Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency
on: January 18, 2009, 09:58:50 AM
January 18, 2009
Bush Showed U.S. Is No Paper Tiger
By Debra Saunders
From the day President Bush took office, the long knives were out for him -- in ways they will not (and should not) be out for President-elect Barack Obama. The chattering class saw Dubya as a walking style crime in a cowboy suit. They hit Bush for everything -- for the way he mangled syntax, for the books he read and because he worked out too much.
Note that now that the buff Obama is taking office, stories gushing about Obama's daily workouts flood the channels. Oh, yes, and the same people who belittled Bush for sending troops to war even though he only served in the National Guard somehow do not seem to notice Obama's utter lack of military experience.
To trash Bush was to belong. There was little upside in supporting Bush, even if you had supported his agenda.
Most of the Democratic candidates for president in 2004 and 2008 voted for the Patriot Act -- and then campaigned against it. They voted for the resolution authorizing U.S. military force in Iraq -- then bolted from the war itself. Likewise with No Child Left Behind. Somehow Bush was the guy who looked bad as he withstood the heat while his caving critics preened.
When the Dems were pushing for a humiliating retreat from Iraq and opinion polls supported troop withdrawal, Bush instead pushed for a troop surge that has made all the difference. Vice President-elect Joe Biden -- who voted for the war before he was against it -- visited Iraq last week. While there, he promised the Iraqis that America would not withdraw troops in a way that undermines Iraqi security. Yet that was exactly what his party advocated a year ago.
Does Bush get any credit? No, just as he has received little credit for efforts that have prolonged millions of lives, thanks to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Forget considerable goodwill in India and Africa. His good deeds, you see, don't fit with the prescribed story line that, with Bush in charge, the rest of the world hates us.
Yes, the man also stumbled, and others paid for his mistakes more dearly than he has.
Under Bush's watch, Osama bin Laden evaded capture.
Worse, Bush's slowness in changing strategies in Iraq suggested a presidency in a fetal position when Bush should have been managing the store and demanding results.
Weapons of mass destruction? The CIA believed Saddam Hussein had them.
So did Hussein's lieutenants. I did, too. The conventional wisdom was wrong, but Bush can take comfort in the knowledge that without his efforts, Hussein almost certainly would have outlasted U.N. sanctions, armed himself to the hilt and wreaked unknown havoc in and beyond Iraq.
There is no comfort -- there is no upside -- to be had in the $810 billion Bush bailout. The Bush administration should have been on alert to contain the damage from the housing-price drop and mortgage foreclosures; instead, it allowed the credit crunch to reach a tipping point and roll over the U.S. economy. It was so avoidable. It was like the Katrina trailers all over again -- except this preventable and unnatural disaster left toxic trailers strewn across America.
There's an out-to-lunch sloppiness to the whole mess. It feels as if the barrage of criticism made the Bush engine seize up and stop running the business of the nation.
America's first MBA president turned out to be a poor administrator, more interested in ideas than making the machinery work. He was good at fighting -- and winning -- ideological battles in Congress, but he never demonstrated a commitment to making his own administration deliver as promised. In putting loyalty at a premium, he overlooked incompetence.
How will history judge Bush?
Osama bin Laden once told Time magazine that the U.S. withdrawal from Somalia after the murder of 18 U.S. troops on a humanitarian mission made him realize "more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat." Members of al-Qaida have told intelligence officials they never thought Washington would respond to the 9/11 attacks as ferociously as Bush responded. They expected a few bombs to be dropped, no boots on the ground, a swift withdrawal if casualties mounted -- the usual short-attention span foreign policy that warped Lebanon, the Persian Gulf War, Somalia, the African embassy bombings and the attack on the destroyer Cole.
Bush showed America's enemies a country that does not retreat in fear, does not bomb with impunity, and most important, does not desert civilians or foreign governments that trust us. If you think that doesn't matter, look at Libya, which disarmed its weapons program. And see how much easier Obama's presidency will be because Bush kept the faith.
Osama bin Laden may live, most likely quivering in a cave. And no one thinks America is a paper tiger email@example.com
Copyright 2009, Creators Syndicate Inc.
Page Printed from: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/01/bush_showed_us_is_no_paper_tig.html
at January 18, 2009 - 01:01:59 AM PST
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Another moderate in power.....
on: January 18, 2009, 08:45:02 AM
Muslim civil servant suspended over 'killing British troops is justified' blog
By Simon Walters and Jason Lewis
Last updated at 1:27 AM on 18th January 2009
Hardline: Azad Ali attacked Britain's call for a ceasefire in Gaza
A senior Muslim civil servant has launched an astonishing verbal onslaught against the Government over its response to Israel’s military strikes in Gaza – and has suggested that killing British troops in Iraq is justified.
Treasury official Azad Ali, president of the Civil Service Islamic Society, now faces the sack over the remarks.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell – who is the patron of the society – acted immediately after being alerted to the comments by The Mail on Sunday.
Shortly after this newspaper contacted the Cabinet Office, a senior official disclosed that Mr Ali had been suspended for the remarks made on his personal internet blog.
In it he:
Quotes an Islamic extremist who says it is his ‘obligation’ to kill British and American soldiers in Iraq;
Accuses the Government of failing to condemn the ‘Zionist terrorist state of Israel’; and
Attacks moderate British Muslims as ‘self-serving vultures, feeding on the dead flesh of the Palestinians’.
The Treasury lists Mr Ali’s title as ‘Business Partner’. He is understood to work as an IT administrator.
On the Civil Service Islamic Society’s official website, Mr Ali declares that it is bound by strict rules that say Whitehall special-interest groups must be ‘non-partisan and non-political’ and act with ‘honesty, impartiality and integrity’.
But there is no such restraint on his personal blog, which highlights his civil service role and provides a link to its Whitehall website.
Azad Ali's blog suggests that the killing of British troops is justified (file picture)
He takes a far more hardline approach, using the most provocative language, and appears to challenge the Whitehall code of practice that restricts mandarins’ political activities.
In one posting, ‘Defeating extremism by promoting balance’, he appears to condone the killing of British and US troops in Iraq.
He said there was ‘much truth’ in an interview with an Islamic militant who said: ‘If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier’s uniform inside Iraq I would kill him because that is my obligation.
‘If I found the same soldier over the border in Jordan I wouldn’t touch him. In Iraq he is a fighter and an occupier, here he is not. This is my religion and I respect this as the main instruction in my religion for jihad.’
Last week Mr Ali wrote on the ‘Between the Lines’ site: ‘We are the Resistance. The Zionist terrorist state of Israel had only one aim, to destroy all semblance of resistance. We have yet to hear any condemnation from our government.’
He pours scorn on the British Government’s call for a ceasefire and mocks official representatives of moderate British ‘Muslims’ (his quotation marks) who support them.
He observes witheringly that he ‘can see the £ signs in their eyes!’ – an apparent suggestion that they believe their groups may get more public money as a result.
He lambasts Foreign Secretary David Miliband for condemning Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar for saying Jewish children are ‘legitimate targets’.
‘Blaming Hamas does not wash any more... you can stop peddling the Zionist lie about Mahmoud Zahar!’ Mr Ali writes.
Azad Ali is considered a high profile 'moderate' Muslim who is trustee of the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre, among many posts
And he derides Mr Miliband’s refusal in the Commons to disown Israel for ‘terrorist’ actions. ‘You’re going to love his response, “As I said in my statement, I do not think it is right to compare a democratic state with a terrorist organisation.” What!’
He added: ‘The [British] government is engaging with individuals who have no credibility in the community...a motley crew who are nothing but self-serving vultures, feeding on the dead flesh of the Palestinians.’
Mr Ali said people who blame the Palestinians or Hamas for the Gaza attacks ‘are like sick men or women who blame the woman who has been raped, saying she brought it upon herself’.
Tory MP Patrick Mercer, an adviser to Gordon Brown’s Security Minister Lord West, questioned how Mr Ali could continue as a civil servant.
‘I can’t see how this man can ever be viewed as objective again,’ said Mr Mercer. ‘It is extraordinary to me that a civil servant who is meant to be politically neutral should be making these sorts of comments about the Government.
‘It would seem that Mr Ali is not trying to conceal the fact that he is a civil servant, nor suggesting these statements are purely made in a personal capacity. I believe he has compromised himself seriously with these comments.’
The civil service code restricts political activities ‘which impinge wholly or mainly on party politics’ including ‘speaking in public on matters of national political controversy; expressing views on such matters in letters to the Press, or in books, articles or leaflets’.
Officials who want to engage in this kind of activity need permission from their Whitehall bosses.
Until his internet outburst, Mr Ali was regarded as a moderate Muslim who could help tackle Islamic fanaticism in Britain.
As a former chairman of the influential Muslim Safety Forum and the current head of its counter-terrorism work-team, he works with the Home Office, senior police officers and the Security Services trying to combat extremism.
Last night the Treasury said: ‘HM Treasury takes allegations of this nature extremely seriously and will investigate them thoroughly.’
Mr Ali, who is married with three children and lives in East London, declined to comment.
The proceeds of a recent Civil Service Islamic Society annual dinner were passed to Interpal, a Palestinian charity that is banned by the US government – although not in the United Kingdom – due to allegations of links to terrorism.
The dinner was attended by Labour MP Sadiq Khan and Peter Lewis, head of the Crown Prosecution Service.
As well as being a career civil servant, Mr Ali has been a community activist for more than 20 years.
He is also on the board of London CrimeStoppers and sits on the Metropolitan Police’s Strategic Stop & Search Committee and Police Use of Firearms Group.
Mr Ali is a member of the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s Community Advisory Group and the Home Office’s Trust and Confidence Community Panel.
There are few people with a higher profile within the ‘moderate’ Muslim community. He is a trustee of the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre. He chairs the Muslim Council of Britain’s membership committee and is a member of its central working committee.
He is also the vice-chairman of Canon Barnet School board of governors and chairman of the Saturday Islamic School board of governors.
He has a wide network of friends, making him an influential figure as the Government tries to ‘engage’ with radical Islamic groups to prevent them turning to terrorism.
Mr Ali’s friends on the Facebook website include former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg, Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain, and journalist and Muslim convert Yvonne Ridley.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere
on: January 18, 2009, 07:22:37 AM
January 17, 2009
U.S. War College member insists Islam does not "promote kidnappings, beheadings and other unlicensed hostile actions"
After posting a report regarding the U.S. Army War College's failure to examine Islam's war doctrines, including a faculty member's (Sherifa Zuhur's) assertions that Hamas has been "villainized" by the media, I received several e-mails from concerned people questioning Ms. Zuhur's "credentials" -- some alluded to her sincerity and intentions, or lack thereof -- to teach at the War College. One e-mail sent the following, rather telling, response made by Zuhur, after being asked to, "Tell us about your recent monographs on Islamic Rulings on Warfare and on Saudi Arabia":
I wrote Islamic Rulings on Warfare with my co-author Youssef Aboul-Enein to counteract the idea that Islam promotes kidnappings, beheadings and other unlicensed hostile actions as a matter of course.
We explored the literature on jihad and other forms of fighting, their ethical and tactical aspects, how these appear in modernist, revisionist views and are manipulated by extremists. My monograph, Saudi Arabia: Islamic Threat, Political Reform, and the Global War on Terror, examines the factors leading up to calls for political reform in the Kingdom, and the campaign against al-Qa`ida fi Jazirat al-`Arabiyyah which has been operating there. I call into question the grand strategy of the global war on terror, but conclude that its recommendation of increasing freedom and political participation has value.
Interesting. One must wonder, however, about some of her blanket assertions: Islam does not "promote" kidnappings? What about the inconvenient fact that the founder of Islam, Muhammad, whose sunna, or "example," must be literally adhered, regularly kidnapped people -- particularly women? As Serge Trifkovic reminds us:
Having established himself as the ruler of Medina, Muhammad attacked the Jewish tribe of Banu-‘l-Mustaliq in December of A.D. 626. His followers slaughtered many Jewish tribesmen and looted thousands of their camels and sheep. They also kidnapped 500 of their women. The night after the battle Muhammad and his brigands staged an orgy of rape. As one of the brigands, Abu Sa’id Khudri, later remembered, a legal problem needed to be resolved first: In order to obtain ransom from the surviving Jews for the captive women, Muslims had pledged not to violate them:
We were lusting after women and chastity had become too hard for us, but we wanted to get the ransom money for our prisoners. So we wanted to use the Azl [coitus interruptus]. We asked the Prophet about it and he said: "You are not under any obligation not to do it like that [contained in Sahih Bukhari, second only to the Koran in authority]."
More to the point, Koran 4:3 legitimizes forceful concubinage -- that is, forcefully kidnapping women and making them sex-slaves -- slaves who are counted as animals at that.
As for beheadings, perhaps Zuhur is not familiar with Koranic verses 5:33, 8:12, and 47:4 -- all of which sanction beheading the infidel? Koran 47:4 simply states “Therefore, when ye meet the infidels, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives."
As for "other unlicensed hostile action," where does one begin? Here's one: Muhammad had assassins go to the home of a matron figure named Umm Qirfa, tie each of her legs to a different camel, and then drive the camels in separate directions until the old woman was split asunder (see Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari). He also ordered the assassination of an old poet, and legitimized lying and deception to do so -- whence the famous Islamic maxim, "War is Deceit."
One therefore has no choice but to conclude that Ms Zuhur is being either disingenuous (taqiyya/kitman) or ignorant (sign of the times), or blindly utopian (typical academic) or all of the above -- either way, not fit to instruct post-9/11 America's forthcoming guardians. It's bad enough that this sort of fluff counts as "authoritative" around government types; but that it has also come to permeate one of the last bastions of American security, the U.S. Army War College -- just consider its name -- is beyond ominous.
Posted at January 17, 2009 8:08 PM
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews
on: January 16, 2009, 05:13:30 PM
Calling for Genocide In Your Neighborhood
by Robert Spencer
Posted 01/16/2009 ET
Updated 01/16/2009 ET
The mainstream media has taken little notice, but at rallies in America and Europe this week protesting Israel’s actions in Gaza, protesters have more than once declared how happy they would be if the Jews were simply wiped out once and for all.
Los Angeles: Muslim demonstrators in front of the Israeli Consulate chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” -- a vision that can only be realized by the total destruction of Israel. They waved the flag of the jihad terrorist group Hizballah. To cheers from other demonstrators, some shouted, “Long live Hitler! Put Jews in ovens! Jews are fossil fuel!”
Fort Lauderdale: Leftist and Muslim demonstrators chanted, “Nuke, nuke Israel!” One yelled: “Go back to the ovens! You need a big oven, that’s what you need!”
Toronto: A Muslim protester complained that “Hitler didn’t do a good job.” Another shouted at pro-Israel counter-demonstrators: “Jewish child, you’re gonna f****n die. Hamas is coming for you." Pro-jihad demonstrators berated and threatened those who came out to show support for Israel, saying: “I want the war to continue because I want Hizballah to wipe the state of terrorism [i.e., Israel] off the planet....You’re being wiped off the planet. That’s a promise.” Yet another Muslim demonstrator said of Jews, “You are the brothers of pigs!” -- recalling the Qur’an’s depiction of Jews who disobeyed Allah as being transformed into apes and pigs.
London: Muslim protesters, repeatedly shouting “Allahu akbar,” threw traffic cones and sticks at the police and taunted them, calling them cowards, swine and “kuffar” (unbelievers).
Copenhagen: Muslim demonstrators chanted, “Down, down Israel, down, down USA, down, down democracy, down, down Denmark.” One Muslim in the crowd ostentatiously made the Nazi salute. Another shouted, “We want to kill all the Jews, all the Jews should be slain, they have no right to exist!” The crowd repeatedly chanted, “Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahoud, jaish Muhammad sawfa yaoud” -- that is, “Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return.” That chant is a reference to a celebrated incident in the life of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, when he massacred a town full of Jewish farmers. Muhammad led a Muslim force against the Khaybar oasis, which was inhabited by Jews -- many of whom he had previously exiled from Medina.
The Muslims also chanted “Hitler! Heil Hitler! Hitler! Hitler! Hitler!” Demonstrators shouted “We must just kill all those Jews, man! Then we'd be rid of them, man!,” “Death to Israel,” and “Kill the Jews.”
Amsterdam: While Dutch parliamentarian Harry van Bommel of the Socialist Party and other Leftist useful idiots marched in a demonstration calling for an intifada against Israel, the crowd behind them chanted “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”
While not everyone at these rallies expressed genocidal sentiments, it is noteworthy that there is no record of anyone who said these things being rebuked by his fellow demonstrators -- or by the authorities in the various countries where these demonstrations took place. Have American and European authorities rushed to condemn such declarations, and called upon Muslim advocacy groups and leaders to act energetically against the rampant Jew-hatred in Muslim communities in Western countries?
Not exactly. An emblematic incident took place in Duisburg, Germany, when a pro-Israel couple put an Israeli flag in their apartment window, overlooking a 10,000-strong pro-jihad demonstration on the street below. During the demonstration, German police actually broke into the couple’s apartment to remove the flag, explaining that they did so in order to forestall the apartment being broken into by the demonstrators themselves. When a police officer removed the flag from the window, the mob below applauded, cheered, and shouted “Allahu akbar.”
That same shout has echoed through these rallies all over America and Europe in recent days -- the one that Muhammad Atta advised his fellow hijackers to use frequently, since hearing it, he said, struck terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.
