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11801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: March 26, 2007, 02:42:45 PM
Mainstreaming the Muslim Brotherhood   
By Patrick Poole | March 26, 2007

The victory of Democrats in the recent elections has launched a silly season in Washington DC, where absurd ideas that would have been scoffed at this time last year now float on the Potomac breeze like so many cherry blossoms filling the Beltway air with their fragrance.
No better example could be offered for this phenomenon than the recent flurry of articles from foreign policy “realists” urging the Bush Administration to shift its policy and begin to dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is headquartered in Egypt but has affiliates in more than 70 countries, including the US. This position is best represented in an article in the current issue (March/April 2007) of Foreign Affairs by Robert Leiken and Steven Brooke of the Nixon Center, “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood”. They summarize their argument thus:
Even as Western commentators condemn the Muslim Brotherhood for its Islamism, radicals in the Middle East condemn it for rejecting jihad and embracing democracy. Such relative moderation offers Washington a notable opportunity for engagement -- as long as policymakers recognize the considerable variation between the group's different branches and tendencies.
Admittedly, this is hardly the first time that so-called “progressives” have tried to shift the post-9/11 sentiment in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. A September 2004 article in the Washington Post, “In Search of Friends Among Foes”, described the last major attempt at a policy shift led by State Department diplocrats while noting the Brotherhood’s public relations problems of being tied to extremist activity in the Middle East and the United States.
As the worldwide jihad has grown in intensity in recent years, the Brotherhood’s supporters in the US are trying to capitalize on the upward trend of Islamic radicalization to paint the organization as “moderate” on this shifting scale. This is precisely the methodology employed by Leiken and Brooke, who attempt the Herculean task of cleaning out the Augean Stables of the Muslim Brotherhood’s long involvement in terrorist activity through misrepresentation and outright fabrication.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s past use of violence and terrorism as a means of accomplishing the organization’s stated mission of installing “Islamic” governments in the Muslim world through the establishment of shari’a as the legal system of these new governments. This mission has been repeated and restated by Brotherhood officials up to the present day.
But Leiken and Brooke try to qualify that mission by assuring us of two things: 1) that the Muslim Brotherhood has “rejected jihad”; and, 2) it has “embraced democracy”.
Rejecting Jihad
Let’s examine the first claim. I take their terminology of the Brotherhood “rejecting jihad” as a general renunciation of violence and terrorism. Again, this is where the organization’s long history of supporting the use of violence makes a defense of the organization a Herculean task for its defenders. From the Brotherhood’s earliest days when its “special apparatus” incited violence and engaged in assassinations, to its recent support of terrorism by affiliates and associates in Israel, Algeria, Sudan and elsewhere, any claim by the Brotherhood that they have “rejected jihad” should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Some of the sounder minds in counterterrorism and diplomatic circles in Washington on both sides of the political spectrum are still awaiting substantive evidence of this newfound rejection of violence by the Brotherhood. One skeptic is the current White House counterterrorism czar, Juan Zarate, who says
The Muslim Brotherhood is a group that worries us not because it deals with philosophical or ideological ideas but because it defends the use of violence against civilians. (Sylvain Besson, La Conquête De L’Occident: Le Projet Secret Des Islamistes, p. 39 – my translation)
Nor are some long-time Middle East diplomats associated with the Democrats eager to take Leiken and Brooke’s word that Brotherhood has removed violence from its menu of options. In an interview with Asharq Alawsat last week, Dennis Ross, former President Clinton’s Middle East envoy, joined with those who aren’t convinced that the Brotherhood had renounced their violent ways:
He (Ross – ed.) added that he would not talk to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and that despite its assertion that it wants to engage in the political process in Egypt, the movement supports the use of violence in other areas and this is the main problem. He firmly stated that as long as the movement supported violence as a means to achieve political objectives, then dialogue could not be established with such an organization.
Again, this is not some ancient quote dug out of the archives, but represents Ross’ current assessment of the Brotherhood’s stance on the use of violence.
Recent history backs up Zarate and Ross that the Brotherhood has yet to adequately demonstrate their renunciation of violence. At present in Egypt many of the organization’s leaders are in jail following an incident this past December where student cadres of the Brotherhood engaged in a military-style demonstration at Al-Ahzar University, which prompted the Mubarak regime’s current crackdown on the Brotherhood. One observer, Jameel Theyabi, described the scene and its possible message in an op-ed for Dar Al-Hayat:
The military parade, the wearing of uniforms, displaying the phrase, 'We Will be Steadfast', and the drills involving combative sports, betray the group's intent to plan for the creation of militia structures, and a return by the group to the era of 'secret cells'...this development comes as a clear Brotherhood announcement that the group is capable of acting and reacting to developments, and by these demonstrations, it is seeking to deliver a news flash that says: "The group is still out there, and is capable of military action, recruitment of new elements, military training and mobilization...I believe that the group's public power display represents a kind of coded message to awaken sleeper cells within Egypt and abroad.
Failing to anticipate the government’s heavy response to their military parade, the leadership of the Brotherhood quickly backed away from it and apologized, but most Egyptians were not convinced. (I treated this incident in more detail in a recent article, “The Militarization of the Muslim Brotherhood”.) One reason that the Egyptian government, press and public have not been ready to believe the Brotherhood is that they have been witness to the campaigns of intimidation and riots led by the student cadres and the Brotherhood’s militia. A frequent victim of this military apparatus has been the Christian Coptic community.
Another recent piece of evidence against the contention that the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood has given up violence and terrorism were comments made by the organization’s Supreme Guide, Mohammed Akef, last summer during the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict. Not only was Akef one of the first leaders in the Middle East to offer his congratulations to Hezbollah for their illegal crossborder raid to capture of two Israeli soldiers, but he said that he was prepared to send 10,000 jihadists to fight alongside Hezbollah against Israeli forces. When the rest of the Arab Muslim leadership in the Middle East didn’t follow his lead with similar offers of military assistance to Hezbollah, he said:
If they weren’t Muslims, we would have killed them, because they are a bigger threat to the nation than Israel itself.
It would be interesting to hear how Leiken and Brooke would explain how this scenario jibes with their contention that the Muslim Brotherhood – who’s Supreme Guide was promising 10,000 jihadist fighters to support the Hezbollah terrorist organization and hinting at the assassination of those who didn’t offer support in kind – is “rejecting jihad”.
The simple fact is that Leiken and Brooke rely on the reader’s ignorance of the Brotherhood to try to make their point here. In the fifteen pages of their argument, there is only one oblique reference to the Brotherhood’s affiliate in the Palestinian territories, the terrorist group HAMAS. The HAMAS charter self-identifies itself as the Brotherhood chapter for that area, and the international organization has lent the terrorist group considerable financial and material support. This Brotherhood affiliate is the primary terrorist actor against Israel and its citizens on one of the most active fronts of the global jihad. No wonder, then, that Leiken and Brooke are hesitant to raise the issue of HAMAS as they argue that the “Moderate” Muslim Brotherhood has rejected jihad.
Also receiving the silent treatment from Leiken and Brooke is the genocidal Brotherhood Islamic Salvation Front government of Sudan, who for years has waged jihad against Christians in the south of the country, and more recently, against non-Arab Muslims in Darfur. Millions of Sudanese have been slaughtered and displaced at the hands of the government in a country where the Brotherhood actually has established political control.
One Brotherhood affiliate that pair mentions as an example of moderation is the Jordanian Islamic Action Front. And yet last year several IAF members of the Jordanian Parliament paid a condolence visit to the family of murderous Iraqi Al-Qaeda thug-in-chief, Abu Musab Al-Zaraqawi, following his “martyrdom” at the hands of two US laser-guided bombs. This is who Leiken and Brooke present us with to convince us of the Brotherhood’s policy of “rejecting jihad”. It should be clear at this point that the two are not only misrepresenting the organization’s statements and actions, but are manufacturing whole-cloth their “moderate” image of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Embracing Democracy
Which bring us to the second assurance offered in the Foreign Affairs article, that the Brotherhood is committed to democracy. Historically and ideologically, however, this has not been the case. The Brotherhood’s prime theorist, Sayyid Qutb’s, in calling the Muslim Brotherhood masses to revolution and jihad in his profoundly influential book, Milestones (1964), he offers this assessment of democracy:
Whoever says that legislation is the right of the people is not a Muslim.
But Leiken and Brooke are prepared for their critics to invoke the specter of Qutb, and tell us that the Brotherhood has forsaken the legacy of Qutb after his execution in 1966 under Gamal Abdel Nasser’s orders and that they have returned to their democratic founding principles. But someone forgot to tell that to Mustafa Mashhour, the Brotherhood’s late Supreme Guide, who said in an official Brotherhood magazine in 1981:
Democracy contradicts and wages war on Islam. Whoever calls for democracy means they are raising banners contradicting God’s plan and fighting Islam.
If it is the case that the Brotherhood has actually embraced democracy, it must be admitted that it has constricted the notion so much so that it would be unrecognizable to anyone in the West. One of the Brotherhood’s most influential clerics, Yousef Al-Qaradawi, made this clear in his statements on the subject during his weekly television program on Al-Jaeera TV in June 2004:
The democracy I call for is the democracy of Muslim society. It has fixed principles it does not violate, and red lines it cannot violate, and some principles that are not up for discussion.
Qaradawi’s statement came just months after the Brotherhood released an official document outlining their vision of “democracy”, the “Muslim Brotherhood Initiatives for Reform in Egypt”, which was published in March 2004. Not only does the “Initiative for Reform” restates its commitment to “to establish an Islamic state that executes the laws and teachings of Islam (shari’a) in practice”, but reaffirms its intent to wage jihad and engage in “resistance against the Anglo-American and Zionist occupiers of Arab and Muslim lands” – clearly meaning Israel and Iraq.
As for this Golden era of Democracy that Leiken and Brooke want us to believe the Muslim Brotherhood intends to usher in, the Initiative assures that “each citizen is entitled to be a member of parliament, as long as he/she enjoys the general conditions set by the law to do so.” On its face this might seem to be innocuous, but the longstanding “general conditions” the Brotherhood has in mind are laws that would exclude non-Muslims from holding any office. The Brotherhood’s founder, Hassan Al-Banna, has stated from the organization’s beginnings that with reference to non-Muslims and their relation to the form of Islamic government they hope to install, that “it will not entrust them with such an office that would give them general authority.”
Thus, the model of democracy that the Muslim Brotherhood hopes to follow would much more closely resemble Khomeini’s Islamic Republic in Iran than Ataturk’s secular democracy in Turkey.
We already have in operation working models of how the Brotherhood would run the government in Egypt by looking at the professional syndicates that the Brotherhood has steadily taken over in the past two decades. In each of these cases, the Brotherhood has operated within the democratic structures of these organizations in order to come to power; but once they have attained power, they have rewritten the rules such that challenging their authority would be difficult, if not impossible.
From their experience governing the professional syndicates, we can see the Brotherhood’s willingness to use “democratic” means for the transfer of power; but there is nothing to indicate their willingness to commit themselves to democratic principles fundamentally. Instead, democracy is perceived to be one of just many potential options. And when that “democracy” is exercised, it’s hard to see how it is much of an improvement on the existing totalitarian “democracies” that already exist in the Muslim world (as renowned Islamic scholar, Bernard Lewis, has characterized it, “one man, one vote, one time”). Recall that when Leiken and Brooke talk about the Muslim Brotherhood “embracing democracy”, this is what they have in mind.
I would contend that when the advocates of engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood make their case, they never do so as honest brokers. As we can see in the current Foreign Affairs piece, any evidence that would immediately contradict their thesis is not only excluded, but intentionally obscured. Their message is clearly directed at an audience unfamiliar with the Brotherhood’s history, message and program, and insults the intelligence of anyone somewhat familiar with such.
In arguing that the Brotherhood is presently “rejecting jihad”, even the limited examples they cite don’t hold up under scrutiny; and in claiming that the organization is “embracing democracy”, they are clearly equivocating in their use of the term.
To make a case for the “Moderate Muslim Brotherhood” requires nothing short of blind faith. No amount of spin offered by the “progressive” policy wonks or media pundits can account for the fact that not only has the Muslim Brotherhood spawned virtually ever single Islamic terrorist organization in the world, but they have used the financial network established by the Brotherhood to conduct their bloody business (an excellent and concise treatment of this subject is available: Douglas Farah, “The Little Explored Offshore Empire of the International Muslim Brotherhood”). This direct support for terrorism is not just past, but present, policy on their part.
Policymakers in Washington should not be fooled by the carefully manicured, but entirely misleading, presentation of the Muslim Brotherhood offered by their US defenders. If any policy change is needed, it isn’t to engage them as a force for moderation and positive change in the Middle East, but to finally designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization and make any exceptions from that point.
If there is a time when sane voices must prevail inside the Beltway, it must be during the silly season.
11802  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: March 26, 2007, 09:35:58 AM
When do the jews and christians forced to flee from muslim countries get the right of return?
11803  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 25, 2007, 05:03:08 PM
Shariah in Minnesota?
Radical Muslim activists go fishing in troubled waters.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

MINNEAPOLIS--The land of 10,000 lakes and that welcoming attitude we call "Minnesota Nice"--is becoming a window on America's potential future. Here in Minneapolis, one of the nation's most livable cities, hard-line Muslim activists are injecting an element that is anything but nice.

Troubling incidents began several years ago, when taxi drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport--about three-quarters of whom are Muslim--started refusing to transport passengers carrying alcohol. One woman, returning from France with wine, was turned away by five cabs in succession. Refusals of service now number about 100 a month, and heated altercations have erupted.

In September 2006, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) proposed a two color top-light pilot project to indicate which drivers would accept passengers with alcohol. The proposal, later dropped, would apparently have marked the first time that a government agency in the U.S. officially recognized Shariah law, and distinguished individuals who follow it from those who don't.

In November 2006, the six "flying imams" bumped the taxi drivers from the headlines. In Minneapolis for a conference, the imams were detained after engaging in what an airport police report called "suspicious" activity. Some prayed loudly in the gate area, spoke angrily about the U.S. and Saddam, switched seats and unnecessarily requested seat belt extenders with heavy buckles that could be used as weapons, according to witnesses. They were questioned and released later that day. The imams denounced the incident as racial and religious profiling. "If up to now, [Americans] don't know about prayers, this is a real problem," said Omar Shahin, one of the detained men and head of the North American Imams Federation. Twin Cities imams demanded a separate Muslim prayer room at the airport.

Earlier this month, the six imams filed suit in U.S. district court in Minneapolis against US Airways and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, claiming discrimination and defamation. Now some Muslim cashiers at Twin Cities Target stores have begun refusing to scan pork products, like bacon and pepperoni pizza, and insisting that other cashiers or the customers themselves do it.

What's going on? It appears that both local circumstances and activists with a big-picture agenda play a role. Take the taxi drivers. Minnesota is home to tens of thousands of Somalis, most recent immigrants. Behind the scenes, moderate local Somali leaders are engaged in a power struggle with national Muslim organizations that seek to exploit this vulnerable population. Islam prohibits the consumption of alcohol but not its transportation, say Somalis who reject the taxi drivers' stance. Yet in June 2006, the Muslim American Society's (MAS) Minnesota chapter issued a "fatwa" forbidding drivers here from carrying alcohol to avoid "cooperating in sin."
Hassan Mohamud, one of the fatwa signers, praised the two top-light proposal as a national model for accommodating Islam in areas ranging from housing to the workplace. But according to Omar Jamal of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, MAS is "trying to hijack and radicalize the Somali community for their Middle East agenda."

Ahmed Samatar, a recognized expert on Somali society at Macalester College in St. Paul notes that "There is a general Islamic prohibition against drinking, but carrying alcohol for people in commercial enterprise has never been forbidden." Similarly, Islam prohibits consuming pork, but not touching or scanning it, according to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the American Society for Muslim Advancement in New York. It is, or should be, "a nonissue."

