Friday, January 29, 2010

Granholm: ‘One Circus at a Time’

Citing nonexistent plans to use the State Fairgrounds for a “job-creating project,” a spokeswoman for Governor Jennifer Granholm says the unused site is off-limits to the Shrine Circus.
The event, which is the oldest Shrine circus in the nation, lost its home last year when the financially crippled state closed the fair.

Detroit Shriners asked Gov. Jennifer Granholm to allow them to continue using the fairgrounds for the circus, but a state spokeswoman said Thursday that it wasn’t possible.

Megan Brown said the state was looking for ways to use the site for a “job-creating project.” She declined to elaborate.

“During tough economic times government can’t be all things to all people,” she said.

Circus Director Chuck Baer said he couldn’t understand the governor’s thinking.("Shrine Circus denied Michigan State Fair site").

Misspeaker of the House?

Marc Thiessen has been rivaling President Obama recently for his media ubiquity. He’s everywhere. In fact, I’m reading his book right now, Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack.

But his message is better for America than Obama’s. Today Thiessen had an article in the Washington Post explaining how Nancy Pelosi was full of it when she said last May in a news conference “that she had opposed CIA waterboarding but was powerless to stop it.” (“Pelosi stopped one CIA operation. So why not waterboarding?”).

Thiessen writes:
A former senior intelligence official told me in 2009 that he was shocked by Pelosi's claim because, he said, "Speaker Pelosi herself has stopped covert action programs that she has been briefed on by going to the White House. In that very same time frame [after she learned about waterboarding] Pelosi had gone back to the White House [over] a separate covert action program, expressed strong opposition to it. And the remarkable part to me, the White House backed off the program, changed one aspect of the program . . . she was particularly opposed to. And literally, the finding was pulled back and revised." If Pelosi had truly opposed waterboarding, he said, she had numerous ways to stop it -- but she didn't try.
Pelosi tried to disguise her own complicity in the enhanced interrogation techniques she was briefed on by claiming the CIA had lied to her about it. (“Nancy Pelosi: CIA Lied To Me”).

Thiessen writes that later on,
Journalists did not question Pelosi's claims -- and then they stopped questioning her. Pelosi announced that she would not take more questions on the topic, and the media complied. Reporters who relentlessly chased the Valerie Plame leak let the story drop. Pelosi's role in stopping another covert operation gives lie to her claims that she was powerless to stop waterboarding -- but the Washington press corps failed to "connect the dots." Now that the truth is out, will they continue to let her get away with not answering questions? We'll learn the answer at her next press briefing.

Peace Through Neuroscience

What with one thing and another, I haven’t really been following the Aafia Siddiqui trial.

Apparently she has been dragged out of the coutroom repeatedly for misbehavior. But I ran across this notable passage in the New York Times today:
Ms. Siddiqui’s lawyers had tried to keep her muzzled to protect herself, arguing that she is mentally ill and “driven by an irrational and delusional belief that she can convince listeners that she can bring world peace,” according to a motion they filed on Monday. (“Neuroscientist Denies Trying to Kill Americans”).
Is it only me, or does that delusion sound strangely familiar?

The Law Comes to Kansas

(CNN) -- A Kansas jury deliberated just 40 minutes before convicting an anti-abortion activist of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of an abortion provider.

The jury found Scott Roeder, 51, guilty of gunning down Dr. George Tiller, who operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed. Roeder, 51, faces life in prison when he is sentenced on March 9. (“Activist Roeder convicted of abortion provider's murder”).

The court had earlier denied Roeder the use of the defense that he believed “circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”

That judge said more than he intended when he ruled that Scott Roeder would not be allowed to argue that he used justified force in killing the arch-abortionist. As Roeder flatly stated when cross-examined about whether he’d “completed his mission?”: He’s been stopped.” Mr. Roeder said. (“Doctor’s Killer Puts Abortion on the Stand”).

But the judge wasn’t having it.

"There is no imminence of danger on a Sunday morning in the back of a church, let alone any unlawful conduct, given that what Tiller did at his clinic Monday through Friday is lawful in Kansas," the judge said.

To which I say, So much the worse for Kansas.

Even if what Tiller did at his clinic five days a week is lawful in Kansas, it’s still unlawful in Heaven. And I can conceive that even at Reformation Lutheran Church, where Tiller was a Christian in Good Standing, they still recite that part of The Lord’s Prayer that request, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

Maybe, were it unlawful to fatally drill the skulls of full-term infants in Kansas, the judge would have seen his way to ruling that, yes, there is an imminent danger—in fact, a foreseeable one--to infants, mothers, and statutory rape victims. No one doubted that, had Roeder changed his mind and stayed away that Sunday, the following Monday morning would have found Tiller being convoyed to work to start right back in committing infanticides by the score.

Once Roeder was denied his only defense, Ann Swengel, the Kansas prosecutor, had an easy job to show Roeder was guilty of first-degree murder. Kansas law requires only two elements for a conviction on that charge: the killing of a human being, and that it be done intentionally and with premeditation. “He carried out a planned assassination,” Swengel told the jury today, “and there can be no other verdict in this case.”

You decide to kill a human being, folks, and then carry out that plan, we call that 1st-degree murder in Kansas. So boom, boom, says the jury after a 40 minutes. We find the defendant guilty.

Remember, it wasn’t Tiller (“the killing of a human being, intentionally and with premeditation”) on trial, but Roeder. Kathleen Sebelius and a raft of crooked Democrats through the years had always made damned sure that, in life, Tiller never went on trial. Here and here.

And of course we all know the law’s the law, right? That’s why the judge had to decide that Tiller, his appointment book black with premeditated homicides, was not an imminent danger. How could he be? “What Tiller did at his clinic Monday through Friday is lawful in Kansas.”

Just that easy.

But here’s a thought. There’s the law. And then there’s the Law.

Which is why, on second thought, I figure all those Wichita Lutherans praying for the Lord’s will to be done on earth may have been getting through, after all.

I can even believe that one Sunday God decided He’d answer that prayer right there in their own church foyer.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Orleans Shocked By Conservative Ne'Er Do Wells

NEW ORLEANS – The four men accused of trying to tamper with Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office phones share a common experience as young ideologues writing for conservative publications.

Federal authorities said two of the men posed as telephone workers wearing hard hats, tool belts and flourescent vests when they walked into the senator's office inside a federal building in New Orleans on Monday. The other two were accused of helping to organize the plan.
(“4 men accused of phone plot had conservative ties”).

On its face this seems like a terrifically bad idea by O’Keefe and his pals. But all the facts aren’t out on this one yet.

That aside, even I was surprised at how many time the AP story used the term “conservative”: 11 times in a thousand-word story. The story reminds me of articles and blog posts I read all the time, and sometimes write myself, whose object is to explain how individual X, or organization Y, have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, or Iran or Hamas, or organizations funding global jihadists.

This AP thing reminds me of those stories, but that doesn’t mean the shoe is on the other foot. It’s a legitimate approach to clarify an individual’s associations with groups involved in wrongdoing. But, there is no consensus that being a conservative is, ipso facto, wrongdoing. even though it seemed pretty obvious the AP writers assume it to be so.

I remember how some years back a conservative coworker marveled at an article in the local entertainment paper, (edited by Marxists, naturally), that described a local public figure as “a known Republican,” as if his party affiliation was comparable to being a business partner with John Gotti.

The difference is that being “conservative” is not illegal, although many liberals believe it ought to be. Having “conservative ties” is not comparable to contributing to Islamic groups that support suicide bombers and rocket attacks on Israel. Being conservative doesn’t mean, in fact, it could never mean, that you’re associated with radicals who publicly call for the destruction of the American Constitution and its replacement with a an idolatrous tyranny.

The AP’s thoroughness in identifying -- 11 times -- O’Keefe’s poor judgment with “conservatism” can be compared with the Pentagon report on the attack by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood, which uses the term “Islam” or “Islamic”-- 0 times.

