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9901  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 07, 2009, 07:25:45 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/01/07/prager-to-dershowitz-how-can-you-still-be-a-liberal/

Prager to Dershowitz: How can you still be a liberal?
posted at 7:55 am on January 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey   


Dennis Prager sent a challenge to Alan Dershowitz yesterday about his politics, not because Dershowitz wrote something with which Prager disagrees, but because he understands the issue of Israel so well.  After excoriating Israel’s critics for “moral idiocy” for ignoring the genocidal intent of Hamas, and their insipid arguments of proportionality, Prager thinks Dershowitz should reconsider his entire political bent — or at least the company he chooses:

In his Monitor column, Dershowitz describes “three types of international response to the Israeli military actions against the Hamas rockets” — “Iran, Hamas, and other knee-jerk Israeli-bashers,” “the United Nations, the European Union, Russia, and others who, at least when it comes to Israel, see a moral and legal equivalence between terrorists who target civilians and a democracy that responds by targeting the terrorists,” and “the United States and a few other nations that place the blame squarely on Hamas.”

It is relevant to the question I will pose that he omits any mention of the world’s left, even when mentioning the European Union. Who exactly in the European Union is condemning Israel? Its conservatives? Who in America is condemning Israel? Conservatives? Who in Australia or Canada? Conservatives? Of course not. As regards Israel (and America and much else), the Western world’s moral idiots, to use the term in the title of the Dershowitz column, are virtually all on the left, including and especially many of his colleagues in academia.

So, I have a question for my friend Dershowitz. (I say ‘friend’ because we’ve known each other for years and debated and dialogued together.)

Given that Israel’s security is so important to you, given that you believe that the ability to morally distinguish between Israel and its enemies is tantamount to the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and given that those who condemn Israel for its “disproportionate” response to Hamas terror-rockets are almost all on the left in America and Europe, why do you continue to identify yourself as a man of the left?

Everyone who thinks sometimes differs with one’s ideological compatriots. But when one’s ideological compatriots are morally wrong on the greatest moral issue of the moment and perhaps the very clearest as well, don’t you at least suffer from cognitive dissonance?


Prager notes that Dershowitz seems to go far out of his way to avoid blaming the Left specifically.  Dershowitz doesn’t even mention that most of these critics come from the Left, and tries to put at least half of the blame on “the extreme Right”, helped no doubt by people like Ron Paul.  However, the Ron Paul isolationist absolutists (and Stormfront allies) only comprise a tiny percentage of the people holding rallies on campuses and in metropolitan areas.  Those arguments mainly come from groups like International ANSWER, World Can’t Wait, and other radical Left groups that combine animus for Israel with animus for the US.

However, Prager seems to fall into the same trap that Republicans did with Joe Lieberman, who took a similarly courageous stand against his political allies to support victory in Iraq.  I’d call Lieberman a hero for that effort, sacrificing his political standing and almost losing his seat rather than surrendering to his party’s insistence on exploiting potential defeat for political gain.  But I wouldn’t call Lieberman a conservative, or even a center-right politician, even when he got the one critical issue correct.  Lieberman is a solid and unapologetic liberal, unlike Zell Miller, for instance, whose basic center-right instincts got short shrift from Democrats.

Dershowitz has remained strong in his support for a war on Islamist terrorists and for Israel.  He hasn’t quite remained strong enough to name names properly when excoriating critics for their moral idiocy, which Prager rightly criticizes.  However, overall Dershowitz is a doctrinaire liberal, and unless his allies abandon him like Lieberman’s party did when Lieberman stuck to his principles, Dershowitz will unfortunately remain more comfortable with the Left than the Right … and vice versa.

I’d be reasonably happy if Dershowitz skipped embracing conservatives while continuing to dismantle the Left’s attacks on Israel and their support for genocidal tyranny with Hamas.
9902  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy on: January 07, 2009, 06:26:25 AM
Free, as compared to what?
9903  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Food Chain and Food Politics on: January 07, 2009, 05:44:10 AM
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/11/081119-lost-cities-amazon.html

 
 
Superdirt Made Lost Amazon Cities Possible?
John Roach
for National Geographic News
November 19, 2008
 
ON TV Lost Cities of the Amazon airs Thursday, November 20, at 9 p.m. ET on the National Geographic Channel. Details >>

Centuries-old European explorers' tales of lost cities in the Amazon have long been dismissed by scholars, in part because the region is too infertile to feed a sprawling civilization.

But new discoveries support the idea of an ancient Amazonian urban network—and ingeniously engineered soil may have made it all possible.

(See Ancient Amazon Cities Found; Were Vast Urban Network [August 28, 2008].)

Now scientists are trying to recreate the recipe for the apparently human-made supersoil, which still covers up to 10 percent of the Amazon Basin. Key ingredients included of dirt, charcoal, pottery, human excrement and other waste.

If recreated, the engineered soil could feed the hungry and may even help fight global warming, experts suggest.

(Interactive map: "The Embattled Amazon.")

Before 1492

Scientists have long thought the river basin's tropical soils were too acidic to grow anything but the hardiest varieties of manioc, a potatolike staple.

But over the past several decades, researchers have discovered tracts of productive terra preta—"dark earth." The human-made soil's chocolaty color contrasts sharply with the region's natural yellowish soils.



Video Clip From Lost Cities of the Amazon Documentary 


Research in the late 1980s was the first to show that charcoal made from slow burns of trees and woody waste is the key ingredient of terra preta.

With the increased level of agriculture made possible by terra preta, ancient Amazonians would have been able to live in one place for long periods of time, said geographer and anthropologist William Woods of the University of Kansas.

"As a result you get social stratification, hierarchy, intertwined settlement systems, very large scale," added Woods, who studies ancient Amazonian settlements.

"And then," he said, "1492 happens." The arrival of Europeans brought disease and warfare that obliterated the ancient Amazonian civilizations and sent the few survivors deep into the rain forest to live as hunter-gatherers.

"It completely changed their way of living," Woods said.

Magic Soil?

Today scientists are racing to tease apart the terra-preta recipe. The special soil has been touted as a way to restore more sustainable farming to the Amazon, feed the world's hungry, and combat global warming.

The terra-preta charcoal, called biochar, attracts certain fungi and microorganisms.

Those tiny life-forms allow the charcoal to absorb and retain nutrients that keep the soil fertile for hundreds of years, said Woods, whose team is among a few trying to identify the crucial microorganisms.

"The materials that go into the terra preta are just part of the story. The living member of it is much more," he said.

For one thing, the microorganisms break up the charcoal into smaller pieces, creating more surface area for nutrients to cling to, Woods said.

Anti-Global-Warming Weapon?

Soil scientist Johannes Lehmann of Cornell University is also racing to recreate terra preta.

The Amazonian dark soils, he said, are hundreds to thousands of years old, yet to this day they retain their nutrients and carbons, which are held mainly by the charcoal.

This suggests that adding biochar could help other regions of the world with acidic soils to increase agricultural yields.

Plus, Lehmann said, biochar could help reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere from the burning of wild lands to create new farm fields. (Learn how greenhouse gas emissions may worsen global warming.)

For example, specialized power plants could char agricultural wastes to generate electricity.

The process would "lock" much carbon that would have otherwise escaped into the atmosphere in the biochar. The biochar could then be put underground, in a new form of terra preta, thereby sequestering the carbon for centuries, Lehmann suggests.

Current Amazonian farming relies heavily on slash-and-burn agriculture—razing forests, then burning all of what's left.

By reverting to the ancient slash-and-char method—burning slowly and then mixing the charcoal into the soil—Amazonian carbon dioxide emissions could be cut nearly in half, according to Woods, of the University of Kansas.

With slash-and-burn, he noted, 95 percent of the carbon stored in a tree is emitted to the atmosphere. Slash-and-char emits about 50 percent, he said.

"The rest is put into different forms of black carbon, most of which are chemically inert for long periods of time—thousands of years."

In addition, the technique would allow many farmers to stay sedentary, Woods said.

Because the soil would apparently remain fertile for centuries, "they don't have to cut down the forest constantly and send it up into the atmosphere," he said.
9904  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 07, 2009, 05:19:40 AM
All visibly Jewish people and places in North America and worldwide need to enhance their security. Attacks will be coming, from the cells of "non-state actors" and "lone wolves".
9905  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 07, 2009, 02:43:49 AM
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/975wlwfj.asp

Gaza Is Not Lebanon
Why Israel's campaign against Hamas may succeed.
by Thomas Donnelly & Danielle Pletka
01/05/2009 5:00:00 PM


The conventional wisdom about the incursion by Israeli ground units into Gaza, mirrored in Sunday's Washington Post, is that "Israeli leaders run the risk of repeating their disastrous experience in the 2006 Lebanon war, when they suffered high casualties in ground combat with Hezbollah." Apparently, reporters and pundits are even more prone to refighting the last war than generals: Gaza is not Lebanon; Hamas is not Hezbollah and, most critically, Israel now is not Israel in 2006.

To begin with, the physical and geographical differences between southern Lebanon and the Gaza strip could hardly be greater. And while Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah leadership were under air attack in the outskirts of Beirut in 2006, the Hamas leadership has far fewer places to hide in Gaza city and elsewhere in Gaza. The initial successes of the Israeli airstrikes were not just a product of much better intelligence about Hamas (though it's probable that Israeli intelligence had done a superior job of exploiting differences amongst Hamas and West Bank leaders to improve its targeting), but also reflect simple facts of proximity and smaller scale. The terrain makes perhaps an even greater difference in ground warfare. The hills of southern Lebanon are not only naturally defensible terrain--each village providing an excellent fortified fighting position--but helped to channel Israeli armored columns. A good percentage of Israeli combat deaths came from a handful of successful ambushes.

Gaza is also an inherently isolated battlefield. Whereas Hezbollah could be resupplied not from northern Lebanon, Syria, and even from the sea, Gaza is surrounded by Israeli walls and a closed border with Egypt. And the Israeli Navy dominates the coastline. As long as Egypt restricts movement into and out of Gaza, the Hamas leadership and forces are trapped in a very small pocket. Israel's moves on the ground have capitalized on this essential fact. Within the first hours of their thrust into Gaza, the IDF appears to have been able to cordon off Gaza city and the other larger villages to the south. Hamas is now further isolated into smaller pockets, and press reports indicate that their larger command and control structure is falling apart.

Hamas and Hezbollah are also profoundly different beasts. While neither is really the "non-state actor" as popularly understood, Hezbollah is a much more robust and state-like organization, while Hamas is only a notch above its roots as a terrorist group, and has failed to capitalize on its control of quasi-independent Gaza to organize or modernize. And further, while both are Iranian proxies, the duration, depth and strength of Tehran's investments in Hezbollah far exceeds its investments in Hamas. (It's also worth noting that Hamas is a Sunni group, and though sectarianism is an imperfect guide to alliances in the Middle East--as our experience in Iraq should make clear--it does contribute to the fact that Iranian ties with Hezbollah are more organic than with Hamas.) In addition, the Lebanese state's weaknesses make it a free zone in which the Iranian Quds Force has been able to conduct rigorous paramilitary training and rearm its proxies freely. Hamas has operated under a much more watchful Israeli eye. Iranian military assistance and training to Hamas has been effective only in limited areas, and has itself lacked the scope of effort Hezbollah has enjoyed; whereas Hezbollah armed and trained and (with North Korean aid) built infrastructure for many years to fight as it did in 2006.

The result was a Hezbollah built to be a very tough opponent for the IDF. In 2006, as Stephen Biddle and Jeffrey Friedman found in a recent study for the U.S. Army War College, some of the firefights in Lebanon lasted for more than six hours, and involved Lebanese village militia as well as Hezbollah "regulars." We shall see how much the Israelis do to collapse the several pockets of Hamas they have created in Gaza, although it is worth noting that, as Hamas forces are isolated, the opportunity to bring air and artillery fires to bear in a relatively precise way will return. To be sure, there may be some close urban combat, but if the IDF maintains a methodical approach, they can slowly eviscerate Hamas militarily. Thus far, the casualty exchange ratios thus far are nothing like Lebanon; according to the War College study, the Lebanon war resulted in 53 Israeli civilian deaths from Hezbollah rockets and 119 soldiers killed in action. Thus far, Hamas is showed no ability to affect Israeli maneuvers along the main roadways used to cut through Gaza--although these ought to have been generally predictable avenues of attack--nor do there seem to have been many defense-in-depth positions, at least any that have halted or slowed Israeli progress. It's one thing to retreat into the warrens of Gaza city or other towns as Hamas appears to be doing, but Hezbollah conducted a much more active defense; also its leadership around Beirut was at less immediate risk. The Hamas defenses, thus far, have been systematically ineffective. Biddle and Friedman rightly concluded that Hezbollah has become a more traditional and conventional force, and that this development accounted for much of its improved tactical performance in 2006.

Hezbollah also acted like "regulars" in the sense of wearing uniforms. This is not simply a legal nicety or fashion statement (though their black garb is designed to intimidate their opponents), but a measure both of internal cohesion and the relationship of the military to the state--again, it is better to think of Hezbollah as a "proto-state" rather than a "non-state." Indeed, Hezbollah's recent agreement with the Lebanese state enshrines this status. Also, since one of the primary requisites of a legitimate state is defense of territory and people, it would seem that Hamas is losing its "domestic" propaganda war in a way that Hezbollah did not. Likewise, on the mythic "Arab street," Hamas's performance can only be found wanting in comparison to Hezbollah; the echoes of past Arab failures against Israel may return to haunt the Palestinians. It is worth remembering that Hezbollah's "victory" was not simply that it survived, as popular understanding has it, but that it put up a respectable military performance in defense of its territory. Indeed, it would be fair to say that first among the Arabs, Hezbollah severely dented the historic Israeli deterrent in 2006.

Further, one of the likely reasons that Hezbollah's cohesion and its popular support in southern Lebanon was more deeply rooted is that it performs a number of its state-like functions well, at least by local standards; the strength of the Hezbollah civil "state" contributes to military effectiveness.

Finally, the Israelis seem far better prepared this time around than in Lebanon 2006. Domestic political expectations are low--for Israelis, this is another incidence of "frontier warfare," not dissimilar from American Indian-fighting, where the expectation is to "treat a condition" rather than "cure" it by producing a conclusive outcome. Strategically, they've also clearly worked things out with the Egyptians (and indeed other Arab governments) who seem happy to see Hamas crushed, though it's hard to say how long that will hold. Notably, Fatah and Hezbollah also appear to be sitting this one out. Hezbollah's inactivity is especially interesting, despite Nasrallah's fulminations: Nasrallah, and even the Iranians, likely realize that victory is not in the cards for this round. More importantly, Hezbollah's decision to steer clear underscores its own independence. Better to join a winning war. Even the Iranian regime, while engaging in its typical verbal posturing, has done little of material value for Hamas. Tehran is also likely considering the value of joining a losing fight that might also remove what they may regard opportunities to be explored with the Obama administration. Stand by for pundits to start explaining how we need Tehran to resolve the Gaza mess.

Militarily, the Israelis seem much better organized, conducting combing and coordinated air and land operations, and committing adequate forces from the start rather than feeding forces into the fight in a piecemeal fashion. They've also been more patient, a very necessary virtue. And while the "end state" is uncertain--which most Western analysts argue is a big problem--it's not at all clear that the IDF can't just retreat behind the border barriers when they perceive they've reached the culminating point of diminishing returns. Is a lawless Gaza worse than a Hamas-ruled Gaza? Sure, Hamas will probably reestablish a level of control in Gaza, but who's to say there won't be a short if nasty and brutish struggle for power in the aftermath.

A decimated Hamas will also ask a strategic question of Tehran: They may try to rearm a reconstituted Hamas, but inevitably will do so with little confidence in the value of their Hamas proxy. Israel would reap a huge deterrence windfall if the outcome demonstrates a limit to the value of Iranian sponsorship. It seems that two possibilities await: that Iran calculates that Hamas is a disposable asset, worth jettisoning in hopes of a rapprochement--a short-term deal if not a Grand Bargain--with America. That would be the smart game. But past habits are hard to break, and no doubt the Revolutionary Guard Corps and its training cadres will be salivating to try to remake Hamas more in the Hezbollah style, to fight for keeps in the next go round.

Indeed, it is worth wondering how this might have played out if Iran had demonstrated a nuclear capability by now. The Arabs would likely be less supportive of Israel. Maybe even the Europeans would have weighed in sooner against Israel. Possibly even the Israelis would have been deterred from striking at Hamas, and certainly they would have thought twice before acting. But none of this is clear; war is, sometimes, the least bad choice. Iranian nuclear weapons may deter direct attacks on Tehran, but will they protect its proxies? Let's hope not, because that is a question that will likely be asked again.