In Washington, the Democratic leadership is likely to seek passage of the End Racial Profiling Act, of which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called herself, in 2004, a "proud" cosponsor. Both MAS and CAIR are stumping for the bill, which would bar airport security personnel from disproportionately questioning Muslims or people of Middle Eastern descent. Minnesota's Keith Ellison, the nation's first Muslim Congressman, told me that the imams' situation reflects a misunderstanding of Muslim prayer and will be sorted out in court, while the other matters stem from the normal process of immigrant adjustment.

The events here suggest a larger strategy: By piggy-backing on our civil rights laws, Islamist activists aim to equate airport security with racial bigotry and to move slowly toward a two-tier legal system. Intimidation is a crucial tool. The "flying imams" lawsuit ups the ante by indicating that passengers who alerted airport authorities will be included as defendants. Activists are also perfecting their skills at manipulating the media. After a "pray-in" at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., one credulous MSNBC anchor likened the flying imams to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.
The comparison is misplaced: Omar Shahin, leader of the detained imams, has helped raise money for at least two charities later shut down for supporting terrorism. From 2000 to 2003, he headed the Islamic Center of Tucson, which terrorism expert Rita Katz described in the Washington Post as holding "basically the first cell of al Qaeda in the United States." CAIR has long been controversial for alleged terrorist ties, while the Chicago Tribune has described MAS as the American arm of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, which "preaches that religion and politics cannot be separated and that governments eventually should be Islamic."

So far, Minnesotans have said a resolute "no" to Muslim activists' agenda; in an informal Star Tribune poll, 92% of respondents blamed the imams' own behavior for their airport detention. And Target--after unsuccessful attempts to accommodate Muslim cashiers--is reassigning them to other jobs. Still, there is a sense that we've seen just the opening skirmishes. As MAC spokesman Patrick Hogan put it, "I think people are afraid there will be a chapter two."

Ms. Kersten is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
11804  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: It's getting harder and harder to tell the left from the jihadists.... on: March 24, 2007, 03:16:34 PM
11805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: March 24, 2007, 03:00:32 PM

America's eyes should look to Europe
By Diana West
Friday, March 16, 2007

Without attracting much attention, representatives of the Belgian political party Vlaams Belang recently visited Washington, D.C. Frank Vanhecke and Filip Dewinter hoped to meet members of Congress; but Congress was in recess. They hoped to engender some understanding of their program to reverse the Islamization of Belgium; but the media were strip-mining the tinsel life and tawdry times of Anna Nicole Smith.

Maybe they should have known that Tabloid America doesn't care about the likely transformation of Europe into an Islamic continent, let alone the fate of a French- and Dutch-speaking country of 10 million people. And while Literary America does write books about the transformation -- "While Europe Slept" by Bruce Bawer, "The War for the West" by Tony Blankley, and "America Alone" by Mark Steyn come to mind -- Political America has yet to acknowledge or even notice this colossal, epoch-defining shift now taking place.

Why don't our leaders face it? This may be one of those questions our children will ask some day. But if such natural curiosity isn't expressed until the next generation, the civilizational struggle for Europe will certainly have been lost. Better to question our politicians now. Better to examine the issue today.

Europe, as we may readily observe, is very far along in an accommodation with its still-increasing Muslim immigrant population that is resulting not in the Europeanizing of Islam, but rather the Islamizing of Europe. As Bernard Lewis declared in 2004, Europe will have an Islamic majority by the end of the 21st century at the latest. As Vlaams Belang's Dewinter recently put it, "We are becoming foreigners in our own land."

Such tragic pronouncements turn conversation with Vlaams Belang into a kind of political free verse -- sadly evocative but rooted in a desperate reality that should shake American complacency. That is, "foreigners in our land" is poetry; Mohammed as the most popular boy's name in Brussels for six years running is implacable fact. The idea that "We are living on a dying continent but we are not dead yet," as Dewinter has explained, is metaphorical. His citation from Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi that "Allah is mobilizing Muslim Turkey to add ... 50 million more Muslims" to the European Union augurs world-class revolution.

Is such a revolution desirable? After writing nearly incessantly about Islamization since Sept. 11, I won't surprise anyone by saying no -- not if freedom of conscience, religious equality or women's rights are your bag (not to mention the glorious representational artworks Europe's museums are stuffed with). Besides, the strategic implications for the United States are, in a word, bleak.

In multiculturally totalitarian Belgium, however, you make such judgments at your own risk. Vlaams Belang, a conservative, free-market party that stands for Flemish secession from the French-speaking part of Belgium and opposes continued immigration, now stands trial in a Belgian court for a comment -- a comment! -- Dewinter made in 2005 to a New York publication, The Jewish Week. When asked why Belgian Jews should vote for a party that espouses "xenophobia," Dewinter replied: "Xenophobia is not the word I would use. If (it) absolutely must be a 'phobia,' let it be 'Islamophobia.' Yes, we're afraid of Islam. The Islamization of Europe is a frightening thing."

If convicted of the "crime" of "Islamophobia" ("1984," anyone?), the party would lose its state funding. In a country that effectively prohibits private political fund-raising, Vlaams Belang -- the largest party in Belgium -- would ultimately cease to exist. And so, too, would free speech in the center of Europe.

Before I met Vlaams Belang's Frank Vanhecke and Filip Dewinter in Washington, I believed Europe's rush to Islamize itself was a stampede, its transformation all but inevitable. Now, I think these men have at least earned Europe the benefit of the doubt. Studying their various statements and interviews, I found no evidence to support the crude slanders to which they are continually subjected in the media for being a right-wing party opposed to the massive Islamic immigration now transforming traditional European culture. Indeed, their statements on Israel are more supportive than any European party I know of. As Vanhecke put it in a recent speech, "They call us 'intolerant' because we oppose intolerance. They call us 'fascists' because we oppose Islamo-fascism.

They call us 'the children of holocaust perpetrators,' because we oppose Islamists who are preparing a new holocaust against the Jews.' " America must start paying attention to Europe. And to Vlaams Belang.

Diana West is a contributing columnist for
11806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 24, 2007, 02:44:04 PM
Walid Phares is the man to listen to on Iran, IMHO.
11807  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 23, 2007, 11:04:07 PM

Friday, March 23, 2007
Wanted: Counterjihad Volunteers in Kansas City
by Baron Bodissey

Most of our readers are aware of Rep. John Conyers’ efforts to pass a congressional resolution against the desecration of the Koran. One of the highest priorities of Muslim interest groups in the United States is to get this legislation and similar initiatives passed. They are following multiple strategies on these issues, lobbying for legislation that bans airport profiling, agitating for rules protecting Islamic practices in the schools, and pushing for non-legislative regulations in addition to laws and resolutions. They are seeking the expansion of the definitions of “hate crime” and “hate speech”, and a blurring of the distinction between the two.

I can’t emphasize too strongly or too often that the erosion of our freedom of speech and the encroachment of sharia in our country will come sneaking into the public discourse disguised as the protection of religious freedom. Muslim interest groups will claim — and are claiming — that all their religious practices, no matter how contrary they are to the rest of the First Amendment and the Constitution in general, are protected by the Religious Freedom Clause.

This is a pernicious strategy which is designed to turn our Constitutional liberties into a smoking ruin. And there are people in our government, both elected leaders and those within the permanent federal bureaucracy, who are all too eager to go along with this farrago.

The next skirmish in this war is taking place next week, on Thursday March 29th, in Kansas City, under the auspices of the Department of Justice. The event sounds innocuous enough — “A First Freedom Project Seminar: Federal Laws Protecting Religious Freedom” — but the significance of the occasion is revealed by the inordinate interest in it displayed by MPAC and other Muslim advocacy groups. The fact that these organizations are anxious to get their members to this meeting and intend to have an impact on it tells you a lot about what they hope to accomplish.

Meetings between the DOJ and Islamist advocacy groups that may have led to the “First Freedom” initiative are summarized at the American Muslim Perspective:

[The January 8 meeting was attended by] representatives from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the Arab American Institute (AAI), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the National Association of Muslim Lawyers (NAML), and the Islamic Society of North American (ISNA).


The January 8 meeting with Attorney General Gonzalez followed a similar meeting on December 4, 2006 between prominent American Muslim leaders with key senior US government officials to discuss the state of Islamophobia in America and US-Muslim relations. It was organized by the Bridging the Divide Initiative of Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. It was co-sponsored by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists.

The government was represented by several participants from the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security and associated agencies including Alina Romanowski, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Professional and Cultural Affairs and Dan Sutherland, the Officer for Civil Rights at the Department of Homeland Security.

American Muslim leaders included: Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Louay Safi, the Executive Director of the ISNA leadership Development Center, Imam Mahdi Bray, the executive Director of MAS Freedom Foundation, Ahmed Younis, the National Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists and Muqtedar Khan of Brookings Institution.

Ambassador Martin Indyk, Director of Saban Center and Stephen Grand, the Director of the US-Islamic World program also addressed the meeting. This was the first US Government and American Muslim conference on Islamophobia.

The upshot is that Justice Department policy on religious discrimination is being guided by leaders from CAIR, ISNA, MAS Freedom Foundation (co-sponsors with ANSWER of the March 17 demonstration against the war), and MPAC.

As I’ve said before, this is a Trojan horse being rolled into the heart of the United States Constitution, and we have to make our voices heard if we want to stop it.

I’m asking members of the Counterjihad, especially bloggers, to travel to Kansas City if they possibly can and attend this meeting in order to offer a counterweight to MPAC, ISNA, and all the rest of the alphabet soup that fronts for the Umma here in the USA.

If we sleep through this one, it makes it easier for them to set the agenda for the next one, and the one after, and the one after that.

Then one day you’ll wake up and find that the Religious Freedom Clause protects the right of Muslims to have separate public swimming pools for men and women, or to be guaranteed a pork-free school lunch, or not to be deployed by the Armed Forces during a conflict with an Islamic country.

In other words, America will have become just like Eurabia.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Christine of the Center for Vigilant Freedom (the international coalition that has recently emerged from the original 910 Group network) has compiled a pdf file of background materials on the First Freedom Project and Islamic organizations. Here’s her cover note for the document:
- - - - - - - - - -
The Department of Justice’s The First Freedom Project on religious liberty, starting next week with a March 29 public meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, may be monopolized by Islamist organizations. Other seminars will be held in Tampa, Florida, on April 25, 2007 and Seattle, Washington, on May 10, 2007. If members of other religions attend these DOJ meetings, a more balanced view can be presented. Criticism of other religions should not be criminalized, including criticism of Islam or the Koran.

Meetings between the DOJ and Islamist advocacy groups that may have led to the “First Freedom” initiative are summarized here at the American Muslim Perspective.

As conservative writer Janet Levy has noted, “Muslim leaders such as Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, insist that Muslims have a right to petition for special accommodation based on their religious beliefs as mandated by the First Amendment. In truth, no requirement exists, either in state or federal statutes, requiring that such petitions be addressed or behavior adjusted accordingly.”

Below we provide background information:

1.    A congratulatory email notice from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), stating that the DOJ’s First Freedom Project “is designed to provide additional enforcement tools for laws against religious discrimination and hate crimes.”
2.    The press release on the First Freedom Project, as provided from the ADC.
3.    A similar email notice from the Muslim Public Affairs Council on the First Freedom Project.
4.    Related Legislation: Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (LLEHCPA) , just introduced March 21 (text not available online on 3/22/07). See “Christian belief a ‘hate crime’ under plan”.
5.    Related Legislation: The “Domestic Radicalization” Amendment to the Improving America’s Security by Implementing Unfinished Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.
6.    A partial list of Kansas City events, including the March 7, 2007 charges against a Columbia, Missouri charity designated as a supporter of terrorism.
7.    A list of Islamic organizations in Kansas City, ranging from local chapters of national Islamist advocacy groups, to local mosques, schools and foundations that may be moderate.

I hope you can cover this DOJ Project and encourage more people to attend to balance the views offered.

Director, The Center For Vigilant Freedom
11808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: March 23, 2007, 04:31:49 PM
11809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Geo Political matters on: March 23, 2007, 07:51:38 AM
I read the stratfor article and thought "Ok, i'm glad there is a method behind the madness". Reading what Rickn wrote i'm going to have to go with Rick's assessment.
11810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: March 21, 2007, 06:27:51 PM
In a nutshell: Sunshine. The MB likes to pull strings from the shadows. They need to become as notorious and despised as the Klan.
11811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: March 21, 2007, 04:11:13 AM

Mar 19, 20:19
Why Geneive Abdo is Right and The Muslim Brotherhood Is Dangerous

Two disturbing writing receiving widespread circulation in recent day tell me a great deal about how many Muslims in the United States perceive themselves and why U.S. policy is so far, and dangerously off the mark in countering the threat of Islamists.

The first is a Washington Post op-ed” by Genieve Abdo, the keynote speaker at a recent CAIR conference. In the piece she lays out, more strongly and honestly than most of the CAIR leaders have dared to do, the true Islamist/CAIR agenda in the United States.

She essentially outlines the Muslim Brotherhood position against Islamic assimilation into the Western world and starkly states that Islamist really have no interest in such assimiliation.

“What all this means is that Western hopes for full integration by Muslims in the West are unlikely to be realized and that the future of the Islamic world will be much more Islamic than Western,” she writes. This is true as long as she, CAIR and other Islamist groups continue to preach to the new generation that the more alienated one is from our culture the closer to Allah they really are.

The truth is, Abdo, CAIR and the other stalking horses for the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Salafists want to create an Islamic nation here. There is no middle ground. Chilling as Abdo’s writing is, it is at least more honest than much of the “we just want to get along” paplum CAIR routinely puts out.

The second writing is in the recent article in Foreign Affairs by Robert Leiken and Steven Brookes, describing the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate force that embraces democracy.

The article completely misses what the Ikhwan are, what they stand for and the multiple ties of many of its leaders to Islamist terrorism. It is a rather shocking piece of slipshod academic investigation that does a great disservice to the understanding of radical Islam, its origins and its supporters.

As Youssef Ibrahim, a true scholar of Islamic affairs noted in a response in the New York Sun, “Invariably, these reports reflect an eagerness to make a finding based on logic rather than on the facts at hand. In a twisted way, they are deeply condescending of Muslim terrorists who are declared acceptable just because some say they listen to classical music or read English literature, i.e., because they resemble some of their Westerninterlocutors.”

Ibrahim writes, and I couldn’t say it any better, so I will quote him: “Any true Middle East scholar will readily know (the Brotherhood) spawned the entire array of Muslim radical fundamentalist organizations operating today from the Philippines to the caves of Tora Bora. During a long history of mayhem, the Brotherhood leadership over decades has authorized, glorified, and praised jihad in its official literature. Not one of its leaders has ever renounced that violence. Indeed, in the Foreign Affairs essay, Mr. Leiken and his co-author assert that such violence is authorized but only in “countries and territories occupied by a foreign power.”

“This designation included killing Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Israelis in the Levant up to now, and, although the question was not asked of any of the “brothers” interviewed, Americans in Iraq.

“There was no need to ask the question. One of the most eminent leaders of the Ikhwan movement, who appears weekly on Al-Jazeera’s “Sharia and Life” program, is an Egyptian-born, Qatar-resident grand priest, Sheik Yusuf Al-Qardawi. He has specifically ruled that Americans in Iraq and Israelis everywhere should be targeted by suicide bombers, who will be considered martyrs and heroes. Sheik Qardawi was not interviewed for the article in question, even though he ranks among the top 10 leaders of the Ikhwan’s International ruling councils.”

Pretending the enemy is not the enemy is no way to come to terms with reality. One could reasonably conclude that one should talk to the Brotherhood based on what they really are, but not based on a completely ahistoric understanding of what they are or where they come from.