Obama Shindig Back for a Second Season

According to retiring Arkansas Governor Marion Berry, a group of worried Democrats mentioned to President Obama last week that there are signs that the 2010 mid-term elections may be as bad or worse for Democrats than in 1994, when Bill Clinton was president:

“The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me,’” Berry told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.”("Top Democrats at war - with each other").

In honor of the president’s inspiring self-confidence, a songwriting correspondent of DU, spending too much time contemplating the Democrat-Obama dialogue, has forwarded the following.


(Nasally, with plaintive oboe, to the melody of Sonny & Cher’s, “I Got You Babe”)

THEM: They say it’s bad, just like 'ninety-four
That Scott Brown broom gonna sweep us out the door
HIM: Let me be clear, this shall not be,
Cuz you got me, and baby. . . You GOT ME

THEM: You?
HIM: You got
ME babe
You got
ME babe

THEM: They say our chance has come and gone
Our trans-for-ma-tive moment has been blown
HIM: Well, maybe you’re all on the ropes
But I am still the fountain of all hopes

THEM, You?
HIM: You got ME babe
You got ME babe

THEM: We'll face voters in the fall
HIM: And I'm still, The All in All
THEM: And these town halls! They're shoutin' us down!
HIM: The world's gonna change, becuz I'm arou-how-how-hound!

THEM: The polls say all our support is gone
The health care thing, that really turned out wrong
HIM: Just follow me, to my mountaintop
I have decreed that I shall never flop!

BOTH: You got ME babe
You got ME babe

HIM: I got you to vote for me
THEM: We lost bills we wrote for you
HIM: I got Ashton, and Demi!
THEM: We got Reid and Pelosi!
HIM: Oprah wants to kiss my cheek . . .
THEM: Dems resigning every week!
HIM: I'm in charge, and I won't let go
THEM: You can’t even close Gitmo!

BOTH: You got ME babe
You got ME babe
You got ME babe




Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Senators Think al-Qaida Bomber Has More to Share With Us

We’ll see if it does any good.

Senators rebel over treating Detroit airline terrorist as a civilian

By: Byron York
Chief Political CorrespondentJanuary 26, 2010
(AP file)

A bipartisan revolt is brewing in the Senate over the Obama administration's handling of accused Detroit bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. A small but growing number of lawmakers is asking the president to undo what many regard as the disastrously wrong-headed decision to grant Abdulmutallab full American constitutional rights. Once he was told he had the right to remain silent, the accused terrorist stopped talking to U.S. investigators, possibly denying them valuable intelligence about the threat from al Qaeda.

The revolt started last week when top administration counterterrorism officials testified they had not been consulted about the decision to read Abdulmutallab the Miranda warning and give him a court-appointed lawyer. Several senators were aghast, including Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, the committee's ranking Republican Susan Collins, and the Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican Jeff Sessions. How could the Justice Department have done something so consequential without even consulting the administration's own experts on terrorism and intelligence?

The anger on Capitol Hill grew over the weekend, when the Associated Press reported that local FBI agents in Detroit were allowed to question Abdulmutallab for just 50 minutes before he went into surgery for several hours. During that time, Justice Department lawyers in Washington intervened and Abdulmutallab was later read his Miranda rights.

That was bad enough, but what really made lawmakers angry was when White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," insisted the 50-minute interrogation had been entirely sufficient for investigators to learn everything they needed to know about the al Qaeda plot to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

"You really don't think that if you'd interrogated him longer that you might have gotten more information?" asked Fox's Chris Wallace.

"Well, FBI interrogators believe they got valuable intelligence and were able to get all that they could out of him," Gibbs said.

"All they could?" Wallace asked.

"Yeah," Gibbs said.

That was it for some lawmakers. "It is now clear beyond doubt that the administration squandered an invaluable opportunity to gather intelligence from a captured terrorist fresh from al Qaeda's operation in Yemen," Sessions said. "But this weekend, the president's spokesman actually argued that the right call was made and that fifty minutes of interrogation was sufficient."

On Monday, Lieberman and Collins wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as top White House terrorism official John Brennan, saying the decision to give Abdulmutallab full American constitutional rights had been a serious mistake, but that "the administration can reverse this error, at least to some degree, by immediately transferring Abdulmuttalab to the Department of Defense ... [which has] the authority and capability to hold and interrogate Abdulmuttalab and try him before a military commission."

Sessions agrees, and it's a suggestion more lawmakers are likely to support in coming days. But it raises a critical question: Once Abdulmutallab has been given the Miranda warning, can the administration take it back?

"Of course," says David Rivkin, a lawyer who served in the Reagan and Bush I administrations. "To the extent that the facts justifying his designation as an enemy combatant are there, you can always designate him as such. Miranda rights are relevant only to interrogations in the criminal justice system. If he were transferred to the military justice system, it wouldn't be taking those rights back -- it would be just irrelevant."

Others worry that it wouldn't be so easy. "The problem is, once you get them into the civilian system, the federal courts have made very clear that they're not going to let go easily," says Lee Casey, another veteran of the Reagan and Bush I administrations who has co-authored several articles with Rivkin. "While I think it would be a great idea, given how solicitous the courts have been of these detainees, I doubt the federal courts would cede jurisdiction."

Whatever the degree of difficulty, it is a fact that Abdulmutallab was recruited by al Qaeda, trained by al Qaeda, and sent to the United States by al Qaeda. It's reasonable to assume he could be an important source of information about the terrorist organization. For Lieberman, Collins and Sessions, that makes it worth the effort.

You might think the president would agree. After all, he has said specifically that the United States is "at war against al Qaeda." But changing Abdulmutallab's status would be an admission that his administration got it wrong when confronted by an al Qaeda terrorist determined to kill Americans. And it's not at all clear that that is something the president is prepared to do.

Why Obama Let the Christmas Bomber Take the Fifth

Rich Lowry had this to say today about the decision to give Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab constitutional protections:
It literally didn’t even occur to the administration to do otherwise. Top terrorism officials weren’t consulted. The director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the director of National Intelligence, the FBI director, and the secretary of Homeland Security were all out of the loop. Some as-yet-unidentified top Justice Department official, who probably is known around the office as “general,” made the call. ("The Abdulmutalab travesty").

Enough already with the rhetorical outbursts: “Are they crazy?! What are they doing?! Why would they do this??!” etc., etc.

I’m beginning to wonder if the decision to swaddle Abdulmutallab with the Bill of Rights, (or at least Earl Warren’s botched-up paraphrase of the 5th and 6th Amendments known as Miranda vs. Arizona) wasn’t a deliberate choice to spare Farouk aggressive interrogation. President Obama is spared, too. He’s spared the heavy responsibility, and worse yet, the moral burden that George W. Bush shouldered for seven years after 9/11.

Right up until Christmas Day, Obama used every opportunity to bludgeon the Bush administration’s counterterrorism efforts as immoral, ineffective, and in direct violation of the rule of law. Obama, and his alter ego in this effort, Attorney General Eric Holder, portray the administration as bringing us back from where we had “lost our way” under Bush, and, by extending civil liberties to our most dangerous enemies, restoring “American values” and winning back the alienated affections of the rest of the world.

Constant repetitions of the terms “waterboarding,” “Abu Ghraib,” “torture,” kept the Left riled up, and confused many other under-informed Americans about what actually happened in aggressive interrogation, and, more important, why. Obama’s repudiation of Bush’s aggressive approach to terrorists, which was proved effective where it counted, against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Zubaydah, could not have been more total. Beyond his insufferable rhetoric about it, Obama leapt before he looked into ordering Guantanamo shut, a dramatic and stupendously thoughtless gesture to prove to the Left that he would risk losing a war rather than offend the ACLU.

He hated Bush and his antiterrorism so much he even turned loose his attorney general to find ways to prosecute Justice Department lawyers and CIA interrogators for doing their jobs. For doing their jobs, and, as far as anyone has ever shown, for doing them lawfully.

