The American Kafir

2010/04/30

Yet Another Step Backward

Filed under: Creeping Shari'a, National Security, Obama, Radical Islam — - @ 5:01 pm

Source: Commentary Magazine

Yet Another Step Backward

Posted By Michael J. Totten

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said yesterday [1] that military action against Iran is “off the table in the near term,” effectively walking back President Obama’s position [2] that “all options are on the table.” She prefaced her statement with the banal assertion that “military force is an option of last resort,” which of course everyone knows and which implies by itself that force is off the table for now. But the United States nevertheless just softened its position again on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. If the president doesn’t return force to the table, it is going to stay off.

It seems as though the U.S. is trying to look irresolute and nonthreatening lately, but whether it’s on purpose or not, that’s what it looks like, and it isn’t helpful. A credible threat — simple deterrence — can make war somewhat less likely, just as police officers on the street make crime somewhat less likely. The Iranian government won’t cooperate with irresolute and nonthreatening enemies; it will steamroll irresolute and nonthreatening enemies.

Attacking Iran wouldn’t be my next step either. I’m entirely sympathetic to the administration’s aversion to it, and not only on behalf of American servicemen who may be injured or killed. I know lots of Iranians. All are decent people. Not a single one supports Tehran’s deranged government. All have friends and family back home, and it has been obvious for some time now that a very large percentage of their fellow citizens left inside the country feel the same way. I don’t want to see any of these people get killed, especially if they’re killed by us. The very idea fills me with horror.

And that’s before factoring in the Israelis and Lebanese who would also be killed if the war spreads to the Levant — a likely event. I spend enough time in the Middle East that I could even end up in a bomb shelter myself.

We have to be realistic, though. There is only the smallest of chances that the Iranian government will mothball its nuclear weapons program if it does not feel some serious heat. Some people can only be disarmed at gunpoint, and that’s true of nearly all belligerent people.

Yet “off the table” has become the new normal. It will remain the new normal until further notice. The United States looks like it’s in retreat. Hardly anyone in the world believed President Obama would ever order a strike even before this most recent of climb-downs.

The administration seems to forget that threatening military action doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go through with it, that we want to go through with it, that we yearn to go through with it, or that we’re warmongers. Look at Taiwan. It exists independently of China only because the United States has made it clear that an invasion of Taiwan would be punished severely. Chinese leaders find the threat credible and have therefore backed off to let Taiwan live. The U.S. doesn’t have to pull the trigger. It’s enough just to say don’t even think about it.

Former Communist countries in Eastern Europe were similarly placed under Western military protection after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow understands perfectly well that its liberated subjects are to be left alone — or else. Saying “hands off Lithuania” by bringing the country into NATO wasn’t cowboy behavior. It was prudent and wise, and it keeps the peace. Russia didn’t like it and still doesn’t like it, but it hasn’t gotten anyone killed.

Deterrence prevents armed conflict by making it clear to the other side that a war would be too costly and shouldn’t be tried. The reverse is true, too. Under certain conditions, war becomes more likely if it looks like there won’t be serious consequences.

Russia invaded Georgia a few years ago, but there is almost no chance that would have happened if Georgia had been a member of NATO. Russia would not have even considered it. The retaliation would have been devastating.

Deterrence might not work with Iran, but it’s even less likely to work if it’s downgraded, put on hold, or smells like a bluff. It’s all but certain to fail once the regime has nuclear weapons and can, short of incinerating cities with weapons of genocide, pretty much do whatever it wants.

[1] said yesterday: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hh1Nry_Tt9sf9frLtj45eR8m5BkAD9F7EUG80

[2] President Obama’s position: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/19/AR2010041904363.html

Smart Aleck-in-Chief?

Filed under: Lies and more Lies, Obama — - @ 3:57 pm

Source: WSJ Online

Smart Aleck-in-Chief?

There may be good reasons for Obama to go negative, but doing so could wreck his presidency.

  • By DANIEL HENNINGER

Columnist's name

Here’s a quiz: For which of the following reasons is the 44th president of the United States bad-mouthing Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, bankers, mine operators, insurers, Glenn Beck, the tea party, the Supreme Court and whoever he hammers as we go to press:

a) He’s rallying his base.

b) He’s rallying the Democrats’ base (one overlaps but does not equal the other).

c) He’s changing the subject from 9% unemployment.

d) To reverse his sinking approval ratings.

e) It’s what Saul Alinsky would do.

f) It’s what Barack Obama likes to do.

Daniel Henninger discusses reasons why President Obama is going negative.

Astute readers instantly saw that the answer is, all of the above. (Incidentally, the left’s notion that Mr. Obama had to prove he could “stand up” to the Republicans must be laughable to the man who stood down the Clinton machine to win.)

Republicans such as Mitch McConnell, a target of Obamian invective, are calling it conduct unbecoming a president. They are right. Carter, Reagan, both Bushes and Ford didn’t do it. People assume the hyperpolitical Bill Clinton did it, but if memory serves, his public persona was presidential to a fault, even as he brimmed with Vesuvian anger.

But as Bill Clinton once explained to Bob Dole, in politics today you do what you’ve gotta do. On current course, Barack Obama’s approval rating is heading toward 40% and an almost certain Democratic wipeout in November. The result would be a moribund first term. The Obama White House has seen this movie before. It was called the second Bush term.

wl042910

Associated Press

Bush 43 famously, and convincingly, said he didn’t care about polls. What got a little weird was that he kept saying this even when in 2007 his approvals plowed toward 30% and the Iraq War raged on. If you walk the halls of Congress now and ask the minority Republicans “Do you miss him yet?”—the answer is: no. Presidential deference killed them in 2008. When Vice President Dick Cheney was finally able to launch a counterattack, it was 2009.

Perhaps uncertain where his own vice president would go with such a killer assignment, Mr. Obama has decided to take down the opposition himself. This may be the Obama version of “you do what you gotta do,” but politics has a brutal truism even bigger than that: Will it work?

Let’s look at the reasons to justify going negative.

The Obama base. Modern Politics 101: Fail to max out with the base and you lose. The 2008 Obama victory was a miracle of base-raising. Minorities, neophyte voters, labor, wannabe lefties and suburban women voted for Mr. Obama at record levels. The bad news: That victory was rock-star politics, and if you’re the man, then the audience wants more of whatever fire drove them into the arena. In this hot new political world, a mere president may be boring. Crank them up, or lose. Go negative.

The Democratic base. This is the party’s bedrock: public-sector unions, plaintiffs lawyers, community organizers, the left-wing blogosphere, NGOs, Big Pharma. The fact that their economic interests are yoked forever to Democratic power ensures maximum effort. Do or die. For most of them, go-negative is chromosomal.

Unemployment. Top 10 reasons why the White House lies awake at night: The economy is reviving but employment is not. Solution: Attack Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. The White House knows that every day the media is writing or talking about their man’s cat fights with conservative celebrities, it isn’t doing stories about “Depression-like” unemployment. Go negative.

• Presidential approval ratings. At the time of his Inauguration, Mr. Obama’s Gallup approval stood at 69%, the highest since JFK. Today his RealClear Politics Approve/Disapprove aggregate is 48.3/46.0. He’s four points from 50% disapproval, which would be a benchmark of disaster for Democrats in November. Go negative? Maybe not.

There may be any number of good, political reasons for Mr. Obama to let it rip. But let’s cut to the real reason this is happening. The answer is (f): It’s what Barack Obama likes to do.

And it’s a mistake.

Even Achilles had a heel, and Mr. Obama’s may be his decision to be his own Saul Alinsky. Defining, demonizing and making a mockery of one’s opponents was one of Alinsky’s main rules for community organizers. But community organizers, though often charismatic, can also be annoying jerks.

The only Barack Obama the American people have ever known is the one presented to them from January 2007 onward—the amazing, improbable fellow in “Dreams from My Father.” Candidate Obama was about as perfect as it ever gets. The best since JFK.

JFK, an imperfect man, worked hard to stay perfect in public. So did FDR and Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. For Barack Obama to believe that any persona he offers the public will be OK with them is hubris. Showing voters a side of him that he enjoys, but many of them may not, is flirting with disaster. If all the positive vibe that held up his presidency on its first day ever breaks, the fall could be fast.

Write to henninger@wsj.com

Obama and Media Hyperventilate Over Immigration Law

Expose Obama

Obama and Media Hyperventilate Over Immigration Law

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown, Expose Obama

Obama, the media, liberal elites — and even some Republicans — have rushed to decry Arizona’s immigration enforcement law with shocking hyperbole. This bill is constitutional and it addresses a pressing issue at the state level because the federal government has shirked responsibility for years. While the critics would have you believe enforcing America’s immigration law is the second coming of fascism, the Arizona law properly emphasizes enforcement in a manner that upholds the Constitution and basic principles of human decency.

Nevertheless, Eugene Robinson, the Washington Post columnist, denounced the law by saying, “Arizona’s draconian new immigration law is an abomination — racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust.” The infamous race baiter Rev. Al Sharpton is promising to come to Arizona to march in opposition to the law. President Obama decried the law as “misguided” and “poorly conceived.” Obama even falsely claimed that a Hispanic family eating ice cream could be forced to provide their papers just because they had dark skin. CBS News used fascist references to attack the law.

These critics completely miss the mark. If these critics had read the law, they would know that it primarily focuses on enforcing existing federal law at the state level. The section that has been misconstrued the most reads, “For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person.” While some like Obama interpret this provision as allowing police officers to round up Hispanic individuals and ask for their papers, it is anything but. The initial contact must be lawful. And the law was carefully written to preclude racial discrimination. Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official “may not solely consider race, color, or national origin” in making any stops or determining an alien’s immigration status.

In order to clarify the non-discriminatory nature of the statute, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order requiring training to “provide clear guidance to law enforcement officials regarding what constitutes reasonable suspicion, and shall make clear that an individual’s race, color or national origin alone cannot be ground for reasonable suspicion to believe any law has been violated.”

