory comments, which propelled him into the spotlight during Obama's primary run, and which he maintained had been taken out of context by the media and others.



Wright was thrust into the national spotlight in early 2008, at the height of then-Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign. As the media investigated Obama's longtime membership at TUCC and his relationship with Wright, at the time TUCC's pastor, several of Wright's sermons and writings became the focus of attention.


In his statements, Wright expressed support for Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam; accused Israel of committing state terrorism; asserted that the U.S. brought the 2001 World Trade Center attacks upon itself; and charged that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus as a means of "genocide against people of color."


The media's focus on TUCC raised questions reaching beyond Wright's views on domestic and foreign policy issues. Themes of white supremacy and black repression in Wright's sermons and in the church's guiding principles, along with TUCC's motto "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian," compelled some critics to charge that the church promoted divisive, separatist views.


Though Wright refrained from responding to criticism and making public appearances throughout much of the election year, he did conduct a round of appearances in response to Obama's March 18, 2008 speech on race relations in the U.S.  In Obama's speech, titled "A More Perfect Union," he distanced himself from Wright and some of his past statements.


During interviews, sermons, and televised speeches held over the course of one week in April 2008, Wright addressed issues surrounding religious and racial diversity, emphasized that his sermons has been distorted by the media for political purposes, and portrayed the controversy surrounding his past sermons as an attack against the Black church.

Wright also denied accusations that he is divisive when discussing race relations, stating, "I am not one of the most 'divisive'… the word is 'descriptive." He claimed that real-world conditions, not his commentary, are responsible for the nation's ills.

Under scrutiny for the inflammatory comments about Israel and Zionism that had marked some of his past speeches, Wright was repeatedly questioned about his views on the subjects during these April 2008 talks.


At an appearance that same week at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Wright refused to denounce Farrakhan's comments about Zionism being a gutter religion when asked about them during the question and answer session. Wright emphasized that Farrakhan made the comment about Zionism, not Judaism, and stated, "He was saying the same thing UN resolutions say, same thing Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu are being vilified for." (Former U.S. President Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu frequently compare Israel's treatment of Palestinians to South African Apartheid).


He further said he would not denounce Farrakhan, adding that "Farrakhan is not my enemy, he didn't put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and didn't make me this color."


When asked about his own views on Israel, Wright challenged the questioner's assertion that he has likened Israeli policy to apartheid ("Where did I liken them?... Jimmy Carter called it apartheid; Jeremiah Wright didn't liken anything to anything"). He stated, "My position on Israel is that Israel has a right to exist, that Israelis have a right to exist." However, he then cited The Link, an anti-Israel publication from Americans for Middle East Understanding, posing the question, "Have you read the Link?"


Wright also addressed Israel and the Israeli-Arab conflict during an appearance at Michigan State University a few months earlier. During his talk on February 7, 2008, Wright described the creation of the state of Israel as "a political decision made in 1948 to solve a European problem of European Jews by putting them in somebody else's country."


He said he identified with Carter, Tutu and Jim Wall of Christian Century, saying that like them he would be "labeled as anti-Semitic" for citing U.N. resolutions and international court findings pertaining to Israel and the Palestinians.


Wright served as the pastor at TUCC from 1972 until he retired in 2008.

In His Own Words


"Them Jews aren't gonna let [Obama] talk to me. I told my baby daughter, that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office."


"The Jewish vote, the A-I-P-A-C vote that's controlling him that would not let him send a representation to the Darfur [Durban] review conference that's talking this craziness because the Zionists, they will not let him talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is.  Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. The ethnic cleansing of the Zionists is a sin and a crime against humanity. They don't want Barack talking like that because that's anti-Israel."

An interview with Newport News, VA-based

newspaper The Daily Press June 9, 2009


"Part of the fight going on now in terms of the religious arguments and tension and polarization and hatred among the fundamentalists especially in each of the major world religions has to do with the political [rather than religious], especially as it pertains to the political decision made in 1948 to solve a European problem of European Jews by putting them in somebody else's country."

                                                                                                      From a lecture at Michigan State University,

February 7, 2008


"We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against them as being anti-Semitic."

From a sermon at Howard University in

Washington, D.C., January 15, 2006


"The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism. The Divestment issue will hit the floor during this month's General Synod. Divesting dollars from businesses and banks that do business with Israel is the new strategy being proposed to wake the world up concerning the racism of Zionism."

From Wright's Pastor's Page message

Trumpet Newsmagazine, July 2005


"Last year's conference in Africa on racism, which the United States would not participate in, because somebody dared to point the racism which still supports both here and in Israel. I said that dirty word again. Every time you say Israel, Negros get awfully quiet on you, 'cause they scared. Don't be scared. Don't be scared. You don't see the connection between 9-1-1-0-1 and the Israeli-Palestinian? Something wrong, you wanna borrow my glasses?"

From a sermon, September 1, 2002


"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye…We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done oversees is now brought right back into our own front yards. Americans chickens are coming home to roost.'"

From a sermon, September 16, 2001


On Louis Farrakhan


"Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter's being vilified for and Bishop Tutu's being vilified for. Everyone wants to paint me as if I'm anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago… Louis and I don't agree on everything….He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st centuries, that's what I think about him…Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy, he didn't put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and didn't make me this color."

From an appearance at the National Press Club

in Washington DC, April 28, 2008


"… Farrakhan is not my enemy, Farrakhan did not enslave Africans. He never raped a black woman, and Farrakhan didn't make me this color. Let's be clear."


"[Farrakhan] made some anti-Semitic remarks. Well, you all got water boarding you say is fine, you're killing folk… in Guantanamo there's a secret part of that camp where you been torturing folk… let's talk about that! We're not talking about that, what we keep up in the public is, oh you know Jeremiah Wright… in 1984 I went to… Tripoli and got to know Farrakhan."


From a lecture at Michigan State University,

February 7, 2008


"Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen…His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest."


"Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience. His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation's most powerful critics. His love for Africa and African American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose."


From Trumpet Newsmagazine's cover story on

Farrakhan, who received the magazine's annual "Lifetime Achievement 'Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Trumpeter' Award," November/December 2007

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

11426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 24, 2009, 03:24:34 PM
I'm curious who aside from PB and Farrahclown make her list. Since Obama's pastor of 20 years has made worse statements that anything Buchanan has said, to my knowledge, i'm curious who her list would and would not include.
11427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rachel? on: October 24, 2009, 02:48:51 PM
Since Pat Buchanan is so offensive to you that you advocate that nothing written by him be posted here, where do you place Rev. "Them Jews" Wright in your moral hierarchy?
11428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: October 22, 2009, 09:13:01 PM
Best wishes, BBG!