Posturing this way was easy enough for Obama during the campaign and the early months of his administration. Thanks to the diligence and focus of the previous administration he despises so much, al-Qaida’s second shoe was never able to drop after 9/11. Bush had done such a good job in holding off al-Qaida, through aggressive interrogation, through the Patriot Act, through NSA surveillance, through scaring the bejeezus out of some of the Middle East’s most war-like dictators by his determination in clobbering the Taliban and deposing Saddam, that the America that elected Barack Obama felt safe enough to overlook the primping Senator’s dizzying lack of qualifications to be Commander-in-Chief. The jihadist threat was only an abstraction for Obama, which is the only way his people could have dared used terms like “Overseas Contingency Operation” and “man-caused" disasters”.

Americans understand waterboarding if it saves other Americans’ lives. But who can tolerate nameless acts of “torture” meant to protect us only from an overheated phobia of “Overseas Contingency Operations”?

Obama’s terrorism strategy has been to jam national security into Reverse gear. Obama and Holder could only sermonize about a “dark and painful chapter in our history” because the context of that chapter was several years in the past—in the dim, dim past. That's the one place too many Americans hate so much to visit, and rarely can describe with accuracy.

Obama could keep reducing the number of detainees at Gitmo, because the number being captured wasn’t growing. He could keep dissing the war in Iraq, because Bush won it before Obama’s ascension.

The three most potent symbols used to show America had “lost her way” in fighting terrorism were waterboarding, the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, and the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. But we haven’t waterboarded anyone since 2003, and it was the CIA under the Bush administration that discontinued the practice. The Abu Ghraib abuse lasted a couple months and was uncovered by the Army in 2003, investigated by the military, and the offenders punished before the end of 2005. And still the urban legend explains Abu Ghraib as an ongoing torture regime that only ended thanks to the brave reporting of the media. Millions of liberals on their futons each night still lull themselves to sleep picturing Donald Rumsfeld personally phoning in orders to every cell block in the U.S. military detention system, commanding prisoners be phtographed naked. Guantanamo, which the likes of Senator Dick Durbin stupidly compared with “Soviets in their gulags,” is the only symbol that actually still exists in the present. And no one, on the Left or Right, has any serious challenges that the prison meets Geneva Convention standards at present. And it always has.

Here’s the thing. I think Obama really doesn’t want to be responsible for the interrogation of a high-value detainee. It’s one thing to blow al-Qaida guys into Pakistani rubble with Predators. But to have a guy under custodial interrogation after you and your Attorney General have spent a year locking the interrogators’ arsenal and throwing away the key is a problem.

Obama can’t be tough on captured terrorists, or the Left will accuse him of being like Bush. And if he takes the other tack and interrogates Umar according to his own present restrictions, (which means Umar can be asked questions slightly less intrusive than what’s needed to fill out Facebook’s Profile page), it’s quite likely to be a failure. And he can’t afford that failure right now when polls show American in favor of waterboarding Umar, and against allowing KSM to stage his interpretation of New York, New York in a federal courtroom. Obama is just now figuring out that the failure at Ft. Hood was his failure, and the failure of the Christmas bomber was his failure. And the growing problem of the al-Qaida infection in yet one more Arabian quagmire--Yemen--is his problem.

He’s blamed everything on George Bush he can’t fix, which, so far, is everything, . But he can’t blame Abdulmutallab on Bush. According to the Left, Bush and Cheney were never happier than when they were profiling guys like Abdulmutallab and disappearing them into CIA secret prisons, where at least they couldn’t blow up a plane full of Dutchmen over Detroit. According to the Left, Donald Rumsfeld would have personally participated in the waterboarding of Major Hasan, rather than stood by and let this jihadist son of a bitch shot up Fort Hood.

These days, those aren't comparisons Obama wants to suffer through.

Better to hide Umar under the Fifth Amendment, and save himself the flak.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Che Chotskie Industry: Too Big to Fail?

Glenn Beck is doing great work placing some elementary facts about totalitarianism before his audience that are too little-known. As he points out, much of 20th-Century history is being willfully erased. He showed a documentary on Friday that’s worth viewing.

I particularly appreciated the segment on Che Guevara, the murderous Talibanista who’s still such a hit as a fashion statement. (Oh, and the statement is, “I’m really clueless!”).

Che as a fashion icon never did anything for me. I never wore the Che-image t-shirt or had the Che-image bottle-opener. However, I have had a lot of enjoyment out of the Che-image toilet seat, which is no longer available after complaints from the American Association of Universtiy Professors.

Former Malaysian Premier Explains Why Jews Need Periodic Massacre

From Thomas Lifson at American Thinker:

Jews 'had to be periodically massacred'

Thomas Lifson

The former elected leader of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, spoke openly of Jews this way at an Islamic conference. Australian journalist
Andrew Bolt brings us the story, and notes "he expected his views to win support."

The former premier also blamed Jews for hindering progress in US foreign policy. Voicing his disappointment that Barack Obama had not yet ended the war in Afghanistan or closed the US terror detention center at Guantanamo, he explained that "there are forces in the United States which prevent the president from doing some things. One of the forces is the Jewish lobby."

"had always been a problem in European countries. They had to be confined to ghettoes and periodically massacred. But still they remained, they thrived and they held whole governments to ransom," Mahathir said.

"Even after their massacre by the Nazis of Germany, they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world."

When the former prime minister of one of the most economically advanced Muslim-majority countries, Malaysia, feels free to openly endorse, or at least accept as natural and inevitable, Holocausts against Jews, it is fair to posit that such views are common among the world's billion or so Muslims.

The world watched and did nothing when Nazis moved against the Jews. History appears to be repeating itself. This startling news is getting very little play, so far. Matahir, who also believes in a 9/11 conspiracy theory, ought to be shamed fort hese words, but somehow I suspect that the "human rights" community will remain silent, as will CAIR and the Muslim lobby.

Why aren't more American Jews concerned at the brewing second Holocaust? The signs are clear.

Green Jobs for Yemeni Will Thwart al-Qaida

The honorary consul general for Yemen, Abdulhakem Alsadah, says what pushes al-Qaida recruitment in his country is the lack of economic opportunity. Al-Qaeda, apparently, provides lifetime economic security, right up to the moment you scream your final Allahu Akhbar! and go boom--after that you’re Allah’s problem. From the Detroit Free Press:

Abdulhakem Alsadah, hon­orary consul general of Yemen in Michigan, said the help would create jobs in manufac­turing and infrastructure and provide education and social projects.

He said this would provide Yemeni work opportunities in­stead of joining al-Qaida be­cause they are economically and socially desperate, and eventually push the terrorist group out of Yemen.

“We are not asking for any direct military intervention but security cooperation and eco­nomic and social help because we think the problem has to do with the economy,” said Alsa­dah.

hadigah Alasry, 23, of Dearborn, whose parents came to the U.S. from Yemen for work in 1982, said “a coun­try w­ithout opportunity and re­sources like Yemen should con­cern us, not that someone who came out of a school there that did something very stupid.” (“YEMENI FIGHT NEGATIVE IMAGE”).

Actually, this explanation fits in well with the Obama administration’s recalibration of our counterterrorism efforts from a war-footing to a law-enforcement footing. You remember, the approach that was so successful for us from 1993 to 2001.

And since we all know the “root cause” of crime is poverty, ergo the cure for al-Qaeda brand extremism is-- Yemeni midnight basketball!--or whatever game their tall kids play there.

This message about crime and economic opportunity is one the Detroit area is used to hearing. For time out of mind we’ve been told that desperation at a lack of jobs has compelled young men to rape and murder 98-year-old ladies, sell crack, steal cars, burgle houses, wear stupid costumes, and commit drive-by shootings at houses where somebody who “looked at” them lived.

And we’ve always known that message was bullshit, too.

Not only was Umar Farouk Abdulmutal­lab’s pre-al-Qaida existence one of fabulous wealth, “members of radical Islamist terror groups tend to be better off economically and more educated than their demographic cohorts.” (“Most terrorists are privileged terrorists”).

Nobody packs PETN in his shorts to put food on the table. If poverty explained this, we’d see a lot more Haitians joining the cause.

