Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Triple Choice: New Thoughts on an Old Dilemma

Historically, Islam has offered the world the infamous triple choice: 1) convert to Islam, 2) submit to Islamic rule as a dhimmi and pay the jizya, or 3) fight (to the death).

Of course, as Muslims will tell you, there is no compulsion in religion. But, non-Muslims who accept dhimmi status are systematically and categorically discriminated against, unable to share their religion or even revitalize their places of worship under Islamic rule; they pay a special tax, and can have the few "rights" given them by their Muslims masters revoked for any reason or for no reason at all. And, once one does submit (for economic reasons, if nothing else, to get out from under the extra taxes demanded of dhimmis), any attempt to leave Islam is punishable by death. But, there is no compulsion in religion.

Many Muslims have interpreted the triple choice in an abbreviated manner: submit or die.

Okay, well, these are extremists who do not represent "true" Islam.

But too many Muslims will not speak out loudly and openly against this.

There are reasons for that; I will address two that are key.

The first is theoretical and philosophical: any reading of Islamic texts brings us to the point that the extremists are right; they are doing exactly what Mohammed did, and exactly what Mohammed commanded his followers to do.

The second is pragmatic: speak out, and you become takfir and the "extremists" target you.

This, sadly, brings us to a situation. I am not advocating this situation; I am describing the direction I believe we are going in.

The many Muslims who are silent in the face of what is done in the name of the Religion of Peace will leave themselves with a triple choice: 1) convert from Islam, leaving it altogether; 2) fight to gain control of Islam, perhaps purging Islamic texts and disavowing many actions of Allah's Apostle; or, 3) share in the fate of "extremists".

The devil always overplays his hand, and Islam will leave humanity with no choice but to destroy Islam.

John Dennis for Congress 2010

All I know about John Dennis is that he is running as a Republican against Nancy Pelosi in California's 8th District.

I've thought long and hard and decided that in that particular race, that is all I need to know.

Please support John Dennis for Congress.

I will look further into this race, and try to find a link to the Pelosi campaign as well, but the bottom line is that Pelosi needs to be unseated.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tale of a Tiger, Part 3

Here are excerpts from US show of force in Asian waters a threat to China: magazine, reported by Xinhua News Agency and found in China Daily, dated August 14, 2010 (see also here):

BEIJING - Recent and planned dangerous moves of the United States in Northeast and Southeast Asia are manifestation of Washington's Cold War mentality and pose a threat to the security of China and the whole region, said the Globe magazine in a commentary.

[snip]

The US-South Korean joint exercises at the end of July were no ordinary war games, said the signed article by Ju Wen. They were unprecedented in the past three decades both in terms of scale and weaponry. The resources involved were said to be enough for launching a full-scale war, it said.

With the participation of 8,000 troops, the games involved aircraft carrier USS George Washington and some other 20 warships as well as about 200 aircraft, including cutting-edge F-22 fighters.

[snip]

While flexing muscles in the waters of Northeast Asia, Washington also showed a growing interest in the South China Sea and tried to come between China and her neighbors, said the magazine.

In a July speech in Hanoi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed the United States takes as a "national interest" in resolving South China Sea disputes.

She also told Vietnamese leaders that Washington hopes to upgrade its ties with Hanoi to a new level and sees its relationship with Vietnam "part of strategy aimed at enhancing American engagement in Asia and in particular Southeast Asia."

The United States proposed a nuclear cooperation deal with Vietnam and most recently, conducted controversial joint naval training exercises in the South China Sea, involving USS John S. McCain and USS George Washington.

Washington said its recent military maneuvers in Asian waters were for peaceful purposes. But that contradicts the facts, said the magazine.

[snip]

USS George Washington, which is said to be involved in the upcoming war games in the Yellow Sea, has a reconnaissance range that covers the entire North China region, thus posing a direct military threat to China, said the magazine.

The real intention of the US maneuvers in the waters of Northeast Asia, the commentary said, is to consolidate the US-South Korea and US-Japan military alliance and boost US military presence in the region, and therefore intimidate and contain China.

Washington's intention to contain China becomes clearer as it tries to interfere in the South China Sea disputes and strengthen its military presence in Southeast Asia, said the magazine.

To a larger extent, the US moves reflect the Obama administration's ambition to return to Asia to seek dominance of regional affairs.

Barack Obama claimed in Tokyo last year that he was the first US president with an "Asia-Pacific orientation." Clinton said in Hawaii early this year that the future of America is closely linked to that of the Asia Pacific and that the future of the Asia Pacific depends on the United States.

