Tuesday, November 30, 2010
To me, being in military is mountains above your sexuality. Being in war, whether you on the frontlines or in the back, is extremely stressful. To the extreme. In that type of environment, your libido has been filed away in the far reaches of your brain.
In addition, gays are only interested in those who are interested in them. They are not out to revert heterosexuals. They see themselves as being gay due to genetics. And they understand that heterosexuals are that way, due to genetics. They may peek, yes. But if you were to look at studies, you would find a very large percentage of the "hetero" group, also "peek". I can guarantee, you will not hear out about "gi Jane/John going around jumping and groping.
Anyways, it appears that the vaste majority of military personal agree with me.
Get rid of don't ask, don't tell.
Let it rip. What you think?
And by the way, Julian Assange, needs to be shot. Dead.
Reading several articles about how the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) full-body scans and pat-down “enhanced” security procedures violate the Fourth Amendment, I was struck by the utter irrelevancy of the argument. Citing that Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures would indeed present an unarguable efficacy if we lived in a political environment in which the rule of law otherwise prevailed. No court could contradict the argument and still retain any credibility.
But we do not live in such an environment. We are living in a political era of fiat law. The rule of law in the United States has nearly expired. I would not discourage lawsuits based on the Fourth Amendment, but, to judge by the intellectual caliber of most of our jurists, I am not confident these lawsuits will succeed in getting the TSA out of our hair, pants, bras, and pockets.
“Don’t touch my junk”? As far as the TSA and its meat-inspectors are concerned, you the traveler are nothing but a bundle of junk to fondle, probe, grope, examine, and scan at their leisure. Yet, you must respect TSA’s empowered fondlers and be kind to them. They are only doing their job, and do not establish policies. This, however, was a plea heard often during the Nuremberg trials.
I have cited her before, but, as novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand noted, many years ago in a more “civil” and placid era: "We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force."
A government that is free to do anything it wishes – provided it has a semi-credible excuse, or even a transparently false one, with which to silence critics and cause the citizenry’s collective eyes to glaze over – is a government that has abandoned the rule of law. This is the environment we are presently living in, and have been long before 9/11 or even the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. I could dwell on such precedents as the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments, which obviate the Bill of Rights, and the myriad federal agencies that have blossomed since 1913 that have contributed to the phenomenon, but that is another issue.
The arguments presented for the continued existence of the TSA and in defense of its “enhanced” but invasive pat-down security procedures and full-body scans have the substance of single-hole Swiss cheese. The TSA has never stopped, foiled, or even detected an attempted airline bombing. It is a purely reactionary organization, as pitifully inept as a “Had I But Known” detective novel. It claims, with a tongue-in-cheek it hopes nobody will notice, that it “knew all along” about incidents after they have happened. If this were true, the incidents would never have occurred, and the American public would never hear the end of it from the TSA’s publicists. It did not foil the Christmas Day bomber of 2009, and it was British security that uncovered the printer-cartridge plot. The Oregon Christmas Tree lighting bomb plot was foiled by the F.B.I. Can the TSA claim an equivalent action? No. The TSA cannot boast of one foiled incidence of terrorism.
The TSA refuses to adopt a more rational security policy, such as the Israeli one, claiming that it would be too expensive, or that Israel’s security conditions are not replicated here. Why is the TSA (indeed, the Department of Homeland Security), so impervious to reason? Any argument for the continuation of arbitrary, police-state power does not hove or defer to reason. Reason is not in the calculations of power-seekers. Reason is their enemy. The TSA seeks to justify its existence, to preserve and perpetuate itself, as any government bureaucracy does that is threatened with redundancy.
The chief reason, a reason which renders specious all arguments for the necessity of the TSA and even for the DHS, is that our government will not eliminate the states that sponsor terrorism – indeed, states that have by proxy declared war on the U.S. At the same time, the U.S. has been engaged in an undeclared, actual combat war for nine years – longer than the Vietnam War, as another article mentioned – and in an undeclared war of intelligence and covert operations ever since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. This is a state of existential purgatory, in which only the enemy, Islam and its jihadists of all stripes and callings, is comfortable and in which only the enemy prospers, by having not been wiped out, as it deserves to be, and in having been granted the freedom to wage a war of “a thousand cuts.”
The TSA and its futile “preventative” policies conform to that scenario. It is a large, costly knife that inflicts wounds not only on our Fourth Amendment guarantees, but on a bankrupting economy. Jihadists welcome the “enhanced” security, for the TSA forces Americans to endure degradation and violation of their persons and their characters. Their values are held hostage by a government claiming that legalized extortion trumps the Constitution in the name of “national security” and “public safety,” although the nation is less secure and the public is placed at greater risk.
Moreover, the security procedures are egalitarian in nature and treat all travelers as suspects – except Muslims. One could even make an argument that the TSA is also violating the Fifth Amendment, without even affording Americans the benefit of a grand jury. Suspicion of having committed a crime necessarily implies a possible indictment. But who are one’s judges? Rent-a-cops.
This is not the horrible death that jihadists wish upon infidels, but it is the next best thing. Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and their ilk (Plague and Misfortune be upon them) are jubilant. Seeing Americans squirm at TSA airport checkpoints must be nearly as satisfying to them as seeing their corpses after a suicide bombing, or their body parts strewn in the wreckage of a downed plane, or as splotches of pulp on the World Trade Center plaza before the towers collapsed. The TSA offers jihadists the spectacle of a literal living hell. They could not have devised a better “revenge” upon Americans they have not yet killed. The federal government has done it for them.
Foreign Policy magazine carried an insightful article that focuses on the costs to the U.S. of trying to maintain the stasis of a besieged nation after every foiled terrorist attempt, costs which the jihadists are well aware of. David Gartenstein-Ross discusses the ruminations of bin Laden, and also cites Inspire, the English-language online magazine produced by al-Qaeda. Bin Laden demonstrates that he knows his enemies, while our government does not wish to identify its enemies.
