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9701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: May 17, 2009, 04:51:01 PM
JDN,

Ever wonder why you don't often see wealthy organized crime figures becoming the victims of street crime? Ever hear of a biker wearing the colors of a outlaw motorcycle gang getting his bike jacked at gunpoint? Ever hear of certain ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn with very low crime rates despite being close to neighborhoods with very high crime rates? Ever wonder how this could be? Hint: It ain't the NYPD keeping things quiet.
9702  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: May 17, 2009, 04:43:50 PM
April 12, 2004, 8:39 a.m.
Holding Us Hostage
Speaking their language.

The recent mania for hostage taking in Iraq reminded me of an exchange I had with one of my professors in grad school. We were discussing the Iran-Contra hearings, particularly the secret attempts to bring Iranian influence to bear on the terrorist groups that held a half dozen Americans. I brought up an alternative crisis-resolution model. In September 1985, four Soviet diplomats in Beirut were kidnapped by members of Hezbollah. One of them, Arkady Katkov, was shot in the head, and the rest were imprisoned. The terrorists wanted the Soviet Union to bring pressure on Syria to stop giving military support to a rival militia group. The situation was similar to that the United States, France, and other countries faced vis-à-vis the same Iranian-backed Shiite militants. But the Soviet response was different. Working with Syria, the KGB tracked down three young relatives of the Hezbollah leader. The Soviets then, so it is said, mutilated one of the men and sent body parts to the terrorists with a promise that the other two in their care would be treated similarly unless their people were released. That evening, the three diplomats, emaciated, unshaven, barefoot, and wearing dirty track suits, appeared at the gates of the Soviet embassy. Problem solved.

Naturally, I was not suggesting we go the mutilation route — what I admired was the unwillingness of the Soviets to accept the boundaries Hezbollah had tried to establish. Maybe in our face-off with the terrorists we should have abducted some their people, particularly family members, and leveled the playing field. But the professor took issue with my argument:

Professor: "We can't do things like that."
JR: "Why not?"

Professor: "We're a democracy."

JR: "So what? Foreign terrorists acting abroad have no rights under our law."

Professor: "But if we did something like that and it became known, the public would not stand for it."

JR: "The public would love it. Who are their heroes? Guys like Rambo and Dirty Harry. The American people just want the job done. They won't question success. If Ollie North had pulled off something like that and brought our people home, there would have been no need to keep it secret. President Reagan could have announced it in prime time."

Professor: "But what about the investigations?"

JR: "There would be no investigations."

Professor: (Silence)

I was not the only one thinking that way back then, and certainly not the most influential. After the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front, during which disabled American Leon Klinghoffer was shot in his wheelchair and thrown overboard, Donald Rumsfeld called terrorism a form of "outright warfare" against the United States. He called for vigorous action against terrorists on their home ground, which at the time meant moving against their state sponsors as well. Sixteen years later, al Qaeda and the Taliban discovered what the Rumsfeld Doctrine entailed.

Recent communiqués from al Qaeda have discussed the possibility of taking hostages to exchange for terrorists held in Guantanamo and elsewhere. This is a switch for the terrorists, who in recent years have usually taken prisoners as the prelude to ritual execution. The practice probably shows the influence of the Chechens, for whom it is customary. The Danny Pearl kidnapping and murder is the most noted example. This senseless and brutal act, recorded in grisly detail (and the entire video has not been shown publicly) was meant no doubt to frighten, but only had the effect of increasing our anger. However, before 9/11 al Qaeda knew the value of using hostages as a medium of exchange. This is noted in the recently declassified August 6, 2001 PDB; in 1998 al Qaeda discussed hijacking an American aircraft to exchange for Omar Abdel-Rahman, "spiritual leader" of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The technique was used on an Air India flight hijacked in December 1999 and taken to Kandahar. Among the three fellow travelers the terrorists got released was Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh — mastermind of the Danny Pearl murder, now in a Pakistani jail awaiting execution.

Hostage taking, like other forms of terrorism, is a weapon of the weak. It is aimed at our emotions, and thus at our national will. Above all, hostage taking seeks to humiliate. It plays better on television than killing people, because it produces images that are more sympathetic, and the event can last much longer than a single news cycle. It gives producers something to storyline and build catchphrases around. The Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-80, for example, persisted long enough to make Ted Koppel's career. Luckily, the recent spate of hostage takings shows no coordinated media or political strategy. They seem to be random actions taken by small groups of independent actors. The tale of kidnapped journalists Stephen Farrell and Orly Halperin is noteworthy — the group that took them captive was talked out of killing them by a wiser band of terrorists who knew it was bad form to murder reporters. It tends to bias the coverage. The Taliban on the other hand made it a practice to slay any journalists they caught — they were nothing if not sincere.

The terrorists may be trying to recreate the conditions of the late 1970s, in which a hostage crisis helped bring down a president, or the mid-1980s, in which another nearly achieved the same effect. But these are different times. We now acknowledge what we chose not to admit then, that we are at war with terrorism. That alone changes our perspective and broadens our options. Our leadership will not let the hostage takers set the parameters of the situation. We can of course communicate with the terrorists — I would not call it "negotiation," that would lead to a lot of Democratic chest-beating. But talking to the enemy is a valuable way to collect intelligence and try to stabilize the situation while working on other solutions. The actual resolution would involve something more active — rescue, counter hostage-taking, psychological operations, coercive diplomacy, enlisting the assistance of friendly tribal leaders (something we should be doing as a matter of course anyway), or other forms of action. If the terrorists kill our people before we can get them back, we establish our credibility by hunting them down the way the Israelis did with "Operation Wrath of God," aimed at the Palestinian Black September terrorists who killed Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and were also responsible for the 1973 murder of U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel Jr., and charge d'affaires George Curtis Moore, among others. Nice how Israel did not let political correctness get in the way of naming that operation.

Yet does not have to end that way. We should make it known that if the hostage takers choose to release their captives unharmed and surrender they can enjoy all the benefits of due process in the new Iraqi justice system. After all, we are not savages; the terrorists are.

And in case you were wondering, the professor in question has since come around to my way of thinking. Not that I am taking credit.


   
   
 


    
http://www.nationalreview.com/robbins/robbins200404120839.asp
        

9703  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 17, 2009, 04:29:58 PM
TANGENT:

GM:

Your basic point is sound, but I would also point out that many women's rights groups define rape in very Orwellian terms.  A few years back we had a thread here where it was reported that as they define it (working from memory here so the number could be off somewhat) some 80% of women who have been raped don't know they were raped.   huh huh huh



Yeah, i've had those debates with feminists in academia. What they and JDN don't understand is the legal concept of the elements of a crime. For an individual to be charged with a crime, you must have every element of the offense or you won't get the arrest warrant signed, or even worse have a warrantless arrest thrown out, with all the potential civil and criminal liabilities. you as the arresting officer may face.

Without getting into a sexual assault statute of one state or another, the crime generally can be cover by these definitions:

Sexual Battery Law & Legal Definition

 
Sexual battery is an unwanted form of contact with an intimate part of the body that is made for purposes of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse. Sexual battery may occur whether the victim is clothed or not. It is a crime, which varies by state laws, so local laws should be consulted.
The following is an example of a state law defining sexual battery:
"Any person who touches an intimate part of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice, and if the touching is against the will of the person touched and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery."

Aggravated Sexual Assault Law & Legal Definition

 
Aggravated sexual assault is a felony sexual offense governed by state laws, which vary by state. It is typically defined as a sexual assault that maims, wounds, or disfigures the victim, or involves a victim who is physically or mentally incapacitated. It may also be defined to include a sexual assault that is aided or abetted by another person, occurs during commission of another crime, or involves use of a deadly weapon. Local laws should be consulted for specific requirements and applicable penalties.
The following is an example of a state law dealing with aggravated sexual assault:
An actor is guilty of aggravated sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:
The victim is less than 13 years old.
The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old; and a. The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree;or b. the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim; or c. the actor is a foster parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;
The act is committed during the commission, or attempted commission, whether alone or with one or more other persons, of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault on another, burglary, arson, or criminal escape;
The actor is armed with a weapon or any object fashioned in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon and threatens by word or gesture to use the weapon or object;
The actor is aided or abetted by one or more other persons and the actor uses physical force or coercion;
The actor uses physical force or coercion and severe personal injury is sustained by the victim;
The victim is one whom the actor knew or should have known was physically helpless, mentally defective or mentally incapacitated.


You'll note that nowhere is there the requirement for law enforcement to be notified as an element of the offense. Nowhere is there a provision for "gender feminists" to assert that as we live in a patriarchy, no woman can give truly voluntary consent for sex. Of course, we'll see what effect Obama's judicial appointments have on this.  rolleyes
9704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 16, 2009, 11:06:00 PM
**So, according to JDN, these women who don't call the police weren't victims of a crime. Yes?**

http://www.wjactv.com/news/19142996/detail.html

Sexual Assault Remains Most Unreported Crime
Posted: 8:01 pm EDT April 9, 2009
Updated: 8:36 pm EDT April 9, 2009

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sexual assault remains the most under-reported crime, so increasing the knowledge of how to protect against sexual assault is top priority, especially at Penn State University.
"The numbers indicate to us that there is between 800 and 1,000 incidents each year," said Susan DelPonte, Program Assistant with Center for Women Students.
DelPonte said her staff only sees about ten percent of those incidents walk through the door.
"Unfortunately I think there is still a societal stigma and women think it's their fault," she said.
The numbers are even lower for university police.
"If we see one, we're lucky," said Police Service Officer Ellen Aschenbrenner. "I understand why people don't report it, the stigma. The fear that they will be put on trial themselves and be victimized over again. I totally understand that, but I would like to see more justice for these people who are victimized."
DelPonte said, "Our job is really to give them resources that are available, so it's always their choice."
One of those resources is a series of rape aggression defense classes or RAD.
The program is made possible by Penn State University Police and Center for Women Students.
It's four classes totaling 12 hours of the latest self-defense techniques.
"The main goal of this defensive class is to get away and to survive the encounter,” said Aschenbrenner. "So, it doesn't matter what your fitness level is. It doesn't matter how big you are, strong you are, petite you are, these techniques are designed so that any woman can do them."
This semester’s RAD series begins next week for women students only, however, Aschenbrenner said she has trained community groups before and will do it again if there is an interest.
9705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 16, 2009, 05:10:24 PM
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/israel-today--the-west-tomorrow-15134

Israel Today, the West Tomorrow

MARK STEYN
May 2009
                 

On Holocaust Memorial Day 2008, a group of just under 100 people—Londoners and a few visitors —took a guided tour of the old Jewish East End. They visited, among other sites of interest, the birthplace of my old chum Lionel Bart, the author of Oliver! Three generations of schoolchildren have grown up singing Bart’s lyric:

Consider yourself

At ’ome!

Consider yourself

One of the family!


Those few dozen London Jews considered themselves at ’ome. But they weren’t. Not any more. The tour was abruptly terminated when the group was pelted with stones, thrown by “youths”—or to be slightly less evasive, in the current euphemism of Fleet Street, “Asian” youths. “If you go any further, you’ll die,” they shouted, in between the flying rubble.

A New Yorker who had just moved to Britain to start a job at the Metropolitan University had her head cut open and had to be taken to the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel, causing her to miss the Holocaust Day “interfaith memorial service” at the East London Central Synagogue. Her friend, Eric Litwack from Canada, was also struck but did not require stitches. But if you hadn’t recently landed at Heathrow, it wasn’t that big a deal, not these days: Nobody was killed or permanently disfigured. And given the number of Jewish community events that now require security, perhaps Her Majesty’s Constabulary was right and these Londoners walking the streets of their own city would have been better advised to do so behind a police escort.

_____________

A European Holocaust Memorial Day on which Jews are stoned sounds like a parody of the old joke that the Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz. According to a 2005 poll by the University of Bielefeld, 62 percent of Germans “are sick of all the harping on about German crimes against the Jews”—which is a cheerfully straightforward way of putting it. Nevertheless, when it comes to “harping on,” these days it’s the Jews who are mostly on the receiving end. While we’re reprising old gags, here’s one a reader reminded me of a couple of years ago, during Israel’s famously “disproportionate” incursion into Lebanon: One day the U.N. Secretary General proposes that, in the interest of global peace and harmony, the world’s soccer players should come together and form one United Nations global soccer team.

“Great idea,” says his deputy. “Er, but who would we play?”

“Israel, of course.”

Ha-ha. It always had a grain of truth, now it’s the whole loaf.

“Israel is unfashionable,” a Continental foreign minister said to me a decade back. “But maybe Israel will change, and then fashions will change.” Fashions do change. But however Israel changes, this fashion won’t. The shift of most (non-American) Western opinion against the Jewish state that began in the 1970s was, as my Continental politician had it, simply a reflection of casting: Israel was no longer the underdog but the overdog, and why would that appeal to a post-war polytechnic Euro Left unburdened by Holocaust guilt?

Fair enough. Fashions change. But the new Judenhass is not a fashion, simply a stark reality that will metastasize in the years ahead and leave Israel isolated in the international “community” in ways that will make the first decade of this century seem like the good old days.

A few months after the curtailed Holocaust Day tour, I found myself in that particular corner of Tower Hamlets for the first time in years. Specifically, on Cable Street—the scene of a famous battle in 1936, when Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, in a crude exercise of political muscle, determined to march through the heart of Jewish East London. They were turned back by a mob of local Jews, Irish Catholic dockers, and Communist agitators, all standing under the Spanish Civil War slogan: “No Pasaran.” They shall not pass.

From “No Pasaran” to “If you go any further, you’ll die” is a story not primarily of anti-Semitism but of unprecedented demographic transformation. Beyond the fashionable “anti-Zionism” of the Euro Left is a starker reality: The demographic energy not just in Lionel Bart’s East End but in almost every Western European country is “Asian.” Which is to say, Muslim. A recent government statistical survey reported that the United Kingdom’s Muslim population is increasing ten times faster than the general population. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and many other Continental cities from Scandinavia to the Côte d’Azur will reach majority Muslim status in the next few years.

Brussels has a Socialist mayor, which isn’t that surprising, but he presides over a caucus a majority of whose members are Muslim, which might yet surprise those who think we’re dealing with some slow, gradual, way-off-in-the-future process here. But so goes Christendom at the dawn of the third millennium: the ruling party of the capital city of the European Union is mostly Muslim.

There are generally two responses to this trend: The first is that it’s like a cast change in Cats or, perhaps more precisely, David Merrick’s all-black production of Hello, Dolly! Carol Channing and her pasty prancing waiters are replaced by Pearl Bailey and her ebony chorus, but otherwise the show is unchanged. Same set, same words, same arrangements: France will still be France, Germany Germany, Belgium Belgium.

The second response is that the Islamicization of Europe entails certain consequences, and it might be worth exploring what these might be. There are already many points of cultural friction—from British banks’ abolition of children’s “piggy banks” to the enjoining of public doughnut consumption by Brussels police during Ramadan. And yet on one issue there is remarkable comity between the aging ethnic Europeans and their young surging Muslim populations: A famous poll a couple of years back found that 59 percent of Europeans regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace.

Fifty-nine percent? What the hell’s wrong with the rest of you? Hey, relax: In Germany, it was 65 percent; Austria, 69 percent; the Netherlands, 74 percent. For purposes of comparison, in a recent poll of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—i.e., the “moderate” Arab world—79 percent of respondents regard Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. As far as I know, in the last year or two, they haven’t re-tested that question in Europe, possibly in case Israel now scores as a higher threat level in the Netherlands than in Yemen.

To be sure, there are occasional arcane points of dispute: one recalls, in the wake of the July 7 bombings, the then London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s somewhat tortured attempts to explain why blowing up buses in Tel Aviv is entirely legitimate whereas blowing up buses in Bloomsbury is not. Yet these are minimal bumps on a smooth glide path: The more Europe’s Muslim population grows, the more restive and disassimilated it becomes, the more enthusiastically the establishment embraces “anti-Zionism,” as if the sinister Jewess is the last virgin left to toss in the volcano—which, given the 13-year old “chavs” and “slappers” face down in pools of their own vomit in most British shopping centers of a Friday afternoon, may indeed be the case. For today’s Jews, unlike on Cable Street in 1936, there are no Catholic dockworkers or Communist agitators to stand shoulder to shoulder. In post-Christian Europe, there aren’t a lot of the former (practicing Catholics or practicing dockers), and as for the intellectual Left, it’s more enthusiastic in its support of Hamas than many Gazans.

To which there are many Israelis who would brusquely reply: So what? Pity the poor Jew who has ever relied on European “friends.” Yet there is a difference of scale between the well-established faculty-lounge disdain for “Israeli apartheid” and a mass psychosis so universal it’s part of the air you breathe. For a glimpse of the future, consider the (for the moment) bizarre circumstances of the recent Davis Cup First Round matches in Sweden. They had been scheduled long ago to be played in the Baltiska Hallen stadium in Malmo. Who knew which team the Swedes would draw? Could have been Chile, could have been Serbia. Alas, it was Israel.

Malmo is Sweden’s most Muslim city, and citing security concerns, the local council ordered the three days of tennis to be played behind closed doors. Imagine being Amir Hadad and Andy Ram, the Israeli doubles players, or Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt, the Swedes. This was supposed to be their big day. But the vast stadium is empty, except for a few sports reporters and team officials. And just outside the perimeter up to 10,000 demonstrators are chanting, “Stop the match!” and maybe, a little deeper into the throng, they’re shouting, “We want to kill all Jews worldwide” (as demonstrators in Copenhagen, just across the water, declared just a few weeks earlier). Did Aspelin and Lindstedt wonder why they couldn’t have drawn some less controversial team, like Zimbabwe or Sudan? By all accounts, it was a fine match, thrilling and graceful, with good sportsmanship on both sides. Surely, such splendid tennis could have won over the mob, and newspapers would have reported that by the end of the match the Israeli players had the crowd with them all the way. But they shook ’em off at Helsingborg.