Arizona Police Association board member Ken Crane said the new law prohibits officers from targeting people based on race, national origin and other identifying factors. Every rookie officer is trained extensively at the police academy on how to judge probable cause and reasonable suspicion. Crane said whatever training is developed should reinforce long-standing police standards. “It’s basic police work that’s never changed,” he said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here.” Not only does the law prohibit discrimination, the governor is going out of her way to institute new training for officers so they can enforce it properly.

One of the most absurd reactions to the law was from the government of Mexico, which issued a travel warning regarding Arizona. “There is an adverse political environment for migrant communities and all Mexican visitors,” Mexico’s ministry said. This is quite ironic given that the Mexican government has much more stringent immigration standards than the U.S. and they will bar foreigners if they upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.”

These hyperbolic critics ignore what is happening in Arizona. Currently, more than 500,000 illegal aliens live in Arizona. Arizona rancher Rob Krentz was recently gunned down on his own land, presumably by a drug runner. President Obama ignored the calls of Sen. John McCain and other Arizona lawmakers to dispatch the National Guard. Our borders are wide open and criminals are flooding through while the U.S. government continues to dither and turn a blind eye. It is no surprise that the new law has a 70 percent approval rating amongst Arizonans according to Rasmussen, and Gov. Brewster saw her popularity rise by 15 percent after the bill was signed into law.

Americans want our immigration laws to be enforced. We want to live in an open and free society without fear of our government or fear of criminals. This law strikes an important balance between defending precious personal liberties and enforcing our immigration law. The law’s critics should be honest and admit that they currently ignore enforcing immigration law because they want to change it. They support a demographic realignment of the USA through immigration that most Americans oppose.

Obama 2nd Circuit Nominee Abused Power, Helped Rapist and Serial Killer

Source: Red State

Obama 2nd Circuit Nominee Abused Power, Helped Rapist and Serial Killer

Posted by hogan (Profile)

Thursday, April 29th at 10:09AM EDT

Lost amid all the flurry regarding Arizona’s new immigration law and Obama’s efforts with Republican assistance) to have the federal government run Wall Street has been the nomination of Federal District Judge Robert N. Chatigny to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. But you should care. A lot.

Why? Circuit court judges have a great deal of power and influence. Yet, this is a man who abused his power as a judge to help a rapist/serial killer, attempted to strike down the sex offender registry known as Megan’s law (a decision later unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court) and sentenced child porn distributors well below the sentencing guideline range. In particular, his unethical handling of the case of “the Roadside Strangler,” serial killer Michael B. Ross, is one of the most egregious displays of arrogance and abuse of power by any judge in recent memory.

And that doesn’t even come close to giving you the full picture of just how out of touch this man is with both the American public and his responsibility to call balls and strikes as a judge. To do that, you need to read and/or view the following:

1. This clip detailing the horrific murders – by Michael Ross – of 8 young women, of whom at least 6 he violently raped;

2. A devastating letter from Michael O’Hare (PDF), the Assistant State’s Attorney in Connecticut who represented the state in the challenge to Chatigny’s death sentence, in which he details the long train of abuses by Chatigny – such as presiding over Ross’ case despite having previously represented him, interrupting the state before it had finished to rule in favor of the murderer/rapist, berating and threatening Chatigny’s defense lawyers for not filing against their client’s wishes, and otherwise acting in appropriately; and

View this document on Scribd

3. This video of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing held yesterday in which Senators Coburn, Kyl and Sessions asked Chatigny tough questions, and for which he had no good answers (see Daily Caller on topic, here), regarding not only the Ross case, but Chatigny’s ruling against Megan’s law and his pattern of giving low sentences to distributors of child pornography.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Unfortunately, despite these clearly disqualifying actions, characteristics and temperament, Chatigny may still be confirmed by the Senate because of blindly loyal democrats and the misguided efforts of former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who is calling Senators on Chatigny’s behalf. Of course, as the Daily Caller notes, Mukasey’s former chief of staff at the Justice Department, Brian Benczkowski, is now staff director for Judiciary ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Mukasey was a colleague of Chatigny in the Second Circuit, and played a role in clearing Chatigny of any judicial misconduct. But the fact the judicial brotherhood sticks together is no great surprise and that he was cleared, even with substantial misgivings by his colleagues, is not grounds for Senators to ignore his abhorrent, arrogant behavior when considering his possible elevation.

Consider the facts of Michael Ross’ crimes. As Senator Coburn noted in his questioning (see judiciary clip 49:15 to 51:30):

While in prison, Michael Ross participated in the creation of a documentary on serial killers entitled “The Serial Killers” during which he described in great detail how he raped and murdered eight women and girls. In the video Ross explains: “Serial killers like to strangle their victims and that is, I guess, the most common form of killing because there is more of a connection, it’s more real, and it’s not as quick.”

He later describes how he tied up Leslie Shelley (age 14) and put her in the trunk of his car and then: “took the other girl, April Bernaise (age 14), out and I raped her and killed her and I put her in the front seat.”

Then, he pulled Leslie Shelley out of the trunk and brutally killed her.

In describing his last victim, Wendy Baribeault (17), he said: “I raped her and I killed her. It wasn’t pleasant; it wasn’t a nice rape.”

Judge Chatigny, this is the man who you described as “the least culpable of the people on death row” and said the “he never should have been convicted. Or if convicted, he never should have been sentenced to death” and that “when [Ross] says, I feel that I’m the victim of a miscarriage of justice because they didn’t treat it as a mitigating factor, I can well understand where he’s coming from.”

Senator Sessions similarly raised questions during the hearing (see 95:30) about his comment “he should never have been convicted,” or that he shouldn’t have been sentenced to death because “sexual sadism” was not considered as a mitigating factor.

Consider further that, as Senator Sessions points out at 67:30 of the Judiciary Committee hearing, a competency hearing had been held and the Connecticut Supreme Court had upheld the death penalty in the Ross case, all prior to Judge Chatigny’s improper and abusive actions as a federal judge. Specifically, according to the letter from the attorney representing Connecticut, as well as transcripts of a teleconference call and as pointed out by Senator Sessions and others in the Judiciary Committee hearing:

– Chatigny granted two motions to stay the execution of Ross, even though he had already been found competent by the state court (per above), and one of those orders was issued before the State had even finished its questioning;
– Judge Chatigny further excused Ross’s violent and deplorable crimes by arguing that his “sexual sadism … is clearly a mitigating factor.”

– In support of his position, Judge Chatigny cited his own personal experience touring the prison where Ross was being held “with an eye toward trying to grasp what its effect would be on the individual inmate.” He also cited the “abundant literature” supporting death row syndrome and asserted that “most European countries” recognize the syndrome to bolster his decision.

– Chatigny repeatedly pressured and threatened the defendant’s attorney to seek a new competency hearing and to seek further appeals despite the fact his client did not want either. In fact, when Ross’s lawyer insisted on following his client’s wishes not to appeal, Judge Chatigny declared that the attorney would be “the proximate cause” of Ross’s death and then threatened his law license stating: “So I warn you . . . you better be prepared to live with yourself for the rest of your life. And you better be prepared to deal with me because I’ll have your law license. … What you’re doing is wrong.”

– Chatigny improperly sought to reach state court judges in the hours prior to the execution, despite the fact no pending motions were before him;

– Chatigny had represented the defendant 13 years before his meddling as a judge – an obvious conflict of interest – and he failed to disclose this conflict, claiming later that it has innocently slipped his memory. Senator Coburn properly points out at the Judiciary Committee hearing at 56:31 that it sure seems odd that the only death penalty case Chatigny worked in 25 years, involving a serial killer and rapist of 8 young women somehow just “slipped his mind.”

Later in the hearing, at 85:00, Senator Kyl pursued the Ross case further, and Chatigny responded that he believes he “did the right thing but went about it the wrong way.”

But his arrogance, activism and intervention goes much, much further than this one isolated (albeit sensational and important) case. At 89:54 of the Judiciary Commitee hearing, Senator Coburn asked Chatigny about his opinion saying that the Connecticut version of Megan’s law (law that requires registration of sex offenders) was unconstitutional because it did not provide for a hearing – a decision that ultimately was overruled unanimously by the Supreme Court.

And, more, Senator Coburn notes at 109:50 in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that Chatigny has said (in a speech) “empathy” should be used in judicial decision-making, offering this in particular with respect to his criticism of mandatory minimums.
The judge’s responses are inconsistent at best – suggesting he would use empathy for sentencing, but not in judging.

Finally, Judge Chatigny sentenced a defendant convicted of possessing and trading child pornography to less than half of the time recommended by the sentencing guidelines, and he did this kind of thing in numerous cases (at least 6 or 7).

********

Judges matter. This judge has acted irresponsibly, arrogantly and seemingly unethically. He should not be confirmed to the Second Circuit – yet, he most likely will be confirmed because Democrats will blindly defend him and some Republicans will ignore the many reasons to vote against him.

And thus is the state of our future Judiciary.

2010/04/29

New media need a new approach to anti-Semitism

Filed under: anti-Semitism, Facebook, Israel — - @ 8:04 pm

Source: J Post

Print Edition

New media need a new approach to anti-Semitism

By ANDRE OBOLER

Why should something condemned by society were it published in print suddenly become legitimate simply because it appears on-line?
The US Congress and the Italian parliament deserve credit; last week both held hearings into combatting on-line anti-Semitism. The differing testimony, however, highlights the gap between the US and the rest of the world. As one of the experts to appear before the Italian parliament, I had the opportunity to focus on the heart of the problem and to explore the ineffectiveness of the approach advocated to Congress just days earlier.

The hearing in Rome examined both Italian-language Web sites that distributed anti-Semitic literature and imagery, and the international problem in social media. The Web 2.0 examples I presented came from Facebook, YouTube, Google Groups, MySpace and Flickr. They included conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, blood libel, demonization and other classic and modern forms of anti-Semitism – all easily found across the spectrum of social media sites.