11429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Environmental issues on: October 20, 2009, 07:12:23 AM

What criticism do you want to see of Buchanan?
11430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Dollar; Monetary Policy on: October 18, 2009, 12:49:12 PM
October 16, 2009

Ignorance Is Bliss

While all the talk at present is about economic corners turned and markets charging ahead, no one is paying much notice to an American economy deteriorating before our eyes. These myopic commentators seem to be simply moving past the now almost-universally held conclusion that before the crash of 2008, our economy was on an unsustainable course. If these imbalances had been corrected, then perhaps I too would be joining in the euphoria. But evidence abounds that we have not veered at all from that dangerous path.

Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that consumer spending as a percentage of U.S. GDP has risen to 71%, a post-World War II record. This level is notably higher than other wealthy industrialized countries, and vastly higher than the levels sustained by China and other emerging economies. At the same time, our industrial output is contracting, our trade deficit is expanding once again (after contracting earlier in the year), and our savings rate is plummeting (after an early year surge).

The data confirms that government stimuli are worsening the structural imbalances underlying our economy. The recent ‘rebound’ in GDP is not resulting from increased economic output, but merely from the fact that we are borrowing more than ever. That is precisely how we got ourselves into this mess. An economy cannot grow indefinitely by borrowing more than it produces. Not only is such a course untenable, but the added debt ensures a deeper recession when the bills come due.

This soon-to-be-called depression will not end until the pendulum of consumer spending habits swings violently in the other direction. This will be a jarring change, but it is the splash of cold water that we need to return our economy to viability. I believe that consumer spending as a share of GDP will need to temporarily contract to roughly 50% of GDP, before eventually moving toward its historic mean of 65%. Such a move would indicate a restoration of our personal savings, a decline in borrowing and trade deficits, and an increased industrial output. That would be a real recovery.

In the meantime, the higher the spending percentage climbs, the more painful the ultimate decline becomes.

Consumers and governments must spend less so their savings can be made available to businesses for capital investments. Businesses, in turn, will produce more products and employ more people – increasing domestic prosperity. However, rather than allowing a painful cure to return our economy to health, the government prefers to numb the voting public with a toxic saline-drip of deficit spending and cheap money.

The primary factor that enables our government to peddle economic snake oil is the dollar’s unique role as the world’s reserve currency, and our creditors’ willingness to preserve its status. By buying up dollars and loaning them back to us through Treasury debt, productive countries give American politicians carte blanche to play Santa Claus.

Ironically, as foreign governments finance our spending spree, they are simultaneously scolding us for our low savings rate. At the recent G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, all agreed – including President Obama – that resolving the global economic imbalances was a top priority. By definition, this would require Americans to spend less and save more. However, with foreign central banks continuing to buy our debt, the President has shown no political will to encourage this change.

Normally, if politicians run up the government deficit, voters soon suffer the unpleasant consequences of higher inflation and rising interest rates. Yet, if foreign central banks keep supplying the funds, these consequences are indefinitely postponed. As a result, there is no need for American politicians to ever make the tough choices required to solve our problems.

Instead, the burden may fall squarely on the citizens of those governments doing all the lending. The conflict is that within the creditor states, a vocal minority actually benefits from this subsidy (owners of Chinese exporters, for example) while the overwhelming majority fails to make the connection. Thus, foreign politicians have the same incentives as ours to keep playing the game.

The bottom line is that foreign governments can lecture us all they want about the need for prudence but if they keep lending, we’ll keep spending. Any parent knows that if you give your child a curfew yet never impose any penalties when it’s violated, it will not be respected. My gut feeling is that foreign governments are tiring of our conduct and on the verge of finally imposing some discipline. That means the dollar’s days as the world’s reserve currency are numbered, and the days of American austerity are about to begin.
11431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: October 15, 2009, 10:37:03 PM
ANALYSIS: The Alleged Zazi Plot to Strike New York Mass Transit
Why FBI, NYPD Moved Before the Investigation was Complete
Oct. 9, 2009 —

Editor's note: Former FBI Agent Brad Garrett is an ABC News consultant and regular contributor to the Blotter.

At 8:30 any given weekday morning in New York City, an estimated five million people are riding the city's subway system. They are a prime and vulnerable target.

For the FBI and the New York police department, it is a nightmare scenario that agents and detectives have played out in their planning.

Terrorists bent on destruction could enter nine of the city's 425 subway stations wearing backpacks filled with homemade bombs and face little risk of detection.

As was made clear in court documents in the most recent alleged terror case, bombs can easily be constructed with over-the-counter products used to style hair or remove nail polish.

With enough followers, a terrorist mastermind has no need to limit the attack to just the subways.

The city's major international financial institutions present another inviting target for terrorists seeking a one-two punch. Ten rental trucks  or even coffee carts - packed with easily purchased fertilizer, diesel fuel and cotton would create even more destruction and death.

My former law enforcement colleagues say this is the chilling scenario of what Najibullah Zazi and his associates might have done.

Unraveling Terror Plots
Precise details of Zazi's exact plans are not yet known because agents continue to investigate and probably de-classify information. But the use of homemade bombs in backpacks, and fertilizer and fuel-packed trucks has been a staple of al Qaeda-linked groups, as well as domestic terrorists in the U.S., for over a decade.

The July 2005 London subway attacks and the foiled 2006 plot to blow up commercial airplanes traveling from the U.K. to the U.S. involved the use of liquid peroxide-based bombs.

In 1995, fertilizer-based bombs were used by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. The 2002 Bali nightclub bombing, the 2003 synagogue bombings in Istanbul and a 2007 planned bombing of shopping malls in London were all fertilizer-based bombs.

Unraveling such basic but destructive plots before they occur presents huge challenges. When arrests are made early in an investigation - which appears to be the situation in the Zazi case - evidence and suspects have a tendency to disappear.

In typical criminal investigations, law enforcement agents continue to investigate a crime as long as they possibly can to obtain evidence and to identify those involved.

I once investigated a man who had savagely killed three people in a highly-publicized robbery. In order to get close to this killer and build the evidence, I sent a police informant to talk to him. I was reasonably certain that, given the media attention the murders had received, the killer would not act again. Since I also had a court-authorized wiretap on his phone, I knew from his conversations that he was not planning any new murders. This gave me the luxury of time to develop the evidence about the murders by using the informant.

I fitted the informant with a transmitter and body recorder and instructed him to purchase drugs from the killer's cohort many times. I hoped to arrest the cohort and get him to testify later against the killer. In order to prove the murder case, I knew we needed more evidence for a judge and jury. If at any point during the investigation I thought the killer was going to harm the informant or anyone else, I would have arrested him immediately and taken my lumps in court for having brought a less-developed case. Fortunately, I was able to use the next six months to build an airtight case against the killer.

Concern for Public Safety
It seems reasonable to assume that the agents in the Zazi case acted out of concern for public safety, possibly because they had a foreign intelligence wiretap on Zazi's phone. If they had information that Zazi was going to harm citizens - whether from an informant or a wiretap - they had to make an immediate arrest.

