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11401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 15, 2007, 04:43:45 PM

WMD in Syria?
11402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 04:42:06 PM

Was it done out of sadism, or done out of necessity? "Hell week" seems like torture to me that the SEALs use for selection purposes. Ranger School that a friend did pushes the soldiers well beyond normal human endurance. Sleep deprivation, lack of food, being placed in harsh environments while being pushed past physical and mental limits are common parts of military training, especially for elite military units.
11403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 15, 2007, 03:48:00 PM

'Jihadi' Images, Detonator Video Found


Published: September 15, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Explosive Mixture'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ammunition, No Firearms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporter Thomas W. Krause and Editor Howard Altman contributed to this report. Reporter Elaine Silvestrini can be reached at (813) 259-7839 or
11404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 15, 2007, 03:24:56 PM

Homeland Security: Woman Had Terrorist Ties

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

Ahmed Latest at 6

Ahmed caught in McAllen airport in 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A spokesperson in the Governor's Office told us he wasn't available for an interview. But they stand by the information he released.
11405  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 03:05:04 PM
It's unfortunate that you see it this way.  I guess if "America" is basically a thug with the right to do whatever the hell it wants because it's got the muscle, then yes, I'm an enemy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****Wanting the US out is very different than wanting Saddam back. You have to view some of that through the arab cultural mindset. Iraq is complex and difficult, still I find where we are today to be a better position than leaving Saddam in place. I'd rather see Iraq develop into a halfway decent country rather than just install another dictator that would be useful for us in the short term. Certainly abandoning Iraq to Iran and Al Qaeda isn't a viable option.****
11406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 15, 2007, 01:39:05 PM
My opinion is that the Saudis have only moved against AQ in Saudi Arabia out of fear for their own security. They've deliberately allowed the flow of Saudi youths to the jihad in Iraq so the US could bury them there rather than worry about them as a threat to internal security/stability.
11407  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 01:12:19 PM

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

I'll have to transcribe it. I saw it a while ago and laughed. I think I got B despite the obvious sarcasm.
11408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 12:59:59 PM
Woof, When I was in the navy I had a couple of friends that went to the navy's SERE school.
They were both Waterboarded there.
I'am pretty sure after listening to their accounts of the experience that they would disagree with GM's asssertion that waterboarding is not tourture.
Then I'am onley taking it from first hand accounts of what it was like to be waterboarded.
Also note that these accounts came from our own service men and my friends.

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

**Waterboarding isn't offered to police officers, though a individual I know from another board that may have trained with DBMA is a former SEAL. He has stated that after waterboarding he "was ready to behave" but did not see it as torture. If waterboarding is indeed torture, then the US military has been torturing servicemen for decades. Would you agree with that, Tom?**
11409  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:33:43 AM
After Rumsfeld cleared the 24 methods, interrogators approached Kahtani once again. They relied almost exclusively on isolation and lengthy interrogations. They also used some “psy-ops” (psychological operations). Ten or so interrogators would gather and sing the Rolling Stones’ “Time Is on My Side” outside Kahtani’s cell. Sometimes they would play a recording of “Enter Sandman” by the heavy-metal group Metallica, which brought Kahtani to tears, because he thought (not implausibly) he was hearing the sound of Satan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human Rights Watch, the ICRC, Amnesty International, and the other self-professed guardians of humanitarianism need to come back to earth—to the real world in which torture means what the Nazis and the Japanese did in their concentration and POW camps in World War II; the world in which evil regimes, like those we fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, don’t follow the Miranda rules or the Convention Against Torture but instead gas children, bury people alive, set wild animals on soccer players who lose, and hang adulterous women by truckloads before stadiums full of spectators; the world in which barbarous death cults behead female aid workers, bomb crowded railway stations, and fly planes filled with hundreds of innocent passengers into buildings filled with thousands of innocent and unsuspecting civilians. By definition, our terrorist enemies and their state supporters have declared themselves enemies of the civilized order and its humanitarian rules. In fighting them, we must of course hold ourselves to our own high moral standards without, however, succumbing to the utopian illusion that we can prevail while immaculately observing every precept of the Sermon on the Mount. It is the necessity of this fallen world that we must oppose evil with force; and we must use all the lawful means necessary to ensure that good, rather than evil, triumphs.
11410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:32:08 AM
The soldiers used stress techniques to reinforce the traditional psychological approaches. Jeff (a pseudonym), an interrogator in Afghanistan, had been assigned a cocky English Muslim, who justified the 9/11 attacks because women had been working in the World Trade Center. The British citizen deflected all further questioning. Jeff questioned him for a day and a half, without letting him sleep and playing on his religious loyalties. “I broke him on his belief in Islam,” Jeff recounts. “He realized he had messed up, because his Muslim brothers and sisters were also in the building.” The Brit broke down and cried, then disclosed the mission that al-Qaida had put him on before capture. But once the prisoner was allowed to sleep for six hours, he again “clammed up.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note that none of the treatments shown in the Abu Ghraib photos, such as nudity or the use of dogs, was included in the techniques certified for the unlawful combatants held in Cuba. And those mild techniques that were certified could only be used with extensive bureaucratic oversight and medical monitoring to ensure “humane,” “safe,” and “lawful” application.
11411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:30:04 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I don’t know.”

