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29251  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Albuquerque stick fighting on: March 12, 2006, 12:06:04 PM
What can I say?  He's like that , , ,
29252  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 12, 2006, 08:07:25 AM
Wafa Sultan's website!
29253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 11, 2006, 12:10:28 PM

March 11, 2006
The Saturday Profile
For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats
LOS ANGELES, March 10 ? Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.

Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.

She said the world's Muslims, whom she compares unfavorably with the Jews, have descended into a vortex of self-pity and violence.

Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.

In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private.

"I believe our people are hostages to our own beliefs and teachings," she said in an interview this week in her home in a Los Angeles suburb.

Dr. Sultan, who is 47, wears a prim sweater and skirt, with fleece-lined slippers and heavy stockings. Her eyes and hair are jet black and her modest manner belies her intense words: "Knowledge has released me from this backward thinking. Somebody has to help free the Muslim people from these wrong beliefs."

Perhaps her most provocative words on Al Jazeera were those comparing how the Jews and Muslims have reacted to adversity. Speaking of the Holocaust, she said, "The Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling."

She went on, "We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people."

She concluded, "Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."

Her views caught the ear of the American Jewish Congress, which has invited her to speak in May at a conference in Israel. "We have been discussing with her the importance of her message and trying to devise the right venue for her to address Jewish leaders," said Neil B. Goldstein, executive director of the organization.

She is probably more welcome in Tel Aviv than she would be in Damascus. Shortly after the broadcast, clerics in Syria denounced her as an infidel. One said she had done Islam more damage than the Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, a wire service reported.

DR. SULTAN is "working on a book that ? if it is published ? it's going to turn the Islamic world upside down."

"I have reached the point that doesn't allow any U-turn. I have no choice. I am questioning every single teaching of our holy book."

The working title is, "The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster."

Dr. Sultan grew up in a large traditional Muslim family in Banias, Syria, a small city on the Mediterranean about a two-hour drive north of Beirut. Her father was a grain trader and a devout Muslim, and she followed the faith's strictures into adulthood.

But, she said, her life changed in 1979 when she was a medical student at the University of Aleppo, in northern Syria. At that time, the radical Muslim Brotherhood was using terrorism to try to undermine the government of President Hafez al-Assad. Gunmen of the Muslim Brotherhood burst into a classroom at the university and killed her professor as she watched, she said.

"They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, 'God is great!' " she said. "At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god."

She and her husband, who now goes by the Americanized name of David, laid plans to leave for the United States. Their visas finally came in 1989, and the Sultans and their two children (they have since had a third) settled in with friends in Cerritos, Calif., a prosperous bedroom community on the edge of Los Angeles County.

After a succession of jobs and struggles with language, Dr. Sultan has completed her American medical licensing, with the exception of a hospital residency program, which she hopes to do within a year. David operates an automotive-smog-check station. They bought a home in the Los Angeles area and put their children through local public schools. All are now American citizens.

BUT even as she settled into a comfortable middle-class American life, Dr. Sultan's anger burned within. She took to writing, first for herself, then for an Islamic reform Web site called Annaqed (The Critic), run by a Syrian expatriate in Phoenix.

An angry essay on that site by Dr. Sultan about the Muslim Brotherhood caught the attention of Al Jazeera, which invited her to debate an Algerian cleric on the air last July.

In the debate, she questioned the religious teachings that prompt young people to commit suicide in the name of God. "Why does a young Muslim man, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up?" she asked. "In our countries, religion is the sole source of education and is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched."

Her remarks set off debates around the globe and her name began appearing in Arabic newspapers and Web sites. But her fame grew exponentially when she appeared on Al Jazeera again on Feb. 21, an appearance that was translated and widely distributed by the Middle East Media Research Institute, known as Memri.

Memri said the clip of her February appearance had been viewed more than a million times.

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations," Dr. Sultan said. "It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality."

She said she no longer practiced Islam. "I am a secular human being," she said.

The other guest on the program, identified as an Egyptian professor of religious studies, Dr. Ibrahim al-Khouli, asked, "Are you a heretic?" He then said there was no point in rebuking or debating her, because she had blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran.

Dr. Sultan said she took those words as a formal fatwa, a religious condemnation. Since then, she said, she has received numerous death threats on her answering machine and by e-mail.

One message said: "Oh, you are still alive? Wait and see." She received an e-mail message the other day, in Arabic, that said, "If someone were to kill you, it would be me."

Dr. Sultan said her mother, who still lives in Syria, is afraid to contact her directly, speaking only through a sister who lives in Qatar. She said she worried more about the safety of family members here and in Syria than she did for her own.

"I have no fear," she said. "I believe in my message. It is like a million-mile journey, and I believe I have walked the first and hardest 10 miles."
29254  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Enlaces de interes on: March 10, 2006, 08:44:07 AM
Este hilo es para compartir las direcciones de enlaces que puedan ser de interes.  Si alguien quier comentar sobre los contenidos, favor de comenzar un hilo dedicado al tema.
29255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 09, 2006, 07:43:57 AM
The United States and Iran: Intelligence Wars
March 08, 2006 23 59  GMT

By Fred Burton

There has been a clear uptick in tensions between the United States and Iran recently. The most obvious aspect of this -- but the least interesting, in our view -- has been the escalation of rhetoric concerning Iran's nuclear program. Much more intriguing, from an intelligence perspective, is a series of lower-level events -- including the continuation of a spate of bombings in Khuzestan province, some creative blame-throwing by Iranian leaders over those bombings and over the recent explosion at the Golden Mosque in As Samarra, and the creation of a new Iran office at the U.S. State Department that will place special emphasis on a democratic transition in Tehran.

The public rhetoric is only one part of a much larger game that is always being played, and in which much of the action occurs in the shadows. It long has been our view that the nuclear program is not an end in itself for Iran; if Tehran really wanted to develop nuclear weapons, it would do so with utter secrecy. Rather, it is a mechanism that can be used as political leverage as Tehran pursues other goals. Like North Korea, Iran has found discussion of its nuclear program useful for cranking up or turning down tensions with West, and, in this case, for managing the way it is perceived within the Muslim world. To the extent that the matter is publicly discussed, the nuclear issue is basically a sideshow.

But Iran, like all nation-states, has other tools as well -- and its intelligence apparatus is an important one. Whether friends or enemies, states are constantly collecting intelligence against each other. Given certain geopolitical realities -- including the situation in Baghdad, where Iranian influence is strong but certainly not as strong as Tehran has dreamed it might become, and Iran's support for Hezbollah -- there is every reason to believe at this juncture that intelligence collection is being stepped up on both sides. What is intriguing about Tehran's reactions to the mosque bombing in Iraq, the attacks in Khuzestan and other events is that its statements on these events convey the mindset of the regime -- both its fears and what it sees as its options -- more clearly than the highly public and carefully orchestrated exchanges over the nuclear program.

In short, it appears the stage is being set on the tactical side for a covert intelligence war. If history serves as any guide, the implications of such a shift could be far-reaching: Following the 1979 revolution, Iran engaged in an assassination campaign that targeted Iranian dissidents around the world as well as Western and Jewish diplomats and businessmen, sometimes in retaliation for what it viewed as strikes against Iranian interests by Western intelligence agents. Certainly the rules of the game have changed significantly for the post-9/11 world, but a covert campaign, particularly of the sort that has been successful in the past, well could remain a viable option if an embattled Tehran feels the need to start pushing back at the West.

A History of Covert Campaigns

Western intelligence agencies first became aware of Tehran's covert campaign against its enemies soon after the revolution. The first targets were Iranian monarchists in exile, who were trying to foment a counterrevolution in Iran. Later, after many of these opponents had been eliminated and the threat brought under control, the Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS) shifted its sights to target exiled dissidents and other opponents of the regime. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, influential leaders of these groups were targeted and assassinated in a sophisticated campaign that spanned the globe.

It is interesting to note the tactics that were used in these strikes. Although Hezbollah pioneered the use of suicide bombings during the 1980s, and certainly was acting for Iran's interests at that time, there was a very different signature to MOIS assassinations. These frequently employed stealth and deception to get the assassins within close range of their targets -- close enough to kill them with pistols or knives, often in the target's home. Though many Iranian agents were caught in time, most escaped serious consequences. Meanwhile, dozens of the ayatollahs' political opponents were killed or injured in France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and other places.

Iranian agents also engaged in more overt attacks, including kidnappings, highly public shootings and grenade attacks in public places, and bombings. Hezbollah was quite active on this front; notable actions included the abductions of CIA station chief William F. Buckley in 1984 and U.S. Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins in 1988 (both men died in captivity) and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That strike was in retaliation for the death of a Hezbollah leader, Abbas Musawi, who was killed by Israeli forces in an ambush.

Another significant action, never publicly linked to the Iranians, was a well-planned strike in 1995 against U.S. consulate employees in Karachi, Pakistan. A van shuttling the employees to the consulate was ambushed and blockaded by three vehicles: a "blocking car" that cut the van off in traffic, another that boxed it in from behind, and a command-and-control vehicle from which observers never emerged. Gunmen from the first two cars slowly and methodically paced the sides of the consulate van, taking careful aim at the passengers before opening fire with their assault rifles. Two consulate employees were killed, and a third was wounded. It is believed that the MOIS staged the Karachi attack in response to the killing of an Iranian agent, for which the United States was blamed.

Covert campaigns of this sort are an important tool for a country like Iran, which has a sophisticated and highly disciplined intelligence service but which could not afford to risk an overwhelming military strike by the United States. Kidnappings and assassinations, carried out with sufficient deniability, have proved an effective way of eliminating enemies and leveraging the country's geopolitical position without incurring unacceptable risk.

Intelligence Tactics

This history of operations has had significant implications for intelligence missions on both sides of the fence.

For the United States, intelligence efforts would include maintaining databases on every known Iranian diplomat around the world, seeking to identify which ones are also MOIS agents. These files would be continually updated with information about the officials' personal lives, travel patterns and meeting partners. The nuclear program and potential links between Iran and militant groups in other countries also would be areas of focus. The United States could expect assistance with collections from Israel's Mossad, which has always had a robust collection operation on Iran, and from friendly Arab services such as the Jordanians and Egyptians.

Technical means of collection also would be brought to bear: satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles and communication intercepts. All U.S. national assets, including signals intelligence (sigint), imagery intelligence (imint) and human intelligence sources (humint), would be used to correlate information flowing in, in order to form as complete a picture as possible of what the Iranians are doing and what they are likely to do next.

Given its connections to militant groups like Hezbollah, Iran has shaped its collection efforts in the past toward gathering information on potential targets and planning possible retaliatory attacks. In today's setting, collections likely would be conducted by MOIS as well as by Hezbollah agents and Iranian proxies active in Iraq. If strikes were to be carried out, they likely would consist of easily deniable one-off hits and possibly attacks against the assets of governments allied with Washington or American proxies in the region. Strikes against U.S. and British troops in Iraq also would be a possibility. Target selection would be tied to what types of attacks would send the most appropriate signal to the West. It would be imperative that Iran's involvement in the action was not immediately obvious, but could be revealed to or discovered by Western intelligence after the fact.

The Game Today

All of which brings us back to recent developments and what it is that Iran seems to be thinking.

First, there was the Feb. 22 bombing of the Golden Mosque in As Samarra, a highly significant Shiite shrine. One of the interesting things about the attack was that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei very quickly, and very publicly, blamed the United States and Israel for the bombing, while urging Iraqi Shia not to retaliate against their Sunni countrymen. The statement was attention-getting, considering the degree to which the United States and Iran were cooperating on Iraqi matters prior to the Iraqi elections in December 2005. Khamenei clearly was reiterating to Washington something that has been said before: Iran, with its influence over the Shiite majority, has the means to create considerable problems for the United States in Iraq if that should become necessary. The fact that others have said this as well -- notably senior diplomat and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani -- signals the level of unease that Tehran has in its dealings with Washington.

Iran also has continued to blame "foreigners" for a continuing string of bombings in Khuzestan province, in the oil-producing southwestern region just across the Shatt al Arab from Iraq. The attacks began last summer, around the time of Iran's presidential elections, and ethnic Arab separatists -- the majority group in the province -- have claimed responsibility for some of the bombings. Given Khuzestan's economic significance to Iran, Tehran is particularly sensitive to any instability there. And at least partly because of Khuzestan's proximity to the part of Iraq occupied by British forces, Tehran suspects that dissidents in the province are receiving covert support from MI6 -- which, from an intelligence perspective, is virtually synonymous with the CIA.

In recent weeks, Tehran has shown itself capable of some truly spectacular contortions in its claims about the activities of Western intelligence units. Among other statements, Iran's interior minister recently claimed that Tehran had "specific intelligence" proving that U.S. agents have infiltrated al Qaeda and now are ordering terrorist attacks as part of their attempts to prove their bona fides. During the same speech, the minister -- Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, who had a long career with Iran's secret police and intelligence agencies -- said that large amounts of explosives found in one of Khuzestan's cities indicated that "there was an extensive plan to deal a blow to the Islamic Republic." Though he did not supply details, the statement itself would seem to indicate that Tehran fears -- or wants to generate fears of -- an escalation in what has been a relatively low-level bombing campaign up to this point.

Iranian media also have carried several claims during the past year that Western agents have been caught spying inside Iran, that U.S. reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles and manned aircraft have overflown its airspace, and even that the British have erected towers on the Fao Peninsula to collect sigint from Khuzestan province.

The claims, or at least the fears behind them, are not illogical. Certainly, Tehran is not deriving any comfort from the fact that the U.S. State Department is now creating an Office of Iran Affairs and publicly has stated that one of its purposes will be to promote a democratic transition in Tehran. Up to this point, the State Department has treated Iran as part of a larger bloc of Persian Gulf states; there are only a small number -- less than a dozen -- countries that have their own regional "office" in this sense. The move reflects the importance the Bush administration is placing on Iran as a long-term priority. Or, from Tehran's viewpoint, Washington is stepping up the pressure as well.

With this in mind, it is noteworthy that there have been reports of more executions in Iran of late. According to Amnesty International, Tehran carried out 29 executions in January and February -- nearly one-third of the total (94) in the entirety of 2005. By itself, of course, this statistic means little; Amnesty's reporting could be wrong, or the rate of executions might drop off later in the year, and so forth. And, of course, executions in Iran can be carried out for a wide variety of crimes, and the number of political dissidents among the total is not known.

Nonetheless, this is an indicator worth monitoring. As history has shown, political dissidents are among the first to be targeted when the Iranian regime feels threatened. That is no accident, as it is members of dissident groups who are most likely in Tehran's eyes to be working with foreign intelligence agents seeking to destabilize the regime.

Should Iran's true level of tensions with the West continue to escalate, it is possible that Tehran might return to tactics it has used successfully in the past to safeguard its interests. The movement, then, would not come in the public sphere of nuclear discussions and rhetoric, but in other, much quieter ways around the globe.
29256  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / looking for people to train with in Honolulu on: March 09, 2006, 07:13:05 AM
I've just emailed Dogzilla about this thread.
29257  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: March 08, 2006, 09:44:40 AM
A Call to the Muslims of the World
from a Group of Freethinkers and
Humanists of Muslim Origin

Dear Friends,

The tragic incidents of September 11 have shocked the world. It is unthinkable that anyone could be so full of hate as to commit such heinous acts and kill so many innocent people. We people of Muslim origin are as much shaken as the rest of the world and yet we find ourselves looked upon with suspicion and distrust by our neighbours and fellow citizens. We want to cry out and tell the world that we are not terrorists, and that those who perpetrate such despicable acts are murderers and not part of us. But, in reality, because of our Muslim origins we just cannot erase the "stigma of Islamic Terrorism" from our identity!

What most Muslims will say:

"Islam would never support the killing of innocent people. Allah of the Holy Qur'an never advocated killings. This is all the work of a few misguided individuals at the fringes of society. The real Islam is sanctified from violence. We denounce all violence. Islam means peace. Islam means tolerance."

What knowledgeable Muslims should say:

That is what most Muslims think, but is it true? Does Islam really preach peace, tolerance and non-violence? The Muslims who perpetrate these crimes think differently. They believe that what they do is Jihad (holy war). They say that killing unbelievers is mandatory for every Muslim. They do not kill because they wish to break the laws of Islam but because they think this is what true Muslims should do. Those who blow-up their own bodies to kill more innocent people do so because they think they will be rewarded in Paradise. They hope to be blessed by Allah, eat celestial food, drink pure wine and enjoy the company of divine consorts. Are they completely misguided? Where did they get this distorted idea? How did they come to believe that killing innocent people pleases God? Or is it that we are misguided? Does really Islam preach violence? Does it call upon its believers to kill non-believers? We denounce those who commit acts of violence and call them extremists. But are they really extremists or are they following what the holy book, the Qur'an tells them to do? What does the Qur'an teach? Have we read the Qur'an? Do we know what kind of teachings are there? Let us go through some of them and take a closer look at what Allah says.

What the Qur'an Teaches Us:

We have used the most widely available English text of the Qur'an and readers are welcome to verify our quotes from the holy book. Please have an open mind and read through these verses again and again. The following quotes are taken from the most trusted Yusufali's translation of the Qur'an.

The Qur'an tells us: "not to make friendship with Jews and Christians" (5:51), "kill the disbelievers wherever we find them" (2:191), "murder them and treat them harshly" (9:123), "fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem" (9:5). The Qur'an demands that we fight the unbelievers, and promises "If there are twenty amongst you, you will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, you will vanquish a thousand of them" (8:65).

Allah and his messenger want us to fight the Christians and the Jews "until they pay the Jizya [a penalty tax for the non-Muslims living under Islamic rules] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (9:29). Allah and his messenger announce that it is acceptable to go back on our promises (treaties) and obligations with Pagans and make war on them whenever we find ourselves strong enough to do so (9:3). Our God tells us to "fight the unbelievers" and "He will punish them by our hands, cover them with shame and help us (to victory) over them" (9:14).