Not that honorary consul Abdulhakem Alsadah doesn’t know this.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Breaking: Miranda Warning Ended Bomber Cooperation

Breaking from Associated Press, via The Canadian Press:

Inside the Christmas interrogation of airplane bombing suspect

By Devlin Barrett (CP) – 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON — Badly burned and bleeding, the suspect in the Christmas Day flight to Detroit tried one last gambit as he was led away: He claimed there was another bomb hidden on the plane he'd just tried to destroy, officials said.

There was no second bomb, federal agents learned after a tense search. But the Nigerian suspect's threat began hours of conversations that are now the subject of a fierce political debate over the right way to handle terrorism suspects.

In interviews with The Associated Press, U.S. officials described for the first time the details of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's arrest Dec. 25 at Detroit Metro Airport.

Captured after a bomb hidden in his underwear ignited but failed to explode, Abdulmutallab spoke freely and provided valuable intelligence, officials said. Federal agents repeatedly interviewed him or heard him speak to others. But when they read him his legal rights nearly 10 hours after the incident, he went silent.

Since the attempted bombing, several prominent lawmakers have argued he should have been placed immediately in military custody, and the nation's top intelligence official said he should have been questioned by a special group of terror investigators, rather than the FBI agents who responded to the scene.

The officials who spoke to The AP said on-scene investigators never discussed turning the suspect over to military authorities. And their accounts show that as the hours passed, the FBI turned to its own expert counterterror interrogators and made no effort to involve the special unit, which was not yet up and running.

The officials provided an account of the law enforcement response to the holiday bombing on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details of the investigation.

Here is what officials say happened:

Shortly after noon on Christmas, federal agents were notified that Northwest Airlines flight 253 had arrived at the Detroit airport from Amsterdam, with a passenger who had lit an explosive device on the aircraft.

After being restrained and stripped bare by fellow passengers and crew, Abdulmutallab was handed over to Customs and Border Protection officers and local police.

The officers decided the suspect needed immediate medical attention, and an ambulance crew took him to the burn unit at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Along the way, Abdulmutallab repeatedly made incriminating statements to the CBP officers guarding him. He told them he had acted alone on the plane and had been trying to take down the aircraft.

Abdulmutallab arrived at the hospital just before 2 p.m. Still under guard, Abdulmutallab told a doctor treating him that he had tried to trigger the explosive. The Nigerian said it didn't cause a blast, but instead began popping and ignited a fire on his groin and legs.

FBI agents from the Detroit bureau arrived at the hospital around 2:15 p.m., and were briefed by the Customs agents and officers as Abdulmutallab received medical treatment.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., FBI agents began interviewing the suspect in his hospital room, joined by a CBP officer and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

The suspect spoke openly, said one official, talking in detail about what he'd done and the planning that went into the attack. Other counterterrorism officials speaking on condition of anonymity said it was during this questioning that he admitted he had been trained and instructed in the plot by al-Qaida operatives in Yemen.

The interview lasted about 50 minutes. Before they began questioning Abdulmutallab, the FBI agents decided not to give him his Miranda warnings providing his right to remain silent.

While the Miranda warning - based on a 1966 Supreme Court ruling - is a bedrock principle of the U.S. justice system and a staple of television cop shows, there is a major exception which could apply in Abdulmutallab's case.

Investigators are allowed to question a suspect without providing a Miranda warning if they are trying to end a threat to public safety.

In a future trial in a federal court, prosecutors would likely justify Abdulmutallab's questioning without a Miranda warning by arguing that the FBI agents needed to know quickly if there were other planes with other bombs headed for the United States. The 9/11 attacks and other past plots have shown al-Qaida's penchant for synchronized attacks in multiple locations.

Since the incident, Republican lawmakers have argued that the Obama administration mishandled the case by not considering putting Abdulmutallab in military custody - part of a larger political argument about whether terror suspects should face military or civilian justice.

"Those who now argue that a different action should have been taken in this case were notably silent when dozens of terrorists were successfully prosecuted in federal court by the previous administration," Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said earlier this week.

Abdulmutallab's interview ended when the suspect was given medication and the investigators decided it would be better to let the effects of the drugs wear off before pressing him further. The suspect went into surgery - counterterrorism officials went into overdrive tightening airline security and chasing leads.

He would not be questioned again for more than five hours. By that point, officials said, FBI bosses in Washington had decided a new interrogation team was needed. They made that move in case the lack of a Miranda warning or the suspect's medical condition at the time of the earlier conversations posed legal problems later on for prosecutors.

There was no effort to call in the elite federal High-Value Interrogation Group, a special unit of terror specialists that the Obama administration said early last year it would create to deal with terror suspects captured abroad.

Last week, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said the unit should have been called in after Abdulmutallab's arrest. But even if federal officials wanted to expand its use to domestic cases, the special team was not ready for action, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress last week.

Based on the instructions from Washington, the second interview was conducted by different FBI agents and others with the local joint terrorism task force.

Such a move is not unusual in cases where investigators or prosecutors want to protect themselves from challenges to evidence or statements.

By bringing in a so-called "clean team" of investigators to talk to the suspect, federal officials aimed to ensure that Abdulmutallab's statements would still be admissible if the failure to give him his Miranda warning led a judge to rule out the use of his first admissions.

Even if Abdulmutallab's statements are ruled out as evidence, they still provided valuable intelligence for U.S. counterterrorism officials to pursue, officials said.

In the end, though, the "clean team" of interrogators did not prod more revelations from the suspect.

Having rested and received more extensive medical treatment, Abdulmutallab was told of his right to remain silent and right to have an attorney.

He remained silent.

Copyright © 2010 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.


Question: If “FBI bosses in Washington” had more than five hours to deliberate over Miranda warnings and sending in a “clean team,” then how could FBI Director Mueller testify as he did on Wednesday that he was never “consulted about how to handle the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab”? I believe he testified truthfully--why admit he was out of the loop if he wasn’t? And I appreciate it Christmas Day, when even FBI directors aren’t expected to be in the office. Yet this story started breaking by 2:00 pm. And according to this report, it was 10 hours after the incident before Farouk was read his rights, aorund ten o'clock. And Mueller still didn’t know about it? Then who were the bosses in Washington making decisions?

And why did “on-scene investigators never discuss[] turning the suspect over to military authorities”? Weren’t those turf wars and institutional arrogance part of what the 9/11 Commission thought needed fixing?

Doesn’t the FBI in Detroit know we’re in a war?

Is This a War or a Crime Wave?

According to the Detroit News: “There were 379 homicides in Detroit last year, up from 375 in 2008. But from July to December last year, there were 179 -- a 20 percent decline from the same period in 2008.” (“Detroit murder toll rises slightly to 379”).

But 2009’s total would have doubled and then some on Christmas Day, if 290 more people on Flight 253--plus untold numbers on the ground--had been killed as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his handlers in Yemen, and in Hell, had planned.

A strange way to look at it, I guess. Who would consider what would have been a 9/11-style act of war as just a large number of homicides?

The Obama administration, that's who. And seeing acts of war as law enforcement cases is one difference between approaching the organized jihad against the United States as a law enforcement problem instead of a war.

Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor who put the Blind Sheikh Omar Rahman in prison for life, has a lot of the same questions we do about the way Flight 253 bomber Abdulmutallab’s case has been handled as a civilian crime. (“Still Time to Get It Right”). “All the decisions were made by agents and prosecutors on the ground. So who decided to take the case to the civilian system? Whose call was it to Mirandize Abdulmutallab? Whose heads ought to roll over this tragicomedy of errors?”

All worthy questions, he agrees, but not the main point:
The germane decisions are not the ones that were made in Abdulmutallab’s case. The big decision is the one made at the beginning of the Obama administration, by the president and nobody else: It is the default position of the administration that law enforcement is the preferred approach for dealing with international terrorism. The standing rule is that, if a person is apprehended in the United States — even if he is an al-Qaeda operative unleashed here to kill massively — he is to be regarded as a criminal defendant, not as a prisoner of war.

