Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Don't Excuse The Saudis, But...

In the summer, I like to relax poolside and catch up on my reading. Before 9/11, most of my poolside reading focused on lighter material. Now I concentrate on various news publications, including the daily newspaper and Time Magazine. Yesterday my reading did not result in much relaxation because, in the June 27 edition of Time, I found a disturbing article which may portend deeper problems within our own intelligence agencies.


Who Blew the Leads?
The Saudis get blamed for not revealing more after 9/11. Maybe they said more than the FBI took in

"In the wake of 9/11, Saudi authorities came under criticism in the U.S. for sluggishness in investigating the attacks, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Now it appears that the U.S. bears some responsibility for the slackness with which leads were pursued. According to several former employees of the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, the FBI legal attache's office housed within the embassy was often in disarray during the months that followed 9/11. When an FBI supervisor arrived to clean up the mess, she found a mountain of paper and, for security reasons, ordered wholesale shredding that resulted in the destruction of unprocessed documents relating to the 9/11 investigations. A letter obtained by Time confirms that the Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating the matter.

"In 2001 the FBI's Saudi office comprised a secretary and two agents--Wilfred Rattigan and his lieutenant, Egyptian-American Gamal Abdel-Hafiz. They also oversaw six nearby countries. The FBI sent reinforcements within two weeks of 9/11, but it appears that the bureau's team never got on top of the thousands of leads flowing in from the U.S. and Saudi governments. In a June 6 letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller, the Senate Judiciary Committee renewed a request for information about allegations that the FBI's Riyadh office was 'delinquent in pursuing thousands of leads' related to 9/11.

"When the senior FBI supervisor was sent to the Riyadh office nearly a year after 9/11, she found secret documents literally falling out of file drawers, stacked in binders on tables and wedged behind cabinets, according to an FBI briefing to Congress. The process of sending classified material to the U.S. had fallen so far behind that a backlog of boxes, each filled with three feet of paper containing secret, time-sensitive leads, had built up. Since embassies must be prepared for the possibility of a hostile takeover, the rule is that officials should need no more than 15 minutes to destroy all their sensitive documents. Accordingly, the supervisor ordered the shredding of hundreds, perhaps thousands of pages, many of them related directly to the ongoing 9/11 investigation, an FBI briefer told Congress....

"...The result, they say, was that over two or more months, agents had to go back to Saudi security officials to try to obtain copies of what had been destroyed. 'It was leads, suspicious-activity material, information on airline pilots,' says an employee. In a deposition for a lawsuit filed by Bassem Youssef, the FBI's previous No. 1 in Riyadh, Mueller conceded that there were problems in the office after 9/11.

"The Judiciary Committee letter, signed by chairman Arlen Specter and members Charles Grassley and Patrick Leahy, mentioned an allegation that Rattigan and Abdel-Hafiz at one point could not be contacted by the FBI and 'may have surrendered their FBI cell phones to Saudi nationals.' That charge possibly arose from a working trip that the agents' colleagues say the two made to Mecca during the Muslim pilgrimage season. [Note: Only Muslims are allowed to make a hajj to Mecca. I learned this fact from Yaroslav Trofimov's book entitled Faith At War. Was the trip to Mecca a "working trip," or was it something else?] The pair were required to give up their FBI-provided cell phones just as an FBI official in the U.S. was trying to get in touch with them.... The bureau also said an investigation concluded that none of the management issues at the Riyadh office 'rose to the level that would impact public safety.'"

In light of the fact that, to this day, nobody seems to know exactly what those shredded documents contained, just how is the FBI so certain that public safety was not compromised?

Quoting again from the article:

"Rattigan and Abdel-Hafiz have left Saudi Arabia, but both still work as FBI agents."

Isn't that just wonderful? Two incompetents, both Muslims and possibly Wahhabists at that, are still within the ranks of the FBI!

In the very next sentence, the article goes on to state the following:

"Rattigan is suing the FBI, claiming that it discriminated against him on the basis of his race, religion and national origin. (He is an African American of Jamaican descent who converted to Islam in Saudi Arabia in the months after 9/11.)"

After 9/11, this man converted to Islam? Is that unbelievable, or what? Isn't the prevailing form of Islam in Saudi Wahhabism? Weren't the 9/11 jihadists Wahhabists?

The article concludes with these words:

"Rattigan at times wore Arab headgear and robes on work assignments in Saudi Arabia, as did Abdel-Hafiz, also a Muslim, which did not go down well with some FBI managers in Washington. Rattigan claims that among the ways the FBI thwarted him was by refusing to provide him with adequate resources to cope with the workload after 9/11."

"The FBI thwarted" Rattigan? Is it possible that what impeded Rattigan was his having become a follower of the ideology which is in direct conflict with his oath of loyalty to the United States? Think Sergeant Akbar here. You remember him, right? He's the soldier who turned on his own in Iraq and rolled grenades into the tents of his own division. Akbar is currently under a death sentence for treason.

Our Constitution prohibits discrimination based on religion, and I support that ideal. Islam, however, is more than a religion. Islam is first a political ideology, an ideology which reaches far beyond one's peaceful practice of a personal faith--and therein lies danger.We need to sever our ties with Saudi Arabia, the home of Wahhabism. We also need to check our own ranks. If our intelligence-gathering remains compromised, _________Reader, you can fill in the rest.

Continue reading....

"The Words You Are Using Are Offensive"

No, this is not an x-rated site.

What are the offensive words? Freedom and democracy.
Washington Post:

Iran Seizes Candidate's Election Material
Security Officers Appropriate Posters and Cards Espousing 'Freedom' and 'Democracy'
By Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"TEHRAN, June 21 -- Iranian security officials on Tuesday confiscated more than half a million wallet-size cards and posters endorsing Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani for president from a printing house in Tehran, according to employees of the shop.

"Employees said the posters and cards contained the words 'repression,' 'terrorizing,' 'freedom' and 'democracy.'

