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Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

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When nutroot pundits can’t see the forest for the trees, it comes as no surprise when left-wing dilettante’s frantically politicize tragic events for their own ignominious ends. Indeed, it is tragic when seven oblivious children acting as human sacrifices are strategically placed to assure their deaths in order to demonstrate the supposed barbarity of U.S. led forces. Unfortunately, once the children have been killed, the grim incident becomes a soapbox upon which al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the far-left can beat their chests and accuse Bush (again, can’t stand the man) of child murder, shamefully glamorizing it as a reason to unilaterally pull-out of the Middle East.

While I have heard much from the left on the above incident that transpired last week in eastern Afghanistan–a grievous misfortune for which our military officials should be held accountable–I have seen little mention of the abhorrent story reproduced below. To me it often seems liberals, with forethought, ignore palpable and real-life nightmares (intentionally and deceptively placed at the feet of children in this instance) by those the left feels the need to humanize–namely Islamic jihadists who are doing nothing more than following in the footsteps of the prophet, Muhammad.

The below Associated Press story is potent enough to bring a tear to your eye, unless perhaps it does nothing to foment disgust in the United States military. If that’s the case, then there is no hope for you and your own humanity. Way to be a good dhimmi.

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Afghan boy Juma Gul, 6, sits on a table surrounded by elders during a gathering at a joint U.S.-Afghan military command center in Andar district of Ghazni province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 23, 2007. The story of Juma Gul, who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into carrying out a suicide bombing against U.S. troops provoked tears and anger at a weekend meeting of tribal leaders. Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

Boy: Taliban recruited me to bomb troops

By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

FORWARD OPERATING BASE THUNDER, Afghanistan – The story of a 6-year-old Afghan boy who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into being a suicide bomber provoked tears and anger at a meeting of tribal leaders.

The account from Juma Gul, a dirt-caked child who collects scrap metal for money, left American soldiers dumbfounded that a youngster could be sent on such a mission. Afghan troops crowded around the boy to call him a hero.

Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account.

Juma said that sometime last month Taliban fighters forced him to wear a vest they said would spray out flowers when he touched a button. He said they told him that when he saw American soldiers, “throw your body at them.”

The militants cornered Juma in a Taliban-controlled district in southern Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. Their target was an impoverished youngster being raised by an older sister — but also one who proved too street-smart for their plan.

“When they first put the vest on my body I didn’t know what to think, but then I felt the bomb,” Juma told The Associated Press as he ate lamb and rice after being introduced to the elders at this joint U.S.-Afghan base in Ghazni. “After I figured out it was a bomb, I went to the Afghan soldiers for help.”

While Juma’s story could not be independently verified, local government leaders backed his account and the U.S. and NATO military missions said they believed his story.

Abdul Rahim Deciwal, the chief administrator for Juma’s village of Athul, brought the boy and an older brother, Dad Gul, to a weekend meeting between Afghan elders and U.S. Army Col. Martin P. Schweitzer.

Schweitzer called the Taliban’s attempt “a cowardly act.”

As Deciwal told Juma’s story, 20 Afghan elders repeatedly clicked their tongues in sadness and disapproval. When the boy and his brother were brought in, several of the turban-wearing men welled up, wiping their eyes with handkerchiefs.

“If anybody has a heart, then how can you control yourself (before) these kids?” Deciwal said in broken English.

Wallets quickly opened, and the boys were handed $60 in American and Afghan currency — a good chunk of money in a country where teachers and police earn $70 a month.

Afghan officials described the boys as extremely poor, and Juma said he is being raised by his sister because his father works in a bakery in Pakistan and his mother lives and does domestic work in another village.

“I think the boy is intelligent,” Deciwal said. “When he comes from the enemy he found a checkpoint of the ANA (Afghan National Army), and he asked the ANA: ‘Hey, can you help me? Somebody gave me this jacket and I don’t know what’s inside but maybe something bad.'”

Lt. Col. George Graff, a father of five who attended the meeting, also teared up.

“Relating to them as a father and trying to fathom somebody using one of my children for that kind of a purpose, jeez, it just tore me up,” said Graff, a National Guard soldier from St. George, Utah. “The depths that these people will go to get what they want, which is power for themselves — it’s just disgusting.”

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, denied the militant group uses child fighters, saying it has hundreds of adults ready for suicide missions.

“We don’t need to use a child,” Ahmadi told the AP by satellite phone. “It’s against Islamic law, it’s against humanitarian law. This is just propaganda against the Taliban.”