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

“Torture me.”

So now I understand his fear, Martin recollects.

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

“No, sir, he’s not my friend.”

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

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

“No, sir.”

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

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

Under a strict reading of the Geneva protections for prisoners of war, probably: the army forbids interrogators from even touching lawful combatants. But there is a huge gray area between the gold standard of POW treatment reserved for honorable opponents and torture, which consists of the intentional infliction of severe physical and mental pain. None of the stress techniques that the military has used in the war on terror comes remotely close to torture, despite the hysterical charges of administration critics. (The CIA’s behavior remains a black box.) To declare non-torturous stress off-limits for an enemy who plays by no rules and accords no respect to Western prisoners is folly.
11412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:24:36 AM

Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Sites:
Joint Task Force Guantanamo
The Manchester Document
11413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 15, 2007, 03:02:35 AM
Waterboarding isn't torture, though torturing al qaeda is just fine with me.

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

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

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

**What standard of proof do you think the OGA used? What standard do you suggest be used? Let me guess, every "suspected terrorist" captured by the US military get a luxury suite and a team of attorneys, along with a PR flack and a cosmetologist to trim and color his beard.** rolleyes
11414  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 15, 2007, 02:53:17 AM
Not being a white house insider, I don't know if it was always the plan, but I assume so. If you've read George Friedman's "America's Secret War" he asserts that one motivation for moving against Iraq was to pressure the Saudis without direct engagement. As the Saudis are still funding the global jihad as they were prior to 2003, it's obviously not successful, though threatening Iran potentially would be more effective with American forces on two of it's borders.

As usual, this administration couldn't articulate it's self out of a paper bag and is utterly tone deaf to public opinion.
11415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 15, 2007, 02:35:13 AM
Unlike the Spanish population, the American public would react to the "Next 9/11" by electing a President willing to fight, which of course wouldn't be a democrat these days. It's in Al Qaeda's best interest to get a dem in office who'll attempt to appease them, withdraw from Iraq and allow them the opportunity to recover from the current offensive against them.
11416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 15, 2007, 02:27:20 AM
Carried over from the "Why we fight" thread.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saddam was killing Kurds, Shiites and anyone he suspected of disloyalty. Read one of Clinton's letters here:

Read this article from 7/2000.

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

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

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

3. Risk his easy re-election, go before congress and get the authorization to remove Saddam, which he did. Here is PUBLIC LAW 107–243.

So what exactly do you do?

**I'm a cop.**

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

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

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

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

**The Kurds' lives are much, much better since Saddam's rule ended. Many other Iraqis are doing much better. Once upon a time, the American left was supposed to be about freeing the oppressed, which is what we did in Iraq. Why now does the left love and supprt monsters like Saddam today?**
11417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 15, 2007, 12:45:03 AM
I'm thinking the next big attack CONUS will be after the 2008 elections but before the next president is sworn in. It wouldn't surprise me if the deliberately leave a trail for investigators from over the border just so it'll be part of Bush's legacy
11418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 15, 2007, 12:18:38 AM
I thought it was a good speech, the points are true and I hope we can make Iraq into a semi-fuctional country. The problem is that we have a congressional leadership that wants us to lose for their political gain.
11419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 14, 2007, 06:00:22 PM

