Monday, August 30, 2010

TSA Deems Suitcase Full of Mock Bombs 'Benign'

It’s nice to know at least one reporter, CBS News Justice correspondent Bob Orr, is awake enough to ask at least one of the obvious questions about the dry run planting of mock bombs in a United Airline flight to Amsterdam:
These were amateurish-like mock devices - the very kind of thing that security is designed to find. And in fact, TSA did find them on a flight from Birmingham to Chicago and deemed them benign. That's why they were allowed to go to Chicago and then on.

The question really is, how did they get on a plane to Washington when he wasn't on the plane too.
(“2 Arrested in Possible Dry Run for Terror Attack”).

Another Detroit-Linked Airline Dry Run

I wish I could say this was unexpected. Not after what we told you about a few weeks ago. (“Gov’t Response to Dry Runs -- Blanket Denial?”).

ABC News is reporting that two men traveling from Chicago to Amsterdam were arrested today in the Netherlands on charges of “preparation of a terrorist attack.” You mean that’s a crime somewhere?

ABC News Exclusive: Two Men on United Flight from Chicago Arrested on 'Preparation of a Terrorist Attack' in Amsterdam

Suspects Had Been Cleared Sunday by TSA in Chicago, Birmingham Despite Security Concerns


Aug. 30, 2010—
Two men taken off a Chicago-to-Amsterdam United Airlines flight in the Netherlands have been charged by Dutch police with "preparation of a terrorist attack," U.S. law enforcement officials tell ABC News.

U.S. officials said the two appeared to be travelling with what were termed "mock bombs" in their luggage. "This was almost certainly a dry run, a test," said one senior law enforcement official.

A spokesman for the Dutch public prosecutor, Ernst Koelman, confirmed the two men were arrested this morning and said "the investigation is ongoing." He said the arrests were made "at the request of American authorities."

The two were allowed to board the flight at O'Hare airport last night despite security concerns surrounding one of them, the officials said.

The men were identified as Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi, of Detroit, MI, [on left] and Hezem al Murisi, the officials said. A neighbor of al Soofi told ABC News he is from Yemen.

Airport security screeners in Birmingham, Alabama first stopped al Soofi and referred him to additional screening because of what officials said was his "bulky clothing."

In addition, officials said, al Soofi was found to be carrying $7,000 in cash and a check of his luggage found a cell phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle, three cell phones taped together, several watches taped together, a box cutter and three large knives. Officials said there was no indication of explosives and he and his luggage were cleared for the flight from Birmingham to Chicago O'Hare.

Once in Chicago, officials say they learned al Soofi checked his luggage on a flight to Washington's Dulles airport for connections on flights to Dubai and then Yemen, even though he did not board the flight himself.

Instead, officials say, al Soofi was joined by the second man, Al Murisi, and boarded the United flight from Chicago to Amsterdam.

When Customs and Border officials learned al Soofi was not on the flight from Dulles to Dubai, the plane was ordered to return to the gate so his luggage could be removed. Officials said additional screening found no evidence of explosives.

The two men were detained by Dutch authorities when the United flight landed in Amsterdam, according to the officials.

Your guess is as good as mine what it takes to get the TSA to actually stop someone from boarding a plane.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Those Easily Spooked White Christians are Terrorizing the Land!

Let’s all stipulate that it’s a wicked thing to pull a knife and stab complete strangers. And if the judgmental tone of the term “wicked” makes you uncomfortable, then we can all agree instead that stabbing people is “unacceptable.”

Now that we’ve resolved that, we can talk about what happened to the New York cabbie Ahmed Sharif. Sharif’s throat was slashed by a drunken 21-year-old passenger Tuesday night, after Sharif answered yes to the passenger’s question, “Are you a Muslim?” (“Ahmed Sharif, Muslim cab driver stabbed by bigot, says he was targeted because of his religion”).

The attacker, Michael Enright, now faces “charges of attempted murder and assault as hate crimes, and weapons possession.” On Thursday night he was transferred from Rikers Island to Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric ward following a medical evaluation.

People are still trying to figure out who Enright is, and why he did what he did. The media is dying to blame this on the tea party. But Enright was a volunteer for a liberal peace group that supports the Ground Zero mosque. Michelle Malkin puts it this way, “there is zero evidence that he is a Fox News fan, Glenn Beck listener, Republican voter, or conservative blog reader.”

But some pro-Islam advocates have flown right past all that, blaming it on opposition to the Ground Zero mosque.

According to the Daily News:
The head of the taxi workers union, which is 50% Muslim, said the political rhetoric over the proposed Park 51 mosque had reached such a fever pitch that "some sort of violence felt inevitable."
(But Cabbie Sharif said himself that he and Enright never discussed the mosque.)

For his part, the University of Michigan’s anti-Zionist scholar, Juan Cole, has no problem discounting Enright’s individual responsibility for his actions and laying it all on the real attackers:
It was the Republican National Committee. From August of 2006, the RNC decided to demonize Muslims and Islam as a campaign ploy, to scare apparently easily spooked white Christians. In recent weeks, Newt Gingrich sharpened the blade by comparing Muslims to Nazis. . . .

I have said for some time that the American Right’s scapegoating of ordinary American Muslims– Muslims who serve in the US military, die for our country, invest in our cities, find cures for diseases, save our children’s lives in hospitals– would eventually cause pogroms and get people killed. A New York cabbie came close to dying for the sake of the G.O.P. Tuesday night.
(“Republican National Committee Slashes New York Muslim Cabbie”).
I realize I should know this, what with living in Dearborn all these years where it’s reported we’ve had them regularly since 2001, but is this what a pogrom looks like? Does it start with cabbies being attacked by drunk passengers? I wonder if Mayor Bloomberg holds a press conference with every cabbie in New York who gets attacked?

Perhaps Cole’s really just singing from the same hymnbook as many others on the Left, like the people who created this nasty ad.

What gets me is how the 9/11 families and everyone else opposed to placing a triumphalist mosque near Ground Zero (like 70% of Americans) are denounced as blaming the WTC attacks on “all Muslims” (which we don’t), and criticized for the audacity of linking the 9/11 attacks to the Muslim religion (which is beyond question).

The point of all those denunciations is that, regardless of hundreds, or thousands, or even tens of thousands of documented acts of terrorism committed by violent jihadists who kill with “Allahu Akhbar!” on their lips, the only reason anyone could ever conclude 9/11 had “anything to do with Islam” is by bigotry and a fallacious resort to collective guilt.

Like this lady:
“It’s simply wrong, for Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, public figures who frequently reference their Christian values, to malign all Muslims by comparing this cultural center and mosque with a radical ideology that led to the horrific attacks of 9-11,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a national lobbying group that advocates Catholic social justice.
I never was aware that comparing religious ideas with actions and then drawing inferences was a violation of Christian values. Maybe the depth of Sister Simone’s wisdom only becomes clear when she can impart it in person to you or me or Newt or Sarah with just as many well-swung blows with a standard-issue chalkboard pointer as it takes:

“I’ll. (whack!)
“Teach. (whack!)
“You. (whack!)
“Not. (whack!)
“To. (whack!)
“Make. (whack!)
“Comparisons. (whack!, whack!, whack!)
“Between. (whack!)
“A peaceful religion. (whack!, whack!)
“And. (whack!)
“Twenty. (whack!)
“Hijackers. (whack!)
“Crying. (whack!)
“Allahu Akhbar! (whack!, whack!)
“As. (whack!)
“They. (whack!)
“Flew. (whack!)
“Those. (whack!)
“Planes. (whack!)
“Into. (whack!)
“The. (whack!)
“World. (whack!)
“Trade. (whack!)
“CENTER! (whack!, whack!, whack!, whack!, crack!, splat!).”

Yet, when a single Muslim cab driver is attacked by an individual acting in response to his own private demons, then the collective blame for that somehow gets heaped on every person who has ever stood up to anything Muslim, ever, and to the Ground Zero mosque in particular.