However, a gory Taliban video that surfaced in April showed militants instructing a boy of about 12 as he beheaded an alleged traitor with a large knife. U.N. officials condemned the act as a war crime.

Fidgety but smiling during all the attention, Juma told the AP that he had been scared when he was surrounded by Taliban fighters. He cupped his hands together to show the size of the bomb, then ran his hands along his waist to show where it was on his body.

A fan of soccer, Juma said his favorite subject in school is Pashto, his native language, but he also showed off a little English, shyly counting “1, 2, 3” before breaking out in an oversize smile.

Raised in a country where birthdays are not always carefully tracked, Juma said he is 4. But he looks older and Afghan officials said he is about 6. His brother appears to be a year or so older.

Their village lies in Ghazni province’s Andar district, a Taliban stronghold targeted this month in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation. The region remains dangerous and Afghan elders worry for Juma’s safety.

Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for NATO‘s International Security Assistance Force, said he was “a bit skeptical” about Juma’s story at first, “but everything I’ve heard makes me more and more comfortable.”

Thomas said the case would force soldiers to think twice before assuming children are safe.

“This is one incident. We hope it doesn’t repeat itself. But it gives us reason to pause, to be extra careful,” he said. “We want to publicize this as much as we can to the Afghan people so that they can protect their children from these killers.”

Col. Sayed Waqef Shah, a religious and cultural affairs officer for the Afghan army, wiped away tears after seeing Juma. “Whenever I see this kind of action from the Taliban, if I am able to arrest them, I’ll kill them on the spot,” he said.

Haji Niaz Mohammad, one of the elders at the gathering, said he hoped “God makes the Afghan government strong” so it can defeat the Taliban.

“They are the enemy of Muslims and the enemy of the children,” he said, shaking his fists in anger.

Photo

Afghan boy Juma Gul 6, drinks during lunch at a joint US-Afghan military command center in Andar district of Ghazni province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, June 23, 2007. The story of Juma Gul, who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into carrying out a suicide bombing against U.S. troops provoked tears and anger at a weekend meeting of tribal leaders. Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

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“From the mind-bending idea that four guys dressed as pizza delivery men were going to out-gun all the soldiers at Fort Dix…” –Keith Olbermann (MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, June 4, 2007)

There was a time when I watched Keith Olbermann with information-starved objectivity. Now, after having a several-years long change of personal and political belief systems (for the better I might add), I’ve discovered that Olbermann is just as iniquitous in his approach to “informing” the public as his nemesis, Bill O’Reilly whom he accuses almost daily of crimes against humanity (hyperbole) and general immorality. There have been moments when O’Reilly has been more than deserving of such public derision, and I have yet to see the degree of inaccuracies in Olbermann’s reporting as egregious and reckless as sometimes espoused by Bill in the “No Spin Zone.” But Keith is far from innocent, particularly when it comes to his ignorance of global jihadism and the serious threat that philosophy brings with it.

One only needs read the quote above from last nights’ Countdown program to fully appreciate Olbermann’s lack of understanding concerning Islamic extremism. The Fort Dix jihadist had no realistic interest in “out-gunning” the forces at Fort Dix army base in New Jersey. Islamic militants simply don’t think that way. But reference their efforts beginning with the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980’s and up through present day. In almost every case of suicide bombings specifically and Islamic terrorism generally, those directly involved on the frontlines of such operations do not attempt or even want to out-gun the larger force. They simply wish to hurt them. And they go on hurting them until they feel a change has been made as a result of their deeds. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan, also in the 80’s, is a fairly pertinent example of what jihadists hope to accomplish, and what they can actually achieve.

Simply, Olbermann prefers to downplay (much like The New York Times) many of the major terrorist threats against the west as hoaxes, and possible wag-the-dog style machinations, that only receives unjustifiable newsworthy exposure by the “right-wing” media. Those involved in said terrorist plots, usually of the home-grown variety, are usually characterized by Olbermann as ineffective dolts, isolated from any real jihadist organization (i.e. al Qaeda) and monetary support–they never would have succeeded anyway (though you can be sure if they did succeed, Keith would be one of the first on the airwaves to lambaste the administration for not doing enough to prevent said terrorist attack.)

Over at Hot Air, Michelle Malkin’s fiery blog, they have rightly called Olbermann out on his ineptitude and lack of logical thinking concerning this issue. For a man who derides Bill O’Reilly so often and so ferociously, Mr. Olbermann might be transforming into that which he hates the most.

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Video: Olby sneers at the JFK terror plot, questions the timing of everything

posted at 9:29 am on June 5, 2007 by Allahpundit

And to think, some people believe the left doesn’t take terrorism seriously.