We are at war, yet it’s the attorney general — not the commander-in-chief, not the secretary of defense — who decides whether someone is an enemy or not. And under Obama’s approach to counterterrorism, the first priority is prosecution. Nothing is to be done — especially not aggressive interrogation — if it would compromise the terrorist’s due-process rights, be frowned on by federal judges, or otherwise interfere with “bringing the ‘defendant’ to justice.” And so, despite all the criticism of how the Christmas bomber was handled, he is still being treated as a defendant. Obama hasn’t reversed course and designated him an enemy combatant. The interrogation has ceased, and the case goes on.

If you’re going to get angry over something, get angry over that. It’s going to cost lives.

Is Eric Holder Running National Intelligence?

Wednesday’s revelation that none of four top intelligence officials were consulted about the decision to handle Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal defendant, instead of an Al Qaeda combatant, only reinforces my belief that the Obama administration is incompetent to handle national security.

Those top officials who testified they were left out of the loop:
included all three senior Obama administration officials who testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday: Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security; Michael Leiter, chairman of the National Counterterrorism Center; and Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence. It also included FBI Director Robert Mueller. (“System failure”).
Blair told the committee that handling Farouk with reckless disregard for his value as an intelligence source was a foul-up, caused by the failure to implement the high-value interrogation unit, still on the White House drawing board, charged with making critical decisions about whether a person “detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means.”

But at the same time, Mueller, head of the FBI, defended what happened.

"The decision to arrest [Abdulmutallab] and put him in criminal courts, the decision was made by the agents on the ground, the ones that took him from the plane and then followed up on the arrest in the hospital," Mueller told the committee. He also said: "In this particular case, in fast-moving events, decisions were made—appropriately, I believe, very appropriately—given the situation."
Agents on the ground made those decisions???

Other versions report Blair saying that “FBI agents on the ground consulted with headquarters and the Justice Department on the decision to charge Abdulmutallab.” (“Intelligence chief says FBI was too hasty in handling of attempted bombing”). So then the FBI agents consulted with the DOJ first?

Then Mueller testified that “’in consultation with the Department of Justice and others in the administration,’ the agents read [Farouk] his rights.” (“On bombing suspect, tough questions for Eric Holder”).

So the DOJ and others in the administration directed Farouk be read his Miranda rights. And so, as Byron York writes:
[T]hat was that. "Isn't it a fact, that after Miranda was given ... the individual stopped talking?" Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions asked Mueller.

"He did," Mueller answered. But Mueller declined to say who made the decision to grant Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent.

The issue is enormously important because Abdulmutallab, newly trained by al Qaeda in the terrorist group's latest hot spot, Yemen, likely knows things that would be very useful to American anti-terrorism investigators. He's not some grizzled old terrorist who's been sitting in Guantanamo Bay since 2003 and doesn't have any new intelligence. He's fresh material. Yet he is protected by U.S. criminal law from having to answer questions.
Brian Moskowitz, Detroit’s local agent in charge with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the AP the agents did everything right. His explanation strongly suggests Moskowitz didn’t even graspwhat the basic controversy was, anyway, which isn’t a good sign for someone in his position. He defended the way it was handled by saying, “it was critical that agents immediately speak to Abdulmutallab to determine whether ‘there were other people on other planes planning to do the same.’” (“Intel chief: Detroit bomb case mishandled”).
But no one’s questioning that Faoruk should have been questioned immediately to find out what he knew. The question is, whose big idea was it to get him a lawyer so he would stop talking about what he knew?

So was it local FBI agents who made an executive-level national security decision about how Farouk should be prosecuted, or did they consult with the Department of Justice, or with anyone else in the administration--or didn’t they? Could all of this be down to yet another decision made by Attorney General Eric Holder?

That’s what some of the committee members would like to know.
So on Thursday all seven Republicans on the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Holder asking for a full explanation: Who made the decision and why, and whether the administration now has “a protocol or policy in place for handling al Qaeda terrorists captured in the United States.”

Friday, January 22, 2010

War on Infidels

Clifford May gets serious about the war against non-Muslims minorities in Muslim countries. (“The War Against the Infidels”).
In 2001, the monumental 6th-century buddhas of Bamiyan were dynamited on orders from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. The United States and other Western governments issued protests. Afghanistan’s Islamist rulers shrugged them off.

In 2010, Al-Kifl, the tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel, near Baghdad, is being desecrated. On the tomb are inscriptions in Hebrew and an ark in which a Torah was displayed centuries ago. Iraq’s Antiquities and Heritage Authority, under pressure from Islamists, is erasing the Hebrew words, removing the Hebrew ornaments, and planning to build a mosque on top of the grave.

So far, we’re hearing protests from almost no one. But this is not just another “Where is the outrage?” story. The larger and more alarming trend is that, in a growing number of Muslim-majority countries, a war is being waged against non-Muslim minorities.

Where non-Muslim minorities already have been “cleansed” — as in Afghanistan and Iraq — the attacks are against their memory. Ethnic minorities also are being targeted: The genocidal conflict against the black Muslims of Darfur is only the most infamous example.

Connect these dots: In Nigeria this week, Muslim youths set fire to a church, killing more than two dozen Christian worshippers. In Egypt, Coptic Christians have been suffering increased persecution including, this month, a drive-by shooting outside a church in which seven people were murdered. In Pakistan, Christian churches were bombed over Christmas. In Turkey, authorities have been closing Christian churches, monasteries, and schools, and seizing Christian properties. Recently, churches in Malaysia have been attacked, too, provoked by this grievance: Christians inside the churches were referring to God as “Allah.” How dare infidels use the same name for the Almighty as do Muslims!

In response to all this, Western journalists, academics, diplomats, and politicians mainly avert their eyes and hold their tongues. They pretend there are no stories to be written, no social pathologies to be documented, no actions to be taken. They focus instead on Switzerland’s vote against minarets and anything Israel might be doing to prevent terrorists from claiming additional victims.

Many Muslims, no doubt, disapprove of the persecution of non-Muslims. But in most Muslim-majority countries, any Muslim openly opposing the Islamists and their projects risks being branded an apostate. And under the Islamist interpretation of Sharia, Islamic law, apostates deserve death.
Read the rest here.

Beck, Palin, Coulter

If you missed Glenn Beck’s trade-mark analysis yesterday of President Obama’s remarks that the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts was “not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years,” then you missed a great laugh.

Making me laugh is the one thing about Beck that draws me to watch him. He doesn’t make me cry, even though he makes himself cry. And he doesn’t make me want to renounce voting for Republicans and embrace populism. Nor does he make me scream at the TV, the way O’Reilly does.

But when Beck gets going on Obama’s advisers, his ridicule matches up perfectly with the ridiculousness of his targets.

Last week C. Edmund Wright at American Thinker was able to express my thoughts on Beck better than I could. Wright was making some observations about Sarah Palin’s first week as a Fox News contributor:
The number of times Beck led the conversation into a "there is no difference between the parties" (paraphrase) mode. Twice he made a pretty hard push to get Palin to disavow the GOP. This is consistent with Beck's shows, where he will cap off 55 minutes of fabulous exposé of Obama-appointed Marxists (and he is very very good at this) with an obligatory "but it's not a Democrat or Republican issue" disclaimer. It is an intellectual disconnect, and it threw Palin -- not expecting a hard debate -- off-guard a bit. She should have gone Ann Coulter on this point.
It is a disconnect that there’s no difference between the parties. Of course there’s a difference between the parties.

Not that I can imagine Sarah Palin “going Ann Coulter.”

We'll Always Have NPR

The radio network that brought us Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, and Rachel Maddow, has gone into the media dustbin with the likes of Run, Buddy, Run, and The Chevy Chase Show.
(“Liberal talk-radio station Air America files for bankruptcy, will go off the air”).

Yes, Air America is no more. But just like the President's health-care plan, and all the other progressive improvements he hasn’t spent enough time explaining to us, it was too far above us for us to appreciate.

