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11701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!? on: June 16, 2008, 08:25:09 AM
The Saudis plan to become a nuclear power to counter Iran. Wait and see.
11702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 08:28:23 PM
**Loss of freedom? Or rational policy post-9/11?**

EXCLUSIVE: Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Search Warrants
Posted 12/22/05
By David E. Kaplan

In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts.

Federal officials familiar with the program maintain that warrants are unneeded for the kind of radiation sampling the operation entails, but some legal scholars disagree. News of the program comes in the wake of revelations last week that, after 9/11, the Bush White House approved electronic surveillance of U.S. targets by the National Security Agency without court orders. These and other developments suggest that the federal government's domestic spying programs since 9/11 have been far broader than previously thought.

The nuclear surveillance program began in early 2002 and has been run by the FBI and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST). Two individuals, who declined to be named because the program is highly classified, spoke to U.S. News because of their concerns about the legality of the program. At its peak, they say, the effort involved three vehicles in Washington, D.C., monitoring 120 sites per day, nearly all of them Muslim targets drawn up by the FBI. For some ten months, officials conducted daily monitoring, and they have resumed daily checks during periods of high threat. The program has also operated in at least five other cities when threat levels there have risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle.

FBI officials expressed concern that discussion of the program would expose sensitive methods used in counterterrorism. Although NEST staffers have demonstrated their techniques on national television as recently as October, U.S. News has omitted details of how the monitoring is conducted. Officials from four different agencies declined to respond on the record about the classified program: the FBI, Energy Department, Justice Department, and National Security Council. "We don't ever comment on deployments," said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages NEST.

In Washington, the sites monitored have included prominent mosques and office buildings in suburban Maryland and Virginia. One source close to the program said that participants "were tasked on a daily and nightly basis," and that FBI and Energy Department officials held regular meetings to update the monitoring list. "The targets were almost all U.S. citizens," says the source. "A lot of us thought it was questionable, but people who complained nearly lost their jobs. We were told it was perfectly legal."

The question of search warrants is controversial, however. To ensure accurate readings, in up to 15 percent of the cases the monitoring needed to take place on private property, sources say, such as on mosque parking lots and private driveways. Government officials familiar with the program insist it is legal; warrants are unneeded for monitoring from public property, they say, as well as from publicly accessible driveways and parking lots. "If a delivery man can access it, so can we," says one.

Georgetown University Professor David Cole, a constitutional law expert, disagrees. Surveillance of public spaces such as mosques or public businesses might well be allowable without a court order, he argues, but not private offices or homes: "They don't need a warrant to drive onto the property -- the issue isn't where they are, but whether they're using a tactic to intrude on privacy. It seems to me that they are, and that they would need a warrant or probable cause."

Cole points to a 2001 Supreme Court decision, U.S. vs. Kyllo, which looked at police use -- without a search warrant -- of thermal imaging technology to search for marijuana-growing lamps in a home. The court, in a ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled that authorities did in fact need a warrant -- that the heat sensors violated the Fourth Amendment's clause against unreasonable search and seizure. But officials familiar with the FBI/NEST program say the radiation sensors are different and are only sampling the surrounding air. "This kind of program only detects particles in the air, it's non directional," says one knowledgeable official. "It's not a whole lot different from smelling marijuana."

Officials also reject any notion that the program specifically has targeted Muslims. "We categorically do not target places of worship or entities solely based on ethnicity or religious affiliation," says one. "Our investigations are intelligence driven and based on a criminal predicate."

Among those said to be briefed on the monitoring program were Vice President Richard Cheney; Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration; and Richard Clarke, then a top counterterrorism official at the National Security Council. After 9/11, top officials grew increasingly concerned over the prospect of nuclear terrorism. Just weeks after the World Trade Center attacks, a dubious informant named Dragonfire warned that al Qaeda had smuggled a nuclear device into New York City; NEST teams swept the city and found nothing. But as evidence seized from Afghan camps confirmed al Qaeda's interest in nuclear technology, radiation detectors were temporarily installed along Washington, D.C., highways and the Muslim monitoring program began.

Most staff for the monitoring came from NEST, which draws from nearly 1,000 nuclear scientists and technicians based largely at the country's national laboratories. For 30 years, NEST undercover teams have combed suspected sites looking for radioactive material, using high-tech detection gear fitted onto various aircraft, vehicles, and even backpacks and attaché cases. No dirty bombs or nuclear devices have ever been found - and that includes the post-9/11 program. "There were a lot of false positives, and one or two were alarming," says one source. "But in the end we found nothing."
11703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 15, 2008, 08:08:27 PM

Smugglers Had Design For Advanced Warhead
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 15, 2008; A01

An international smuggling ring that sold bomb-related parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea also managed to acquire blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon, according to a draft report by a former top U.N. arms inspector that suggests the plans could have been shared secretly with any number of countries or rogue groups.

The drawings, discovered in 2006 on computers owned by Swiss businessmen, included essential details for building a compact nuclear device that could be fitted on a type of ballistic missile used by Iran and more than a dozen developing countries, the report states.

The computer contents -- among more than 1,000 gigabytes of data seized -- were recently destroyed by Swiss authorities under the supervision of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, which is investigating the now-defunct smuggling ring previously led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

But U.N. officials cannot rule out the possibility that the blueprints were shared with others before their discovery, said the report's author, David Albright, a prominent nuclear weapons expert who spent four years researching the smuggling network.

