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Archive for the ‘federal bureau of investigation’ Category

Here’s something those familiar with the dubitable nature that is the Council on American-Islamic Relations will likely find unsurprising: CAIR has been named in a terrorist funding plot. Who have they been funding one might ask? Among others, no less than Palestinian Islamic resistant movement (i.e. terrorist organization) and quasi-political entity, Hamas.

If anything, the Council on American-Islamic Relations has existed as nothing more than a divisive thorn in the side to actual American-Islamic Relations. At nearly every turn CAIR has squandered real opportunities to foment genuine understanding of the Islamic faith to infidels such as myself by bridging the much needed gap between Islamic fanatics and Islamic moderates. Instead, since the inception of CAIR back in 1994, their leadership has time and again opted to litigiously decry openly outward views that, from their perspective, have demonized, even in the most intangible sense, the Islamic faith and the Muslim faithful while persistently refusing to censure peoples (such as Osama bin Laden) and groups (such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood) who actively use violent means in the name of Allah, and in emulation of Muhammad, to achieve their ends. The US Airways Flight 300 fiasco and subsequent suit of that airlines (and innocent passengers as well) was only their latest despicable tactic to silence dissenters of Islam in their desire to squelch perceived discrimination against Muslims.

I’ve said this before, but it seems necessary to retread old and familiar ground–the only thing Muslims of Middle Eastern descent need do in order to prevent recognizably questionable behavior is refrain from participating in such questionable behavior–behavior such as the type committed by the flying imams on US Airways Flight 300 for example, or the audacious behavior of the Muslim “musical group” on a Northwest flight back in 2004. In other words, don’t act like a moron and you’ll be fine. I promise. No one will care about you if you simply relax and enjoy your trip. Suspicions are rarely raised against persons, regardless of their ethnic background, if they’re just sitting quietly in their seats. I am a big advocate of that policy and guarantee it will work.

So, while CAIR continues its reckless public relations policies, more and more American citizens are becoming aware of their shameless tactics and shameful funding policies. Let’s hope today’s revelation indicates another solid nail in the coffin for this detestable organization.

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Feds name CAIR in plot to fund Hamas
Prominent U.S. Islamic group designated ‘unindicted co-conspirator’


Posted: June 4, 2007
2:24 p.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com


FBI agents arrest CAIR Texas founder Ghassan Elashi and brothers in 2002.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which brands itself as a mainstream promoter of civil rights, has been named with two other prominent U.S. Islamic groups as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a plot to fund the terrorist group Hamas.

Federal prosecutors also cited the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust as participants in a plot with five officials of the defunct Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, who go on trial July 16 in Dallas, the New York Sun reported.

CAIR is a spinoff of the defunct Islamic Association for Palestine, launched by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook and former university professor Sami al-Arian, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to provide services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Several CAIR staffers have been convicted on terrorism-related charges, and CAIR founder Omar Ahmad allegedly told a group of Muslims they are in America not to assimilate but to help assert Islam’s rule over the country.

The officials on trial in Dallas include Ghassan Elashi, who founded CAIR’s Texas chapter. The Holy Land Foundation also gave $5,000 in seed money to set up CAIR’s Washington office, according to congressional testimony by counter-terrorism researcher Steven Emerson.

As WND reported in October, Elashi already has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for financial ties to a high-ranking Hamas terrorist and for making illegal computer exports to countries that back terrorism.

The other officials on trial in Dallas are Shukri Abu-Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulraham Odeh.

The court filing listed the three Islamic groups among about 300 individuals or entities named as co-conspirators, the Sun reported. While few details were given, the prosecutors described CAIR as a present or past member of “the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.”

The Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, has spawned many of the leading terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, with its aim to restore the Muslim Caliphate and establish Islamic rule over the world.

The Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust were listed as “entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.”

Prosecutors apply the designation “unindicted co-conspirator” because they believe the person or entity was part of the conspiracy. It allows prosecution witnesses to testify of statements the alleged conspirators made outside of court, which normally is forbidden as hearsay.

The secretary-general of the Islamic Society of North America, Muneer Fareed, expressed surprise to the New York paper at being named in the case and said he was not aware of any connection between his group and the foundation.

The Sun said spokesmen for CAIR did not respond to requests for comment, and efforts to contact the North American Islamic Trust were unsuccessful.

In March, the House Republican Conference urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cancel an event hosted on Capitol Hill by CAIR, calling the group “terrorist apologists.”

The group’s regular meetings with the Justice Department and FBI have prompted complaints from case agents, who say the bureau rarely can make a move in the Muslim community without first consulting with CAIR, which sits on its advisory board.

CAIR has conducted “sensitivity” and cultural training with federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and with the military. In June, a senior Department of Homeland Security official from Washington guided CAIR officials on a behind-the-scenes tour of Customs screening operations at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in response to CAIR complaints that Muslim travelers were being unfairly delayed as they entered the U.S. from abroad.

Last year, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., withdrew an award she gave to a local CAIR official, saying she was concerned about some statements by CAIR leaders.

CAIR says its aim is “to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”

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CAIR‘s indomitable lunacy continues, this time in Clarksville, Tennessee. Determined to expunge the United States of its rights and laws, and in particular the 1st amendment, and replace them with sharia law, CAIR forges ever forward with its cache of weaponized lawsuits designed to eradicate our culture and our way of life in favor of an Islamic state. They use our civil liberties and freedoms against us in order to annihilate those freedoms. Of course, when the police force and city government are so willing and anxious to capitulate to CAIR in such matters, one can’t help but feel a trifle concerned as to the accommodating dhimmification of those tasked to protect us.

The below piece by Christine from the 910 Group blog, reposted over at the always relevant Gates of Vienna is a truly entertaining and pertinent piece.

