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9601  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / I blame television on: December 01, 2010, 09:58:53 PM

Female-Led Infanticide In Wild Chimpanzees

ScienceDaily (May 14, 2007) — Researchers observing wild chimpanzees in Uganda have discovered repeated instances of a mysterious and poorly understood behavior: female-led infanticide. The findings, reported by Simon Townsend, Katie Slocombe and colleagues of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and the Budongo Forest Project, Uganda, appear in the journal Current Biology.

Infanticide is known to occur in many primate species, but is generally thought of as a male trait. An exception in the realm of chimpanzee behavior was famously noted in the 1970s by Jane Goodall in her observations of Passion and Pom, a mother-daughter duo who cooperated in the killing and cannibalization of at least two infant offspring of other females. In the absence of significant additional evidence for such behavior among female chimpanzees, speculation had been that female-led infanticide represented pathological behavior, or was a means of obtaining nutritional advantage under some circumstances.

As the result of new field work involving the Sonso chimpanzee community in Budongo Forest in Uganda, the St. Andrews researchers now report instances of three female-led infanticidal attacks. Alerted to the killings by sounds of chimpanzee screams, the researchers directly observed one infanticide, and found strong circumstantial evidence for two others. Evidence suggested that in two of the cases, the killings were perpetrated by groups of resident females against "stranger" females from outside the resident group. Infants were taken from the mothers, who were injured in at least two of the attacks; in at least one case, adult males in the area exhibited displaying behavior, with one old male unsuccessfully attempting to separate the females.

The authors point out that these new observations indicate that such female-led infanticides are neither the result of isolated, pathological behaviors nor the by-product of male aggression, but instead appear to represent part of the female behavior repertoire in chimpanzees.

9602  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 01, 2010, 09:39:27 PM

In the decade of Darfur and Iraq, and shortly after the century of Stalin, Hitler, and Mao, the claim that violence has been diminishing may seem somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene. Yet recent studies that seek to quantify the historical ebb and flow of violence point to exactly that conclusion.

by Steven Pinker


Once again, Steven Pinker returns to debunking the doctrine of the noble savage in the following piece based on his lecture at the recent TED Conference in Monterey, California.

This doctrine, "the idea that humans are peaceable by nature and corrupted by modern institutions—pops up frequently in the writing of public intellectuals like José Ortega y Gasset ("War is not an instinct but an invention"), Stephen Jay Gould ("Homo sapiens is not an evil or destructive species"), and Ashley Montagu ("Biological studies lend support to the ethic of universal brotherhood")," he writes. "But, now that social scientists have started to count bodies in different historical periods, they have discovered that the romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made us nobler."

Pinker's notable talk, along with his essay, is one more example of how ideas forthcoming from the empirical and biological study of human beings is gaining sway over those of the scientists and others in disciplines that rely on studying social actions and human cultures independent from their biological foundation.


STEVEN PINKER is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. His most recent book is The Blank Slate.

9603  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 01, 2010, 09:34:04 PM
Most anywhere on the planet. Most people live under some form of dictatorship/kleptocracy, or live without a formal government, where bands of thugs or bands of thugs under a warlord rob, rape and pillage at will. Even most hunter-gatherer tribes in various places engage in tribal warfare and clan warfare with a high rate of serious injury and fatality.
9604  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 01, 2010, 09:06:08 PM
And the slave trade originated within africa and then marketed and embraced by muslim arabs, as islam has no moral prohibition regarding slavery. The Dutch were the first europeans to get into the african slave trade. For every 1 african slave sent to the US, 7 went to Brazil. The US fought a horrific civil war to end slavery in the US. The US and England used their military forces to curb the slave trade, though it still goes on in africa and the muslim world.

So where do I look to find the state of nature you are describing?
9605  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 01, 2010, 08:25:44 PM
The US is a very open society compared with most. During the cold war, the soviets literally shipped tons of documents ordered from the US Gov't printing office back to Russia every year for analysis. In the USSR, even the most minor thing was a state secret. We have no internal borders and very little in the way of laws restricting infomation that could be useful to our enemies, with the execption of that which is classified by law.
9606  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 01, 2010, 08:17:18 PM
**I would argue that the CIA has become too legalized and risk adverse to do much of what it's supposed to do.**

The National Security Agency flagged the intercepted electronic communication from Iran as an urgent message. The next day, its contents were on the desk of White House National Security Adviser Anthony Lake.

The Iranian message said the CIA, using the White House National Security Council as cover, was planning to assassinate Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The plot, it said, was being hatched by a CIA officer working in northern Iraq under the code name Robert Pope.

The top-secret report detailed a message snatched from the air by NSA's worldwide network of electronic eavesdropping stations after it was sent from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security in Tehran to a foreign station.

A furious Mr. Lake assumed the information was accurate, and that the CIA was moving against Saddam on its own. He called President Clinton and said he needed to see him right away. Inside the Oval Office, the national security adviser waved the NSA report at the president and shouted: "How can I run foreign policy with the CIA running rogue coups?"

Mr. Clinton advised Mr. Lake to ask the FBI to start an investigation. Mr. Lake telephoned FBI Director Louis Freeh, who obediently pursued the request.

It was March 1, 1995. Several weeks later the CIA recalled clandestine service officer Robert Baer, one of its few Arabic-speaking case officers, to agency headquarters in Langley Mr. Baer was pulled home from a covert operation in northern Iraq backing opponents of Saddam, an operation that the CIA hoped would lead to a coup in Baghdad.

His supervisor, Fred Turco, informed Mr. Baer that two FBI agents were waiting to talk to him. "We're conducting an investigation of you for suspicion of attempting to assassinate Saddam Hussein," one agent told the astonished CIA officer.

The Bob Baer case illustrates how the Central Intelligence Agency is no longer "central" or an "intelligence" agency, but very much an agency of government in the worst sense of the term - where preservation of its budget takes precedence over its performance.

What matters to the well-informed, highly trained Mr. Baer after September 11 is not how he became a whipping boy for Anthony Lake. What matters is how a vindictive CIA bureaucracy later ignored intelligence on Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorists that Mr. Baer urgently supplied after leaving the agency and writing a book about it.

The FBI investigation of Mr. Baer was not frivolous. Assassination of foreign officials is prohibited by a presidential executive order dating to the 1970s. Every CIA officer sent to the field must sign a statement confirming that he understands the prohibition.

But the Clinton Justice Department decided to investigate Mr. Baer, then a 19-year CIA veteran, for more than violating an executive order. He faced prosecution under a federal murder-for-hire statute.

The intercepted message turned out to be false information from the Iranians. The fact that a U.S. national security adviser trusted the Iranian government over the CIA, however, showed the low regard for that service held by Mr. Clinton and top advisers.

Mr. Baer explained to the FBI that he was not "Robert Pope," and that the Iranian assertion of an assassination attempt against Saddam was a lie. But it would take until April 1996, more than a year later, before the Justice Department would issue a "declination" letter stating that it would not prosecute one of the CIA's best field officers. Mr. Baer was cleared only after agreeing to take a lie-detector test.

The CIA did not come to the defense of its agent, an FBI official said. In fact, it was the FBI that warned Justice Department lawyers that the Baer investigation could be devastating for morale. But a CIA less concerned with results than political correctness had come to accept such probes as routine.