Juan Cole says, “Shame on you, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Lazio, and Sarah Palin, and all the other hatemongers. You have blood on your hands, and will have more if you go on this way.”

Go on what way?

And how does all this compare (sorry, Sister, I’m doing it again), with the strange case of Elias Abuelazam, the Arab Israeli who went on a multi-state stabbing spree, racking up at least 20 victims, five of whom he killed.

As we noted previously, when investigators first figured out the assailant was targeting black men for stabbing attacks, the unidentified criminal was described in the media as a rampaging serial race-murderer. The media fully anticipated he was going to be found to be connected with the tea party movement. Or perhaps the Republican National Committee. Or at the absolute minimum be a friend on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page.

As soon as Abuelazam was captured and discovered not to be a representative of any hate group, (at least as authoritatively defined by Newsweek magazine or Keith Olbermann), and consequently ill-suited to symbolize the religious right's bigotry, hatemongering, and racism, the seriousness of his homicidal status was promptly downgraded. In one day he went from outraged serial racist killer to “stabbing suspect.” Oh, and I’m really supposed to mention he’s an Israeli citizen, and I’m really not supposed to mention that he’s what is generally identified in the MSM as a “Palestinian.”

Or do you think anyone’s going to compare the two “stabbing suspects” and ask if there’s possibly anything in contemporary Arab culture that encourages violent, bigoted outbursts?

Shhh! Here comes Sister! And she’s got her pointer!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Liberty to Those Who Deny Liberty?

In Ang Lee’s outstanding 1999 Civil War film, “Ride With the Devil,” Toby McGuire’s character, a Missouri bushwhacker, reads to his illiterate companion – a freed slave -- from a letter taken from captured Union mail. In it, a federal soldier writes his view of the war: “The Confederates claim that we strike at their liberty and rights, but what kind of liberty is it that takes away the liberty of others?”

There shouldn’t be much doubt left that what motivates Imam Rauf and those behind the planned Cordoba Center near Ground Zero is something other than wanting a mosque to serve the Muslim population of lower Manhattan. If that were the case, offers by state officials of an alternative site -- a one-step solution to the problem -- wouldn’t have been rejected by Rauf without discussion. Nor is Rauf a moderate, no matter how many useful idiots say that he is.

Along with the growing list of unmoderate things Rauf has been found to have said, there are two facts that preclude him from the class, “moderate”: he refuses to condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization, and, as Alyssa A. Lappen at Pajamas Media writes, Rauf was born into a Muslim Brotherhood family, a “provenance, radical by definition, . . . as authentic as it gets.” (“The Ground Zero Mosque Developer: Muslim Brotherhood Roots, Radical Dreams”).

Andrew McCarthy writes how:
it turns out, the top priority of Rauf’s Cordoba Initiative is the Sharia Index Project, which is designed to plant and expand Islamic law in every country. Wonder of wonders, that just happens to be the Muslim Brotherhood’s top priority — the installation of sharia being the necessary precondition to the Islamicizing of a society.
The Ground Zero site isn’t just the resting place of thousands who died at the hands of Islamic fanatics. It represents a unique historical moment when almost all Americans came together, united, crystal clear as to the growing danger of Islamic jhadism, and with a common will to do something about it. That moment lasted only a short few months, and that’s a whole other sad story. But in that moment America’s will to strike back was at its peak. For a time, scornful Islamic leaders saw a new American face: the face of America the Dangerous. President Bush promised that those who did that to us were going to be hearing from us, and many of them did. And it was the last thing they heard. For a time, the Muslim world had to stop laughing at us.

For much of America, those days of strength and national purpose are all but forgotten. But there’s something about Ground Zero that preserves it in perpetuity – perhaps because it’s the last remaining symbol of unified American response to Islam, where the anger over what happened there alcan still be refreshed. September 11, 2001 was the day the Taliban lost its iron grip on Afghanistan, and when Osama bin Ladin’s life narrowed down to one long cave-dwelling, sky-watching flight from justice. It’s the day Saddam Hussein’s neck was fitted for the noose.

Rauf’s Cordoba Center is precisely intended to prove to the Ummah that Islam in America has grown strong enough to push up against that very symbol of a strong, united America, and make it budge.

Even knowing this, many feel they must side with Imam Rauf and his “right” to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero. Because Islam is a religion (it’s much, much more than that, as well), and the Constitution prohibits government from “abridging the free exercise thereof,” they think there’s nothing the rest of us are allowed to do, either.

This has never been about the freedom of religion of Muslims in New York City. The most outspoken and highest-profile opponents of the mosque have been monolithic in agreeing that the right of a religious organization to construct buildings is not in question. Muslim liberty to worship is not the issue.

Andrew McCarthy provides a good reminder when he writes, “When it comes to liberty, no one in this society has been given a wider berth than the Islamists, the purveyors of this authoritarian Islam, which is the mainstream Islam of the Middle East.”

We’ve seen ritual footbaths provided for Muslims in public universities, and seen public schools change around schedules to make room for Ramadan. A parallel “civil rights” movement has sprouted up since 2001, counting in its ranks politicians, generals, lawmen, and media big shots, committed to protecting Muslim feelings from getting hurt or making sure Muslims don’t see or hear anything that might make them angry (one helluva long list). No other religion in America is indulged this way. And if you’re Jewish, Catholic, or evangelical, you feel the double standard every time your religion is ridiculed with impunity, while Islam is constantly being credited with the loftiest spiritual aspirations under heaven.

Putting a stop to the Cordoba Initiative doesn’t mean Rauf and his brother Muslims will be denied the freedom to practice their religion. Park51 isn’t the only place in New York to worship Allah. The Islam Rauf practies and preaches has always been, and will always be, an intolerant, triumphalist religion which, where proselytism fails, is completely comfortable with imposing on unbelievers the will of Allah by force. Even the Arab Middle East recognizes that Rauf’s trying to force this on New York is “an affront to American sensibilities.”

As that movie soldier asked, what kind of liberty is it that takes way the liberty of others? And do we owe the protection of that liberty to radical jihadists? Is that really what we stand for?

Steve Kelley

57% of Arabs Oppose Building Mosque at Ground Zero

You may be interested to learn 57% of Arabs polled by a liberal Arab-language daily are opposed to the construction of the mosque at Ground Zero.

According to Fouad Ajami, who spoke with Bill Bennett on Morning in America on Thursday morning, Arabs in the Islamic world see the mosque as unnecessary, and an “affront to American sensibilities.” Ajami also explains that Islam in the West, and Islam in the Islamic world, are on different trajectories. In the Middle East, “Arabs and Muslims saw the coming of religion, radical religion, and saw it wreck their world, in Saudi Arabia, in Egypt, and elsewhere, and they really wish to cap the volcano.”

We strongly urge you to listen to the entire interview here. Ajami discusses the survey around 6:30.

Friday, August 27, 2010

No, We Don't

Clifford D. May throws down on the “media’s biased coverage of the Ground Zero mosque leaders”:
A cover story [in Time magazine] titled “Is America Islamophobic?” asserts that “many opponents” of the Islamic center “are motivated by deep-seated Islamophobia.” Not a shred of evidence is offered, though Time does cite a poll that finds 46 percent of Americans believe Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against nonbelievers.

Goodness, why would anyone think that? Could it have something to do with the fact that there have been close to 16,000 terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam since 9/11? Just last month, Time had on its cover the photograph of an 18-year-old Afghan girl whose nose and ears were sliced off by members of the Taliban because she had violated Islamic religious law as they interpret it by “running away from her husband’s house.” The word “Taliban” means “the students.” Students of what? Engineering? Dentistry? No. Of Islam.

Let’s say it one more time loudly for the media moguls in the cheap seats: Most Muslims are not terrorists. But in the 21st century, most of those slaughtering women and children in the name of religion are Muslims. This is a movement. This is a reality. And it is a problem. It ought to be seen by Muslims as very much their problem — a pathology within their community, within the “Muslim world,” within the ummah.