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Bacon: The New Hate Crime

Thee article below was posted today by Christine at the 910 Group Blog.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Here’s the latest alert from Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR):

CAIR SEEKS FBI PROBE OF ‘HATE CRIME’ AT TN MOSQUE

Political, religious leaders asked to repudiate growing Islamophobia

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/10/07) — A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the FBI to investigated what Tennessee law enforcement authorities are calling a “hate crime” targeting a mosque in that state.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations CAIR said worshipers at the Islamic Center of Clarksville found a defaced copy of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, on the front steps of the mosque just before communal prayers (Jummah) on Friday. Two strips of bacon, which is prohibited for Muslims to eat, were smeared in the Quran. Local police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

SEE: Muslims on Alert After Hate Crime (Leaf-Chronicle)

“We once again urge local, state and national political and religious leaders to repudiate the growing level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society that can lead to such troubling incidents,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.

mmmmm… bacon….According to the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, two hours before the 1 p.m. Friday service, the Koran was found on the front steps of the Islamic Center. Someone had written “Mohammad pedophile” on the front, and an (unnamed) expletive was on the inside, smeared under two strips of bacon. Not only did the local police report it as a hate crime, but they said they would contact the FBI. Mosque representatives are meeting with the City Mayor Johnny Piper to see what he can do as well.

This is a clear example of how hate crime laws are being used to impose sharia law, in the guise of religious special accomodations, and in place of U.S. federal or state laws. I’m not a lawyer, so correct me if I’m wrong — that’s why we have a comments section — but under the current laws in Tennessee and the U.S., these are facts of the case:

1. The Koran — simply a book under our laws, rather than “Islam’s revealed text,” and therefore not subject to the special treatment required by sharia law — belonged to whoever put it on the steps. So no theft or defacement of someone else’s property was involved. If I had left a Bible on their steps, would that have been a hate crime? Or a Koran from Yemen, not accepted by the Wahhabi cult?

2. Leaving a Koran on a property’s steps — again, just a book like any other, under our law rather than sharia law — does not vandalize that property. Maybe you can define it as littering, but “hate crime littering” seems a bit of a dhimmitude stretch when it’s a single book and two pieces of bacon, neatly placed inside the book.

3. Writing in a book, including a Torah, New Testament, Bible, Lolita, The Pentagon Papers, the Yellow Pages or the Koran (again, just a book under any laws other than sharia) is permitted under the First Amendment. Writing an expletive in a book is permitted under the First Amendment. Writing that Mohammed was a pedophile is permitted under the First Amendment, and is also amply documented by both Islamic and other scholars of the Koran.

[Scriptural Evidence] Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64: Sahih Bukhari [the most venerated and authentic Islamic source]

Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).

4. Bacon is not illegal in Tennessee, and putting bacon in a book is not illegal in Tennessee. It’s a waste of good bacon, but it’s not illegal. In fact, Tennessee is the new home for the Pig Improvement Company, the world leader in genetic pig stock production (“Selling breeding stock and boar semen is a profitable business…”):
– – – – – – – – – –

In 2005, the Tennessee pork industry had over $52 million in cash receipts and ranked 24th in the United States in pork population. Tennessee’s 1,300 pig farms take up 51,876 acres of land and constitute the state’s 10th most lucrative agricultural industry.

Where was the underlying crime that must exist for this to be a “hate” crime, under U.S. or Tennessee laws? Or was the underlying crime one that exists only under sharia law, followed with meticulous political correctness by the Clarksville police in reporting it as a hate crime? Will leaving a book on the steps of a mosque become criminal trespass, in order to find some underlying crime to make it “hateful” under the National Incident Based Reporting System (pdf format) of the Department of Justice? The methodology for gathering hate crime statistics uses 3 categories of crimes: against people, against property and against society. Since this was not a crime against property or people, under U.S. and state laws, should we assume that the Clarksville police department has found it to be a crime against society under sharia law?

Or are we in the never-never land of searching for or inventing underlying crimes, to criminalize hostile and critical speech, so that it can be prosecuted as a hate crime? The 2005 Department of Justice “Study of Literature and Legislation on Hate Crime in America” (pdf format) warned of the risks:

Over the past 25 years, the federal government and all but one state have passed pieces of legislation addressing hate crime in some way. Still, there remains no national consensus about whether hate crime should be a separate class of crime, and among those supporting hate crime statutes, there is disagreement about how these statutes should be constructed and focused. The keys issues in the debate include:

(1) the necessity of considering hate or bias motivation when the core offenses(e.g., assault, vandalism) are already covered by criminal law;

(2) whether there is a danger in basing additional penalties for crimes upon the thoughts motivating offenders, rather than keeping the focus of criminal law on the behavior itself;

(3) whether it is possible to determine with legally-acceptable levels of certainty the motive behind a person’s criminal acts;

(4) whether, in practice, hate crime laws result in crimes against certain groups of people being punished more severely than equivalent crimes committed against other groups, and if so, whether that is fair and legally defensible;

(5) whether having hate crime statutes deters potential offenders; and

(6) whether having these statutes hinders law enforcement’s ability to investigateand prosecute crime.

Until we determine otherwise, assume that Clarksville, Tennessee is operating under sharia law regarding the First Amendment. Make sure you don’t criticize the violent verses in the Koran while jaywalking, owing time on your parking meter, or buying bacon at Target. You don’t know who in Clarksville’s finest may be watching and reporting you for hate crimes.

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As the Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean fiasco gains momentum with those who support the two incarcerated agents specifically, the border patrol generally, and the probe into questionable conduct by U.S. Attorney, Johnny Sutton and company, so too does this story gain detractors–detractors who generally have no more than a broad understanding of the incident, the trial, and the recent firestorm of outrage from the public and a growing number of congressmen and senators who are understandably demanding an investigation of Sutton, his office, and the DHS among others for their dubious ethics in regards to the apparent railroading of Ramos and Compean.