"Look, Bob, you've been overseas for almost 20 years," CIA lawyer Rob Davis told Mr. Baer. "Washington really has changed a lot. These kinds of investigations go on all the time now."

Lawyers, not spies

The CIA had years to penetrate the inner circle of bin Laden's al Qaeda network before the attacks of September 11. It had years to try to work successfully with other Middle Eastern intelligence services that managed to get fairly close. But the CIA failed.

And today's CIA sends scores of new officers into the field under the same failed, risk-avoiding policies that left the spy agency blind to and ignorant of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Case officers, those who are supposed to conduct espionage operations, routinely file embassy-based reports to Washington instead of working the streets and befriending terrorists (or at least their friends and supporters).

"All this pads reporting volume and builds careers," one intelligence professional in the U.S. government says. "And yet we will have no new assets, we will not have penetrated the hard targets and we will not know more about anything central to our national interest. But the political people - most of them anyway - will not understand this, or want to understand it."
9607  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 01, 2010, 06:04:14 PM
Well, if we don't know about it, then we don't do anything about it. It's happened before and I'm sure it will happen again. One thing I'm pretty sure of is that most things eventually come to the surface. The US had a bad reputation for keeping secrets long before wikileaks, and I'm sure you're aware of how many things were leaked to the press during our last president's time in office, despite their classified nature.
9608  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 01, 2010, 05:57:43 PM
"One difference is that gravity is viewed through the same lens."

It can be assumed that different cultures and different times recognized the phenomena of gravity, no matter what they called it and how they explained it. Offhand, I don't know what ancient chinese scholars called gravity or how they explained it worked. Aristotle thought things had an attraction to a location due to their inherent properties. Galileo worked on using the scientific method to document the phenomena without trying to explain it. Newton's concepts set the stage but were imperfect, but Einstein's space-time model has thus far become the dominant one for understanding gravity, at least until we take the next step forward towards a unified field theory.

There is a lot of fantasy and projection associated with non-western cultures and assumptions of some "noble savagery" inherent in a closeness with nature. I know that my tribe had very strange burial habits and a love of recreational sadistic torture for enemy captives that tend to undercut those that argue for the inherent goodness to be found in human nature. Take a quick trip to africa where slavery and horrific brutality are the norms in lots of different place. I'm not sure if the machete has been used as a tool nearly as much as it has been a weapon for atrocities there. Nothing like baskets full of severed hands to fuel the diamond trade.

Let's look at the muslim world. Great place so long as you aren't female or a non-muslim or interested in questioning the theology or mind poverty. The best places in asia are the most westernized. Hunter-gatherer tribes tend to have homicide rates far worse than any inner city warzone you'd find in the US. Europe is great, aside from it's bloodsoaked history and rapid absorption into the aforementioned muslim world.

So where exactly would I find that example of a happy state of nature that isn't in a disney film?
9609  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 01, 2010, 04:50:10 PM
My nutshell explanation of the applicable laws for whistleblowers who wish to blow the whistle on things that are classified. I note that I am not a lawyer, and there are very few that practice this very esoteric law, though those that do usually have the security clearances required to represent whistleblowers in any legal proceedings. The key thing is the whistleblower cannot disclose classified information to anyone not cleared to hear it. As an example, the CIA has an IG's office that should have personnel that are cleared to take a complaint from a CIA employee alleging waste, fraud, abuse or criminal conduct. The FBI, would have Agents with a clearance to take a criminal complaint and investigate it. I'm sure the congressional oversight committees have the clearances to hear from whistleblowers from within the Nat'l Security structure.
9610  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 01, 2010, 01:45:12 PM

Glenn Reynolds, on the news that the TSA is probably contributing to more accidents on the road:

    “Of course, a few thousand extra highway deaths don’t produce the national trauma of a 9/11, and that’s a reasonable thing to factor in somehow.”

It’s the qualitative difference between ‘tragedy’ and ‘atrocity,’ Glenn.  There is no organized conspiracy to kill American citizens via car crashes, so each death is an separate tragedy, and even in the rare cases where actual malice is involved in the crash it’s an individual malice.  But 9/11 was the result of an organized conspiracy; and a failed one, at that.  They were trying to kill 50,000 people, after all.
9611  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Oh when will the authoritarian oppression end? on: December 01, 2010, 12:31:22 PM

The audience gasped as the sheriff and other county officials showed slides of the rental home of George Djura Jakubec, which was full of hand grenades and powdered explosives in jars and in clumps on the floor.

Last week, explosives experts pulled out of the house in unincorporated Escondido, about 20 miles north of San Diego, saying it was too dangerous to continue investigating and removing the substances.

Gore said the house will be destroyed on Dec. 8 or after, depending on the weather.

“As soon as we get a clear weather pattern, we’re going to go,” he said.

But first, protective barriers will have to be built around the house, Gore said, and before the operation much of the surrounding neighborhood will be evacuated and Interstate 15 will be shut down.

The county declared a public emergency Tuesday to make the destruction possible.

Jakubec, a 54-year-old unemployed software consultant, pleaded not guilty last week to illegally making and possessing explosives and to robbing banks. Investigators suspect him of committing two holdups in San Diego County over the summer. He remained jailed on $5.1 million bail.

Authorities say it is unclear what Jakubec may have planned to do with the materials.

The explosives were discovered after a gardener was injured earlier this month in a blast that occurred when he stepped on explosive powder in the backyard, authorities said. Mario Garcia, 49, suffered eye, chest and arm injuries and was recovering.

The same types of chemicals have been used by suicide bombers and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. They included Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, which was used in the 2001 airliner shoe-bombing attempt as well as in last month’s airplane cargo bombs, authorities said.

The other chemicals were highly unstable Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMTD, and Erythritol tetranitrate, or ETN, authorities said.
9612  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: December 01, 2010, 11:47:59 AM
"Today, pundits from the left to neocon right argue that airline passengers give up their rights when they “choose” to travel by plane. They would no doubt have argued that Ms. Parks similarly gave up her rights when she “chose” to ride the public bus."

**Lacking any practical alternatives, a Libertarian uses an ad hominem attack. Nothing unusual in that. "Libertarians. Providing simplistic non-answers to complex problems since 1971!**
9613  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: December 01, 2010, 11:39:19 AM
And being an Authoritarian means you can present stark scenarios and then give people grief for not wholly embracing all tyrannies you prescribe as a result.

**I give you grief for never having concrete, tangible policies as alternatives to the current structures in place you criticize.**

Is there any part of the founding documents of this country you won't toss down the oubliette for security's sake?

**Were it only so simple as be a binary "free/unfree" decision.
"The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."-Associate Justice Robert Jackson

Are you able to note that the kind of disruptions and heavy handed tactics being embraced are exactly the results our enemies hope for?

**I can suggest some books for you to read that will explain to you what our enemies hope for. I can tell you that TSA screening isn't giving any of them cause to run a victory lap.**

Do you think playing into our enemy's hands counts as a victory? Do the 7,000,000 flights and 9,000,000,000 passengers screened by the TSA without finding a single bomb (they do claim 150 "items of interest," but won't tell anyone what they are) count as a measure of success?

**The measure of success is the fact the 7,000,000 flights and 9,000,000,000 passengers screened by the TSA didn't die enroute to their destination from terrorist actions. That is indeed a record of success. Thanks for pointing it out.**

Should we grope everyone's groin every time there is a none in 9 billion chance that something bad might happen?