You’ll note, I hope, that even Olby recognizes how dishonest he’s being. That’s why he feels obliged to mention not once but twice that coincidences do happen and, in his words, “we could probably construct a similar timeline of terror events and their relationship to the haircuts of popular politicians.” Why do it, then? Because, as the Truthers are wont to say, he’s “just asking questions.” Just “airing it,” Sullivan style. Make up your own mind.

What he doesn’t note is that 9 of the 13 terror alerts he cites were issued prior to Katrina’s assault on New Orleans, widely accepted as the beginning of the steep decline of the Bush presidency. It stands to reason that if terror warnings were deliberately timed to “distract,” we’d find them congregated around the administration’s true crisis moments. Instead, Olby’s forced to link the JFK plot to the U.S. Attorneys scandal, which had long since reached critical mass. Where were the terror alerts during the battle over Iraq funding? When Bush first announced the surge? After the Hamdan decision? Even by his own absurd non-logic, it makes more sense to claim that the JFK plot was timed to distract from the amnesty uproar. But Olby can’t claim that because Bush is on the left’s side on that one, so he’s forced to feebly tie it back to Gonzalesgate and the Democratic debate.

He also doesn’t seem to grasp that just because the pipeline plot wasn’t feasible doesn’t mean no attack would have occurred. You’ve got a group of men with homicidal intent willing to travel internationally to bring off their plan. If they’re game for that, they’re probably game for walking into a crowd of people and opening up with automatic weapons and grenades. It won’t take out an airport, but you might very well top the body count from the London bombings two years ago.

Newsbusters has the full transcript; the clip here is just a mishmash of lowlights, although I did include both times he went out of his way to note that one of the officials who announced the JFK plot was the father of a Fox News reporter. That official: Ray Kelly … commissioner of the NYPD. What would he be doing at a presser related to a major terror bust in New York City? We’ll have to wonder, I guess. Finally, pay attention to how Olby treats the biggest bust in his roundup, the UK airline plot from last year. Once again we’re treated to the dark nutroots insinuation that somehow it was sparked by Ned Lamont’s primary victory over Lieberman. If Olby’s genuinely curious as to why U.S. counterterrorist agents wanted to move faster than the Brits did, he need only look to his own network for answers:

Another U.S. official, however, acknowledges there was disagreement over timing. Analysts say that in recent years, American security officials have become edgier than the British in such cases because of missed opportunities leading up to 9/11.

Which is another way of saying that if they didn’t move quickly enough and the plot came off, people like Keith Olbermann would be on TV accusing them of having deliberately let it happen. That’s Murrow journalism, baby. Trutherism, the whole Trutherism, and nothing but the Trutherism.

 

Update: Just curious. Does the left even have a workable theory as to how, precisely, terror alerts “distract” the public? Has anyone forgotten about the amnesty bill or the Democratic debate since the JFK story broke? A truly enormous terror plot could be such a big story that it would push everything else off the front page for days, but this clearly wasn’t on that scale. (Not to mention the fact that it was announced on a Saturday.) So where does the distraction enter in?

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Below are three segments from the British television show, Dispatches. This particular episode aired yesterday on British television and focused on various Islamic mosques and gathering places, particularly a Birmingham mosque where hatred and swift and unrepentant brutality against believers and non-believers alike are regularly preached.

Of course, this is nothing new. Islamists, taking inspiration from the Qur’an, have been evangelizing such loathsome exhortations for centuries, while elevating their prophet Muhammad as a symbol of the perfect man in whom all should strive to emulate. Muhammad, a man who via the “divine” word of Allah, teaches that marrying children is a noble practice (in fact he did so–the nine-year-old girl, Aisha was among his many wives), that killing non-believers is justified simply because they don’t believe, that beating wives is necessary, and polygamy should be encouraged, is the prophet whom all Muslims should aspire to imitate in word and deed. Even in this day and age, Muslims strive for jihad in order to create a sharia Islamic state throughout the world.

I don’t want this to happen. Nor do I wish to be relegated to dhimmi status under such an oppressive and fascist (interpreted as the nation of Islam) regime. I have lately been reading quite a bit about Islam, including the Qur’an itself, and though I’ve never really been one to denounce an individual’s right to their religious beliefs and practices, the more I learn about Islam, the more I see the Prophet’s “religion of peace” as nothing more than a thuggish cult bent on world domination. Go ahead. Call me Islamophobic (such a ridiculous word), but this stuff truly, and I believe justly, frightens me.