Sadly, this type of desire to Westernize and trivialize the Brotherhood and the jihadist world in general has led to the hesitancy and inability to decide whether we are at war or not, and if so, with whom. And so we are losing.
11812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: March 20, 2007, 10:42:21 PM
Ah, the left's love affair with lawfare. rolleyes

Or love affair with evidence as a prerequisite for arrest and conviction...

**No, it's as usual about using the American system to undercut America's national security. Nothing new here, it's the ACLU's core mission. Warfare isn't domestic law enforcement for a reason.**

How many courtrooms do you plan on building to try the various "alleged" illegal combatants captured by US military forces? What's the projected budget for defense attorneys? How many prosecutors will we need for this as well as the rest of the legal infastructure for just a year's trials? Who will perform the psych compitency exams pre-trial? How many hours of training in rules of search and seizure will every US military member require yearly? What infastructure will need to be constructed to handle the evidence seized under combat conditions for forensic analysis and chain of custody storage? How many frontline military units do you plan to take out of rotation so they can testify in various legal proceedings?

Care to explain what any of the above has to do with any points I've made in this discussion?

**Because you have no concept of the expense and utter impracticality of your superficial sloganeering. Using the crimal justice model because it sounds good to you is just irrational emotionalism, not rational policy.**

Something like 70% of the prisoners we held at Abu Ghraib were found to have been mistakenly swept up and had committed no wrongdoing, and the source of this information was the US military, not some "left" news source.  Our Northern Alliance buddies in Afghanistan were taking our money and handing over to us thousands of "terrorists" whom it turned out were mostly farmers and members of other rival tribes who'd done nothing wrong.  How much money and resources did we needlessly spend on dealing with these prisoners that could have been avoided if we'd bothered with the most basic of fact-checking before we hauled them in?


**You are trusting the US military as the source of your information? Which is it, the military are totalitarian torturers or a valid source of information that accurately vetted the majority of detainees and released them?**

**You said:

"How much money and resources did we needlessly spend on dealing with these prisoners that could have been avoided if we'd bothered with the most basic of fact-checking before we hauled them in?"

**But want used as a standard:

"1) Have a civilian judge presiding over it

2) Allow the accused access to a qualified civilian attorney who will represent him in the hearing

3) Allow the accused and his attorney to see *any* evidence against him

4) No hearsay testimony admitted as evidence

Even if you had to keep the proceedings closed to the public and use civilian judges/attorneys who qualify for whatever security clearances are necessary, the above would IMO guarantee some minimal level of fairness."

**So, which is it?**
11813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 20, 2007, 10:26:35 PM
Wow, a lawyer joke I hadn't heard. I really thought I knew them all.
11814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: March 20, 2007, 05:49:12 PM
A Duke University study found... "The death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of a non-death penalty murder case with a sentence of imprisonment for life." ( The costs of processing murder cases in North Carolina / Philip J. Cook, Donna B. Slawson ; with the assistance of Lori A. Gries. [Durham, NC] : Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, 1993.)

"The death penalty costs California $90 million annually beyond the ordinary costs of the justice system - $78 million of that total is incurred at the trial level." (Sacramento Bee, March 18, 1988).

"A 1991 study of the Texas criminal justice system estimated the cost of appealing capital murder at $2,316,655. In contrast, the cost of housing a prisoner in a Texas maximum security prison single cell for 40 years is estimated at $750,000." (Punishment and the Death Penalty, edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum 1995 p.109 )

"Florida spent an estimated $57 million on the death penalty from 1973 to 1988 to achieve 18 executions - that is an average of $3.2 million per execution."
(Miami Herald, July 10, 1988).

"Florida calculated that each execution there costs some $3.18 million. If incarceration is estimated to cost $17000/year, a comparable statistic for life in prison of 40 years would be $680,000."
(The Geography of Execution... The Capital Punishment Quagmire in America, Keith Harries and Derral Cheatwood 1997 p.6)

Figures from the General Accounting Office are close to these results. Total annual costs for all U.S. Prisons, State and Federal, was $17.7 billion in 1994 along with a total prison population of 1.1 million inmates. That amounts to $16100 per inmate/year.
(GOA report and testimony FY-97 GGD-97-15 )

Imagine the potential costs of "lawfare".
11815  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: March 20, 2007, 05:38:16 PM
Advocates for Terrorists' Rights   
By Joseph Klein | March 20, 2007
Terrorist rights advocates believe that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind “responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z,” was denied his rights to due process.  They want to throw out his confessions, read during a closed-door Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing held last week at Guantanamo Bay to determine whether he is an “unlawful enemy combatant.”  Their rationale for possibly letting Mohammed go is that the confessions were supposedly tainted by the lingering effects of his alleged torture inflicted months or even years ago while he was held in a secret location by the CIA.
Typical in expressing such sentiments was Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, who objected to the closed door hearing in these words: "We need to know if this purported confession would be enough to convict him at a fair trial or would it have to be suppressed as the fruit of torture?" 
This is a pathetic attempt to apply all the protections afforded by the laws of modern civilization to a man who is engaged in a lawless conspiracy to destroy their very foundation.  Mohammed was the number three honcho of al Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States twice during the 1990’s.  Mohammed characterized himself as a warrior, saying that "[T]he language of the war is victims."  He also said, when asked, that his statements before the Tribunal were not coerced while he was in the custody of the military, whatever abusive interrogation methods he alleged had been used separately by the CIA months or years earlier.
The Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing is not the trial of his guilt or innocence.  It was held to confirm his status as an unlawful enemy combatant who was captured abroad in the course of participating in a fight-to-the-death jihad against us.  An unlawful enemy combatant is defined in the Military Commissions Act of 2006 as “a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States . . . who is not a lawful enemy combatant.”  Unlawful enemy combatants include persons who are part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces.  It did not take any coercive interrogation to prove the indisputable fact that Mohammed was an al Qaeda leader engaged in hostilities against the United States.
The purpose of detaining Mohammed and his cohorts to date has had nothing to do with determining his guilt or innocence for what would amount to a domestic crime like murder.  The purpose has been to protect us against further invasions from a foreign enemy that has declared war on our nation.  Our basic right to live our lives in peace without fear of another 9/11 mass slaughter, or even worse, is a more fundamental human right than the right of an individual terrorist suspect to be protected from unpleasant conditions of prolonged confinement.  When the lives of our citizens continue to be threatened by an enemy determined to wipe us out if we do not submit to their ways, our government has the moral and legal obligation to use coercive interrogation techniques against fighters like Mohammed and his cohorts to extract intelligence in time to foil another attack.  Such psychological techniques, which are far short of physical torture, might legitimately include sleep deprivation, solitary confinement or exploiting "phobias" like the fear of dogs.   
The next step after confirmation of his unlawful enemy combatant status, no doubt, is to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before another military commission for violations of the law of war.  This monster will have more procedural protections than he deserves under the Military Commissions Act, which provides that no accused terrorist “shall be required to testify against himself.”  He will have the right to counsel, to present evidence, and to cross-examine witnesses.  With some limited exceptions for classified information (which still must be summarized for the defense), the prosecutor must “disclose to the defense the existence of any evidence known to trial counsel that reasonably tends to exculpate the accused.”  His confessions before the Combatant Status Review Tribunal may be used against him at trial if the military judge finds that the totality of the circumstances renders them “reliable and possessing sufficient probative value,” “the interests of justice would best be served” and the interrogation methods used to elicit the confessions did not “violate the cruel, unusual, or inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution.”   However, the military judge will not have the last word.  Mohammed will have the right to appeal any conviction to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and to the Supreme Court on various grounds, including if he is convicted based on his confessions.
Yet all of these procedural protections for a man sworn to our destruction are not enough for the advocates of terrorists’ rights.  They want a full-blown public criminal trial which would inevitably turn into a media circus.  A public show trial is a terrorist’s best friend to show off his martyrdom, manipulate public opinion and fuel more recruitment to his cause.
What should happen if Mohammed’s confessions are ultimately thrown out on appeal and there is not enough remaining evidence acceptable under our Constitutional standards to convict him?  Should he then be released to return to his bloody jihad?  The terrorist advocates would say yes, since there would be no further grounds to hold him.  Just imagine the hue and cry on the editorial pages of the New York Times if we tried to detain Mohammed as a continuing military threat during the long duration of the War on Terror.
The best alternative would be to ship Mohammed back to his home country of Kuwait for whatever ‘welcome’ he is likely to get there, out of the eyes of the media and away from the reach of the misguided human rights activists and terrorist legal advocates who are so concerned about his welfare.  Indeed, rendition of terrorists like Mohammed back to their Islamic countries of origin sends a message to future would-be terrorists not to count on the protections of our legal system to escape the consequences of their actions under the standards of their own legal systems.  Whether their native Islamic countries will give the terrorists a ‘fair’ trial by American standards is of no legal or moral concern to us.
Of course, groups like the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International will cry foul.  Indeed, many of them support a bill, sponsored by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), which seeks to take away from the executive branch the authority that has made it possible for the Central Intelligence Agency and other US government bodies to engage in the practice of "extraordinary renditions."  42 co-sponsors joined Markey.  Described as a bill to stop the outsourcing of torture, its real effect would be to insource the protection of terrorists’ rights under our legal system, which the terrorists want to hide behind while planning to ultimately destroy it.
The terrorists’ advocates also point to the United Nations Convention Against Torture Article 3 which states that no “tate Party shall expel, return or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”  On May 19, 2006, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (the U.N. body that monitors compliance with the United Nations Convention Against Torture) recommended that the United States stop the practice of rendering prisoners to countries where they face “a real risk of torture.”  But the United States Senate ratified this treaty with certain reservations.  The Senate chose to interpret the phrase, “where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture,” as used in Article 3 of the treaty, to mean “if it is more likely than not that he would be tortured."   The United Nations’ Raporteur on Torture has yet to report on conditions one way or the other in such terrorist homelands as Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  They cannot say with any degree of confidence that Mohammed would more likely than not be tortured in Kuwait or even that bin Laden (if caught alive) would be more likely than not tortured if returned to his homeland of Saudi Arabia.  Thus, if the terrorist’s country of origin provides us with diplomatic assurance that it will not use torture against him and there is no clear systematic pattern of torture used against detainees as certified by the United Nations’ own human rights experts, we have more than met our burden under the treaty when deporting the terrorist to his homeland.
The Supreme Court has created some additional confusion by applying certain provisions of the Geneva Conventions even to stateless terrorist groups like al Qaeda, namely common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which requires a regularly constituted court affording all the necessary “judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples”.   The Military Commission system established by Congress, with all of the protections discussed above, should easily satisfy this standard.  But even the Supreme Court’s solicitude for terrorist suspects went only so far.  It did not apply the additional prisoner of war provisions of the Geneva Conventions to terrorists, who deliberately target innocent civilians in violation of the most elementary laws of war.   In any case, there is nothing in the Geneva Conventions that could logically argue for preventing the return of a terrorist suspect to his own home country.
The enemy we face represents a pure unconstrained evil force that recognizes no limitation on the bounds of human destruction it is willing to inflict in the name of its perverted cause.  All civilized peoples are at risk until this enemy is completely eradicated at its roots.  Indulgent regard for terrorist suspects’ so-called rights in these circumstances is self-destructive.
In the timeless words of Machiavelli:  “Which respect (for the laws) was wise and good: none the less one ought never to allow an evil to run on out of regard for a good, when that good could easily be suppressed by that evil.”
11816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: March 20, 2007, 05:33:27 PM
April 23, 2004, 12:18 p.m.
The 4h Circuit’s Mixed Ruling
The government’s case is restored but the terrorist has gained ground.

It is a trite truism that bad cases make bad law. The federal government's prosecution of Zacarias Moussaoui in connection with the September 11 attacks may be blazing the path to a new truism: Law — at least in its current form — makes bad national security.

Late Thursday a divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued its much-anticipated decision on the government's appeal of district judge Leonie M. Brinkema's rulings barring the death penalty and evidence of Moussaoui's participation in the 9/11 plot. The prosecution prevailed, although only in the most bottom-line of senses: The death penalty is back on the table as is the 9/11 proof. The appellate court dealt the government some setbacks, however, and its rationale raises serious questions about whether legal proceedings that comport with our criminal-justice system's lofty standards of due process are not inimical to the national-security imperative to defeat our enemies in wartime. Further, the opinion — many important portions of which are redacted because they relate to classified intelligence derived from captured enemy combatants — suggests weaknesses in the case the government chose to bring against Moussaoui, although it also indicates there is overwhelming evidence that the defendant is surely guilty of heinous crimes.

Taking this last point first allows for recounting some important background. Moussaoui is a brazen, avowed, unapologetic member of al Qaeda who has admitted — indeed brayed — that he hates the United States and was in America intending to execute a massive terrorist attack. His "defense," if that is the right word for it, is that this would-be attack was not the 9/11 plot but rather participation in an anticipated round-two of suicide hijackings. Moreover, Moussaoui is not an American, but rather an illegal alien who was detainable because he was out of status. That detention occurred, several weeks before the 9/11 attacks, because Moussaoui, while taking flight training to prepare himself for his mission, conducted himself in ways that caused his trainers to suspect he might be a terrorist — reportedly, exhibiting a preternatural interest in the operation of cabin doors and appearing far more interested in how to steer a jumbo jet than how to take off or land in one.

All this is to say that Moussaoui should be the poster child for unlawful enemy combatants subject to military tribunals rather than civilian trials. There are no doubt cases on the margins that cause queasiness among people of good will about whether the boundaries of enemy combatancy could be stretched too widely. This, however, is not one of them. Here we have an alien operative of the foreign terrorist network with which we are engaged in active military hostilities who infiltrated our country and was secretly plotting to mass murder Americans. He is by definition an unlawful combatant and a war criminal.

The government, however, elected to do two things which were well-intentioned but highly debatable. First, it indicted him in a civilian court, thus vesting him with the full panoply of rights accorded to an American criminal defendant, including, saliently for present purposes, our lushly generous guarantees of access to witnesses and information — guarantees that implicate not only what is clearly exculpatory but include the far broader categories of that which (a) is only potentially exculpatory, (b) is relevant and potentially helpful, and (c) might induce a jury to vote against execution even if it does not suggest innocence.

Second, the government chose to charge him with complicity in the specific 9/11 attacks. Now, it must be observed that we have not seen the government's entire case, and usually it ends up being much stronger than the pundits forecast it to be before trial — just ask Martha Stewart. But it is safe to assume the following: The evidence that Moussaoui is a member of the overall al Qaeda conspiracy to make war on the United States, and that he is an operative who plotted to use a weapon of mass destruction against Americans — proof that would virtually guarantee a sentence of life imprisonment — is stronger, perhaps much stronger, than the evidence that he was a participant in the narrower 9/11 plot. That is, the proof that he was part of an al Qaeda plan to pilot planes into buildings is more certain than that he was part of the specific scheme to do so on 9/11.

So why charge him with the narrower scheme when guilt on the larger scheme will put him out of commission? The answer is threefold. First and foremost, the government is entirely correct that if Moussaoui is at all complicit in the 9/11 attacks he should be brought to justice, and the government mustn't shirk from trying to make its case just because it might be a tough case. Second, Moussaoui should be executed and, under federal capital law, the case for the death penalty is geometrically stronger if Moussaoui is proved to be directly responsible for over 3000 murders than if he is only indirectly responsible (i.e., if he was not in on the narrow 9/11 plot but was part of the al Qaeda conspiracy that bears ultimate responsibility). And third, we should not lose sight of the fact that while Moussaoui's membership in the overarching al Qaeda conspiracy and his intent to commit a terrorist attack now seem indisputable, that was not the case at the time he was indicted; instead, this has been elucidated publicly by outbursts Moussaoui has made in court and the fact that he has conceded in legal proceedings that he was plotting an operation — a concession, by the way, that could very well be a tactical maneuver to avoid the death penalty by a terrorist who in fact was a participant in the 9/11 plot.