Ugly demonstrations have been an unfortunate but recurring feature of public life in America for decades, but open calls for genocide are something new. If American and European officials don’t react quickly now, the next round of demonstrations by the friends and allies of the global Islamic jihad will only be worse.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bwahahahahahahahahaha!
on: January 16, 2009, 03:29:32 PM
Shhh: Obama may create “classified loophole” for enhanced interrogations
posted at 4:12 pm on January 16, 2009 by Allahpundit
The news here is that this isn’t news. Less than a week after the election, rumors were already swirling that he was going to retain the option “in certain cases” to use procedures not authorized by the Army Field Manual. Then the left got him to back down on appointing John Brennan, who’d defended some of Bush’s interrogation policies, as director of the CIA. I thought that signaled the end of heart-ache for Andrew Sullivan, but no: Not only might Brennan end up being placed in a supervisory role, evidently The One’s still flirting with a little presidential prerogative when it comes to especially “difficult” subjects.For Obama, who repeatedly insisted during the 2008 presidential campaign and the transition period that “America doesn’t torture,” a classified loophole would allow him to back up his vow to end harsh interrogations while retaining a full range of presidential options in conducting the war against terrorism.
The proposed loophole, which could come in the form of a classified annex to the manual, would satisfy intelligence experts who fear that an outright ban of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques would limit the government in obtaining threat information that could save American lives. It would also preserve Obama’s flexibility to authorize any interrogation tactics he might deem necessary for national security.
However, such a move would frustrate Senate Democrats and human rights, retired military and religious groups that have pressed for a government-wide prohibition on methods they describe as torture…
“That would not be good,” said the Rev. Richard Killmer, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. “We don’t need to be able to torture and we don’t need to engage in any interrogation techniques that are not humane. And unless we have absolute clarity that these interrogation techniques will not be used, they are not going to be able to say that.”
Indeed. How is Obama upholding his vow to end harsh interrogations if he’s not ending harsh interrogations? All he’s doing is scaling it down from the level of official policy to an ad hoc contingency, which makes it even more arbitrary and potentially abused. Exit question: The left won’t cut him a break on this the way they will on, say, TARP; absolutist opposition to harsh interrogation in whatever form, from barking dogs on up, is now as central to “progressive” identity as support for abortion is. How can he make them happy while still preserving the option he needs for emergencies? He’s not going to risk his reelection on being caught short-handed in a ticking-bomb scenario.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors
on: January 16, 2009, 02:36:15 PM
|**Feel-good story of the week!**http://www.israelnationalnews.com/SendMail.aspx?print=print&type=0&item=129461
"Iranian Unit" Destroyed, Hamas was Suprised
Tevet 20, 5769, 16 January 09 11:27
by Ernie Singer
(IsraelNN.com) The so-called "Iranian Unit" of Hamas has been destroyed, according to Gaza sources cited Thursday by the Haaretz daily. The sources said most of the unit's 100 members were killed in fighting in the Zeytun neighborhood of Gaza City.
The terrorists had been trained in infantry tactics, the use of anti-tank missiles and the detonation of explosives, among other skills, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard at Hizbullah camps in Lebanon's Beka'a Valley, as well as sites in Iran.
The IDF Southern Command has reportedly stepped up ground operations in Gaza, in anticipation of a ceasefire declaration in the near future. Senior officers said Thursday that there are probably no more than a few days until the end of the fighting.
According to the Arab sources, when that happens Iran will send money to assist Hamas in restoring its military capabilities, in addition to the more widely-publicized program of rebuilding destroyed homes.
Hamas: We Didn't Expect it
Two captured terrorists interviewed by Maariv/NRG say that Hamas was not expecting Israel's response to the escalation in missile attacks on Israeli targets that preceded Operation Cast Lead. One of them, a 52-year-old victim of a premature detonation who had already done time in an Israeli jail, said, "Hamas took a gamble. We thought, at worst Israel will come and do something from the air - something superficial. They'll come in and go out. We never thought that we would reach the point where fear will swallow the heart and the feet will want to flee. You [Israel] are fighting like you fought in '48. What got into you all of a sudden?"
The second terrorist, a 21-year-old, said Hamas brought order to Gaza, but also brought fear. He noted that it was dangerous in Gaza for non-Hamas members, citing an instance of his being beaten and another in which he saw a friend killed when he went to get gas. "Now they're all gone," he said. "There have been no Hamasniks in the streets since the start of the campaign."www.IsraelNationalNews.com
© Copyright IsraelNationalNews.com
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism
on: January 15, 2009, 02:24:57 PM
|**What could possibly go wrong?**http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-guantanamo15-2009jan15,0,4433520.story?track=rss
Let some Guantanamo Bay detainees live in U.S., advocates say
For countries to feel comfortable taking prisoners off American hands, the U.S. has to show it is OK by taking some itself, human rights advocates say. The Obama team is considering the move.
By Julian E. Barnes and Peter Nicholas
January 15, 2009
Reporting from Washington -- Human rights advocates are urging the incoming Obama administration to allow some detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to resettle as U.S. residents as part of any plan to close the controversial facility.
Taking such a step would go beyond plans outlined so far to close the prison and transfer detainees to other countries or to military prisons on the U.S. mainland. But allowing a small number -- perhaps only two or three -- to live freely in the U.S. could help persuade other countries to accept some of them as well.
"If we want European and other countries to feel comfortable taking at least some of the prisoners off American hands, the U.S. will have to show it is OK by taking some itself," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director of Human Rights Watch.
President-elect Barack Obama's transition team is considering the option, but a Democratic official said there has been no conclusion that the resettlement option is necessary to Obama's plans.
Under the plans, Obama would issue an executive order within a week of assuming the presidency to close Guantanamo in a year, according to Democratic officials speaking on condition of anonymity because he has not yet taken office. That would give the government time to persuade other countries to take some of the detainees who no longer are considered to be a serious threat. It also would give the administration time to prepare prosecutions for other detainees in U.S. courts or in court-martial proceedings.
The incoming administration has decided to abandon the military commission system devised under President Bush, which has produced three convictions in seven years. Brooke Anderson, a transition spokeswoman, said Obama would decide how to handle detainees after his administration was in place.
"President-elect Obama has repeatedly said that he believes that the legal framework at Guantanamo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists, and he shares the broad bipartisan belief that Guantanamo should be closed," she said.
With time to send many of the prisoners to other countries, the plan could avert a mass transfer of the 250 detainees to a U.S. military facility, most likely at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., or Charleston, S.C. It also could avoid the need for a new federal law that allows indefinite detention of prisoners without trial, something the incoming administration has ruled out for now.
Under the plans, only detainees who are to be prosecuted would be sent to U.S. prisons. As Justice Department lawyers prepare cases for trial, the State Department will work to transfer others to their home country or to other countries. Detainees cannot be returned to their home country if doing so would put them at risk of torture.
Many Guantanamo detainees have complained of torture during their captivity; Obama has said that tainted evidence cannot be used at trial.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Washington ordered the release of a 21-year-old former Saudi resident who has been in custody since he was 14, saying evidence against him was unreliable. U.S. officials might appeal the ruling.
The transfer process has proved difficult for the Bush administration. Although the State Department may have better results under Obama, it still will face difficulty placing prisoners once described by the U.S. as terrorist threats.
Elisa Massimino, the executive director of Human Rights First, said resettling a few detainees in the U.S would be a wise move for Obama.
"After seven years of being fed the line that everyone there is the worst of the worst, it would help enormously if the United States would set an example that would put the lie to that, by taking one or two of the people," she said.
Allowing former detainees to live freely in the U.S. probably would be controversial. But Massimino said public concern might ease if the Obama administration were to explain the background of those allowed into the U.S.
"There will be opposition, but the facts can overcome that," Massimino firstname.lastname@example.org@latimes.com
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere
on: January 15, 2009, 09:08:19 AM
January 15, 2009
Head of Muslim group with admitted Hamas ties to offer prayer at Obama inauguration
Federal prosecutors last summer rejected claims that ISNA was unfairly named an unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding case.
ISNA has admitted ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood is waging, in its own words, "a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
And the head of ISNA is going to offer a prayer at Obama's inauguration.
"Muslim woman, rabbis to pray at inaugural service," by Rachel Zoll for AP, January 14 (thanks to all who sent this in):
...A prayer will be offered at the National Cathedral by Ingrid Mattson, the first woman president of the Islamic Society of North America, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. The Islamic Society, based in Indiana, is the nation's largest Muslim group....
Posted at January 15, 2009 9:03 AM
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters
on: January 14, 2009, 09:07:04 PM
U.S. military report warns 'sudden collapse' of Mexico is possible
By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times
Posted: 01/13/2009 03:49:34 PM MST
Related story: 2,000 fresh troops sent to Juarez as violence continues
EL PASO - Mexico is one of two countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse," according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats.
The command's "Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)" report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico. "In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.
"The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone."
The U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., is one of the Defense Departments combat commands that includes members of the different military service branches, active and reserves, as well as civilian and contract employees. One of its key roles is to help transform the U.S. military's capabilities.
In the foreword, Marine Gen. J.N. Mattis, the USJFC commander, said "Predictions about the future are always risky ... Regardless, if we do not try to forecast the future, there is no doubt that we will be caught off guard as we strive to protect this experiment in democracy that we call America."
The report is one in a series focusing on Mexico's internal security problems, mostly stemming from drug violence and drug corruption. In recent weeks, the Department of Homeland Security and former U.S. drug czar Barry McCaffrey issued similar alerts about Mexico.
Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who "are in denial about what is happening in Mexico."
Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon instructed his embassy and consular officials to promote a positive image of Mexico.
The U.S. military report, which also analyzed economic situations in other countries, also noted that China has increased its influence in places where oil fields are present.
More stories on the violence in Mexico
Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at email@example.com; 546-6140.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations
on: January 14, 2009, 03:06:31 PM
UN-acceptable censorship: The United Nations tries to outlaw criticism of Islam
By Floyd Abrams
Wednesday, January 14th 2009, 4:00 AM
Almost 500 years ago, on the wall of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses, characterizing as "madness" the notion that papal pardons could absolve individuals for their sins. As viewed from Rome, Luther had maligned, even defamed, the church. Luther was eventually excommunicated. His conduct ultimately led to the creation of a Protestant Church in Germany and a Reformation throughout Europe.
It is difficult to believe that in the 21st century anyone would seriously propose that conduct such as Luther's should be deemed illegal. But a few weeks ago, the General Assembly of the United Nations took a giant step in that direction. It adopted - for the fourth straight year - a resolution prepared by the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference calling upon all UN nations to adopt legislation banning the "defamation" of religion. Spurred by the Danish cartoons of 2005, some of which portrayed the Prophet Muhammed in a manner deemed offensive by the OIC, the resolution was opposed by the United States, most European nations, Japan, India and a number of other nations.
Nonetheless, it has now been adopted.
From an American perspective, the resolution so plainly violates the First Amendment that it is not a close question. Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses," which offended many Muslims, is protected here. So are movies such as Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," which offended many Jews, and "The Last Temptation of Christ," which offended many Christians. In 1940, in a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court observed that "in the realm of religious faith," despite "the probability of excesses and abuses," the liberty to speak out freely must be rigorously protected.
While relevant, the American experience is hardly the most relevant one. Far more telling is the distressing experience of nations that supported the OIC resolution. There was the student in one Islamic nation who was sentenced to death in January 2008 for distributing supposedly blasphemous material regarding the role of women in Islamic society. There was the teacher in another Islamic nation who was sentenced to jail for "insulting religion" after naming a class teddy bear "Mohammad" at the request of a 7-year-old with the same name. And there was the tragic case of the 22-year-old Hindu who, as reported by the European Centre for Law and Justice, was beaten to death by three of his fellow workers at a factory for allegedly committing blasphemy (a crime punishable by death); the workers were arrested and charged not with murder but with failing to inform the police that blasphemy was underway.
From the very first OIC resolution to the current one there has never been any ambiguity about its purpose: to intimidate those who might criticize Islam. As phrased in the original OIC resolution introduced by Pakistan in 1999, Islam was "frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism." But it is a fact that however one may debate about whether "Islam" bears any responsibility for acts of terrorism ranging from the murderous 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington to the more recent massacre in Mumbai, terrible acts of violence have been committed in the name of Islam. It is also the case that repeated human rights violations, including female genital mutilation, also have occurred in the name of Islam.
It is one thing to urge that all Muslims should not be criticized because of these acts. But the notion that it may or should be made a crime even to "associate" Islam with crimes too often committed in its name is inconsistent with any notion that both freedom of speech and religion should be protected. What cannot be even negotiable is the freedom, the unfettered freedom, to publish challenging books, movies and - yes - the Danish cartoons.
Abrams is a partner in the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and the honorary chair of the Coalition to Defend Free Speech, an organization that opposes limitations on "religious defamation."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations
on: January 14, 2009, 02:53:50 PM
UNICEF Partners With Islamic Charity Linked to Terror Groups
Thursday , June 19, 2008
By Joseph Abrams
An Islamic charity with ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban is now collaborating with an unlikely new partner: UNICEF, the United Nations’ Children’s Fund.
UNICEF has signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), a Saudi charity of massive scope that keeps branches in more than 20 countries and has over 100 offices worldwide.
According to UNICEF, it will be teaming with the charity’s domestic Saudi branch to “promote children’s rights, health, equality and education,” in the oil-rich kingdom — but the organization has been doing more than just charity work.
The U.S. Treasury Department has designated the IIRO’s branches in the Philippines and Indonesia as terrorist entities for funding and supporting terrorist groups that have killed hundreds in East Asia. The Philippine branch was founded by Usama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, Muhammad Jamal Khalifah, and has long had ties to Al Qaeda.
The U.N. itself says that both the Indonesian and Philippine branches of IIRO are tied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and has singled them out for an asset freeze, arms embargo and travel ban on members of the groups.
But that hasn’t stopped the U.N. from recognizing the Saudi office as a legitimate relief group, nor has it stopped UNICEF — or other U.N. agencies — from working with it in the past.
According to Chris de Bono, UNICEF’s chief of media, “UNICEF does not and will not engage with” the two East Asian branches. Its new partnership is with the main Saudi branch only, and UNICEF will coordinate relief primarily for children living within Saudi Arabia, de Bono said.
The U.S. government also noted the distinction between the head office and the international branches.
“We are monitoring the situation closely, but we also understand the difference between the IIRO main headquarters and its branches,” Carolyn Vadino, deputy spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the U.N., wrote in an e-mail to FOX News.
“It is the two branches in question that are designated and have ties to terrorists and at this time we have been assured that they are separate entities,” Vadino wrote.
But some critics are not convinced the distinction is so clear.
“We have to look a lot harder at whether or not an organization that’s headquartered in one country is really disconnected from operations which bear the same name in other countries and are referred to as branches,” said Anne Bayefsky, senior editor of Eye on the U.N., a watchdog group.
According to the Treasury Department, the head of the IIRO’s Eastern Province branch has been directly funding the two terror-tied branches — straight from his office in Saudi Arabia.
Abd Al Hamid Sulaiman Al-Mujil, who runs the Eastern Province branch, has been called the “million dollar man” for his support of Islamic militant groups, and the Treasury Department says he has provided donor funds directly to Al Qaeda.
According to UNICEF, there isn’t yet a financial relationship with the IIRO, but joint programs launched in the future could change that. That has some critics worried about a potential for money to make its way into the wrong hands.
“The risks involved in funding terror are sufficiently great that UNICEF officials and other U.N. officials who accredit this organization are called upon to assure themselves that there are no ties,” said Bayefsky.
The IIRO's Indonesia branch was discovered by FOX News to still be operating despite being on the U.N.’s own terror list. Questions to the Indonesian mission to the U.N. have gone unanswered.
And while UNICEF’s Gulf-area office vetted the Saudi charity’s domestic office in June, it would not confirm whether it had investigated the Eastern Province branch or its sources of financing.
Bayefsky told FOXNews.com that even such vetting might not be enough.
“One has to remind oneself over and over again that the United Nations has no definition of terrorism,” she said. “It’s very hard to investigate and object to links to terrorist groups when you don’t know what [terrorism] is."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The ongoing criminal enterprise known as the UN
on: January 13, 2009, 08:51:30 AM
From the WSJ Opinion Archives
THE REAL WORLD
Business as Usual
Corruption and conflicts of interest at the U.N. by CLAUDIA ROSETT
Thursday, October 27, 2005 12:01 A.M. EDT
Few outside U.N. circles have heard of IHC Services, a private company that for years was one of hundreds of firms selling goods and services to the U.N. As a rule, the U.N. keeps secret most details of these deals. But scandals involving IHC have begun lifting the lid on how the U.N. handles taxpayers' money.
The IHC story suggests that the U.N.'s failures of governance are not confined to such special projects as the Oil for Food program. If anything, Oil for Food looks more and more like a large outcropping of U.N. business as usual. And as with Oil for Food, which ran from December 1996 until the fall of Saddam in 2003, the timeline of IHC business with the U.N. starts in December 1996. That was the month before Kofi Annan took over as secretary-general, and it is on his watch that the IHC-U.N. tale has unfolded.
Headquartered on the sixth floor of a modest midtown Manhattan high-rise, with additional offices in Milan, IHC was, until this June, one of many companies approved by the U.N. as a registered vendor to its procurement division--which handles U.N. contracting for everything from office supplies to rations for peacekeeping troops. IHC signed some deals directly with the U.N., and on others served as a go-between for third-party contractors--despite the U.N.'s officially stated preference for avoiding middlemen.