The Qur'an takes away the freedom of belief from all humanity and relegates those who disbelieve in Islam to hell (5:10), calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), and orders its followers to fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left (2:193). It says that the "non-believers will go to hell and will drink boiling water" (14:17). It asks the Muslims to "slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace and that they shall have a great punishment in world hereafter" (5:34). And tells us that "for them (the unbelievers) garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods" (22:19-22) and that they not only will have "disgrace in this life, but on the Day of Judgment He shall make them taste the Penalty of burning (Fire)" (22:9). The Qur'an says that "those who invoke a god other than Allah not only should meet punishment in this world but the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to them, and they will dwell therein in ignominy" (25:68). For those who "believe not in Allah and His Messenger, He has prepared, for those who reject Allah, a Blazing Fire!" (48:13). Although we are asked to be compassionate amongst each other, we have to be "harsh with unbelievers", our Christian, Jewish and Atheist neighbours and colleagues (48:29). As for him who does not believe in Islam, the Prophet announces with a "stern command": "Seize ye him, and bind ye him, And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High. And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! So no friend hath he here this Day. Nor hath he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds, Which none do eat but those in sin." (69:30-37) The Qur'an prohibits a Muslim from befriending a non-believer even if that non-believer is the father or the brother of that Muslim (9:23), (3:28). Our holy book asks us to be disobedient towards the disbelievers and their governments and strive against the unbelievers with great endeavour" (25:52) and be stern with them because they belong to Hell (66:9). The holy Prophet prescribes fighting for us and tells us that "it is good for us even if we dislike it" (2:216). Then he advises us to "strike off the heads of the disbelievers"; and after making a "wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives" (47:4). Our God has promised to "instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers" and has ordered us to "smite above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them" (8:12). He also assures us that when we kill in his name "it is not us who slay them but Allah, in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself" (8:17). He orders us "to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies" (8:60). He has made the Jihad mandatory and warns us that "Unless we go forth, (for Jihad) He will punish us with a grievous penalty, and put others in our place" (9:39). Allah speaks to our Holy Prophet and says "O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern against them. Their abode is Hell - an evil refuge indeed" (9:73).

He promises us that in the fight for His cause whether we slay or are slain we return to the garden of Paradise (9:111). In Paradise he will "wed us with Houris (celestial virgins) pure beautiful ones" (56:54), and unite us with large-eyed beautiful ones while we recline on our thrones set in lines (56:20). There we are promised to eat and drink pleasantly for what we did (56:19). He also promises "boys like hidden pearls" (56:24) and "youth never altering in age like scattered pearls" (for those who have paedophiliac inclinations) (76:19). As you see, Allah has promised all sorts or rewards, gluttony and unlimited sex to Muslim men who kill unbelievers in his name. We will be admitted to Paradise where we shall find "goodly things, beautiful ones, pure ones confined to the pavilions that man has not touched them before nor jinni" (56:67-71). In the West we enjoy freedom of belief but we are not supposed to give such freedom to anyone else because it is written "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good) (3:85). And He orders us to fight them on until there is no more tumult and faith in Allah is practiced everywhere (8:39).

As for women the book of Allah says that they are inferior to men and their husbands have the right to scourge them if they are found disobedient (4:34). It advises to "take a green branch and beat your wife", because a green branch is more flexible and hurts more. (38:44). It teaches that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (66:10). It maintains that men have an advantage over the women (2:228). It not only denies the women's equal right to their inheritance (4:11-12), it also regards them as imbeciles and decrees that their witness is not admissible in the courts of law (2:282). This means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce a male witness. Our Holy Prophet allows us to marry up to four wives and he licensed us to sleep with our slave maids and as many 'captive' women as we may have (4:3) even if those women are already married. He himself did just that. This is why anytime a Muslim army subdues another nation, they call them kafir and allow themselves to rape their women. Pakistani soldiers allegedly raped up to 250,000 Bengali women in 1971 after they massacred 3,000,000 unarmed civilians when their religious leader decreed that Bangladeshis are un-Islamic. This is why the prison guards in Islamic regime of Iran rape the women that in their opinion are apostates prior to killing them, as they believe a virgin will not go to Hell.

Dear fellow Muslims:

Is this the Islam you believe in? Is this your Most Merciful, Most Compassionate Allah whom you worship daily? Could Allah incite you to kill other peoples? Please understand that there is no terrorist gene - but there could be a terrorist mindset. That mindset finds its most fertile ground in the tenets of Islam. Denying it, and presenting Islam to the lay public as a religion of peace similar to Buddhism, is to suppress the truth. The history of Islam between the 7th and 14th centuries is riddled with violence, fratricide and wars of aggression, starting right from the death of the Prophet and during the so-called 'pure' or orthodox caliphate. And Muhammad himself hoisted the standard of killing, looting, massacres and bloodshed. How can we deny the entire history? The behaviour of our Holy Prophet as recorded in authentic Islamic sources is quite questionable from a modern viewpoint. The Prophet was a charismatic man but he had few virtues. Imitating him in all aspects of life (following the Sunnah) is both impossible and dangerous in the 21st century. Why are we so helplessly in denial over this simple issue?

When the Prophet was in Mecca and he was still not powerful enough he called for tolerance. He said "To you be your religion, and to me my religion" (109:6). This famous quote is often misused to prove that the general principle of Qur'an is tolerance. He advised his follower to speak good to their enemies (2: 83), exhorted them to be patient (20:103) and said that "there is no compulsion in religion" (2:256). But that all changed drastically when he came to power. Then killing and slaying unbelievers with harshness and without mercy was justified in innumerable verses. The verses quoted to prove Islam's tolerance ignore many other verses that bear no trace of tolerance or forgiveness. Where is tolerance in this well-known verse "Alarzu Lillah, Walhukmu Lillah." (The Earth belongs to Allah and thus only Allah's rule should prevail all over the earth.).

Is it normal that a book revealed by God should have so many serious contradictions? The Prophet himself set the example of unleashing violence by invading the Jewish settlements, breaking treaties he had signed with them and banishing some of them after confiscating their belongings, massacring others and taking their wives and children as slaves. He inspected the youngsters and massacred all those who had pubic hair along with the men. Those who were younger he kept as slaves. He distributed the women captured in his raids among his soldiers keeping the prettiest for himself (33:50). He made sexual advances on Safiyah, a Jewish girl on the same day he captured her town Kheibar and killed her father, her husband and many of her relatives. Reyhana was another Jewish girl of Bani Quriza whom he used as a sex slave after killing all her male relatives. In the last ten years of his life he accumulated two scores of wives, concubines and sex slaves including the 9 year old Ayesha. These are not stories but records from authentic Islamic history and the Hadiths. It can be argued that this kind of behaviour was not unknown or unusual for the conquerors and leaders of the mediaeval world but these are not the activities befitting of a peaceful saint and certainly not someone who claimed to be the Mercy of God for all creation. There were known assassinations of adversaries during the Prophet's time, which he had knowledge of and had supported. Among them there was a 120 year old man, Abu 'Afak whose only crime was to compose a lyric satirical of the Prophet. (by Ibn Sa'd Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir, Volume 2, page 32) Then when a poetess, a mother of 5 small children 'Asma' Bint Marwan wrote a poetry cursing the Arabs for letting Muhammad assassinate an old man, our Holy Prophet ordered her to be assassinated too in the middle of the night while her youngest child was suckling from her breast. (Sirat Rasul Allah (A. Guillaume's translation "The Life of Muhammad") page 675, 676).

The Prophet did develop a 'Robin Hood' image that justified raiding merchant caravans attacking cities and towns, killing people and looting their belongings in the name of social justice. Usama Bin Laden is also trying to create the same image. But Robin Hood didn't claim to be a prophet or a pacifist nor did he care for apologist arguments. He did not massacre innocent people indiscriminately nor did he profit by reducing free people to slaves and then trading them.

With the known and documented violent legacy of Islam, how can we suddenly rediscover it as a religion of peace in the free world in the 21st century? Isn't this the perpetuation of a lie by a few ambitious leaders in order to gain political control of the huge and ignorant Muslim population? They are creating a polished version of Islam by completely ignoring history. They are propagating the same old dogma for simple believing people in a crisp new modern package. Their aim: to gain political power in today's high-tension world. They want to use the confrontational power of the original Islam to catalyse new conflicts and control new circles of power.

Dear conscientious Muslims, please question yourselves. Isn't this compulsive following of a man who lived 1400 years ago leading us to doom in a changing world? Do the followers of any other religion follow one man in such an all-encompassing way? Who are we deceiving, them or ourselves? Dear brothers and sisters, see how our Umma (people) has sunk into poverty and how it lags behind the rest of the world. Isn't it because we are following a religion that is outdated and impractical? In this crucial moment of history, when a great catastrophe has befallen us and a much bigger one is lying ahead, should not we wake up from our 1400 years of slumber and see where things have gone wrong?

Hatred has filled the air and the world is bracing itself for its doomsday. Should we not ask ourselves whether we have contributed, wittingly or unwittingly, to this tragedy and whether we can stop the great disaster from happening?

Unfortunately the answer to the first question is yes. Yes we have contributed to the rise of fundamentalism by merely claiming Islam is a religion of peace, by simply being a Muslim and by saying our shahada (testimony that Allah is the only God and Muhammad is his messenger). By our shahada we have recognized Muhammad as a true messenger of God and his book as the words of God. But as you saw above those words are anything but from God. They call for killing, they are prescriptions for hate and they foment intolerance. And when the ignorant among us read those hate-laden verses, they act on them and the result is the infamous September 11, human bombs in Israel, massacres in East Timor and Bangladesh, kidnappings and killings in the Philippines, slavery in the Sudan, honour killings in Pakistan and Jordan, torture in Iran, stoning and maiming in Afghanistan and Iran, violence in Algeria, terrorism in Palestine and misery and death in every Islamic country. We are responsible because we endorse Islam and hail it as a religion of God. And we are as guilty as those who put into practice what the Qur'an preaches - and ironically we are the main victims too. If we are not terrorists, if we love peace, if we cried with the rest of the word for what happened in New York, then why are we supporting the Qur'an that preaches killing, that advocates holy war, that calls for the murder of non-Muslims? It is not the extremists who have misunderstood Islam. They do literally what the Qur'an asks them to do. It is we who misunderstand Islam. We are the ones who are confused. We are the ones who wrongly assume that Islam is the religion of peace. Islam is not a religion of peace. In its so-called "pure" form it can very well be interpreted as a doctrine of hate. Terrorists are doing just that and we the intellectual apologists of Islam are justifying it. We can stop this madness. Yes, we can avert the disaster that is hovering over our heads. Yes, we can denounce the doctrines that promote hate. Yes, we can embrace the rest of humanity with love. Yes, we can become part of a united world, members of one human family, flowers of one garden. We can dump the claim of infallibility of our Book, and the questionable legacy of our Prophet.

Dear friends, there is no time to waste. Let us put an end to this lie. Let us not fool ourselves. Islam is not a religion of peace, of tolerance, of equality or of unity of humankind. Let us read the Qur'an. Let us face the truth even if it is painful. As long as we keep this lie alive, as long as we hide our head in the sands of Arabia we are feeding terrorism. As long as you and I keep calling Qur'an the unchangeable book of God, we cannot blame those who follow the teachings therein. As long as we pay our Khums and Zakat our money goes to promote Islamic expansionism and that means terrorism, Jihad and war. Islam divides the world in two. Darul Harb (land of war) and Darul Islam (land of Islam). Darul Harb is the land of the infidels, Muslims are required to infiltrate those lands, proselytize and procreate until their numbers increase and then start the war and fight and kill the people and impose the religion of Islam on them and convert that land into Darul Islam. In all fairness we denounce this betrayal. This is abuse of the trust. How can we make war in the countries that have sheltered us? How can we kill those who have befriended us? Yet willingly or unwillingly we have become pawns in this Islamic Imperialism. Let us see what great Islamic scholars have had to say in this respect.

Dr. M. Khan the translator of Sahih Bukhari and the Qur'an into English wrote: "Allah revealed in Sura Bara'at (Repentance, IX) the order to discard (all) obligations (covenants, etc), and commanded the Muslims to fight against all the Pagans as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizia (a tax levied on the Jews and Christians) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (as it is revealed in 9:29). So the Muslims were not permitted to abandon "the fighting" against them (Pagans, Jews and Christians) and to reconcile with them and to suspend hostilities against them for an unlimited period while they are strong and have the ability to fight against them. So at first "the fighting" was forbidden, then it was permitted, and after that it was made obligatory" [Introduction to English translation of Sahih Bukhari, p.xxiv.]

Dr. Sobhy as-Saleh, a contemporary Islamic academician quoted Imam Suyuti the author of Itqan Fi 'Ulum al- Qur'an who wrote: "The command to fight the infidels was delayed until the Muslims become strong, but when they were weak they were commanded to endure and be patient". [ Sobhy as_Saleh, Mabaheth Fi 'Ulum al- Qur'an, Dar al-'Ilm Lel-Malayeen, Beirut, 1983, p. 269.]

Dr. Sobhy, in a footnote, commends the opinion of a scholar named Zarkashi who said: "Allah the most high and wise revealed to Mohammad in his weak condition what suited the situation, because of his mercy to him and his followers. For if He gave them the command to fight while they were weak it would have been embarrassing and most difficult, but when the most high made Islam victorious He commanded him with what suited the situation, that is asking the people of the Book to become Muslims or to pay the levied tax, and the infidels to become Muslims or face death. These two options, to fight or to have peace return according to the strength or the weakness of the Muslims." [ibid p. 270]

Other Islamic scholars (Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, Ga'far ar-Razi, Rabi' Ibn 'Ons, 'Abil-'Aliyah, Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Zayd Ibn 'Aslam, etc.) agree that the verse "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them" (9:5) cancelled those few earlier verses that called for tolerance in the Qur'an and were revealed when Islam was weak. Can you still say that Islam is the religion of peace?

We propose a solution.

We know too well that it is not easy to denounce our faith because it means denouncing a part of ourselves. We are a group of freethinkers and humanists with Islamic roots. Discovering the truth and leaving the religion of our fathers and forefathers was a painful experience. But after learning what Islam stands for we had no choice but to leave it. After becoming familiar with the Qur'an the choice became clear: It is either Islam or humanity. If Islam thrives, then humanity will die. We decided to side with humanity. Culturally we are still Muslims but we no longer believe in Islam as the true religion of God. We are humanists. We love humanity. We work for the unity of humankind. We work for equality between men and women. We strive for the secularization of Islamic countries, for democracy and freedom of thought, belief and expression. We decided to live no longer in self-deception but to embrace humanity, and to enter into the new millennium hand in hand with people of other cultures and beliefs in amity and in peace.

We denounce the violence that is eulogized in the Qur'an as holy war (Jihad). We condemn killing in the name of God. We believe in the sanctity of human life, not in the inviolability of beliefs and religions. We invite you to join us and the rest of humanity and become part of the family of humankind - in love, camaraderie and peace.

29258  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: March 08, 2006, 01:01:39 AM
!Hijole!  !Otra vez in ingles!

Illegal Immigration and Tax Rates

Mar 7 2006

Memo To: Lou Dobbs
From: Patricia Koyce Wanniski
Re: Your Tenacity on the Immigration Issue

Until the recent Dubai Ports World uproar, you have been vociferous in covering the story of illegal immigration. While I agree with you the borders ought to be made more secure, I`ve come to believe you are spinning your wheels with the way you have pursued the issue.

One way to end the problem of illegal immigration is, of course, the way you have espoused: tougher border controls, tougher penalties for illegals caught in the U.S., and no amnesty for anybody. Nothing intrinsically wrong with any of those ideas, except that they are expensive and don`t work so well, as we`ve seen. The other way, which you have ignored, is for the Mexican government to make the country`s capital tax structure so attractive to its people that not only do they not want to leave, those who have left will return.

I came across an essay Jude wrote to President Vicente Fox that outlines a way in which this might be accomplished. Of course, some of the tax rates have changed: in 2005, the top marginal rate was lowered to 30 percent; unfortunately, the threshold was lowered as well, and kicks in around US$8,500. Even oil revenues can`t offset the tremendous burden. The tax structure is almost as heavy a millstone as it is in Africa: it`s no wonder Mexicans flee the country in droves for a life here. Solving the problem in Mexico would provide a template for other Latin American countries to follow, alleviating the burden of illegal immigration for the U.S. overall. Perhaps a journalist of your stature bringing the idea to light might encourage the government to consider some of these changes.

Anyway, having doggedly reported on the story for the last several years, I thought you might enjoy a fresh perspective. Here it is, with our compliments.

January 14, 2004

The Mexico Summit

Memo To: Vicente Fox, President of Mexico
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Exporting Your Citizens

Having had such high hopes for your tenure when you were elected in 1999, Mr. President, I am sorely dismayed that your economy remains in such sad shape that you have to negotiate with our President to send your unemployed to work here illegally. Nothing I saw in your meeting with President Bush indicates you are getting any closer to figuring out that as long as your tax system is so out of line with the US tax system, you will continue to export your people into the American Southwest and California. They are not leaving in search of lower tax rates, mind you. It is just that Mexico?s business class cannot form the capital necessary to sustain broader employment of your people at living wages.

As far as I can tell, your top income tax rate of 33% now applies at an income of about $20,000. In the U.S., the top rate is 38.6%, but that is not encountered until taxable income reaches $312,000. Your 25% rate is reached at $7230 and the closest U.S. tax bracket for a head of household of 27% is reached at $98,000. Your 10% rate is reached at $4114. The U.S. 10% rate is encountered at $10,000. Do you see what I mean?