Instead, the richest and most powerful Islamic organizations — often financed by oil money from the Middle East — incessantly play the victim card. Daisy Khan tells ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that in America, it’s “beyond Islamophobia. It’s hate of Muslims.”
Time encourages this grievance mentality (or tactic) by asserting that “to be a Muslim in America now is to endure slings and arrows against your faith — not just in the schoolyard and the office but also outside your place of worship and in the public square, where some of the country’s most powerful mainstream religious and political leaders unthinkingly (or worse, deliberately) conflate Islam with terrorism and savagery.”

No, they don’t. What they conflate with terrorism and savagery are al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, Lashkar-e-Taiba, al-Shabaab, Abu Sayyef, Fatah Al-Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, and dozens of other groups that justify their terrorism and savagery based on their interpretation of Islamic doctrine.
Read the rest at “Muslims + Mainstream Media = Madness”.

Dearborn: Proud Hometown of Myth USA!

Jonah Goldberg had some helpful things to say this past week on one of our favorite subjects, the anti-Muslim backlash. According to Goldberg, “the much-ballyhooed anti-Muslim backlash is mostly a myth.” (“Islamophobia? Not Really”).

Let's start with some data.

According to the FBI, hate crimes against Muslims increased by a staggering 1,600 percent in 2001. That sounds serious! But wait, the increase is a math mirage. There were 28 anti-Islamic incidents in 2000. That number climbed to 481 the year a bunch of Muslim terrorists murdered 3,000 Americans in the name of Islam on Sept. 11.

Now, that was a hate crime.

Regardless, 2001 was the zenith or, looked at through the prism of our national shame, the nadir of the much-discussed anti-Muslim backlash in the United States -- and civil libertarians and Muslim activists insisted it was 1930s Germany all over again. The following year, the number of anti-Islamic hate-crime incidents (overwhelmingly, nonviolent vandalism and nasty words) dropped to 155. In 2003, there were 149 such incidents. And the number has hovered around the mid-100s or lower ever since.

Sure, even one hate crime is too many. But does that sound like an anti-Muslim backlash to you?
Now that you mention it, no, it doesn’t.

Read more of what Goldberg has to say here.

Abdullah! The Sequel, or, Dearborn's Favorite Turban Legend

From our “Let’s Make Things Worse” file comes Thursday’s Detroit Free Press editorial calling for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to open an investigation into the shooting of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah. (“Imam case still needs answers”).

The unsigned editorial, which you can be sure was written by Jeff Gerritt, CAIR’s water carrier inside the Freep on this Abdullah shooting from day one, (as seen here and here), cites law enforcement delays in releasing information to the public as a basis for a federal civil-rights investigation. Bemoans the Freep: “A trusted outside agency is needed to restore credibility to the process.”

The Civil Rights Division is not a trusted outside agency. Only last month J. Christian Adams, a former DOJ Civil Rights trial attorney, told the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that the Voting Rights section was “lawless,” and that officials in the division “had openly stated they did not have an interest in pursing race-neutral civil rights prosecutions.”

The DOJ Civil Rights Division may be the single most heavily politicized department in President Obama’s highly politicized administration.

Dearborn Underground is already on record wanting to see the Michigan State Police stop dragging out their investigation and clear the names of these task force agents once and for all.

Nonetheless, if local agencies are stonewalling Freedom of Information Act requests, then there’s plenty of pressure that can be brought through the court system. CAIR has only just now filed a lawsuit against the state police earlier this month. There’s no reason to get the feds involved at this stage.

Or do you think CAIR and its Muslim Brotherhood pals just might be interested in something else? Here’s a clue what that might be: the Freep doesn’t want just an “independent” look at the shooting, but an investigation into “the way government informants were used in the undercover investigation that preceded it.”

Really? So now it’s not enough to say Abdullah was “assassinated” by the FBI’s “neo-COINTELPRO”-- now the community must be told that the FBI never had any business investigating Abdullah and his criminal mosque in the first place. The ages-old police use of informants has to be put on trial.

Don’t buy it. The real object of the Ikhwan isn’t to expose evidence that excessive force caused Abdullah’s death. Even if mistakes were made or, at worst, if deliberate police misconduct were shown to have led to Abdullah’s being fatally shot, (this is hypothetical: I don’t believe it), that still wouldn’t be enough to call into doubt the basis for the investigation and the attempted arrest of Abdullah. He was a felon, with felonious intentions, and conspiring to commit more crimes. And all the while he was urging violence against law enforcement and nonMuslims, right up to the second of his fatal decision to start shooting at an armed task force.

Dawud Walid and his co-Islamists have assumed the role of spokesmen for the silenced Abdullah, determined to voice his calls for “justice” from his martyr’s grave. But Abdullah wasn’t alone that day. Ten other people were charged in the federal complaint that led to the raid that day, charged with conspiracy to commit several federal crimes, including illegal possession and sale of firearms, arson, possession of body armor, theft from interstate shipments and tampering with vehicle identification numbers.”

Abdullah’s champions in the community get to preach how the feds only murdered him because he was a good soldier of Allah. The hitch is those other ten arrestees who weren’t murdered. They aren’t dead enough to be lionized as martyrs. And the case against them is the same case against Abdullah.

You can bet defense attorneys will be doing whatever they can to attack every single element of the government’s case, including the use of informants. Criminal trials challenge these law enforcement tools all the time, with varying degrees of success. There’s no reason to have a special civil rights investigation into this case now.

The Ikhwan would love nothing better than to chill counterterrorism investigations from using informants inside the Muslim community. We already know that CAIR’s been doing whatever it could to get the FBI to stop infiltrating mosques. Ever since the FBI was dragged kicking and screaming into rehab to get over its addictive “BRIDGES” relationship with CAIR and the ADC, (BRIDGES is probably the stupidest single security idea bungle since the Yalta Conference), CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood would like nothing more than for the FBI to deem Muslim communities such as Dearborn’s a “no-go” zone for counterterrorism investigations.

The same way you’ll get less of something if you put a tax on it, the way to get less of a law enforcement practice is to punish it with threats of civil-rights investigations. That’s why we don’t need the Holder Civil Rights Divisions sticking its nose into the Abdullah case.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When One Transparent Fraud Deserves Another

If you’d care to see a sample of how the news media gets things so out of whack they’ll actually tell you that black is white, get a load of the front page of Thursday’s Detroit News.

There, anchoring the left page, is the headline, “Patterson calls for probe of Tea Party.” Scan only that headline, as many readers do, and you’d have to believe that those tea party folks must be in trouble, right?

But you’d be wrong.

The headline should be reading: “Former Director of Oakland County Democratic Party Caught Red-Handed at Election Fraud.”

The crook, Jason Bauer, is the former Director of Operations for the Oakland County Democratic Party. For this story the News demotes him to “an Oakland County Democratic Party staffer.” Maybe that’ll help give Bauer’s close associates in the party a head start as they put as much distance between him and themselves as they can.

Bauer and his cronies created a phony entity they named “The Tea Party,” intending to run candidates (at least 23) for state offices. Bauer used his notary license to sign phony affidavits and even got one guy on the ballot who lives in Phoenix and had no idea what was going on. By drawing off voters fooled by the phony “Tea party” label, they hope to split the Republican vote. That helps Democrats win more seats the way they so often like to do -- by cheating.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson got wind of it and now is asking the circuit court to appoint a one-man grand jury to investigate. The Oakland County prosecutor also asked for a criminal investigation by the sheriff’s department, and the county elections clerk “also asked local, state and federal offices to investigate after she learned of two other suspicious filings for political office -- all linked to Bauer.”

I hope these guys end up in LOTS of trouble. But Patterson is not probing THE tea party, as no real tea party candidates are in any trouble over this, only Democrats. (Nor is the tea party a political party, anyway). The Detroit News headline implies exactly the opposite of what’s really going on. The kind of people who would get behind a headline like this are the same kind who would like to rob tea-party supporters of their votes by tricking them into casting ballots for phony candidates instead of real Republican candidates.