Unlike my murder case, they may not have had the luxury of time to finish their investigation before they took Zazi into custody. If the evidence presented against Zazi in court turns out to be less strong than it might have been with the luxury of time, but the agents averted another 9/11 when they arrested him, any criticism of them at a later time will ring hollow indeed.

The law enforcement and the intelligence communities have been dramatically overhauled since 9/11. Whether these improvements resulted in uncovering Zazi's alleged terror plot is unknown. The 9/11 Commission report noted that the FBI had a limited ability to collect and analyze intelligence, and share evidence with intelligence gathering agencies. The FBI might have disrupted the 9/11 attacks had they connected the movements of Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers through intelligence sharing.

The FBI of today does collect and share intelligence. Perhaps the new FBI could have discovered that three of the four Hamburg, Germany cell members had arrived in the U.S. during the summer of 2000 and begun pilot training.

Apparently the Zazi plot was uncovered because of these improvements. If so, this will be a welcome change.
11432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: October 15, 2009, 06:39:38 PM
We're lucky that a bonafide jihadist isn't running DHS with this administration.
11433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: October 15, 2009, 02:10:13 PM
Man On Terror Watchlist Stopped Then Let Go

Posted By Mike Levine On October 14, 2009 @ 11:39 PM

A Somali man on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist was stopped last week by a police officer outside Las Vegas, but the officer had no legal authority to detain the man so he was sent on his way, multiple law enforcement sources told FOX News.

On Oct. 6, about 10 miles north of Las Vegas, a Nevada Highway Patrol officer pulled over a rental car that was speeding, according to court records and one of the sources. The gray Chevrolet was occupied by five men of Somali descent, including Cabdulaahi Faarax of Minneapolis and Abdow M. Abdow of Chanhassen, Minn., according to the court records and sources.

The five men offered conflicting accounts of their travel. All five told the officer they were on their way to San Diego to attend a friend’s wedding, but they “gave inconsistent explanations regarding where they were staying in San Diego, how the occupants knew one another, and who was getting married at the wedding in San Diego,” according to court documents.

When asked for their dates of birth, they all gave “January 1” as their birthday, but each offered a different year of birth. Faarax said he was born Jan. 1, 1977, making him 32 years old, one source said.

When the officer ran Faarax’s information through a law enforcement database, it came back as “a hit on the terrorist watchlist,” a law enforcement source said.

It’s unclear why Faarax’s name would be on the terrorist watchlist. But unless there’s a warrant for the person’s arrest or a “red notice” from the global police force Interpol, there is no reason or ability to detain someone on the list, sources said.

“There are people on the list that are just being monitored,” one law enforcement source said.

“If there’s not a crime being committed, there’s no reason to hold anybody,” another source said. “Once they’re on the list, it’s kind of just being supervised, like being on parole. You just interview them, and if they didn’t do anything wrong, you cut them loose.”

The officer who stopped the car last week would not have known what prompted Faarax’s name to be added to the terrorist watchlist, only that Faarax was on the list, one source said.

However, sources confirm that occupants of the car are related to the long-running FBI investigation of young men from the Minneapolis area and elsewhere who were recruited to train and possibly fight alongside an Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia, known as al-Shabaab.

One source said Faarax had certain associations with al-Shabaab, but how deep those associations run is unclear.

For example, voicing support online for al-Shabaab, which was labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government last year, could warrant placement on the terrorist watchlist, one source said.

Training with al-Shabaab in Somalia could also warrant placement on the terrorist watchlist. None of the sources would say whether Faarax had trained with al-Shabaab or traveled to Somalia recently.

Still, the sources said, Faarax would have been detained last week by the Nevada Highway Patrol officer if Faarax had been deemed an “immediate threat.”

One law enforcement source called all of this “an unexpected twist” in the FBI's investigation.

An FBI spokesman in Minneapolis, E.K. Wilson, declined to comment for this article. Asked whether authorities know the current whereabouts of Faarax or any of the other passengers from the vehicle, aside from Abdow, Wilson said he couldn’t answer.

An FBI spokesman in Washington also declined to comment for this article.

However, two days after their vehicle was pulled over outside Las Vegas, two of the passengers appeared at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing in San Ysidro, Calif.

According to court documents, they had been dropped off by a taxicab, and they told a customs official at the border crossing “that they would be flying from Tijuana airport to Mexico City airport, and [they] displayed airline tickets to the Officer.”

In several cases over the past decade, Mexico has been a waypoint for travel between the United States and Somalia.

Meanwhile, the driver of the rented vehicle, 26-year-old Abdow M. Abdow, is the only one of the five Somali men to be facing charges so far.

He has been charged in a criminal complaint with lying to the FBI.

The officer who stopped Abdow’s vehicle found $4,000 in the car and eventually learned that Abdow’s wife had filed a missing persons report in Minneapolis. The officer contacted the FBI, which interviewed Abdow on Oct. 8.

After giving conflicting accounts about his travel a few days before, Abdow told the FBI agents interviewing him, “I am talking too much,” according to court documents.

Asked who paid for the rental car, he told the FBI he didn’t know, that he had done nothing wrong, and that “whatever those guys are into I’m not,” according to court documents.

FBI agents later determined Abdow rented the car from Avis Rental Car Company and paid for it with his own Visa debit card.

“He was obviously trying to protect somebody or some people,” one source said.

Abdow made his initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday. A judge in the case ruled that Abdow could be released to a halfway house under certain conditions.

A grand jury in Minneapolis is still investigating how the Somali men from Minnesota were recruited to fight in Somalia. Three men have already pleaded guilty to terror-related charges, including providing material support to terrorists.

The indictments said the men traveled to Somalia "so that they could fight jihad" there.

Somalia has had no stable government since 1991, when dictator Siad Barre was ousted from power. A newer secular government has had trouble keeping Muslim militants at bay, and in 2006 fighting with al-Shabaab intensified after Western-backed Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia. U.S. officials say if al-Shabaab prevails, Somalia could turn into a haven for Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

In October 2008, 27-year-old college student Shirwa Ahmed of Minneapolis became "the first known American suicide bomber" when he blew himself up in Somalia, killing dozens, according to the FBI.

Since then at least four more men from Minneapolis have been killed in Somalia, according to their families.


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11434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: October 15, 2009, 01:52:49 PM
Minneapolis Indictment Stokes Somali Concerns
by IPT News  •  Oct 15, 2009 at 10:23 am

The indictment of a fourth Minneapolis-area Somali man has the local community wondering whether the flow of Somalis returning to their homeland to fight with the terrorist al-Shabaab movement continues.

About a year ago, law enforcement officials began investigating the disappearance of about 20 young Somali men after one, Shirwa Ahmed became the first known American to carry out a suicide bombing attack. He allegedly drove a truck bomb into a government compound in Mogadishu. Two other men are believed to have been shot and killed in Somalia this past summer.

