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11551  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 12, 2008, 08:41:25 AM
I would argue that technological sophistication actually tend to protect civil rights more than threatening them. Corrupt 3rd. world cops need no technology to arrest or murder dissidents or shake down merchants. I came into law enforcement post-Rodney King. It was emphasized in the academy "Don't do or say anything you wouldn't want your family to see on CNN".

Mao, Stalin and Hitler didn't have video cameras or computer databases and created totalitarian nightmares just fine without them.
11552  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 10:23:05 PM
I can assure you that today, the USG and other levels of government in the US are far from omnipotent. I'm willing to bet that private marketing firms know much more about you than any governmental entity does.
11553  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 'America Alone' on: June 11, 2008, 09:23:36 PM

June 12, 2008
Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their “dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Maclean’s violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

“It’s hate speech!” yelled one man.

“It’s free speech!” yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence.

The Maclean’s article, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” was an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called “America Alone” (Regnery, 2006). The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many other areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.

“In much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at one’s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment,” Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called “The Exceptional First Amendment.”

“But in the United States,” Professor Schauer continued, “all such speech remains constitutionally protected.”

Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

Earlier this month, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined $23,000 in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.

By contrast, American courts would not stop a planned march by the American Nazi Party in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, though a march would have been deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there.

Six years later, a state court judge in New York dismissed a libel case brought by several Puerto Rican groups against a business executive who had called food stamps “basically a Puerto Rican program.” The First Amendment, Justice Eve M. Preminger wrote, does not allow even false statements about racial or ethnic groups to be suppressed or punished just because they may increase “the general level of prejudice.”

Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.

“It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,” Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, “when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.”

Professor Waldron was reviewing “Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment” by Anthony Lewis, the former New York Times columnist. Mr. Lewis has been critical of efforts to use the law to limit hate speech.

But even Mr. Lewis, a liberal, wrote in his book that he was inclined to relax some of the most stringent First Amendment protections “in an age when words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism.” In particular, he called for a re-examination of the Supreme Court’s insistence that there is only one justification for making incitement a criminal offense: the likelihood of imminent violence.

The imminence requirement sets a high hurdle. Mere advocacy of violence, terrorism or the overthrow of the government is not enough; the words must be meant to and be likely to produce violence or lawlessness right away. A fiery speech urging an angry mob to immediately assault a black man in its midst probably qualifies as incitement under the First Amendment. A magazine article — or any publication — intended to stir up racial hatred surely does not.

Mr. Lewis wrote that there was “genuinely dangerous” speech that did not meet the imminence requirement.

“I think we should be able to punish speech that urges terrorist violence to an audience, some of whose members are ready to act on the urging,” Mr. Lewis wrote. “That is imminence enough.”

Harvey A. Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer in Cambridge, Mass., disagreed. “When times are tough,” he said, “there seems to be a tendency to say there is too much freedom.”

“Free speech matters because it works,” Mr. Silverglate continued. Scrutiny and debate are more effective ways of combating hate speech than censorship, he said, and all the more so in the post-Sept. 11 era.

“The world didn’t suffer because too many people read ‘Mein Kampf,’ ” Mr. Silverglate said. “Sending Hitler on a speaking tour of the United States would have been quite a good idea.”

Mr. Silverglate seemed to be echoing the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., whose 1919 dissent in Abrams v. United States eventually formed the basis for modern First Amendment law.

“The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market,” Justice Holmes wrote.

“I think that we should be eternally vigilant,” he added, “against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death.”

The First Amendment is not, of course, absolute. The Supreme Court has said that the government may ban fighting words or threats. Punishments may be enhanced for violent crimes prompted by racial hatred. And private institutions, including universities and employers, are not subject to the First Amendment, which restricts only government activities.

But merely saying hateful things about minorities, even with the intent to cause their members distress and to generate contempt and loathing, is protected by the First Amendment.

In 1969, for instance, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction of a leader of a Ku Klux Klan group under an Ohio statute that banned the advocacy of terrorism. The Klan leader, Clarence Brandenburg, had urged his followers at a rally to “send the Jews back to Israel,” to “bury” blacks, though he did not call them that, and to consider “revengeance” against politicians and judges who were unsympathetic to whites.

Only Klan members and journalists were present. Because Mr. Brandenburg’s words fell short of calling for immediate violence in a setting where such violence was likely, the Supreme Court ruled that he could not be prosecuted for incitement.

In his opening statement in the Canadian magazine case, a lawyer representing the Muslim plaintiffs aggrieved by the Maclean’s article pleaded with a three-member panel of the tribunal to declare that the article subjected his clients to “hatred and ridicule” and to force the magazine to publish a response.

“You are the only thing between racist, hateful, contemptuous Islamophobic and irresponsible journalism, and law-abiding Canadian citizens,” the lawyer, Faisal Joseph, told the tribunal.

In response, the lawyer for Maclean’s, Roger D. McConchie, all but called the proceeding a sham.

“Innocent intent is not a defense,” Mr. McConchie said in a bitter criticism of the British Columbia law on hate speech. “Nor is truth. Nor is fair comment on true facts. Publication in the public interest and for the public benefit is not a defense. Opinion expressed in good faith is not a defense. Responsible journalism is not a defense.”

Jason Gratl, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Journalists, which have intervened in the case in support of the magazine, was measured in his criticism of the law.

“Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech,” Mr. Gratl said in a telephone interview. “We don’t subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat.”

Many foreign courts have respectfully considered the American approach — and then rejected it.

A 1990 decision from the Canadian Supreme Court, for instance, upheld the criminal conviction of James Keegstra for “unlawfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group by communicating anti-Semitic statements.” Mr. Keegstra, a teacher, had told his students that Jews were “money loving,” “power hungry” and “treacherous.”

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Brian Dickson said there was an issue “crucial to the disposition of this appeal: the relationship between Canadian and American approaches to the constitutional protection of free expression, most notably in the realm of hate propaganda.”

Chief Justice Dickson said “there is much to be learned from First Amendment jurisprudence.” But he concluded that “the international commitment to eradicate hate propaganda and, most importantly, the special role given equality and multiculturalism in the Canadian Constitution necessitate a departure from the view, reasonably prevalent in America at present, that the suppression of hate propaganda is incompatible with the guarantee of free expression.”

The United States’ distinctive approach to free speech, legal scholars say, has many causes. It is partly rooted in an individualistic view of the world. Fear of allowing the government to decide what speech is acceptable plays a role. So does history.

“It would be really hard to criticize Israel, Austria, Germany and South Africa, given their histories,” for laws banning hate speech, Professor Schauer said in an interview.

In Canada, however, laws banning hate speech seem to stem from a desire to promote societal harmony. While the Ontario Human Rights Commission dismissed a complaint against Maclean’s, it still condemned the article.

“In Canada, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute, nor should it be,” the commission’s statement said. “By portraying Muslims as all sharing the same negative characteristics, including being a threat to ‘the West,’ this explicit expression of Islamophobia further perpetuates and promotes prejudice toward Muslims and others.”

A separate federal complaint against Maclean’s is pending.

Mr. Steyn, the author of the article, said the Canadian proceedings had illustrated some important distinctions. “The problem with so-called hate speech laws is that they’re not about facts,” he said in a telephone interview. “They’re about feelings.”

“What we’re learning here is really the bedrock difference between the United States and the countries that are in a broad sense its legal cousins,” Mr. Steyn added. “Western governments are becoming increasingly comfortable with the regulation of opinion. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world.”
11554  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 07:54:55 PM

Note the potential use of camera footage in the above investigations.
11555  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 07:33:15 PM
Are we not watched everywhere we go where there are other humans? Do the cameras at ATMs and gas stations make you feel oppressed?
11556  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:25:00 PM

Transnational organized crime brief
11557  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:11:57 PM

London bombers staged 'dummy run'

Newly released CCTV footage shows the 7 July London bombers staged a practice run nine days before the attack.
Detectives reconstructed the bombers' movements after studying thousands of hours of film as part of the probe into the blasts which killed 52 people.

CCTV images show three of the bombers entering Luton station, before travelling to King's Cross station where they are also pictured.

Officers are keen to find out if the men met anyone else on the day.

Intensive probe

The three, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer and Germaine Lindsay, were conducting a carefully planned reconnaissance exercise, police said.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch, said: "What we want to know is where else they went and did they meet anybody else while they were in London?

"If any member of the public thinks that they know something about the movement of these men on that day, they should call us on the anti-terrorist hotline."

He added that it was "part of a terrorist's methodology" to check timings, lay-out and security precautions.

Police traced the movements after recovering tickets and receipts from houses connected to the bombers which pointed to their trip.

Mr Clarke said the investigation would carry on for months. More than 3,000 plus witness statements had been gathered and 80,000 CCTV tapes analysed.

Police revealed that two bombs were found in a car left by the attackers at Luton train station on 7 July.

It has also emerged that a landfill site in Skelton Grange, West Yorkshire, is being searched in a bid to uncover more clues.

Sidique Khan and Tanweer meet Lindsay at Luton station around 0810 BST
The trio buy tickets and catch a train to King's Cross
The men arrive at King's Cross at 0855 BST and are also seen at Baker Street at midday
The bombers leave King's Cross at 1250 BST and arrive back in Luton at 1340 BST

A dozen officers in fluorescent jackets could be seen on Tuesday afternoon working on the site.

The men, who were wearing overalls under their jackets and white safety hats, appeared to be systematically searching a small area of the rubbish heap helped by two mechanical diggers.

One local resident said: "They've been here for weeks, dozens of them.

"They've been searching the same bit of rubbish every day it seems.

"The diggers skim off a layer at a time and then they move in and search it quite painstakingly."

Detectives believe the site could be connected to the apparent "bomb factory" at a flat in Alexander Grove in Leeds.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has said for the first time the group carried out the attacks.

In a videotaped message aired on Arab television station al-Jazeera, al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri said the group had the "honour" of carrying out the attacks.

The 7 July bomb attacks killed 56 people - including the four bombers - and injured more than 700.

Tube theory

Three bombs were detonated on underground trains just outside Liverpool Street and Edgware Road stations, and on another travelling between King's Cross and Russell Square.

The fourth explosion took place on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square, not far from King's Cross.

Evidence of a reconnaissance mission supports the theory that all four had planned to detonate their rucksack bombs on the Underground system.

It is believed that the bus bomber, Hasib Hussain, was prevented from getting onto the Northern Line on the day of the attacks because the service had been disrupted.

The other bombers - Tanweer, Lindsay and Sidique Khan - detonated their devices almost simultaneously.

Anyone with information in connection with the London bombings should ring the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800789321 .

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/09/20 17:19:35 GMT
11558  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:05:53 PM
In reference to the "scary" photos from europe. What's the difference between a cop on the beat in a public place and a cop watching a video feed from a camera in a public place? What's the objection to police wearing riot gear? Even weird european riot gear?
11559  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:01:20 PM
If you use it as part of a licensing process, then you can deny for a prior criminal history. If the applicant is a "cleanskin" (meaning no prior criminal history) you use it to identify them should they commit a crime or crimes and attempt to disappear.
11560  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 05:36:05 PM

December 25, 2007
Officials Falling Behind on Mortgage Fraud Cases

The number of mortgage fraud cases has grown so fast that government agencies that investigate and prosecute them cannot keep up, lenders and law enforcement officials have said.

Reports of suspected mortgage fraud have doubled since 2005 and increased eightfold since 2002. Banks filed 47,717 reports this year, up from 21,994 two years ago, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Treasury Department. In 2002, banks filed 5,623 reports.

“I don’t think any law enforcement agency can keep up with mortgage fraud, because it’s such a growth industry,” said Chuck Cross, vice president of mortgage regulatory policy for the conference of state bank supervisors, an organization of regulators and bankers. “There’s too many cases, not enough agents.”

Mortgage fraud covers crimes like false statements on mortgage applications and elaborate “flipping” schemes that involve multiple properties and corrupt appraisers, title companies and straw buyers.

In one common flipping plot, someone buys a house, has it appraised for more than its true value and sells it to a straw buyer for the inflated price, pocketing the difference. The straw buyer lets the house fall into foreclosure, leaving the bank with the loss.

The cases coming into view reflect the recent boom in mortgages with limited borrower documentation and lax scrutiny.

Law enforcement agencies say they are overwhelmed, especially because investigating and prosecuting fraud can be complex and time consuming. The officials say career criminals and organized-crime rings have increasingly turned from other crimes to mortgage fraud because it offers lower risks and high profits.

“I could hire a dozen investigators and a dozen prosecutors and only scratch the surface,” said David McLaughlin, a senior assistant attorney general in Georgia who coordinates prosecutions of mortgage fraud.

Losses involving federally insured banks totaled $813 million in the 2007 fiscal year, more than double the $293 million lost in the 2002 fiscal year.

These figures most likely represent “the tip of the iceberg,” said the Mortgage Bankers Association, an industry group, because they do not cover mortgage brokers, who arrange more than half of new mortgages. The industry estimates the total loss this year at $4 billion.

Mortgage fraud can damage whole neighborhoods. Derrick Duckworth, a real estate broker in southwestern Atlanta, has watched “about 40 percent” of the houses in his neighborhood, Adair, become vacant as a result of mortgage fraud. The remaining residents cannot sell their houses because of the abandoned buildings and the neighborhood’s reputation for fraud, he said.

“The other day, someone broke into my neighbor’s crawl space and stole her copper plumbing,” he said. “Last week, we had an 18-year-old shot on the street.”