I thought you should know your newspaper is either lying to you or is guilty of grossly negligent editing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Flight 103 Barn Door Locking Committee Releases Its Final Report

Obama seeks reimprisonment for Lockerbie bomber

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. – The Obama administration asked Friday that the only person convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 be returned to a Scottish prison.

John Brennan, President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, told reporters accompanying the vacationing leader that the U.S. has "expressed our strong conviction" to Scottish officials that Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi (AHB'-dehl BAH'-seht AH'-lee ahl-meh-GRAH'-hee) should not remain free. The comments came on the first anniversary of Al-Megrahi's release.

Brennan criticized what he termed the "unfortunate and inappropriate and wrong decision," and added: "We've expressed our strong conviction that Al-Begrahi should serve out the remainder - the entirety - of his sentence in a Scottish prison."
This is like those chase-scene cliches where the protagonist jumps in an unattended car and tears off, tires screeching, and the hapless owner always chases behind for half a block, screaming, “Stop! That’s my car! Come back!”

Israel's 'Citizen Elias'

Elias Abuelazam, the Flint-Toledo-Leesburg serial murderer, is being extradited back to Michigan to face at least one murder charge in Genesee County. (“Stabbing suspect to return to state”).

You may remember Abuelazam when it was being reported that he was an enraged white male targeting blacks, who looked like this:

DU has been unable to confirm reports that the subject for this sketch is a laid-off Flint autoworker named Duke. But his face is well-known throughout Genesee County karaoke bars for his smokin’ renditions of “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Prior to his capture, the media was pretty damned sure they knew who Duke was.

NPR reported on August 10 that “Racial hatred is presumed to be the motive in the attacks.”

On August 9 The Washington Post reported that:
A white man who stabbed or attacked three dark-skinned men in Leesburg this month is probably the "Flint serial killer," thought to have killed five men and wounded 10 -- almost all of them black -- in Michigan, police said Monday. (“Michigan serial killer suspected in three Leesburg, Va., attacks”).

The Philadelphia Daily News headline on August 10 says simply: "Serial killer targets black men, say cops in Mich., Va., Ohio."

Except, as Tom Rowan at American Thinker points out, the cops weren’t saying that:

“Investigators were not certain at all that these were racially motivated murders or murders of convenience. The area where the murders occurred just happened to be areas with high populations of blacks. Flint, Michigan is also the home to a large Arab population.” (“Stabbing Psycho Driven By Racial Hatred?”).
Personally, I think the attacks were racial, but police investigators were reluctant to say it was, and the media reported what they wanted.

Anyhow, when the Flint stabber still looked like Duke, reporters stayed up nights thinking up leads for the stories they’d be writing once the fiend was finally captured, and his transparently conservatives motives revealed:
“A string of deadly racial attacks ended when police arrested the suspect outside the Tea Party rally he had helped organize, as gun-toting tea partiers screamed epithets . . .”

“A man identified as Sarah Palin’s 2008 Michigan campaign adviser was finally arrested Tuesday following a multi-state spree of hate crimes. . .”

“A five-state manhunt for the suspect in a string of racial murders ended today when police captured the unsuspecting fugitive in a local motel where he had pulled off to watch “The Glenn Beck Show.”

Then Abuelazam was captured, and reporters found out he actually looked like this:

Then it was learned Abuelazam was an Arab Israeli citizen, (a nationality the New York Times Style Manual insists always be spelled “Palestinian”), and that’s when all the air went out of the racial killing spree balloon.

With the actual suspect turning out to be so disappointingly unDuke-like -- in fact, actually a member of a UN-sanctioned victim ethnicity himself, namely, “Palestinian” -- how could he be tied into America’s racial myth? There was nothing for the media to do but reduce the story’s scale, and maybe fudge the fact that Abuelazam’s background puts him within a whisker of being just another Middle Eastern serial killer with an Arabic name.

Most stories are identifying Abuelazam as an “Israeli citizen,” which he is, but almost none ever mentions that he is an Arab. Many Americans aren’t even aware that Israel has Arabic citizens.

Referring to an Arab Israeli as an “Israeli” is a sharp departure from 40 years of media reporting. Since 1967 the pro-Palestinian press has always painted Israel either as an “apartheid state,” meant to imply Israel excludes Arabs from citizenship, (a falsehood), or else they refuse to call the Arabs who enjoy full citizenship rights there “Israelis” at all -- preferring the more second-class sounding, “the 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

And now that proof of the his Tea Party membership is only a dream, what Abuelazam did to his victims is so much less serious than when he was still wearing a redneck cap. Back then, he was a serial killer targeting black men. Today’s Detroit Free Press refers to him as a “stabbing suspect.”

What? A stabbing suspect? That doesn’t even tell the lazy readers (I told you it was the Free Press) that five of Abuelazam’s victims died, and the survivors suffered horrific wounds. Stabbing suspects are those kids who get arrested after football games at Murray Wright High School. Every other gemulk in the Wayne County Jail is a stabbing suspect. What happened to “serial killer?” What happened to “racial hatred”?

Oh, well.

The Israeli lobby must be behind this.

Better Hurry Up and Appoint a Prayer Czar

According to recent reports from the AP,
Nearly one in five people, or 18%, said they think Obama is Muslim, up from the 11% who said so in March 2009, according to a poll released today. The proportion who correctly say he is a Christian is down to just 34%.

The largest share of people, 43%, said they don't know his religion, an increase from the 34% who said that in early 2009.
(“Poll: Nearly 1 in 5 people incorrectly call Obama Muslim”).
In a related poll, 81% of Americans correctly identified the character in the AFLAC commercials as a duck.

AP writer Hillel Italie explains the confusion about the president’s religious views this way:

Blame it on the media, or on human nature. All presidents deal with image problems -- that they're too weak or too belligerent, too far left or far right. But Obama also faces questions over documented facts, in part because some people identify more with the rumormongers than the debunkers.

"Trust and distrust -- that explains almost all of it," says Nicholas DiFonzo, professor of psychology at the Rochester Institute of Technology and an expert on rumor and gossip research. "We are in such a highly polarized political environment. Our country is sorting itself into more closely knit, opposing factions each year" -- factions, DiFonzo suggests, that in turn become "echo chambers" for factoids that aren't fact at all.
(“Misperceptions about Obama are on upswing, polls show”).
Nowhere does he mention that any fault lies with the president himself -- who spent his first year in office telling the Muslim world he was one of them, while at the same time sending messages to American Christians that, as far as he’s concerned, he’s had just about enough from us and we’re all on probation. (“Obama's Unholy War Against Christianity, Not Islam”).

After looking, walking, and talking like he has since he got elected, Obama’s now surprised at the confusion.
The White House even felt compelled to respond with a terse knockdown from spokesman Bill Burton: "The president is obviously a Christian. He prays every day."
Leave aside the bad form involved in delegating details about the president’s devotional habits to the White House press office. But an announcement that the POTUS prays ever day may not help that much. It isn’t only Christians who pray.

Ahmadinejad prays every day, for Death to America and Israel. Muslim taxi and bus drivers pray, too, even if they have to stop traffic to do it.

And isn’t this one of those moments of high irony. Just a few years ago, when the press would report, usually as if it were a Watergate-style expose, that President Bush actually prayed for guidance as Commander in Chief, it was proof that the Taliban wing of the Republican party was forcing the country into a theocracy.

Now that yet more of Obama’s poll numbers are going in the wrong direction, he is “obviously a Christian” because he prays every day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Next Time Try the Race Card

There’s a federal jury in Detroit that will soon be deliberating over whether the killer they found guilty of murdering an armored car guard will get the death penalty. (“Debate swirls over killer’s punishment”). Defense attorneys for Timothy O’Reilly are now trying to convince jurors their client’s brain is so defective it would be unfair to subject him to execution: “They paint O’ Reilly, who is white, as a clueless misfit who so desperately wanted to fit in that he once put his hair in cornrows, joined a black motorcycle gang and denounced his own race.”