In his October 2004 address to the American people, bin Laden noted that the 9/11 attacks cost al Qaeda only a fraction of the damage inflicted upon the United States. "Al Qaeda spent $500,000 on the event," he said, "while America in the incident and its aftermath lost -- according to the lowest estimates -- more than $500 billion, meaning that every dollar of al- Qaeda defeated a million dollars."Gartenstein-Ross opens his article with this revealing paragraph about Inspire:
The cover features a photo of a UPS plane and the striking headline: "$4,200." It is referring to the recent cartridge-bomb plot, and specifically the great disparity between the cost of executing a terrorist attack and the cost to Western countries of defending against asymmetric warfare -- costs now numbering in the billions of dollars a year and climbing. The magazine warns that future attacks will be "smaller, but more frequent" -- an approach that "some may refer to as the strategy of a thousand cuts."After revealing the nature of the Islamists’ phase of economic (as opposed to violent or stealth jihad) warfare against the West and especially against the U.S., the Foreign Policy article ends with this observation:
The point is clear: Security is expensive, and driving up costs is one way jihadists can wear down Western economies. The writer encourages the United States "not to spare millions of dollars to protect these targets" by increasing the number of guards, searching all who enter those places, and even preventing flying objects from approaching the targets. "Tell them that the life of the American citizen is in danger and that his life is more significant than billions of dollars," he wrote. "Hand in hand, we will be with you until you are bankrupt and your economy collapses."Jeffrey Rosen, in an article in the Washington Post, “Why the TSA pat-downs and body scans are unconstitutional,” predicts that the TSA’s “enhanced” security measures are probably headed for a Supreme Court ruling.
Although the Supreme Court hasn't evaluated airport screening technology, lower courts have emphasized, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in 2007, that "a particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it 'is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives.' "That is the kind of ruling that does not auger well for Fourth Amendment guarantees.
In a 2006 opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, then-Judge Samuel Alito stressed that screening procedures must be both "minimally intrusive" and "effective" - in other words, they must be "well-tailored to protect personal privacy," and they must deliver on their promise of discovering serious threats.The TSA has not discovered serious threats, nor does it tailor its measures to protect personal privacy. It is above the law and need not promise or deliver anything. Alito’s opinion is simply an instance of judicial waffling.
Rosen also discusses the back-scatter machines (the porn-o-rama ones) and how ineffective they are, the ones in which former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff has a vested interest in selling to the government.
The backscatter machines seem…to be the antithesis of a reasonable search: They reveal a great deal of innocent but embarrassing information and are remarkably ineffective at revealing low-density contraband.A World Net Daily article, “Shocker: TSA’s nude scans would miss taped-on bombs,” substantiates that claim:
"Even if the [X-ray] exposure were to be increased significantly, normal anatomy would make a dangerous amount of plastic explosive with tapered edges difficult if not impossible to detect," Kaufman and Carlson wrote. A further disadvantage is that the X-ray backscatter units are not effective at detecting explosive packages that are contoured to supplement the natural features of the body, even when the explosive packages are concealed on the front or the back of a person.Which means, if it absorbs this bit of information, that the TSA will likely initiate a further measure requiring its agents to either bathe travelers with increased dosages of radiation to reveal those contours, or become extra-personal in its pat-downs. Are Americans ready to be “kind” to TSA agents, and allow them to become their “huggy-bears”?
I hope not. The best guarantee of our Fourth Amendment rights would be for our government to eliminate states that sponsor terrorism: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea. The only alternative is for this self-besieged country, to bleed to death, to perish from “a thousand cuts,” half of them inflicted by our own government, and the other half by our chortling, snickering killers.
Will we return to the rule of law? We shall see.
Crossposted at The Dougout
Report: Portland Christmas Bomber Was Recruited by al-Qaeda Operative in the US, Not The FBI, Says He Wasn’t The Only One
Portland Christmas Bomber Was in Touch With al-Qaeda in Yemen Operative, Wrote 3 Articles on Violent Jihad For Their Web Magazine
Click on the links to read the whole stories.
Rumor Confirmed: Obama Traded Missile Shield for Russian Help With Iran That Never Appeared
rumors surfaced that President Obama was planning to leave several European countries exposed to Russian ambition if Russia would agree to help keep nukes out of Iran.
Rumors confirmed: according to the Wikileaks cables, Obama proposed a trade -- he would cancel the Polish missile shield if Russia would support sanctions for Iran.
The whistle blowing web site, publishing diplomatic cables and other documents via The New York Times, the Guardian (UK) and other media outlets, show that George Bush’s anti-missile shield plan to station 10 interceptor rockets in Poland not far from the Kaliningrad (Russia) border and a radar system in the Czech Republic was seen as an obstacle by Washington in getting tougher sanctions against Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The diplomatic cables show that the US believes that Iran has already received missiles from North Korea which could threaten western Europe.The missile shield was officially canceled in September 2009. Shortly thereafter President Obama met with President Medvedev who came out of the meeting conceding "in some cases, sanctions are inevitable."
A diplomatic victory for Obama? Not remotely. Less than a month later, Russia reversed itself and declared that "[t]hreats, sanctions and threats of pressure in the current situation, we are convinced, would be counterproductive."
Wikileaks Revelation: Obama's Middle East Experts Don't Really Understand Middle East, Arabs
And the Arab leaders like Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah just assumed that the Obama administration was sophisticated enough to understand that this was all public posturing purely for domestic consumption. But when Obama came visiting in June 2009 on his way to give his Cairo speech, they found out how wrong they were. And the trip was something of a disaster:
Under this theory King Abdullah expected to talk about militarily confronting Iran, and he couldn’t believe it when Obama kept reciting bromides about the earth-shattering importance of the Israeli/Arab conflict and his enthusiasm for solving it. That was a regular public topic between the two – Obama’s first talk with Abdullah focused on Gaza and the President later emphasized his abiding support for Saudi Arabia’s “Israel Has To Commit Suicide” plan – but the King kind of thought he was dealing with a serious person who could separate spectacle from policy. Instead he got the equivalent of an International Relations graduate student enamored with pseudo-sophisticated “insights” he’d gleaned from Arab media outlets. Ergo, meltdown.