Thomas Donnelly is resident fellow in defense and national security studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Danielle Pletka is vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
9906  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: January 07, 2009, 02:31:38 AM
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/01/05/bracing-for-more-border-disorder/

Bracing for more border disorder
By Michelle Malkin  •  January 5, 2009 11:45 AM

I wrote at the end of my year-end state of the borders column last week that blood-stained reality clarifies the mind.
Two new MSM articles on the increasing chaos on the southern border underscore the point.

The NYTimes weighs in with “Kidnappings in Mexico Send Shivers Across Border.”

Four hooded men smashed in the door to the adobe home of an 80-year-old farmer here in November, handcuffing his frail wrists and driving him to a makeshift jail. They released him after relatives and friends paid a $9,000 ransom, which included his life savings.
The kidnapping was a dismal story of cruelty and heartbreak, familiar all across Mexico, but with a new twist: the daughter of this victim lived in the United States and was able to wire money to help assemble his ransom, the farmer, who insisted that he not be identified by name, said in an interview.
A string of similar kidnappings, singling out people with children or spouses in the United States, so panicked this village in the state of Zacatecas that many people boarded up their homes and headed north, some legally and some not, seeking havens with relatives in California and other American states.
“The relatives of Mexicans in the United States have become a new profit center for Mexico’s crime industry,” said Rodolfo García Zamora, a professor at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas who studies migration trends. “Hundreds of families are emigrating out of fear of kidnap or extortion, and Mexicans in the U.S. are doing everything they can to avoid returning. Instead, they’re getting their relatives out.”
The reported rush into the United States by people from the state of Zacatecas is another sign that Mexico’s growing lawlessness is a volatile new factor affecting the flow of migrant workers across America’s border. The violence is adding a new layer of uncertainty to the always fraught issue of Mexican emigration, already in flux because of the economic downturn in the United States.
Academics and policy makers on both sides of the border, who are watching closely for shifts in migration patterns, say it is too early to know the long-term impact of either the drug-related violence or the loss of jobs by thousands of migrant workers in the United States. But so far, earlier predictions of an exodus of out-of-work Mexicans back to their hometowns seem to have been premature.
Instead, it appears that the pattern in the state of Zacatecas — where many people have family in the United States — may be a good indicator of what is happening throughout Mexico. The country’s spiraling criminality appears not only to be keeping some Mexicans in the United States, but it may also be leading more Mexicans to flee their country. “It’s a toxic combination right now,” said Denise Dresser, a political scientist based in Mexico City. “Mexicans north of the border are facing joblessness and persecution, but in their own country the government can’t provide basic security for many of its citizens.”


And the Dallas Morning News reports: “Mexico’s drug violence expected to intensify in ‘09.”

Drug-related violence in Mexico, already at unprecedented levels, is expected to escalate further this year, with targets likely to include top Mexican politicians and law enforcement agents and possibly even U.S. officials, according to diplomats and intelligence experts on both sides of the border.
The warning underscores the difficult choices confronting President Felipe Calderón as he takes on drug cartels while weighing the implications of growing casualties in a year of midterm elections and a slowing economy.
It also reflects rising concern among U.S. officials and analysts about the deteriorating security situation, corruption among Mexico’s top crime fighters, and the vulnerability of the military to possible corruption in battling cartel gangs.
As the war against cartels escalates in 2009, so will the threats, particularly against U.S. officials and other Americans, officials, analysts and diplomats, including U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza, said in recent interviews.
“Calderón must, and will, keep the pressure on the cartels, but look, let’s not be naïve – there will be more violence, more blood, and, yes, things will get worse before they get better. That’s the nature of the battle,” Garza said. “The more pressure the cartels feel, the more they’ll lash out like cornered animals.
“Our folks know exactly how high the stakes are,” Garza said. He advised Americans traveling to Mexico to check State Department travel alerts at www.state.gov.
A U.S. intelligence official based along the Texas border warned that U.S. officials, American businessmen and journalists will “become targets, if they’re not already.”
9907  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Legal Issues in fighting crime on: January 07, 2009, 02:14:05 AM
This is a nationwide trend, but you'll see that it is much more prevalent in places where citizens can't get CCW permits.
9908  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 07, 2009, 02:09:41 AM
There was one protest in India, by Indian muslims, regarding Mumbai. After 9/11, Iranian students protested in Iran, aside from those protests, the muslim world can only be bothered to protest Mohammed cartoons or Israel refusing to be rocketed any longer.

Thank you for recognizing this point, JDN.
9909  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 06, 2009, 11:08:31 AM
Anyone got any footage of the "vast majority of peaceful muslims" protesting Mumbai in the US?

**Cricket sounds**
9910  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: January 06, 2009, 10:27:55 AM
If Lewinsky wants to....um...."Lewinsky" Obama, she'll have to get into the line behind Chris Matthews and the rest of the MSM.
9911  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 06, 2009, 10:10:52 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/01/06/what-the-panetta-appointment-means/

What the Panetta appointment means
posted at 10:57 am on January 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey   


Barack Obama sent a message with the selection of Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, but apparently didn’t think enough people understood it.  He sent a stronger message yesterday with his choice of Leon Panetta for Director of CIA, and this time, it’s unmistakable.  Political considerations will trump competence and experience, even in the most critical roles Obama has to fill:

President-elect Barack Obama stunned the national intelligence community by selecting Clinton White House chief of staff Leon E. Panetta, a longtime Washington insider with little intelligence experience, to serve as the next head of the CIA.

The decision — which was also met with wariness on Capitol Hill — reflects a desire to change the intelligence power structure, officials close to the selection said yesterday. Obama has chosen retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair as the director of national intelligence, a job he intends to reinforce as the “lead horse” on intelligence issues, an official close to the selection process said.

Panetta, 70, is widely regarded as a good manager who knows the government bureaucracy well. Panetta, a former eight-term member of Congress who has run a think tank in California for the past decade, has no significant ties to the agency that Obama has criticized for using harsh interrogation methods. Panetta has openly objected to the use of such methods, writing in an essay last year that the United States “must not use torture under any circumstances.” Obama had trouble filling the CIA slot in part because other candidates were perceived as tainted for having supported aspects of the Bush administration’s interrogation and intelligence programs.

Yet Panetta, who also served as director of President Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget, has no institutional memory of the intelligence agency and no hands-on experience with its thorniest challenges, including the collection of human intelligence overseas. His lack of experience drew immediate questions, most notably from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the incoming chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who said she was not briefed on his selection and learned about it from news accounts.

The US is currently fighting an asymmetrical war on two hot fronts, but more to the point, in every corner of the world.  We need our best people at the helm at Defense and in the intelligence arenas, people with insight into the problems and challenges facing America at war.  Barack Obama either doesn’t understand that or cares less about security than he does about politics.

Leon Panetta only has indirect experience with intelligence. As budget director in the Clinton administration, Panetta has familiarity with their funding, and Panetta also served on the Iraq Study Group for several months, which looked at the role that intelligence failures played in our invasion and during the occupation.  There must be thousands of people more qualified to run the CIA from an experience and competence standpoint, including several members of Congress, notably Jane Harman, who should have chaired the House Intelligence Committee in the last session of Congress but ran afoul of Nancy Pelosi.

Even the notion of “change” doesn’t apply here.  Obama has no executive experience in government, and neither does Panetta, but Panetta hardly represents a breath of fresh air in Washington.  He’s another Clinton-era retread, only in this case, put in charge of an organization about which he knows nothing.  He’s there to exercise Obama’s political will and nothing more.

Obama deserves the benefit of the doubt on his political appointments, but this is one selection that should get a lot of scrutiny from Congress.  If Obama wants a political hatchet man in a high-level appointment, have Panetta run OMB — or Commerce, where there’s a late opening.  America deserves the benefit of experience and wisdom in the position of CIA director.
9912  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: January 06, 2009, 08:09:08 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28476798/

U.S. could be facing debt 'time bomb' this year
Investors' thirst for American securities could finally be quenched

By Lori Montgomery
updated 12:29 a.m. ET, Sat., Jan. 3, 2009

WASHINGTON - With President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats considering a massive spending package aimed at pulling the nation out of recession, the national debt is projected to jump by as much as $2 trillion this year, an unprecedented increase that could test the world's appetite for financing U.S. government spending.

For now, investors are frantically stuffing money into the relative safety of the U.S. Treasury, which has come to serve as the world's mattress in troubled times. Interest rates on Treasury bills have plummeted to historic lows, with some short-term investors literally giving the government money for free.

But about 40 percent of the debt held by private investors will mature in a year or less, according to Treasury officials. When those loans come due, the Treasury will have to borrow more money to repay them, even as it launches perhaps the most aggressive expansion of U.S. debt in modern history.

With the government planning to roll over its short-term loans into more stable, long-term securities, experts say investors are likely to demand a greater return on their money, saddling taxpayers with huge new interest payments for years to come. Some analysts also worry that foreign investors, the largest U.S. creditors, may prove unable to absorb the skyrocketing debt, undermining confidence in the United States as the bedrock of the global financial system.

While the current market for Treasurys is booming, it's unclear whether demand for debt can be sustained, said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP, which analyzes Treasury financing trends.

"There's a time bomb in there somewhere," Crandall said, "but we don't know exactly where on the calendar it's planted."

The government's hunger for cash began growing exponentially as the nation slipped into recession in the wake of a housing foreclosure crisis a year ago. Washington has since approved $168 billion in spending to stimulate economic activity, $700 billion to prevent the collapse of the U.S. financial system, and multibillion-dollar bailouts for a variety of financial institutions, including insurance giant American International Group and mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Despite those actions, the economic outlook has continued to darken. Now, Obama and congressional Democrats are debating as much as $850 billion in new federal spending and tax cuts to create or preserve jobs and slow the grim, upward march of unemployment, which stood in November at 6.7 percent.

Congress is not planning to raise taxes or cut spending to cover the cost of those programs, because economists say doing so would further slow economic activity. That means the government has to borrow the money.

Some of the borrowing was done during the fiscal year that ended in September, when the Treasury added nearly $720 billion to the national debt. But the big borrowing binge will come during the current fiscal year, when the cost of the bailouts plus another stimulus package combined with slowing tax revenues will force the government to increase the debt by as much as $2 trillion to finance its obligations, according to a Treasury survey of bond dealers and other market analysts.

As of yesterday, the debt stood at nearly $10.7 trillion, of which about $4.3 trillion is owed to other government institutions, such as the Social Security trust fund. Debt held by private investors totals nearly $6.4 trillion, or a little over 40 percent of gross domestic product.

According to the most recent figures, foreign investors held about $3 trillion in U.S. debt at the end of October. China, which in October replaced Japan as the United States' largest creditor, has increased its holdings by 42 percent over the past year; Britain and the Caribbean banking countries more than doubled their holdings.

Economists from across the political spectrum have endorsed the idea of going deeper into debt to combat what many call the most dangerous economic conditions since the Great Depression. The United States is in relatively good financial shape compared with other industrial nations, such as Japan, where the public debt equaled 182 percent of GDP in 2007, or Germany, where the debt was 65 percent of GDP, according to a forthcoming report by Scott Lilly, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Even a $2 trillion increase would push the U.S. debt to about 53 percent of the overall economy, "only a few percentage points above where it was in the early 1990s," Lilly writes, noting that plummeting interest rates show that "much of the world seems not only willing but anxious to invest in U.S. Treasurys, which are seen as the safest security that an investor can own in a risky world economy."

Still, some analysts are concerned that the deepening global recession will force some of the largest U.S. creditors to divert cash to domestic needs, such as investing in their own banks and economies. Even if demand for U.S. debt keeps pace with supply, investors are likely to demand higher interest rates, these analysts said, driving up debt-service payments, which last year stood at $250 billion.

"When you accumulate this amount of debt that we're moving into, it's not a given that our foreign friends are going to continue on the path they've been on," said G. William Hoagland, a longtime Republican budget analyst who now serves as vice president for public policy at the health insurer Cigna. "There's going to come a time when we can't even pay the interest on the money we've borrowed. That's default."

Others say those fears are overblown. The market for U.S. Treasurys is by far the largest and most liquid bond market in the world, and big institutional investors have few other places to safely invest large sums of reserve cash.

Despite their growing domestic needs, "China and the oil countries are going to continue running large surpluses," said C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "They certainly will be using money elsewhere, but I don't think that means they won't give it to us."

As for the specter of default, Steven Hess, lead U.S. analyst for Moody's Investors Service, said even a $2 trillion increase in borrowing would not greatly diminish the U.S. financial condition. "It's not alarmingly high by our AAA standards," he said. "So we don't think there's pressure on the rating yet."

But that could change, Hess said. Nearly a year ago, Moody's raised an alarm about the skyrocketing costs of Social Security and Medicare as the baby-boom generation retires, saying the resulting budget deficits could endanger the U.S. bond rating. Even as the nation sinks deeper into debt to finance its own economic recovery, several analysts said it will be critical for Obama to begin to address the looming costs of the entitlement programs and signal that he has no intention of letting the debt spiral out of control.

Failure to do so, Bergsten said, would "create dangers . . . in market psychology and continued confidence in the dollar."
9913  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak on: January 06, 2009, 04:27:21 AM
 http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1218869&pageid=0

Nariman House, not Taj, was the prime target on 26/11
 
Somendra Sharma 
 


Think 26/11, and images of the carnage at the Taj come to mind. But the terrorists themselves were in no doubt that Nariman House was the prime focus. For this was the place which housed a Jewish centre, and the fanatics from Pakistan were clear that they wanted to send a message to the world from there.

The Mumbai crime branch, which is investigating the terror attacks, has found that the terrorists’ handlers in Pakistan were clear this operation should not fail under any circumstances. The rest of the operations — at the Taj, Oberoi and Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus — were intended to amplify the effect.

A senior police official, told DNA on condition of anonymity, that the interrogation of Mohammed Amir Iman Ajmal (aka Kasab) revealed as much. Just before entering the city, the terrorists’ team leader, Ismail Khan, briefed them once again about their targets. “But Khan briefed Imran Babar, alias Abu Akasha, and Nasir, alias Abu Umer, intensely on what to do at Nariman House,” the officer said.

When asked during interrogation why Nariman House was specifically targetted, Ajmal reportedly told the police they wanted to sent a message to Jews across the world by attacking the ultra orthodox synagogue.

According to the statement by Ajmal, Khan told Babar and Nasir that even if the others failed in their operation, they both could not afford to. “The Nariman House operation has to be a success,” the officer said, quoting from Ajmal’s statement.

“Khan also said that as far as Nariman House was concerned, there should not be even a minimal glitch in finding it and capturing it,” the officer quoted Ajmal as saying.

After the dinghy carrying the 10 terrorists reached Mumbai at the Macchimar colony opposite Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade, it was decided that no bombs would be planted in the taxi to be used to reach Nariman House.

“The idea,” according to the police officer, “was that if Babar and Nasir got delayed in locating and entering Nariman House, the bomb in the taxi may explode even before they entered their target.”

The officer further quoted Ajmal’s confession as indicating the Nariman House killers may have either lost their way or took their time entering the building to avoid failure. 
The dinghy reached Cuffe Parade around 8.30pm, but Babar and Nasir entered
Nariman House at around 10pm. This means they took around one- and-a-half hour to locate and enter Nariman House,” the officer said.  Anyone who knows Colaba would have got there in 15-20 minutes.

Another aspect which indicates that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) did not want the Nariman House operation to fail was Fahim Ansari’s revelation to the crime branch. Ansari, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the bomb blasts at a CRPF camp in Lucknow in January last year, told the police that Nariman House was also surveyed by him last year. Interestingly, Ansari did not reveal this detail when he was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police in February last year.

“Ansari told us that he did not divulge this information earlier because it would have jeopardised the most important operation of the LeT. He had also been warned by the LeT that Nariman House was their most secret operation and must not be compromised at any cost,” the officer said.
 
9914  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 06, 2009, 02:30:33 AM
http://www.theaugeanstables.com/reflections-from-second-draft/pallywood-a-history/

Too long to cut and paste. Read this and open your eyes, JDN.
9915  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 06, 2009, 01:57:07 AM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 05, 2009
The Wrong Choice

More than a few spooks, current and former, are shaking their heads over the appointment of Leon Panetta as the next CIA Director.