I don’t know how convincing that will be. Where I come from most guys like that end up becoming college professors.

If You Can't Beat 'Em . . . Well, You Just Better Beat 'Em

Detroit News editorial page editor Nolan Finley has his own view on the Cordoba Center mosque in New York City: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Finley’s a smart guy and we quote him here from time to time. This time he’s all wet.

Finley’s proposing we all get behind the building of the Cordoba Center; but let’s have all the other religions build cathedrals and synagogues and ashrams at Ground Zero, too, resulting in a triumph of religious coexistence. (“Finley: Don't fight NYC mosque; join it”). Kind of like a religious food court.

“Ground zero,” writes Finley, “would seem the perfect place to demonstrate that religious tolerance is why so many flocked to our shores in the first place, and remains a key block in the foundation of our freedom.”

I don’t see what makes Ground Zero the perfect place to demonstrate the foundational American virtue of religious tolerance. Anyhow, Ground Zero’s already perfectly suited to demonstrate for Americans something else, as it first did on 9/11, namely, the insane absolutsim of Islamic intolerance. In fact, the attack on the World Trade Center demonstrated so effectively the reality of Islam, that Islamophilic media types and dhimmis all quickly agreed to stop showing the images of the attacks on TV.

Here’s an idea: instead of mishandling our hard-earned reputation for religious tolerance so that our enemies, as Finley describes it, can use it “to chump us,” why not demonstrate that value by showing some national unity against those who hate us for it? Oh, wait, a huge precentage of Americans are already doing that!

Finley’s vision of clustering the world’s religions into southern Manhattan is a bit odd. Dearborn actually has something like that “holy mall,” in a slightly more suburban setting. You’ll find it on Altar Road just north of Ford near Evergreen. There is a line of religious structures stretching from the Warrendale Community Church at the west end to Mother of the Savior Lutheran Church on the east, sharing the one access road. Since 2005 the beautiful St. Clement Orthodox Church has had its sunrise blocked by the Islamic Center of North America, whose minarets now tower above every structure on the horizon, religious or secular.

Funny how that turned out.

Finley trots out the going straw man that, if Muslims own the land and qualify under the zoning ordinances they have a right to build their mosque, as if any serious person has argued otherwise. But he goes beyond that.

“Tossing aside the Constitution to block it would expose us as being as ignorant and hateful as the repressive Islamic regimes that spawned the 9/11 terrorists. And it would also set a dangerous precedent; deny a mosque today, and tomorrow it could be a temple or church.”

This is ridiculous. And I don’t just mean the bit about tossing aside the Constitution. I mean the fable that, were we Americans to block the Cordoba Center from being built, whether by legal means or popular pressure -- even if we risked doing it in an unconstitutional way -- that simple act would expose us being as ignorant and hateful as the jihadi murderers behind 9/11.

No, No, NO! We aren’t like them, and we aren’t close to being like them: and it’s not only the First Amendment that keeps us from being like them. There’s more to American goodness (yes, goodness) than the Bill of Rights, and there’s so much more to the evil and savagery of jihadism than a simple lack of the Founders’ ideal of free exercise of religion. There are whole other levels, and sub-levels, and hell caverns of darkness we’d have to sink down to before we would feel at home with beheadings and cutting off hands and feet and fathers killing their own daughters as commendable ways to bring pleasure to a splenetic deity.

I LOVE the Constitution. But even without the Constitution, well before we had it -- long before then -- when we were subjects of George III, or Dutch settlers, or French or Spanish explorers, or even Indians or African slaves, or peasants under Henry IV and even Charlemagne and Constantine, and even Caesar, we were never the kind of people that Mohammed Atta or Ayman al-Zawahiri were, or that Major Hasan and Hassan Nasrallah and Khalid Sheikh Muhammed are now.

But, writes Finley, aside from the issue of our values, we’ve got to be careful of that slippery slope: “deny a mosque today, and tomorrow it could be a temple or church.” Well, there are slopes and there are slopes, and I’d say our historical devotion to religious freedom still has plenty of sticky left in it. On the other hand, everywhere Islam has been allowed free reign “to chump” or otherwise impose itself on people, tomorrow there will be a temple or a church denied, the same they’re denied, forbidden, and persecuted all throughout the lands where mosques are in the majority.

Finley reminds us yet again that religious tolerance was an important reason why “so many flocked to our shores in the first place.” Okay, but that misses the point. Muslim immigration to the USA is not being driven by a quest for religious tolerance. If anything, immigrants from Muslim countries who come to America for religious freedom are nonMuslims fleeing persecution from Muslim majorities. Hezbollah supporting imams have not come here from Iran and Lebanon because they’re not allowed to practice Islam in the old country. They’re here on a mission to insure that eventually no one else, including you, is allowed to practice anything but Islam in America.

As jihad-savvy writers like Andrew McCarthy have clarified, the grand jihad in America is aimed at “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

And, as Omar Ahmad, Chairman of CAIR said in that quote we’ve got anchored on our main page, “Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.”

No one is denying Muslims in New York City the right to practice their intolerant religion, or to construct as many mosques as they need to do it in -- except for this unique situation so near the site of the 9/11 attack. Regardless of Finley’s idea that we’re only one construction-permit denial away from equality with the Taliban, we have remained true to our values, and that includes during this grass-roots opposition to the mosque.

From my perspective, even if the New York Landmark Commission, or the IRS, or any other government entity were to use legal means to block the Cordoba Center, that would still not rise to a denial of free exercise of religion. Nor would it mean, slippery-slopewise, that we’re sliding downward only inches behind the world’s most intolerant religionists. It can’t be emphasized too much that, even in our worst moments, we’re nothing like the Islamists, and we’re not on the verge of becoming like them. There are slippery slopes, yes, and tipping points. But when it comes to religious tolerance, we’re still almost dead level, while Islam’s tipping point was reached in the seventh century, and it’s been downhill ever since.

The proof of how different we are is that, regardless of how this mosque business turns out, it will have been the end process of months and months of national hand-wringing, and more significant, no violence. When Talibanis see something they don’t like, they shoot first and brag about it later.

Finley’s suggestion to surround The Cordoba Center mosque with ashrams and temples and cathedrals is pure fantasy, as if religious edifices can be planted and arranged like hydrangeas -- and in Manhattan’s financial district, no less. Finley already knows that the Cordoba Center, “if it's allowed to stand alone,” will “stand as a trophy for those who would change America, and believe they got a pretty good start on 9/11.”

And letting that happen is a triumph for the First Amendment, how?

CAIR-MI Forfeits NYC Mosque Debate on Local Radio

I managed to catch this debate-that-never-was on AM 990 on Friday. CAIR’s Dawud Walid failed to show up to argue the Ikhwan’s side of the mosque controversy, so Robert Spencer had the segment to himself. There’s no sign of Dawud’s blog posting announcing he was going to be appearing on Al’s show. From JihadWatch:

Dawud Walid of Hamas-linked CAIR bails out of debate with Spencer

Posted by Robert on August 20, 2010 3:20 PM

A few days ago I agreed to a debate on the Islamic supremacist mega-mosque at Ground Zero on Ave Maria Radio's [1]
Kresta in the Afternoon, with host Al Kresta. They didn't have an opponent lined up yet, but that was fine with me: the facts are the facts.

So imagine when my surprise and delight when I was waiting for the show to start and Dawud Walid of Hamas-linked CAIR's Michigan chapter was announced as my debate opponent. CAIR operatives have been ducking me for years, ever since Honest Ibe Hooper and I had a delightful encounter moderated by, of all people, Keith Olbermann, on MSNBC way back in 2003 or 2004. Hearing Walid announced, I quickly opened my files on CAIR's connections with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the convictions of its officials on terror charges, its unindicted co-conspirator status, and the rest, and was loaded for bear -- CAIR bear.