Since the U.N. handles its contracts with secrecy, the full extent of IHC's involvement in U.N. business is hard to know. But from documents seen by this writer, the amounts around 1999 involved millions of dollars; a few years later they involved scores of millions; and in the past year or two--counting IHC business partnerships--the totals reached hundreds of millions.
IHC's CEO Ezio Testa, has denied any wrong-doing. But IHC's history includes hiring the son of a U.N. official who later (and unrelated to the hiring) pled guilty to corruption in federal court. In addition, a star U.N. diplomat served as chairman of the IHC board of directors while also holding a post as personal representative of the U.N. secretary-general. On top of that, IHC appears to have had access to valuable inside information on U.N. contract bids, which in at least one documented case it shared with a company involved in the bid.
Last year, information was bubbling around in unofficial quarters that something was amiss in the U.N. procurement department. Together with Fox News executive editor George Russell, I began looking into it. A name that came to our attention was Alexander Yakovlev, a Russian staffer in the procurement department. Imagine our surprise when Mr. Yakovlev was depicted in a Feb. 3 interim report from Paul Volcker's Oil for Food probe as a defender of integrity in the U.N. procurement department, where he'd handled Oil for Food inspection contracts.
Mr. Russell and I continued our reporting, and in early May--about the time the U.N. now says its own investigation into Oil for Food began--we contacted the U.N. procurement department with questions. On June 20, our story ran on Fox News, alleging that Mr. Yakovlev, while handling at least one IHC contract, had obtained a job with IHC for his son Dmitry, and providing details of a secret offshore company and bank account set up by Mr. Yakovlev and his wife. Two days later, Alexander Yakovlev had resigned, and the U.N. had suspended IHC from its vendor list. On Aug. 8, Mr. Volcker released a report that, as a sidenote to his Oil for Food investigation, alleged that Mr. Yakovlev had taken $950,000 in bribes on $79 million worth of U.N. contracts. Mr. Yakovlev was arrested, and in a Manhattan federal court pled guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and money-laundering in relation to his U.N. procurement activities. That federal investigation has since gone on to indict the head of the U.N. budget oversight committee, Vladimir Kuznetsov, on allegations of money-laundering.
That was far from the end of the IHC trail. Last month, we obtained IHC corporate documents showing that one of the U.N.'s most prominent personalities, Giandomenico Picco--currently a special adviser to Mr. Annan--had served as a director of IHC in 1997 and then as chairman of the IHC board from 1998 until at least February 2000. Mr. Picco's initial career with the U.N. had spanned from 1973 to 1992, and at the time he joined IHC he was in private business, running a consulting firm, GDP Associates, in New York. But during his tenure as IHC chairman, he accepted an appointment from Kofi Annan in August 1999, to serve as a U.N. under-secretary and personal representative of the secretary-general for a globetrotting project called the Dialogue of Civilizations.
During the interval in which Mr. Picco was both an official U.N. representative for Mr. Annan and chairman of the IHC board--i.e., from August 1999 to February 2000--IHC signed one multimillion dollar deal to sell portable generators to the U.N. and brokered another to supply a hostel ship for peacekeeping troops in East Timor. Mr. Picco has said he resigned as IHC chairman before that, but IHC board minutes show him as chairing the company's annual meeting on Feb. 17, 2000.
It then came to light that IHC's CEO, Ezio Testa, had sent an email providing an inside tip on confidential U.N. bidding information to a corporate officer at another company, Cyprus-based Eurest Support Services (ESS). ESS was then bidding on the aforementioned contract--which it won--to supply $62 million worth of rations to U.N. peacekeepers. Altogether, ESS, which in 2004 announced a formal partnership with IHC, has in recent years won U.N. contracts that, with add-ons and options, total $351 million. ESS has now been suspended by the U.N., which is investigating the matter.
There's more. Corporate documents show that in June, just before the first wave of this scandal went public, IHC was quietly sold--in a move that raises questions about who really owned it. The buyer was a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, whose sole representative was listed in sale documents as Peter Harris--apparently an officer with ESS's parent company, the U.K.-based Compass Group, one of the world's largest catering companies. (Compass has announced it is suspending Mr. Harris and is investigating the matter.)
IHC's seller was even more intriguing. The sole shareholder was a Luxembourg-based company, Torno S.A.H. One of the two major shareholders in Torno, who voted by proxy in a Milan meeting on June 3 to approve the sale, was a Liechtenstein-based businessman, Engelbert Schreiber, Jr. A provider of financial and legal services, he, as recently as 2000, had professional dealings with Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, a naturalized Italian citizen and former honorary consul of Kuwait in Milan who in 2002 was listed on the U.N.'s roster of "individuals and entities belonging to or associated" with Al Qaeda.
What next might turn up in the IHC saga depends on a number of investigations. But in an era when many authorities are worried about the transit of millions across borders and the enforcement of good governance, it appears the U.N. has been serving as a bazaar in which corruption, conflicts of interest and shadowy financial networks have found ways to set up shop. Behind the maze, who was the real owner of IHC during its nine years of doing big business with the U.N.? The U.N. won't say, and quite possibly does not even know. Its policy, in fact, was not even to ask.
Ms. Rosett is a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Her column appears here and in The Wall Street Journal Europe on alternate Wednesdays.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The ongoing criminal enterprise known as the UN
on: January 13, 2009, 08:43:20 AM
UN forces – just a bunch of thugs?
By Mark Steyn
Last Updated: 11:48PM GMT 14 Feb 2005
It's a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice-cream and a quart of dog faeces and mix 'em together the result will taste more like the latter than the former. That's the problem with the UN. If you make the free nations and the thug states members of the same club, the danger isn't that they'll meet each other half-way but that the free world winds up going three-quarters, seven-eighths of the way. Thus the Oil-for-Fraud scandal: in the end, Saddam Hussein had a much shrewder understanding of the way the UN works than Bush and Blair did.
And, of course, corrupt organisations rarely stop at just one kind. If you don't want to bulk up your pension by skimming the Oil-for-Food programme, don't worry, whatever your bag, the UN can find somewhere that suits - in West Africa, it's Sex-for-Food, with aid workers demanding sexual services from locals as young as four; in Cambodia, it's drug dealing; in Kenya, it's the refugee extortion racket; in the Balkans, sex slaves.
But you get the general picture: on a UN peace mission, everyone gets his piece. Didier Bourguet, a UN staffer in Congo and the Central African Republic, enjoyed the pleasures of 12-year-old girls, and as a result is now on trial in France. His lawyer has said he was part of a UN paedophile network that transcends national boundaries.
Now how about this? The Third Infantry Division are raping nine-year olds in Ramadi. Ready, set, go! That thundering sound outside your window isn't the new IKEA sale, but the great herd of BBC/CNN/Independent/Guardian/New York Times/Le Monde/Sydney Morning Herald/Irish Times/Cork Examiner reporters stampeding to the Sunni Triangle. Whoa, hold up, lads, it's only hypothetical.
But think about it: the merest glimpse of a freaky West Virginia tramp leading an Abu Ghraib inmate around with girlie knickers on his head was enough to prompt calls for Rumsfeld's resignation, and for Ted Kennedy to charge that Saddam's torture chambers were now open "under new management", and for Robert Fisk to be driven into the kind of orgasmic frenzy unseen since his column on how much he enjoyed being beaten up by an Afghan mob: "Just look at the way US army reservist Lynndie England holds the leash of the naked, bearded Iraqi," wrote Fisk. "No sadistic movie could outdo the damage of this image. In September 2001, the planes smashed into the buildings; today, Lynndie smashes to pieces our entire morality with just one tug on the leash."
Who's straining at the leash here? Down, boy. But, if Lynndie's smashed to pieces our entire morality with just one tug, Bush's Zionist neocons getting it on with Congolese kindergarteners would have the Independent calling for US expulsion from the UN - no, wait, from Planet Earth: slice it off from Maine to Hawaii and use one of those new Euro-Airbuses to drag it out round the back of Uranus.
But systemic UN child sex in at least 50 per cent of their missions? The transnational morality set can barely stifle their yawns. If you're going to rape prepubescent girls, make sure you're wearing a blue helmet.
And at least the Pentagon put a stop to Abu Ghraib. As a UN official in Congo told the Telegraph yesterday: "The crux of the problem is that if the UN gets bolshie with these governments then they stop providing the UN with troops and staff."
And the problem with that is?
In Congo, the UN has now forbidden all contact between its forces and the natives. The rest of the world should be so lucky.
I take it from his use of "bolshie" that the quoted UN wallah is British. If so, that's the system in a nutshell: when a British bigwig is with British forces, he'll enforce British standards; when a British official is holed up with an impeccably "multilateral" force of Uruguayans, Tunisians, etc, he's more circumspect. When in Rome, do as the Visigoths do.
The child sex racket is only the most extreme example of what's wrong with the UN approach to the world. Developed peoples value resilience: when disaster strikes, you bounce back. A hurricane flattens Florida, you patch things up and reopen. As the New Colonial Class, the UN doesn't look at it like that: when disaster strikes, it just proves you and your countrymen are children who need to be taken under the transnational wing.
The folks that have been under the UN wing the longest - indeed, the only ones with their own permanent UN agency and semi-centenarian "refugee camps" - are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the earth: the Palestinians. UN territories like Kosovo are the global equivalent of inner-city council estates with the blue helmets as local enforcers for the absentee slum landlord. By contrast, a couple of years after imperialist warmonger Bush showed up, Afghanistan and Iraq have elections, presidents and prime ministers.
When the tsunami hit, hundreds of thousands of people died within minutes. The Australians and Americans arrived within hours. The UN was unable to get to Banda Aceh within weeks.
Instead, the humanitarian fat cats were back in New York and Geneva holding press conferences warning about post-tsunami health consequences - dysentery, cholera, BSE from water-logged cattle, etc - that, they assured us, would kill as many people as the original disaster. But it never happened, any more than did their predictions of disaster for Iraq ("The head of the World Food Programme has warned that Iraq could spiral into a massive humanitarian disaster") or Afghanistan ("The UN Children's Fund has estimated that as many as 100,000 Afghan children could die of cold, disease and hunger").
It's one thing to invent humanitarian disasters to disparage Bush's unilateralist warmongering, but a month ago the UN was reduced to inventing a humanitarian disaster in order to distract attention from the existing humanitarian disaster it wasn't doing anything about.
All this derives from a UN culture in which the free nations have met the thug states so much more than half way that they now largely share the dictators' view of their peoples - as either helpless children who need every decision made for them, or a bunch of dupes whose national wealth you can reroute to your Swiss bank account, or a never-ending source of fresh meat. Those British officials trying to rationalise Oil-for-Fraud or child sex rings give the game away: it's not just the underage Congolese girls who get corrupted by contact with the UN.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The United Nations
on: January 13, 2009, 08:28:32 AM
The UN Bailout of Hamas
By Joseph Klein
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The United Nations has been working especially hard in recent days to bail out the Hamas terrorists from the prospect of a devastating defeat at the hands of Israel.
Hamas caused the present conflict by its unprovoked firing of hundreds of rockets deeper into Israel, targeting Israeli civilians for death and terrorizing its women and children. Hamas, not Israel, unilaterally decided against extending the six month ceasefire that had expired in mid-December 2008, which Hamas had been violating anyway. After clear warnings to stop the rocket fire which went unheeded by Hamas, Israel responded with military force in self-defense pursuant to Section 51 of the UN Charter.
Nevertheless, under pressure from the Arab bloc, the UN Security Council adopted a contemptible resolution on January 8, 2009, which calls for an “immediate” ceasefire, “leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza”. Hamas’s provocation for the Israeli military action is not mentioned even once. There is not a word stating that the rocket attacks on the Israeli civilian population must stop completely as a condition for such withdrawal of Israeli forces. Indeed, the resolution places no onus on Hamas at all for the present situation, much less imposing any obligations on the mini-terrorist state it is running in Gaza. Although Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and would never have tolerated a Hamas-led government if it had stayed instead, the UN resolution is based on the premise that Israel still effectively controls Gaza and thus is fully responsible for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population living under Hamas rule. This is truly a heads-Hamas-wins, tails-Israel-loses setup.
Shamefully, the United States decided to abstain, rather than use its veto power to block this one-sided, anti-Israel Security Council resolution.
The resolution emphasizes “the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings.” While calling on member states to “intensify efforts” to prevent “illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition”, nothing is said about destroying the remaining tunnels built by Hamas or removing the rocket parts and other arms from the terrorists’ hands that have already been smuggled into Gaza. There is no provision for an effective international monitoring force to stop any further smuggling.
The resolution “condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism”. Since Israel is singled out elsewhere in the resolution for its military presence in Gaza and the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are not mentioned at all, the spin artists accusing Israel of ‘crimes against humanity’ will have a field day. They will interpret the resolution as condemning only Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians and equating Israel’s acts of self-defense with ‘state terrorism’. No accountability for using Palestinian women and children as human shields – a deliberate tactic of Islamic terrorists – is laid at Hamas’s doorstep. Since Hamas is not mentioned even once in the resolution, the Islamic propagandists will surely argue that neither Hamas’s assaults on Israeli civilians, or Hamas’s deliberate use of civilians as human shields, were intended to be included within the definition of acts of terrorism. This fits into the Islamic fictional narrative that Hamas militants and other Islamic terrorists are not really terrorists at all – they are legitimate resistance fighters.
The resolution recognizes “the vital role played by UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] in providing humanitarian and economic assistance within Gaza.” It actually asks for additional contributions to UNRWA.
UNRWA runs the Palestinian refugee camps and UN schools in Gaza. Two schools reportedly came under fire during the present conflict by Israeli forces in response to mortar shells being fired from the schools’ vicinity by Hamas militants whom Palestinian residents were said to have observed in the area. Nevertheless, Israel has received all of the blame for the ensuing civilian casualties caused by Hamas’s deliberate use of Palestinian women and children as human shields.
UNRWA itself is not an innocent bystander. In the past UNRWA has allowed the Palestinian refugee camps that it was administering to be used as bases for small-arms factories, explosives laboratories, and arms caches. It has also allowed UN vehicles to be used to transport arms, explosives, and terrorists to their target locations. Terrorist organizations have been found to actively use UNRWA offices and schools to conduct their terrorist activities.
Indeed, in November 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke out against a rocket attack aimed at Israel that was launched from a school in the Gaza Strip run by the United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees. According to a UN News Centre report at the time, “Palestinian militants entered the school while it was empty and then fired rockets from the compound.”
History is repeating itself. Hamas has followed its customary modus operandi during this conflict, using UN schools as safe houses from which to launch some of its attacks, while UNRWA officials tacitly approved or looked the other way. The UN has responded in a Pavlovian fashion to Israel’s military retaliation, ignoring its own findings from a little over a year ago concerning the militants’ use of a UN school as a place from which to fire rockets. Instead, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay and other UN officials have rushed in to blame Israel for the civilian casualties at the UN schools and everywhere else in Gaza, allowing Hamas to reap a propaganda windfall from the images of dead and wounded Palestinian civilians whom it had put in harm’s way in the first place.
To be fair, Pillay did say in her statement to the ninth special session of the Human Rights Council (another in a string of Human Rights Council sessions devoted exclusively to condemning Israel) that harm to civilians caused by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel is “unacceptable”. She also said that “action on the part of Israel’s opponents that may deliberately put civilians at risk in the Gaza Strip is prohibited under international law” (emphasis added).
Although her use of the term “opponents” rather than something like “mortal enemies sworn to Israel’s destruction” sounds more like she is refereeing at a tennis match, Pillay is at least showing some signs of recognizing the reality that Israel has been facing. She is in a distinct minority at the UN in even being willing to go that far. Other UN officials, such as Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, are so blinded by their hatred of Israel that they have used the blood libel of comparing the Jewish state to the Nazis and to apartheid South Africa.
However, Pillay is wrong in claiming that “while indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful, Israel’s responsibility to fulfill its international obligations is completely independent from the compliance of Hamas with its own obligations under international law”.
To the contrary, they are causally linked. Israel is acting in self-defense against Hamas’s relentless attacks on defenseless Israeli civilians. Moreover, Hamas – not Israel – has violated the Geneva Convention and the basic laws of war by deliberately targeting innocent civilians, impersonating civilians or police, hiding among the civilian population, and using mosques and schools as terrorist sanctuaries.
In short, Hamas alone bears responsibility for its civilian population as the governing authority in Gaza. Hamas is the aggressor against Israeli civilians and is using its rule of Gaza to treat its own civilians as human shields. Israel, on the other hand, has bent over backwards to minimize civilian casualties.
Israel has repeatedly sought genuine peace, but not at the expense of the safety of its own citizens. To Hamas, truces are just stalling tactics to use as lulls during which the terrorists build up their military capability. When asked if he could envision a 50-year hudna (cease-fire) with Israel, Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan (who was finally killed in a recent Israeli bombing attack) responded, "The only reason to have a hudna is to prepare yourself for the final battle. We don't need 50 years to prepare ourselves for the final battle with Israel. Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God."
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the United Nations has become an enabler of Hamas’s campaign of deceit and of its crimes against humanity. The UN has turned into an instrument for legitimizing the enemies of peace and freedom.
Joseph A. Klein is the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Time rooting for America's/Israel's enemies, as usual....
on: January 13, 2009, 08:09:16 AM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com
Is Time Rooting for Israel’s Defeat?
