Saturday, October 29, 2005

Nine Danger Signs--Or Is It Ten, Now That The Senate Has Canceled Scheduled Hearings?

According to the American Congress for Truth, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee suddenly canceled the October 25, 2005 hearings:
"This hearing would have exposed Saudi support for the wrathful dogma of Wahhabism, the rejection of the co-existence of different religions and condemnation of Christians, Jews, and all other non Muslims. It would have revealed their attempts to instill contempt for America and its non Wahhabi-style of government.

"Witnesses called by the Judiciary Committee to testify were former CIA director Jim Woolsey, Steve Emerson of The Investigation Project and several U.S. Islamic community advocates. These are highly informed experts who have information that our policy makers need to hear."
According to Frank Gaffney's recent commentary in the Washington Times,
"...The reason this question deserves urgent attention should be obvious: Since November 2001, there has been a roughly three-fold increase in the price of a barrel of oil, from $18 to as much as $70. As a result, Saudi Arabia -- which currently exports about 10 million barrels per day -- receives an extra half-billion dollars every day from oil-consuming nations.

"If even a fraction of that $500 million in found-money -- to say nothing of the other resources of the Saudi kingdom -- is being put in the service of our Islamofascist enemies, we are likely to face an even more serious problem in the future than we do today.

"As today's Judiciary Committee hearing would surely have demonstrated, it is a safe bet that a significant portion of the Saudis' petro-windfall will be put in the hands of Islamist totalitarians bent on our destruction. That is not simply because Saudi Arabia has long had ties to Islamofascist terrorists, however.

"Worse yet, the Saudis are themselves the wellspring of Sunni Islamofascism....

"Had the hearing not been cancelled, senators would have received powerful evidence of the Saudis' true colors. From former Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey and a member of the International Religious Freedom Commission, Nina Shea, they would have heard the breathtaking results of a study performed earlier this year by Freedom House. It indisputably demonstrated that the Saudi government has been directly responsible for putting materials rife with jihadist propaganda and incitement in American mosques.

"From Yigal Carmon, the founder of the highly-respected Middle East Media Research Institute, legislators would have seen videos of similar hate-mongering that represents standard fare on Saudi television. (It is to be hoped that, when the hearing is held, senators will examine whether such material will now be beamed directly into the United States via DirecTV. This would appear to be the upshot of a deal whereby a controversial Saudi prince, Al-Waleed bin Talal, purchased more than 5 percent of the voting stock of the satellite company's parent and of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, parent of Fox News. (See this).

"And from Steven Emerson, world-renowned anti-terrorism expert, senators doubtless would have heard chilling details about the Saudi footprint in America. The mosques, schools (madrassas), student organizations, Muslim-American and Arab-American agitation operations, businesses and recruitment operations -- notably in U.S. prisons and the military -- that are funded and dominated by Islamist Saudi Wahhabis...."
At the same time, while our elected officials are delaying hearings, the United American Committee (UAC), a nonpartisan and diverse group whose focus is Islamic extremism in the United States, is distributing the following material to the Muslim community:
Addressed to the Islamic community of America


1. Justification of any Islamic Terrorism, Palestinian or otherwise

2. Supporting or refusing to condemn Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, Hamas, or other terrorists or terrorist organizations by name

3. Promoting jihad for Muslims to fight against what they determine is "injustice" or "aggression"

4. Demands for Sharia law in the West, or denying that Sharia forbids equal rights for women and members of religions other than Islam

5. Demanding that Americans accommodate the public expression of Islamic laws, customs, and practices that conflict with, or are harmful to American laws, customs, and practices

6. Denying that Muslims were involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and other attacks around the world

7. Refusal to cooperate with or inciting others not to cooperate with authorities or standard security procedures

8. Branding progressive Muslims or Muslims of different opinions as apostates.

9. Refusal to interact, converse, or socialize with non-Muslims.

Peace-loving Muslims everywhere agree on the need to be alert for any incitements to hate, violence, religious intolerance, or outright lying. We need your help to keep Islam a religion of peace.
One hopes that the laudable words of the above UAC material is interpreted without the nuances of "Differing Definitions." According to Islamic leader Sayyid Qutb,
"When Islam strives for peace, its objective is not that superficial peace which requires that only that part of the earth where the followers of Islam are residing remain secure."
And the last section of the Koran to be revealed contains Sura 9:5, which, back in the fourteenth century, was interpreted as follows:
"Mainstream and respected Qur'an commentator, Isma'il bin Amr bin Kathir al Dimashqi (1301-1372), known popularly as Ibn Kathir, declares that sura 9:5 'abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term....No idolater had an more treaty of promise of safety ever since Surah Bara'ah was revealed.'"
Furthermore, a search of the web sites of CAIR and MAS, two of the most prominent Muslim groups in the United States, indicates no support or endorsement of either the Senate hearings or the efforts of the UAC. But both CAIR and MAS are staunch advocates of Sign 5:
"Demanding that Americans accommodate the public expression of Islamic laws, customs, and practices that conflict with, or are harmful to American laws, customs, and practices."
So, do we see a Sign 10 to add to "Nine Danger Signs of Militant Islam"? In spite of more than four years having passed since 9/11, our elected representatives refuse to take decisive steps in investigating Saudi Arabia's support of terrorism.

Continue reading....

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pardon My Brief Absence Here--Back ASAP

I'm having crisis after crisis at home right now! I've got to attend to some car problems which just can't wait; then I can tackle other matters, including posting and commenting here. I hope to have everything straightened out in just a few days.

Thank you for understanding.

Continue reading....

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Minutemen Are Coming--To Herndon, Virginia

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, residents of Herndon, Virginia, will be getting some help with the monitoring of the day-laborers center due to open in December:
"A group of Herndon residents that is part of the national Minutemen organization is planning to patrol day laborer hiring sites in the town and report illegal immigrant workers and their employers to authorities.

"An offshoot of the Arizona-based Minutemen Project, which launched civil patrols to stem illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border this year, the Herndon group says it will gather evidence of immigration and employment violations by photographing illegal workers and those who hire them.

"'The ultimate goal is to rid Herndon of illegal aliens,' said the group's leader, Herndon resident George Taplin."
For a variety of reasons, law enforcement is not getting the proper monitoring done, so citizens will be assisting. Is this vigilante justice?

Operation Spotlight, the patrol group, has a specific plan:
"[M]ore than 50 volunteers, who are all Virginia residents but whose names he would not divulge, will begin staking out informal hiring sites and trailing laborers to their work sites in about two weeks. He said they will compile a database of photographs and record the names of companies hiring workers, then give the information to federal immigration authorities, local law enforcement and other agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service.

"Taplin said the volunteers would avoid confrontation. They will be told that they cannot carry firearms, he said. 'We're here to collect data, and that's it,' he said.