Obama says lots of things, and I doubt the leadership in Beijing is as foolish as the American people. Consequently, I can only conclude that anyone who thinks the Obama Administration is trying to militarily dominate any region of the planet is quite paranoid.

:|

I couldn't find the "Globe Magazine" article cited, but I found this: Chinese missile could shift Pacific power balance by Eric Talmadge, August 5, 2010:

ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON—Nothing projects U.S. global air and sea power more vividly than supercarriers. Bristling with fighter jets that can reach deep into even landlocked trouble zones, America's virtually invincible carrier fleet has long enforced its dominance of the high seas.

China may soon put an end to that.

U.S. naval planners are scrambling to deal with what analysts say is a game-changing weapon being developed by China -- an unprecedented carrier-killing missile called the Dong Feng 21D that could be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier at a distance of more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).

[snip]

Analysts say final testing of the missile could come as soon as the end of this year, though questions remain about how fast China will be able to perfect its accuracy to the level needed to threaten a moving carrier at sea.

The weapon, a version of which was displayed last year in a Chinese military parade, could revolutionize China's role in the Pacific balance of power, seriously weakening Washington's ability to intervene in any potential conflict over Taiwan or North Korea. It could also deny U.S. ships safe access to international waters near China's 11,200-mile (18,000-kilometer) -long coastline.

While a nuclear bomb could theoretically sink a carrier, assuming its user was willing to raise the stakes to atomic levels, the conventionally-armed Dong Feng 21D's uniqueness is in its ability to hit a powerfully defended moving target with pin-point precision.


The US Navy has been threatened by sophisticated antiship missiles for decades, and carrier battlegroups are well-equipped to defend against them. Still, any new weapons development is of interest, if not of concern.

The Chinese Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to the AP's request for a comment.

Funded by annual double-digit increases in the defense budget for almost every year of the past two decades, the Chinese navy has become Asia's largest and has expanded beyond its traditional mission of retaking Taiwan to push its sphere of influence deeper into the Pacific and protect vital maritime trade routes.

Here we get to the key issue. China's "defense" budget has been increasing; defense spending is increasingly building up China's naval capabilities, giving the "People's Liberation Army Navy" (??? PLAN - the Chinese Navy) an ever-improving ability to operate farther from shore. Still under cover of a large land-based air force (the PLAAF - can you guess what that stands for?), the PLAN might be able to successfully challenge the US Navy supremacy near China's coast if it could effectively neutralize some of the threat posed by our carrier battlegroups.

It is important to note that these increases in China's defense budget are possible due to nearly 10% annual growth in China's gross domestic product (GDP). From the introduction of China's Economic Growth 1978-2025: What We Know Today about China's Economic Growth Tomorrow by Carsten A. Holz of the Social Science Division, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, 2005:

The rapid economic growth of China since the beginning of the economic reforms in 1978 has captured the imagination of Western commentators and researchers. The responses range from outright pessimism about China's future to fear of a strong China. Lester Brown (1995) wonders who will feed China. Gordon Chang (2000) announces the coming collapse of China. Callum Henderson (1999) sees China as on the "brink," while Ross Terrill (2003) writes of the "illusory nature of the market in most of the Chinese economy" and that "a crash looms because the Leninist core of the regime is unchanged from Mao's construction of it in Yan'an six decades ago" (pp. 329, 313). Nicholas Lardy (1998) stresses the large economic problems and the unprecedented potential for social unrest due to ever more indebted state-owned enterprises, the extent of nonperforming loans, and a decline in government revenue.

At the other end of the range are those who project a strong China. Geoffrey Murray (1998) describes China as the next superpower. A number of authors view an all-powerful China as a threat (Bill Gertz, 2000, or Edward Timperlake and William Triplett II, 2002).1 News items imploring the "devastation Chinese competitors are inflicting on U.S. industries, from kitchenware and car tires to electronic circuit boards" and the "futility of trying to match the China price" have become common fare.2

What is undeniable is China's rapid economic growth over the past 25 years since the beginning of economic reforms in 1978, of, measured in gross domestic product (GDP), on average 9.37% per year. In economic size China is surpassed today only by the U.S., Japan, Germany, and France.3 Its share in global growth 1995-2002 has been estimated at 25%, compared to 20% for the U.S.4

China understands that military power grows from, among other things, economic power, and China has sought to become a hard-working creditor nation, gaining its share of the world market. In sharp contrast, annual growth of the US GDP is a fraction of the growth of China's. The difference? Chinese leaders aren't trying to tax their country into prosperity, neither are they trying to buy the votes of the Chinese people with the redistributed wealth of the Chinese people (though communists are good at redistributing wealth into the hands of the government and the elite running it).