Posted By Stephen Green On January 12, 2009 @ 12:00 am In . Column2 01, . Positioning, Israel, Media, Middle East, US News, World News | 3 Comments
Has Time magazine joined the ranks of Hamas and come out in favor of the destruction of Israel? Probably not, but what else is a reader to think after just the first couple paragraphs of  this Tim McGirk story from last week? You’d think McGirk’s story couldn’t get any worse than the headline — “Can Israel Survive Its Assault on Gaza? — but you’d be wrong. Read:
With each passing day, Israel’s war against Hamas grows riskier and more punishing, with the gains appearing to diminish compared to the spiraling costs — to Israel’s moral stature, to the lives of Palestinian civilians and to the world’s hopes that an ancient conflict can ever be resolved.
That’s pure, and unsubstantiated, conjecture. No sources, no facts, no figures. And in a news piece. You’d think things really couldn’t get worse from there, but you’d be wrong again. Read a little further down:
But after 60 years of struggle to defend their existence against foreign threats and enemies within, many Israelis may be wondering, Where does that end lie? The threat posed by Hamas is only the most immediate of the many interlocking challenges facing Israel, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a democratic Jewish state.
Go back and read that again. That pounding you hear isn’t just a headache, it’s the drumbeat of surrender. McGirk has, somehow, turned a fairly limited incursion into Gaza — which Israel occupied in its entirety for almost 30 years — into a referendum on the very existence of the Jewish state.
Notice again that McGirk hasn’t quoted any actual Israelis, or anyone else for that matter. He’s simply asserted that “many” Jews “may be wondering” if there’s any “long-term viability.” McGirk is making stuff up and reporting it as news. And his editors at Time seem to be fine with that. But don’t be surprised — McGirk and Time have quite the history of making stuff up together.
McGirk was the “journalist” who “broke” the “story” of the “massacre” by U.S. Marines at Haditha, Iraq. In fact, he fought with his editors to get the word “massacre” in the lede of the story, calling it “ a battle I lost.” A good thing, too, because the story of the Haditha Massacre has been proven to be a fake.
But, as Clarice Feldman noted in an  American Thinker article asking if McGirk was “the new Mary Mapes,” McGirk is no stranger to the moral equivalence game. Reporting from a Taliban hideout weeks after the 9/11 attacks, McGirk wrote that he left, “thinking that maybe this evening wasn’t very different from the original Thanksgiving: people from two warring cultures sharing a meal together and realizing, briefly, that we’re not so different after all.” Surely, McGirk’s access to the Taliban is no mystery.
Unfortunately, McGirk isn’t Time’s only questionable hire.
 Tony Karon has been writing for Time since 1996, and serving as a senior editor since 2000. In a December 29, 2008,  article on the Gaza War, Karon proved himself almost as incapable of hiding his biases as McGirk. He can hardly go a paragraph without spouting Hamas propaganda:
But Hamas has good reason to expect that Israel’s military campaign will be limited, and it believes it can come out ahead in the strategic equation despite the heavy cost in blood that will be paid by its own leaders and militants, as well as by Palestinian civilians.
Ah, those brave Hamas leaders, willing to pay any price and bear any burden — to fire rockets from school yards and into civilian areas. The suffering of the Palestinian people is all too real — but left unsaid is how much of it is caused by the terrorists Palestinians themselves elected to lead them. Context is everything, and Karon does his best to skew it to one side.
Again, do not be surprised. If you  click over to Karon’s personal website, you’ll find he thinks that “The fact of Israel’s survival” is “a grim reality” for its Palestinian citizens. Does that mean that if Israel were to somehow just … go away … that life would become not-so-grim for the Palestinians? It seems that Karon has left the answer to that question as an exercise for the reader.
Tim McGirk is Time’s Jerusalem bureau chief, and Tony Karon is the senior editor for world coverage. They are not simple stringers, or even on-assignment reporters. They help shape, define, and determine Time’s coverage of the Middle East — and thus shape, define, and determine what millions of people the world over learn about a vital region.
Everyone has their biases — here at Pajamas Media, we wear ours proudly on our sleeves. If only the folks at Time were so forthcoming.
Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com
URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/is-time-rooting-for-israels-defeat/
URLs in this post:
 this Tim McGirk story: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1870314,00.html
 a battle I lost.: http://sweetness-light.com/archive/times-mcgirk-wanted-to-call-haditha-a-massacre
 American Thinker article: http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/06/haditha_is_mcgirk_the_new_mary.html
 Tony Karon: http://www.time.com/time/columnist/karon/article/0,9565,494004,00.html
 article on the Gaza War: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1868864,00.html
 click over: http://tonykaron.com/2008/05/08/israel-is-alive-zionism-is-dead-what-now/
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism
on: January 12, 2009, 10:22:37 PM
**A good example of the crazy antisemitism that fills the islamic psyche.**
Special Dispatch - No. 494
April 11, 2003 No. 494
Author of Saudi Blood Libel and Professor at King Faysal University Lectures at Arab League Think Tank: 'U.S. War on Iraq Timed To Coincide With Jewish Holiday Purim'
On April 9, 2003, Dr. Umayma Jalahmabriefed the Arab League's "Center for Coordination and Follow-Up"and claimed that the U.S. war in Iraq was timed to coincide with the Jewish holiday Purim. Dr. Jalahma, a professor of Islamic Studies at Saudi Arabia's King Faysal University, made headlines last year when she claimed that Jews use human blood to make pastries for the Purim holiday. In an article published in the Saudi daily Al-Riyadh on March 12, 2002,Dr. Jalahma wrote about "the Jewish holiday of Purim… for this holiday, the Jewish people must obtain human blood so that their clerics can prepare the holiday pastries… that affords the Jewish vampires great delight as they carefully monitor every detail of the blood-shedding with pleasure... After this barbaric display, the Jews take the spilled blood, in the bottle set in the bottom [of the needle-studded barrel], and the Jewish cleric makes his coreligionists completely happy on their holiday when he serves them the pastries in which human blood is mixed."
Following MEMRI's release of a translation of this article, Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, criticized the Saudi government and press. Subsequently, Dr. Jalahma was prevented from writing for Al-Riyadh, but began writing for Al-Watan, another Saudi daily.
The "Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-Up" was established by the Arab League in 1999. Notable speakers at the Center include former vice president Al Gore, former secretary of state James Baker, Professor Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland, former president of Austria and former UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim, President of the Arab-American Institute James Zogby, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, former assistant secretary of state for the Middle East Richard Murphy, President of the Middle East Institute Edward Walker, and Lyndon Larouche. Recent events at the Center include a lecture by French intellectual Theirry Meyssan, author of "The Appalling Fraud," in which he accused the U.S. military of involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks; the Saudi Gazette quoted Meyssan as stating at the event, "...[Those] who masterminded the operations and led them were American terrorists."
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter also lectured at the Center and, according to the Zayed Center's summary of the event, which took place on February 8, 2003, Ritter "concluded his lecture, saying that what is happening now in the United Sates [i.e. the planning of the war in Iraq] is due to the fact that this country [the U.S.] is administered by extremists, after the elections of 2000, describing this as a kind of coup d'etat against the American values and principles."
The following is the summary provided by the Zayed Center of Dr. Jalahma'slecture:
'The American War on Iraq Started in March to Concur with Purim'
"[Dr. Jalahma] said that the American war on Iraq started in March to concur with Purim Feast, often celebrated in this month, which symbolizes the Jewish victory over Haman in Babylon [sic]."
'Imminent' Civil War in Israel
"[Dr. Jalahma] indicated that some Zionist parties which believe that the oriental Jews (Sephardim) must stay within the Palestinian borders because, [like] the Arabs, are inferior to the Western Jews (Ashkenazim), according to their claims. She expected an imminent civil war, now under the make, in the Israeli society due to denominational, sectarian, and ethnic splits."
'Zionist Ambitions to Establish a World State'
"[Dr. Jalahma] stated the invading forces have begun to distribute the spoils and booties in Iraq, disregarding the painful cries and woes of the Iraqi children. She considered the Israeli plan to rehabilitate the oil pipeline that once linked Haifa to Mosul, in the north of Iraq, as a sound evidence of the greedy ambitions of these countries (the Zionist Anglo-Saxon alliance) in Iraq and the other Arab countries. She also indicated that no one can curb the Zionist ambitions to establish a world state whose economic and political aspirations have no limits."
On the Zionist and American Media Campaigns vs. the Arab and Muslim World
"[Dr. Jalahma] added that Zionism and some Western circles have been active to defame the Arab and Muslim image, and to conceal truth and facts relating to the Arab and Muslim history. She called for condensed efforts to counter this campaign and to improve the Arab and Muslim image in the West."
On the 'Exploitation of the Jewish Woman… She is Still Denied Her Rights as a Human Being… She is Even Deprived of Her Children'"In another context, [Dr. Jalahma] said that the Jewish woman is politically and socially oppressed by the Jewish fundamentalists and secularists alike, mentioning that the Jewish woman lives in a miserable condition that requires the intervention of the international humanitarian organization to protect her.
The Jewish woman, she said, has been exploited and used for political purposes, and despite her noticeable contribution to the building of the Zionist society, she is still denied her rights as a human being. Injustice and oppression weigh heavily on her everywhere in society, particularly the Kibbutz, or the collective farms where she is even deprived of her children and extensively indoctrinated the Zionist principles."
See MEMRI past dispatches on this subject:
Special Dispatch Series - No. 357- March 21, 2002 - Editor of Saudi Government Daily Al-Riyadh: Statement on 'Purim' Blood Libel Articles.
Special Dispatch Series - No. 354- March 13, 2002 - Saudi Government Daily: Jews Use Teenagers' Blood for 'Purim' Pastries.
Press Release - No. 1- March 18, 2002, - Press Release on Article in Saudi Government Daily: Jews Use Teenagers' Blood for 'Purim' Pastries.
 MEMRI Special Dispatch - No. 383- May 23, 2002 Arab League Think Tank Hosts Event: U.S. Military behind September 11.
http://www.zccf.org.ae/e_TitleDescription.asp?Tid=477, April 9, 2003.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism
on: January 12, 2009, 09:54:44 PM
Published on Sunday, October 21, 2001 by the Washington Post
Silence of 4 Terror Probe Suspects Poses Dilemma
by Walter Pincus
FBI and Justice Department investigators are increasingly frustrated by the silence of jailed suspected associates of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, and some are beginning to that say that traditional civil liberties may have to be cast aside if they are to extract information about the Sept. 11 attacks and terrorist plans.
More than 150 people rounded up by law enforcement officials in the aftermath of the attacks remain in custody, but attention has focused on four suspects held in New York who the FBI believes are withholding valuable information.
FBI agents have offered the suspects the prospect of lighter sentences, money, jobs, and a new identity and life in the United States for them and their family members, but they have not succeeded in getting information from them, according to law enforcement sources.
"We're into this thing for 35 days and nobody is talking," a senior FBI official said, adding that "frustration has begun to appear."
Said one experienced FBI agent involved in the investigation: "We are known for humanitarian treatment, so basically we are stuck. . . . Usually there is some incentive, some angle to play, what you can do for them. But it could get to that spot where we could go to pressure . . . where we won't have a choice, and we are probably getting there."
Among the alternative strategies under discussion are using drugs or pressure tactics, such as those employed occasionally by Israeli interrogators, to extract information. Another idea is extraditing the suspects to allied countries where security services sometimes employ threats to family members or resort to torture.
Under U.S. law, interrogators in criminal cases can lie to suspects, but information obtained by physical pressure, inhumane treatment or torture cannot be used in a trial. In addition, the government interrogators who used such tactics could be sued by the victim or charged with battery by the government.
The four key suspects, held in New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center, are Zacarias Moussaoui, a French Moroccan detained in August initially in Minnesota after he sought lessons on how to fly commercial jetliners but not how to take off or land them; Mohammed Jaweed Azmath and Ayub Ali Khan, Indians traveling with false passports who were detained the day after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks with box cutters, hair dye and $5,000 in cash; and Nabil Almarabh, a former Boston cabdriver with alleged links to al Qaeda.
Questioning of "the two with the box cutters and others have left us wondering what's the next phase," the FBI official said.
One former senior FBI official with a background in counterterrorism said recently, "You can't torture, you can't give drugs now, and there is logic, reason and humanity to back that." But, he added, "you could reach a point where they allow us to apply drugs to a guy. . . . But I don't think this country would ever permit torture, or beatings."
He said there was a difference in employing a "truth serum," such as sodium pentothal, "to try to get critical information when facing disaster, and beating a guy till he is senseless."
"If there is another major attack on U.S. soil, the American public could let it happen," he said. "Drugs might taint a prosecution, but it might be worth it."
Even some people who are firm supporters of civil liberties understand the pressures that are developing.
David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center who obtained the release of Middle Eastern clients after they had been detained for years based on secret information, said that in the current crisis, "the use of force to extract information could happen" in cases where investigators believe suspects have information on an upcoming attack.
"If there is a ticking bomb, it is not an easy issue, it's tough," he said.
Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel during the Clinton administration, wrote recently that the Supreme Court distinguished terrorism cases from cases where lesser threats are involved. He noted that five justices in a recent deportation case recognized that the "genuine danger" represented by terrorism requires "heightened deference to the judgments of the political branches with respect to matters of national security."
Former attorney general Richard L. Thornburgh said, "We put emphasis on due process and sometimes it strangles us."
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, he said, "legally admissible evidence in court may not be the be-all and end-all." The country may compare the current search for information to brutal tactics in wartime used to gather intelligence overseas and even by U.S. troops from prisoners during military actions.
Extradition of Moussaoui to France or Morocco is a possibility, one law enforcement official said. The French security services were quick to leak to journalists in Paris that they had warned the CIA and FBI in early September, before the attacks, that Moussaoui was associated with al Qaeda and had pilot training.
The leak has irritated U.S. investigators in part because "it was so limited," one FBI official said. "Maybe we should give him [Moussaoui] to them," he said, noting that French security has a reputation for rough interrogations.
The threat of extradition to a country with harsh practices does not always work.
In 1997, Hani Abdel Rahim al-Sayegh, a Saudi citizen arrested in Canada and transferred to the United States under the promise that he would tell about the bombing of the Khobar Towers military barracks in Saudi Arabia, refused to cooperate in the investigation when he got here.
The FBI threatened to have al-Sayegh sent back to Saudi Arabia, where he could have faced beheading, thinking it would get him to talk. "He called their bluff and went back, was not executed and is in jail," a government official said.
Robert M. Blitzer, former chief of the FBI counterterrorism section, said offers of reduced sentences worked to get testimony in the cases of Ahmed Ressam, caught bringing explosives into the country for millennium attacks that never took place, and Ali Mohammed, the former U.S. Army Green Beret who pleaded guilty in the 1998 embassy bombings and provided valuable information about al Qaeda.
The two former al Qaeda members who testified publicly in the 1998 bombing trials were resettled with their families in the United States under the witness protection program and given either money or loans to restart their lives.
Torture "goes against every grain in my body," Blitzer said. "Chances are you are going to get the wrong person and risk damage or killing them." In the end, he said, there has to be another way.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism
on: January 12, 2009, 08:55:51 PM
Not really. The propaganda use of "torture" by the US is a bogus point. Having tracked the arab/muslim media for years, everything is a source of outrage for them. They are quite happy to invent lurid conspiracies when they have nothing else to incite the masses with. The frequently told story by the arab media of US Army combat surgical hospitals hosting Israeli surgeons that harvest the eyes of Iraqi children for Israelis needing corneas, springs to mind.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism
on: January 12, 2009, 07:05:51 PM
December 21, 2007, 6:51 a.m.
The CIA Interrogation Tapes
Remember when this was a real war?
By Andrew C. McCarthy
The controversy over interrogation tapes destroyed by the CIA is a farce rich in high-dudgeon hypocrisy. It is the latest act in our square-peg, round-hole experiment in judicializing warfare — in intruding the non-political branch into the quintessentially political realm of national defense.
Al-Qaeda’s air raid on 9/11 eclipsed Pearl Harbor in devastation and shock value. It exceeded anything ever accomplished by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. It was a domestic military strike, wiping out thousands of American civilians. The enemy, in previous attacks, had already bombed a U.S. naval destroyer and two U.S. embassies.
As it happened, the suicide hijackings also violated several American criminal laws because the jihadist attackers were not privileged combatants — i.e., honorable enemy soldiers who conduct their operations within the laws and customs of war and who are therefore permitted to use lethal force. The civilian penal law, however, was a side issue. This was war, not law enforcement.
As a consequence, the nation assumed its war footing. For political reasons, the revisionist Left has referred to this effort as “the War on Terror of this administration” — to borrow the obnoxious phrase of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, the Jimmy Carter appointee who tried to invalidate the NSA’s terrorist-surveillance program. But this was never just President Bush’s war. It was — it is — our war. The country’s war. This may seem like ancient history, but in the months after 9/11, we were not in Iraq. We were in the “good” War on Terror — the one Democrats supported, in word and deed, because they damn well knew Americans would tolerate nothing less.
We no longer wanted the Trial on Terror. After eight years of that approach, the mass casualties, the hundreds of billions in wreckage, the smoldering Pentagon, the stunning canyon where twin towers once stretched to the sky, all of it convinced us that a different kind of response was in order. That nation made a political decision to go to war.