"Taplin said the group would also follow workers home to document possible zoning violations, such as overcrowding.

"Taplin said he met with Herndon Police Chief Toussaint E. Summers Jr. to assure him that the patrols would not cause disruptions or hurt anyone..."
This plan does not appear to be vigilante justice. Nevertheless, Operation Spotlight is meeting with resistance:

"With the formation of the group, tensions over day laborers and illegal immigrants reached another peak in Herndon...

"Kerrie Wilson, who sits on the executive council of Project Hope and Harmony, the nonprofit group that will operate the planned job center [For information on the Muslim origins of Project Hope, click here] , said she has received several calls from laborers and employers who are worried about the patrol. She said she and members of her staff have informed them of workers' rights and discussed 'conflict avoidance.'

"She said she did not know whether the patrols would discourage workers from gathering in public.

"'Certainly, workers are concerned now, but it's just too much to say' what the effect will be, Wilson said. She added: 'We believe this is an attempt to provoke a reaction. And, frankly, mostly what we're focusing on right now is getting the center up and running.'"
As I see it, if the center, funded in part by taxpayers' dollars, will in any way foster or encourage illegal immigrants to utilize it, such a matter should be of concern to those who will be operating the center. Why does it not matter to Project Hope that illegal immigrants might be present?

In addition to those involved with Project Hope, some governmental officials also are not pleased with Operation Spotlight:
"Law enforcement is best left up to professionals,' said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, when asked what the agency would do with reports from the Minutemen about illegal immigrants. 'Obviously, we do welcome tips from the public, but obviously, we have to run down the information and verify it.'"
Somehow, I always thought that such was the job of law enforcement--to run down information which might lead to the disruption of illegal activity. And from what I understand of Operation Spotlight, the group will serve to provide tips to the appropriate authorities.

But Wilson, of Project Hope, sees the matter differently:
"Wilson said the hiring center is scheduled to open in December. She said she thinks the Minutemen's attention is focused in the wrong place.

"'I think the real issue is, of course, that for folks that have questions about immigration and the immigration system, the answer is down the street from Herndon, in the halls of Congress and the White House,' Wilson said."
If, right now, laws regulating immigration are on the books, I want to see those laws enforced. Is there anything wrong with private citizens' facilitating the enforcement of the law?

Continue reading....

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Dogs of War--Part II

Last summer, I posted an article about raising funds for outfitting dogs in our military. The following is a lengthy excerpt from a recent Washington Post article about one very lucky dog:

"Laurel lawyer John E. Smathers, a captain in the Army Reserve, returned from a year in Iraq with a broken arm, a wrecked knee and a chest full of medals.

"During his tour, Smathers helped thwart a bank robbery and assisted in recovering stolen Iraqi artwork. He survived an ambush and a high-speed auto crash.

"But when he got back in March 2004, he was determined to complete a final mission: to rescue Scout, a dog he and other soldiers had adopted, from the increasingly bloody streets of Baghdad and bring him to his Howard County home. Scout was resolute, loyal. So was Smathers.

"For 17 months, Smathers engaged in a campaign that involved intelligence gathering, secret Iraqi contacts and a foiled border-crossing into Jordan.

"Finally, in late August, Scout was driven some 280 miles from Baghdad to Basra, where he was delivered to a British woman who runs an animal shelter in Kuwait.

"Within days, Scout was on the tarmac at Dulles International Airport, where he was met by Smathers, dressed in desert camouflage so the dog would recognize him. Scout scampered out of his cage and went straight to Smathers, resting at his feet....

"Smathers, 47, was a member of the Riverdale-based 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. His unit was among the troops that invaded Iraq in 2003.

"After U.S. forces took control of the Baghdad airport in early April, Smathers's unit needed a place to stay for a few days and settled on an old catering building. Inside, Smathers and his fellow soldiers encountered a Canaan dog about 2 1/2 months old.

"'He was alone, confused, didn't know what was going on,' Smathers recalled.

"The unit adopted the puppy, which Capt. Kevin Guidry named Scout. When the unit left the airport for Baghdad, some 12 miles away, the soldiers took him along.

"In Baghdad, the unit took over a two-story, three-bedroom house near the Tigris River. Worried about attacks by enemy fighters, the soldiers slept on the roof, their M-16s at their sides, while Scout stayed in front of the building.

'"Scout was our early-warning system,' Smathers said. 'If someone came by who he didn't recognize, he'd start barking.''

"Smathers and Scout bonded. At 5:30 a.m. most days, Scout would put his paw through the mosquito net Smathers slept inside. Smathers would awaken, and the two would run by the Tigris.

"'Sometimes he'd jump into the river. I'd yank him out by the scruff of his neck,' Smathers said.

"At one point, Scout became gravely ill with parvovirus, a disease that leaves dogs dehydrated. For four days, Smathers and another soldier took turns administering intravenous antibiotics.

"Scout and Smathers were inseparable until Smathers and other soldiers were ambushed Feb. 21, 2004...[when]the convoy was ambushed by fighters shooting AK-47s....

"Three weeks later, Smathers was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, recuperating from the broken arm and a damaged right knee.

"Via e-mail, Smathers kept in touch with members of his unit. One soldier wrote that for the first two weeks Smathers was gone, Scout remained outside the front door of the house, as if waiting for the captain.

"Eventually, Smathers's unit left the house, and Scout was on his own. In an e-mail, a soldier told Smathers that Scout had been picked up by a dogcatcher and was going to be euthanized, but that he escaped by digging under a fence.

"For four months, Smathers sent e-mails, sometimes with photos of Scout, to every soldier and civilian he knew in the area, asking if they had seen Scout. By then, Smathers was being helped by Bonnie Buckley, a Massachusetts woman who runs a Web site dedicated to helping soldiers rescue animals overseas.

"On Aug. 5, 2004, a soldier sent an e-mail to Smathers and Buckley. 'Guys, I see Scout almost every day,' the e-mail said. 'No one is taking care of him. He is looking pretty skinny, and a vet needs to look at his left eye.' The soldier wrote that Scout hung out near the pool of a large house.

"Smathers e-mailed a soldier and asked that Scout be captured, caged and taken to the Baghdad Zoo, where Smathers had become friendly with a veterinarian. Within days, Scout was at the zoo, where he would stay for a year.

"Smathers couldn't get Scout out on a military flight because U.S. soldiers are not allowed to bring back animals from foreign soil, he said....

"Finally, Smathers said, Buckley found the British woman who runs an animal shelter in Kuwait, and she was willing to help. The woman took Scout to Kuwait, put him on a commercial flight to the Netherlands and then to Dulles, where Smathers met him Aug. 22.

"Scout's life is much different now. Every Sunday, Smathers's six sisters bring their young children to his one-acre property, and the kids frolic with Scout.