Since then, three men have pled guilty to charges they provided material support to al-Shabaab or lied about their involvement with the group.

On Tuesday, Abdow Abdow was charged with providing false statements to federal investigators after he was questioned about a road trip. Abdow was pulled over by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Oct. 6. He claimed to have only one passenger with him, when there really were four passengers. Two of the travelers are believed to have crossed into Mexico, where they may have boarded a flight to Mexico City. Their ultimate destination remains a mystery, but the community response points to common sense.

Minnesota Public Radio quoted Minneapolis attorney Stephen Smith saying "it's not unrealistic to at least wonder whether the individuals that were allegedly with Mr. Abdow intended to leave this country, ultimately with the intent of heading to Somalia."

While the federal investigation has been in the news for nearly a year, and several of the young men have been killed, community officials say Abdow's case raises disturbing questions whether the flow of young Somalis to the battle zone has stopped.

"The numbers now are probably much higher than 20. Definitely," Omar Jamal director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

It's not clear whether Abdow will face additional charges. Najibullah Zazi, charged with plotting terrorist attacks in New York, originally was charged with providing false statements to law enforcement.
11435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: October 14, 2009, 11:08:27 PM

Russian security advisor: We reserve the right to nuke you preemptively
posted at 6:12 pm on October 14, 2009 by Allahpundit

Just a little follow-up to Ed’s post earlier, tracking the progress of The One’s global disarmament efforts.
Hey — the committee did say that Nobel was aspirational.
In an interview published today in Izvestia, Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Kremlin’s security council, said the new doctrine offers “different options to allow the use of nuclear weapons, depending on a certain situation and intentions of a would-be enemy. In critical national security situations, one should also not exclude a preventive nuclear strike against the aggressor.”
What’s more, Patrushev said, Russia is revising the rules for the employment of nukes to repel conventionally armed attackers, “not only in large-scale, but also in a regional and even a local war.”
Gulp. If I were in Georgia — or in any other country Russia considers part of its sphere of influence — that formulation would make me pretty anxious…
In the interview, he takes a swipe at the United States and NATO, saying that the alliance “continues to press for the admission of new members to NATO, the military activities of the bloc are intensifying, and U.S. strategic forces are conducting intensive exercises to improve the management of strategic nuclear weapons.”
“The military activities of the bloc are intensifying”? After Obama just pulled long-range missile defense out of Poland and the Czech Republic? The oddest thing about this isn’t Moscow’s willingness to nuke its neighbors — I’ve always taken that as a given, even though none of them could ever conceivably threaten Russia — but the fact that they’re willing to rattle their saber so soon after The One made a major concession to them. Are they trying to make him turn hawkish? Because that’s what’s going to happen, whether he wants it to or not, if foreign policy somehow becomes a key issue in 2012. Why not string him along for a bit and see if they can milk a few more concessions out of him? Who knows? He might be willing to yank eastern European missile defense entirely if they play ball on Iran.
Well, at least we know it can’t get much worse. Or can it
11436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Dollar; Monetary Policy on: October 14, 2009, 01:25:13 PM

Updated: Tue., Oct. 13, 2009, 3:16 AM 
Dollar loses reserve status to yen & euro

Last Updated: 3:16 AM, October 13, 2009

Posted: 1:44 AM, October 13, 2009

Ben Bernanke's dollar crisis went into a wider mode yesterday as the greenback was shockingly upstaged by the euro and yen, both of which can lay claim to the world title as the currency favored by central banks as their reserve currency.

Over the last three months, banks put 63 percent of their new cash into euros and yen -- not the greenbacks -- a nearly complete reversal of the dollar's onetime dominance for reserves, according to Barclays Capital. The dollar's share of new cash in the central banks was down to 37 percent -- compared with two-thirds a decade ago.

Currently, dollars account for about 62 percent of the currency reserve at central banks -- the lowest on record, said the International Monetary Fund.

Bernanke could go down in economic history as the man who killed the greenback on the operating table.

After printing up trillions of new dollars and new bonds to stimulate the US economy, the Federal Reserve chief is now boxed into a corner battling two separate monsters that could devour the economy -- ravenous inflation on one hand, and a perilous recession on the other.

"He's in a crisis worse than the meltdown ever was," said Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. "I fear that he could be the Fed chairman who brought down the whole thing."

Investors and central banks are snubbing dollars because the greenback is kept too weak by zero interest rates and a flood of greenbacks in the global economy.

They grumble that they've loaned the US record amounts to cover its mounting debt, but are getting paid back by a currency that's worth 10 percent less in the past three months alone. In a decade, it's down nearly one-third.

Yesterday, the dollar had a mixed performance, falling slightly against the British pound to $1.5801 from $1.5846 Friday, but rising against the euro to $1.4779 from $1.4709 and against the yen to 89.85 yen from 89.78.

Economists believe the market rebellion against the dollar will spread until Bernanke starts raising interest rates from around zero to the high single digits, and pulls back the flood of currency spewed from US printing presses.

"That's a cure, but it's also going to stifle any US economic growth," said Schiff. "The economy is addicted to the cheap interest and liquidity."

Economists warn that a jump in rates will clobber stocks and cripple the already stalled housing market.

"Bernanke's other choice is to keep rates at zero, print even more money and sell more debt, but we'll see triple-digit inflation that could collapse the economy as we know it.

"The stimulus is what's toxic -- we're poisoning ourselves and the global economy with it."
11437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 13, 2009, 08:42:06 AM

11438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 12, 2009, 09:58:15 PM

Very possible. Almost certain, in my book.
11439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: October 12, 2009, 11:31:46 AM
Possible bombs discovered near Oklahoma City track

Published: October 12, 2009

The Oklahoma City bomb squad Sunday night disposed of at least three possible bombs along railroad tracks at SE 34 Street and Shields Boulevard.

Authorities were at the scene from about 5 p.m. until after midnight. A resident said he saw a man speeding along the 200 block of SE 34 and throwing out several devices, police Lt. Jeff Cooper said.

The resident investigated and called police after finding what looked like bombs near the railroad tracks, Cooper said.

The bomb squad had neutralized three of the devices by 10:30 p.m.

"It’s kind of scary because you think something is happening right next door to your house,” said Raul Barrios, who lives on the street. "I’ve got my family and my kids and knowing that there might be an explosive here by my house, I mean it worries me a lot more.”

Also on the scene were representatives of the BNSF Railway, the FBI, the local cell of the Department of Justice’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Red Cross.

The incident delayed several trains en route through the area.

Four northbound trains, including the Amtrak Heartland Flyer, were stalled by the incident, said BNSF spokesman Joe Faust. Three more trains would be stalled by midnight, he added.

Officials said it would be at least 12:30 a.m. before the area was cleared.