**Lacking better options (I'm still waiting for your Libertarian-friendly aviation security policies) we have use what we have available to address real threats.**

Should I start posting pictures of car accidents and relating sad stories of people who drove and died rather than undergo the indignities of air travel?

**Should you rail on how traffic laws and law enforcement oppresses drivers by imposing speed limits and insisting you drive on the correct side of the road while sober? Oh where will the statist oppression end?**

In view of the OK bombing maybe everyone who rents a U-Haul should also be groin gripped? And those who purchase fertilizer? Diesel fuel?

**Post-OK City, and especially after 9/11, new laws and new programs were introduced to make it harder for those with criminal intent to purchase the precursor chemicals to make explosives. It's not impossible, but it's more difficult, and someone trying to make a large amount of ANFO will be much more likely to end up coming to the attention of law enforcement. Is that a bad thing?**

I could go on, but at some point doesn't rational risk assessment informed by our national values have to enter into the conversation or do all of us who hold the concept of liberty dear just have to stand there and be flailed by severed baby limbs wielded by authoritarian hands?

**Like anything, it's a matter of finding a rational balance between national security/public safety concerns with individual freedoms. Something long recognized by the courts. We could never prevent every terrorist attack, no matter what was done. However, we can harden our targets, proactively seek out and make cases on those with the intent to engage in terrorism and wage war on those that wish to command, motivate and train those who would carry out future attacks on us, all while preserving core constitutional freedoms.**
9614  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: December 01, 2010, 11:05:15 AM
"Muslim leaders express concern at backlash from tomorrow's terror attack."  rolleyes
9615  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 01, 2010, 11:01:16 AM
The social contract has been discussed by philosophers, they didn't invent it, just as physicists didn't invent gravity.

Nature and that includes humans are "red in tooth and claw". A quick look at how humans exist across the planet and through recorded history shows that places that lack the rule of law and/or the protection of individual freedoms are not the places most would want to live, though that tends to be the nasty, brutish reality for most humans.

My desire is to preserve the rule of law and public safety while balancing the rights and freedoms of the individual. Neither is absolute.
9616  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: December 01, 2010, 10:39:04 AM
US law protects whistleblowers, if they follow the proper procedures, which includes not releasing classified materials to those not cleared for it.
9617  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 01, 2010, 08:19:05 AM
**Prosecutors do tend to listen to the wishes of the victims in criminal cases, or victim's family in a murder case.**


The term "victim impact statement" refers to written or oral information about the impact of the crime on the victim and the victim's family. Victim impact statements are most commonly used at sentencing. Such statements provide a means for the court to refocus its attention, at least momentarily, on the human cost of the crime. They also provide a way for the victim to participate in the criminal justice process. The right to make an impact statement generally is extended beyond the direct victim to homicide survivors, the parent or guardian of a minor victim, and the guardian or representative of an incompetent or incapacitated victim.

In a recent survey by the National Center for Victims of Crime, over 1300 victims were asked to rate the importance of various legal rights. Over 80% stated that their ability to make a victim impact statement at sentencing and at parole was "very important."(1)

Every state allows some form of victim impact information at sentencing. The majority of states allow both oral and/or written statements from the victim at the sentencing hearing, and require victim impact information to be included in the pre-sentence report. As of 1997, 44 states and the District of Columbia allow information about the impact of the offense(s) on the victim to be included as part of the pre-sentence report; every state allows victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing, and 47 of them allow oral statements at sentencing. (All statutes discussed in this summary are current through 1997 unless otherwise indicated. Source: National Center for Victims of Crime, Legislative Database.)

At the federal level, victim impact information is to be included in the pre-sentence report. In addition, as part of the Federal Crime Act of 1994, Congress gave federal victims of violent crime or sexual assault the right to speak at sentencing. Through the Child Protection Act of 1990, child victims of federal crimes are allowed to submit victim impact statements in measures which are "commensurate with their age and cognitive development," which could include drawings, models, etc.

Victim impact statements usually describe the harm the offense has had on the victim, including descriptions of the financial, physical, psychological or emotional impact, harm to familial relationships, descriptions of any medical treatments or psychological services required by the victim or the victim's family as a result of the victimization, and the need for any restitution. State law might list the elements to be included in the statement, or it may simply permit a "description of the impact of the offense." In addition, many states allow the victim to state his or her opinion about the appropriate sentence.

Along with victim impact statements at sentencing, the majority of states also permit victim input at the parole hearing of the offender. To provide such input, the victim is usually required to maintain a current address on file with the parole board, the prosecutor's office, or some identified criminal justice agency.

In a number of states, the original victim impact statement that was prepared for the sentencing hearing is included in an incarcerated offender's file by corrections and paroling authorities, and reviewed as part of the parole process. A number of states also invite victims to submit an updated impact statement which can include any evidence of communication they may have received from the offender or the offender's associates since sentencing, as well as any other new or updated information concerning the crime's impact on the victim (such as additional physical therapy, surgeries, etc., or continued psychological impact and/or treatment).

Less frequently, victims have input into bail hearings, pretrial release hearings, plea bargain hearings, and other proceedings. Georgia allows victims to submit an impact statement which shall be attached to the file and may be used by the prosecutor or court in making decisions at any stage of the proceedings involving predisposition, plea agreements, sentencing, or determination of restitution.

Generally, the law specifies that victim impact statements may be oral or written, but in several states the statement may also be made by means of videotape, audiotape, or other electronic means. Such flexibility in the form of the impact statement can be particularly beneficial for victims who wish to give input to a parole board, as the victim may live hundreds of miles from the facility where a parole hearing is held. Several states also allow child victims to submit drawings to describe the impact a crime has had on their lives.

The right to present victim impact information, whether written or oral, is usually guaranteed by law. However, some states leave the matter in the discretion of the judge or other officials (such as the parole board). While the laws do not always ensure that the victim impact statement will do more than allow victims a chance to express themselves, many states specifically require the court or board ruling on the offender's status to consider the victim's statements in making its decision.

In most states, a defendant has the right to contest assertions made in the victim impact statement. This is most often limited to objecting to factual statements in the statement. In a few states, the defendant or defense counsel may have the right to cross-examine the victim about the impact statement.

Until recently, victim impact statements were held inadmissible in cases where the death penalty was sought. However, the U.S. Supreme Court in Payne v. Tennessee (1991) reversed its earlier ruling and found that the admission of victim impact statements in capital cases did not violate the Constitution. A few states continue to prohibit the use of victim impact statements in death penalty cases.

For more information about the use of victim impact statements in your state, contact your local prosecutor's office, your state Attorney General's office, or your local law library.
9618  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 01, 2010, 08:10:25 AM
My view of the social contract is informed by my interactions with those involved in the various aspects of the criminal justice system, including those who have committed violent crimes seeking their own vision of justice, mostly what NPR calls "Members of the gang community". Funny enough, they don't often refer to various philosophers when relating their views on "Putting work in for my homie".
9619  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: December 01, 2010, 07:55:25 AM
"I think this is exactly Justice Stevens' point.  For example, when elected judges are more likely to execute than non-elected judges, then there is no equal protection of the laws, and that IS unconstitutional."