This wasn’t just George W. Bush. On September 14, 2001, the House of Representatives approved a sweeping authorization for the use of military force by a vote of 420-1 (Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.) was the lone naysayer). The vote in the Senate that day was 98-0. Six weeks later, the Patriot Act’s overhaul of intelligence tools for hunting down international terrorists was enacted in the upper and lower chambers by lop-sided margins of 98-1 and 357-66. America’s representatives were behind the war because the American people were behind the war. Even by 2004, when passions had cooled somewhat, John Kerry, the Democrats’ presidential nominee, promised Americans he would fight the war smarter than Bush, not that he wouldn’t fight it. Saying he wouldn’t fight it would have resulted in a walloping of McGovernite proportions.
The atmosphere of 2002 was one of forcible action. The American people demanded it. Our representatives in Congress were insistent that we would get it. Their own jobs hung in the balance. It was in that atmosphere that this military response, this war, began to result, as all wars do, in the capture of enemy operatives.
ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE BEING TOUGH ENOUGH?
Good intelligence is a premium in all wars but it was to be especially crucial in this one. Radical Islam does not have a territory to defend — we can’t bomb it into submission. It does not have a treasury we can seize to starve it out of existence. It is abetted by nation-states, but as a movement it is an illegitimate, non-state actor catalyzed by a supremacist ideology, meaning it is not the kind of enemy with which we could ever sign a treaty. There is no obvious scenario for when and how this war ends. The major asset we can acquire — the only one that will protect American lives — is intelligence: who the terrorists are, where they are hiding, and what they are planning to hit next.
Only by knowing and acting on such information can we hope to degrade radical Islam’s capacity to project the power of a belligerent rather than a criminal gang. A criminal gang, however fierce, can be brought to heel by prosecution. An incorrigible belligerent has to be vanquished, in war. And it is worth remembering, again, that we made the national decision to go to war, the object of which is to defeat the enemy by suppressing its capacity — not to convert the planet to our enlightened way of thinking.
Given the intelligence imperative, the CIA aptly commenced a special interrogation program. Here, I should stress which CIA we are talking about. This was not Langley’s secret-leaking, Plame-loving, analytical side — the one that seeks to control policy and throw presidential elections. This was the operations directorate: intelligence officers stationed in some of the planet’s worst hell-holes who, in courageous anonymity, put their lives on the line, day in and day out, to protect the United States.
The interrogation program was strictly for high-value al-Qaeda detainees, not the hundreds of other prisoners captured in the war, most of whom are low-level foot soldiers. The program was (and, one hopes, still is) aimed at the enemy’s top strategists, the jihadists who actually know about ongoing plots, secret cells, and efforts to use or acquire weapons of mass destruction — i.e., the features that enable radical Islam to project war-scale force.
The program pushed to the margins of the law. Regardless of what the revisionist Left is now saying, the only bright-line limit on the treatment of alien enemy combatants held outside the United States in 2002 was the federal law against torture. The United States did not outlaw cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment when it ratified the international anti-torture treaty in 1994 — it was not until 2005 that such treatment overseas was outlawed, and even then only ambiguously, no matter what Senators John McCain, Patrick Leahy, and others now claim. Congress could easily (and accountably) have made simulated drowning — waterboarding — unlawful. But it didn’t. It wouldn’t have dared done so in 2002; it didn’t do so in 2005 or 2006 despite specifically addressing war crimes; and it hasn’t done so to this day.
So the CIA used waterboarding. Not often (probably on only three top terrorists) and not frequently (it probably has not used the tactic since 2003). But agency interrogators used it — and other forcible methods too, methods that were even further removed than waterboarding from the heinous cruelty that is true torture.
The tactics worked. They resulted in the apprehension of other top jihadists, the mapping of terror cells, and the thwarting of plots. They saved lives. They degraded the enemy’s capacity.
The drivel that passes for argument about how forcible questioning doesn’t work wouldn’t pass the laugh test if we didn’t allow thought to be paralyzed by the demagogic invocation of “torture.” Think for a moment. The United States is not Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the mullahs’ Iran, Putin’s Russia, Red China, or one of several other thuggish regimes in that gorgeous mosaic known as the “international community” — the purported loss of whose esteem is, according to today’s Left, supposed to keep us awake at night. (Personally, I would sleep quite well even if I actually believed Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Wahhabists were fretting over America’s regard for human rights.)
The United States doesn’t do show-trials; we collect intelligence. We don’t want lies; we need the truth. We are not using torture to coerce phony confessions or intimidate dissenters; we are a besieged people using forcible methods — not torture — to cull from hardened terrorists, trained to resist interrogation, information that can be corroborated and used to defeat the enemy. We do it to protect American lives. We are not sadists. If forcible methods didn’t work, it would be pointless to use them, and we wouldn’t. Further, if there hadn’t been an imminent threat of more 9/11s — and recall that bin Laden, Zawahiri and their cohort have been promising a repeat performance ever since the first one — we’d have contented ourselves with more anodyne methods, for however many months it took, fully aware that these hardest cases would probably never talk.
We weren’t violating any treaty obligations, and we weren’t laying the groundwork for any other nation that actually cares about its obligations to violate theirs. Al-Qaeda is not going to reciprocate humane treatment; you haven’t heard of any jihadist Gitmo because this enemy tortures and kills its captives — believe it or not, they don’t even let the International Red Cross come visit. But if we were fighting a nation-state entitled to Geneva Convention prisoner-of-war provisions, we would honor those provisions, demand nothing beyond name, rank and serial number, and expect our foes to honor them as well. The Left’s charge that we are international outlaws is as vapid as it is slanderous.
And in 2002, when it was vigorously supporting a war — not an indictment — against radical Islam, Congress understood that perfectly.
Beginning in 2002, top lawmakers from both parties, started getting briefings on the CIA program: its tough tactics, like waterboarding; its use of prison facilities outside the United States — quite consciously outside the jurisdiction of the federal courts and the procedural mandates of the criminal-justice system. These congressional heavyweights included Nancy Pelosi, then the Democrats’ Minority Leader, now the Speaker of the House of Representatives. As the years went by and the war ensued, there may have been as many as 30 such briefings.
Far from indignation, the Washington Post reports that the reaction was one of encouragement. Consistent with their overwhelming authorization of both the use of force and the Patriot Act measures, congressional leadership’s only apparent question of the CIA was whether it was being tough enough on the jihadists — whether the agency was being sufficiently coercive to get whatever life-saving intelligence there was to get.
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE … OR THE WAR EFFORT?
The CIA goofed. Back in 2002, at the apex of public and congressional support for its efforts, it foolishly tape-recorded some of the interrogations of two top terrorists, Abu Zubaydah (al-Abideen Mohamed Hussein) and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — respectively, a top bin Laden confidant (whose information led, among other things, to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11), and the commander responsible for the murder of seventeen American sailors in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole.
There was no legal requirement to make these tapes. The government generally does not tape-record interrogations. Even if that were not so, these jihadist leaders were not being interrogated to obtain confessions that could be used at trial. Coerced confessions are not admissible in American trials, and vainly trying to admit them would publicly expose classified tactics, allowing the enemy to train against them. We were not interested in trials. The nation had gone to war. We were interested in accurate, actionable intelligence that would help us win.
Once that information was preserved in reports or transcripts, the tapes were of no intelligence value. To the contrary, they were a liability because their exposure could have helped the enemy. Defeating the enemy being its priority, and the nation’s, the CIA destroyed the tapes in 2005.
When a nation goes to war — with the full-throated support of the public and a lopsided, authorization from the public’s representatives that is in every meaningful way a constitutional declaration of war — that war, that political act in furtherance of sovereign self-preservation, is paramount. It is more important than any criminal trial. It is more important than any investigation. It is more important than any civil litigation.
That is why, for example, the Supreme Court has repeatedly and recently reaffirmed the state secrets privilege, which grinds court cases to a halt when invoked. It is why an act of Congress, the Classified Information Procedures law, empowers the Attorney General to order federal judges not to disclose classified information, no matter how relevant it may be to the case at hand. The law has long recognized that the national defense trumps other considerations, no matter how significant. That is why the legendary Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote for the Supreme Court, in 1909, that in matters concerning the life of the State, “Public danger warrants the substitution of executive process for judicial process.” The law, like common sense, says that if we can’t safeguard the nation, the right to seek relief in the nation’s courts is an illusion.
In 2005, the CIA’s operations directorate saw what happened with the Abu Ghraib photos. It saw how the mindless cruelty of a miscreant handful of soldiers was used by the jihadists and their supporters to libel the entire U.S. Defense Department — a libel from which the war effort in Iraq has never recovered. Unlike Abu Ghraib, the CIA’s interrogation program was a vital intelligence initiative — an unmatched asset according to George Tenet, the CIA director at the program’s inception (a Democrat holdover, initially installed by President Clinton, who clearly appreciated the qualitative difference between pre- and post-9/11 collection methods). Not only the interrogation program but the entire war effort — not just in Iraq but in the “good” War on Terror that everyone claims to support — would have been threatened by the leak of the interrogation tapes.
And the tapes would certainly have leaked. No one knows the CIA as well as the CIA’s operations directorate. They know anti-Bush, antiwar ideologues in their organization have strategically leaked national defense secrets for years. That, undoubtedly, is why these interrogation tapes were maintained outside the United States — they were safer there than at Langley.
But safer isn’t safe. The government had plenty of legal authority to deny disclosure of the tapes to courts and other investigations — just as it declined, for example, to make the high-level detainees themselves available for questioning by the 9/11 Commission and in the trial of 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui. But this government has shown itself impotent when it comes to leaks. It doesn’t do anything meaningful to investigate and punish them when they happen, so they keep happening. The only way of ensuring that the tapes were not lawlessly leaked was to destroy them. So that’s what the operations directorate did.
When an agency of government even contemplates doing such a thing, concerns about obstruction accusations are only natural. It should thus come as no surprise that lawyers in the Justice Department, the White House, and the CIA itself would counsel the operations directorate against spoliation. Same for members of Congress. Same even for CIA directors like Tenet and Porter Goss. None of them wanted the tapes to harm the war effort, and none of them wanted the tapes to be disclosed. But none of them wanted to be on the hook for a decision to destroy the tapes either — especially when there were other legal means to keep them under wraps.
The CIA operations officials, on the other hand, are the guys actually fighting the war. No one of them is going to come out and say, “Well, there are people in our own agency who are opposed to this war policy, whom we can’t trust to keep our secrets, and who would leak the existence of these tapes to the New York Times” — just like, in the same 2005, they leaked the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, and later leaked other top secrets, like overseas holding facilities and the program to track terrorist funds. Nevertheless, even if they can’t say it, it is the blunt, undeniable truth.
Better than anyone else, the CIA’s war fighters knew what to expect from its antiwar fighters. By 2005, the risks became intolerable. Here was the Abu Ghraib debacle. There was the hypocrisy of grandstanding lawmakers suddenly decrying the same interrogation methods over which they’d once swooned. The handwriting was on the wall: The tapes could be used to hang the war fighters out to dry in the mendacious “torture” circus. That hanging would be a propaganda coup for the enemy. So they destroyed the tapes.
And now, of course, the obstruction chorus is in crescendo: the 9/11 Commission, the Moussaoui trial, the Gitmo detainee cases, all supposedly tainted. In truth, the high likelihood is that justice in none of these proceedings has actually been obstructed. The 9/11 Commission investigation had nothing to do with interrogation tactics; the two jihadists in the tapes had nothing to add to the Moussaoui case; and the detainee litigation is about prisoners held by the military in Gitmo, not high-value detainees held by the CIA in secret locations. Yet, the destruction raises the specter of a government in the habit of making discomfiting evidence disappear. Such suspicions, however overblown, cast a pall on all the Justice Department’s antiterror efforts. And if government officials who knew about the existence of the tapes are shown to have lied to tribunals, that would be a grave matter. Thus, from a strict legal standpoint the destruction of the tapes is a galactic blunder — if we pretend, as we increasingly seem to do, that there isn’t a war going on.
But, you see, there is. And a war can’t be fought under the peacetime protocols of the civilian-justice system, where lawyers — just to be on the safe side — routinely tell clients not to purge any records that might conceivably be relevant to some pending or likely proceeding. If winning the war is more vital to the country than the outcome of any particular litigation or investigation — and that is what a real war-footing means — then tape recordings which would harm the war effort should certainly be destroyed if they merely depict forcible interrogation methods everyone already knows about. We don’t need pictures to debate tactics.
Committing the first grievous error, the decision to record the tapes, does not bind us to commit the next ruinous error: preserving them for propaganda use by the enemy. If it does, that’s not the rule of law; it’s suicide.
We ask our CIA operatives to protect us, and we tell them it’s now a war not an investigation. Congressional leaders admonish them to make certain they’re being tough enough on the enemy, and the Justice Department certifies their methods as within the bounds of the permissible. And now we’re going to stop the music, pull the chair out from under them, and tell them we’re in law-enforcement mode after all? That’s duplicity of a very high order.
Few in Congress and the commentariat complained when the mainstream media, reluctant to stoke public anger against Islamic radicals, made the video of the 9/11 attacks disappear. (When was the last time you saw it?) Why do so many insist on rousing anger against the people fighting to save our lives?
— Andrew C. McCarthy directs the Center for Law & Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmQ5ZWVlNDUwMGU2NTNkYWVkNTk1MGUxNDIyYmQ5Yzg=
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism
on: January 12, 2009, 06:28:14 PM
Israel-s Interrogation Policies and Practices - Dec-96
1 Dec 1996
Israel's Interrogation Policies and Practices
STATE OF ISRAEL
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
TAMAR GAULAN, Adv.
Director, Human Rights and International Relations Dept.
Israeli law strictly forbids all forms of torture or maltreatment. The Israeli Penal Code (1977) prohibits the use of force or violence against a person for the purpose of extorting from him a confession to an offense or information relating to an offense. Israel signed and ratified the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Humiliating Treatment.
The State of Israel maintains that the basic human rights of all persons under its jurisdiction must never be violated, regardless of the crimes that the individual may have committed. Israel recognizes, however, its responsibility to protect the lives of both Jews and Arabs from harm at the hands of Palestinian terrorist organizations active throughout the world. To prevent terrorism effectively while ensuring that the basic human rights of even the most dangerous of criminals are protected, the Israeli authorities have adopted strict rules for the handling of interrogations. These guidelines are designed to enable investigators to obtain crucial information on terrorist activities or organizations from suspects who, for obvious reasons, would not volunteer information on their activities, while ensuring that the suspects are not maltreated.
The Landau Commission
The basic guidelines on interrogation were set by the Landau Commission of Inquiry. The Commission, headed by former Supreme Court President, Justice Moshe Landau, was appointed following a decision of the Israeli government in 1987 to examine the General Security Service's (GSS) methods of interrogation of terrorist suspects. In order to compile its recommendations, the Landau Commission examined international human rights law standards, existing Israeli legislation prohibiting torture and maltreatment, and guidelines of other democracies confronted with the threat of terrorism.
The Landau Commission envisioned its task as defining "with as much precision as possible, the boundaries of what is permitted to the interrogator and mainly what is prohibited to him." The Commission determined that in dealing with dangerous terrorists who represent a grave threat to the State of Israel and its citizens, the use of a moderate degree of pressure, including physical pressure, in order to obtain crucial information, is unavoidable under certain circumstances. Such circumstances include situations in which information which an interrogator can obtain from the suspect can prevent imminent murder, or where the suspect possesses vital information on a terrorist organization which could not be uncovered by any other source (e.g., locations of arms or explosive caches or planned acts of terrorism).
The Landau Commission recognized the danger posed to the democratic values of the State of Israel should its agents abuse their power by using unnecessary or unduly harsh forms of pressure. As a result, the Commission recommended that psychological forms of pressure be used predominantly and that only "moderate physical pressure" (not unknown in other democratic countries) be sanctioned in limited cases where the degree of anticipated danger is considerable.
It should be noted that the use of such moderate pressure is in accordance with international law. For example, when asked to examine certain methods of interrogation used by Northern Ireland police against IRA terrorists, the European Human Rights Court ruled that "ll-treatment must reach a certain severe level in order to be included in the ban [of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment] contained in Article 3 [of the European Convention of Human Rights]." In its ruling, that Court disagreed with the view of the Commission that the above mentioned methods could be construed as torture, though it ruled that their application in combination amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment. The question whether each of these measures separately would amount to inhuman and degrading treatment was therefore left open by the Court.
The Landau Commission was aware that the issue of moderate pressure during interrogation is both a serious and sensitive one. The guidelines regarding interrogation provide for limited forms of pressure under very specific circumstances, to be determined on a case by case basis. They by no means authorize indiscriminate use of force. Rather, specific circumstances have been identified and interrogation practices have been strictly defined in a manner that, in the opinion of the Landau Commission, "if these boundaries are maintained exactly in letter and in spirit, the effectiveness of the interrogation will be assured, while at the same time it will be far from the use of physical or mental torture, maltreatment of the person being interrogated, or the degradation of his human dignity. "
To ensure that disproportionate pressure is not used, the Landau Commission identified several measures, which have been adopted and are now in force, namely:
1. Disproportionate exertion of pressure on the suspect is not permissible pressure must never reach the level of physical torture or maltreatment of the suspect, or grievous harm to his honor which deprives him of his human dignity.
2. The use of less serious measures must be weighed against the degree of anticipated danger, according to the information in the possession of the interrogator.
3. The physical and psychological means of pressure permitted for use by an interrogator must be defined and limited in advance, by issuing binding directives.
4. There must be strict supervision of the implementation in practice of the directives given to GSS interrogators.
5. The interrogators' supervisors must react firmly and without hesitation to every deviation from the permissible, imposing disciplinary punishment, and in serious cases, causing criminal proceedings to be instituted against the offending interrogator.