Read more:
11440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: October 12, 2009, 07:59:15 AM

Fears Al Qaeda-linked scientist was planning nuclear attack on UK after MI5 learn he worked at top-secret British lab

By Jason Lewis and Peter Allen
Last updated at 9:36 AM on 11th October 2009

Raid scene: French police at the modest flat in Vienne where Adlene and Halim Hicheur were arrested on Thursday

A brilliant young nuclear scientist who was arrested in France last week over alleged links to Al Qaeda had worked for a top-secret British nuclear research centre.

Last night fears were growing that Dr Adlene Hicheur – who was a researcher for the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire for a year – could have been planning a nuclear attack in the UK.

The French government said yesterday that the arrest of Hicheur, 32, and his brother Dr Halim Hicheur, 25, could have averted a terrorist atrocity.

They were seized after an 18-month investigation by French anti-terrorist police hours before Adlene Hicheur was due to travel to the laboratory where he now works at, CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research near Geneva.

Halim Hicheur carries out research at similar high-security scientific institutions around Europe.

The brothers’ council flat was stormed at 6am last Thursday by eight masked officers from the elite Central Directorate of Interior Intelligence (CDII), the French equivalent of MI5, and 20 armed riot officers.

With almost no noise, a spearhead unit rushed up the concrete steps leading to the cramped flat in Vienne, South-East France. A battering ram was used to break the lock and the warning ‘Armed police!’ shouted.

Large-calibre machine pistols and other weapons were aimed at those inside the flat, including the brothers’ parents and siblings.

Secret agents had been monitoring the brothers’ movements, and all their phone calls, text messages and emails were being bugged ‘in real time and minute by minute’, according to a security source.

‘It was like we were sitting on their shoulders. We knew exactly what they were saying.’

Mysteries of the universe: An aerial view of the Rutherford Appleton lab where Dr Hicheur worked

The source said that Adlene Hicheur had been ‘pinpointing nuclear targets’ but would not be more specific.

The scientists were being questioned last night at the maximum-security headquarters of the CDII on the outskirts of Paris while MI5 began trying to piece together their movements and contacts in Britain.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said both men posed such a serious threat that he had halted the long-running surveillance operation and ordered their ‘immediate’ arrest.

‘The investigation will reveal what were the objectives in France or elsewhere of these men,’ he said. ‘Maybe the inquiry will reveal that, thanks to these two arrests, the worst could have been avoided.’

Mr Hortefeux said the apparently mild-mannered, highly religious brothers were a ‘high-level threat’ who were suspected of ‘criminal activities related to a terrorist group’.

Last night, MI5 was understood to be examining their British links amid fears that they were plotting to launch a nuclear attack in the UK. A spokesman for the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory refused to release details about Adlene Hicheur’s time there.

Fears were growing that the men may have been in a position to smuggle nuclear material out of a secure lab for use in a ‘dirty bomb’ attack, or to plant explosives inside the sensitive facility.

According to European intelligence sources, MI5 had been warned that the suspects ‘are outstanding scientists who had been honing their techniques in nuclear fusion across the world.

‘There are genuine fears that they were locating terrorist targets, especially in countries like France and Britain. Their level of expertise in nuclear fusion was improving all the time, leading to the terrifying scenario of a terrorist nuclear attack.’

The arrests followed surveillance  that had logged the French-Algerians’ ‘every word and every move’, including frequent visits to England.

The Mail on Sunday understands that MI5 and British police had begun their own investigation into the two men after the French provided a full breakdown of their visits to, and work in, the UK.

The police will want to question anyone who has worked with or studied alongside either man at Britain’s scientific research centres or universities.

The brothers first came to the attention of French anti-terrorist officers when their names cropped up in an investigation trying to identify French jihadists fighting Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The decision to arrest them followed the interception of internet exchanges with people identified as having links to terrorists in Algeria. The messages reportedly included information on potential targets in France and elsewhere in Europe.

The brothers’ British links included Adlene’s work for the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, as well as research at university cities including London, Manchester, Durham, Edinburgh and St Andrews. They had also spent time studying at Ivy League universities in the US.

Adlene Hicheur is a former research fellow at the Rutherford Appleton and still visits the UK for conferences and other meetings. He and Halim are accused of compiling information about possible targets and sending it to contacts in North Africa involved with Al Qaeda Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The group is thought to have been behind a number of terror attacks in Algeria and has recently been linked to a call for vengeance against China for mistreatment of its Muslim minority during riots in July.

European intelligence sources said that Adlene Hicheur, who studied at Stanford University in California before moving to Oxfordshire, had expressed a ‘very strong wish to carry out attacks anywhere where Western security interests can be damaged’.

This included ‘countries like Britain and any others where Americans are well represented’, the source added, making it clear that neither brother had yet ‘carried out an attack nor put the material into place to do so’.

Adlene Hicheur is now working on analysis projects with CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The nuclear research body said he ‘was not a full-time CERN employee’ and claimed ‘his work did not bring him into contact with anything that could be used for terrorism’.

But there is no doubt that his role would have made him  useful to terrorists, especially those keen to  develop a nuclear capability.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that Adlene Hicheur used to work at another atomic collider – the two-mile long Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) at Stanford University in 2001.

‘Some people at the department were freaked out when they were told about the allegations against him,’ a source at the US Department of Energy said. ‘But there really is nothing to worry about because this lab conducts basic science.’

Unmarried Adlene Hicheur still lived with his elderly parents on the council estate in the working-class L’Isle district of Vienne.

‘The raid was a shock to all of us,’ said Veronique Reguillon, 48, who lives in the flat upstairs. ‘The police were in and out in a few minutes, with neither of the boys putting up any resistance.

Adlene is a quiet, studious type who never caused any trouble on the estate. He grew up here with his brother and three sisters. The family has had the same flat for 30 years.

‘His mum and dad are immigrants from Algeria and have worked hard all their lives. They are devout Muslims, with all the women in the family often wearing veils.

‘Adlene is a brilliant academic. Halim is like his brother – well-mannered, hard-working and studious. Their parents will be finding this very hard to take.’

Under French anti-terror laws, the brothers can be held for four days before being formally charged.

The antimatter bomb and the recipe for a Hollywood blockbuster

Chilling: Tom Hanks stars in the apocalyptic film Angels & Demons

The arrest of Al Qaeda suspect Dr Adlene Hicheur as he set off for his laboratory at CERN has chilling echoes of Hollywood thriller Angels & Demons, starring Tom Hanks as Professor Robert Langdon.

Based on the best-selling book by Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown, the blockbuster’s apocalyptic plot opens at CERN.

In Brown’s story, a flask containing highly dangerous antimatter is stolen from a secret physics laboratory by an underground brotherhood called The Illuminati and taken to Rome, where they plan to use it to destroy the Vatican.

If antimatter came into contact with matter, they would violently annihilate each other. But in reality, the amount needed to cause such a mighty occurrence, and the expense and difficulty of producing it, mean this proposition belongs firmly in the realms of fiction.