Fraud is especially common with subprime mortgages, the high-price loans for borrowers with poor credit. Lenders and investigators trace part of the foreclosure crisis to mortgage fraud.

For local law enforcement agencies, fraud is increasing as regulatory budgets are tight and other crimes seem more pressing, said Tom Levanti, a fraud investigator in New York.

“You only have a certain amount of resources,” Mr. Levanti said, “and in New York, you need to spend them on counterterrorism, protecting citizens, reducing violent crime. Mortgage fraud cases are long and time consuming, and the victims are usually financial institutions that can write off the loss. So as a police department, return on investment has to be thought about.”

Lenders say they have good relationships with investigating and prosecuting agencies.

“But law enforcement is just absolutely overwhelmed,” said Corey Carlisle, senior director for government affairs for the Mortgage Bankers Association, which has lobbied for more money to fight fraud. “Lenders say they have to market their cases to law enforcement,” meaning showing extraordinarily high sums or multiple criminals.

John Arterberry, executive deputy chief of the fraud section in the Justice Department, said federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. had made progress on mortgage fraud. Mr. Arterberry cited sweeps in 2004 and 2005 that resulted in more than 150 defendants charged in each sweep.

The bureau has 1,210 open mortgage fraud inquiries, up from 436 in 2003. Last year, those cases led to 204 convictions.

“We have limited resources and have to put them where they do the most good,” Mr. Arterberry said. “We’re able to zero in on hot spots and organized efforts.”

This progress is too slow for Kristine Baugh, who said her neighborhood in Dallas had not recovered from a mortgage fraud that left in six vacant houses on her block. Ms. Baugh, a real estate broker, said she discovered what she believed was a fraud scheme in 2005, when six properties sold for far more than she felt they were worth and remained vacant until being foreclosed.

Suspecting fraudulent appraisals, she gathered documents on the sales and took them to the F.B.I., the district attorney and local officials. With neighbors, she sued an investor who she said was behind the fraud.

Years later, there have been no arrests in the case. The residents ran out of money and dropped their civil suit after the investor filed a countersuit. “Our neighborhood is still in shambles,” Ms. Baugh said. “The properties deteriorated and have to be kept up by the city. They’re a health hazard.”

The swimming pools at the vacant sites are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and potential West Nile virus sources, she said.

Such cases are likely to multiply, said Constance Wilson, executive vice president of Interthinx, which develops fraud detection tools for the lending industry.

“The cases we’re seeing today are from 18, 24, 36 months ago, when the market was still good,” Ms. Wilson said. “Now we’re going to see an increase in mortgage fraud, because all those loan officers, brokers and appraisers who were making six-figure incomes, now their back is against the wall. If that loan doesn’t close, they can’t make their home payment.

“So you have a desperation cycle,” she said. “There’s a lot of push for them originate volume.

“The consequences are that people are getting away with it. It’s damaging the entire real estate market. It’s devastating to victims. Not just lenders but consumers. It’s devastating to entire communities.

“When it’s this prolific,” she said, “we just don’t have enough law enforcement or enough prosecutors for all the cases out there.”
11561  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: June 11, 2008, 05:31:52 PM
At the Islamic Center of Roubaix, the suburb of Lille where the marriage took place, there is sympathy for the woman.
"The man is the biggest of all the donkeys," said Abdelkibir Errami, the center's vice president. "Even if the woman was no longer a virgin, he had no right to expose her honor. This is not what Islam teaches. It teaches forgiveness."

**This is why you see muslims oppose honor killings with such fervor around the world, right?**

/a cricket chirps in the distance/
11562  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 05:26:39 PM
....When they came for the residential mortgage originators, I said nothing.....

Seriously, mortgage fraud has become a staple for organized crime. Part of the housing crisis today is related to fraud. It's a serious crime with a serious financial impact on all of us.
11563  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 09:52:43 AM
Aside from those whose biometrics are recorded as part of a booking process, everyone else that is fingerprinted/has other biometrics recorded is doing so voluntarily. Why shouldn't law enforcement use modern technology to record other biometrics when it records fingerprints?
11564  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 10, 2008, 10:48:55 PM
Domestic spying? Puh-leeze.....  rolleyes
11565  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 09, 2008, 08:38:24 AM

Obama Uses Police Memorial for Porta Potties

This photo by Officer Thomas Brennan shows the porta potties setup on the police memorial, with its flag still at half mast.
May 30, 2008

PORTLAND, OR – Police officers in Portland, Oregon, are still waiting for an apology from Barack Obama after campaign staffers of his recent rally in Portland, Oregon, setup porta potties directly on top of the Portland Police Memorial, which honors the agency’s 25 fallen police officers.

The Obama rally drew a crowd of over 75,000 people.

Officer Thomas Brennan, who was working overtime at the rally, took a picture of the offending toilets, with the American flag still at half mast because of Police Officers Memorial Day, directly behind them. The local law enforcement memorial service had been held at the site only five days earlier.

Despite a large amount of open areas in the vicinity, the campaign staffers claimed the toilets were placed on the memorial for safety reasons to accommodate wheelchair access.

The Obama campaign has not responded to requests for an apology.

Want to express your outrage and ask for an apology? Contact Senator Obama here.
11566  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: June 08, 2008, 09:38:50 PM

More stealth-jihad in the schools.
11567  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 08, 2008, 08:05:12 PM

They "Hope" you don't see this, so they've "Change"'d the website.  grin
11568  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: June 08, 2008, 07:48:40 PM

Unintelligence on Iranian Nukes
Appalling gamesmanship at the CIA.
by Michael Rubin
02/25/2008, Volume 013, Issue 23

During his February 5 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell backpedaled from the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and its claim that, "in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program."

Not only did McConnell testify that the Islamic Republic was working to master the enrichment of uranium--"the most difficult challenge in nuclear production"--but he also acknowledged that, "because of intelligence gaps," the U.S. government could not be certain that the Iranian government had fully suspended its covert nuclear programs. "We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons," he testified. "In our judgment, only an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective would plausibly keep Iran from eventually producing nuclear weapons--and such a decision is inherently reversible."

The NIE was no accident, and McConnell's pirouette does more than confirm the intelligence community's sloppiness. The 2007 NIE was built on geopolitical assumptions as much as any hard intelligence, and historians will deem it important not because it was accurate, but because it made utterly clear the collapse of the intelligence community. While the crudeness of its assault on the president's Iran policy makes it the best example of the intelligence community's agenda politics, it is far from the only one.

My initiation into CIA policy plays came less than a week after Baghdad's fall to coalition forces in April 2003. In the months before the war, U.S. government officials had assessed thousands of Iraqi political activists and technocrats in order to prepare to fill the Iraqi political -vacuum. Representatives from State, the Pentagon, and the National Security Council were meeting to vet invitations for the Nasiriya Conference where Iraqis would discuss post-liberation governance.

Rather than simply present the biographies of the various Iraqi figures, the CIA sought to be a privileged policy player. Its representative announced that not only would Langley be inviting its own candidates outside the interagency consensus, but the CIA would not be sharing the names or backgrounds of its invitees. Putting aside the ridiculousness of the CIA belief that it could invite delegates anonymously to a public conference, more troubling was the principle. Far from limiting its work to intelligence, the CIA leadership was unabashedly involving itself in major policy initiatives.

The reverberations of Langley's policy games haunted reconstruction. CIA officials would promise governorships to Iraqis without any coordination. Often, diplomats, military officials, and Pentagon civilians would learn of such deals only after other Iraqis had been appointed or elected to such offices. (Some U.S. servicemen surely paid the price as spurned Iraqis responded to what they saw as betrayal.) Once the son of a Kurdish leader remarked how ridiculous State-Defense bickering was when the CIA had implemented and funded a decision on the policy issue months before without any coordination whatsoever.

Many of the agency's senior analysts are arrogant after years behind their computers, believing they know far better what U.S. policy should be than the policymakers for whom they draft reports. The recourse of the disgruntled, bored, or politicized analyst is the leak--the bread and butter of any national security correspondent. Journalists who fulfill the leakers' objectives win ever more tantalizing scoops; those who maintain professional integrity and question the agenda behind any leak, find their access cut. The result is a situation in which journalists who might otherwise double-check sources, take a single intelligence analyst at his word, even if he is using them to fight a policy battle.

Iraq again provides a case study. In order to shield themselves from accountability over flawed intelligence or to bolster their Iraqi proxies at the expense of competitors, CIA officials provided a steady stream of leaks to favored correspondents like the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh or McClatchy's Warren Strobel. Such leaks ranged from allegations that the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans--a policy shop--was a rogue intelligence operation to misattributions of the provenance of prewar intelligence.

It was not uncommon, for example, to see false or exaggerated intelligence attributed to the Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi when it had actually come from Kurdish officials. This was never more clear than in a July 17, 2004, New York Times correction. The paper was retracting three stories which alleged a connection between Chalabi and an Iraqi source code-named Curveball, whose information later turned out to be bogus. The editors explained that their correspondent had "attribute[d] that account to American intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity." They continued: "Those officials now say that there was no such established relationship." In other words, intelligence officials lied to a reporter to achieve a policy aim.

Such behavior is not limited to debates over policies impacting countries thousands of miles away. W. Patrick Lang, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, told the American Prospect in 2005 that his intelligence community colleagues used leaks to try to influence the 2004 presidential election. "Of course they were leaking. They told me about it at the time. They thought it was funny. They'd say things like, 'This last thing that came out, surely people will pay attention to that. They won't reelect this man.' " The intelligence leadership did not refer the matter to the judiciary, unlike the leak concerning Valerie Plame.

To deflect criticism of the NIE, intelligence officials reached out to reporters. "Hundreds of officials were involved and thousands of documents were drawn upon in this report .  .  . making it impossible for any official to overly sway it," the Wall Street Journal was told. Wayne White, a former analyst in State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, suggested it was "absolutely disgusting" that anyone could impugn the professionalism of lead author (and his former colleague) Thomas Fingar. This is disingenuous. Personnel are policy. Half of Washington's battles involve who writes the first and last drafts of any paper or memo.

McConnell's testimony undercut the idea that the intelligence agencies deserve a reputation for either professionalism or integrity. A tolerance for political gamesmanship has besmirched the entire community. With the NIE giving Iran what President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared its "greatest victory during the past 100 years," the consequence for U.S. national security is grave.

In the wake of the Iraq war, many Democrats accused the Bush administration of politicizing intelligence. It was a false charge, but good politics. But the fact is, the problem was the opposite: an intelligence community driven by the desire to conduct policy.

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, was an Iran country director at the Pentagon between September 2002 and April 2004.
11569  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 08, 2008, 09:11:50 AM
The euro-dhimmis can't wait to cower and appease in the name of tolerance and multiculturalism.
11570  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 08, 2008, 08:35:49 AM

Does Obama know anyone who isn't a terrorist, convicted felon or race-baiting anti-american bigot? Just asking.....
11571  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: June 07, 2008, 09:17:08 PM’s-office-for-civil-rights/

February 13, 2008
OC Task Force Investigation Finds Anti-Semitism at University of California, Irvine and Reviews Findings of DOE’s Office for Civil Rights
Filed under: Press Release — Tags: OCR, report, UCI — rabbiyonah @ 6:38 am

Dowload the Full OC Independent Task Force Report

Huntington Beach, CA –February 12, 2008 –The Orange County Independent Task Force released its Findings and Recommendations (Report), concerning alleged incidents of anti-Semitism at The University of California, Irvine (UCI). The investigation began in February 2007 and lasted approximately one year. Over the course of the investigation Task Force members interviewed, students, faculty and community members and visited the campus on many occasions. Over 80 hours of interviews and numerous documents, articles, and written complaints were used in the compilation of the Report.
Among its findings, The Task Force investigation has concluded the following:
• The existence of: physical and verbal harassment, hate speech directed at Jews by guest speakers, hate events sponsored by the Muslim Student Union (MSU), disruptive behavior on the part of Muslim students when pro-Israeli speakers appear on campus, anti-Israeli classroom environments, and an unresponsive, if not a hostile, administration.
• Hate speakers have targeted “Zionist Jews” at MSU events; that MSU has defiled Jewish symbols, often using depiction of anti-Semitic stereotypes; and that Jewish students were targets of intimidation.
• There has been a lack of response by the administration that has selectively enforced University rules and regulations.
• The Chancellor has refused to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitic speech although other college/university presidents have spoke clearly and decisively against this form of hate speech.
• For the most part, Jewish organizations in Orange County have been ineffective in dealing with anti-Semitism at UCI.
Some of the major recommendations include: UCI should be held accountable for its actions and inaction by community leaders, Jewish organizations, and donors. Students with a strong Jewish identity should consider not attending UCI until tangible changes are made. The Board of Regents should investigate the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs in his capacity as an impartial arbiter of University Rules and Regulations.
The Task Force had initially decided to release its Report and Recommendations in December 2007. The release was delayed in order to study the report(s) issued by the United States Department of Education Office, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
On November 30, 2007, (OCR) issued two reports contained in separate letters written to Dr. Michael V. Drake, Chancellor of UCI, and to Ms. Susan B. Tuchman of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). ZOA initiated the complaint in 2004 on behalf of students at UCI. These two letter/findings are not identical and do not contain exactly the same listed allegations. The reason why OCR issued two separate letter/findings is unclear. For example, the letter to Ms. Tuchman deals with a total of 26 allegations while the letter to Chancellor Drake deals with only 13 allegations.
In addition:
• Certain allegations were dismissed because they were not “related to the national origin of any of the Jewish students who complained”.
• Several other allegations were dismissed as “untimely filed”.
• The University was excused from any wrongdoing based on minimal action it did after these events occurred.
• Key administration figures were not interviewed by OCR investigators until late September 2006, nearly two years after the initial complaint was filed by ZOA on October 11, 2004.
The OCR investigation does not deny that these “allegations” of anti-Semitism occurred. In fact, OCR’s investigation and report(s) substantiates this Task Force’s findings that significant anti-Semitic activities have existed UCI for some period of time and that, while the University administration may not have done anything illegal in this regard, the University has done little if anything, except for token actions after each incident, to help prevent, discourage, curtail or punish the perpetrators of these anti-Semitic activities on campus.
11572  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 07, 2008, 09:05:41 PM
**Surrender your freedoms, and no one gets hurt.**

Pakistan to ask EU to amend laws on freedom of expression

By Tahir Niaz

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will ask the European Union countries to amend laws regarding freedom of expression in order to prevent offensive incidents such as the printing of blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the production of an anti-Islam film by a Dutch legislator, sources in the Interior Ministry told Daily Times on Saturday.