"'They said, "The words you are using are offensive," said Mahmmoud Reza Bahmanpour, managing director of Nazar Printing House in downtown Tehran. He and other employees said several plainclothes agents, displaying a handwritten letter bearing the seal of Iran's judiciary, carried away 500,000 wallet-size cards and 70,000 posters. The material endorsed Rafsanjani, the former president whom Iran's reformers have rallied around in order to defeat the clerical establishment's apparent favorite in Friday's runoff ballot....

"Bahmanpour, the printing shop's managing director, said he asked the agents if the cards could have been printed if the words 'democracy' and 'freedom' were omitted. They said yes.

"Recalling the incident, the printer held two fingers an inch apart.

"'We have this much democracy,' he said. Then he spread his arms wide. 'And this is how much we desire.'

"'We are struggling to keep what we have.'"

The presidential elections in Iran have brought forth exhortations to return to radical Islam. The two closest runners are Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who now presents himself as the enlightened choice despite a questionable past, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the mayor of Tehran and a hardliner who may well have helped to engineer the mobilization of militia in order to interfere with any free choice the Iranian voters may want to exercise.

Again quoting from the above article:

"Ahmadinejad's positions have alarmed reformers as well as those with more traditional views. In a recent interview with state television, he said he would shutter the Tehran Stock Exchange because the uncertain nature of trading offended the tenets of Islam. 'The sort of work they do in the stock exchange is like gambling, so it has got to be closed,' he said.

"The candidate also told parliament this week that he would work to eradicate Western influences from Iranian culture, echoing the crusade against 'Westoxification' that occurred after the 1979 Islamic revolution." [Note the use of the word crusade. Anything which opposes traditional Islam is a crusade? The word is based on the Latin root for cross, and--Oh, well, never mind.]

Ah, I remember the 1979 Islamic Revolution! That's the movement which resulted in the holding of American hostages, for how many days? U.S. rescue operations ended in an ignominious helicopter crash in the desert sands. The hostages were released very shortly after the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Then America fell asleep and stayed in a dozing state until the events of 9/11, when Islamists brought war to our shores.

"Westoxification" is a revealing word. Clearly, some of these Iranian Islamists oppose the very theory which President Bush is attempting to implement in Iraq. The principles of freedom and democracy represent poison to these Islamists who want to go back to the days of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

What Iranians do within the borders of their own nation is their own business--as long as what they do stays within those borders. But I seem to recall hearing something about Iran's development of nuclear weapons. The outcome of the presidential elections in Iran could have extremely serious repercussions for the United States.

We need to follow the outcome of the Iranian elections. We also need to remain aware that the history of Islam is filled with tribal warfare. Tribal warfare, in today's world of modern technology and modern weaponry, could well reach across the globe.

UPDATE: June 25, 2005

Washington Post :

Hard-Line Tehran Mayor Wins Iranian Presidency

Victory Could Complicate Relations With West
By Karl Vick

Washington Post Foreign Service

Saturday, June 25, 2005

"TEHRAN, June 25 -- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the hard-line mayor of Tehran who has invoked Iran's 1979 revolution and expressed doubts about rapprochement with the United States, won a runoff election Friday and was elected president of the Islamic republic in a landslide, the Interior Ministry announced early Saturday. Ahmadinejad defeated Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former two-term president who had won the first round of voting last week and was attempting to appeal to socially moderate and reform-minded voters. Ahmadinejad's election stands to complicate Iran's gradual engagement with the West, including difficult negotiations over the country's nuclear program. The apparent victory completes the domination of Iran's elective offices by the religious fundamentalists who have long held ultimate authority in the theocracy....Rafsanjani, 70, a senior statesman, Shiite cleric and business tycoon, carried the banner of the reformist movement whose leader, President Mohammad Khatami, must leave office after two consecutive terms. Khatami's eight-year struggle against Iran's clerical hard-liners transformed the nation's political landscape but failed to produce structural change.'The people actually did test the reformists during the last eight years, but they didn't see much from them,' said Rohollah Samimi, 23, as he prepared to vote for Ahmadinejad. 'So people here decided to return to the people who are promoting revolutionary values and see if they can bring about change.'...Ahmadinejad was alone among the eight candidates in last week's first round in invoking the 1979 revolution...Ahmadinejad, a former instructor of militia groups and a commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, will assume the presidency and appoint a cabinet during delicate negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. Talks with three European powers, which have been in hiatus during the election, are to resume this summer. In his campaign, Ahmadinejad held to the line of most other candidates, repeating Iran's contention that it has no plans to develop nuclear weapons but has the right under the Nonproliferation Treaty to develop nuclear power...."

Pardon me if I don't trust Ahmadinejad's promise not to use nuclear weapons against the infidels. Nukes speak louder than words.

UPDATE: June 29, 2005 :

Ex-Hostages Say Iran Leader-Elect a Captor

"A quarter-century after they were taken captive in Iran, five former American hostages say they got an unexpected reminder of their 444-day ordeal in the bearded face of Iran's new president-elect.
"Watching coverage of Iran's presidential election on television dredged up 25-year-old memories that prompted four of the former hostages to exchange e-mails. And those four realized they shared the same conclusion — the firm belief that President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been one of their Iranian captors...."

Do I hear the music from The Twilight Zone?

Continue reading....

Monday, June 27, 2005

Put The Blame Where It Belongs

Just who started this war? My recollection is that en masse and definitive strikes on our shores occurred on September 11, 2001. What happened on that day could not be ignored, at least at the time--the devastation was too great and too close.

And didn't the 9/11 Commission, with 20/20 hindsight, criticize our government for not heeding the warning signs, and didn't that commission recommend tightening-up our national security?

Apparently, the ACLU feels that some of these security measures are undermining scientific developments.