The heart of the problem is that such material is largely accepted as legitimate expression. Why should something condemned by society were it published in print or placed on posters on city streets suddenly become legitimate simply because it appears on-line?

Social media sites are incredibly powerful. YouTube, for example, has a user base 50 times larger than the combined circulation of the top 10 newspapers in America. Can such a powerful medium really exist free of governmental control? With the power these companies wield, is no obligation owed to society?

Anti-Semitism 2.0 is the spread of the social acceptability of anti-Semitism through Web 2.0 technology. It creates an environment in which to be racist is no worse than to support the wrong soccer team. In such an environment, hate spreads, and society is conditioned to accept it. The danger is not just for the Jewish community, but reflects a wider breakdown in society’s values. If on-line society continues to develop in a moral vacuum, the lack of respect for human dignity may soon be reflected back in the “real” world.

THE US Congress focused on violence motivated by hate. In Italy we focused on the promotion of hate itself. Incitement to hate is a danger to public order, whether or not violence follows. Freedom of expression comes with responsibility – a point clearly made in the UN Charter on Civil and Political Rights. While Congress heard, once again, the tired argument of counterspeech as the best response, the Italian parliament discussed in technical detail the limits of counterspeech on platforms like Facebook.

On Facebook, having one group denying the Holocaust and another remembering the Holocaust would not be counterspeech, but rather two unrelated dialogues. To try to engage in debate in the Holocaust denial group is to promote it to all your contacts, not to mention entering a space controlled by the deniers where counterarguments can be deleted and those attempting counterspeech banished. It’s like responding to an anti-Semitic newspaper by sending it letters to the editor.

What’s worse, the curious might then view Holocaust denial or anti-Semitic propaganda, some of it direct from the Nazis, as something “contentious” and “debatable” rather than as a known and dangerous falsehood that has led to the death of millions.

There is no reason for platforms like Facebook and YouTube to facilitate the spread of hate. There is no reason on-line communities should be free of social values and human rights. The challenge is to create a civil society on-line. Such a society is not made through groups promoting NGOs, but through the adoption of ethical behavior by platform providers, on-line community leaders and the public.

Counterspeech certainly has its place, but it cannot be relied upon as a silver bullet. The correct place for counterspeech is with friends, where hate can be exposed and explained while we wait for the platform to remove it.

THE FIGHT for civil rights has been a long one. We should not have to start from scratch simply because of a change in technology and the emergence of social media companies with more reach than any newspaper. At minimum, companies that allow anyone to publish should allow anyone to complain. At minimum, such complaints should be reviewed in a reasonable time, and if they are dismissed as groundless those who file them should be given the option of recourse through the courts if the content is illegal.

In Europe, and indeed almost everywhere beside the US, hate speech against minorities is already illegal. If companies get it wrong, if they insist on harboring hate either by rejecting valid complaints or through excessively slow response rates, it should be governments who hold them to account.

We have tackled copyright as a result of the music industry; we have tackled privacy largely as a result of government officials in Canada and Italy; next we must tackle the promotion of racism and hate.

It is up to governments and intergovernmental organizations to make this a priority for social media companies. Yes, there will be costs, but it is no more than the cost of doing business in what remains a very lucrative market.

The writer is director of the Community Internet Engagement Project at the Zionist Federation of Australia, and cochairman of the working group on on-line anti-Semitism for the Global Forum to Combat Anti-Semitism.

Ahmadinejad Applies to Visit US for UN Nuclear Meeting

Filed under: Ahmadinejad, Iran, Nuclear, United Nations — - @ 7:55 pm

Source: VOA

Ahmadinejad Applies to Visit US for UN Nuclear Meeting

VOA News28 April 2010

Photo: AP Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The U.S. State Department says Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has applied to visit the United States as part of an Iranian delegation to a U.N. nuclear conference in New York.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday the United States has a responsibility as the host of the U.N. headquarters to accept the Iranian president’s visa request.

The Iranian delegation is due to participate in a conference aimed at reviewing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Iran is a signatory. The monthlong conference begins Monday and has been held every five years since the NPT went into effect in 1970.

Crowley says Washington wants to see Mr. Ahmadinejad play a constructive role in the conference.

The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran and accuses Tehran of secretly trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.

Washington also is leading a diplomatic effort to place additional U.N. sanctions on Iran for its refusal to stop nuclear activities that could be diverted for military use.

As part of that effort, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a U.S. ally, urged his Chinese counterpart to consider supporting sanctions against Iran if negotiations fail to stop its sensitive nuclear activities. Mr. Sarkozy made his case to China’s Hu Jintao during a meeting Wednesday in Beijing.

China, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has commercial ties with Iran and has said it favors diplomacy to resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute.

America’s “big game”

Filed under: Hezbollah, Iran, Muslim Brotherhood, Radical Islam, Syria — - @ 7:47 pm

America’s “big game”

View this document on Scribd

Nigeria among worst violators of freedom

Filed under: Christianity, Jihad, Muslim, Nigeria, Radical Islam, Shari'a Law — - @ 1:02 pm

Watch this video and see for your own eyes the atrocities happening in Nigeria, I have to caution you the video’s are very graphic in detail, but in order to understand more fully of what is happening, seeing is believing.

Source: Washington Times

Nigeria among worst violators of freedom

Julia Duin

Nigeria has risen to the top tier of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom, according to an annual report to be released Thursday by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The independent bipartisan governmental agency, whose report details abuse in 28 nations, singled out Nigeria for not punishing religiously motivated violence, such as what took place in January when 500 Christians near the city of Jos were hacked to death by Muslims.

Calling Nigeria “a tragic case,” the USCIRF said its investigators visited Africa’s largest country three times over the past year to find out why more than 12,000 Nigerians – Christians and Muslims alike – have died in sectarian violence since 1999.

“Not a single criminal, Muslim or Christian, has been convicted and sentenced in Nigeria’s 10 years of religious violence,” the report says. “The Nigerian government and judicial system have so far been unwilling or unable to protect either side.”

A spokeswoman for the Nigerian Embassy could not be reached for comment.

Other nations named by the commission – which makes policy recommendations to the State Department, Congress and the president – as among the worst violators are China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Turkmenistan, North Korea, Eritrea, Iraq and Uzbekistan.

The following are “watch list” countries, which have only slightly better records: Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, Tajikstan, Turkey and Venezuela.

Saudi Arabia, the report says, continues to circulate “educational materials that instill hate and incite violence throughout the world”; the Iranian government denies all rights to its Baha’i minority; the Egyptian government mistreats Baha’is and Coptic Christians; China restricts all manner of religious activities; and North Korea imprisons even the grandchildren of those caught praying.

There are an estimated 40,000 religious prisoners in North Korea, including 6,000 Christians in the infamous Prison 15 in the country’s north. Those prisoners are treated worse than other inmates, the report says, and those who are pregnant are sometimes forced to abort their children or their newborns are killed in the camps.

Those lucky enough to escape into China are often forced back over the border by the Chinese government despite international obligations to help asylum seekers, the religious-freedom panel says. Once back in North Korea, the prisoners suffer even worse tortures.

Since Iran’s disputed June 12 election, the report says, religious freedom conditions have sunk to a 30-year low, with the country’s Shi’ite rulers imprisoning other Shi’ites as well as Sunni and Sufi Muslims. Of the non-Muslim groups, the nation’s 300,000 Baha’is are treated the worst, the report says, with seven of their top leaders in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for the past two years.

Christians, the report adds, also are subject to heavy doses of imprisonment, arrests while attending church services, harassment and the seizure of their belongings to the point that many have fled the country. The year 2009 also saw increases in officially sanctioned anti-Semitic propaganda, with one newspaper sponsoring a Holocaust-denial editorial cartoon contest.

Next door in Iraq, religious minorities such as the Mandaeans – who follow the teachings of John the Baptist – see no future for themselves in the country, and 90 percent of them are said to have been killed or to have fled Iraq.

The numbers of Christians are down by two-thirds from 1.4 million adherents in 2003, the report says, and in February, 10 Christians were killed in Mosul, prompting 4,300 other Christians to flee the city. No perpetrators have been arrested; a chronic problem facing religious minorities in Iraq.

Nuclear-armed mullahs are not an option

Filed under: Creeping Shari'a, Iran, Nuclear — Tags: — - @ 12:54 pm

Source: Washington Times

Nuclear-armed mullahs are not an option

Reps. Darrell Issa, Dan Burton and Jeff Miller

Illustration: Iranian missiles by Greg Groesch for The Washington Times.

Illustration: Iranian missiles by Greg Groesch for The Washington Times.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems hell-bent on enriching uranium and developingthe other complex components and specialized parts necessary to deliver and detonate a nuclear weapon. President Obama’s policy in response is far from clear-cut.

We recognize that any assessment of the secret activities of a closed society like Iran is both difficult and necessarily tentative. Even with a well-honed intelligence network, it is impossible to understand the precise status and contours of the Iranian nuclear enterprise. Although some public accounts have indicated that intelligence agencies believe the Iranian bomb quest has been set back by sabotage and the defection of essential individuals, the inherent limitations of intelligence collection and analysis means that these assessments may be wrong. Iran may be even closer to producing a nuclear weapon than the intelligence community believes.

Only Mr. Ahmadinejad and his cronies know for certain.

What we do know, however, is that Iran continues to conduct military exercises in the Persian Gulf to showcase the regime’s ability to threaten a vital transit route for the region’s petroleum exports. America’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil means that Iran’s hostile behavior poses a national security threat. And while the threat from Iran’s conventional weapons is serious, the threat to this strategic waterway from a nuclear-armed Iran would be a thousand times worse.

The United States must always be prepared for the possibility of a “strategic surprise.” Yet given this administration’s national security failures, we have little assurance that the president is equipped to handle an Iranian crisis.