The Kronen Zeitung newspaper claims Helmut G. was told by a court in Graz, Styria, that his yodelling offended his next-door Muslim neighbours.
The men reportedly accused the 63-year-old of having tried to mock and imitate the call of the Muezzin. The daily paper writes the Austrian was fined 800 Euros after judges ruled he could have tried to offend them and ridicule their belief. The Muslims, whose nationalities were not revealed by the report, were right in the middle of a prayer when the Austrian started to yodel.
“It was not my intention to imitate or insult them. I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood” the man told the newspaper today (Mon).
Yodelling will be duly added to the list of things that offend Muslims.
Image via Wikipedia
This is "something of a disaster for U.S. diplomacy," Charles Hill, a professor at Yale and a former U.S. diplomat, told me in an email. "Not because of what's revealed--everyone knows all diplomatic services do and say such things--but because it has been revealed in a way that indicates the U.S. has lost its ability or willingness to keep such material closely held. So foreigners will tell us less and we will write less down and less substance will be conveyed to Washington. An earlier phase of this came in the late 1980s when it became clear --I was involved--that notes of internal Washington meetings could not be protected from release. So people stopped keeping notes. The result has been that the official record has withered, as has history's knowledge of what happened. Now that loss is extended to foreign meetings."
NYT Before: We Won’t Publish Climategate Emails Because They Were “Acquired Illegally”.. NYT Now: We’re Totally Cool With Publishing Stolen WikiLeaks Documents
Click on the title to get the story at Weasel Zippers.
OIC Secretary-General Warns of Western Plots against Islam
TEHRAN (FNA)- 11/29/10 - Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that the West has hatched plots to spread Islamophobia in a bid to block growing conversion to Islam, and demanded the Muslim nations to take collective action to defuse these plots.
Speaking in a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki here in Tehran on Monday, Ihsanoglu cautioned that spreading "Islamophobia, insulting Islamic values and sparking and spreading hatred for Islam are high on the agenda of the West, and urged the entire Muslim states to take established, and institutionalized collective measures" (...and those methods would be?) to confront the western plots in this regard.
He further elaborated on the OIC's activities and plans to counter Islamophobia, insult to Islamic values and resolve Muslim issues such as Palestine, and called Iran's supports and activities in these grounds as "highly crucial".
The OIC chief also appreciated the Islamic Republic of Iran for its continued supports (sic) for the OIC and its valuable role in different OIC plans and programs.
He also underlined that the member states' enhanced activity to materialize the organization's goals is a basic need and necessity.
Ihsanoglu came to Tehran to attend an OIC Tourism Ministers meeting on Sunday. The three-day meeting kicked off work in the Iranian capital yesterday to explore ways to boost cooperation among the member states.
Ministers and representatives from 30 member states are present at the 7th OIC Tourism Ministers Conference. Tourism ministers from Iraq, Algeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Mali, Guinea, Lebanon, Syria, Cameroon, Senegal and Uganda are attending the event to finalize proposals suggested by their experts.
The first conference of the OIC members on tourism dubbed 'the Islamic Countries' Healthy and Secure Tourism' ended in Iran's Northeastern city of Mashhad on November 4, 2010.
Maybe Ihsanoglu is coming down with something we now call....kafiraphobia.
Kafiraphobia (n) ka-feer-a-fo-bia
1) Fear and hatred of Freedom and Democracy
2) Fear or dislike of western culture
3) The expression of hatred, negative stereotypes or violent terror acts towards individual non-muslims or people of the modern civilized world.
This word corresponds to anti-semitism, Islamic-extremism, homophobia, and xenophobia in areas related to gender, race, sexual orientation and nationality.
(eg) The muslim terrorists said, "‘I hate Americans! I loved the way those planes crashed into the twin towers. I guess all this hatred towards innocent Americans makes me a kafiraphobe."
From Weasel Zippers:
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 28 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has ordered a nationwide crackdown on homosexuals in Kenya.
Mr Odinga on Sunday said that police should arrest anyone found engaging in such behaviours and take appropriate legal action against them.
(AFP) Switzerland was slammed as the "black sheep" of Europe on Monday after voters endorsed a far-right push to automatically expel foreign residents convicted of certain crimes.GENEVA (AP) — Swiss voters on Sunday approved a plan to automatically deport foreigners who commit serious crimes or benefit fraud, in a significant victory for the nationalist party that pushed the proposal against the will of the government.
Austrian website news.at headlined an article saying: "Switzerland is now the black sheep -- majority for tougher rules against foreigers."
The headline was a reference to the signature poster campaign mounted by the far-right Swiss People's Party (SVP) in its push for the expulsion, depicting white sheep kicking a black sheep out of the Swiss flag.
Some 52.9 percent of voters backed the proposal put forward by the nationalist Swiss People's Party. The plan was opposed by 47.1 percent of voters.
A government-backed counterproposal failed. It would have required case-by-case review by a judge before an individual was deported.
The government will now have to draft a law requiring automatic expulsion of foreigners found guilty of crimes such as murder, rape, drug dealing or benefit fraud.
Charges were brought against her because of a seminar in which she taught the truth about Islam.
MPAC volunteer & TSO trainer, Nisreen Malhis
MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC Civic Outreach Coordinator, Saadia Khan and MPAC volunteers, Nisreen Malhis and Sireen Sawaf, conducted the trainings at Los Angeles International Airport for the past two months. They discussed the diversity of Muslims around the world from cultural dress to language to tenets. The four trainers taught the TSOs how to properly handle a Quran and discussed the different ways Muslim women and men choose to cover or dress. For example, the TSOs learned if a woman wears hijab and needs a secondary screening she should be screened in a private area by a female TSO officer.