11420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 14, 2007, 04:34:49 PM

The left honors 9/11.
11421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 14, 2007, 03:44:08 PM

Med school jihadi.
11422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 14, 2007, 03:04:27 PM
Waterboarding isn't torture, though torturing al qaeda is just fine with me.
11423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 14, 2007, 02:58:18 PM

They didn't, because treason wasn't cool back then.
11424  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: September 14, 2007, 02:38:22 PM

The HLF trial has exposed CAIR for what it is.
11425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 13, 2007, 10:57:15 PM
The War on Terror: The German Front   
By Stephen Brown | Thursday, September 13, 2007

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

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

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America maintains a large, clandestine intelligence-gathering effort that has already resulted in several significant victories, as already reported in FPM ( FBI teams in Pakistan have built up a network of informers, including members of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services, which pass on information for money and, according to one Pakistani writer, even for trips to the United States.

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Brown is a columnist for Email him at
11426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 13, 2007, 10:49:10 PM
It's my understanding that Turkey is majority Sunni. Syria's political elites are mostly Alawites, whom most muslims do not recognize as muslim, but Iran's mullahs have, more out of political expediency that theological agreement IMHO.
11427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 13, 2007, 08:38:19 PM
The bay area remembers 9/11.

I know, how could I fail to see the patriotic feeling expressed....
11428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 13, 2007, 07:47:46 PM
The Milt-Rogt axis rooting openly for American defeat

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

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

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

So what exactly do you do?

**I'm a cop.**

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

**Oh, please do tell of the traumas America inflicted on you to make hate it so.**
11429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 13, 2007, 05:49:06 PM
If true, very interesting indeed. Turkey in the past has had a good relationship with Israel, but I figured that as the jihadists gained power this would disappear.
11430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 13, 2007, 05:33:42 PM
It's multiple factors in my opinion. The cultural damage done by the left since the 1960's has been profound. The constant droning of how bad western civilization in general and the U.S. specifically is begins early on in the indoctrination system of public education. The MSM and hollywood's agenda also shapes the public's consciousness. This combined with the pampered and protected lives most Americans live results in the mess we have today. Look at the examples we have here. The Milt-Rogt axis rooting openly for American defeat and withdrawl and DogBrian wrapping himself in 9/11 Troofer delusion. Why? Because it's much more comfortable to blame everything on America than to face the ugly truth that there are millions and millions of fanatically motivated people who wish to utterly destroy us and everything we believe in. People who celebrate when they find that their child stapped explosives to his body and detonated them in the midst of families in a pizza parlor.

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

In my career, I have seen death up close and I have looked human evil in the eye, but for most my experiences are as alien as a science fiction movie. People watch a werewolf movie and it's scary, but they don't expect to be mauled by a werewolf in the theater parking lot, people watch terrorism today in much the same way. It's horrific, but only in a detacted way that couldn't every really affect them.
11431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 13, 2007, 04:58:02 PM

US Marines vs. Mall Security in Ron Paul's mind.
11432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cultural Contradictions of Libertarianism on: September 12, 2007, 10:12:14 PM
The crucial flaw with most libertarians is they fail to graps the importance of the rule of law to balance a free market. It's a matter of finding the right balance between the great good and individualism. Too far in either direction is bad. The is never a power vacuum in human societies. There is always some form of government, formal or informal. More often than not the typical form of gov't is despotic, corrupt and cruel. The solution is not no gov't, but good (limited) gov't.
11433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 11, 2007, 10:50:37 PM
11434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 11, 2007, 10:37:59 PM
Good razor wire fences, mine fields, Predator drones and Marine fire teams make for good neighbors.
11435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 11, 2007, 10:35:42 PM
I tend towards libertarianism, but i'm connected to reality, which means i'm not an actual libertarian. Ron Paul is 70% crazy and much of his supporters are close to 100% looney. I'd vote for the Dowager Empress Clinton before i'd vote for Ron Paul and his ilk.
11436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 11, 2007, 02:02:35 PM

Manufacturing dissent.
11437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 11, 2007, 01:45:24 PM

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

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

19 Arrested In 'Terrorist Plot'

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

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

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

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

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

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

Protests Over The 'Arab 19'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McAuliffe Calls for Investigation

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

United, American Apologize: To Start Scholarships

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

In Dallas, American Airlines announced that it would match the United offer "because we care," said a company spokesman.
11438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 10, 2007, 12:44:24 PM

TB, the dems and political correctness.
11439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 10, 2007, 12:41:16 PM
I don't know what the reason in Iraq would be, but this administration seems to have a problem with controlling any borders.
11440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: September 09, 2007, 02:37:39 PM

Open borders shill gets his clock cleaned by Lou Dobbs.
11441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 09, 2007, 11:57:03 AM
Sunday, September 9, 2007
No terrorism, just war?