While the government thus plainly had its reasons, its charging decision comes at a cost. Once Moussaoui stands accused of being part of the 9/11 plot and denies that this is the case, a couple of vitally important things happen. First, under our system, he is entitled to be presumed innocent at a jury trial. That is, however crazy this seems, you need to put out of your mind that you already know he is guilty of crimes that should put him away forever; he gets to go to trial with the prevailing view that he was not involved in 9/11. Second, under our judicial system, although he is a non-American and a hostile enemy, he gets rights under our Constitution to due process of law and to compel the appearance of witnesses and production of information that might be helpful to his defense. Thus, the issue of access to captured enemy combatants comes to the fore.

The government, of course, has been rolling up al Qaeda since October 2001 and has captured several top operatives, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Abu Zubaydah. The Fourth Circuit's opinion carefully and appropriately omits mention of these names and the substance of any information they may have provided. But their apprehension has been widely reported, and it is fair to infer from the proceedings in the district court and the Fourth Circuit's opinion that at least some of them have made statements that, if repeated in court, would bolster Moussaoui's claim that he was not involved in 9/11.

Applying standard rules of access to potentially exculpatory evidence, Judge Brinkema ruled that the government was obligated to make the captured combatant witnesses available to Moussaoui. The government declined. Here, the government walks a fine line — and perhaps the best thing about the Fourth Circuit's opinion is its acknowledgement that this is a proper line, not a tactical one.

Obtaining intelligence from captured combatants during wartime is critical to the security of our nation and our troops on the battlefield. Interrupting interrogations can result in the loss of information that might prevent future terrorist attacks. In the sensitive conduct of foreign relations in wartime, the president must be able to assure confidentiality — unhampered by judicial second-guessing — in order promote continued cooperation of key allies. Most importantly, as the Supreme Court has recognized, according rights to enemies in wartime — having judges undermine commanders in the field — would diminish the prestige of our military in the eyes of both foes and "wavering neutrals," and result in inter-branch conflict that would bring aid and comfort to the enemy.

Nevertheless, in our system, the Fourth Circuit held that these grave national-security considerations must give way if the government chooses to charge a defendant in a judicial proceeding and its obstinacy about disclosure has the effect of depriving that defendant of information that may be critical to his defense. The executive branch maintains the option of refusing to comply with court orders to make witnesses available, but it does so on pain of having charges or entire indictments dismissed.

In this aspect, the Fourth Circuit's decision is a defeat for the government. The Court upheld the portions of Judge Brinkema's ruling which found that the captured combatants had information that might be helpful to Maoussaoui's defense, and that there was no separation-of-powers violation of the executive's war-making function in ordering the government to interrupt the interrogation of captured combatants so that Moussaoui could take their depositions.

The Fourth Circuit, however, reversed Judge Brinkema on the central question whether, given the government's refusal to comply with her production orders, there was any adequate substitute for the combatants' deposition. This implicates the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), which established a set of rules that apply when top-secret information is relevant to key issues in a public trial. The Fourth Circuit held that Moussaoui's case does not precisely fall under CIPA for technical reasons, but agreed with the district judge that CIPA's principles provided a useful framework for deciding the access-to-combatants question.

Under CIPA, once a court finds that classified information is relevant, the government has the choice of either declassifying it so that it can be used or proposing a substitute the keeps the information secret but allows the defendant whatever benefit the information would have proved. A concrete example may be helpful here. Several years ago, I prosecuted a terrorist organization for levying war against the United States. During part of the conspiracy, the defendants were training to commit terrorist acts against the U.S. (including the 1993 WTC bombing) but they claimed in their defense that all they were really doing was preparing to support the Afghan mujahideen in its struggle to oust the Soviets (which, inconveniently, had ended in 1989 when the Soviets left Afghanistan). The defense thus demanded access to classified files that might bear on the American intelligence community's involvement in aiding the mujahideen; the facile theory was that they couldn't have been making war on the U.S. if they were doing the same thing the U.S. was doing. CIPA was invoked. As a result, my defendants were not permitted to comb through intelligence files and call sensitive witnesses, but we were required to stipulate that the government had provided economic and military support to the mujahideen through a third country. That is, the defense got the limited benefit of what the evidence would have shown, but not the evidence itself.

CIPA provides that if an adequate substitute for the classified evidence cannot be found, and the government continues to resist declassification of the evidence for use at trial, the Court may respond by dismissing charges. Where the Fourth Circuit and Judge Brinkema parted company in Moussaoui's case was on the sufficiency of a substitution. The district judge had found that no factual concession the government was willing to make was the equal, for Moussaoui's purposes, of access to the captured combatants; consequently, she dismissed the 9/11 charges and the death penalty notice.

The Fourth Circuit agreed that the government's proposals, to date, have been lacking. Nevertheless, the panel opined that an adequate substitution can be found which would communicate to the jury the exculpatory information. The court directed the parties and Judge Brinkema to work together to develop that substitution. While this revives the prosecution for now, the government does not come out unscathed. To the extent the captured combatants have made statements that are incriminating of Moussaoui, the government, consistent with a Supreme Court case decided only a few weeks ago, may not place that information before the jury. Only the defendant is permitted to benefit from this CIPA process since it is deemed to be a problem of the government's own making.

The case is thus back on track, sort of. It is not yet clear whether it will stay that way. The Fourth Circuit has provided a mixed bag, and both sides will have reason to consider an appeal to the Supreme Court. Even if there is no immediate appeal, it is a lot easier to order parties to work out a substitute than it is actually to work out a substitute. Additional long delay is certainly conceivable.

Meanwhile, Moussaoui's case, however important, is transcended by issues of far greater dimension — going to the whole notion of prosecuting terrorists as criminal defendants in judicial proceedings. Terrorists are a national-security peril: they threaten the existence of our constitutional order, and we have to wipe them out; we can't simply manage the menace. The criminal justice system is not designed to fight a battle that the government that the government must win.

To the contrary, the criminal justice is designed to insure that the government must lose unless the powerful presumption that the accused is innocent can be overcome. If we are to remain a nation dedicated to due process of law, we cannot warp our judicial system in the name of making it look like it works against terrorists — the precedents we create in so doing will damage the quality of justice Americans must be able to expect if they are accused of crimes. Yet, if we are to defeat militant Islam, mass murderers cannot be permitted to revolve out of courthouse doors by plying the very Bill of Rights it is their aim to destroy. It's time for a new paradigm.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a former chief assistant U.S. attorney who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others, is an NRO contributor.

11817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 20, 2007, 05:13:28 PM
There has to be a great story here....
11818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: March 20, 2007, 05:05:14 PM
Ah, the left's love affair with lawfare. rolleyes


How many courtrooms do you plan on building to try the various "alleged" illegal combatants captured by US military forces? What's the projected budget for defense attorneys? How many prosecutors will we need for this as well as the rest of the legal infastructure for just a year's trials? Who will perform the psych compitency exams pre-trial? How many hours of training in rules of search and seizure will every US military member require yearly? What infastructure will need to be constructed to handle the evidence seized under combat conditions for forensic analysis and chain of custody storage? How many frontline military units do you plan to take out of rotation so they can testify in various legal proceedings?

I'm eagerly awaiting your detailed vision of how this all would be done and a rough budget that would be required for implimentation.

11819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: March 20, 2007, 09:31:15 AM
I'd vote for Hillary before i'd vote for McCain.
11820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 20, 2007, 09:29:47 AM
Aha! The stereotypical New York Jewish full-contact martial artist. grin
11821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: It's getting harder and harder to tell the left from the jihadists.... on: March 19, 2007, 10:49:16 PM

But don't question their patriotism....
11822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: It's getting harder and harder to tell the left from the jihadists.... on: March 19, 2007, 10:38:55 PM
11823  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 19, 2007, 10:18:36 PM
Crafty sounds too northeast (NYC?) to be Sam Elliott. grin
11824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / It's getting harder and harder to tell the left from the jihadists.... on: March 19, 2007, 09:23:08 PM
11825  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: March 19, 2007, 08:35:46 PM
I interview and interrogate on a regular basis, neither involves physical coercion or (cue scary music) TORTURE.

Aside from the lurid accusations, do you actually have any knowledge of the topic, Rogt?

The Clinton administration demonstrated just how effective trying to indict al qaeda into submission worked. You can't fight 21st century asymmetrical warfare in the criminal justice system. WWII military tribunals set the standard for today's proceeding. Jihadists don't enjoy constitutional protections of citizens and as unlawful combatants are not covered by the Geneva convention. We can and should do with them as we choose. They desire martyrdom, we are giving it to them. It's really a win-win.
11826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: March 19, 2007, 02:04:42 PM

Special Dispatch Series - No. 1508
March 20, 2007   No.1508

Islamist Website Instructs Mujahideen in Using Popular U.S. Web Forums to Foster Anti-War Sentiment among Americans
In the past few months, Islamists engaged in "media jihad" have increased their efforts to expose as broad a Western audience as possible to their jihad films, which purport to document the growing success of the mujahideen in Iraq and Afghanistan. As part of this endeavor, they have posted jihad films on popular free video-sharing websites such as YouTube, LiveLeak, and Google Video, hoping that such films will tip public opinion in the West against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan - thus pressuring Western governments to withdraw their troops from these countries.

As part of the campaign to foster anti-war sentiment among Westerners, and more specifically among Americans, a member of the Al-Mohajroon Islamist website with the username Al-Wathiq Billah instructed mujahideen in how to infiltrate popular American forums and to use them to distribute jihad films and spread disinformation about the war.

The following are excerpts: [1]

"Raiding American Forums is Among the Most Important Means of Obtaining Victory in the Fierce Media War… and of Influencing the Views of the Weak-Minded American"

"There is no doubt, my brothers, that raiding American forums is among the most important means of obtaining victory in the fierce media war... and of influencing the views of the weak-minded American who pays his taxes so they will go to the infidel American army. This American is an idiot and does not [even] know where Iraq is... [It is therefore] mandatory for every electronic mujahid [to engage in this raiding]."

"It is better that you raid non-political forums such as music forums and trivia forums... which American people... favor... Define your target[ed forum]... and get to know it well... Post your contribution and do not get into... futile arguments..."

Indicate You Are an American

"Obviously, you have to register yourself using a purely American name... Choose an icon that indicates that you are an American, and place it next to your nickname [in the forum]."

"In my experience, the areas most visited in American forums... [are titled] 'Random Thoughts' and 'What's going on in your mind?'... [The former] takes priority in the American forums, and is highly popular. You should post your contribution there... This should include films of the mujahideen in Iraq, mujahideen publications in English, and images and films of the Americans' crimes, [such as] killing unarmed civilians in Iraq... etc."

"Invent Stories About American Soldiers You Have [Allegedly] Personally Known"

"Obviously, you should post your contribution... as an American... You should correspond with visitors to this forum, [bringing to their attention] the frustrating situation of their troops in Iraq... You should invent stories about American soldiers you have [allegedly] personally known (as classmates... or members in a club who played baseball and tennis with you) who were drafted to Iraq and then committed suicide while in service by hanging or shooting themselves..."

"Also, write using a sad tone, and tell them that you feel sorry for your [female] neighbor or co-worker who became addicted to alcohol or drugs... because her poor fiancé, a former soldier in Iraq, was paralyzed or [because] his legs were amputated... [Use any story] which will break their spirits, oh brave fighter for the sake of God..."

How to Make Americans Feel Frustrated With Their Government

"You should enter into debate or respond only if it is extremely necessary... Your concern should [only] be introducing topics which... will cause [them to feel] frustration and anger towards their government..., which will... render them hostile to Bush... and his Republican Party and make them feel they must vote ton bring the troops back from Iraq as soon as possible."

"Do not... discuss issues pertaining to Arabs or Muslims at all, whether negatively or positively... because this could be a trap for you... In addition, do not ask people to circulate the material [you have posted] in other forums... as these types of requests will expose you..."

11827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 300 on: March 17, 2007, 01:42:08 PM
11828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: March 17, 2007, 10:51:52 AM
In a British poll from January 2007, a massive 82% disagreed (57% strongly) as to whether the government was in control of immigration. When asked if the government was "open and honest" about the scale of immigration into Britain, 80% disagreed. Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migrationwatch, said: "After a decade of efforts to stifle debate, there is now a fundamental lack of trust between the Government and the public on this issue." The numbers also "reflect a deep underlying resentment among the public that they have not had any opportunity to express their views – still less to be consulted - on a matter of major importance to them and to the future of our country."

According to Theodore Dalrymple, "For the last 40 years, government policy in Britain, de facto if not always de jure, has been to render the British population virtually defenseless against criminals and criminality. Almost alone of British government policies, this one has been supremely effective: no Briton nowadays goes many hours without wondering how to avoid being victimized by a criminal intent on theft, burglary, or violence."

He fears that "the failure of the state to protect the lives and property of its citizens, and to take seriously its duty in this regard, creates a politically dangerous situation, for it puts the very legitimacy of the state itself at risk. The potential consequences are incalculable, for the failure might bring the rule of law itself into disrepute and give an opportunity to the brutal and the authoritarian."

In Norway, local politician Bengt Michalsen had a tape from a surveillance camera clearly identifying two youths as doing damage to a van at a car park. He delivered the tape to the police, and months later received a note that the case had been dismissed because the police didn't have the capacity to prosecute it. According to the local police chief, the public "just had to get used to" the fact the police wouldn't spend time on petty crime.

So, that means that Scandinavians will have to protect our own property, right? Not exactly. The authorities just want us to take it lying down and do nothing.

In Denmark, at least one of three would-be robbers shot by a watchmaker plans to file for compensation over wrongful injury, loss of work time and loss of the ability to work. The three threatened the watchmaker by putting a fake pistol up to his chin, but he had a real pistol behind his counter and managed to fire it. He was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and taken into police custody. Attorney Svend Raether said that it is possible for the thief to receive compensation, despite having been injured while committing a crime.

Citizens in Western European countries pay high taxes to a state that is totally incapable of protecting our most basic rights, and is frequently unwilling even to try. With hate speech laws we are deprived of the right to protest against being swamped by immigration that will eventually render us minorities in our own countries. The law is used to punish the law-abiding while the criminals rule the streets.

If the authorities refuse to uphold the laws designed to protect us and keep passing new laws that threaten the freedom of our children and the survival of our nations, we will sooner or later have to decide when civil disobedience becomes not just a right, but a duty. And I fear what will happen once we reach that point, which may not be too far off. Judging from the recent uprisings in Utrecht, this process has already begun.

Vladimir Bukovksy, a former Soviet dissident, fears that the European Union is on its way to becoming another Soviet Union:

"The sooner we finish with the EU the better. The sooner it collapses the less damage it will have done to us and to other countries. But we have to be quick because the Eurocrats are moving very fast. It will be difficult to defeat them. Today it is still simple. If one million people march on Brussels today these guys will run away to the Bahamas. If tomorrow half of the British population refuses to pay its taxes, nothing will happen and no-one will go to jail. Today you can still do that."

Mr. Bukovsky is right. Europeans should launch tax rebellions and stage street demonstrations in every major European city until Muslim immigration is ended. We should stage a Million Man March to Brussels, for instance on September 11th this year, to demand that the pan-European dictatorship called the European Union is dismantled. We need to get angry and squeeze our so-called leaders into doing this, since they obviously understand nothing else.

Here is what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence from 1776:

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. [...] It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Europeans are currently subject to worse insults from our governments than the Americans were at that time, being persecuted in our own cities and subject to a government-supported program of gradual cultural eradication. We need a European Declaration of Independence, calling for our emancipation from the bureaucratic feudalism of Brussels and the totalitarian ideology of Multiculturalism. Allow me to write the first draft:

A European Declaration of Independence

We, the citizens of the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Hungary, (fill in the blanks) demand that the following steps are taken immediately:

We demand that our national governments should immediately and without delay pull their countries out of the European Union, which should be dismantled entirely. European citizens pay up to half of their salaries in direct or indirect taxes to their nation states. If these nations do not control their own borders nor their policies, and they don't as long as the EU exists, those taxes are a scam. National taxes require national borders. If our national borders are not enforced, we have no obligation whatsoever to pay national taxes.