Once these measures were set down, the Landau Commission went on, in a second section of its report, to precisely detail the exact forms of pressure permissible to the GSS interrogators. This section has been kept secret out of concern that, should the narrow restrictions binding the interrogators be known to the suspects undergoing questioning, the interrogation would be less effective. Palestinian terrorist organizations commonly instruct their members, and have even printed a manual, on techniques of withstanding GSS questioning without disclosing any information. It stands to reason that publishing GSS guidelines would not only enable the organizations to prepare their members better for questioning, but would reassure the suspect as to his ability to undergo interrogation methods without exposing vital information, thus depriving the GSS of the psychological tool of uncertainty.
Since the interrogation guidelines are secret, the Israeli government recognized the importance of establishing safeguards and a system of review of interrogation practices in order to insure that GSS investigators do not violate the guidelines. As a result, the GSS Comptroller was instructed to check every claim of torture or maltreatment during interrogation. From 1987 until the beginning of 1994, the Comptroller carried out this responsibility, initiating disciplinary or legal action against interrogators in cases where they have been found to have deviated from the legal guidelines. Early in 1994, in accordance with the recommendations of the Landau Commission, responsibility for investigation of claims of maltreatment was transferred to the Division for the Investigation of Police Misconduct in the Ministry of Justice under the direct supervision of the State Attorney.
The Landau Commission also recommended that there be external supervision of GSS activities. Since the Landau Commission issued its recommendations, the State Comptroller's Office has launched an examination of the GSS investigator's unit. Upon the completion of its inquiry, the State Comptroller's findings will be submitted to a special subcommittee of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) State Comptroller Committee. A further review procedure exists whereby the conclusions of the special ministerial committee, detailed below, as well as the annual reports of the investigators' unit are brought to the attention of the Sub-committee for Services of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.
In addition, an agreement between the State of Israel and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides for the monitoring of conditions of detention. Delegates from the ICRC are permitted to meet with detainees in private within 14 days of the arrest. ICRC doctors may examine detainees who complain of improper treatment. All complaints made by the ICRC regarding treatment of prisoners are fully investigated by the relevant Israeli authorities and the findings are made known to the ICRC.
In May 1991, a special ad-hoc committee composed of members of the GSS and the Justice Ministry was appointed to review complaints against the conduct of GSS investigators during interrogation. The committee identified a number of cases in which investigators did not act in accordance with the guidelines for treatment of detainees. As a result of the Committee's findings, action has been taken against GSS investigators involved in these cases.
As recommended by the Landau Commission, a special ministerial committee headed by the Prime Minister was established in 1988 under the previous government to review periodically the interrogation guidelines themselves. This committee held several sessions but its work was cut short by the national elections which were held in June, 1992. Following the establishment of the new government in July, 1992 a new ministerial sub-committee composed of the Ministers of Justice and Police was appointed in order to review the guidelines. On April 22, 1993, the Ministerial sub-committee detrmined that certain changes should be made in the General Security Service guidelines. On the basis of the sub-committee's recommendations, new guidelines were issued to General Security Service investigators. The new guidelines clearly stipulate that the need and justification for the use of limited pressure by investigators must be established in every case, according to its own special circumstances. The updated guidelines also point out that the use of exceptional methods was intended only for situations where vital information is being concealed and not in ordre to humiliate, harm or mistreat those under investigation. In addition, in the new guidelines, it is expressly stated that it is prohibited to deny a person under investigation food or drink, to refuse him permission to use a bathroom or to subject him to extreme temperatures.
In 1991, a petition was submitted to the Supreme Court of Israel sitting as the High Court of Justice by a detainee named Murad Adnan Salkhat and a private group named the Israel Public Committee Against Torture, challenging the legality of the guidelines and demanding that they be made public. The Court dismissed the petition and confirmed the necessity for secrecy.
The State of Israel prides itself on having an open society with a democratic legal system which is subject to public scrutiny and which respects human values. As a result, any allegations of maltreatment are taken seriously and are investigated on a case by case basis. However, it should be noted that individuals arrested, tried or convicted have both personal and political motives for fabricating claims of maltreatment during interrogation. Personal motives include the desire to have a confession ruled inadmissible at trial, to present oneself as a "martyr", or to escape retribution from Palestinian terrorist cells which have often assassinated or tortured individuals who have given information to the Israeli authorities. Political motives include the desire to spread anti-Israel disinformation in the form of unfounded human rights complaints, in order to undermine Israel's human rights image or discredit the Ggeneral Security Service.
It is the unfortunate reality that, during times of political unrest and violence, restrictions must be placed on individuals who threaten the welfare of the State and its citizens. This paper has been aimed at demonstrating that, despite the harsh reality of continuing terrorism faced by the State of Israel, we are doing everything in our power to uphold the rights of all persons under our jurisdiction while ensuring the safety of innocent individuals.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Bush Presidency
on: January 12, 2009, 12:24:48 PM
George W Bush: winning the war on terror
Europe's political elites are no doubt salivating at the prospect of George W. Bush departing the White House in January.
By Nile Gardiner
Last Updated: 6:23PM GMT 26 Dec 2008
Criticism of George W Bush is often driven by a dislike of his personality, not analysis of his achievements Photo: EPA
On much of the world stage, President Bush has been widely reviled as one of the worst U.S. leaders of modern times, and it is hard to think of an American president who has received a worse press since Richard Nixon.
To his critics, who are legion on both sides of the Atlantic, the war in Iraq has been a monumental disaster, at a cost of more than 4,000 American lives and at least $500 billion. They see the war on terror, with the notorious Guantanamo prison camp as its symbol, as a catalyst for radicalizing tens of millions of Muslims that has made the United States a pariah in the Middle East.
The war in Afghanistan, they argue, is going badly in the face of a resurgent Taliban, the cost of Washington pouring most of its resources into Iraq. Bush, the theory goes, failed to keep his eye on the ball, weakening the fight against al-Qaeda through his supposed obsession with Iraq. He is also accused of undermining America's standing in the world, adopting a unilateralist foreign policy and refusing to work with its Allies.
Some of the criticism of Bush's foreign policy is fair. The early stages of the occupation of Iraq were poorly handled and there was a distinct lack of post-war planning. America's public diplomacy efforts have been poor or even non-existent, with little serious attempt to combat the stunning rise of anti-Americanism. More recently, Washington's failure to stand up more aggressively to Moscow after its invasion of Georgia projected weakness and indecision.
Much of the condemnation of his policies though is driven by a venomous hatred of Bush's personality and leadership style, rather than an objective assessment of his achievements. Ten or twenty years from now, historians will view Bush's actions on the world stage in a more favourable light. America's 43rd president did after all directly liberate more people (over 60 million) from tyranny than any leader since Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Widely seen as his biggest foreign policy error, the decision to invade Iraq could ultimately prove to have been a masterstroke. Today the world is witnessing the birth of the first truly democratic state in the Middle East outside of Israel. Over eight million voted in Iraq's parliamentary elections in 2005, and the region's first free Muslim society may become a reality. Iraq might not be Turkey, but it is a powerful demonstration that freedom can flourish in the embers of the most brutal and barbaric of dictatorships.
The success of the surge in Iraq will go down in history as a turning point in the war against al-Qaeda. The stunning defeat of the insurgency was a major blow both militarily and psychologically for the terror network. The West's most feared enemy suffered thousands of losses in Iraq, including many of their most senior commanders, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Abu Qaswarah. It was the most successful counter-insurgency operation anywhere in the world since the British victory in Malaya in 1960.
The broader war against Islamist terrorism has also been a success. There has not been a single terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, and for all the global condemnation of pre-emptive strikes, Guantanamo and the use of rendition against terror suspects, the fact remains that Bush's aggressive strategy actually worked.
Significantly, there have been no successful terrorist attacks in Europe since the July 2005 London bombings, in large part due to the cooperation between U.S., British and other Western intelligence agencies. American intelligence has proved vital in helping prevent an array of planned terror attacks in the UK, a striking demonstration of the value to Britain of its close ties to Washington.
President Bush, in contrast to both his father, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton before him, had a crystal clear, instinctive understanding of the importance of the Anglo-American Special Relationship. Tony Blair may well have been labeled Bush's "poodle" over his support for the war in Iraq, but his partnership with George W. Bush marked the high point of the Anglo-American alliance since the heady days of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
The decision by Bush, with Blair's support, to sweep the Taliban out of Afghanistan was a brilliant move, one that not all U.S. presidents would have taken. A weaker leader would have gone to the United Nations Security Council and sought a negotiated settlement with Kabul. It was a risky gambit that was vindicated by a stunning military victory in the space of a month, with a small number of U.S. ground forces involved.
Bush also made a firm commitment to defending the fledgling Afghan government, and succeeded in building a 41-nation NATO-led coalition. The notion that the resurgence of the Taliban is America's failure is nonsense. The U.S. has more than 30,000 troops in the country under U.S. or NATO command, making up over half of all Allied forces there. Continental European allies have simply failed to step up to the plate with more troops, with almost the entire war-fighting burden placed on the U.S., UK and other English-speaking countries. Afghanistan is not a failure of American leadership, it is a damning indictment of an increasingly pacifist Europe that simply will not fight.
President Bush also recognized the importance of re-shaping the NATO alliance for the 21st Century, backing an ambitious program of NATO expansion, culminating in the addition of seven new members in 2004. He also had the foresight to support the development of a missile defence system in Europe, successfully negotiating deals with both Poland and the Czech Republic. Bush was right to back the eventual inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine in NATO, and both would be well on their way to membership today were it not for the feckless decision of France and Germany to side with Russia in blocking their path to entry.
Bush began his presidency primarily as a domestic leader. He ends it as a war leader who has left a huge imprint internationally. His greatest legacy, the global war against Islamist terror, has left the world a safer place, and his decision to project global power and military might against America's enemies has made it harder for Islamist terrorists to strike against London, Paris or Berlin.
Bush's decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power will make it less likely that rogue regimes, Iran and North Korea included, will seek to militarily challenge American power. The memory of the invasion of Iraq and the unequivocal message that sent is by far the most effective deterrent to Tehran developing a nuclear weapon.
If superpowers do not demonstrate an ability and a willingness to wield power (as Britain did on numerous occasions at the height of the Empire) their hegemony will be increasingly challenged. President Bush exercised U.S. military power to stunning effect in both Iraq and Afghanistan, an important reminder that America was still a force to be reckoned with after the 1990s humiliation of Somalia and the half-hearted missile strikes against Bin Laden in Sudan. In an age of growing threats and challenges, the projection of hard power matters, and America's next president would be wise to take heed.
Nile Gardiner is Director of the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism
on: January 12, 2009, 12:12:30 PM
|**So, what our military faces in training is torture when applied to al qaeda terrorists? Give me your interrogation methods that will work while meeting your standard.**http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=16270
Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2005 – If you're a Muslim extremist captured while fighting your holy war against "infidels," avoid revealing information at all costs, don't give your real name and claim that you were mistreated or tortured during your detention.
This instruction comes straight from the pages of an official al Qaeda training manual, and officials at the detention facility at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say they see clear evidence that detainees are well-versed in its contents.
Police in Manchester, England, discovered the manual, which has come to be known as the "Manchester document," in 2000 while searching computer files found in the home of a known al Qaeda member. The contents were introduced as evidence into the 2001 trial of terrorists who bombed the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.
The FBI translated the document into English, and it is posted on the Justice Department's Web site.
The 18-chapter manual provides a detailed window into al Qaeda's network and its procedures for waging jihad - from conducting surveillance operations to carrying out assassinations to working with forged documents.
The closing chapter teaches al Qaeda operatives how to operate in a prison or detention center. It directs detainees to "insist on proving that torture was inflicted" and to "complain of mistreatment while in prison."
Chapter 17 instructs them to "be careful not to give the enemy any vital information" during interrogations.
Another section of the manual directs commanders to teach their operatives what to say if they're captured, and to explain it "more than once to ensure that they have assimilated it." To reinforce the message, it tells commanders to have operatives "explain it back to the commander."
And at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, detainees take this instruction to heart. Many of the more than 500 detainees are "uncooperative" in providing intelligence, Army Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, told military analysts who traveled to the facility June 24 and reiterated today during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee.
Some detainees have never uttered a single word during more than three years of interrogation. Others give false names or refuse to offer their real names.
This can prove challenging for interrogators at the facility, because many detainees "follow the al Qaeda SOP (standard operating procedures) to the T," according to Army Col. John Hadjis, chief of staff for Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
Officials say they see evidence of the al Qaeda-directed misinformation campaign in allegations of detainee abuse and mishandling of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld expressed frustration over this effort during a June 21 interview on the "Tony Snow Show."
"These detainees are trained to lie, they're trained to say they were tortured, and the minute we release them or the minute they get a lawyer, very frequently they'll go out and they will announce that they've been tortured," Rumsfeld said.
The media jumps on these claims, reporting them as "another example of torture," the secretary said, "when in fact, (terrorists have) been trained to do that, and their training manual says so."
During a February 2004 Pentagon news conference, a DoD official said new information provided by detainees during questioning is analyzed to determine its reliability.
"Unfortunately, many detainees are deceptive and prefer to conceal their identifies and their actions," said Paul Butler, principal deputy assistant secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict.
Butler said the Manchester document includes "a large section which teaches al Qaeda operatives counterinterrogation techniques: how to lie, how to minimize your role."
The document, he said, has surfaced in various locations, including Afghanistan.
The manual's preface offers a chilling reminder of the mentality that drives al Qaeda disciples and the lengths they will go to for their cause.
"The confrontation that we are calling for ... does not know Socratic debates, ... Platonic ideals ... nor Aristotelian diplomacy," its opening pages read. "But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine gun."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama: Gee, this Gitmo thing is more complicated than I thought
on: January 12, 2009, 08:16:21 AM
Obama: Gee, this Gitmo thing is more complicated than I thought
By Michelle Malkin • January 11, 2009 12:00 PM
I razzed Team Obama over their newfound appreciation of the nuances of closing Gitmo back in November. Now, we are hearing it from the Messiah directly.
This morning on ABC’s Sunday show, he admitted that his recklessly simplistic promise to the nutroots to shut down the detention facility had run into some barriers.
When he says “a lot of people,” he means himself.
President-elect Barack Obama said this weekend that he does not expect to close Guantanamo Bay in his first 100 days in office.“I think it’s going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak to help design exactly what we need to do,” Obama said in an exclusive “This Week” interview with George Stephanopoulos, his first since arriving in Washington.
“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize,” the president-elect explained. “Part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted even though it’s true. And so how to balance creating a process that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo-American legal system, by doing it in a way that doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up.”
Like I said two months ago: Nothing clarifies the mind like a jihadi boomerang.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors
on: January 12, 2009, 07:31:23 AM
Hamas’s Brutal Legacy
By Ralph Peters
The New York Post | Monday, January 12, 2009
Israel hasn't killed a single civilian in the Gaza Strip. Over a hundred civilians have died, and Israeli bombs or shells may have ended their lives. But Israel didn't kill them.
It's time to smash the lies. The lies of Hamas. The UN lies. And the save-the-terrorists lies of the global media.
There is no moral equivalence between Hamas terrorists and Israeli soldiers. There is no gray area. There is no point in negotiations.
Hamas is a Jew-killing machine. It exists to destroy Israel. What is there to negotiate?
When Hamas can't kill Jews, it's perfectly willing to drive Palestinian civilians into the line of fire - old men, women and children. Hamas herds the innocent into "shelters," then draws Israeli fire on them. And the headline-greedy media cheer them on.
Hamas isn't fighting for political goals. "Brokered agreements" are purely means to an end. And the envisioned end is the complete destruction of Israel in the name of a terrorist god. Safe in hidden bunkers or in Damascus, the Hamas leadership is willing to watch an unlimited number of civilians and even street-level terrorists die.
Lives, too, are nothing but means to an end. And dead kids are the coins that keep the propaganda meter ticking.
All Hamas had to do to prevent Israel's act of self-defense was to leave Israel unmolested by terror rockets. All Hamas needs to do now to stop this conflict and spare the Palestinian people it pretends to champion is to stop trying to kill Israelis and agree to let Israel exist in peace.
Hamas didn't, and Hamas won't.
Now Israel has to continue its attack, to wreak all the havoc it can on Hamas before a new American president starts meddling. If Israel stops now, Hamas can declare victory just for surviving - despite its crippling losses. While it's impossible to fully eliminate extremism, killing every terrorist leader hiding in a Gaza bunker is the only hope of achieving even a temporary, imperfect peace. The chance may not come again.
And don't worry about "creating a power vacuum." Let the Palestinians pick up their own pieces. Even anarchy in Gaza is better for Israel than Hamas.
Israelis, Americans and Westerners overall share a tragic intellectual blind spot: We're caught in yesterday's model of terrorism, that of Arafat's PLO, of the IRA, the Red Brigades or the Weather Underground. But, as brutal as those organizations could be, they never believed they were on a mission from God.
Yesteryear's terrorists wanted to change the world. They were willing to shed blood and, in extreme cases, to give their own blood to their causes. But they didn't seek death. They preferred to live to see their "better world."
Now our civilization faces terrorists who regard death as a promotion. They believe that any action can be excused because they're serving their god. And their core belief is that you and I, as stubborn unbelievers, deserve death.
Their grisly god knows no compromise. To give an inch is to betray their god's trust entirely. Yet we - and even some Israelis - believe it's possible to cut deals with them.