So, now I question my previous assertion that Beijing is paranoid. The government there likely is, to some extent - paranoia is key to communist regimes staying in power (though Beijing's emphasis on business and profits seems to make it more fascist these days - ?) - but perhaps more so, Beijing is justifying a course of action long ago decided upon: becoming a world superpower, including challenging even US military power.

US show of force in Asian waters a threat to China: magazine concludes:

In today's world, whose theme is multipolarization, globalization and common development, no country or region can succeed in seeking global dominance through military power. The Iraq and Afghan wars serve as good examples, it said.

Both the United States and China are important countries in the world. They are tasked to safeguard world peace. Peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and common prosperity are therefore the only choice for the two countries and peoples, said the magazine.

China lags far behind the United States in terms of overall economic and military powers, and has neither the intention nor capability to threaten the United States, it said.

Instead of posing any threat, China's rapid development is benefitting the United States. China's growing economic strength has helped the United States recover from the latest financial crisis.

Washington should discard its Cold War mentality and gunboat policy, and return peace to the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea, said the magazine.

Yeah - the US should go home, and leave the far reaches of the Pacific to China.

And, I wonder how long it would be until there are calls for the US to go home, and leave Hawaii to China?

China is a great country, but it is very unwise to leave oneself weak relative to the communist government in Beijing.

Tale of a Tiger, Part 2

In Part 1, we explored connections from China, which has a considerable espionage network targeting the US, and Iran. Furthermore, we touched on China's assistance to Pakistan, especially with military - including nuclear - technology, and Pakistan as another route for such technology to wind up in Iran's hands.

I now present the first part of China's navy cruises into Pacific ascendancy, by Peter J. Brown, April 22, 2010 (please read the entire original for content and to review cited sources):

In mid-April, two Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (MSDF) destroyers, the Choukai and Suzunami, unexpectedly encountered several Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships, including a pair of submarines and eight destroyers, approximately 140 kilometers west-southwest of Okinawa near the Nansei (Ryukyu) Islands.

The Chinese warships were heading out of the East China Sea and into the Western Pacific. They passed north of Miyako Island - the northernmost island in the Nansei group - through the Miyako Strait and then proceeded to head southeast.

They were there to practice anti-submarine warfare, underway refueling and helicopter flight training, to name a few of the procedures.

During one PLAN helicopter flight, the Suzunami was subjected to a close encounter which prompted a formal protest by Japan's SDF Joint Staff Office. The presence of the PLAN subs also sparked a protest.

Japan's Defense Minister Kitazawa Toshimi was upset that so many Chinese warships had sailed so near to Japan on their way to the western Pacific Ocean without any prior notification by China. [1]

Kitazawa said nothing about whether or not any of the five new Chinese earth observation/military reconnaissance satellites launched since late 2009 were engaged in assisting the PLAN warships during their unannounced passage.

Gary Li, a PLA specialist at the London-based Institute of International and Strategic Studies (IISS) said the PLAN's actions in this instance were very significant. Li describes the incident as unprecedented and an attempt by China to "send a very clear message to the region that it should be prepared to see a China unafraid to really test its reach and move into new areas". [2]

Drew Thompson, director of China Studies at The Nixon Center in Washington, DC, did not agree with Li, adding that the recent PLAN "blue water" activity off Japan did not prove that the PLAN has entered a disturbing new phase in its development.

"Calling this a new phase is overly dramatic. The PLA has been working for a long time on expanding their ability to operate farther from their shores and conduct joint operations closely coordinating air, land and sea platforms," said Thompson. "These PLAN exercises certainly demonstrate expanded capabilities, or at least the willingness to exercise the hardware they have more vigorously, but it should be viewed as part of a continuum rather than a departure from a previous period of development."

The article goes on to address the developing capabilities, predicting as many as four carrier battle groups and four amphibious groups in the next two decades. Current capabilities include support of naval operations by a satellite network that is growing in size and quality, and by land-based airpower - and it should be noted that the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF - the Chinese Air Force) is very large, if not as technologically equipped as western air forces.

[Abraham] Denmark [a fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, DC] cautions that whatever conclusions are drawn, there is no question that PLAN still has a long way to go before it can be classified as a formidable "blue water" naval force.