The training sessions allowed trainers to discuss the common practice of Muslims praying in various areas of the airport, adding that they do this because LAX does not have a designated prayer area as other airports do.
The officers were extremely receptive and interested in the information presented. They had many questions regarding the meaning of jihad, sharia, and the rights of women in Muslim countries.
LAX is the third largest airport in the world, making it important for Transportation Security Administration to conduct cultural awareness trainings in order for officers to effectively and efficiently keep the airports secure rather than deciphering cultural tenets. MPAC commends LAX for taking the initiative to implement these trainings.
Monday, November 29, 2010
On a February trip to the Middle East, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) told Qatari leaders that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria, that a Palestinian capital should be established in East Jerusalem as part of the Arab-Israeli peace process, and that he was "shocked" by what he saw on a visit to Gaza.
Kerry discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in a visit to Qatar during separate meetings with Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani and the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa, as revealed by the disclosure of diplomatic cables by the website WikiLeaks.
The emir told Kerry to focus on Syria as the path toward resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Kerry agreed with the emir that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a man who wants change but pointed out that his arming of Hezbollah and interference in Lebanese politics were unhelpful. Kerry said that Assad "needs to make a bolder move and take risks" for peace, and that he should be "more statesman-like." Kerry also agreed with the emir that the Golan Heights should be given back to Syria at some point.
"The Chairman added that Netanyahu also needs to compromise and work the return of the Golan Heights into a formula for peace," the diplomatic cable reported.
As for the peace process, Kerry defended the Obama administration's drive to use indirect proximity talks (which were only being discussed at that time) as a stepping stone to direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He said the two sides should first agree on the amount of land to be swapped and then work on borders, followed by settlements.
Kerry also said that final agreement would have to include a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.
"Any negotiation has its limits, added Senator Kerry, and we know for the Palestinians that control of Al-Aqsa mosque and the establishment of some kind of capital for the Palestinians in East Jerusalem are not negotiable," the cable stated, summarizing the meeting with the emir. "For the Israelis, the Senator continued, Israel's character as a Jewish state is not open for negotiation. The non-militarization of an eventual Palestinian state and its borders can nonetheless be resolved through negotiation."
In a separate meeting the day before with the prime minister, Kerry resisted the Qatari leader's assertion that Hamas was ready to accept the existence of the State of Israel, but he agreed that urgent action was needed to rebuild Gaza.
According to the leaked diplomatic cable, the prime minister told Kerry, "We need to broker a quick reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and move forward quickly on rebuilding Gaza… Senator Kerry asserted that HBJ [Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani] was preaching to the converted and told the PM he was ‘shocked by what I saw in Gaza.'"
In a telling exchange at the end of his meeting with the emir, the Qatari ruler gave Kerry some advice for dealing with the Iranian government.
"The Amir closed the meeting by offering that based on 30 years of experience with the Iranians, they will give you 100 words. Trust only one of the 100," the cable said.
The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman's Journey to Love and Islamby G. Willow Wilson, from one of my favorite websites, Good Shit:
Theology as MemoirA review by Scott F. Parker In The Butterfly Mosque, G. Willow Wilson combines the stories of her conversion to Islam and her marriage to an Egyptian Muslim with a case for the co-existence of Islam and the West in herself -- and by extension in the world. But what the reader takes away from the book, besides an appreciation for Wilson's limning of Cairene life, is not the feeling that Islam and the West (or more generally, religion and old-fashioned liberalism) should never have been at odds. Rather, if there is a theological revelation, it's the approach Wilson models as a literary critic: she's a better one, capable of reading ironically, than fundamentalists of any stripe.
Wilson's worldview, that is, is not shaped by her faith in the divinely inspired Koran. It's the other way around: in the Koran she finds the world she already lives in. And where the Koran is in conflict with her views, she's content to downplay it, noting, for example, that "tattooing is frowned upon in mainstream Islam," and that Islam "encourage[s] conversion." Obviously, some readers of the Koran would write these sentences with stronger verbs. But it is Wilson's strength not to read the Koran literally, as it is perhaps her weakness that she gives some cover to those who do. (Cf. Koran 9:5: "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.")
There is never any doubt in the memoir that Wilson will convert. She was "raised an atheist but was never very good at it," and was attracted to Islam via friends in college. When she had adrenal distress in reaction to her birth control, long before she went to Egypt to convert, she attempted to bargain with God: "I promised that if I recovered in three days, I would become a Muslim." It would be over a year before Wilson recovered, but she decided to convert anyway. While this doesn't make for very sophisticated theology, the disclosure demonstrates the excellent self-understanding that Wilson's narrator maintains throughout the book. The bargain tells us nothing about whether there is or is not a deity, but it tells us a great deal about the kind of person she is. And we trust a narrator who is willing to expose her own rationalizations. Later, Wilson makes her inclination explicit: "I did not believe in Islam; I opened my eyes every morning and saw it."
Concomitant with her conversion, Wilson meets and falls in love with Omar, who helps her bridge the Egyptian-American cultural divide that might otherwise have hastened a return to the United States. Omar and his large family come across very well, as do Wilson's family members when they visit Cairo to meet their in-laws-to-be; none of them are troubled much by religious difference. It's a happy story that gives hope for compassion larger than religion. But Wilson isn't satisfied with offering an example of harmony between Islam and the West -- she wants to make an argument about it. Unfortunately, the honest, reflective voice that makes her such a capable memoirist occasionally lets her down as a theologian. When she writes, "I didn't stop to wonder why the howling and snarling of the fundamentalists, who woke me at five a.m. every morning, and who were forcing us all to live in smaller and smaller boxes, had not turned me off Islam," we know her well enough not to be surprised, but that doesn't mean we don't stop to wonder ourselves. Islam in itself, Wilson shows, does not cause violence, but neither does her tolerant brand of Islam make amends for the world's fundamentalist strains.