CERN does produce antimatter in its quest to unlock the secrets of the universe and observe the hypothetical Higgs Boson which scientists refer to as the ‘God Particle’ as it gives all matter mass.

The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile circular tunnel, tries to recreate conditions soon after the Big Bang 13.7billion years ago by blasting protons together at 99.99 per cent of the speed of light.

It took 20 years, 10,000 scientists, and £5billion to create, but the equipment failed soon after its launch in September last year. However, it should be operational next month.
11441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 11, 2009, 11:09:31 AM

Obama WH falsely downplaying risks of retreat in Afghanistan: Military, intel sources

posted at 11:00 am on October 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Sources within both the intelligence and military communities tell McClatchy that Barack Obama’s White House has not been honest about the risks of moving away from a robust strategy of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.  Obama and his advisers have begun publicly discussing the Taliban as a moderate alternative to al-Qaeda in terms of enemies, but the latest intelligence shows just the opposite.  Taliban leadership and AQ have integrated even more tightly than ever since 9/11 and act in concert on strategy and tactics:
As the Obama administration reconsiders its Afghanistan policy, White House officials are minimizing warnings from the intelligence community, the military and the State Department about the risks of adopting a limited strategy focused on al Qaida, U.S. intelligence, diplomatic and military officials told McClatchy.
Recent U.S. intelligence assessments have found that the Taliban and other Pakistan-based groups that are fighting U.S.-led forces have much closer ties to al Qaida now than they did before 9/11, would allow the terrorist network to re-establish bases in Afghanistan and would help Osama bin Laden export his radical brand of Islam to Afghanistan’s neighbors and beyond, the officials said.
McClatchy interviewed more than 15 senior and mid-level U.S. intelligence, military and diplomatic officials, all of whom said they concurred with the assessments. All of them requested anonymity because the assessments are classified and the officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Bob Kerrey openly wonders why the White House has begun to tread the ground of retreat, in an op-ed for today’s Wall Street Journal:
Yet despite these setbacks, our leaders must remain focused on the fact that success in Afghanistan bolsters our national security and yes, our moral reputation. This war is not Vietnam. The Taliban are not popular and have very little support other than what they secure through terror.
Afghanistan is also not Iraq. No serious leader in Kabul is asking us to leave. Instead we are being asked to withdraw by American leaders who begin their analysis with the presumption that victory is not possible. They seem to want to ensure defeat by leaving at the very moment when our military leader on the ground has laid out a coherent and compelling strategy for victory.
When it comes to foreign policy, almost nothing matters more then your friends and your enemies knowing you will keep your word and follow through on your commitments. This is the real test of presidential leadership. I hope that President Obama—soon to be a Nobel laureate—passes with flying colors.
If the military and intel communities are telling Obama that the idea of a “moderate Taliban” is false — and Lara Logan emphatically agrees — then where did this idea arise in the first place?  It comes not from Afghanistan, but from the left wing of the Democratic Party.  They have increased pressure on Obama to get out of Afghanistan, and the Nobel Peace Prize was specifically intended to help in that effort.  The Left wants a way out of the war, and the Obama administration has begun floating trial balloons to help sell this as something other than a retreat, if Obama goes along with it.
Kerrey doesn’t think Obama will do so, and to his credit, Obama has increased resources and offered stalwart political support for the war … until last month, when he finally got schooled on COIN resourcing.  If Obama intends on making an honest decision on this, he needs to stop his advisers from making very dishonest arguments in public about it.  The Taliban are not moderates, and they share the same ideological, political, and tactical goals as Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.  Anyone saying anything differently is simply selling a false argument for a dishonorable retreat in the face of our enemies.
11442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 11, 2009, 11:00:11 AM
FDR sunk most of his resources into the european theater and won there first. Did he take his eye off the ball in asia? In any fight, you must prioritize and disperse your resources in the way you see as best for you. Iraq is much closer to being a viable nation-state. Afghanistan is a mess of near stone-age tribes. Where would you invest your assets in the hope of winning approval from a post-modern American public with an MTV-attention span?
11443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 11, 2009, 10:53:45 AM
China isn't just trying "cash for clunkers" vote buying like we are. They are positioning chess pieces on the global board. Our leadership is thinking "bread and circuses" to buy votes for 2010/2012. China is thinking generations ahead on their timeline.

Unlike us, the old don't have a vote in China. No need for the bastards in Beijing to appease them. China, above all will act to preserve stability, no matter the cost in lives.

BO and his ilk believe that their charisma and kumbayas will make the world a safe place. We will pay for this delusion in blood, possibly we will cease to exist as a result. Other countries most certainly will.

11444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 11, 2009, 10:41:53 AM
1. When the first American troops landed to engage the nazis in north africa after Pearl Harbor, no one screamed about it. (This is before the modern left, where rooting for your country to lose a war is standard behavior)

2. Saddam was a state sponsor of terror in violation of the cease-fire and Iraq was the ideal nation where an alternative to a totalitarian or jihadist nation could be built. This is a multigenerational war and creating a free Iraq would create an alternate vision for the muslim world rather than the standard of statism or jihad.

3. The intel under Clinton and most every other nation state's intel apparatus was that Saddam retained a WMD program and the ability to use it or hand it off to a non-state actor for use against us.

4. Karzai is corrupt, but Afghanistan doesn't have any prince charmings waiting in the wings. It's the proverbial sow's ear and the fact that it in no way resembles a silk purse doesn't mean that there were better options left untouched. In much of the world, the least evil version of a Tony Soprano is the best thing you'll find that has any chance of success.

5. Lot's of scrutiny of McCain here, funny that the guy he's run against seems to avoid all but the most book-licking adoration.

6. AQ and today's talibs aren't tight like they were in 2001 ? Would making peace with an Axis state have been ok in 1943?

7. Yeah, Iraq is a tragedy in the minds of Frank Rich and his ilk as it may well become a decent country, despite their best efforts.

11445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 11, 2009, 09:18:55 AM
1. Japan crashed because it tried massive "stimulus" spending rather than take a legitimate economic downturn as a natural part of the business cycle. God help any country that tries that.

2. Know what that 13/10 ratio means? A big army that will readily engage in attrition warfare without hesitation. I just hope it's pointed towards the 'stans rather than the pacific.