But then Kresta went on the air and he was, well, crestfallen. He and his producer Nick Thomm told the story to the listening audience: they had contacted CAIR's national office in Washington, which referred them to Walid, who agreed to a debate and even posted on his blog that he would be appearing. They were chagrined to report that after all that, Walid had not shown up. He had vanished without notice or explanation.

Of course, CAIR operatives know that I will tell the truth about their unsavory gang of thugs, libel artists and seditionists. That's why they will not meet me in debate, whatever the forum, whatever the topic. But if they ever summon up some courage to defend their Islamic supremacist positions, I'll be right here.

Meanwhile, I expect you'll find Dawud Walid cowering in a corner with [2]
Brave Ahmed Rehab.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Hey, AG Cox? How About THIS Urban Myth?

This news brief is from the Detroit Free Press:
Police sued for info on imam's killing

The Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a freedom of information lawsuit Wednesday in Wayne County Circuit Court against the Michigan State Police, saying it has been stonewalled in its requests for information about the shooting of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah last October.

Detroit attorney Julie Hurwitz, who filed the suit, said it's the first of several the organization plans to file against various police agencies that have been unresponsive to information requests.

The FBI shot Abdullah to death after they said he opened fire on an FBI dog when they tried to arrest him on suspicion of dealing in stolen goods.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office and U.S. Justice Department have not released their reports on the shooting.
Anyone who has read this blog even a small bit knows we have no use for CAIR. They’re an agency of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. Readers also know we’ve been extremely critical of CAIR’s efforts to plant in Detroit’s Muslim and black communities the notion that Abdullah’s death was a political killing. We’ve ridiculed attempts by CAIR and others to paint Abdullah, who evidence shows was a violent, hate filled jihadist engaged in a felony at the time he stupidly provoked a shootout with the task force, as a community hero and a martyr for Islam.

That said, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox should not be delaying the release of the Michigan State Police investigation of the Joint Terrorism Task Force raid that resulted in Abdullah’s death. If, as we expect, the evidence shows that the shooting of Abdullah was justified, then it’s time to clear the air once and for all. It’s been ten months now since the incident. As much as I hate to agree with Dawud Walid, even by accident the delay is beginning to look suspicious.

Cox just learned on Tuesday how many Michigan voters doubt his integrity, in large part thanks to his dismissal of the alleged party at the Manoogian Mansion that is at the center of so many criminal and civil investigations the past few years, as an “urban myth.” Even if Cox had any solid factual basis for ending his investigation in such a hurry, many, including me, believe he deliberately mishandled that investigation.

Now he is playing a central role in the investigation of the Abdullah shootout. He can clear the names of the task force agents and shut up the yapping dogs of CAIR by releasing the investigation reports exonerating them as soon as possible.

Or we should know the reason why.

Hezbollah Owes Us Big Time

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that a group of Holocaust survivors are quite unhappy with the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn over its decision to finance a statue of Helen Thomas, a decision the survivors group claims will “tarnish” the museum’s reputation. (“Holocaust survivors condemn tribute to newswoman, call proposed honor immoral”).

Here is what the statue looks like. I’m thinking the actual Helen Thomas is the one on the right.

As reported by Niraj Warikoo:

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, which represents about 80,000 families of Holocaust survivors in the U.S., said that honoring Thomas with a statue is immoral.

“The campaign to honor Helen Thomas with a statue is a moral taint on the Arab American National Museum ,” Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the New York-based Holocaust survivors group, said Thursday. “The museum must understand that American values are at stake here. We would be as horrified as they would be if some bigot demanded that Arab Americans get out of this country.”
You may recall how Thomas “was forced to resign from Hearst Newspapers in June after telling a rabbi on camera that Israelis should ‘get the hell out of Palestine’ and ‘go home’ to ‘Poland, Germany and America, and everywhere else.’”

Ms. Steinberg said “Holocaust survivors and their families were deeply shocked by Helen Thomas’ comments. . .Her monstrous call for Jews to go back to the places where we were gassed and burned were profoundly anti-American words of hate.”

Shocked, but there’s no reason to be surprised. In a 2002 speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Thomas said this about her transition from straight news reporting for UPI to opinion journalism: “I censored myself for 50 years. Now I wake up and ask myself, Who do I hate today?’”

I like good, hard-hitting opinion writing, but really, now.

Thomas was indulged for years as an institution in the White House briefing room, especially for her ill-informed questions aimed at conservative presidents, such as Reagan and George W. Bush. Even after the statements that led to her resignation, the liberal media preferred giving the last word to her reputation as “a pioneer for women in journalism,” (e.g., Niraj Warikoo in the Free Press), who deserved her doyenne props just for having been in that front row seat so damn long.

Museum staff don’t seem bothered by Thomas’s bigotry.
Anan Ameri, the museum director, told the Free Press that “we disagree with” the comments that Thomas made about Israel , which were “uncalled for.” But “it was unfair to scratch a whole history ... because of a statement she made.”

Thomas “spent her life ... doing a lot of good things,” Ameri said.

“She contributed a lot,” Ameri added. Thomas “opened many, many doors for women in this country.”
OK, we get it. Helen Thomas did a lot of good things, even if no one can think of them offhand. And on account of that she should be allowed to call for the expulsion of the Jews from Israel, er, Palestine. Besides, while Ameri acknowledges that Thomas’s remarks were “uncalled for,” that’s not the same as saying they clash with the opinions of Museum supporters.

When he was Bush’s press secretary the late Tony Snow once thanked Thomas “for the Hezbollah view” during one of her factless, hectoring, “questions.”

It was a fair criticism then. After her hateful remarks about the Jews in June the Lebanese Hezbollah MP Hussein Moussawi released a statement praising Thomas:
“Respected American journalist Helen Thomas's answer shows ... a courageous, bold, honest and free opinion which expresses what people across the globe believe: that Israel is a racist state of murderers and thugs.”
Maybe the Museum can hit Hezbollah up for the money to pay for Helen’s statue. It would only be fair after all the money Dearborn has sent to them.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

WikiLeaks Not So Harmless After All

Blood Already on Assange’s Hands (and the WikiLeaks-Gitmo Connection)

By Marc Thiessen

August 3, 2010, 1:02 pm Newsweek
reports that the Taliban has already started executing Afghans in the wake of WikiLeaks’ illegal disclosures:
Late last week, just four days after the documents were published [by WikiLeaks], death threats began arriving at the homes of key tribal elders in southern Afghanistan. And over the weekend one tribal elder, Khalifa Abdullah, who the Taliban believed had been in close contact with the Americans, was taken from his home in Monar village, in Kandahar province’s embattled Arghandab district, and executed by insurgent gunmen … The frightening combination of the Taliban spokesman’s threat, Abdullah’s death, and the spate of letters has sparked a panic among many Afghans who have worked closely with coalition forces in the past, according to a senior Taliban intelligence officer who declined to be named for security reasons … The Taliban officer claimed that the group’s English-language media department continues to actively examine the WikiLeaks material and intends to draw up lists of collaborators in each province, to add to the hit lists of local insurgent commanders.
One of the death threats was signed by a Taliban leader who had been released from Guantanamo last year by the Obama administration:
One short handwritten note, shown to Newsweek, said: “We have made a decision for your death. You have five days to leave Afghan soil. If you don’t, you don’t have the right to complain.” The screed, written on the letterhead of Mullah Mohammed Omar’s defunct Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, bore the signature of Abdul Rauf Khadim, a senior Taliban official and former inmate at the American lockup in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, who had been released into—and subsequently escaped from—Kabul’s custody last year.
So let’s get this straight: WikiLeaks has effectively provided a “hit list” to a Taliban leader released from Guantanamo Bay. Yet the Left wants to keep WikiLeaks open and shut down Guantanamo Bay. We should do precisely the opposite: Shut down WikiLeaks to stop them from providing more classified information to the enemy and keep Guantanamo open to stop the terrorists held there from killing more innocent people.