"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," Albright wrote in a draft report about the blueprint's discovery. A copy of the report, expected to be published later this week, was provided to The Washington Post.

The A.Q. Khan smuggling ring was previously known to have provided Libya with design information for a nuclear bomb. But the blueprints found in 2006 are far more troubling, Albright said in his report. While Libya was given plans for an older and relatively unsophisticated weapon that was bulky and difficult to deliver, the newly discovered blueprints offered instructions for building a compact device, the report said. The lethality of such a bomb would be little enhanced, but its smaller size might allow for delivery by ballistic missile.

"To many of these countries, it's all about size and weight," Albright said in an interview. "They need to be able to fit the device on the missiles they have."

The Swiss government acknowledged this month that it destroyed nuclear-related documents, including weapons-design details, under the direction of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency to keep them from falling into terrorists' hands. However, it has not been previously reported that the documents included hundreds of pages of specifications for a second, more advanced nuclear bomb.

"These would have been ideal for two of Khan's other major customers, Iran and North Korea," wrote Albright, now president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. "They both faced struggles in building a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop their ballistic missiles, and these designs were for a warhead that would fit."

It is unknown whether the designs were delivered to either country, or to anyone else, Albright said.

The Pakistani government did not rebut the findings in the report but said it had cooperated extensively with U.N. investigators. "The government of Pakistan has adequately investigated allegations of nuclear proliferation by A.Q. Khan and shared the information with IAEA," Nadeem Kiani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said yesterday. "It considers the A.Q. Khan affair to be over."

A CIA official, informed of the essential details of Albright's report, said the agency would not comment because of the extreme diplomatic and security sensitivities of the matter. In his 2007 memoir, former CIA director George Tenet acknowledged the agency's extensive involvement in tracking the Khan network over more than a decade.

Albright, a former IAEA inspector in Iraq, has published detailed analyses of the nuclear programs of numerous states, including Iran and North Korea. His institute was the first to publicly identify the location of an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor that was destroyed by Israeli warplanes last September.

A design for a compact, missile-ready nuclear weapon could help an aspiring nuclear power overcome a major technical hurdle and vastly increase its options for delivery of a nuclear explosive. Such a design could theoretically help North Korea -- which detonated a nuclear device in a 2006 test -- to couple a nuclear warhead with its Nodong missile, which has a proven range of 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles).

Iran also possesses medium-range ballistic missiles and is believed by U.S. government officials to be seeking the capability to build nuclear weapons in the future, although an assessment late last year by U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Iran had discontinued its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Weapons experts have long puzzled over whether Tehran might have previously acquired a weapons design from the Khan network, which sold the Iranian government numerous other nuclear-related items, including designs for uranium-enrichment equipment.

The computers that contained the drawings were owned by three members of the Tinner family -- brothers Marco and Urs and their father, Friedrich -- all Swiss businessmen who have been identified by U.S. and IAEA officials as key participants in Khan's nuclear black market. The smuggling ring operated from the mid-1980s until 2003, when it was exposed after a years-long probe by the U.S. and British intelligence agencies.

Khan, who apologized for his role in the smuggling network in a 2004 speech broadcast in Pakistan, was officially pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf without being formally charged with crimes. The Tinner brothers are in Swiss prisons awaiting trial on charges related to their alleged involvement in the network. They and their father are the focus of an ongoing probe by Swiss authorities, who discovered the blueprints while exploring the heavily encrypted contents of the Tinners' computers, the report said. Several published reports have asserted that Urs Tinner became an informant for U.S. intelligence before the breakup of the smuggling ring, but that has not been officially confirmed.

Switzerland shared the finding with the IAEA as well as the United States, which asked for copies of the blueprints, the report states. The IAEA has acknowledged that it oversaw the destruction of nuclear-design material by Swiss authorities in November 2007. However, IAEA officials would neither confirm nor deny the existence of a second weapons design or comment on Albright's report.

Albright, citing information provided by IAEA investigators, said the designs were similar to that of a nuclear device built by Pakistan. He contends in the report that IAEA officials confronted Pakistan's government shortly after the discovery, adding that the private reaction of government officials was astonishment. The Pakistanis "were genuinely shocked; Khan may have transferred his own country's most secret and dangerous information to foreign smugglers so that they could sell it for a profit," Albright said, relating a description of the encounter given to him by IAEA officials.

Pakistan has previously denied that Khan stole the country's weapons plans. Musharraf has not allowed IAEA experts to interview Khan, an engineer who is regarded as a national hero for his role in establishing Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Khan, in interviews last month with The Post and several other publications, asserted that the allegations of nuclear smuggling were false.