Regrettably, it is increasingly apparent that the president’s “outstretched hand” to the Islamist regime in Iran has failed, while his continual scolding of Israel appears to have further emboldened Mr. Ahmadinejad’s hostilities toward this important regional ally. Furthermore, the administration’s enthrallment with multilateral postulation about the benefit of aggressive global sanctions has accomplished nothing to mitigate the prospect that radicalized Muslims around the world might obtain nuclear weapons.

Some have suggested that the administration has tacitly accepted the development of an Iranian bomb. These analysts argue that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speculation about a U.S. regional nuclear umbrella, in addition to the administration’s plans to place missile defenses in Eastern Europe andthedispatchof other anti-missile weapons to the Mideast, indicate that the president is resigned to Iran’s eventual acquisition of atomic arms.

The risk of Iranian nuclear weapons, surprise or not, is deeply troubling. So are the reports that the administration has conceded this eventuality.

First, “containing” a nuclear-equipped Iran as the United States did the Soviet Union during the Cold War would require an explicit commitment to use overwhelming force in certain circumstances. It is not clear whether the president is willing or prepared to make such a commitment in the case of Iran.

Second, even if this commitment was forthcoming, many experts do not believe it is possible to contain Iran. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union refused to take overtly hostile actions directly against the U.S. or its allies during the Cold War, presumably because it feared a massive nuclear retaliatory strike. Essential to this assessment is the fact that the leaders of the Soviet Union understood that American retaliation would preclude the possibility of an eventual global communist triumph.

Iranian leaders may not be encumbered by the modicum of rational statecraft distilled into the collective Soviet brain. Rather than discouraging the use of nuclear weapons against U.S. interests, the prospect of inducing destruction may actually appeal to the mullahs calling the shots in Tehran.

It is telling that while the Obama administration downgrades the role U.S. nuclear weapons play in our national security, the Iranians seem to be striving unabated to obtain atomic arms. Thebestway to counteract uncertainty about Iran’s intentions,however, isa certain indication of what is intolerable to the United States.

The first step to halting an Iranian bomb program is increasing our intelligence-gathering capabilities to monitor the progress of Iran’s nuclear program. Meanwhile,effective sanctions must be imposed immediately, and the United States must demonstrate its unequivocal support for the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. We also must not foreclose the possibility of a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities or the option of overwhelming retaliatory force should Iran launch itself or supply terrorists with the resources to launch an attack on the United States or our allies. Iran should have no doubt about the full force of America’s military strength and no question about our willingness to use it.

To date, however, the president’s policy for dealing with Iran is both incoherent and frighteningly similar to the failed approach of the Carter era. It wasn’t until a reinvigorated Kremlin – tempted by an anemic and indecisive American administration – sent Soviet tanks into Afghanistan that President Carter began to acknowledge the threat of a nuclear-armed foe. We hope it will not require another strategic surprise to educate President Obama about a pressing contemporary nuclear threat.

Rep. Darrell Issa of California is ranking member of the House Oversight Committee. Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana is ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East. Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida is ranking member of the House Armed Services subcommittee on terrorism and unconventional arms.

White House seeks to soften Iran sanctions

With Iran building a Nuclear Weapon and vowing to wipe (The little Satan) Israel and the (Big Satan) United States of the map, I just have 3 questions.

Why? Why? and WHY????????

Source: Washington Times

White House seeks to soften Iran sanctions

Eli Lake

The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in “cooperating countries,” a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act is in a House-Senate conference committee and is expected to reach President Obama’s desk by Memorial Day.

“It’s incredible the administration is asking for exemptions, under the table and winking and nodding, before the legislation is signed into law,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and a conference committee member, said in an interview. A White House official confirmed Wednesday that the administration was pushing the conference committee to adopt the exemption of “cooperating countries” in the legislation.

Neither the House nor Senate version of the bill includes a “cooperating countries” provision even though the administration asked the leading sponsors of the Senate version of the bill nearly six months ago to include one.

The legislation, aimed at companies that sell Iran gasoline or equipment to refine petroleum, would impose penalties on such companies, up to the potentially crippling act of cutting off the company entirely from the American economy. It also would close a loophole in earlier Iran sanctions by barring foreign-owned subsidiaries of U.S. companies from doing business in Iran’s energy sector.

Although Iran is one of the world’s leading oil exporters, it lacks the capacity to refine as much oil into gasoline as its domestic economy uses. Three years ago, the Iranian government imposed gasoline rations on the population.

“We’re pushing for a ‘cooperating-countries’ exemption,” the White House official said. “It is not targeted to any country in particular, but would be based on objective criteria and made in full consultation with the Congress.”

Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen, however, said the exemption “is aimed at China and Russia specifically.”

“The administration wants to give a pass to countries for merely supporting a watered-down, almost do-nothing U.N. resolution,” she said.

All past sanctions against Iran have included a waiver that lets the president refrain from penalizing foreign companies that are doing business with Iran.

The “cooperating countries” language that the White House is pressing would allow the executive branch to designate countries as cooperating with the overall strategy to pressure Iran economically.

According to three congressional staffers familiar with the White House proposal, once a country is on that list, the administration wouldn’t even have to identify companies from that country as selling gasoline or aiding Iran’s refinement industry.

Even if, as current law allows, the administration can waive the penalties on named companies for various reasons, the “cooperating countries” language would deprive the sanctions of their “name-and-shame” power, the staffers said.

The prospect that China and Chinese firms would be exempt from penalty follows reports that Beijing is cooperating with Iran’s missile program. On April 23, Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that China broke ground on a plant in Iran this month that will build the Nasr-1 anti-ship missile.

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, where he directs the group’s Iran energy project, said the “‘cooperating-country’ status would send a signal to the energy sector that the Obama administration is not serious about penalizing those companies that continue to do business with the Iranian energy sector, the lifeblood of the men who rule Iran.”

Indeed, Christophe de Margerie, chief executive of the French national oil concern Total, told Reuters news agency on Tuesday that his company would stop business in Iran only if required to do so by the law.

“I’ve been asked by certain people to reconsider,” he said. “I say, ‘OK, make it official.'”

However Patrick Clawson, the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said U.S. policy objectives should not be to penalize foreign companies, but instead to persuade countries like China to enforce their own trade restrictions with Iran.

“If the administration can use this ‘cooperating-countries’ waiver to get cooperation from a country like China on enforcing the U.N. sanctions and on suspending investment in Iran’s oil and gas industry, then this bill will be a great success for U.S. objectives about Iran’s nuclear program and support for terrorism,” he said.

One congressional staff member working on the bill told The Washington Times that Mr. Obama personally asked the House leadership this month to put off the sanctions bill until after the current work period. Shortly after that meeting, both the House and Senate named conferees for the legislation.

U.S. unilateral sanctions aimed at freezing foreign companies out of American markets have been irritants in U.S. diplomacy. Foreign countries complain that imposing such “secondary sanctions” is just a form of protectionism.

The Obama administration has promised to pursue sanctions at the U.N. Security Council and also has indicated it would pursue unilateral sanctions targeted at Iran’s banking sector and the companies that insure shipping to and from Iranian ports.

Keith Weissman, a former Iran specialist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said he did not think the current refined-petroleum sanctions would be effective.

“Of all the sanctions I have been around, this is one of the dumber ones,” Mr. Weissman said. “We have been talking about this for so long, the Iranians are ready for this. Not only are they building the capacity for refining the fuel, they will have more capacity to purchase it from regional countries.”

Nonetheless, a number of foreign companies have announced in recent months that they would end business in Iran in anticipation of U.N. and U.S. sanctions. Some companies that provide Iran with refined petroleum, such as the Indian firm Reliance and the Kuwaiti trader IPG, have announced they would end the gasoline shipments.

Mr. Weissman was accused in 2005 by the federal government of conspiring to leak classified information to a Washington Post reporter. The Justice Department dropped the charges last year.

Because oil-refining sanctions would end up increasing the price of gasoline and heating oil for average Iranians, they have been opposed by many in Iran’s “green” opposition movement, such as Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights lawyer.

Mojtaba Vahedi, a former chief of staff to opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, said in a telephone interview that he would prefer to see targeted sanctions aimed at Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its front companies.

“The main problem in Iran is the management of the country, everything that helps to remove [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad is good for the people, especially smart sanctions that target the regime,” he said.

For a list of those companies click HERE for an earlier article

Jihadists in Iraq: Down For The Count?

Filed under: Iraq, Jihad, Radical Islam — - @ 12:14 pm

Jihadists in Iraq: Down For The Count?

By Scott Stewart

On April 25, The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) posted a statement on the Internet confirming that two of its top leaders, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayub al-Masri, had been killed April 18 in a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation in Salahuddin province. Al-Baghdadi (an Iraqi also known as Hamid Dawud Muhammad Khalil al-Zawi), was the head of the ISI, an al Qaeda-led jihadist alliance in Iraq, and went by the title “Leader of the Faithful.” Al-Masri (an Egyptian national also known as Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir), was the military leader of the ISI and head of the group’s military wing, al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

Al-Masri replaced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in June 2006. Al-Zarqawi had alienated many Iraqi Sunnis with his ruthlessness, and al-Baghdadi is thought to have been appointed the emir of the ISI in an effort to put an Iraqi face on jihadist efforts in Iraq and to help ease the alienation between the foreign jihadists and the local Sunni population. Al-Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq and the military leader of the ISI, was considered the real operational leader of ISI/AQI efforts in Iraq.

STRATFOR viewed the initial announcement by Iraqi authorities of the deaths of the two leaders with a healthy degree of skepticism. After all, they had been declared dead before, only to later release statements on the Internet mocking the Iraqi government for making false claims. But the details provided in the April 19 press conference by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (complete with photos of the deceased) and the confirmation by the U.S. military helped allay those initial doubts. The recent admission by the ISI, which made a similar statement following the death of al-Zarqawi, has all but erased our doubts about the deaths.