Mr. Panetta is the consummate Washington insider who is best know as Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff during the Monica Lewinsky episode. Before that, he was Clinton's first Director of the Office of Management and Budget and a Democratic Congressman from California for 16 years, serving primarily on the Budget and Agriculture Committees.

In the early days of his political life, Panetta was actually a Republican, working as an aide to California Senator Thomas Kuchel before joining the Nixon Administration. During his first stint in Washington, Panetta served as assistant to the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and later ran the Office for Civil Rights. He left the administration--and the GOP--in 1971, accusing the White House of being "soft" on enforcement of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

Readers will note a common theme in Panetta's professional life: the wholesale lack of intelligence experience. While Mr. Panetta is certainly acquainted with the intel community and his capabilities, he has never served (let alone, led) an intelligence organization, or served on a Congressional panel charged with its oversight.

To be fair, many CIA Directors have come from outside the intelligence community. And, some of them, such as John McCone, who served during the Kennedy Administration, have performed admirably. At the other extreme, some of the career intelligence officers (or those with prior intel experience) have been miserable failures. So, Panetta's limited exposure to the intelligence community doesn't disqualify him for the CIA post, or predict failure during his tenure.

But these are critical days for our intelligence apparatus, including the agency that Mr. Panetta will lead. When the Bush Administration entered office eight years ago, it inherited a CIA that was dysfunctional, highly politicized and woefully inept at its critical missions of intelligence collection and analysis.

Since then, three different men--George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden--have tried to reform the agency, with varying degrees of success. During their respective tenures, the CIA has added thousands of new operatives and analysts, and there is some evidence that the new hires (and their more experienced colleagues) are making a difference. After all, there hasn't been a terrorist attack on American soil since 9-11, and the CIA deserves some credit for that remarkable record.

Still, the agency is far from healthy. Elements within the CIA have pursued a strident, anti-administration agenda, under-cutting President Bush's policies on Iran's nuclear program and other issues. Case in point: the intelligence community's infamous 2007 assessment of Tehran's nuclear ambitions--largely based on CIA analysts--which effectively ended any chances for U.S. military action against Iran. The long-term consequences of that analytical power play have yet to be determined.

To advance the reform agenda at Langley, the CIA clearly needs an experienced hand. But there are more compelling reasons to put a career intelligence officer in charge of the agency. The threat facing our nation remains very real; a recent study suggests that terrorists will stage a chemical or biological attack inside the United States during the next five years. Meeting that challenge requires a leader who doesn't need on the job training, and will hold his organization to the highest standards of tradecraft and professional conduct.

Mr. Panetta is a capable administrator and experienced political operative, but he's the wrong man to lead the CIA at this critical juncture. His nomination also reflects badly on President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team. Most of his national security team was announced last month. Delaying the CIA announcement until the New Year suggests that the appointment was something of an afterthought, or that the job was rejected by more qualified candidates.

Obviously, the job of CIA Director doesn't carry the power it once did. The agency chief now works for the Director of National Intelligence, who oversees the functions of 16 organizations that form our intel system. But in a community of "equals" some agencies are more important than others, and the Central Intelligence Agency clearly falls in that former category.

The next CIA chief faces three herculean challenges: keeping the agency fully engaged in the war on terror; reigning in political elements that want to dictate U.S. policy, and avoiding another intelligence debacle like the one that preceded the 9-11 attacks. It's a tall order for any director, but those tasks are made more difficult by today's economic uncertainly, which may result in budget cutbacks for the intelligence community.

As a former OMB Director, Mr. Panetta is a veteran of federal budget wars. But even if he preserves the CIA's share of the intel pie, there is no evidence that he has the background or expertise to employ those assets in the most effective manner. Just one more reason that the Panetta nomination is so disappointing--and potentially dangerous.

***

ADDENDUM: Mr. Obama is entitled to the CIA Director of his choice. But the selection of Leon Panetta is a reflection of the next commander-in-chief and his own, limited intelligence experience. A few weeks ago, the president-elect named retired Navy Admiral Dennis Blair as the new Director of National Intelligence. Like Mr. Panetta, Admiral Blair has a long resume as a leader and administrator. But in terms of intel, his only experience is as a consumer.

The big-picture view is even more disturbing. President-elect Obama, a man who is decidedly short on national security experience, has appointed a pair of neophytes to fill our most important intelligence positions. Those men, in turn, are supposed to advise him on the most critical (and sensitive) intel and national security issues. That planned "arrangement" doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

And, for what it's worth, California Senator Diane Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, isn't exactly pleased with the Panetta nomination.

Others have suggested that Panetta may be a sop to liberal bloggers and activists who torpedoed John Brennan, the CIA veteran said to be Mr. Obama's first choice to run the agency. Brennan was unacceptable to those elements of the Obama coalition because of his support for the "forceful" interrogation of suspected terrorists.

If Panetta is a peace offering to the moon-bat brigade, it's all the more reason to oppose his confirmation as CIA Director.
9916  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Coming Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: January 06, 2009, 01:51:34 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/01/05/obama-names-clinton-crony-whos-never-worked-in-intelligence-to-head-cia/

Ok, so now the empty suit places another empty suit in charge of the CIA. What could possibly go wrong?  rolleyes
9917  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: January 06, 2009, 12:10:08 AM
Mr. Yon mentioned how China was "nicer". China doesn't need to worry so much at it's border crossings, as it has a massive internal surveillance infrastructure. We, on the other hand have very little. Once someone makes it into the US, it's quite easy to disappear and live "off the grid".
9918  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: January 05, 2009, 11:29:28 PM
Possible Hijacker Stopped At OIA
An alleged "20th hijacker" was turned away a month before the Sept. 11 attacks.

By Tamara Lytle | Washington Bureau Chief

January 20, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON -- Just one month before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a potential "20th hijacker" may have been prevented from entering the country by an alert border agent at Orlando International Airport, federal investigators said Monday.

Sometime in August 2001, a man known only by his last name -- al-Qahtani -- arrived at the airport on the same day that lead hijacker Mohamed Atta was known to have been there and to have used a payphone.

But al-Qahtani was turned away after questioning by border agent Jose Melendez-Perez, who is currently an inspector with the Customs and Border Protection arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Melendez-Perez is scheduled to testify about the "incident in Florida" at a Monday hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, better known as the 9-11 Commission, according to a witness list.

Al Felzenberg, the commission's spokesman, would not confirm details of the incident but said Melendez-Perez's quick thinking may have helped prevent the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks from being even more devastating. It's long been suspected that a so-called "20th hijacker" was supposed to have been part of the terrorist team that was overwhelmed by passengers aboard United Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania.

It has been speculated that that flight may have been aimed at the U.S. Capitol or the White House, and the fact that the terrorist team was one man short may have given passengers an edge.

"He helped make it a lot less of a tragedy than it might have been," said Felzenberg. "There were many people who worked for the government who helped enhance security, and he's one of them."

Authorities had earlier speculated that Zacarias Moussaoui was meant to be the 20th hijacker but have since backed off. The Morocco-born al-Qaeda operative is awaiting trial in Virginia on terrorism and conspiracy charges.

At least one other of the Flight 93 hijackers -- Saeed Alghamdi -- is known to have entered the country through Orlando on June 27, 2001, according to previous FBI testimony. A total of four hijackers entered through Orlando en route to joining terrorist cells in South Florida, the FBI has said.

A congressional source said the would-be hijacker al-Qahtani was later picked up in Afghanistan as a combatant and is now being questioned at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay.

The Orlando incident was first reported in the edition of Newsweek that went on sale Monday. That story reported that Melendez-Perez, a 58-year-old Vietnam veteran, turned al-Qahtani away and put him on a flight out of the country after "his story fell apart" about being in Orlando to meet a friend.

The 9-11 panel has also discovered that Atta made a call on a payphone from the airport to a country in the Middle East the same day. Newsweek reported that a surveillance camera captured Atta placing the call.

But commission officials would neither confirm nor deny those details Monday night.

"We're aware of the story, and we're not in a position to comment on it," said Philip D. Zelikow, executive director of the panel. "The commission will be preparing a detailed statement on this topic and much broader issues."

Melendez-Perez already has spoken with the staff at the commission, which is run by former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton. Monday he will testify as part of a hearing on border and aviation security. "We think what he has to say will be extremely important to our investigation," Felzenberg said.

The commission has done 800 interviews and held six public hearings so far. It is scheduled to report to Congress and the president May 27. Recently, some commissioners had said they needed more time. But congressional leaders responded vociferously that they want the report finished on time.

A congressional joint inquiry, led by Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and Rep. Porter Goss, R-Sanibel, finished its work last year investigating the intelligence failures that led up to the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people when terrorists hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The Kean commission has a much broader mandate than the congressional inquiry. It will look at aviation security, Congress' role, border security, terrorist financing, the intelligence community and other factors. The commission will begin hearing from Cabinet members from both the Clinton and Bush administrations this spring.

Unlike the congressional inquiry, the 9-11 panel will have access to classified White House documents


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just Doing My Job, OIA Inspector Says
Jose Melendez-Perez said he can't say more yet on a man stopped in 2001 who was a possible hijacker.

By Pamela J. Johnson and Tim Barker | Sentinel Staff Writers

Copyright © 2004, Orlando Sentinel
January 21, 2004

It is a decision Jose Melendez-Perez had made countless times before. Only this time, it may have prevented United Airlines Flight 93 from striking the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

About a month before Sept. 11, 2001, the federal border-patrol inspector at Orlando International Airport denied a man entry. However, this man -- identified only as al-Qahtani -- may have been the "20th hijacker," some officials said.

"I've been doing this every day for years, and only God knows how many people I've turned away," Melendez-Perez said Tuesday night while waxing his black Nissan Maxima at his home in an east Orange County gated community. "I usually never hear anything about it."

Just how important this catch was is debated among security experts, especially because 19 other hijackers made it into the country. It is suspected that the man whom Melendez-Perez blocked was supposed to be part of the terrorist team that was overwhelmed by passengers aboard the United flight, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

"It's like saying we did a great job at Pearl Harbor by shooting down 29 Japanese airplanes," said Michael Boyd, an aviation consultant with the Colorado-based Boyd Group.

Still, experts say it demonstrates the importance of the customs operations in protecting the nation.

The most obvious role of customs is found at U.S. airports, where inspectors quiz international travelers.

"You're looking at their reactions," said Douglas Laird of Laird & Associates, a Nevada-based aviation-security consulting company. "Are they sweating? Are they averting their gaze?"

But the agency's role has morphed considerably since the 2001 attacks.

In early 2003, customs was moved under the umbrella of the new Department of Homeland Security. The agency was split, with its criminal investigators moved into a new federal agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The remainder of the old customs agency became U.S. Customs & Border Protection, which got a boost to its anti-terrorist toolbox earlier this month with the debut of the U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology program. The system uses photos and fingerprints to track the comings and goings of visitors from countries where visas are required.

These changes illustrate a shift in the agency's responsibilities, with more emphasis placed on searching for potential terrorists, rather than just keeping out illegal immigrants, said Charles Slepian, aviation-security expert with the Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center.

Melendez-Perez, a native of Puerto Rico, said he could not provide details about the Orlando airport incident until he testifies Monday during a hearing of the National Commission of Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

"My wife doesn't even know anything about it," he said.

Earlier, authorities had suspected that Zacarias Moussaoui was meant to be the 20th hijacker but now say it might have been this new suspect.

To Melendez-Perez, his own story is mundane.

"It's my job," he said. "It's what I get paid to do."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

9-11 Panel Lauds OIA Agent
Hijackers' leader should not have slipped by, inspector says

By Tamara Lytle | Washington Bureau Chief


January 27, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Orlando Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

In Washington. (PHOTO: DENNIS COOK/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

FROM THE TESTIMONY
"The bottom line is, he gave me the chills," Jose Melendez-Perez said.
"It is entirely plausible to suggest your actions in doing your job efficiently and competently may well have contributed to saving the Capitol or the White House and all the people who were in those buildings, those monuments to democracy," Sept. 11 commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste said.

WASHINGTON -- An Orlando border agent hailed for blocking a suspected terrorist from entering the country told a federal commission Monday that the ringleader of the Sept. 11 attacks never should have slipped past border agents.

Jose Melendez-Perez said there were enough red flags about Mohamed Atta -- including the wrong visa, his age and his impeccable clothing -- that an alert border agent should have refused Atta's entry.

"I would have recommended refusal," Melendez-Perez told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States in the first of two days of hearings on security breakdowns that may have contributed to the attacks.

Three of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers told obvious lies on their visa applications, the commission's staff said Monday, and as many as eight may have entered the United States with doctored passports.

While Monday's hearing focused largely on forged documents, lapses in security and other problems, Melendez-Perez was hailed for the gut instinct that led him to deny entry to a Saudi national who arrived at Orlando International Airport a little more than a month before the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

"When the subject looked at me, I felt a bone-chilling cold effect," Melendez-Perez testified Monday. "The bottom line is, he gave me the chills."

Federal authorities now think the man Melendez-Perez turned away -- Mohamed al-Qahtani -- may have been the missing 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks.

The border agent's decision may have left the terrorists shorthanded on one of the four airliners hijacked that day, allowing passengers to fight back and crash the jet thought to have been targeted at Washington into a rural Pennsylvania field.

"It is entirely plausible to suggest your actions in doing your job efficiently and competently may well have contributed to saving the Capitol or the White House and all the people who were in those buildings, those monuments to democracy," commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste told Melendez-Perez during Monday's hearing. "For that, we all owe you a debt of gratitude."

With that, the Hart Senate hearing room broke into uncharacteristic applause as Melendez-Perez, a 58-year-old native of Puerto Rico, sat alone in a crisp gray suit at a long table, facing the cameras and the commission and the sudden attention for his part in fighting terrorism before it was a national commitment.

The commission also heard about a series of government failures in issuing visas, not sharing intelligence and allowing hijackers into the country with doctored passports and other improper documentation. The commission staff pointedly disputed CIA and FBI claims that most of the hijackers couldn't have been stopped because they entered the country legally.

As a counterpoint to all those failures, Melendez-Perez was invited to tell his story -- one of an inspector who risked wrath in a system that was deferential to Saudi visitors.

"I was just doing my job," Melendez-Perez repeated like a mantra Monday.

Instinct -- honed by military training and 11 years of border work -- is what led Melendez-Perez to deny entry to al-Qahtani on Aug. 4, 2001, the agent told the bipartisan federal panel, better known as the Sept. 11 Commission.

Al-Qahtani was sent to Melendez-Perez's secondary inspection station at OIA because he claimed not to speak English and hadn't properly filled out his paperwork.

Melendez-Perez sat with him in a back room, an Arabic translator on the speaker phone between them.

Al-Qahtani, who had arrived from Dubai, had no return ticket or credit cards and just $2,800 in cash for a six-day "vacation." That's not enough money to buy a ticket back to Dubai after six days of hotel expenses, Melendez-Perez figured.

The Saudi man said a friend was waiting for him in the airport, then changed his story to say no one was there after the border agent pressed him for a name. Investigators now know that Atta, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, was in the Orlando airport calling another plotter when al-Qahtani didn't appear.

As Melendez-Perez found more holes in al-Qahtani's story, he drew on experience from 26 years in the Army, including a stint training recruiters in interview techniques. Al-Qahtani was aggressively arrogant -- even pointing a finger in the border agent's face -- but that didn't intimidate him.

Melendez-Perez, who had been an Army first sergeant, looked at al-Qahtani's neatly trimmed mustache, perfect grooming and confident bearing, surmising the man had military training. When al-Qahtani claimed he didn't know where he was going after the U.S. trip, the thought "hit man" flashed through the inspector's mind.

The evasiveness and shaky story weren't firm grounds for barring the Saudi from the country. But when al-Qahtani refused to answer questions under oath, that was a different story.

Melendez-Perez got permission from his supervisor's boss, and soon he was marching al-Qahtani over to the next flight to Dubai via London. As the Saudi who claimed not to speak English got on the plane, he looked back at Melendez-Perez and said something in English to the effect of "I'll be back."

Instead of coming back, al-Qahtani was later captured in Afghanistan and now is being held as an enemy combatant at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to congressional sources.

Members of the Sept. 11 Commission did not ask Melendez-Perez about the four hijackers who are known to have entered the country through OIA before joining terror cells in Florida.

Melendez-Perez, meanwhile, keeps checking visitors and immigrants in Orlando, although his border agency is now part of the Department of Homeland Security. The father of four and grandfather of six has not received any special award for his prescient judgment.