**There is endless variation in the outcomes of the criminal justice system. Attractive people fare better than the unattractive, as an example. The quality of the defense and prosecution, the judge's predisposition, the members of the jury, can all  cause identical crimes to result in very different verdicts and sentences. If you want to create a standard where any deviation from absolute equality means there is no equal protection, then NO crime can be punished constitutionally.
9620  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: November 30, 2010, 11:51:24 PM

Washington lawyer Bob Bittman expressed surprise the Justice Department has not already charged Assange under the Espionage Act and with theft of government property over his earlier release of classified documents about U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bittman said it was widely believed those disclosures harmed U.S. national security, in particular U.S. intelligence sources and methods, meeting the requirement in several sections of the act that there be either intent or reason to believe disclosure could injure the United States.

"These are not easy questions," said Washington lawyer Stephen Ryan, a former assistant U.S. attorney and former Senate Government Affairs Committee general counsel. Ryan said it would be legally respectable to argue Assange is a journalist protected by the First Amendment and never had a duty to protect U.S. secrets.

But Ryan added, "The flip side is whether he could be charged with aiding and abetting or conspiracy with an individual who did have a duty to protect those secrets."

On the question of conspiracy there's a legal difference between being a passive recipient of leaked material and being a prime mover egging on a prospective leaker, legal experts say.

Much could depend on what the investigation uncovers.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is being held in a maximum-security military brig at Quantico, Va., charged with leaking video of a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver. WikiLeaks posted the video on its website in April.
9621  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Not banned in Oklahoma, right? on: November 30, 2010, 09:50:58 PM

Bask in the multicultural glory, JDN. You and CAIR against all that's good and decent.
9622  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2010, 09:30:15 PM
9623  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2010, 09:21:10 PM
**At least she didn't have to face screening from the TSA, right BBG?**

Jurors at Zacarias Moussaoui's death penalty trial heard wrenching accounts Monday about the 9/11 attacks' youngest victim and the World Trade Center firm that suffered the largest human toll.

One after the other, a diverse parade of government witnesses cried or fought back tears as they testified.

Seven of the 15 government witnesses lost two or more relatives in the trade center attacks. The jury also heard a pair of phone calls from victims trapped inside the towers.

Lee Hanson, 73, described how he watched on television as his son, Peter, 32, daughter-in-law, Sue Kim, 35, and granddaughter, Christine, perished aboard United Airlines Flight 175 as it slammed into the trade center's south tower.

Christine, 2 1/2 years old, was the youngest of the 2,973 victims.

"She was the sweetest little girl," her grandfather recalled. "She was love personified."

Peter had planned to combine a business trip with a family visit to Disneyland and his in-laws, who are Korean immigrants.

He called his father as the hijackings unfolded, describing in a soft voice how a flight attendant had been stabbed, Hanson testified.

When he called a second time, Peter said the hijackers' flying was so bumpy that passengers were vomiting.

"I think they're going to try to crash this plane into a building," the son told his father. " 'Don't worry, Dad. If it happens, it will be quick,' " Hanson quoted his son as saying.

Moments later, as his son whispered, "Oh, my God," into the phone three times, Lee Hanson watched on television as the plane struck the tower and burst into a fireball.

"They took away our dreams. They took away our future," Hanson testified.

He described how he later went to his son's house to collect toothbrushes and picked hair off brushes so medical examiners could obtain DNA samples to identify remains.
9624  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2010, 09:08:09 PM
It does not take a terrorist mastermind to create a VBIED capable of turning masses of innocents into a scene from an inner ring of hell.
9625  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2010, 08:58:04 PM
After 9/11, a decision was made that the FBI wouldn't just wait for the next mass casualty attack so they could sweep up the body parts and process the crime scene. Rather than being a mostly neglected duty, it was to be one of the Bureau's primary jobs and done as to roll up attacks before there were more smoking craters in our cities. So they look for those predisposed to doing such things and then give them enough legal rope while controlling the situation so that no actual smoking craters happen. Should the FBI just have sat back until our Somali friend hooked up with real bomb makers or figured out how to make a functional device on his own? I guess there would be a lot less liberal voters in Portland after that. Probably more money for law enforcement in the aftermath of a mass fatality even in the pacific northwest. So in preventing such a thing, it's again their own interest and allows critics such as yourself to continue denying that there is a real threat that has to be addressed.

Wow, how's that for overwrought? Nothing like citing smoking craters and body parts spread thin to breath life into the tale of a dumba$$ who likely couldn't assemble an explosive device in the first place.

**I was in a training class where we watched the testimony from a OCPD officer that was one of the first responders to the Oklahoma City bombing. He recounted how he had assisted in extracting this child from the rubble.

He stated the he then found another tiny foot protruding from the wreckage. He and others carefully dug to extract the child, only to find that it was just a toddler's leg, severed at the hip.

9626  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: November 30, 2010, 08:24:15 PM
The 5th Amendment

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

** "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law". So, as long as due process of law occurs, then the deprivation of life is constitutional.**
9627  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: November 30, 2010, 08:17:05 PM
Part of the social contract is that in exchange for the state's criminal justice power monopoly, that the legal system provides tangible justice for the friends and family of those victimized by criminals. Failure to provide a sense of justice done, would motivate some to seek their own justice, which corrodes the rule of law.

My wife currently serves as a correctional officer in a maximum security prison, where many of the inmates there already know they will die in custody. The death penalty may deter some of those inmates from murdering the correctional officers. Aside from that, many of these inmates have nothing left to lose and have already demonstrated a willingness to take human life without any moral restraint.
9628  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: November 30, 2010, 07:53:42 PM

Pretty much any nation-state that is anybody on the world stage uses their embassies and diplomatic cover for espionage purposes. Spies are generally divided into "legals" and "illegals". The "legals" have diplomatic creds and when caught get PNG'ed (Meaning persona non grata) and ejected from the foreign nation. "Illegals" operate under deep cover, because if they are discovered, they face whatever the capturing authorities might wish to do to them, including torture, imprisonment and execution.
9629  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: November 30, 2010, 07:34:10 PM
My money is on Shlomo Walnuts.  grin
9630  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: November 30, 2010, 07:26:49 PM
If Julian Assange was named Haj al-Jihad and wikileaks were alqaedaleaks, would there be any question what to do? There are laws that cover espionage and the unauthorized release of classified material.
9631  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2010, 07:01:33 PM
Being a Libertarian means never having to say you're sorry. As in, being a fringe party almost never entrusted by the public with any position of authority means you are free to create your imaginary utopias then throw rocks at those that actually shoulder real burdens with real consequences.

So, what, if any aviation security would you have? How does it work?
9632  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sharia 101 on: November 30, 2010, 06:49:07 PM
Something you and this leftist judge seem incapable of grasping is that OKhoma's law does not in any way stop a muslim from attending a mosque, praying towards Mecca 5 times a day, following halal dietary rules or making a haj to Mecca. It tells the courts they can't apply sharia law to Oklahoma law.

Useful idiots to the global jihad.
9633  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: November 30, 2010, 06:43:18 PM
Given the opaque nature of the Chinese power structure, it's difficult to know for sure if such actions were known of at the highest levels and had their approval. The PLA has had the tendency to act more like an organized crime cartel rather than a conventional military since the start of market reforms in China, if not earlier. The NorKs tend to act as cut outs for the PLA's covert actions or act in concert with the PLA generals when they seek to pad their retirement portfolios through less than accepted means.