Albright said it remains critical that investigators press Khan and others for details about how the blueprints were obtained and who might have them. Because the plans were stored electronically, they may have been copied many times, he said.
11704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 07:53:02 PM
Technology will continue to advance. If there is an answer to your concerns, it's from legislation. What legislation do you suggest that will protect your privacy? Would this legislation cover both gov't and private entities? What technology should law enforcement be allowed to use, if any?
11705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 15, 2008, 07:13:37 PM
You do not need to be a US citizen to serve in the US military. Currently, a "green card" is required to enlist, however in the past that was not required and many foreign nationals earned their citizenship by serving. Obama's father chose not to serve, just as he didn't choose to parent his many children from different mothers.
11706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 06:04:37 PM

'The CSI Effect'
LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2005
(CBS) Call it "The CSI Effect." It seems the popular CBS TV show on crime scene investigators is having an effect on real-life jurors. They want a clear trail of evidence, or they won't vote "guilty."

The latest example: the Robert Blake murder trial, reports The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

She notes that, despite more than one witness testifying Blake had asked them to kill his wife, the jurors wanted more than that. They wanted the razzle-dazzle of "CSI."

Every week, Kauffman explains, stars on the show solve crimes based on intricate analysis of forensic evidence. And that kind of evidence just wasn't available in the Blake case.

"They couldn't put the gun in his hand. …There was no blood spatter. They had nothing," jury foreman Thomas Nicholson said after the trial ended.

It was prosecutor Shellie Samuels' first loss in 50 murder cases. Though she presented more than 70 witnesses against Blake, she couldn't show the jury blood evidence, or conclusive gun-shot residue.

"If she would have had all that information," juror Lori Moore said later, "that would have meant that he was guilty."

More than 60 million people watch the "CSI" shows every week, which means a lot of potential jurors now have high expectations of forensic evidence. "The CSI Effect" is being felt in courtrooms from coast to coast, Kauffman points out.

"Jurors now expect us to have a DNA test for just about every case," laments Oregon District Attorney Josh Marquis. "They expect us to have the most advanced technology possible, and they expect it to look like it does on television."

Trouble is, Kauffman notes, this district attorney works in the small Oregon town of Astoria. The nearest forensic lab is hours away.

Beth Carpenter, who's with the Oregon Crime Lab, says there are expectations well beyond what the reality is, and that has increased the workload quite a bit.

And in a big city like Baltimore, prosecutors blamed "The CSI Effect" when jurors acquitted a man of murder, even though were two eyewitnesses.

"Not even first degree, second degree, third degree, nothing, and they shot my husband," cried Patricia Peterson, the victim's wife.

Even the producers of "CSI" have been surprised at how jurors want to judge fact from their fictional creation.

"CSI" creator Anthony E. Zuiker observes, " 'The CSI Effect' is, in my opinion, the most amazing thing that has ever come out of the series. For the first time in American history, you're not allowed to fool the jury anymore."

In fact, Kauffman adds, at least half the jurors selected for the Blake case say they watch such shows regularly.

"The prosecutor took the approach of, 'We don't need the DNA, we don't need the eyewitness, we've got the big picture here, and if you look at the big picture, who had the motive, who had the opportunity, who acted strangely, who wanted his wife dead -- it was Robert Blake,' " says Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levensen, a former federal prosecutor.

But clearly, the jury wanted the evidence they see on "CSI" each week.

It may be ironic that a man who made his fame on a TV crime show, "Baretta," was acquitted thanks, in part, to a TV crime show.

Former prosecutor Wendy Murphy, a CBS News consultant, says "The CSI Effect" is real, and an impediment: "When 'CSI' trumps common sense, then you have a systemic problem. The National District Attorneys Association is deeply concerned about the effect of 'CSI.' "

Murphy points out, "This has been a bit of a problem even before the onset of DNA, and shows like 'CSI.' You get jurors who don't have a lot of brain cells asking questions after the case is over about why there weren't any fingerprints on the pillow case. Of course, that makes no sense.

"But once you get the influence of 'CSI,' what they start to expect is not only a lot of forensic evidence, but that this one missing piece would have told them the truth. That's just not reality.

"Most murder cases have a little forensic evidence, but it doesn't really tell the whole story.

"I actually think one of the problems is we're not screening out these jurors who are way too much under the influence of these pop culture programs. They shouldn't be allowed to sit in judgment, frankly."

Defense attorney and CBS News consultant Mickey Sherman disagrees, saying jurors are "a little more educated now, maybe too educated. …If they believe the person committed the crime, forensics or not, they're gonna find him guilty."

The two squared off about the role, if any, of "The CSI Effect" in the Scott Peterson and Blake cases.
11707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 05:56:52 PM

Merry CRISmas

Jul 9, 2004, By Jim McKay

If the primary reason to collect crash data is to save lives on the road, evaluating that data more than two years later is counterproductive. But because of outdated technology, those charged with safeguarding Texas roadways have been forced to operate that way for years.

Texas law enforcement, transportation officials and highway engineers will unwrap a big gift from the state Legislature this Christmas that could well solve the problem and save lives -- a built-from-the-ground-up Crash Records Information System (CRIS) to capture, manage and deliver timely and accurate crash data so law enforcement can target areas to patrol, transportation officials can determine the state's most dangerous roadways and engineers can fix them.

Two Years in the Basement
Two years worth of written crash data currently sits in a basement at the Texas Department of Public Safety. The backlog built up because department staff must sift through the paper documents by hand.

"In many cases, the data didn't exist electronically at all. If it did, it was in disparate databases, not one common location where it could be accessed and analyzed," said Amy Thomas-Gerling, an associate partner at IBM Business Consulting Services. "Timely and accurate information is needed to address a lot of the issues Texas and other states are looking at, such as where to put their money for highway improvement projects."