Do you remember the “road map” summit held in Jordan just after the U.S. invasion of Iraq? It seemed a big deal at the time: The leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the U.S. president, all the A-list dictators of the Arab League. Inside the swank resort, it was all very collegial, smiles and handshakes. Outside, flags fluttered—Jordan’s, America’s, Saudi Arabia’s, Egypt’s, Palestine’s. But not Israel’s. King Abdullah of Jordan had concluded it would be too provocative to advertise the Zionist Entity’s presence on Jordanian soil even at a summit supposedly boasting they were all on the same page. Malmo’s tennis match observed the same conventions: I’m sure the Swedish tennis wallahs were very gracious hosts behind the walls of the stockade, and the unmarked car to the airport was top of the line. How smoothly the furtive maneuvers of the Middle East transfer to the wider world.

_____________

When Western governments are as reluctant as King Abdullah to fly the Star of David, those among the citizenry who choose to do so have a hard time. In Britain in January, while “pro-Palestinian” demonstrators were permitted to dress up as hook-nosed Jews drinking the blood of Arab babies, the police ordered counter-protesters to put away their Israeli flags. In Alberta, in the heart of Calgary’s Jewish neighborhood, the flag of Hizballah (supposedly a proscribed terrorist organization) was proudly waved by demonstrators, but one solitary Israeli flag was deemed a threat to the Queen’s peace and officers told the brave fellow holding it to put it away or be arrested for “inciting public disorder.” In Germany, a student in Duisburg put the Star of David in the window of an upstairs apartment on the day of a march by the Islamist group Milli Görüs, only to have the cops smash his door down and remove the flag. He’s now trying to get the police to pay for a new door. Ah, those Jews. It’s always about money, isn’t it?

Peter, the student in Duisberg, says he likes to display the Israeli flag because anti-Semitism in Europe is worse than at any other time since the Second World War. Which is true. But, if you look at it from the authorities’ point of view, it’s not about Jew-hatred; it’s a simple numbers game. If a statistically insignificant Jewish population gets upset, big deal. If the far larger Muslim population—and, in some French cities, the youth population (i.e., the demographic that riots) is already pushing 50 percent—you have a serious public-order threat on your hands. We’re beyond the anti-Semitic and into the ad hoc utilitarian: The King Abdullah approach will seem like the sensible way to avoid trouble. To modify the UN joke: Whom won’t we play? Israel, of course. Not in public.

One Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, a group wearing “BOYCOTT ISRAEL” T-shirts entered a French branch of Carrefour, the world’s largest supermarket chain, and announced themselves. They then systematically advanced down every aisle examining every product, seizing all the items made in Israel and piling them into carts to take away and destroy. Judging from the video they made, the protesters were mostly Muslim immigrants and a few French leftists. But more relevant was the passivity of everyone else in the store, both staff and shoppers, all of whom stood idly by as private property was ransacked and smashed, and many of whom when invited to comment expressed support for the destruction. “South Africa started to shake once all countries started to boycott their products,” one elderly lady customer said. “So what you’re doing, I find it good.”

Others may find Germany in the ‘30s the more instructive comparison. “It isn’t silent majorities that drive things, but vocal minorities,” the Canadian public intellectual George Jonas recently wrote. “Don’t count heads; count decibels. All entities—the United States, the Western world, the Arab street—have prevailing moods, and it’s prevailing moods that define aggregates at any given time.” Last December, in a well-planned attack on iconic Bombay landmarks symbolizing power and wealth, Pakistani terrorists nevertheless found time to divert one-fifth of their manpower to torturing and killing a handful of obscure Jews helping the city’s poor in a nondescript building. If this was a territorial dispute over Kashmir, why kill the only rabbi in Bombay? Because Pakistani Islam has been in effect Arabized. Demographically, in Europe and elsewhere, Islam has the numbers. But ideologically, radical Islam has the decibels—in Turkey, in the Balkans, in Western Europe.

And the prevailing mood in much of the world makes Israel an easy sacrifice. Long before Muslims are a statistical majority, there will be three permanent members of the Security Council—Britain, France, Russia—for whom the accommodation of Islam is a domestic political imperative.

_____________

On the heels of his call for the incorporation of Sharia within British law, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave an interview to the Muslim News praising Islam for making “a very significant contribution to getting a debate about religion into public life.” Well, that’s one way of putting it. The urge to look on the bright side of its own remorseless cultural retreat will intensify: Once Europeans have accepted a not entirely voluntary biculturalism, they will see no reason why Israel should not do the same, and they will embrace a one-state, one-man, one-vote solution for the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

The Muslim world has spent decades peddling the notion that the reason a vast oil-rich region stretching thousands of miles is politically deformed and mired in grim psychoses is all because of a tiny strip of turf barely wider than my New Hampshire township. It will make an ever more convenient scapegoat for the problems of a far vaster territory from the mountains of Morne to the Urals. There was a fair bit of this in the days after 9/11. As Richard Ingrams wrote on the following weekend in the London Observer: “Who will dare to damn Israel?”

Well, take a number and get in line. The dust had barely settled on the London Tube bombings before a reader named Derrick Green sent me a congratulatory e-mail: “I bet you Jewish supremacists think it is Christmas come early, don’t you? Incredibly, you are now going to get your own way even more than you did before, and the British people are going to be dragged into more wars for Israel.”

So it will go. British, European, and even American troops will withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a bomb will go off in Madrid or Hamburg or Manchester, and there will be nothing left to blame except Israeli “disproportion.” For the remnants of European Jewry, the already discernible migration of French Jews to Quebec, Florida, and elsewhere will accelerate. There are about 150,000 Jews in London today—it’s the thirteenth biggest Jewish city in the world. But there are approximately one million Muslims. The highest number of Jews is found in the 50-54 age group; the highest number of Muslims are found in the four-years-and-under category. By 2025, there will be Jews in Israel, and Jews in America, but not in many other places. Even as the legitimacy of a Jewish state is rejected, the Jewish diaspora—the Jewish presence in the wider world—will shrivel.

And then, to modify Richard Ingrams, who will dare not to damn Israel? There’ll still be a Holocaust Memorial Day, mainly for the pleasures it affords to chastise the new Nazis. As Anthony Lipmann, the Anglican son of an Auschwitz survivor, wrote in 2005: “When on 27 January I take my mother’s arm—tattoo number A-25466—I will think not just of the crematoria and the cattle trucks but of Darfur, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Jenin, Fallujah.” Jenin?

You can see why they’ll keep Holocaust Day on the calendar: In an age when politicians are indifferent or downright hostile to Israel’s “right to exist,” it’s useful to be able to say, “But some of my best photo-ops are Jewish.”

The joke about Mandatory Palestine was that it was the twice-promised land. But isn’t that Europe, too? And perhaps Russia and maybe Canada, a little ways down the line? Two cultures jostling within the same piece of real estate. Not long ago, I found myself watching the video of another “pro-Palestinian” protest in central London with the Metropolitan Police retreating up St. James’s Street to Piccadilly in the face of a mob hurling traffic cones and jeering, “Run, run, you cowards!” and “Allahu akbar!” You would think the deluded multi-culti progressives would understand: In the end, this isn’t about Gaza, this isn’t about the Middle East; it’s about them. It may be some consolation to an ever-lonelier Israel that, in one of history’s bleaker jests, in the coming Europe the Europeans will be the new Jews.
9706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 16, 2009, 04:41:41 PM
GM; while I thought/hoped we were moving on...




10. Generally, NO. Privately owned shopping malls are not considered to be public forum areas (like streets, sidewalks and public parks are) for purposes of 1st Amendment activity. People may have the right to protest outside the mall on public property, but you can keep demonstrators out of privately owned parking areas and the mall interior completely, if owners of the mall don't want people protesting there.
[

ERGO -  IF the owners of the mall does not object, people cannot be kept out of the mall and demonstrations are allowed.

In this instance, the owner did not call the police nor did the owner seem to object, therefore again I repeat, NO CRIME...






**The Simon Wiesenthal Center would disagree, it seems.**

2009 News Releases

SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTRE - EUROPE
Tel. +33-147237637 - Fax: +33-147208401
e-mail: csweurope@gmail.com

Wiesenthal Centre-Backed French National Bureau Against Antisemitism Takes Legal Action against Anti-Israel Boycotters


Paris, 23 March 2009

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre-backed National Bureau Against Antisemitism (BNVCA), together with the French Association for Assistance to Israel (SFSI) and the Jewish Communities Council of Seine-Saint Denis (CCJ 93), on 20 March, took legal action against "persons instigating, promoting, or complicit, in the boycott of Israeli manufactured products."

Registering with the Public Prosecutor of the Bobigny district, their complaint noted:

- "Numerous calls from our members and the general public, regarding the invasion of Paris suburban supermarkets by anti-Israel boycotters."

- "The language of this campaign of incitement to hatred against Israel, in the short or mid-term, leads to anti-Jewish acts in the country.
Example: "The Israelis sell baby diapers [here], while they kill Palestinian children."

- "Videos available on EUROPALESTINE.COM, YOUTUBE.COM and DAILYMOTION.COM (see web links below) present these boycott operations in "Carrefour" supermarkets around Paris. We urge the management of these stores not to succumb to delinquent intimidation and to continue offering their clientele products, including from Israel, without discrimination."

- "This boycott campaign should be viewed as a discriminatory and punishable crime, inasmuch as many of the targeted products serve the kosher dietary needs of Jewish citizens [of France]."

- "All persons responsible for provocation to these crimes and delicts are charged under 'Article 23 of the Law of 29 July 1881, Appendix 47 of the Criminal Code', and for delicts against the Public Good under "Article 27 of the same law'."

Flyers, stickers and a list of products to be boycotted were also submitted to the Prosecutor.

"The threatening nature of the boycotters' occupation in each supermarket, and their manipulation of the public, is too reminiscent of the Nazi 'Kristallnacht' ('Night of Broken Glass') of 9 November 1938, under the slogan 'Kauft nicht bei Juden!' (Do Not buy Jewish products)," commented Dr Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

"We all know where 'Kristallnacht' ended: at Auschwitz and the destruction of Europe", concluded Samuels.

______________________

Web links of boycott actions:

http://www.europalestine.com/article.php3?id_article=3908
http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/boycot+israel+/video/x8nocz_action-boycott-israel_news
(Aulnay-sous-Bois, 7 March 2009)

http://www.europalestine.com/article.php3?id_article=3814
http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/boycot+israel+/video/x8jj7c_operation-de-boycot-2_news
(Genevilliers, 21 February 2009)

http://www.europalestine.com/article.php3?id_article=3846
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGKifWrNoOk
(Saint Denis, 14 February 2009)

______________________

For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.
9707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 16, 2009, 10:04:07 AM
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/11/state-pursues-cell-phone-jamming-test/print/

Monday, May 11, 2009
Maryland pursues cell-phone jamming test

Brian Witte ASSOCIATED PRESS


ANNAPOLIS -- Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to ask federal regulators to allow Maryland to hold a cell-phone jamming demonstration at a state prison to show the effectiveness of stopping inmate cell-phone use, which has been a safety threat in prisons around the nation.

The Federal Communications Commission can give federal agencies permission to jam cell-phone signals, but the Communications Act of 1934 doesn't allow state and local agencies to use the technology, which prevents cell-tower transmissions from reaching the targeted phone.

"Current attempts to ensure that cell phones stay out of prisons can easily be foiled and must be supplanted by the best technology available," Mr. O'Malley wrote in a letter to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, who is co-sponsoring legislation in Congress to legalize cell-phone jamming at state and local prisons.

The Democratic governor wrote the letter to Maryland's senior senator to indicate his intent to request a demonstration and to update Miss Mikulski on the state's efforts to clear prisons of illegal cell phones.

"I am committed to seizing the opportunity that this legislative initiative has created to move law enforcement and the enhancement of public safety to the 21st century as cell phones become smaller and more difficult to find," Mr. O'Malley wrote.

South Carolina ran a demonstration in Nov. 2008 without federal permission, while Texas planned one, then called it off because of the federal restriction. The FCC has denied two recent requests from the District of Columbia and Louisiana for test jamming sessions.

Rick Abbruzzese, an O'Malley spokesman, said the time is right for the FCC to consider Maryland's request because Congress is taking up the issue and that there's a need for up-to-date data on how the technology can be used to prevent prisoners from using cell phones.

Inmates use cell phones to get around security, further gang activity and conduct criminal activity from behind bars, authorities say.

Last week, a Baltimore drug dealer who used a cell phone in the city jail to plan the killing of a trial witness was sentenced to life without parole. Patrick A. Byers Jr. was convicted of murdering Carl S. Lackl Jr., who had identified Byers as the gunman in a previous killing. Mr. Lackl, a 38-year-old single father, was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting outside his home in July 2007, a week before Byers was scheduled for trial.

Maryland corrections officials confiscated 947 cell phones in 2008 by using specially trained dogs and other security measures. That's a 71 percent increase in confiscations compared with 2006, according to the O'Malley administration.

Mr. O'Malley said the confiscations helped reduce serious assaults by inmates on staff by taking away a tool that inmates can use to coordinate attacks - resulting in a 32 percent drop from 2006 to 2008. Mr. O'Malley wrote that serious weapon assaults are down 75 percent over the same period.

"But while we have made progress, we can do much more to improve public safety and eradicate the harm caused by these cell phones by shutting them down," Mr. O'Malley wrote in the May 7 letter to Miss Mikulski.

Mr. Abbruzzese said state officials are working on the details of a demonstration, and it's not known where or when it would occur.

Chris Guttman-McCabe, vice president of regulator affairs at CTIA - The Wireless Association, the industry's leading trade group, said he has concerns about cell-phone jamming affecting customers who live near prisons.

"While we don't want prisoners to have service inside the jails, we also don't want our customers to be impacted outside the jails," Mr. Guttman-McCabe said.

Examples of inmates using cell phones to further criminal activity have cropped up nationwide.

In Texas earlier this month, a death-row inmate and two relatives were indicted in a purported cell-phone smuggling case that led to a statewide prison lockdown. A grand jury also indicted Richard Lee Tabler on a felony retaliation charge for threatening to kill a state senator.

In Kansas, convicted killer John Manard planned his 2006 prison escape using a cell phone smuggled in by an accomplice. The following year, two inmates escaped another Kansas prison with the help of a former guard and a smuggled cell phone.
9708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Rants on: May 16, 2009, 09:55:01 AM

http://www.policeone.com/writers/columnists/Charles-Remsberg/articles/1242034-Handling-Protesters-Part-2/

Handling Protesters, Part 2

From the Calibre Press Street Survival Newsline

Do you have to be spit on by protesters--& other key questions
Part 2

In Part 1, we posed a dozen questions related to Legal Considerations in Managing Protests and Civil Disorder, derived from a panel on that topic sponsored by the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

See how well you scored, according to information presented by the IACP's panelists, Mary Claire McNaught, public safety attorney for the Winston-Salem (NC) PD and Daniel Schofield, chief of the legal unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico (VA).

The questions one more time:

1. While recognizing that Americans have more protection for free expression than probably any other nationality, what 4 general limitations can government (police) still place on public demonstrations?

2. What 3 criteria must be met by any restrictions placed on demonstrating?

3. Give examples of specific restrictions that might legally be imposed under these criteria.

4. Can you deny a group the right to protest based on a threat of violence associated with their demonstration?

5. What legal tactic can be used in advance to impose control over groups with bad reputations for causing problems with their demonstrations?


6. What key player should be a part of the planning before a demonstration takes place?
7. As a line officer, do you have to endure insults and spitting from demonstrators?

8. Name at least 3 liability risks you may face in conjunction with public protests.

9. Name 2 ways you can legally use videotape to your advantage?

10. Are demonstrations inside shopping malls legal?

11. Does the media have special rights at demonstration sites?

12. Can you charge protesters for the cost of protecting them?

Bonus Question: An American police officer is driving down the road and sees a lawyer walking on 1 side and Saddam Hussein walking on the other. Who does the officer hit first?

The answers:

IMPORTANT NOTE: As with any legal advice, be sure to check with your local advisors to be certain that the principles and precedents explained here currently apply in your jurisdiction.

1. Authorities can limit public speech, and the correlative right to protest and demonstrate, to a reasonable time, a reasonable place and a reasonable manner. You'll often see this 3-part terminology in court decisions dealing with 1st Amendment freedoms. These restrictions apply to speech (and protests) in public areas like roads, sidewalks, parks or other sites that are traditionally open for citizens to gather, talk and demonstrate.

Protest can also always be restricted because of its relationship to illegal conduct. Demonstrators do not have the right to trespass onto somebody's private property to protest or to engage in assault or disorderly conduct or any other behavior that violates the law. When free expression becomes illegal conduct, it can always be restricted.

2. Any limitation has to meet these criteria:

a) It must be content neutral, meaning that you don't restrict only those groups whose message you disagree with. In enforcing a quiet zone around a hospital, for example, you are not trying to control the message put forth by demonstrators, you're trying to control the noise that interferes with people getting well. Content neutrality is THE most important factor in keeping restrictions legal.

b) Any limitation must be narrowly tailored to serve an important interest. To continue the quiet zone analogy, the zone must not extend out farther than it has to to accomplish its purpose. It can't be clear across town where it has no reasonable relation to the hospital it supposedly protects. In other words, imposition of a restriction has to closely match the reason for it.

c) Limitations must ALLOW FOR ALTERNATIVES. If a person or group is restricted from protesting 1 place, they should have ample opportunity to demonstrate some other place in town.

3. If some group wants to protest across an interstate highway because they think that will have the biggest impact, you can easily deny that. In a recent federal case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals supported a city in Alabama that completely banned tables set up on city sidewalks to distribute literature because they were considered too disruptive to pedestrians. You can deny the right to protest during RUSH HOUR. Many cities have statutes that prohibit demonstrations within a certain distance of a CHURCH during hours of service or shortly before or after because of anticipated traffic problems.

You can also sometimes limit the SIZE of a protest group. If a group of 500 wants to demonstrate in a park that can legitimately accommodate only 100 persons, you can stop that.