A very insightful writer described the Chinese power structure as "5% Marxist-Leninist, 95% Sopranos".

My recommendation for a response would be for China to be given a back channel message to cease and desist or we start a tit for tat nuke and missile tech transfer to places they would not like to have it, like a small country called Taiwan.
9634  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 30, 2010, 06:29:18 PM
Where did I see that? Article I. Section II of the constitution. Perhaps less time wrapping yourself in it and more time reading it would be helpful? The point of it being a way to keep slave states from being over-represented in the House, not as a comment on the humanity of slaves or indians.

It was also cited in Dred Scott, both in the court actions leading up to and in the Supreme Court decision.

But I'll make you a deal, you quit shredding the constitution for reasons of expediency and I'll quit trying to stitch it back together and causing you distress by "wrapping" myself with the results.

Please show me where the Scott v. Sanford case uses the phrase "3/5 of a human being" or anything similar.
9635  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Times then and now on: November 29, 2010, 07:39:29 PM

The Times then and now
November 28, 2010 Posted by Scott at 9:22 PM

The New York Times is participating in the dissemination of the stolen State Department cables that have been made available to it in one way or another via WikiLeaks. My friend Steve Hayward recalls that only last year the New York Times ostentatiously declined to publish or post any of the Climategate emails because they had been illegally obtained. Surely readers will recall Times reporter Andrew Revkin's inspiring statement of principle: "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."

Interested readers may want to compare and contrast Revkin's statement of principle with the editorial note posted by the Times on the WikiLeaks documents this afternoon. Today the Times cites the availability of the documents elsewhere and the pubic interest in their revelations as supporting their publication by the Times. Both factors applied in roughly equal measure to the Climategate emails.

Without belaboring the point, let us note simply that the two statements are logically irreconcilable. Perhaps something other than principle and logic were at work then, or are at work now. Given the Times's outrageous behavior during the Bush administration, the same observation applies to the Times's protestations of good faith.

UPDATE: James Delingpole cruelly belabors the point...
9636  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China open to Korean reunification? on: November 29, 2010, 06:29:45 PM

New Wikileaks docs revealed: China open to Korean reunification?

posted at 6:00 pm on November 29, 2010 by Allahpundit

Time for the daily diplo document dump, which should be a 5 p.m. staple for at least the next week. Most of you will go looking for the Times’s write-up but the Guardian’s is better in this case. Here’s what I meant yesterday when I said that, for an ostensibly anti-war organization, Wikileaks sure is cavalier about the sort of escalation between rivals that some of these documents might ignite. At a moment when U.S./ROK wargames are going on in the Yellow Sea, with four South Koreans dead within the past week from North Korean shelling, how’s crazy Kim going to react upon learning that his chief benefactor might soon be ready to pull the plug on foreign aid and let North Korea disintegrate? Anyone excited to toss that particular match into the powder keg and see if anything pops?

    The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:

    • South Korea’s vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul’s control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing…

    In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington…

    “The two officials, Chun said, were ready to ‘face the new reality’ that the DPRK [North Korea] now had little value to China as a buffer state – a view that, since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, had reportedly gained traction among senior PRC [People's Republic of China] leaders. Chun argued that in the event of a North Korean collapse, China would clearly ‘not welcome’ any US military presence north of the DMZ [demilitarised zone]. Again citing his conversations with [the officials], Chun said the PRC would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ – as long as Korea was not hostile towards China. Tremendous trade and labour-export opportunities for Chinese companies, Chun said, would also help ‘salve’ PRC concerns about … a reunified Korea.

China ran the numbers and concluded they could absorb up to 300,000 North Korean refugees, so clearly they’re taking this possibility seriously. More ominously, a Chinese diplomat also allegedly told his American counterpart that China has “much less influence than most people believe” over the North Korean leadership. Maybe that’s self-serving spin aimed at creating plausible deniability for China the next time Kim does something nutty, but officials in the White House told Marc Ambinder last week that China was as surprised as we were by the revelation of North Korea’s new uranium enrichment facility. That jibes with a bunch of cables highlighted in the NYT’s story tonight claiming that Chinese knowledge of — and control over — the NorKs’ activities isn’t as robust as we’d like to think.

    On May 13, 2009, as American satellites showed unusual activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site, officials in Beijing said they were “unsure” that North Korean “threats of another nuclear test were serious.” As it turns out, the North Koreans detonated a test bomb just days later.

    Soon after, Chinese officials predicted that negotiations intended to pressure the North to disarm would be “shelved for a few months.” They have never resumed…

    In June 2009, at a lunch in Beijing shortly after the North Korean nuclear test, two senior Chinese Foreign Ministry officials reported that China’s experts believed “the enrichment was only in its initial phases.” In fact, based on what the North Koreans revealed this month, an industrial-scale enrichment plant was already under construction. It was apparently missed by both American and Chinese intelligence services.

The Chinese also allegedly believed that Kim would hand power to a military junta and not the young, untested Kim Jong-un. Wrong again. Could be that they’re simply playing dumb, but if they’re not then (a) the situation right now on the Korean peninsula is even more precarious than thought and (b) it’s unclear whether China could bring about reunification even if it wanted to. This takes us back to yesterday’s post about McCain’s comments: What reason is there to believe that, faced with a Chinese embargo and total social collapse, the North Korean military would opt to reunify instead of to go out fighting? Some soldiers might agree to lay down their arms for survival’s sake, but others will be so rabidly nationalistic that they’ll prefer death to absorption by South Korea. (Wouldn’t be the first time that cult members have opted for suicide.) All it would take to touch off a war on the peninsula is for a few well-placed NorK officers to give the orders to shell Seoul. What then?

Another question: To what extent have Chinese and South Korean actions over the past week been guided by the looming release of these documents? Remember that the State Department has been warning allies about what was coming, so today’s news won’t be a surprise to Beijing or Seoul (but it probably will to Pyongyang). Does this explain why South Korea’s president is suddenly talking very tough about responding to provocations while quietly canceling artillery drills that might escalate the situation further? He needs to put on a brave face for South Korean voters who are turning increasingly hawkish towards the NorKs, but he may be worried that the news about China favoring reunification has North Korea in an unusually desperate position. The solution: Speak loudly and carry a conspicuously small stick.
9637  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 29, 2010, 05:54:28 PM
"Oregon kid arrested. More theater, IMO. Notice how every couple months we have a new sap, or set of saps, paraded in front of the media? Looks like the feds go trolling for yo yos who don't do a very good job of keeping their mouths shut, and 3 or 4 times a year give 'em a dummy bomb to not detonate that leads to an arrest and another passion play."

**After 9/11, a decision was made that the FBI wouldn't just wait for the next mass casualty attack so they could sweep up the body parts and process the crime scene. Rather than being a mostly neglected duty, it was to be one of the Bureau's primary jobs and done as to roll up attacks before there were more smoking craters in our cities. So they look for those predisposed to doing such things and then give them enough legal rope while controlling the situation so that no actual smoking craters happen. Should the FBI just have sat back until our Somali friend hooked up with real bomb makers or figured out how to make a functional device on his own? I guess there would be a lot less liberal voters in Portland after that. Probably more money for law enforcement in the aftermath of a mass fatality even in the pacific northwest. So in preventing such a thing, it's again their own interest and allows critics such as yourself to continue denying that there is a real threat that has to be addressed.