"Smathers is taking pains not to lose sight of Scout again. He erected an invisible fence, with an electric current, around his property and outfitted the dog with a tag that reads 'Scout. IRAQ WAR DOG.'"
Probably most dog stories from Iraq do not have such a happy outcome. Muslims, in general, despise dogs and have all sorts of rituals to cleanse oneself from what they consider filthy animals.

Whatever the special connection between dog and master, I'm glad that the tale of Scout has worked out the way it did. I'm a sucker for a good pet-story every time!

Note: The title of the October 20, 2005 Washington Post article is a fitting one: "A War Dog's Faithful Friend."

Addendum, October 29, 2005: Commenters have left some links for more heart-warming stories.

From Bonnie Blue Flag, click here.

From Elmer's Brother, click here.

And from Anonymous, who leaves information about an organization which helps our dogs of war, click here.

Continue reading....

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Too Sensitive!

According to an October 16, 2005 article in the Washington Post:
"In preparation for a guest appearance at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, the marching band at C.D. Hylton High School had a logical and seemingly innocuous idea: play a Georgia-themed song. They decided on 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia,' by the Charlie Daniels Band....

"Daniels's song, which won a Grammy Award in 1979, is a tongue-in-cheek, tale about a devil heading down to Georgia and challenging a young man named Johnny to a fiddling duel. The stakes are high: If the devil plays a better tune, then he gets to keep Johnny's soul. But Johnny is too talented and beats the devil, winning a golden fiddle, and making Daniels's song a metaphor for the triumph of good over evil."
I'm not a big fan of country-and-western music, but I remember "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," a crossover hit. In the late 1970's and on into the 1980's, I heard the piece on various radio stations and even in the New Year's Day Pasadena Rose Parade. Furthermore, the piece is a certain crowd pleaser in Georgia and a good choice for perfomance at the Peach Bowl.

But one letter to a small local newspaper, intended merely to provoke a philosophical debate resulted in the following:
"But early this month, a local newspaper, the Potomac News, published a letter by a Woodbridge resident who, after having seen the C.D. Hylton Bulldawg Marching Band perform the country-western hit at a football game, wondered how a song about the devil could be played at school events, because of the separation of church and state.

"Fearing bad public reaction, Hylton's longtime band director, Dennis Brown, pulled the song from the playlist. 'I was just being protective of my students. I didn't want any negative publicity for C.D. Hylton High School,' he said.

"But Brown's strategy backfired. The decision has created a furor, and even Charlie Daniels has weighed in.

"'I am a Christian, and I don't write pro-devil songs. Most people seem to get it. It's a fun little song,' Daniels said Friday in a telephone interview from Mokena, Ill., where he was scheduled to perform a concert. 'I think it's a shame that the [marching band director] would yield to one piece of mail. If people find out that he can be manipulated that easily, he's going to have a hard way to go.'"
Emotions about the band director's decision are running high as various people type their reactions in to the web site:

"'God have mercy. How did we become a country full of weenies who give into the cranky nonsense of 1 voice?' one person tapped out on a computer. 'I guess I need to go back to school. I thought the idea behind our country was that the majority ruled? You know, like the majority of people voted for the President's re-election and now the ruling party is knuckling under to every left wing nut out there? I give up!'

"A person identified as Ticked Off Parent chimed in: 'What's next? School Book Burnings because someone finds To Kill a Mockingbird offensive? Whoever started this should be banned from the school, NOT THE SONG!'"
Apparently the writer of the letter to the editor never intended to spark the withdrawal of "The Devil Went down to Georgia" from the band's list of pieces:

"As for that nettlesome letter writer, Robert McLean? The defense contractor, whose children are home-schooled, said he went to Hylton's football game just because he enjoys the sport. His letter, he said, was meant to start a philosophical debate, not to wreck any student's marching band experience. Besides, he said, he loves 'Devil.'

"'It was one of the first 45s I had as a kid,' he said."
If a band piece performed without words can provoke such a reaction, I hate to think what including Faust, Dante's Inferno, or Dracula--all literary works which focus on the battle between good and evil--could result in.

We have indeed become "a country full of weenies" and inoffensive, politically-correct fools when a marching band's choice of music can result in purging a mainstream selection from a performing group's repertoire!

Continue reading....

Friday, October 14, 2005

What About The Islamic Saudi Academy?

"Senate Will Probe Saudi Distribution Of Hate Materials (in its entirety)

"WASHINGTON - The American government is demanding that Saudi Arabia account for its distribution of hate material to American mosques, as the State Department pressed Saudi officials for answers last week and as the Senate later this month plans to investigate the propagation of radical Wahhabism on American shores.

"The flurry of activity comes months after a report from the Center for Religious Freedom discovered that dozens of mosques in major cities across the country, including New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, were distributing documents, bearing the seal of the government of Saudi Arabia, that incite Muslims to acts of violence and promote hatred of Jews and Christians.

"A Washington-based group that is part of the human rights organization Freedom House, the Center for Religious Freedom also found during its yearlong study that the Saudi-produced materials describe democracy and America as un-Islamic. They instruct recent Muslim immigrants to consider Americans as enemies and the materials urge new arrivals to use their time here as preparation for jihad. The documents also promote the version of Islam officially embraced by Saudi government and several of the September 11, 2001, hijackers, Wahhabism, as the only authentic Islam.

"In response to the Freedom House report and as part of the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2005 sponsored by Senator Specter, a Republican of Pennsylvania, the Judiciary Committee - of which Senator Specter is chairman - will be holding hearings into the hate materials on October 25, a spokesman for the senator, William Reynolds, said yesterday.

"The Accountability Act, introduced in June, says its purpose is 'to halt Saudi support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage, or in any other way aid and abet terrorism, and to secure fully Saudi cooperation in the investigation of terrorist incidents.' The legislation is highly critical of the House of Saud for its support of terrorist activity and cites the January Freedom House report as evidence of the kingdom's complicity in the spread of radical Islamist ideology.

"As part of the Accountability Act, Senator Specter has in the past held Judiciary Committee hearings into Saudi financing of terrorism and Saudi Arabia's role in injecting ideology into textbooks for Palestinian Arab schoolchildren.

"Many of the details of the Judiciary Committee hearing later this month, Mr. Reynolds said, are still being arranged, including a final witness list. In the meantime, the committee expects testimony from the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Freedom House, and terrorism experts. The committee will press to determine whether the Saudi government has taken steps to stop the distribution of the materials, and will cull from witnesses recommendations to prevent their future dissemination, Mr. Reynolds said.

"Also demanding answers about the hate materials is the State Department's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, Karen Hughes. During a high-profile trip to the Middle East last week, Ms. Hughes said American representatives had addressed the propagation of Saudi hate material in America during private meetings with government officials.