First, many question if these men are actually heroes. Here’s a typical, partisan comment from Joshua Holland writing for Alternet.com

So the [right] wingnuts have taken to calling Johnny Sutton an “agent of the Mexican government,” demanded that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez step into the case and generally made a big stink on right-wing talk radio, blogs and on their fake “news” sites like Townhall and WorldNetDaily. It’s all gotten conflated with the rank-and-file rebellion against the Republican Party over immigration. To many on the right, the two dirty cops are “illegal immigration heroes.” [bold emphasis]

And from an Anonymous poster on this piece

Whoa..everyone here needs to chill out. First, shooting someone in the back is not a “heroic” action. I don’t know who taught you right from wrong, but you need to do some serious soul searching if you thing this is alright.

First, the comment by Anonymous is indicative of those who know little about the circumstances of the case. Compean claimed the illegal alien drug runner had a shiny object in his hand and it appeared as if the fugitive was turning to use it. Making the assumption that it was a gun, you simply cannot tell agent Compean that the suspect did not have a gun. If he saw what he thought was a gun, Compean has the right to defend himself. This is basic police policy. What would normal human being do in a similar situation?

As for both comments above, I call them heroes because they do something most of us don’t have the balls to do, and they do it every day. They protect us with their own lives on the line, regardless of their imperfections–the same imperfections many of us have. The same can be said of firemen, marines, policemen, etc. I am a television producer. I am not a hero. Ramos and Compean are heroes.

Holland’s comments are rife with liberal political partisanship when this is simply a matter of justice–left and right should make no difference. Of course, I would be a hypocrite if I said I don’t include opinion in my writing (for crying out loud, this is a blog after all), but Holland even ridicules news outlets for offering information that doesn’t line up with his liberal leanings. The Onion is a “fake” news site. World Net Daily is not. Whether you are uncomfortable with the level of bias World Net Daily delivers, dubbing it fake is odd. Alternet.com takes a similar approach, but I would not pin them as “fake” because of the political bias. Their leading headline, Bush is Screwing Up the War on Terror I couldn’t agree with more. Does this make me a liberal? No (though some neo-cons would strongly disagree.) Does reading World Net Daily make me conservative? No. I never agree with every story a news outlet pushes on any website I visit or any publication I read. To do so would be mindless.

Personally I visit several news sites, conservative and liberal, and while I prefer to think of myself as a moderate, I often find myself leaning toward, what to me is, the more stable and thoughtful stance, and that generally leans to the right.

One thing I can certainly say about the liberal leaning news outlets is their trend to manipulate through emotional, straw-man arguments often devoid of logic. Take for example the cover story in latest issue of The Nation–Lockdown in Greely: How Immigration Raids Terrorized a Colorado Town (Marc Cooper.)

…December 12, the holiday celebrating the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe. What materialized in front of the Swift gates that morning was more like a vision of hell. Shortly after 7 am a half-dozen buses rolled up with a small fleet of government vans, which unloaded dozens of heavily armed federal agents backed by riot-clad local police. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents sealed off all entrances and exits and formed a perimeter around the factory. Then others barged inside and started rounding up the whole workforce.

Some of the frightened workers jumped into cattle pens; others hid behind machinery or in closets. Those who tried to run were wrestled to the ground. Sworn statements by some workers allege that the ICE agents used chemical sprays to subdue those who didn’t understand the orders barked at them in English. The plant’s entire workforce was herded into the cafeteria and separated into two groups: those who claimed to be US citizens or legal residents and those who didn’t.

Talk about appeals to emotion. The entire article is much like this–one big hyperbolic mess with absolutely no respect for American citizens, native born or immigrant. Vision of hell? A fleet of government vans? They barged inside? What constitutes a vision of hell? I’ve never been there (and hope I never pay a visit), so why the drama? I’m assuming that a fleet constitutes at least two vehicles, but the apparent tone conveyed here is to insinuate a large group of military vehicles filled with nasty-bad government agents, who in reality are simply doing their jobs, much like Ramos and Compean did. And they barged into a facility that was breaking the law by employing illegal immigrants, many of whom were shown to be guilty of identity theft which obviously illustrates why many of the workers initially attempted to hide and flee.

Curiously, pro-illegal immigrant activists, many of whom are liberals, simply don’t understand that they’re in the same boat with President Bush on this issue. You guys actually agree on something–Bush wants a low-paid, easily exploitable workforce and so do you. For many other reasons as well, I do not want to exploit poor illegal aliens. I desire an improved immigration system that starts with sharpened enforcement at the border.

More from The Nation article…

“By saying these raids were about identity theft, ICE and the Bush Administration suddenly changed the rules of the game,” says Mark Grey, director of the Iowa Center for Immigrant Leadership and Integration. By highlighting the identity-theft angle, DHS officials have cast into a sinister light a common practice, at worst a victimless crime.

Hyperbole is one thing. Fabrication is another. Identity theft is never victimless, and it’s a crime that’s growing as more illegals flow into the country unfettered due to our porous border. I’ve heard illegal immigration apologists attempt to explain it away as an inevitability (and that seems to excuse it for them) but I’ve never heard or read anyone be so bold as to state identity theft is victimless. Tell that Linda Trevino and Steve Millet and the many thousands more victims of illegal immigrants who stole identity information of legal residents.

Earnings in limbo

More from The Nation story…

…says an indignant Robert McCormick, a Greeley immigration attorney representing about sixteen of the workers. “This is indeed a declaration of war on the immigrant community. This is about Republicans trying to appease their core bloc of supporters. Yeah, some people got a big kick out of this. But I think most Americans were revolted by it. Here in town, a lot of people have said they want no part of it. And others, I assure you, are going to wind up being very ashamed of it.”

As someone who supports stronger borders and LEGAL immigration I find particularly infuriating how often illegal immigration activists love to leave out the word illegal when discussing the subject of illegal immigration. I am wholly against illegal immigration. I am completely in support of legal immigration. As cheesy as this sounds, I am filled with joy (yes, filled with joy) when ever I hear “The American Dream” story, particularly centered around immigrants–immigrants who came to this country with little to nothing, and managed great successes for themselves. Whether they became CEO of a corporation, or they simply bought a home in the Midwest, I am always pleased when immigrants successfully weave themselves into the fabric of our society.