Syndicated columnist

Oh, it's a long, long while from September to September. This year, the anniversary falls, for the first time, on a Tuesday morning, and perhaps some or other cable network will re-present the events in real time – the first vague breaking news in an otherwise routine morning show, the follow-up item on the second plane, and the realization that something bigger was under way. If you make it vivid enough, the JFK/Princess Di factor will kick in: you'll remember "where you were" when you "heard the news." But it's harder to recreate the peculiar mood at the end of the day, when the citizens of the superpower went to bed not knowing what they'd wake up to the following morning.
Six years on, most Americans are now pretty certain what they'll wake up to in the morning: There'll be a thwarted terrorist plot somewhere or other – last week, it was Germany. Occasionally, one will succeed somewhere or other, on the far horizon – in Bali, Istanbul, Madrid, London. But not many folks expect to switch on the TV this Tuesday morning, as they did that Tuesday morning, and see smoke billowing from Atlanta or Phoenix or Seattle. During the IRA's 30-year campaign, the British grew accustomed (perhaps too easily accustomed) to waking up to the news either of some prominent person's assassination or that a couple of grandmas and some schoolkids had been blown apart in a shopping center. It was a terrorist war in which terrorism was almost routine. But, in the six years since President Bush declared that America was in a "war on terror," there has been in America no terrorism.
In theory, the administration ought to derive a political benefit from this: The president has "kept America safe." But, in practice, the placidity of the domestic front diminishes the chosen rationale of the conflict: if a "war on terror" has no terror, who says there's a war at all? That's the argument of the left – that it's all a racket cooked up by the Bushitlerburton fascists to impose on America a permanent national-security state in which, for dark sinister reasons of his own, Dick Cheney is free to monitor your out-of-state phone calls all day long.
Judging from the blithe expressions of commuters doing the shoeless shuffle through the security line at LAX and O'Hare, most Americans seem relatively content with a permanent national-security state. It's a curious paradox: airports on permanent Orange Alert, and a citizenry on permanent … well, I'm not sure there's a Homeland Security color code for "Gaily Insouciant," but, if there is, it's probably a bland limpid pastel of some kind. Of course, if tomorrow there's a big smoking hole where the Empire State Building used to be, we'll be back to: "The president should have known! This proves the failure of his policies over the last six years! We need another all-star commission filled with retired grandees!"
And that would be the relatively sane reaction. Have you seen that bumper sticker "9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB"? If you haven't, go to a college town and cruise Main Street for a couple of minutes. It seems odd that a fascist regime that thinks nothing of killing thousands of people in a big landmark building in the center of the city hasn't quietly offed some of these dissident professors – or at least the guy with the sticker-printing contract. Fearlessly, Robert Fisk of Britain's Independent, the alleged dean of Middle East correspondents, has now crossed over to the truther side and written a piece headlined, "Even I Question The 'Truth' About 9/11." According to a poll in May, 35 percent of Democrats believe that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance. Did Rumsfeld also know? Almost certainly. That's why he went to his office as normal that today, because he knew in advance that the plane would slice through the Pentagon but come to a halt on the far side of the photocopier. That's how well-planned it was, unlike Iraq.
Apparently, 39 percent of Democrats still believe Bush didn'tknow in advance – or, at any rate, so they said in May. But I'm confident half of them will have joined Rosie O'Donnell on the melted steely knoll before the Iowa caucuses. If Iraq is another Vietnam, 9/11 is another Kennedy assassination. Were Bali, Madrid and London also inside jobs by the Bush Gang? It's no wonder federal spending's out of control.
And what of those for whom the events of six years ago were more than just conspiracy fodder? Last week the New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who "allowed the events of 9/11 to happen." And they mean everybody – American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms – everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.
According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one's death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they're after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they'll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen.
But that's the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he's retained counsel. Last week, it was Larry Craig. Next week, it'll be the survivors of Ahmadinejad's nuclear test in Westchester County. As Andrew McCarthy pointed out, a legalistic culture invariably misses the forest for the trees. Sen. Craig should know that what matters is not whether an artful lawyer can get him off on a technicality but whether the public thinks he trawls for anonymous sex in public bathrooms. Likewise, those 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child's death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth.
In his pugnacious new book, Norman Podhoretz calls for redesignating this conflict as World War IV. Certainly, it would have been easier politically to frame the Iraq campaign as being a front in a fourth world war than as a necessary measure in an anti-terrorist campaign. Yet who knows? Perhaps we would still have mired ourselves in legalists and conspiracies and the dismal curdled relativism of the Flight 93 memorial's "crescent of embrace." In the end, as Podhoretz says, if the war is to be fought at all, it will "have to be fought by the kind of people Americans now are." On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all.
11442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 08, 2007, 10:11:46 PM