And no one from the FBI ever asked him for information, although he called his office Sept. 11 as soon as he heard of the attacks, reminding them of his run-in with the Saudi. Melendez-Perez also turned away another Saudi national that August, according to Ben-Veniste, although that person has no proven terrorist ties.

Kristin Breitweiser, whose husband died at the World Trade Center, said Monday that she wished the commission put front-line people who hadn't done their jobs on the spot instead of just featuring Melendez-Perez. "I applaud the man, but really I'd like to have the other however-many thousand people who dropped the ball," she said.

But commissioners and their staff were at times pointed in their criticism of the State Department officials who processed visas, the Immigration and Naturalization Service that watched the borders and the intelligence agencies that didn't share information with one another.

Commissioner John Lehman, a former Navy secretary, told Mary Ryan, the former assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, that her staff should have given closer scrutiny to people applying for visas in Saudi Arabia because of the well-known presence of Islamic fundamentalists there.

"Everybody we talked to said 'Saudi Arabia is our friend. We don't look for terrorists there,' " Lehman said. "Hello, did anyone read the newspapers?"

Ryan said Saudi Arabia was considered an ally and that the State Department did not have intelligence information to help it know who to keep out of the country by denying visas.

Jim Leusner of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

9919  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 05, 2009, 11:05:48 PM
http://www.weaselzippers.net/blog/2009/01/shock-and-horror-hamas-says-assoud-the-jihad-bunny-mortally-wounded-in-israeli-airstrike.html

More tragic news from Gaza! Try not to tear up too much......
9920  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: January 05, 2009, 10:59:10 PM
Now she does. She's watched documentaries about Ressam's homeland. She's gone on the Internet with her daughter to read about women in Afghanistan under the Taliban. What if a woman's husband is killed, she wonders. How would she make a living, take care of her children?

"Unimaginable," Dean says. "Chaotic. That's the only word. Certainly not like it is here. It's not even like New York, for crying out loud!"

In Port Angeles, daily life goes on. "I get up every morning, get my kids to school, come home, make dinner, shop at Safeway. This being Port Angeles, that's one of the highlights." But somehow, especially since Sept. 11, it's not the same.

"You think about these things in the weirdest places," she says. The other night in the Safeway, by the meat counter, something washed over Dean. "You look around and people are shopping in their own little world," she says. "I can't believe everyone isn't down on their knees because we have so much, and so many people don't. We complain about the stupidest thing in this country. Go figure."

The meat counter in the Port Angeles Safeway is 52 steps long. It ends where a Hostess Twinkie display intersects with the pet-food aisle. Pet Food stretches the entire length of the store and includes treats such as Purina Bacon Beggin' Strips, $3.49 for six ounces.

To Diana Dean, this used to be normal.

Now it's not.

 
Slaminski oversees four full-time and eight part-time customs inspectors at a border crossing so quiet they usually seize only one or two marijuana joints every other month. The poster of the inspectors who caught Ressam is autographed, with thanks, from Ray Kelly, then head of U.S. Customs, who credits them with saving countless lives.
 
DEEP INSIDE Ressam's trunk, the wheel well was loaded. Ten green plastic garbage bags filled with white crystals, two olive jars of amber liquid, black boxes, two pill bottles.

Drugs, Johnson thought, flashing back to the southern border. Maybe meth. Not powdery like cocaine, coarser, somewhere between sugar and rock salt.

Johnson patted Ressam down for weapons, felt a hard bulge in his right pocket. Suddenly, Ressam slipped out of his trench coat and ran. "Instead of running after him," Johnson recalls, "I'm like: Hey! Hey! You can't do that!

"If anything be known, I'm the guy who let Ressam go."

Not for long. He and Chapman took off on foot. Dean and Inspector Steve Campbell jumped in their family vans. "Watch the trunk!" Dean called to her husband, who was waiting for a ride home because his car had broken down.

It was dark. Ressam led by half a block. Which way? Campbell yelled to an old man on the corner. The guy pointed with his cane: That-a-way!

At the trial, the prosecution used an aerial map of downtown Port Angeles to trace the four-block chase. Ressam ran up Laurel, past the banks and flower planters toward First Street's twinkling holiday lights. Chapman followed. Johnson cut through a parking lot by a mural of the ferry Kalakala. At the corner of First Street, Ressam bumped into a guy, kept running and dove under a pickup truck parked in front of the shoe store.

Chapman finally caught up and squatted on the curb, gun drawn: Stop! Police! Customs!

Ressam crawled out, glanced at Chapman, turned his back and ran into the traffic. He rebounded off a moving car and tried to duck into the Kalakala parking lot, but found himself facing Johnson. It'd been all uphill. Everyone was panting, but the race plodded on, past the movie theater and the furniture store and Dynasty Chinese restaurant.

"It was kinda weird because it was like a slow-motion chase," recalls a local shopowner, who watched it. "They were going around in circles. He (Ressam) kept looking back. He looked bored, really, so we just thought he's just some shoplifter. The last thing in the world you'd think was it was a terrorist."

Traffic was confused. At the intersection of First and Lincoln, Ressam grabbed the door handle of a blue Olds stopped at the light. The manager of Safeway video rentals was at the wheel. She hadn't locked her car door, of course, this being Port Angeles. She wondered whether to run the red light. Go! her husband said. She floored it.

Ressam spun, off balance. Chapman tackled him. Johnson pounced, 240 pounds kneeling on Ressam's shoulders, and slapped on Smith & Wesson cuffs.

 
For more than a year, Inspector Mark Johnson hid his medal in his locker because he felt ashamed of his snappish behavior in the days following Ressam's arrest. But on Sept. 11, after a hard workout to vent anger, Johnson went to change his clothes, saw the medal and felt proud.
 
AFTER THE awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., Johnson hung his medal in the back of his locker and never wanted to look at it again. He was ashamed how he'd snapped at people in the days following Ressam's capture. He'd stayed awake nearly 72 hours babysitting the explosive cache, and when he finally went home, he thought he saw a man dressed in black crawling toward the house. "I recognized I was going nuts," the inspector said. He took time off to sleep and work out.

Also, like the other inspectors, Johnson didn't feel deserving of special merit. It had taken several years to find his calling as a customs inspector after graduating from Fife High School and Western Washington University and working various construction and warehouse jobs.

His first year as a customs inspector along the southern border near Tijuana, other inspectors zeroed in on dope all the time, but he couldn't find a thing. "The southern border was like getting slapped with a wet towel," he says, until "I learned to read the thing and hone it down to an edge." In 1996, Johnson was awarded a belt buckle for making the most seizures in San Ysidro and Tecate ports. He'd push the traffic, moving a line quickly to weed out civilian chaff and suck in smugglers. Long hours, tough conditions, hard work. The other inspectors on the southern border, he says, deserve medals, too.

USA v. Ressam (CR99-666c) was held in Los Angeles in a stylish new courthouse, part Perry Mason, part Restoration Hardware. Johnson was nervous while testifying, but that didn't keep him from trying to connect with the slight man in the brown sweater.

The prosecution: "Now during this field-testing process, did you test the contents of the pill bottles?"

Johnson: "I did not."

Q: "What, if anything, did you do with the pill bottles?"

A: "I just looked at them and shook them around."

Q: "Did you know the pill bottles contained a high explosive?"

A: "I know that now."

A Tylenol bottle contained a powerful military-grade explosive, cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine, or RDX. Another small bottle held hexamethylentriperoxodiamin, or HMTD, an unstable explosive so dangerous it's not manufactured commercially. Two tall olive jars were filled with 50 ounces of ethylene glycol dinitrate, or EGDN, a chemical cousin to nitroglycerin. Used in dynamite, EGDN is sensitive to shock, heat and friction. Screwing the jar lids could have been enough to set it off. The garbage bags contained 118 pounds of urea fertilizer and 14 pounds of sulfate powder. Mixed with other chemicals, it's a bomb. When the FBI detonated five pounds of the mixture under a big old sedan, the explosion left only shards of car carcass and drifting ash.

Q: "What, if anything, did you do with the Safeway olive-jar containers that had the brown liquid?"

A: "I tipped them upside-down for the viscosity of it."

Q: "Did you know at the time it contained the equivalent of nitroglycerin? Do you know if you dropped the bottle what would have happened?"

A: "I know."

At that, Johnson made eye contact with Ressam, who returned his gaze and then looked down. Did he feel remorse? Johnson couldn't tell. "My Christian belief says everyone can be redeemed."

Every night before bed, Johnson and his three boys pray for Mommy and baby sister; for Manolin and Yurebe, boys they sponsor in the Dominican Republic; for neighbors; for help in saying no to sin and yes to God. They also pray Ressam will repent and become a Christian, "not in the sappy sense," Johnson says, "but in recognition of 'Hey, I'm a sinner.' " He adds, "Even though I'm praying for the guy, I want to get in that cell and throttle him."

On Sept. 11, Johnson worked out his sadness and anger by running the ramps behind the Federal Building. Changing clothes at his locker, Johnson spied his medal, still dangling from its blue ribbon. He thought about what could have been, and for the first time, he felt proud.

"Yeah," he said. "That's OK."

HANDCUFFED, RESSAM lay on cold pavement while traffic detoured around him. His left cheekbone was scraped; he curled his legs like a dead spider, not resisting, but not cooperating. "So I applied pain compliance to his wrist," Johnson said, "and that's when he decided he was going to walk back." A patrol car arrived to drive them the last few blocks.

In the trailer, the inspectors pulled out field kits to test the white granules in the garbage bags. They still thought it was dope, but all the drug tests were negative. Then, they remembered the four black boxes in the trunk and unscrewed one of the lids. A Casio watch face stared back, laced to a circuit board with red wires.

Calls had gone out. Layers of law enforcement arrived and swarmed around the little ferry terminal. In the backseat of the patrol car, still handcuffed, Ressam kept peeking over the edge of the window, then ducking down as officials poked at the bomb materials in his trunk. Dean wondered if he'd been badly hurt in the scuffle. Should they call medics? They loosened his handcuffs.

At the trial, Ressam's defense attorney cross-examined Inspector Chapman: "You didn't run up to the people at the trunk of the car and say, 'Get away from the trunk of the car. There is something wrong here because this guy is diving down on the seat?' "

A: "No. I'm not trained in testing for either narcotics or any other material. We had individuals that are trained, and I was relying upon their field of expertise."

 
Johnson cut through this parking lot, in front of the Kalakala ferry mural, when running after Ressam, in the dark, through downtown Port Angeles. Every night, Johnson prays with his sons that Ressam will feel remorse. Ressam is in a federal detention center in SeaTac awaiting final sentencing.
 
Everyone cringes when they look back. That night, they'd stored the heat- and shock-sensitive EGDN in the warm basement of the Federal Building, a classic brick and stone edifice heated by steam radiators. Johnson recalls the olive jars knocking against each other as he walked them downstairs. Three days later, an ATF agent drove 900 miles on I-5 with the chemicals before learning how volatile they were. This summer, when testifying against co-conspirator Mokhtar Haouari, Ressam said he was too scared to drive with the chemicals in his car; he'd planned to take Amtrak to Los Angeles instead.

"We didn't realize the magnitude of it that night," Dean says. What started as an ordinary drizzly day had turned into a nervous ferry passenger, then a suspicious car, then a bomb plot, then a Montreal terrorist cell, then a jihad training camp in Afghanistan linked to Osama bin Laden.

Customs inspectors are not experts in such matters. They are good at reading eyes.

"You know how you look in somebody's eyes and there's light? He looked at me and his eyes were dead," Dean says of Ressam. "It was just a chilling chilling chilling feeling. It was like looking at a person who was not there. There was no spark, no life, no soul. His eyes were just flat."

PORT ANGELES Port Director Jerry Slaminski is a beefy man with a moustache who resembles Captain Kangaroo's bigger, less jolly, younger brother.

One wall of his office serves as a glory board. In framed montages, beaming inspectors show off sacks of confiscated marijuana and bricks of cocaine.

The Ressam capture is in the center and features snapshots of the terrorist taken that night in the trailer. He stands next to a fire extinguisher and K9 recruiting poster, pockets turned inside out, undershirt peeking from his gray sweater. There's slight stubble on his hollow cheeks and he's set his face in an expressionless mask. Maybe if he were smiling you could imagine the guy, in an alternate universe, laughing with friends at a soccer match or café. Maybe not.

Next to the glory board, there's a framed photo of President George W. Bush. It's on top of a VCR on which Slaminski shows documentaries to teach his staff about other cultures. Slaminski, who's traveled extensively around the world and was a sky marshal in the Middle East, has a daughter who married a Muslim and moved there. When he imagines Ressam's roots in Algeria, he says:

"What would your identity be, as a man, if you had no job, people are getting killed and you're not sure who's right, the government is corrupt, the rich are getting richer and the poor people are taken advantage of and you'll never amount to anything, anyway, you're never going to get out of the hole, or have a family, or job. They're probably looking for a cause. Trying to find some purpose in life."

Across the room, under a navigational chart of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is another framed photo: Osama bin Laden. He sits cross-legged in a flowing white garment and camouflage jacket. Slaminski sinks into his chair, dark uniform belted and decorated with badges. The leader of the Armed Islamic Group and the head of Port Angeles Customs stare at each other.

Slaminski put bin Laden's picture up on Sept. 12, "thinking I was going to pray for him, but I haven't," he says, tapping a pen on his desk. "I pray that he's going to get caught. I think that would be even better than seeing him killed. Yeah, brought back here in handcuffs and put in a courtroom. It reminds me to pray that justice is done. Also to pray for the people in New York.

"It's intense. Every time I look at it, you feel like you're at war and this is my Public Enemy No. 1, and you don't want to grow lethargic until we control this situation. Maybe someday I can write DECEASED or CAPTURED or DEATH ROW on that picture with this black pen.

"The Bible says pray for your enemies. I find it hard. I want to pray that his soul will be saved, but I can't." The port director pauses, swallows. "Excuse me," he says. His ample jaw trembles. He takes a deep breath. "God's grace is bigger than my grace. To be honest, I believe God allowed that man to be caught as a warning to the U.S. that we were a target and they were trying to penetrate our borders and do damage. Whether it was taken seriously or not, you be the judge."

It is an odd feeling to be on a misty peninsula, in a government office, listening to the director of a tiny port talk about God, jihad and Algerian grandmothers wailing in olive groves. But these are strange times.

"You think of a small town like this as a quiet haven of peace where you can escape this kind of thing," Slaminski says. "There's no place in the world to run from this anymore. No country's too small, no city's too small."

Every month in Port Angeles, customs inspectors seize Cuban cigars and a few bottles of Tylenol with codeine. Every other month, they confiscate a joint or two. Once a year, they'll uncover a notable load, like last year's 120 pounds of marijuana in a motorhome. Mostly, the port deals with the surplus of bountiful nations: tourists and commercial truckers.

The tidy office is stocked with rubber stamps, staplers, a fax machine, Scotch tape, manila folders, pencil jars, paperclips, envelopes. The implements of civil society. Office supplies never looked so vulnerable.

In three weeks, it will be two years since Ressam took the ferry to Port Angeles.

Every day, 249,000 people cross the northern border between Canada and the United States. In December, more than 5 million passengers typically travel through the Los Angeles International Airport. In the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac, Ahmed Ressam is cooperating with the FBI in hopes of getting less than 130 years at his Feb. 14 sentencing. In Afghanistan, the United States is dropping 7½-ton bombs as big as Volkswagen Beetles. Osama bin Laden remains at large.

On the Port Angeles waterfront, wind whips the flags. Every evening, when the ferry docks, Diana Dean smooths on an extra layer of Chapstick and goes out to meet the boat. She winks and waves at everyone, almost.

Paula Bock is a Pacific Northwest magazine staff writer. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.
9921  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: January 05, 2009, 10:50:18 PM
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2001/1125/cover.html

  

 
WRITTEN BY PAULA BOCK
PHOTOGRAPHED BY BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER

 
 
  In quiet Port Angeles, local folks tackle a terrorist - and nothing has been quite the same since
 

 
EVER SINCE terrorist Ahmed Ressam drove off the ferry from Victoria, B.C., with 135 pounds of bomb ingredients hidden in his trunk, the folks at U.S. Customs — who caught and chased him on foot through the streets of Port Angeles — have wondered many things.
Was the Los Angeles airport really his only target?

What would've happened if they hadn't caught him?

Most of all, why did he pick Port Angeles? Does that mean (and this gives them the creeps) that he scoped them out before that drizzly night?