Ana Marie Cox, who has hosted a one-hour program on Air America on Saturday and Sundays for the past year, said on Thursday that news of the network's demise took her by surprise. She said that the programming, as well as Air America's Web site, had begun to improve of late but that people hadn't caught up to it.
And that is that, I guess.

But Jonah Goldberg had these cracks at NRO:
Not to rub it in: Since last summer, Air America has been heard in the Washington area on WZAA (1050 AM). Its audience has been so small that Arbitron, which compiles radio ratings, was unable to detect any listeners for WZAA during several weeks in December. That's in Washington, D.C.

Holy Land Indictment in Dearborn

Stay tuned on this one.

Dearborn man indicted in case linked to terror support group Holy Land

The Detroit News

Detroit -- Federal prosecutors today unsealed a 2008 indictment against a Dearborn man accused of working for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a charity designated as a bankroller of terrorism by the U.S. government in 2001.

Syrian-born Mohamad Mustapha Ali Masfaka, 47, also known as Abu Ratib, is charged with making false statements to the FBI, making false statements in his application for U.S. citizenship and attempting to unlawfully obtain U.S. citizenship.

Masfaka, who was arrested when he crossed the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit from Windsor on Thursday, appeared in U.S. District Court today and was ordered held pending a detention hearing Monday. He appeared without a lawyer but said he planned to hire one.

The indictment alleges Masfaka worked for the Holy Land Foundation in 1997 and 1998, acting as the organization's Detroit-area representative, and cashed checks from the group totaling about $5,000.

Masfaka was interviewed by the FBI at his Dearborn home in 2003, when he allegedly said he worked for the Holy Land Foundation for eight months in 1997 and 1998, but only as a singer in a band that worked fund-raising events for the Holy Land Foundation, the indictment alleges.

Masfaka, who could not be reached for comment today, "also falsely told FBI agents that he never received payment directly" from the foundation, the indictment alleges.

He also made false statements in 2003 and 2004 when he was seeking citizenship, the indictment alleges.

The government alleges the Holy Land Foundation provided millions of dollars in material and logistical support to the Palestinian group Hamas, a designated terrorist organization since 1995.

The Holy Land Foundation and some of its officers were indicted by a federal grand jury in Texas in 2004 on charges that included providing material support to terrorists. That case resulted in a mistrial, but a retrial in 2008 brought convictions and a finding that the organization was a Hamas front.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First Amendment for Massachussets!

I’m still thinking about how Martha Coakley, Massachussetts attorney general and the chief law enforcement officer of the state, could have said something as ridiculous as that you can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room if you have conscientious objections to dispensing the morning-after pill.

For a week I've heard about what a lousy candiate for the Senate she was. How about what a lousy attorney general she'd have to be?

New York's Ed Koch Explains 2+2

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, though a committed Democrat, has always been clear-sighted on the issue of Islamic terror. He criticized Attorney General Eric Holder the other day for his decision to give Khalid Sheikh Mohammad a criminal trial in New York.
"We didn't give every soldier in the Confederate War who did something wrong a lawyer," Mr. Koch said. "This is a war. Muslim terrorists want to kill every Christian, every Jew, every Hindu who won't convert or pay tribute." (“Koch: Reid, Holder actions 'dumb,' 'dumbest'”).

'I Know of No Investigations Where Muslims Have Been Helpful'

Adam Brodsky at the New York Post reports what we’ve long suspected: that America’s Muslim community deserves an “F” for effort when it comes to helping us fight the war against jihadist terrorists. (“Muslim groups still MIA on terror”).
[A] law-enforcement source tells me CAIR and other groups have been worse than useless: To this source's knowledge, US Muslims have played virtually no role in foiling local plots.

Indeed, in some places, imams have reportedly withheld useful info and threatened to oust congregants who aid law-enforcement. Officials say Ahmad Afzali, the Queens imam helping agents probe Najibullah Zazi (the coffee vendor charged in a New York terror plot), later double-crossed them and alerted Zazi.

"I know of no investigations" in which Muslims have been helpful, Rep. Peter King (R-LI), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, tells me. He says law-enforcement and counterterror officials invariably tell him Muslim cooperation doesn't exist. Sometimes agents say they're met with hostility.

For folks who "understand the nature of the threat" and watch officials from "CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council on major [TV] networks, it's incredibly demoralizing," a former FBI special agent says.
Tell us about it.

Recent reports that CAIR was helpful by informing officials in Virginia “that five young American Muslims left their homes in Virginia to wage jihad in Pakistan” are misleading about CAIR’s inclination to cooperate, says Brodsky.
[O]ne law-enforcement official tells me of speculation that CAIR may have felt compelled to divulge what it knew. Sitting on info like that could land it in hot water; CAIR is already fighting to bolster its reputation after being cited as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror case (and the FBI cut its ties to the group).
Please read the rest of Brodsky’s article here.

Conyers-CAIR Team Up Against the FBI

Detroit Congressman John Conyers has joined ranks with CAIR and other Muslim leaders to use the death of Luqman Abdullah as a means of blunting FBI counterterrorism efforts.

Conyers said last week in a letter to AG Eric Holder that he wants a personal assurance that investigation into the death of Abdullah in a shootout with the FBI, is “rigorous, thorough and transparent.” That’s just the kind of thing liberals say as a hedge against investigative findings that might never support whatever sinister version of reality they’re peddling to their alienated base. In this case, CAIR started claiming that Abdullah’s death was an FBI assassination of a community leader the day after it happened. Now, if the facts show the FBI shot Abdullah fair and square after he opened fire on them, CAIR and Conyers can still stick to their guns. They’ll just tell their constituents that the investigation lacked thoroughness, or was a cover-up. That, Conyers can say, is why I demanded transparency.

While Conyers was writing to Holder, he also decided to include a call for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice “to investigate whether the FBI has violated First Amendment freedoms by using undercover agents in mosques and other houses of worship.” In other words, he was dropping a big fat hint that the Civil Rights Division, which has been badly politicized under Eric Holder, should go to work shutting down a key investigative tool of the FBI.

The FBI has been using undercover agents and informants as long as they’ve been around.
“Indeed, the FBI has long honed the skills and techniques necessary for success in protecting against international terrorism -- using informants, undercover operations and court-ordered electronic surveillance. Historically, the FBI has collected and analyzed information, whether the threat was the Soviet Union, domestic terrorist groups like the Klu Klux Klan or organized crime.”
This is not to say the government doesn’t bear watching at times. But that’s got nothing do with what Conyers is up to here. In fact, his cynical reference to the First Amendment last Wednesday was a bad joke. Last Wednesday was the same day he led the House Judiciary Committee—the one he controls--to reject a resolution that would have forced Holder’s DOJ to explain to Congress why it killed a civil complaint against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation in Philadelphia.

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division under Barack Obama and Eric Holder has been transformed into a wholly-owned subsidiary of the left wing of the Democratic Party. A philosophical objection is now in place against protecting the voting rights of any Americans who aren’t members of minority groups.

Conyers’s call for an investigation of the FBI by the Civil Rights Division is aimed solely at chilling FBI efforts to get a look at what’s going on inside the Muslim community. This fits in nicely with CAIR’s longtime campaign to keep Muslims from cooperating with the FBI at all. CAIR is behind efforts in Muslim communities to discourage people from speaking to the FBI without lawyers present. CAIR-MI produced a tape advising members who witness suspected extremist activity to report it to mosque leaders, rather than law enforcement.

The timing of Conyers’s attempted kibosh of domestic counterterrorism comes at a moment when Americans’ awareness of vulnerability to jihadist attacks is sharper than it’s been since 9/11. And, as discussed elsewhere, America is more aware than ever that the Muslim community isn’t helping in what is a very tough fight against a very complex set of enemies. (“Muslim groups still MIA on terror”).

Massachussetts just got rid of one monarchical political seat when voters united to give “Ted Kennedy’s” seat to a Republican. Conyers has been in the House of Representatives since 1965, and he has no intention of retiring from his lifetime fief. But 45 years in office actually makes Conyers far junior to John Dingell, who has been in the House for the 15th District (Dearborn) since 1955, a seat he inherited from his father, (Democrat-style, via special election), who had held it since 1933 until he died in office.