But the ISI’s statement has raised some other questions. It claimed that the deaths of the two leaders would not affect the group’s operations in Iraq because new members had recently joined it. But when viewed in the context of other recent developments in Iraq, it appears that the operational capability of the ISI will indeed be affected — at least in the near future.

Recent Activity

The operation that resulted in the deaths of al-Baghdadi and al-Masri did not occur in a vacuum. Rather, it was a part of a series of operations targeting the ISI in recent months. The raids have come as a result of a renewed effort to counter the ISI following a resurgence in the group’s operations that included high-profile multiple-vehicle bombings directed against targets in central Baghdad on Aug. 19, 2009, Oct. 25, 2009, Dec. 8, 2009, and Jan. 25, 2010.

The raids that resulted in the deaths of the ISI leaders on April 18 were part of a chain of events that stretches back for months, and appear to be the result of the effective exploitation of intelligence gained in one raid used to conduct the next. For example, Iraqi Maj. Gen. Qasim Ata, the spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command, told Al-Iraqiya TV on April 20 that the intelligence that led to the location of al-Baghdadi and al-Masri was obtained during the March 11, 2010, arrest of Manaf Abdul Raheem al-Rawi, the AQI commander in Baghdad. Iraqi government sources claim al-Rawi is the man responsible for planning the multiple-vehicle bombings in Baghdad. If so, he is another effective operational leader who has been taken out of the ISI/AQI gene pool.

Then, following the April 18 raid, Ahmad al-Ubaydi — aka Abu-Suhaib, whom Iraqi officials identify as the AQI military commander for the northern Iraqi provinces of Ninevah, Salahuddin and Kirkuk provinces — was killed April 20. The next day, Iraqi authorities located an improvised explosive device (IED) factory in western Anbar province and seized two vehicle bombs and some smaller IEDs. On April 22, the U.S. Army announced the arrest of a bombmaker in Anbar province. On April 23, Iraqi police arrested another AQI military leader in Anbar, Mahmoud Suleiman, who was reportedly found with several IEDs in his home. Also on April 23, an Iraqi police SWAT team reportedly killed two AQI leaders during a raid in eastern Mosul. They claimed that one of the AQI leaders, Yousef Mohammad Ali, was also a bombmaker. In recent days, dozens of other alleged AQI members have either surrendered or been arrested in Diyala, Mosul, Salahuddin and Basra.

There have even been unconfirmed reports that Izzat al-Douri was captured April 25. Al-Douri, the “king of clubs” in the U.S. military’s 2003 deck of most-wanted Iraqis and who has a $10 million bounty on his head, was a vice president of Iraq under Saddam Hussein and an important insurgent leader.

In late March, progress was also made against AQI in Mosul. Several suspects were arrested or killed, and among the latter were major AQI figures Khalid Muhammad Hasan Shallub al-Juburi, Abu Ahmad al-Afri and Bashar Khalaf Husayn Ali al-Jaburi.

This type of rapid, sequential activity against jihadists by U.S. and Iraqi forces is not a coincidence. It is the result of some significant operational changes that were made in 2007 in the wake of the American surge in Iraq. The then-commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Gen. Stanley McChrystal, was instrumental in flattening hierarchies and reducing bureaucratic inefficiencies in both intelligence and special operations forces activities inside Iraq in order to create a highly integrated and streamlined organization. The result was the capability to rapidly plan and execute special operations forces raids based on actionable intelligence with a limited shelf life — and then to rapidly interrogate any captives, quickly analyze any material of intelligence value seized and rapidly re-task forces in a series of follow-on operations. The resulting high tempo of operations was considered enormously successful and a key factor in the success of the surge, and recent developments in Iraq appear to be a continuation of this type of rapid and aggressive activity.

Such operations not only can produce rapid gains in terms of capturing and killing key targets, they also serve to disrupt and disorient the enemy. According to Iraqi Maj. Gen. Qasim Ata, AQI is currently in disarray and panic, and he believes that the organization is also facing money problems, since it reportedly has been in contact with al Qaeda prime in an attempt to secure financial assistance. This stands in stark contrast to the 2005 letter in which al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri asked AQI leader al-Zarqawi for funding. At that time there was a large flow of men and money into Iraq, but it now appears that AQI is facing some financial difficulties. Following the recent raids in which senior operational commanders and bombmakers have been captured or killed, it also appears that the group may also be facing some leadership and operational-expertise difficulties.

Leadership

As STRATFOR has previously noted, leadership is a critical factor in the operational success of a militant group. Without skilled leadership, militant groups lose their ability to conduct effective attacks, particularly ones of a sophisticated nature. Leadership, skill and professionalism are the factors that make the difference between a militant group wanting to attack something — i.e., its intent — and the group’s ability to successfully carry out its intended attack — i.e., its capability. The bottom line is that new recruits simply cannot replace seasoned operational commanders, as the ISI suggested in its statement.

Although it might seem like a simple task to find a leader for a militant group, effective militant leaders are hard to come by. Unlike most modern militaries, militant groups rarely invest much time and energy in leadership development training. To compound the problem, the leader of a militant group needs to develop a skill set that is quite a bit broader than most military leaders. In addition to personal attributes such as ruthlessness, aggressiveness and fearlessness, militant leaders also must be charismatic, intuitive, clever and inspiring. This last attribute is especially important in an organization that seeks to recruit operatives to conduct suicide attacks. Additionally, an effective militant leader must be able to recruit and train operatives, enforce operational security, raise funds, plan operations and then methodically execute a plan while avoiding the security forces constantly hunting the militants down.

Of course, not every leadership change is disastrous to a militant group. Sometimes a new leader breathes new life and energy into an organization (like Nasir al-Wahayshi in Yemen), or the group has competent lieutenants able to continue to operate effectively after the death of the leader (like AQI after the death of al-Zarqawi). But the current environment in Iraq, where numerous individuals have been rapidly and sequentially killed or captured, makes this sort of orderly leadership replacement more difficult.

Therefore, it will be important to watch the ISI carefully to see who is appointed as the group’s new emir and military commander. (In practical terms, the emir may be easier to replace than the military commander, especially if the former is just a figurehead and not a true operational commander.) The group may have had a clear chain of command and competent, designated successors who have survived the recent operations. But if not, the leadership vacuum at the top could result in infighting over control, or result in an ineffective leader assuming control. The jury is still out, but with the recent successes against the ISI, there is a very good chance that it may take some time for the group to regain its footing. This, of course, is the objective of the up-tempo operations recently seen in Iraq. Effective counterterrorism programs seek to keep the militants (and especially their leaders) off balance by killing or capturing them while also rolling up the lower levels of the group. Militants scrambling for their lives seldom have the opportunity to plan effective attacks, and sustained pressure makes it difficult for them to regain the offensive.

Like operational leaders, competent bombmakers are not easy to replace. They also need to possess a broad set of skills and require a great deal of training and practical experience to hone their skills. A master bombmaker is a rare and precious commodity in the militant world. Therefore, the bombmakers recently arrested in Iraq could prove to be almost as big a loss to AQI as the operational leaders.

When we discussed the resurgence of the ISI/AQI back in October, we noted that at that time they had retained a great deal of their capability and that they were able to gather intelligence, plan attacks, acquire ordnance, build reliable IEDs and execute spectacular attacks in the center of Baghdad against government ministry buildings. We also discussed how the polarization surrounding the election in Iraq was providing them an opportunity to exploit. That polarization has continued in the wake of the elections as the factions jockey for position in the new government, but the extent of the damage done to the jihadists through the loss of so many commanders and operatives may not allow the successors of al-Masri and al-Baghdadi to take advantage of the situation before their window of opportunity closes.

We will be watching the jihadists in Iraq carefully in the coming months to see if they can regroup and retain their operational capability. The big question is: Will the recent operations against the ISI/AQI merely serve as another temporary setback like the killing of al-Zarqawi, or do they portend something more long-term for the future of the organization? The ISI/AQI has proved to be resilient and resourceful in the past, but we are not sure they have the ability to bounce back this time.

Reprinting or republication of this report on websites is authorized by prominently displaying the following sentence at the beginning or end of the report, including the hyperlink to STRATFOR:

“This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR

Arizona Immigration Law Right on Role of Government

Filed under: Law Enforcement — - @ 10:35 am

Source: Red State

Arizona Immigration Law Right on Role of Government

All government actions are not the same.

by Mark Impomeni

Wednesday, April 28th

Arizona’s newly passed law requiring police to determine the immigration status of persons suspected of being in the country illegally has created a firestorm of controversy in all the usual quarters on the left. Democrats and liberal pundits decry the state’s attempt to get a handle on its burgeoning illegal immigration problem as heavy-handed, inherently discriminatory, and racist. President Obama calls the law “misguided,” Rev. Al Sharpton promises “freedom walk” marches in the state if the law is not rescinded within 90 days, and San Francisco—the nation’s pre-eminent “sanctuary city”—has called for a boycott. This criticism is as expected as it is wrong.

But there are some on the right as well who are critical of Arizona’s actions, if not its intent. Among those critics is Matt Lewis, who penned an op-ed that appeared in The Daily Caller yesterday. In his piece, “Avoiding hypocrisy on immigration,” Matt argues that conservatives should be skeptical of the new law on the grounds that it gives too much power to government. Matt is concerned about discrimination against people of color, too. But primarily he thinks that conservatives are principle-bound to oppose the law.

“I can’t help but find the willingness of many conservatives to grant the police unprecedented power to question U.S. citizens in Arizona as somewhat ironic. Conservative activist Grover Norquist has dubbed the conservative movement the “leave us alone coalition,” and as Justice Brandeis might have said, this law infringes Arizonans’ “right to be left alone”—free from government intrusion. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer should have vetoed it.”