Let's say he did. Ressam would have spied an international border crossing that looks, frankly, homemade. Most of the operation takes place outdoors under an awning balanced on creosote pilings, a structure more casually built than your average picnic shelter.

Instead of sitting in booths, the inspectors stand in the salty air next to tables slapped together from scrap lumber, painted gray. To make a phone call or check the computer, they head for a trailer furnished with 1940s office chairs, masonite clipboards, a combo-dial safe and a brass-handled filing cabinet left over from the "Casablanca" era. There are no surveillance cameras. Sparrows and seagulls flit in the rafters. One of the inspectors, since retired, fed the birds on the sly even though they tended to spatter her spit-and-polish colleagues. Despite this ever-present danger, most of the customs officials smile a lot.

Inspector Diana Dean appears to be smiling even when she isn't because her warm brown eyes turn up at the corners, like a Kewpie doll's, and she often winks at the ferry passengers when they show their Murchie's Tea and ask for directions to Highway 101.

 
Inspectors wonder whether terrorist Ahmed Ressam scoped out Port Angeles before he boarded the Coho ferry in Victoria, B.C., and attempted to bring nearly 135 pounds of bomb ingredients into America through their tiny port. When they discovered the load, he fled on foot and they chased him up the street at left, tackling him a few blocks later.
 
Headed to Crescent Lake? She directs them west, past an abandoned shack improbably labeled, CURRENCY EXCHANGE. Seattle? Dean points east in the direction of Omelet King and Dairy Queen.

She waves. "You're good to go!"

Friendly border, no barbed wire. It'd be understandable if an international terrorist mistook this port for easy entry.

Wrong.

ALONG WITH her disarming smile, Diana Dean carries a Glock.

All that day — the day before Ressam, before everything — she'd been out on the firing range with her colleagues, practicing in the rain. Target shooting. Take downs. Handcuffings. Fun when you're in your 20s or 30s, Dean says, but she's well beyond that, and by late afternoon, she was eager to finish, tend to the evening ferry and go home to a hot shower.

What to make for dinner? That was the only thing on her mind. Something quick. Baked potatoes. Hamburger. One of Dean's three grown daughters is vegetarian. Whether to accommodate her that night. Typical Tuesday. December 14th, 1999.

 
At first, customs inspectors thought the load was dope, but field tests were negative. Then they remembered the black boxes, unscrewed the lids and found these timers rigged from Casio watches.
 
The Millennium was just around the corner, hardly a blip on Dean's radar screen, security or otherwise. Christmas came first. At home, the tree was already up. Downtown, shopkeepers had decorated the streets with little white lights. It wasn't cold enough to frost the breath, but damp.

At 5:30, the ferry from Victoria docked with only 20 vehicles aboard. Dean checked cars in Lane 2, the center lane, while Inspectors Mark Johnson, Mike Chapman, Steve Campbell and Dan Clem worked the other lanes and foot passengers.

"When I'm working a car, I'm always glancing at the next one behind," Dean says. "If it looks like grandma and grandpa from Sequim, it probably is. You're going to ask different questions depending on whether they have U.S. or Canadian plates. You eyeball that person and see if what they look like matches with who they say they are."

 
Instead of a spare tire, the wheel well of Ressam's rental car held 10 bags of urea fertilizer, two olive jars with an amber liquid similar to nitroglycerin, pill bottles filled with highly volatile military-grade explosives and four timers. Ressam brought some of the chemicals from a jihad training camp in Afghanistan, assembled the bomb in a Vancouver motel and said he planned to detonate it at the Los Angeles International Airport.
 
All the other passengers were "regular, normal people," Dean recalls. Ressam's rental car is the only one she remembers. Did he pick her line, she wonders now, "maybe, because I'm a woman?"

It was the last vehicle off the boat, a dark green Chrysler 300M with B.C. plates, a luxury sedan usually favored by the older set. The driver was small and wore long sideburns and a too-big camelhair coat. He looked to be in his early 30s. He rolled down the window.

"Where are you going?" Dean asked him.

"Sattal," he said. Nervous, she thought. Out-of-the-ordinary nervous.

"Why are you going to Seattle?"

"Bisit," he said. Fidgeting.

"Where do you live?"

"Montreal." Oh. French-Canadian. That explains the accent. But not his jumpiness.

"Who are you going to see in Seattle?"

"No, hotel." Why such a roundabout route from Montreal, on two ferries, to visit a hotel in Seattle? Doesn't make sense, Dean thought. The man became more agitated, began rummaging in the console.

"The minute the hands disappear," Dean says, "you get nervous."

Secondary inspection. She gave him a customs declaration to get his hands busy and asked for his driver's license. It identified him as Benni Noris of Montreal.

Not quite. Though he later claimed "I am a not a citizen of anywhere," Ahmed Ressam is Algerian, born there in 1967. He worked a while in his father's coffee shop before moving to France under a false name, then to Montreal, where he lived on welfare and petty thievery and joined a terrorist cell. In 1998, he learned to rig bombs, conduct urban warfare and do surveillance at a jihad training camp in Afghanistan. In 1999, he returned to Vancouver, B.C., with the key chemicals for making the bomb for Los Angeles and spent several days putting it together with accomplice Abdelmajid Dahoumane in Room 118 of the 2400 Inn. The men kept the window open despite the wet, rainy weather, housekeeping staff testified, and left an acid burn on a table and corroded plumbing.

Ressam then drove to Victoria, where he called ahead to reserve a room at the Best Western hotel near Seattle Center, jotting the number on a notepad from the Empress Hotel. The slip of paper was found in his car along with a Los Angeles map — airports circled — but it would take months for the rest to unfold.

Dean watched the jittery man. Turn off the car, pop open the trunk and step out, she ordered. He didn't comply. By that time, the other inspectors had processed their passengers and were waiting for her to finish. Johnson had served a brief stint in Montreal, so Dean asked him to talk to the French Canadian.

Johnson didn't speak French, but knew Spanish from years working the southern border. "Habla Español?"

"Parlez-vous Français?" the man replied. He handed over his Costco card as identification.

"So you like to shop in bulk?" Johnson joked. "Y'know the 120-roll pack of toilet paper?" He was trying to crack the mask, test whether the guy was feigning no-speak-English. The guy gave him a withering look but wouldn't respond. He was acting "hinky," Johnson says, suspicious.

Johnson escorted him, by the arm, to a gray table to search the pockets of his trench coat. A few steps away, inspectors Clem and Chapman removed a suitcase from the trunk and unscrewed the covering over the spare tire. Clem called out. They'd found something.

Johnson gripped Ressam by both shoulders and walked him to the trunk. They peered inside.

In Johnson's hands, Ressam shuddered.

 
To check the computer, make phone calls or process papers for truckers, Dean and other inspectors head for this vintage trailer at the Black Ball ferry terminal. The hand-hewn tables and lack of surveillance cameras lend the international border station a homey feel, which perhaps lulled Ressam into thinking it'd be an easy crossing.
 
"I CAN'T TELL YOU I've led a very exciting life," Diana Dean says. "Absolutely not one thing extraordinary. Nothing. Totally boring."

When pressed, Dean talks about her animals. She has two llamas, a Dalmatian, another dog, a tiny freshwater puffer fish, two cats, five unnamed chickens, a yellow-naped chartreuse Amazon parrot and two African leopard tortoises, Lily and Luke, whose parents were recently featured in Reptile Magazine. That's the closest Dean admits to fame.

Dean has loved animals since she was a girl growing up in Seattle. Her mom, a Seattle schoolteacher, let her keep baby raccoons, rabbits, cats, dogs, hamsters, even a snake or two. Her father was killed in the Battle of the Bulge shortly before she was born, so she spent a lot of time with her grandparents on their North Dakota farm.

She dreamed of being a veterinarian or marrying a farmer. Instead, she wed a city boy, Tony, whom she'd met at Roosevelt High. He became a sky marshal and then worked in customs. She took courses at Everett and Spokane community colleges, worked as a payroll manager in Seattle, moved to Hawaii when Tony was transferred, then applied to be an inspector herself.

Dean loved the job, especially the airport buzzing with people. She glommed onto inspectors she admired to learn what they looked for and how they asked questions. Over the years, she made several big busts along with run-of-the-mill seizures, even after transferring to Port Angeles, a much quieter port. Dean's boss says she has a "sixth sense," but Dean attributes it to experience and training.

"Being an inspector," she says, "you see the same types day in and day out. I can almost tell who they are, where they're going, and practically what they do for a living. And if they seem a little off, I pull them over for a second look-see."

 
The day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Port Director Jerry Slaminski framed this newspaper photo of Osama bin Laden and placed it across from his desk to remind himself that "the Bible says you should pray for your enemies." So far, that's been too hard. Instead, the port director prays bin Laden will be captured, tried and brought to justice. He hopes to someday scrawl DECEASED or CAPTURED or DEATH ROW across bin Laden's photo.
 
That's all she was doing the night of Dec. 14, 1999, when Ressam came through. "Who would have dreamed it? Never in a trillion years," she says. "You have your life pretty much planned out, and something will happen to change it. You go with what life hands you, I guess I don't know."

Since snagging Ressam, Dean and her colleagues have been honored by the director of U.S. Customs and awarded medals by the U.S. Treasury secretary. They've testified at trials in Los Angeles and New York and in front of Congress in Washington, D.C. A self-described "homebody," Dean had never visited any of these places before. "I'd never heard of Algeria or Afghanistan," she says. "That's not true, but it is. Before, you didn't think of things that go on in other parts of the world."


 
9922  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: January 05, 2009, 10:29:42 PM
http://www.9-11commission.gov/staff_statements/911_TerrTrav_Monograph.pdf

Well worth reading, if you want to get an idea of the challenges we face.
9923  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 05, 2009, 10:21:50 PM
JDN,

The "Palestinian" children are conditioned from birth to wage jihad. Your sob-sister propaganda seems to avoid this truth.

Look up some of the children's programs from http://www.memritv.org/
9924  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: January 05, 2009, 10:04:09 PM
**Anyone here able to tell a Thai that's Buddhist from a Thai that's Muslim?**

http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/023328.php

November 2, 2008
Thailand: jihadists eliminate last Buddhist family from village
A 72 year old mother and her 39 year old daughter. The mother was shot in the head and killed. The father was slain a year ago. Now no more Buddhists (i.e., "pagans," "mushrikin") in Narathiwat.

"Last Buddhist family in Narathiwat village attacked," from the Nation, November 2:

Narathiwat - The last Buddhist family in a village of this southern border province was attacked by Muslim insurgents Sunday, killing the mother and severely injuring the daughter.

The attack against the family in Moo 7 village of Tambon Laloh of Ruesoh district happened at 1:20 pm.

Police said the mother Ladda Sutthani, 72, owner of a clothes shop, was fatally shot and her daughter, Darunee Duangkaew, 39, was severely injured and sent to the provincial hospital.

Ladda, who was shot at her head and neck, died before she was sent to the hospital.

Police said the two were sitting inside the shop with two other relatives and the insurgents arrived on two motorcycles. They initially pretended to buy clothes but opened fire at the mother and daughter while the two relatives managed to flee.

The shop was attacked with a bomb two years ago, injuring Ladda. Darunee's husband was killed about a year ago.

Ladda and Darunee's family is the last Buddhist family in the village.
9925  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 02, 2009, 09:13:07 AM
Moral Clarity in Gaza
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, January 2, 2009; A15

Late Saturday, thousands of Gazans received Arabic-language cell-phone messages from the Israeli military, urging them to leave homes where militants might have stashed weapons.

-- Associated Press, Dec. 27

Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.

Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis -- 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years -- deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.

This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage -- or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb -- will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.

For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom).

At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible -- also on both sides. It's a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost the lives of their own soldiers.

That is the asymmetry of means between Hamas and Israel. But there is equal clarity regarding the asymmetry of ends. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza -- peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza.

What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses that Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned. Instead, Gaza's Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base -- importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly.

The grievance? It cannot be occupation, military control or settlers. They were all removed in September 2005. There's only one grievance and Hamas is open about it. Israel's very existence.

Nor does Hamas conceal its strategy. Provoke conflict. Wait for the inevitable civilian casualties. Bring down the world's opprobrium on Israel. Force it into an untenable cease-fire -- exactly as happened in Lebanon. Then, as in Lebanon, rearm, rebuild and mobilize for the next round. Perpetual war. Since its raison d'etre is the eradication of Israel, there are only two possible outcomes: the defeat of Hamas or the extinction of Israel.

Israel's only response is to try to do what it failed to do after the Gaza withdrawal. The unpardonable strategic error of its architect, Ariel Sharon, was not the withdrawal itself but the failure to immediately establish a deterrence regime under which no violence would be tolerated after the removal of any and all Israeli presence -- the ostensible justification for previous Palestinian attacks. Instead, Israel allowed unceasing rocket fire, implicitly acquiescing to a state of active war and indiscriminate terror.

Hamas's rejection of an extension of its often-violated six-month cease-fire (during which the rockets never stopped, just were less frequent) gave Israel a rare opportunity to establish the norm it should have insisted upon three years ago: no rockets, no mortar fire, no kidnapping, no acts of war. As the U.S. government has officially stated: a sustainable and enduring cease-fire. If this fighting ends with anything less than that, Israel will have lost yet another war. The question is whether Israel still retains the nerve -- and the moral self-assurance -- to win.

letters@charleskrauthammer.com
9926  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: January 02, 2009, 08:35:50 AM
"If it gets warmer, it's climate change." "If it gets colder, it's climate change".  rolleyes
9927  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 01, 2009, 10:37:30 PM
Targeting Dimona suggests a very deliberate escalation with potentially world shaking consequences.
9928  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: January 01, 2009, 07:45:02 PM
**Israel CAN bomb it's way into removing garbage like this from the planet.**

No tears for Hamas leader in Ramallah
Jan. 1, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST

Nizar Rayyan, the Hamas military commander who was killed in Thursday's air raid on his home in the Jabalya refugee camp, was a sworn enemy not only of Israel, but also of the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas.

Rayyan, who had four wives and a dozen children, led the Hamas militiamen who defeated Abbas's security forces in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007. He is the third most senior Hamas leader to be killed by Israel, after the targeted killings of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in March 2004 and his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a few weeks later.

Hamas leaders stressed that Rayyan's death, while a "painful loss" to their movement, would not affect its determination to continue the fight against Israel.

A Hamas spokesman said he did not rule out the possibility that the PA had asked Israel to kill Rayyan because of his role in the Hamas-Fatah clashes in 2007.

"Sheikh Rayyan was one of the main reasons why many of Abbas's men did not sleep well at night," he said. "They knew that as long as the sheikh was around, they would never be able to return to the Gaza Strip."

A few days before Hamas took full control of the Gaza Strip, Rayyan, dressed in military fatigues and carrying a Kalashnikov assault rifle, declared that he and his supporters were planning to hold Friday prayers inside Abbas's presidential compound in Gaza City.

Rayyan personally led the Hamas militiamen who seized the compound and PA security installations throughout Gaza. He later boasted that the Strip had been "cleansed" of "traitors" and "CIA agents" - a reference to Abbas and his former security chiefs.

A few months later, Rayyan again issued a threat against Abbas. This time he declared that he would soon lead Friday prayers inside Abbas's Mukata compound in Ramallah, an indication of Hamas's intention to extend its control to the West Bank.

That was why PA officials in Ramallah Thursday did not shed tears over his departure from the scene. In fact, some of them privately expressed relief, claiming that he was responsible for the killing of scores of Abbas loyalists in the Gaza Strip during the 2007 "coup."

Many Palestinians saw the killing of Rayyan, 60, as a severe blow to Hamas and its armed wing, Izzadin Kassam. Some Hamas supporters said on Thursday that Rayyan was more significant than Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh or senior Hamas leaders Mahmoud Zahar and Said Siam.

"He was one of the most popular figures in Hamas," said a Palestinian journalist who knew the slain Hamas leader for nearly two decades. "He was the type of leader who would go out with the fighters to confront Israeli tanks and fire rockets at Israel. He loved wearing the military uniform."

Apart from serving as a "spiritual" leader for Hamas's armed wing, Rayyan was also a teacher at the Islamic University in Gaza City. His students referred to him as "The Professor" and described him as a prominent Muslim scholar. One student said Rayyan was Yassin's real successor.

Rayyan was a leading authority on the sayings of the prophet Muhammad (Hadith), and the basement of his four-story house had been turned into a library of more than 5,000 books and documents on Islam.