Which means, among other things, that the 15th Congressional District has been the personal property of the Dingell family longer than your mother's wedding silverware has been in your family.

I’m just saying.

Ft. Hood Report "Sanitized"

Remember how, after the Ft. Hood shooting last October, even the liberal media were openly discussing how the Army overlooked Nidal Hasan’s blossoming jihadism because of an ingrained--and dangerous--obedience to political correctness about Islam. Now would you believe the brass at the Pentagon still have their heads in the sand?

GOP rep.: Ft. Hood report 'sanitized'

By: Jake Sherman

The Pentagon’s 86-page report on the Fort Hood massacre was “sanitized” to avoid discussing Islamic terrorism, the congressman who represents the base told POLITICO Monday.

The report, released last week, says that the Army’s middle management missed signals about Nidal Malik Hasan in the months leading up to the mass shooting.

But missing from the report is any discussion of what Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) said was the a “crisis” with Islamic terrorism. Hasan allegedly wore ritual Muslim garb shouted “God is great” in Arabic when opening fire on a group of soldiers on the base — facts Carter said should have been disclosed in the report to help soldiers identify such signs in the future.

A search of the report does not turn up any mentions of Islam.

“People are afraid to speak out and label someone because they’ll be accused of being a racist or accused of profiling or being prejudiced against a certain religion or race of people,” Carter told POLITICO. “But in a time of national crisis, which I believe we are in, all identifiers must be discussed.”

Carter’s complaint fits into a larger narrative that Republican lawmakers have been driving in the past few months. The Obama administration, GOP legislators have said, has been irresponsible in its handling of terrorists, from their decision to close down Guantanamo Bay to the planned adjudicating of a 9/11 mastermind in New York City.

In an election year that is already shaping up to be rough for Democrats, Republicans are sure to use such decisions to paint President Barack Obama and his Congressional allies as weak on homeland security.

“We want the world to know that we are not prejudiced, even to the people that hate us,” Carter said. “That’s craziness.”
Even TIME magazine is incredulous at the report’s political correctness, stating that the report “not once mentions Major Nidal Hasan by name or even discusses whether the killings may have had anything to do with the suspect's view of his Muslim faith.” (“The Fort Hood Report: Why No Mention of Islam?”)

John Lehman, a member of the 9/11 commission and Navy Secretary during the Reagan Administration, says a reluctance to cause offense by citing Hasan's view of his Muslim faith and the U.S. military's activities in Muslim countries as a possible trigger for his alleged rampage reflects a problem that has gotten worse in the 40 years that Lehman has spent in and around the U.S. military. The Pentagon report's silence on Islamic extremism "shows you how deeply entrenched the values of political correctness have become," he told TIME on Tuesday. "It's definitely getting worse, and is now so ingrained that people no longer smirk when it happens."

'The Laws of War Are the Rule of Law'

Always worth reading, Andy McCarthy manages to comment on Scott Brown, George Bush, McCain, and the rule of law, in a lot fewer words than I can: (“It’s the Enemy, Stupid”)

Scott Brown went out and made the case for enhanced interrogation, for denying terrorists the rights of criminal defendants, for detaining them without trial, and for trying them by military commission. It worked. It will work for other candidates willing to get out of their Beltway bubbles.

Yes, the Left will say you are making a mockery of our commitment to “the rule of law.” MSNBC will run segments on your dark conspiracies to “shred the privacy rights of Americans.” The New York Times will wail that you’re heedless of the damage you’ll do to “America’s reputation in the international community.”

The answer is: So what? The people making these claims don’t speak for Americans — they speak at Americans, in ever shrinking amounts. If you’re going to cower from a fight with them, we don’t need you. Get us a Scott Brown who’ll take them on in their own backyard. And he’ll take them on with confidence because he knows their contentions are frivolous — and he knows that Americans know this, too.

The laws of war are the rule of law. They are not a suspension of the Constitution. They are the Constitution operating in wartime. The Framers understood that there would be wars against enemies of the United States — it is stated explicitly in the Constitution’s treason clause (Art. III, Sec. 3). The American people understand that we have enemies, even if Washington sees them as political “engagement” partners waiting to happen. Americans also grasp that war is a political and military challenge that the nation has to win, not a judicial proceeding in which your enemies are presumed innocent. The rule of law is not and has never been the rule of lawyers — especially lawyers we can’t vote out of office when they say we must let trained terrorists move in next door.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 12: A Whisky Tango Foxtrot Monday

And guess what else Saudi Arabians were up to in the airline world today:

From Agence-France Presse: credit to Winds of Jihad blog.
Saudi Arabian posing as pilot held at Manila airport

MANILA, Philippines—A 19-year-old Saudi Arabian man dressed as a pilot was arrested Tuesday after he illegally entered a restricted area in the main airport in the Philippines, an airport official said.

"He was able to elude our security by misrepresenting himself as a pilot of Saudia," said airport general manager Alfonso Cusi, referring to the Saudi Arabian flag carrier.

The incident at Manila airport comes after officials in the Philippines and around the world said they would boost security after the botched attempt to blow up a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day.

The detained Saudi, identified by the local authorities as Hani Abdulelah Bukhari, told airport police he was there to meet his father, a retired Saudia pilot who later arrived on a flight from Saudi Arabia.

He was wearing a pilot's uniform from Saudia Airlines when airport security personnel noticed him lining up at the immigration section of the passenger terminal, Cusi told ABS-CBN television.

The young man produced a card identifying him as a dependent of a retired Saudia employee, he said.

"There was a failure on our part here," said Cusi, conceding that Bukhari should not have been able to penetrate so far into the terminal.

"Our fault here is we were not able to check properly his identification," he said, adding: "Definitely, there will be changes" in airport security procedures.

An airport report on the incident said Bukhari was enrolled at a local flying school. The school said however, that he was not a student although his two brothers were.

Bukhari arrived in the Philippines in November, Cusi said, but his status is not known.

Most of the 19 hijackers who carried out the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001 were Saudi nationals.
At least one account has suggested that 9/11 terrorist leader Mohammed Atta may have reconnoitered airline operations by posing in stolen pilot’s uniform.

Islamic Council Dilutes Anti-Terror Message

In addition to the Muslim anti-terrorism protest rally that was held outside the U.S. Courthouse the other day while underwear bomber Umar Farouk was being charged, some other Islamic leaders were protesting terrorism in their own way.

As reported in the Dearborn Press & Guide:

Shortly before [Abdulmutallab] appeared in court, Imam Mohammad Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights and other Muslims spoke at a press conference, condemning terrorism in the name of Islam.

Among those with Elahi were Victor Begg, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan; Imam Mustapha Elturk of the Islamic Organization of North America; and Imam Mohammad Mardini of the American Muslim Center in Dearborn. The meeting was sponsored by the council and was held at the Michigan Round Table for Diversity and Inclusion in Detroit.

Each imam condemned all acts of terrorism as crimes against humanity and supported law enforcement agencies in their efforts to protect their fellow citizens, while preserving civil rights.

According to Joe Kaufman at Pajamas Media:

IONA is the American arm of Tanzeem-e-Islami (TI), a Nazi-style Islamist movement located in Pakistan, whose website preaches violence and hatred towards non-Muslims. The movement was founded by Israr Ahmad, a religious fanatic who, according to IONA’s website, had broken away from the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in 1957 because of the group’s “involvement in the electoral politics.”

A couple of Ahmad’s favorite targets are Jews and Christians, whom he chillingly describes as “enemies of Islam.”

Ahmad brought his movement to America in 1993, under the name Tanzeem-e-Islami North America (TINA). In 2003, the organization changed its name to the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA), after Ahmad had appointed Mustapha “Steve” Elturk to be the group’s new leader.
Then there is Imam Mohammad Elahi of the Islamic House of Wisdom, an Iranian agent and heavy supporter of Hezbollah. Not that anyone has ever associated the Islamic Republic with terrorism, let alone Hezbollah.