Not a bad wiki article on triads.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E-mail the writers at and

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
11443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 08, 2007, 09:55:05 PM

"Runaround Hsu's" triad connections begin to bubble to the surface.
11444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 08, 2007, 09:48:02 PM
Triad= Chinese organized crime. Bagman=dishonest official; a person who collects, carries, or distributes illegal payoff money.

11445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 08, 2007, 08:23:50 PM

September 8, 2007
Deadline For Terrorism: September 15th

The terrorists arrested in Germany had a deadline for their attack on Ramstein Air Base and the Frankfurt airport, given to them by their al-Qaeda masters: September 15th. Why that date, rather than the more obvious 9/11 anniversary? AQ has more current politics in mind:

Three suspected Islamist militants who were planning to attack U.S. installations in Germany had orders to act by Sept. 15 and knew police were hot on their trail before their arrest, a magazine said on Saturday.
The plan was foiled on Tuesday when police arrested two German converts to Islam and a Turk in the biggest German police operation in 30 years.

According to surveillance details published in Der Spiegel magazine, the men had been given a two-week deadline for their planned strikes in a late August call from northern Pakistan that was monitored by German police.

Congress set a deadline on September 15th as well -- the due date for a progress report on the Iraq War from President Bush. (Power Line incorrectly notes this as the date of General Petraeus' testimony, which will happen on the 11th.) AQ wanted to replicate the Tet offensive, only not in Iraq but in Europe. A devastating attack before Bush delivered his report would tend to discredit the forward strategy pursued by the administration since the 9/11 attacks.

Why attack Europe? Osama wants the US out of the Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan. If he could convince the American critics of the administration that the forward strategy had failed, Osama thinks he could gain enough leverage over Bush to force a withdrawal of troops in Iraq, if not Afghanistan. He wants to hit behind our lines to push us into a retreat from the real fronts against AQ in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His video message was timed to deliver that purpose. His announcement would have immediately preceded the attacks in Germany and Denmark, emphasizing AQ's ability to strike anywhere in the world. And it probably would have had the effect Osama intended, had it worked; there is little doubt that war critics would have redoubled their effort to discredit the forward strategy and force Bush to pull out of Iraq.

Ask yourselves this: why does Osama want to push us out of the Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan? It's not because we're losing in either theater. If we were losing, he'd be happy to beat American military forces for as long as we stuck around. He wants us out because he's losing -- and he tried to hit Germany and Denmark because he can't beat the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Or perhaps people think it's a coincidence that Osama finally reappeared after the surge pushed AQI all the way to the Syrian border?

Finally, let's just take a moment to acknowledge how this cell got discovered in the first place:

The arrests were the culmination of an investigation that began a year ago, when U.S. officials alerted German authorities to e-mails intercepted from Pakistan.
Chalk one up for the NSA. Nice work, folks.