"In a State Department briefing held en route to Ankara, Turkey, from Saudi Arabia last Tuesday, Ms. Hughes was asked why she had raised the issue that day during a public meeting with Saudi journalists, becoming the first Am'rican official to do so publicly. 'We had been raising the issue privately,' Ms. Hughes said, 'and as part of raising difficult issues that we need to discuss, I felt it was appropriate.' The undersecretary did not elaborate on the results of the private meetings, but the degree to which Saudi Arabia is making efforts to stop the propaganda will be a subject of the Senate hearings, Mr. Reynolds said.

"Requests for comment from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia yesterday were not returned."
According to Daniel Pipes, the report from Freedom House, an organization which sent Muslim volunteers into fifteen prominent mosques throughout the United States and collected materials disseminated by Saudi Arabia, shows that the following points are expounded in the distributed materials:

"Reject Christianity as a valid faith: Any Muslim who believes 'that churches are houses of God and that God is worshiped therein is an infidel.'

"Insist that Islamic law be applied: On a range of issues, from women (who must be veiled) to apostates from Islam ('should be killed'), the Saudi publications insist on full enforcement of Shariah in America.

"See non-Muslims as the enemy: '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.'

"See America as hostile territory: 'It is forbidden for a Muslim to become a citizen of a country governed by infidels because this is a means of acquiescing to their infidelity and accepting all their erroneous ways.'

"Prepare for war against America: 'To be true Muslims, we must prepare and be ready for jihad in Allah's way. It is the duty of the citizen and the government.'"
And while the Senate is taking a look at Saudi-funded materials distributed to mosques in the United States, perhaps scrutiny of certain Muslim schools should also be undertaken, starting with the nearby Islamic Saudi Academy, from which valedictiorian Ahmed Abu Ali, accused of conspiring with Al Qaeda to assassinate President Bush, graduated. According to this site:
"A few miles outside of Washington and a stone's throw from Mt. Vernon Plantation - George Washington's home - the Saudi government is teaching Wahhab Islam to hundreds of Muslim-American children. The school, called the Islamic Saudi Academy, is one of an estimated 200-600 in the U.S. that indoctrinate 30,000 students in the teachings of Koran...."
On February 25, 2005, the Washington Post published the following information in an article entitled "Where Two Worlds Collide":

"Eleventh-graders at the elite Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia study energy and matter in physics, write out differential equations in precalculus and read stories about slavery and the Puritans in English.

"Then they file into their Islamic studies class, where the textbooks tell them the Day of Judgment can't come until Jesus Christ returns to Earth, breaks the cross and converts everyone to Islam, and until Muslims start attacking Jews....

'With two lavish campuses in suburban Virginia, dozens of highly qualified teachers and accreditation from two respected organizations, the Islamic Saudi Academy stands out among Muslim schools in the Washington area.

"The academy educates the children of Arabic-speaking diplomats along with other children of differing heritages -- about 1,300 students altogether. But the financial support from the Saudi government brings with it a curriculum that reflects the particularly rigid strain of Islam practiced there, Muslim educators say.

"'One of the things the community has been concerned about for years is the Saudi influence and Saudi money,' said Amir Hussain, a California professor who has researched Muslim communities in North America. 'You have people who come in and say, "Hey, I'll build you a school." Then people begin to realize, if that school gets built with Saudi money, do we want that kind of curriculum?'

"The Islamic Saudi Academy does not require that U.S. history or government be taught, offering Arabic social studies as an alternative. Officials there said that only Saudis who intend to return home do not take U.S. history, though a handful of U.S.-born students who plan to stay in this country said they opted against it, too.

"School officials would not allow reporters to attend classes. But a number of students described the classroom instruction and provided copies of textbooks.

"Ali Al-Ahmed, whose Virginia-based Saudi Institute promotes religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia, has reviewed numerous textbooks used at the academy and said many passages promote hatred of non-Muslims and Shiite Muslims.

"The 11th-grade textbook, for example, says one sign of the Day of Judgment will be that Muslims will fight and kill Jews, who will hide behind trees that say: "Oh Muslim, Oh servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him."
Several students of different ages, all of whom asked not to be identified, said that in Islamic studies, they are taught that it is better to shun and even to dislike Christians, Jews and Shiite Muslims.

"Some teachers 'focus more on hatred,' said one teenager, who recited by memory the signs of the coming of the Day of Judgment. 'They teach students that whatever is kuffar [non-Muslim], it is okay for you' to hurt or steal from that person...

"None of the academy's officials would publicly address the students' statements. One, who spoke anonymously, said he had no knowledge of intolerant passages being assigned or intolerant views being taught. He said textbooks with such passages would be replaced soon....

"The schools are legally allowed to teach whatever they want -- as long as they meet state requirements -- but have a responsibility to be accurate, scholars say.

"'As a matter of educational policy, no, it's not a good idea to cross a nation off the map or to in any way misrepresent history,' said Charles Haynes, of the First Amendment Center in Arlington. 'It is a civic responsibility of all schools, religious and secular, to do the best job of educating students to a variety of perspectives...."
Additional information about Islamic schools in North American can be found here and here, both of which have links to explore.

Also see the detailed article, "How a Public School in Scottsdale, Arizona,Subjected Students to Islamic Indoctrination," from The Textbook League. The article begins like this:
"At the Mohave Middle School in Scottsdale, Arizona, students who took a 7th-grade social-studies course during the 2004-2005 school year were subjected to gross, prolonged indoctrination in Islam.

"Much of the indoctrination was delivered in a corrupt schoolbook titled History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond, produced by a commercial publishing company that calls itself the Teachers' Curriculum Institute (TCI). The writers of History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond, by relentlessly presenting Muslim religious tales and religious beliefs as matters of historical fact, have striven hard to induce students to embrace Islam."
Apparently, mosques aren't the only locations for promoting Islamification.

Continue reading....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Jihadists On Country Lanes?

According to Baron Bodissey at Gates of Vienna :
Jamaat ul-Fuqra in Virginia, Part 1

"During the Beltway Sniper crisis, back in the fall of 2002, a series of articles in The Washington Times described John Allen Muhammad’s conversion to Islam, and his later break with the Nation of Islam (the articles are no longer available, but extracts have been preserved here). Apparently the NOI was not militant enough for Mr. Muhammad, and he left it to become involved with a group called Jamaat ul-Fuqra (Arabic for “community of the impoverished”), a terrorist organization....

"The group was founded in New York by Sheikh Gilani in New York in 1980. Its current headquarters is in Hancock, New York, and it has various compounds, or Jamaats, scattered throughout the United States and Canada, notably in Colorado, New York, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. Most of the adherents are reported to be American-born Black Muslims who follow a strict Islamist ideology.