Thus, while she wants to show that Islam and the West are compatible (and this is a memoir with a thesis: "The struggle for the Islam I loved and the struggle for the West I loved were the same struggle, and it was within that the clash of civilizations was eradicated"), the arguments aren't very convincing. Wilson writes early in the book, "When videos of angry men in beards flooded the airwaves, claiming their religion was incompatible with the decadent West, I believed them." And to what can she appeal to disagree with them except her own understanding of Islam, her own reading of the Koran? Wilson is in no position to convince the reader she has a stronger claim to Islam than do the fundamentalists. On a meta-level, what The Butterfly Mosque does is much more important. It reveals not the correct or final interpretation but the value of interpretation itself.
Wilson finds fundamentalists to be bad readers of Islam and herself a better one. But even if you disagree with her readings (and the skeptical reader will have no problem disagreeing -- see her argument for Islam as the best of many bad religious options, or her defense of Shari'a law), you will not disagree with the implication that religion is always a matter of interpretation, which is the insight that may one day dissolve the clash between Islam and the West. Wilson writes, "I worried I would soon be forced to choose between two halves of myself." Because of the generosity of her family and Omar's she never has to choose, but neither would she have to if the Koran were more often read as literature rather than as doctrinal text.
MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing: “It’s what we hear about — how kids are bullied these days and there is a sociology professor quoted in the New York Times, that says, uh, a lot of these Somali kids feel like they’re being left out.”Click on title to see the video.
Bullied? or ...
Classmate: Oregon Terror Suspect Was ‘Pretty Popular’
Rest Assured my Friends, We’re Now Safe From the Scourge of Wheelchair-Bound Nun’s Thanks to the TSARemind me again, when was the last time a suicide bomber recited the Lord’s Prayer just prior to detonating their explosives?
Click on the title above to read the priceless description of these absurdity.
House Republican wants Wikileaks labeled as terrorist group
By Michael O'Brien - 11/29/10 07:38 AM ET
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should review whether Wikileaks can be declared a terrorist organization, according to a senior Republican.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called for U.S. officials to get aggressive against Wikileaks after the website published highly-sensitive, classified diplomatic cables that reveal frank assessments of foreign leaders and the war on terror.
"I am calling on the attorney general and supporting his efforts to fully prosecute Wikileaks and its founder for violating the Espionage Act. And I'm also calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to declare Wikileaks a foreign terrorist organization," King said on WNIS radio on Sunday evening.
"By doing that, we will be able to seize their funds and go after anyone who provides them help or contributions or assistance whatsoever," he said. "To me, they are a clear and present danger to America."
Wikileaks has released thousands of cables that reveal embarrassing comments about foreign leaders and U.S. operations abroad. The White House and Clinton have been forced to conduct an outreach campaign to smooth the waters.
The Obama administration hasn't taken legal action against Wikileaks, but has condemned the release in the harshest terms. But the clamor for legal action by lawmakers in both parties increased the pressure for prosecution based on the leaks.
Clinton has the authority to designate an organization as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), a formal designation that allows the U.S. government some leeway in taking action. The current list of 47 FTOs includes al-Qaeda and its various offshoots, HAMAS, and a variety of other groups.
King expressed confidence that other lawmakers in both parties would rally to his strategy toward Wikileaks. The website CNET published excerpts of King's letter to Clinton on Sunday.
"I'm confident you'll find many people in the Congress, the House and Senate, who will support my demand for the prosecution, and also the declaring of Wikileaks to be a foreign terrorist organization," he said.
Iran Accuses Israel, West in Scientist Slaying
Published November 29, 2010
TEHRAN, Iran -- Assailants on motorcycles attached magnetized bombs to the cars of two nuclear scientists as they were driving to work in Tehran on Monday, killing one and wounding the other, Iranian officials said. The president accused Israel and the West of being behind the attacks.
Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the man killed was involved in a major project with the country's nuclear agency, though he did not give specifics. Some Iranian media reported that the wounded scientist was a laser expert at Iran's Defense Ministry and one of the country's few top specialists in nuclear isotope separation.
Iranian officials said they suspected the assassination was part of a covert campaign aimed at damaging the country's nuclear program, which the United States and its allies says is intended to build a weapon -- a claim Tehran denies. At least two other Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed in recent years, one of them in an attack similar to Monday's.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a press conference that "undoubtedly, the hand of the Zionist regime and Western governments is involved in the assassination."
But he said the attack would not hamper the nuclear program and vowed that one day Iran would take retribution. "The day in the near future when time will come for taking them into account, their file will be very thick," he said.
Asked about the Iranian accusations, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said Israel did not comment on such matters. Washington has strongly denied any link to previous attacks.
The attacks, as described by Iranian officials, appeared sophisticated.
Almost Got Him: U.S. Came Close to Capturing or Killing Al-Qaida's No. 2
Monday, November 29, 2010
By Adam Goldman and Kathy Gannon, Associated Press
Washington (AP) - The CIA has come closer to capturing or killing Osama bin Laden's top deputy than was previously known, during a nine-year hunt at the root of a devastating 2009 suicide bombing at an agency base in Afghanistan, The Associated Press has learned.
The CIA missed a chance to nab Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2003 in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar, where he met with another senior al-Qaida leader who was apprehended the next day, several current and former U.S. intelligence officials said.
The fugitive Egyptian doctor may also have narrowly survived a bombing by Pakistani military planes in 2004, the former and current officials said. And a well-publicized U.S. missile strike aimed at him in 2006 failed because he did not turn up at the attack site, they said.
Targeting al-Zawahiri -- along with bin Laden -- is a main goal of U.S. counterterror efforts, focused on a man who has retained control of al-Qaida's operations and strategic planning even as he has led an underground existence in Pakistan's rugged tribal border zone.
"Finding senior al-Qaida terrorists -- at a time when we're pursuing the most aggressive counterterrorism operations in our history -- is of course a top priority for the CIA," said agency spokesman George Little.
But unlike bin Laden, a cipher since the Sept. 11 attacks who has surfaced only in occasional taped statements, al-Zawahiri has kept a higher public profile, taking risks that expose him more.