"The PLAN currently does not have the experience required to operate for extended periods of time far from home, nor does it have sufficient numbers of ships to be able to operate in the Indian Ocean without significantly diminishing its ability to respond to threats closer to home," said Denmark. "Moreover, the PLA is traditionally dominated by leaders with experience in ground operations, and significant doctrinal and conceptual changes will have to take place within the PLA before the PLAN would be able to protect SLOCs."

Operations far from home - for example, in the Indian Ocean and the Middle East - do not have an adequate support network, leaving the Chinese Navy at the end of a long and tenuous supply line that stretches through places where the line is easy to interdict, and past potential enemies, including the US and India.

But such operations are increasingly becoming potentially necessary, as Chinese interests spread around the globe, both increasing the possibility that China may need to defend those interests, and increasing the opportunities China has to establish bases from which to defend them. (For some pretty pics, see Time Photo Essay: China Goes to Africa.) From China's Navy Grows, and the World Watches Warily by Ishaan Tharoor, May 13, 2009:

Though publicly muted, there is growing concern in capitals across the rest of Asia over Beijing's burgeoning pre-eminence. "There's no escaping the fact that, in the past ten years, China's negotiating power has increased while others have weakened," says C. Raja Mohan, a leading Indian foreign policy expert and professor at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School for International Studies.

(See also The Chinese Navy: How Big a Threat to the U.S.? by Bill Powell, April 21, 2009, for thoughts on how recent developments present historic opportunities.)

Though China appears determined to challenge US naval supremacy during the course of this century (and, while Americans think perhaps as far as the next election, China plans in decades), current capabilities and trends seem to target the Indian Ocean.

Here we review the last half of Who will rule the waves? by Harsh V. Pant, August 7, 2009:

As China's economic and political prowess rise, there has also been commensurate growth in its Indian Ocean profile. China is acquiring naval bases at crucial choke points not only to serve its economic interests but also to enhance its strategic presence in the region. China realizes that its maritime strength will give it the strategic leverage to emerge as the regional hegemon.

China's growing reliance on bases across the Indian Ocean is a response to its perceived vulnerability, given the logistic constraints that it faces due to the distance from its own area of operation. China is consolidating power over the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean with an eye on India, something that comes out clearly in a secret memorandum issued by the director of the General Logistic Department of the PLA: "We can no longer accept the Indian Ocean as only for the Indians. We are taking armed conflicts in the region into account."

China has deployed its Jin class submarines at a submarine base near Sanya on the southern tip of Hainan Island in the South China Sea, raising alarm in India. The base is merely 1,200 nautical miles from the Malacca Strait and will be its closest access point to the Indian Ocean. The base also has an underground facility that can hide the movement of submarines.


The concentration of strategic naval forces at Sanya will further propel China toward consolidating its control over the Indian Ocean region. The presence of access tunnels on the mouth of the deep water base is particularly troubling for India as it will have strategic implications, enabling China to interdict shipping at three choke points in the Indian Ocean.


As the ability of China's navy to project power in the Indian Ocean region grows, India is likely to feel even more vulnerable and restricted in its freedom to maneuver despite enjoying distinct geographical advantages. Of particular note is what has been termed China's "string of pearls" strategy of bases and diplomatic ties, which has significantly expanded China's strategic depth in India's backyard. This includes the Gwadar port in Pakistan, naval bases in Burma, electronic intelligence-gathering facilities on islands in the Bay of Bengal, construction of a canal across the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, a military agreement with Cambodia, and the buildup of forces in the South China Sea.

Given that almost 80 percent of China's oil passes through the Strait of Malacca, Beijing is reluctant to rely on U.S. naval power for unhindered access to energy and so has decided to build up its naval power along the sea routes from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea. China is also courting other states in South Asia by building container ports at Chittagong in Bangladesh and at Hambantota, Sri Lanka, as well as by helping to build a naval base at Marao in the Maldives.

China will have great difficulty in exerting as much sway in the Indian Ocean as India does. Still, the steps that China takes to protect and enhance its interests in the region will generate apprehensions in India, thus engendering a classic security dilemma between the two Asian giants.

Even from its southern base near Sanya, to get to the Indian Ocean, PLAN units still have quite a distance to travel. It is 1200 NM across the South China Sea from Sanya to the Malacca Straits.


These 1200 NM are past Vietnam, a nation with which China has historically not had the best of relations, despite their de facto cooperation against the US during the Vietnam War. Today, Vietnam's relations with the US are warming considerably, and India is cultivating Vietnam as an ally as well.