Court cases suggest that you CAN'T have a complete ban on protesting in a residential neighborhood. But you can prohibit a group from focusing on a particular resident (called "focused residential picketing"). And you can stop groups from marching through residential neighborhoods in the middle of the night when the noise would disrupt privacy.

In imposing restrictions, just remember the criteria itemized in #2. You must apply objective, content-neutral limitations based on some important consideration.

4. YES, but to do so you have to meet a VERY HIGH STANDARD.

Say you want to deny the Ku Klux Klan the right to march in your town because you're worried that you won't be able to protect against a real bloodbath. Courts have said that the police (or government in combination with the police) must prove that maintaining public safety and order is beyond the reasonable ability of your officers and administrators.

The courts will ask why you couldn't get help from neighboring jurisdictions or other sources. They will ask specific reasons why your doubt of maintaining public order is accurate. They will take a very close look because obviously a lot of jurisdictions would like to say, "Hey, we just can't be safe, so you can't come here."

It is very rare that a jurisdiction is able to place a complete ban on a group's ability to protest. You might be able to move the protest, or limit the size or delay it until you have time to recruit extra help, but a complete ban will very rarely be upheld.

5. If you are faced with a problem group, like the Ku Klux Klan or Operation Rescue, wanting to demonstrate in your community and you are concerned about your ability to maintain order because the group is known for not demonstrating peacefully and legally in other communities, you can probably obtain an INJUNCTION from a local judge that will allow you to impose specific, advance limitations on the group's right to protest/demonstrate. For example, an injunction might specify that protesters can't carry weapons, even if they have permits that ordinarily enable them to do so.

This legal tactic became a very useful arrow in law enforcement's quiver with the U.S. Supreme Court's sanction in the case of Madsen v. Women's Health Center [114 S.Ct. 2516 (1994).] In this important case, the Court upheld for the first time the use of injunctions in regards to demonstrations.

A local judge will likely be sympathetic with your position because he is not going to want his own community ripped apart by the group you're concerned about. Even if it turns out later that the judge shouldn't have issued the injunction, you and your department are fully protected from liability so long as you are acting pursuant to his order.

6. Your LOCAL PROSECUTOR. If the prosecutor doesn't agree with you on the arrests you make, he is going to abandon you when you get ready to go to trial. Be sure he participates in the planning and helps you evaluate the statutes that you may want to use as foundations for your arrests. Your department legal advisor or city attorney can guide you regarding civil liability issues, but a prosecutor's input is important where possible criminal charges against demonstrators or counter-demonstrators are concerned.

Particularly if you haven't had cause to use them for awhile, take a close and critical look at your statutes on disorderly conduct, public assembly and noise (noise can be an especially useful ground for arrest in protest situations, if the statute is specific enough). In some cases, these statutes are old, confusing and vague. The language would no longer pass court scrutiny. With sufficient notice, it may even be possible to get weak statutes updated before the protest goes down.

Once a prosecution strategy is agreed upon, officers must be informed as to what's permissible arrest-wise. When Winston-Salem PD anticipates an event with potentially troublesome protesters, officers are given a booklet clearly delineating elements of the non-routine offenses they might be called upon to arrest for. They are then trained on what they will need to show in order to get a conviction for each offense.

Take full advantage of what your laws will let you do. Your prosecutor should be oriented to telling you what you can do legally, not just hammering at what you can't do.

You also want to review physical control tactics that may be appropriate in handling demonstrators. In many departments, the command staff was trained in the '70s, while line officers were trained in the '90s. You don't want commanders encouraging an obsolete "stomp-and-drag" approach--and then later using inflammatory terminology like that in court--when more currently trained officers may know of more effective, lower profile options.

7. INSULTS, YES; SPITTING, NO.

Where exchanges between civilians are concerned, courts generally have ruled that when 1 person is right up in the face of another, close enough so that fighting could occur, and that person speaks directly to the other in an insulting, threatening, provoking manner, such speech can be considered "fighting words" and can be cause for arrest. [For an explanation of "fighting words", see Newsline No. 68.]

However, law enforcement officers, unlike ordinary citizens, are generally expected because of their professional training to restrain themselves in the face of insulting language. So if you're policing a demonstration and 1 of the protesters gives you obscene gestures and nasty talk, you're expected to have a thicker skin and not punch him in the mouth.

Spitting's a different matter. A protester even preparing to spit is committing assault and can be arrested. In 1 instance, a handcuffed subject was being walked to a police vehicle when he made a gurgling sound as if getting ready to spit. An officer immediately delivered when he later called "a straight-arm stun technique designed to redirect the head," injuring the subject but preventing officers from being spit on. A federal Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit against the officer, reasoning that no police officer should be left defenseless against someone preparing to spit on him and that objectively reasonable force to prevent the spitting does not violate any legal standard imposed by the constitution.

8. One of your highest liability risks--a very, very high risk--is FALSE IMPRISONMENT or FALSE ARREST, stemming from an arrest made without probable cause. This can happen easily in a confusing demonstration situation, where you have many people engaged in various types of behavior and quite likely struggling with you. Adequately documenting who in the crowd actually did what and that you had a specific reason for everyone you took in becomes difficult, especially in mass-arrest situations.

EXCESSIVE FORCE also remains a concern. While courts are becoming more and more cognizant of law enforcement realities, they still hold officers to a fairly high standard. If you're accused of excessive force, you will need to be able to articulate why you felt the level of force you used was required.

There may also be claims that you deprived would-be demonstrators of their CIVIL RIGHTS by imposing unreasonable limitations that made the protest ineffective. Your actions will then be tested against the criteria of objectivity itemized in #2. Courts will give great latitude for your regulation of free speech in public places but they do not look favorably on totally eliminating it just because it is inconvenient, unpopular or expensive, all of which it often is. If you effectively eliminate a person's chance for public expression, you need a very strong reason for doing so.

In some state courts, the accusation of FAILURE TO PROTECT is beginning to be raised. Here the court will look for evidence of a "special relationship" between you and the protesters that gives you an exceptional need to protect. Be careful not to make promises, such as: "Yes, you can demonstrate safely because we'll certainly have enough police officers there" or "We'll be fully equipped and fully prepared to protect you, you don't have to worry about a thing."

Another liability area for administrators that has started to emerge in some states is FAILURE TO PROTECT YOUR EMPLOYEE. An officer who gets injured wants to collect beyond workmen's compensation and argues, "You [the administrator] knew perfectly well you were expecting 2,000 Klansmen and you put me out there with 3 other officers and said, 'Here, guys, hold the line'--without adequate training, proper support, proper communications or proper equipment to handle the job, knowing full well that there was potential for harm to me."

9. Videotape can help you prepare tactically for managing a protest and help you defend yourself afterwards against charges of excessive force.

If you know a particular group is coming to town, contact other jurisdictions where these protesters have been previously and ask to borrow videotapes of their demonstration. Some groups try deliberately to provoke inappropriate responses from officers so they can sue or at least so they can get more publicity for their cause. Seeing some of their tactics ahead of time can help you plan your actions better. You may also be able to go on the Internet and find out what other agencies have learned when dealing with the group you're facing.

It's a good idea, incidentally, to practice and videotape crowd control tactics in role-playing exercises, just as you practice DT moves. Make and critique your mistakes with each other so you don't make them in public. Field-test your equipment beforehand, too.

If you use pain compliance or leverage techniques (like some we demonstrate in the Calibre Press Street Survival Seminar) to move people who are blocking an area, you are likely to get allegations of improper force afterwards. If the event has been taped, you can show in court that you used only an amount of force reasonably necessary to get the job done.

Departments and officers win almost all these force cases, unless the force used was clearly outrageous. More and more judges recognize that the way to evaluate an officer's use of force is to put themselves in that officer's shoes. They recognize the officer is in a tense, rapidly evolving, often dangerous situation and that he has to make split-second decisions. Even the Supreme Court has said that not every push or shove that an officer engages in that turns out to be unnecessary violates the law. There has to be room for understanding the dynamics of force confrontations...and videotape can help make the circumstances clearer.

Videotapes you make can be used for future training, too.

10. Generally, NO. Privately owned shopping malls are not considered to be public forum areas (like streets, sidewalks and public parks are) for purposes of 1st Amendment activity. People may have the right to protest outside the mall on public property, but you can keep demonstrators out of privately owned parking areas and the mall interior completely, if owners of the mall don't want people protesting there.

The same can be true regarding private universities. If it's private property it's not public-forum property. Even public buildings, like schools and police stations, are not normally open for demonstrations.

In July, 1997, a MN judge ruled that demonstrations must be permitted inside the Mall of America, the nation's largest, near Minneapolis. But that was because government funds were used in its construction. However, the judge said that the mall has the right to determine the time, place and manner of demonstrations and ruled that some animal-rights protesters must face trespassing charges because they failed to get permission from the mall before demonstrating inside last spring.

11. NO. From a legal standpoint, the media does not have any right of access to any area of public property or to your briefings or planning sessions that the public in general doesn't have. If you set up a no-person zone, with access barred by a police line, for example, the media has no legal right to say, "We're the media, we can come in there." You may decide to let them in, to give them extra access, but that's absolutely your choice.

Sometimes to cover big events, news helicopters will fly over areas where police don't want them for safety reasons. In LA this has been dealt with on occasion by a call to the FAA. The FAA, in turn, has declared the area in question a restricted zone, and news pilots who don't get out of there are subject to losing their licenses.

12. Not really. You can charge the group, but only for the cost their activities directly create. Say you have 50 Klanspeople who want to march down the middle of Main St., crossing 4 intersections. You can charge the Klan for traffic control officers at each intersection (including extra help you bring in from other jurisdictions), provided that you likewise charge other groups comparably for the same service. You can charge the cost of clean-up, but only for the clean-up activities you can actually tie to the activities of the protesting group, not those required because 2,000 onlookers trashed the area. That all has to be absorbed by your community as a cost of doing business in a democracy.

Likewise, you cannot charge protesters for the possible reaction of those observing their protest. In the case of 50 Klanspeople and 2,000 onlookers, if most of your extra resources are to keep the onlookers from bashing in the heads of the marchers, you can't charge for that protection.

Of course you can charge an administrative processing fee for a parade permit before a march-type demonstration is held, provided the fee is set and administered in a non-discriminatory, content-neutral manner. In other words, you must charge the Girl Scouts who want to stage a parade across town the same permit fee as you do the KKK. You don't favor 1 group over another because you like 1 group and don't like the other.

You can have a provision for indigent groups if you wish, but they must meet an objective test for indigence before the fee can be waived.
9709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Funny, you don't look Jewish.... on: May 15, 2009, 01:35:25 PM
Pigs Must Die, Because They Are Descended from the Jews
By: Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
Palestinian Media Watch | Friday, May 15, 2009


All pigs alive today are descendants of the Jews who were turned into pigs by Allah, according to a senior Egyptian religious leader. Since all pigs are descendants of Jews, it is obligatory to kill all pigs, says Sheikh Ahmed Ali Othman. 

Presumably if pigs were merely animals, they would not face destruction. It is their Jewish ancestry that condemns them to death.   

The Jordanian newspaper Al-Hakika al-Dawliya adds that this is not the only opinion. It cites Sheikh Ali Abu Al-Hassan, head of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar [Sunni Islamic university], who believes that all the Jews who were turned into pigs by Allah died out without reproducing, and therefore there is no relationship between today's pigs and Jews.

The following is the transcript from Al-Moheet Arab News Network:   

"CAIRO -- Sheikh Ahmed Ali Othman, supervisor of the Da'awa [Islamic Indoctrination] of the Egyptian Waqf [Islamic Holy places], has issued a Religious Ruling (Fatwa) that pigs in our time have their origins in Jews who angered Allah, such that He turned them into monkeys, pigs, and Satan-worshippers, and it is obligatory to kill and slaughter them [the pigs].

Othman based his ruling on the respected Quranic verse, 'Say [to the People of the Book - Jews and Christians], Come and I shall make known to you who receives the worst retribution of all from Allah: those whom Allah has cursed and upon whom He has poured His wrath, whom He has made into monkeys and pigs, and who have served abominations. Their place is worst of all, and their deviation is the greatest of all...' (Quran, sura 5, verse 60)

Sheikh Othman noted that this verse concerning the nation of the prophet Moses descended [from Allah to the Quran], and the books of commentary confirm this. There are two opinions among the Ulama [Islamic scholars] in this regard: The first is that the Jews, whom Allah transformed and turned into pigs, remained in that state until they died, without producing descendants. The other opinion is that the Jews who turned into pigs multiplied and produced descendants, and their line continues to this day. Sheikh Othman also cited Hadiths (traditions attributed to Muhammad) as support...

The Jordanian newspaper Al-Hakika al-Dawliya quoted Othman: "I personally tend towards the view that the pigs that exist now have their origins with the Jews, and therefore their consumption is forbidden in the words of Allah: 'A carcass, and blood, and the flesh of a pig are forbidden to you....' Moreover, our master Jesus, peace be unto him - one of the tasks that he will fulfill when he descends to earth is the killing of the pigs, and this is proof that their source is Jewish.

Sheikh Othman said that whoever eats pig, it's as if he ate meat of an impure person, and stressed that this Religious Ruling is backed by the Islamic Sages of Al Azhar, but they are afraid to say this publically... so the Sages won't be accused of Anti-Semitism.     

Sheikh Ali Abu Al-Hassan, head of the Fatwa Committee at Al-Azhar [Sunni Islamic university], said that the first view is accurate, because when Allah punishes a group of people he punishes only them. When Allah grew angry with the nation of Moses, He turned them into pigs and monkeys as an extraordinary punishment... but they died out without leaving descendants."

[Al-Moheet Arab News Network, May 10, 2009]
[Al-Hakika al-Dawliya, May 9, 2009]

Itamar Marcus is the founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch. He was appointed by the Israeli government to be the Israeli representative (communication specialist) to the Trilateral (Israeli-American-Palestinian) Anti-Incitement Committee established under the Wye Accords. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Marcus served as research director of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, writing reports on PA, Syrian, and Jordanian schoolbooks. He holds a BA in political science from City College of New York and an MA in Hebrew culture from New York University. Barbara Crook is associate director and North American representative of Palestinian Media Watch. She teaches at the School of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She holds an Honors BA in English literature from Queen's University, an MA in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and is a Southam Fellow at the University of Toronto.
9710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 13, 2009, 09:05:18 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124217336075913063.html#

Tax Increases Could Kill the Recovery
The cap-and trade levy would hit low-income earners especially hard.
 
By MARTIN FELDSTEIN

The barrage of tax increases proposed in President Barack Obama's budget could, if enacted by Congress, kill any chance of an early and sustained recovery.


Martin Kozlowski
Historians and economists who've studied the 1930s conclude that the tax increases passed during that decade derailed the recovery and slowed the decline in unemployment. That was true of the 1935 tax on corporate earnings and of the 1937 introduction of the payroll tax. Japan did the same destructive thing by raising its value-added tax rate in 1997.

The current outlook for an economic recovery remains precarious. Although the stimulus package will give a temporary boost to growth in the current quarter, it will not be enough to offset the combined effect of lower consumer spending, the decline in residential construction, the weakness of exports, the limited availability of bank credit and the downward spiral of house prices. A sustained economic upturn is far from a sure thing. This is no time for tax increases that will reduce spending by households and businesses.

Even if the proposed tax increases are not scheduled to take effect until 2011, households will recognize the permanent reduction in their future incomes and will reduce current spending accordingly. Higher future tax rates on capital gains and dividends will depress share prices immediately and the resulting fall in wealth will cut consumer spending further. Lower share prices will also raise the cost of equity capital, depressing business investment in plant and equipment.

The Obama budget calls for tax increases of more than $1.1 trillion over the next decade. Official budget calculations disguise the resulting fiscal drag by treating Mr. Obama's proposal to cancel the 2011 income tax increases for taxpayers with incomes below $250,000 as if they are real tax cuts. The plan to modify the Alternative Minimum Tax to avoid increases for some taxpayers is also treated as a tax cut.

But those are false tax cuts in which no one's tax bill actually declines. In contrast, the proposed tax increases are very real. And despite the proposed tax increases, the government's new spending and transfer programs would cause the annual budget deficit in 2019 to exceed $1 trillion, or 5.7% of GDP.

Mr. Obama's biggest proposed tax increase is the cap-and-trade system of requiring businesses to buy carbon dioxide emission permits. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the proposed permit auctions would raise about $80 billion a year and that these extra taxes would be passed along in higher prices to consumers. Anyone who drives a car, uses public transportation, consumes electricity or buys any product that involves creating CO2 in its production would face higher prices.

CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf testified before the Senate Finance Committee on May 7 that the cap-and-trade price increases resulting from a 15% cut in CO2 emissions would cost the average household roughly $1,600 a year, ranging from $700 in the lowest-income quintile to $2,200 in the highest-income quintile. Since the amount of cap-and-trade tax rises with income, the cap-and-trade tax has the same kind of adverse work incentives as the income tax. And since the purpose of the cap-and-trade plan is to discourage the consumption of CO2-intensive products, energy or means of transportation by raising their cost to consumers, the consumer-price increases would be the same for a 15% reduction in C02 even if the government decides to give away some of the CO2 emissions permits.

But while the cap-and-trade tax rises with income, the relative burden is greatest for low-income households. According to the CBO, households in the lowest-income quintile spend more than 20% of their income on energy intensive items (primarily fuels and electricity), while those in the highest-income quintile spend less than 5% on those products.

The CBO warns that the estimate of an $80 billion-a-year tax increase could be significantly higher or lower, depending on how the program is designed. The Waxman-Markey bill currently before Congress calls for reducing greenhouse gasses 20% by 2020 and by an incredible 83% by 2050. As the government reduces the amount of CO2 that is allowed, the price of the CO2 permits would rise and the pass-through to consumer prices would also increase.

The next-largest tax increase -- with a projected rise in revenue of more than $300 billion between 2011 and 2019 -- comes from increasing the tax rates on the very small number of taxpayers with incomes over $250,000. Because this revenue estimate doesn't take into account the extent to which the higher marginal tax rates would cause those taxpayers to reduce their taxable incomes -- by changing the way they are compensated, increasing deductible expenditures, or simply earning less -- it overstates the resulting increase in revenue.