Then there is your 15% Value Added Tax, which adds to the burdens of enterprise, a tax that the United States does not have at all.

If you check with your finance minister, Francisco Gil Diaz, he will tell you that I have been pestering him for the last four years to cut or eliminate your capital gains tax. There is a zero capital gains tax on shares traded on your stock exchange, I know, but you have to be a big company to trade on the Bolsa. If you are not big enough to be admitted to the Bolsa, you must pay capital gains at the ordinary rates. In other words, the system favors the elites and punishes the pool out of which you would expect to find entrepreneurs who someday might become big enough to compete with the elites. If you would eliminate the capgains tax, which I?m sure you will find brings in very little revenue to your government. This is because it encourages businesses to remain small or to find ways to avoid the tax. You would immediately find the Mexico stock market surging ahead, not because the elites would get a more favorable treatment than zero, but because the economy underneath them would be pushing up the value of all assets. Revenues would then increase dramatically on your income tax and your VAT tax, and you could then easily make provision to lower the burden of the VAT and income tax. I?d recommend you leave the top rate in place at 33% and increase the threshold to at least $100,000.

There are a great many other things you can do to catch up with the United States in the way you originally envisioned, President Fox. But this would be a good start. What you would find, even if you presented such a program to the legislature, that there would immediately be a hesitation of your citizens to leave the U.S., and in a short time there would be a reflow of Mexican nationals who are now struggling to make ends meet in California and the other Southwestern states.

Monetary policy is also something to consider, although here Minister gil Diaz has done a better job in stabilizing the value of the peso. You are always at risk, though, because of the floating U.S. dollar. Here is a memo I wrote to Paco Gil on July 23, 2001, ?Those Unhappy Mexican Farmers.? It was written when your economy was suffering terribly from the monetary deflation caused by the Federal Reserve?s management of the floating dollar.

With best wishes for the remainder of your six-year term,

Jude Wanniski
29259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 08, 2006, 12:53:47 AM
This looks pretty good to me , , ,


INDIA: Court nod sought for case against Yaqoob

Lawyer files case against minister who announced bounty on head of Danish cartoonist

Times of India

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lucknow --- A Ghaziabad lawyer on Tuesday filed an application before a district court to get a case registered against Uttar Pradesh minister Haji Yaqoob for announcing a bounty of Rs 51 crore for the head of the Danish cartoonist who sketched a caricature of the Prophet. The court will take up the case on February 24.

In another development the Lucknow police "sought" some more time to dispose of a similar complaint lodged by a local resident against Yaqoob. Meanwhile, clerics in Deoband have supported fatwa by a Sharia court in Lucknow on the grounds that Koran provides for stringent punishment against anyone who dares to challenge the Prophet.

The clerics were addressing a night-long congregation held at Deoband on Monday to discuss the cartoon issue. "We will hold a massive protest at Ram Lila grounds in Delhi on March 1 against Denmark and the US," Maulana Masood Nadwi of Darul-Uloom Deoband told TOI.

In Ghaziabad, lawyer Chowdhary Ajay Veer Singh on Tuesday approached the court of additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) VIII Narendra Kumar seeking directives to the police to lodge an FIR against Yaqoob.

"I used the provisions of Section 156/103 of the CrPC which provides for court's intervention for registration of a complaint related to a crime in case the police refuse to entertain such an application," Ajay told TOI.

"I have requested the court to order for an FIR against sections 115/120 (B), 153 and 108 (A) of IPC," the lawyer said.

"These provisions cover charges of criminal conspiracy to instigate a crime which may be committed outside the country but where the conspiracy to such instigation is hatched in India," he argued.

'UP minister should be sacked'

New Delhi --- A group of eminent Muslim scholars and intellectuals on Tuesday demanded the immediate sacking and prosecution of Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, the UP minister who announced a Rs 51 crore bounty for the murder of the Danish cartoonist who sketched Prophet Mohammed.

"UP's chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is constitutionally obliged to uphold the law of the land, must immediately sack Yaqoob Qureshi," said a statement by the group Muslims for Secular Democracy, which includes noted lyricist Javed Akhtar.

The statement said Qureshi's remarks, made at a rally on Friday in Meerut to protest the publication of the cartoons by a Danish newspaper, "openly incited Muslims to violence."

Such calls, made by politicians with an eye on the Muslim vote, "have done more damage to Islam and Muslims than the original offenders against whom they protest," it said.

The UP government has rejected calls for action against Qureshi despite there being a clear violation of laws on incitement to murder and call to violence.

No Muslim support for fatwas against cartoonist

Lucknow --- Two little known Shariat courts have joined an Uttar Pradesh minister in prescribing death for the Danish cartoonist who sketched a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed but have found little endorsement from prominent Muslim groups.

While one fatwa was issued by the Irada-e-Sharia Darul Qaza on Monday, another was issued by the equally unknown Ifta Firangimahli Taksal on Tuesday.

Both have interestingly been signed by Maulana Naimul Haleem Qadri, a member of both institutions. However, he has found little support in Uttar Pradesh, which has a considerable number of Muslims.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said the fatwa had no meaning.

AIMPLB legal adviser Zararyab Jilani said: "The board has nothing to do with these fatwas; but even if we consider that the Shariat does prescribe death penalty for anyone committing blasphemy with the name of the Prophet, such a fatwa would have legal sanctity only in a country governed by Islamic law."

Northern India's widely respected 300-year-old Firangi Mahal has also dissociated itself in no uncertain terms from the fatwas.

Firangi Mahal head Maulana Khalid Rasheed said categorically: "Let me make it clear that Firangi Mahal, which is among the country's oldest institutions authorised to issue fatwas, has nothing to do with the fatwas issued by some organisation which has given itself a name similar to ours."

"A fatwa can be issued only when a formal reference is made by someone before the authorised institution; and a 'darul qaza' (Islamic court) can issue a verdict only after hearing both parties involved in a dispute."

In a move that has attracted widespread condemnation, state Minister for Haj and Minority Welfare Haji Yaqoob Qureshi had declared a reward of Rs 510 million for the head of the Danish cartoonist.

Date Posted: 2/21/2006
29260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 07, 2006, 07:50:22 AM
The Sunday Times February 26, 2006

We should fear Holland?s silence
Islamists are stifling debate in what was Europe?s freest country, says Douglas Murray

?Would you write the name you?d like to use here, and your real name there?? asked the girl at reception. I had just been driven to a hotel in the Hague. An hour earlier I?d been greeted at Amsterdam airport by a man holding a sign with a pre-agreed cipher. I hadn?t known where I would be staying, or where I would be speaking. The secrecy was necessary: I had come to Holland to talk about Islam.
Last weekend, four years after his murder, Pim Fortuyn?s political party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, held a conference in his memory on Islam and Europe. The organisers had assembled nearly all the writers most critical of Islam?s current manifestation in the West. The American scholars Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer were present, as were the Egyptian-Jewish exile and scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye?or, and the great Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq.

Both Ye?or and Warraq write and speak under pseudonyms. Standing at the hotel desk I confessed to the girl that I didn?t have any other name, couldn?t think of a good one fast. I was given my key and made aware that the other person in the lobby, a tall figure in a dark suit, was my security detail. I was taken up to my room where I changed, unpacked and headed back out ? the security guard now positioned outside my bedroom door.

I had been invited to deliver the closing speech to the memorial conference on what would have been Fortuyn?s 58th birthday. I said I would talk on the effects of Europe?s increasingly Islamicised population and advocate a tougher European counterterror strategy. There was no overriding political agenda to the occasion, simply a desire for frank discussion.

The event was scholarly, incisive and wide-ranging. There were no ranters or rabble-rousers, just an invited audience of academics, writers, politicians and sombre party members. As yet another example of Islam?s violent confrontation with the West (this time caused by cartoons) swept across the globe, we tried to discuss Islam as openly as we could. The Dutch security service in the Hague was among those who considered the threat to us for doing this as particularly high. The security status of the event was put at just one level below ?national emergency?.

This may seem fantastic to people in Britain. But the story of Holland ? which I have been charting for some years ? should be noted by her allies. Where Holland has gone, Britain and the rest of Europe are following. The silencing happens bit by bit. A student paper in Britain that ran the Danish cartoons got pulped. A London magazine withdrew the cartoons from its website after the British police informed the editor they could not protect him, his staff, or his offices from attack. This happened only days before the police provided 500 officers to protect a ?peaceful? Muslim protest in Trafalgar Square.

It seems the British police ? who regularly provide protection for mosques (as they did after the 7/7 bombs) ? were unable to send even one policeman to protect an organ of free speech. At the notorious London protests, Islamists were allowed to incite murder and bloodshed on the streets, but a passer-by objecting to these displays was threatened with detention for making trouble.

Holland ? with its disproportionately high Muslim population ? is the canary in the mine. Its once open society is closing, and Europe is closing slowly behind it. It looks, from Holland, like the twilight of liberalism ? not the ?liberalism? that is actually libertarianism, but the liberalism that is freedom. Not least freedom of expression.

All across Europe, debate on Islam is being stopped. Italy?s greatest living writer, Oriana Fallaci, soon comes up for trial in her home country, and in Britain the government seems intent on pushing through laws that would make truths about Islam and the conduct of its followers impossible to voice.

Those of us who write and talk on Islam thus get caught between those on our own side who are increasingly keen to prosecute and increasing numbers of militants threatening murder. In this situation, not only is free speech being shut down, but our nation?s security is being compromised.

Since the assassinations of Fortuyn and, in 2004, the film maker Theo van Gogh, numerous public figures in Holland have received death threats and routine intimidation. The heroic Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her equally outspoken colleague Geert Wilders live under constant police protection, often forced to sleep on army bases. Even university professors are under protection.

Europe is shuffling into darkness. It is proving incapable of standing up to its enemies, and in an effort to accommodate the peripheral rights of a minority is failing to protect the most basic rights of its own people.

The governments of Europe have been tricked into believing that criticism of a belief is the same thing as criticism of a race. And so it is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous to criticise a growing and powerful ideology within our midst. It may soon, in addition, be made illegal.

I had planned ? the morning after my speech ? to see Geert Wilders, but instead spent the time catching up with his staff. Their leader had been called in by the police to discuss more than 40 new death threats he had received over the previous days.

As I left the Netherlands I once again felt terrible sorrow for a country that is slowly being lost. A society which should be carefree and inspiring has become dark and worried. The jihad in Europe is winning. And Holland, and our continent, takes one step further into a dark and menacing future.

Douglas Murray is the author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need It
29261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 07, 2006, 06:57:29 AM
Special Dispatch Series - No. 1107
March 7, 2006 No.1107

Attacks on Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: Islamist Sheikh on Al-Jazeera Calls Her Heretic; Syrian Sermon Calls Her Infidel

On February 21, 2006, MEMRITV released a clip featuring an interview with Arab-American psychologist Wafa Sultan on Al-Jazeera TV. During the interview, Dr.Ibrahim Al-Khouli accused Sultan of being a "heretic" for attacking current aspects of Islamic society.


Following the release of this clip, Bassam Darwish, editor of the reformist website, posted a February 28, 2006 report by AFP stating that a Friday sermon in Damascus had harshly criticized her appearance on Al-Jazeera: "[Syrian human rights activist Anwar] Al-Bouni reports that one of the sheikhs described Wafa Sultan as 'an infidel,' accusing her of 'harming Islam more than it was harmed by the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, recently published in European newspapers.'

"According to Al-Bouni, 'the Syrian authorities began to use the weapon of the official religion as a new tool to oppress society... It is no longer enough for them to arrest activists, to terrorize them, and to prevent them from traveling, but now they recruit against them the pulpits of takfir [accusing other Muslims of heresy] and takhwin [accusing Muslims of treachery].' He described this policy as dangerous and destructive." [1]

The following are excerpts from an interview with Wafa Sultan that aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006. It is followed by excerpts from a debate in which she participated, in a talk show that aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 26, 2005.

In the past, MEMRI has reported on Islamist threats to reformists, see for example:

Saudi Doctorate Encourages the Murder of Arab Intellectuals, January 12, 2006, Special Dispatch Series - No. 1070, .

Arab Intellectuals: Under Threat by Islamists, November, 23, 2005, Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 254,

Accusing Muslim Intellectuals of Apostasy, February 18, 2005, Inquiry and Analysis - No. 208,

February 21, 2006


Wafa Sultan: "The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete."


Host: "I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?"

Wafa Sultan: "Yes, that is what I mean."


Host: "Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don't mind..."

Wafa Sultan: "The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: 'I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger.' When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to start this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.

"My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma; another time he calls them the 'People of the Book'; and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians 'those who incur Allah's wrath.' Who told you that they are 'People of the Book?' They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them 'those who incur Allah's wrath,' or 'those who have gone astray,' and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?"


"I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it."

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "Are you a heretic?"

Wafa Sultan: "You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural..."

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran..."

Wafa Sultan: "These are personal matters that do not concern you."


"Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs."


"The Jews have come from the tragedy [of the Holocaust], and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. Fifteen million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."

July 26, 2005


Wafa Sultan: "Why does a young Muslim man, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up? How and why does he blow himself up in a bus full of innocent passengers?

"In our countries, religion is the sole source of education, and is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched. He was not born a terrorist, and did not become a terrorist overnight. Islamic teachings played a role in weaving his ideological fabric, thread by thread, and did not allow other sources - I am referring to scientific sources - to play a role. It was these teachings that distorted this terrorist and killed his humanity. It was not [the terrorist] who distorted the religious teachings and misunderstood them, as some ignorant people claim.

"When you recite to a child still in his early years the verse 'They will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off,' - regardless of this verse's interpretation, and regardless of the reasons it was conveyed or its time - you have made the first step towards creating a great terrorist..."


Bin Muhammad: "The guest from America asked how a young man could blow up a bus. If only she had asked how a president could blow up a peaceful nation in Iraq. How does a president help the arch-killer of occupied Palestine? Why doesn't she ask where Hitler was brought up - Hitler, who murdered 50 million innocent people? Why doesn't she ask where the people who dropped two atom bombs on Japan were educated? Who killed three million innocent Vietnamese? Who annihilated the Indians? Who has maintained imperialism to this day? Who waged the Spanish civil war, which exacted a toll of 600,000 in 36 months? Why don't we ask these questions? Who has over 15,000 nuclear warheads - Muslims or the non-Muslims? The Muslims or the Americans? The Muslims or the Europeans? We want an answer. Where was Bush educated - if education is really what makes a person a criminal?..."


Wafa Sultan: "Murder is terrorism regardless of time or place, but when it is committed as a decree from Allah, this is another matter..."


"The Crusader wars about which the professor is talking - these wars came after the Islamic religious teachings, and as a response to these teachings. This is the law of action and reaction. The Islamic religious teachings have incited to the rejection of the other, to the denial of the other, and to the killing of the other. Have they not incited to the killing of Jews and Christians? If we had heard that a tribe in a distant corner of China has a holy book and religious teachings calling to kill Muslims - would the Muslims stand idly by in the face of such teachings?

"The Crusader wars came after these Islamic religious teachings. When these Islamic teachings were delivered, America did not exist on the face of the earth, nor was Israel in Palestine...

"Why doesn't he talk about the Muslim conquests that preceded all the wars he is talking about? Why doesn't he mention that when Tariq bin Ziyyad entered Andalusia with his armies, he said to his people: 'The sea is behind you, and the enemy is in front?' How can you storm a peaceful country, and consider all its peaceful inhabitants to be your enemies, merely because you have the right to spread your religion? Should the religion be spread by the sword and through fighting?..."


Bin Muhammad: "Who invented slavery in recent centuries? Who colonized the other - us or them? Did Algeria colonize France, or vice versa? Did Egypt colonize England, or vice versa? We are the victims..."


"I am not saying that killing innocent people is nice. I say that all innocent people should be protected. But at the same time, we must start with the innocent among the Muslims. There are millions of innocent people among us, while the innocent among you - and innocent they are - number only dozens, hundreds, or thousands, at the most..."


Wafa Sultan: "Can you explain to me the killing of 100,000 children, women, and men in Algeria, using the most abominable killing methods? Can you explain to me the killing of 15,000 Syrian civilians? Can you explain to me the abominable crime in the military artillery school in Aleppo? Can you explain the crime in Al-Asbaqiya neighborhood of Damascus, Syria? Can you explain the attack of the terrorists on the peaceful village of Al-Kisheh in Upper Egypt, and the massacre of 21 Coptic peasants? Can you explain to me what is going on in Indonesia, Turkey, and Egypt, even though these are Islamic countries which opposed the American intervention in Iraq, and which don't have armies in Iraq, yet were not spared by the terrorists? Can you explain these phenomena, which took place in Arab countries? Was all this revenge on America or Israel? Or were they merely to satisfy bestial wild instincts aroused in them by religious teachings, which incite to rejection of the other, to the killing of the other, and to the denial of the other. When Saddam Hussein buried 300,000 Shi'ites and Kurds alive, we did not hear a single Muslim protesting. Your silence served to acknowledge the legitimacy of these killings, didn't it?..."


"What do you want from me? To speak evil of American society? I've never said that America is the eternal city of Plato, but I did say it was the eternal city of Wafa Sultan. The idealism of American society was enough to allow me to realize my humanity. I came to this country with fear."

Bin Muhammad: "Along with the Indians? Along with the Indians? What was left of the Indians? What do you have to say about the Indians?"

Wafa Sultan: "Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. America was founded in 1776, approximately 300 years later. You cannot blame America - as a constitution, a regime, and a state - for killing the Indians."
29262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: March 06, 2006, 04:17:53 PM
Babies Win Wars

March 6, 2006

Dying nations are usually defined as those with fertility rates of 1.5 or lower. By that measure, 30 European countries are either dying today or -- like France -- seeing their cultures and populations transformed by growing ethnic and religious minorities.