Washington Post:

ACLU Says Bush Is Restricting Science
The Associated Press (published in the Washington Post)
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union charged Tuesday that the Bush administration is placing science under siege by overzealously tightening restrictions on information, individuals and technology in the name of homeland security.

"The administration 'has sought to impose growing restrictions on the free flow of scientific information, unreasonable barriers on the use of scientific materials and increased monitoring of and restrictions on foreign university students, the ACLU said....

"Robert Hopkins of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy criticized the ACLU for seeking to politicize the issue.

"'The report chooses to criticize actions taken to address security concerns in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack,' Hopkins said. 'The administration has worked in good faith with serious members of the science community, including the National Academies, to determine the best way to enable the conduct of science without providing terrorists with a road map for pursuing their aims.'

"Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences delayed publication of an article at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services over concerns the paper could provide terrorists information on poisoning the milk supply....

"But the ACLU contends that the administration has been overzealous, reversing past government openness by creating a presumption of secrecy and lengthening classification periods.

"The report lists other science restrictions, including limiting the access of foreign scholars to information, restricting their participation in some areas of research and tightening visa rules with the result of blocking or delaying visits to this country by foreign students and teachers...."

Previous to 9/11, I taught English as a Second Language to adults at a Korean Learning Center. When the visa regulations tightened, I found myself without a job because the number of foreign students was greatly reduced. Now, I seriously doubt that any of my students, most of them South Koreans, posed any threat. And I miss my job as an adult ESL teacher because adult students are often more serious about learning than are teenagers or youngsters.

I believe, however, that losing my job was a small price to pay for improving national security. Our universities are fonts of information for those desiring access to nuclear material, and I believe that our President is right to limit access to such material. In fact, Saddam's nuclear-development specialist, Mahdi Obeidi, the author of The Bomb In My Garden, has pointed out that he visited several universities, including the University of Virginia, to obtain information which he used to develop nuclear centrifuges, each capable of producing one bomb per year.

I, for one, never want to see another day like September 11, 2001. Airplanes flying into buildings was a tragedy and a wake-up call. A nuclear attack would be even worse and could well bring about a hideous, new world order--a whole world held hostage and under siege.

Note: Red indicates amendment to previous version.
A tip of my hat to Mustang, who pointed out the shortcomings of the first draft.

Continue reading....

Friday, June 24, 2005

Notify The Art Museums

Just how much censorship is required to satisfy the sons of Allah?

Index Online :

Sculpture banned from the Venice Biennale

"A sculpture by German artist Gregor Schneider was banned from the 51st Venice Biennale because the event’s organisers said it might be offensive to Muslims. The sculpture was a 15-metre-high cube covered in black fabric modelled after the Ka’ba in Mecca and was set to be displayed in St. Mark’s Square. A spokesman for the Venetian arts authority said there was a danger that Muslims would feel provoked by the work, heightening the risk of the city being vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Schneider insisted that the artwork was not meant as a provocation. He said he wanted to symbolise a connection between European and Arab cultures. The organisers tried to place the sculpture at another site, but finally decided not to display it at all. Instead, Schneider showed a video explaining his failed attempt."

Hugh Fitzgerald has written an important commentary on the above item.

Jihad Watch :

"Statues, like paintings of any living creature, are forbidden in Islam. If the Bamiyan Buddhas managed for centuries to survive in Islam, it was only because the technical wherewithal was lacking. Once the Taliban acquired enough Western-produced explosives, they could finish the job.

"A little booklet, possibly the most pathetic guide to an art museum ever published, is the 'Guide to the Kabul Museum.' I have a copy, published in 1964, long before the Taliban arrived on the scene to see Islamic justice done. There are a few dozenpages, a handful of photographs. It is clear that the ancient Greco-Buddhist civilization of Afghanistan, and of all other non-Islamic civilizations, were reduced mostly to rubble -- the flying rubble that we see whenever we see pictures of Afghanistan.

"For in Islam, the pre-Islamic or non-Islamic artifacts are of no interest, no valuable. They can be destroyed, they should be destroyed. The tens of thousands of Hindu temples destroyed by the Muslim invaders, a partial list of which was compiled by Sita Ram Goel, are perhaps the bestknownexample.But what of everything that might have gone into that Kabul Museum but never made it?

"The greatest destruction of art works in human history is that wrought by Muslim conquerors on the non-Muslim lands and peoples they invaded, conquered, and subjugated.

"What will happen in Europe if it is islamized? If there are already people removing statues, however banal those statues may be, from art expositions now, what will happen in 10 years? In 20 years? Already statues have been vandalized or destroyed by Muslims -- in the Piazza del Popolo, and in a church in northern France (a statue of Mary and Jesus). Muslims have been recorded discussing their plans to destroy a celebrated fresco in Bologna that depicted Muhammad in Hell. What else is happening, and is being suppressed from us by worried European governments, whose elites, having been responsible for permitting millions of what are clearly enemy aliens, a classic fifth column, behind our own lines, cannot bring themselves to recognize the problem, and instead are intent on hiding the full truth from their own populations?..."

Can't happen here, you say? I'm afraid that it can. Already we are so far down the road to the policitical correctness of "We must not offend Muslims" that the mere prospect of perceived offense causes Americans to tippy-toe around. And in reaction to the alleged incidents regarding the Koran at Gitmo, CAIR has launched their "Explore the Quran" project, hot on the heels of their CAIR Library Project. See CAIR and HERE . Meanwhile, Anti-CAIR is dealing with a lawsuit, which is nothing short of an attempt at censorship. See Social Sense .

Now, back to the issue of art appreciation. I don't often visit The National Gallery of Art, but when I do, I don't notice many Muslims there, unless there is an exhibit specific to Islam, such as one which extolled the brutal Salladin (I hope I have that name correct. The exhibit to which I am referring is one which I visited several years ago and largely contained tapestries).

I'm guessing that most of the depictions at the NGA are offensive to Muslims, so they don't visit. Fair enough. But how far away are we from a situation similar to the ones in Italy or in France?