Since the projected revenue from this source is already designated to be used for Mr. Obama's health plan, some other tax increases will be needed. Moreover, Mr. Obama's budget characterizes the projected $634 billion outlay for health-care reform as just a down payment on the program. The budget notes that there would be "additional resources and new benefits to be determined with Congress." Those additional resources would no doubt be even higher taxes.

The third major tax increase is the plan to raise $220 billion over the next nine years by changing the taxation of foreign-source income. While some extra revenue could no doubt come from ending the tax avoidance gimmicks that use dummy corporations in the Caribbean, most of the projected revenue comes from disallowing corporations to pay lower tax rates on their earnings in countries like Germany, Britain and Ireland. The purpose of the tax change is not just to raise revenue but also to shift overseas production by American firms back to the U.S. by reducing the tax advantage of earning profits abroad.

The administration is likely to be disappointed about its ability to achieve both goals. Bringing production back to be taxed at the higher U.S. tax rate would raise the cost of capital and make the products less competitive in global markets. American corporations would therefore have an incentive to sell their overseas subsidiaries to foreign firms. That would leave future profits overseas, denying the Treasury Department any claim on the resulting tax revenue. And new foreign owners would be more likely to use overseas suppliers than to rely on inputs from the U.S. The net result would be less revenue to the Treasury and fewer jobs in America.

It's not too late for Mr. Obama to put these tax increases on hold. If he doesn't, Congress should protect the recovery and the longer-term health of the U.S. economy by voting down this enormous round of higher taxes.

Mr. Feldstein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Reagan, is a professor at Harvard and a member of The Wall Street Journal's board of contributors.
9711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 13, 2009, 03:30:02 AM
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/cell-phone-jammer.htm/printable

A good primer on the topic.
9712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 13, 2009, 03:08:45 AM
http://www.corrections.com/articles/20369

Allow cell phone jamming
By Jon Ozmint, Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections
Published: 01/12/2009

 Technology advances at an amazing pace, and criminals figure out how to employ it for illegal purposes at an equally amazing pace. Within prisons across our nation criminals and their accomplices are using wireless technology to threaten public safety.

The Federal Communications Act of 1934 was created “for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communication.” By with-holding surgical jamming technology from state and local law enforcement, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) violates this purpose and fails to acknowledge advancing technology.

Cell phones are contraband in prison. However, contraband can get past even the best detection systems. X-ray scanners, metal detectors, drug and bomb dogs, and the best of search techniques are all creations of human ingenuity and they can all be defeated by human ingenuity.

In South Carolina prisons, we have improved procedures to squeeze the traditional contraband pipelines. As a result, we are now experiencing an increase in what we call ‘throw-overs:’ efforts to introduce contraband directly over our fences by throwing, shooting or dropping packages containing contraband. This method requires coordination with the ‘throwers’ on the outside, via cell phones.

Today, cell phones and related technology are now the contraband of choice in America’s prisons. Here’s why.

Cell phones allow inmates to avoid using inmate phone systems, where calls can be monitored and recorded. Recently, witnesses and others have been murdered as a result of ‘hits’ issued by inmates using cell phones. From drug dealing to credit card fraud to escapes, cell phones in prisons threaten public safety.

There are two ways to deal with the issue of cell phones in prisons. One is detection and location technology. This technology is expensive and imprecise. Further, it is only partially effective since it only works while phones are operating and it requires continuous staffing to monitor and search for phones, SIMS cards, and parts.

The second method, blocking or jamming, is 80% cheaper and 100% more effective. It is continuous and it cannot be defeated by hiding and moving phones and their parts: it eliminates the threats created by cell phones.

Years ago, technology used to block and jam signals was imprecise: in order to block cell phones within a limited area, such as a prison or a single building, the technology would interfere with other calls outside of that radius. Thus, the FCC was justified in prohibiting such blocking.

Now, improved technology can block only certain signals and within a set radius only. ‘Surgical jamming’ can be aimed. In fact, we invited the FCC to attend our recent demonstration of this technology in one of our maximum security prisons. Disappointingly, they refused to even send a representative.

From the beginning, the wireless industry has voiced two objections to using this technology in prisons: (1) interference with calls outside of prison, such as E-911 calls; and, (2) interference with our own law enforcement radios. After our demonstration, the public and the media present know that these arguments are specious: surgical jamming does not interfere with law enforcement radios or block E-911 calls. In fact, it will not block any call or frequency outside of the prison perimeter.

Jamming cell phones can be an effective and necessary tool for law enforcement. Federal agencies are already allowed to purchase and use this jamming technology. So, if a cell-phone detonated bomb threatens the U.S. Capital or the FCC building, federal law enforcement can jam the signal. After all, they are very important people!

But, out here in the hinterlands, if a cell phone-detonated bomb threatens a local courthouse or school, Congress and the FCC have made it a crime for our state and local law enforcement to use the same technology that they afford to federal authorities. Apparently, our safety is not quite as important.

This double-standard is the pinnacle of arrogance, even by Washington standards.

Congress and the FCC should be ashamed. And, they should act.

Jon Ozmint is the Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections and is asking the FCC to allow state and local law enforcement authorities to use jamming technology and to allow South Carolina to pilot surgical jamming technology in prisons, immediately.
9713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 13, 2009, 03:04:38 AM
GPS Evidence Too Unreliable For Legal Purposes

GPS devices can be easily jammed and their data can be spoofed, particularly when tied to cellular systems, experts argue.
By Thomas Claburn,  InformationWeek
April 30, 2009
URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=217201050


GPS location data from tracking devices and mobile phones has become an important component of court cases as a way to establish where people have been and when they were there.

While the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the constitutionality of warrantless GPS tracking, a more fundamental question may be whether GPS data is reliable enough to be admissible in court.

Todd Glassey, chief scientist of Certichron, a time data trust service, and founder of the U.S. Time Server Foundation, argues that GPS devices can be easily jammed and that their data can be spoofed, particularly when tied to cellular systems -- as offender tracking bracelets may be.

This isn't a novel concern. The U.S. Department of Defense has forbidden the use of L1 GPS -- the version of GPS available to civilians -- for military purposes since 1998, owing to data integrity and security shortcomings. The military relies on L2 GPS, which is encrypted and more accurate.

A 2003 Los Alamos National Laboratory research paper by Jon S. Warner and Roger G. Johnston, members of the lab's Vulnerability Assessment Team, states, "Civilian Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers are vulnerable to attacks such as blocking, jamming, and spoofing." The VAT had previously demonstrated that claim by simulating the hijacking of a cargo truck monitored by GPS.

The FCC has tried to prevent the sale of GPS jammers, which are illegal under the Communications Act of 1934. But schematics for a do-it-yourself GPS jamming device can be easily found online and built for less than $150. And they can be bought online through various Web sites.

For less than $2,000, says Glassey, someone could acquire the gear necessary to spoof the location of GPS bracelets issued to sex offenders or other parolees. The potential risks are obvious.

Many law enforcement entities have opted to use L1 GPS tracking bracelets to allow defendants to remain free prior to trial and to track high-risk releases like sex offenders. Often, they wed these systems to voice-recognition systems and cellular location-sensing backup systems.

But according to Glassey, the availability of call-redirectors, Vonage, Skype, and other VoIP systems means that system safeguards aren't sufficiently secure.

"The knowledge of the use of GPS test equipment to alter or affect the readings inside of GPS receivers has already made the jump from the technology community to the hacker community such that commercial products and general knowledge of how to spoof L1 GPS systems is available everywhere," Glassey explained in a technical brief he prepared for the D.C. Circuit appeal of U.S. v. Jones.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed an amicus brief in that case in support of a claim by defendant Antoine Jones that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the warrantless placement of a GPS tracking device in his car.

But constitutional considerations aside, Glassey maintains that L1 GPS data should not be admissible in court without some other form of corroborating evidence. He contends that the reliability claims made to the court by manufacturers of GPS tracking devices are misrepresentations.
9714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Libertarian Issues on: May 13, 2009, 02:37:00 AM
I know cell phone jamming is a violation of federal law, even for local level law enforcement. I'd guess that GPS jamming is illegal, but this is a guess.
9715  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 13, 2009, 02:34:11 AM
GM; I think we need to move on.

**Yes. Once you are trapped by facts you should feel that need.**

AGAIN, as to the French Supermarket in question, nothing was destroyed. 

**Just because something wasn't destroyed, doesn't mean it's value wasn't damaged, as BBG pointed out the cost of restocking and diminished value translate to dollars (or euros) lost.**

No crime committed.

**Wrong. I can't comment as to the Napoleonic code, but in the US what was seen in the youtube clip would be chargable under several statutes. In my state, if you knowingly deprive the lawful owner of an item, that is a form of theft. Disorderly conduct and criminal tampering are a few other charges that spring to mind.**
NO  criminal theft, no trespassing, no vandalism.  But as a law enforcement officer, you know that.

As for the Police, the protest/incident was so minor (check out the other happy customers milling
about the store) management didn't care. 

**Did they? I hate to point out French culture and history, but cowering and submission to thugs isn't exactly unheard of.**

No complaint, therefore no police; but again, you know that.
Probably  these same "protestors" will be customers tomorrow.

**Maybe, and as extortion often works, the extorted businesses might just decide it's easier to pay the jizya rather than have the store burned down.**

And while I agree, Israel is the Middle East's only true democracy, some think their treatment and
policy towards the Palestinians is outrageous..  And therefore they protest and boycott. That is their right.
Boycott's are a part of American tradition too, nothing wrong or illegal.

Boycotts are legal. I'm boycotting Pepsico myself. Let's look at the definition.


boycott

The refusal to purchase the products of an individual, corporation, or nation as a way to bring social and political pressure for change.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition


Now, I'm not buying anything from Pepsico. This is legal. If I went to my local grocery store and started sweeping Pepsico products from the shelves, that would be illegal, as mentioned before. Comprende?

Now if you still want to insist that the conduct seen in the video was legal, go down to your local Ralph's, Lucky's or in your case, Whole Foods and see how that works out for you. Be sure to let us know.
9716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 12, 2009, 10:40:45 PM
http://media.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NDBmMGRiN2Q1MzcwYTQwOWU4NGJjOTY1NWQxOTc0YWI=

Sunday, April 12, 2009


French Supermarket Intifada   [Tom Gross]
A taste of things to come... appearing soon at a supermarket near you?

Recently several French supermarkets have been invaded and any produce suspected of originating from Israel has been destroyed.

Here is one example at French supermarket chain Carrefour:



Where are the police?

A journalist friend of mine in Paris tells me that the organization of boycotts is illegal in France, and that the destruction of Israeli products deprived some Orthodox Jews of the opportunity to buy kosher products and they subsequently went hungry (almost all processed kosher foods sold in France come from Israel).

Now, the London Jewish Chronicle reports that the British supermarket giant Tesco has set up a customer helpline for those considering boycotting Israeli goods.

Callers selecting the general information option on its customer helpline hear the recorded message: “If you are ringing regarding Israeli goods, please press one.” They are then connected to specially-trained call center staff.

No other country is targeted this way – just Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy. Tesco is now a public company (and by some estimates is the world's fourth largest retailer) but the chain’s founder in 1919, Jewish immigrant Jack Cohen, must be turning in his grave.
9717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: May 12, 2009, 09:54:00 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/12/video-are-the-elderly-cost-effective/

Logan's Run, anyone?
9718  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 12, 2009, 07:47:44 PM
So if this conduct is legal, could anti-abortion activists go into a Planned Parenthood and hold such a protest?

Could you go into your local supermarket and hold a similar protest?  I suggest you walk your talk and see how it turns out.
9719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 12, 2009, 01:59:53 PM
Did you miss this article posted above?

I had a scoop on the Marais fires, but didn't even know about the "supermarket intifada", in which French supermarkets, such as Carrefour, have been invaded and any produce suspected of originating from Israel is destroyed, until I was told about it by my friend and colleague, Tom Gross (www.tomgrossmedia.com). Except for a brief mention on the France 2 TV channel, the media have ignored that story.

Boycott Israel is a longstanding passion of Olivia Zemmour, a Tunisian Jew whose venomous hatred of Israel knows no bounds. Goons from her organisation, CAPJPO, now united with an outfit called EuroPalestine, beat up Jewish boys from the left-wing Zionist Hashomer Hazaïr youth movement during a 2003 "peace march".
Look at the EuroPalestine website (www.europalestine.com) and you don't need to understand French to get the flavour of their unabashed anti-Zionist operations. Islamists face the camera and spew out hate-filled talking points: Israel=Occupation, Genocide, Apartheid. A "commando" with a trademark beard and North African accent holds up an Israeli product, declaring: "We won't allow this stuff chez nous. This is our country." Then he sweeps up bottles of shampoo and threatens: "This is what will happen to anyone who supports Israel."

If it were only a few thousand wackos here, a handful of delinquents there, a few pinpricks in a healthy society, but this is not the case. It is an onslaught and it's moving fast. France-Info radio just reported a little sugar-coated item on the joyous Muslim converts attending the annual UOIF (French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) convention at Le Bourget.

Islamist movements are emboldened because the authorities, the media and secular society have failed to react properly to their show of force in January. Using the Israeli operation in Gaza as a pretext, the French-Arab street swung into action with a vengeance. I watched angry Muslims pouring from all directions into Place de la République on 3 January, hastily donning their keffiehs, marching as to war. While the
media (with the notable exception of an unsigned article in Le Figaro) painted this explosion of organised rage in the soft colours of anti-war protest, Islamist websites proudly displayed their true face: blood-curdling shouts of "Death to Israel, Death to the Jews"; Hamas and Hizbollah flags, slogans; violent attacks on the police; and the destruction of public and private property. Those were not demonstrations, they were acts of conquest by jihad foot soldiers claiming our streets, in our society, for the free expression of hate speech, death threats and genocidal promises.

9720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 12, 2009, 01:20:33 PM
If you disrupt a business, you are depriving a business of money, which is a form of theft. If you are doing it to force it to submit to you, this is racketeering/extortion.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1581141/Mafia-free-supermarket-defies-mob-extortion.html

Mafia-free supermarket defies mob extortion
 
By Nick Pisa in Rome
Last Updated: 9:42PM GMT 08 Mar 2008

Fabio Messina (left) in his mob-free shop in Palermo
Shoppers in Sicily have the chance to take on the Mafia after the first racket-free supermarket opened yesterday on the island long dominated by the mob.
Its owner, Fabio Messina, is taking a brave stand against the organisation by stacking his shelves with products only from firms which - like his own - have refused to pay pizzo, the local term for protection money.
 

"For too long ordinary citizens of Palermo and business people have been held to ransom, and now we are fighting back," said Pasquale Masucci, a computer technician who was one of the store's first customers.
The supermarket, located in the heart of Palermo, is the latest initiative from campaign group Addiopizzo (Goodbye Pizzo) that has been fighting racketeering since 2004.
Its campaign was launched by pasting up posters around the city overnight, bearing the slogan: "A society that pays pizzo is a society without dignity.''
Investigators estimate that the Mafia extorts more than £130 million a year from shops and businesses in the Palermo region, with the island as a whole handing over 10 times that figure. The more money a business makes, the more money the Godfathers expect - and those who don't pay up are quickly paid a visit.
It starts with a friendly chat to explain the rules, followed by a nudge such as a brick through the window. If that fails to make the point, a home, business or car might be firebombed.
Small shops are expected to hand over around £100 a month: for supermarkets and jewellers, the going rate is nearer £1,000.
But shoppers and businesses are rebelling, with those refusing to pay adding their names online at the Addiopizzo website. As of yesterday, 241 firms and individuals were listed.
Now Mr Messina, 29, has decided to bring them together by stocking their items in Supermercato Punto Antipizzo - literally, anti-pizzo point supermarket.
He said: "I felt the time had come to give those businesses that had refused to pay the pizzo an extra economic opportunity.
"All the products in the store are supplied by firms who have refused to pay pizzo — we are talking about products from fruit and vegetables to wine, olive oil, pasta and bread. The sort of items you find in any normal supermarket."
Gerlando Mazone, an optician who is among the anti-Mafia traders, has refused to back down despite suffering several break-ins.
Mr Mazone said: "I refused to pay the pizzo and the windows were smashed and I lost £230,000 worth of stock.
"I then also noticed my customers were falling away and it broke my heart. I am not ashamed to say I cried every night. But with the help of Addiopizzo I am starting to get back on my feet.
"Of course I could have gone to the local boss, paid the money and got my stock back - but I don't see why I should share my profits with anyone other than my staff.''
Centre left senator Francesco Ferrante, who has campaigned against Mafia racketeering, said: "With the opening of this supermarket a new symbol of rebellion and pride has been born from a category that has too often been crushed by Cosa Nostra.
"They have decided to declare war on the racketeers by giving honest citizens the opportunity to fight back against the godfathers with a simple gesture - such as buying from a pizzo free supermarket.''
Shoppers in Palermo hope this stand will prove successful. "If everybody does just one thing like this then we are all making a stand against the Mafia," said Mr Masucci's wife Tiziana, a teacher. "I am not afraid to come shopping here and I have told all my friends about it. I wish the owner all the success in the world."
9721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 12, 2009, 12:22:35 AM
JDN,

You might want to read up on how protection rackets work. Islam, from it's origin has been a form of organized crime. It's "boycott" is nothing more than a version of the protection game.
9722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 11, 2009, 11:13:55 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/11/cbo-2009-deficit-50-greater-than-expected/

What could possibly go wrong???
9723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 10, 2009, 08:41:45 PM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2009/05/budget-cutting-101.html

WEDNESDAY, MAY 06, 2009

Budget-Cutting 101

How does the Obama Administration plan to save money? If you guessed "cutting defense," give yourself a gold star and move to the head of the budgetary class.

The Wall Street Journal reports that defense programs will absorb half of the $17 billion in planned cuts, which will be announced on Thursday. Some of the reductions have already been announced, including plans to halt production of the Air Force's F-22 stealth fighter.