3. China could be managed if we had competent leadership. So much for that.....
11446  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 10, 2009, 07:28:12 PM

11447  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: October 10, 2009, 03:41:40 PM

The Peace Of The Grave
posted at 11:50 am on October 10, 2009 by Doctor Zero

I’m not really surprised by the Nobel committee’s decision to grant the Peace Price to Barack Obama. I assumed they would give it to him at the earliest opportunity. I forgot the award had not been given for this year. It would have been slightly better for their credibility if the Nobel committee had waited until next year, but perhaps they didn’t want to take the chance that current events would make that impossible by the end of 2010. The kind of “peacemaking” favored by the Nobel committee is the kind that usually gets innocent people killed, and frequently ends in the kind of war that comes as an even bigger surprise than Obama’s award.
Obama had been in office for less than two weeks before the Nobel nominations were finalized, so his nomination was not based on anything he had done as President. The Nobel Price long ago became a joke, and an insult to the people who suffer under terror and tyranny around the world, but I don’t think the committee just threw Obama the award because he’s so wonderfully special, and not even because he won the election to succeed the only man who has truly deserved the award since 2001. Maybe Obama won the Nobel because of his courageous youthful defiance of murderous evil, when he was brutally tortured for months but refused to submit to totalitarian brutes? Oh, no, wait, that was the guy he defeated in the election.
The Associated Press says the Nobel committee “praised Obama’s creation of a new climate in international politics, and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.” Of course, he hasn’t actually changed any of the hated Bush’s foreign policies, until this week, when he began talking about embracing the Taliban savages as partners in peace, who might just deserve to control a big chunk of Afghanistan after all. A while ago, I suggested you could ask the women of Afghanistan for a testimonial to Bush’s achievements in the realm of women’s rights, now that the upholstery has been removed from their faces. You’d better ask quickly. The new Nobel Peace Prize winner doesn’t seem all that disturbed by the thought of seeing them muffled again.
Obama was given the Nobel Prize, not because of anything he has done as President, but because of what the committee thinks he will do. His achievements are as non-existent now as they were on the day he was nominated. His agenda, however, is clear. He spelled it out in that insipid speech he gave to the United Nations a few weeks ago. Speaking as the leader of the indentured world, he made it clear that he plans to dim the lights on an America in decline, and humbly step aside as the post-American century begins. That’s why he won the Peace Prize. The Nobel committee has long seen the United States as the greatest threat to world peace, and the man who plans to bankrupt and disarm it has earned their admiration.
There are only two responses to tyranny: submission and resistance. Submission is easy. It can be negotiated. It is filled with nuance, and requires a large staff of diplomats and state functionaries to administer in style. Organizations like the United Nations make the first concessions to dictatorship by their very nature, as they allow thug states like Iran and Libya to take seats next to peaceful democracies. Obama’s dismal eulogy for America at the U.N. was followed by lunatic rants from the blood-splattered clowns who will be the new masters of the global future. Entertaining such creatures is easy, if you can just ignore the piles of faceless victims buried behind them. You may rest assured that the name Neda Agha-Soltan was not spoken during Obama’s Peace Prize deliberations, and it will not be spoken when the prize is placed into his hands.
Resistance is hard. It requires the courage to call evil by its name, and sacrifice universal adoration in the process. The Left likes to rail against intolerance. The defense of peace and freedom requires the absolute intolerance of evil. It requires leaders who don’t need a few days to decide whether to cancel the Fourth of July picnic invitations of a dictatorship that guns down peacefully protesting citizens. It relies upon a nation with the strength and resolve to project both humanitarian assistance and military power around the world.
Barack Obama’s America, mortgaged to the hilt and several trillion dollars beyond broke, with a stagnant economy trapped in government amber, will no longer be such a nation. The Nobel committee is pleased to reward him for that, because a muscular United States rocks a lot of boats. The “international community” has never forgiven George W. Bush for backing it into a corner over Iraq, and forcing the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions. “Resolution” is harmless and exciting when it’s a word spoken by important diplomats, and scribbled into strongly-worded letters. It’s scary when backed up by forceful leaders who take it seriously.
The cultural and political elite of Europe is delighted to give Obama an award for his bold work in turning America into the same kind of dilettante basket case they are. The people who sat helplessly and watched the slaughter in Bosnia may come to regret sacrificing their last shred of credibility to shore up a weak President, so he can finish the task of hobbling the only nation on Earth that can do a damned thing to prevent a slaughter. Europe thinks it can do business with the Islamic fascism creeping through its streets, but it will find any deals it makes with them have expiration dates, as surely as all of Barack Obama’s promises do. When they once again turn to America to save them, they had better hope we’ve had the wisdom to replace the confused and helpless man clutching his shiny Nobel Peace Prize with someone who can saddle up and ride to the rescue. Negotiation without principle is submission, and the only peace brought by submission is the peace of the grave.
11448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: October 10, 2009, 10:23:41 AM
October 8, 2009, 2:16 PM

The Real Trouble with Afghanistan and Obama
Underneath all this week's he-said/she-said over the war's future lies a self-inflicted wound: Our young president has lost sight of what matters in the military conflict that will define him, and lost sight of it to another Boomer-era vice president's guilty conscience.

By Thomas P.M. Barnett

Should I surge or should I go now? It's the question that has Washington — and, indeed, the world — abuzz over America's future in Afghanistan. First it was the military's convenient leak to Bob Woodward of the starkest assessment of the war to date (Failure!). Then, a week ago, it was General Stanley McChrystal's smacking down of the Joe Biden "fewer troops, more Al Qaeda hunting" plan (Short-sighted!). Then Bob Gates told him, in so many words, to shut up and listen to the Communicator in Chief (Eyebrow-raising!). On Tuesday, President Obama had the ears of thirty legislators, but it seemed to set the Afghan debate further off course than anywhere near consensus (Grumpy old men! And a liberal catfight!).

By this morning, with Kabul rocking and Obama stalling, the question many Americans were asking seemed perfectly natural: So how many troops are we gonna send, Mr. President? And therein lies Team Obama's Bushian dilemma: They've created such huge expectations of a definitive decision on the war that no matter which way the president turns, he will have backed himself into a strategic corner from which he cannot escape. All the leaks and sound bytes and "senior White House official" signal shifts have made some number more important than the most complex military conflict of our time. It's Truman-versus-MacArthur and Bush-versus-Fallon all over again, but the fallout could lead to trouble the likes of which we didn't even see in Iraq. Here's what Obama has been ignoring (Chain of command? China? Petraeus? A firm hand? Anyone?), and why it will all come back to haunt him sooner than he or Stan McChrystal would like to admit.

Truth or Consequences, Afghanistan: Potential Fallout Along the Chain of Command
I was at the Pentagon on Monday, just around the time Gates was giving his "candidly but privately" spiel, and every conversation I had kept coming back to the same concern: "How can we show positive impact in Afghanistan over the next couple of months?" Believe me — when your national-security establishment wraps itself around the axle like that, your narrow strategic mindset ain't no secret.