If Mr. Fitzgerald is accurate in his commentary--and I believe that he is--some of the works of art which you appreciate today may be forbidden in the future. We had better have a good look at them while we can, because the day may come when the only view we have of those classic works will be in coffee-table volumes.

Continue reading....

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

You Can't Secure Anything In This Town

The title of this posting comes from a comment made some months ago by a security guard, whose task was to oversee an archeological find at a D.C. construction site. While the focus of this blog site is the threat of Islamism, today I digress :

D.C. Chief's Vehicle Snatched
'Cars Are Getting Stolen Every Day,' Ramsey Says
By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
"Wanted: Stolen car. Make and model: Ford Crown Victoria. Owner: D.C. police department.Reported stolen by: Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. So goes the saga of car theft in the District, where even the police chief's department-issued car can get swiped a block from his home.There is not a whole lot to add to it,' Ramsey said. 'The car was taken, and there was nothing of real value in it. Cars are getting stolen every day.' D.C. police officials said Ramsey's black unmarked car was stolen between Friday night and Sunday morning from a street in Southwest Washington. It had been left there Friday by a member of the force's motor pool so Ramsey would have it when he returned from a one-week trip to a counter-terrorism conference in Scotland. Ramsey arrived home early Sunday. When he awoke to go to church later that morning, he couldn't find the black Crown Victoria, and he and his wife went to church in her personal car, he said. The chief said initially he thought there was simply a misunderstanding about where the motor pool officer had left the car. But yesterday morning, after another fruitless search for the vehicle, he concluded that it had been stolen. Police officials said they do not believe the thieves knew they were taking the police chief's car. No weapons were left in the Crown Victoria, but it was equipped with a police radio. Its trunk contained a large duffle bag filled with some of the chief's riot gear, police said....Ramsey is not the area's only top law enforcement official to have a car stolen in recent years. The van of Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey was stolen from in front of his house in 2002...."

I agree that the thieves probably did not know that the car they were stealing belonged to the D.C. police chief. But unless they were totally whacked out on drugs, these criminals certainly must have recognized that the Crown Vic was a police vehicle.

One also has to wonder what use such thieves are making of this police unit and the riot gear in the trunk. By the way, it's usually easy to open a police vehicle's trunk because most such vehicles don't require a trunk key, thanks to the trunk-release button on the dash. Therefore, the thieves have very likely discovered all equipment in the vehicle's trunk.

As of this posting the D.C. police chief's vehicle and his riot gear have still not been recovered.

Continue reading....

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Second Wave of Al Qaeda

The following is excerpted from John Gibson's June 3, 2005 interview with Dr. Walid Phares, senior fellow with The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies:
"...Al Qaeda, in general terms, has shown the first wave with the 9/11 attacks, the bombers that came from overseas trying to bring down targets in the United States. What we see right now is the beginning of what I call already and many of my colleagues call second wave, meaning U.S. citizens who have not shown in the past a signal that they were part of any radical movement or show, and very well integrated in their societies. I think this is the most important thing. They protect themselves with the society, with the fact that they are good citizens and have not shown any sign before. The terrorist strategy, Al Qaeda, the jihadist strategy and it's on Internet -- it's not so difficult to find it -- is to find people who actually will be patient enough not to get involved in a variety of activities, get the education, do the connections, travel, meet with Al Qaeda, but then will trigger one-time mission. These are long-term terrorists...the second wave.They could be either Arab-American, Muslim American, converts allied to the jihadists....[T]hey are people who fit perfectly the normal U.S. citizen, meaning they send their kids to school. They do have probably arguments with their neighbors, but they're good neighbors, meaning not somebody who would come to Florida or New York and hide and then suddenly strike. These are people who are known in their society, in their communities."

The events of 9/11 were well-coordinated attacks, with clear ties to terrorist movements in the Middle East. If Dr. Phares is correct, however, the next series of attacks will come from within our own borders and will be perpetrated by "good citizens." (Why does that phrase ring familiar? Could it be because it is the mantra of CAIR and of various leftist organizations?)

It is way past time to deal with American Islamist organizations, particularly mosques, Saudi-owned schools, and centers for Islamic studies. These places are hotbeds of Islamist rhetoric and activism, and should not be allowed to operate under the protection of American freedoms. The recent arrests in California and in Florida are likely just a small inroad into the anarchism which is afoot, and law enforcement, particularly the Department of Homeland Security, needs to have at its disposal all possible anti-terrorism tools, including the Patriot Act, now under bipartisan attack within our Congress.

Remember our vigilance as individual citizens in the months following 9/11? How many attacks did our vigilance prevent? Where is that vigilance now? As our Founding Fathers warned, maintaining freedom requires constant vigilance. This period of relative calm could well be masking the gathering of more attacks.

Continue reading....

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Dancing Around The Truth

The concern about offending Muslims has led to the retraction of a deserved award. What makes this incident even more disturbing is that such a retraction may lead to more revisionist history. Denying the facts of history will not bring us any closer to a lasting peace. :

Association Withdraws Award to U.S. Envoy
Ambassador Was to Be Honored for Dissent
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 9, 2005

"The American Foreign Service Association recently announced that John M. Evans, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, was to receive a prestigious award for 'constructive dissent' for characterizing as genocide the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. His comments stirred such a diplomatic tempest that Evans not only had to retract his remarks but also had to later clarify his retraction. Earlier this week, however, the selection committee met again and decided to withdraw the honor, known as the Christian A. Herter Award....The award is intended to foster creative thinking and intellectual courage within the State Department bureaucracy...Speaking to an Armenian group in California, Evans referred to the 'Armenian genocide' and said that the U.S. government owes 'you, our fellow citizens, a more frank and honest way of discussing the problem.' He added that 'there is no doubt in my mind what happened' and it was 'unbecoming of us, as Americans, to play word games here.' Armenian groups hailed his comment, noting Evans was the first U.S. official since President Ronald Reagan in 1981 to refer to the Armenian deaths as genocide. But the comments infuriated Turkey. Evans issued a statement saying U.S. policy, in which the United States 'acknowledges the tragedy' and encourages 'scholarly, civil society and diplomatic discussion' of the event, had not changed...."