The Malacca Straits area itself is choke point vulnerable to interdiction, running between Malaysia and Indonesia. Once there, Chinese naval forces must transit the Andaman (or Burma) Sea.


One border of the Andaman Sea is India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands Union Territory, a location the Indian Navy routinely exercises to defend.


Once past this barrier of islands, Chinese units, far from home, will be in an ocean geographically dominated by India, whose air and naval forces, operating from home bases and with secure internal supply lines, will be positioned to interfere at will with Chinese operations - assuming the military capability to do so has been developed by India.

As this series continues, we will look at other aspects of China's projection of economic, political and military power into the coastal regions near the Indian Ocean. Assuming the PLAN will not be able to credibly threaten US interests this far from home, but may be able to threaten the interests of traditional rival India, we will, in other posts, also examine some of India's strategic and political countermoves, as well as relevant Indian military developments. For now, may I suggest a previous post entitled Indian Naval Upgrade?

Friday, August 13, 2010

July Article by Srdja Trifkovic

Go read Subservience to Islam: Postmodern Dhimmitude by Srdja Trifkovic, July 19, 2010. Any time you have a chance to read an article by Dr. Trifkovic, it is worth doing so. He is intelligent, educated, an excellent writer, and really understands Islam and the threat it poses to the West.

This is not a blanket endorsement of or agreement with everything he writes, but what he writes, I try to read.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Commanders of the Faithful, Part 1

The term "Islamist" is widely used to refer to a Muslim who promotes Islam not just as a religion, but as a political ideology as well. As such, it is used to distinguish Muslims with a political agenda (one of domination) from more "moderate" Muslims, who practice their religion peacefully without seeking to force others to submit.

However, the Islamists point out that Muslims must return to their roots and unite politically. One goal is the establishment of a global caliphate, an undemocratic government enforcing the absolute rule of Islamic law on the world, with the caliphate in caretaker status for Allah.

This latter view is consistent with Islam ever since the days of Mohammed. Only in the past century has a caliphate ceased to exist, as many Muslims have become secularized. Only when militant Islam began to face a technologically superior West, with a Christian church cradled in the protective arms of the very science which it had persecuted, did the Islamic world begin to realize that it was biting off more than it could chew.

Like a giant snake that has sunk its teeth into large prey, only to find the prey too large to swallow and itself unable to release this prey, Islam now finds itself in a do-or-die struggle to take over the world.

Thus, "Islamists" are true Muslims, and "moderate" Muslims are as the true believers call them: takfir, apostates under penalty of death.

Some of my readers will disagree with this; feel free to leave your thoughts and links in the comments, and I may make a post featuring your material and ideas.

As such, the term "Islamist" and other, related, terms appear in works I am about to quote; whether you agree with my view of this or not, please keep in mind what I have just written about this terminology.

We first consider Why the Ground Zero Mosque is Counterproductive to the Islamist Cause, by Raymond Ibrahim (another version can be found at Pajamas Media), August 4, 2010:

While vexing to many, the mega mosque set to be built two blocks from Ground Zero has produced one interesting but unintended consequence: like the 9/11 strikes a decade before it, the "9/11 mosque" is also creating a stir, is making people think and talk — about Islam.

Consider: Before the Islamist strikes of 9/11, mainstream America was incognizant of the threat posed by radical Islam. Islamic apologetics and anti-U.S. polemics were unquestioned orthodoxy, not only in their natural habitat — academia — but more generally.

After 9/11, however, the veil was partially lifted: a flood of books dealing with Islam, political Islam, jihad, sharia, "dhimmitude," and any number of related topics appeared; politically incorrect books on Islam became bestsellers. The media began at least to acknowledge the existence of radical Islam; biased and politicized academics were exposed and refuted.

The article, with many links that I did not reproduce, goes on to explain all the ways in which the effort to establish the 9/11 Mosque is counterproductive to the "Islamist" cause. Please read Why the Ground Zero Mosque is Counterproductive to the Islamist Cause in its entirety and check out the great links.

Europe is farther down the Islamization road than America, so the reactions of the Europeans are, in some situations, understandably a little more developed: while Americans are debating opening a mosque, in some places in Europe, mosques are being closed and prohibited.

We now consider the first part of "Minarets are our Bayonets": The Swiss Vote to Ban Them, by Soeren Kern, December 3, 2009:

Swiss voters on November 29 overwhelmingly approved a referendum to ban the construction of minarets, the tower-like structures on mosques that are often used to call Muslims to prayer. The surprise outcome of the referendum, which passed with a clear majority of 57.5 percent of the voters, represents a turning point in the debate about Islam, not only in Switzerland, but across Europe more generally.