They said that a six-member high-level delegation comprising officials from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Law would leave Islamabad on Sunday (today) for the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium and explain to the EU leadership the backlash against the blasphemous campaign in the name of freedom of expression.

The delegation, headed by an additional secretary of the Interior Ministry, will meet the leaders of the EU countries in a bid to convince them that the recent attack on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan could be a reaction against the blasphemous campaign, sources said.

They said that the delegation would also tell the EU that if such acts against Islam are not controlled, more attacks on the EU diplomatic missions abroad could not be ruled out.

Sources said that the delegation would also hold discussions on inter-religious harmony during its meetings with the EU leaders.
11573  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: June 07, 2008, 06:09:48 PM   

Saturday » June 7 » 2008
Court hears accused terrorists' ideology
Men talk of imperative to retaliate, in wiretaps played at the trial of a 20-year-old man
Melissa Leong
Canwest News Service

Friday, June 06, 2008

BRAMPTON, Ont. -- For the first time since the arrests of 18 terrorism suspects in 2006, a court heard on Thursday the men describe the ideology behind their alleged scheme to attack Canada.

In wiretaps played at the trial of a 20-year-old man, his co-accused spoke at length about their "global fight" to "get rid of the oppressors." They discussed the benefits of martyrdom and the need to retaliate against foreign soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, even if on Western soil. "You harm one Muslim, the whole Muslim [nation] has to defend that person," the accused leader of the group said.

None of the suspects can be identified because of a publication ban.

In another recorded conversation, the alleged leader explained, "If they're your enemy, they're your enemy everywhere you see them." He continued: "So, if the Jews are your enemy in Israel, it doesn't mean Jews are not your enemy here. Every single Jew is your enemy."

If that rule applies, someone might think you could just kill any Jewish man walking down the street, another group member said. "If the guy walking down the street says, pro Zion, pro Zion . . . wears a big Jewish thing saying, yeah, pro Israeli state . . . okay, now you're a target. "If you are to do . . . to that guy you wouldn't be held accountable like, by 'Allah' or anything . . . and you would be rewarded for it because he is an enemy."

The alleged leader said in one wiretap that he was planning something on a "greater scale" than the 2005 London bombings.

The court heard that he had spent "every last penny" -- or about $4,000 -- on a shipment of 13 firearms from Mexico.

The total cost of $10,000 was due at the end of March or the supplier would have to sell them on the street, he said in a wire-tap. To raise money, he met a man who was running an elaborate bank scam. The fraudster, identified as Talib, was using "white," "blond," women, possibly "crack heads," to take out bank loans with fraudulent information. They would cash the cheques at a payday lending store.
11574  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 07, 2008, 05:55:27 PM

Who needs a military when we have "Hope" and "Change"?
edited by Marc to add the content:

Investors Business Daily looks at another policy statement from Barack Obama that has gotten almost no media coverage: Obama’s Plan To Disarm The U.S.

The Obamatons [Hey, that sounds familiar! – ed.] of the mainstream media have failed to report one of the most chilling campaign promises thus far uttered by the presumptive Democrat nominee for president.

He made it before the Iowa caucus to a left-wing pacifist group that seeks to reallocate defense dollars to welfare programs. The lobbying group, Caucus for Priorities, was so impressed by Obama’s anti-military offering that it steered its 10,000 devotees his way.

In a 132-word videotaped pledge (still viewable on YouTube), Obama agreed to hollow out the U.S. military by slashing both conventional and nuclear weapons.

The scope of his planned defense cuts, combined with his angry tone, is breathtaking. He sounds as if the military is the enemy, not the bad guys it’s fighting. Here is a transcript:

“I’m the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning; and as president, I will end it.

“Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems.

“I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the Quadrennial Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending.

“Third, I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal.”

You can bet that Obama will not make this sweeping indictment of our security forces again as he tries to move to the center in the general election. But this is what he thinks, and this is what he plans to do.

11575  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 07, 2008, 06:46:41 AM
If we wish to critique Reagan's presidency, I'd start with his failure to engage Iran after Hezbollah killed lots of Americans, including 241 military personnel in Beirut. It took Israel to finally end Imad Mughniyeh's long and bloody career. Of course, we are living today with the spectre of a nuclear jihadist Iran thanks to Jimmy "The Dhimmi" Carter.
11576  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: June 07, 2008, 01:02:31 AM

**Content Warning-graphic photos from Mexico's drug violence**
11577  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2008, 10:50:25 PM
And were it not for Israel's strike on Osirak, the 1st. Gulf war might have turned out quiet differently. Thank god Israel did what it did. Reagan isn't running for president. Barack Huissein Obama and John McCain are. Obama and his leftist cronies hate both America and Israel.
11578  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 06, 2008, 10:39:29 PM
Woof Rachel:

If the courts can change the definition of marriage from being between a man and a woman, why not poligamy too?  As the following article shows, this is not only a theoretical question.


It seems like we are discussing two different topics that could have two different answers
One -- Should gay marriage be legal according to the  US Constitution and State Constitutions and various case law etc?
Two --- Is  allowing gay marriage the right thing to do?
 Obviously even when it was legal for a man to rape and  beat his wife it was still wrong.  An abolitionist  who helped a  slave escape was legally stealing someones property  but they were doing the right thing.
What is legal and what is moral  is not and should not  be the same in all cases and I believe we should err on the side of personal liberty.

I believe many peoples problem with gay marriage is that they want push their religious views on others and they don't particularly want all that much separation between religion and state.  I understand  that when G-d created the universe in the Bible  he did not created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. However  G-d did create  Adam and Steve today   and it would be wrong for them them  to try to marry women just so  can have the same rights as everyone else.

**Where is the right to "gay marriage" that you assert, to be found in any legal code? It's not to be found anywhere in the US constitution or in any other part of common law. Humans engage in a variety of sexual behaviors, yet western civilization recognizes heterosexual monogamy as having a special status and doesn't recognize other sexual behaviors as having the same status and has legally prohibited certain behaviors throughout modern history.**
Canada currently has laws  on the books that make gay marriage legal and polygamy illegal . In that particular case they just weren't enforcing the polygamy part of it.
I believe polygamy is wrong ethically  because it essentially turns women and children into property.   I don't see a  connection between  treating women as object and  the  life partnership that I see in gay marriage

**So you believe polygamy is wrong, so that law should be enforced. Does this count as you imposing your beliefs on others? If not, why not?**
I do want  clarify what I said   about everyone should have a right to marriage. I believe marriage  should be  only for people over the age of 18 with some exception for teen pregnancy/ emancipated minors.   This would stop the pedophile thing.

**Again, you wish to rewrite the concept of marriage to fit your personal moral perspective. Why do you wish to allow an arbitrary number like 18 to determine marriage? Again, you are engaging in discrimination and wanting the legal system to enforce your morals on others. Why is it wrong when others do it, yet right for you?**

I find  incest deeply disturbing   and I am not sure how to deal with it.  It would not be a healthy situation for children and  could case genetic defects.

**You wish to interfere in the private lives of others? Are you espousing some sort of genetic supremacism?**

I wonder how attractive Cleopatra could  have been since  her family tree was a stick. I sort of feel like it should be illegal but what two consenting adults do behind close doors is their business. I don't see a connection between incest and gay marriage.   An incestuous relationship is unhealthy a  gay relationship can be very healthy.

**How so? Both are taboo according to western social mores. If you wish to reshape our social structure, can you give more explaination of what you use to define as healthy vs. unhealthy?**

I don't  see a strong connection  between legalizing  gay marriage and legalizing the pedophilia, polygamy, etc.    If you legalize absinthe you don't have to legalize  crack cocaine .

**If we are to throw out as marriage as solely between a single adult male and a single adult female who are not related, then why retain any limits? NAMBLA says that "intergenerational sex" should be recognized as just as valid as "gay marriage". They assert that their movement will become socially and then legally recognized just as the gay rights did. If judeo-christian morality should be thrown out, then what moral code should this nation have? If we have no shared code of morality, then anything is permissible, is it not?**
11579  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: June 06, 2008, 08:49:00 PM
Poor Americans, so close to Mexico, and with a still unsecured border.......
11580  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 06, 2008, 08:16:13 PM
Obama and McCain
Thomas Sowell
Thursday, June 05, 2008

Now that the two parties have finally selected their presidential candidates, it is time for a sober-- if not grim-- assessment of where we are.

Not since 1972 have we been presented with two such painfully inadequate candidates. When election day came that year, I could not bring myself to vote for either George McGovern or Richard Nixon. I stayed home.

This year, none of us has that luxury. While all sorts of gushing is going on in the media, and posturing is going on in politics, the biggest national sponsor of terrorism in the world-- Iran-- is moving step by step toward building a nuclear bomb.

The point when they get that bomb will be the point of no return. Iran's nuclear bomb will be the terrorists' nuclear bomb-- and they can make 9/11 look like child's play.

All the options that are on the table right now will be swept off the table forever. Our choices will be to give in to whatever the terrorists demand-- however outrageous those demands might be-- or to risk seeing American cities start disappearing in radioactive mushroom clouds.

All the things we are preoccupied with today, from the price of gasoline to health care to global warming, will suddenly no longer matter.

Just as the Nazis did not find it enough to simply kill people in their concentration camps, but had to humiliate and dehumanize them first, so we can expect terrorists with nuclear weapons to both humiliate us and force us to humiliate ourselves, before they finally start killing us.

They have already telegraphed their punches with their sadistic beheadings of innocent civilians, and with the popularity of videotapes of those beheadings in the Middle East.

They have already telegraphed their intention to dictate to us with such things as Osama bin Laden's threats to target those places in America that did not vote the way he prescribed in the 2004 elections. He could not back up those threats then but he may be able to in a very few years.

The terrorists have given us as clear a picture of what they are all about as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis did during the 1930s-- and our "leaders" and intelligentsia have ignored the warning signs as resolutely as the "leaders" and intelligentsia of the 1930s downplayed the dangers of Hitler.

We are much like people drifting down the Niagara River, oblivious to the waterfalls up ahead. Once we go over those falls, we cannot come back up again.

What does this have to do with today's presidential candidates? It has everything to do with them.

One of these candidates will determine what we are going to do to stop Iran from going nuclear-- or whether we are going to do anything other than talk, as Western leaders talked in the 1930s.

There is one big difference between now and the 1930s. Although the West's lack of military preparedness and its political irresolution led to three solid years of devastating losses to Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, nevertheless when all the West's industrial and military forces were finally mobilized, the democracies were able to turn the tide and win decisively.

But you cannot lose a nuclear war for three years and then come back. You cannot even sustain the will to resist for three years when you are first broken down morally by threats and then devastated by nuclear bombs.

Our one window of opportunity to prevent this will occur within the term of whoever becomes President of the United States next January.

At a time like this, we do not have the luxury of waiting for our ideal candidate or of indulging our emotions by voting for some third party candidate to show our displeasure-- at the cost of putting someone in the White House who is not up to the job.

Senator John McCain has been criticized in this column many times. But, when all is said and done, Senator McCain has not spent decades aiding and abetting people who hate America.

On the contrary, he has paid a huge price for resisting our enemies, even when they held him prisoner and tortured him. The choice between him and Barack Obama should be a no-brainer.
11581  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 06, 2008, 07:23:08 PM

Contrast the media from then to now.
11582  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: June 06, 2008, 06:56:35 PM
Mexico’s war on drugs: Journey into a lawless land

With 1,400 dead this year alone, and gangs pinning up 'wanted' posters naming police they wish to see killed, Mexico's war on drugs is spiralling out of control. Richard Grant risked his life to travel through the mountains of the Sierra Madre – the most dangerous region of all – and witnessed the terrifying slide into anarchy

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

If someone had come up to me in my early twenties, when men are supposed to be at their most reckless, and offered me a fortune to go into a place like the Sierra Madre, I would have thought about it for about three seconds before saying no. But after years spent reporting gangs in South Central LA, where I had a gun pointed at me for the first time, the Zapatista uprising in southernmost Mexico, and riots in Haiti, my acceptable level of risk kept rising. I had begun to think the Sierra Madre would not be that dangerous, and besides, I was curious about the nature of anarchy. The forbidden mystique of the Sierra got the better of me.