We demand that all documents regarding the Euro-Arab Dialogue and the creation of the Eurabian networks for "Euro-Mediterranean cooperation" between European countries and Arab countries since the 1970s, as documented by Bat Ye'or's work on Eurabia, are published and explained in their full significance to the general public. Those chiefly responsible for this - one of the greatest betrayals in the history of Western civilization - should stand trial, followed by a period of general de-Eurabification of our laws and regulations.

We demand that all financial support to the Palestinian Authority should cease immediately. It is proven beyond any doubt that this has in the past been used to finance campaigns of Jihad terrorism against Jews in Israel and against Christians in territories under PA control. A public statement in support of Israel against Muslim aggression should be issued, and the money that has previously been awarded to Palestinians should be allocated partly to Israel's defense, partly to establish a Global Infidel Defense Fund with the stated goal of disseminating information about Muslim persecution of non-Muslims worldwide.

We demand that the ideology of Multiculturalism should immediately be removed from all government policies and school curricula, and that the state should adopt a policy of supporting the continuation of the cultural heritage and traditions of the indigenous populations. Multiculturalism has never been about tolerance. It is an anti-Western hate ideology championed as an instrument for unilaterally dismantling European culture. As such, it is an evil ideology bent on an entire culture's eradication, and we, the peoples of Europe, have not just a right, but a duty to resist it and an obligation to pass on our heritage to future generations.

We demand that all Muslim immigration in whatever form should be immediately and completely halted, and that our authorities take a long break from mass immigration in general until such a time when law and order has been reestablished in our major cities. We will not accept any accusations of "racism." Many European nations have for decades accepted more immigration into our countries in a shorter period of time than any other people has done peacefully in human history. We are sick and tired of feeling like strangers in our own lands, of being mugged, raped, stabbed, harassed and even killed by violent gangs of Muslim thugs, yet being accused of "racism and xenophobia" by our media and intimidated by our own authorities to accept even more such immigration.

Europe is being targeted for deliberate colonization by Muslim states, and with coordinated efforts aimed at our Islamization and the elimination of our freedoms. We are being subject to a foreign invasion, and aiding and abetting a foreign invasion in any way constitutes treason. If non-Europeans have the right to resist colonization and desire self-determination then Europeans have that right, too. And we intend to exercise it.

If these demands are not fully implemented, if the European Union isn't dismantled, Multiculturalism isn't rejected and Muslim immigration isn't stopped, we, the peoples of Europe, are left with no other choice than to conclude that our authorities have abandoned us, and that the taxes they collect are therefore unjust and that the laws that are passed without our consent are illegitimate. We will stop paying taxes and take the appropriate measures to protect our own security and ensure our national survival.
11829  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: March 17, 2007, 10:50:34 AM

Native Revolt: A European Declaration of Independence
From the desk of Fjordman on Fri, 2007-03-16 07:52

After the death last Sunday of Rinie Mulder, a 54-year old indigenous Dutchman who was shot by a police officer, non-immigrant citizens went on a rampage in Utrecht. Apparently Mulder intervened when Muslim youths harassed a pregnant native Dutch woman. Locals claim the police has failed to protect them for years. They say the authorities are afraid of the immigrants and tolerate their criminal behavior.

This issue is not just about Utrecht or Holland. Similar resentment against Muslim immigrants, but at least as much against their own authorities, is quietly brewing among the natives all over Western Europe.

It is insulting that two thirds of the Dutch, one of the founding members of the European community, voted against the proposed EU Constitution, and yet EU leaders will apparently just ignore this and force their massively undemocratic Constitution down people's throats anyway. The German Presidency wants EU leaders to agree on a text for a new treaty by February 2008. The label 'Constitution' is to be dropped, in order to avoid further referendums.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso expressed unease with the prospect of a second Dutch constitution referendum. "Referendums make the process of approval of European treaties much more complicated and less predictable," he said "If a referendum had been held on the creation of the European Community or the introduction of the Euro, do you think these would have passed?"

Although the EU warns against "Islamophobia," those who live in the real world know that there has been an explosion of violent infidelophobia in Western Europe staged by Muslim immigrants. This wave of violence especially targets Jews, but the attacks against Christians that are going on in the Middle East are increasingly spreading to Europe as well. In more and more cities across the continent, non-Muslims are being harassed, robbed, mugged, raped, stabbed and even killed by Muslims. Native Europeans are slowly becoming second-rate citizens in their own countries.

This violence by Muslims is usually labelled simply as "crime," but I believe it should more accurately be called Jihad. Those who know early Islamic history, as described in books such as The Truth About Muhammad by Robert Spencer, know that looting and stealing the property of non-Muslims has been part and parcel of Jihad from the very beginning. In fact, so much of the behavior of Muhammad himself and the early Muslims could be deemed criminal that it is difficult to know exactly where crime ends and Jihad begins. In the city of Oslo, for instance, it is documented that some of the criminal Muslim gangs also have close ties to radical religious groups at home and abroad. As Dutch Arabist Hans Jansen points out, the Koran is seen by some Muslims as a God-given "hunting licence," granting them the right to assault and even murder non-Muslims. It is hardly accidental that while Muslims make up about 10% of the population in France, they make up an estimated 70% of French prison inmates.

In the city of Antwerp, Belgium, Marij Uijt den Bogaard from 2003 to 2006 worked as a civil servant in the immigrant borough of Berchem. She noted how radical Islamist groups began to take over the immigrant neighbourhoods, but was fired when she warned against this danger in her reports to the authorities:

"Many victims of burglaries in houses and cars, of steaming and other forms of violence, can testify that aggression by Muslims is not directed against brothers and sisters, but against whoever is a kafir, a non-believer. Young Muslims justify their behaviour towards women who do not wear the headscarf, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, by referring to the Salafist teaching which says that these women are whores and should be treated as such. They told me this. I wrote it down in my reports, but the authorities refuse to hear it."

Filmmaker Pierre Rehov tells how a friend of his is a retired chief of police who used to be in charge of the security of a major city in the south of France. According to him, 80% of the rapes in the area were made by Muslim young men. In most cases, the parents would not understand why they would be arrested. The only evil those parents would see, genuinely, was the temptation that the male children had to face from infidel women.

The wave of robberies the increasingly Muslim-dominated city of Malmö is witnessing is part of a "war against Swedes," this according to statements from the immigrant youths themselves. "When we are in the city and robbing, we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes." This argument was repeated several times. "Power for me means that Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet."

Jonathan Friedman, an American living in Sweden, mentions that the so-called Integration Act of 1997 proclaimed that "Sweden is a Multicultural society." The Act implicitly states that Sweden doesn't have a history, only the various ethnic groups that live there. Native Swedes have been reduced to just another ethnic group in Sweden, with no more claim to the country than the Somalis who arrived there last Thursday. As Friedman puts it: "In Sweden, it's almost as if the state has sided with the immigrants against the Swedish working class."

Pierre Schori, Minister for immigration, during a parliamentary debate in 1997 said that: "Racism and xenophobia should be banned and chased [away]," and that one should not accept "excuses, such as that there were flaws in the immigration and refugee policies." In other words: It should be viewed as a crime for the indigenous population not to assist in wiping themselves out. The state is turned into an enemy of the very population it is supposed to protect. Swedes pay some of the highest tax rates in the world, and for this they get runaway crime rates and a government that is actively hostile to their interests.

Exit the People's Home of Sweden is a book from 2005 about immigration and the Swedish welfare state model. According to the authors, the Multicultural elites see themselves first of all as citizens of the world. In order to emphasize and accentuate diversity, everything that smacks of "native culture" is deliberately disparaged. Opposition to this policy is considered a form of racism:

"The dominant ideology in Sweden, which has been made dominant by powerful methods of silencing and repression, is a totalitarian ideology, where the elites oppose the national aspect of the nation state."

Researchers Gert Tinggaard Svendsen og Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen have written the book Social Kapital. When general levels of trust were measured in 86 countries, the Nordic nations Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland came out on top. According to the authors, the trust between citizens and the trust between citizens and the state is very high in these countries, and this "social capital" is highly profitable and accounts for up a to a quarter of these countries' wealth.

However, they also warn that such trust is vulnerable. A society can lose its social capital and trust rather quickly, but it can take centuries to rebuild it. This social capital is now being squandered a matter of official state policy all over Western Europe, accompanied by wild cheers from the media and the intelligentsia.

Although such high levels of trust are in many ways attractive and desirable, they also contain some potential pitfalls. People's trusting nature may make them easy targets for outsiders from more cynical cultures, who view them as gullible fools. However, it also makes them vulnerable to threats from within.

In the 1990s, Swedish authorities decided that native Swedes and their culture had no more claim to the country than Kurds. At the same time, the country became a member of the EU. Mass immigration to Sweden started years before EU membership and wasn't caused by this, but the EU certainly didn't help. Now suddenly, as with other EU members, Swedes have most of their laws passed by unelected EU bureaucrats rather than their own elected national representatives.

Swedes were used to that laws were passed with their consent and with their best interests in mind, because by and large they had been. Within a few years, all of this has changed. Laws are now passed by EU bureaucrats who don't give a damn about their interests, and by elites who don't care about their own people, in fact view them as potential stumbling blocks for the new Multicultural society. Yet most Europeans still follow these laws. Why? I can see at least two reasons.

Germany's ex-president Roman Herzog pointed out that between 1999 and 2004, 84 percent of the legal acts in Germany stemmed from Brussels, and warned that "EU policies suffer to an alarming degree from a lack of democracy and a de facto suspension of the separation of powers. The question has to be raised of whether Germany can still unreservedly be called a parliamentary democracy."

Why is this pan-European EU dictatorship still functioning? Because seeing is believing. Most Europeans still don't know that EU leaders are using their money without their consent to merge Europe with the Arab world because their media don't tell them this. Due to the common Euro currency and the lack of national borders they can move around most of Europe at ease, which seems convenient. They don't physically see, however, that the EU has also usurped the power of their national parliaments. The latter appear to be working just as always, but have now been reduced to implementing the policies of unelected Eurocrats.

The second reason is because ordinary European citizens are held hostage by their own law-abiding nature. Abiding by rules and regulations used to serve them well in the past, but things have changed. Even the laws that are in their interest are no longer upheld. Their nations have vacated their national borders and the ensuing uncontrolled mass immigration is creating rampant urban insecurity.

For Dutchmen, in what once was a peaceful and orderly country, to go against decades of indoctrination to stage something like the recent uprisings in Utrecht, they have to feel an extreme amount of repressed frustration and anger. Perhaps they watched the media reactions to the Muslim riots in France, which were sympathetic and were followed by promises from political leaders to listen to the "legitimate grievances" of the rioters. Perhaps the native Dutch in Utrecht thought that hey, we are quiet and peaceful and yet we get only contempt from our so-called leaders. Muslims burn stuff and get concessions. Perhaps we should start burning stuff, too. What have we got to lose? We're already losing our country.

The excellent Chinese blogger Ohmyrus has warned against precisely this:

"While it took a long time for Europeans to learn to settle their differences peacefully through the ballot box, this important lesson is slowly being unlearned. The lesson learned from the Danish cartoon affair is that violence pays. Most Western governments caved in by issuing apologies or condemning the cartoons instead of defending free speech. Soon groups that oppose immigration will turn to violence too. If European democracies cannot manage their ethnic tensions, democracy will break down, ushering in dictatorial rule."

11830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: March 17, 2007, 08:35:46 AM
A Real CIA Outing   
By Andrew Walden | March 16, 2007

Just two days after former vice presidential aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted in the Valerie Plame CIA case, anti-American war activists attempted to expose the identity of a CIA “clandestine agent” at a University of Hawaii-Hilo event. Twenty-five students gathered at UH Hilo on Thursday March 8 for a briefing on career opportunities with the Central Intelligence Agency. Their right of free assembly was obstructed by ten protesters including faculty, an administrator, and local Democratic Party figures.
Complaining that they were unable to complete their mission, protest leader, convicted federal felon, and ex-con Jim Albertini, whose misnamed Malu-Aina Peace Center also leads weekly anti-American war protests at the Hilo Federal Building explained, “Global HOPE leader Justin Avery, was told he could not use his video camera. Malu Aina peace organization also intended to take still photos and video of the presentation.” Hawaii Tribune-Herald photographer William Ing was also present; all photographers were warned by campus center officials that they would be removed by campus security if they attempt to take photos.
According to Beau Butts, former President of the UH Hilo Student Association, “Avery was filming the inside of the room and who was there from the door. He continued filming, walked in and sat down in the very front with the camera pointed at the CIA gentleman. Only after the gentleman mandated no photos or film of any kind did Avery turn off his camera and put the lens cap on. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some footage of the agent but I couldn’t know for sure. Snickering and inappropriate muttering continued throughout the entire presentation and continued interjections and allusions of CIA conspiracies regarding 9/11 were brought up.”
The Global HOPE Club at UH Hilo has at various times suggested that “Israelis” carried out the 9/11 attacks. They have also suggested that the CIA carried them out and they showed twice the movie 9/11 in Plane Site, made by ultra-right-wing conspiracy nuts, which claims that the US Air Force carried out the 9/11 attacks.  9/11 in Plane Site was also shown in 2005 at SKEA by then-Hawaii Island Journal sales and marketing director Tammy Rouleau. Albertini is a regular contributor to Hawaii Island Journal. Avery has written several articles for Big Island Weekly.
According to the Hawaii County Democratic Party website, Albertini is the President of Precinct 3-9. Avery, listed as Democratic President of Precinct 3-6, was endorsed in his failed District 4 council campaign by the Hawaii County Sierra Club. The Sierra Club’s Legislative Director was involved in a high profile altercation with Avery’s opponent, Stacey Higa at a hospital fundraiser in Kona shortly before Election Day. The Sierra Club endorsed Avery over Wendell Kaehuaea, who outpolled Avery in 2006 and had been endorsed by the Sierra Club in 2004. Sierra-Club-endorsed candidates now control the Hawaii County Council.
Said Albertini, "If the CIA ‘spook’ doesn't want his photo taken then he shouldn't be giving a public recruiting lecture at a public university." Fortunately the Supreme Court has upheld the “Solomon Amendment,” which would cause complete loss of all federal funds to any school which does not allow military recruiters on campus. Leftist academics often lose interest in “sacred principles” when their paycheck is on the line. UHH Student Services Vice-Chancellor Keith Miser helpfully pointed out to the Star Bulletin March 10 that the university occasionally imposes bans on photography of individuals or of events such as performances.