He is known to travel cautiously and regularly issues audio and video harangues that are scrutinized closely for clues, said the current and former officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss the classified hunt for the al-Qaida leader.
The CIA's pursuit of al-Zawahiri climaxed last December in the suicide bombing that left seven agency employees dead at the agency's eastern Afghanistan base in Khost, one of the worst U.S. intelligence debacles in recent decades.
The bomber turned out to be an al-Qaida double agent who had lulled U.S. intelligence into believing he could bring them closer to al-Zawahiri. Part of the terrorist's bait was his claim that al-Zawahiri suffered from diabetes -- a revelation about his health, if true.
The Jihad is a real attack by Islam upon the Infidel world.
But, it is also a proxy war against the United States, and the Western World in general.
We are fools if we don't acknowledge it.
The behavior of North Korea is also part of the proxy war by China. China puts North Korea up to this bullshit.
George Bush was right when he called Iran, Syria, and North Korea the Axis of Evil.
But, Dr. Evil is China.
Or, as Pamela Geller puts it,
Iran is Tattaglia, and China is Barzini.
Blasts target Iranian nuclear scientists
One professor dies, another is injured on their morning commutes. The attacks prompt a stern warning by the head of Irans atomic energy agency.
By Borzou Daragahi
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 29, 20102:41 a.m.
Reporting from Beirut — Two separate explosions killed a nuclear scientist and injured another in the Iranian capital Monday morning, official news outlets reported.
Both scholars' wives and a driver were also injured in the attacks, according to the news agencies. The slain scientist, Majid Shahriari, was a member of the nuclear engineering team at the Shahid Behesti university in Tehran, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA.
No one claimed responsibility for the attacks and no arrests have been made, Iranian officials said. But they prompted a stern warning by the normally cool-headed head of Iran's atomic energy agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, who described Shahriari as a former student.
"Do not play with fire," he said, according to IRNA. "There is a limit to the Iranian nation's patience and if we run out of patience the enemy will suffer adverse consequences. Of course we still maintain our patience."
The injured scholar, Fereydoun Abbas, also taught at Shahid Beheshti, one of Iran's most prestigious institutions of higher learning.
The assassins, riding motorcycles, tossed bombs at -- or attached them to -- vehicles of the two Shahid Behesti University professors as they drove with their spouses en route to work between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m..
"A Pulsar motorbike drove close to Dr. Shahriari's car and stuck a bomb on his car which after a few seconds exploded," Tehran police chief Hossein Sajednia was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.
"Experts are examining the incidents," Sajednia said. "The type of the bombs and explosive materials and the extent of damage have not been determined yet."
Shahriari's research included medical applications of nuclear technology, according to research papers which cite his authorship.
A powerful and still mysterious Jan. 11 explosion killed Iranian physicist Massoud Ali Mohammadi near his home. The attack led to speculation that Iran's international adversaries were targeting scientists as a way of slowing its nuclear research program. But others said he might have been killed for supporting the political movement opposed to the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Fars described the two professors as members of the pro-government Basiji militia and blamed the United States and Israel for the attacks. "Due to their lack of hope for brain drain from Iran, agents of America and the Zionist regime resorted to physical elimination and terrorism," the news agency said.
Portland bomb plot suspect's mosque arson
Has there ever been a case of an "Islamophobic" hate crime that wasn't actually a case of a Muslim staging an Islamophobic hate crime?
The answer to that is that I can recall, recently, there was a case of arson against a Mosquqe in Tennessee.
Other than that, I can not recall any.
So, I'm sure it sounds harsh, but I highly doubt this Mosque Fire was anything but a staged incident, or, even worse, an attempt to cover up evidence of complicity on the part of the Mosque staff.
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Someone set fire to an Islamic center on Sunday, two days after a man who worshipped there was accused of trying to blow up a van full of explosives during Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Other Muslims fear it could be the first volley of misplaced retribution.There are a couple things to understand here.
The charges against Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali-born 19-year-old who was caught in a federal sting operation, are testing tolerance in a state that has been largely accepting of Muslims. Muslims who know the suspect say they are shocked by the allegations against him and that he had given them no hint of falling into radicalism.
The fire at the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center in Corvallis was reported at 2:15 a.m., and evidence at the scene led authorities to believe it was set intentionally, said Carla Pusateri, a fire prevention officer for the Corvallis Fire Department.
Authorities don't know who started the blaze or why, but they believe the center was targeted because Mohamud occasionally worshipped there.
Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said there's no conclusive link to the bombing in Portland or specific evidence that it's a hate crime, other than the timing.
U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton vowed to prosecute the case aggressively.
"The fact is that violent extremists come from all religions and no religion at all. For one person to blame a group, if that's what happened here, is uniquely anti-American and will be pursued with the full force of the Justice Department," he said.
Mohamud was being held on charges of plotting to carry out a terror attack Friday on a crowd of thousands at Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, and it wasn't clear if he had a lawyer yet.
On Friday, he parked what he thought was a bomb-laden van near the ceremony and then went to a nearby train station, where he dialed a cell phone that he believed would detonate the vehicle, federal authorities said. Instead, federal authorities moved in and arrested him. No one was hurt.
There were also no injuries in Sunday's fire, which burned 80 percent of the center's office but did not spread to worship areas or any other rooms, said Yosof Wanly, the center's imam.
After daybreak, members gathered at the center, where a broken window had been boarded up.
"I've prayed for my family and friends, because obviously if someone was deliberate enough to do this, what's to stop them from coming to our homes and our schools?" said Mohamed Alyagouri, a 31-year-old father of two who worships at the center. "I'm afraid for my children getting harassed from their teachers, maybe from their friends."
Wanly said he was thinking about temporarily relocating his family because of the possibility of hate crimes.
"We know how it is, we know some people due to ignorance are going to perceive of these things and hold most Muslims accountable," Wanly said. But he said said Corvallis, a college town about 75 miles southwest of Portland, has long been accepting of Muslims.