The new system, scheduled to go live in December, will feature electronic data collection, GIS mapping of accidents and a new Web portal to make the information available to officials and citizens immediately. The system will also use a "microstrategy tool" to make sense of all the data, and help officials and engineers develop strategies to make roadways safer.

CRIS should be a vast improvement from the way the data is currently handled. Now, an officer at an accident scene creates a handwritten report that includes time of day, type of vehicle and number of occupants, among other details, and mails it to the Department of Public Safety headquarters -- along with the other 850,000 reports the department receives annually.

One of 96 employees in charge of handling incoming reports processes the report manually and sends it to another group of employees who key the data into the system. The current system is a flat file system, which lacks the hierarchical organization used by most operating systems today, so for instance, there is no "folder" for 2003 crash data. All the crash data that has built up for decades is stored in one repository without categorization.

"You walk in and it's like something from the 1960s," said Catherine Cioffi, CRIS project manager for the Texas Department of Public Safety. "It's really a result of aging technology, the increase in population in Texas, the changes in the roads over the years and the changes in technology that finally got us to the point where we had to upgrade."

Other states have similar problems with crash data and have implemented some of the functions that will be included in this system.

"The crash data is used for a variety of things," Cioffi said. "In the Department of Public Safety, it's used for defining target areas for enhanced law enforcement and the Department of Transportation uses the crash data for prioritization and identification of road projects."

CRIS will be unique in that it will be a complete, enterprisewide system built largely with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products, according to IBM's Thomas-Gerling.

"We looked at everything from when you received a crash report from the officer, to when it was needed for federal reports to determine areas that needed specific attention," she said. "We looked at the entire process from the onset and the best way to configure COTS products to address those needs.

"Many states have the GIS mapping component, or they may have the data warehouse or the ability to capture crash records electronically," she added. "But if you looked across all states, very few will have a solution from beginning to end, which is what we're providing."

The Texas Legislature appropriated the money for the IBM contract, which is worth nearly $10 million.

Safety First
That beginning-to-end solution will provide a smooth transition from one process to another, not to mention overhauling some badly outdated individual processes.

Mapping is an example. Engineers currently have access to paper maps only, and the most up-to-date maps come from 1992. The new system will give engineers online maps showing where all crashes have occurred.

"They'll be looking at a screen and seeing all this visually, and be able to have the most recent road information and the tools at hand to do something in seconds that currently takes a manual process that can be very lengthy," Thomas-Gerling said.

All crash data dating back 10 years will be converted for use in the new system -- not to mention the last two-plus years' worth of reports still in paper form down in the basement.

"The system is a major overhaul, but the COTS products allow flexibility as well," Cioffi said. "We want to eliminate all this paper, but we want to be flexible enough so smaller cities that have a couple accidents a month can submit paper if they want and it will be scanned into the system. What we wanted to do with CRIS was to enable the large cities to submit the data to us electronically -- which they can't do today -- or to go onto the Web and enter that data electronically."

The result should provide officials with timely, accurate information that could save lives.

"You're looking at two-year-old data [now]," Cioffi said. "It's difficult to be proactive. If you need to straighten out a curve, you don't know for two years that you need to straighten that curve."

The primary objective of the system is to improve safety on Texas roadways, but it may give the state a leg up on more federal funding. States receive funds based on the crash data they submit, and it won't hurt to have more accurate, up-to-date data, Cioffi said.

"This is something I'm very cautious about because it's one of those unknowns and is unknowable. We can't really put a number on it if there have been losses in construction money, but with the new data, there is the potential for increase."
11708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 05:48:11 PM,0,3189496.story

FBI background checks for immigrants are far behind, audit says
Inspector General Glenn Fine reports a backlog years long in some cases. He says the National Name Check Program has outdated technology, poorly trained personnel and overworked supervisors.
By Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 10, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The FBI system for performing background checks on immigrants has become so overloaded since the Sept. 11 attacks that thousands of legal immigrants are waiting years to get into the United States or obtain citizenship, according to findings from an internal investigation released Monday.

The Justice Department's inspector general concluded that the FBI's National Name Check Program is working with outdated technology, and that poorly trained personnel and overworked supervisors are falling far behind. As of March, there was a backlog of 327,000 requests for names to be validated, some of which had been pending for up to three years.

The report also said the breakdown in the name checks means that potentially thousands of criminals are slipping through the system.

"The name-check process can result in lengthy delays and the risk of inaccurate information," said Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. He warned that improvements to the system, particularly with the government's ongoing effort to search for potential terrorists in this country, should be "a priority."

The FBI must vet all immigrants before they can get citizenship or a green card. The bureau has been criticized by lawmakers and immigration rights groups for slowing the immigration process.

John Miller, the FBI's head of public affairs, said in a statement that the inspector general's recommendations are being implemented, and that FBI officials will work hard to catch up.

He noted that more than 4 million name-check requests from various law enforcement agencies were made in the 2007 fiscal year alone, and that about 86% were processed within 60 days. The FBI is making 77,000 name checks a week -- completing nearly 97% of all requests submitted in the last five years, he said.