Conversely, it saddens me when illegals enter the country and fail to even attempt at integration. This post from last summer clearly demonstrates this problem. As I state in that piece (accompanied with the L.A. Times article, 6+1=1 Tenuous Existence), immigrant assimilation is the best means to achieve success in a foreign society.

From the mentioned post…

[L.A. Times – Neither Magdaleno nor her husband speaks English, though she has been in the United States 22 years and he 28. Even her teenage daughters speak mostly Spanish; their English vocabulary is limited.

Jesus Christ! Twenty-two and 28 years and they still haven’t learned English? None?! What’s even more frightening is the fact that their teenage children barely speak English as well. This is very sad. To me, it speaks volumes on Mexican familial culture–how improving oneself is simply sneaking across the border and continuing a genealogy that one was trying to escape in the first place.]

As I’ve said before, I don’t blame poor Mexicans (or Chinese, or Indians, etc.) their need to come to this country for a better life. I blame this presidency and his administration for their failures to secure our border. When illegals enter the country, bypassing the proper channels to become legal residents, they will almost always fail to integrate. This often translates into large, poor illegal immigrant ghettos that do nothing to support the economy while serving as ethnocentric pools of resentment and anger towards the community, the city, and the country where in they now reside.

Also from commenter, Anonymous

 

It is also a ridiculous statement to say that immigrants are “rotting” this country. If immigrants did not “rot” America for the first 300 years, how are they doing it now? The crime, gangs, and drugs would be here whether these people came or not. Crime was an issue long before immigration.

I may have been participating in dramatic license, but it is true, the more unrestricted illegal weight bears down on this country, or any country for that matter (France anyone?), the more damaged it becomes–more rotten. Here are some interesting statistics from the L.A. Times, an infamously pro-illegal immigration, liberal publication…

– 40 percent of all workers are working for cash and not paying taxes. Why would they want to be legal and pay taxes? They would be able to start bringing the rest of their families to the USA.

– 75 percent of people on L.A.’s most-wanted list are illegal aliens.

– Over two-thirds of all births are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by the taxpayers.

– Nearly 25 percent of all inmates in California detention centers are here illegally.

– Over 300,000 illegals are living in garages.

[Anonymous] The crime, gangs, and drugs would be here whether these people came or not. Crime was an issue long before immigration.

– The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegals from south of the border.
[Hecubus] Additionally, if our border was more secure, we would be dealing with fewer drug and crime problems. Would we still have crime and drugs? Of course, but it would be diminished.

– Nearly 60 percent of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

– 29 percent of inmates in the federal prisons are illegal aliens.

– The lifetime fiscal impact (taxes minus services used) for the average adult Mexican immigrant is a negative.

– They also send between about $15 billion back to Mexico to assist their families and prop up the corrupt Mexican government that keeps most of its citizens in poverty.

– It cost Los Angeles $276 million in welfare costs for 100,000 children of illegal aliens.

[Anonymous] And please don’t get indignant and act like you don’t reap the benefits of undocumented workers. You like your oranges cheap. All of your products that are “Made in America” have most likely gone through the hands of undocumented workers at some point. Deep down you know that these people are benefitting you.

– Less than 2 percent of illegals are picking crops but 29 percent are on welfare.

Add to that California alone spent nearly $8 billion dollars in 2004 to educate illegal alien children and children of illegals. Also, the rate at which emergency rooms in California are closing due to EMTALA and illegal aliens not paying E.R. bills is astonishing. Who ends up footing the bill for these unpaid costs? American citizens.

[Anonymous] I am Mexican, and I don’t believe I have any diseases that are foreign to this country. I don’t believe that I have ever brought any foreign diseases back to the U.S. from my travels. You need to get the facts straight.

Also, many diseases are on the rise due to illegal immigration. I’m not saying you’re disease ridden, Anonymous. I’m simply pointing out facts that many illegals who do not go through proper immigration channels are carriers of communicable diseases. Some illnesses thought to have been nearly squashed are on the rise again because of this–plague, dengue fever, and polio. Even leprosy has seen an alarming rise in regularity because of illegal immigrants.

Anyway, there is a horrible misconception in this country right now, based mostly on what people hear rather than on what they know, that illegal immigrants perform jobs that Americans won’t do (though of late, this has been altered by illegal immigrant activists to “jobs Americans are too qualified for” since the condescending catch-phrase “jobs Americans wont do” was failing miserably.) This is patently false, but it’s been regurgitated over and over so much that people simply accept it. (There was an incident recently in the post-Katrina south where African Americans looking for work at a specific job site were told to go home because “the Mexicans” were coming to work for less pay.)

For those of us living in border states, particularly southern California, keep in mind that Latino workers makes up only 5% the total workforce in the United States, and they don’t make up a majority of the workforce in any occupation in America–yes, not even car washing, gardening, or house cleaning.

Much of the problem lies with employers, such as Swift Co. from The Nation article mentioned above, who hire illegals for a lower wage than actual American citizens are willing to take (well below minimum.) It’s about a fair wage. Pay American citizens a fair wage and they will do those jobs that so many are claiming only illegals will do because we, as American citizens, are too good to get our hands dirty. In fact, if there weren’t as many illegals doing “jobs Americans won’t do” then Americans would be able to fill those jobs, probably promoting a general increase in wages for many Americans altogether.

American citizens are doing jobs throughout the country that illegal immigrant activists say they won’t do. Americans are making livings and getting paid fair wages gardening, house cleaning, building homes, and working at McDonalds. Often views are skewed by where people live (border states) and what they see in the news.

Many legal immigrants (Latino and otherwise) find great offense to the idea of illegals getting any sort of benefits, let alone amnesty, by being in the country without having gone through the proper channels. Most immigrants have waited with great patience, going through those proper channels in order to become American citizens. The general disdain and disrespect pro-illegal immigration protestors and activists have towards the country that they are trying to win favor from is galling.