After Islamic studies at universities in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Sudan, he returned to the Gaza Strip and worked as a preacher in several mosques. His fiery sermons and involvement in incitement and terrorism resulted in four years in an Israeli prison.

When the PA assumed control over the Gaza Strip in 1994, Rayyan was one of the first Hamas members to find himself in a Palestinian prison, together with Zahar and Rantisi.

At the beginning of the second intifada, Rayyan sent one of his sons to carry out a suicide attack in Gush Katif's Elei Sinai in 2001. Two Israelis were killed. Rayyan was also responsible for a series of suicide bombings and attacks inside the Green Line, including the suicide bombing in Ashdod Port in 2004 in which 10 Israelis died.

In recent years, Rayyan served as a liaison between the political leadership of Hamas and Izzadin Kassam. He is even said to have been one of the very few Hamas operatives who knew where IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit was being held in the Gaza Strip.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1230733134624&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
9929  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 01, 2009, 10:48:26 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3Xl68kP4wo

More from Floridistan.
9930  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: January 01, 2009, 09:55:43 AM
http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2008/12/floridastan-isl.html

Yes, this is in America. Be horrified and be warned.
9931  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 31, 2008, 05:57:06 PM
Iran needs higher oil prices, and needs to distract the world from it's nuclear program. In addition, it's now probing Obamerica for a response to it's proxy aggression. 

Keep in mind that chess was invented in what is now Iran.
9932  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 31, 2008, 05:41:44 PM
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jhIJtXkGElF-5c9Ourf9Vyl5yygw

Oil prices above 40 dollars, buoyed by Gaza violence
1 day ago

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Oil prices remained above 40 dollars a barrel in Asian trade Tuesday as Israel entered the fourth day of its military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
At midday New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, rose 26 cents to 40.28 dollars a barrel, following a 2.31-dollar rise to 40.02 on Monday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent North Sea crude for February delivery was up five cents to 40.60 dollars a barrel after closing 2.18 dollars higher at 40.55 on Monday in London.
Prices were higher because of a "political risk premium" resulting from the Israeli-Hamas war but should drift lower on underlying weak demand for energy, said Jonathan Kornafel, Asia director of Hudson Capital Energy, a trading firm.
Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza again on Tuesday in what Tel Aviv called an "all-out" war on Hamas, which ended a ceasefire by firing rockets and mortars at the Jewish state.
The fighting fuelled fears of wider tensions in the oil-rich Middle East, traders said. Thin trade owing to the year-end holiday season also made for some price volatility.
Analysts said the price gains were additionally supported by evidence that the oil producers' cartel OPEC was cutting its output in line with an announcement earlier this month.
Previous OPEC production cuts have often been met with only partial compliance.
"Oil is starting to show some life as we head towards the end of the year," said Phil Flynn at Alaron Trading.
"A weak dollar and violence in the Gaza Strip are contributing but mainly this is year-end short covering," he said.
Short covering occurs when traders, who have sold more than they own in hopes that prices will fall, buy up the contracts as the market starts turning higher.
Monday's jump in oil prices sharply contrasted with recent trade. The New York contract had slid for nine sessions before reversing on Friday, while Brent posted its lowest price in more than four years last Wednesday.
Analysts say recent US economic data showing the world's biggest economy -- and largest energy consumer -- remains in a recession is likely to keep prices under pressure in the short term.
A sharp global downturn has slashed world demand for energy, pulling prices sharply lower from record highs of above 147 dollars in July.
New York crude plunged earlier this month to below 33 dollars, its lowest point for almost five years.
9933  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 31, 2008, 04:53:07 PM
http://www.metimes.com/International/2008/12/29/iran_activating_its_proxies/1567/

Iran Activating Its Proxies
By OLIVIER GUITTA (Middle East Times)
Published: December 29, 2008

‘SUPPORT OUR OFFENSIVE’ Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, shown speaking in Sderot on Dec. 28, calls on the international community to support Israel’s military offensive on Gaza. (Photo by Chameleons Eye via Newscom)


After the six-month truce with Israel expired on Dec. 19, Hamas decided, or perhaps was urged, to resume its attacks on Israel. Thus Hamas went on a rampage campaign, firing rockets at Israel to create terror and death among Israeli civilians.
As could be expected, Israel reacted the way most countries would when attacked, and to protect its population against a group it considers to be a terrorist organization.

A new war in the region is likely to benefit only one country: Iran.

Indeed, following the model of the summer 2006 war against Israel triggered by the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Lebanese Shiite organization, Hezbollah, Iran would benefit with a new front opening up.

This time Iran is turning to using its Sunni arm, Hamas. Contrary to what a number of experts in the region profess, Sunni extremists and Shiite extremists have no problem joining forces against a common enemy and putting aside their age-old rivalries.

While Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the founder of the Palestinian Resistance Movement, also known as Hamas, was still alive, he refused to Iran's advances time and again. Yassin was adamant not to engage the Shiites. After his death, Hamas became much more open to Tehran's advances. Recently, Iran has become Hamas' main bankroller and as such wants to have a say in what Hamas should or should not do.

Hamas has most certainly benefited from Hezbollah's experience and could try to mimic Hezbollah's performance during the 2006 war. In fact, right after Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in Aug. 2005, there were quite a few reports of Hezbollah operatives moving into Gaza to help their newfound Sunni brothers.

In light of this new "unnatural" alliance, it would only make sense that Hezbollah offers support to Hamas.

Hezbollah deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem went as far as saying that "Hezbollah's goal is to liberate Palestine." Qassem also called for "the Arab people to rise up to break the blockade imposed to the Palestinians in Gaza," something he described as a "crime against humanity."

Forcing the world's attention on Gaza allows Iran to divert the world's attention from its nuclear program: It's a win-win scenario at this point.

There is a real danger of Hezbollah launching a second front.

Last week the Lebanese army seized eight Katushya rockets aimed at Israel and ready to be fired. These rockets were found about one mile away from the UNIFIL headquarters and about two miles from the Israeli border. So a new front could open up.

Some analysts think Iran is also attempting to create a rift within the Sunni world.

It is therefore not a coincidence that Qassem accused Egypt of plotting "with the Zionist enemy against the Palestinians" and exhorted the Egyptian people to rise up to demand the opening of the borders with Gaza.

Egypt is not the only one targeted by this Iranian strategy; Saudi Arabia is also in the mix. On Dec. 19, hundreds of Saudi Shiites demonstrated in the eastern province - an area mostly populated by Shiites - in support of Gaza, brandishing portraits of Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah and waving Hezbollah flags. Saudi authorities have for a long time been quite concerned with Iran's expansion ambitions to dominate the Gulf region.

--

Olivier Guitta, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a foreign affairs and counterterrorism consultant, is the founder of the newsletter The Croissant (www.thecroissant.com).
9934  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: December 31, 2008, 04:27:42 PM
Fighting is very necessary sometimes but it is also important to remember why we are fighting.    

Agreed.
9935  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anne Frank on: December 31, 2008, 10:38:21 AM
GM,

I knew you were going to post something like  that and its true but --
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank

It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death...and yet...I think...this cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. 

Anne Frank


**And were it not for men with guns that waded ashore on Normandy, her words would be lost to history. Pretty words are nice, but pragmatic responses to threats are what matters.**
9936  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 31, 2008, 09:20:09 AM
http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD216508

Special Dispatch - No. 2165
December 30, 2008   No. 2165

As Gaza Fighting Continues, Egyptian Clerics Intensify Antisemitic Statements; Columbus, Ohio Muslim Scholar/Leader Dr. Salah Sultan: Muhammad Said That Judgment Day Will Not Come Until Muslims Fight the Jews and Kill Them; America Will Suffer Destruction

Following are excerpts from interviews with several Egyptian clerics, which aired on Al-Nas TV and Al-Rahma TV on December 28 and 29, 2008.

One of the clerics, Dr. Salah Sultan, is president of the AmericanCenter for Islamic Research (ACIR), a nonprofit organization registered in Ohio and located in Columbus. On his website, he states that the main purpose of the ACIR is to "serve Allah (God) in the best way possible through the principles laid out in the Quran and Sunnah," to address misconceptions and extremism, to build bridges with non-Muslims, and to issue fatwas. He also states on his website that his own mission is "to achieve Allah's consent and Paradise through the reformation of the soul, the family, the society and the nation according to the methodology of the Quran and the Sunnah," and that his vision is "To live happily. To die as a martyr." [1]

TO VIEW THIS CLIP AND OTHERS YOU MUST LOG IN BY SIGNING UP FOR A FREE MEMRI TV REGISTRATION [www.memritv.org ] To register for MEMRI TV, go to the MEMRI TV site and click "Register" at upper right hand side.

Al-Nas TV, December 28, 2008


"Take My Heart... And Use It to Stone All The Jews... Take My Skin, And Turn It Into a Fuse or a Slingshot for a Child or a Newborn Baby"

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Muhammad Al-Saghir: "I say to the people of Gaza: Take my heart, which has hardened like a stone. Take it, and use it to stone all the Jews. Take my soul, and it will give you shade, for no longer does it fly far away. Take my eye - by Allah, take my eye. Perhaps a handsome youth, who was blinded, could see again. Take my skin, and turn it into a fuse or a slingshot for a child or a newborn baby."

[...]

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa: "Where is the [Islamic] nation? If 20 million people can encircle the Earth, then 20 million people could also drown Israel in a sea of blood." [...]


Al-Rahma TV, December 29, 2008


"We Want to Teach Our Children the Truth About the Jews"; The Jews View "The Rest Of Mankind... as Pigs"

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Muhammad Hassan: "We want to teach our children the truth about the Jews. We want them to know that the [Jews] will never make peace or agree to it. The Jews will never accept any international resolution, from East or West, because they understand nothing but force.

"I remember what the great terrorist Menahem Begin said: We fight, therefore we exist. These are real terrorists. They are extremists. They are blood-suckers. They are shedders of blood. Review the history of the Jews from beginning to end, from the very first moment to the last moment, which is now. They specialize in the shedding of blood, in crime, and in killing - even the killing of prophets."

[...]

Egyptian cleric Sheikh Amin Al-Ansari: "It is told that the Israelites killed more than 70,000 prophets in a single day. It's not the people they want to eradicate, but Revelation itself. They do not want there to be any revelation, purity, religion, or religious law. The secret behind the war between the Jews and non-Jews is that they want to have a monopoly on the spiritual and ideological leadership of the world, and eventually, the physical leadership.

[...]

"By the 'Chosen People,' they mean that they are a people, and all those who are inferior to them are not peoples. In other words, they are human beings, and all others are not. They are people, and all others are not. They are human beings, selected by God to be the leaders of all beings.

"So what about the rest of mankind? They view them as pigs. That's the truth. Pigs! So why do they look like human beings? So that they will be worthy of being servants of the Jews, who could ride on their backs and suck their blood.

"That's why when a Jew kills a Palestinian child, he considers him to be a little pig. What difference is there between the two?! On the contrary, he might show mercy for the pig, as an animal that should not be harmed. The Palestinian child is worth less to him than a pig." [...]


Al-Nas TV, December 29, 2008


"The Stone Which is Thrown at the Jews Hates These Jews, These Zionists, Because Allah Foretold, Via His Prophet Muhammad, That Judgment Day Will Not Come Before the Jew and the Muslim Fight."

Egyptian cleric Dr. Sallah Sultan: "The arch-murderer who commanded the campaign against Jenin in 2003 went to America a few months later and boarded a NASA space shuttle. The space shuttle was launched by NASA, and a few minutes later, it reached Texas, the land of President Bush. Then this space shuttle shattered to pieces, along with the five top American space scientists, and that commander of the Zionist airforce was on board with them. Where exactly did it shatter and fall? By Allah, Sheikh Mahmoud, although I was living in America, I didn't know that there was a city called 'Palestine' in America. Sheikh Mustafa, the space shuttle fell, of all places, in the city of Palestine, in President Bush's state of Texas.

[...]

"The stone which is thrown at the Jews hates these Jews, these Zionists, because Allah foretold, via His Prophet Muhammad, that Judgment Day will not come before the Jew and the Muslim fight. The Jew will hide behind stones and trees, and the stone and the tree will speak, saying: 'Oh Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.' The only exception will be the Gharqad tree."

TV host: "The Jews know this for sure, that's why they plant Gharqad trees."

Dr. Sallah Sultan: "The stone's self-awareness is such that it can distinguish Muslims from Jews."

TV host: "True, and it will support the Muslims."

[...]


"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion Is An Attempt To Rule And Corrupt The Entire World"

Dr. Sallah Sultan: "America, which gave [Israel] everything it needed in these battles, will suffer economic stagnation, ruin, destruction, and crime, which will surpass what is happening in Gaza. One of these days, the U.S. will suffer more deaths than all those killed in this third Gaza holocaust. This will happen soon.

[...]

"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is an attempt to rule and corrupt the entire world. When the world concentrates on its desires and lusts, the [Jews] will be free to implement their plan of controlling the world." [...]

Al-Nas TV, December 28, 2008


"I Take My Little Son Baraa, Who Is 10, and Make Him Look at the Torn Body Parts of His Muslim Brothers - In Order to Sow in His Heart Hatred and Loathing for the Zionists"

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Gheini: "The truth is that I do not understand why the sons of apes do the things they do to us, especially whenever there is a holiday that may make the nation happy. Let me remind you that it was on the day marking the Prophet's nocturnal journey that Sharon defiled the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This was also on a holy day."

[...]

Sheikh Safwat Higazi: "I take my little son Baraa, who is 10 years old, and make him look at the torn body parts of his Muslim brothers, in order to sow in his heart hatred and loathing for the Zionists, so he will know that these are his enemies.

[...]

"Israeli President Shimon Peres used to fill his helmet with the blood of Egyptian POWs, so that whenever he looked at it, he would be reminded that he had fulfilled his duty to his god."

TV host: "The Bahr Al-Baqr massacre is well known."

Sheikh Safwat Higazi: "I cry for us. I think about us. What will become of us? What will we say to our God?"

[...]

"Our generation will bear witness before Allah about each and every traitor and coward. We will have no mercy on them before Allah."

TV Host: "People, this was one of the most powerful messages we had today. These messages are very important. By the way, Dr. Safwat Higazi decided to walk out."



[1] http:www.salahsoltan.com. According to the website, Dr. Sultan is a former professor and president of the Islamic American University in Michigan. He is president of the American Institute for Religious and Cultural Studies, and active in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (headed by Islamist sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, whom he calls "our great scholar"); the Fiqh Council of North America; and the International Association of Muslim Scholars. He served on the board of directors of the Islamic American University, and on the board of trustees of the Muslim American Society. According to his resume, he also serves on the board of trustees of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, and is a member of the Council of Indian Scholars and of the Association of Scholars in Germany. Sultan lectures frequently at the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus, on topics such as the priorities of Islamic work in the U.S. and the role of Muslim men and women in the U.S. According to a calendar on Dr. Sultan's webpage, over the past year he has lectured in Washington, D.C.; New Jersey; Detroit; Dallas; San Diego; Montreal; Cairo; Kuwait; Bahrain; Qatar; and Jeddah, Medina, and Mecca in Saudi Arabia. He has also spoken at the MAS Youth Center Convention Center in Queens and Brooklyn, NY; the Bronx Muslim Center in Bronx, NY; the Union of Imams in Minneapolis, MN; the Omar bin Khatab Mosque and the Bethel Road Mosque in Columbus, OH; the Al-Huda and ICB Mosque in Boston; the Dearborn Mosque in Dearborn, MI; the Islamic Fiqh Council of India in New Delhi; and the European Council for Islamic Rulings and Research in Istanbul. Dr. Sultan worked at the Islamic Center of Greater Worcester, MA and at the Islamic Open University in Washington, D.C
9937  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Invitation to dialog to Muslims on: December 31, 2008, 09:16:36 AM
**And on the other side....**

The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terror   
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Chuck Morse, the author of The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism - Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini. Mr. Morse will be speaking at the International Institute for Holocaust Research-Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, March 23. He is a Republican candidate for Congress in Massachusetts where he is campaigning against Barney Frank.



Glazov: Chuck Morse, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Morse: Thank you.
 
Glazov: Tell us why you wrote your book.
 
Morse: After the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, I was searching for an answer to the question of how people could be so filled with hate for the United States that they would commit such an irrational and barbaric atrocity. Also, why some Arabs hated Jews so much that they would blow themselves up in order to kill as many Jews as possible.
 
Glazov: So what is the psychology of the people who will blow themselves up in order to kill Americans and Jews?
 