Now I would simply like to see someone here in America do a similar undercover investigative report into various mosques and the religion of Islam such as the documentary below from the BBC’s Channel 4’s (thanks for the correction Veronica) Dispatches program. Unfortunately, there seems too much political resistance and repression of free speech in the States right now to allow something of that sort.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

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“Politicians are dumb everywhere. There are very few smart, well-meaning politicians.”
– Hecubus

That is a quote from little old me from this story concerning Chicago’s ban on The Nativity Story advertising. As much as I believe that statement, little did I predict that a politician would emerge this quickly and demonstrate so thoroughly his lack of knowledge in matters he had better well have a near-expert understanding. Please meet your new Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Silvestre Reyes, Democrat from Texas, a man who possesses an obvious flair for the obtuse.

Below is an interview conducted by Jeff Stein for the Congressional Quarterly. In his time with the incoming HIC Chairman, Stein asked some fairly basic, and fairly simple questions concerning Islam, Iraq, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda. Reyes’ mental acuity is shocking–not in what he knows, but in what he doesn’t (but certainly should) know.

[Of course, Republicans prooved just as moronic in a previous interview under similar circumstances, but they don’t head the House Intelligence Committee either. ]

Now you may say to yourself, “Well, I don’t know all the answers,” or “those are some pretty tough questions.” That’s fine. But your job doesn’t likely require you to know all of the answers to the questions posed by Stein. It’s disturbing that the soon to be leader of the House Intelligence Committee, whose job it is to be intimately familiar with subjects and issues such as Islam, Iraq, Shiites vs. Sunnis, and al-Qaeda, has barely a clue as to what those concepts and entities entail. Reyes doesn’t even do a passable job stumbling his way through the interview with the typical politicized pat answers that all politicians practice religiously when standing in front of a mirror.

But in all honesty, the questions in the interview are not difficult to anyone who keeps up with current world events, and I found myself becoming very angry with Reyes and the intellectual vacuum in which he resides . This man has no clue, and he has no right to sit as Chairman for a committee whose expertise lies in the areas in which he was queried.

Oh well, Nancy Pelosi picks another winner to lead the nation. She would have been much better off choosing Reps. Jane Harman (Calif.), who does have the understanding and expertise necessary for the Chairman post, but Pelosi’s personal issues with Harman prevented her from making the right choice. Way to go, Pelosi.

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Democrats’ New Intelligence Chairman Needs a Crash Course on al Qaeda

Forty years ago, Sgt.
Silvestre Reyes was a helicopter crew chief flying dangerous combat missions in South Vietnam from the top of a soaring rocky outcrop near the sea called Marble Mountain.

After the war, it turned out that the communist Viet Cong had tunneled into the hill and built a combat hospital right beneath the skids of Reyes’ UH-1 Huey gunship.

Now the five-term Texas Democrat, 62, is facing similar unpleasant surprises about the enemy, this time as the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

That’s because, like a number of his colleagues and top counterterrorism officials that I’ve interviewed over the past several months, Reyes can’t answer some fundamental questions about the powerful forces arrayed against us in the Middle East.

It begs the question, of course: How can the Intelligence Committee do effective oversight of U.S. spy agencies when its leaders don’t know basics about the battlefield?

To his credit, Reyes, a kindly, thoughtful man who also sits on the Armed Service Committee, does see the undertows drawing the region into chaos.

For example, he knows that the 1,400- year-old split in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites not only fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq, it drives the competition for supremacy across the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.

That’s more than two key Republicans on the Intelligence Committee knew when I interviewed them last summer. Rep.
Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., and
Terry Everett, R-Ala., both back for another term, were flummoxed by such basic questions, as were several top counterterrorism officials at the FBI.

I thought it only right now to pose the same questions to a Democrat, especially one who will take charge of the Intelligence panel come January. The former border patrol agent also sits on the Armed Services Committee.

Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up a l Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?

Civil War

And Hezbollah? I asked him. What are they?

“Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah…”

He laughed again, shifting in his seat.

“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”

“Poquito,” I said—a little.

“Poquito?! “ He laughed again.

“Go ahead,” I said, talk to me about Sunnis and Shia in Spanish.

Reyes: “Well, I, uh….”

I apologized for putting him “on the spot a little.” But I reminded him that the people who have killed thousands of Americans on U.S. soil and in the Middle East have been front page news for a long time now.

It’s been 23 years since a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed over 200 U.S. military personnel in Beirut, mostly Marines.

Hezbollah, a creature of Iran, is close to taking over in Lebanon. Reports say they are helping train Iraqi Shiites to kill Sunnis in the spiralling civil war.