First, let’s establish what Arizona’s law does and does not do. It does not empower police to stop random people on the street and demand their papers, Gestapo-style, as many on the left have claimed. The law quite simply requires police to check immigration status with reasonable suspicion only after they have made “lawful contact.” In other words, the police have to have good reason to stop someone for some other reason before even getting to the immigration check. This power is not unprecedented. In fact, police in all 50 states already check immigration status in this way every time they ask for a driver’s license, since in most states, illegals cannot obtain one. Furthermore, the law specifically prohibits racial profiling as a tool. So the worries about discrimination seem themselves to be an emotional overreaction.

The charge of hypocrisy leveled here from the right echoes an argument that liberals and Democrats have used, to great effect, against Republican and tea party activists on the issue of government spending and deficits. Namely, that conservative criticism of the Obama administration’s profligate spending habits should be dismissed because Republicans ran up deficits when they were in charge. Proponents of this rationale often cite the Bush Administration’s “unfunded wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other things, to make their case.

What these arguments have in common, and where they go wrong, is that they treat all government actions as inherently the same, without regard to whether or not they spring from a proper role for government as defined by the Constitution. Therefore, spending on a war in Iraq is equal to spending on welfare programs. And government “intrusion” to check immigration status is the same as government restrictions on gun ownership. But this equivalence of government actions is a false one. All government spending is not the same, and neither are all enforcement actions.

Conservatives argue that the government should spend whatever money is necessary to protect the nation from attack, whatever the deficit implications. Defense is a basic responsibility of the federal government, and few but the most ardent liberals would argue that the US should not pay any price in its own defense. Conservative acceptance of deficit spending in this context does not preclude them from arguing that the government should not spend exorbitant sums to provide universal health care, for instance. Despite the Obama Administration’s insistence, health care is not constitutionally mandated. Therefore, conservative criticism of its deficit implications is justified.

Similarly, on immigration, conservatives may rightly argue that Arizona can have its police check the immigration status of people stopped for lawful reasons, while at the same time arguing that the government has no right to intrude somewhere else, as in private health care decisions. One is justified, while the other is not. There is no hypocrisy in expecting the government to enforce its immigration laws and to “leave us alone” when it comes to buying health insurance.

But critics of the Arizona law, left and right, have a bigger problem to contend with. Federal law already requires all resident aliens—i.e. green card holders—to carry their identification papers on them at all times. Arizona, then, has done no more with this law than the federal government itself.

Matt is right to say that immigration is a touchy subject that is fraught with emotion on all sides. Indeed, many of the nation’s political issues are. But in the case of Arizona’s new law, all of the emotional arguments appear to be coming from those who oppose the state’s actions. Conservative supporters of the law need not be reminded to make their arguments on principle. They already are.

2010/04/28

It’s a crime: Prosecuting runs amok

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 11:17 pm

Source: The Modesto Bee

It’s a crime: Prosecuting runs amok

By Edwin Meese III

April 26, 2010 10:01:27 PM

America is in the throes of “overcriminalization.” We are making and enforcing far too many criminal laws that create traps for the innocent but unwary — and threaten to turn otherwise respectable, law-abiding citizens into criminals. Consider a few examples from the new book “One Nation Under Arrest”:

  • A 12-year old girl arrested and handcuffed for eating a single french fry on the Washington subway system.
  • A cancer-ridden grandmother arrested and criminally charged for refusing to trim her hedges the way officials in Palo Alto were trying to force her to.
  • A former high-school science whiz kid sent to prison after initially being arrested by FBI agents clad in SWAT gear for failing to affix a federally mandated sticker to his otherwise legal UPS package.
  • A 67-year-old retired husband and grandfather imprisoned because some of the paperwork for his home-based orchid business did not satisfy an international treaty.

I could go on, but all these stories share one thing in common — they are about typical Americans. Most involve a man or woman who works hard and pays taxes, cares for family members and is a good neighbor. Perhaps above all, this person strives to stay on the right side of the law.

This typical American holds deep and often intuitive beliefs in basic principles about American government, including a belief that, if you do what’s right, you have nothing to fear from your own government, and certainly not from the criminal justice system.

But the typical American’s deeply held beliefs about the freedoms he cherishes and the fundamental principles of his government are no longer as well-founded as they once were. Today, he is far more vulnerable than ever before to being caught up in a criminal investigation and prosecution — and to actually being convicted and punished as a criminal — for having done something he did not even suspect was illegal.

Criminal law has changed in the last 50 years. Once criminal law was about criminal acts that everyone knew were inherently unlawful (like murder, rape and robbery). Limiting criminal punishment to conduct that is inherently wrongful restricted governmental power in two important ways.

First, and most important, it kept the range of governmental power small. Having few criminal laws and a short list of things not to be done limited the scope within which government can exercise its authority.

Second, a limited criminal law served a teaching function. It reflected the beliefs and understandings common to the vast majority of our citizens — the very citizens who were subject to the criminal law.

Today, the criminal law has grown as broad as the regulatory state in its sheer size and scope. In 1998, an American Bar Association task force estimated that there were more than 3,000 federal criminal offenses scattered throughout the 50 titles of the United States Code.

Just six years later, a leading expert on the overcriminalization problem, Professor John S. Baker Jr., published a study estimating that the number exceeded 4,000. As the ABA task force reported, the body of federal criminal law is “so large … that there is no conveniently accessible, complete list of federal crimes.” If “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” then every American citizen — literally, every single one — is ignorant and in peril, for nobody can know all the laws that govern their behavior.

A just criminal justice system, in the best sense of the word “just,” has a twofold goal. One is to see that criminals are prosecuted, convicted and appropriately punished. The other is to ensure that those who are innocent are either not prosecuted in the first instance or, if mistakenly prosecuted, are not convicted.

Today, our system fails the second of those goals.

Much is at stake for our freedoms and the freedoms of future generations. The problem of overcriminalization merits extensive study and debate by legal experts and policymakers, as well as average Americans, whose fundamental liberty is most at stake.

Many constructive changes could make our justice system fairer and more just, and improve its ability to deter wrongdoing and punish real criminals. Taking the steps necessary to ensure that American criminal law once again routinely exemplifies the right principles and purposes will require much work, but the alternative is to distort the American criminal justice system, and jeopardize the American people.

Meese, a former U.S. attorney general, is chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation; Web site: www.heritage.org. McCLATCHY-TRIBUNE


Bailout does not equal reform

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 11:10 pm

Source: Heritage

Bailout does not equal reform

April 28, 2010 | By Amanda Reinecker

Leading up to the vote on Senator Chris Dodd’s 1,408 financial reform bill, lobbyists from big labor and big finance joined forces to make sure the legislation was a Wall Street Bailout Bill. And that’s exactly what it was.

This is perhaps why the bill failed its first test in the Senate on Monday in a vote of 57-41. And then again on Tuesday, (57-41). But the solid dissent could also be because the Congressional Budget Office found that the costs of this permanent bailout fund created in the bill would fall on the American taxpayers.

In fact, there a quite a few reasons why lawmakers ought to have been skeptical of the plan. In a new Heritage Foundation publication, senior research fellow James Gattuso details 14 “fatal flaws” in Senator Dodd’s regulation plan. Each of these flaws would pave the way for a bigger government with broader powers and a bleaker economic future.

Among the 14 fatal flaws Gattuso points out are:

  • Bigger Government and More Bailouts. A new federal council, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to determine which firms are “too big to fail.” Qualifying firms will only be encouraged to take on undue risk because they’ll know with certainty that the government will bail them out.
  • Vast New Powers for the Secretary of the Treasury. The Treasury Secretary will have the power to order seizure, without meaningful judicial review, of any firm he deems “in danger of default.” This seizure must be upheld if the government produces any evidence to support it.
  • Permanent Bailout Authority. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will have the ability to set aside funds for the liquidation of covered financial institutions. This is similar to the AIG bailout that cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. Creditors, not shareholders, would be eligible for a cash bailout.
  • $50 Billion Bailout Fund. This “Orderly Resolution Fund” is a clear indication of future bailouts. It is funded by taxes on financial firms, a cost that, as the CBO reports, will ultimately fall on the firm’s customers, employees and investors.
  • Bailouts Not Limited to Failing Firms. Bailout authority can also apply to firms the FDIC determines are “solvent depository institutions.” And the additional costs will be funded by the Treasury’s newly established “line of credit” to the FDIC, which will, of course, be footed by taxpayers.
  • Imposes One-Size-Fits-All Reform in Derivative Markets. The Senate bill would require virtually all derivative contracts, which help markets manage risk, to be settled through a clearinghouse rather than directly between the parties. This would make financial derivatives more costly, more difficult to customize, and, consequently, less widely used—which would increase overall risk in the economy.

While lawmakers who support the bill consider various compromises, they should consider the points above and how they do nothing to reduce the systemic risk offered by “too big to fail” firms. These firms will continue to take risks because the federal government has promised to clean up the mess–on the taxpayers’ dime.

Congress should instead establish accountability by creating a modernized bankruptcy procedure for these large institutions. Heritage senior fellow David John explains that “this would ensure that regulators cannot revert to politically motivated bailouts and other forms of government intervention.”

The consequences of allowing the government to direct the economy are always doubtful and disastrous. Warding off a future economic crisis should not be in the hands of the government. Instead, the government’s approach should be much more hands-off.

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Lies continue regarding illegal aliens, say cops

Filed under: Eric Holder, Law Enforcement, Lies, Lies and more Lies, Obama — - @ 10:08 pm

Lies continue regarding illegal aliens, say cops

Border agent gears up for her dangerous patrol on the  U.S.-Mexican border.
Border agent gears up for her dangerous patrol on the U.S.-Mexican border.
Photo credit: DHS

Source: Examiner

When the mainstream news media were breathlessly reporting that an arrest of a Salvadorian immigrant for killing a young Washington, DC woman named Chandra Levy is imminent, few if any reporters mentioned the “immigrant” was an illegal alien.