"The common scene here is to be very friendly, accepting various cultures and religions," Wanly said. "The Islamic center has been here for 40 years, it's more American than most Americans with regards to age."
1) Corvallis is a college town, home of the Oregon State, Beavers, and is probably the most Liberal towns in the state of Oregon. It is hardly a place where "Islamophobia" would reign.
2) It is right out of the Al Qaeda playbook that, when a Jihad attack occurs, the Jihadist ought immediately shift the focus from his guilt to the guilt of those whom he attacked, crying out against the abuse and torture he receives at the hands of those who would go so far as to arrest him.
Forgive me if I find a similarity between that tactic and the Imam's claim that he believes he needs to move his family to avoid being the target of hate crime.
What a drama queen, at the very least.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saudi king urged U.S. to attack Iran: WikiLeaks
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi King Abdullah has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran's nuclear program and China directed cyberattacks on the United States, according to a vast cache of U.S. diplomatic cables released on Sunday in an embarrassing leak that undermines U.S. diplomacy.Among the revelations in Britain's Guardian newspaper, which also received an advance look at the documents, King Abdullah is reported to have "frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program."
So, while we finance Al Qaeda to kill you, please make us safe.
"Cut off the head of the snake," the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, quotes the king as saying, according to a report on Abdullah's meeting with General David Petraeus in April 2008.
The leaked documents, the majority of which are from the last three years, also disclose U.S. allegations that China's Politburo directed an intrusion into Google's computer systems, part of a broader coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by Chinese government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws, the Times reported.
The newspaper also said documents report that Saudi donors remain chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like al Qaeda, and that the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the U.S. military for years, was the "worst in the region" in counter-terrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December.
The newspaper said many of the cables name diplomats' confidential sources, from foreign lawmakers and military officers to human rights activists and journalists, often with a warning: "Please protect" or "Strictly protect."
Wikileaks CONFIRMS 2006 reports here and at Villagers with Torches on the Iranians receiving the BM-25 SLBM
Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea
Secret American intelligence assessments have concluded that Iranhas obtained a cache of advanced missiles, based on a Russian design, that are much more powerful than anything Washington has publicly conceded that Tehran has in its arsenal, diplomatic cables show.
Iran obtained 19 of the missiles fromNorth Korea, according to a cable dated Feb. 24 of this year. The cable is a detailed, highly classified account of a meeting between top Russian officials and an American delegation led by Vann H. Van Diepen, an official with the State Department’s nonproliferation division who, as a national intelligence officer several years ago, played a crucial role in the 2007 assessment of Iran’s nuclear capacity.
The missiles could for the first time give Iran the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe or easily reach Moscow, and American officials warned that their advanced propulsion could speed Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
There has been scattered but persistent speculation on the topic since 2006, when fragmentary reports surfaced that North Korea might have sold Iran missiles based on a Russian design called the R-27, once used aboard Soviet submarines to carry nuclear warheads. In the unclassified world, many arms control experts concluded that isolated components made their way to Iran, but there has been little support for the idea that complete missiles, with their huge thrusters, had been secretly shipped.
The Feb. 24 cable, which is among those obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations, makes it clear that American intelligence agencies believe that the complete shipment indeed took place, and that Iran is taking pains to master the technology in an attempt to build a new generation of missiles. The missile intelligence also suggests far deeper military — and perhaps nuclear — cooperation between North Korea and Iran than was previously known. At the request of the Obama administration, The New York Times has agreed not to publish the text of the cable.
The North Korean version of the advanced missile, known as the BM-25, could carry a nuclear warhead. Many experts say that Iran remains some distance from obtaining a nuclear warhead, especially one small enough to fit atop a missile, though they believe that it has worked hard to do so.
Still, the BM-25 would be a significant step up for Iran.
Very recently Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, journalist Lauren Booth, embraced the faith after what she described as a “holy experience” in Iran. Based on what Ayaan Hirsi Ali has described as the brutal, totalistic character of Islam, one is obliged to ask why any modern career woman would opt for conversion to the Muslim religion.Page 1 of 2 Next ->
After all, as so many autobiographies of Muslim women note, the religion bans anything that is fun (“haram,” or forbidden). No chewing of gum, no bicycle riding, no make-up, no eating in public, no painting of nails, no pets, no questions, and of course, no answering back. For many Muslim women, there is an eagerness to assert independence as soon as adulthood is reached.
How then does one explain Lauren Booth? She notes that in the city of Qom “I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy.” What precisely was Ms. Booth seeking, and why did she find it in Islam? Although it is difficult to generalize, I suspect that the convert is in a search for meaning in societies where the “anything goes,” permissive attitude of the moment proves to be a superficial void. Islam is totalistic; modernity, with all its freedom, is often vacuous.
One convert cited in the Daily Mail said Islam allows you to reject fads and fashion and “seek a higher goal.” Alas, one of course is free to reject fads without embracing Islam. But it is comforting — I guess — to have one’s life ordered by the ritual impulse of a totalistic religion. As another convert pointed out: “It makes life purer.” But does it?
By and large, Islam devolves into extremism, the repression of women, inequality, and brutality such as the stoning of adulterers. Converts, however, refer to the celebration of old-fashioned family values and hospitality, values which have been eroded in the West. For many, Islam is an escape route from the cultural degradation of Western society.
But what converts often confuse is culture and religion. The warmth a family confers is not the same as the demands of religious obedience.
America’s Grim Options on North Korea
Kim Jong Il gets the babes
For the past week, the stunning report of nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker regarding North Korea’s uranium enrichment program has been sending shock waves throughout the world. This is indeed an extremely grave development, although the most serious aspect of it is not what most people think, i.e., the mere fact that North Korea has the bomb — that particular horse left the barn several years ago.