The Sierra Madre Occidental, the Mother Mountain range of the Mexican West, begins just south of the Arizona border and extends for nearly 900 miles. It contains no cities or large towns, only two paved roads and almost nothing in the way of law and order. This rugged cordillera has always defied the efforts of governments – Aztec, Spanish and Mexican – to enforce control, and it is now one of the biggest production areas in the world for marijuana, opium and heroin, and a staging point for Colombian cocaine.

It is not the sort of place where you can just turn up without an introduction, and I spent years trying to make contacts who could take me in under their protection. Time and again, I was told that it was too dangerous to take a gringo into the mountains, because the drug lords were feuding, or battling the army. Finally, I found a way to get into the Sierra Madre, spent four months travelling down the range and was extremely lucky to escape from the mountains without getting killed.

Along the way, I glimpsed Mexico's future. In the past 18 months, and particularly in the last two weeks, the murderous narco-anarchy I saw in the Sierra Madre has gone nationwide. President Felipe Calderon has gone to war against Mexico's drug cartels, all of which were started by Sierra Madre clanfolk who came downhill – and he is now discovering that the Mexican state isn't strong enough to defeat them.

In Mexico City, cartel gunmen assassinated the nation's police commander in the grounds of his home. In the state of Chihuahua, drug gangs have, in the past fortnight, put up hit lists and wanted posters with names and photographs of police commanders, and offers of reward money for their deaths. In the border city of Juarez, the list was posted on a police memorial statue. No one dared take it down, and so far 17 names have been crossed off it – dead.

The narcos are also feuding with other, with 1,400 drug-related murders so far this year, and many towns and cities are under a virtual curfew. Several police departments have resigned en masse in terror, and three police commanders have fled to the United States requesting asylum. President Calderon is claiming signs of progress, but it looks like the whole nation is unravelling, turning feral, descending into lawlessness.


The morning I left for the Sierra Madre, the sun was shining brightly. With my guide, I crossed the border at Douglas, passed through two Mexican army checkpoints looking for guns and drugs, then entered the foothills. My grand adventure was under way at last.

Crossing the line into the state of Sonora, I made my first stop in the town of Yecora. A three-piece band was playing on a flatbed truck and a crowd of 30 or 40 people had gathered. I love norteño music.

I parked and rolled the window down. It was good, raw, soulful, caterwauling norteño. A hundred years ago, they sang corridos in the Sierra about famous bandits, outlaws, revolutionaries, or particularly bloody feuds and heroic-tragic deaths. Now they sing about the drug lords, who sometimes commission the songs out of vanity, and events both real and imagined from the lives of drug growers, local bosses, regional traffickers, smugglers, dealers, pilots, assassins. There's a great deal of macho bragging and posturing, and despite the accordions and polkas, the music form it most resembles is gangsta rap.

I walked over to the back of the crowd as the band was singing a narcocorrido about some drug lord who was the king of the Sierra, with many houses, fine women and impressive machine-guns.

The next song had hardly begun when three drunk men with twitching lips came up to me. They offered to sell me marijuana at $100 a kilo, premium quality, good price, "special for you". When I said I had just pulled over to hear the music they got very suspicious and accused me of working for the US Drug Enforcement Agency, which is something you never want to hear in the Sierra Madre. I laughed it off with as much casual disdain as I could muster, said that I was a British tourist, bid them a sudden farewell and concentrated on maintaining a relaxed and deceptively speedy gait as I walked back to my truck.

I drove all the way out of the mountains without stopping again. Late that night, with enormous relief, I collapsed at a motel. I was safe.

Soon afterwards, I arrived in the town of Alamos. It would take a while to find someone willing and able to take me deeper into the mountains from there. Crossing the Sierra on a paved and well-travelled highway was one thing, but going into the mountains above Alamos by myself was different.

I studied the calm, impassive expressions on the faces of the grandmothers sitting in their doorways, the young couples arm in arm, the off-duty drug dealers standing outside the cantina, wearing silk shirts decorated with pictures of roosters, scorpions, pick-up trucks, AK-47s and the Virgin of Guadalupe.

I went into a cantina called Casino Señorial, a big concrete barn with the walls painted Tecate red and gold, white plastic tables and chairs and a giant, pulsating, multicoloured jukebox in the corner. The place was three-quarters full with men, and I could tell from the hard faces, lean shanks and tyre-tread sandals that most of them had come down from the Sierra.

On the wall behind the bar was a stuffed mountain lion, caught in the act of tearing the throat out of a stuffed deer. Fake blood was smeared around the wound and splattered down the wall. I sat down at the bar and ordered a caguama, a giant sea-turtle, or in this case a quarter-gallon bottle of Tecate beer.

Three women appeared and paraded on the concrete floor on stiletto heels. The whores collected money from the bartender and fed it into the jukebox. The music was all narcocorridos – "I'm one of the players in the Sierra where the opium poppy grows... I like risky action, I like to do cocaine, I walk right behind death with a beautiful woman on each arm... I've got an AK-47 for anyone who wants to try me..."

A group of men beckoned me over to their table. One of them was clearly in charge, a big, paunchy man with a glassy-eyed smile and a magnificent Roman nose. The others called him El Pelicano, The Pelican, and warned me that he and the younger man next to him were cops from the region.

I pulled up a chair and sat down and The Pelican thumped his empty caguama on the plastic table. The bartender scurried over with a fresh one and The Pelican looked at me to pay. They all looked ripped on cocaine, including the two cops.

Their lips were writhing and they were chewing at their tongues and guzzling down beer at a crazy pace. Five minutes after it arrived, the caguama was empty and The Pelican thumped it down on the table. Again I paid and five minutes later I paid again, and so on for the next 20 minutes.

They started making motions, as if lifting a key or a spoon to their nostrils. "Do you like perico?" asked the younger cop. Cocaine was perico, parakeet, because it made you chatter without knowing what you were saying.

"Not now, thank you," I said. Call me paranoid, but the idea of doing cocaine with Mexican cops made me nervous.

I got up to go to the bathroom and the two cops followed me in there. Then The Pelican raised his forefinger to stop me leaving, took out a plastic bag of cocaine, scooped a little mound on the end of his pocket knife and offered it to me.

They wanted me to buy some, which looked like a classic Mexican set-up: I would buy the cocaine, the cops would bust me and extort a large bribe, which they would then spend on cocaine. My instincts were telling me to leave but I didn't know how. To leave a Mexican drinking session before it reaches its natural conclusion, which is absolute drunkenness, is considered rude and disrespectful, and in the rougher parts of the Sierra it is a frequent cause of homicide.

The Pelican thumped down another empty caguama and I pulled out my wallet again and found that it was empty. A godsend!

I showed it to everyone at the table, thanked them for their fine company and outstanding hospitality and assured them that my house was at their orders if they were ever in Tucson.

I got up to leave and The Pelican said: "No, we need more perico. We need more beer. You can get more money from the wall of the bank. We are friends. Or are you too proud to drink with Mexicans?"

"We are friends without doubt," I said. "And there are no better people in all the world to drink with than Mexicans. I will go to the bank and get money from the wall."

I made my reeling exit, and headed towards and into the welcoming darkness of my guest-house.


The old adobe town of Urique was founded by a gold prospector in 1690. The sun was behind the canyon wall and the long dusk had begun. Behind Rafael's restaurant was a garden with some fruit trees and white plastic tables and chairs. There, I met two young men called Pancho and José. They had gel-spiked hair and were wearing cargo pants and Nike trainers.

"You want to buy some?" said Pancho without further ado, referring to the local marijuana, "$100 a kilo."

"Ah, no thank you."

"How about grenades? I have some good grenades and a rocket for them."

"The rocket shoots the grenades?"

"Yes. It works very well, very strong." He held up his arm and slapped it.

"It's not my business, but why would anyone need rocket-propelled grenades in Urique Canyon?"

Pancho gave me the patient, pitying look. "Helicopters," he said. "Sometimes the army comes in helicopters. We used to string cables across the canyons to bring them down, but these work much better."

"But I don't need to shoot down any helicopters."

"Hombre, you can use them for anything you want. If there are bandits on the road ahead, you stop and – BOOM!"

"How about some parakeet?" chimed in José. "We can get some right now from Pancho's aunt."

"No thank you. But tell me, how are the police here? Do they make trouble?"

"There is no problem," said José. They both grinned. "My brother is a police officer and we are training to be police officers ourselves."

Not so long ago, the largest town in each municipio would have a single resident comisario, or police officer, and he was responsible for law and order over hundreds of square miles of rugged, roadless mountains. His only real work was to confiscate moonshine, then sell it back to the townsfolk out of his office. That was the extent of the law unless there was a killing and the killer was considered too dangerous or troublesome for the victim's family members to kill. In that case, the local people would send for the judiciales, the state police, and they would ride up into the Sierra on mules.

Now, there are stations of municipal police officers in places like Urique and Chinipas. Pancho and José would soon be joining their ranks. Once they had their badges, guns and the power of arrest, their potential earnings would increase. Units of the state police and AFI (Mexico's equivalent of the FBI) were stationed in the Sierra Madre now, too, but this didn't mean that law and order had arrived. It usually meant more armed, ruthless men in town looking for a piece of the drug action – and a rise in teenage pregnancies and drink-driving accidents.

Trying to distinguish between police officers and drug traffickers can be a futile exercise in Mexico. The traffickers don't just buy protection against arrest; they hire state and federal policemen to transport loads for them and carry out executions.

Where once there was a relatively simple form of lawlessness in the Sierra, now things are more complicated, based on shifting arrangements of corruption financed by organised crime, linked to global black markets and affected by national and international politics. There are enormous amounts of money at stake now, and this was what drew the law into the Sierra Madre and also made it imperative to co-opt the law and keep it at bay.


Baborigame was an ominous, grim-looking town in a wide valley with heavily logged mountains around it. When Randy, another of my guides, first came here in the early 1990s, there was no law and no electricity, and a killing almost every night. The arrival of the law had resulted in a decline in the murder rate in town, and an increase in the murder rate out in the ranches.

The torrent of drug money that had flowed through Baborigame in the 1980s and 1990s had left almost no trace. The streets were unpaved and potholed. The drains didn't work. Aside from a few "narco" houses with bright paint and fancy wrought-iron fences, people lived in squalid shacks and adobes.

By this point in my journey I was tired and run down and I had lost tolerance for machismo. It is the root of the worst evil in Mexico, the real reason why men kill each other and rape women in such horrifying numbers. Not that those numbers are available; according to The Washington Post, fewer than 1 per cent of rapes are reported in Mexico.

In the Sierra Madre the practice known as rapto – a man kidnapping a girl and forcing her to marry him – is commonplace. This is what happened to Chana, a woman I met. From Coloradas de la Virgen, she was now living in Baborigame. Raped at 15 and made pregnant, she had to marry the rapist so he could help her to raise the child. She had another child with her rapist husband and then he was murdered, leaving her with two children to raise. It happens to thousands of women like Chana every year. It is indefensible, but it is the code of the mountains.

Back near Alamos, I picked up another guide, Gustavo. One of his jobs was doing clerical and translating work for the municipio, or county police department, and this gave him access to the murder reports and crime statistics from the area. I started looking into the numbers.

The population of the municipio was approximately 23,000, with 9,000 in Alamos, 3,000 in San Bernardo and the rest scattered in small mountain villages and ranches. Gustavo said they were averaging 90 reported murders a year, and that it was safe to add at least another 20 unreported murders to that figure. Let's call it 100 murders a year, committed by a population of 23,000.

I knew that Mexico's overall murder rate was twice that of the United States, but here was a rural county with a murder rate eight times higher than the most homicidal US cities.

We drove into a village of about two dozen shacks, most of them built out of crudely woven sticks and dried mud with palm-thatch or corrugated tin roofs. More often than not, they also had a solar panel, a TV satellite dish and a big American pick-up parked out front.

"With the money from your first crop you buy clothes, jewellery and guns," said Gustavo. "I can assure you that every one of these huts has at least one pistol and one rifle inside. Then you buy your truck, your solar, your satellite and TV. The last thing you spend money on is the house."

We drove on to the next village, Aguacaliente. It looked deserted. We walked along the stream looking for the hot springs that gave the village its name. A middle-aged man appeared in a blue shirt and white hat and walked down the banks holding a bucket. "That's a woman's job," said Gustavo. "He was sent down here to see what we're doing."

The man introduced himself as Señor Espinoza and we all shook hands. Gustavo ran through his clan credentials. With no prompting, Señor Espinoza started talking about the soldiers. "We had a nice crop growing in the hills and we were ready to pick it when the army came with planes and helicopters and a captain that could not be fixed."

"It is these new college-educated army officers," said Gustavo.

"There are a couple of them near Alamos who can't be fixed. They are not reasonable men," said Espinoza. "We used to grow a lot of opium here and the army have stopped that too. It makes no sense. The army and the federales were getting their share, the politicians were getting their share from the mafia, the gringos were getting their drugs and the people here were able to make a living. It was a good system for everybody and now it is broken. Even if we get a reasonable captain during the next harvest, we have no money now and will not be able to fix things with him."

He bid us a courteous farewell, apparently satisfied that we were harmless. We walked back to the truck and sat in the cab making peanut butter sandwiches.

"Gustavo," I said, looking in the rear-view mirror. It didn't look good. There were two young men leading horses directly towards us and they had very hard stares on their faces. Gustavo looked over his shoulder. Two more men appeared and then all four of them pulled down their hats, and when Gustavo saw that, with a piece of bread half-smeared with peanut butter on his knee, he said, "Go, go, go! Go now! Go!"