"Whatever happened to the Huatree militia anyway?"

**Still going through pre-trial motions. Still indicted, still awaiting their time in court.
9638  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 29, 2010, 05:27:37 PM

"Case law. I've read case law declaring blacks to be 3/5's of a human being."

**I haven't seen case law that said that. I have seen this: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

Where did I see that? Article I. Section II of the constitution. Perhaps less time wrapping yourself in it and more time reading it would be helpful? The point of it being a way to keep slave states from being over-represented in the House, not as a comment on the humanity of slaves or indians.
9639  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Headlines from the future..... on: November 28, 2010, 08:24:44 PM
A headline from the future with President Obama: "The Sunni-Shia Nuclear Arms Race Escalates".

I wonder how much gas will be then....

America is not short of allies in its quest to thwart Iran, though some are clearly more enthusiastic than the Obama administration for a definitive solution to Iran's nuclear designs. In one cable, a US diplomat noted how Saudi foreign affairs bureaucrats were moderate in their views on Iran, "but diverge significantly from the more bellicose advice we have gotten from senior Saudi royals".

In a conversation with a US diplomat, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain "argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their [Iran's] nuclear programme, by whatever means necessary. That programme must be stopped. The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it." Zeid Rifai, then president of the Jordanian senate, told a senior US official: "Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won't matter."

In talks with US officials, Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed favoured action against Iran, sooner rather than later. "I believe this guy is going to take us to war ... It's a matter of time. Personally, I cannot risk it with a guy like [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. He is young and aggressive."

In another exchange , a senior Saudi official warned that Gulf states may develop nuclear weapons of their own, or permit them to be based in their countries to deter the perceived Iranian threat.

No US ally is keener on military action than Israel, and officials there have repeatedly warned that time is running out. "If the Iranians continue to protect and harden their nuclear sites, it will be more difficult to target and damage them," the US embassy reported Israeli defence officials as saying in November 2009.

There are differing views within Israel. But the US embassy reported: "The IDF [Israeli Defence Force], however, strikes us as more inclined than ever to look toward a military strike, whether launched by Israel or by us, as the only way to destroy or even delay Iran's plans." Preparations for a strike would likely go undetected by Israel's allies or its enemies.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told US officials in May last yearthat he and the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, agreed that a nuclear Iran would lead others in the region to develop nuclear weapons, resulting in "the biggest threat to non-proliferation efforts since the Cuban missile crisis".

The cables also expose frank, even rude, remarks about Iranian leaders, their trustworthiness and tactics at international meetings. Abdullah told another US diplomat: "The bottom line is that they cannot be trusted." Mubarak told a US congressman: "Iran is always stirring trouble." Others are learning from what they describe as Iranian deception. "They lie to us, and we lie to them," said Qatar's prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim Jaber al-Thani.
9640  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Voting present on: November 28, 2010, 07:45:33 PM

Korea: Verbose Silence, Interpolation
posted at 8:27 pm on November 28, 2010 by J.E. Dyer

One of the most worrisome aspects of the Obama administration’s foreign policy is the effective inconsistency of its “information” posture. The crisis on the Korean peninsula is a case in point. Most Americans are probably under the impression that the USS George Washington carrier group is being sent as a show of force in response to North Korea’s provocative shelling incident on 23 November. But the naval exercise the carrier group is heading for has been scheduled for months.
9641  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Worst Reporting In the World? on: November 28, 2010, 07:25:30 PM

Friday, November 26, 2010
The Worst Reporting In the World?
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 2:50 PM

On Thanksgiving the New York Times ran a story with the headline "G.O.P. and Tea Party Gains Are Mixed Blessing for Israel".

The story contained this blunt assertion: "Scores of Tea Party-backed candidates are entering Congress, many of whom favor isolationist policies and are determined to cut American foreign aid, regardless of its destination." (emphasis added.)

Many paragraphs later the article notes that "the Israeli government was viewed by some as one of the big winners of the midterm elections," but then adds "the Tea Party-backed lawmakers remain something of a mystery" and goes on to cite Senator-elect Paul again as holding views that trouble supporters of Israel.

Given the headline and the fact that the reporters say that "many" of the "scores of Tea Party-backed candidates" are backing isolationist policies, shouldn't the article cite someone other than Paul?  I am unaware of any other Tea Party-backed candidate entering the Congress who is other than very supportive of Israel, but perhaps I missed ten, five or even a couple of anti-aid-for-Israel candidates?  Surely the Times had something to back up the reporters' assertions and the headline?

Or not.  The article seems a transparent attempt to persaude readers that Israel has something to fear from the new Congress when in fact Israel's greatest concern comes from the president.  The obvious hostility to Israel that has marked the president's public statements and policies from the day he took office is clearly threatening the Democrats' grip on the votes of Jewish-Americans, so the left-wing Times has helpfully launched a wholly misleading meme that Israel has something to fear from the new GOP majority when in fact the triumph of the GOP is the best thing to happen to Israel in American politics in two years.

Really, are there no editors at the Times?  One senator's statements versus the overwhelmingly pro-Israel views of the new GOP members? 
9642  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: North Korea on: November 28, 2010, 05:55:14 PM

Ground Defense Command likely to be set up to coordinate armies

Sunday 28th November, 03:21 PM JST


The Defense Ministry has been making final adjustments toward establishing a Ground Defense Command that will coordinate the operations of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s regional armies, sources at the ministry and the Self-Defense Forces said Saturday.

The proposed change is likely to be included in the new National Defense Program Guidelines the government plans to adopt at a cabinet meeting on Dec 10, according to the sources.

The move is aimed at boosting operational coordination within the GSDF, but the sources said the new higher body is unlikely to be given a command authority, although it was originally sought.

Under the current SDF command structure, the defense minister, in times of emergencies, gives operational commands to the Air Self-Defense Force mainly through its Air Defense Command and to the Maritime Self-Defense Force via its Self-Defense Fleet.

Because the GSDF has no such unified command, the minister would give commands to each of the five regional armies, a process some critics say is cumbersome compared with the other two defense branches.

Efforts had been made within the ministry since 2004 to consider unifying the lines of command in the regional armies at a ground command, but they fizzled out due to opposition from the GSDF.

Under the new plan, the Eastern Army, now headquartered at Camp Asaka in and around Tokyo’s Nerima Ward and responsible for defending the Kanto region, would be abolished and replaced by the new command.

**Looks like Japan is moving to address the growing threats from China and the NorKs.**
9643  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 04:27:18 PM
Reading the FBI affidavit describing Islamist terror suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud's plan to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square is a chilling experience.  Mohamud, a Somali-born naturalized U.S. citizen who attended Oregon State University, told undercover FBI agents he dreamed of performing acts of jihad in which hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans would die.  "Do you remember when 9/11 happened when those people were jumping from skyscrapers?" Mohamud asked the agents, according to the affidavit.  "I thought that was awesome."

In months of preparation with men he thought were co-conspirators but were in fact undercover agents, Mohamud backed up his talk with action.  After initially making email contact with Islamist radicals in Pakistan, he took part in constructing what he hoped would be an extraordinarily powerful bomb, scouted the best location for the attack, parked the van containing the bomb near the Christmas tree crowd, and, finally, dialed the cell phone number he believed would detonate the explosives. "I want whoever is attending that event to leave either dead or injured," Mohamud said of the 25,000 people expected to take part in the event.