Nevertheless, Miller acknowledged that the 2001 terrorist strikes jammed the system, especially when federal immigration officials asked the bureau to rerun 2.7 million names for more thorough reviews after the attacks on New York and Washington.

"This unexpected deluge of immigration-related name checks overwhelmed existing resources," Miller said. "As a result, the NNCP was not able to address the increasing demand."

In his report, Fine acknowledged the extra burden posed after Sept. 11. Before the terrorist attacks, the system only searched the FBI's main files to see if individuals might be connected to criminal activities. After the attacks, the searches were broadened to encompass information from all sorts of law enforcement databases, adding to the time required for each background check.

"This change was designed to detect derogatory information about individuals who may not have been identified as the direct subject of an FBI investigation, but who are connected to subjects with criminal and investigative histories," Fine said.

The name-check program and its FBI fingerprint database are the largest in the world, containing prints and background histories on more than 50 million people.

The system was taxed all the more after Sept. 11, and the inspector general's investigation turned up processes that are "inefficient and untimely, rely on outdated technology and provide little assurance that pertinent and derogatory information is being retrieved and transmitted."

As of March, 371 employees were working on name checks, an increase of 30% since November. By the end of this fiscal year 300 employees more will be assigned to the system.

But Fine worried that without improvements, "limited training, supervision and quality control measures may result in a higher potential for name-matching errors."
11709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 05:35:45 PM
I'm not sure what the answer is to your concerns. I'll note that the SCOTUS just wrapped the jihadist illegal combatants in GITMO in the same constitutional protections you and I enjoy. We live in a technology driven society, why should law enforcement not use technology commonly in use in other areas of the public and private sector? Do you avoid Las Vegas casinos because of the surveillance technology? I assure you the private security entities in the average strip casino use technology outside the wildest dreams of most anyone in law enforcement. Why is state of the art video and pattern recognition software good in the Bellagio and lowest bidder, outdated tech in the hands of cops have us on the cusp of 1984?
11710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 15, 2008, 09:55:33 AM

Not a right, says the Obamessiah.
11711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 15, 2008, 09:06:47 AM
§ 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.
11712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 15, 2008, 09:00:50 AM
**It struck me like a lightening bolt this a.m. as I was going off duty. As the SCOTUS has determined that the GITMO illegal combatants enjoy constitutional protections, then they enjoy ALL constitutional protections. It's like being a little bit pregnant, either you is or you ain't. **

"We hold that Art. I, §9, cl. 2, of the Constitution has full effect at Guantanamo Bay. If the privilege of habeas corpus is to be denied to the detainees now before us,
Congress must act in accordance with the requirements of the Suspension Clause. Cf. Hamdi, 542 U. S., at 564 (SCALIA, J., dissenting) (“ndefinite imprisonment on reasonable suspicion is not an available option of treatment for those accused of aiding the enemy, absent a suspension of the writ”). This Court may not impose a de facto suspension by abstaining from these controversies.
See Hamdan, 548 U. S., at 585, n. 16 (“[A]bstention is not appropriate in cases . . . in which the legal challenge ‘turn on the status of the persons as to whom the military
asserted its power’ ” (quoting Schlesinger v. Councilman, 420 U. S. 738, 759 (1975))). The MCA does not purport to be a formal suspension of the writ; and the Government, in its submissions to us, has not argued that it is. Petitioners, therefore, are entitled to the privilege of habeas corpus to challenge the legality of their detention."

**Ok, as the detainees' due process rights have clearly been violated, not only must they be released, they can file 1983 actions against the USG and the US DOJ better start investigating/indicting every member of the US military for excessive force/illegal search and seizure and other constitutional rights violations. No use of force by the military complies with Tenn. V. Garner or Graham V. Connor or other caselaw. No detainee was arrested with a valid arrest or search warrant or interrogated in compliance with Miranda.**
11713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 13, 2008, 08:57:35 PM

Me-yow! The question being, can McCain close the deal?
11714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: June 13, 2008, 06:43:23 PM
**Two questions: How do you say "right of return" en espanol? When do we stop posting this in "Islam in europe" and post articles like this in "Islam in Islamic countries"?**

- Pajamas Media - -

Spain, the Once and Future Muslim Province
June 9, 2008 - by Aaron Hanscom

It’s a miracle Matthew Yglesias made it out of Spain alive in 2006. The young blogger described the dangers he confronted on his Spanish vacation in a [1] piece he wrote for the American Prospect shortly after his return to America:

The modern city [of Toledo] features a large traffic circle just outside the medieval town walls known as the glorieta de la reconquista in honor of this distinction. But today in a new ironic twist, it is from that very plaza where the Mullahs issue their fatwas that the craven Spanish government, having chosen the path of appeasement, invariably follows. Toledo’s women, who only in the recent past enjoyed basic legal equality with men albeit in the context of a culture that was highly traditionalistic by American standards, now fear to walk the streets unveiled. Spain’s historic wine industry groans under the crushing yoke of the Islamists’ informal power, the riojas of the past but a fading memory.