The rest of the cuts will come from domestic programs, although it's unclear if the reductions will actually occur. As one administration official told the Journal, virtually all programs have a constituency, meaning that someone will fight the planned reductions.

Not that it really matters. The reductions are largely symbolic, as the WSJ explains:

Compared with the total $3.6 trillion spending plan for 2010, the proposed trims amount to one-half of 1%. Half the cuts would come from defense, especially Pentagon weapons programs already spelled out by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, such as trimming back the fleet of advanced F-22 fighter planes. The other half would come from programs that have strong support among progressive activists who cheered Mr. Obama's election. Programs targeted for elimination or consolidation include education and housing programs that Democratic aides said will have fierce advocates among traditionally Democratic constituencies.

Given that reality, it's not inconceivable that some of the domestic initiatives will be saved, forcing bean counters to look for more cuts in the defense budget. So the "50% share" for the Pentagon may well rise, as the administration looks for more ways to save money.

OMB Director Peter Orszag says the planned defense reductions include "all of those" outlined by Defense Secretary Bob Gates last month. Programs targeted for down-sizing (or elimination) include the C-17 transport, the airborne laser and the aforementioned F-22. Some analysts believe that the Air Force has been unfairly singled out for budget cuts, with ominous implications for the service and its airpower mission.

But those sorts of arguments don't get much traction. Just today, pollster Frank Luntz advised Republicans to avoid "principled arguments" in battling the White House on health care reform. Embrace the reform mantra, Luntz argued, and advocate efficiency and savings in the GOP plan.

If you can't get American voters to see the folly of socialized health care, then well-reasoned arguments supporting key defense programs stand absolutely no chance. Welcome to the ill-informed, indifferent U.S. electorate of the early 21st Century. The greatest of the "Great Unwashed." Just the kind of voters that Democrats love.
9724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 09, 2009, 06:13:17 PM

Mayhem in the Marais
Nidra Poller from Paris
May 2009

Firefighters tackle a blazing car during anti-Jewish violence in January

Saturday night in spring 2009, in a quiet corner of the Marais. Sounds of tumult and smashing. A pause. An ominous silence. Then, the first explosion. Gunshots? Gas? It's on the rue des Arquebusiers. A fire engine pulls up, the firefighters jump out, ready for action. They're stymied. They run in circles, shouting to each other like helpless civilians. Cars are burning in the narrow side street and they can't get near the roaring inferno. Seven cars in a row, popping like huge champagne corks. It takes an eternity before a bigger engine arrives. It has a huge hose but it's hours before the last flames are extinguished.

Torched cars are a familiar sight on the French landscape. Tens of thousands are burnt out every year. But this isn't video footage on the evening news. It's not the banlieue in 2005. It's very close and extremely scary.

By Sunday noon, municipal workers had towed away the ghostly skeletons and swept up the debris, baring deep scars in the asphalt. Three weeks later, the scene is a black gaping wound. The stone kerb is cracked and chipped, as if it were made of clay. Metal awnings are buckled and blistered, the wooden façades are burnt away, revealing melted wires and pipes. A period street lamp is gutted. A thick coat of black soot reaches up to the wrought-iron balconies.

Apart from one laconic article in the daily le Parisien, the incident was not considered newsworthy in France. The international readership of the atlasshrugs.com newsblog knew more from my on-the-spot coverage than people living nearby. I was tipped off about another big fire at the Résidence Madeleine Béjart, a city-owned retirement home on rue de la Perle, five minutes' walk from Arquebusiers. That fire started in a decorative alcove on the façade and charred the ceiling of the wide portico. In some places, it's completely burned away.
Who would be torching the Marais? Punk jihadis? Anarchists? Stupid kids? Is this a fluke or the beginning of a new phase? No one in the vicinity seems to care. They dismiss it with a Gallic shrug. "The insurance will pay for the damages." Torching cars could become as commonplace as the graffiti that disfigures beautiful 18th-century mansions. The Marais is Paris's old Jewish quarter, with emphasis on the old. Orthodox families go to synagogue. There's a Jewish day school, some remnants of the declining garment business and the rue des Rosiers with its mix of kosher delicatessens, Judaica shops and encroaching upscale boutiques. But there are more Jews and more anti-Jewish violence in the 19th arrondissement, where Rudy Haddad was beaten into a coma last summer. I'm told the investigation is stalled because they are still trying to prove it was inter-communitarian strife-Jewish gangs fighting Arabs/Muslims/Blacks-instead of gratuitous, violent anti-Semitism.

On the other hand, we can't be sure the Marais fire was aimed at Jews. I start my inquiry with the chief of the third arrondissement police station, who tells me to phone the press attaché at the Préfecture (police headquarters), who refers me to the Cabinet du Parquet (public prosecutor's office), where I speak to a gracious but bemused spokeswoman. "Burned cars?" she asks. "There are so many..." The investigation is under way but if it turns out to be arson, she admits, it is unlikely the police will find the culprits. And the case will be closed. She is surprised that I think the two fires in the Marais might be related.

I had a scoop on the Marais fires, but didn't even know about the "supermarket intifada", in which French supermarkets, such as Carrefour, have been invaded and any produce suspected of originating from Israel is destroyed, until I was told about it by my friend and colleague, Tom Gross (www.tomgrossmedia.com). Except for a brief mention on the France 2 TV channel, the media have ignored that story.

Boycott Israel is a longstanding passion of Olivia Zemmour, a Tunisian Jew whose venomous hatred of Israel knows no bounds. Goons from her organisation, CAPJPO, now united with an outfit called EuroPalestine, beat up Jewish boys from the left-wing Zionist Hashomer Hazaïr youth movement during a 2003 "peace march".
Look at the EuroPalestine website (www.europalestine.com) and you don't need to understand French to get the flavour of their unabashed anti-Zionist operations. Islamists face the camera and spew out hate-filled talking points: Israel=Occupation, Genocide, Apartheid. A "commando" with a trademark beard and North African accent holds up an Israeli product, declaring: "We won't allow this stuff chez nous. This is our country." Then he sweeps up bottles of shampoo and threatens: "This is what will happen to anyone who supports Israel."

If it were only a few thousand wackos here, a handful of delinquents there, a few pinpricks in a healthy society, but this is not the case. It is an onslaught and it's moving fast. France-Info radio just reported a little sugar-coated item on the joyous Muslim converts attending the annual UOIF (French branch of the Muslim Brotherhood) convention at Le Bourget.

Islamist movements are emboldened because the authorities, the media and secular society have failed to react properly to their show of force in January. Using the Israeli operation in Gaza as a pretext, the French-Arab street swung into action with a vengeance. I watched angry Muslims pouring from all directions into Place de la République on 3 January, hastily donning their keffiehs, marching as to war. While the
media (with the notable exception of an unsigned article in Le Figaro) painted this explosion of organised rage in the soft colours of anti-war protest, Islamist websites proudly displayed their true face: blood-curdling shouts of "Death to Israel, Death to the Jews"; Hamas and Hizbollah flags, slogans; violent attacks on the police; and the destruction of public and private property. Those were not demonstrations, they were acts of conquest by jihad foot soldiers claiming our streets, in our society, for the free expression of hate speech, death threats and genocidal promises.

As anti-Jewish attacks reached a new high, President Nicolas Sarkozy promised to punish anti-Semitism and Islamophobia with equal severity, reinforcing the myth of reciprocal inter-communitarian violence. When two naïve, Jewish 15-year-olds handing out pro-Israel leaflets in front of Lycée Jeansson-Sailly, in the affluent 16th arrondissement, got into a fight with some Muslim kids and won, Le Monde turned the Jewish kids into extremists from the Jewish Defence League. They were detained by the police and the incident was repeatedly cited to balance out real attacks against Jews.
Michaël Benamou, 29, was attacked by three Arab-looking men on the busy platform of the Auber suburban railway station. He told YNet, an Israeli news website: "They called me a ‘f***ing Jew' and said they would kill me. They broke my nose and beat me all over." He has decided to emigrate to Israel. Désiré Amsellem, a 70-year-old Jewish family doctor devoted to his patients of all faiths and origins, was shot in the back as he left his office in Valenton, 10 miles south-east of Paris. Investigators have no clue as to the motive or identity of the killer. On 15 January, after a pro-Hamas demonstration in Strasbourg, 50 men travelled to Metz with the intention of breaking into a synagogue during a service. They were held off by the police. On 24 January, the 1,500 square-metre warehouse of a major distributor of kosher foods burned down in Montreuil, a rough eastern Paris suburb. Obviously arson but, with no graffiti, authorities hesitate to classify it as anti-Semitic.

The attack on 24-year-old Jonathan Guez began as an ordinary carjacking in Fontenay-sous-Bois, a Paris banlieue. "I came out with my car keys in my hand. A masked man stepped up and asked me to hand over the keys. A second man grabbed me from behind. The first man saw the Hebrew letters on my pendant. He asked me if it was Hebrew, and I said, ‘Yes.' He asked, ‘Are you Jewish?' I looked him in the eyes and said, ‘Yes.' He pulled out a butcher's knife, said Israel was drinking the blood of Palestinians. They spoke to each other in Arabic, they insulted me in Arabic and in French. The one with the knife said, ‘I am going to cut you until you bleed.' He slashed once. He said: ‘I am going to cut you until you die,' and drew the knife across my skin a second time, a third time. I fell to my hands and knees. The fourth time, the blood started to flow. Then he kicked me in the head with all his might.

"This shouldn't happen in France. I am French and Jewish and for that I was almost killed. The doctor said the last slash was two millimetres from the carotid."
He is physically and psychologically devastated. His ordeal is among the more than 350 anti-Semitic incidents, from insults to savage beatings, reported for the month of January alone as compared to 460 for the whole of 2008. This has been going on, with ups and downs, since the outbreak of the "al-Aqsa intifada" in September 2000. It has reached proportions that should be unacceptable to any self-respecting person, Jewish or not. We should be aware of the growing danger, not only for Jews but for everyone.

I am American, but I have lived in Paris for more than 35 years. Thousands of Jews have left France, many thousands think that they will have to leave, but hope they won't. Sephardi Jews who fled North Africa in the 1950s and '60s are now hounded and harassed by Muslim immigrants. The energy expended by the Jewish community since 2000 to defend itself and its honour has been weakened by endless insults,
repeated setbacks and the feeling that there is no collective heart in this society that can be truly reached. An "enough is enough" ad published by Jews in Le Figaro in April is more despondent than determined.

And yet, life can be so sweet on a balmy springtime evening in the Marais. How can such grace and charm be sacrificed to hostile forces whose strength is drawn from our weakness? Two years ago this month, Nicolas Sarkozy was triumphantly elected by citizens determined to stem the tide of reckless violence and reassert secular values. What went wrong? Could it be that the surrender to obsessive anti-Zionism is
disabling French society, turning it away from its true purpose, delivering it into the hands of its enemies?

Copyright © Social Affairs Unit Magazines Limited 2008
Source URL: http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/mayhem-in-the-marais-may-09-dispatches-paris-anti-semitism-violence
9725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 09, 2009, 05:41:37 PM
"Hey, nice little store you got here. Shame if all these Israeli products made it catch on fire."
9726  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 09, 2009, 12:39:39 PM
Ah yes, as usual a liberal bends over backwards to defend evil.

Peaceful protest is different that disrupting a store's business and intimidating people. Gee, the French cowered and didn't fight back? SHOCKING!  shocked
9727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: May 07, 2009, 09:12:50 PM
Among the cuts is the fund for law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Reminds me of when the Obama campaign put it's porta-potties on top of a memorial for fallen officers at one campaign stop.
9728  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: May 07, 2009, 09:09:19 PM
Just another version of jihad.
9729  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: May 07, 2009, 03:22:15 PM
The economic numbers released by China are even less truthful than those from the Obama administration. If the scumbags in Beijing get desperate enough, the whole world will feel it.
9730  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 07, 2009, 03:13:07 PM
Good point Doug.

Whodathunk that the PRC would end up being the voice of reason for us?


I gotta start drinking heavily.
9731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I guess AIPAC missed this.... on: May 06, 2009, 09:15:22 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/06/obama-to-force-israel-to-give-up-nukes/

Obama to force Israel to give up nukes?
POSTED AT 9:29 AM ON MAY 6, 2009 BY ED MORRISSEY   


The Washington Times reports that Barack Obama may counter demands from Israel to confront Iran over their nuclear program by confronting Israel over theirs.  Eli Lake has the exclusive on the Obama administration’s strategy to force Israel under the umbrella of the non-proliferation treaty, apparently as a condition to getting Iran to surrender their nukes.  The effort will include India and Pakistan, and comes from a 2006 Saudi peace plan that would leave Israel at the mercy of the armies surrounding the state:

President Obama’s efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons threaten to expose and derail a 40-year-old secret U.S. agreement to shield Israel’s nuclear weapons from international scrutiny, former and current U.S. and Israeli officials and nuclear specialists say.

The issue will likely come to a head when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Mr. Obama on May 18 in Washington. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to seek assurances from Mr. Obama that he will uphold the U.S. commitment and will not trade Israeli nuclear concessions for Iranian ones.

Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, speaking Tuesday at a U.N. meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said Israel should join the treaty, which would require Israel to declare and relinquish its nuclear arsenal.

Gottemoeller has a track record of demanding Israeli disarmament:

However, Ms. Gottemoeller endorsed the concept of a nuclear-free Middle East in a 2005 paper that she co-authored, “Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security.”

“Instead of defensively trying to ignore Israels nuclear status, the United States and Israel should proactively call for regional dialogue to specify the conditions necessary to achieve a zone free of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons,” she wrote.

The paper recommends that Israel take steps to disarm in exchange for its neighbors getting rid of chemical and biological weapons programs as well as Iran forgoing uranium enrichment.

The Obama administration appointed Gottemoeller, fully cognizant of her thinking on this issue. One has to assume that her appointment to the senior position at State constitutes an endorsement of those positions.  It wouldn’t be the most radical thinking about Israel from this administration; Samantha Powers, who works between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice, once called for a Western occupation of Israel and forced disarmament of their entire army.

Gottemoeller’s speech had to have been cleared by the Obama administration, and so appears to represent their foreign-policy position.  The Bush administration and its predecessors handled the situation more tactfully, supporting a “nuclear-free Middle East” without naming names.  Why?  The position of Israel in the Middle East is unique.  They are not just simply another nation among many.  They had been the one successful continuous democracy in that region, save Turkey, and quite obviously surrounded by nations explicitly threatening to annihilate them.  Israel had to develop a deterrent that would keep a nation of 5 million people alive among 100 million enemies.

Over the years, some of those neighbors have moderated their stance somewhat towards Israel; Egypt and Jordan have diplomatic relations with Israel, but in Egypt’s case only because Washington pays them to do it.  None of the rest of the nations in that region even recognize Israel’s existence, and two of them — Syria and Iran — have a long-running proxy war of terror running against Israel.  Under those conditions, Israel can be forgiven for thinking that a deterrent is still a damned good idea.

Besides, the Iranian nuclear program threatens the US as well.  We want to stop Iran from building nukes to keep them out of the hands of terrorists, and not just those aimed at Israel.  They don’t call us the Great Satan out of respect, after all, and Iranian leadership has been just as annihilationist towards America as it has been towards Israel.  Instead of disarming our allies, maybe we should just concentrate on disarming our enemies.
9732  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 06, 2009, 08:53:35 PM
Rachel,

Please explain how digging us deeper into unsustainable debt that leaves us vulnerable to economic warfare while gutting our military's technological edge leads to a happy ending.
9733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 06, 2009, 08:51:08 PM
http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-6448-Norfolk-Military-Affairs-Examiner~y2009m4d18-Pentagon-budget-threatens-airpower-national-security-expert-warns

Pentagon budget threatens airpower, national security, expert warns
April 18, 5:50 PM

When Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently unveiled his new military spending plan, supporters hailed it as “revolutionary.” But others are suggesting that Mr. Gates’ proposal is not only shortsighted; it potentially jeopardizes American security.     
With steep cuts in weapons systems—including missile defense—the Gates budget was described as a “break” with long-standing Pentagon procurement and contracting practices, which have produced revolutionary technology, but at a very steep price. Cost overruns and design changes have added billions to the cost of new weapons systems—including many targeted for deep cuts or elimination by Mr. Gates.   
:       
Programs on the chopping block include five deemed essential for the U.S. Air Force, and its ability to project airpower around the globe. Under the Gates plan, production of the service’s state-of-the-art F-22 fighter would be capped at 187 aircraft, well below what the Air Force requested.
 
Additionally, the new budget would eliminate funding for the service’s new rescue helicopter, and halt development of the next-generation bomber and the airborne laser, which targets ballistic missiles in their boost phase. Procurement of the C-17 transport would also end.   
 
While the Gates budget also slashes weapons programs in the other services, one respected defense analyst believes it places an undue burden on the Air Force. Dr. Rebecca Grant, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Lexington Institute says the new defense plan “singles out” the USAF for deep cuts, by halting or eliminating key programs needed for joint war plans.
 
The result, she says, will be an Air Force that finds it more difficult to deal with advanced threats--and meet the needs of combatant commanders.
 
As an example of the budget’s adverse impact, Grant cited the decision to shut down the F-22 assembly line after producing just four additional Raptors. beyond those now on order. At one point, the Air Force hoped to buy over 700 F-22, but prior budget cuts forced dramatic reductions in that plan. Earlier this year, service leaders made a push for 60 additional Raptors, which would have raised the inventory to just over 240 aircraft. But Mr. Gates rejected that request.
 
Dr. Grant says halting F-22 procurement will have far-reaching consequences, in a variety of potential contingencies. She expressed doubt that the Air Force will be able to fully equip a Raptor squadron earmarked for the Hawaii Air National Guard, despite the aircraft’s prominent role in Pacific region war planning.
 
She also faulted the Defense Secretary for his plan to buy more Joint Strike Fighters instead of the F-22. “He accepted the analysis of his own staff over Air Force warfighters, Grant observed. “He said he wants the 75% solution that JSF provides, but JSF can’t do all the F-22 missions.  It complements the F-22 but does not replace its speed and survivability.”
 