"Sheikh Gilani, you may remember, is the cleric with whom Daniel Pearl had arranged an interview back in January of 2002. Unfortunately, Mr. Pearl was betrayed by his sources, and then abducted and beheaded. Sheikh Gilani was arrested later that month and languishes in Pakistani custody...."
The article goes on to mention the organization's numerous jihad operations in North America in the 1980's and 1990's, involvement in the planning of the 1993 WTC bombing (Clement Rodney Hampton-el, convicted for connections to the 1993 WTC, was a member of Jamaat al-Fuqra), and possible connections to Richard Reid of shoe-bomber notoriety. Also of note here is that Jamaat al-Fuqra is active within the prisons of various states.

Read the entire article, complete with photos, here. As the Baron has entitled his article "Part I," we can probably look forward to at least one update.

Continue reading....

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Differing Definitions

We often hear what we want to hear when another person speaks. Specifically, in the Fatwah Against Terror, we hear the condemnation of targeting innocent civilians. But what does innocent mean?

Al-Zarqawi has provided a definition in Islam permits killing of “infidel" civilians, Zarqawi tape, (AFP)8 October 2005:

"DUBAI - Al Qaeda frontman in Iraq Abu Musab Al Zarqawi has said Islam permits the killing of 'infidel' civilians, according to an audiotape broadcast on the Internet early Saturday.

“'In Islam, making the difference is not based on civilians and military, but on the basis of Muslims and infidels,' said the voice attributed to the fugitive leader who has a 25-million-dollar price on his head.

“'The Muslim’s blood cannot be spilled whatever his work or place, while spilling the blood of the infidel, whatever his work or place, is authorized if he is not trustworthy,' said the tape, whose veracity could not be determined.

"The recording comes a day after US officials claimed to have seized a letter allegedly sent to Zarqawi by Al Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri, in which he raised concerns over the impact on Arab opinion of videotaped executions.

"Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born Islamist extremist, is Iraq’s most wanted man.

"His Al Qaeda Group of Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers has claimed responsibility for some of the most gruesome attacks in Iraq, including the beheadings of foreign hostages and Iraqis."
Zarqawi's words indicate a definition which differs from a Western one and help to explain why after 9/11 many Muslims literally danced for joy. Those who died here on 9/11--the men, women, and children we perceived to be innocent victims, were not innocent in the eyes of Islam.

[Read more commentary about Zarqawi's words from Pastorius and at Jihad Watch. The latter has extensive comments.]

Certainly, Islamic extremists define innocent in the same way as Zarqawi. According to Ali Hussain, investigative reporter for London's Sunday Times, as reported by Daniel Pipes:
"Ali joined the Saviour Sect in June, a few weeks before the 7/7 bombings and took along his tape recorder. What he heard is hair-raising – it is imperative for Muslims to 'instil terror into the hearts of the kuffar [infidels],' 'I am a terrorist. As a Muslim, of course I am a terrorist,' 'They will build tall buildings and we will bring them down,' the bombings were 'a good start' and Allah should 'bless those involved.'

"He also heard two speakers discuss whom they consider to be innocent.

"Zachariah, referring to the London passengers: 'They're kuffar [infidels]. They're not people who are innocent. The people who are innocent are the people who are with us or those who are living under the Islamic state.'

"Omar Bakri Mohammed, the sect's leader, who publicly condemned the deaths of 'innocents,' but at the Selby Centre in Wood Green, north London, on July 22 referred to the 7/7 bombers as the 'fantastic four' and explained that his grief for the 'innocent' applied only to Muslims.

"'Yes I condemn killing any innocent people, but not any kuffar.'"
In an interview about a month later, Omar Bakri Mohammed elaborated on the his interpretation of innocence when he was interviewed in Lebanon:
"(Q) You said that you are against killing innocent people and have nothing to do with the Al-Qaeda Organization. Now you are calling for jihad. How do you explain your position?

"(A) I have often repeated that I am against the killing of innocent people anywhere in the world but who are the innocent? I keep the answer to myself.

"(Q) Who do you define as innocent?

"(A) The innocent people are specified by Islam. I denounce killing innocent people regardless of who kills them. However, who are the innocent? I do not have to explain this issue.

"(Q) Does this mean that you support killing those whom you consider guilty and those whom Islam as you understand it describes as not innocent?

"(A) I support what the Sunni Muslim youths in Lebanon believe in.
If innocent has a different definition, does peace also have another meaning? According to Robert Spencer's The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), as found on page 25:
"Mainstream and respected Qur'an commentator, Isma'il bin Amr bin Kathir al Dimashqi (1301-1372), known popularly as Ibn Kathir, declares that sura 9:5 [the last section of the Qur'an to be revealed] 'abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term....No idolater had an more treaty of promise of safety ever since Surah Bara'ah was revealed.'"
Spencer also points out the following important information (pages 41-42):
"...Sayyid Qutb, one of the twentieth century's foremost adocates of violent jihad, taught (without a trace of irony) that Islam is a religion of peace. However, he had a very specific kind of peace in mind: 'When Islam strives for peace, its objective is not that superficial peace which requires that only that part of the earth where the followers of Islam are residing remain secure. The peace which Islam desires is that the religion (i.e., the law of the society) be purified for God, that the obedience of all people be for God alone, and that some people should not be lords over others. After the period of the Prophet--peace be on him--only the final stages of the movement of Jihaad are to be followed; the initial or middle stages are not applicable.'

"In other words, Islam is a relgion of the peace that will come when everyone is Muslim or at least subject to the Islamic state. And to establish that peace, Muslims must wage war."
A few additional quotations from the mouth of the enemy:
"We have the right to kill 4 million Americans, two million of them children."
-Abu Gheith, Al-Qaeda spokesman

"If a bomb was dropped on them that would annihilate 10 million and burn their lands…this is permissible."
-Sheikh Nasir bin Hamid al-Fahd, prominent Saudi cleric close to Al-Qaeda

"Our march has just begun and Islam will end up conquering Europe and America. . . And let no one think that we are Utopian dreamers."
-Sheikh Saeed Shaaban, quoted in L'Orient le jour, Beirut, 19 October 1983

"A believer...who takes up a gun, a dagger, a kitchen knife or even a pebble with which to harm and kill the enemies of the Faith has his place assured in Heaven. An Islamic state is the sum total of such individual believers. An Islamic state is a state of war until the whole world sees and accepts the light of the True Faith."
-Ayatollah Fazl-Allah Mahalati, On the Path of Justice, Tehran, 1980, pp. 70-71
Words matter. Pay attention to what the enemy has said. And know the enemy's definitions of the words.

Once you are aware of the subtleties of definitions and of the concept of Sura 9:5, you just might have a different take on this statement from CAIR , posted in 2001, and on the 2005 Fatwah Against Terror.

Continue reading....