Mr. Evans was accurate in this remarks. The Armenian slaughter in 1915 was indeed an act of genocide and, in some ways, similar to what is happening today in the Sudan. But acknowledging that Muslims have perpetrated genocide is politically incorrect these days. Mr. Evans backtracked and later referred to the genocide as "the Armenian tragedy"; even so, his belated political correctness was not enough, and he was denied his award. The motivation for the retraction of the award is suspect and indicates pandering to Turkey. Again quoting from the article:

"The timing of the association's decision appeared curious, given it came just before Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Washington for a meeting with President Bush to bolster strained U.S.-Turkish relations. John W. Limbert, president of the association, said that no one at the organization can remember an award being withdrawn after it had been announced."

Appearing in the same edition of the Post was a story relating some details of President Bush's meeting with the prime minister of Turkey. :

Bush Praises Turkey, Offers Ally Little More
By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 9, 2005

"President Bush praised Turkey yesterday as a close, democratic ally in the Middle East but stopped short of meeting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's plea for greater U.S. assistance to defeat a Turkish terrorist group operating out of northern Iraq. Erdogan, whose country is considered the United States' closest Muslim ally, came to Washington seeking more help from the Bush administration in cracking down on a rebel group -- called the Kurdistan Workers' Party -- that has killed hundreds of Turkish troops in recent attacks. After meeting with Bush, Erdogan told reporters the president expressed concern about the terrorist groups but promised little in terms of new assistance to cut off the group's logistics and financing.'We are exchanging information,' Erdogan said. 'However, we don't think it is sufficient. We want [the cooperation] to be taken further.'...Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), speaking on the floor, said Erdogan should 'move beyond recent tensions' with the United States and stamp out anti-American passions in his country. 'The first step is for Prime Minister Erdogan to speak clearly in defense of our partnership and to dispel a wave of anti-Americanism that runs counter to the last five decades of cooperation,' Frist said."
And what did the prime minister of Turkey want President Bush to commit to? Funding Turkey's conflict with another Muslim group. Now, perhaps the Kurdistan Workers' Party is a terrorist organization, but as far as I've been able to discern, the threat it presents is primarily to Turkey, which is considered by all other Muslim countries to be in violation of the Koran and haddiths simply by dint of Turkey's alliance with a Western nation. Furthermore, the United States has no business getting involved in such an inter-tribal conflict, very common within Islamic nations--unless that conflict threatens our national security.

Sorry, folks, but I don't trust Turkey, whose allegiance may be more to the nebulous concept of the Nation of Islam than to any Western ally. What assurance do we have that Turkey will not one day repeat, in the name of orthodox Islam, the genocide of 1915--especially if Turkey refuses to acknowledge the events of 1915; continues to look the other way at the anti-Americanism within its borders; and promotes, however obliquely, truth-telling dissent within our borders?

Meanwhile, Mr. Evans has been punished for speaking the truth. And suppression of the truth is always dangerous.

Continue reading....

Friday, June 10, 2005

Our Own Gullibility

In his book entitled Comes the Millennium, Jack Blake states, “the grand American experiment in individual freedom is in imminent danger from within, and the enemy is our own gullibility.” But Mr. Blake’s book is about his view that American intolerance and the political aggression of fundamentalist Christians is the principal threat to the ideals of our founding fathers and threatens to transform America into a totalitarian regime. I disagree with Blake. It is true that Americans are in danger from within, and that the enemy is our own gullibility, but the threat to America does not come from fundamentalist Christians, it comes from the Wahhabism that has been introduced, paid for, distributed, and reinforced by our “good friends,” the Saudis. In fact, we might also conclude that Wahhabism is directly responsible for every single act of Islamic terrorism since the end of World War II.

In a study conducted by the Center for Religious Freedom, entitled Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques, it becomes clear that America has become the target of Islamic violence. In a foreword by former Director of Central Intelligence, R. James Woolsey states:

“A major part of the reason for this and other important changes in the Kingdom was the Saudi royal family’s reaction to the tumultuous year of 1979 [Khomeini’s Rise to Power—ed]. We are still feeling the after-shocks today. The Saudis chose after the twin shocks of that year to strike a Faustian bargain with the Wahhabi sect and not only to accommodate their views about propriety, pious behavior, and Islamic law, but effectively to turn over education in the Kingdom to them and later to fund the expansion into Pakistan and elsewhere of their extreme, hostile, anti-modern, and anti-infidel form of Islam. The other side of the bargain was that if the Wahhabis would concentrate their attacks on, essentially, the U.S. and Israel, the Saudi elite would get a more-or-less free ride from the Wahhabis and the corruption within the Kingdom would be overlooked.”

Woolsey continues:

“Today in the Kingdom . . . young people are systematically infused with hostility for 'infidels.' Moreover, most young Saudis are not equipped when they graduate from school to perform the jobs necessary to operate a modern economy. Instead many are employed, if that is the right word, as, e.g., religious police – walking the streets to harass women whose veils may not fully cover their faces, for example. Young Saudis’ anger based on their lack of useful work and their indoctrination is palpable. It is not an accident that 15 of the 19 terrorists who attacked us on September 11 were Saudis. The New York Times (January 27, 2002) cited a poll conducted by Saudi Intelligence, and shared with the U.S. government, that over 95% of Saudis between the ages of 25 and 41 have sympathy for Osama bin Laden.”