Then we have Victor Begg, president of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan. Begg is not as closely tied to violent Islamic terrorism as Elahi, Elturk, and some others we could name. But his organization is always front and center in obstructing law enforcement efforts to penetrate domestic Islamist activities.

Here is CIMO in action last April, from The Jawa Report:
DETROIT – A Michigan Muslim organization said Thursday it has asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate complaints alleging the FBI is asking followers of the faith to spy on Islamic leaders and congregations.

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan sent a letter last week to Holder after mosques and other groups reported members of the community have been approached to monitor people coming to mosques and donations they make.
Remember, these guys announced on Friday that they "supported law enforcement agencies in their efforts to protect their fellow citizens," except when they're fighting like mad to interfere with those efforts.

As to the attempted Christmas Day bombing, Begg was reported in the Detroit News saying this: "The Muslim community is upset with what happened on Christmas Day, that this man tried to blow up the plane in the name of a faith in our own backyard."

Oh no he didn’t! Yes, he said “a faith.” Begg can go no farther than to say the Christmas Day attack was done in the name of a, unnamed, unrecognized, probably better-off-forgotten religion with which he and the Council of Islamic Organizations are not affiliated.

Maybe these philosophical differences are what kept these imams from joining their cause with that of Majed Moughni at the courthouse on Friday.

Unruly Saudis Disrupt Plane Before Being Released Without Charges By U.S. Customs

Unruly Passengers Disrupt Northwest Flight 243

Dennis Kraniak - Sources tell Fox 2 that a flight from Amsterdam into Detroit Metropolitan Airport was held on the tarmac after landing because of unruly behavior by some of the passengers.

The source says four men from Saudi Arabai were saying something in Arabic that alarmed four on-board Federal Air Marshals. The Marshals speak Arabic. A decision was made to stop the plane on the tarmac away from the passenger terminal and remove the men from the plane.

Once the men were removed, the rest of passengers were then taken to the terminal for deboarding.

The Transportation Security Administration says the unruly passengers were interviewed by Customs and Border Protection officials.

But the TSA says the passengers were released and no arrests were made.

Delta Air Lines spokeswoman Susan Elliott says the crew of Northwest Flight 243 requested that authorities meet the plane Tuesday after it landed because four passengers didn't follow their instructions.

She says nobody was injured but wouldn't describe what the passengers were doing.

Tuesday's disturbance comes less than a week after a Nigerian man pleaded not guilty to trying to blow up a Northwest flight from Amsterdam as it was preparing to land in Detroit on Christmas.

Fox 2 has a crew at Metro Airport and more information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.


We have a right to know exactly what these guys were doing. And why weren’t they charged? If I’d refused instructions and they had to stop the plane on the tarmac because of it, I would have been.

Protest Organizer Wants To 'Ignite a Movement'

I’m finding out that Majed Moughni, the Dearborn attorney who organized Friday’s protest outside the federal courthouse where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was being arraigned, is quite an interesting guy. (He’s even earned a death threat.)

We commented the other day about that protest. The participants held signs declaring "Islam is against terrorism" and "Not in the name of Islam," and marched with big American flags.

Moughni’s group, Dearborn Area Community Members, has a Facebook page with photos and comments. At least two photos depict CAIR-MI’s Dawud Walid holding a partially rolled-up U.S. flag while he bogarts some publicity. I can’t hold it against Moughni and his group that Walid was there, as anyone at a public protest can show up and grab a flag and start giving interviews.

Seems as though we’re always mentioning Walid around here, and his Muslim Brotherhood organization, CAIR, and the lack of credibility whenever they posture as opponents of Islamic terrorism. On Friday Walid and his fellow imams in the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan, held their own press event, about which I’ll comment elsewhere. The Dearborn Press & Guide noted, helpfully, that Moughni’s protest was a “separate” event.

Moughni’s the one worth watching. While looking into his background last night I realized he’s the same man who took on CAIR-MI in a letter to the Dearborn Press & Guide last year over a silly lawsuit against a local judge for ordering a Muslim woman appearing before him to remove her headscarf: a lawsuit that Moughni called “frivolous.” DU quoted him favorably at the time. Walid wasn’t so favorable, kvetching in his own letter to the P&G that nobody died and made Moughni the “hijab police.”

Anyhow, the message of Friday’s rally with Moughni and his friends, that Islam and violence don’t mix, certainly has its skeptics, including here at DU. All props are due for for the Facebook photos of patriotic Muslims marching against terrorism--the likes of which we haven’t seen, well, ever. (I didn’t even see one sign pictured with a Star of David/Swastika combo!) But you know what they say about one swallow not making a summer.

And it didn’t help that news coverage ran quotations from legitimate protesters alongside comments from spokesmen for groups already known to us wide-awake types as supporters of terror, such as Walid and CAIR, (who are Muslim Brotherhood), and, Bilal Amen, the vice chair of the Islamic Institute of Knowledge, an Iranian and Hezbollah outpost in Dearborn. That kind of contradiction is what makes rallies like these necessary.

But, skepticism on hold for the moment, I’m finding some of the things Moughni’s says refreshing. For one thing, they're utterly lacking in the stale excuses, victim talk, and two-facedness we’ve grown so sick of from the likes of Ibrahim Hooper, Imam Elahi, and their kind. On Friday, Moughni said, “We've been trying to recover from (the Sept. 11 terror attacks) for nine years. (This) comes right in our backyards, right over the heads of the largest Muslim population in North America.”

And this: "(Abdulmutallab) landed in the wrong place -- he's going to be met by the natives today," Moughni said as the demonstration began. "We're going to take our religion back."

The morning of the rally Moughni was on public radio’s The Take Away, with John Hockenberry and Celeste Headlee, where he was asked, naturally, about whether or not the government’s decision to use profiling of travelers from 14 countries, including Yemen, was “the right thing to do.” To my pleasant surprise, his answer contained not one word of how profiling doesn’t work, how it unfairly targets Muslims, or how our fight against terrorism mustn’t come at the expense of civil rights. What he said was:

Anything to make us safe is the right thing to do. [!] On that airline that was going to be blown away there was 27 passengers were Muslim. So, it could have been somebody I knew, it could have been my family on that airline.
Still several hours before the rally was set to begin, Moughni said he was expecting “thousands” to show up. He said the Muslim community was very excited, that the rally was the “talk of the town,” and 120 Yemeni leaders had showed up for committee meetings, assuring him huge support from their people. Clearly, Dearborn’s Muslim leaders told him they’d get him a great turnout, and clearly he believed them.

Actual estimates of the number of protesters are around fifty. The crowd in front of the courthouse included Nigerian protesters, (who were speaking for Nigeria, not Islam), and numberless media hounds.

The worst that we could speculate about the gross failure of Dearborn’s Muslims to support Moughni’s message is that they don’t agree with it, preferring the traditional Islamic message of war, intolerance, and forcing sharia on Kuffirs. The best that we could speculate is that all those leaders who promised him support were cynical and insincere, and either unwilling, or incapable, of leading their communities to support something that might actually improve the image of Dearborn Muslims, instead of making it worse.

By ugly contrast, when Dearborn’s Muslims were called out to show support for Hezbollah in the Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006, crowd estimates were as high as 15,000--half the Arab population. Sure, it was summer then. But 15,000 to 50?

Isn’t that what people mean by the expression, “voting with their feet?”

Moughni told public radio he wants to “ignite” a movement, to drive Muslims out into the street, united against terrorism, “where they will follow these radicals into their homes, and into the schools, and into the mosques, and we will get rid of these radicals.” Rhetoric that's a far cry, I’d say, from what we’ve heard all these years from two-faced Muslim leaders who mumble about the evils of terrorism and then shriek about the evils of the Patriot Act, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and American support for Israel. If Moughni and his group are sincere, I wish them all the success in the world.

And if he needs the addresses of some local mosques they can follow some radicals into to get rid of them, we’ve got some.