“Yeah,” Reyes said, rightly observing, “but . . . it’s not like the Hatfields and the McCoys. It’s a heck of a lot more complex.

“And I agree with you — we ought to expend some effort into understanding them. But speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”

Reyes is not alone.

The best argument for needing to understand who’s what in the Middle East is probably the mistaken invasion itself, despite the preponderance of expert opinion that it was a terrible idea — including that of Bush’s father and his advisers. On the day in 2003 when Iraqi mobs toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, Bush was said to be unaware of the possibility that a Sunni-Shia civil war could fill the power vacuum, according to a reliable source with good White House connections.

If President Bush and some of his closest associates, not to mention top counterterrorism officials, have demonstrated their own ignorance about who the players are in the Middle East, why should we expect the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee to get it right?
Trent Lott, the veteran Republican senator from Mississippi, said only last September that “It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people.”

“Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion?” wondered Lott, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after a meeting with Bush.

“Why do they hate the Israelis and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference?

“They all look the same to me,” Lott said.

Haunting

The administration’s disinterest in the Arab world has rattled down the chain of command.

Only six people in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad are fluent in Arabic, according to last week’s report of the Iraq Study Group. Only about two dozen of the embassy’s thousand employees have some familiarity with the language, the report said.

The Iraq Study Group was amazed to find that, despite spending $2 billion on Iraq in 2006, more wasn’t being done to try “to understand the people who fabricate, plant and explode roadside bombs.”

Rare is the military unit with an American soldier who can read a captured document or interrogate a prisoner, my own sources tell me.

It was that way in Vietnam, too, Reyes says, which “haunts us.”

“If you substitute Arabization for Vietnamization, if you substitute . . . our guys going in and taking over a place then leaving it and the bad guys come back in. . . .”

He trails off, despairing.

“I could draw many more analogies.”

Yet Reyes says he favors sending more troops there.

“If it’s going to target the militias and eliminate them, I think that’s a worthwhile investment,” he said.

It’s hard to find anybody in Iraq who thinks the U.S. can do that.

On “a temporary basis, I’m willing to ramp them up by twenty or thirty thousand . . . for, I don’t know, two months, four months, six months — but certainly that would be an exception,” Reyes said.

Meanwhile, the killing is going on below decks, too, within Sunni and Shiite groups and factions.

Anybody who pays serious attention to Iraq knows that.

Reyes says his first hearings come January will focus on how U.S. intelligence can do a better job helping the troops in Iraq.

It may be way too late for that.

“Stop giving me tests!” Reyes exclaimed, half kidding.

“I’m not going to talk to you any more!”

Queries Vex New Chair of Intelligence

Reuters
Tuesday, December 12, 2006; Page A07

The incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee could not describe Hezbollah and incorrectly described al-Qaeda‘s Islamic roots in a recent interview.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), whom incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named earlier this month to chair the panel, formally known as the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was asked by a reporter from Congressional Quarterly whether al-Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite. “Predominantly — probably Shiite,” Reyes replied.

From Osama bin Laden down, al-Qaeda’s leadership is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation.

In fact, U.S. officials blame al-Qaeda’s late leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, for the surge in sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to a story published online Friday, Reyes responded “Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah” and then said, “Why do you ask me these questions at 5 o’clock?”

The Texas congressman later added: “Speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”

Reyes, a former Border Patrol agent and an opponent of the Iraq war, was chosen for the intelligence committee post over the panel’s two top-ranking Democrats, Reps. Jane Harman (Calif.) and Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.).

Reyes’s office issued a statement yesterday noting that the interview covered a wide range of topics.

“As a member of the intelligence committee since before 9/11, I’m acutely aware of al-Qaeda’s desire to harm Americans. The intelligence committee will keep its eye on the ball and focus on the pressing security and intelligence issues facing us,” Reyes said in the statement.

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Most in this country will probably consider September 11, 2001 to be our modern “Date which will live in infamy.” But on this day December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked and absolutely destroyed by squadrons of imperial Japanese fighter pilots. Rather than reflect on that date, as is so often done on television news casts, magazine and newspaper articles, and internet websites–really, the subject’s pretty much covered everywhere else–I’d rather point to this short but laconic editorial by the always controversial writer, Robert Spencer from his website, JihadWatch.org.

I agree with all that he expresses here. I only hope that the leaders and/or future leaders of this country will seriously consider how dangerous capitulating political correctness can be, and the damage that non-action will have on our country.