Europe is shrinking just as the population in Islamic, African and Asian countries is exploding. In 2020, there will be one billion "fighting-age" men (ages 15-29) world-wide; only 65 million will be Europeans. At the same time, the Muslim world will have 300 million males, often with limited opportunities at home.

Little can be done to reverse Europe's demographic fate. Germany's 80 million inhabitants would need 750,000 skilled immigrants every year up to 2050 to offset the declining fertility rate that started in 1975. Even if such an unrealistic immigration level could somehow be achieved (only 10,000 skilled immigrants a year are arriving now), Germany's median age would still jump to 52 from 42 while ethnic Germans would become a minority in their own country.

This isn't the first time Europe has found itself tottering on the edge of extinction. Throughout the 1400s, outbreaks of bubonic plague and pressure from conquering Muslim armies reduced Europe's population to 40 million from 70 million. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII responded to the crisis by decreeing the death penalty for "persons of both sexes who by accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offenses, slay infants yet in the mother's womb (or who) hinder women from conceiving." Midwives, who were also experts in birth control and abortion, were prosecuted and killed.

The results were immediate, producing fertility rates as high as in Gaza or Niger today. By 1510, the number of male births in England had almost doubled. After 1500 and right up to 1914, West European women raised on average about six children, twice as many as during the Middle Ages.

The European economy couldn't keep up. Because a father's land went to his oldest son, the younger brothers were often left to fend for themselves. They quickly found an outlet. In the 16th century, Spain called its young conquistadors "Secundones," second sons, those who don't inherit. Starting with Columbus' second voyage (1493), Europe's surplus males (representing about 10% of the world's fighting-age males at the time) began the conquest of the world. And despite their wars around the globe and the 80 million who died in Europe's domestic wars and genocides, their population rose tenfold to 400 million. The original population bomb was a weapon made in Europe. Over the next few centuries, Europeans took control of 90% of the globe.

Who was to be master in Europe? In the early 1800s, France, West Europe's most populous nation for 800 years, made its last bid. At the time of Waterloo, France was able to draw on 5% of the world's males of fighting age. It took an alliance of Great Britain (10 million people) and Prussia (also 10 million) to prevail over France's 27 million. After 1861, Germany passed France's population and shortly afterwards defeated its neighbor across the Rhine. At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe's share of fighting age males had grown to 35%, with 10% belonging to the empires of Berlin and Vienna alone. In 1914 these two behemoths used their population advantage to make a bid for world supremacy. But their campaign to capture Eurasia's land mass failed to take account of a newcomer to the world stage. Though separated by an ocean, the U.S. commanded about the same demographic and industrial potential.

Japan, Italy and Germany became the last great powers that tried -- and failed -- to take territories away from other leading powers. After 1945 Europe lost every war it fought, from Indochina, to Algeria to Timor. Euphemisms such as "emancipation of the colonies" hide the true causes behind this chain of defeats. If Europeans had continued to multiply like in its imperialistic prime, the world would still tremble before their armies. In just 100 years, Muslim countries have duplicated the tenfold growth that Europe experienced between 1500-1900. In the last century, the Muslim population skyrocketed to 1.4 billion from 140 million.

If Europe had merely matched the fourfold increase of the United States (to 300 million from 75 million between 1900-2006), the continent's 1.6 billion would still dwarf China (1.3 billion) and India (1.1 billion). Yet, Europe's share of the world's fighting-age males, which stood at 27% in 1914, is lower today (9%) than it was in 1500 (11%). Thus, the new clothes of European "pacifism" and "soft power" conceal its naked weakness.

With a fertility rate at the 2.1 replacement level, the U.S. is still defendable. But how many times can America send out their only sons to prevent all those second, third or fourth sons from engaging in acts of violence abroad? In some ways, the faster Europe collapses the better it will be for the U.S., whose chances of defeating global terrorism would improve by a panic-driven influx of the Old World's best, brightest and bravest ready to strengthen it economically and militarily.

The alternative to the terrorism of the Islamist secundones will not be peace but -- as it was for their "Christianist" predecessors in Peru, Mexico and India -- conquest. Terror is merely conquest's little brother.

Mr. Heinsohn is professor of sociology at Bremen University and founder and president of the Raphael-Lemkin-Institut.
29263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 06, 2006, 09:37:03 AM
Must see photos at this Arabic website to appreciate the size of this demonstration against terrorism in Bahrain. -

comments (in English) from:
29264  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 05, 2006, 11:47:46 AM
29265  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 05, 2006, 09:23:40 AM
I don't remember the Pope issuing any fatwas in response to this one, nor any killings or riots , , ,
29266  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Nuevo clip en el sitio en ingles on: March 04, 2006, 11:18:38 PM
Guau a todos:

En se puede ver un "clip" de mi visita a una carcel Mexicana organizado por mi amigo Mauricio.  Ojala que les guste.

Crafty Dog
29267  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: March 03, 2006, 09:33:50 AM
Syriana feeds our enemies hatred

Mar 3, 2006
by Charles Krauthammer ( bio | archive | contact )

WASHINGTON -- Nothing tells you more about Hollywood than what it chooses to honor. Nominated for best foreign film is "Paradise Now,'' a sympathetic portrayal of two suicide bombers. Nominated for best picture is "Munich,'' a sympathetic portrayal of yesterday's fashion in barbarism: homicide terrorism.

But until you see "Syriana,'' nominated for best screenplay (and George Clooney, for best supporting actor) you have no idea how self-flagellation and self-loathing pass for complexity and moral seriousness in Hollywood.
"Syriana's'' script has, of course, the classic liberal tropes such as this stage direction: "The Deputy National Security Advisor, MARILYN RICHARDS, 40's, sculpted hair, with the soul of a seventy year-old white, Republican male, is in charge'' (Page 21). Or this piece of over-the-top, Gordon Gekko Republican-speak, placed in the mouth of a Texas oilman: "Corruption is our protection. Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. ... Corruption ... is how we win'' (Page 93).
But that's run-of-the-mill Hollywood. The true distinction of "Syriana's'' script is the near-incomprehensible plot -- a muddled mix of story lines about a corrupt Kazakhstan oil deal, a succession struggle in an oil-rich Arab kingdom and a giant Texas oil company that pulls the strings at the CIA and, naturally, everywhere else -- amid which, only two things are absolutely clear and coherent: the movie's one political hero and one pure soul.

The political hero is the Arab prince who wants to end corruption, inequality and oppression in his country. As he tells his tribal elders, he intends to modernize his country by bringing the rule of law, market efficiency, women's rights and democracy.
What do you think happens to him? He, his beautiful wife and beautiful children are murdered, incinerated, by a remote-controlled missile, fired from CIA headquarters in Langley, no less -- at the very moment that (this passes for subtle cross-cutting film editing) his evil younger brother, the corrupt rival to the throne and puppet of the oil company, is being hailed at a suitably garish ``oilman of the year'' celebration populated by fat and ugly Americans.
What is grotesque about this moment of plot clarity is that the overwhelmingly obvious critique of actual U.S. policy in the real Middle East today is its excess of Wilsonian idealism in trying to find and promote -- against a tide of tyranny, intolerance and fanaticism -- local leaders like the Good Prince. Who in the greater Middle East is closest to "Syriana's'' modernizing, democratizing paragon? Without a doubt, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, a man of exemplary -- and quite nonfictional -- personal integrity, physical courage and democratic temperament. Hundreds of brave American (and allied NATO) soldiers have died protecting him and the democratic system they established to allow him to govern. On the very night the Oscars will be honoring "Syriana,'' American soldiers will be fighting, some perhaps dying, in defense of precisely the kind of tolerant, modernizing Muslim leader that "Syriana'' shows America slaughtering.
It gets worse. The most pernicious element in the movie is the character who is at the moral heart of the film: the physically beautiful, modest, caring, generous Pakistani who becomes a beautiful, modest, caring, generous ... suicide bomber. In his final act, the Pure One, dressed in the purest white robes, takes his explosives-laden little motorboat head first into his target. It is a replay of the real-life boat that plunged into the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 American sailors, except that in ``Syriana's'' version, the target is another symbol of American imperialism in the Persian Gulf -- a newly opened liquefied natural gas terminal.
The explosion, which would have the force of a nuclear bomb, constitutes the moral high point of the movie, the moment of climactic cleansing, as the Pure One clad in white merges with the great white mass of the huge terminal wall, at which point the screen goes pure white. And reverently silent.
In my naivete, I used to think that Hollywood had achieved its nadir with Oliver Stone's "JFK,'' a film that taught a generation of Americans that President Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA and the FBI in collaboration with Lyndon Johnson. But at least it was for domestic consumption, an internal affair of only marginal interest to other countries. "Syriana,'' however, is meant for export, carrying the most vicious and pernicious mendacities about America to a receptive world.
Most liberalism is angst- and guilt-ridden, seeing moral equivalence everywhere. "Syriana'' is of a different species entirely -- a pathological variety that burns with the certainty of its malign anti-Americanism. Osama bin Laden could not have scripted this film with more conviction.

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
29268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 03, 2006, 09:30:28 AM

Caricaturist's daughter sought
(Aftenposten English Web Desk/NTB/Ritzau)

The daughter of one of the artists behind one of the controversial newspaper caricatures of the prophet Mohammed was sought out at her school by twelve Muslim men, a leading Danish politician claims. Jens Rohde, political chairman of the prime minister's Liberal Party, made this claim during a debate program on Danish television on Thursday evening.
The twelve cartoonists are now in hiding after receiving death threats.
"And a daughter of one of the artists was sought out by twelve Muslim men at a school, they wanted to get hold of this daughter. Luckily she was not at school," Rohde said.
Rohde told Danish news agency Ritzau that he received this information from a meeting with the artists.
29269  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: March 02, 2006, 04:17:10 PM
I walked into a public toilet where I found two cubicles, one of which was already occupied. So I entered the vacant one, as you do, and dropped my trousers and sat down.


A voice from the next cubicle said "Hello mate, how are you doing?" I thought it a bit strange, but not wanting to be rude replied, "Yeah, not too bad, Thanks".


After a pause I heard the voice again: "So, what are you up to mate?" Again, I answered somewhat reluctantly it must be said. Unsure what to say now, I replied "Umm, just having a quick poo.... how about yourself?"


I then heard the voice for the third time...."Sorry mate, I'll have to call you back... I've got some d*ckhead in the next cubicle answering everything I say!"
29270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 02, 2006, 01:16:57 AM

This is pretty special.
29271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 01, 2006, 10:26:17 PM

Its OK here, but best would be the Homeland Security thread.

Anyway, here's this:

Iran: The Regime's Strategic Moderation

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami criticized his successor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for his remarks regarding the Holocaust, while a centrist daily said Ahmadinejad's statements toward Israel only have added to Iran's problems. That Khatami and a newspaper were allowed to criticize Ahmadinejad publicly means Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei probably approved out of a desire to tame the ultraconservatives. These moderating statements will prove helpful to Tehran in the negotiations over the nuclear crisis, and come at a time when Iran is at crossroads both internationally and domestically.


Without naming him, former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami criticized his successor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on March 1 by contradicting the latter's claims denying the Holocaust. In remarks published in the Iranian press, Khatami referred to the Holocaust as a "historical reality." The moderate cleric also said, "We should speak out if even a single Jew is killed. Don't forget that one of the crimes of Hitler, Nazism and German national socialism was the massacre of innocent people, among them many Jews."

The same day, the well-known centrist newspaper Shargh also criticized the president for his anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli comments. The paper wrote, "The Holocaust has, as wished for by the president, become a topic of our foreign policy." The publication then posed the question: "Don't we have enough with the nuclear question, human rights, free elections and political in-fighting, so do we need to add another problem?" Shargh added that Tehran should focus its energies on the creation of a Palestinian state rather than on Israel's destruction.

Neither criticism could have been published without prior approval from the highest echelons of power. Khatami's remarks and Shargh's commentary against the maverick Iranian president likely were sanctioned by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They serve two purposes, one at the international level and the other at the domestic level.

On the foreign policy front, these remarks are part of the regime's efforts to project alternating images of the Islamic republic to extract concessions in back-channel talks with Washington on Iraq. These moderating comments also allow Khamenei to strike a balance between the two main factions within the conservative clerical establishment, the ultraconservatives and the pragmatic conservatives.

By allowing different voices to air their opinions at different times, or at least by giving that impression, Khamenei and his top associates are able to manipulate the international situation depending on Tehran's needs. When it wants to gain U.S. attention, Tehran has Ahmadinejad make provocative comments against Israel to increase tensions. And when Tehran needs to contain a crisis, it has figures like Khatami contradict the president. By giving the sense of having radicals like the current president and moderates like the former president, Iran can portray itself as unpredictable, and therefore dangerous, not unlike North Korea. This creates the impression that if negotiations proceed just a little longer, something could be resolved. In other words, the presence of voices of reason inside Iran makes the Islamic republic seem like a less desirable target to attack. Hence, the West and Iran have remained locked in an almost perpetual state of negotiations.

Tehran has successfully employed this technique on the foreign policy front because the various factions of the Iranian regime, despite differences in their preferred approaches, maintain a consensus on the state's core objectives. The drawback of this approach, however, is that it allows each faction to seek an advantage on the domestic front over its competitors.

Such a tussle has an unsettling effect on the movers and shakers' position in the political system given their ties to the various factions. Furthermore, Khamenei has long sided with the pragmatists within the regime. With the resurgence of the ultraconservatives after Ahmadinejad's election, this balancing act has become more cumbersome.

What has Khamenei and the Iranian power brokers worried are the upcoming elections to the Assembly of Experts, scheduled for late summer or early fall. One of many organs of Iran's complex political system, the Assembly of Experts has the authority to appoint and remove the supreme leader. The ideologues behind Ahmadinejad -- such as those around his key ideological mentor, Ayatollah Mohammed Taqi Misbah Yazdi -- are trying to gain entry into the assembly to extend their leverage beyond the regime's elected figurehead, Ahmadinejad, to Iran's unelected apex position.

By allowing criticism of Ahmadinejad by a leading voice of the rival faction, Khamenei is trying to contain the ultraconservatives' advance. Ironically, it was Khamenei who came out a year ago to Ahmadinejad's rescue, calling for patience with the new president, which allowed Ahmadinejad the time and space to better run his administration.

The situation in Iran is far more nuanced than the prevailing discourse on Iranian politics, which simplifies Iran's domestic situation as a tussle between reformists and hard-liners. This misperception increases the regime's freedom to navigate on the international scene.
29272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 01, 2006, 08:33:24 AM
Tehran, Iran, Feb. 28 ? A senior Iranian cleric has approved attacks on foreign embassies in Tehran over the publication of insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in European dailies, a website belonging to the office of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reported.

?Muslims must take the most ferocious stance against insults to Islamic sanctities?, the senior cleric told Ayatollah Dorri Najaf-Abadi, the country?s Chief State Prosecutor, according to the Persian-language website Khedmat.

?If setting fire to embassies of countries that insult the Prophet aims to show that these countries no longer have any place in Islamic countries then this act is permissible?, the senior ayatollah was quoted as saying.

?Anyone who dies in this path [of protests against the insults] is a martyr?, he said.

Khedmat did not name the senior Shiite religious leader, but Najaf-Abadi met and held talks separately with five senior ayatollahs in Qom on February 20. The ayatollahs, Moussavi Ardebili, Makarem Shirazi, Fazel Lankarani, Safi Golpayegani and Nouri Hamedani, unanimously condemned the cartoons depicting Islam?s Prophet Mohammad and described it as a ?Zionist and Western conspiracy against Islam?.

?The support shown for the [cartoons] by the European Union and some European governments showed that this was not just an issue of journalism. But Muslims? reaction was beyond expectation and it showed that Muslims have woken up and this is a great asset?, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi told the prosecutor, according to the government-owned ISNA news agency.
29273  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife vs. Gun on: March 01, 2006, 06:47:47 AM
Folks, I had a wonderful gun lesson with Michael while I was in Tulsa recently.  He's really good with a gun!

BTW Michael, with that shift in the grip you showed me, Glock 26s now make sense.  Thank you.

PS:  I just posted on the humor thread-- were any of those you?  cheesy
29274  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: March 01, 2006, 06:42:09 AM
The following 15 Police comments were taken off of actual cop car videos
around the country.

15. "Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch
     out after you wear them awhile."

14. "Take your hands off the car and I'll make your birth certificate a
     worthless document."

13. "If you run, you'll only go to jail tired."

12. "Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? In case you didn't
     know, that is the average speed of a 9mm bullet."

11. "So you don't know how fast you were going. I guess that means I can
     write anything I want on the ticket, huh?"

10. "Yes, Sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think
     it will help. Oh, did I mention that I am the shift supervisor?"

9. "Warning! You want a warning? OK, I'm warning you not to do that
    again or I'll give you another ticket."

8. "The answer to this last question will determine whether you are
    drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"

7. "Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go
    to ride on rides, eat cotton candy, and step in monkey doo."

6. "Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster."

5. "In God we trust, all others we run through the computer."

4. "Just how big were those two beers?"

3. "No sir we don't have quotas anymore. We used to have quotas but now
    we're allowed to write as many tickets as we want."

2. "I'm glad to hear the Chief of Police is a good personal friend of
    yours. At least you know someone who can post your bail."


1. "You didn't think we give pretty women tickets?
    You're right, we don't...  Sign here.
29275  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: March 01, 2006, 06:14:21 AM
Mexican heroes, not Chavez or Lula, inspire leftist By Alistair Bell
Mon Feb 27, 2:43 PM ET

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The man favored to win Mexico's presidential election is often compared to the new breed of Latin American left-wing leaders but he prefers to delve deep into Mexican history to find his role models.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist front-runner for the July election, denies he is a populist in the mold of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and he rejects similarities to Bolivia's new leader, Evo Morales, or Brazil's more moderate president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Instead, Lopez Obrador is a keen admirer of Benito Juarez, a poor Zapotec Indian who became Mexico's first indigenous president and a modernizer in the mid-19th century.