I started the engine and slewed out of there, fish-tailing in the sand.


The largest component of Mexico's economy is still drug trafficking, estimated at about $50bn. According to a leaked study conducted in 2001 by Mexico's internal security agency CISEN, if the drug business was somehow wiped out, Mexico's economy would shrink by 63 per cent.

As Gustavo pointed out, the drug business was not a healthy occupation or a good influence on society. It makes boys neglect their schooling and any other ambitions they might harbour. It causes men to die young and violently and worsens corruption.

Coming back across the Cuchujaqui river in the gathering dark, tired and beaten up from a long day on bad roads, Gustavo spoke. "The thing about Mexico is that everyone is out to get everyone else, except within your family and very closest friends. We live with our senses and suspicions on full alert. Maybe someone thinks your wife is prettier than his so he whispers something to the police, or the mafia, and the next thing the police are planting drugs in your truck and you're going to jail for 10 years, or there's a bullet in your head and you may never know why."

He paused a moment and let out a long sigh: "I don't know if you can understand what it is like to live this way."

© Richard Grant 2008. Extracted from Bandit Roads, to be published tomorrow (Little, Brown, £16.99). To order the book for the special price of £15.99 (inc P&P), call Independent Books Direct on 0870 079 8897
11583  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 06, 2008, 04:13:50 PM
You can thank the CIA's moronic NIE that assessed Iran as having suspended it's nuclear program for the delay in acting. Now we're almost out of time to do anything and Iran has had greater opportunity to harden it's defenses and disperse it's nuclear materials.
11584  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: June 06, 2008, 03:59:30 PM
A headline from the future with President Obama: "The Sunni-Shia Nuclear Arms Race Escalates".

I wonder how much gas will be then....
11585  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: June 05, 2008, 05:31:44 PM

June 05, 2008

The Guardian Position

Regular readers may remember the Danish journalist, Jakob Illeborg, and his rhetorical contortions. In February, following the republication of the Muhammad cartoons, while Muslim youths were burning down Danish schools on a nightly basis, Mr Illeborg went to enormous lengths to convince Guardian readers that,

The Danes could, with some justification, be seen as fire starters.

This claim is, it seems, based on a belief that to exercise and defend, even belatedly, the most basic values of a free society is actually to “rock the boat” and invite upon oneself a week of rioting, violence and murderous intimidation. When the 73-year-old cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was forced into hiding following a plot to murder him, several Danish papers republished Westergaard’s cartoon as both an affirmation of free speech and an expression of solidarity. This was, according to Illeborg,

A headstrong idealistic response.

Given Mr Illeborg’s articles appear on a website named Comment is Free, one might find this disapproval a tad peculiar. Though perhaps not quite as peculiar as his willingness to denounce as “headstrong” a perfectly legal activity, while carefully avoiding any such pejoratives when referring to those making death threats and setting fire to schools. Mr Illborg is, however, quite skilled at double standards and juggling contradiction, as demonstrated by his dual assertion that,

The fire starters are frustrated young Muslim men who claim that their action is sparked by the re-publication of one of the prophet cartoons –


although it probably has little to do with religion.

Illeborg’s most recent article, titled Denmark Loses Tolerance, once again demonstrates a craven doublethink that has come to define much of the Guardian’s commentary on the subject of Islam. In an attempt to illustrate “how far Denmark has moved from the liberal values it was once proud of,” Illeborg highlights, of all things, Monday’s suicide bomb attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad. Just pause for a moment. Think about that. A claim that Danes are “losing tolerance” is illustrated with an Islamist attack on a Danish embassy in which 6 people died and burned body parts were left strewn across the road.

Ever since the prophet cartoon crises of 2006 and 2008, Islamist extremists around the world have been threatening bloody revenge on Denmark.

Ah, bloody revenge. For a cartoon. Note that the intolerance which most troubles Mr Illeborg is that of “headstrong” Danes who wish to retain a freethinking culture, and not the rather more emphatic intolerance of men so vain they blow off people’s limbs and burn them to death. At this point one might reflect on how it is that some among us have come to accept the idea that an unflattering cartoon is a comprehensible “cause” of death threats and dismemberment. The cause is not, it seems, lunatic pride cultivated in the name of piety.

Monday's attack, is of course, indefensible,

Wait for it.


There we go.

it raises questions about the wisdom of the much-debated cartoons and Danish reactions to Muslim wrath. Not because anything about any cartoon - no matter how provocative - justifies such acts of violence, but because the cartoons ended up playing into the hands of extremists who could utilise it to “prove” how badly the west behaves towards Muslims.

Having previously made quite a few excuses for Islamic violence and its accommodation, Illeborg goes on to say,

Denmark has now become a target, and while [this] should in no way be excused, we ought to have known better.

The claim that “we ought to have known better” implies a great many things that Illeborg takes care not to state too clearly. Apparently, it’s okay to have certain rights provided we don’t actually use them or defend them against assault. Or, as Illeborg previously chose to word it, rather coyly:

Most of us agree that the Danish newspapers have the right to print the cartoons, but they don’t have an obligation to do so.

Likewise, in order to believe that publishing the cartoons constitutes being “headstrong” or “behaving badly” one would first have to forget the series of violent events that prompted them and on which they passed comment. Then one would have to imagine that backing down in the face of threats and intimidation will not invite more of the same. One would also have to believe that even the most ludicrous religious vanities, including fantasies of dominion, are deserving of respect. Not just tolerance, mind, but respect, which is not the same thing at all. And, by implication, one would have to believe that the taboos and ticks of Islam should, as a matter of courtesy, extend to non-Muslims, even those who find Muhammad an absurd and contemptible figure.

One might deduce from such thinking that the values of a free society - on which Mr Illeborg’s livelihood depends - are best defended by an unending accommodation of Islamic neurosis and supremacist posturing. Indeed, one might suppose that “liberal values” are actually best affirmed by their abandonment, and that being “tolerant” means touching one’s toes and hoping no one takes advantage. Behold The Guardian Position™, dutifully assumed: cowardice masked as compromise, tarted up in moral drag.
11586  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: June 01, 2008, 09:19:41 PM

British cop warns Christians: Leafletting in Muslim areas is a “hate crime”

Well, no. Not yet, anyway.

The preachers, both ministers in Birmingham, were handing out leaflets on Alum Rock Road in February when they started talking to four Asian youths.

A police community support officer (PCSO) interrupted the conversation and began questioning the ministers about their beliefs.

They said when the officer realised they were American, although both have lived in Britain for many years, he launched a tirade against President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…

“He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said we were committing a hate crime by telling the youths to leave Islam and said that he was going to take us to the police station.”…

West Midlands Police, who refused to apologise, said the incident had been “fully investigated” and the officer would be given training in understanding hate crime and communication.

Funny how British cops keep “misunderstanding” hate crimes laws. I have some legal training myself and after reading this story from April, I’d say the cop here has a pretty firm handle on where the law is headed. Spend some time with that last link and see how far down the road they already are. In America, as far as I know, hate crimes constitutionally can only be charged in connection with another criminal offense. You can’t be charged with hate; you can be charged with assault and have your sentence enhanced if they prove the assault was motivated by hate. Thoughtcrime + actual crime = hate crime, in other words. In the U.K., it sounds like they’re flirting with knocking out that pesky “actual crime” element and just going the whole nine Orwellian yards.

Exit quotation, per the cop: “You have been warned. If you come back here and get beaten up, well you have been warned.” They’re being silenced for their own safety, you see, and if that “logic” sounds distressingly familiar, well, it should. (Bonus nuance: As longtime HA readers know, the cop’s worries about this sort of thing being especially unwelcome in Birmingham are not necessarily unfounded.)
11587  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 'America Alone' on: May 31, 2008, 10:23:42 PM
Horror In Hamburg   
By Stephen Brown | Friday, May 30, 2008

A young female form lying crumpled on a sidewalk. Blood flowing from multiple stab wounds. Police cars. Ambulances. Flashing lights. Emergency personnel working frantically to save an innocent life that had barely begun.
It is a scene that is becoming all too common in Western Europe with its growing Muslim population, as the northern German city of Hamburg experienced in May yet another horrifying honor murder of a young female.

Morsal Obeidi, barely 16, arrived in Hamburg from the war-torn country of Afghanistan when she was three, probably barely remembering her country of origin in her new homeland. The German Muslim student, who had won a prize in her multicultural school for tolerance and peaceful co-existence with others, was stabbed 20 times by her 23-year old brother, Ahmed, who ambushed her at a commuter train station.

The reason for Morsal’s murder is a common one for female Muslim victims of honor killings who emigrate to the West with their families and grow up between two cultures: she was living too western a lifestyle.

“She had a different life than the family wished,” admitted Ahmed, who assaulted his sister so severely that he wounded himself and had to be treated in hospital.

According to one report, Ahmed’s younger sister started her teenaged rebellion when she was 14. The schoolgirl was tired of living by the rules of the family’s Afghan-Muslim culture that see the daughters confined at home and made to do housework when not at school while the sons have all the freedom they want.

Such girls from South Asian and Muslim communities are also monitored very carefully after reaching puberty, as the male members of the family are very concerned that they remain virgins until marriage, since this involves their “honor.” One German Muslim woman wrote that the physical attributes she developed upon turning 13 filled her Turkish father with “deep worry.” This male obsession with virginity is manifested in the expression, common in these traditional cultures, that “…a man’s honor lies between a woman’s legs.”

Ahmed was most likely one of those male family members concerned about his sister’s chastity. It was reported he watched Morsal very closely and, when he was not available, he had cousins, uncles and aunts do it for him.

Morsal’s rebellion against such strict control included such normal, western behaviour for teenaged girls as wearing “uncovered hair, makeup and jeans” as well as smoking, drinking and staying out late, all of which brought her into conflict with her family. But all in all, it was reported the young schoolgirl simply wanted the same freedoms her German classmates had.

Like in many families where honor murders occur, violence was already extensive in Morsal’s. Before her death, the teenager had suffered numerous assaults at the hands of her father, Ahmed and a 13-year-old brother, who had once knocked her tooth out. An older sister is also suspected of mistreating her.

“You dress like a tramp,” Ahmed said to his sister once before beating her up, his sense of moral superiority being somewhat misplaced, since he himself has an extensive criminal record, starting when he was 13. This ‘man of honor’ is a thief and had already knifed others in fights, once being stabbed eight times himself in an argument involving prostitutes outside a brothel.

Such domestic violence had caused the tormented Afghan-German girl to spend nights at youth shelters. But like many immigrant teenagers from traditional cultures, with their deep sense of family which they do not want to give up overnight, she always returned home. But the final straw leading to her tragic death may have been the young girl’s staying away from home for three nights in a row.

Sadly, Morsal’s was not the only honor murder to occur in Germany this year.

Last March in Berlin, an 18-year old boy stabbed his grandparents to death after his German mother had separated from his Turkish father and got a new boyfriend. The murders were carried out at the behest of the father, according a newspaper report, to restore his honor. The father and son had already assaulted the grandfather and boyfriend earlier in separate instances, while the father had threatened his wife’s family many times with death, causing his spouse to flee to a women’s shelter.

The wife’s unavailability is probably what caused her parents to be targeted as well the fact the grandmother approved of the separation (no surprise there). The son carried out the killing, since, like in other honor murders in Germany, the Muslim families often get the underage sons to do the killing because the maximum sentence for a minor for murder is only ten years, and often less.

Like in the Berlin case, a Kurdish man from Iraq murdered his wife for leaving him, for which he received a life sentence at his trial last fall in Munich. Leaving the husband can often be a death sentence for the wife in traditional Muslim families.

This particular killer showed no remorse whatsoever and was even smiling in the court room. Only three hours after a successful divorce court hearing in 2006, the murderer ambushed his ex-spouse on the street, stabbed her twelve times (the knife broke, stopping the assault) and then poured gasoline over her prostrate body lying on the sidewalk, burning her alive. This was all done before the eyes of their five-year-old son with the sadistic killer telling the court you can’t take children into consideration when it concerns honor.

Also at his trial, the Kurd said he had killed his wife because she had betrayed him and that his “religion and culture” forbid that. Laughably, he also partly blamed German laws for his murderous rage. He whined that in Germany “…only women have rights. So they become stuck-up and believe they can do whatever they want.”

The killer also admitted he first received permission from his wife’s father in Iraq to murder his daughter. When it is believed a woman has dishonoured the family, even if married, it is usually her birth family that kills her, since it was responsible for her upbringing and thus it is the one “dishonoured.”

This ongoing clash between the religious and cultural values of Muslim societies with those of western civilization manifested themselves in two other honor murder trials in Germany.

In Monchengladbach, a city in the Rhineland, a Turkish immigrant received a life sentence last February for shooting his wife and daughter to death on the street in 2007. Again, it was a case of a wife leaving her husband with their children after years of brutal treatment that included rapes and beatings.

Like the Kurd in the Munich case, this criminal also showed no remorse and also murdered his wife in dramatic fashion. After she had fallen to the ground with the first shot, the ‘man of honor’ put his foot on her and fired twice more directly into her head. One female Muslim lawyer at the trial said such theatrical executions are meant to show “…that the man is doing everything to restore his honor and that he defended himself against the rebellious wife.”