In search of peace, Israel handed Gaza to the Palestinians, a people who had never had a state of their own. As thanks, Israel received terror rockets. And the Palestinian people got a gang war.
Peace is the last thing Hamas terrorists and gangsters want. Peace means the game is up. Peace means they've disappointed their god. Peace means no more excuses. They couldn't bear peace for six months.
This is a war to the bitter end. And we're afraid to admit what it's about.
It's not about American sins or Israeli intransigence. It's about a sickness in the soul of a civilization - of Middle-Eastern Islam - that can only be cured from within. Until Arabs or Iranians decide to cure themselves, we'll have to fight.
Instead, we want to talk. We convince ourselves, against all evidence, that our enemies really want to talk, too, that they just need "incentives" (the diplomat's term for bribes). The apparent belief of our president-elect that it's possible to negotiate with faith-fueled fanatics is so naive it's terrifying.
Yet, it's understandable. Barack Obama's entire career has been built on words, not deeds, on his power to persuade, not his power to deliver. But all the caucuses, debates, neighborhood meetings and backroom deal-making sessions in his past haven't prepared him to "negotiate" with men whose single-minded goal is Israel's destruction - and ours.
If Obama repeats the same "peace-process" folly as his predecessors, from Jimmy have-you-hugged-your-terrorist-today? Carter through Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he'll be devoured before he knows he's been bitten.
How many administrations have to repeat the identical error of believing that, deep down inside, terrorists, gunmen and warlords really want peace every bit as much as we do? Israel's enemies aren't just looking to cut a sharp deal. They want to destroy Israel.
Which part of what they shout in our faces is so hard to understand? Israel's foes have been preaching Jew-hatred for so long that even the "moderates" can't turn back now.
And why does the global left hate Israel so? Why would they pull out the stops to rescue Hamas?
Because Israel exposed the lie that a suffering people can't lift itself up through hard work, education and discipline. Israel didn't need the help of a hundred condescending NGOs and their misery junkies.
Because the Holocaust is a permanent embarrassment to Europeans. They need to believe that Israelis are kosher Nazis.
Because, from the safety of cafes and campuses, it's cool to call terrorists "freedom fighters." It makes you feel less guilty when you hit up daddy (or the state) for money. I mean, dude, it's not like you have to, like, live with them or anything, you know?
(The preceding sentence is not a direct quote from Caroline Kennedy.)
Because, above all, the most-destructive racists in the world today are mainstream leftists. Want the truth? The Left codes Israel as white and, therefore, inherently an oppressor. Israel is held to the highest standard of our civilization and our legal codes - and denied the right to self-defense.
But the Left tacitly believes that people with darker skins are inferior and can't be expected to behave at a civilized level. Leftists expect terrorist movements or African dictators to behave horribly. It's the post-modern, latte-sucking version of the "little brown brother" mentality.
The worst enemies of developing societies have been leftists who refuse to hold them to fundamental standards of governance and decency. But, then, the Left needs developing societies to fail to prove that the system's hopelessly stacked against them.
A battered, impoverished, butchered people built a thriving Western democracy in an Eastern wasteland. Israel can never be forgiven for its success.
In this six-decade-old conflict that Israel's intractable neighbors continue to force upon it, there not only are no good solutions, but, thanks to the zero-sum mentality of Islamist terrorists, there aren't even any bad solutions - short of nuclear genocide - that would bring an enduring peace to the Middle East.
And even the elimination of Israel wouldn't be enough. The terrorists would fight among themselves, while warring upon less-devout fellow Muslims.
All Israel can do is to fight for time and buy intervals of relative calm with the blood of its sons and daughters. By demanding premature cease-fires and insisting that we can find a diplomatic solution, we strengthen monsters and undercut our defenders.
And don't believe the propaganda about this conflict rallying Gaza's Palestinians behind Hamas. That's more little-brown-brother condescension, assuming all Arabs are so stupid they don't know who started this and who's dragging it out at their expense.
Gaza's people may not care much for Israelis, but they rue the day they cast their votes for Hamas. Hamas is killing them.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Articulating our cause against Islamic Fascism
on: January 11, 2009, 11:27:21 PM
An truly interesting/sad story that happened over 20 years ago to the young boy.
Since then over one million have died in Rwanda and probably 200,000+ have died in Darfur. **Darfur is very much the result of the global jihad.**
Not to mention
the hundreds of thousands killed by dictators and evil people around the world. My point? It had nothing to do with
the "evil" of Islam. The world, in many places, is evil. We are blessed in the USA.**Wow. The first time JDN can say something nice about America. I'll be sure to remember this.**
But "20,000 useful idiots" (I am glad you consider them "useful")
believe more killing is wrong. Hard to refute.
August 07, 2006
Islam's Useful Idiots
By Amil Imani
Islam enjoys a large and influential ally among the non—Muslims: A new generation of 'Useful Idiots,' the sort of people Lenin identified living in liberal democracies who furthered the work of communism. This new generation of Useful Idiots also lives in liberal democracies, but serves the cause of Islamofascism—another virulent form of totalitarian ideology.
Useful Idiots are na?ve, foolish, ignorant of facts, unrealistically idealistic, dreamers, willfully in denial or deceptive. They hail from the ranks of the chronically unhappy, the anarchists, the aspiring revolutionaries, the neurotics who are at war with life, the disaffected alienated from government, corporations, and just about any and all institutions of society. The Useful Idiot can be a billionaire, a movie star, an academe of renown, a politician, or from any other segment of the population.
Arguably, the most dangerous variant of the Useful Idiot is the 'Politically Correct.' He is the master practitioner of euphemism, hedging, doubletalk, and outright deception.
The Useful Idiot derives satisfaction from being anti—establishment. He finds perverse gratification in aiding the forces that aim to dismantle an existing order, whatever it may be: an order he neither approves of nor he feels he belongs to.
The Useful Idiot is conflicted and dishonest. He fails to look inside himself and discover the causes of his own problems and unhappiness while he readily enlists himself in causes that validate his distorted perception.
Understandably, it is easier to blame others and the outside world than to examine oneself with an eye to self—discovery and self—improvement. Furthermore, criticizing and complaining—liberal practices of the Useful Idiot—require little talent and energy. The Useful Idiot is a great armchair philosopher and 'Monday Morning Quarterback.'
The Useful Idiot is not the same as a person who honestly has a different point of view. A society without honest and open differences of views is a dead society. Critical, different and fresh ideas are the life blood of a living society—the very anathema of autocracies where the official position is sacrosanct.
Even a 'normal' person spends a great deal more energy aiming to fix things out there than working to overcome his own flaws and shortcomings, or contribute positively to the larger society. People don't like to take stock of what they are doing or not doing that is responsible for the conditions they disapprove.
But the Useful Idiot takes things much farther. The Useful Idiot, among other things, is a master practitioner of scapegoating. He assigns blame to others while absolving himself of responsibility, has a long handy list of candidates for blaming anything and everything, and by living a distorted life, he contributes to the ills of society.
The Useful Idiot may even engage in willful misinformation and deception when it suits him. Terms such as 'Political Islam,' or 'Radical Islam,' for instance, are contributions of the Useful Idiot. These terms do not even exist in the native parlance of Islam, simply because they are redundant. Islam, by its very nature and according to its charter—the Quran—is a radical political movement. It is the Useful Idiot who sanitizes Islam and misguides the populace by saying that the 'real Islam' constitutes the main body of the religion; and, that this main body is non—political and moderate.
Regrettably, a large segment of the population goes along with these nonsensical euphemisms depicting Islam because it prefers to believe them. It is less threatening to believe that only a hijacked small segment of Islam is radical or politically driven and that the main body of Islam is indeed moderate and non—political.
But Islam is political to the core. In Islam the mosque and state are one and the same—the mosque is the state. This arrangement goes back to the days of Muhammad himself. Islam is also radical in the extreme. Even the 'moderate' Islam is radical in its beliefs as well as its deeds. Muslims believe that all non—Muslims, bar none, are hellfire bound and well—deserve being maltreated compared to believers.
No radical barbaric act of depravity is unthinkable for Muslims in dealing with others. They have destroyed precious statues of Buddha, leveled sacred monuments of other religions, and bulldozed the cemeteries of non—Muslims—a few examples of their utter extreme contempt toward others.
Muslims are radical even in their intrafaith dealings. Various sects and sub—sects pronounce other sects and sub—sects as heretics worthy of death; women are treated as chattel, deprived of many rights; hands are chopped for stealing even a loaf of bread; sexual violation is punished by stoning, and much much more. These are standard day—to—day ways of the mainstream 'moderate' Muslims living under the stone—age laws of Sharia.
The 'moderate' mainstream of Islam has been outright genocidal from inception. Their own historians record that Ali, the first imam of the Shiite and the son—in—law of Muhammad, with the help of another man, beheaded 700 Jewish men in the presence of the Prophet himself. The Prophet of Allah and his disciples took the murdered men's women and children in slavery. Muslims have been, and continue to be, the most vicious and shameless practitioners of slavery. The slave trade, even today, is a thriving business in some Islamic lands where wealthy, perverted sheikhs purchase children of the poor from traffickers for their sadistic gratification.
Muslims are taught deception and lying in the Quran itself—something that Muhammad practiced during his life whenever he found it expedient. Successive Islamic rulers and leaders have done the same. Khomeini, the founder of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, for instance, rallied the people under the banner of democracy. All along his support for democracy was not a commitment of an honest man, but a ruse. As soon as he gathered the reins of power, Khomeini went after the Useful Idiots of his time with vengeance. These best children of Iran, having been thoroughly deceived and used by the crafty phony populist—religionist, had to flee the country to avoid the fate of tens of thousands who were imprisoned or executed by the double—crossing imam.
Almost three decades after the tragic Islamic Revolution of 1979, the suffocating rule of Islam casts its death—bearing pal over Iranians. A proud people with enviable heritage is being systematically purged of its sense of identity and forced to think and behave like the barbaric and intolerant Muslims. Iranians who had always treated women with equality, for instance, have seen them reduced by the stone—age clergy to sub—human status of Islamic teaching. Any attempt by the women of Iran to counter the misogynist rule of Muhammad's mullahs is mercilessly suppressed. Women are beaten, imprisoned, raped and killed just as men are slaughtered without due process or mercy.
The lesson is clear. Beware of the Useful Idiots who live in liberal democracies. Knowingly or unknowingly, they serve as the greatest volunteer and effective soldiers of Islam. They pave the way for the advancement of Islam and they will assuredly be among the very first victims of Islam as soon as it assumes power.
Amil Imani is an Iranian—born American citizen and pro—democracy activist. He maintains a website at AmilImani.com
Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/08/islams_useful_idiots_1.html
at January 12, 2009 - 12:25:41 AM EST
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues
on: January 11, 2009, 11:54:45 AM
**Watch this documentary and tell me if the fetuses look like people, or just "masses of tissue".**
4-D Ultrasound Gives Video View of Fetuses in the Womb
for the National Geographic Channel
and National Geographic News
February 25, 2005
The new generation of three- and four-dimensional ultrasound imagery provides striking views of fetuses inside the womb. Parents-to-be appreciate the lifelike pictures, and doctors gain an improved understanding of fetal development and behavior.
"It's almost a new science, in a way. It's taught us so much about how the fetus develops at an early stage," said Professor Stuart Campbell of the Create Health Clinic in London. Campbell, one of the world's leading experts in obstetrics, has been working with ultrasound technology since its earliest days and with so-called four-dimensional images since their debut about four years ago.
Four-dimensional imagery shows objects in 3-D moving in something close to real time. Doctors have long known that fetuses move, but the physical behavior revealed by 4-D scans is expanding that knowledge exponentially.
"We see the earliest movements at 8 weeks," Campbell said. "By 12 weeks or so they are seen yawning and performing individual finger movements that are often more complex than you'll see in a newborn," he said. "It may be due to the effects of gravity after birth."
The images reveal facial expressions, like smiling, at 20 weeks. Beyond 24 weeks fetuses may suck their thumbs, stick their tongues out (perhaps using newly developed taste buds to sample amniotic fluid imbued with the flavors of the mother's food), and make apparently emotional faces.
Many of the reflexes seem designed to help the fetus with tasks it will need after birth, such as opening its eyes and sucking.
Campbell believes that ever improving imagery—particularly the 4-D scans, which are inching ever closer to displaying real-time movement—represents the tip of the iceberg for fetal-behavior study.
"I think we ought to study the behavior of the fetus prenatally," he said. "For example, we don't understand why cerebral palsy occurs in 90 percent of the cases it does, but we believe it occurs in the uterus. I think the future lies in first-trimester diagnosis. I can see diagnosing abnormalities in the first 12 weeks."
Computer Advances Drive Improving Imagery
Ultrasound images are made by sending high-frequency sound waves into the mother's body, where they penetrate fluids but bounce back off solids. The rebounding waves are collected to produce an image, traditionally seen as a two-dimensional "slice."
"As computers have gotten faster it's possible for them to process many 2-D slices over a very short period of time and then stitch them together. That's how we got from 2-D to 3-D," said Carol Benson, a radiologist specializing in ultrasound at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
"With the 4-D, processing is fast enough that you can watch [movement] as it happens. When it gets faster it will eventually appear to be in real time."
But 2-D images aren't going anywhere in the near future. In fact, they usually offer better diagnostic information than their 3-D and 4-D counterparts.
"2-D lets you see inside of structures, because you can take slices within [the fetus's body]," Benson explained. "With 3-D you can do a surface rendering, but you can't see inside the baby any better than I can see inside you."
But because the new kinds of scans are created from many stitched-together 2-D images, the 3-D and 4-D imagery represent a valuable diagnostic resource.
The new processes collect data for the entire volume of the fetus and womb. From this imagery, a more conventional, 2-D image can be separated out and can depict any and all desirable angles.
"When we're looking at the fetus or at the uterus, the position of these structures may not be in the ideal plane to get the information that we want," said Barry B. Goldberg, director of the Jefferson Ultrasound Research and Education Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"With these [new processes] it's possible to reconstruct [2-D cross sections] in different planes," he continued. "We can collect a volume of information, decide what plane we want, and manipulate the image plane to get [the visual] that will give us the most information."
Because the data can be stored on a computer, new slices can be created and examined long after the patient has returned home—though computer capabilities are currently too slow to allow this process to become standard procedure.
Third Dimension Offers Doctors a New View
A three-dimensional view can, in some cases, provide its own diagnostic advantages.
"For the first time it is now possible to visualize fetal organs as more than flat images but rather as three-dimensional objects that can be rotated and examined from different angles," said Wesley Lee, of the Division of Fetal Imaging at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Lee stresses that 3-D images are a complement to, rather than a replacement for, 2-D ultrasound.
"[This] technology allows doctors to visualize ultrasound images in different ways that may strengthen or refute an initial diagnostic impression using more conventional tests," he said.
Such images are useful at identifying cleft lip, spina bifida, and some genetic syndromes.
As computers become more powerful and processing speed increases, the technology will only improve.
"We're really at the beginning, 3-D and 4-D image quality appears to be improving every month," the Jefferson Institute's Goldberg noted.
Future advances may allow the digital transfer of complete fetus and uterus volume scans. Such transfers of imagery could enable remote consultation and diagnosis for patients in areas lacking advanced health care.
Everyone agrees that the new scans already provide dramatically better visualization for parents, which can result in an even stronger parent-child bond. High-risk obstetrician and gynecologist Jude Crino is the director of the Perinatal Ultrasound Unit at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
"We can see better, but it's also important that the patient can see better," he explained. "When I give a patient a 2-D image, it's not uncommon for them to ask two or three times, 'What is this? Could you point this out?' If you give them a 3-D image, they are immediately able to recognize it, because it looks like a baby."
Campbell notes that in his clinic the effects of the moving, 4-D images are even greater.
"You just see the whoops of joy when the fetus does something like blink," he said. "That's a very powerful impact."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors
on: January 11, 2009, 11:42:52 AM
Announcement - No. 89
January 8, 2009 No. 89
Exclusive MEMRI Viral Video Release For Free Download "Hamas: In Their Own Voices"
MEMRI is today releasing a new and exclusive viral video, titled "Hamas: In Their Own Voices." TO VIEW THIS VIDEO VISIT, http://www.memritv.org/video.html
The video, a compilation of MEMRI TV clips that aired prior to the current Gaza crisis, includes statements by Hamas leaders calling for the annihilation of Israel and of all Jews, for death to America, and for the Islamic conquest of the world.
Featured are Hamas leader Khaled Mash'al, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, Hamas MPs Mushir Al-Masri and Fathi Hamad, Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal, Palestinian Legislative Council acting speaker Sheikh Ahmad Bahr, and Hamas clerics Wael Al-Zarad and Muhsen Abu 'Ita.
Viewers will also witness Hamas military training for adults and children, anti-American speeches at rallies including burning of the American flag and calls of support for "The Afghan Mujahidin", Hamas Al-Aqsa TV children's shows, and more.
Add the Video to Your Social Networking Pages
You can view and download the video here . Email it, put it on your social networking pages, and share it with others.
Instructions on How to Download and Share the Video
Share this video by uploading this clip to your Youtube, Facebook, and social network platforms.