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Extreme Tourism And Two Questions

One of my favorite blogs has a daily feature called "Who Said This?" Another of my favorites offers "Question of the Week." I am going to use the same idea at the end of this excerpt, which comes from the World News section of the October 1, 2005 Washington Post. The article is titled "For $110, One Chilling Day in a Hot Zone":
"Passing through the first checkpoint, marked by a couple of low-slung buildings and a red-and-white pole across an otherwise desolate road, is an anticlimactic affair: A police officer sidles up, scans an official letter of invitation and glances into the back of the van before waving it on into the Chernobyl exclusion zone. It's a lovely fall morning.

"The two visitors, a Post correspondent and an interpreter, ride past some of the zone's 74 abandoned villages, derelict little homesteads overgrown with weeds. Many of their owners now live in high-rise apartment buildings between here and the capital, Kiev, about 60 miles to the southeast.

"The driver maintains a modest speed. Too many animals -- the fat wild boar, in particular -- tend to toddle out of the birch and pine trees now, he says. The flight of humans after one of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant's four reactors blew up in April 1986 was a boon for wildlife.

"There are wolves, elk, deer, fox and bison here. Bird watchers have spotted white-tailed eagles, fish hawks, owls, black storks and the rare green crane. Fish are bountiful, and there's even aquatic life in the former cooling ponds."
Sounds beautiful, doesn't it? A place to enjoy the beauty of nature. But according to the article, the real attraction is not the scenery but rather the chance to be near a deadly site:
"Little mounds covered with radioactive signs indicate where contaminated rubble was dumped into hastily dug trenches and covered with soil. Hunting and fishing are banned within a 19-mile radius extending in all directions from the ruined reactor and reaching into neighboring Belarus.

"The town of Chernobyl, several miles from the plant, once had 10,000 residents and now is home to some of the 9,000 people who work in the zone decommissioning the nuclear power plant and servicing the forests and dams. If not exactly bustling, there are at least signs of human life -- offices, a functioning store, a bar and laundry hanging outside windows....

"At the Chernobyl Information Center, the visitors pick up their guide, Yuri Tatarchuk, 32, who works 15 days on, 15 days off, shepherding reporters, scientists and, increasingly, tourists around the exclusion zone's sights....Officials in the zone expect close to 1,000 tourists this year. A one-day excursion from Kiev cost two visitors $220, including lunch (guaranteed not radioactive!).

"At the information center, they step onto something that looks like a person-size scale and press their hands against two steel pads. A green light flashes: So far, clean.

"Next stop is Reactor No. 4, now encased in an ugly concrete sarcophagus that was hastily thrown up after the accident and needs to be replaced before the end of the decade lest it collapse. There are plans to encase the casing in a metal tomb.

"The building literally abuts another reactor, No. 3, which was shut down in 2000. There are two other decommissioned reactors and two reactors that were never completed. Snaking through the vast complex is a wide cooling channel leading to an 8 1/2 - square-mile cooling lake.

"The destroyed reactor can be observed at a distance of about 300 yards through the bay windows of a building that serves as an information center. But for security reasons, no photos are allowed from this vantage point. There are 180 tons of nuclear fuel, now in a lava state, resting inside the sarcophagus."
Remember that radioactive zone of a 19-mile radius? Human beings are voluntarily paying money to get as close as 300 yards to the center of the radius? Stupid abounds!

Like most large tourist sites, this one offers food, too--in this case, a canteen, which offers a fixed menu every day:
"Today's fare is tomato salad, borscht, meat and mashed potatoes, washed down with heavily salted mineral water. Workers pay little attention to the American, Canadian and Japanese guests, who make tepid jokes about mutant vegetables."
The visitors are not only getting close to the site of a nuclear meltdown. They are putting possibly radiation-contaminated food into their bodies. Are the tourists carrying their own Geiger Counters with which to check the food on their plates? No mention.

The article mentions that local mushrooms are available. I'm not kidding! Never mind that the local mushrooms are heavily radiated. Seventy-six-year-old Evhenia Rubanova, who returned to live in her native area despite warnings not to do so, claims, somewhat mischievously, that the mushrooms are delicious: "'Just boil them and then fry them and they're fine.'"

The article further details the tour:
"Next up is the city of Pripyat, now completely abandoned and located beyond another checkpoint.... Built in the 1970s, a couple of miles from the plant, Pripyat was a young model city when it died. Lenin Avenue's pedestrian zone is now a tangle of overgrown greenery, and branches brush the side of the van as it passes down the street. Moss covers the sidewalks. The apartments themselves were stripped long ago; they stand empty, their windows bereft of glass.

"The avenue opens up onto a large square and around it stand the silent Palace of Culture, a sports complex, the Hotel Polissa, the Communist Party's local headquarters and a department store. Nearby is the amusement park with a ghostly Ferris wheel that was never used; it was supposed to start operating on May Day 1986... Hot spots with elevated radiation levels still dot the city and the wider zone. A trip to a huge vehicle graveyard where 2,000 radioactive cars, trucks and machines are parked is declined.... As the van passes the checkpoint to exit the zone, the visitors are required to step through another radiation-detection device. The green light flashes. Kiev beckons."
Perhaps I am a skeptic, but I'm not sure that I trust the integrity of a radiation-detection device at a money-making tourist site.

I admit to having visited some rather creepy places and, given the chance, I'd visit all of them again: Molokai, the island on which leprosy victims were confined for the rest of their lives; Alcatraz, where one can walk the same ground as various notorious criminals; various cemeteries, particularly in Hollywood; and Fall River, Massachusetts, which offers Lizzie Borden exhibits and poses unanswerable questions: "Did she do it?" and, more important to me, "Assuming she committed the crime of hacking up her stepmother and her father, why did she do it?" and "How could anyone, all by oneself, pull off such a bloody crime without leaving behind irrefutable evidence?" In Fall River, one can even spend the night at the Lizzie Borden Bread & Breakfast, housed in the building where the murders were committed. Of all the tourist sites I've visited, I'd return again to Fall River, in spite of already having visited there three times in twenty years. I haven't yet spent the night in that expensive Bed and Breakfast. Halloween would be the perfect time!

Questions: What tourist site is special to you? Why?

Continue reading....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Music And Pictures

October 3, 2005 article entitled Nuclear Tunes Blast on to Iran's Airwaves :
"Nuclear science may not be considered ideal subject matter for a popular song, but the musical boffins in Iran's state media apparatus think differently.

"In recent days, Iran's airwaves have been buzzing with two new tunes apparently designed to rally public support for the clerical regime's increasingly tense stand-off with the West over its nuclear ambitions.

"The first song is entitled 'Oriental Sun, Nuclear Science', and sung to a backdrop of military-style marching music by Ali Tafreshi. The second similarly catchy tune is 'Nuclear Know-How"'by Reza Shirazi.

"Both extol the wonders of a 'great and powerful Iran' which has destroyed 'the arrogance of the oppressors' and 'defends its independence by using science'.

"Despite the heavyweight nationalist lyricism, Iran insists its nuclear programme it strictly peaceful. But the West in unconvinced, and the European Union and United States want Iran to abandon its works on the potentially dual use nuclear fuel cycle and are threatening UN Security Council action.