Morse: Cult-like subservience is cultivated in young people by older conspirators who have a warped agenda. Hatred starts at home and, in the case of many Palestinian Arabs, the conditioning continues at school. Candidates for suicide missions are drafted and cultivated by the fully witting haters in the same way that baseball scouts find and cultivate talent for the major league. The possibility that mind control techniques are employed, some of which may have been developed in the former Soviet Union, should not be discounted.
 
Glazov: Give us the story on Amin al-Husseini.
 
Morse: Amin al-Husseini, regarded in the Arab world as the founding father of the Palestinian movement, chose the path of denying the national rights of the Jews to that tiny area between the Jordan Rover and the Mediterranean Sea known as Israel.
 
Al-Husseini instigated a pogrom against indigenous Palestinian Jews in 1920. After conviction in absentia, he was pardoned by British Mandate Governor Herbert Samuel, himself a British Jew. Samuel was responsible for elevating al-Husseini as Mufti of Jerusalem thus establishing a strange pattern of western leaders supporting extremists over moderates, a pattern that continues to this day in many cases.
 
In 1936, al-Husseini met with Adolf Eichmann, one of the Nazi masterminds behind the Holocaust against the Jews, in Palestine where Eichmann visited for a few days. Al-Husseini then was put on the Nazi payroll and received Nazi funds which he used to instigate the Arab Revolt of 1937-1939 according to testimony at the Nuremburg and Eichmann trials.
 
In 1941, al-Husseini played a key role in instigating a pro-Nazi coup in Iraq. Following the collapse of the coup, al-Husseini helped instigate the Fahud, or the murder campaign against the indigenous Jews of Iraq, a campaign that has been compared to the kristalnacht in Germany.
 
In November, 1941, al-Husseini met with Hitler in Berlin where he was treated as a visiting head of state. al-Husseini spent the war years in Nazi Germany where he was recognized as the head of state of a Nazi-Arab government in exile. Hitler promised al-Husseini that he would be chief administrator of the Arab world after the Nazi "liberation."
 
While in Nazi Germany, al-Husseini directly participated in the Holocaust against the Jews by preventing the exchange of Jews for German POW's and instead insuring that they went to the crematoria. Al-Husseini led in the effort to train Bosnian Muslim brigades and other Muslim European brigades who were involved in many atrocities. He  funneled monies form the sonderfund, money looted from Jews as they were sent to the concentration camps, sending the funds to the Middle East to be used to promote Nazi and anti-Jewish propaganda.
 
After the war, al-Husseini escaped to Cairo ahead of indictment at Nuremburg where he spent the rest of his life agitating against Israel. He died in Beirut in 1974.
 
Glazov:  In contrast to al-Husseini, there have been moderate Arab leaders who have supported the aspirations of the Jews in Palestine. Can you tell us about them?
 
Morse: Emir Faisal, later King of Syria and Iraq and recognized as political leader of the Arab world, who signed an agreement with Chiam Weizmann, recognized head of the Zionist organization, known as the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement in January, 1919.
 
This agreement, which recognized the Jewish National Home in Palestine, reflected the more moderate and genuinely progressive view held by many Arabs at the time. I contend that this agreement constitutes established international law. Faisal envisioned an Israel, existing within "modest and proper" borders, coexisting with the emerging Arab states and helping those states emerge into modernity with the development of democratic institutions, western economies, and greater civil rights for Arabs. Had the Faisal vision been realized, perhaps the Arab States today would be prosperous and free rather than what they became -- which is authoritarian systems with endemic poverty and little freedom.
 
Glazov: The Koran is ridden with anti-Semitic passages, but at the same time there are passages that recognize a Jewish Israel. Can you comment?
 
Morse: The anti-Semitic passages in the Koran apply to Jews, and Christians, who live in Muslim States and who are considered as "dhimmi's." At the same time, the Koran explicitly recognizes the Jewish State in the following passage:
 
....the words of Moses to his people. He said "Remember, my people, the favors which Allah has bestowed upon you...Enter, my people, the holy land which Allah has assigned for you." (Sura V)"...when the promise of the hearafter cometh to pass (at Judgement Day) we shall bring you as a crowd gathered out of various nations. (Sura XVII: 104)
 
Glazov: So then why do Muslims not follow their holy book and work to give Jews their safe holy land?
 
Morse: Al-Husseini started the process by driving moderate Muslims out of Palestine in the 1920's and 1930's. Moderate Palestinian Arabs were assassinated, driven into exile, or silenced by fear in a policy that continues. The extremists, who have twisted the Koran to suit their own agenda, control the Arab and Muslim street by employing the same terror tactics that they are now using against the western democracies.
 
Glazov: In many respects, you could say that al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas etc. are all, on one level, branches of Nazism. No?
 
Morse:  Nazi money, largely looted from Jews, was used before, during and for decades after the war to help establish and influence these groups. Nazi war criminals emigrated to the Arab countries after the war in an effort known as "Oerationn Odessa." Al-Husseini played a role in this operation. Certainly they have embraced Nazi style anti-Semitism and tactics.
 
Glazov: Nazis like al-Husseini and others in his genre have received support from prominent westerners over their more moderate counterparts. Why?
 
Morse:  This is a fascinating question that I don't have the answer to. Before and during the war, al-Husseini and his ilk were supported by the Nazis while after the war the support came from the Soviet Union and various groups affiliated with the international left. Leftist groups continue to support the radical Islamiso-Fascists as indicated by the anti-Western, anti-Semitic U.N. Conference on Racism held in Durban, South Africa in the summer of 2001.
 
Glazov: So how does all of this information help us? How do we utilize these historical facts to help fight the war on terror?
 
Morse: We support the good guys and strike at those who are striking us. President George W. Bush articulated this doctrine when, after 9/11, he stated that the nations and peoples of the world would have to take sides in the war against the terrorists.
 
Glazov: Mr. Morse, thank you for joining us.
 
Morse: Thank you very much.
9938  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Do Some Good/Filthy Jewish Blood on: December 30, 2008, 08:42:34 PM

Seriously, how do you make peace with people who don't even consider you human?

You can't. They aren't interested anyway.
9939  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: December 30, 2008, 01:42:08 PM
I will be selling solar wind credits now, so no worries.  evil
9940  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 01:38:01 PM
Alternatives exist.



Such as?

Where was the international outrage when Saddam was using WMD on the Kurds and Shiites? Where were the protests when Syria hammered Hama into rubble?

What is the death toll of innocents in Gaza? You know this how?
9941  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 09:56:09 AM
At least Obama wasn't on the boat. Not yet, anyway....

Then again, given the disparity of the number of Israeli's killed (5)  versus the terrible number of innocent women and children being killed,




And what is the terrible number of innocent women and children killed? Please cite your sources.

You never showed me the protests of Saddam's use of WMD on the Kurds and Shiites or Syria's destruction of Hama. Your selective outrage is noted.
9942  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 09:49:54 AM
It came from her pre-attack surveillance of Jewish populations.


Kidding!


Mostly....
9943  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: December 30, 2008, 08:40:16 AM
Somebody fuel up Al Gore's spaceship.....
9944  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 07:57:04 AM
http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3647103,00.html

Report: Egypt to warn Israel of Hizbullah attack

Al-Hayat newspaper reports Turkey, Egypt plan to warn Israel ground operation in Gaza could lead to opening of northern front. Two countries discuss plan to reach truce
Roee Nahmias

Turkey and Egypt plan to warn Israel that if a ground operation is launched in the Gaza Strip, Hizbullah might open another front in south Lebanon, Turkish sources told al-Hayat newspaper.
 
The report, published on Tuesday, said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit visited Ankara on Monday and presented his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan with a document detailing a four-point plan aimed at restoring order and ending the Israeli operation in Gaza.
War on South
Northerners prepare for possible attacks / Hagai Einav
Gaza operation and deteriorating situation in southern Israel prompt northern communities to prepare for possible attacks. Kiryat Shmona, other towns inspect bomb shelters, Ziv Medical Centers instructs staff to stay nearby
Full Story
 
The plan includes a ceasefire, the opening of Gaza crossings the removal of the blockade on the Strip, and the creation of regional and international guarantees that will keep the crossings open and the agreement honored.
 
According to the plan, if Turkey and Egypt work together, they can pressure and convince Israel and influence world opinion.
 
A source from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told al-Hayat there was a general understanding between the two nations on the Egyptian proposal.
 
Aboul Gheit said that Turkey had a proposition of its own, and there were still some points to be clarified regarding a truce and whether the Rafah crossing was included in the crossings the Egyptian document refers to.
 
Commentary: Will Nasrallah attack?
Despite reports of a possible attack from the north, recent speeches by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah indicate he is not headed for war with Israel.
 
Since Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead in Gaza on Saturday, Nasrallah spoke out mainly against Egypt and almost completely avoided mentioning Israel.
 
It seems the Hizbullah leader will settle for mass rallies in support of Gaza and against Israel and the US, and a PR campaign against Egypt.
 
Lebanese sources said Hizbullah would not respond to Israel from Lebanese soil, and that the organization "has no interest in doing so".
 
Nonetheless, Lebanese security forces have increased their alert level ahead of any possible scenarios, including the possibility that Palestinian organizations in Lebanon may try to fire rockets at Israel.
 
The sources also stressed that "rebellious" bodies that may endanger Lebanon in this context were already "under tight supervision".
 
In his speech on Sunday, Nasrallah denied any knowledge of the eight rockets that were discovered last week in southern Lebanon and aimed at Israel. The Hizbullah head accused Israel of planting the rockets in order to frame Lebanon.
 
Stating that his organization was ready for any confrontation if Israel decided to act in Lebanon, Nasrallah's ton of voice indicated he was conveying more of a warning to Israel than an actual threat.
9945  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 06:32:33 AM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

Israel Targets Terror Labs Funded by U.S. Islamic Group
Posted By Patrick Poole On December 30, 2008 @ 12:00 am In . Column2 02, . Positioning, Homeland Security, Israel, Middle East, US News, World News | 3 Comments

The Jerusalem Post [1] reported on Monday that Israeli Defense Forces aircraft bombed suspected Hamas terror laboratories located at the Hamas-run Islamic University of Gaza (IUG).

According to the article, IUG professors were using the labs to build explosives for the terrorist organization. A BBC [2] report confirmed that the IUG science building was the target of the Israeli retaliatory strikes.

Thus far unreported is that the IUG science and technology lab was financed and constructed with the assistance of the Dublin, Ohio-based [3] Arab Student Aid International (ASAI). In fact, the IUG website has a [4] page dedicated to ASAI’s ongoing contributions to the Hamas institution and specifically mentions the labs financed by the Ohio Islamic group. Additionally, the ASAI website [5] promotes its assistance in creating the IUG science and technology center, which was completed in 2002.

In a previously published [6] article I revealed ASAI’s extensive financial ties to the IUG, including direct cash payments to the Hamas school in addition to the facilities construction projects supported by ASAI. The Washington Post also [7] revealed in April 2006 that ASAI had financed the Western education of a number of top Hamas leaders.

The organization’s primary benefactor is Prince Turki Ben Abdul Aziz, a former high-ranking Saudi government official and half-brother to King Abdullah. Prince Turki has lived in exile in Egypt since the 1970s following a highly-publicized marriage scandal, his 100+ entourage occupying the top three floors of the Cairo Ramses Hilton. The prince serves as ASAI’s chairman of the board, and the labs built by ASAI at the IUG bear his name.

The ties between Hamas and the IUG have been long established. The university was founded by Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, and many Hamas leaders hold faculty and administrative positions at the school.

In an August 2007 policy report for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy entitled “[8] Better Late than Never: Keeping USAID Funds out of Terrorist Hands,” Matthew Levitt, former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Treasury Department and author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale Univ. Press), detailed the integral role that IUG plays as part of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure:

Indeed, Israeli and Palestinian scholars alike characterize the IUG as a Hamas institution. Meir Hatina described it as one of the key institutions that “coordinated [Muslim] Brotherhood activities in the Gaza Strip and later constituted a springboard for Hamas.” Similarly, in his book Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza, Ziad Abu Amr depicted the IUG as “the principal Muslim Brotherhood stronghold,” referring to the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, which became Hamas in December 1987. “The University’s administration, most of the employees who work there, and the majority of students are Brotherhood supporters,” he concluded.

Hamas itself has corroborated these ties. In a 2003 interview in the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal boasted of the group’s participation in building the IUG in 1978. And according to FBI surveillance of a 1993 Hamas meeting in Philadelphia, Muin Kamel Muhammad Shabib, a member of the organization’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, briefed attendees on “the situation in Palestine” and the status of “Islamic works” tied to Hamas, naming the IUG as one of “our institutions.” In fact, even a cursory search of articles on LexisNexis through March 2007 produces 149 articles mentioning the IUG and Hamas together. Yet, only after congressional and media scrutiny exposed the taxpayer-funded awards to the Hamas-linked institution was USAID funding for the university terminated.

Other reports have detailed how the IUG has also been used for weapons storage, launching rockets, and holding hostages. In February 2007, Palestinian security forces [9] captured seven Iranian military trainers and confiscated 1,000 Qassam rockets located at the IUG. Another [10] article reported that 2,000 AK-47s were also confiscated, as well as evidence that captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas in June 2006, had previously been held at the university.

A May 2007 International Herald Tribune [11] article described IUG’s centrality in the Fatah-Hamas factional fighting in Gaza, with the university used to launch attacks against their rivals and for military training:

Hamas fighters have been inside Islamic University for days, trying to protect it from another Fatah attack like one last year that badly damaged the school, one of the prime means for Hamas to convert Palestinians to its Islamist cause. Hamas guards at the university have been killed by snipers in previous days, and on Friday, Fatah fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at the school, setting a building on fire, and exchanged gunshots with Hamas men inside.

Fatah said that Hamas fighters were using the university as a base for attacks on nearby police stations.

After the IUG strikes on Monday, IDF spokeswoman Avital Leibovich gave an [12] interview to investigative reporter Aaron Klein, characterizing the militant nature of the IUG and the use of its facilities for the manufacture of Hamas explosives. “This is the first university in world that gives out bachelor’s degrees in rocket manufacture,” she said.

IUG figured prominently in the recent Holy Land Foundation [13] terrorism finance trial, with federal prosecutors entering documents into evidence showing that Holy Land officials used the IUG to [14] funnel funds to Hamas.

With Israel declaring “all-out war” against Hamas, the present conflict will hopefully provide incentive for law enforcement officials to further roll back the extensive Hamas support network in the U.S. Considering the success that prosecutors had in securing convictions on all 108 counts against the Holy Land Foundation defendants, investigating the degree of involvement of Arab Student Aid International in the financing and construction of the IUG Hamas terror labs might be a good place to start.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/israel-targets-terror-labs-funded-by-us-islamic-group/

URLs in this post:
[1] reported: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230111723191&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer
[2] report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7802515.stm
[3] Arab Student Aid International: http://www.arabstudentaid.org/index.htm
[4] page: http://www.iugaza.edu.ps/external/eng/stab.asp
[5] promotes: http://www.arabstudentaid.org/achievements.htm
[6] article: http://www.fsmarchives.org/article.php?id=1344813
[7] revealed: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/29/AR2006042900125_pf.html
[8] Better Late than Never: Keeping USAID Funds out of Terrorist Hands: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2653
[9] captured: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54062
[10] article: http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3361595,00.html
[11] article: http://www.iht.com/bin/print.php?id=5773548
[12] interview: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/?pageId=84806
[13] terrorism finance trial: http://pajamasmedia.com../../../../../blog/the-us-terror-support-network-exposed
[14] funnel funds: http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/IUG_hlf_trial2.pdf
9946  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 06:31:18 AM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

Israel Targets Terror Labs Funded by U.S. Islamic Group
Posted By Patrick Poole On December 30, 2008 @ 12:00 am In . Column2 02, . Positioning, Homeland Security, Israel, Middle East, US News, World News | 3 Comments

The Jerusalem Post [1] reported on Monday that Israeli Defense Forces aircraft bombed suspected Hamas terror laboratories located at the Hamas-run Islamic University of Gaza (IUG).

According to the article, IUG professors were using the labs to build explosives for the terrorist organization. A BBC [2] report confirmed that the IUG science building was the target of the Israeli retaliatory strikes.

Thus far unreported is that the IUG science and technology lab was financed and constructed with the assistance of the Dublin, Ohio-based [3] Arab Student Aid International (ASAI). In fact, the IUG website has a [4] page dedicated to ASAI’s ongoing contributions to the Hamas institution and specifically mentions the labs financed by the Ohio Islamic group. Additionally, the ASAI website [5] promotes its assistance in creating the IUG science and technology center, which was completed in 2002.