Yglesias was obviously writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The joke, of course, was on conservative pundits in America, who had predicted devastating consequences in the wake of the March 11 Madrid bombings and the subsequent electoral victory of Socialist José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. “Appeasement,” it turned out, hadn’t enabled Muslims to reconquer Granada and avenge the Moors’ loss of Al-Andalus in 1492 following more than 700 years of Islamic rule. Spain, Yglesias argued, had instead become a paragon of liberalism, with positions on gay marriage and women’s rights that America “should be so lucky as to have.” Two years after Zapatero fulfilled a campaign promise and pulled Spanish troops from Iraq, Spaniards were living in a socialist utopia — not under sharia law.

Although Muslim extremists surely appreciate some of Zapatero’s policies — he granted the largest [2] blanket amnesty in Spanish history to nearly one million undocumented immigrants and thought it wise to [3] negotiate with the Basque terrorist group ETA — their idea of paradise is quite different from those of Spain’s “[4] accidental prime minister.” Critics such as Matthew Yglesias seem unaware that jihadists will not rest until the caliphate is reestablished on the Iberian Peninsula because they feel compelled to reconquer any country or territory that has at one time been under the domain of Islam. Spain is the most important of these lands because it was the largest Christian territory conquered in Europe and it represented the summit of Islamic civilization. The loss of Al-Andalus was therefore the most important loss ever suffered by the Ummah (the community of Muslims). Thus, freeing Spain from an illegal and illegitimate occupation by infidels would prove that all other Islamist goals can be achieved.

Nostalgia for an idealized Al-Andalus is being passed on to the next generation. Gustavo de Aristegui, the foreign affairs spokesman for the conservative Popular Party, explains in his book [5] The Jihad in Spain: The obsession to reconquer Al-Ándalus that, in schools throughout the Muslim world, maps are used with Spain and Portugal colored green because they are still considered part of dar al-Islam, or the House of Islam. The HAMAS children’s magazine Al-Fateh published a [6] piece in 2006 from the point of view of Asbilia or — as the infidels call it — Seville: “I yearn that you, my beloved, will call me to return, together with the rest of the lost cities of the lost orchard [Andalus] to the hands of the Muslims so that joy and happiness will fill my land, and you will visit me because I am the bride of the country of Andalus.”

Unfortunately, it’s not only terrorists in the making who are being told to reclaim Spain. Osama bin Laden has made many references to “the tragedy of Al-Andalus,” and Ayman Al Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s number two man, never misses an opportunity to mention the “lost paradise.” He’s not pining for a Mediterranean vacation and the sandy beaches of Marbella, though. Last year he [7] exhorted Islamists in North Africa “to once again feel the soil of Al Ándalus beneath your feet.” In case that wasn’t clear enough, he later released a videotape in which he says that “the reconquest of Al-Andalus is a responsibility” of all Muslims.

Many are doing their best to live up to that responsibility. More than 300 Islamist suspects have been arrested in counterterrorism operations in Spain since the Madrid bombings. Most recently, twelve Pakistanis were [8] arrested in January for allegedly planning suicide bombings in Barcelona’s subways. Meanwhile, rhetoric about the reconquest of Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves on the North African coast) is common among jihadists. For example, Zawahiri responded to the arrests of 11 individuals for planning to stage terrorist attacks in Ceuta by referring to Ceuta and Melilla as “occupied cities.” No wonder former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer once warned that if by any chance Israel were to fall and be defeated, the next in line would definitely be Spain.

Some Spanish politicians often seem eager to move Spain up to the front of that line. Zapatero, who has [9] said that “sexual equality is a lot more effective against terrorism than military strength,” appointed a pregnant woman as defense minister in April. According to PJM’s [10] Jose Guardia, this move was meant to symbolize Spain’s new role as a soft power. At least the primer minister isn’t prepared to start giving away land. Representatives of the Cordoba and Seville City Councils signed a document in 2004 that states that Ceuta and Melilla are occupied territories that need to be returned to their legitimate owners. In 2007 the small left-wing party, Izquierda Unida, backed a call for [11] preferential citizenship for descendants of Spanish Muslims expelled from Spain in the seventeenth century. Such a policy would be less disturbing if there wasn’t already an active “foot in the threshold” strategy being employed by irredentist Muslims. Aristegui explains that the “purchase of land, houses and commercial properties in some of the most emblematic cities of the former Al-Andalus…[is]the first step towards dominating the city, the region and eventually, all Al-Andalus.”

It’s worth remembering that the terrorist cell responsible for the Madrid bombings called itself “[12] the brigade situated in Al-Andalus.” Since March 11, 2004, Spanish security forces have successfully broken up plots to blow up such locations as Real Madrid’s soccer stadium and Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional — the highest criminal court where Islamic cases are investigated. But, as former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has [13] noted: “Islamic terror is not just a criminal activity. It’s something more. To win over terror we will need much more than just intelligence or police actions. We will need more than defensive measures.” Of course, Spaniards made clear that they prefer appeasement to this uncomfortable truth when they voted Aznar’s party out of power in 2004.

So could Spain could once again fall under Islamic rule? I asked this question to Aristegui in a 2006 [14] interview. “I don’t think so, but the fight will become more difficult and extensive because Spanish society today is not willing or ready to accept the threat we face,” he told me. In other words, Spain might not always remain an ideal vacation destination — even for Matthew Yglesias.