But if the administration doesn't go along with the recommendations of its handpicked commander (and there were signs this afternoon that it was leaning away from the McChrystal plan and back toward Biden's strategy), then it will have effectively repudiated McChrystal's command with a highly publicized vote of no confidence. By extension, the White House will have completed its marginalization of McChrystal's boss, General David Petraeus. Which, given that the Iraq surge hero and Central Command chief has been urged to run for president in 2012, may be politically hard to resist for Obama's politically savvy advisors. But, again, the political savvy is getting the best of Team Obama when it comes to Afghanistan — this is a war, not an election, with many more lives at stake than a few of the best and brightest, and they'd be stupid to muddle or confuse the two.

The more profound consequence of choosing the Biden option, however, would be to repudiate what is working in Afghanistan. The troops are already pissed off at the anti-McChrystal hyperbole, and limiting our footprint for more drones amounts to a public discounting of the American armed forces' tremendous effort in recent years to transform into an effective instrument of "small wars" counterinsurgency — especially the Army and Marines. Again, by extension, such a decision would tarnish Gates's legacy-in-the-making as bureaucratic godfather to this stunning institutional evolution. I mean, if this was a capacity our military lacked going into Afghanistan and Iraq, only to subsequently develop it under extreme duress, will it be the decision of the Obama administration to immediately shelve our hard-earned capability in a "war of necessity" just because Joe Biden said so?

Worse yet, the world will interpret any "half measures" (John McCain's fighting words) as a signal toward our inevitable withdrawal (watch for the phrase "exit strategy"). And once that happens, world leaders — friend or foe — will immediately start interpreting any statements by Obama that threaten to use force as, you know, threatening to pin-prick with fancy robotic bombers. Waffling, in other words, doesn't answer that Pentagon-wide concern.

The Obama Doctrine: A Product of Another Vietnam-Shadowed Veep
And yet Obama will almost certainly seek to split his Big Afghanistan Decision down the middle (Talk big but act small!). That won't work, and not just because the world's bad boys will think of the American military as a bunch of high-tech pansies — because it reeks of Obama speak for permanent downshifting in our long-term commitment to Afghanistan's future, which, by extension, makes everybody nervous about Pakistan's future.

And so, by shorting Afghanistan, the president may end up inadvertently declaring The Obama Doctrine: (1) yes, Iraq was a one-of-a-kind war, never to be repeated; and (2), in Clinton-era Colin Powell speak honed for the counterterrorism era, we go anywhere we want to kill anyone we want, but as far as the locals are concerned, they can simply fuck off.

In doing so, Obama will position himself internationally as both a full-blown wimp (Jimmy Carter much?) and a sanctimonious cynic (hellooooo, Bill Clinton!), confirming French president Nicolas Sarkozy's first impression that under that fabulous exterior lies a fabile young president.

What's so intriguing and tragic about Obama's indecisiveness here is that it's been triggered by yet another vice-presidential, Boomer-era "wise man" determined to right the wrongs of the Vietnam era. With George W. Bush, it was Jerry Ford's chief of staff Dick Cheney who was determined to restore the power of the imperial presidency, and with Barry, it's Joe Biden (his '72 Senate upset win in Delaware was fueled by his fierce opposition to the war), who, along with 'Nam vets John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, counsels our JFK-ish president to get out of this quagmire now — while he still can. Despite all of Obama's campaign rhetoric about bringing a post-Boomer perspective to the White House, on this crucial call he appears as captive to that mindset as his two predecessors were.

And yes, the perverse influence that links them all is Obama's kitchen-cabinet adviser Colin Powell (aka Two-Face), who never met a war he didn't want to decisively win but likewise never met a post-war situation he didn't want to assiduously avoid. If you want a poster-child for how Vietnam still screws up presidencies, then General Powell's your man. Just understand that, later on, he'll deny everything to Bob Woodward.

Esquire contributing editor Thomas P.M. Barnett is the author of Great Powers: America and the World After Bush.

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11449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: October 10, 2009, 09:47:17 AM

Chinese dissidents let down by Obama Nobel
Oct 9 11:18 PM US/Eastern

China's dissidents are voicing unease about President Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, saying that the award could have been effective in promoting human rights in their country.
Some in China's democracy movement are outraged at what they see as a weak stance on rights by Obama, who the same week as Friday's announcement avoided a meeting with Tibet's exiled Dalai Lama that would have upset Beijing.

Chinese activists had been tipped as Nobel contenders on this year of anniversaries, when China marked 60 years of communist rule, 50 years since the Dalai Lama's flight and 20 years since the crushing of the Tiananmen Square democracy uprising.

Potential laureates included Hu Jia, locked up since December 2007 after exposing government abuses and the plight of China's AIDS sufferers, and Wei Jingsheng, a onetime electrician who spent 18 years in prison after brazenly challenging former leader Deng Xiaoping to bring democracy.

Huang Ciping, an engineer turned activist who is executive director of Wei's Washington-based foundation, said that China "has come to such a turning point that the prize might have helped."

"The Nobel Peace Prize committee has the full right to decide to give coal to those who suffer and struggle or to present flowers to the powerful," she said.

But she said of the decision: "It is both a pity for the Chinese people and a danger to world peace."

Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled leader of China's Uighur minority, congratulated Obama but called on him to use the added prestige to put pressure on "dictatorships like China."

"I am very happy that he got it. Now he has to do something with the award. It raises expectations on him to stand up for oppressed nations," she told AFP.

Some 200 people died in July in clashes between Uighurs and China's majority Han in the country's worst ethnic bloodletting in decades.

Harry Wu, who spent nearly two decades toiling as a political prisoner and now tries to publicize the "laogai" prison camp system, said the Norwegian Nobel committee's decision was premature.

"Maybe at this moment, Obama's actions on peace and human rights do not seem too bad, but so far I do not think it is enough to prove that he is qualified as the Peace Prize winner," Wu said.

Obama nearly said as much in his humble statement on the award, in which he said: "To be honest, I do not feel I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize."

But some exiled Chinese said the prize was not only premature but undeserved, pointing to the Obama administration's statements that human rights concerns will not hold back a growing relationship with China.

James B. Chen, a cancer researcher at the University of Arkansas, feared that the award could be seen as affirmation of focusing on economic ties with China or of Obama's decision to avoid the Dalai Lama.

"For nearly all of my friends, their first reaction was that they were very, very disappointed," Chen said. "They thought this is a major setback for human rights."

The White House has denied it snubbed the Dalai Lama, saying Obama will meet him after the president visits China next month.

The Dalai Lama is paying his first visit to Washington since 1991 that does not include a meeting with the president. But he said he had no hard feelings and sent a congratulatory letter to Obama.

The Tibetan monk, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 despite strong Chinese protests, told Obama that "the founding fathers of the United States have made this country the greatest democracy and a champion of freedom and liberty.

"It is, therefore, important for today's American leaders to adopt principled leadership based on these high ideals," he said.

"Such an approach will not only enhance the reputation of the United States, but also contribute tremendously to reducing tension in the world."
11450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: October 10, 2009, 09:35:23 AM
BBG is the man on this topic. Prepare for a dataflood.  grin
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