In a previously published [6] article I revealed ASAI’s extensive financial ties to the IUG, including direct cash payments to the Hamas school in addition to the facilities construction projects supported by ASAI. The Washington Post also [7] revealed in April 2006 that ASAI had financed the Western education of a number of top Hamas leaders.

The organization’s primary benefactor is Prince Turki Ben Abdul Aziz, a former high-ranking Saudi government official and half-brother to King Abdullah. Prince Turki has lived in exile in Egypt since the 1970s following a highly-publicized marriage scandal, his 100+ entourage occupying the top three floors of the Cairo Ramses Hilton. The prince serves as ASAI’s chairman of the board, and the labs built by ASAI at the IUG bear his name.

The ties between Hamas and the IUG have been long established. The university was founded by Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, and many Hamas leaders hold faculty and administrative positions at the school.

In an August 2007 policy report for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy entitled “[8] Better Late than Never: Keeping USAID Funds out of Terrorist Hands,” Matthew Levitt, former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Treasury Department and author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad (Yale Univ. Press), detailed the integral role that IUG plays as part of the Hamas terrorist infrastructure:

Indeed, Israeli and Palestinian scholars alike characterize the IUG as a Hamas institution. Meir Hatina described it as one of the key institutions that “coordinated [Muslim] Brotherhood activities in the Gaza Strip and later constituted a springboard for Hamas.” Similarly, in his book Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza, Ziad Abu Amr depicted the IUG as “the principal Muslim Brotherhood stronghold,” referring to the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood, which became Hamas in December 1987. “The University’s administration, most of the employees who work there, and the majority of students are Brotherhood supporters,” he concluded.

Hamas itself has corroborated these ties. In a 2003 interview in the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal boasted of the group’s participation in building the IUG in 1978. And according to FBI surveillance of a 1993 Hamas meeting in Philadelphia, Muin Kamel Muhammad Shabib, a member of the organization’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, briefed attendees on “the situation in Palestine” and the status of “Islamic works” tied to Hamas, naming the IUG as one of “our institutions.” In fact, even a cursory search of articles on LexisNexis through March 2007 produces 149 articles mentioning the IUG and Hamas together. Yet, only after congressional and media scrutiny exposed the taxpayer-funded awards to the Hamas-linked institution was USAID funding for the university terminated.

Other reports have detailed how the IUG has also been used for weapons storage, launching rockets, and holding hostages. In February 2007, Palestinian security forces [9] captured seven Iranian military trainers and confiscated 1,000 Qassam rockets located at the IUG. Another [10] article reported that 2,000 AK-47s were also confiscated, as well as evidence that captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas in June 2006, had previously been held at the university.

A May 2007 International Herald Tribune [11] article described IUG’s centrality in the Fatah-Hamas factional fighting in Gaza, with the university used to launch attacks against their rivals and for military training:

Hamas fighters have been inside Islamic University for days, trying to protect it from another Fatah attack like one last year that badly damaged the school, one of the prime means for Hamas to convert Palestinians to its Islamist cause. Hamas guards at the university have been killed by snipers in previous days, and on Friday, Fatah fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at the school, setting a building on fire, and exchanged gunshots with Hamas men inside.

Fatah said that Hamas fighters were using the university as a base for attacks on nearby police stations.

After the IUG strikes on Monday, IDF spokeswoman Avital Leibovich gave an [12] interview to investigative reporter Aaron Klein, characterizing the militant nature of the IUG and the use of its facilities for the manufacture of Hamas explosives. “This is the first university in world that gives out bachelor’s degrees in rocket manufacture,” she said.

IUG figured prominently in the recent Holy Land Foundation [13] terrorism finance trial, with federal prosecutors entering documents into evidence showing that Holy Land officials used the IUG to [14] funnel funds to Hamas.

With Israel declaring “all-out war” against Hamas, the present conflict will hopefully provide incentive for law enforcement officials to further roll back the extensive Hamas support network in the U.S. Considering the success that prosecutors had in securing convictions on all 108 counts against the Holy Land Foundation defendants, investigating the degree of involvement of Arab Student Aid International in the financing and construction of the IUG Hamas terror labs might be a good place to start.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/israel-targets-terror-labs-funded-by-us-islamic-group/

URLs in this post:
[1] reported: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230111723191&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/Printer
[2] report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7802515.stm
[3] Arab Student Aid International: http://www.arabstudentaid.org/index.htm
[4] page: http://www.iugaza.edu.ps/external/eng/stab.asp
[5] promotes: http://www.arabstudentaid.org/achievements.htm
[6] article: http://www.fsmarchives.org/article.php?id=1344813
[7] revealed: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/29/AR2006042900125_pf.html
[8] Better Late than Never: Keeping USAID Funds out of Terrorist Hands: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC05.php?CID=2653
[9] captured: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54062
[10] article: http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3361595,00.html
[11] article: http://www.iht.com/bin/print.php?id=5773548
[12] interview: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/?pageId=84806
[13] terrorism finance trial: http://pajamasmedia.com../../../../../blog/the-us-terror-support-network-exposed
[14] funnel funds: http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/IUG_hlf_trial2.pdf
9947  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 06:26:18 AM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/12/30/bon-voyage-jihad-cindy-mckinney/

At least Obama wasn't on the boat. Not yet, anyway....
9948  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 04:01:40 AM
http://www.asharqalawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=15194

Iran Hardliners Register Volunteers to Fight Israel

29/12/2008

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A group of Iranian hard-line clerics is signing up volunteers to fight in the Gaza Strip in response to Israel's air strikes that have killed at least 300 Palestinians, a news agency reported on Monday.

"From Monday the Combatant Clergy Society has activated its website www.rohaniatmobarez.com for a week to register volunteers to fight against the Zionist regime (Israel) in either the military, financial or propaganda fields," the semi-official Fars news agency said.

Israel patrols the coastal waters around Gaza and has declared areas around the enclave a "closed military zone."

The hard-line Iranian group, which is headed by some leading clergy, says it has no affiliation with the government and was formed shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious decree to Muslims around the world on Sunday, ordering them to defend Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks "in any way possible."

A religious decree is an official statement by a high-ranking religious leader that commands Muslims to carry out its message. While there is no religious and legal force behind it, Khamenei is respected by many Iranian and non-Iranian Shi'ites.

Iran refuses to recognize Israel, which accuses Tehran of supplying Hamas Islamists with weapons. Iran denies the claim, saying it only provides moral support to the group.

Israel said the strikes, that have killed 307 Palestinians, were launched in response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip after the Islamist Hamas group ended a six-month ceasefire a week ago.

Fars said the hard-line group provided volunteers with a registration document called "Registration form for dispatching volunteers to Gaza." It said more than 1,100 people so far had registered for military service against Israel.

Khamenei said on Sunday that whoever was killed in the fight to defend Palestinians was "considered a martyr."

Iran will send its first ship carrying aid to the Gaza Strip on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said.

"Iran has dispatched its first plane load of aid, including medicine, to Gaza on Sunday. The second cargo is on the verge of being dispatched," Qashqavi told reporters on Monday. "The first aircraft arrived in Egypt last night."

Israel, which patrols the coastal waters around Gaza, tightened its blockade of the Gaza Strip two years ago after Hamas won a parliamentary election.

The Jewish state turned back a Libyan ship from delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza earlier this month.

Tens of thousands of Iranians protested on Monday to condemn the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which began with air strikes on Saturday.

Protesters burned Israeli and U.S. flags and demanded a stronger response from international organizations to stop Israel's raids, a Reuters witness said.

They also called on Islamic countries to boycott "Zionist companies."
9949  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 03:57:49 AM
I think this open question is part of why Israel has made it's move now.
9950  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: December 30, 2008, 03:05:00 AM
Groundhog Day for the Fifth Column of Malice   
By Melanie Phillips
Spectator.co.uk | Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So there is indeed now a war. In Gaza. Actually, there are two wars going on: one involving rockets and warplanes, and the other involving the media, as Barry Rubin notes:
Nothing is clearer than Hamas’s strategy. It gives Israel the choice between rockets and media, and Hamas thinks it is a situation of, ‘We win or you lose.’...The smug smiles are wiped off the faces of Hamas leaders. Yet they have one more weapon, their reserves, they call up the media. Those arrogant, heroic, macho victors of yesterday--literally yesterday as the process takes only a few hours--are transformed into pitiful victims. Casualty figures are announced by Hamas, and accepted by reporters who are not on the spot. Everyone hit is, of course, a civilian. No soldiers here. And the casualties are disproportionate: Hamas has arranged it that way. If necessary, sympathetic photographers take pictures of children who pretend to be injured, and once they are published in Western newspapers these claims become fact.

All too predictable – and going to plan, with assistance from the
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who condemned ‘excessive use of force leading to the killing and injuring of civilians’, and Navi Pillay, the ludicrous UN High Commissioner for ‘Human Rights’, who ‘strongly condemned Israel’s disproportionate use of force.’ Of course, the UN has been silent about the actual violations of international law by the Palestinians, as pointed out here by Justus Reid Weiner and Avi Bell:

The Palestinian attacks violate one of the most basic rules of international humanitarian law: the rule of distinction, which requires combatants to aim all their attacks at legitimate targets - enemy combatants or objects that contribute to enemy military actions. Violations of the rule of distinction - attacks deliberately aimed at civilians or protected objects as such - are war crimes.

Furthermore, say Weiner and Bell, Israel actually has a legal duty to take action against Hamas under the Genocide Convention:

In carrying out their attacks on Israeli Jews as part of a larger aim to kill Jews, as demonstrated by the Hamas Covenant, many of the Palestinian terrorists are also violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Under Article 1 of the Genocide Convention, Israel and other signatories are required to ‘prevent and punish’ not only persons who carry out such genocidal acts, but those who conspire with them, incite them to kill and are complicit with their actions. The Convention thus requires Israel to prevent and punish the terrorists themselves, as well as leading figures that have publicly supported the Palestinian attacks. Article 2 of the Convention defines any killing with intent ‘to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such’ as an act of genocide.

But for exercising its legal duty in accordance with international law, Israel is condemned and told to stop by politicians such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband. The moral inversion is staggering. Miliband has called for an immediate ceasefire by Israel. The implication is that Israel should suffer the Palestinian rockets attacks indefinitely.

If anything has been ‘disproportionate’, it’s been Israel’s refusal to take such action during the years when its southern citizens have been terrorised by rockets and other missiles raining down on them from Gaza. No other country in the world would have sat on its hands for so long in such circumstances. But whenever Israel defends itself militarily, its response is said to be ‘disproportionate’. The malice, ignorance and sheer idiocy of this claim is refuted here comprehensively by Dore Gold, who points out that Israel’s actions in Gaza are wholly in accordance with international law. This permits Israel to launch such an operation to prevent itself from being further attacked. Moreover, it defines ‘disproportionate’ force as when

force becomes excessive if it is employed for another purpose, like causing unnecessary harm to civilians.

But Israel has demonstrably not been targeting civilians but Hamas terrorists. Despite the wicked impression given by the media, most of the casualties in this operation have been Hamas operatives. Even Hamas itself has admitted that the vast majority of sites Israel has hit were part of their military infrastructure. UNRWA officials in the Gaza Strip have put the number of deaths at 310, of whom 51 were civilians. The rest were Hamas terrorists.

Certainly, some civilian casualties are regrettably inevitable in any such situation – but particularly so in Gaza, since Hamas has deliberately sited its terrorist infrastructure amongst the civilian population.

Those who scream ‘disproportionate’ think – grotesquely -- that not enough Israelis have been killed. But that’s in part because Israel cares enough about human life to construct air raid shelters where its beleaguered civilians take cover; Hamas deliberately stores its rockets and other apparatus of mass murder below apartment blocks and in centres of population in order to get as many of its own people killed as possible as a propaganda weapon. Hamas is thus guilty of war crimes not just against Israelis but against the Palestinian people. Yet on this there is – fantastically, surreally – almost total silence in the west, which blames Israel instead. Historical resonances, anyone?

In any event, if by ‘disproportionate’ is meant merely an imbalance in the numbers who are killed on either side, this is actually inescapable if the infrastructure of aggression is to be defeated. Many more died in Afghanistan than in the 9/11 attacks; yet that war was necessary to destroy the Taleban. Many more died in Nazi Germany or Japan than in Britain or America during World War Two. Yet the scale of the Allied offensive was necessary to defeat Nazism and prevent yet more carnage amongst its designated victims.

The disgusting fifth column in the Gaza conflict, however, is – as ever – the western media. It was telling to witness the sight of British TV camera crews heading out to Israel on Saturday night. The point was that they weren’t already there – because their editors had not thought it necessary to send them to cover the resumed rocket attacks on southern Israel. Indeed, hardly anyone in Britain is aware that Israel is only now finally responding to some 6000 rocket attacks since 2001, with a fifty per cent increase after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. British journalists were only dispatched to the battle zone when Israel finally retaliated – because, appallingly, it is only Jewish violence that is ever the story.

As a result, Israel is painted – wholly unjustly and untruthfully -- as the aggressor. The ineffable BBC reported in radio bulletins on Saturday that Israel’s attack had ‘put back the chance of peace in the region’. Most sane people would think that the reason peace in the region had been put back was that Hamas was continuing to wage aggressive war. And indeed, even now it is still firing rockets at Israel, including Katyushas and Iranian Grads which are reaching as far as Ashkelon and Ashdod. Today they killed another Israeli in Ashkelon and injured many more -- including several Israeli Arabs.

If the media have mentioned the attacks on Israel at all, they have done so as an afterthought. The main story is ‘disproportionate’ Israeli violence. As far as I can see, there has been no mention of the extraordinary fact that on the day prior to the start of the Israeli operation, a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip was admitted to hospital in Israel for medical treatment for a severe wound -- inflicted upon him by a stray Hamas rocket which had been fired at Israel.

What other country would treat its enemies in own hospitals – which Israel does routinely with Palestinians from Gaza -- even when they are wounded as a direct consequence of their own side trying to murder yet more Israelis? What other country would provide or enable the supply of electricity, gas and other essentials to people who use such facilities to continue trying to murder as many Israelis as possible? On Sunday, for instance, as Ha’aretz reported, the Kerem Shalom crossing was opened to let through 26 trucks carrying food and medical equipment. Today it was opened again and about 40 trucks had entered with food and medical supplies by midday. Yet organizations such as Amnesty International have condemned Israel's imposition of all ‘blockades’ on the Gaza Strip as ‘collective punishment’, and Jeremy Hobbs, Director of Oxfam International, has called on Israel ‘immediately [to] lift its inhumane and illegal siege’.

Yet it is Hamas that is refusing wounded Gazans access into Egypt for treatment -- and indeed the Egyptians even opened fire on them. So where are the screams about Egyptian and Hamas brutality? Where are Amnesty and Oxfam’s condemnation of Hamas and Egypt? And might all those from the Foreign Secretary down screaming about a ‘humanitarian disaster’ in Gaza pause for one second and look at the well-fed, healthy Gazans parading across their TV screens? If that’s a ‘humanitarian disaster’ – with supplies constantly pouring through the illegal tunnels from Egypt, along with billions of dollars-worth of missiles with which to commit mass murder -- what do they call what’s happening in Zimbabwe, which for some unaccountable reason inspires among the high-minded merely indifference?

Such bigotry and malice are not confined to British media and NGOs. On Salon, Glenn Greenwald whines about

America’s one-sided support for whatever Israel does from our political class, and one-sided condemnation of Israel's enemies (who are, ipso facto, American enemies) -- all of it, as usual, sharply divergent from the consensus in much of the rest of the world.

Oh really? Well, Hamas has been blamed for this war by Mahmoud Abbas, who said Hamas could have avoided this attack if it had prolonged its ‘cease-fire’. It has been blamed for this war by Egypt; and Arab states which are terrified of Islamism in general and Iran in particular are privately rooting for Israel to wipe Hamas out. Even the Israeli left is supporting this operation. The only people taking the side of the genocidal terrorists of Hamas are the western media, parroting their propaganda and thus inciting yet more to join the murderous rampage against Israel as well as ratcheting up the pressure on world leaders to force Israel to stop before Hamas is destroyed.

Isn’t there a case for legal action against these media outlets on account of their blood libels, for indirectly aiding the perpetrators of attempted genocide?

Melanie Phillips is a British social commentator and author and a columnist for the Daily Mail. Her articles can be found on her website, www.melaniephillips.com.
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