And last March in Bonn, a father was facing a life sentence for having murdered his 17-year-old daughter in 1993. The native Syrian, along with two nephews, strangled the young victim with a cord because, like Morsal Obeidi, she wanted to “live like German girls.” They later buried the body in a wood.

The father’s undoing was that he made his other daughter witness the murder as a warning as to what would happen to her if she ever decided to determine her own life.

“If you don’t behave according to our rules, the same thing is going to happen to you,” she was told.

Racked by guilt that made her life a living hell, the surviving sister informed the police of the honor killing 14 years later.

Like after the Hatun Surucu honor murder in Berlin in 2005 that awoke Germany to this social horror in their midst, German politicians and authorities are again falling all over themselves after the Morsal Obeidi killing in Hamburg. They say they will examine the youth shelters’ role in failing to prevent the tragic murder (as if they are to blame), as well as nebulously promising to do more to protect women facing such danger as well as explain to them their rights.

In reality, while these measures will help somewhat, much like a band aid, the real problem has to do with the values the murderers acquire in their countries of origin. As long as these men believe they have a cultural and religious right to control women, determine their lives (especially their sexuality), treat them like eternal minors, and even murder them when they transgress some archaic, tribal code of honor, then it appears there is not much Western countries can do after they arrive within their borders, since they despise our culture and, like the Kurd in the Munich trial, hold our laws in contempt.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that parts of western European cities, where Muslims form the majority of the population, are now ruled by sharia law where these anti-civilization values can grow and spread.

But every voice, especially those of victims like Morsal, makes a difference. A spirit of change exists in every culture, including the Muslim. It is the Muslim women that have to be compulsorily educated in massive fashion if honor murders are ever to be stopped. Making Muslim womens’ visas and those of their family members’ contingent on this understanding of compulsory education would benefit enormously in this effort. No half measures. More Muslim women would determine their own lives if they were not so afraid of honor killings. And a real sense of urgency is needed to deal with this social nightmare facing these young female souls.

But in the end, it is we Westerners who have to stand up for the life-affirming values we hold dear and change our laws substantially to reflect this. Western legal codes were written when the predatory and barbaric practice of honor murder was unknown due to the absence of these immigrant groups. This must be rectified and the new reality reflected in new laws, since the bottom line is that we cannot have women being killed at sixteen if we are to call ourselves human.

Stephen Brown is a columnist for A scholar and former news reporter, his field of expertise is Muslim forced marriages and honor killings. Email him at
11588  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: May 31, 2008, 09:12:29 PM

One potatoe, two potatoe, three potatoe, four

How many “potatoe” moments does it take for the media to start a doofus narrative on a candidate? Barack Obama provided yet another during his visit to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota yesterday:

Democrat Barack Obama paid an unscheduled late-night visit to Mount Rushmore Friday, visiting the national memorial at closing time and joking that his ears were too big to ever be included in such a display. …

He did express curiosity about the filming of a chase scene in “North by Northwest,” Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint that included a death-defying scramble over Rushmore’s presidential faces.

“How did they get up there in the first place?” he asked ranger Wesley Jensen.

“They didn’t. It was a movie set,” Jensen told him.

“Pretty spiffy, isn’t it,” said the Illinois senator, summing up his overall impressions.

Well, maybe the Young Gaffer’s friends in Hollywood can explain how movies get made, at least before they actually keep their promises and bug out for Italy.

How many times did Quayle misspell potato before the American media and popular culture proclaimed him an idiot? We can add this to Obama’s existing list of gaffes and blunders:

The Selma March in 1965 did not contribute to his birth in 1961.
Kansas tornadoes in May 2007 killed 12 people, not “ten thousand”.
Afghans do not speak Arabic.
Misunderstanding Memorial Day, and then claiming to see “fallen heroes” in the Memorial Day audience.
Same day: putting Auschwitz in western Germany, not Poland.
“57 states”.
Again … how many times did Quayle misspell potato? (via The Corner)

Update: I wonder if he asked to see the Team America headquarters, too ….
11589  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Name that war!!! on: May 31, 2008, 07:03:31 PM
**Unless/until islamic theology rejects the belief that the verses from the koran below no longer are valid, then the jihad will continue until islam conquers all.**

9:5. Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun {unbelievers} wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat {the Islamic ritual prayers}), and give Zakat {alms}, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

8:39. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.

8:67. It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaughter (among his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world (i.e. the money of ransom for freeing the captives), but Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

9:29. Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

9:33. It is He {Allah} Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it).
11590  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Name that war!!! on: May 31, 2008, 06:46:43 PM
The war against the global jihad. Islamo-fascism is redundant, as islam is inherently totalitarian and imperialistic in nature.
11591  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 31, 2008, 04:24:05 PM

Are We Serious?

They're at war, we're catching crooks.
by Thomas Joscelyn
06/09/2008, Volume 013, Issue 37

Willful Blindness
A Memoir of the Jihad
by Andrew C. McCarthy
Encounter, 250 pp., $25.95

In the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, America has tried to understand how she could have been so blind. Countless books, articles, documentaries--in addition to the 9/11 Commission's high-profile investigation during a hotly contested presidential election year--have all attempted to answer one central question: How could a small band of al Qaeda terrorists execute the greatest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor?

For Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, the answer begins with a series of fateful events in the early 1990s. And in his exceptional new book, he documents a series of missteps that led America to consistently misjudge both the scale and the nature of the terrorist threat. McCarthy exposes a fundamental flaw in the government's counterterrorism strategy prior to September 11. While our enemies were waging a war, we were prosecuting them as mere criminals. Much of the burden of dealing with an imminent national security threat was, therefore, placed on the criminal justice system. But as McCarthy demonstrates in meticulous fashion, the courts are a poor substitute for the real battlefield, so much so that our terrorist enemies were consistently able to outflank us.

McCarthy's story is centered on the trial of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman ("The Blind Sheikh") and 11 of his followers. McCarthy led the prosecution of this dirty dozen in 1995. In landmark convictions, Rahman and his cohort were found guilty of participating in a broad conspiracy to attack Americans, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a follow-on plot to destroy landmarks in the New York area just months later.

It is no exaggeration to say that the convictions stand out as a singular achievement in counterterrorism history. At the time, the law was so ill-equipped to handle such a case that McCarthy and his team had to charge the sheikh with violating a Civil War-era statute prohibiting seditious conspiracy! The sheikh slyly avoided discussing precise tactics, preferring instead to lend his voice to theological justifications for violence. His blessing was crucial for the terrorists to move forward, but America's laws were not written with someone like Rahman, or his type of violence, in mind.

In McCarthy's words, "The legal system circa 1993 was woefully unprepared for radical Islam." Therefore, pinning these events on Rahman--who clearly, at the very least, inspired them--was no small feat.

McCarthy, however, does not rest on his laurels. In fact, one senses that if it were up to him, the trial of Rahman and his cohort would never have happened. The terror network centered on Rahman should have been years earlier--or, better yet, never allowed to develop on American soil in the first place. And in the aftermath of the events of 1993, the criminal justice system should not have been our frontline defense.

As McCarthy writes, "In the eight years between the World Trade Center's bombing and its destruction, the high-profile court cases that constituted the Clinton administration's counter-terrorism strategy resulted in the convictions of exactly twenty-nine terrorists." By way of contrast, consider that the former National Security Council official Richard Clarke has stated that "perhaps over 10,000 terrorists" were trained "at the camps in Afghanistan" alone. Clearly, America was not on a war footing.

From McCarthy's perspective, the missteps began in 1989 when the FBI prematurely abandoned its investigation into a group of jihadists conducting firearm drills in Calverton, Long Island. One of those jihadists, El Sayyid Nosair, went on to murder an extremist Jewish leader named Rabbi Meir Kahane on November 5, 1990. Despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt, Nosair was acquitted of Kahane's murder and convicted of only lesser charges.

This miscarriage of justice, McCarthy explains, was further compounded by an incompetent investigation. Nosair left behind a treasure trove of information, including handwritten notes, connecting him to a broader terror network then operating in New York and New Jersey. But authorities failed to analyze much of it. Instead, Nosair was branded a "lone gunman" and the 40-plus boxes of evidence seized with Nosair were ignored, thereby allowing his fellow conspirators to initially escape scrutiny.

Nosair was no lone wolf, as McCarthy makes clear, but one of Sheikh Rahman's gaggle of followers. And together they had more grandiose designs. For example, in one of his initially overlooked notebooks, Nosair expressed his desire to destroy America's "high world buildings which they are proud of and their statues which they endear and the buildings in which gather their heads [their leaders]."

On February 26, 1993, more than two years after Kahane's murder, a powerful truck bomb was detonated underneath the World Trade Center. Seven people were killed, including an unborn child, but the damage could have been much worse: The terrorists responsible, some of whom had consulted Nosair in prison and attended the firearm drills in Long Island, wanted to kill thousands.

Nor did Rahman's jihadists stop there. They soon began plotting yet another, more devastating, attack. This time they wanted to simultaneously destroy several landmarks in the New York area, including the United Nations building and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. That plot never got off the ground because of a well-placed FBI informant named Emad Salem. Rahman's followers thought the Egyptian Salem was a committed jihadist who could provide them with invaluable explosives expertise. Instead, Salem led them down a path of misdirection: The plotters mixed the chemicals for a bomb in a Queens warehouse under Salem's (and the FBI's) watchful eye. Once a critical mass of evidence was collected, Rahman and his minions were rounded up, thereby short-circuiting their bomb making, and convicted as a result of McCarthy's relentless prosecution.

But as McCarthy reveals, even this success has a troublesome back story. The FBI first recruited Salem to serve as a mole prior to the World Trade Center bombing. Skittish agents, who mishandled Salem from the first, alternated between fears that they could not corroborate his testimony and that Salem's fellow plotters would be successful despite Salem's meddling. In the latter case, the FBI would have known about a plot that it failed to stop--a surefire recipe for public scorn. The bureau, therefore, decided to end Salem's employment several months before the World Trade Center bomb was detonated.

The failure to properly vet Nosair's documents, or to continue using Salem's services in the months leading up to the World Trade Center bombing, is bad enough. What's worse is that Sheikh Rahman was allowed to freely operate and inspire these terrorist acts from American soil in the early 1990s. At that point, for more than a decade, Rahman had provided the religious justification for numerous terrorist plots in Egypt, including the assassination of Anwar Sadat. He was the spiritual head of Egypt's two main terrorist groups, both of which were instrumental in aiding al Qaeda's rise. And he was a player in the jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, where he made numerous allies, including Osama bin Laden himself.

Yet, despite his dark past, Rahman was repeatedly granted U.S. visas. It is ironic, then, that while the sheikh could not safely preach in Cairo, he could preach in mosques in Brooklyn and Jersey City.

Had McCarthy stopped at telling the story of the many tactical failures that allowed Rahman's terrorists to menace America in the early 1990s, Willful Blindness would have been an invaluable addition to the literature of 9/11. But he takes his argument a step further, showing how these tactical failures were merely symptoms of a larger strategic failure to comprehend the nature of our terrorist enemies. In the process, McCarthy has given us one of the most important books on jihadist terrorism.

The strategic failure McCarthy exposes is ongoing, and extends even to something as basic as naming the enemy. Just as Willful Blindness was released, the State Department and other agencies published an edict banning the use of the word "jihadist" (as well as similar terms) from the government's lexicon. The thinking is that the terrorists like to call themselves "jihadists," thereby appropriating an Islamic term which can have far more benevolent meanings, such as the struggle for spiritual betterment or simply to do good.

It is true that, in some Islamic traditions, "jihad" has been endowed with such inoffensive meanings. But as McCarthy rightly argues, "jihad" has far more frequently been used to connote violent campaigns against infidels since the earliest days of Islam. When Sheikh Rahman called on his followers to wage "jihad," they knew that their master did not mean for them to become absorbed in prayer.

Moreover, Washington is apparently too obtuse to notice that Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda's terrorists, Tehran's mullahs, and Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi clerics have called for a militant brand of jihad persistently over the past several decades. All of these parties know how their words will be interpreted by the Muslim masses, and no fiat from the Washington bureaucracy will undo this widely accepted meaning.

Not only does Washington have a hard time properly naming our jihadist enemies, it still fails to understand that terrorist-sponsoring regimes have long backed them. Here, McCarthy has been at the forefront of explaining how jihadist terrorism is frequently, but not exclusively, a tool of hostile regimes: Writing in these pages in 1998 ("The Sudan Connection"), he explored the many ties between the 1993 plotters and the Sudanese regime then led by an Islamic radical named Hassan al-Turabi. Indeed, Turabi and Rahman were longtime friends and allies. McCarthy returns to this aspect of the story in Willful Blindness to show how Sudan's U.N. delegation provided material support to Rahman's terrorists as they plotted to blow up New York's landmarks. (The Clinton administration even expelled two Sudanese delegates because of their involvement.)

Sudan's sponsorship went far beyond Rahman's goons. In the early 1990s Turabi forged a broad terrorist coalition that included Osama bin Laden's core group of followers, all of al Qaeda's affiliates, and a number of other organizations. Turabi envisioned bringing all of these parties together in one grand anti-American terrorist coalition. And he received the support of the two leading state sponsors of terrorism: Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the mullahs' Iran. Out of this witch's brew of state and nonstate actors grew the network that we commonly call "al Qaeda."