What needs to happen? Mexico needs to step up to the plate and provide for its citizens, and the United States needs to stop paying their bills without any help from Mexico. Mexico relies on the fact that its citizens emigrate to the US. It even took out full page ads in American newspapers supporting Bush’s guest worker program! It’s what keeps the rich wealthy, and the poor even poorer. The corruptness of the Mexican government is abhorrent, and if it were governed with any sense of responsibility (doubtful there will be any change even with the new leadership), the situation would probably be different, especially considering Mexico is rich in natural resources. What the illegal immigrant demonstrators and activists should do is use that same determination to protest their own government in Mexico to incite change instead of alienating the American audience it’s trying to win over.

Ultimately this is not a racist issue, at least for me. This is about providing American citizens a fair shot and keeping our economy running smoothly. Simply, if you pay people more money, they put more money back into the economy. If you pay them less, they put less back in, which weakens the economy. Add to that, most illegal immigrants send much of the money they make back to their families in Mexico and you can see how much of problem this will ultimately become (and already is.)

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Senate hearings on Ramos-Compean postponed
Democrats who want ‘extreme’ sentences probed blame ‘scheduling difficulties’


Posted: February 20, 2007
7:57 p.m. Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Senate Judiciary Committee hearings scheduled by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to investigate the prosecution of border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean and Texas Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermo “Gilmer” Hernandez have been postponed, WND has learned.

Sen. Feinstein’s office told WND scheduling difficulties were responsible for the cancellation of the Feb. 27 hearing and her office anticipates that a new hearing date will be set soon. A spokesman for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he was disappointed to hear of the postponement, noting the senator’s staff had done extensive work in preparation. As WND reported, Feinstein received permission from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to examine the cases.

The Bush administration has drawn strong criticism from Republican congressmen angry about its handling of a case in which two border agents were given 11- and 12-year sentences after granting a drug smuggler immunity to testify against them.

“I strongly believe that the sentences in this case are too extreme, given the criminal nature of the defendant and his possession of large quantities of drugs,” Feinstein said in a statement. “These men were given sentences that some individuals who are convicted of murder wouldn’t receive.” Leahy’s office did not return WND’s call for comment.

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Johnny Sutton must be defecating in his britches right about now. It’s quite revealing when his office won’t return calls to address issues brought up in the story below by the indefatigable Jerome Corsi through World Net Daily. I’m sure Sutton and his staff are stuffed into a conference room, drinking bad coffee and conducting major damage control operations.

Needless to say, Sutton is in deep shit.

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Prosecutor had evidence against drug smuggler
Homeland Security memo shows fingerprints found on vehicle


Posted: February 2, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
A Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by WND indicates fingerprints were found on the vehicle abandoned by a Mexican drug smuggler who was given immunity to testify against border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, apparently contradicting the U.S. attorney’s claim that he had no evidence to prosecute the smuggler. U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton repeatedly has said there was no evidence at the scene on the Texas border near El Paso that would have permitted his office to investigate, find and prosecute Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila, whose testimony against the officers led to prison terms of more than 10 years. The DHS memo also documents that no fingerprint search was conducted on the vehicle until a full month after the Feb. 17, 2005, incident. Despite repeated attempts, Sutton’s office did not return WND phone calls to comment on this story.

Andy Ramirez, who has closely followed the case as chairman of Friends of the Border Patrol, said he was disturbed that evidence in the van was handled by a combination of local, sheriff and federal law enforcement officers.

“From the scene, the vehicle is towed to the El Paso sheriff’s office,” Ramirez noted. “Then, the Border Patrol turns over the fingerprints to the El Paso Police Department for processing. DHS is involved, but only to receive a copy of the videotape made of the fingerprint processing. These law enforcement procedures are highly irregular, especially in the emotionally charged areas of border security and drug enforcement.”

From the beginning, Ramirez, insisted, “Johnny Sutton’s only interest in this case was to prosecute Ramos and Compean.”

“If Sutton wanted to capture the drug dealer, the van would have been secured, the van and its contents would have been dusted immediately for fingerprints and the chain of evidence would have been established,” he said. “Instead, the van sat there in the El Paso sheriff’s office for nearly a month before any law enforcement looks for evidence of the drug crime.”

Ramirez wondered why the FBI or the Drug Enforcement Administration was not called in immediately on the case.

“Instead, when the prosecutors finally get around to looking for fingerprint evidence, who knows how corrupted the fingerprint evidence is going to be after a month?”

A frustrated Ramirez contended Sutton was not interested in evidence from the van, because he was never out to get the drug smuggler.

“Since the fingerprint evidence would not implicate the agents, Sutton couldn’t have cared less if there was any fingerprint evidence or not,” Ramirez said. “If the fingerprint evidence could have implicated Ramos and Compean, Sutton would have been after the fingerprints with a vengeance.”

The DHS memorandum of activity was filed by Special Agent Jose L. Arredbado, March 20, 2005. The memo documents that March 17, 2005, special agent Arredbado received a copy of the vehicle towing receipt from the El Paso sheriff’s office where the vehicle had been towed from the Fabens, Texas, Border Patrol Station.

The memo indicates that March 17, 2005, Arredbado authorized the U.S. Border Patrol Evidence Team to enter the compound and dust the vehicle for fingerprints. The team found 11 fingerprints, three of which were duplicates. The prints were taken to the El Paso Police Department for processing, with an agreement to turn the findings and report over to the DHS Office of Inspector General upon completion.

A towing receipt obtained by WND shows the vehicle Aldrete-Davila drove was a silver 1989 Ford Econoline with Texas plates that was taken to the Fabens, Texas, Border Patrol Station, Feb. 18, 2005, the day after the incident with Aldrete-Davila that has led to the imprisonment of Ramos and Compean.