Avery came to the event in a suit and with fake blood on his hands apparently trying to portray the CIA but looking more like a blood-stained Soviet Commissar. He and Albertini were joined by faculty members Noelie Rodriguez and Tim Freeman and International Student Services Director, Ruth Robinson and an unidentified activist who shed his civilian disguise to show his true appearance as the grim reaper waving large stacks of counterfeit money. Rodriguez is the spouse of Hawaii County Planning Director Chris Yuen.
Said Butts in a letter to Robinson, the protesters’ “behavior shows a lack of faith in student’s abilities to discern for themselves what is right and wrong and what they may or may not look into as a viable potential career opportunity.”
Norm Stahl, a retired Marine and director of the UHH Career Center explained, “the group …came into the room and interfered with our students right to get career information free of distraction.” Students interested in CIA careers were forced to move into Stahl’s office so they could have a discussion without disruption.
It is not clear whether any of the activists actually obtained photos of the CIA agent, who is identified in the Star Bulletin as, “Joe Dorsey, from the CIA West Coast Recruitment Office in Fountain Valley, Calif.” Dorsey was described as a “clandestine agent” by university officials. The anti-American activists are claiming that the identification of the agent gives them the right to expose his face. Apparently they have not noticed that all CIA representatives have conspicuously inconspicuous names like “Joe Dorsey.” Unlike Avery, who adopted a misspelled fake Hawaiian name for his failed council campaign, CIA agents are required to be able to both spell and pronounce their names.
What type of punishment is available for those who actually expose a clandestine agent of the CIA? Federal Law is clear on this issue; USC 50-421 section C reads:
Whoever, in the course of a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States, discloses any information that identifies an individual as a covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such individual and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such individual’s classified intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Albertini should be familiar with this: he spent one year in a federal penitentiary after diving into Hilo Bay in a failed 1984 effort to prevent a US Navy ship from docking.
Left-wing website Daily Kos’ diarist “KStreetProjector” has a different idea about punishment, explaining February 15: “The act of outing Valerie Wilson nee Plame was an act of Treason….Those involved should be hung. They have violated their oath, attacked our nation, violated their duty and are, to any sane reading: Domestic Enemies.”
Of course Plame was not a clandestine operative but a desk-bound CIA analyst and Democrat political operative whose covert career had been ended long before. The CIA believed her identity had been exposed in the 90s by Soviet spy Aldrich Ames. Richard Armitage, a Colin Powell ally and opponent of President Bush’s Iraq strategy, identified her in 2003 to columnist Robert Novak after her husband Joe Wilson started his media campaign to spread the lie that Saddam Hussein had not been attempting to acquire uranium in Niger, Africa.
If “KStreetProjector” were not just a political hack, logically what punishment would he and all the other leftists who have been howling about the Plame case for the last three-and-a-half years deem appropriate for their allies’ own attempt to “out” a real clandestine operative?
11831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: March 16, 2007, 01:06:06 AM
The Coming War with Islam   
By Solly Ganor | March 15, 2007

Five years ago, I had a conversation with a young Palestinian student who in short precise terms explained how Islam will defeat the West. The conversation opened my eyes to a much larger picture in which Israel plays only a minor role in the Islamic game of conquest. Since then I tried to speak to some Arabs who come to pray at the Mosque, but they were not as outspoken as the student.

Last week, I had another conversation with an Israeli Arab construction boss by the unlikely name of Francis who was in charge of building a villa near our house in Herzelia. He told me that his family was Christian, and his name was given to him in honor of the Franciscan monks. Our conversation was as interesting as the first conversation I had with the Arab student five years ago and I would like to share it with you. Francis frequently parked his car near our house and we would exchange polite greetings.

About a week ago, the water was shut off for repairs in the house he was building, and Francis asked me if I could give him some hot water for his coffee. He was a tall man of about forty, with reddish hair and blue eyes. He spoke a perfect Hebrew, and I naturally became curious about him. I felt that he may the right person to exchange some views with. By his looks, I assumed that he was either a Druze or from the Syrian region. He looked more like a teacher than a construction worker and, as I later found out, he was actually a teacher by profession. Since my conversation with the student five years ago, I was always curious to hear their side of the story; therefore, I decided to invite him for a cup of coffee to our house. I saw him hesitate for a moment; then he smiled and thanked me for my hospitality.

While we drank our coffee, he told me that he was from a small village in the Galilee called Jish, near the present Kibbutz Sassa. I remembered the village very well as I was one of the soldiers who captured the village while serving in the 7th Armored brigade during the War of Independence in 1948. I decided not to tell him about it because at the time we encountered some stiff resistance at that village and quite a few of the inhabitants were killed.

He went on to tell me a little about himself. “For a while I was a teacher and I loved teaching, but I couldn’t make a living at it and I decided to join my father in law who is in the construction business.” Judging by the large Honda he was driving, I figured that he didn’t do too badly changing his profession.

Our conversation soon turned to the present situation in the Middle East, about Hamas winning the elections, the situation of the Israeli Arabs, and the last Lebanese war against Hezbollah. “As Christians we are in a difficult situation here in Israel. Unfortunately, the Moslems and especially the extreme Islamist section, are giving the tone here. My family who lived in Bethlehem probably since the Crusaders, had to flee for their life. The Moslems have been forcing us out, by threats and even murder. Bethlehem that was once predominantly Christian is now predominantly Moslem. Very little is written about it even in the Israeli press.”

He sipped his coffee and gave me a long look. He seemed like someone who wasn’t quite sure whether to say what he was about to say. I gave him an encouraging nod.

“I have to tell you something which very few of you seem to comprehend.” He continued, “Your bungling war against a few thousand Hezbollah fighters which you should have crushed no matter what, considering the importance of the outcome, has created a completely new situation, not only for this area, but globally. Your inept leadership totally misunderstood the importance of winning this war."

“As a matter of fact, the whole Moslem world, not only the Arabs, simply couldn’t believe that the mighty Israeli Army that defeated the combined Arab forces in six days in 1967, and almost captured Cairo and Damascus in 1973, couldn’t defeat a small army of Hezbollah men. As usual the Moslems see things the way they want to see things. Most think that the present generation of Israelis have gone soft and can be defeated."

“The American bungling of the war in Iraq only added to their conviction that victory not only over Israel but also over the West is not only possible, but certain. The ramifications of these two bungling wars may bring an Islamic bloody Tsunami all over the West, not only in Israel. The sharks smell blood and these two wars gave them the green light to attack sooner than they had in mind. Your problem is that you are on the defensive and they have the option to choose the time and the places when and where to attack and there is nothing much you can do about it. When will you Westerners realize that half measures don’t work with people who are willing to die by the thousands for Allah to achieve their goal? In their eyes the Western World is simply an abomination on earth that has to be wiped out.”

He spoke quietly and I could just picture him in the school giving his students a lecture. I poured him another cup of coffee and encouraged him to continue.

“The Americans, the Europeans, and even you Israelis really don’t know what it is all about, do you? During the last generation hundreds of thousands of children have been taught all over the Moslem world in Madrass schools to become martyrs for Allah in order to kill the infidels. These youngsters not only are ready to do it, but are actually in the process of doing it. Bombs are going off all over the world killing and maiming thousands of people, not only on 9/11 in the US, in London Madrid and Bali, but in Africa, India, Bengladesh, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and many other places. The first signs of the Islamic Tsunami is already here, but the West doesn’t understand, or doesn’t want to understand what is coming."

“The Americans, instead of realizing that this is as bad as World War Two, or even worse, are going to pull out of Iraq, handing it over to Iran on a silver platter. Next may come the Saudis and the rest of the Gulf states. When dirty bombs go off all over Western towns, who is going to stop the Iranians?"

“Now is the time to stop them, not only because they are developing nuclear bombs, but because Iran has become the base for all Islamic terrorist. They supply, money, men, and weapons to Islamic terrorist around the world, quite often through their diplomatic mail. Billions of petro-dollars that are pouring into Iran are being funneled into terrorist organizations world-wide. They believe, and perhaps rightly so, that the West will do nothing to stop them in achieving their goals. Is history repeating itself? Are the Iranians making the same mistake that Hitler made when he attacked Poland? Is the situation similar?"

“As a history teacher who studied the subject thoroughly I can tell you that Western victory in World War Two was not all certain. Hitler could have won the war if he would have gone ahead with the atomic bomb development before the Americans. The Germans began working on it in the thirties, and it was Hitler’s decision to prefer building more conventional arms, as he considered atomic weapons sheer fantasy. Hitler made the wrong decision, but had he made the right decision the world would have been a different type of world today, wouldn’t it? The West won the war against Hitler by sheer chance. Very few people seem to realize that.”

I must say that his last words shook me up quite a bit. Had Hitler made a different decision, I would have died in Dachau, there wouldn’t have been a Jewish state called Israel, and most likely there wouldn’t have been any Jews left in the world. The idea that the Western democracies in general and the fate of the Jewish people in particular could have hinged on Hitler’s one decision, is a scenario of the worst nightmare.

He notices that his last words had an effect on me, and he smiled. “I see that my words are not wasted on you,” he said dryly. I nodded, and he continued with his lecture. “Coming back to our time, the Iranians rely on the West doing nothing about their development of nuclear bombs. They also rely on their secret weapon: an inexhaustible supply of Islamic suicide bombers, some of them who are already planted all over the Western World. Besides the Islamic countries that supply these suicide bombers, a second front has been opened, and that is the Internet with more than five thousand Islamic web sites, brain washing and urging young Moslems to become martyrs for Allah. They especially target young Moslems who live in Europe and the West in general. The Western intelligence authorities consider these web sites a bigger threat than the Iranian atomic bomb. Al-Qaeda recently issued a television broadcast that promised a devastating attack against its enemies this spring. As we all know, Al-Qaeda doesn’t make empty threats."

“Actually, I don’t understand why the Iranians bother to develop atomic bombs and bring the whole world down on them. Every suicide bomber is a potential atomic bomb, or a biological, chemical or dirty bomb that can be no less devastating than an atom bomb. The Americans and Europeans have no defense against this type of war."

“What can we do against this type warfare?” I asked him. “Well, you Israelis, should better prepare yourself for another round against Hezbollah. It will not be long in coming. It depends on the Iranians to give the word. This time you will have to destroy Hezbollah no matter what the cost may be."

“Of course, your next round against Hezbollah may involve the Syrians and the Iranians against you. The Iranians declared that they will not allow Hezbollah to be defeated no matter what and may launch their missiles against you. So will the Syrians. What will Israel do? It is unlikely that Israel will accept its destruction and may use their nuclear arsenal if the West will not come to their help. Perhaps our book of Revelation is not so wrong in describing that the end of the world would start at Armageddon, which we know as Har-Megiddo in Israel. The book of Revelations describe the last battle would be fought at Armageddon between the “Forces of good and the forces of evil.”

“And who would you call the forces of good ‘Israel or Islam?’ I asked looking him straight in the eyes. He gave me a startled look. “If I were a Moslem, I would have no problem to name the forces of good and it wouldn’t be Israel. As a Christian, I would probably name Israel, but as a Christian Arab I would prefer not to answer.”

We looked at each other. His answer made it clear where the Israeli Arabs stood, whether they were Moslems or Christians. And why should I be surprised? After all the Israeli Arabs call the establishment of the State of Israel their nakbah (disaster).

Is there a way to avoid the “Armageddon”?

“I think there are two ways to avoid it. One can be a major war which the West can win. As in World War Two, had the West attacked the Germans in 1936 the war would have lasted not more than a month with very few casualties. Their procrastination resulted in World War II with all its consequences. Eventually, the West will have to tackle the Iranians, it is better that they do it now to avert a world catastrophe later. With Iran defeated the Islamic onslaught will lose its base, and it may be the turning point in history to defeat the menace of extreme Islam. The majority of the Moslems don’t want this confrontation anyway.”

“You are painting a rather dark picture. When do you think we will have the next round against Hezbollah?” I asked. “I think they will attack again as soon as they are fully re-equipped and I think it will be during the summer, while Israel is still in a military and political turmoil.”

For a while, we sat in silence. He finished his second cup of coffee and got up. “I know what I am going to do. I am going to Canada to join my brother. This country is becoming much too dangerous for Christians as well,” he said. He thanked me for the coffee and we shook hands.

“You said there are two ways to avoid Armageddon?” I remembered to ask him.
“Sure, all the West has to do is follow Putin’s ways. He assassinates his enemies without blinking an eye. Assassinate the four or five Mullahs who run the show, Ahmadinejad, and a few more Iranian fanatics, and the War can be avoided. It may be difficult to do, but not impossible. With today’s hi- tech technology I am sure that new weapons against individuals are being prepared right now. I think it would be a better way of handling the matter than an all out war against Islam.”

The conversation with Francis was not more encouraging than the one I had with the Palestinian student five years ago. It was becoming clear that Israel may be on the forefront for the coming war of the West against Islam, unless we follow Francis’ suggestion to assassinate the heads of the snake, rather than going to war with Islam.
Solly Ganor is a survivor of Dachau and the author of Light One Candle.
11832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 16, 2007, 12:34:37 AM
11833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 300 on: March 16, 2007, 12:08:25 AM
Well stated.
11834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 300 on: March 15, 2007, 11:55:59 PM
If we were interested in oil, it would have been much cheaper and easier to strongarm Saddam for cheap oil like France, Russia and various UN officials did. 
11835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 300 on: March 15, 2007, 11:16:48 PM
I also liked the part when the Captain's son died and he goes mad. Then he returns to say that he has filled his heart with hate. They tell him that's great.

So in Iraq, when an American soldier kills an Iraqi and it creates three new terrorists that have filled their hearts with hate, we have the 300 to show us how that happened.

Yeah, I was wondering why we were still fighting the Japanese and Germans. I'm glad you've explained how war works so I understand it. rolleyes
11836  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 300 on: March 15, 2007, 11:09:02 PM
The fact that the comic book is from 1998 doesn't have much to do with it. For one, in 1998 you didn't have to be a psychic to predict war was on the way.

Even if the comic book is older, it isn't a coincidence the movie came out now. Either it is a deliberate attempt at propaganda, or it is just taking advantage of something Americans are feeling and making money on it. I don’t know the people involved.

When the queen said, "Freedom isn't free" I think my eyes rolled all the way to the back of my head. I know more than one guy with that tattooed on his arm and an American flag hung in his truck. She didn't use the line on accident.

If in 1998 you foresaw the war we are in now coming, i'm impressed. I sure didn't.

Freedom isn't free. That a core truth. Luckily you live in a place where past generations understood that so you can roll your eyes in a land of properity and freedom.
11837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 15, 2007, 08:44:41 PM
11838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: March 15, 2007, 10:57:12 AM
11839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 300 on: March 15, 2007, 10:54:34 AM

300 the movie was based on the graphic novel "300" which was published 1998. Unless Frank Miller is psychic, I doubt very much he wrote it as propaganda regarding the US vs. Iran tensions in 2007.
11840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: March 15, 2007, 10:47:20 AM
It's jihad by lawsuit. The global jihad is fought with many different weapons.
11841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 15, 2007, 08:05:11 AM

Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Scrutiny Increases for the Council on American-Islamic Relations… [Karl]

...and New York Times reporter Neil MacFarquhar does not care for it. Not one little bit. So much so that any notion of accuracy or honesty flew right out the window.

For example:

A small band of critics have made a determined but unsuccessful effort to link it to Hamas and Hezbollah, which have been designated as terrorist organizations by the State Department, and have gone so far as calling the group an American front for the two.

MacFarquhar seems to have a rather Clintonesque parsing of the word “unsuccessful” in mind. Andrew McCarthy, a man with plenty of experience prosecuting terrorism-related charges has observed:

CAIR, you see, was birthed by a Hamas creation: the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). Several of CAIR’s top officials, including its founders, Omar Ahmed and Nihad Awad, were high-ranking IAP officers (respectively, its president and public-relations director). Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR’s communications director… is a former IAP employee [;] Hooper makes no secret that he would like to see the United States become an Islamic country under sharia law. As it happens, the IAP was started in 1981 by high-ranking Hamas operative Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook. Long a specially designated global terrorist under U.S. law, Marzook is also currently wanted on a U.S. terrorism indictment in Chicago, and named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a second U.S. terrorism indictment (which explains that he helps run Hamas’s “Political Bureau,” the branch responsible for “directing and coordinating terrorist attacks”). But he’s believed to be in Syria with other Hamas heavyweights, so maybe, using the Iraq Study Group strategy, we should just negotiate with him. In any event, so incestuous is the Hamas/IAP tie that, in 2004, a federal judge found the IAP liable for Hamas’s terrorist murder of an American citizen in Israel.

McCarthy also notes that “when CAIR was founded in 1994, part of the seed money came from the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development”—whose assets were frozen in 2001 based on the U.S. Treasury Department’s conclusion that it provided millions of dollars annually that is used by Hamas.

After noting that even as solid a lefty as Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has made defforts to distance herself from CAIR, MacFarquhar tries another defense:

Government officials in Washington said they were not aware of any criminal investigation of the group. More than one described the standards used by critics to link CAIR to terrorism as akin to McCarthyism, essentially guilt by association.