"The songs, produced by Iran's state television and radio apparatus, have therefore been getting good airplay -- and are also accompanying TV clips of atomic facilities used to praise the 'young engineers who have succeeded, without the help of foreigners, to develop the Iranian nuclear programme'."
Compare the above item with An Insertion Meant for Deletion, which appeared in the October 3, 2005 edition of the Washington Post:
"And now, reason No. 1,446 that Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes is having a hard time working the crowd in the Muslim world.

"An ad listing Boeing, Bell Helicopter and other companies making the troubled Osprey CV-22 attack helicopter appeared in the National Journal last week. It shows soldiers rappelling from the chopper onto the roof of a building, which says in Arabic on the side, 'Muhammad Mosque.'

"'It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell,' the ad touts. 'The CV-22 delivers Special Forces to insertion points never thought possible.'

"Like a mosque?

"The folks at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), naturally, were furious and protested. Within hours, the companies and the National Journal responded. 'We consider the ad offensive, regret its publication and apologize to those who like us are dismayed with its contents,' Boeing said.

"The companies said they had tried to pull the ad several weeks ago. It ran, National Journal Executive Vice President Elizabeth Baker Keffer told CAIR in an e-mail, 'as the result of a clerical error on our part. We had received specific direction from the agency representing Boeing/Bell to not run the ad. We have apologized to Boeing, their partner Bell and their advertising agency [in Irving, Tex.] for this mistake. We accept full responsibility for the error.'"
Two different governments, with differing perceptions as to what is offensive or dangerous.

Karen Hughes has her work cut out for her--as in the labors of Sisyphus.

Continue reading....

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Congress At The Trough

I've racked up some restaurant bills, but nothing like the average bill of $1,971 our elected representatives do.

From the October 1, 2005 edition of the Washington Post:

Powerful Hungry

"Ever wonder where your campaign donations went?

"Bloomberg News offered up this little bonbon yesterday: Members of Congress have racked up average tabs of at least $1,000 in local restaurants within the past 2 1/2 years, PAC and campaign filings show.

"At high-end steak joint Sam & Harry's, politicians had an average bill of $1,971 in 80 visits. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) spent $10,500 there one night with his entourage. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) has spent $50,000 there in 2 1/2 years. That's a lot of beef!"
$10,500 in one visit? I wonder how large the entourage was. His Bloatedness doesn't need to pack on any more pounds, so I hope he had the low cal/low fat platter and kept in mind that, according to Diet Center and Weight Watchers, alcohol provides empty calories.

"Lawmakers dropped an average of $1,140 in 157 visits to the Caucus Room and $1,303 in 160 trips to Charlie Palmer Steak. The Caucus Room's general manager, Ed D'Alessandro, said about 20 percent of his business comes from members of Congress and added, 'Without Congress, we'd have to downsize.'

"Overall, members of Congress spent $1.5 million from early 2003 through June 2005 at 10 restaurants: Caucus Room ($292,114), Charlie Palmer Steak ($208,492), Sam & Harry's ($157,719), Bistro Bis ($157,029), La Colline ($147,189), Monocle ($143,731), Signatures ($130,598), Capital Grille ($122,167), Oceanaire ($88,806) and the now-closed La Brasserie ($56,982)."
I suppose that politicians do burn a lot of calories with all the hot wind they expel on the floor of Congress and in front of the television cameras. Our elected representatives must keep up their energy levels!

Did this money-for-gourmet-food come from campaign donations? Are these fellows charging their restaurant bills to taxpayer-funded expense accounts?

If our elected representatives can afford such extravagance out of their own pockets, they can also afford a cut in salary.

Continue reading....

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tularemia On The Mall

According to an article, which appeared in the October 2, 2005 edition of the Washington Post, the presence of tularemia in Washington, D.C., probably has a natural explanation:

Health Officials Vigilant for Illness After Sensors Detect Bacteria on Mall
Agent Found as Protests Drew Thousands of Visitors

"A week after six bioterrorism sensors detected the presence of a dangerous bacterium on the Mall, health officials said there are no reports that any of the thousands of people in the nation's capital Sept. 24 have tularemia, the illness that results from exposure to the bacteria.

"Federal health officials are still testing the samples from air sensors on the Mall and in downtown Washington that collected a small amount of the tularemia agent, which can cause flulike symptoms and is usually treated with antibiotics.

'The bacteria probably was not the result of nefarious activity, according to federal investigators. 'There is no known nexus to terror or criminal behavior. We believe this to be environmental,' said Russ Knocke, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security.

"The mission for health officials now is to figure out how the bacteria got there, why they were detected that day and whether they are from a strain that doesn't affect humans....

"Health officials in the Washington area were notified Friday that the filters on biohazard sensors that make up the BioWatch network detected the bacteria Sept. 24, when tens of thousands of people were on the Mall for antiwar demonstrations and the National Book Festival.

"The samples were collected between 10 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. The naturally-occurring biological agent -- which is on the 'A list' of the Department of Homeland Security's biohazards, along with anthrax, plague and smallpox -- was detected in small amounts, said Gregg A. Pane of the D.C. Department of Health.

"Detection of the bacteria turned into an incident with nationwide implications, because thousands of protesters had come from throughout the country. The infection is not spread from person to person, but tracking potential patients became a coast-to-coast undertaking. Police said that more than 100,000 people attended the rally; organizers put the figure at 300,000.

"After the filters were tested in Washington, further tests were done by CDC laboratories in Atlanta, Knocke said.

"Meanwhile, the CDC was using its nationwide tracking system to look for unusual occurrences of pneumonia-like symptoms in every state, Roebuck said....

"[O]ne theory is that tularemia bacteria, which occur naturally in soil, might have been kicked up by the thousands of feet stomping on the Mall grounds that day.

"Homeland Security and the CDC work together to operate the BioWatch sensors. The $60 million-plus system was created in 2001 to monitor air in more than 30 U.S. cities....

"A similar incident occurred in Houston in October 2003, when two air sensors detected fragments of tularemia bacteria. There were no human cases of tularemia reported after the incident, and some experts in the bioterror field said they believe the incident was actually spurred by a strain of the bacteria that does not affect humans.

"'It's probably something that just lives in the environment,' said Tara O'Toole, who is director of the Center for Biosecurity, sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 'We forget that microorganisms rule the world. Now we're looking and finding things we didn't know were there.'

"Tularemia, often called 'rabbit fever' because small animals are often carriers in rural areas, was amassed by the U.S. military as a biological weapon in the 1960s." Here in the Washington, D.C., area, we just endured the driest September in a long time--if not the driest September on record. My packed-dirt driveway is a dust bowl, and my lawn is completely dormant. Therefore, this recent detection of tularemia on The Mall could be a naturally occurring phenomenon which would have gone unnoticed without the biosensors.