“All that is required for evil to triumph is for a few good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke – Philosopher (1729 – 1797)

Un Zero survolant Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1946

Five years after Pearl Harbor, the war was over. The Third Reich was kaput. The Japanese were vanquished as well.

But five years and counting after 9/11, there is no victory in sight. There is not even much clarity about why we are fighting, or whom we are fighting. Some of the most important victories in this shadowy twilight war have come in the form of arrests of those who were plotting attacks even more heinous than 9/11, but these arrests have an unfortunate side effect: they perpetuate the illusion that we are not seriously threatened, that there is nothing to be particularly concerned about — after all, they haven’t struck since 9/11. They probably can’t. They probably just got lucky on that day.

One main reason, meanwhile, why the war is so poorly understood and controversial: the enemy is not a nation-state but an ideology, an ideology which has been spread throughout the world and can now be found in practically every nation on the planet. Because of the religious derivation of this ideology, analysts are generally reluctant to identify it properly or fully. They don’t wish to examine how this ideology is advancing through peaceful means. They refuse to consider the ways in which it threatens American society, laws, and mores. And multiculturalism dins into all our ears that all value systems and belief systems are equal, and that only “bigots” oppose one or another, or dare to examine how one may be contain incitements to violence and supremacism.

That’s why after more than five years it still feels as if we have barely begun. Few in the Muslim world are willing, as he notes, to confront the deep roots that jihad violence has in the Islamic texts, and no one among the Western government or media elites is daring to ask them to do so. The myth persists that Americans can adjust the U.S. policy in a way that will end the global jihad — by leaving Iraq, or ending support for Israel, or by cleaning up American society, or what have you. No one in official Washington seems capable of realizing that the jihad would proceed against us no matter what we do or don’t do, because it springs from imperatives within Islam that are not dependent upon the character of the infidels who must be fought.

It is crucial now that we identify forthrightly what we are up against, so as to be able to fight against it more effectively. But I have said this for years, and we are no closer to doing it than we were the first time I said it. Yet the longer we postpone doing it, the more likely it is that the carnage of September 11 will be just a prelude.

May the courageous ones who fought to defend America, Britain, and Western Europe from the Axis scourge be blessed today. And may we prove to be their worthy sons and daughters.

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Since the Imam shenanigans on US Airways Flight 300 last week, more information has come to the fore concerning the six-member Islamic boarding party on that Phoenix-bound flight that doesn’t adhere to the heretofore politically correct explanations given by the Muslim clerics after they were handcuffed and removed from the plane.

“We were simply praying,” was the general cry given by the Imam’s, and while that was certainly true, there is obviously more to this incident than was, until now, initially reported in news stories across the country. Either these men were actually scheming to conduct a terrorist caper, or they were setting themselves up to be accused of such a despicable stunt so that they then might clearly open the way to a racial profiling and/or a religious freedom lawsuit that could conceivably eliminate any sort of racial profiling for Muslims.

Personally and intentionally or not, anyone who acts out on an airliner in such a manner that would instantly raise red flags among airline passengers and crew, especially in a post-9/11 world, should not be surprised in the least when they’re forcibly removed from said aircraft.

Were these men racially profiled? Of course not. We’re they persecuted for their religious beliefs? Most definitely, no. Religious freedom is all fine and good theoretically, but have the minimal amount of intelligence required in order to discern when it may be appropriate to practice that freedom. Praying is one thing. Praying loudly at an airport gate, then boarding a plane and organizing yourselves in seats to mimic the 9/11 hijackers (“two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin“), then requesting seat-belt extensions despite your lack of evident girth and instead setting those belts and buckles on the floor, then repeatedly rising from your seat to move about the plane in order to converse with your fellow imams, is an entirely different matter that should be viewed with quite a bit of scrutiny.

Contrary to popular belief, being Muslim does not give you carte blanche.

How the imams terrorized an airliner

By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 28, 2006

Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted “Allah” when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.

“I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud,” the gate agent told the Minneapolis Police Department.

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks — two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

“That would alarm me,” said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. “They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane.”

A pilot from another airline said: “That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry.”

But the imams who were escorted off the flight in handcuffs say they were merely praying before the 6:30 p.m. flight on Nov. 20, and yesterday led a protest by prayer with other religious leaders at the airline’s ticket counter at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, called removing the imams an act of Islamophobia and compared it to racism against blacks.

“It’s a shame that as an African-American and a Muslim I have the double whammy of having to worry about driving while black and flying while Muslim,” Mr. Bray said.