Number of those government officials quoted or named? Zero. MacFarquhar did find a former official, however:

“Of all the groups, there is probably more suspicion about CAIR, but when you ask people for cold hard facts, you get blank stares,” said Michael Rolince, a retired F.B.I. official who directed counterterrorism in the Washington field office from 2002 to 2005.

Those blank stares may be from people who find Rolince as oblivious about CAIR, its activities and leadership as he was about Zacarias Moussaoui before 9/11, or perhaps Rolince deals with people who are clueless about CAIR (he’s a consultant for CBS News)—but such ignorance proves nothing about CAIR. Rolince might want to speak with Steven Pomerantz, former FBI assistant director and chief of the FBI’s Counter-Terrorism Section, who has stated, “CAIR, its leaders, and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.” And “CAIR is but one of a new generation of groups in the United States that hide under a veneer of ‘civil rights’ or ‘academic’ status but in fact are tethered to a platform that supports terrorism.” For that matter, MacFarquhar might have contacted Pomeranz, whose quote is widely published on the Internet, including in the Wikipedia.

As for that guilt by association, you have to read through to paragraph 18 to get a hint of what those associations might be:

Broadly summarized, critics accuse CAIR of pursuing an extreme Islamist political agenda and say at least five figures with ties to the group or its leadership have either been convicted or deported for links to terrorist groups. They include Mousa Abu Marzook, a Hamas leader deported in 1997 after the United States failed to produce any evidence directly linking him to any attacks.

MacFarquhar somehow fails to mention that Marzook (per McCarthy) is a specially designated global terrorist under U.S. law, is currently wanted on a U.S. terrorism indictment in Chicago, and was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a second U.S. terrorism indictment. He also fails to mention that Marzook is not among the “big five” usually identified by CAIR critics. Those five are:

• Ghassan Elashi (founding board member of CAIR’s Texas chapter) – was Chairman of Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which was shut down by the United States for raising millions of dollars for HAMAS; in July of 2004, was convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, and making false statements about shipments of high-tech equipment to countries deemed state sponsors of terrorism;

• Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer (national staff member of CAIR) – past Communications Director of the Muslim American Society (MAS), an organization that publishes materials calling suicide bombings against Israelis justifiable; in April of 2004, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his participation in a network of Al-Qaeda-related militant jihadists centered in Northern Virginia;

• Bassem Khafagi (CAIR’s Community Director) – was co-founder and past President of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), an organization that has been investigated for possible funding to terrorist-related groups and publishing of materials calling for suicide bombings in the United States; in November of 2003, was sentenced to prison for bank fraud and making false statements on his visa application; was later deported to Egypt;

• Rabih Haddad (fundraiser for CAIR’s Ann Arbor chapter) – was co-founder and past Executive Director and Public Relations Director for Global Relief Foundation (GRF), which was shut down by the United States for its financing of terrorist groups, specifically Al-Qaeda; was arrested by INS for visa violations, in December of 2001, and was later deported to Lebanon;

• Siraj Wahhaj (national board member of CAIR) – in February of 1995, was named by federal prosecutor, Mary Jo White, as a possible co-conspirator to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; was a character witness for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence for his part in the ’93 bombing conspiracy; currently sits on the board of directors of the radical Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).

BTW, CAIR featured Wahhaj at one of its big events on March 3rd of this year.

MacFarquhar then presses his case:

There were no charges linked to CAIR in any of the cases involved, and law enforcement officials said that in the current climate, any hint of suspicious behavior would have resulted in a racketeering charge.

Here, as with MacFarquhar’s note that the United States failed to produce any evidence directly linking Marzook to any attacks, MacFarquhar seems (or pretends to be) oblivious to the notion that politicians might not want to associate with or give a platform to a group whose officials seem to be involved with financing terror groups more often than one might like. The New York Times certainly seems willing enough to engage in far more tenuous assertions of guilt by association; it never fails to document alleged wrongdoing by Halliburton, years after VP Dick Cheney stopped working there. So it is not as though this type of reasoning is foreign to the paper. If Chimpy McHitlerburton continued to throw open his doors to Enron after five officers had been convicted of criminal charges, I suspect the paper would have disapproved.

MacFarquhar continues:

Several federal officials said CAIR’s Washington office frequently issued controversial statements that made it hard for senior government figures to be associated with the group, particularly since some pro-Israeli lobbyists have created what one official called a “cottage industry” of attacking the group and anyone dealing with it.

God forbid that MacFarquhar report what those controversial statements might be. Perhaps these officials were referring to the comments collected by Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha in the the Middle East Quarterly:

In October 1998—months after Osama bin Laden had issued his first declaration of war against the United States and had been named as the chief suspect in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa—CAIR demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as “the sworn enemy,” finding this depiction offensive to Muslims. CAIR also leapt to bin Laden’s defense, denying his responsibility for the twin East African embassy bombings. CAIR’s Hooper saw these explosions resulting from “misunderstandings of both sides."[57] Even after the September 11 atrocity, CAIR continued to protect bin Laden, stating only that “if [note the “if"] Osama bin Laden was behind it, we condemn him by name."[58] Not until December 2001, when bin Laden on videotape boasted of his involvement in the attack, did CAIR finally acknowledge his role.

CAIR has also consistently defended other radical Islamic terrorists. Rather than praise the conviction of the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, it deemed this “a travesty of justice."[59] It labeled the extradition order for suspected Hamas terrorist Mousa Abu Marzook “anti-Islamic” and “anti-American."[60] CAIR has co-sponsored Yvonne Ridley, the British convert to Islam who became a Taliban enthusiast and a denier that Al-Qaeda was involved in 9-11.[61] When four U.S. civilian contractors in Falluja were (in CAIR’s words) “ambushed in their SUV’s, burned, mutilated, dragged through the streets, and then hung from a bridge spanning the Euphrates River,” CAIR issued a press release that condemned the mutilation of the corpses but stayed conspicuously silent on the actual killings.[62]

During the 2005 trial of Sami Al-Arian, accused of heading Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the United States, Ahmed Bedier of CAIR’s Florida branch emerged as Al-Arian’s effective spokesman, providing sound bytes to the media, trying to get his trial moved out of Tampa, commenting on the jury selection, and so on.[63]

More broadly, website pointed out that “of the more than 3100 fatal Islamic terror attacks committed in the last four years, we have only seen CAIR specifically condemn 18."[64]

MacFarquhar or his unnamed officials—the sentence quoted above is ambiguous, perhaps deliberately so—let us know that CAIR would have gotten away with it too… if it weren’t for those meddling Joos!

Indeed, he goes on in that mode for a couple of paragraphs, also referencing CAIR’s pro-Hezbollah position during Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel last summer. MacFarquhar does not put it that way, natch. Then again, MacFarquhar is not above writing a glowing profile of the Party of God’s Secretary General, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, either.

No doubt that’s the sort of piece that gets you selected to write about CAIR at the New York Times.

11842  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 300 on: March 14, 2007, 10:02:56 AM
It's now one of my top 10 favorite movies.
11843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 14, 2007, 10:01:50 AM
Threatened by the Jihad   
By Steven Emerson | March 14, 2007

On January 26, 2007, I appeared on Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes program to discuss a January 8, 2007 meeting between the Attorney General of the United States and various Muslim and Arab groups, some of which have a long history of supporting terrorist groups and extremist ideologies.  In response to a question from Alan Colmes about the importance of “good relations” between Attorney General Gonzales and the Muslim community, I stated, “ut when you say the ‘Muslim community’ – [the Attorney General] is anointing them representatives of the Muslim community, when in fact there are many others who support the war on terrorism, who don't tell their members not to cooperate with the FBI, who don't support Hamas and Hezbollah, unlike members of this group. So, in fact, I think it's wrong to confer legitimacy on those very organizations that inhibit cooperation with the FBI, that support Hamas or justify Hezbollah, and who are radical in terms of portraying the war on terrorism as a war against Islam.”
On February 16, 2007, MPAC’s lawyer sent me a letter demanding an apology for my allegedly “[f]alse statements about the Muslim Public Affairs Council on Hannity and Colmes.”  The letter demands that I “immediately issue a public apology and … cease and desist from making false statements about MPAC,” and that “MPAC is willing to pursue all available legal remedies” should I not comply with MPAC’s demands. 
And what are the allegedly “false statements” MPAC is claiming I made?  That “MPAC told its ‘members not to cooperate with the FBI,’” and that MPAC “are the ones radicalizing their community.”  Now let’s analyze those charges by looking at MPAC’s own words.
First, that MPAC has instructed American Muslims not to cooperate with the FBI:
MPAC and its lawyers claim this to be untrue.  But at a July 1, 2005 ISNA conference in Dallas, MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati did just that.  Al-Marayati, speaking of the FBI’s terrorism investigation in Lodi and the use of Muslim informants in that case, California, told the assembled crowd of Muslim-Americans, “[c]ounter-terrorism and counter-violence should be defined by us.  We should define how an effective counter-terrorism policy should be pursued in this country.  So, number one, we reject any effort, notion, suggestion that Muslims should start spying on one another.”   Right there, Al-Marayati is instructing Muslim Americans to not even attempt to observe any extremism or terrorist activity in their community, and even if they should observe something troubling, to not inform law enforcement authorities, that the duty owed to the Muslim community by the government is greater than to society at large.
And Al-Marayati continued, “Law enforcement is going to come to your mosque.  It already has as far as I can tell.  Everywhere I go, either somebody tells me that officials have met with them publicly or they tell me that they know who those folks are that are representing law enforcement.  So we know they have communicated one way or the other with the Muslim community.  The question is how do you deal with it in a healthy, open, transparent manner.  That is why we are saying have them come in community forums, in open-dialogues, so they come through the front door and you prevent them having to come from the back door.”
Here, Al-Marayati is instructing Muslim Americans not to cooperate with the FBI’s preferred methods of investigation, and that, as he stated earlier, it is the Muslim community, and its so-called leaders, that should define the terms of the FBI’s investigation.  That approach can hardly be described as full-fledged cooperation with law enforcement.  Far from it, in fact.  Al-Marayati used the Lodi case as an excuse to tell Muslim Americans not to deal with the FBI directly.  Demanding that the American Muslim community only work with FBI agents and other law enforcement in public forums clearly detracts from the ability of investigators to do their job, which is to protect American citizens from the threat of radical Islamist terrorists.  MPAC, and groups like it, are also clearly seeking to intrude into and ultimately to dominate the relationship between the law enforcement and the Muslim community, ensuring that the degree of allowable cooperation is regulated by these self-appointed leaders.
And why did Mr. Al-Marayati not urge his listeners in Dallas that they should extend full cooperation to the FBI and law enforcement community at every instance, rather than to demand a specific approach which is debilitating from an investigatory standpoint?  Or that law abiding American Muslims need some sort of self-appointed intermediary when working with the FBI?  And how can people feel comfortable providing information to law enforcement if they can only do so in an open forum?  I will leave that to the reader to decide.  But one thing is clear: MPAC is on the record telling American Muslims not to directly cooperate with the FBI, while at the same time advocating an impractical or impossible way for those who actually have information to relay it to law enforcement. 
Now let’s analyze the other alleged “false statement”: that MPAC serves to radicalize the American Muslim community:
This claim is even easier to demonstrate, as MPAC officials give speeches and quotes to the media that can only serve to alienate and radicalize Muslims who hear them.  The constant refrain: a conspiracy theory that the War on Terror is a contrivance of the U.S. government and is really a “War against Islam.”  Such a conspiracy dismissed legitimate efforts by law enforcement to fight terrorism and terrorist financing perpetrated on U.S. soil.  By virtue of the sheer number of times MPAC officials (and, for that matter, officials of other U.S.-based Islamist groups,) have made that claim, it is impossible to include them all here.  But here are several instances that easily serve to make the point:
·        Aslam Abdullah, MPAC Vice Chairman and Editor of the MPAC-linked magazine, the Minaret, in a 2002 online forum entitled, “The Truth behind America's War on Terrorism,” wrote, “[t]here are three specific lobbies that are turning the ongoing war on terrorism against Islam. The Christian Evangelicals who want to see Muslims converted, the political Zionists who want to see Muslim [sic] politically obliterated, and the Hindu Extremists who want to see Muslim [sic] humiliated…Mr. Bush and his administration have not been able to challenge these lobbies. Many members of these lobbies are in the administration and in FBI, law enforcement and even Congress.”[1] (emphasis added)

·        MPAC “hate crime prevention coordinator” in May 2004, speaking to the Inter Press Service article reported, “The war on terror is a war, really, on a community that is being connected to the (9/11) hijackers.”[2]

·        In a January 2002 article in the Minaret, stated that, “ince the Sept. 11 attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the U.S. government has pursued a policy where it has targeted Islamic, Arab and Palestinian organizations and individuals, in a manner that often lacks legal legitimacy.”[3]

·        And al-Marayati, in the Los Angeles Times in March 2003, blasted “the FBI’s policy of targeting people because of their race and religion.” He added, “That’s what they’ve been doing since the attacks, and we don’t know of any case that has resulted in the arrest, indictment or prosecution of a terrorist.”[4]

A recent study conducted by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has concluded that the repeated use of “War on Islam” mantra is directly related to the radicalization of the “homegrown” jihadists.[5]

Al-Marayati also infamously told an L.A. radio station after 9/11, “f we’re going to look at suspects we should look to the groups that benefit the most from these kinds of incidents, and I think we should put the state of Israel on the suspect list,” engaging in the very kind of conspiracy theories heard in the most radical quarters around the globe.  Additionally, MPAC officials have defended Hezbollah, blasted the U.S. government for actions taken to stop the funding of Hamas by U.S. front organizations, and repeatedly defended convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami al-Arian, downplaying his jihadist exhortations and claiming that his prosecution was merely “political.”
As a well-known analyst of militant Islamist groups in the United States, I have been a target of a vicious smear campaign by organizations which are afraid of having the bright light of day shone on their words and deeds.  For example, in December 2004, MPAC, published a “policy” paper titled “Counterproductive Counterterrorism,” in which more than 20 of the 48 pages were  at their core a personal hit piece against me.  And after failing to de-legitimize me through character assassination, MPAC is now threatening to silence me using the court system.
Legal action has become a mainstay of radical Islamist organizations seeking to intimidate and silence their critics.   In September 2005, journalist Robert King, writing in the Indianapolis Star, outlined the strategy[6]:
Sayyid Syeed, the secretary general of ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), a group generally less vocal than CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), earlier in the weekend said his organization is considering filing defamation lawsuits against some of its sharpest critics.
King goes on to write that one of the potential targets frequently cited by America’s Muslim leaders is yours truly.  And why is that?  Because I have spent more than a decade exposing radical Islamists in the United States, many of whom are functioning in leadership capacities in these very groups in question.  CAIR by the way, as King noted, has repeatedly taken to the courts, fortunately with very little success, to stifle criticism.  Thankfully, the First Amendment protections granted by the U.S. Constitution do not favor this latest tactic employed by the Islamist groups.
MPAC cannot stand to have its agenda exposed, especially when it comes in the form of having its own words, and the words of its officials, used against them.   In their minds, any such efforts need to be stifled.  MPAC’s smear tactics have not worked, and as such, their lawyers have now stated that “MPAC is willing to pursue all available legal remedies” to silence me.  MPAC’s bullying attempt to stifle free speech will not stand.  Such tactics should be vigorously opposed, and MPAC, like CAIR before it, must learn that legal threats will not work to stifle legitimate criticism, especially when the facts underlying the criticism are both well documented, and as is often the case, straight out of the horse’s mouth, so to speak. 
[1] Aslam Abdullah, “The Truth Behind America’s War on Terrorism,” November 30, 2002,
[2] Amantha Perera, “US Muslims Fear Second Term for Patriot Act,” Inter Press Service, May 7, 2004.
[3] “Relief Groups Shut Down,” The Minaret, January 2002.
[4] H.G. Reza, “FBI Has a Pledge and a Request for Muslims,” The Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2003.
[5] Stewart Bell, “Jihadization of youth a 'rapid process'; CSIS: Study Of Extremism,” National Post, January 26, 2007.
[6] Robert King, “Muslims aim to challenge critics in America; Convention seminar focuses on best ways for followers to respond when their faith is attacked,” Indianapolis Star, September 5, 2005,

11844  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 300 on: March 10, 2007, 12:55:21 AM
October 11, 2006
History and the Movie “300”
by Victor Davis Hanson
Private Papers

(Adapted from the introduction to the forthcoming book trailer published by Black Horse Comics, Inc. to accompany Director Zack Snyder’s new film “300”)

The phrase “300 Spartans” evokes not only the ancient battle of Thermopylae, but also the larger idea of fighting for freedom against all odds — a notion subsequently to be enshrined through some 2500 years of Western civilization.