The towing receipt indicates the Ford Econoline remained at the Alba Wrecker Service in El Paso for 18 days, until March 7, 2005. The DHS report indicates Alba transported the vehicle to the El Paso sheriff’s vehicle compound March 10, 2005, a discrepancy with the March 7, 2005, date noted on the Alba towing receipt.

The towing receipt indicates the bill went to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Crossed out is an initial designation that indicates the bill was originally intended to go to the Border Patrol.

John Godinez, assistant to Mary Stillinger, the defense counsel for Ignacio Ramos, told WND his office was aware there were some fingerprints found on the van, but the defense had not pursued the issue. Mr. Godinez affirmed that during the Ramos-Compean trial, the prosecution did not introduce into evidence the fingerprints or any of the documentary evidence regarding the fingerprints. Proving that the van was driven by Aldrete-Davila was never in contention in the trial after the prosecution gave the drug smuggler immunity to testify.

In his Jan. 19 exclusive interview with WND, prosecutor Sutton strongly maintained there was nothing at the crime scene that would have permitted him to identify and pursue the fleeing Mexican drug smuggler.

WND: So, Aldrete-Davila ran away, and as you say, at the time you didn’t have any basis to know who he was and there were no fingerprints. But yet, you found the guy. If you found the guy to give him immunity, why couldn’t you have found the guy to punish him? Sutton: The way we found him is that he came forward and was in Mexico with a lawyer. So, the only way to get him to testify was to give him immunity from being prosecuted. He wasn’t going to agree to come to the United States, he wasn’t going to agree to talk, unless he had some kind of immunity from being prosecuted for that load. So, that puts the prosecutor in the terrible choice of everyone goes free, we got no case against the dope dealer, we cannot make a case against the dope dealer because there’s no evidence thanks to agents and other factors.

As we WND previously reported, Sutton stated a Mexican lawyer brought Aldrete-Davila forward, without revealing the drug smuggler’s identity, until immunity had been granted. However, WND can find no documentation any such Mexican lawyer was involved.

DHS investigative memos make clear that Border Patrol agent Rene Sanchez in Wilcox, Ariz., identified Aldrete-Davila only days after the Feb. 17, 2005 incident, obtaining his information through family connections. Sanchez grew up with Aldrete-Davila in Mexico.

The information about Aldrete-Davila’s identity was then passed on by Sanchez to DHS special agent Christopher Sanchez, who went to Mexico and found Aldrete-Davila.

This Christopher Sanchez is the same DHS special agent the DHS memo on the fingerprints says received the videotape of the El Paso Police Department fingerprint search on the drug smuggler’s abandoned vehicle.

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Photo

“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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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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Part 10 • Freedom

Make another video, Jill is told, and you’ll be let go. But she doesn’t believe it until they give her a gold necklace and eight $100 bills.

| Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor

(P.G.) The evening of March 29, Katie Carroll went to a party with some of her friends. Earlier that day, she had gone on the Arab satellite television network, Al Arabiya, to plead for her sister’s life.

When she got home that night, Katie imagined – as she had before – how great it would be if the phone would ring, and she would answer it, and it would be Jill, and this would all be over.

Just like that.

• • •

(J.C.) Little Hajar toddled away from the sagging bookcase holding a chapter of the Koran in her hand. She was heading for the foot-pedaled sewing machine, where a shiny candy wrapper had caught her attention.

She grabbed the wrapper, then showed me her treasures. She wasn’t yet 2 years old and was so small that our eyes were at the same level as I sat cross-legged on the floor of the house west of Fallujah. I’d been here almost two weeks and March was almost over.

“What’s that? What’s that? Oooh, wow,” I said, admiringly.

Hajar was great to play with despite the fact that her dress-and-jacket outfits were often smeared with yogurt or other messy food. Sometimes she’d bang on the door of my room to be let in. She was my only friend, the one person in this mujahideen household not responsible for my captivity.

This time, as the candy wrapper sparkled in her hand, the door suddenly opened. I looked up, expecting to see Hajar’s mother or father coming to bring me tea or food as usual.

Instead, I glimpsed Abu Nour‘s visage as he entered. As always, the leader of these mujahideen had come out of nowhere, like an apparition. I cast my eyes to the ground, afraid he’d think I knew too much about his face.

Hajar collapsed into the velveteen of my dishdasha tunic and buried her face in it, afraid of this stranger.

“I know how ya feel, kid,” I thought as I stroked her fine hair and small, motionless back.

What did Ink Eyes want? I hadn’t seen him for three weeks. He’d promised then that he would release me in three days – a promise that had been just as worthless as the many other times he’d vowed I was on the brink of freedom.

I had learned to stop believing the promises, to protect myself from that terrible tease called hope.

I used to cling to every word Abu Nour said, analyzing them for days afterward for any hint of my fate. Now, after almost three months of captivity, I just didn’t have the mental energy to do that anymore.

Instead, all I wanted was to minimize pain and have good days. A few minutes of playing with a child or helping women in the kitchen was an attainable goal. Seeing my family again – that was impossibly far away, a dream.

I stroked Hajar’s hair, only half-listening to Abu Nour drone on. I just wished he would go so Hajar and I could resume our game.

“Well, today is Monday, and tomorrow is Tuesday,” Abu Nour was saying. “So maybe in three days we’ll let you go.”

Twenty-four hours before my release he would return and we could have a final conversation about the mujahideen, he added.

I’d heard all this a million times.

“Oh thank you, sir,” I said, trying to smile as he left.

“Yeah, right,” I thought. “Don’t listen to him. Don’t get your hopes up, Jill. Just don’t do it.”

This was my theory: They were worried about my mental state. Since my bitter blow-ups with the Muj Brothers, Abu Qarrar and Abu Hassan, the mujahideen seemed to think I was fragile. Abu Nour hadn’t seen me in awhile, and he had just come to say hello. Maybe he thought a dose of false hope would keep me from doing something drastic.