The protesters also called on Congress to pass legislation to outlaw passenger profiling.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat, said the September 11 terrorist attacks “cannot be permitted to be used to justify racial profiling, harassment and discrimination of Muslim and Arab Americans.”

“Understandably, the imams felt profiled, humiliated, and discriminated against by their treatment,” she said.

According to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials, the imams displayed other suspicious behavior.

Three of the men asked for seat-belt extenders, although two flight attendants told police the men were not oversized. One flight attendant told police she “found this unsettling, as crew knew about the six [passengers] on board and where they were sitting.” Rather than attach the extensions, the men placed the straps and buckles on the cabin floor, the flight attendant said.

The imams said they were not discussing politics and only spoke in English, but witnesses told law enforcement that the men spoke in Arabic and English, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush, and talking about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

The imams who claimed two first-class seats said their tickets were upgraded. The gate agent told police that when the imams asked to be upgraded, they were told no such seats were available. Nevertheless, the two men were seated in first class when removed.

A flight attendant said one of the men made two trips to the rear of the plane to talk to the imam during boarding, and again when the flight was delayed because of their behavior. Aviation officials, including air marshals and pilots, said these actions alone would not warrant a second look, but the combination is suspicious.

“That’s like shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. You just can’t do that anymore,” said Robert MacLean, a former air marshal.

“They should have been denied boarding and been investigated,” Mr. MacLean said. “It looks like they are trying to create public sympathy or maybe setting someone up for a lawsuit.”

The pilot with another airline who talked to The Washington Times on condition of anonymity, said he would have made the same call as the US Airways pilot.

“If any group of passengers is commingling in the terminal and didn’t sit in their assigned seats or with each other, I would stop everything and investigate until they could provide me with a reason they did not sit in their assigned seats.”

One of the passengers, Omar Shahin, told Newsweek the group did everything it could to avoid suspicion by wearing Western clothes, speaking English and booking seats so they were not together. He said they conducted prayers quietly and separately to avoid attention.

The imams had attended a conference sponsored by the North American Imam Federation in Minneapolis and were returning to Phoenix. Mr. Shahin, who is president of the federation, said on his Web site that none of the passengers made pro-Saddam or anti-American statements.

The pilot said the airlines are not “secretly prejudiced against any nationality, religion or culture,” and that the only target of profiling is passenger behavior.

“There are certain behaviors that raise the bar, and not sitting in your assigned seat raises the bar substantially,” the pilot said. “Especially since we know that this behavior has been evident in suspicious probes in the past.”

“Someone at US Airways made a notably good decision,” said a second pilot, who also does not work for US Airways.

A spokeswoman for US Airways declined to discuss the incident. Aviation security officials said thousands of Muslims fly every day and conduct prayers in airports in a quiet and private manner without creating incidents.

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Epilogue • Family reunion

Lessons learned for Jill and the Monitor about her campaign for freedom. What’s happened to Alan’s family?

| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

On April 2, 2006, a white Lufthansa 747 with the designation “Hamburg” written on its side taxied up to a gate at Boston’s Logan Airport. At 12:22 p.m., Jill Carroll stepped off the plane and onto US soil.

As she passed through customs, agents and other officials on duty crowded around for a chance to see her. Whisked into a waiting car, she was driven to the Monitor’s headquarters in Boston’s Back Bay, a police escort around her and news helicopters overhead.

Jill was traveling light. She’d left a big yellow bag of clothes and toiletries from her captivity in the Green Zone in Baghdad. She’d decompressed there for a day, talking to members of the US Embassy’s Hostage Working Group, before traveling on an aircraft carrying American casualties to Ramstein Air Force Base in Landstuhl, Germany.

(Photograph)
ZIPPY! Jill’s family shouted her nickname out of the window as she pulled up in front of a Boston apartment on April 2, moments before they were finally reunited.
MELANIE STETSON FREEMAN – STAFF
Photos: Homecoming photos

In Boston, her car went straight into the underground garage of the Christian Science church headquarters. In a preplanned bit of evasion, she was led through basement corridors under the complex to a loading dock on a nearby side street. She then jumped into a blue van – easily missing the media horde camped outside the Monitor building.

The van went only a few blocks, to a nearby church-owned townhouse. There, Jim, Mary Beth, and Katie crowded around an open window, yelling her nickname, “Zippy!”

Jill met them coming down the hallway in a whole-family embrace. She wept and said, “I’m sorry.” She was home.

(Photograph)
SISTERS REUNITED: Katie and Jill Carroll hug in Boston on April 2 upon Jill’s return from Iraq. Their parents, Jim and Mary Beth Carroll, look on.
MELANIE STETSON FREEMAN – STAFF
Photos: Homecoming photos

Nearly five months on, what’s to be learned from Jill Carroll’s kidnapping and release?