Now, much has been written about the concerns of many (surely, not most) Americans about the thousands of Muslims who live among us. It may be fair to say that we are not being provided with the truth about what is happening within our own communities. For example, we have seen instances where Islamic leaders stand before a podium and renounce extremist views and publicly align themselves with the so-called “war on terror,” but should we believe it? Is it possible to think that most Muslims living in America stand solidly with the rest of us in adoration of the “land of the Free?” Perhaps not; a recently scheduled Muslim demonstration against terror fizzled.

But Mr. Woolsey continues:

“The Saudi-funded, Wahhabi-operated export of hatred for us reaches around the globe. It is well known that the religious schools of Pakistan that educated a large share of the Taliban and al Qaeda are Wahhabi. But Pakistan is not the sole target. I had in my office recently a moderate Muslim leader from an Asian country. He was in the U.S., seeking to obtain funds from foundations, so that he could have printed elementary school textbooks to compete with the Wahhabi-funded textbooks that are flooding his country and that are being made available to schools at little or no cost.

“The Wahhabi textbooks in his country, like textbooks in Saudi Arabia, teach that it is the obligation of all Muslims to consider all infidels the enemy. As an illustration of the consequences of such teaching, I have heard that in some cases during the fighting in Bosnia in the early nineties, American churches and synagogues that were raising funds for food and other aid for the Bosnian Muslims would approach local mosques and suggest a cooperative effort. On a number of occasions they were turned down and didn’t understand why. The reason was that for a Wahhabi Imam (and Sheikh Kabbani, perhaps the U.S.’s leading moderate Muslim leader, says that a substantial percentage of American mosques have Wahhabi-funded Imams), it is normally not believed to be permissible for Muslims to work with infidels, even if the purpose is to help Muslims.”

Reaching into America is the goal of the Wahabbists. They are capable, as we have seen, to do great harm to the American people, our guests, our institutions, and the economy, but there is no possibility that Jihadists can destroy America from an outward invasion. But these people do realize that American is within their grasp through subterfuge, and they are doing it almost in plain sight of us all, if only we would open our eyes to the truth.

Mr. Woolsey correctly points out that:

"Americans are not normally comfortable distinguishing between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable within a religion, unless they are, say, debating views within their own church. Because of the First Amendment and American culture, most Americans tend not to make judgments about others’ religions. But the Wahhabis and the Islamists whom they work with and support have a long political reach and their views have substantial political effect. Some of the consequences of this 'grotesque protection racket' have been quite lethal: American deaths and the failure to apprehend the terrorists who killed them."

Finally, this warning by the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency:

"Wahhabi and Islamist extremism today is the soil in which al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are growing. We need to recognize the problem posed by the international spread of this hate ideology, including within the American homeland."

Okay, so what? For one thing, any American who believes that Islam is a peaceful, forgiving religion has lost touch with reality. Despite what the Koran says about Jews and Christians (people of the book), Muslim actions are speaking much louder than Koranic words, and in several important areas. Perhaps it is true that we are being over-inundated with information concerning terrorists; maybe most of us have tuned it out because it is disturbing and we’d much rather focus on our private, materialistic goals. Some might argue that this is just another example of the right-wing conspiracy to frighten people away from the democratic platform.

So let’s just take a quick look at what these “textbooks” are telling Muslims who are living in America; what to do, how to behave, and how to “embrace” America. Quoting now from the study conducted by the Center for Religious Freedom:

“On December 3, 2004, Ahmed, an Arab exchange student, walks down a palm lined boulevard in a working class neighborhood of Los Angeles. Since it is Friday, he bypasses the Hispanic restaurants, the 7/11, and the sporting goods store, and enters the King Fahd mosque – an elegant building of white marble etched with gold, adorned by a blue minaret, that is named after its benefactor, the King of Saudi Arabia. Later he will join 500 other California Muslims in prayer but, because it is early, he visits the mosque library where he picks up several books on religious guidance, written in Arabic, that are offered free to Muslims like him, newly arrived and uncertain on how to fit into this modern, diverse land.

"The tracts he opens are in the voice of a senior religious authority. They tell him that America, his adoptive home, is the 'Abode of the Infidel,' the Christian and the Jew. He reads: 'Be dissociated from the infidels, hate them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support, do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law.'

"The advice is emphatic: 'There is consensus on this matter, that whoever helps Unbelievers against Muslims, regardless of what type of support he lends to them, he is an unbeliever himself.'

"The books give him detailed instructions on how to build a 'wall of resentment' between himself and the infidel: 'Never greet the Christian or Jew first. Never congratulate the infidel on his holiday Never befriend an infidel unless it is to convert him. Never imitate the infidel Never work for an infidel. Do not wear a graduation gown because this imitates the infidel.'

"Ahmed looks carefully at the book’s cover. It says 'Greetings from the Cultural Department' of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C. The book is published by the government of Saudi Arabia. The other books are textbooks from the Saudi Education Ministry, and collections of fatwas, religious edicts, issued by the government’s religious office, published by other organizations based in Riyadh."

Such hate-filled materials are not limited to distribution at mosques. In Alexandria, Virginia, a few scant miles from our nation’s capital, sits the Islamic Saudi Academy, a private school providing education for K through Grade 12. This school was established in 1984 and is owned and operated by the nation of Saudi Arabia, a bastion of Wahhabism. Quoting terrorism expert Daniel Pipes:

“[A]n outpost of Saudi values on American soil, the academy enjoys Saudi government funding, is chaired by the Saudi ambassador in Washington, and boasts a curriculum imported straight from Riyadh.” According to a February 25, 2002, front-page story, the Islamic Saudi Academy teaches students, among other things, that “the Day of Judgment cannot come until Jesus Christ returns to Earth, breaks the cross and converts everyone to Islam, and until Muslims start attacking Jews.”

Furthermore, global maps hanging in classrooms are missing Israel.