Click here to get the link to embed the video on your blog and website
Visit MEMRI TV.ORG for Other Clips of Hamas and Al-Aqsa TV
To see other clips on Hamas, visit the MEMRI TV pages for Al-Aqsa TV (http://www.memritv.org/content/en/tv_channel_indiv.htm?id=175
) and Hamas (http://www.memritv.org/subject/en/95.htm
) - and the new MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM) website (http://www.memrijttm.org/
Visit the THEMEMRIBLOG.ORG for the Most Up-To-Date Mid East News
For the most up-to-date information on the Middle East, visit www.MEMRI.org
For the latest MEMRI TV clips, visit www.memritv.org
For breaking news you will get nowhere else, visit www.thememriblog.org
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Articulating our cause against Islamic Fascism
on: January 11, 2009, 10:45:18 AM
Friday, January 9, 2009
Mark Steyn: The 'oldest hatred' lives, from Gaza to Florida
Jew-hating pathologies ultimately harm the Jew-hater, too.
In Toronto, anti-Israel demonstrators yell "You are the brothers of pigs!," and a protester complains to his interviewer that "Hitler didn't do a good job."
In Fort Lauderdale, Palestinian supporters sneer at Jews, "You need a big oven, that's what you need!"
In Amsterdam, the crowd shouts, "Hamas, Hamas! Jews to the gas!"
In Paris, the state-owned TV network France-2 broadcasts film of dozens of dead Palestinians killed in an Israeli air raid on New Year's Day. The channel subsequently admits that, in fact, the footage is not from Jan. 1, 2009, but from 2005, and, while the corpses are certainly Palestinian, they were killed when a truck loaded with Hamas explosives detonated prematurely while leaving the Jabaliya refugee camp in another of those unfortunate work-related accidents to which Gaza is sadly prone. Conceding that the Palestinians supposedly killed by Israel were, alas, killed by Hamas, France-2 says the footage was broadcast "accidentally."
In Toulouse, a synagogue is firebombed; in Bordeaux, two kosher butchers are attacked; at the Auber RER train station, a Jewish man is savagely assaulted by 20 youths taunting, "Palestine will kill the Jews"; in Villiers-le-Bel, a Jewish schoolgirl is brutally beaten by a gang jeering, "Jews must die."
In Helsingborg, Sweden, the congregation at a synagogue takes shelter as a window is broken and burning cloths thrown in. in Odense, principal Olav Nielsen announces that he will no longer admit Jewish children to the local school after a Dane of Lebanese extraction goes to the shopping mall and shoots two men working at the Dead Sea Products store. in Brussels, a Molotov cocktail is hurled at a synagogue; in Antwerp, Netherlands, lit rags are pushed through the mail flap of a Jewish home; and, across the Channel in Britain, "youths" attempt to burn the Brondesbury Park Synagogue.
In London, the police advise British Jews to review their security procedures because of potential revenge attacks. The Sun reports "fears" that "Islamic extremists" are drawing up a "hit list" of prominent Jews, including the Foreign Secretary, Amy Winehouse's record producer and the late Princess of Wales' divorce lawyer. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Islamic nonextremists from the British Muslim Forum, the Islamic Foundation and other impeccably respectable "moderate" groups have warned the government that the Israelis' "disproportionate force" in Gaza risks inflaming British Muslims, "reviving extremist groups," and provoking "UK terrorist attacks" – not against Amy Winehouse's record producer and other sinister members of the International Jewish Conspiracy but against targets of, ah, more general interest.
Forget, for the moment, Gaza. Forget that the Palestinian people are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the Earth. For the past 60 years they have been entrusted to the care of the United Nations, the Arab League, the PLO, Hamas and the "global community" – and the results are pretty much what you'd expect.
You would have to be very hardhearted not to weep at the sight of dead Palestinian children, but you would also have to accord a measure of blame to the Hamas officials who choose to use grade schools as launch pads for Israeli-bound rockets, and to the U.N. refugee agency that turns a blind eye to it. And, even if you don't deplore Fatah and Hamas for marinating their infants in a sick death cult in which martyrdom in the course of Jew-killing is the greatest goal to which a citizen can aspire, any fair-minded visitor to the West Bank or Gaza in the decade and a half in which the "Palestinian Authority" has exercised sovereign powers roughly equivalent to those of the nascent Irish Free State in 1922 would have to concede that the Palestinian "nationalist movement" has a profound shortage of nationalists interested in running a nation, or indeed capable of doing so. There is fault on both sides, of course, and Israel has few good long-term options. But, if this was a conventional ethno-nationalist dispute, it would have been over long ago.
So, as I said, forget Gaza. And, instead, ponder the reaction to Gaza in Scandinavia, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and golly, even Florida. As the delegitimization of Israel has metastasized, we are assured that criticism of the Jewish state is not the same as anti-Semitism. We are further assured that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, which is a wee bit more of a stretch.
Only Israel attracts an intellectually respectable movement querying its very existence. For the purposes of comparison, let's take a state that came into existence at the exact same time as the Zionist Entity, and involved far bloodier population displacements. I happen to think the creation of Pakistan was the greatest failure of post-war British imperial policy. But the fact is that Pakistan exists, and if I were to launch a movement of anti-Pakism it would get pretty short shrift.
But, even allowing for that, what has a schoolgirl in Villiers-le-Bel to do with Israeli government policy? Just weeks ago, terrorists attacked Mumbai, seized hostages, tortured them, killed them, and mutilated their bodies. The police intercepts of the phone conversations between the terrorists and their controllers make for lively reading:
"Pakistan caller 1: 'Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.'
"Mumbai terrorist 2: 'We have three foreigners, including women. From Singapore and China'
"Pakistan caller 1: 'Kill them.'
"(Voices of gunmen can be heard directing hostages to stand in a line, and telling two Muslims to stand aside. Sound of gunfire. Sound of cheering voices.)"
"Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims." Tough for those Singaporean women. Yet no mosques in Singapore have been attacked. The large Hindu populations in London, Toronto and Fort Lauderdale have not shouted "Muslims must die!" or firebombed Halal butchers or attacked hijab-clad schoolgirls. CAIR and other Muslim lobby groups' eternal bleating about "Islamophobia" is in inverse proportion to any examples of it. Meanwhile, "moderate Muslims" in London warn the government: "I'm a peaceful fellow myself, but I can't speak for my excitable friends. Nice little G7 advanced Western democracy you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it."
But why worry about European Muslims? The European political and media class essentially shares the same view of the situation – to the point where state TV stations are broadcasting fake Israeli "war crimes."
As I always say, the "oldest hatred" didn't get that way without an ability to adapt: Once upon a time on the Continent, Jews were hated as rootless cosmopolitan figures who owed no national allegiance. So they became a conventional nation state, and now they're hated for that. And, if Hamas get their way and destroy the Jewish state, the few who survive will be hated for something else. So it goes.
But Jew-hating has consequences for the Jew-hater, too. A few years ago the poet Nizar Qabbani wrote an ode to the intifada:
O mad people of Gaza,
a thousand greetings to the mad
The age of political reason
has long departed
so teach us madness.
You can just about understand why living in Gaza would teach you madness. The enthusiastic adoption of the same pathologies by mainstream Europe is even more deranged – and in the end will prove just as self-destructive.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others.
on: January 11, 2009, 10:03:48 AM
'Man shot my mommy': Ohio woman slain, son taken
By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS – 16 hours ago
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The 4-year-old boy's explanation was even more startling than the sight of him, barefoot and clad in pajamas, standing alone in the lobby of a highway rest stop.
Judith McConnell and her husband, Michael, had pulled into the rest stop on Interstate 70 about 50 miles outside of Dayton just after 9 p.m. on Jan. 2.
The boy was by himself, staring out a window. Judith McConnell waved at him as they walked in. What he said next was chilling: "A man came into my house without knocking and shot my mommy."
The man then left him alone at the rest stop, the boy said.
The couple, driving home to Maryland after Christmas in Colorado, took the boy into their car to warm up and called police.
"He's been abandoned here by a man with a gun," Michael McConnell told police. "He's quite disturbed."
As they waited for deputies to arrive, the boy recited the information his mother had drilled into him — his address, his parents' names, two phone numbers.
When Montgomery County sheriff's deputies arrived at his family's small white bungalow in Dayton later that night, they found the body of his 29-year-old mother, shot to death.
The woman died after struggling with her attacker, said Sheriff Phil Plummer. The killer also sexually assaulted the boy before taking him to the rest stop and abandoning him, police said.
The Associated Press is not naming the family so as not to identify the victim of an alleged sexual offense.
Police say a man under arrest has confessed to the crimes. Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck is considering whether to seek the death penalty.
The chilling story began about a week before Christmas, when the 4-year-old's parents' car was stolen while they celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary at a rock concert in Columbus.
Police say the car, and the information inside it, led the killer directly to the family's home, about 75 miles away.
The young couple were struggling to make ends meet in a working-class Dayton neighborhood. She had left her job at a grocery store to stay home with her son. Her husband held down assorted jobs to support the family, working as an exterminator, a grocery store manager and a trainee at a bar-restaurant.
Neighbor Steve Hopkins, 41, described the boy as a precocious kid quick to make friends, even with adults.
"When he met you, he knew you," Hopkins said, saying the boy greeted him on the street with "How you doing, Steve?"
On Dec. 16, 10 days after their fourth anniversary, the couple drove to Columbus to see the band Duran Duran, Hopkins said.
Their Honda was reported stolen from an Ohio State parking garage on Dec. 17. The husband told police the car was unlocked and the keys had been left inside along with his wallet, which contained three credit cards and his Social Security card, according to a police report.
On the night of Jan. 2, he was working at a bar near their home. Police say his wife was home with their son, running a bath before bed.
The McConnells said the boy told them he was playing with his Ninja Turtle toys when a man carrying a shotgun walked up the sidewalk and broke into the house — "without knocking."
The Dayton Daily News, citing investigators, reported that the woman broke free, grabbed a knife, stabbed the intruder in the back and was shot twice in the abdomen during a struggle. She was found lying on a hallway floor.
Two days later, police arrested Charlie Myers, 22, of Columbus, who investigators say confessed to the crime.
FBI agents found that the woman's cell phone was used twice in Columbus after her death, including a call made to Myers' phone, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Franklin County Municipal Court.
Investigators also found written directions to the woman's home in Myers' apartment, along with a computer, a Playstation 2 video game console and a cell phone, all consistent with items taken from the couple's house.
Police say Myers used information found in the unlocked vehicle to track down the couple.
Myers is charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping and gross sexual imposition involving a child under 13. He is being held in Montgomery County Jail in lieu of $5 million bail. No plea was entered, and Myers said he had no attorney.
Myers made an impromptu statement to reporters as he was being led into jail Wednesday, offering an apology and saying he had made a mistake and only wanted the family's "stuff."
He also gave an odd explanation for why the boy was taken: "I want to make sure the child could stay away from their parent because the parent had passed away."
Myers had it rough from an early age, when his mother died of a drug-related heart attack when he was just 4. He lived in homeless shelters with his father, who beat him with a belt, and struggled with a hearing impairment that wasn't addressed until he was 6 years old. He spent most of his childhood being shuttled between more than 20 foster homes in the Columbus area, according to court documents filed in Union and Franklin counties.
Myers started smoking marijuana at age 7, drank alcohol at age 8, and when he turned 11 he attempted suicide while living in a home for troubled boys, court documents show.
At age 17, living with an aunt in Marysville, Ohio, he broke into the empty house of elderly neighbors, stole valuables and set the house on fire. A juvenile court judge declined to transfer Myers' case to adult court, saying he was emotionally and psychologically damaged because treatment for his disability had been so delayed.
"I don't want you to hurt anyone else and I don't want you to hurt yourself," said Judge Charlotte Coleman Eufinger of Union County Juvenile Court. "I believe you can be a productive citizen."
Myers served three years in a juvenile detention center and was released on July 4, 2007, his 21st birthday.
Later that year, he stole a woman's car in Columbus, then showed up at her door a day or so later.
Sky Cunningham, 25, said Myers came to her apartment in December 2007 saying he had information about the missing vehicle. She was gone at the time and a roommate told Myers she wasn't home.
Myers later pleaded guilty to stealing the car, along with another belonging to Cunningham's roommate. She said the memory of the hassle had faded until she heard of the young mother's slaying.
"That could have been me," Cunningham told The Associated Press Thursday. "I got lucky. The timing was good that I was at my other job."
The little boy found in the highway waiting area turned 5 on Saturday and is staying with relatives.
His father returned to the house once last week to put the garbage on the curb, and says he won't ever allow his son back inside.
He told NBC's "Today" that he's grateful that his wife insisted they teach the boy his address and phone numbers. He admires his son for the bravery he showed through the ordeal.
"My focus is on him," he said. "I'm doing everything I can to bring a little bit of home to him."
Associated Press Writer James Hannah contributed to this report.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness
on: January 09, 2009, 11:13:54 AM
Arrogant Conceit: Obama Thinks He Can Reform The Economy
Obama's Interventionist Reforms Go in Precisely the Wrong Direction
Opinion By JOHN STOSSEL
Dec. 24, 2008—
Barack Obama wants to use the recession to remake the U.S. economy.
"Painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people," Obama said.
His designated chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is more direct: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste" (http://tinyurl.com/5n8u58
So, they will "transform our economy." Obama's nearly trillion-dollar plan will not merely repair bridges, fill potholes and fix up schools; it will also impose a utopian vision based on the belief that an economy is a thing to be planned from above. But this is an arrogant conceit. No one can possibly know enough to redesign something as complex as "an economy," which really is people engaging in exchanges to achieve their goals. Planning it means planning them.
Obama and Emanuel want us to believe that their blueprint for reform will bring recovery from the recession.
Yet, we have recovered from past recessions without undertaking a radical social and economic transformation.
In fact, reform would impede recovery.
This is not the first time a president chose reform over recovery. Franklin Roosevelt did it with his New Deal, and the result was long years of depression and deprivation. Roosevelt's priorities were criticized not just by opponents of big government but by none other than John Maynard Keynes, the British economist whose theories rationalized big government. Before FDR had been in office a year, Keynes wrote him an open letter, which was printed in The New York Times:
"You are engaged on a double task, Recovery and Reform; -- recovery from the slump and the passage of those business and social reforms which are long overdue. For the first, speed and quick results are essential. The second may be urgent, too; but haste will be injurious. ... [E]ven wise and necessary Reform may, in some respects, impede and complicate Recovery. For it will upset the confidence of the business world and weaken their existing motives to action. ... Now I am not clear, looking back over the last nine months, that the order of urgency between measures of Recovery and measures of Reform has been duly observed, or that the latter has not sometimes been mistaken for the former."
Note Keynes's concern. Government interventions, such as the cartelizing of industry through the National Recovery Administration, "will upset the confidence of the business world and weaken their existing motives to action." In other words, investors will not take the risks necessary for recovery if their profits and freedom are subject to unpredictable government action. Economic historian Roberts Higgs calls this phenomenon "regime uncertainty."
Keynes's letter apparently had little influence on Roosevelt, who stuck to his plan. In his second inaugural address a few years later, FDR feared that signs of recovery had jeopardized his reform plans by removing the sense of emergency: "To hold to progress today, however, is more difficult. Dulled conscience, irresponsibility and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster! Prosperity already tests the persistence of our progressive purpose."
What a shame. Free people enjoying their lives make it harder for the administration to forcibly impose its utopian vision on them.
Obama wants to act quickly. In the name of stimulating the economy, he plans to spend hundreds of billions of dollars the government does not have to convert the economy from carbon-based fuels to "green" alternatives. Even if that were a good idea -- and it's definitely not -- it would not bring recovery. Any money the government spends must be taxed, borrowed or conjured out of thin air by the Federal Reserve, and that will reduce sound private investment.
Obama has no real wealth to inject into the economy. He can only move around existing money while inflation robs us of purchasing power. Meanwhile, private investors who might have produced a better engine, battery, computer, cancer treatment or other wealth-creating and life-enhancing innovations, hold back for fear that big government will undermine productive efforts.
The way to a lasting recovery is to greatly lighten the burdens of government. Then free Americans will save and invest.
Grand interventionist reforms go in precisely the wrong direction.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Movie Fights
on: January 09, 2009, 09:23:53 AM
firearms are illegal in HK... so in theory, there are no guns in their society... i dont know how much of the movies is reality where all the bg's go around with automatics.... but revolvers are standard issue
The Triads do get ahold of many things that are illegal in HK, firearms included. More and more guns are making their way into the PRC proper. I recall reading about a big gunfight between several gangs in Shenzen.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Movie Fights
on: January 09, 2009, 09:13:08 AM
It always amazes me in these hong kong action flicks the cops always are using REVOLVERS.
I love my revolvers...but 5-6shots in a .38spl doesn't compare to a glock or whatever with an extra magazine. I'm not sure if this is just for theatrics or that is their carry piece...a lot of movies the guns cyclinder opens and the rounds fall out adding to the suspense. If anyone knows i'd be curious on the Hong kong police carry? i haven't been to hong kong since 94.
here's more from Sha Po Lang(killzone) someone burned the entirety to youtube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMBliuL1Z9wNote the point in which he inserts the blade through the bicep then uses it as a control point and a trap/armdrag.
This is an excellent technique in reverse grip...Southnarc uses it in his pikal work.
EDIT- in the movie the patrol officers had a full sized glock.
In 2004, the regular Hong Kong beat cop was still carrying k-frame Smith and Wesson 4 inch revolvers, at least the ones I saw were. I know the Hong Kong Police (formerly the Royal Hong Kong Police until 1997) version of SWAT had all the tools and toys you'd find with an American SWAT team, including semi-auto handguns. If I recall correctly, Glock had it's east asian branch based in HK, so it wouldn't be much of a leap to assume the HK cops were buying Glocks to replace the revolvers.