It is beyond my scope here to summarize all of the evidence that supports this thesis, but suffice it to say that McCarthy is exactly right when he asserts,

It is not difficult to find some current or former intelligence official ready and willing to opine that Sunnis [such as Rahman and bin Laden] would never cooperate with secularists or Shiites--overlooking abundant evidence of the Ba'athist Saddam Hussein coddling Sunni jihadists and a years-long history of collaboration between al Qaeda and Shiite Hezbollah.

McCarthy argues that, more than a decade after the Blind Sheikh was convicted of inspiring terrorism on American soil, America remains largely blind. Even the September 11 attacks did not fully awaken our nation, or its leaders, from their slumber. An implacable hate drives our enemies to never-ending violence. For them, we are the "other," infidels who deserve to be slaughtered as victims of a religious jihad, and there are many who are willing to support their war on us.

Thomas Joscelyn is a terrorism researcher, writer, and economist living in New York. He is the author, most recently, of Iran's Proxy War Against America (Claremont Institute).
11592  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: May 31, 2008, 04:16:51 PM
Whitewashing the Thai Jihad   
By Robert Spencer | Friday, May 30, 2008

In a story Wednesday on a jihadist attack on a wedding party and other jihad activity in Thailand, Agence France Presse added a concluding paragraph that was typical of mainstream media coverage of the Thai jihad and of jihad activity in general. For while AP, Reuters, AFP and the rest never saw a piece of Palestinian propaganda they didn’t like, they also never saw a jihad they couldn’t whitewash.

AFP’s concluding paragraph blandly placed all the blame for the conflict on the non-Muslim Thai government:

More than 3,000 people have been killed since separatist unrest broke out in January 2004 in the south, which was an autonomous Malay Muslim sultanate until mainly Buddhist Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.

All was well, you see, until the Buddhists of Thailand, motivated apparently only by rapacious imperialism, annexed the poor autonomous Malay Muslim Sultanate. AFP does not mention, of course, that the Malay Sultanate at that time was making war against the Siamese during the war between Siam and Burma, and Thailand conquered it in that context -- making it Thai by a right of conquest that has been universally recognized throughout human history (except, of course, when it comes to Israel and to any Muslim land that is conquered by non-Muslims).

Along with this come the media’s allergy to the word “jihad,” and its frequent recourse to the passive voice when discussing what the jihadists did. Sometimes inanimate objects act, apparently of their own accord. For example, in a March story on bombings in southern Thailand, Reuters’ lead paragraph stated: “Bombs killed three men and wounded 21 people in three separate attacks in Thailand’s troubled Muslim far south, police said on Sunday.” Reuters gives no hint as to who is doing the bombing and who are the victims – which in itself is a clear indication that the bombers are not the government or pro-government vigilantes, but jihadists.

The story continues in this vein. Its second paragraph tells us that a bomb was hidden in the car, but with no hint as to by whom. In paragraph 5 we learn that in the three southern provinces, “2,500 people have been killed in gun and bomb attacks since a separatist insurgency erupted in January 2004.” The separatist insurgency just erupted, you see, like a volcano. It was an act of God, a force of nature. Here again Reuters gives the reader no hint as to who the separatist insurgents are, or who killed the overwhelming majority of those 2,500 people. In paragraph 6, we learn how the “suspected militants” set off another bomb, but once again are given no hint as to who these militants are.

Same thing in paragraph 7: unidentified “insurgents” ambush the security forces. In paragraph 8, it’s simply a “bomb,” a random, accidental object, that unaccountably wounded four people. But also in that paragraph we learn that this is all taking place in “the three far south provinces which formed an independent sultanate until annexed by Thailand a century ago.” Reuters and AFP are in step on this: the only background they give suggests that Thailand is entirely responsible for provoking the conflict, and should simply have left the Malay Muslims alone.

Only in paragraph 10 of the Reuters story are we finally told that “Buddhist monks” are among the chief targets of the still-unidentified “militants” -- which should lead the informed reader to identify them as Islamic jihadists and Sharia supremacists. But they come to that identification with no help from Reuters.

In reality, the Thai jihadists are uniquely brutal even by the standards of their jihadist brethren, and are fighting to correct the outrage, as they see it, of non-Muslim rule over a Muslim population in southern Thailand. But the AFP and Reuters stories exemplify the kind of coverage that jihad activity receives from the mainstream media as a matter of course. The perpetrators of jihad violence are not identified, their ideology is never discussed, and the conflicts they provoke are blamed on their victims. This kind of coverage is of a piece with the U.S. government’s new see-no-jihad, speak-no-jihad, hear-no-jihad policy: both appear to be based on wishful thinking. Both seem to emanate from the idea that if we simply do not allow ourselves to notice jihad activity, it will somehow fade away from neglect. If we pretend that Islam is peaceful, violent Muslims will lay down their arms.

The price we will have to pay for these fantasies could be very high.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of seven books, eight monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His next book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is coming this November from Regnery Publishing.
11593  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: May 31, 2008, 03:27:32 PM

May 29, 2008

The great war against nothing in particular

Andy McCarthy wonders, since "war" and "terror" are no good, if it's okay if we call this present conflict the "On" -- "or would that offend all the moderate prepositions?"

"War on terror" has always been a stupid and misleading term. But this recommendation to abandon it is even more stupid and misleading.

New adventures in Washington's absurd flight from reality: "Security chief decries ‘war on terror,’" by Demetri Sevastopulo in the Financial Times, May 28 (thanks to Jed Babbin):

The west needs a more comprehensive strategy to counter al-Qaeda propaganda and the US should stop using the term “war on terror”, according to a top intelligence official.
Charles Allen, the senior intelligence official at the Department of Homeland Security, says the phrase is counter-productive because it creates “animus” in Islamic countries.

“[It] has nothing to do with political correctness,” Mr Allen said in an interview. “It is interpreted in the Muslim world as a war on Islam and we don’t need this.”...

It has everything to do with political correctness, Mr. Allen. The jihadists say they are fighting an Islamic jihad. Understanding the jihad theology gives us unique insight into the motives and goals of the jihadists. If the Muslim world sees our resistance to these people as a war on Islam, maybe they aren't all that reliable as friends of the United States in the first place. But if they're really upset about this, they ought to be directing their ire against the Muslims who use Islam in this way -- which they are not doing -- instead of against non-Muslims who merely take note of the usage.

Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security secretary, does not agree with suggestions that the phrase is equated with a war on Islam, says Russ Knocke, his spokesman.
“We are at war with terrorism, and its underlying ideology – not Islam – and we’ve gone out of our way to make that point,” says Mr Knocke. “In truth, war has been declared upon us.”

Indeed you have gone out of your way to make that point, Mr. Knocke -- even to the point of dealing in half-truths and comforting falsehoods and avoiding unpleasant truths. But in truth, war has been declared upon us -- by Muslims, in the name of Islam. No amount of denial or sugarcoating this fact will make it go away.

Peter Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, in an interview said the phrase ”war on terror” was the “dumbest term…you could use”. The Michigan lawmaker, who criticises the Bush administration for using an overly aggressive tone, says he has urged Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, not to use the expression.
It is indeed a "dumb" term. It is war on a tactic, not on a foe. But this foe we are afraid to name.

Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for Mr Hadley, said the White House recognises that “the use of the word ‘Islamic’ before the word terrorist can be heard by Muslims…as lacking nuance, which may incorrectly suggest that all Muslims are terrorists or that we are at war with Islam”.
"Islamic terrorists" suggests neither, although the fear of using it suggests knee-knocking abject dhimmitude in the White House. "Islamic terrorists" no more suggests that all Muslims are terrorists than the phrase "Italian fascists" suggests that all Italians are fascists, or than the phrase "courageous intelligence analysts" suggests that all intelligence analysts are courageous. And it doesn't suggest we are at war with Islam, either, unless all Muslims are terrorists -- which is the very point that these politically correct mau-mauers would strenuously deny.

“While we want to be mindful to the way our messages are heard by Muslim audiences, we also think war on terror accurately describes the fight we are in,” he added.
Well, think again. It no more accurately describes this fight than "war on bombs" or "war on hijacked airplanes that crash into skyscrapers" would.

While the military in general tends to echo the langauge [sic!] of the president, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs who recently met with moderate Muslim leaders to hear their concerns, tries to ensure his language does not create the perception of a war against Islam, Captain John Kirby, his spokesman, said.
“The chairman is aware of the concerns voiced by many in the Muslim community about the phrase ‘war on terror’,” Captain Kirby said.

“He is committed – when speaking of it – to focusing his language and efforts on the violent extremists we are fighting. This is not a war on Islam. It’s a war against lethal enemies who are using a warped view of that faith to justify killing innocent civilians.”

And part of their warped view is that they present themselves to peaceful Muslims as the true and pure Muslims, as we have seen again and again -- and they get recruits that way. But that is too politically incorrect a fact for us to notice, much less try to counter. We are to swallow the dogma that the jihadists' Islam is warped, and that virtually all Muslims see it as such, no matter what the evidence to the contrary.

That is part of the message that Mr Allen would like the US to emphasise in countering al-Qaeda propaganda around the globe. He says the west needs to orchestrate a “very structured”, almost cold war-style communications strategy to accomplish this....
In the Cold War we were against Communism. There was not this politically correct word-mincing going on at high levels.

Frank Cilluffo, a terrorism expert at George Washington University and former special assistant to Mr Bush for homeland security, says the US government can take a series of steps to help counter al-Qaeda. He agrees that the US should abandon the concept of a “war on terror” – which “fuels the adversaries narrative” – and “decouple religion from ideology”.
Cilluffo is terminally naive if he thinks the U.S. can accomplish this and have any credibility among Muslims in doing so. He is also apparently unaware (although he has heard a couple of presentations by me, and I was in there pitching, folks) that Islam traditionally has had a political and social, i.e., an ideological component. This aspect of Islam wasn't invented by bin Laden, or Khomeini. It is as old as Muhammad, and central to Islam. Does he really think that the U.S, by playing word games, can eliminate or "decouple" it from Islamic piety? Good luck with that.

In the long term, however, Mr Cilluffo says the solution will have to come from within the Muslim community, partly by imams and Islamic scholars stressing that al-Qaeda has deliberately misinterpreted the Koran to justify violence, which he adds will help “take the jihadi cool out of the narrative”.
Here again is that ever-elusive unicorn, the interpretation of the Qur'an that rejects violence. Frank Cilluffo and everyone else in Washington fervently believe it exists, and are ready to buy all kinds of snake oil in search of it. Unfortunately, there is no such traditional or mainstream understanding of the Qur'an that fits this bill. One could conceivably be invented, although then it will be denounced in Islamic communities as bid'a -- innovation.

One would think that it would be worthwhile to understand all this, so as to formulate a realistic strategy based on genuine reality. But instead, official Washington is retreating farther and farther into Fantasy Based Policymaking.

Posted at May 29, 2008 6:37 PM
11594  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: May 30, 2008, 04:27:15 AM

The reason homosexuality is prohibited by the US military is due to the issues of group cohesion, not worries about personal courage.
11595  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: May 30, 2008, 04:06:02 AM
More than anything, my biggest objection to so-called "gay marriage" is that it's been rejected by the voting public and must be forced upon them by judicial fiat.

One of the roles of US Government and particularly judges has always been protection of minority rights.

**Not so. The role of the federal government is enumerated in the constitution, and nowhere will you find the phrase "minority rights". Although it's a popular, but corrosive idea that has been pushed by the left since the 60's, rights belonging to defined groups does not exist in the US constitution. Individuals have rights, not groups.**

The Federalist #10 and #51 #78 etc

"This independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals from the effects of those ill humors, which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjunctures, sometimes disseminate among the people themselves, and which, though they speedily give place to better information, and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppressions of the minor party in the community"

 The quote is harsh and does not totally fit this situation. I am not accusing anyone of having ill humors etc---

**Where in the constitution might I find the right to "gay marriage" ? Do you believe the intent of the founding fathers of this nation was to have "gay marriage" as a right in this nation?**

It is the California Constitution because it is the California supreme court. I tried to examine the text but it is really long.  I gave up because I  am never going to live in that state. There is something very wrong with the weather there .  I believe the founding fathers created  a system of government to  protect the rights of the people. I am more interested in the  government  they created than what particular  rights they wanted people to have. After all some of them believed in slavery and  they didn't give woman the right to vote.   

**Just because the CA. Supreme court recently issued a ruling doesn't alter the state's constitution. There is a big difference between caselaw and the constitution.**

Marriage by definition has changed. Men used to have the right to beat and rape their wives.

**Yes, and the laws changed by legislation, not by judicial fiat.**

My basic though that all human beings are created in the image of G-d have certain rights including a right to marriage.

**Does a pedophile have the right to marry a child then? Should laws against bigamy and incest be purged as well? If not, why are they different?**

11596  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: May 29, 2008, 09:00:47 AM


Sadr: Lost big to forces of Iraqi democracy.