The case originally received so much media attention that she became a household name. While the media continue their fascination with this case, they have — for the most part — failed to identify the suspect as an illegal alien already locked up in prison for previous attacks on American women, preferring to call him an immigrant or a Salvadorian National.

“Here we have a young woman, whose disappearance became the biggest crime story of the new millennium and the subject of one of history’s biggest media feeding frenzy, murdered by an illegal alien, and the members of the news media attempt to suppress the true identity of her killer,” said former NYPD detective Mike Snopes.

When the National Association of Former Border Patrol Agents released their position paper on all aspects of the illegal immigration issue, most media outlets either yawned or suppressed the report. Over 250 former Border Patrol members of all ranks signed the document, which received scant mention by the mainstream news media.

The position paper addressed amnesty and guest worker programs, securing the US borders, sanctions against employers of illegal aliens, and condemnation of political leaders who subvert and undermine the efforts of the US Border Patrol.

“The nation has made demonstrable mistakes in the past in its efforts to control immigration. Let us, who were there to see them, remind the nation of the outcome and make suggestions for change,” said Kent Lundgren, coordinator for the NAFBA.

Their position on illegal immigration begins with a strong border security initiative including what they termed “meaningful processes for screening those who wish to enter [the United States] legally.”

“We believe that aliens residing in the United States must be here with the nation’s permission or they should leave or be removed,” they wrote.

When it comes to any type of amnesty program, the former Border Patrol agents were blunt and succinct: “We absolutely oppose any legislation that would allow aliens to remain in this country who have entered illegally or who have entered legally and remained here illegally.”

The agents have little sympathy for employers who violate US immigration and labor laws. They stated that the current laws “presently on the books are adequate tools for the purpose” of enfforcing sanctions on businesses caught employing illegal aliens.

Their use, however, has been “subverted to meaninglessness through political and legal pressure initiated by those who benefit from the presence of illegal aliens.”

The former agents believe that a statement of purpose from Congress and “clear direction” from the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice is vital to enforcing these laws.

But the agents are not inflexible. They believe a Guest Worker Program, if limited and tightly controlled would be feasible. However, unlike many political leaders, the agents condemn efforts to allow those aliens living in the US illegally to participate in any guest worker program proposed by Congress.

The ideas and opinions contained in the former Border Patrol Agents’ position paper coincides with those of Border agents currently deployed.

The failure of the 1986 amnesty is best demonstrated by the fact that we can now reflect on it twenty years later and we see that the illegal immigration problem is much worse, they wrote.

“If we are to have any hope of curtailing illegal immigration into this country we must begin enforcing the laws, which includes providing Border Patrol agents with the manpower, tools, equipment, and infrastructure we so desperately need to perform our jobs properly. We believe that without question, Randy Graf understands the problem and is the right person to help see this job through in the United States Congress.”

Meanwhile, in an open letter to then-President, George W. Bush, Local 2544 wrote: “We’re not buying your amnesty sales pitch down here in the real world. Maybe you can explain to us why we’re risking our lives to stop the same people you keep encouraging to come in by the millions with your incessant pro-amnesty speeches (“guest-worker”, “earned legalization”, etc.).”

One can only wonder if the Chandra Levy case will encourage our political leaders — including President Barack Obama — to wake-up and protect American citizens from criminal invaders, instead of denigrating and vilifying states such as Arizona that have decided to protect their citizens from criminal aliens.

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org).  In addition, he’s a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations.  He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.   Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com.   Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.

To subscribe to Kouri’s newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write “Subscription” on the subject line.

AZ Immigration Law-American Law Enforcement Versus B. Hussein Obama and Eric Holder.

Filed under: Eric Holder, Law Enforcement, Lies and more Lies, Obama — - @ 6:49 pm

AZ Immigration Law-American Law Enforcement Versus B. Hussein Obama and Eric Holder.

By Walt Long, Jr.

I cannot understand what side our government is on you have the state of Arizona passing a law that is the exact wording of the Federal Law, Arizona had no alternative but to give the Law Enforcement the tools to do their job with the Illegal Immigrants coming into their state and robbing, pillaging and even murdering American Citizens in the State of Arizona.

You have Obama shooting his mouth off about the recent law passing, yet he will do nothing about enforcing the laws currently on the books for Illegal Immigration. Eric Holder is caught up in the let’s prosecute the state of Arizona. Yet Holder is stopping theinvestigation into leaked photos of CIA agents,  You also have the Gitmo detainee lawyers working at DOJ,they are suppose to be representing the American Citizen, you tell be how impartial they would be and then Holder’s failure to disclose important briefs.can be added to the mix.

Who can forget the Obama quotation about the Cambridge MA Police Department “Acting Stupidly”, with the arrest of Obama’s friend Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., of course you had the play the media and citizens with the Beer Summit.

Keep in mind that Obama Backed Eric Holder in CIA Interrogation Probe, this is when Obama and Holder were crucifying our men and women who serve our country in order to protect us from another 9/11/2001. The Obama and Holder team gave our secrets away to the enemy on how we obtain information from the captured criminals on the battlefield. Then you have the infamous Miranda Rights on the Battlefield. Of course we cannot let out the ACLU’s spying project where they were taking pictures of the CIA Agents and giving the pictures to the enemy so that others can know who is interrogating them and putting our CIA Agents at great risk. I cannot figure our what part of America is in the American Civil Liberties Union when they seem to be against everything and anything that is American Civility.

Maybe it is just me but with all of the information I provided above it sure looks like Obama and Holder are for the people who do harm to the American Citizen and offer them more protection, than their own American Citizen, to whom they pledge to protect and serve.

Islamic War On Free Speech Heating Up

Filed under: CAIR, Creeping Shari'a, Free Speech, Radical Islam — - @ 4:29 pm

Source: Radical Islam

Freedom of Speech

Islamic War On Free Speech Heating Up

by  Robert Spencer

04/27/2010

Four incidents recently showed anew how keenly Islamic supremacists want to shut down the freedom of speech—and how eager many Americans are to accommodate them.

The most notorious incident was Comedy Central’s censorship of a “South Park” episode lampooning Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Even Bill O’Reilly faltered when presented with an opportunity to defend free speech, telling “South Park’s” creators: “I would’ve advised them not to do it. If somebody came to me and said, ‘Look, O’Reilly, I want to do a little satire of Muhammad on “The Factor,”’ I would say I don’t think so, because the risk is higher than the reward.”

The risk of defending free speech against violent threats and intimidation is higher than the reward? If the Founding Fathers had thought that way, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now. If the enemies of free speech, such as those who threatened “South Park’s” Matt Stone and Trey Parker over their Muhammad episode, see that death threats will frighten their victims into silence, they will only issue more death threats. Unless free people stand up and defend the right of free discourse no matter what the risk, we will surely lose that right—and any ability to stand up against the tyranny of a powerful group whose word and status cannot be questioned.

And that chastened silence before a privileged class is certainly the goal of Islamic supremacists in the United States. Besides threatening “South Park,” they also compelled the Pentagon to withdraw an invitation to evangelist Franklin Graham to participate in its National Day of Prayer event on May 6. Graham’s crime? Calling Islam “evil,” a comment he explained in this way: “If you look at what the religion does just to women, women alone, it is just horrid. And so yes, I speak out for women.”

The plight of women in the Islamic world is real. The Army should have given Franklin Graham’s explanation of his remarks thoughtful consideration—just as they should have considered the implications of the fact that the chief group complaining about Graham’s appearance at the event was the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas jihad terror funding case.

Instead, now the Army is abetting the whitewashing and cover-up of the institutionalized mistreatment of women in Islamic law. The Graham invitation could have been, as Barack Obama might say, a “teaching moment,” and an opportunity to stand up for the human rights of those women and other groups oppressed by Sharia. Instead, it is just an occasion for more submission to Islamic supremacists.

Also last week, a man named Sidney Elyea was given a hearing date of June 1 in his civil case concerning what were reported to be obscene and “anti-Islam” drawings he posted around St. Cloud, Minn. Before the civil charges were brought against Elyea, prosecutors in two counties declined to file criminal charges against him, saying that he was clearly within his 1st Amendment rights. Regarding the civil case, Elyea’s lawyer remarked:  “Given what our Supreme Court has done to protect the right to free speech, it baffles me that the government has not dismissed this case.”

Ah, but Muslims are offended, and so heads must roll—figuratively, in this case.

Meanwhile, the Miami-Dade Transit authority likewise demonstrated a willingness last week to bow to Islamic law—although in this case the 1st Amendment won out. The Freedom Defense Initiative, a new organization I have begun with Pamela Geller, placed ads on Miami buses supporting religious liberty, offering help to Muslims wishing to leave Islam but threatened by their families in accord with Islam’s death penalty for apostates. Miami-Dade Transit quickly removed the ads, explaining that they were “offensive to Islam.” After our lawyer reminded Transit officials about the 1st Amendment, the ads are going back up, with more added.

Islamic supremacists continue their assault on free speech in America, and they are mostly winning. It’s time to hand them a few losses on this most crucial of fronts.

Definition of Sharia Law

Filed under: Shari'a Law, Stealth Jihad, Uncategorized — - @ 3:24 pm

Sharia Law

Muslim or Islamic law, both civil and criminal justice as well as regulating individual conduct both personal and moral.

The custom-based body of law based on the Koran and the religion of Islam.

Because, by definition, Muslim states are theocracies, religious texts are law, the latter distinguished by Islam and Muslims in their application, as Sharia or Sharia law.

The sacred law of Islam; Islamic law and also referred to as Muslim law.

So thorough is the integration of the justice system and Church under Sharia law that Sharia courts are essentially religious courts; judges are usually local church (Mosque) officials.

Also spelled Shariah or Shari’ah and, in the USA, Shari’a. Because of the religious origin of the word, some prefer to capitalize it and others not.

The word “sharia” means “the path” or “the path to water”.