It was late March. “Dad’s birthday is May 6,” I thought. “If they let me out before May 6, that will be OK. That’s all I really want.”

Abu Nour had come on Monday. Tuesday was OK: I got to play with Hajar. Then Wednesday came around. I can’t remember why, but I lost it.

I sobbed the whole day. Quietly, so they wouldn’t hear me. I was so tired, so worn out. I’d been fooling myself, thinking some days were happy. It had been three months and I was drifting further and further away from my family, from my life. Enough was enough. “Let me out!” I screamed to myself. “Let me out!”

That night, I was sitting in my room in the dark, all upset. And I heard Abu Nour’s voice.

They brought me into the sitting room after dinner. As always, I smelled his distinctive cologne before I saw him. Abu Nour sat cross-legged on the floor, his head bent toward the ground.

He had told me he was going to come back 24 hours before I was released.

“Tomorrow morning, we’re going to let you go,” he said. “We’re going to drive you to the Iraqi Islamic Party and you will call your newspaper and you will be free.”

I had no reaction. He might as well have said, “Here, have some tea.”

Then came the catch: I needed to make one more video. And I needed to forget much of what he had told me about himself and his group, as well as much of what I had seen.

I had to forget about the Majlis, or council, of mujahideen that he had claimed to lead. I had to say his group was medium-sized, not big, not small.

“You can’t talk about the women and children,” said Ink Eyes. “You have to say you were in one room the whole time and … you were treated very well.”

I was supposed to “interview” him one last time, and he would tell me what I was supposed to say to the world. He handed me a notebook in which I was to write down his words.

(Photograph)
JILLIAN TAMAKI

“Anything outside the notebook is forbidden,” he said.

Abu Nour wanted to make the video that night, but the power went out. So we made it in the morning. I didn’t know then that within a day it would be on the Internet.

After the filming, they put me back in my little room. The night before, they’d told me that they would pay me for my computer, which they would keep, and that they would bring me a gift.

Abu Rasha, the large man who served as the head of the mujahideen cell I spent most of my time with, once had told me that when they let me go, they would give me a gold necklace, just as they had done for Giuliana Sgrena, an Italian journalist who’d been kidnapped in Baghdad in early 2005 and held for a month.

I still wasn’t excited. Money and gold, that was my ticket to freedom. I figured that if they did give me those things, then the end might truly be at hand.

Abu Nour said goodbye. I stammered out some kind of reply. Then I waited, and waited. Finally, the woman of the house rushed in with new clothes for me to wear. There weren’t proper shoes, so she gave me her own black high-heeled patent leather sandals. They fit perfectly.

They rushed me into a car waiting outside. I still didn’t have gold. I still didn’t have money. I began to panic.

Abu Rasha was next to me in the back seat. He leaned over me, or so it felt, as I panted, blind, beneath three black scarves.

“Jill, we asked the Americans for the women prisoners and there were none,” he said. Normally his voice was slow and quiet; now it was loud.

“Oh,” I said, crouched in darkness, blind, hot, and breathless.

“And then we asked the government for money, and they gave us none,” he said.

“Oh yes, I know,” I said.

“Now we’re going to kill you,” he said, agitated and close to my head.

I thought they were going to do it. I imagined the gun. All they’d told me that day had been lies.

I knew I couldn’t be afraid. I had to make them think they were good people who weren’t capable of killing me.

I forced a laugh.

“No, Abu Rasha, you’re my brother, you wouldn’t do that!” I said, trying to keep the desperation out of my voice.

He laughed, more convincingly than me. “No, we’re not going to kill you,” he said. “We’re going to take you to the Iraqi Islamic Party and drop you off.”

I went limp. Tired, frozen, spent, I didn’t know what was going on anymore. I couldn’t make sense, couldn’t analyze. I had nothing left.

We drove and drove and drove. They kept calling on cellphones to the car ahead, to make sure the way was clear. Finally, Abu Rasha told me to lift my scarves and keep my eyes straight down. He started placing $100 bills in my hand. For my computer, I got $400, and then another $400 for my trouble.

Then he said, “Oh yes, we got you this,” and shoved a box into my narrow field of vision. He opened it and pulled out a gold necklace, with a pendant attached.

The money. The gold. Maybe they were really going to let me go.

We switched cars. I was in the front seat, with Abu Rasha driving. He began a monologue, angrier than anything I had ever heard from him. He spewed venom and expletives in English at the American military and government. He railed against the occupation, the war, and the Abu Ghraib prison.

I assured him that I wouldn’t tell the US military or American government that I was free, and I meant it. I would only call my journalist friends to come get me and have them drive me to the airport.

(Photograph)
View the neighborhood where Jill was dropped off and the Iraqi Islamic Party office where she was taken in our interactive map.

I had spent nearly three months feverishly trying to convince my captors that I wasn’t a CIA agent. If I was dropped off and immediately sought help from US officials, the mujahideen would assume that I really was a spy, I thought.

And I was afraid of what they then might do. The mujahideen had done everything they could to drill this message into my head over the past three months: They were omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. There was no escape from them, even in the Green Zone. Maybe not even in the US.

Abu Nour had once told me they had eyes everywhere, and that they’d be watching me after I was released. I’d long imagined a car bomb crashing into a military Humvee sent to collect me.

Then Abu Rasha pulled the car up to a curb. He handed me a note written in Arabic explaining who I was and told me to get out, lift my scarves, and walk a few hundred meters back.

The car door opened. It was Abu Qarrar, one of my Muj Brothers guards who’d appeared from nowhere. He handed me my gifts and a big bag full of all the clothes I’d accumulated over the last three months.

So my least favorite captor was the last one I saw. I said, “OK, Abu Qarrar, OK, goodbye, goodbye.” Then I hauled away, tottering down the road in an insurgent’s wife’s high-heeled sandals, grappling with my stuff, scarves flapping in my face, an ex-hostage bag lady returning to the world.

I found the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) office and handed the man behind the desk the note. I was panicky, terrified, starting to shake. I just wanted to use the phone, I mumbled in Arabic.