That Mohamud was arrested and no one was hurt is a testament to good intelligence and law enforcement work.  Having Mohamud behind bars has undoubtedly saved lives in Portland; had he not encountered the undercover FBI agents, he might have worked with actual terrorists to construct a bomb, or he might have simply gotten a gun and carried out "an operation here, you know, like something like Mumbai," as he told the agents.

What is ironic is that the operation that found and stopped Mohamud is precisely the kind of law enforcement work that Portland's leaders, working with the American Civil Liberties Union, rejected during the Bush years.  In April 2005, the Portland city council voted 4 to 1 to withdraw Portland city police officers from participating in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Mayor Tom Potter said the FBI refused to give him a top-secret security clearance so he could make sure the officers weren't violating state anti-discrimination laws that bar law enforcement from targeting suspects on the basis of their religious or political beliefs.

Other city leaders agreed.  "Here in Portland, we are not willing to give up individual liberties in order to have a perception of safety," said city commissioner Randy Leonard.  "It's important for cities to know how their police officers are being used."

Local officials were also angry about the FBI's mistaken arrest of Brandon Mayfield, a Portland lawyer and convert to Islam, for the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Spain.  But well before the Mayfield case, Portland had a history of rejecting Bush administration efforts to fight terrorism.  "Portland's decision would not be the first time the city has taken a contrary stand in the war on terrorism," the Los Angeles Times reported in 2005.  "In the months after Sept. 11, city leaders refused to cooperate with federal efforts to interview thousands of local Muslims. In 2003, the City Council criticized and called for radical changes in the USA Patriot Act, the much-debated federal anti-terrorism legislation."

In the Mohamud case, it appears that Portland's anti-law enforcement stand might actually have influenced Mohamud's decision to undertake an attack in the city.  According to the FBI affidavit, the undercover agents asked whether he worried that law enforcement would stop him. "In Portland?" Mohamud replied.  "Not really.  They don't see it as a place where anything will happen.  People say, you know, why, anybody want to do something in Portland, you know, it's on the west coast, it's in Oregon, and Oregon's, like you know, nobody ever thinks about it."

Read more at the Washington Examiner:
9644  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 04:09:38 PM

New Jersey Residents Arrested for Attempting to Join Somali-Based Terrorist Group

Updated: September 20, 2010
Posted: June 7, 2010


Two Americans who allegedly planned to kill American soldiers overseas are the latest in a wave of Americans traveling to Somalia to fight with an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group.


A criminal complaint unsealed in a New Jersey federal court on June 6, 2010, charged Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 20, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, with conspiring to kill, maim, and kidnap persons outside the United States.  The men, who planned to travel to Somalia to fight with Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization based in Somalia, each face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.


Alessa, an American citizen of Palestinian descent, and Almonte, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Dominican Republic, were arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on June 5, 2010, as they attempted to board separate flights to Egypt.  According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, the men planned to travel from Egypt to Somalia to join Al Shabaab.


Federal authorities began investigating Alessa and Almonte, a convert to Islam who goes by the name Omar, in October 2006 after receiving a tip through the FBI's Web site about the men's online activities.  "All they look for is all those terrorist videos about the Islam holly [sic] war and where they kill US soldiers," the tip read, "they keep saying that Americans are their enemies, that everybody other than Islamic followers are their enemies…and they all must be killed."


An undercover officer from the New York Police Department's intelligence unit subsequently recorded numerous meetings and conversations with the men.  According to the affidavit, the recordings show Alessa and Almonte discussing ways to prepare themselves to "wage violent jihad" and to kill American troops who they thought would soon be deployed to Somalia to help fight Al Shabaab.  "My soul cannot rest until I shed blood," Alessa said in November 2009 before threatening to "start doing killing here" if he and Almonte fail to join the terrorist group overseas.


Alessa and Almonte allegedly engaged in paramilitary training by shooting paintball guns and practicing other attack techniques, including hand-to-hand fighting tactics and shooting and crawling positions.  Additionally, the men physically conditioned themselves by hiking in snow and mud and by lifting weights.  The affidavit also alleged that Alessa and Almonte procured military gear and engaged in "simulated combat" using first-person-shooter computer software, which allows users to employ a variety of realistic weapons and simulate combat experiences from the perspective of a soldier.


The affidavit further outlined Alessa's and Almonte's extensive use of the Internet to view various documents and recordings that promoted "violent jihad," including documents authored by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's second-in-command.  The men also allegedly watched videos of Al Shabaab fighters in Somalia and other videos depicting attacks on uniformed personnel in Iraq. 


Alessa and Almonte also watched video and audio recordings by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric living in Yemen who targets English-speaking Muslim audiences with radical online lectures that encourage attacks against the West and non-Muslims.  In May 2010, for example, Alessa and Almonte watched a video interview in which al-Awlaki warned of future attacks against Americans both in the U.S. and abroad.  "Oh America, if you attack us, we will attack you, and if you kill us, we will kill you… These American soldiers heading to Afghanistan and Iraq will be killed. We will kill them if we can, there in Fort Hood, or we will kill them in Afghanistan and Iraq."


Alessa and Almonte also listened to another al-Awlaki sermon entitled, "Constants on the Path of Jihad."  In the lecture, which has been posted on several Web sites commonly used by Muslim extremists and is based on the writings of Yousef al-Ayyiri, the founder of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, al-Awlaki says, "Jihad will also carry on until the Day of Judgment since we are told to wipe out kufr [non-Muslims] from the world." 


Al-Awlaki has been linked to several other accused terrorists who have carried out attacks against the U.S., including Nidal Malik Hasan, the alleged gunman who killed 13 people at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas in November 2009.  In the weeks following the shooting at Fort Hood, Alessa allegedly threatened to "do twice what he [Hasan] did."


According to the affidavit, Alessa and Almonte were also influenced by several other American-born Muslim ideologues who have encouraged attacks and provided ideological motivation for engaging in terrorist activities.  In March 2010, the men viewed an Al Qaeda video in which Adam Yahiye Gadahn, an American Muslim convert from California who joined Al Qaeda in the late 1990s, encouraged followers to carry out attacks against high-value targets in America and the West to "further our global agenda and long-range strategic objectives." The men also watched videos featuring Omar Hammami, a Muslim convert from Alabama who has appeared in a number of online videos urging Americans men "to come and live the life of a mujahid [Muslim warrior]" in Somalia and join Al Shabaab.


In addition to their online activity, both Alessa and Almonte attended a number of events held by the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS) and Revolution Muslim (RM), New York-based groups that justify terrorist attacks and other forms of violence in order to create a global Islamic state. At one of the protests, on May 23, 2010, against the Israeli Day Parade in New York, Alessa led a chant with the anti-Jewish slogan, "Khaibar, Khaibar ya Yahud, jaish Muhammad sawfa ya'ud," evoking the Quran's account of a battle between the Prophet Muhammad and the Jews of the town of Khaibar, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews of Arabia.


Alessa also attended ITS and RM rallies in Washington, D.C. in March 2010, where he appeared in videos standing next to emerging RM leader Zachary Chesser, an online blogger who has distributed jihadist materials and promoted violence against non-Muslims through a variety of online platforms.  Chesser has since been arrested and charged for attempting to join Al Shabaab in Somalia. 