Sharia as a source of law, is, by definition, arbitrary and discretionary – some would prefer to describe it as flexible.

The Oxford Dictionary of Islam proposes a distinction between sharia and fiqh as follows:

"Whereas shariah is immutable and infallible, fiqh is fallible and changeable."

Opportunistic jurists will defer to the distinction only when convenient; to propose that an unfavourable tenet of Islamic law is mere fiqh and must cede to a more favourable tenet issue from shariah.

But that distinction – which limits sharia to the divinely provided law, and fiqh to the interpretation of sharia – is not universally followed. Many sources refer to fiqh as synonymous to shariah.

As an example of the scope of confusion, note that the  English language Oxford Dictionary of Islam is of no assistance, defining shariah using a deep Muslim tone:

"Shariah: God's eternal and immutable will for humanity as expressed in the Quran and Muhammad's example. "

The Koran or Qur'AnSharia law – Islamic law involves not only tortuous and mostly literal interpretations of ancient Muslim traditions and Arab tribal customs, and of a religious book written in about 632 (the Koran) which took – but also modified – many of those customs.

To that mix, there have been several subsequent religious texts and schools of thought (such as the Sunna), which is itself an interpretation of the Koran.

Even more: to this is added a plethora of alleged sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (530-632) and his successors.

Each of the approximately 50 Islamic states and countries that have, to varying degrees, Sharia law, has applied layers of doctrine upon the original religious texts resulting in a multitude of different interpretations and different legal results.

In The Legal Companion (2005), author V. Powell writes:

“Muslim countries enforce the Sharia to different extents.

"Iran and Saudi Arabia apply it to all areas of life....

"The Sharia is also interpreted differently within different branches of Islam.”

Further, in the context of Sharia law practitioners or courts which operate outside of Muslim or Islamic states but within other jurisdictions, the practice of Sharia law is consistently represented as flexible and reconciliatory in nature; a far cry from the protestations of Muslim jurists in states which are primarily Muslim.

Some countries, such as Tunisia, have hybrid systems, rejecting Sharia law in most instances yet relying it in others, such as in the area of divorce and family law, inheritance, contracts and banking.

To some Sharia jurists, the Sharia applies only to Muslims and does not technically apply to non-Muslims such as Christians (eg. Malaysia and Indonesia as of 2008). In other jurisdictions, such as Sudan (as of 2008), the application of the Shari law to non-Muslims – with all the attendant punishments – is considered unfair and unjust.

Thus, it is difficult to speak of Sharia as a distinct or cohesive body of law.

One consistent feature is that, by design of the Islam prophet Muhammad, and his Koran, Islamic or Sharia law reaches far deeper into the control of the personal and moral life of the people who are bound to it than, for example, those jurisdictions governed by civil law or common law systems.

For example, in Sharia law, it is forbidden for post-pubescent women to expose their faces in public.

The use of alcohol and the consumption of pork are prohibited.

Because the governments are often theocratic, any criticism of the government is taken as blasphemy, for which the Sharia prescribes prison or death.

Sharia law is often taken to task by common law or civil law jurisdictions for the perceived cruelty and gender-bias of its content. For example, this extract from a 2006 article published in the international law review of Loyola Law School at Los Angeles:

“In 2002, a Nigerian Sharia court sentenced Amina Lawal to be stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock; in contrast, the man named as the father denied responsibility, and as a result, the court dropped charges against him.

“In another case, teenager Bariya Magazu asserted that she was raped by three men and became pregnant as a result. Because she had sex outside of marriage, a Sharia court sentenced her to one hundred lashes, even though seven people corroborated her story. The men accused of the rape received no punishment.

“The extreme bias against women is apparent in sentences of adultery or fornication under Sharia. A woman is convicted simply by becoming pregnant, but a man is not condemned unless four people can testify that they witnessed the normally private acts of adultery or fornication.

“Countries such as Nigeria impose flogging, stoning, or severing off a hand ... all of which are deterrent punishments for serious crimes mentioned in the (Koran).”

Some other common  features of Sharia law, some taken from the Koran, some from subsequent legal texts:

  • While in public, women must cover their faces with a Hijab.
  • Men can have up to four wives and can divorce (called talaq) at their option. If they do not divorce their first wife but just abandon her, she is obliged to carry on as a married woman and cannot seek out another spouse without risking the traditional punishment for adultery: stoning. Stoning is done in public by first wrapping a person in a blanket and burying them in a deep hole exposing their head and the population gathered around is invited to throw large stones at the adulterer, the size of which Sharia law prescribes, and a sentence always fatal.Hibab
  • The penalty after a fourth conviction of a homosexual act is death.
  • Adoption is not allowed. Adults can become guardians of the children of others but not the legal parents through adoption.
  • Sharia law prohibits dating and marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim and it is practically impossible for a Muslim (even a recent convert) to renounce the Muslim faith.
  • Any abandonment of the Muslim faith is itself a serious crime (apostasy) with severe punishment.
  • Sharia law has a stringent evidentiary requirement for eye witnesses, preferably from men. Convictions for crimes cannot be based on circumstantial evidence alone.
  • Vagrancy can carry tough penalties such as jail and caning.
  • Generally, a person alleged to have violated Sharia laws in the states governed by them would not be pursued, or apprehended, in states not governed by Sharia laws.
  • Many states which implement Sharia law have blasphemy statutes which  punishes by prison or death any person who such as preaching Christianity or the distribution of Christian items.

Adherents of Sharia law believe it to be divinely inspired; as the word of God (Allah).

Muslims or adherents of the Muslim faith, often resent the portrayal of Sharia as medieval. If a statement of law is set out their great book, the Koran, that, to them, is a full response.

Muslims point to “social problems” they say are endemic to countries with other systems of law (such as tolerance of non-traditional sexual orientation, personal crime and divorce rates) and add that the invasive and deterrent features of Sharia law are merited as this arrests those “problems” and thus frees the people and society to attain their true potential, as God aspires.

As with most theocracies, Sharia law is difficult if not impossible to reconcile with the fundamental principles of democracy. One of the features of Sharia is that, in theory, it is invariable and stable. Democratic principles such as political pluralism and the constant tug towards expanding individual freedoms are incompatible with Sharia.

In Refash Party v Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights adopted these words:

“It is difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverges from values (of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms), particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervenes in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts....

"In the Court’s view, a political party whose actions seem to be aimed at introducing Sharia in a State party to the Convention can hardly be regarded as an association complying with the democratic ideal that underlies the whole of the Convention.”

REFERENCES:

CATEGORIES AND TOPICS:

This term applies to the following areas of law and categories;

Unless otherwise noted, this article was written by Lloyd Duhaime, Barrister, Solicitor, Attorney and Lawyer (and Notary Public!). It is not intended to be legal advice and you would be foolhardy to rely on it in respect to any specific situation you or an acquaintance may be facing. In addition, the law changes rapidly and sometimes with little notice so from time to time, an article may not be up to date. Therefore, this is merely legal information designed to educate the reader. If you have a real situation, this information will serve as a good springboard to get legal advice from a lawyer.

Shariah in the West

Filed under: Radical Islam, Shari'a Law, Stealth Jihad, Uncategorized — - @ 3:01 pm

2010/04/26

Government Motors repayment fraudThe bankrupt automaker still isn’t firing on all cylinders

Filed under: Uncategorized — - @ 4:25 pm

The finding can be found on page 115 of the Quarterly Report given to congress.

Government Motors repayment fraud

The bankrupt automaker still isn’t firing on all cylinders

By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

General Motors lost $3.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009 and is still struggling to reorganize so the company can try to eke out a profit. This grim reality didn’t stop GM from making hay last week for supposedly paying back a $6.7 billion government loan five years ahead of schedule. What was left unsaid was that the automaker used another kitty of taxpayer cash to pay off the earlier government loan. This is an accounting shell game, not progress.

Previously unreleased documents supplied to The Washington Times reveal that GM specifically used funds it received from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to pay off the government loan. According to Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for TARP, $4.7 billion of $6.7 billion – 70 percent – of what GM paid back came from TARP money the company received. “The one thing a lot of people overlook with this is where they got the money to pay the loan,” Mr. Barofsky told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Wednesday. “It isn’t from earnings.” The numbers are based on a quarterly report Mr. Barofsky’s office provided to Congress last week.

Jared Bernstein, chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., disputes the special inspector general’s findings. “That is not correct, I don’t think that is correct,” Mr. Bernstein told The Washington Times. “[General Motors] repaid with funds from their own cash accounts, from their own earnings.” The cash used by GM to pay back the loan “is the property of General Motors, there is no question about that,” he insisted. Some of the money used to pay off the loans may have originated from TARP funds, but “it is really hard to know,” he equivocated, because the funds are mixed together and “it is like trying to put an omelet back together again.”

The Treasury Department’s press office also disagreed with Mr. Barofsky’s characterization that GM paid off one credit line with another credit line. The watchdog, however, won’t budge. When asked how to tell whether the $4.7 billion used to pay off the government loan came from TARP funds and not some other source, a spokesman for the Special Inspector General’s Office explained: “We have a letter from General Motors requesting that they take the money out of escrow and pay the other debt down. And the money in the escrow was clearly TARP funding.” That letter has been released by the Special Inspector General’s Office.

Despite misleadingly rosy propaganda fed to the press, the sad saga of General Motors’ transformation into Government Motors continues. As a ward of the state, GM has to do the bidding of its Washington masters and stay in lock step with the Democrats’ claims about the company’s condition. The truth is that GM’s condition remains poor.

The only reason the company has been able to pay off its government loan is because the Obama administration has given GM more money than it has been able to spend. Hence, proceeds from one loan are sitting around to be used to pay down another loan. That’s hardly evidence that GM has been a good investment. To the contrary, the shell game makes clear that the Obama administration is wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on a carmaker that is careening toward a cliff.

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