Instead, the most dangerous aspect of North Korean nuclear-state status is the fact that the DPRK has a very consistent record of selling every weapons technology it possesses to literally anyone who will buy. This record includes the regime’s well-known deal with Pakistan to obtain uranium and uranium enrichment technology in exchange for missiles. Other customers included Iran, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.
To many, the idea that North Korea might actually sell nuclear warheads to Islamic extremists might seem implausible, even for the North Koreans. It is obvious to outsiders that to even attempt this, in the current international climate, would be suicidally reckless. But North Korea is perhaps the ultimate rogue state. It has never paid any attention to the normal rules of international conduct: it sells narcotics; it forges currency; it blows up passenger airplanes; it murders the entire families of defectors; it kidnaps children from neighboring countries; it assassinates diplomats; it digs invasion tunnels; and, as we saw yet again with the Yeonpyeong island attacks, it lashes out militarily whenever it feels the need.
The result of the DPRK’s dramatically enhanced uranium enrichment capacity is a situation much worse than the one which nearly triggered a war in 1994, during the Clinton administration. Compared to then, North Korean nuclear capability is now a fact, not a possibility; and unless action is taken, the regime will begin adding warheads to its arsenal at the rate of perhaps one a month.
What to do now? Unfortunately, we are at the point where the easy options have all evaporated. Contrary to the bizarre conclusion of Dr. Hecker in his report, it is obvious that further direct diplomatic approaches to North Korea itself will be pointless. All the years of frantic diplomacy to date have only succeeded in buying the North time to bring its nuclear weapons program to successful fruition. It is now perfectly clear that, from the very beginning, North Korea was never sincerely willing to bargain away its nuclear activities. And even if that had been the case, how could one trust any agreement with the North, given its consistent willingness to violate agreements almost before the ink was dry?
There are, however, some meaningful countermoves available to the United States and its allies in East Asia, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Two of these measures, in the author’s opinion, are mandatory as the minimum necessary response to the current crisis. In addition, if we are serious about dealing with the North Korean nuclear problem once and for all, there are several more serious steps we urgently need to consider.
Necessary Step 1: Nuclear Terrorism Means War With North Korea
The first immediately necessary step is required because the U.S. must prevent, at any cost, the sale of nuclear warheads by the North. Al-Qaeda is only the most frightening of many possible buyers. The U.S. must now make it clear to Kim Jong-Il, in no uncertain terms, that if a terrorist nuclear weapon ever detonates on U.S. soil, the U.S. will not wait for an investigation before retaliating directly and massively against the North Korean leadership itself. In other words, the North Korean government must be convinced to totally abstain from nuclear proliferation for the sake of its own physical survival; and if a direct threat to the lives of the Kim family is the only way to do that, then such a threat must duly be made.
I first suggested in 2005 that this explicit linkage between any incident of nuclear terrorism and a state of war between the U.S. and North Korea had been made inevitable by the North’s acquisition of nuclear weapons; nothing I have seen since has led me to change my mind. Indeed, the increase in enriched uranium capability implied by the Hecker report has only made the need for this policy more dire.
It is crucial that the personal accountability of the Kim family be openly stated by the U.S. government. It is no longer appropriate or useful to maintain the fiction that the North Korean government exists as a separate entity from the Kim family dictatorship. All the important decisions in North Korea are made by the Kim family, regardless of the family members’ wisdom, qualifications, or competence. The Kim family is supremely indifferent to its neighbors’ desire for peace. Moreover, contrary to its propaganda claims, it does not care a whit for the welfare of the Korean nation; the lives of Korean people; or the reunification of Korea — after all, the North’s acquisition of nuclear weapons has made reunification far less likely, and obviously placed Korean lives in far greater danger, both north and south of the DMZ.
The regime has already proved conclusively, by its own actions, that it cares about one thing and one thing only: the perpetuation of its dictatorial power. That is why it is now necessary for the U.S. to make it clear to the Kims that they will personally be made to pay a price for any nuclear proliferation activity. This might strike many as a crude Mafia tactic unsuited to the U.S. government. Perhaps so, but that very fact is precisely why such a threat would be clearly understood by the Kim family — which is already an organized-crime organization in essence — and lead to an actual change in their behavior, which is now mandatory if we are serious about avoiding a truly apocalyptic war which could pull in China and Japan.
Necessary Step 2: Restore U.S. Nukes to South Korea
The second urgently necessary step is to restore nuclear weapons to South Korea. Until they were removed in 1991 as part of an arms control agreement between the U.S. and USSR, the U.S. maintained several dozen B-61 gravity bombs in the ROK, intended to be used against DPRK armor in the narrow Korean mountain passes if the North ever attacked the South. This step is necessary now simply to provide minimal security for South Korea, in light of the new strategic situation that the North has created with its nuclear program. In fact, it is so obviously necessary that South Koreans themselves have begun to suggest it, something unthinkable only a few years ago when huge crowds were demonstrating in Seoul’s streets against the U.S. presence in the peninsula. The mood in the ROK has changed dramatically since then.
Furthermore, the U.S. should seriously consider going beyond the status quo in 1991, not only in the sense of introducing more modern warheads than the antiquated (and probably decommissioned) B-61s, but as a deliberate strategic step to put economic pressure on Pyongyang. For example, the U.S. and South Korea could jointly announce that, in order to secure the ROK in light of the North’s many provocative acts, the new nuclear policy will be to, at all times, maintain a 5-to-1 numerical superiority in warheads on the peninsula.
This calibrated escalation would have several highly desirable effects. First, it would confront the DPRK regime with the choice of either 1) accepting a permanent state of strategic inferiority (one very obvious to elements of the DPRK military, which might be looking for an excuse to get rid of the Kims), or 2) bankrupting itself to keep up with the increasing warhead count of the U.S.-ROK alliance (we must not forget that the North’s weakest point is its laughable economy). Also, this step will ramp up the pressure on China, which is the only nation that has the power to effect peaceful change in Pyongyang; this is especially the case if Seoul is granted command authority over the nukes (more on this possibility on the next page).Page 1 of 2 Next ->