Posted by Ed Morrissey on September 8, 2007 11:41 A
11446  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: September 08, 2007, 08:08:20 PM

Buy it, watch it, pass it on.
11447  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 08, 2007, 02:43:13 PM
My analysis is that Hsu will turn out to be a triad affiliated bagman. Now tracking the source of the money may well run back to Beijing. Slick Willie made a series of decisions as president that assisted the PLA's rise under his watch.
11448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: September 07, 2007, 10:05:31 PM

Note the absence of outrage from the left and the non-coverage from the MSM.
11449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: September 07, 2007, 09:08:39 PM

bonus weekend gregalogue! BIN LADEN'S TAPE!

So you've seen the latest message from our favorite goat-toucher Usama bin Laden. In it, he criticizes Americans for reelecting, instead of punishing, Bush, as well as harping on Democrats for not securing a retreat from Iraq. He also mentions global warming and praises Noam Chomsky, the patron saint of the left.

It was at this point, I thought I was listening to Keith Olbermann. That's when it dawned on me. Bin Laden isn't just a terrorist. He's worse. A liberal!

So, when one political party shares a war-time agenda with the guy who's trying to end your civilization, isn't it time to stop renewing Bill Maher's contract? I mean, if Usama wrote these sentiments on a job application, he could land a spot on the View.

You know, I didn't realize bin laden was following US politics that closely. He must watch the Daily Show. But the whole thing seems like Usama's latest video dating offer to America's left. "Lonely, bored goat-herder, into Jihad, mass murder, and figs, seeks fellow 'Progressive' for long term relationship. I enjoy long walks in the desert. And goats. Lets end western civilization together! (AND YES, THIS IS MY REAL BEARD!)

But there's a hint of desperation to all this. UBL is no longer calling for America's destruction. Now, he's begging us to leave the middle east. Which means, he's running out of hummus. It's clear he would love to call things "even" and check into the Yemen Hilton for a nice bath.

Just remember: only a man who's losing it quotes Chomsky. Usama's on the ropes. Let's keep him there. Until he's at the end of one.
11450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 07, 2007, 08:18:05 PM
"The infallible methodology is the methodology of Allah, the Most High, who created the heavens and earth and created the Creation and is the Most Kind and All-Informed and the Knower of the souls of His slaves and the methodology that best suits them."

"You believe with absolute certainty that you believe in Allah, and you are full of conviction of this belief, so much so that you have written this belief of yours on your dollar."

"But the truth is that you are mistake in this belief of yours. The impartial judge knows that belief in Allah requires straightness in the following of His methodology, and accordingly, total obedience must be to the orders and prohibitions of Allah Alone in all aspects of life."

"So how about you when you associate others with Him in your beliefs and separate state from religion, then claim that you are believers?!"

"What you have done is clear loss and manifest polytheism, And I will give you a parable of polytheism, as parables summarize and clarify speech."

"I tell you: its parable is the parable of a man who owns a shop and hires a worker and tells him, "Sell and give me the money," but he makes sales and give the money to someone other than the owner. So who of you would approve of that?"

"You believe that Allah is your Lord and your Creator and the Creator of this earth and that it is His property, then you work on His earth and property without His orders and without obeying Him, and you legislate in contradiction to His Law and methodology."

"This work of yours is the greatest form of polytheism and is rebellion against obedience to Allah with which the believer becomes an unbeliever, even if he obeys Allah in some of His other orders. Allah, the Most High, sent down His orders in His Sacred Books like the Torah and Evangel and sent with them the Messengers (Allah's prayers and peace be upon them) as bearers of good news to the people."

"And everyone who believes in them and complies with them is a believer from the people of the Garden. Then when the men of knowledge altered the words of Allah, the Most High, and sold them for a paltry price, as the rabbis did with the Torah and the monks with the Evangel, Allah sent down His final Book, the magnificent Quran, and safeguarded it from being added to or subtracted from by the hands of men, and in it is a complete methodology for the lives of all people."

"And our holding firm to this magnificent Book is the secret of our strength and winning of the war against you despite the fewness of our numbers and materiel. And if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing of your war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard."

"Don't be turned away from Islam by the terrible situation of the Muslims today, for our rulers in general abandoned Islam many decades ago, but our forefathers were the leaders and pioneers of the world for many centuries, when they held firmly to Islam."

"And before concluding, I tell you: there has been an increase in the thinkers who study events and happenings, and on the basis of their study, they have declared the approach of the collapse of the American Empire."