Even today we remember the power of the Spartans’ defiance. “Come and take them,” they tell the Persian emissaries who demand their arms. “Then we will fight in the shade,” the Spartans boast when warned that the horde of Persian arrows will soon blot out the very sunlight. “Go tell the Spartans that here we lie obedient to their commands” the tombstone of their dead reads.

In 480, an enormous force of more than a quarter-million Persians under their King Xerxes invaded Greece, both to enslave the free city-states, and to avenge the Persian defeat a decade earlier at Marathon. The huge force of ships and soldiers proved unstoppable on its way west and southward until it reached the narrow pass at Thermopylae (“The Warm Gates”) in northern Greece. There a collection of 7,000 Greeks had blocked the way. They hoped to stop Xerxes’ horde outright — or at least allow enough time for their fellow countrymen to their rear to mobilize a sufficient defense of the homeland.

Among the many Greek contingents was a special elite force of 300 Spartans under their King Leonidas — a spearhead that offered the other Greeks at Thermopylae some promise that they could still bar the advance of the vastly superior invader. And that hope proved real for two days of hard fighting. The vastly outnumbered, but heavily-armed Greek infantrymen in their phalanx — taking advantage of the narrow terrain and their massed tactics — savagely beat back wave after wave of advancing Persian foot soldiers and cavalry.

But on the third day of battle, Leonidas’s Greeks were betrayed by a local shepherd Ephialtes, who showed the Persians an alternate route over the mountains that led to the rear of the Greek position. When he realized that he was nearly surrounded, Leonidas nevertheless made a critical decision to stay and fight, while ordering most of the other various allies to flee the encirclement to organize the growing Greek resistance to the south.

Meanwhile the King and his doomed 300 Spartans, together with other small groups of surrounded Thespians and Thebans, would indeed battle to buy the Greeks time. They ranged further out from the pass on this third and last day of battle — at first with spears and swords, finally with teeth and nails —killing scores more of Persians. The last few Spartan survivors were buried under a sea of Persian arrows. The body of Leonidas was found among the corpses, his head soon impaled on a stick as a macabre reminder of the wages of resistance to the Great King of Persia.

The Greeks took encouragement from the unprecedented sacrifice of a Spartan King and his royal guard on their behalf. And so a few weeks later at the sea battle of Salamis near Athens — and then again the next year at the great infantry collision on the plains of Plataea — the Greeks defeated, and eventually destroyed, the Persian invaders. The rallying cry of the victors was Thermopylae, the noble sacrifice of the final stand of the outnumbered Greeks, and especially the courage of the fallen Three Hundred Spartans under King Leonidas.

So almost immediately, contemporary Greeks saw Thermopylae as a critical moral and culture lesson. In universal terms, a small, free people had willingly outfought huge numbers of imperial subjects who advanced under the lash. More specifically, the Western idea that soldiers themselves decide where, how, and against whom they will fight was contrasted against the Eastern notion of despotism and monarchy — freedom proving the stronger idea as the more courageous fighting of the Greeks at Thermopylae, and their later victories at Salamis and Plataea attested.

Greek writers and poets such as Simonides and Herodotus were fascinated by the Greek sacrifice against Xerxes, and especially the heroism of Leonidas and his men. And subsequently throughout Western literature poets as diverse as Lord Byron and A.E. Houseman have likewise paid homage to the Spartan last stand — and this universal idea of Western soldiers willing to die as free men rather than to submit to tyranny. Steven Pressfield’s novel Gates of Fire and the earlier Hollywood movie The 300 Spartans both were based on the Greek defense of the pass at Thermopylae.

Recently, a variety of Hollywood films — from Troy to Alexander the Great — has treated a variety of themes from classical Greek literature and theater. But 300 is unique, a sui generis in both spirit and methodology. The script is not an attempt in typical Hollywood fashion to recreate the past as a costume drama. Instead it is based on Frank Miller’s (of Sin City fame) comic book graphics and captions. Miller’s illustrated novelette of the battle adapts themes loosely from the well-known story of the Greek defense, but with deference made to the tastes of contemporary popular culture.

So the film is indeed inspired by the comic book; and in some sense its muscular warriors, virtual reality sets, and computer-generated landscapes recall the look and feel of Robert Rodriquez’s screen version of Sin City. Yet the collaboration of Director Zack Snyder and screenwriters Kurt Johnstad and Michael Gordon is much more of a hybrid, since the script, dialogue, cinematography, and acting all recall scenes of the battle right from Herodotus’s account.

300, of course, makes plenty of allowance for popular tastes, changing and expanding the story to meet the protocols of the comic book genre. The film was not shot on location outdoors, but in a studio using the so-called “digital backlot” technique of sometimes placing the actors against blue screens. The resulting realism is not that of the sun-soaked cliffs above the blue Aegean — Thermopylae remains spectacularly beautiful today — but of the eerie etchings of the comic book.

The Spartans fight bare-chested without armor, in the “heroic nude” manner that ancient Greek vase-painters portrayed Greek hoplites, their muscles bulging as if they were contemporary comic book action heroes. Again, following the Miller comic, artistic license is made with the original story — the traitor Ephialtes is as deformed in body as he is in character; King Xerxes is not bearded and perched on a distant throne, but bald, huge, perhaps sexually ambiguous, and often right on the battlefield. The Persians bring with them exotic beasts like a rhinoceros and elephant, and the leader of the Immortals fights Leonidas in a duel (which the Greeks knew as monomachia). Shields are metal rather than wood with bronze veneers, and swords sometimes look futuristic rather than ancient.

Again, purists must remember that 300 seeks to bring a comic book, not Herodotus, to the screen. Yet, despite the need to adhere to the conventions of Frank Miller’s graphics and plot — every bit as formalized as the protocols of classical Athenian drama or Japanese Kabuki theater — the main story from our ancient Greek historians is still there: Leonidas, against domestic opposition, insists on sending an immediate advance party northward on a suicide mission to rouse the Greeks and allow them time to unite a defense. Once at Thermopylae, he adopts the defenses to the narrow pass between high cliffs and the sea far below. The Greeks fight both en masse in the phalanx and at times range beyond as solo warriors. They are finally betrayed by Ephialtes, forcing Leonidas to dismiss his allies — and leaving his own 300 to the fate of dying under a sea of arrows.

But most importantly, 300 preserves the spirit of the Thermopylae story. The Spartans, quoting lines known from Herodotus and themes from the lyric poets, profess unswerving loyalty to a free Greece. They will never kow-tow to the Persians, preferring to die on their feet than live on their knees.

If critics think that 300 reduces and simplifies the meaning of Thermopylae into freedom versus tyranny, they should reread carefully ancient accounts and then blame Herodotus, Plutarch, and Diodorus — who long ago boasted that Greek freedom was on trial against Persian autocracy, free men in superior fashion dying for their liberty, their enslaved enemies being whipped to enslave others.

11845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: March 09, 2007, 05:46:28 PM
Not being an FBI SA, I don't know the exact details, but the problem probably boiled down to the letters being obtained and used properly by the case agents in doing the investigation, but the documentation tracking the statistics for administrative reporting purposes isn't getting done in some cases.
11846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: March 09, 2007, 04:20:30 PM
Well, as someone that has been working for governmental entities most all my adult life, I think it's unlikely. Kafka has nothing on what i've lived through. rolleyes
11847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: March 09, 2007, 02:16:56 PM

Counterterrorism Blog

National Security Letters...An Important Investigative Tool for the FBI

By Dennis Lormel

Periodically, media stories appear articulating a sense of concern about the increased use of National Security Letters (NSLs) by the FBI since 9/11. Civil libertarians and critics of the FBI use these reports as a platform to voice apprehension about the perceived abuse of authority and infringement on personal rights and freedoms.

The Inspector General (IG), U.S. Department of Justice, has issued a report delineating audit findings identifying significant deficiencies in NSL recordkeeping and reporting processes. This determination is quite troubling and inexcusable. Disclosure of this report has obviously garnered considerable and deserved media scrutiny. However, before there is a rush to judgment and a race for juicy media sound bites about infringements of privacy and civil liberties and calls for eliminating or diminishing the program, the pertinent facts must be assessed and placed in proper context.

As mentioned above, the reported discrepancies are inexcusable and unacceptable. Immediate steps must be taken to correct all deficiencies. The FBI has issued statements acknowledging the accuracy and fairness of the IG report. More importantly, the FBI has indicated they have taken steps and will further take action necessary to rectify reporting deficiencies. In his response, FBI Director Robert Mueller stated “We strive to exercise our authorities consistent with privacy protections and civil liberties that we are sworn to uphold. Anything less will not be tolerated. This statement is the central point in this situation. Having been a former executive in the FBI dealing with financial records and terrorist financing issues, privacy rights and civil liberties were critically important to me. On numerous occasions, I heard Director Mueller reinforce the FBI’s responsibility to protect the civil liberties of our citizenry.

The problems identified by the IG are problems of process in terms of recordkeeping and reporting, which are administrative. The process in terms of operation and use of the information has not been problematic. The IG found no deliberate or intentional misuse of authority, meaning there were no infringements on privacy rights or civil liberties. Even though recordkeeping and reporting was inadequate, actual use of information was appropriate.

By way of background, an NSL is a letter requesting information from a third party. It is like a grand jury subpoena and is often used in counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. In the post 9/11 environment, NSLs have been an indispensable investigative tool. NSLs have contributed significantly to the FBI’s ability to carry out its national security responsibilities.

Before rushing to judgment and calling for the restriction or elimination of the NSL program, critics should remember that the problem is administrative, not operational. As such, civil liberties are not at risk. The only true risk is to national security if this issue escalates as a platform to diminish or eliminate an important investigative tool.

By Dennis Lormel on March 9, 2007 2:40 PM

11848  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: March 08, 2007, 03:19:21 PM
Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.

Niccolo Machiavelli


It'll be done most likely by some sort of proxy group for "deniable plausibility" purposes. If nukes detonate in NYC, DC and the Long Beach port in cargo containers, do you use the CSI: Ground Zero option while the left plays the "It's all our fault" theme and the 9/11 "truthers" spin conspiracy theories and the dems discuss asking the UN for aid or do you act in a meaningful manner?

Innocents are going to die in large numbers on both sides in this war, just as they do in all wars. When we burned German and Japanese children and grandmothers to ash with conventional bombs, did the lack of fissile material really matter in any meaningful moral way?

We are not going to win this war in any way that will meet the approval of the UN, France or the ACLU. The global jihad will not be stopped with anything but overwhelming force that shatters their will to fight.
11849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: March 08, 2007, 01:55:55 PM
It should be made unofficially clear to our various enemy states with potential nuclear ability that if/when a nuke detonates CONUS Damascus, Tehran, Qum, P'yongyang, Mecca, Medina and large parts of Pakistan's tribal areas are going to become molten glass.

Just as we had to break Japan's will to fight, when the world's muslim population has to contemplate bowing 5 times a day towards America's newest nuclear test site it will raise theological questions that can't be answerd by islamic theology. Unless allah manages to swat down American ICBMs....
11850  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 08, 2007, 12:49:47 PM
**Now THIS could be good.**

Former Iranian Defense Official Talks to Western Intelligence
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 8, 2007; Page A16

A former Iranian deputy defense minister who once commanded the Revolutionary Guard has left his country and is cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, providing information on Hezbollah and Iran's ties to the organization, according to a senior U.S. official.

Ali Rez Asgari disappeared last month during a visit to Turkey. Iranian officials suggested yesterday that he may have been kidnapped by Israel or the United States. The U.S. official said Asgari is willingly cooperating. He did not divulge Asgari's whereabouts or specify who is questioning him, but made clear that the information Asgari is offering is fully available to U.S. intelligence.

Asgari served in the Iranian government until early 2005 under then-President Mohammad Khatami. Asgari's background suggests that he would have deep knowledge of Iran's national security infrastructure, conventional weapons arsenal and ties to Hezbollah in south Lebanon. Iranian officials said he was not involved in the country's nuclear program, and the senior U.S. official said Asgari is not being questioned about it. Former officers with Israel's Mossad spy agency said yesterday that Asgari had been instrumental in the founding of Hezbollah in the 1980s, around the time of the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.

Iran's official news agency, IRNA, quoted the country's top police chief, Brig. Gen. Esmaeil Ahmadi-Moqaddam, as saying that Asgari was probably kidnapped by agents working for Western intelligence agencies. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Asgari was in the United States. Another U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, denied that report and suggested that Asgari's disappearance was voluntary and orchestrated by the Israelis. A spokesman for President Bush's National Security Council did not return a call for comment.

The Israeli government denied any connection to Asgari. "To my knowledge, Israel is not involved in any way in this disappearance," said Mark Regev, the spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry.

An Iranian official, who agreed to discuss Asgari on the condition of anonymity, said that Iranian intelligence is unsure of Asgari's whereabouts but that he may have been offered money, probably by Israel, to leave the country. The Iranian official said Asgari was thought to be in Europe. "He has been out of the loop for four or five years now," the official said.

Israeli and Turkish newspapers reported yesterday that Asgari disappeared in Istanbul shortly after he arrived there on Feb. 7. Iran sent a delegation to Turkey to investigate his disappearance and requested help from Interpol in locating him.

Former Mossad director Danny Yatom, who is now a member of Israel's parliament, said he believes Asgari defected to the West. "He is very high-caliber," Yatom said. "He held a very, very senior position for many long years in Lebanon. He was in effect commander of the Revolutionary Guards" there.

Ram Igra, a former Mossad officer, said Asgari spent much of the 1980s and 1990s overseeing Iran's efforts to support, finance, arm and train Hezbollah. The State Department lists the Shiite Lebanese group as a terrorist organization.

"He lived in Lebanon and, in effect, was the man who built, promoted and founded Hezbollah in those years," Igra told Israeli state radio. "If he has something to give the West, it is in this context of terrorism and Hezbollah's network in Lebanon."

The organization, led by Hasan Nasrallah, is believed to have been behind several attacks against U.S., Jewish and Israeli interests worldwide, including the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans, and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed more than 80 people.

Israel fought a bloody, month-long war with Hezbollah last summer in south Lebanon after the group seized two Israeli soldiers. The soldiers have not been returned and their fate is unknown. Other Israeli soldiers have vanished in Lebanon during decades of conflict along the countries' shared border, most notably an Israeli airman named Ron Arad. Yatom said it is possible Asgari "knows quite a lot about Ron Arad."

In a January briefing to Congress, then-Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte described Hezbollah as a growing threat to U.S. interests. "As a result of last summer's hostilities, Hezbollah's self-confidence and hostility toward the United States as a supporter of Israel could cause the group to increase its contingency planning against United States interests," Negroponte said.

U.S. intelligence officials said they had no evidence that Hezbollah was actively planning attacks but noted that the organization has the capacity to do so if it feels threatened.

Correspondents Scott Wilson in Jerusalem and Anthony Shadid in Beirut and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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