Dr. Grant believes that a smaller Raptor inventory will make it more difficult to deal with a variety of crises, ranging from the SA-20 air defense system in Iran, to “worst case” scenarios involving China, or a conflict along Russia’s borders.
 
She also suggested that the JSF faces a less-than-certain future, despite Gates’ endorsement. “He didn’t significantly accelerate the program,” Grant continued, “and there’s still the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) to come. He has given us no vision of future military forces.”
 
The Air Force’s long-range strike capabilities took an even greater hit under the Gates proposal, which ends development of a new bomber. Dr. Grant said that cancellation of the program would mean an even greater reliance on the B-2 stealth bomber, which entered operational service in the 1990s.
 
“If the U.S. had to go after a difficult, long distance target like a hostile missile launcher, only 4-5 B-2s would be available on any given day,” she predicted. Without a new bomber, Grant said that U.S. strategic forces face a “tough environment,” particularly after 2020, when the oldest B-2s will enter their fourth decade of service.
 
She also wondered if “Gates wants to leave airmen behind on the battlefield,” referring to his termination of the next-generation combat search-and-rescue helicopter, or CSAR-X. The defense secretary defended his decision in a recent appearance at the Air War College, claiming that the chopper’s mission requirements—rescuing personnel deep in enemy territory—“made no sense.”
 
While Gates plans to boost spending for certain systems, including UAVs, Dr. Grant warned that drones are no substitute for aircraft being cancelled, including the F-22 and the new bomber. “UAVs are great,” she said, “but they can’t survive in hostile airspace.” She also noted that one variant of the planned bomber would have been unmanned. Terminating the program “shuts down another key technology path,” Grant said.
 
As the defense chief makes the rounds of media appearances and war colleges to sell his proposal, there has been little criticism from the service chiefs and other senior, uniformed officers. Grant believes the lack of pushback is hardly a coincidence.
 
“He’s fired a service chief, two service secretaries and a combatant commander. Generals and admirals are afraid to speak in the climate created by Gates.” Dr. Grant also noted that Secretary Gates has required senior service officials to sign non-disclosure agreements, stifling dissent in the senior ranks.
 
 
The Gates plan faces stiffer opposition on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are maneuvering to preserve programs targeted for elimination. “No way will the Senate go along with all of his recommendations,” predicted one Republican staffer.
 
But it’s still unclear which weapons systems—if any—will survive the process. Earlier this year, a bi-partisan group of Senators sent Mr. Gates a letter, asking him to continue F-22 production. But the defense secretary ignored their advice, and a plea from the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz, and the service secretary, Michael Donley, for 60 additional aircraft.
 
An early showdown on the secretary’s proposal is expected on April 30th, when the Airland Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee holds a scheduled hearing on airpower. Supporters of the next-generation bomber are expected to raise that issue during the hearing, and the Senate aide says that continued development of that aircraft is a “high priority” for members of the subcommittee.   
9734  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 06, 2009, 08:43:38 PM
http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8877/12-13-LTBO.pdf

Looming disaster.
9735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 06, 2009, 08:31:16 PM
**So, was Hillary right?**

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/print/149593.htm

Clinton says U.S. debt to China threatens security

Monday, March 31, 2008
By Jeff Mason, Reuters


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Bush administration has jeopardized national security and the ability to intervene in world crises because of the huge U.S. debt held partly by China, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said on Saturday.
The New York senator, who argues she is better prepared to deal with economic and foreign policy problems than rival Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, told a rally in Indiana that the United States' US$9 trillion in gross national debt puts it at the mercy of other nations.

She said President George W. Bush's policies contributed to rising U.S. debt and also have hamstrung Washington's ability to lead.

"That is what George Bush's policies mean in real world terms -- that we have put our nation's security and our leadership of the world at risk because of this indebtedness," Clinton said.

Clinton made China the focus of her criticism, which she has repeated throughout Indiana, a state that has suffered from manufacturing job losses that many blame on unfair trade practices and companies outsourcing jobs to China.

Clinton hopes to win Indiana's Democratic nominating contest on May 6 in a bid to close the gap with Obama who leads in amassing delegates who determine the party's nominee.

In her campaign remarks, she lamented China's hold over the U.S. economy.

"We are so dependent upon decisions made in other countries' capitals," Clinton said, singling out China's potential power over U.S. foreign policy decisions because of its financial leverage.

Clinton cited a discussion she had with a retired general who raised a "nightmare scenario" in which China threatened Taiwan and the U.S. president wanted to send ships toward the island to ward off Beijing.

"He said, 'You know, suppose the Chinese decide that they're going to go after Taiwan the way we see them, you know, with Tibet,'" Clinton said, describing the general's remarks and referring to the recent unrest in Tibet.

"'We start to move the fleet, and the Chinese say, 'Fine. You do that, we will dump your dollars. We will flood the market. We will not buy any more of your debt.'"

China currently holds about US$490 billion in U.S. Treasury securities and has foreign exchanges reserves totaling more than US$1.5 trillion.

Clinton accused Beijing of manipulating its currency and of not holding its exporters to the same health and environmental standards that U.S. companies must meet.

The U.S. trade deficit with China soared last year to a record US$252 billion even as the U.S. trade gap with the rest of the world decreased.

Many U.S. lawmakers complain that China deliberately undervalues its currency to boost exports and limit imports and have pressed Bush to be more aggressive in addressing the issue.
9736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 06, 2009, 08:22:52 PM
http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/article/56918/Big-Risk-Surging-Debt-Makes-U.S.-More-Dependent-on-China-Russia-Gulf-States?tickers=BAC,MER,LEH,AIG,C,XLF,%5EDJI

Big Risk: Surging Debt Makes U.S. More Dependent on China, Russia, Gulf States

Posted Sep 15, 2008 12:07pm EDT by Aaron Task in   Investing, Recession, Banking

The demise of Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Bear Stearns this year has investors contemplating the long-term outlook for other once-venerable institutions, including Dow members Citigroup, AIG and Bank of America.

But there's an even bigger financial institution with greater debt and an increasing level of bad loans on its books: The U.S. government.

Given the actions already taken, from the Housing Bill to the nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S. deficit could double to $800 billion in two years, says Nouriel Roubini, of NYU's Stern School and RGE Monitor. (Even worse, the official government deficit figures exclude the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare.)

The big risk is that foreign holders of Treasuries will no longer accept low interest rates to help fund U.S. debt spending, says Roubini, noting countries like China, Russia and oil-producing nations in the Middle East have becoming increasingly important holders of Treasuries. Should they demand higher rates to hold U.S. debt or, worse, dump their holdings, it could have profound ramifications on the U.S. economy and the value of the dollar.

Roubini further notes the Federal Reserve has put its balance sheet -- and independence -- at risk via its intimate involvement in thus-far failed attempts to stem the crisis.

It's tempting to dismiss the notion of a "run" on the U.S. government as unthinkable and some bears have been warning for years, even decades, about such a worst-case scenario. But after the events of this weekend, much less the past six months, it's clear that (almost) anything is possible and no scenario too "outrageous" to seriously contemplate.
9737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 06, 2009, 07:52:19 PM
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg2249.cfm

March 16, 2009
The Obama Budget: Spending, Taxes, and Doubling the National Debt
by Brian M. Riedl
Backgrounder #2249
During his presidential campaign, President Barack Obama promised the American people a "net spending cut."1 Instead, he signed a "stimulus" bill that spends $800 billion, and he has proposed a budget that would:

Increase spending by $1 trillion over the next decade;
Include an additional $250 billion placeholder for another financial bailout;
Likely lead to a 12 percent increase in discretion ary spending;
Permanently expand the federal government by nearly 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over pre-recession levels;
Raise taxes on all Americans by $1.4 trillion over the next decade;
Raise taxes for 3.2 million taxpayers by an average of $300,000 over the next decade;
Call for a pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) law despite offering a budget that would violate it by $3.4 trillion;
Assume a rosy economic scenario that few econo mists anticipate;
Leave permanent deficits averaging $600 billion even after the economy recovers; and
Double the publicly held national debt to over $15 trillion ($12.5 trillion after inflation).2
Before the recession, federal spending totaled $24,000 per U.S. household. President Obama would hike it to $32,000 per household by 2019— an inflation-adjusted $8,000-per-household expan sion of government. Even the steep tax increases planned for all taxpayers would not finance all of this spending: The President's budget would add trillions of dollars in new debt.[1][2]

Yet, the President's budget may even understate future spending and deficits. It assumes that the temporary stimulus spending provisions will be allowed to expire and that the $634 billion down payment on universal health care will not be expanded. It proposes destructive income tax increases and a new cap-and-trade energy tax that could devastate the manufacturing sector. Yet, somehow, the budget assumes much faster eco nomic growth than forecast by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Blue Chip Consensus.

Overall, the President's budget represents a sharp break from the policies that created the most prosperous 25-year period in American economic history. Instead, it puts politicians in charge of an increasing portion of the economy. Congress should discard this tax-and-spend budget and start from scratch.

Doubling Down on President Bush's Economic Policies

President Obama has framed his budget as a break from the "failed policies" of the Bush Admin istration. Actually, his budget doubles down on President George W. Bush's borrow, spend, and bail out policies. For example:

President Bush expanded the federal budget by a historic $700 billion through 2008. President Obama would add another $1 trillion.[3]
President Bush began a string of expensive finan cial bailouts. President Obama is accelerating that course.[4]
President Bush created a Medicare drug entitle ment that will cost an estimated $800 billion in its first decade. President Obama has proposed a $634 billion down payment on a new govern ment health care fund.
President Bush increased federal education spending 58 percent faster than inflation. Presi dent Obama would double it.[5]
President Bush became the first President to spend 3 percent of GDP on federal antipoverty programs. President Obama has already in creased this spending by 20 percent.[6]
President Bush tilted the income tax burden more toward upper-income taxpayers. President Obama would continue that trend.[7]
President Bush ran budget deficits averaging $300 billion annually. After harshly criticizing Bush's budget deficits, President Obama pro­posed a budget that would run deficits averaging $600 billion even after the economy recovers and the troops return home from Iraq.

The President's tax policy is the only sharp break in economic policy. President Bush reduced taxes by approximately $2 trillion; President Obama has proposed raising taxes by $1.4 trillion. In doing so, President Obama has rejected the most successful Bush fiscal policy. In the 18 months following the 2003 tax rate cuts, economic growth rates doubled, the stock market surged 32 percent, and the econ omy created 1.8 million jobs, followed by 5.2 mil lion more jobs in the next 27 months.[8] Not until the housing bubble burst several years later did the economy finally lose steam. Pro-growth lawmakers should embrace tax relief policies that have proven successful, while rejecting the runaway spending that has been business as usual in Washington.

The Mythical "$2 Trillion in Savings"

During his recent address to a joint session of Congress, President Obama previewed his budget by asserting that the Administration has "already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade."[9] This is simply not true. His budget increases spending by $1 trillion over the next decade, which he attempts to offset by reclassifying as "savings" $1.4 trillion in tax increases and $1.5 trillion in reduced spending in Iraq. However, gov ernment savings have always referred to spending cuts that save taxpayer dollars, not tax increases that feed the government. Furthermore, the Iraq "sav ings" are measured against an implausible spending baseline that assumes a permanent $180 billion bud get for the global war on terrorism, without any troop withdrawals through 2019. This is the equiv alent of a family deciding to "save" $10,000 by first assuming an expensive vacation and then not taking it. Without these false savings, only the $1 trillion spending hike remains, and that does not account for the extra $250 billion proposed for another round of financial bailouts in the current fiscal year.

Despite the claimed savings, this budget undeni ably expands government. Before the recession, rev enues were 18 percent of GDP and spending was 20 percent. After the recession, President Obama would maintain revenues slightly above 19 percent of GDP and spending at over 22 percent.[10] Thus, new tax revenues would finance new spending, rather than deficit reduction. President Obama's structural bud get deficit would exceed President Bush's.

The President also calls for bringing back the PAYGO statute, which existed from 1991 through 2002. Under this law, if the sum of a given year's entitlement or tax legislation expanded the budget deficit, an automatic across-the-board cut ("seques tration") in entitlement spending would be trig gered at the end of the year. The President's PAYGO proposal lacks credibility because his own budget blueprint would violate PAYGO by $3.4 trillion over 10 years.[11]

This disconnect between PAYGO rhetoric and reality is nothing new: Congress violated the 1991– 2002 PAYGO law by more than $700 billion and then enacted legislation cancelling every single sequestration that would have enforced the law.[12] Although Congress created its own PAYGO rule in 2007, it has waived it several times at a cost of $600 billion. Conse quently, the President's PAYGO pro posal should be considered a hollow gimmick that will be bypassed any time it proves inconvenient.

Doubling the National Debt

President Obama's pledge to halve the budget deficit by 2013 is hardly ambitious. The budget deficit will quadruple in 2009 to $1.75 trillion, and cutting that level in half would still leave deficits twice as high as under President Bush. Furthermore, three expected developments—the end of the recession, withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and phaseout of temporary stimulus spending— would halve the budget deficit by 2013. The President's budget shows deficits averaging $600 billion even after the economy recovers and the troops return home from Iraq.[13] That is not good enough.

President Bush presided over a $2.5 trillion increase in the public debt through 2008. Setting aside 2009 (for which Presidents Bush and Obama share responsibility for an additional $2.6 trillion in public debt), President Obama's budget would add $4.9 trillion in public debt from the beginning of 2010 through 2016— nearly double the amount accumulated under Pres ident Bush over the same number of years. Overall, the public debt level would double over the next decade to $15.4 trillion ($12.5 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars). (See Chart 1.) At 67 percent of GDP, this would constitute America's largest debt burden since immediately following World War II.[14]
9738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Brave Sir Robin-Obama on: May 06, 2009, 02:03:04 PM
Moved to China thread
9739  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 06, 2009, 08:38:20 AM
http://www.smh.com.au/national/america-will-not-protect-us-warns-rudd-20090501-aq6c.html?page=-1

America will not protect us, warns Rudd
Jonathan Pearlman Defence Correspondent
May 2, 2009

THE Rudd Government has acknowledged that the supremacy of the US has begun to fade and Australia is preparing for an uncertain future in which it can no longer rely on the protection of its main ally.

In a fundamental shift in defence plans, the Government has explicitly declared that US primacy in the Asia-Pacific - the bedrock of the nation's security since World War II - may be ending. The change, caused by the rise of new great powers such as China, is set to produce growing regional tensions and a "sudden deterioration" in Australia's security.

A 20-year defence blueprint, to be released by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, today, prepares for a multibillion-dollar build-up of naval and air forces to ensure that Australia can defend its northern and sea approaches.

It says a regional shake-up is under way but US supremacy will not be blunted before 2030 and assesses the chances of an attack on Australia in the short term as "very remote".

The white paper, Defending Australia In The Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030, is the first since 2000 and outlines a range of security threats, including instability caused by the financial crisis, cyber warfare, failed states in the Pacific, Islamist terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and climate change.

It warns that Australia must ensure it can protect itself amid an emerging range of great powers in the region - particularly China, India and Russia - which could lead to a "miscalculation" with disturbing consequences for Australia.

"Australia has been a very secure country for many decades, in large measure because the wider Asia-Pacific region has enjoyed an unprecedented era of peace and stability underwritten by US strategic primacy," the paper says. "That order is being transformed as economic changes start to bring about changes in the distribution of strategic power. Risks resulting from escalating strategic competition could emerge quite unpredictably."

The Minister for Defence, Joel Fitzgibbon, said the world faced "the beginning of the end" of the unquestioned dominance of Australia's principal ally since the Cold War.

The paper criticises China for failing to explain its substantial military build-up in recent years, which appears to have exceeded the force needed for a war over Taiwan. China's military modernisation will be little affected by the global financial crisis and is set to limit the ability of the US to control the region, it says.

"The pace, scope and structure of China's military modernisation have the potential to give its neighbours cause for concern if not carefully explained, and if China does not reach out to others to build confidence regarding its military plans.

"As other powers rise, and the primacy of the US is increasingly tested, power relations will inevitably change. When this happens there will be the possibility of miscalculation … A potential contraction of US strategic presence in the Asia-Pacific region, with a requirement for allies and friends to do more in their own regions, would adversely affect Australian interests, regional stability and global security."

The paper affirms support for the US alliance and for US-led efforts to bolster global security but warns Australia will not put troops at risk "in distant theatres of war where we have no direct interests".

Instead, the Government has focused on defending the borders of Australia, primarily by building air and naval power to protect the northern sea-air gap, maritime approaches and offshore oil and gas reserves.

A range of large-scale purchases includes a doubling of the submarine fleet to 12, about 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, eight frigates with submarine detection capability and - as planned - three air warfare destroyers. For the first time Australia will acquire an arsenal of sea-based long-range cruise missiles.

"The ability to deter or defeat armed attack on Australia will continue to be the primary force structure determinant … This means focusing predominantly on forces that can exert air superiority and sea control in our approaches."

The Government has kept its commitment to boost the Defence budget by 3 per cent each year until 2018, but plans to scale this back to 2.2 per cent until 2030.

It says an internal reform program will save $20 billion.
9740  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 05, 2009, 10:27:21 PM
It's going to be much worse than anything we saw under Carter. Loose nukes, and rogue states run rampant while US power shrinks into nothing will leave a world future generations will curse us for. At least, those that survive.
9741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 05, 2009, 03:30:46 PM
This is the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. No idea how long it will play out, but the fundamentals are fcuked. Anyone can spend their way into a hole that they can't get out of. This is what is happening now on a national scale.
9742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: May 05, 2009, 01:40:47 AM
Who is going to loan us the money for all the new, expansive O-mommy state? China is saying no mas.
9743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Green-0-cide on: May 04, 2009, 10:16:46 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6211261.ece

From The Sunday Times
May 3, 2009
'Green' lightbulbs poison workers

Hundreds of factory staff are being made ill by mercury used in bulbs destined for the West
Michael Sheridan, Foshan
WHEN British consumers are compelled to buy energy-efficient lightbulbs from 2012, they will save up to 5m tons of carbon dioxide a year from being pumped into the atmosphere. In China, however, a heavy environmental price is being paid for the production of “green” lightbulbs in cost-cutting factories.

Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs. A surge in foreign demand, set off by a European Union directive making these bulbs compulsory within three years, has also led to the reopening of mercury mines that have ruined the environment.

Doctors, regulators, lawyers and courts in China - which supplies two thirds of the compact fluorescent bulbs sold in Britain - are increasingly alert to the potential impacts on public health of an industry that promotes itself as a friend of the earth but depends on highly toxic mercury.

Making the bulbs requires workers to handle mercury in either solid or liquid form because a small amount of the metal is put into each bulb to start the chemical reaction that creates light.

Mercury is recognised as a health hazard by authorities worldwide because its accumulation in the body can damage the nervous system, lungs and kidneys, posing a particular threat to babies in the womb and young children.

The risks are illustrated by guidance from the British government, which says that if a compact fluorescent lightbulb is broken in the home, the room should be cleared for 15 minutes because of the danger of inhaling mercury vapour.

Documents issued by the Chinese health ministry, instructions to doctors and occu-pational health propaganda all describe mercury poisoning in lighting factories as a growing public health concern.

“Pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding must not be allowed to work in a unit where mercury is present,” states one official rulebook.

In southern China, compact fluorescent lightbulbs destined for western consumers are being made in factories that range from high-tech multina-tional operations to sweat-shops, with widely varying standards of health and safety.

Tests on hundreds of employees have found dangerously high levels of mercury in their bodies and many have required hospital treatment, according to interviews with workers, doctors and local health officials in the cities of Foshan and Guangzhou.

Dozens of workers who were interviewed on condition of anonymity described living with the fear of mercury poisoning. They gave detailed accounts of medical tests that found numerous workers had dangerous levels of the toxin in their urine.

“In tests, the mercury content in my blood and urine exceeded the standard but I was not sent to hospital because the managers said I was strong and the mercury would be decontaminated by my immune system,” said one young female employee, who provided her identity card.

“Two of my friends were sent to hospital for one month,” she added, giving their names also.

“If they asked me to work inside the mercury workshop I wouldn’t do it, no matter how much they paid,” said another young male worker.

Doctors at two regional health centres said they had received patients in the past from the Foshan factory of Osram, a big manufacturer serving the British market.

However, the company said in a statement that the latest tests on its staff had found nobody with elevated mercury levels. It added that local authorities had provided documents in 2007 and 2008 to certify the factory met the required environmental standards.

Osram said it used the latest technology employing solid mercury to maintain high standards of industrial hygiene equivalent to those in Germany. Labour lawyers said Osram, as a responsible multi-national company, was probably the best employer in a hazardous sector and conditions at Chinese-owned factories were often far worse.

A survey of published specialist literature and reports by state media shows hundreds of workers at Chinese-owned factories have been poisoned by mercury over the past decade.

In one case, Foshan city officials intervened to order medical tests on workers at the Nanhai Feiyang lighting factory after receiving a petition alleging dangerous conditions, according to a report in the Nanfang Daily newspaper. The tests found 68 out of 72 workers were so badly poisoned they required hospitalisation.

A specialist medical journal, published by the health ministry, describes another compact fluorescent lightbulb factory in Jinzhou, in central China, where 121 out of 123 employees had excessive mercury levels. One man’s level was 150 times the accepted standard.

The same journal identified a compact fluorescent lightbulb factory in Anyang, eastern China, where 35% of workers suffered mercury poisoning, and industrial discharge containing the toxin went straight into the water supply.

It also reported a survey of 18 lightbulb factories near Shanghai, which found that exposure levels to mercury were higher for workers making the new compact fluorescent lightbulbs than for other lights containing the metal.

In China, people have been aware of the element’s toxic properties for more than 2,000 years because legend has it that the first emperor, Qin, died in 210BC after eating a pill of mercury and jade he thought would grant him eternal life.

However, the scale of the public health problems in recent times caused by mercury mining and by the metal’s role in industrial pollution is beginning to emerge only with the growth of a civil society in China and the appearance of lawyers prepared to take on powerful local governments and companies.

A court in Beijing has just broken new ground in industrial injuries law by agreeing to hear a case unrelated to lightbulbs but filed by a plaintiff who is seeking £375,000 in compensation for acute mercury poisoning that he claims destroyed his digestive system.

The potential for litigation may be greatest in the ruined mountain landscape of Guizhou province in the southwest, where mercury has been mined for centuries. The land is scarred and many of the people have left.

Until recently, the conditions were medieval. Miners hewed chunks of rock veined with cinnabar, the main commercial source of mercury. They inhaled toxic dust and vapours as the material seethed in primitive cauldrons to extract the mercury. Nobody wore a mask or protective clothing.

“Our forefathers had been mining for mercury since the Ming Dynasty [1368-1644] and in olden days there was no pollution from such small mines,” said a 72-year-old farmer, named Shen.

“But in modern times thousands of miners came to our land, dug it out and poured chemicals to wash away the waste. Our water buffaloes grew stunted from drinking the water and our crops turned grey. Our people fell sick and didn’t live long. Anybody who could do has left.”

The government shut all the big mercury mining operations in the region in recent years in response to a fall in global mercury prices and concern over dead rivers, poisoned fields and ailing inhabitants.

But The Sunday Times found that in this remote corner of a poverty-stricken province, the European demand for mercury had brought the miners back.

A Chinese entrepreneur, Zhao Yingquan, has paid £1.5m for the rights to an old state-run mine. The Luo Xi mining company used thousands of prisoners to carve out its first shaft and tunnels in the 1950s.

“We’re in the last stages of preparing the mine to start operations again in the second half of this year,” said a manager at the site, named Su.

At Tongren, a town where mercury was processed for sale, an old worker spoke of the days when locals slaved day and night to extract the precious trickles of silvery metal.

“I worked for 40 years in a mine and now my body is full of sickness and my lungs are finished,” he said.

Additional reporting: Sara Hashash
9744  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Knife Law on: May 03, 2009, 08:29:07 AM
I'm so glad I live in a free state.
9745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 28, 2009, 08:29:28 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/28/faa-memo-feds-knew-scare-force-one-would-cause-panic/

Scare Force One.

Justify this, Obots.
9746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: April 28, 2009, 04:40:48 PM
Gee, the average Obama voter who gets his/her news from the Daily Show and talk show monologues still supports the empty suit? Shocking!  rolleyes
9747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Look kids, real torture! on: April 28, 2009, 03:06:22 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6168959.ece

From The Sunday Times
April 26, 2009
Russian death squads ‘pulverise’ Chechens
Elite commandos have broken their silence to reveal how they torture, execute and then blow captives to atoms to obliterate the grisly evidence

Thousands of Chechens disappeared after being taken away by Russian troops. One death squad targeted 'black widow' bombers such as those who seized a Moscow theatre in 2002
Mark Franchetti in Moscow
THE hunt for a nest of female suicide bombers in Chechnya led an elite group of Russian special forces commandos to a small village deep in the countryside. There they surrounded a modest house just before dawn to be sure of catching their quarry unawares.

When the order came to storm the single-storey property, dozens of heavily armed men in masks and camouflage uniforms - unmarked to conceal their identity - had no difficulty in overwhelming the three women inside. Their captives were driven to a military base.

The soldiers were responding to a tip-off that the eldest of the three, who was in her forties, had been indoctrinating women to sacrifice themselves in Chechnya’s ferocious war between Islamic militants and the Russians. The others captured with her were her latest recruits. One was barely 15.

“At first the older one denied everything,” said a senior special forces officer last week. “Then we roughed her up and gave her electric shocks. She provided us with good information. Once we were done with her we shot her in the head.

“We disposed of her body in a field. We placed an artillery shell between her legs and one over her chest, added several 200-gram TNT blocks and blew her to smithereens. The trick is to make sure absolutely nothing is left. No body, no proof, no problem.” The technique was known as pulverisation.

The young recruits were taken away by another unit for further interrogation before they, too, were executed.

The account is one of a series given to The Sunday Times by two special forces officers who fought the militants in Chechnya over a period of 10 years. Their testimony, the first of its kind to a foreign journalist, provides startling insights into the operation of secret Russian death squads during one of the most brutal conflicts since the second world war.

The men, decorated veterans of more than 40 tours of duty in Chechnya, said not only suspected rebels but also people close to them were systematically tracked, abducted, tortured and killed. Intelligence was often extracted by breaking their limbs with a hammer, administering electric shocks and forcing men to perform sexual acts on each other. The bodies were either buried in unmarked pits or pulverised.

Far from being the work of a few ruthless mavericks, such methods were widely used among special forces, the men said. They were backed by their superiors on the understanding that operations were to be carried out covertly and that any officers who were caught risked prosecution: the Russian government publicly condemns torture and extrajudicial killings and denies that its army committed war crimes in Chechnya.

In practice, said Andrei and Vladimir, the second officer, the Kremlin turned a blind eye. “Anyone in power who took the slightest interest in the war knows this was going on,” Andrei said. “Our only aim was to wipe out the terrorists.”

The two officers expressed pride in their contribution to the special forces’ “success” in containing the terrorist threat. But they spoke on condition they would not be named.

Andrei, who was badly wounded in the war, said he took part in the killing of at least 10 alleged female suicide bombers. In a separate incident he had a wounded female sniper tied up and ordered a tank to drive over her.

He also participated in one of the most brutal revenge sprees by Russian forces. Following the 2002 killings of two agents from the FSB security service and two soldiers from Russia’s equivalent of the SAS, the troops hunted down 200 Chechens said to be linked to the attacks.

In another operation, Andrei’s unit stumbled across dozens of wounded fighters in a cellar being used as a field hospital. Some were being tended by female relatives. “The fighters who were well enough to be interrogated were taken away. We executed the others, together with some of the women,” he recalled. “That’s the only way to deal with terrorists.”

Following an inconclusive war in Chechnya from 1994-6, Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, launched a second war in 1999 and set the tone by vowing “to wipe out militants wherever they are, even in the outhouse”. More than 100,000 Chechens are thought to have died by the time the Kremlin declared earlier this month that it was over. Grozny, the capital, was all but flattened. Putin’s toughness earned him great popularity at home.

Acts of blood-curdling brutality were committed by both sides as the rebels tried to turn Chechnya into an Islamic state, often decapitating Russian prisoners. One Russian victim was filmed being mutilated with a chainsaw.

As the war raged, Chechen terrorists launched suicide attacks against civilians in the Moscow metro and at a rock festival. In 2002 a gang including 18 female suicide bombers seized more than 800 hostages in a Moscow theatre, 129 of whom died when the Russians pumped poisonous gas into the building on day three of the siege.

In their most savage act, the rebels took hundreds of school-children and their relatives hostage in Beslan. The three-day siege in 2004 ended with the deaths of 334 hostages, more than half of them children.

It was in this highly charged climate that the death squads were operating. Andrei recalled that his men had detained a suspect who had several videos of militants torturing Russian hostages. One showed him laughing as his comrades raped a 12-year-old girl and then shot off three of her fingers.

“We all went berserk after watching this,” said Andrei, who had begun to beat the suspect. “He fell to the ground. I ordered him to get up but he couldn’t because of his handcuffs. I ordered the cuffs off but something was wrong with the lock. I became angrier and ordered one of my sergeants to get them off no matter what.

“So he took an axe and chopped his arms off. The prisoner screamed in agony. Clearly it would have been impossible to interrogate him further so I shot him in the head.”

Andrei said he thought of his opponents not as human beings but as cockroaches to be squashed. He was unapologetic about acts of cruelty but said he did not condone excessive boasting among his men.

“I had a problem with one of my guys, who liked to collect ears which had been chopped off prisoners. He’d made a necklace and was very serious about taking this home. I did not like that kind of behaviour.”

The brutality continued after Moscow began to cede more control to Chechen special forces made up of former rebels who switched sides. Militias commanded by Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s pro-Kremlin president, are also accused of abducting, torturing and executing suspects.

Vladimir said he had established a death squad that hunted down, tortured and executed more than 16 alleged militants in 2005. The squad’s commander would log a bogus mission in a faraway location in his unit’s official register to provide an alibi. “We’d break in, take the suspect and vanish. We’d duct-tape and handcuff them. If there was resistance we’d gun down the suspect. If, in the firefight, someone else got killed then we’d plant a gun on the dead person.”

Vladimir and his men referred to their prey as “zaichik” - a term of endearment used by lovers that means “little hare”.

“Only a very small circle of my men took part in this work. Some of those we abducted were tougher than others but eventually everyone talks when you give them the right treatment.

“We used several methods. We’d beat them to a pulp with our bare hands and with sticks. One very effective method is ‘the grand piano’ - when one by one we’d smash the captive’s fingers with a hammer. It’s dirty and difficult work. You would not be human if you enjoyed it but it was the only way to get this filth to talk.”

A hammer would also be used to smash a captive’s kneecaps and militants would be forced to perform sexual acts. The scenes would occasionally be filmed and circulated among enemy combatants in psychological warfare.

“You have to be a certain kind of person to do this job - very strong,” Vladimir said. “Those who carried it out always volunteered. It would not be right to order one of your men to torture someone. It can be morally and psychologically very tough.”

Andrei added: “What mattered most was to carry out this work professionally, not to leave evidence which could be traced back to us. Our bosses knew about such methods but there was a clear understanding that we should cover our tracks. We knew we'd be hung out to dry if we got caught.

“We are not murderers. We are officers engaged in a war against brutal terrorists who will stop at nothing, not even at killing children. They are animals and the only way to deal with them is to destroy them. There is no room for legal niceties in a war like this. Only those who were there can truly understand. I have no regrets. My conscience is clear.”

Clashes of a brutal war

December 1994
Russian troops enter Chechnya to quash independence movement

November 1996
Ceasefire, Russian troops withdraw

September 1999
About 300 die in apartment bombings in Russia, blamed on rebels. Putin sends troops back into Chechnya

February 2000
Russians capture Grozny

October 2002
Moscow theatre siege. At least 33 terrorists and 129 hostages die

May 2004
Pro-Moscow President Akhmad Kadyrov killed by bomb

September 2004
Beslan school siege. Nearly 400 killed

July 2006
Shamil Basayev, rebel leader, killed by Russians

April 2009
Kremlin declares war to be over
9748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: April 26, 2009, 04:35:09 PM
http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZDE5YTNmZTg5OWUyOTlkMGUxOTk3OGMxY2I4ZDQ4YWQ=

The West Coast Plot: An "Inconvenient Truth"    [Marc Thiessen]

Critics of the CIA program are desperate to convince Americans that no valuable information came from the interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and other senior terrorists.  They know that if our citizens learn the details of how enhanced interrogations stopped terrorist plots, most would support the CIA program.  A recent Pew poll showed that 71% of Americans believe that there are circumstances under which torture (not just enhanced interrogations, but actual torture) is justifiable to get information from captured terrorists.

This is why Timothy Noah of Slate (with Andrew Sullivan cheerleading him on his blog) is at such pains to debunk the story of the West Coast plot.

This was a KSM plot for a “Second Wave” attack using East Asian operatives to use shoe-bombs to hijack an airplane and fly it into the Library Tower in Los Angeles.  Noah states in a blog post that this plot was never realistic.  Here is his rationale:

The first reason to be skeptical that this planned attack could have been carried out successfully is that, as I've noted before, attacking buildings by flying planes into them didn't remain a viable al-Qaida strategy even through Sept. 11, 2001. Thanks to cell phones, passengers on United Flight 93 were able to learn that al-Qaida was using planes as missiles and crashed the plane before it could hit its target. There was no way future passengers on any flight would let a terrorist who killed the pilot and took the controls fly wherever he pleased.

Really?  Planes were off the table after 9/11?  That would come as a surprise to every passenger in the past three years who had their liquids confiscated in an airport security line.  Those security measures were instituted because in 2006 we foiled an al-Qaeda plot to hijack airplanes leaving London’s Heathrow airport and blow them up over the Atlantic (a plot our intelligence community says was just weeks from execution).  Apparently al-Qaeda didn’t get Noah’s memo explaining that hijacking airplanes for terrorist attacks is “no longer viable al Qaeda strategy.”

In his post, Noah calls the West Coast plot “Thiessen’s claim” and Anderw Sullivan calls it “Thiessen’s LA Tower Canard.”   What these two fail to appreciate is that the story of how enhanced interrogation broke up the West Coast plot is not my story — it is the official position of the intelligence community.

In my Washington Post piece, I was citing the very documents which President Obama released, which quote the CIA saying that interrogation with enhanced techniques “led to the discovery of a KSM plot, the ‘Second Wave,’ to ‘use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”  The memo released by Obama goes on the explain that “information obtained from KSM also led to the capture of Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, and the discovery of the Guraba Cell, a 17-member Jemmah Islamiyah cell tasked with executing the ‘Second Wave.’ ”

Again, those are not my words.  That is the position of our intelligence community.


And not just in the released memos.  In his September 2006 speech revealing the existence of the CIA program, President Bush described specifically how the interrogation of KSM led to the capture of the key operatives in this attack.  This was the most carefully vetted speech in presidential history — reviewed by all the key players from the individuals who ran the program all the way up to the director of national intelligence, who personally attested to the accuracy of the speech in a memo to the president.  And just last week on Fox News, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said he went back and checked with the agency as to the accuracy of that speech and reported:  “We stand by our story.”

In numerous subsequent speeches, President Bush said that the West Coast plot was disrupted because of the CIA program.   Each of those speeches was carefully reviewed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — and each time the DNI provided the White House with a classified memo stating that the contents of the speech was accurate and did not compromise sources and methods.  So the Director of National Intelligence has repeatedly affirmed the accuracy of the statement that the West Coast plot was disrupted because of the CIA program.  And Noah himself acknowledges in his post a CIA spokesman affirmed the accuracy of the story.

So bottom line: The intelligence community says it is so.