At campaign rallies, amateur history buff Lopez Obrador lauds Mexico's independence heroes in the fight against Spain, and famous revolutionaries like Emiliano Zapata and Francisco "Pancho" Villa.

But he reserves most praise for the liberal Juarez, offering a glimpse into the kind of president he might try to be if he wins the July 2 vote.

"We are inspired by Benito Juarez's sobriety, austerity and the firmness of his republican principles," Lopez Obrador told a rally of up to 100,000 people in Mexico City on Sunday.

Lopez Obrador, the capital's former mayor, has topped opinion polls for the last three years, although his lead has faded a bit since campaigning began in January.

Wall Street investors and Washington policy-makers are anxious to know where he fits into Latin America's recent swing to the left. They worry Lopez Obrador will wreck Mexico's financial stability by spending heavily to create jobs, and that he might also take a firm anti-U.S. stance.

Lopez Obrador says he would take Juarez, who expanded civil rights and curbed Roman Catholic Church powers, as an example.

Juarez, a steel-willed man whose face adorns Mexico's 20-peso note, is a national icon for defeating French invaders, drawing up a federalist constitution and bringing a country torn by political and religious chaos under the rule of law.


Lopez Obrador sees in himself a similar willingness to shake up Mexico, blighted by drug gang violence, mass emigration to the United States and grinding poverty, said left-wing historian Lorenzo Meyer.

"What is it that Andres Manuel sees in Juarez? He sees a political leader with a task that is almost impossible," said Meyer.

Lopez Obrador's reluctance to identify himself with other modern leftists might be an effort not to antagonize next-door neighbor the United States, Mexico's key trading partner.

"In their own ways, Lula, Chavez and Kirchner have conflicts with the United States," said Meyer. "Anything Lopez Obrador might say on foreign policy could turn into a problem for him."

But aides say Lopez Obrador, a widower and former Indian rights activist, is driven by a need to leave his own mark on history, in his case by raising millions of Mexicans out of poverty and fighting corruption.

"It is not just about putting the presidential sash on and sitting in the presidential seat," Lopez Obrador said on Sunday. "It's about a real renovation, a true purification of public life."

Lopez Obrador will make history of his own if he wins the election. No candidate from a left-wing party has ever become president in Mexico.

Lopez Obrador called former President Lazaro Cardenas the best Mexican president of last century on Sunday. Cardenas is remembered for nationalizing the oil industry in 1938 and the reference underlined Lopez Obrador's commitment to keep private investment away from state oil monopoly Pemex.

Lopez Obrador speaks little about foreign policy and other regional leaders, which is no loss for some Mexicans.

"We don't know much about them," said florist Estela Ramos, a Lopez Obrador backer. "We have enough problems in Mexico."
29276  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: February 28, 2006, 11:41:34 PM
Kitty UFC
29277  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Albuquerque stick fighting on: February 28, 2006, 03:49:05 PM
Amen to that!

Kalani, please give me a call at your earliest convenience. TIA
29278  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela Pol?tica on: February 28, 2006, 10:56:23 AM
Muy interesante DS, gracias por compartirlo.
29279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: February 27, 2006, 11:56:39 PM
Jihadi Turns Bulldog
The Taliban's former spokesman is now a Yale student. Anyone see a problem with that?

Monday, February 27, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

Never has an article made me blink with astonishment as much as when I read in yesterday's New York Times magazine that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. This is taking the obsession that U.S. universities have with promoting diversity a bit too far.

Something is very wrong at our elite universities. Last week Larry Summers resigned as president of Harvard when it became clear he would lose a no-confidence vote held by politically correct faculty members furious at his efforts to allow ROTC on campus, his opposition to a drive to have Harvard divest itself of corporate investments in Israel, and his efforts to make professors work harder. Now Yale is giving a first-class education to an erstwhile high official in one of the most evil regimes of the latter half of the 20th century--the government that harbored the terrorists who attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.

"In some ways," Mr. Rahmatullah told the New York Times. "I'm the luckiest person in the world. I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale." One of the courses he has taken is called Terrorism-Past, Present and Future.

Many foreign readers of the Times will no doubt snicker at the revelation that naive Yale administrators scrambled to admit Mr. Rahmatullah. The Times reported that Yale "had another foreigner of Rahmatullah's caliber apply for special-student status." Richard Shaw, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Times that "we lost him to Harvard," and "I didn't want that to happen again."

In the spring of 2001, I was one of several writers at The Wall Street Journal who interviewed Mr. Rahmatullah at our offices across the street from the World Trade Center. His official title was second foreign secretary; his mission was to explain the regime's decision to rid the country of two 1,000-year-old towering statues of Buddha carved out of rock 90 miles from the Afghan capital, Kabul. The archeological treasures were considered the greatest remaining examples of third- and fifth-century Greco-Indian art in the world. But Taliban leader Mullah Omar had ordered all statues in the country destroyed, calling them idols of infidels and repugnant to Islam.
Even Muslim nations like Pakistan denounced the move. Mr. Rahmatullah, who at the time claimed to be 24 but now says he was lying about his age and was actually two years younger, cut a curious figure in our office. He wore a traditional Afghan turban and white baggy pants and sported a full beard. His English, while sometimes elliptical, was smooth and colloquial. He made himself very clear when he said the West had no business worrying about the statues, because it had cut off trade and foreign aid to the Taliban. "When the world destroys the future of our children with economic sanctions, they have no right to worry about our past," he told us, according to my notes from the meeting.

He smiled as he informed us that the statues had been blown up with explosive charges only after people living nearby had been removed. He had no comment on reports that Mullah Omar had ordered 100 cows be sacrificed as atonement for the Taliban government's failure to destroy the Buddhas earlier.

As for Osama bin Laden, Mr. Rahmatullah called the Saudi fugitive a "guest" of his government and said it hadn't been proved that bin Laden was linked to any terrorist acts, despite his indictment in the U.S. for planning the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He said that if the embassy bombings were terrorist acts, then so was the Clinton administration's firing cruise missiles into his country in an attempt to kill bin Laden. "You killed 19 innocent people," he told us.

After the meeting I walked him out. I vividly recall our stopping at a window as he stared up at the World Trade Center. We stood there for a minute chatting, but I don't recall what he said. He then left. I next thought about him a few months later, on Sept. 11, as I stood outside our office building covered in dust and debris staring at the remains of the towers that had just collapsed. I occasionally wondered what had happened to Mr. Rahmatullah. I assumed he either had died in the collapse of the Taliban regime, had been jailed, or was living quietly in the new, democratic Afghanistan.

From newspaper clips I knew that his visit to the Journal's offices was part of a PR tour. He visited other newspapers and spoke at universities, and the State Department had granted him a meeting with midlevel officials. None of the meetings went particularly well. At the University of Southern California, Mr. Rahmatullah expressed irritation with a question about statues that at that point hadn't yet been blown up. "You know, really, I am asked so much about these statues that I have a headache now," he moaned. "If I go back to Afghanistan, I will blow them."

Carina Chocano, a writer for who attended several of his speeches in the U.S., noted the hostility of many of his audiences. "A lesser publicist might have melted down," she wrote. "But the cool, unruffled and media-smart Hashemi instead spun his story into a contemporary parable of ironic iconoclasm," peppering his lectures with "statue jokes."

But sometimes his humor really backfired. At a speech for the Atlantic Council, Mr. Rahmatullah was confronted by a woman in the audience who lifted the burkha she was wearing and chastised him for the Taliban's infamous treatment of women. "You have imprisoned the women--it's a horror, let me tell you," she cried. Mr. Rahmatullah responded with a sneer: "I'm really sorry to your husband. He might have a very difficult time with you."

A videotape of his cutting remark became part of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," and infuriated the likes of Mavis Leno, wife of "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno. Mrs. Leno helped found the Feminist Majority's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and devoted countless hours to focusing public attention on the plight of Afghanistan's women and girls. "I will never, ever abandon these women," she often said before the Taliban's overthrow. Here's hoping she has saved some of her outrage for Yale's decision to welcome Mr. Rahmatullah with open arms.

In his interview with the New York Times, Mr. Rahmatullah, said that if he had to do it all over, he would have been less "antagonistic" in his remarks during his U.S. road tour. "I regret the way I spoke sometimes. Now I would try to be softer. A little bit." Just a little?

Today, when he is asked if Afghanistan would be better off if the Taliban were still in charge, Mr. Rahmatullah, has a mixed answer: "Economically, no. In terms of security, yes. In terms of general happiness, no. In the long-term interests of the country? I don't think so. I think the radicals were taking over and doing crazy stuff. I regret when people think of the Taliban and then think of me--that feeling people have after they know I was affiliated with them is painful to me." Note that the government official who represented the Taliban abroad now claims to have been only "affiliated" with them.

Even though he evinces only semiregret for his actions in service to the Taliban, there is evidence that he has become quite a charmer. After the fall of the Taliban, he resumed a friendship he had developed with Mike Hoover, a CBS News cameraman who, according to a 2001 Associated Press story, had visited Afghanistan three times as a guest of the Taliban. Mr. Hoover inspired Mr. Rahmatullah to think about going to the U.S. to finish his studies. "I thought he could do a lot as a student/teacher," said Mr. Hoover. He persuaded Bob Schuster, an attorney friend of his from Wyoming who had gone to Yale, to help out. As the Times reported, "Schuster called the provost's office to ask how an ex-Taliban envoy with a fourth-grade education and a high-school equivalency degree might go about applying to one of the world's top universities."

Intrigued by Mr. Rahmatullah, Dean Shaw arranged for his admission into a nondegree program for special students. He apparently has done well, so far pulling down a 3.33 grade-point average.

There is something to be said for the instinct to reach out to one's former enemies. America's postwar reconciliation with the Japanese and Germans has paid great dividends. But there are limits.
During a trip to Germany I once ran into a relative of Hans Fritsche, the top deputy to Josef Goebbels, whom the Guardian, a British newspaper, once described as "the Nazi Propaganda Minister's leading radio spokesman [whose] commentaries were among the main items of German home and foreign broadcasting." After the war he was tried as a war criminal at Nuremberg, but because he had only given hate-filled speeches, he was acquitted of all charges in 1946. In the early 1950s, he applied for a visa to visit the U.S. and explain his regret at having served an evil regime. He was turned down, to the everlasting regret of the relative with whom I spoke. She noted that Albert Speer, Hitler's former architect, was also turned down for a U.S. visa even after he had completed a 20-year prison sentence and had written a best-selling book detailing Hitler's madness.

I don't believe Mr. Rahmatullah had direct knowledge of the 9/11 plot, and I don't think he has ever killed anyone. I can appreciate that he is trying to rebuild his life. But he willingly and cheerfully served an evil regime in a manner that would have made Goebbels proud. That he was 22 at the time is little of an excuse. There are many poor, bright students--American and foreign alike--who would jump at the opportunity to attend Yale. Why should Mr. Rahmatullah go to the line ahead of all of them? That's a question Yale alumni should ask when their alma mater comes looking for contributions.

President Bush, who already has a well-known disdain for Yale elitism from his student days there, may also have some questions. In the wake of his being blindsided by his own administration over the Dubai port deal, he should be interested in finding out exactly who at the State Department approved Mr. Rahmatullah's application for a student visa.
29280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: February 27, 2006, 07:01:03 PM
U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) recently introduced H.R. 4547-a national Right-to-Carry (RTC) reciprocity bill that would honor state carry licensees nationwide.  The bill would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state if they meet certain criteria.  The bill would not create a federal licensing system; it would simply require the states to recognize each other's carry permits, just as they recognize drivers' licenses.
For more information on the bill, please visit
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 4547!
29281  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: February 27, 2006, 05:38:00 PM
Bruno and I spoke last week.  He has graciously offered to help transcribe the first series into several languages which we do not have covered already.

DBMA Cycle Drills featuring Guro Lonely Dog is due to arrive Thursday!
29282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: February 25, 2006, 09:10:51 AM Jax firm to produce flexible armor for GIs, marines

Associated Press

February 24, 2006, 10:15 AM EST

BALTIMORE -- A Florida firm has been chosen to produce flexible body armor and other products based on technology developed at the University of Delaware and the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Fabric used in the armor is treated with a solution that stiffens when force is applied, but remains fluid otherwise.

The first products, which will initially focus on protection for law enforcement and corrections officers, are expected to be introduced later this year by Armor Holdings, Inc., a Jacksonville company best known for providing armored Humvees for the military. Body armor vests, helmets, gloves and extremity protection are among the products planned, the company announced Friday.

Body armor fabric treated with the fluid, for example, can resist an ice pick that would normally penetrate the fabric. Tests have also shown the treated fabric is better able to spread the force of an impact over a wider area, said Dr. Tony Russell, chief technology officer for Armor Holdings.

When force is applied, the fluid, which contains nano-sized particles, acts ``more like a solid. It locks the fibers in place and makes them more resistant to penetration,'' Russell said.

``If you take a normal ballistic fabric that's pretty good at stopping bullets and you hit it with an ice pick, the fibers will move out of the way. So what you normally have to do is put more layers to stop that ice pick,'' reducing flexibility that can inhibit motion.

The new technology allows the vest to stop penetration with fewer layers. The treated fabric, meanwhile, has virtually the same look, feel, texture, weight and flexibility, Russell said.

``You may get a little residue on your fingers but it doesn't feel wet to the touch,'' Russell said.

The company hopes the technology will eventually lead to lighter, more comfortable body armor that will cover more of the body.

The technology takes advantage of a property known as shear-thickening, in which fluids become solid when a force is applied. A common example is a paste of corn starch and water. A spoon rested on the surface will slowly sick to the bottom, but if force is suddenly applied the paste can't move to the sides quickly enough.

The technology Armor Holdings will use was developed by the University of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials and the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

University of Delaware professor Norman Wagner said the technology has the potential for new products that will ``provide better protection to those who need it.''

In addition to body armor, potential applications include vehicle armor, bomb blankets, industrial environments and transportation _ ``anywhere you want to protect people against sharp flying objects,'' Wagner said.

On the Net:

Armor Holdings Inc.:

Weapons and Material Research Directorate:

University of Delaware Shear Thickening Fluid site: Copyright ? 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
29283  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife vs. Gun on: February 24, 2006, 10:24:32 PM
I think the point of the Tueller drill was to see what a typical officer needed to gun solve a knife attack without HTH skills.  Yes?
29284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: February 23, 2006, 05:36:13 PM
29285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Resources and Helpful Links on: February 23, 2006, 04:59:08 PM
Get to a human, not more prompts!
29286  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Knife DVD? on: February 23, 2006, 04:58:07 PM
We have already shot some footage for an upcoming DVD on the Empty Hand vs. Knife.

The working title is "The Interface of Gun, Knife and Empty Hand" and will be a joint venture with highly regarded combatives pistol instructor Gabe Suarez.

I probably will be teaching "The Kali Fence" and DBMA's principal anti-knife structure "The Dog Catcher".  Gabe will show the Dog Catcher as a transition to getting a concealed carry pistol into play.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
29287  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife vs. Gun on: February 23, 2006, 09:31:12 AM
Oh that piece.  I had seen that before, but watching it now, I still didn't see a spider guard , , ,
29288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: February 23, 2006, 09:22:58 AM
Opinion - David Aaronovitch  
The Times February 21, 2006

'Whoever insults the one true Church deserves to be killed.' (News report)
David Aaronovitch
?EUROPE MUST LEARN to live in and with the world, not to dominate it, nor to assume it is superior or more virtuous. Any continent that has inflicted such brutality on the world over a period of 200 years has not too much to be proud of, and much to be modest and humble about.? Martin Jacques, The Guardian, on the cartoons row.
Meanwhile, in a parallel universe . . .


From a Reuters report, Rome, some time around now

The Vatican has protested in ?the strongest possible terms? against the publication in paperback of Dan Brown?s bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Cardinal Loopi, of the Office of the Defence of the Faith, condemned the book for defaming Catholicism and, in its suggestion that Jesus Christ was married, of heresy. ?We demand that the book be destroyed and that the author be punished,? said Loopi, ?otherwise we cannot be held responsible for how Catholics throughout the world may react.?

Excerpt from a speech by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor

Merkel: ?The affront to the honour of the one true Church is in fact an affront to the worship of God, and to the seeking of truth and justice, and an affront to all the prophets of God. Obviously, all those who harm the honour of the one true Church . . .?

Crowd: ?Death to Dan Brown.

Death to Dan Brown.

Death to Dan Brown.

Death to Dan Brown.?

From the Paris correspondent of al-Jazeera

A Lyons priest today offered half a million euros and a top-of-the-line Toyota as a reward to anyone who killed Dan Brown or any executive of the Da Vinci Code publishers, Jonathan Cape. Speaking to a 1,000-strong crowd gathered after Mass outside the church of St Marie-la-Vierge, Fr Jules Monbiot announced that the offer was ?a unanimous decision by all bishops that whoever insults the one true Church deserves to be killed, and whoever will take this insulting man to his end will get this prize?.

News stories in al-Ahram (Cairo)

Bookseller shot dead in Poland, by teenager shouting: ?For God, and the Pope!?

Ten killed in Lisbon Dan Brown riots, when police opened fire on mob ransacking the Canadian Embassy. ?We thought he was Canadian,? says riot leader.

Violence in northwest London as Jews go on rampage against Holocaust denial in Muslim countries. Kebab restaurants and curry houses ablaze from the Finchley Road to Edgware.

Iranian and Syrian embassies and consulates attacked in 20 cities worldwide. Iranian Embassy destroyed in Canberra. Australian Government describes violence as ?regrettable, but understandable?.