Even so, I remember back to the anthrax attacks of 2001, when the CDC at first thought that the first anthrax-related victim, the man who died at AMC in Florida, must have been exposed to anthrax in the wild. We soon learned that the presence of anthrax in Florida, New York, and Washington, D.C., was no accident, but rather a deliberate attack or attacks. The anthrax attacks of 2001 have never been solved, and those of us who live in close proximity to them continue to be nervous about the threat from bioweapons.

For all our advances in technology, our understanding of unusual phenomena in nature remains limited. And, this time, the D.C. area didn't go into paranoid mode--a good sign, I think--and our government officials appear to have acted appropriately and prudently. Yet this harmless incident is a reminder of our vulnerability to bioattacks.

Continue reading....

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Hinckley Wants A Girlfriend

The following information comes from two articles in the Washington Post, here and here.

John Hinckley, Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan and forever ruined the life of Press Secretary James Brady, wants to move on with his life and find a girlfriend:
"Presidential assailant John W. Hinckley Jr., who is petitioning the court for more freedom, is lonely and longing for a close relationship like the one he had for many years with a former psychiatric patient, a psychologist testified yesterday.

"'He wants to have a girlfriend. He wants intimate contact with a female,' Paul Montalbano, chief of pretrial services at St. Elizabeths, the Southeast Washington mental hospital, testified yesterday.

"The psychologist said such a desire is natural for a man who has ended a long relationship, as Hinckley did this year. Hinckley, 50, cut his ties to Leslie deVeau after the relationship came under scrutiny during hearings to decide whether he was ready for expanded freedoms."
What's that? He dumped deVeau because of scrutiny? I get it! He rejected her, not the other way around. Keep that in mind.

Hinckley's past as it relates to the assassination attempt is well known:
"Hinckley was an aimless college dropout when he came to Washington and shot Reagan and three others in March 1981. On the day of the shootings, authorities found an unmailed letter to Foster in the hotel room where Hinckley was staying. 'Jodie,' the letter said, 'I would abandon this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever.'...In the months before the shooting, Hinckley traveled 10 times to New Haven, Conn., where Foster was living, telephoned her dormitory room six times, left love letters for her and made tapes of himself playing the guitar and singing love songs.

"Hinckley has been found to suffer from major depression, a psychotic disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, but he is by all accounts much improved. His depression and psychosis are in remission, and the narcissistic disorder is significantly 'attenuated,' doctors say."
"Significantly attenuated" sounds like jargon designed to avoid legal liability. "Significant" might mean that Hinckley can now control his obsessions, or it might mean that he can control those obsessions only until they are challenged by real-world rejection. I see lots of hedging and ambiguity in those words "significantly attentuated." And doesn't "remission" mean that his mental illness can recur?

In the past few years, Hinckley has been allowed excursions limited to the Washington area. Some of these excursions have occurred in the company of hospital chaperones, but the more recent ones have been in the company of only the Secret Service. Now Hinckley is petitioning the court for overnight visits to his parents' home in Williamsburg, and one of those proposed visits would comprise a full week.

Here is the matter which now faces the court, which may rule as early as October 14:
"But how ready is Hinckley to venture a bit more into the real world and into the ups and downs of romance and rejection? It was the question on everyone's mind during three days of hearings last week in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman, who has overseen the case since 2001....

"Each side offered a parade of expert testimony. The assessments were often conflicting, depending on whether the witness was called by the defense or the prosecution. There was little middle ground. The experts ceded little -- or, in the case of Hinckley's therapist -- nothing to the other side.

"There was nothing romantic, psychologist Sidney Binks insisted, in Hinckley's interest in the psychology student who interned at the hospital last year. Yes, he offered to sing to her and, yes, he walked her to her car on occasion. But she was not the only woman he had wanted to sing for, nor was she the only staff member he escorted to the parking lot, Binks said."
The man likes to sing to women, and according to the psychologist, romance isn't the reason he is singing to women. Somehow, this singing to women strikes me as odd. It was also an earlier manifestation of his obsession with Jody Foster.
"On the hearing's first day, the questions and answers centered on how Hinckley handled his breakup with deVeau and how he has acted toward women since then. Hinckley met deVeau when both were confined at St. Elizabeths. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1982 shooting death of her 10-year-old daughter and was released from the hospital eight years later.

"Saddened by the breakup, Hinckley did not spiral into depression, Montalbano testified. His longing for a new female companion has been obvious to those who treat him, the psychologist said.

"The intern was apparently not his only romantic interest. Smitten with a hospital chaplain, he scheduled an appointment with her. But when asked about it by his doctors, Hinckley admitted that the appointment was mostly a chance to see a 'pretty lady' and agreed to cancel it, Montalbano said."
Regarding the above-mentioned intern, Hinckley full well knew that patient liaisons with hospital personnel are expressly forbidden. And he full well knew that the hospital chaplain was part of the personnel of St. Elizabeth's. Yet, he attempted to make contact anyway. Now, did he cancel the appointment because he realized that keeping it might have a negative effect on his upcoming hearings? Remember that he also broke off his relationship with deVeau because the relationship had come under scrutiny. I don't see that Hinckley has had any experience with rejection by a member of the opposite sex. How will he react if he experiences real and painful rejection?

According to one of the Washington Post articles,
"Hinckley is seeking more freedom....And, according to testimony, he wants to meet women, perhaps at singles events, and maybe even find a wife."
Aha! There is more to this requested release. And Hinckley even has some plans as to how to start his contact with the opposite sex out in free society. But just how much does he know about such relationships? As far as I know, he never had a girlfriend other than a perceived one in Jody Foster and in fellow-patient deVeau, whom he dumped.

And some cautionary words appear from St. Elizabeth's:
"Montalbano also said that given the scrutiny such a partner would endure, Hinckley may face a hard road to romance: 'Mr. Hinckley remains optimistic, but perhaps naively optimistic.'"
Yes, I rather imagine that scrutiny by the Secret Service or even on the part of Hinckley's parents could well be off-putting for a potential girlfriend. Then again, some women seem to prefer getting involved with men who have a shady past.

Is John Hinckley, Jr., really well--or just pretending to be well so that he can achieve his goal? And what, exactly, is his goal?

Something in my memory nags at me, but I don't find it in the recent articles. Didn't Hinckley, while under treatment in the hospital, secretly amass some sort of Jody-Foster collection? And wasn't that collection discovered after the psychiatrists said that he was well enough for partial release? That faint recollection is one reason I question his doctors' assurances even though I know that recent partial releases have been uneventful. And I've heard no more of any collections.

Nevertheless, Hinckley's singing to women and following those forbidden employees to their cars seem akin to stalking. And he made tapes of himself singing love songs to Jody Foster, too.

I hope my suspicions are wrong.

Continue reading....