In his blog, Noah cites the fact that Fran Townsend, the Bush administration’s homeland-security adviser, told reporters in a February 2006 press briefing that a key cell leader in the West Coast plot was arrested February of 2002.  This, Noah points out, is before KSM came into CIA custody and underwent enhanced interrogation.  He also notes Townsend said that after the cell leader’s capture other cell members “believed” that the plot was not going forward.

I hate to break it to Noah, but this does not refute the fact that KSM’s interrogation disrupted the West Coast plot.

It is true that a key cell leader in the West Coast plot was detained in February 2002.  According press accounts, his name was Marsan bin Arshad. What is also demonstrably true is that the captured terrorist did not lead us to the members of the cell tasked with carrying out the West Coast plot. Indeed, when KSM was captured 13 months later — in March of 2003 — almost all of the key operatives in the plot were still at large and operating with impunity.

This is what happened next:

·     *   In March of 2003, the CIA captured another key operative in the West Coast plot — a terrorist named Majid Khan.

·     *   When KSM was captured later that same month, he knew that Khan was in CIA custody — and assumed that Khan had given us the details of the West Coast plot.

·     *   KSM refused to provide any information about active plots, telling his interrogators: “Soon you will find out.”

·     *   After undergoing enhanced-interrogation techniques, KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals working for a terrorist named Hambali — the leader of al-Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate Jemmah Islamiyah and KSM’s partner in developing the West Coast plot.

·     *   CIA officers then confronted Khan with this information from KSM.  Khan confirmed that the money had been delivered to an operative named Zubair.  He provided both a physical description and contact number for this operative — which led to the capture of Zubair in June 2003.

·     *   Zubair then provided information that led to the capture of Hambali in August 2003, along with another key operative, a JI terrorist named Bashir bin Lep (aka “Lillie”).

·     *   Told of Hambali's capture, KSM then identified Hambali's younger brother Rusman Gunawan (aka "Gun Gun") as Hambali's conduit for communications with al-Qaeda, and the leader of the JI cell that was to carry out the West Coast plot.  This information led to the capture of “Gun Gun” in September 2003 in Pakistan.

·     *   Hambali's brother then gave us information that led to a cell of 17 JI operatives — the Guraba Cell — that was going to carry out the West Coast plot.

All of these operatives were captured because of information gained from the interrogation of KSM using enhanced interrogation techniques.

To buy Noah’s argument that the plot was over before KSM’s capture, you would have to accept that premise that if Zubair … and Hambali … and Lillie … and Gun Gun … and the 17-member Guraba cell were all left at large and unmolested, they would not have eventually carried out the West Coast plot.

This flies in the face of logic — and the official position of the intelligence community.  And it is contrary to everything we know about the way al-Qaeda operates.  If we have learned anything from recent history, it is that once al-Qaeda develops a plot for a major attack, it never gives up until that attack has been carried out.  Al-Qaeda’s modus operandi is to continue going after the same target time and time again until they succeed.

In 1993, al-Qaeda tried to blow up the World Trade Center, and failed.  In 2001, al-Qaeda finished the job.

In 1995, KSM hatched the “Bojinka Plot” to hijack multiple passenger planes and blow them up over the Pacific.  The plot failed — and so al-Qaeda tried it again over the Atlantic in 2006.

From this experience, Noah takes the lesson that because one al-Qaeda cell leader in the West Coast plot was captured, al-Qaeda just gave up.  Indeed, he claims, they not only gave up on the Library Tower, after 9/11 they decided they would never try to fly a plane into a building again.  But in the same briefing Noah cites, Fran Townsend says that “the intelligence tells us that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed began to initiate [the attack on the Library Tower] in October 2001” — a month after 9/11.  She also states that “KSM, himself, trained the leader of the cell in late 2001 or early 2002 in the shoe bomb technique” — again after the 9/11 attacks.

The fact is Noah and Sullivan’s claims are absurd.  But put aside the West Coast plot off for a moment.  What about all the other plots that were stopped as a result of enhanced interrogations?

Here are some facts: On Fox News last weekend, General Hayden declared that after enhanced interrogation techniques were used on Abu Zubaydah “he gave up … information that led to the arrest of Ramzi Bin al-Shibh.”  Bin al-Shibh was KSM’s right-hand-man, and a key 9/11 plotter.  At the time of his arrest, Bin al-Shibh was in the midst of planning a 9/11-style attack on Britain, in which al-Qaeda operatives would hijack planes in Europe and fly them into Heathrow airport.  According his CIA biography, “as of his capture, Bin al-Shibh had identified four operatives for the operation.”

Enhanced interrogations also helped us capture an al-Qaeda terrorist named Ammar al-Baluchi.  Ammar had prepared Jose Padilla for his plot to blow up apartment buildings in America (which was foiled thanks to information from Abu Zubaydah), and was the one who had sent Majid Khan to deliver the $50,000 to Zubair for the West Coast plot.  According to Ammar’s CIA biography, “From late 2002, Ammar began plotting to carry out simultaneous attacks in Karachi against the U.S. Consulate, Western residences, and Westerners at the local airport…. He was within days of completing preparations for the Karachi plot when he was captured.”

These are just a few of the plots that were broken up because of information gained from CIA interrogations.  According to the intelligence community, terrorists held in CIA custody also provided information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti using an explosive laden water tanker.  They provided information the helped us uncover al-Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.  And according to the memos released by the Obama administration “intelligence derived from CIA detainees has resulted in more than 6,000 intelligence reports and, in 2004, accounted for approximately half of the [Counterterrorism Center's] reporting on al Qaeda.”

General Hayden calls these facts an “inconvenient truth.”  He put it this way in his Fox News interview: “Most people who oppose these techniques want to be able to say: I don’t want my country doing this – which is a purely honorable position – and they didn’t work anyway.  That back half of the sentence isn’t true.  The facts of the case are that the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer.  It really did work.”

Former CIA Director George Tenet has said, “I know that this program has saved lives. I know we've disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than [what] the FBI, the [CIA], and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.”

Former National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has said, “We have people walking around in this country that are alive today because this process happened.”

And even Obama’s director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, said in a letter to the intelligence community on April 16, 2009: “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al-Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.”

So you can believe Hayden, Tenet, McConnell, and Blair … or Tim Noah and Andrew Sullivan. 
9749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why does Obama hate America? on: April 24, 2009, 08:39:52 PM
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/gerald_warner/blog/2009/04/24/barack_obama_and_the_cia_why_does_president_pantywaist_hate_america_so_badly

Barack Obama and the CIA: why does President Pantywaist hate America so badly?
Posted By: Gerald Warner at Apr 24, 2009 at 18:41:00 [General]


If al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of the Looney Tunes brigade want to kick America to death, they had better move in quickly and grab a piece of the action before Barack Obama finishes the job himself. Never in the history of the United States has a president worked so actively against the interests of his own people - not even Jimmy Carter.

Obama's problem is that he does not know who the enemy is. To him, the enemy does not squat in caves in Waziristan, clutching automatic weapons and reciting the more militant verses from the Koran: instead, it sits around at tea parties in Kentucky quoting from the US Constitution. Obama is not at war with terrorists, but with his Republican fellow citizens. He has never abandoned the campaign trail.

That is why he opened Pandora's Box by publishing the Justice Department's legal opinions on waterboarding and other hardline interrogation techniques. He cynically subordinated the national interest to his partisan desire to embarrass the Republicans. Then he had to rush to Langley, Virginia to try to reassure a demoralised CIA that had just discovered the President of the United States was an even more formidable foe than al-Qaeda.

"Don't be discouraged by what's happened the last few weeks," he told intelligence officers. Is he kidding? Thanks to him, al-Qaeda knows the private interrogation techniques available to the US intelligence agencies and can train its operatives to withstand them - or would do so, if they had not already been outlawed.

So, next time a senior al-Qaeda hood is captured, all the CIA can do is ask him nicely if he would care to reveal when a major population centre is due to be hit by a terror spectacular, or which American city is about to be irradiated by a dirty bomb. Your view of this situation will be dictated by one simple criterion: whether or not you watched the people jumping from the twin towers.

Obama promised his CIA audience that nobody would be prosecuted for past actions. That has already been contradicted by leftist groups with a revanchist ambition to put Republicans, headed if possible by Condoleezza Rice, in the dock. Talk about playing party politics with national security. Martin Scheinin, the United Nations special investigator for human rights, claims that senior figures, including former vice president Dick Cheney, could face prosecution overseas. Ponder that - once you have got over the difficulty of locating the United Nations and human rights within the same dimension.

President Pantywaist Obama should have thought twice before sitting down to play poker with Dick Cheney. The former vice president believes documents have been selectively published and that releasing more will prove how effective the interrogation techniques were. Under Dubya's administration, there was no further atrocity on American soil after 9/11.

President Pantywaist's recent world tour, cosying up to all the bad guys, excited the ambitions of America's enemies. Here, they realised, is a sucker they can really take to the cleaners. His only enemies are fellow Americans. Which prompts the question: why does President Pantywaist hate America so badly?
9750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ali Soufan, debunked on: April 24, 2009, 04:13:09 PM
April 23, 2009

Levels Of Enhancement

Ali Soufan, an FBI interrogator of Abu Zubaydah joins the torture debate on the NY Times op-ed page and explains that the Bush era enhanced interrogation techniques were unnecessary and ineffective.  Torture doesn't work, and Mr. Soufan is today's darling of the reality-based community.  However, based on earlier Times reporting and the DoJ Inspector General report Mr. Soufan is, well, misleading us.

So, the Times has run an op-ed that dovetails with their current agenda but is contradicted by other strong evidence and their own reporting - does anyone think we will see a clarification or follow-up?  Neither do I.

Eventually patient readers will also find my rebuttal to Marcy Wheeler and Andrew Sullivan, who claim that these latest revelations bring down the whole legal structure crafted by the OLC memos.  Not to jump ahead, but since the Soufan story is bogus, conclusions based on that story are also shaky.  It's castles on sand and another day in reality-world.

Let's start with Mr. Soufan:

One of the most striking parts of the memos is the false premises on which they are based. The first, dated August 2002, grants authorization to use harsh interrogation techniques on a high-ranking terrorist, Abu Zubaydah, on the grounds that previous methods hadn’t been working. The next three memos cite the successes of those methods as a justification for their continued use.

It is inaccurate, however, to say that Abu Zubaydah had been uncooperative. Along with another F.B.I. agent, and with several C.I.A. officers present, I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August. Under traditional interrogation methods, he provided us with important actionable intelligence.
I guess there are different levels of "traditional" techniques - the DoJ IG report (p. 111 of 438) makes it clear that the FBI had concerns about the CIA-led approach from the outset, with one of the agents describing it as "borderline torture".

What "borderline torture" techniques are we talking about?  The DoJ IG report has redactions, but this is from theDavid Johnson, writing in the Sept 10 2006 Times:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — Abu Zubaydah, the first Osama bin Laden henchman captured by the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was bloodied and feverish when a C.I.A. security team delivered him to a secret safe house in Thailand for interrogation in the early spring of 2002. Bullet fragments had ripped through his abdomen and groin during a firefight in Pakistan several days earlier when he had been captured.

The events that unfolded at the safe house over the next few weeks proved to be fateful for the Bush administration. Within days, Mr. Zubaydah was being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques — he was stripped, held in an icy room and jarred by earsplittingly loud music — the genesis of practices later adopted by some within the military, and widely used by the Central Intelligence Agency in handling prominent terrorism suspects at secret overseas prisons.
The Times returned to Zubaydah last week and apparently believed that the unenhanced enhanced techniques were controversial:

His interrogation, according to multiple accounts, began in Pakistan and continued at the secret C.I.A. site in Thailand, with a traditional, rapport-building approach led by two F.B.I. agents, who even helped care for him as his gunshot wounds healed.

Abu Zubaydah gave up perhaps his single most valuable piece of information early, naming Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, whom he knew as Mukhtar, as the main organizer of the 9/11 plot.

A C.I.A. interrogation team that arrived a week or two later, which included former military psychologists, did not change the approach to questioning, but began to keep him awake night and day with blasting rock music, have his clothes removed and keep his cell cold.

The legal basis for this treatment is uncertain, but lawyers at C.I.A. headquarters were in constant touch with interrogators, as well as with Mr. Bybee’s subordinate in the Office of Legal Counsel, John C. Yoo, who was drafting memos on the legal limits of interrogation.
Well.  One hopes the actual interrogations were done in compliance with FBI guidelines, even if the treatment of the prisoner was "enhanced" a bit on an extra-curricular basis outside of the interrogation room.  From the May 30 2005 memo (p. 94 of 124) I infer that the proponents of enhanced techniques scored this as a win for their techniques.  And since per the DoJ IG report the FBI withdrew its agents in May and June because of the harsh CIA techniques, we are left wondering just what sort of "traditional" FBI interrogation Mr. Soufan normally conducts.

Switching gears, let me summarize the argument offered by Ms. Wheeler and enthusiastically endorsed by Andrew Sullivan.  The OLC legal opinion offered by Bybee included the caveat that "The interrogation team is certain that he has additional information that he refuses to divulge" and warns that

We also understand that you do not have any facts in your possession contrary to the facts outlined here, and this opinion is limited to these facts. If these facts were to change, this advice would not necessarily apply.
To continue the argument, the interrogations were taking place with both FBI and CIA agents present; therefore, the CIA had to know, as Mr. Soufan did, that the prisoner was cooperating; therefore, the legal opinion is based on a false premise and collapses.  Or so sys Ms. Wheeler, with a strong second from Sully.

To which I say, well, maybe, if the Inspector General and the Times reporting is all wrong.  The Johnston 2006 story included this:

After Mr. Zubaydah’s capture, a C.I.A. interrogation team was dispatched from the agency’s counterterrorism center to take the lead in his questioning, former law enforcement and intelligence officials said, and F.B.I. agents were withdrawn. The group included an agency consultant schooled in the harsher interrogation procedures to which American special forces are subjected in their training. Three former intelligence officials said the techniques had been drawn up on the basis of legal guidance from the Justice Department, but were not yet supported by a formal legal opinion.

In Thailand, the new C.I.A. team concluded that under standard questioning Mr. Zubaydah was revealing only a small fraction of what he knew, and decided that more aggressive techniques were warranted.

At times, Mr. Zubaydah, still weak from his wounds, was stripped and placed in a cell without a bunk or blankets. He stood or lay on the bare floor, sometimes with air-conditioning adjusted so that, one official said, Mr. Zubaydah seemed to turn blue. At other times, the interrogators piped in deafening blasts of music by groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Sometimes, the interrogator would use simpler techniques, entering his cell to ask him to confess.

“You know what I want,” the interrogator would say to him, according to one official’s account, departing leaving Mr. Zubaydah to brood over his answer.

F.B.I. agents on the scene angrily protested the more aggressive approach, arguing that persuasion rather than coercion had succeeded. But leaders of the C.I.A. interrogation team were convinced that tougher tactics were warranted and said that the methods had been authorized by senior lawyers at the White House.
Mr. Soufan says that "I questioned him from March to June 2002, before the harsh techniques were introduced later in August."  As we have seen, something like harsh techniques were already in place.  But what happened in July?  This high value target of so much attention was left to rock out to the Red Hot Chili Peppers while shivering in his underwear?  Probably not.  Based on the DoJ IG report the Times story is roughly accurate.

If Mr. Soufan is credible at all then there were divisions within the original CIA team, some members were convinced a tougher approach was warranted, and Bybee was working with them.  Or perhaps after the fact some CIA officials involved in the interrogation decided that someone else must have been responsible.  CYA at the CIA.  Go figure.

And do note that ater the fact the FBI team may have been absolutely correct in their assessment of Zubaydah's compliance but that does not mean that the CIA people requested the legal guidance in bad faith.

MORE ON THE INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT:

Mr. Soufan makes an interesting claim in his op-ed:

Fortunately for me, after I objected to the enhanced techniques, the message came through from Pat D’Amuro, an F.B.I. assistant director, that “we don’t do that,” and I was pulled out of the interrogations by the F.B.I. director, Robert Mueller (this was documented in the report released last year by the Justice Department’s inspector general).
 Well, if the DoJ Inspector General's report is reliable, the Soufan story is full of holes.  Starting at p. 110 of 438, we see that two FBI agents, Gibson and Thomas (pseudonyms) were involved in the Zubaydah interrogation.

The CIA showed up and took over quickly.  Thomas had objections to their techniques, which he described as "borderline torture", and left somewhat thereafter.  Gibson was authorized (or instructed) to leave but hung around until early June, several weeks after Thomas left.  So let's tentatively infer from that that "Gibson" is Mr. Soufan (the story hardly changes if "Thomas" is Soufan.)

The first and most important point is that the FBI was troubled by the CIA techniques from the outset, not only after August 1.  The current op-ed imagines that there was a long period of "traditional" interrogation, but that is contradicted by the IG report.

Secondly, per page 111, "Gibson", (probably Mr. Soufan), told the CIA was told by the CIA upon their arrival that Zubaydah was only providing "throwaway" information and that they "needed to diminish his capacity to resist".  Thomas expressed concern about the CIA techniques, calling them "border-line torture"; "Gibson" "did not express as much concern" as Thomas.  From which we conclude that somebody from the FBI CIA side thought that more could be gleaned from Zubaydah.

When "Gibson" got home he told FBI Counter terrorism AD D'Amuro that he had no moral qualms about the CIA approach, that they were behaving professionally, and that he had endured similar treatment in SERE school.

Well.  If Mr. Soufan is Thomas, then there were obvious divisions even within the FBI; if he is Gibson, there are apparent divisions within himself.

Eventually, after a series of meetings in Washington, the FBI learned about the OLC opinion and decided to withdraw from the enhanced interrogation process.

OOPS:  When I summarized the IG report above I had the CIA calling for tougher treatment (as did the Johnston story), but in the version right above it was "Gibson" of the FBI making that suggestion, which is both wrong and irrelevant.

[end of thread]

Posted by Tom Maguire on April 23, 2009 | Permalink
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