Speech by Angela Merkel, about the convening of an international conference in Berlin to ?investigate? Islam

?We propose the following to the Muslims: if you are not lying, allow a group of neutral, honest researchers to come to Mecca, and to talk to people, examine documents and let people know the findings of their research about the Muhammad myth. You have even prevented your own scholars from researching this issue. They are allowed to study anything except for the Muhammad myth. Are these not medieval methods??

Reuters report from Berlin

?German Chancellor Angela Merkel today caused alarm in diplomatic circles when she called for the Netherlands to be ?wiped from the face of the earth?.? She went on, ?The establishment of the Dutch regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Catholic world.?

Summary of an article in French government newspaper, Le Monde

The Netherlands may have created the avian flu virus in order to damage the economies of Europe, and cleverly planted it first in the Far East to divert attention away from the real plan.

Angela Merkel on German attempts to produce a nuclear weapon

?Those who oppose us should be grateful that our people has acted nobly towards you so far, and has been patient. We want to remain patient. Don?t make us lose our patience. The peoples have awakened. The world of Christendom has awakened. Do not make us reconsider our policies.?

Reuters reports from Munich

Fr Rudiger Schlitz, the assistant to the head of the Catholic Church in Germany, has said that it is doctrinally permissible for nuclear weapons to be used. ?When the entire world is armed with nuclear weapons, it is permissible to use these weapons as a counter-measure. According to church law, only the goal is important . . .?

Al-Jazeera News. Mark Seddon reporting . . .

These are the pictures of Our Lady?s Church in Shoreham, following the explosion in which 31 parishioners died, along with the suicide bomber, who is believed to belong to the majority Anglican community. This is the fourth such bomb attack on a Catholic church in the last two years.

Statement from Human Rights Watch . . .

Calling on the Italian authorities to order an immediate, independent investigation into the violent suppression of an apparently peaceful demonstration by Seventh Day Adventists in Naples on February 13, 2005. Hundreds of demonstrators, including women and children, were injured when police and armed militia from the Catholic Enforcement League broke up the protest, apparently using excessive force, and as many as 1,200 protesters are believed to have been arrested. A year later 200 of those detained are still being held without trial.

Report from al Quds-al-Arabi

Finland. Mr X, a local celebrity and Muslim, was exhumed after his funeral and given a Christian burial, despite his widow?s objection that he had not been to Church since he was a child, and had converted to Islam at the age of 15. A church court had considered the case following a complaint from a local Lutheran preacher, and ruled that Mr X should be treated as a Christian.

Excerpts from Amnesty International Report for 2006

In Newcastle, England, a special court sentenced a Gateshead woman to be burnt to death for witchcraft. Betty Spencer, 53, was immolated in front of a crowd that had gathered in the Newcastle United football stadium. It was the sixth such execution since the year 2000.

In Idaho a teacher was killed and three of his pupils badly injured when militia members of the ?Party of Christ?, who object to girls being educated on the same premises as boys, fired into a packed schoolroom.

And finally, the good news . . .

From hiding, somewhere in Pakistan, Dan Brown apologises to the Judaeo-Christian world for the publication of The Da Vinci Code, promises to donate the proceeds from all his books to any charity nominated for the purpose by Opus Dei and undertakes to become a monk in a silent order at a monastery atop a high mountain in the Apennines.
29289  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela Pol?tica on: February 23, 2006, 12:32:45 AM

The United States and the 'Problem' of Venezuela
February 22, 2006 20 55  GMT

By George Friedman

Venezuela has become an ongoing problem for the Bush administration, but no one seems able to define quite what the issue is. President Hugo Chavez is carrying out the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela and feuding with the United States. He has close ties with Cuba and has influenced many Latin American countries. The issue that needs to be analyzed, however, is whether any of this matters -- and if it does, why it is significant.

Chavez came to power in 1999 through a democratic election. He unseated a constellation of parties that had dominated Venezuela for years. Chavez, an army officer, had led a failed coup attempt in 1992 and spent time in prison for that. He sought the presidency without any clear ideology other than hostility to the existing regime. There was a vague belief at the time of his election that Chavez would be simply another passing event in Latin America. Put a little more bluntly, there was an assumption that Chavez rapidly would be corrupted by the opportunities opened to him as president, and that he would proceed to enrich himself while allowing business to go on as usual.

The business of Venezuela, however, is oil. Not only is the country a major exporter, but the state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), also owns the American refiner and retailer Citgo Petroleum Corp. Venezuela has tried to diversify its economy many times, but oil has remained its mainstay. In other words, the Venezuelan state is indistinguishable from the Venezuelan oil industry. Chavez, therefore, has faced two core issues: The first was how income from the oil would be used, and the second was the degree to which foreign oil companies could be allowed to influence that industry.

Chavez was able to win the presidency because he promised the Venezuelan masses a bigger cut of the oil revenues than they had seen before. More precisely, he promised a series of social benefits, which could be financed only through the diversion of oil revenues. From Chavez's point of view, the problem was that the Venezuelan upper class and the foreign oil companies were pocketing the oil money that could be used to pay for the social services upon which his government rested and his political future depended. From his fairly simple populist position, then, he proceeded to move against the technical apparatus of PDVSA and against the foreign oil companies, most of which opposed him and threatened to undermine his plans.

But there was yet a further dilemma. In order to support his political base, Chavez had to have oil revenues. In order to generate oil revenues, he had to have investment into the oil sector. But diverting revenues and building up the oil sector were competing goals. Given the political climate, foreign oil companies were not inclined to make major investments in Venezuela, and PDVSA -- minus its technical experts -- was not capable of maintaining operations and existing output levels. There was, then, a terrific problem embedded in Chavez's political strategy. In the long term, something would have to give.

Two things saved him from his dilemma. The first was a short-lived coup by his opposition in April 2002. This coup was truly something to behold. Having captured Chavez and sent him to an island, the coupsters fell into squabbling with each other over who would hold what office and sort of forgot about Chavez. Chavez flew back to Caracas, went to the Miraflores presidential palace, and took over, less than 48 hours after it all began. The coupsters headed out of town.

The coup gave Chavez a new, credible platform: anti-Americanism. He was never pro-American, but the brief coup allowed him to claim that the United States was trying to topple him. It would be a huge surprise to us if it turned out that the CIA was utterly unaware of the coup plans, but we would also be moderately surprised if the CIA planned events as Chavez charged. Even on its worst day, the CIA couldn't be that incompetent. But Chavez's claim was not implausible. It certainly was believed by his followers, and it expanded his support base to include Venezuelan patriots who disliked American interference in their affairs. What the coup did was flesh out Chavez's ideology a bit. He was for the poor and against the United States.

Chavez got lucky in a second way: rising oil prices. The appetite of his government for cash was enormous. Someone once referred to Citgo as "Chavez's ATM." With Venezuela's oil production declining, Chavez's government likely would have collapsed under social pressure if world oil prices had remained low. But oil prices didn't remain low -- they soared. Venezuela still had substantial economic problems and its oil industry was suffering from lack of expertise, investment and exploration, but at $60 a barrel, Chavez had room for maneuver.

All of this led him into an alliance with Cuba. When you're anti-U.S. in Latin America, Havana welcomes you with open arms. Cuba needed Venezuela as well: After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Cubans were cut off from subsidized oil supplies, and their ability to pay world prices wasn't there. Chavez could afford to provide Castro with oil to sustain the Cuban economy. It could be argued that without Chavez, the Castro regime might have collapsed once faced with soaring oil prices.

In return for this support, Chavez benefited from Cuba's greatest asset: a highly professional security and intelligence apparatus. Arguing, not irrationally, that the United States was not yet through with Venezuela, Chavez used Cuban expertise to build a security system designed to protect his regime. His government -- though not nearly as repressive as Cuba's is at the popular level -- nevertheless came under the protection not only of Cuban professionals, but of cadres of Venezuelan personnel trained by the Cubans. The relationship with the Cubans certainly predated the coup in Caracas, but it kicked into high gear afterwards. Both sides benefited.

Chavez's rise to power also intersected with another process under way in Latin America: the anti-globalization movement. From about 1990 onward, Latin America was dominated by an ideology that argued that free-market reforms, including uncontrolled foreign investment and trade, would in the long run lift the region out of its chronic misery. The long run turned out to be too long, however, because the pain caused in the short run began forcing advocates of liberalization out of office. In Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, economic problems created political reversals.

The old Latin American "left," which had been deeply Marxist and always anti-American, had gone quiet during the 1990s. It recently has surged back into action -- no longer in its dogmatic Marxist style, but in a more populist mode. Its key tenets now are state-managed economies and, of course, anti-Americanism. For the leftists, Chavez was a hero. The more he baited the United States, the more of a hero he became. And the more heroic he was in Latin America, the more popular in Venezuela. He spoke of the Bolivarian revolution, and he started to look like Simon Bolivar to some people.

In reality, Chavez's ability to challenge the United States is severely limited. The occasional threat to cut off oil exports to the United States is fairly meaningless, in spite of conversations with the Chinese and others about creating alternative markets. The United States is the nearest major market for Venezuela. The Venezuelans could absorb the transportation costs involved in selling to China or Europe, but the producers currently supplying those countries then could be expected to shift their own exports to fill the void in the United States. Under any circumstances, Venezuela could not survive very long without exporting oil. Symbolizing the entire reality is the fact that Chavez's government still controls Citgo and isn't selling it, and the U.S. government isn't trying to slam controls onto Citgo.

Washington ultimately doesn't care what Chavez does so long as he continues to ship oil to the United States. From the American point of view, Chavez -- like Castro -- is simply a nuisance, not a serious threat. Latin American countries in general are of interest to Washington, in a strategic sense, only when they are being used by a major outside power that threatens the United States or its interests. The entire Monroe Doctrine was built around that principle.

There was a fear at one point that Nazi U-boats would have access to Cuba. And when Castro took power in Cuba, it mattered, because it gave the Soviets a base of operations there. What happened in Nicaragua or Chile mattered to the United States because it might create opportunities the Soviets could exploit. Nazis in Argentina prior to 1945 mattered to the United States; Nazis in Argentina after 1945 did not. Cuba before 1991 mattered; after 1991, it did not. And apart from oil, Venezuela does not matter now to the United States.

The Bush administration unleashes periodic growls at the Venezuelans as a matter of course, and Washington would be quite pleased to see Chavez out of office. Should al Qaeda operatives be found in Venezuela, of course, then the United States would take an obsessive interest there. But apart from the occasional Arab -- and some phantoms generated by opposition groups, knowing that that is the only way to get the United States into the game -- there are no signs that Islamist terrorists would be able to use Venezuela in a significant way. Chavez would be crazy to take that risk -- and Castro, who depends on Chavez's cheap oil, is not about to let Chavez take crazy risks, even if he were so inclined.

From the American point of view, an intervention that would overthrow Chavez would achieve nothing, even if it could be carried out. Chavez is shipping oil; therefore, the United States has no major outstanding issues. A coup in Venezuela, even if not engineered by the United States, would still be blamed on the United States. It would increase anti-American sentiment in Latin America, which in itself would not be all that significant. But it also would increase hostility toward the United States in Europe, where the Allende coup is still recalled bitterly by the left. The United States has enough problems with the Europeans without Venezuela adding to them.

Taken in isolation, Venezuela can't really hurt the United States. If all of South America were swept by a Bolivarian revolution, it wouldn't hurt the United States. Absent a significant global power to challenge the United States, Latin America and its ideology are of interest to Latin Americans but not to Washington. The only real threat that Venezuela poses to the United States would be if its oil production becomes so degraded that the United States has to seek out new suppliers and world prices rise. That would matter to Washington, and indeed it may eventually occur -- Venezuelan output has dropped about 1 million bpd below pre-Chavez highs -- but it would matter a thousand times more to Venezuela.

This explains the strange standoff between Venezuela and the United States, and Washington's basic indifference to events in Latin America. Venezuela is locked into its oil relationship with the United States. Latin America poses no threat on its own. The chief geopolitical challenge to the United States -- radical Islam -- intersects Latin America only marginally. Certainly, there are radical Islamists in Latin America; Hezbollah in particular has assets there. But for them to mount an attack against the United States from Latin America would be no more efficient than mounting it from Europe. The risk is a concern, not an obsession.

For the United States, its border with Mexico matters. For the Venezuelans, high oil prices that subsidize their social programs and buy regional allies matter. Both want Venezuelan oil to keep pumping. Aside from the one issue that they agree on, the United States can live and is living with Chavez, and Chavez not only lives well with the United States but needs it -- both as a source of cash, through Citgo, and as a whipping boy.

Sometimes, there really isn't a problem.
29290  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife vs. Gun on: February 23, 2006, 12:23:38 AM

Some very cogent points.  Hope you will continue to participate.


Would you give the specific URL please?   I just surfed the site but could not find what you reference.

Porn Star:

Good to hear from you!  Come post on the Ass'n forum and let us knwo what you are up to!

Crafty Dog
29291  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: February 22, 2006, 10:17:52 AM

Another declassified Al Qaeda document: The failed jihad in Syria
Filed under:
? site admin @ 9:25 am
Al Qaeda assesses its mistakes. (And please see this recent post for background on other Al Qaeda documents.)

Consider ?Lessons learned from the armed jihad ordeal in Syria.?

This is a long analysis (45 pages in pdf) of the Muslim Brotherhood?s war against Syria?s Assad regime, and focuses on the early 1980s.

Al Qaeda wants to learn from:

?the jihad ordeal in the past period, we should point out ?as we see it from our own perspective? important and essential points that form the basis of our analysis, the methodology we used and the objectives we seek:

On Page 6:

?Obviously the most essential element of any revolutionary organization is putting forward a series of goals and slogans that attract the masses, and presenting itself as a revolutionary pioneering organization with crystal clear objectives. The true mujahideen failed to put forward their ideology, slogans and objectives via a well crafted media campaign. The majority of people were not aware of what was going on and those who followed the news knew that some Moslems youths are fighting the regime and plan on establishing ?Moslem rule?, they did not explain to the people the nature and form of this ?Moslem rule?, they did not explain why people should join in the fight and why they should die for that cause. The mujahideen failed to define their identity, their intentions and motivations; such an explanation was and still is the main pillar for attracting the masses and mobilizing the base members on an intellectual and ideological level to partake in this dangerous work (i.e. Jihad).

Media, revolt, ?pioneering organization.? Al Qaeda paid attention to the Soviet Union?s Cold War methods for seeding and encouraging anti-Western rebels. (The document often focuses on the methods and operations of ?Attalieaa? -The Vanguards- in the anti-Assad revolt.)

On page 10? a lack of OPSEC (operatonal security) and ?strike back? capability hindered the Syrian movement:

The hosting regimes infiltrated our organizations, monitored all our activities, restricted and chocked us, and in some cases arrested or killed our members and representatives. It is true the battle was in Syria; nevertheless we needed to have military deterrence capabilities on the outside; to help us fend off an enemy able to trace and monitor our movements in our new homes.
Many Arab and Moslem regimes ganged up on us by aiding and abetting the enemy, it is enough to mention that while we were suffering from death, destruction and a daunting war; Arab oil money was flowing to the ?Alawite? Hafez Assad to pay for the bullets killing our Moslem youth, and for building prisons to incarcerate and torture our brethren. Most of the Arab Moslem gulf countries considered Hafez Assad and his regime as apostate blasphemers yet for political interests and for the purpose of maintaining balance of power; they flooded his ?Alawite occupying? regime with billions of dollars. In short the lack of military operations on the outside prevented us from deterring the enemy and his friends and supporters.

On page 11 ? the failure of Muslim organizations to instill genuine ?hard militancy.? This puts the Cartoon Wars in a new light. Al Qaeda has had ten to fifteen years to ?harden? these organizations.

Inability to transform civilian Islamic missionary groups into military organizations capable of resistance and self defense:
This could be the most valuable lesson relating to the Islamic missionary groups in the Arab & Moslem countries. The battle may have erupted unexpectedly; however a large sector of the Moslems (Especially the leaders) knew that it was inevitable, those leaders did not prepare nor plan. Those missionary groups brought their peaceful missionary style and methods to the fight, the sheik failed miserably when he wore the general?s hat. It is astonishing to see and hear leaders of Moslem organizations preaching jihad and claiming that dieing for ?Allah? is their ultimate wish, yet they fail for tens of years to instruct religiously and train militarily for that fight, they could not produce documents for emergency (e.g. passports), or save money for tough times. They were unable to mobilize effectively and in a hurry, those organizations were ineffective and eventually collapsed.

But to Al Qaeda?s strategists, Syria proved to them that some form of Islamist revolution would work.

Events proved that mobilizing armed Moslem masses in the cause of an Islamic jihad revolution is possible; provided that the leaders prove their ability to fight oppression and set a good example in daring and sacrifice. The 18 months of military jihad -with all its shortcomings- brought hundreds of thousands of Moslems to the streets chanting: down with oppression, down with the regime, long live jihad, give us arms to fight with honor, the city of Hamah experience proved that thousands of Moslems answered the call and fought side by side with our mujahideen. Events proved how giving our people are, leaders sprouted from within and produced magnificent military cadres both in leadership and discipline.

BUsh and Rumsfeld weren?t the first to apply the term ?long war? to this struggle. Al Qaeda used it. On page 19:

The struggle for the sake and path of ?Allah? is not called:?Jihad? for nothing, the term ?Jihad? literally means: ?exerting a tiring effort to set up?. The enemy is strong and powerful, we are weak and poor, the war duration is going to be long and the best way to fight it is in a revolutionary jihad way for the sake of ?Allah?. The preparations better be deliberate, comprehensive, and properly planed, taking into account past experiences and lessons.

Centralization of planning but a ?high degree? of field autonomy isn?t an accident.