ISA recently made national news in February 2005, when 1999 valedictorian Ahmed Abu Ali was arrested on federal charges, including planning to assassinate President Bush and trying to establish an Al-Qaeda cell in the United States. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has repeatedly called for an investigation into the operations of ISA. There are three other similar schools in the Washington, D.C. area: the Muslim Community School in Potomac, Maryland; the Institute for Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America in Fairfax, Virginia; and the Graduate School of Islamic Social Sciences of Ashburn, Virginia. According to Dr. Anis Shorrosh, a member of the Oxford Society of Scholars and a Palestinian Christian Arab American who is fluent in both Arabic and English, there are 300 exclusively Muslim schools in the United States. Furthermore, Susan Douglass, national curriculum advisor for social-science texts, formerly taught at ISA and is married to a Muslim who teaches at the Muslim Community School of Potomac, Maryland; she has influence on the material presented to children attending our nation’s public school system.

The following quotation from Dawanet, a Muslim website, explains how thoroughly the public-relations campaign to Islamify our culture has invaded our educational system:

Dawa means to invite non-Muslims to accept the truth of Islam. Performing Dawa involves both our words and actions….Students are routinely exposed in their classroom to new information and opinions, hence they tend to be more receptive to new beliefs and ideas. Schools are therefore fertile grounds where the seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students. Muslim students should take ample advantage of this opportunity and present to their schoolmates the beautiful beliefs of Islam….We should use every opportunity to sensitize non-Muslim peers and school staff to Islam and to establish an environment in which everywhere a non-Muslim turns, he notices Islam portrayed in a positive way, is influenced by it and eventually accepts Islam…”

According to Dr. Shorrosh, author of Islam Revealed, Americans are sleeping through an invasion. He believes that the United States is under systematic attack from within and cites the following as danger signals: hate-crime bills are terminating freedom of speech, dialogues in the media and in institutions of learning are proclaiming the virtues of Islam and propagandizing that Islam is similar to Judeo-Christianity, Muslim sympathizers are serving in political office, Muslims are buying up stock in various public media, Muslim funding is establishing Centers for Islamic Studies at our universities, various organizations are appealing to Americans for sympathy and tolerance toward immigrants from oppressed Muslim countries, and numerous charities are serving as money-launderers for terrorist organizations.

One of the leaders in the public-relations campaign is CAIR, which was established in 1984 under the banner of “Establishing Trust, Building Partnerships.” Just recently, this organization completed its library project, whereby pro-Islam materials have been donated to every library system in the United States; Saudi Arabia contributed substantially to the funding of this project, and, as a result, the materials are particularly adept at whitewashing information about Wahhabism. Not only have the materials been placed, but also Muslims are encouraged to check out the material on a regular basis so as to keep the books and videos in circulation and thus out of the book sales which larger systems use to make room on their shelves. In addition, CAIR is presently running a Quran-distribution program. This newest public-relations strategy is making available an English translation which promotes hatred toward the infidels. The translation was so objectionable that even the Los Angeles Public School System removed it from their shelves.

Furthermore, CAIR is not the innocuous civil-rights organization it purports to be. The organization’s connections to terrorism run deeply, in spite of CAIR’s denials. For example, in October 1998, CAIR demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard which criticized Osama bin Laden because the depiction was “offensive to Muslims.” CAIR has also defended other militant Islamists, including Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh who planned to plant bombs at various New York City landmarks; in addition CAIR proclaimed the conviction of the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as “a travesty of justice.” CAIR protests nearly every arrest of a suspected terrorist, usually on the grounds of profiling. This past weekend, for the second time in a month, CAIR held events at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel, located in Vienna, Virginia. The second event was a fundraising banquet, and, attending the meeting, were the parents of aspiring Presidential assassin Ahmed Abu Ali and Senator John Warner of Virginia. Just a few days ago, Florida Governor Jeb Bush sent CAIR a letter commending the organization for its “contributions to the protection of civil rights and freedom of religion.” All this pandering to CAIR in spite of the warning from Steven Pomerantz, the FBI’s former chief of counterterrorism:

“CAIR, its leaders and its activities effectively give aid to international terrorist groups.”

What should we conclude? First, we should think that former Central Intelligence Director Woolsey knows what he’s talking about when he says,

“Wahhabi and Islamist extremism today is the soil in which al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are growing. We need to recognize the problem posed by the international spread of this hate ideology, including within the American homeland.”

I suspect that the U. S. Constitution protects free speech for Muslims, just as it does for everyone else. But are textbooks prepared by a foreign government, which incite discord within American borders, also protected? Muslims have the right to express themselves, but does our Constitution protect the King of Saudi Arabia when he or his government provokes a wall of resentment? Encouraging Muslims to hate their American hosts, along with Jews, would seem to present a clear and present danger to the safety and security of the American people, so I think there is cause to wonder how our government intends to safeguard us when the enemy is already here.

Terrorists are urged to “use” American law against Americans who may want to prosecute them by encouraging them to make claims of duress and abusive treatment, and instructing them insist on their constitutional rights. Extremists are taught how to take advantage of free legal representation. All of this suggests to me a conspiracy against American democracy and its people by the people who petitioned us for permission to live here.

Any American who sees “Reds” under his bed may be a fool. On the other hand, any American who fails to see the danger of Wahabbism when it is standing directly in front of him is irrationally, dangerously, and potentially terminally gullible. The threat is real, and unless or until Americans become aware of this danger, and begin to insist that their elected officials acknowledge this menace as well, they are unwisely subjecting themselves, and their families to horrific consequences.

Jointly authored by Always On Watch and Social Sense.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Loss Of Journalistic Integrity

All the media, including the blogosphere, have reported Amnesty International's pronouncing Gitmo "a gulag." Some of the media have pointed out Rule 18 of the al-Qaeda manual; this rule states "You must claim you were tortured."