Article printed from Pajamas Media:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:
[1] piece:
[2] blanket amnesty:
[3] negotiate:
[4] accidental prime minister:
[5] The Jihad in Spain: The obsession to reconquer Al-Ándalus:,1094,2900001086733,00.html?codigo=2900001086733
[6] piece:
[7] exhorted:
[8] arrested:
[9] said:,9171,901040927-699350,00.html
[10] Jose Guardia:
[11] preferential citizenship:
[12] the brigade situated in Al-Andalus.:
[13] noted:
[14] interview:
11715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 13, 2008, 01:50:31 AM

JUNE 12, 2008

How the Jihadi Propaganda Machine Will Win the Guantanamo Trials
By Walid Phares

Jihadism in the 21st century has plans for all types of situations, including Mujahada (Jihadi activity) in a courtroom when needed.

This is now what the world will witness during the trials of the al Qaeda detainees in Guantanamo, Cuba. Both the inmates on the inside and the Jihadi-mates on the outside were waiting for this moment to strike, politically and psychologically, using the media as their weapon. To the well-trained and -indoctrinated five standing trial, the objective is not to gain as many rights and freedoms as possible under current U.S. and international law; rather it is to resume what they began before 9/11 which they deeply wish to fulfill - as they said in their own words - using the trial as a global media opportunity.

This attitude has been anticipated by most experts who have followed the Guantanamo "ideological" battle, particularly the al Qaeda-Jihadist treatment of the issue. It was fully predicted that at least Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and Ramzi bin al Sheeba will take the lead in counter-prosecuting the United States and all its allies. Unlike in other comparable cases, analysts know how important it is for al Qaeda and their supporters around the world to bash the United States - and any other democracy that prosecutes Salafi terrorists - when the trials are ongoing. At that juncture, three elements will converge into one powerful force, all determined to score points against America.

First, there is the Bin Laden organization which thrives on fiery declarations issued by its members on trial. Their goal is, of course, to maximize the propaganda dividends. Every word in the statements made by KSM and al Sheeb, and the others as well, will become gold for the as Sahab machine, the maker of the video and audio material. To al Qaeda, the fate of the men in Guantanamo is not the issue, for in their Jihad they don't count. Rather, it is the amount of Jihadi propaganda material they can get out of this "battlefield" that really matters to them.

Second, and more importantly, there are the other Jihadists worldwide. These are the Jihadists who still have their freedom and will be able to carry out virulent attacks against the trials and the United States. In doing this, a political price will be paid by America, even for trying the most obvious terrorists - the planners and backers of the 9/11 operation. Organizations, movements, parties, ideologues, militants and a vast constellation of Salafists - and also Khomeinists - are and will continue to attack Guantanamo itself while ignoring the defendants.

The goal of these other free Jihadists is to deter Washington - and other Western countries - from trying the incarcerated Jihadists. Their thinking is that if the U.S. gets condemned in the global media for prosecuting and trying and eventually sentencing the worst of the worst, America will be intimidated when it tries to prosecute non-al Qaeda Jihadists. In addition, other "hidden forces" sympathetic to the goals, but not the methods, of Bin Laden will support the campaign against the trial by enlisting their resources in the media to serve the "anti-trial" campaign (even though this is not a pro-al Qaeda trend).

Third, the conglomeration of all anti-American political forces, including many radical circles within the United States, will unleash its attacks against Guantanamo and what it represents, meaning the existence of the "War on Terror". A significant ideological segment of the political establishment in America has been pushing the slogan of an "orchestrated war" which must be ended. To them, the trial of the terrorists in Guantanamo is an opportunity to bleed U.S. efforts in the confrontation, thereby enhancing their own domestic political fortunes and agendas.

These three elements are converging into (what is to them) the Battle of Guantanamo. Here is how it will take place.

First, the "team" on the inside of the courtroom will unleash any and all statements needed to create the environment for a martyrdom case: istishaad. They will claim the tribunal is not legitimate, the Guantanamo process is not legal, the procedure is not acceptable and that they want to receive the death penalty so they may become shuhada, or martyrs.

Then, the "production" will be picked up by al Qaeda and other Jihadi-Salafist entities around the world and will reappear in videos, audio and texts, as well as circulate around the world of militant networks.

The in-court "drama" will also be used by the Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood networks, that is the long term Jihadists, not praising the defendants but rather promoting some of the arguments made by the al Qaeda detainees. This stealth use of the "production" will serve to produce more incitements and solidify the Jihadi agenda.

For example, the campaign will target American credibility and the concept of a war on terror. Some of the statements by the defendants will be stressed, such as "we do not recognize your laws, but only Sharia." In short, a control room is already in place to feed off the Guantanamo trials and turn it into a victory in the War of ideas. The al Qaeda detainees will make their statements and will be sentenced, but the international Jihadists will thrive on these words.

Meanwhile in America, we have two indicators that we aren't really winning yet on this front. One indication is that elements within our government bureaucracy are now using the absolute wrong words (the so-called "lexicon") to fight this battle. The second indication is the stunningly paltry coverage of what should be known as the trials of the century, in favor of hyped coverage of trials much less significant.

Until these indications change, we are not contenders.