Page 20:

Decentralization in the management of the military operations:
To yield high dividends; the military high command managing this type of battles must have centralized planning and strategy, they could heat up an area or cool another to affect the flow of the war, they should be able to maintain harmony among the forces and ranks, distribute and move weaponry, supplies, personnel to different locations according to need. From this perspective centralization is essential; on the other hand the nature of this type of war requires that the regional and field commanders be awarded a high level of autonomy in planning and managing their own affairs. The experiences of gang warfare around the world ?whether ancient or contemporary? has proven that this style is necessary and very effectiveness.

The war is also expensive. From page 21:

Experiences teach us that a mujahid revolutionary movement that utilizes a gang warfare will be very expensive, costing millions per day ranging from weaponry, armaments and munitions, supporting the mujahideen, providing them with shelter and aiding their families, providing documentation, and paying for the battle expenses. Now we understand why the holy Koran and the speeches of the prophet tied the physical jihad to financial jihad. Money plays an influential role in this war; it can not be planed for, nor initiated prior to finding a solution to this conundrum. Our experiences as well as the experiences of other nations where gang warfare took place teach us that for the revolutionary leadership to be in control of its decisions, capabilities and destiny, and for this war to succeed it should be self sufficient and financed from within. However the primary source of financing for this war should be obtained through raiding resources of the enemy (Its budget, weapons, resources and money), otherwise the leadership of the jihad movement will be subject to the control, demands and interests of the financers.

Al Qaeda antiticpated a US-led ?financial squeeze.? How successful it?s been in maintaining ?internal funding? is another issue. However, Iraqis told me in 2004 that their police suspected much of the kidnapping of Iraqi citizens was done by criminal organizations hired by either ?former regime elements? (Saddam) or Al Qaeda, with the purpose of generating funds to feed their respective operations.

The section on communication is a must read. An excerpt:

These days communication is the nerve of all modern armies in the world, and revolutionary gang warfare organizations are no exception, it may not be as vital to them as it is to conventional armies but it is still very important nevertheless. Communications could be the weak link and expose the mujahideen to the enemy. In our Syrian experience communications at all levels were carried out via courier, or through pre arranged meetings, wireless communication was not utilized till later in the battle, coordination with the leaderships and supporters out side Syria was conducted via courier too, Towards the end of the war the ?Moslem Brotherhood? resorted to airing coded messages to the inside on their radio station in Iraq.

Pages 28 and 29 discuss intelligence gathering and organizational structure. ?Pyramid? and ?thread? organizational structures are both analyzed. An excerpt:

Some times a combination of both structures (the pyramid hierarchy and the thread connection) yields great results because it provides the leadership with the ability to maneuver, this of course depends on the situation. Many European gang organizations were able through experience to develop very accurate and durable methods that helped it withstand the onslaught of very advanced and powerful security organizations; (e.g. the red brigades of Italy, Badder Meinhoff of Germany and the Spanish separatist organization ETA). Our experience taught us that security and strength of an organization could be contradictory to its growth or ease of management.

The pyramid: ?The most popular form of secretive organizations is the pyramid hierarchy structure, where information and command goes up or down effectively and in a speedy manner??

The thread (incorrect spellings are from the translated text): ?A leadership member ?Tip of the thread? is connected to a series of clusters, those clusters are not connected to each other and are usually composed of one or two individuals, this burdens the ?tip of the thread? with a lot of responsibilities and requires dedicated effort on his part. If a member is arrested he does not cause a major threat to the entire organization because he does not know much. This system though secure, is week, because if the ?tip of the tread? is captured, all the clusters are compromised??

On page 34 we hear an echo of von Clausewitz:

The Jihad revolutionary war just like any other war is political at heart; it is politically and ideologically motivated, the military activity is merely the tool or means to achieve that objective. (Without military activity the revolution will loose its impact and have no chance of success). The military operations could be extremely successful yet if that capital is not expended in accordance with a clear political vision and strategy, and a well crafted public relations campaign we will only gain titles for our martyrs and tears for their blood. We have to stress (and make sure we do not forget) that the battle is political at the core; the political effort should receive the same attention and be treated as importantly as the military effort is.

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[?] olitics, Middle East/Terrorism at 9:18 am by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Courtesy of Austin Bay: Al Qaeda assesses its mistakes. (And please see this recent post for background on other Al Qaeda d [?]

Pingback by ? Another declassified Al Qaeda document: The failed jihad in Syria ? 2/20/2006 @ 11:17 am

William Kristol (Weekly Standard) was interviewed on Fox News this AM stating that the administration had given up on the concept of releaseing this material to the public or making a big show of doing so. According to Kristol people in the White House thought it was a lost cause and no use trying to bring this information to light. If Kristol is right, it shows some serious problems in the thinking in the White House. Either that, or they are going to sit on it till right before the 06 election to play a big ?I told you so? game and drop the national secutiry card in an attempt to influence the election. I don?t know but my sense is that is is not the later.

Comment by Bill Gross ? 2/20/2006 @ 11:34 am

Very good read.
Al Qaeda clearly knows that the media battle is as important as the military battle.
They speak to two audiences, potential Islamic recruits and people in the West whose will to resist can be broken.
The media and politicos in the West are serving to aid and abet Al Qaeda in this media battle.

Comment by Rob ? 2/20/2006 @ 12:21 pm

[?] by a relatively unorganized group of radical imams, with Al Qaeda merely an anomaly. Now Austin Bay brings us another perspective on Al Qaeda, and it?s disturbing. It suggests th [?]

Pingback by sifted truth ? Blog Archive ? The Two Faces of Jihad ? 2/20/2006 @ 6:26 pm

There is quite a bit of hard ball politics going on in the USA and especially around the ?beltway?. The conduit to release this real information is blocked because the main stream media is infested with liberals who would either spike this news or discredit it. If it were released to Fox news or the Washington Times, it would not be taken seriously either. Lose-lose. We are in a war, and many in our country either don?t know it or don?t believe it, or are on the other side.

Comment by Chief RZ ? 2/20/2006 @ 6:39 pm

One major shortcoming in the way Americans wage war is that they can?t seem to see military operations as linked to, or an extension of, political actions. Clausewitz?s wisdom seems so often to have been wasted on both the American body politic, and its institutional military. Obviously, as we?ve learned to our sorrow, the Vietnamese understood this. It seems the Islamic jihadists do also. How many ?hits? are we going to take before the lesson is learned?

Comment by Steve ? 2/20/2006 @ 7:14 pm

Isn?t it interesting that MSM has no interest in these documents. Do you doubt their reaction would be completely opposite if these documents were composed by the Bush administration and dealing with an analysis of pre-war intelligence?

Comment by Jason ? 2/20/2006 @ 8:54 pm

History lesson

Austin Bay has the breakdown of some newly released documents seized in Afghanistan and Iraq. What I think we will all find out soon is that the bad guys (al-qaeda, Saddam, etc.) are meticulous record keepers, just like the nazi?s in WWII. Reams and r?

Trackback by GZ Expat, Part II ? 2/20/2006 @ 9:43 pm

As Rep. Pete Hoekstra, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, noted: There are still 35,000 unreviewed and untranslated boxes of documents and tapes. Along with the Feb. 2nd report on concerning former Iraqi General Georges Sada who said that Saddam moved WMD into Syria in retrofitted commerical jets in 2002, the Iraq-Syria connection vis a vis WMD may well become major news this year. See my full review of this at

Comment by Phil Mella ? 2/20/2006 @ 10:53 pm

Thank you for printing these. This information underscores the value of the strategy of releasing these documents to the blogs and letting the blogs translate and distribute the information. The best disinfectant is the light of the sun. Let?s expose these terrorists.

Comment by JoeS ? 2/21/2006 @ 7:39 am

Please keep the pressure on the political powers that be?when they gets their spine and groove back and hammer at what the Al Queda operatives say and then DO, the MSM will have to start treating it as an valid insight for all to learn about and to ponder and to gather their wits in supporting this clash of freedom with Islamic fanatics who play the game of facism just as well as Hitler and his minions ever did. And all the time, we must continue to point out that the vast majority of moderate Muslims?and they are legion?need our support so they can become braver and braver in denouncing these thugs who have hijacked their religion and the true teachings of their Prophet.

Comment by marlowe anderson ? 2/21/2006 @ 12:13 pm

This is great; thanks, Austin.
When will Bush focus more efforts on translation, and especially machine aided OCR and machine initial Arabic > English? It?s ridiculous that they don?t have more programs working on this problem for a technical fix ? as well as increasing the AI tech capabilities.

Farming it out to bloggers, and the internet, is also not a bad idea.

Comment by Tom Grey - Liberty Dad ? 2/21/2006 @ 12:45 pm

Not Surprising in the Least

Michelle Malkin?s blog directed me to the Counterterrorism Blog?s follow-up of a story from the Buckeye State. I must say I don?t find this the least bit surprising given the press that?s been coming from northwest Ohio for awhile as

Trackback by Most Certainly Not ? 2/21/2006 @ 12:56 pm

Stunning - not. The revolutionaries have been working on their doctrine for a number of years. Their detailed analysis of their weaknesses and operational needs should be a reinforcing wake-up call that we are ill equipped for this radical, assymetric conflict. Boots on the ground can establish safe zones to disarm and undermine popular support for these groups, but the recent arrests in Ohio indicate that adherents are potentially everywhere.

Comment by Citizen Deux ? 2/21/2006 @ 2:15 pm

The Muslim Brotherhood had a radio station in Iraq? Gosh, I thought Saddam was opposed to the religious jihadi?s. That?s the CIA?s deep, expensively researched insight, isn?t it? Makes me wonder just how much other cooperation might have been going on?

Comment by Patrick ? 2/21/2006 @ 3:49 pm

How very fascinating that the history of political struggle reveals that the more things change-the more they stay the same. These operational notes could have come out of the playbook for every ?revolutionary? struggle enacted in the 20th century. Just replace ?Allah? with the ?Party?, ?jihad? with ?struggle? and we are in the middle of your basic communist guerilla war with a few high tech updates for the times we live in. The only question left is how do we turn the 5th column of the msm into a weapon for our side.

Comment by dgree3 ? 2/21/2006 @ 7:01 pm
29292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: February 22, 2006, 05:25:59 AM
I recommend in the highest terms

George Friedman: The Secret War.

GF is the founder/head of    If you have the money, subscribing to Strat is HIGHLY recommended.  You can get a one week trial subscription free at the site.

And now, here's this:  


Do we have a smoking gun here?

From   The author was a part of the ISG in Iraq and gives his perspective to some documents published that were purported to be "the real thing".  These documents detail AQ and SH. He personally has seen the original of one document and can verify that at the least, the published one is for real.  
Am I preaching to just the choir again?
 Saddam and al-Qaeda
February 20th, 2006

The proof has been right in front of you the entire time. Documents available on the internet, which pass the smell test and are probably genuine, show the link between Saddam and al Qaeda.

On October 11th, 2004 an online news service called CNSnews published 42 documents that they claimed came from the Iraq Survey Group. The documents supposedly came from an ISG official who claimed they were captured in Iraq. CNSnews provided this information along with testimony from experts who authenticated the documents to the best of their ability. The story can be found here.  

I have no connection to CNSnews. I did not release these documents to anybody while working with ISG or at any other time. But I will now add my name to the list of those who authenticate the documents. I know there is a good chance that these documents are real for three reasons.

The first reason is that I saw thousands of these documents while with ISG, and these look right.

But more than that, I saw the original of one of these documents at the Combined Media Processing Center in Qatar. I can therefore validate one document as having been captured in Iraq ? which increases the likelihood that they are all real.

The third reason is that I witnessed an investigation into who released these documents conducted at the CPMC by ISG. If these document were not authentic, why would an investigation have been conducted into who released them?

So what do the documents tell us?

I recommend that you review them, as they contain such interesting nuggets as a program by the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) to hunt down and kill Americans throughout the Middle East and Africa.

But how does this connect Saddam to al-Qaeda?

Look at document 14.  

Here is the condensed version. The document is from the IIS and details plans to meet with an official from the ?Egyptian Al-Jehad? via a Sudanese official named Ali Othman Taha. He is called the Vice Chairman of the Islamic Front in Sudan in the memo.

I looked up Ali Othman Taha on wikipedia and it says that he is the Vice President of Sudan.

Who or what is the Egyptian al-Jehad (jihad)?

This from  


Jihad Group

Islamic Jihad

Egyptian Islamic Jihad

New Jihad Group

Vanguards of Conquest

Talaa? al-Fateh


Egyptian Islamic extremist group active since the late 1970s. Merged with Bin Ladin?s al-Qaida organization in June 2001, but may retain some capability to conduct independent operations. Continues to suffer setbacks worldwide, especially after 11 September attacks. Primary goals are to overthrow the Egyptian Government and replace it with an Islamic state and attack US and Israeli interests in Egypt and abroad.

Okay now we know the Egyptian al Jihad is also known as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a name you may have heard in connection to its leader:

Al-Sharif passed the Jihad leadership to Ayman al-Zawahri amid dissent within the movement in the mid 1980?s. The al-Zawahri faction subsequently formed an alliance with Al-Qaeda leading over time to the effective merger of the two groups operations inside Afghanistan.

Although al-Zawahri is frequently refered to as a ?lieutenant? or ?second in command? of Al Qaeda this description is misleading as it implies a hierarchical relationship. The modern Al Qaeda organization is the combination of Bin Laden?s financial resources with al-Zawahri?s ideological and operational leadership.  ? wikipedia

That?s right, Ayman al-Zawahri, one of the talking heads of al-Qaeda who treated us to a new video not so long ago. The Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization combined with Osama Bin Ladin?s supporters to form al-Qaeda.

The EIJ is neck deep in al-Qaeda. And this documents shows an EIJ official to be escorted to Baghdad to meet with Saddam Hussein in 1993.

The Institute for Counterterrorism says this about the EIJ:

Since 1993 the group has not conducted an attack inside Egypt. However there have been repeated threats to retaliate against the United States, for its incarceration of Sheikh Umar Abd al-Rahman and, more recently, for the arrests of its members in Albania, Azerbaijan, and the United Kingdom.

In 1993, Sheikh Umar Abd al-Rahman directed the bombing of the world trade center. He is now imprisoned in the U.S.

Now look at document 28.

This document is a continuation of document 27 and in general talks about overturning the Egyptian government and ?providing technical support? presumably to the EIJ in efforts against the Egyptian government and American non-military interests.

So let ?s put this in context. Here?s what the documents tell us:

On February 26th, 1993 the first world trade center was attacked by al-Qaeda and the EIJ (really two organizations that cooperated in 1993 and eventually merged).

A month later an official from EIJ was meeting with Saddam in Baghdad.

We have a document showing Saddam authorizing the IIS to ?provide technical support? to the EIJ, and by extension, al-Qaeda.

And then al-Qaeda and the EIJ attacked the U.S. on September 11th, 2001 led by an Egyptian Jihadist, Mohammed Atta.

Now you have proof Saddam provided support to the EIJ and by extension al-Qaeda, both of which attacked us on 9/11.

Ray Robison is a Sr. Military Operations Research Analyst with a defense contractor at the Aviation and Missile, Research, Development, Engineering Command in Huntsville, Alabama. His background includes over ten years of military service as an officer and enlisted soldier including the Gulf War and Kosovo operations. Most recently he worked as a contractor for DIA with the Iraqi Survey Group. He holds a B.S. degree in Biology, Pre-med from the University of Tampa and is a graduate of the Combined Arms and Services Staff School.
29293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: February 22, 2006, 04:39:57 AM
All praise Prof. Alan Dershowitz
By Tony Blankley
February 22, 2006