May 29, 2008 --
WHENEVER retreat-now activists or their favored presidential aspirant are confronted with our progress in Iraq, their stock reply is, "Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq in 2003."
Well, I happen to agree with Sen. Barack Obama and his supporters on that count: At most, the terrorists had a tenuous connection with Saddam's regime. But it's 2008, not 2003. And our next president will take office in 2009. It's today's reality that matters.
It's as if, in June 1944, critics had argued from facts frozen in June 1939. ("Why invade Normandy? Hitler's content with Czechoslovakia.")
In the course of a war - any war - the situation changes, enemies evolve and goals shift. A war to preserve the Union becomes a war to end slavery; a war to defeat one set of totalitarian systems empowers a new network of tyrannies. It's a rare war whose end can be forecast neatly at its outset.
And you don't get any do-overs.
To date, not one "mainstream media" journalist has pressed the leading advocates of unconditional surrender to describe in detail what might happen after we "bring the troops home now."
There's plenty of unchallenged sloganeering, but no serious debate. This selective political softball and pep-rally journalism serves neither our country nor our political process well.
So, let's bring those quit-Iraq time-travelers back to mid-2008 and fill them in on what's happened since they were ideologically stranded five years ago:
* After our troops reached Baghdad, al Qaeda's leaders made a colossal strategic miscalculation and publicly declared that Iraq was now the central front in their jihad against us. Matter of record, in the enemy's own words.
* Some Iraqi Sunni Arabs, lamenting the national pre-eminence they'd lost, rallied to the terrorists.
* Al Qaeda in Iraq and its affiliates then embarked on a campaign of widespread atrocities: videotaped beheadings, mass bombings of civilians, assassinations, widespread rape (of boys and girls, as well as of women), kidnappings and brutal efforts to dictate the intimate details of Iraqi lives.
* Al Qaeda's savagery alienated the Sunni Arab masses in record time. Suddenly, those American "occupiers" looked like saviors.
* By the millions, Sunni Muslims turned against al Qaeda and turned to the US military, inflicting a catastrophic propaganda defeat on the terrorists.
* Supported by the population, US and Iraqi forces inflicted a massive military defeat on al Qaeda. At present, the terror organization's own Web masters admit that al Qaeda is nearing final collapse in Iraq.
Those are facts.
If we nonetheless quit Iraq in 2009, the defeated remnants of al Qaeda will be able to declare victory, after all. The organization will be able to re-launch itself as the great Muslim victor over the Great Satan. We'll have thrown away a potentially decisive triumph and revived the fortunes of the fanatics who brought us 9/11.
And the above only detailed the defeat of al Qaeda. Far more is happening in Iraq, all of it good: Muqtada al-Sadr and his thugs have suffered a series of lopsided defeats; Muqtada's hiding in Iran, afraid to return; a democratically elected government has finally taken charge in Baghdad - and gained enormously in popularity.
Iraqis look forward to the next round of elections (to the dismay of every Persian Gulf autocracy). Crucial legislation has been refined, passed and implemented. Iraq's economy is booming - and its government has begun paying its own way.
Want more good news? Iran has failed in its bid to take control of Iraq. And our military leaders are drawing down our troop levels according to a sensible plan, with the prospect of more troop cuts to come.
What don't the critics like? Democracy? The defeat of al Qaeda? Muslims turning to the US military for help? Troop cuts? The dramatically improved human-rights situation? What's the problem here?
The answer's simple: Admitting that they've been mistaken about Iraq guts the left's argument for political entitlement. If the otherwise deplorable Bush administration somehow got this one right, it means the left got another big one wrong.
So be prepared for frequent time-machine trips until November. The encouraging reality of today's Iraq will go ignored in favor of an endless mantra of "Al Qaeda wasn't there in 2003 . . ."
The bottom line? Al Qaeda let the war's opponents down.

Ralph Peters' new book, "Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World," hits stores on July 4.
11597  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: May 29, 2008, 08:50:14 AM
This is the end result of "lawfare". Wonderful.   angry
11598  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: May 28, 2008, 04:29:14 PM
**Oh, if only this were true.....**

May 28, 2008, 4:00 a.m.

Ahmadinejad Sets Lance Straight
Cookies with the tyrant.

By Robert Ferrigno

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad watched as two of his bodyguards checked the young, room service fellow, doing a quick spectrographic scan of the tea and biscuits on his silver cart to insure they hadn’t been poisoned.

“Is the suite to your liking, your Excellency?” asked Millard Holt, counsel for Rapp, Tapp, and Tippytoe, chief lobbyists for the state of Iran. “We always recommend the Four Seasons to all our clients —”

“Are you a Jew?” asked Ahmadinejad.

“No… no, I’m not,” said Holt, his voice high and nasal “I’m here to brief you prior to meeting President Obama, Excellency. Our source within the White House has informed us that the president’s opening remarks will be very conciliatory, very favorable to our interests. He’s going to call for increased trade, a stepdown of all U.S. military exercises in the region, an exchange of scholars —”

“You look like a Jew,” said Ahmadinejad.

The room-service fellow, a lanky long-haired blonde in a white uniform, rolled the cart over, laid out bone china cups on the coffee table. He had a Snoopy gold earring stud.

“Well . . . hmmm . . . a Jew?” Holt adjusted the perfect Windsor knot in his necktie. “I hate to disagree with your Excellency, but my family came over on the Mayflower — ”

“What is this Mayflower?” demanded Ahmadinejad.

“A sailing ship that brought the original settlers to America,” said Holt, puffing up slightly, his smooth cheeks the color of rare veal. “The Founding Fathers, if you will — ”

“Your family owned a slave ship,” sneered Ahmadinejad, as though he had cracked the code. “I knew you were a Jew.” He flicked his fingers in dismissal. “Out of my sight.”

The room-service fellow stood frozen, the silver teapot in his hand. “Whoa.”

“You there,” said Ahmadinejad, addressing him. “What’s your name?”


“Lance?” said Ahmadinejad. “Like a spear?”

“I guess.” Lance flipped his head, swung his hair out of his eyes. “If, it makes you feel better, I didn’t know what the Mayflower was either.”

“Sit down, Lance. I want to talk with you about President Obama. You’re not a Jew, are you?”

“I don’t think so.”

“You would know if you were, I can assure you. Now sit, sit.” Ahmadinejad stroked his beard as Lance seated himself across from him. “These conciliatory — he made air quotes with his fingers — “proposals of Obama’s, they’re a ruse, designed to convince us that he is weak and out of his depth. Well, it won’t work.”

“I’m not really supposed to hang out with the guests,” said Lance. “I used to be a lifeguard, and the pool manager really ripped me for that.”

“I’m sure no one here will rip you, in spite of what your Zionist newspapers print.”

“Cool.” Lance pointed at the almond crescents. “Can I have a cookie?”

“Of course.” Ahmadinejad clapped his hands and two of his bodyguards sprang forward. One poured them tea, the other served cookies. “Do you agree with my appraisal of your president, Lance?”

“I wasn’t really listening, no offense.” Powdered sugar drifted onto Lance’s chin as he chewed. “I was going to vote for Big O, because like everybody was, but I got really wasted the night before and figured, heck, he can make it without me.”

“Obama is popular with young people, isn’t he?” said Ahmadinejad. “I too am popular with the young people in my country.”

“Where’s that?”

Ahmadinejad looked at his bodyguards, decided Lance was serious. “Iran.”

“Axis of Evil, Axis of Evil,” chanted Lance. He suddenly grinned. “Psyche.”

“Ha ha.” Ahmadinejad dropped three sugar cubes into his mint tea, gently stirred. “Let me be equally honest. Your young president, he is very crafty. Very dangerous.”

“You are talking about President Obama, right?” Lance slurped his tea, made a face. “Can I get a Red Bull?”

“A Red Bull for the young American,” Ahmadinejad said to one of his bodyguards, his dark eyes never leaving Lance’s. “So . . . tell me, are you CIA?”

“A spy?’ Lance shook his head. “Wish I was though. James Bond rocks, especially the new one . . . what’s his name?”

“Daniel Craig,” said Ahmadinejad.

“Right. Guy’s got a real sixpack.”

“A splendid sixpack,” agreed Ahmadinejad.

Lance looked around. “I should probably go. My supervisor’s gonna —”

“Stay a while longer.” Ahmadinejad leaned closer, whispering. “I’ve had many heated discussions with the Council of Mullahs. They are convinced that your new president is a naïve fool, easily pressured, easily duped . . . how do you say? A baby with a Snickers bar? Lance, I think that Snickers bar is filled with plastic explosive and whoever steals it from that baby is going to be very surprised and very sorry.”

“You want a Snickers? There’s one in the mini-bar.”

Ahmadinejad fingered his prayers beads, clickety-clack, clickety-clack. “The whole idea of us meeting without any preconditions, a superpower yielding such a huge advantage without hesitation . . . I must tell you, it is unheard of. I saw the Grand Ayatollah himself shouting landslide and clapping his hands with delight as your election returns were announced, but Lance, I, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I was not clapping.”

“I think I heard something about that preconditions thing . . . ” Lance reached for the can of Red Bull the bodyguard brought. He took a long swallow, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Didn’t Larry King ask him . . . or Chris Mathews?”

Ahmadinejad nodded. “You are much more knowledgeable than you appear. Yes, Chris Mathews asked Obama about our upcoming talks, and your president said of course there were preconditions, he was going to insist that I first name the Three Stooges.”

“I think that was a joke, dude.”

“You would be thinking wrong, Lance. It was a trap. He didn’t say the original Three Stooges. He left it ambiguous. So if I said Moe, Larry and Curly, your Big O could call off the meeting or embarrass me in front of the cameras, saying the correct answer was Moe, Larry and Shemp.”

Lance reached for another almond crescent. “Or Curly Joe.”

“Indeed.” Ahmadinejad offered the plate of cookies. “What do you think Obama’s true intentions are?”

“Probably just wants to hang out with you. Show people he’s trying.”

“No, no, no,” said Ahmadinejad, finger wagging. “He told the New York Times that he didn’t think my country was a threat, at least not like the former Soviet Union.”

“I got to tell you, Mahmoud, right? I got to tell you, Mahmoud, that was reassuring, because that last guy in the White House, he totally hated on you. Scared me —”

“Lance. Pay attention. Your president, he’s an educated man, is he not?”

“Big O’s Harvard all the way. Dude must have just smoked his SATs.”

Ahmadinejad held up a fist. “We currently have eight thousand centrifuges producing weapons-grade plutonium, and that’s not counting the ones I can’t tell you about.” He raised one finger. “We train Hezbollah, which has killed thousands of Americans and Israelis.” He raised another finger. “We supply upgraded IEDs to Iraqi freedom fighters to kill your countrymen.” He raised a third finger. “We’ve promised to wipe Israel off the map.” A fourth finger. “And Obama considers us no threat? How dare he?”

“I never thought of it that way. He’s totally disrespecting you, dude.”

“You understand, Lance. Try telling that to the Grand Ayatollah, see where that gets you.”

“Someplace bad I bet, right?”

“Your new president is a creation of the CIA,” said Ahmadinejad, expansive now. He stretched out his slippered feet, tugged at his wispy beard. “Obama pretends to be the naïf with the glittering smile, the schoolmarm asking children not to run in the hall: Let’s talk things over. Let’s turn the thermostat down. Let’s share your toys. Let’s be friends.”

“Won’t you be my neighbor?” sing-songed Lance.

Ahmadinejad clicked his teacup against Lance’s can of Red Bull in a toast. “This isn’t the first time the CIA has installed an American president.”

“That Nixon guy?”

“Nixon?” Ahmadinejad had a high-pitched laugh. “No, Ronald Reagan. You’re too young to remember, but the newscasts were full of stories about the handsome but bumbling actor who had been elected president, the cowboy who kept jellybeans on his desk in the oval office and rode a horse every chance he could.” He set his teacup down with a clatter. “One of the great talking heads dismissed Ronald Reagan as an amiable dunce. An amiable dunce. It worked too. Completely fooled Gorbachev. By the time Reagan got through with him, the Soviet Union was in ruins and Gorbachev was out of a job.”


“Wow, indeed.” Ahmadinejad stood up, shook Lance’s hand. “Have you heard about the Hidden Imam?”


“I must pray now,” said Ahmadinejad, “but the next time we speak, I shall tell you of the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, and his plan for the world.”

“No, dude, Scientology gives me headaches.”

“Goodbye, Lance.”

The bodyguards ushered Lance out into the hallway. A few minutes later, he was in the stairwell, shaking his head as he debriefed to his handler. “Tell Big O we’re going to have to come up with a new narrative. Ahmadinejad is wise to the whole thing.”

— Robert Ferrigno is author, most recently, of Sins of the Assassin.
National Review Online -
11599  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: May 28, 2008, 04:26:51 PM

We got into this problem like we generally get into every crisis. The politicians care about getting re-elected, meaning they try to push legislation  that puts money (pork) into the voters' pockets while not pissing the voters off. The high level gov't bureaucrats are busy trying to create bigger gov't entities so the get to the next supergrade of pay. The general public is busy watching "American Idol" or the next distraction of the moment, so what starts out as small problems grow until the public is jarred out of it's slumber by the neglected issue when it impacts them directly. Then the sheep stampede towards "Somebody do SOMETHING NOW!".

Then it's back to sleep. Until next time....

Illegal immigration is a good example of the above, or the rise of Hitler if you want to look back farther.
11600  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: May 28, 2008, 04:07:20 PM

Look up the environmental laws passed at the federal and state level since the 1970's. We haven't built an oil refinery since the 70's either. Thank the NIMBYs/environmentalists for this. No dark conspiracy, no cabal of oilmen plotting global hegemony with the help of "bankers" (codeword for the JooooOOOOoooos). After all, no conspiracy theory is complete without some semetic types pulling strings from the shadows, so Henry Kissinger makes dark deals with Iran and Iraq, despite both being under different governments after Henry leaves State.

This clown doesn't even know how to pronounce Bill Maher's name correctly. I'm sure the rest of his research is just as dilligent.

So, if one has no grasp of history, economics or geopolitics, his ideas make sense.

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