'Not at Ground Zero'

From the Editors at NRO Online:

Not at Ground Zero

The story of the proposed mosque at the site of the World Trade Center has been thoroughly misrepresented, as have the parties behind the project. They present themselves as ambassadors of moderate Islam. Daisy Khan, executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement, says the project aims to put the Muslim community “at the front and center to start the healing.”

Ms. Khan knows better, because she is also Mrs. Feisal Abdul Rauf, the wife of the main Islamic cleric behind the project. Rauf is no moderate. He presents himself as a peacemaking Islamic Gandhi, but he is in fact an apologist for the terrorist outfit Hamas, which he refuses even to identify as a terrorist organization. Nor is Rauf exactly full-throated in his rejection of terrorism, offering only this: “The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.” While he cannot quite bring himself to blame the terrorists for being terrorists, he finds it easy to blame the United States for being a victim of terrorism: “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”

As National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy has documented, Rauf’s book, published in the West as What’s Right with Islam Is What’s Right with America, had a significantly different title abroad: A Call to Prayer from the World Trade Center Rubble: Islamic Dawa in the Heart of America Post-9/11. “Dawa” means Islamic proselytizing, a process that ends in the imposition of sharia. The book was published abroad with the assistance of the Islamic Society of North America and the International Institute of Islamic Thought, which are two appendages of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization behind much of the world’s murderous Islamic terrorism. The Islamic Society of North America was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism case. The co-founder and president of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Awani, was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Sami al-Arian terrorism case.

This dispute has been presented as a question of whether an Islamic center and mosque should be built in proximity to the scene of the worst act of Islamic terrorism — and the worst act of political violence — ever committed on U.S. soil. But at least as germane to the dispute is the question of whether these particular parties ought to be doing so. The fact that an apologist for terrorists and an associate of terrorist-allied organizations is proceeding with this provocation is indecent. We have thousands of mosques in the United States, and who knows how many Islamic cultural centers in New York City. We do not need this one, in this place, built by these people. We’re all stocked up on Hamas apologists, thanks very much.

The libertarians among us are wrong to take a blasé attitude toward this, asking, “If their permit applications are in order, why not?” Here is why not: because this is not just a zoning dispute. The World Trade Center is, in effect, the gravesite of 3,000 Americans who died at the hands of Islamist radicals, and to build a mosque on this site — particularly a mosque with Muslim Brotherhood connections — would be extraordinarily unseemly. We will not appeal to the official powers to use the machinery of government to stop this project. We appeal, instead, to the sense of decency of the American Muslim community, and to its patriotism.

Beyond that, Americans should make their displeasure with this project felt economically and socially: No contractor, construction company, or building-trades union that accepts a dime of the Cordoba Initiative’s money should be given a free pass—nobody who sells them so much as a nail, or a hammer to drive it in with. This is an occasion for boycotts and vigorous protests — and, above all, for bringing down a well-deserved shower of shame upon those involved with this project, and on those politicians who have meekly gone along with it. It is an indecent proposal and an intentional provocation.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Gov’t Response to Dry Runs -- Blanket Denial?

Terrorists may repeat operational tests to desensitize, distract, or adapt plans for specific environments. Linking repetitious probing incidents or associated items possibly could alert authorities to future terrorist plots, tactics, and personalities. (“TSA bulletin”)

Or don’t link them. Whatever.

Dearborn Underground has learned that last January’s disruptive behavior by five Saudi males on Northwest Flight 243 from Amsterdam to Detroit (“Unruly Saudis Disrupt Plane Before Being Released Without Charges By U.S. Customs”) included sitting in scattered locations around the cabin, refusing flight attendant requests to sit down, suspiciously frequent trips to the lavatory, and putting blankets over their heads – the same way Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab hid under a blanket to arm his bomb on the very same flight from Amsterdam hardly more than two weeks before.

One of the Saudis unbuckled himself after the cabin and passengers were secured and only three minutes remained before wheels down, stood up, and charged the lavatory – before rushing back to his seat -- all for no apparent reason. The flight’s Captain was so concerned he overruled air marshals’ wishes and requested emergency assistance on the ground: there was a serious disagreement between the air marshals on board and Flight 243’s Captain about whether or not the Saudis were a “credible threat.”

We also know that within the last few minutes before Flight 243 landed at Metro, (and about an hour and a half before all five were released scot free), F-16s were being scrambled in Toledo.

We’ve now got some information we didn’t have then, thanks to a helpful friend who passed along to DU documents he obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. This story vanished from the news last January within hours of the event, leaving too many questions unanswered. These documents answer some of them. They also raise many more.

And I’d remind readers that back in January we, and others, considered this event a dry run meant to support a future terror operation. If you’re interested in why we think this way, you can read these previous posts:

Space Monkeys, or, How Shahzad II Will Blow Up Broadway

'I'd Like an Aisle Seat. And Could You Hold the Cheese?'

Now we’ve learned that the four Saudi passengers, all related and with the same last name, (and then a fifth, kinship unknown), displayed a pattern of behavior sufficiently suspicious to experienced flight crew that several flight attendants, and the pilot in charge, notified the onboard Federal Air Marshals (FAMs: there were four FAMs on board), while the pilot alerted authorities on the ground. The four were all students at the University of Akron, booked through Detroit to Canton, Ohio. They and the fifth Saudi, also a student at U. of Akron, were part of a larger group of 35 Saudi students pre-screened in Saudi Arabia for entry into the U.S. Only these five were aboard Flight #243. (There is an active Muslim Students Association at U. of Akron).

The government documents are replete with mentions of the behavior of these four as “suspicious.” The strange behavior began shortly into the flight, about 7:15 am. Eventually, there came a period of a few hours when the Saudis slept or watched videos. By then FAM had them under constant surveillance. As the plane approached Detroit, their suspicious behavior resumed and lasted till landing. The following is taken directly from documents produced by the TSA:

One of the TSA reports describes four passengers “exhibiting suspicious behavior during the flight. All four passengers were scattered throughout the aircraft, moving around the cabin to talk to one another and making frequent trips to the lavatory. The passengers were not compliant when a Flight Attendant requested that they take their seats while the fasten seatbelt sign was illuminated.”

A shift call log, documenting calls over hours from Flight #245, noted at 0849 reports of “suspicious activity” and that 4 Saudi males “won’t sit down.”

Flight attendants brought their concerns to the flight deck early, while just passing Scotland. They sensed these guys weren’t right. The four were all traveling together, but they had selected seats all over the cabin. And the Saudis were insisting to know when the plane would be landing. When one FA gave an estimate of about four and three-quarter hours, the passenger demanded to know EXACTLY when the plane would be landing. Another FA account noted that “an approximate time would not do” for these guys.

Then there were the blankets. When an FA asked one passenger why he needed to know the exact time the plane would be landing, he “became angry” and went to talk to one of the other Saudi passengers. After that, according to her statement, he returned to his seat “and got under a blanket - twice I asked him to get out from under the blanket then [] asked him a third time . . .”

A FAM reported “two ME males later identified as [REDACTED] . . . had blankets pulled completely over their heads and appeared to be fidgetting (sic) underneath the blanket. FA [told the two ME males] to remove the blankets and explained that due to recent events, that was no longer allowed.”

Operation Blanket continued. A different crew member reported being told by a colleague about suspicious behavior, and that one of the passengers, had “had a blanket over his head & was refusing to remove it.” Another FA told TSA she felt concern about two of the men who “kept getting up,” and about their other odd behavior and their “questions about ‘landing times’” and “hiding under blanket.”

FA [REDACTED] observed pax [REDACTED] going to the bathroom with a heavy leather jacket, he told her he was cold but returned to his seat without going to the toilet.

Pax at [REDACTED] I observed doing something under their jacket just prior to landing. I stopped and continued to look a few moments. Later they folded the jacket and it lay across both of them but this time their hands were visible. FA [REDACTED] removed all coats and blankets from pax and replaced them in the overhead.
The air marshal’s Activity Report also states that “At 1240, approximately twenty minutes from landing, according to FA [REDACTED] got out of his seat and retrieved his coat out of the overhead and returned to his seat. He then proceeded to place it over his lap and the lap of [REDACTED] and both individuals put their hands under the coat.”