Dr. Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of "The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad."
11716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: What are your daily sources for News? on: June 13, 2008, 01:11:01 AM in addition to most of the sites listed by SB.
11717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 12, 2008, 10:20:42 PM
Endless judicial overreach. Trying to litigate al qaeda into submission during the Clinton administration didn't work so well, but I guess it'll work out now.  rolleyes
11718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 12, 2008, 10:05:16 AM

Lawfare triumphant.
11719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: June 12, 2008, 09:02:23 AM

June 12, 2008

Shock horror! Mainstream Islamic teaching taught at Virginia Islamic school: adulterers and apostates should be killed

What do you expect? The idea that adulterers and apostates should be killed isn't "extremist" or "hijacked" Islam. It's mainstream Islamic teaching, taught in the Sunnah and all the schools of Islamic law. I know that pointing that out will earn me more charges of "Islamophobia," but reality is reality, fellows. This is just Islamorealism.

Oh, and by the way, the 1999 valedictorian of the Islamic Saudi Academy was Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who is now doing 30 years in the pen for joining an Al-Qaeda plot to kill Bush. Surprised?

"Review: Troubling passages in texts at Va. school," by Matthew Barakat for AP, June 11 (thanks to all who sent this in):

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Textbooks at a private Islamic school in northern Virginia teach students that it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, according to a federal investigation released Wednesday.
Other passages in the school's textbooks state that "the Jews conspired against Islam and its people" and that Muslims are permitted to take the lives and property of those deemed "polytheists."

Here is a hadith from Bukhari (the hadith collection Muslims consider most reliable) in which the Jews conspire to murder Muhammad. There are plenty more where that one came from. Here is a hadith from Bukhari in which Muhammad says that the lives and property of unbelievers are safe from him as long as they convert to Islam -- implying that if they don't, their lives and property are fair game.

The passages were found in selected textbooks used during the 2007-08 school year by the Islamic Saudi Academy, which teaches 900 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax and receives much of its funding from the Saudi government.
The academy has come under scrutiny from critics who allege that it fosters an intolerant brand of Islam similar to that taught in the conservative Saudi kingdom. In the review, the panel recommended that the school make all of its textbooks available to the State Department so changes can be made before the next school year.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a panel formed by Congress, last year recommended that the school be closed amid concerns that it promotes violence and too closely mimics the conservative Saudi educational system.

The commission made its recommendation last year to close the school even though it had not reviewed the textbooks. Now that some have been reviewed, "we feel more confident that the potential problems we flagged before really are there," said the commission's spokeswoman, Judith Ingram.

School officials have long denied that the academy fosters intolerance. It has acknowledged that some of the Saudi textbooks contain harsh language, but says that the texts have improved in recent years and are revised as needed by the academy before being distributed to students....

The commission said it obtained 17 of the academy's textbooks through a variety of channels, including from members of Congress. The texts did appear to contain numerous revisions, including pages that were removed or passages that were whited out, but numerous troubling passages remained, according to the panel:

_ The authors of a 12th-grade text on Koranic interpretation state that apostates (those who convert from Islam), adulterers and people who murder Muslims can be permissibly killed.

Muhammad said, "If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him."

_ The authors of a 12th-grade text on monotheism write that "(m)ajor polytheism makes blood and wealth permissible," meaning that a Muslim can take with impunity the life and property of someone believed guilty of polytheism. According to the panel, the strict Saudi interpretation of polytheism includes Shiite and Sufi Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists.
See above.

_ A social studies text offers the view that Jews were responsible for the split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims: "The cause of the discord: The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who sinfully and deceitfully professed Islam infiltrated (the Muslims)."
Typical paranoid Jew-hatred.

More generally, the panel found that the academy textbooks hold the view that the Muslim world was strong when united under a single caliph, the Arabic language and the Sunni creed, and that Muslims have grown weak because of foreign influence and internal divisions.
The commission's findings issued come a month after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to extend the academy's lease for its main campus, which sits on county property.

The county conducted its own study of the textbooks last year at the request of Supervisor Gerald Hyland, whose district encompasses the academy.

Hyland and the county never released results of what they had found, but Hyland said in approving the lease that he is comfortable with the school's teachings, though he did so with a qualification.

"I would be less than frank if I didn't tell you that the curriculum does contain references to the Quran, which, if taken out of context and read literally, would cause come concern," Hyland said at the meeting at which the lease was extended.

Ah yes, those Qur'an quotes are only incendiary when "taken out of context and read literally." Of course. When one puts them in context and reads them figuratively, they're all peace and love. One would think Hyland would hesitate to claim that an Islamic school, staffed by people who know the Qur'an far better than he does, was misreading the Qur'an, but he feels compelled to jump into the PC lockstep, no matter how absurd it makes him look.

When will authorities face the implications of the fact that such teachings are essentially mainstream Islam? I'm inclined to think never.

Posted at June 12, 2008 7:27 AM
11720  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.
11721  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.
11722  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.”
11723  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.
11724  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?
11725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:25:00 PM

Transnational organized crime brief
11726  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
11727  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?
11728  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.
11729  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.”
11730  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/
11731  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.
11732  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?
11733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 10, 2008, 10:48:55 PM
Domestic spying? Puh-leeze.....  rolleyes
11734  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.
11735  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.
11736  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
11737  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.
11738  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.
11739  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.....
11740  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.
11741  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.
11742  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.
11743  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.

11744  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.
11745  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**
11746  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.
11747  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?**
11748  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.......
11749  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.
11750  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.
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