"Among them is the European thinker who anticipated the fall of the Soviet Union, which indeed fell. And it would benefit you to read what he wrote about what comes after the empire in regard to the United States of America. I also want to bring your attention that among the greatest reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union was their being afflicted with their leader Brezhnev, who was overtaken by pride and arrogance and refused to look at the facts on the ground. From the first year of the Afghanistan invasion, reports indicated that the Russians were losing the war, but he refused to acknowledge this, lest it go down in his personal history as a defeat, even though refusal to acknowledge defeat not only doesn't do anything to change the facts for thinking people, but also exacerbates the problem and increases the losses. And how similar is your position today to their position approximately two decades ago. The mistakes of Brezhnev are being repeated by Bush, who - when asked about the date of his withdrawing of forces from Iraq - said in effect that the withdrawal will not be during his reign, but rather, during the reign of the one who succeeds him. And the significance of these words is not hidden."

"And here I say: it would benefit you to listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying - with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs - the price for these sorts of irresponsible statements. Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms and invites them to join him there for a few days. Perhaps his message will find in you an attentive ear so you can rescue him and more than 150,000 of your sons there who are tasting the two bitterest things: "

"If they leave their barracks, the mines devour them, and if they refuse to leave, rulings are passed against them. Thus, the only options left in front of them are to commit suicide or cry, both of which are from the severest of afflictions. So is there anything more men can do after crying and killing themselves to make you respond to them? They are doing that out of the severity of the humiliation, fear and terror which they are suffering. It is severer than what the slaves used to suffer at your hands centuries ago, and it is as if some of them have gone from one slavery to another slavery more severe and harmful, even if it be in the fancy dress of the Defense Department's financial enticements."

"So do you feel the greatness of their sufferings?"

"To conclude, I invite you to embrace Islam, for the greatest mistake one can make in this world and one which is uncorrectable is to die while not surrendering to Allah, the Most High, in all aspects of one's life - ie., to die outside of Islam. And Islam means gain for you in this first life and the next, final life. The true religion is a mercy for people in their lives, filling their hearts with serenity and calm."

T"here is a message for you in the Mujahideen: the entire world is in pursuit of them, yet their hearts, by the grace of Allah, are satisfied and tranquil. The true religion also puts peoples' lives in order with its laws; protects their needs and interests; refines their morals; protects them from evils; and guarantees for them entrance into Paradise in the hereafter through their obedience to Allah and sincere worship of Him Alone."

"And it will also achieve your desire to stop the war as a consequence, because as soon as the warmongering owners of the major corporations realize that you have lost confidence in your democratic system and begun to search for an alternative, and that this alternative is Islam, they will run after you to please you and achieve what you want to steer you away from Islam. So your true compliance with Islam will deprive them of the opportunity to defraud the peoples and take their money under numerous pretexts, like arms deals and so on. "

"There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling only 2.5%. So beware of the deception of those with the capital. And with your earnest reading about Islam from its pristine sources, you will arrive at an important truth, which is that the religion of all of the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them) is one, and that its essence is submission to the orders of Allah Alone in all aspects of life, even if their Shari'ahs [Laws] differ."

"And did you know that the name of the Prophet of Allah Jesus and his mother (peace and blessings of Allah be on them both) are mentioned in the Noble Quran dozens of times, and that in the Quran there is a chapter whose name is "Maryam," i.e. Mary, daughter of 'Imran and mother of Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both)? It tells the story of her becoming pregnant with the Prophet of Allah Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both), and in its confirmation of her chastity and purity, in contrast to the fabrications of the Jews against her. Whoever wishes to find that out for himself must listen to the verse of this magnificent chapter: one of the just kings of the Christians - the Negus - listened to some of its verses and his eyes welled up with tears and he said something which should be reflected on for a long time by those sincere in their search for the truth."

"He said, "verily, this and what Jesus brought come from one lantern": i.e., that the magnificent Quran and the Evangel are both from Allah, the Most High; and every just and intelligent one of you who reflects on the Quran will definitely arrive at this truth. It also must be noted that Allah has preserved the Quran from the alterations of men. And reading in order to become acquainted with Islam only requires a little effort, and those of you who are guided will profit greatly. And peace be upon he who follows the Guidance."

By Jeffrey Imm on September 7, 2007 6:30 PM

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