Earlier, some FAs passed it off as “college kids acting ‘goofy.’” Then one of them recounts how her mind was changed as the flight was making its final approach to Detroit and the cabin was supposed to be secured for landing:

“one passenger 42D or 32H got up to go to the bathroom. Passengers [in adjacent other seats] had a coat across their laps and were fiddling with something under their (sic) coat.“

At this time we considered this to be a credible threat and landing the airplane quickly with everyones (sic) help became a higher priority. Preparing for a bomb blast was a higher priority.”

According to one flight deck officer’s statement, based upon what the FAs were reporting to them as early as “[l]eaving the Scottish coast” the cockpit crew “prepared for a descent for a possible bomb explosion over the water & had diversion airport at all times.”

As Flight 243 made its way to Detroit, the captain and the lead air marshal disagreed about how serious the threat was. The FAM reported speaking to the captain* “for approximately an hour and convincing him” that the Saudis weren’t a threat to the aircraft and that the captain “agreed not to have authorities meet the aircraft,” and to “call off security at DTW”. (*The documents redact the identities of both of these persons, but other details and the context allow an inference about who they are.) The government documents shed no light on why the air marshal felt calling off security at Metro should be the top priority.

And then, at some point near Detroit and after the “double ding,” (that is, the pilot’s signal to the cabin crew that all should be secured for landing and the seatbelt sign comes on), Saudi Passenger Number Five, who until then no one associated with the other four, decided it was time to play his part.

He leapt up and ran to the lavatory. Two of the accounts agree that Passenger Five “ran.”

“(The lead FAM did say one of the passengers had jumped up and gone to the bathroom at the double ding).”

Another FA stated that “about 2-3 minutes before landing passenger in [REDACTED] got up ran to the bathroom. I went to get him out but was already back in seat.”

Another report states that “Just after 2 bell one pax ran to the toilet but returned to his seat in no time.”

Just how quick is “no time”? Here's how the FAM reports it:

Approximately three minutes from landing, [REDACTED], seated in [REDACTED] got out of his seat and went into the lav located by door #3 FA [REDACTED] then [REDACTED]. At this time, FA [REDACTED] and I proceeded down the aisle to get [REDACTED] out of the lav. When we entered the mid cabin, the [REDACTED] exited the lav and returned to his seat. We then continued past the [REDACTED] and could clearly see that he had nothing in his hands. We were at an altitude of about 500 feet so we returned to our seats for landing.

Maybe I’m making too much of that rest room sprint. Nature’s call and whatnot. But the same stunt convinced the Captain he had a “credible threat and declared an emergency and assistance upon landing.” He told TSA later that a passenger standing up during descent certainly qualified as a potential emergency. Also note that neither the FAMs nor the flight attendants had time enough to intercept Five, either on his way to the lav, or before making it back to his seat. Note that, I say, because you can bet Passenger Five did.

Meanwhile, at “1300 hours, fighters were placed on battle stations at Toledo.” They did not take off.

The FAM Team Leader reported how, when he learned of the Captain’s request for assistance on the ground, it came as “a shock to the FAM team. During the last meeting I had with the Captain, it was agreed that we did not need any law enforcement to meet the aircraft and now we had several agencies waiting to meet us.”

Several agencies waiting? That’s terrible! But, wait, why is that terrible? And was the FAM referring to his (or her) meeting with the pilot that took an hour over the Atlantic? If there is no law enforcement to meet the aircraft, then aren’t the five suspicious passengers likely to deplane and get on their way without being questioned about their behavior?

When Flight 243 did land, Homeland Security ordered it to a remote “pad” temporarily, far from the terminal, trailed by a parade of emergency vehicles. After determining there was no threat inside the airplane, NWA #243 from Amsterdam -- the flight made famous by Abdulmutallab 19 days before -- was allowed to taxi to the gate, where Wayne County Airport Police, more federal air marshals, ICE, TSA, and Customs and Border Protection were all at the gate to meet them. Conspicuously absent from the scene was America’s first-rank counterterrorism agency: the FBI.

All the law enforcement manpower was for naught. Customs and Border Protection interviewed all five passengers briefly and then released them. The reports suggest no one ever linked up Passenger Five with the other four. Five declared he had no idea why he was being questioned. He said he was just going to the bathroom. At 500 feet. The statements of the other four all professed that nothing unusual happened on the flight. They had no idea why they were being questioned.

Neither did CBP. There’s no sign that anyone from Homeland Security had the slightest inkling that “[l]inking repetitious probing incidents or associated items possibly could alert authorities to future terrorist plots, tactics, and personalities,” as the forgotten TSA Bulletin strongly urged.

Notably, nearly identical behaviors were documented on the dry run on Northwest flight #327 from Detroit to LA in 2004: during that incident, in which 13 Syrian “musicians” terrified passengers over a period of several hours, and when, among other things, “One man rushed to the front of the plane appearing to head for the cockpit. At the last moment he veered into the first class lavatory, remaining in it for about 20 minutes.” Also, “Several men congregated in the aisles, changed seats, and arose when the seat belt sign was turned on in preparation for landing.” (Inspector General’s report).

Even if we place the most harmless spin on all this, it still makes little sense. Let’s say the Saudi students were just “being goofy.” (Aren’t we all familiar with college-age irony? Who can forget all those yippies who showed up at anti-war demonstrations in OD army jackets?) Mix that irony with some Koranic contempt for the Dar al Harb where they’re forced to attend school, and assume awareness of the recent notorious incident of the Muslim brother’s underwear attack on this very same flight, and maybe a little “goofy” student pranking of a Kuffir flight crew seemed funny.

Was it harmless? Dangerous? How could I know? Anyway, who cares what I think? I wasn’t there. But the Captain was there, and he called it an emergency, and most, if not all of his flight attendants thought there was something seriously wrong, too. F-16s were on battle stations. Someone logging all this in real time at some command center described the Saudis’ inexplicable behavior, and penned the word, “Why?

Whether the verdict is “goofy” or “not goofy,” the fact that what might have been just a prank in a college cafeteria could be something deadly on a transatlantic flight, meant there was a hot, but brief, national security response to all this, including fighter planes warming up.

And then, just like that, it was all over. The Saudi students and the CBP tossed the old Nerfball around for a few minutes, and then CBP wished them luck, making sure every “goofy” kid got his own complimentary “Know Before You Go” pamphlet -- and a comment card! The five Saudi students rebooked and flew back to college; there, one supposes, to regale their friends in one of Akron’s hookah bars with tales of their under-blanket hijinks. ICE declined to even interview three of the four students. DU has been unable to confirm if any of the remaining passengers on NWA #243 received comment cards.

Did the Constitution really forbid CBP from asking disruptive foreign passengers if they belong to the MSA? Or if they attended a mosque in Akron? and which one? Or is it that they just didn’t think of it? If any of these guys did report what they’d learned about airline security to contacts in the Muslim Brotherhood, we’ll never know. Because we never wanted to know.

I’d say the closest thing to poetry in the 9/11 Commission Report was that one damning phrase, “failure of imagination.” It was the TSA’s utter failure in 2004 to treat Flight 237 as an episode deserving of note that led eventually to the IG’s report criticizing them.

Besides imagination,what else is missing in all these cases are national security protocols that both enable and require detention and interrogation of passengers involved in suspicious acts such as these. It’s not good enough that air marshals will do nothing -- or can do nothing -- unless they witness an actual crime. So let’s make these things a crime. Such protocols might actually alert our counterintelligence community “to future terrorist plots, tactics, and personalities,” as that forgotten TSA Bulletin recommends.

Secondarily, anti-stunt protocols would discourage future volunteers. Right now it’s the biggest joke in the Middle East that a Muslim male can get away with almost anything on an American airliner, so long as he doesn’t get caught with a box-cutter.