Instead, the man ran to notify the manager of this IIP branch office. “The same journalist?!” the manager said incredulously after reading the note. Debate over what to do with me followed. I felt weak, lost. All I knew was that I wanted to call my hotel.

Things moved quickly after that. They tried to hustle me into a white car for a drive to IIP headquarters. I resisted; I just wanted the hotel. I asked again to use the office phone, but was told that none of them worked.

A cellphone appeared, with a call for me. It was Tariq al-Hashemi, the IIP leader, later to become the new government’s vice president. I told Mr. Hashemi that I wanted him to call my hotel, and if no one from the Monitor was there, to call the Washington Post office and have them come get me. He said he would also call the US Embassy. I begged him not to, but he insisted.

(Photograph)
TARIQ AL-HASHEMI: The head of the Iraqi Islamic Party gave Jill Carroll a gift of a Koran shortly after her release on March 30.
APTN/AP
Photos: Reactions to Jill’s release

After a few minutes, a convoy of white SUVs and trucks with flashing lights and gunmen roared into the driveway and streets around the office. The IIP officials brought me downstairs and hurried me into a bulletproof luxury vehicle, complete with leather seats. I realized it was Hashemi’s personal security detail. The lights and guns and militarylike atmosphere terrified me.

I wanted to shout, “I don’t want this!” as we zoomed away.

Things were going horribly wrong. The mujahideen were going to see me; they were going to kill us. They would think I lied, that I hadn’t called my colleagues to come get me in a low-profile way. I doubled over in the seat, hiding below the ledge of the tinted windows.

A man sitting next to me laughed and said, “Why are you doing this?”

“I don’t want them to see me,” I said. Didn’t he understand?! I wanted to shout at them to let me out, to stop, to make the cars with the flashing lights go away. We tore down Baghdad’s streets, a giant screaming convoy with guns sticking out everywhere. I was terrified that every ordinary car we passed was a car bomb sent by the mujahideen to kill me for breaking my promise.

“Be careful of car bombs, be careful,” I told the man driving in Arabic. I checked the location of the door lock and handle in case the vehicle went up in flames and I needed to get out in a hurry.

The guards looked bemused, as if I was crazy, and said not to worry.

For me, my release is one of the hardest memories of my captivity. I don’t know why. Suddenly, my structure was gone. There was no one to tell me what to do.

My body was free, but my mind was not. I was conditioned to be whatever anyone around me wanted me to be. I had no opinions, no self-will. I didn’t know how to make decisions.

The IIP headquarters was a blur. They wanted to make a video of me, and they had me write a letter of thanks and make an audio recording. This was strictly to ensure that no one would accuse them of being my kidnappers, they said. The video was then widely broadcast.

Two close friends from the Washington Post, including Ellen Knickmeyer, the Iraq bureau chief, showed up. Someone gave me a phone, and I called my twin sister, Katie.

(Photograph)
KATIE CARROLL: Jill’s twin sister left her home in Washington on March 30 for a reunion in Boston.
CHRIS GARDNER/AP
Photos: Reactions to Jill’s release

(P.G.) At 5:45 A.M. on March 30, Katie was awakened by a ringing phone. She rolled over, looked at the caller ID, and saw that someone in Iraq was trying to reach her. In an instant, she knew.

They say that dreams come true, but seldom in life is it given to any of us to have such a perfect moment.

She grabbed the phone. “Katie, it’s me,” said the voice on the other end of the line. “I’m free.” Jill and Katie both started to cry.

As the Carroll family’s chief communicator, Katie immediately launched into contact mode, calling people on a predetermined list, working from the East Coast toward the West as the sun rose.

She didn’t have to call her parents. Jim and Mary Beth Carroll got their own wake-up calls from Jill.

At the Monitor’s headquarters in Boston, the news spread quickly. Editors began looking through the happiest of their premade plans, “Carroll Release Logistics.”

In Cairo, staff writer Dan Murphy was having lunch with a journalist colleague. He and Scott Peterson had begun rotating in and out of Baghdad every few weeks. A friend from Reuters sent him an instant message: “Congratulations on Jill being free.”

Mr. Murphy didn’t believe it. After all, over the course of the past months he’d had nine or so false reports of Jill’s freedom. He called back and told his friend nothing had happened. “No, man,” his friend insisted, “we’re just snapping it out of the States. ‘The Christian Science Monitor confirms…’ “

• • •

(J.C.) I made the video for the IIP. My state of mind was reflected in the fact that I felt guilty for delaying the start of filming so I could call members of my family.

I learned that Scott Peterson was still in Baghdad. I was sure he would have fled. I called him on Ellen’s cellphone. He was at the CNN offices where he was working on a new set of public service videos about me.

I was still on the phone with Scott when the US military arrived. I was so afraid of the soldiers. “What should I do, Scott?” He told me if they were there, they were the surest way to safety. I hung onto my friend Ellen from the Post as we went downstairs.

We got into an armored vehicle. I still had my big bag of stuff. I figured the mujahideen were watching. They were watching everything.

The hatches closed. We were driving along, and I finally started to relax.

(Photograph)
VIDEO AMBUSH: Moments after being brought to the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters, Jill Carroll was interviewed by party officials for ‘internal use.’ The video was released to the media within hours.
APTN/AP
Photos: Reactions to Jill’s release

One of the soldiers pulled out a picture of me that he had been carrying with him. “I don’t need this anymore,” he said, and gave it to me.

Another pulled off a flag that was attached with Velcro to his uniform, and gave that to me, too.

A third, sitting to my left, said “We’ve been looking for you for a long time.”

How did these men know who I was? I didn’t understand why they had a picture of me. I had no idea how much coverage my kidnapping had received.

I sat and talked with Ellen. After a few minutes, she said, “You can take off your hijab now.”

“No, no,” I said.

I waited a minute. Then I said, “Well, actually … I guess I can.”

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