Next week a vastly important book will be published: "Preemption, A Knife That Cuts Both Ways" by Alan Dershowitz. Yes, that Alan Dershowitz: the very liberal civil libertarian, anti-capital punishment Harvard Law School professor. And but for my lack of his legal scholarship, there is nary a sentence in the book that I ? a very conservative editor of The Washington Times and former press secretary to Newt Gingrich ? couldn't have written.
    The premise of his book is that in this age of terror, there is a potential need for such devices as profiling, preventive detention, anticipatory mass inoculation, prior restraint of dangerous speech, targeted extrajudicial executions of terrorists and preemptive military action, including full-scale preventive war.
    In his own words, from his introduction: "The shift from responding to past events to preventing future harms is part of one of the most significant but unnoticed trends in the world today. It challenges our traditional reliance on a model of human behavior that presupposes a rational person capable of being deterred by the threat of punishment. The classic theory of deterrence postulates a calculating evildoer who can evaluate the cost-benefits of proposed actions and will act ? and forbear from acting ? on the basis of these calculations. It also presupposes society's ability (and willingness) to withstand the blows we seek to deter and to use the visible punishment of those blows as threats capable of deterring future harms. These assumptions are now being widely questioned as the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of suicide terrorists becomes more realistic and as our ability to deter such harms by classic rational cost-benefit threats and promises becomes less realistic."
    Yet, such policies conflict with traditional concepts of civil liberties, human rights, criminal justice, national security, foreign policy and international law. He shrewdly observes that historically, nations ? including democracies ? have resorted to such deviations from law and custom out of necessity, but that it has all been ad hoc, secret or deceptive.
    Mr. Dershowitz argues that now, rather, we need to begin to develop an honest jurisprudence of prevention to legally regulate such mechanisms. It is better, he argues, to democratically decide now, before the next disaster, this new jurisprudence ? the rules by which we will take these necessary actions.
    To see the difference between traditional Anglo-American criminal jurisprudence and his proposed jurisprudence of prevention, he raises the great maxim of criminal law: better that 10 guilty go free, than one innocent be wrongly convicted. That principle led our law to require proof beyond a reasonable doubt before conviction in criminal trials. Most of us agree with that standard.
    But then Mr. Dershowitz updates the maxim thusly: "Is it better for ten possibly preventable terrorist attacks to occur than for one possibly innocent suspect to be preventively detained?" I would hunch that most people would not be willing to accept ten September 11 attacks (30,000 dead) in order to protect one innocent suspect from being locked up and questioned for a while.
    Is it possible to go beyond such gut instincts and ad hoc decision making during a crises, and begin to develop a thoughtful set of standards for conduct in this dangerous new world? I don't know.
    As Mr. Dershowitz observes, a jurisprudence develops slowly in response to generations, centuries of adjudicated events. But to the extent we recognize the need for it and start thinking systematically, to that extent we won't be completely held hostage to the whim and discretion of a few men at moments of extreme stress.
    At the minimum, an early effort at a jurisprudence of prevention would at least help in defining events. Consider the long and fruitless recent debate about the imminence of the danger from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or the current debate on Iran's possible nuclear weapons. Under traditional international law standards they are both classic non-imminent threat situations: "early stage acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by a state presumed to be hostile."
    But as Mr. Dershowitz points out, while the threat itself is not imminent, "the opportunity to prevent the threat will soon pass." Once they have the weapons it is too late.
    Or, a low price in innocent casualties might soon pass. For instance, in 1981 when Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear site at Osirak, if it had waited much longer the site would have been "radioactively hot" and massive innocent civilian casualties would have been incurred from radioactive releases. It is simply not enough anymore to say a country violates the norm by acting in its ultimate, but not imminent, self-defense. We need new standards for a new age.
    The new realities of unacceptable risk require new ? and lower ? standards of certainty before defensive action is permitted.
    As we develop a jurisprudence of prevention, we increase the chance of justice and rationality being a bigger part of such crisis decisions that our presidents will be facing for the foreseeable future.
    Mr. Dershowitz's sound, practical scholarship is commendable. But what I find heartening is the political fact that a prominent scholar of the left has finally entered into a constructive conversation about how to manage our inevitably dangerous WMD/terrorist-infested future.
    If such as Mr. Dershowitz and I can find common ground, there should be space there for a multitude. And from that common ground can grow a common plan for a common victory.
29294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: February 22, 2006, 04:10:47 AM
Fatwas and Rewards: An Inflection Point in the Cartoon Controversy
February 22, 2006 00 21  GMT

By Fred Burton

Two minor Shariah courts in India's Uttar Pradesh state have issued fatwas calling for the death of a Danish cartoonist who drew caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. The fatwas, issued Feb. 21, came three days after a religious scholar in Peshawar, Pakistan, offered a reward -- 500,000 rupees, or about $8,300, of his own money, and 1 million rupees, or about $16,600, fronted by two of his followers, plus a new car -- for anyone who kills one of the cartoonists associated with the controversy.

Taken together, these two incidents mark a significant juncture in the global uproar over the Mohammed cartoons -- one that represents an uptick in security risks to Westerners around the globe. Given the nature of the two fatwas and the terms of the reward, the risks are particularly pertinent to European media professionals who would be closely associated with the cartoons or the newspapers that printed them; but the threat, for a variety of reasons, extends beyond this circle.

Let's begin by noting that neither the fatwas themselves, nor the promise of rewards by a Pakistani religious scholar, is the central issue. A fatwa is nothing more than an opinion or decree handed down by a Muslim leader or group on a matter of Islamic law. It is not binding, even in countries ruled by Shariah law, but it can be motivational. It also can be quite controversial within the Muslim community -- as has been the case with the fatwas issued in India. The true power of a fatwa lies in the credentials and reputation of the person who issues it, and the edict's consistency with Islamic principles. These factors will be taken into consideration by anyone struggling with the ethical issue of whether to abide by a fatwa.

In Uttar Pradesh, which has a large population of Muslims, the fatwas were issued by minor entities, while the most prominent institutions there have gone on record to make it clear they do not endorse the measures. That doesn't mean, however, that there are not those likely to act on them: Technically speaking, Osama bin Laden -- who is not a religious leader -- had no standing to issue his fatwa declaring war against the West in 1998, but followers and sympathizers certainly took his words very seriously and acted accordingly.

One of the more interesting aspects of the fatwas in this case has to do with the fact that they only now are being issued. As has been previously noted, there already has been one interesting time lapse in the case of the cartoons: They originally were published in late September 2005, but public fury in the Islamic world didn't break out in earnest until early February -- after a group of Muslim leaders traveled from Denmark to the Middle East, by their own admission, purposely to "stir up attitudes" in response to the cartoons, and after several European newspapers had republished the images.

It is intriguing, therefore, that the Indian fatwas and the Pakistani reward offer are appearing only now -- after weeks of violent outbursts, several of them fatal, in flashpoints around the world. These statements, then, are not the knee-jerk reactions of deeply offended Muslim leaders to what is construed as blasphemy; they are being issued for other reasons. Certainly, the religious leaders very likely are offended by the images, but they waited for public sentiment to reach critical mass before publicly calling for action against Danish cartoonists. This is the logic of politics: The leaders who issued the fatwas refrained from doing so until they were sure they had a built-in level of support and that their statements would be taken seriously, lest they perhaps lose credibility with their core audience, the local congregations.

In general, extreme fatwas such as those calling for the targeted killing of a "blasphemer" are most likely to resonate among hard-line conservative or radical Muslims, but they can strike a chord with larger swaths of the mainstream as well. In cases where the blasphemy was considered extreme -- or a fatwa politically expedient -- such edicts in the past have led to some unexpected results, and those in some unlikely corners of the world. Some examples from history may illuminate the security risks now at issue.

Perhaps the best-known example of a deadly fatwa, at least in the West, is that issued by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against author Salman Rushdie in 1989, in response to the publication of "The Satanic Verses." Rushdie, of course, was placed under the protection of the Special Branch in London and went into hiding under an assumed identity. In this case, extreme measures were taken to protect the life of a British citizen because the fatwa was issued by the Supreme Leader of Iran, and it was believed that the Iranians and other Muslim faithful from around the globe would go to great lengths to carry out his bidding.

What is, perhaps, less widely known is the violence carried out against ancillary players associated with "The Satanic Verses." Men who translated the book into Italian and Japanese were both attacked in July 1991; one of the translators, Ettore Capriolo, survived being beaten and stabbed, but the other, professor Hitoshi Igarashi, was killed. Two years later, in 1993, the man responsible for having the book published in Norway was shot outside his home in Oslo, but survived.

In all three cases, the victims apparently were chosen because they were easier to get to than the primary target, Rushdie, and the attacks still fulfilled the requirements of the fatwa in some form. In fact, targeting guidance in some fatwas can be subject to broad interpretation, or used as justification for seemingly unrelated acts of violence. Consider the March 1989 killings of Abdullah al-Ahdal, a Muslim spiritual leader in Belgium, who was gunned down in Brussels, along with an associate, by a Lebanese group called Soldiers of Truth. Investigators believed al-Ahdal may have been murdered because he had criticized Khomeini over the fatwa.

In a related example, 38 Saudi clerics endorsed the Khomeini fatwa in February 1989 when they issued their own against Rashad Khalifa, an Egyptian author who had immigrated to the United States in 1959. Khalifa's controversial writings, including a biography of the Prophet Mohammed, are widely believed to have inspired Rushdie's "Satanic Verses." In January 1990, Khalifa was murdered in Tucson, Arizona -- allegedly by al-Fuqra, a Pakistan-based extremist group that has been linked by U.S. counterterrorism officials to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and al Qaeda. One of the group's members, Mahmoud Abouhalima, was convicted for his role in the WTC bombing, and is believed to have been involved in Khalifa's murder as well.

More recently, there have been controversies and perceived offenses to Islam in the mass media that led to killings, even when there were no fatwas or rewards in question. The case of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh certainly stands out: He was brutally murdered in Amsterdam in November 2004 by a Moroccan immigrant. Van Gogh had received death threats related to a film released earlier that year, "Submission," that dealt with violence toward women in Muslim society and projected Quranic verses in controversial ways on the screen. The confessed killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, said he murdered Van Gogh in order to fulfill his duties as a Muslim.

In all of these cases, violence associated with perceived offenses to Islam was carried out in the West or -- as in the case of the Japanese translator, who was killed in Tokyo -- other locations far removed from traditional flashpoints in the Muslim world. Thus far, the bulk of the violence in the cartoon controversy has occurred with public demonstrations in Muslim countries, but the fatwas and offers of rewards might mark a shift in that dynamic.

Again, the point here is not about the overwhelming influence of any of the religious authorities involved; certainly none of them has the stature of a Khomeini. For that matter, fatwas in general may be losing their effectiveness with Muslims as they are employed by low-ranking clerics on occasionally mundane issues. The point is that the cartoon controversy now has reached a threshold that public demonstrations against state symbols like embassies no longer may suffice to vent the frustrations of some radical elements within Islam. Where there exists any predilection to seek out Westerners as targets for violence, the fact that fatwas have been issued or rewards offered could make the difference between contemplation and follow-through.

We are not necessarily predicting an open season on Danish cartoonists, editorial page editors or European journalists in general; but it should be understood that, as the ancillary attacks in the Rushdie case and others have shown, there is a potential for violence to be channeled in unexpected ways. Where perceptions of blasphemy and other affronts warranting death are concerned, fatwas often are carried out with extreme brutality -- and those targeted have not always been directly associated with the initial offense.

Moreover, fatwas can be executed anywhere in the world, and they do not expire (though they can be rescinded or amended) until their requirements are satisfied. Considering the chord that the Mohammed cartoons touched and the depth of the emotions still playing out in the Islamic world, that satisfaction may be a long time coming.
29295  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife vs. Baseball Bat on: February 22, 2006, 03:46:20 AM
I think Dog Milt's analysis to be pretty good-- unless bat man is applying the material from our Staff DVD  rolleyes  wink  cheesy
29296  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: February 21, 2006, 06:43:41 AM
States review eminent domain
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

More than 30 state legislatures are considering limits on the power of local governments to condemn private property and transfer it to real estate developers to spur economic growth.
Lawmakers are responding to a Supreme Court ruling in June that permitted eminent domain powers to be used in New London, Conn., to confiscate waterfront homes to build an office complex and condominiums. The 5-4 ruling prompted property rights advocates to take their case to state legislatures.

Five states enacted small changes last year, but most legislatures were not in session after the court ruling.

"This is the crucial year for the eminent domain issue," says Larry Morandi, who tracks eminent domain legislation for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Bills to restrict eminent domain have moved forward in Georgia, Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky and several other states, but none has become law yet. In New Mexico, the state Senate and House both approved limits, but the bill died when the legislature adjourned before giving final approval.

Eminent domain is the power of government to take private property for "public use" if the owner is fairly compensated. It has been used to build roads, schools and utility lines. Cities also have used it to transfer property from unwilling sellers to developers who want to build shopping malls, offices or other projects. Baltimore's Inner Harbor and New York's Times Square were revamped by eminent domain.

   Legislatures' strategies  
Explicit bans. Some bills would ban the use of eminent domain for economic development. Others would do so indirectly by stating when it can be used and leaving commercial development off the list.

Narrower rules. Many states are considering making it harder for cities to declare a neighborhood "blighted" just for economic development.

Economic penalties. New York and Indiana are among states considering making eminent domain more expensive. The government would have to pay 25% or 50% above market value when it confiscates a property for commercial development.  
After the Supreme Court decision, legislatures in Alabama, Texas, Delaware, Michigan and Ohio took modest steps to restrict eminent domain. Michigan approved a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November. Ohio approved a one-year moratorium on eminent domain for economic development. Congress also is considering restrictions. (Related story: Ohio town tests eminent domain)

"There's been an explosion of outrage by people across the country and across the political spectrum about what can be done under eminent domain," says Scott Bullock of the Institute of Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm.

Last month, Charlotte-based BB&T, the nation's ninth-largest bank, announced it would not lend money to developers who used eminent domain to acquire property. The Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public agency headed by the governor, announced last month that it would no longer use eminent domain for economic development.

Donald Borut, executive director of the National League of Cities, says state legislatures should not rush to act because careful study would show that abuses are rare. "We all feel sympathetic for someone who is losing a home," he says. "But we also have to consider the faces of people of all income levels who benefit from the job creation these projects bring."
29297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: February 20, 2006, 12:08:33 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Hamas Pushes the Envelope
February 20, 2006 03 03  GMT

The Israeli Cabinet voted Sunday to freeze the transfer of $50 million in monthly tax revenues to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) beginning in March, and urged the international community to halt all but humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who recommended freezing the tax transfers, said the new Hamas-led government would soon become "a terrorist authority."

The amount in question accounts for about half of the PNA's total revenues, and its loss would immediately impact the stability of the Palestinian territories. Among Palestinians who are employed, fully one-third work for the PNA, and half of those are in the security forces.

The loss of the tax revenues would be a serious issue, even assuming that all other sources of funding are secure. They are not. Western states -- most directly Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States -- have been threatening to cut off funds as well. Hamas has responded to these threats with bravado, saying the money could simply be replaced with funds from Arab sources. But that may be easier said than done. For one thing, Arab states have a tendency to renege on financial commitments to the Palestinians. And for another, it's difficult to imagine Israel -- or any state -- allowing a hostile entity supported by foreign funds to exist in territory it claims, provided it has a choice in such a matter. And as the dominant economic and military power in the region, Israel does have a choice.

At issue, of course, is the question of Israeli security. The Western states (and Israel of course) want Hamas to formally renounce its charter vow to burn Israel from the earth, pledge itself to the Oslo peace process and give up violence. Hamas made it clear on Feb. 18 that it would retain its weapons, that violence is still an option and that it remains committed to its organizational charter -- although in what passes for compromise on the issue, Hamas did note that it could consider a cease-fire if Israel withdrew to its 1967 borders.

The ball is firmly in Hamas' court. Its actions toward Israel will determine whether there is a PNA for it to take control of.

In some ways, Hamas has exhibited a dramatic level of foresight in its ability to successfully rein in nearly all suicide bombings -- despite Israel's continued attacks against non-Hamas Palestinian militants. But in others -- its defiant Feb. 18 statement, for example -- it has portrayed itself as stubbornly obtuse.

Hamas walks a fine line: It is a populist movement with a militant arm. Should it move into the peacemaking "mainstream," it will have alienated its core supporters and fallen into the trap that Yasser Arafat's Fatah did. Should it (literally) keep to its guns, it will quickly discover that while public opinion in the region may favor the Palestinians, it is Israel that has the funds, might and will to decide whether the Palestinians have a government of their own or not.

While there is little doubt that Israel and Hamas are having quiet dealings behind the scenes, Hamas' margin for error is dangerously thin. Without the approval of the Israeli government, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip might have no access to the outside world whatsoever; a total blockade is well within Israeli capabilities.

And time is also against the Palestinian movement. Israel is currently in a heated election campaign that is putting Hamas' actions under intense scrutiny. If Hamas cannot reach some kind of agreement for a modus operandi with the caretaker Israeli administration before elections, it risks having a "solution" imposed by the soon-to-be-new Israeli government. After all, that is precisely what Ariel Sharon had planned before health issues removed him from politics.

Intifadas, suicide bombings and rocket attacks may be cards that Hamas can play, but they are extremely weak cards in comparison to border sealings, occupation, financial cutoffs and the Israeli Defense Forces. If Hamas wants to capitalize on its political gains of the past decade and have a say in how the territories are run, it will need to start playing ball -- and soon.
29298  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Can someone please help with gloves on: February 19, 2006, 10:34:52 AM
Ultra-lights like the lineman gloves are definitely cutting edge.
29299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: February 19, 2006, 10:33:02 AM
Wright's "Moral Animal" and "Non-Zero Sum; the logic of human destiny" are both profound books in the field of evolutionary pyschology and hold honored places on my bookshelf.  I recommend either or both highly.

That said, this piece for me is rather wooly-headed.

"Even many Americans who condemn the cartoon's publication accept the premise that the now-famous Danish newspaper editor set out to demonstrate: in the West we don't generally let interest groups intimidate us into what he called "self-censorship."

"What nonsense. Editors at mainstream American media outlets delete lots of words, sentences and images to avoid offending interest groups, especially ethnic and religious ones. It's hard to cite examples since, by definition, they don't appear. But use your imagination."

True enough--and fatuous.   Campaigns of letters to the editor do no equate to mobs killing people who had nothing to do with the deed and burning down embassies, etc.   Where are the mobs of Jews in NYC going on a rampage killing Arabs and burning their shops because of any of the ongoing flood of vicious  anti-semitic cartoons in the mid-east?

"Apparently refraining from obvious offense to religious sensibilities won't be enough. Still, the offense in question is a crystalline symbol of the overall challenge, because so many of the grievances coalesce in a sense that Muslims aren't respected by the affluent, powerful West (just as rioting American blacks felt they weren't respected by affluent, powerful whites). A cartoon that disrespects Islam by ridiculing Muhammad is both trigger and extremely high-octane fuel. , , ,What isn't a big difference is the Muslim demand for self-censorship by major media outlets. That kind of self-censorship is not just an American tradition, but a tradition that has helped make America one of the most harmonious multiethnic and multireligious societies in the history of the world."

You want respect you give respect.  Islamic fascism is a fact.  These are the people who dynamited the Buddist statues in Afghanistan that had stood for centuries.  These are the people who issue death sentences for books (Rushdie and sundry others).   These are the people who state (e.g. Saudi, Syrian, etc state controlled media) as fact that Jews drain blood from Arabs to complete religious ceremonies.  

And now they are in a snit about some cartoons in Denmark and Wright conflates this to agreement that major media outlets need to be more careful than they already are?

Oy vey.
29300  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / got my ass kicked 2day...... on: February 19, 2006, 10:15:47 AM
And so it was taken.  Your attitude to the experience seems right on for growth.
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