But in the June 13, 2005 edition of U.S. News & World Report, John Leo brings a whole new twist to the Amnesty-International-Declares story in his commentary "Stories Not Told." :

"[An] omission marred the reporting of Amnesty International's report charging torture in U.S. detainment camps. The group didn't just call Guantanamo a 'gulag,' an over-the-top remark that was universally reported. In a press release that most reporters ignored, the group also invited foreign governments to snatch certain visiting American officials off the streets and bring them to trial for crimes against humanity. The suggested snatchees, should they travel abroad, were President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA Director George Tenet, and other unnamed civilian and military officials. Amnesty International said that 'all states have a responsibility to investigate and prosecute people responsible for these crimes,' just as the British pounced on Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998. The snatching recommendation wasn't new, but the Amnesty press release is a useful reminder of the dangers of signing on to the International Criminal Court."

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Out Of Step With Personal and National Security

After 9/11, any sane American should advocate more stringent security measures. The June 6, 2005 edition of the Washington Post presented two disturbing stories about the laxness of our national security--one on the state/local level and one on the national level. :

Va. Police Back Off Immigration Enforcement
Other Legislation, Fear of Abuse Cited
By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 6, 2005; B01

The Virginia State Police have backed off a plan that would have allowed some officers to make immigration arrests, a prospect that had been fiercely opposed by immigrant rights advocates.
The state police chief, Col. Steve Flaherty, said last week that his department has decided against proceeding with an agreement with federal authorities that would have made Virginia the third state in the nation to adopt such a practice....
Virginia offers an example of the sensitivity surrounding the issue: While state police were negotiating their agreement last year with Homeland Security officials, the Virginia
legislature passed a bill giving local and state police slightly more power to enforce immigration law.
Immigrants panicked, despite the fact that the Virginia law was very narrowly drawn. It allowed police to arrest only convicted felons who had re-entered the country illegally after being deported....
Several of the police and sheriff's departments in Northern Virginia said they were not interested in gaining the additional authority.
"We're not advocating, supporting or facilitating illegal immigration," said Dave Rohrer, chief of the Fairfax County police.
But, he added: "Our job is to protect people. And I'm concerned that people who are
victims of a crime, whether citizens or not, are not calling us because they're afraid we're going to check [legal] status only."

Chief Rohrer, I'm all for cutting down on crime, but the last time I looked, being an illegal immigrant is against the law. I'd like to see some hard statistics on the number of all classes of crimes committed by illegals, especially with regard to, but not limited to, the convicted felons who re-enter this country after being deported.
Despite your protests to the contrary, Chief Rohrer, you are indeed facilitating illegal immigration, within just a few miles of our nation's capital! :

FBI Pushed Ahead With Troubled Software
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 6, 2005; A01

Some FBI officials began raising doubts about the bureau's attempts to create a computerized case management system as early as 2003, two years before the $170 million project was abandoned altogether, according to a confidential report to the House Appropriations Committee.
By 2004, the report found, the FBI had identified 400 problems with early versions of the troubled software -- but never told the contractor. The bureau also went ahead with a $17 million testing program last December, even though it was clear by then that the software would have to be scrapped, according to the review....
Numerous outside experts and panels have criticized the FBI's paper-based records system as outmoded and inefficient, and the commission that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks concluded that the shortcomings may have contributed to the failure to detect the al Qaeda plot. The Justice Department's inspector general warned in February that the FBI's continuing technology problems had "national security implications" and that agents were "significantly hampered" in their efforts to prevent terrorism and combat other serious crimes....
...Zalmai Azmi -- the FBI's new information technology chief and the fourth person to occupy the position during the VCF project -- predicted in April 2004 that the first version of VCF would be delivered by the end of the year.
But according to the congressional report, problems continued to mount...

Let's see....The state and local police don't want to enforce immigration laws, even on a limited basis, and the feds don't have the computer software to track suspected terrorists. And the Washington Post has now advertised those shortcomings.
I don't feel very safe right now.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

As Usual, It's All About The Money

In the terrifying hours after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush grounded all airplanes. We don't know how effective that measure was, but the general feeling has been that such a drastic step was a smart move, despite the economic impact.

President Bush also committed to severing the financial lifelines which help terrorists to further their mayhem. But today in the Washington Post, Victor Comras, an attorney and consultant on terrorism financing, cautions that our intelligence is not doing enough. :

"Since Sept. 11, 2001, the United States and several other countries have touted their success in identifying terrorist cells and cutting off terrorism financing. The Bush administration regularly asserts that al Qaeda is financially weakened and forced to cut expenditures. There is now reason to question these assumptions. The pace of terrorist recruitment and activities appears to be accelerating, not decreasing, and the number of terrorist attacks continues to grow. And evidence is mounting that large sums are still being raised and transferred to al Qaeda terrorists, including the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the fight against terrorism has benefited from increased intelligence, this effort has not been enough to cut off al Qaeda's financing or to put its financial supporters out of business....Several large Islamic charities, despite their designation by the United States and the United Nations as sources of terrorism funding, also continue in operation. The Saudi government pledged to close the al Haramain Islamic Foundation and its branches around the world, and to more closely monitor the outward flow of charitable funds, but there are few indications that it has actually done so. Al Haramain branches remain operational in several countries, while other branches have merely changed their names....It's time for the United States and all countries committed to winning the war on terrorism to tighten the slack on terrorism financing. We must insist that all identified terrorist financiers be put out of business. Only by making the penalties for terrorism financing clear and severe will other well-heeled supporters of terrorist groups be persuaded to stop funding them. We must also hold those responsible for administering charitable funds to the highest standards of accountability. There can be no impunity for permitting charitable funds to flow into the hands of terrorists...."

Following through on cutting off the financial head of this snake is a burden on the banking system. But not taking the essential steps will exact a worse price--a much worse price.

The United States can determine exactly which countries are her true allies by examining each country's commitment to tracking terrorism-funding operations. Let's start by checking out the banking practices of Saudi Arabia, both in the Middle East and here in the United States. And because it is easy to launder money through charity organizations, they should be first on the to-be-checked list.

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