Monitor editors and correspondents were heartened by the global condemnation of the kidnapping, especially from Muslim religious leaders and even militant groups, such as Hamas. They remain proud of the media campaign they helped mount, from the solicitation of statements on Jill’s behalf to the public service announcements that ran in the Iraqi media. They believe it was targeted to the right audience – the Middle East – and well placed. They know the kidnappers saw some of it.

It’s presumptuous to say it led directly to her release, but “I do think that changed the mental climate,” says Richard Bergenheim, editor of the Monitor.

Another obvious conclusion is that Iraq has become a very dangerous place for the news media. More than 100 journalists, including interpreters and assistants, have died there since March 2003.

Since Jill’s kidnapping, the Monitor has upgraded its security measures in Baghdad – both because of what had happened to her and because of the worsening situation on the ground. Editors won’t detail those measures, so as not to undermine their effectiveness. The paper has kept a British security firm on retainer for consultation.

As for Jill herself, she says that her experience taught her about priorities. Throughout her 82-day ordeal, she missed her family and her friends. Work and success didn’t seem so important anymore. “I never once wished I’d filed one more story,” she says.

But she doesn’t regret going to Iraq in the first place. She was doing what she had always wanted to do – foreign reporting. Since her release, she has returned to Egypt, and is glad of it. She experienced again the distinctive culture of the Islamic world in a peaceful context.

“What happened to me is not the whole Middle East,” she says.

Jill is no longer a freelancer. To provide financial support in anticipation of her eventual release, the Monitor quietly made Jill a full-time employee a week after she was abducted. This fall, she’s been accepted into a journalism fellowship program at a major university. After that, she plans to return to writing from overseas.

Why was she released? Probably no one really knows except for her kidnappers. Maybe the public pressure worked. Maybe private whispers via Western and Middle Eastern intelligence convinced influential Sunnis that harming Jill wasn’t in their best interest.

Maybe as the political situation changed, so did the priorities of her kidnappers. Maybe the kidnappers just got what they wanted – publicity or the release of women from Abu Ghraib prison. Or maybe Jill herself – the smart, young American who spoke Arabic – helped alter her captors’ plans.

“One of the most effective weapons against terrorism is the truth. The truth was that Jill Carroll was not the enemy of her captors. Her father spoke that truth, and the rest of the world repeated it,” says Christopher Voss, special agent with the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit in Quantico, Va.

As far as the Monitor and Jill’s family can determine, no ransom changed hands to win her release.

Earlier this month, the US military announced that it had captured four of Jill’s suspected kidnappers, after raiding a total of four locations in Baghdad, Abu Ghraib, and a village west of Fallujah. US sources in Baghdad have told staff writer Scott Peterson that the man Jill knew as “Abu Ahmed” (aka Sheikh Sadoun, say US military sources) was arrested by US Marines on May 19. The others in custody are guards, not the top figures in the group.

Members of murdered translator Alan Enwiya‘s immediate family have left Iraq, where they felt endangered. They are applying for US government permission to join their extended family in the US.

Jill never met the man who shot Alan. She was told that Alan’s killer died a few weeks later during an insurgent military operation.

Driver Adnan Abbas, having survived the abduction, was initially a suspect. He passed a polygraph test, and was cleared by Iraqi police. He, his wife, and four children (including a newborn) have also moved to another country. Their future remains uncertain, but their ambition is to live and work in the US.

The Monitor has established two funds to help these families start new lives. Among the donations received so far: The $800 cash the mujahideen gave Jill just prior to her release. She plans to sell the gold necklace and donate those funds, as well.

How to help
(Photograph)
HOWARD LAFRANCHI/THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

Alan Enwiya is one of nearly 100 journalists and media assistants killed in Iraq since March 2003. Alan (left side of photo) is survived by his wife, Fairuz, his two children, Martin and Mary Ann, and his parents. They have left Iraq and hope to move to the US where they have relatives.

Jill Carroll’s driver, Adnan Abbas, is a witness to Alan’s murder. He, his wife, and their four children (including a newborn) have also fled Iraq for their own safety.

In response to readers, the Monitor has established funds to help each family start a new life. Donations may be sent to:

The Alan Enwiya Fund
c/o The Christian Science Monitor
One Norway Street
Boston, MA 02115

The Adnan Abbas Fund
c/o The Christian Science Monitor
One Norway Street
Boston, MA 02115

Donations can also be made online.

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