**Note that Zachary Chesser was a Jew prior to his "reversion" to the religion of pieces.**

In addition, Almonte posted a picture on his Facebook profile of himself at another anti-Israel rally in December 2008, attended by members of ITS and RM, where he is carrying a sign that reads, "Death to All (zionist) Juice."


Alessa and Almonte had previously traveled to Jordan and attempted to cross the border into Iraq to join terrorist groups, according to New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.  Almonte later told the undercover police officer that he and Alessa sought unsuccessfully to become "mujahideen," or Muslim warriors, when they traveled to Jordan in February 2007.


In September 2010, New Jersey resident Mohamed Osman, 19, pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities investigating Alessa and Almonte. When questioned by federal authorities three months earlier, Osman denied knowing about Alessa and Almonte’s plans to travel to Somalia to fight against government and multinational peacekeeping forces.
9645  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 03:49:25 PM

In recent headlines, three American converts to Islam—Gregory Patterson, Levar Wasington, and Kevin James—were recently arrested and tried for intending to wage jihad against the U.S. They are by no means the first American converts to Islam to go terrorist.

There was Christopher Paul, who was tried for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction; John Walker Lindh, who, as a “warrior of Islam,” was captured post 9/11 fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan; “Azzam the American” (formerly “Adam Gadahn”) who, after being graciously introduced by al-Qaeda leader Aymin Zawahiri on a video made some months ago proceeded to harangue and mock his fellow Americans—including JW’s own Robert Spencer—into abandoning Christianity and submitting to Allah; and Jose Padilla (aka “Abdullah al-Muhajir”).

Then, of course, there are the countless European converts. There’s the British “shoe-bomber,” Abdul Rahim (formerly “Richard Reid”) who attempted to achieve “martyrdom” by detonating explosives in his shoes while aboard a passenger aircraft; the late Abdullah Shaheed (formerly “Germaine Lindsay”) who did achieve “martyrdom” by killing himself and 56 of his fellow citizens, and injuring over 700, in the London bombings of 2005; and Abu Abdullah (original name unknown), the native Briton turned fiery Islamist preacher who, before finally being arrested, made no secret of his vitriolic hatred of the West (all, of course, while enjoying Western liberties, such as freedom of speech).

At any rate, what causes such men, born and raised in the West, often from Christian backgrounds, to abandon their heritage, embrace Islam, and conspire to kill the very people they grew up with?

As for Islam’s “intrinsic” appeal, it has long been argued that, unlike Christianity, which can be "heavy" on theology, Islam is relatively simple and straightforward. So while Christianity revolves around metaphysical concepts and topics, such as the Trinity, Christology, the nature of salvation, grace, free-will vs election, and the futility of the law, Islam, in black and white terms, commands its adherents to do this and not do that. In fact, the Arabic word “sharia,” that comprehensive body of laws Muslims must follow, means the “pathway”—as in, “the pathway to paradise.” (In pre-Islamic Arabic, of course, it specifically means pathway to water for camels.)
9646  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 03:45:07 PM

Nicky Reilly, 22, who uses the Muslim name Mohamed Abdulaziz Rashid Saeed-Alim, pleaded guilty to launching the failed attack on a busy family restaurant at the Princesshay shopping centre in Exeter in May this year

Reilly researched how to make a bomb, acquired the components and made three devices using caustic soda, paraffin and aluminium foil, along with nails, which he had put in glass soft drink bottles.

But when he attempted to assemble one of the soft drink bottle bombs in the lavatory cubicle of the restaurant it exploded in his hands.
9647  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 03:26:43 PM,1518,605911,00.html

18 Years for Al-Qaida Member
Paris Court Finds German Guilty of Tunisian Attack

A French court on Thursday found a German man guilty of plotting a deadly 2002 Tunisian terror attack where a gas-laden truck smashed into a synagogue, killing 21 people. Christian Ganczarski was sentenced to 18 years -- but his lawyer pledged to appeal the "unacceptable" verdict.

A French court on Thursday ruled that a German al-Qaida member had played a central role in the deadly 2002 suicide bombing of a Tunisian synagogue which killed 21 people. Christian Ganczarski, a 42-year-old Islamic convert who had visited Afghan and Pakistani militant camps and had met Osama bin Laden, was found guilty of being complicit in the murders and of membership of a terrorist group. He was given an 18-year sentence.

The attack, which was claimed by al-Qaida, targeted the historic Ghriba synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba, a magnet for tourists. Suicide bomber Nizar Naouar slammed into the building in a fuel tanker laden with explosives. In total, 14 German tourists, five Tunisians and two French nationals were killed and many more people were injured. The trial started in January.
9648  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 03:23:51 PM

Christian Ganczarski, seen here in a December 2001 file photo, has denied any connection with the Djerba plot.
9649  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 03:08:15 PM

Christian Ganczarski, a 36-year-old German citizen of Polish descent,1564,891855,00.html

German police questioned Ganczarski last year about the Djerba attack after it was established he had telephoned with one of the suicide bombers shortly before the attack. He was detained but then later released when no direct involvement in the incident could be found. Shortly thereafter he moved to Saudi Arabia.


Although during his time in training camps in Afghanistan he was known as “Ibrahim the German,” Ganczarski is of Polish descent. Born in southern Poland in 1966, he later moved to Germany with his parents and became a naturalized citizen. He and his wife are converts to Islam. Trained as a locksmith, he eventually became know as a “computer expert” in extremist circles.

Germany has been a focal point for investigations into al Qaeda terrorist activity ever since it was discovered that several of the key figures in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States had lived in Hamburg for years.


Ganczarski is suspected of having contact with the Moroccan Mounir El Motassadeq, a Hamburg resident who has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for supporting some of those involved in the attacks on New York and Washington.

Ganczarski also reportedly knows another Moroccan extremist named Karim Mehdi, who was detained at Charles de Gaulle on June 1. Mehdi, who has lived in Germany for years, was allegedly plotting attacks on the island of La Reunion in the Indian Ocean and against U.S. military bases in Germany. French authorities say he has alleged that Ganczarski also had a role in the planning of the attacks, though they never happened.
9650  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: November 28, 2010, 02:51:15 PM
Fast Facts:
• Born Daood Gilani in Washington, D.C., in 1960 to a Pakistani father and an American mother. Lives with his wife and children in Chicago.

• After his parents' divorce, returned to Pakistan with his father and was raised in a traditional Muslim household until moving to Philadelphia at age 17 to live with his mother.

• Attended the Community College of Philadelphia, but left school before receiving a degree.

• Worked in a bar and a series of video stores after leaving school.

• Convicted on heroin-smuggling charges in 1998; served 15 months in prison. Headley later worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration, in part to avoid a lengthier jail sentence.

• Allegedly received training from Kashmiri separatist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) from February 2002 to December 2003. The group, which aims to drive Indian forces out of the disputed territory of Kashmir, is considered a foreign terrorist operation by the U.S. government.

• Changed his name to David Headley (Headley being his mother's maiden name) in 2005. Authorities say the change was made to ease travel and make him seem more American while working for LeT.

• Since his alleged training with LeT, has traveled frequently between Pakistan, India, the Middle East and the U.S.

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