The initiative was sponsored by the conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP), which argues that a minaret is a symbol of Islamic intolerance. The SVP, which also happens to be the biggest political party in Switzerland, says the minaret is really an emblem of war. It describes the minaret as a "symbol of a religious-political claim to power and dominance which threatens – in the name of alleged freedom of religion – the constitutional rights of others."

The SVP backs its claim by citing a famous remark by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who once implied that the construction of mosques and minarets is part of a strategy for the Islamization of Europe. The pro-Islamist Erdogan said: "The minarets are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our army."

It is vitally important to let this concept sink in.

Mosques are not places of prayer; they are centers for political activity, as Islam is not complete unless and until Islamic law is established, and that means political activity to replace local laws with sharia.

Since "War is not a mere act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means" (Clausewitz), it follows that mosques are, as Erdogan stated, literally barracks for the armies of the faithful. For example, in Pakistan, it is schools associated with mosques that produce the unending supply of jihadists that fill the ranks of terrorist organizations around the world.

The current controversy dates back to 2005, when the Turkish cultural association in Wangen bei Olten, a small town of some 4,500 people in northern Switzerland, applied for a permit to erect a 6-meter (20 feet) high minaret on the roof of its Islamic community center. The project to build the minaret, which was opposed by the majority of local residents, was roundly rejected by the town's building and planning commission. But the Turkish cultural association appealed the decision, claiming that the local building authorities were motivated by religious bias. The case eventually made its way to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, which in 2007 ruled that the project could proceed apace. The minaret was finally erected in July 2009.

Up until recently, Muslims living in Switzerland had mostly been keeping a low profile, preferring to practice their religion discretely in nondescript mosques. But over the past several years the number of mosques has mushroomed; there now are some 200 mosques and up to 1,000 prayer rooms dotted across the country. And although only four of those have minarets (plans to build a half-dozen more minarets will now be scrapped), observers say the minarets symbolize the growing self-confidence of Switzerland's Muslim community.

Indeed, the Muslim population in Switzerland has more than quintupled since 1980, and now numbers about 400,000, or roughly 5 percent of the population. Most Muslims living in Switzerland are of Turkish or Balkan origin, with a smaller minority from the Arab world. Many of them are second and third generation immigrants who are now firmly establishing themselves in Switzerland.

The new Muslim demographic reality is raising tensions across large parts of Swiss society, especially as conservative Muslims become more assertive in their demands for greater recognition of their faith.

This is a very typical pattern here in the West. Muslims immigrate in small numbers - many legitimately seeking to get away from excessive intrusion into their private lives by Islamic governments - and go somewhat unnoticed in the larger picture. But, more immigrants join the community, and it grows; additionally, it is targeted by those who seek for Islam to take over the world, and hardline, militant preachers arrive to radicalize the community.

As the community both grows and becomes more militant and radicalized, its demands increase, based on Western principles of tolerance and religious freedom. Soon, no-go areas crop up: places subject to de facto Islamic law, and where local police will not go in, except in force (hence the name: "no-go area" for local authorities).

Finally, we review an excerpt from A Mosque is Closed in Germany, by Thomas Joscelyn, August 12, 2010:

On Monday, German authorities announced that they closed down the Taiba mosque in Hamburg. The mosque achieved infamy as home to several of the 9/11 plotters under its previous name -- Al Quds.

The name change was, undoubtedly, part of an attempt to rebrand the mosque after some of its members hijacked and crashed American airliners. It was a superficial change, though. The mosque continued to serve as a meeting ground for Islamist extremists and terrorists. Thus, the Germans, who along with other Western intelligence agencies had been monitoring the mosque for years, decided it needed to be shuttered.

None of this is surprising, especially when you consider who was in charge of the mosque: Imam Mamoun Darkazanli.

Darkazanli was one of the first suspected al Qaeda figures to have his accounts frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department and the United Nations following the September 11 attacks. He had established a lengthy dossier by then. Despite being a known extremist with a plethora of terrorist ties, however, Darkazanli has avoided a lengthy prison sentence.

How? German laws have consistently gotten in the way of bringing Darkazanli to justice.

According to Congress's "Joint Inquiry Into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001," a report prepared by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Darkazanli first popped up on the CIA's radar in 1993. The U.S. Intelligence Community investigated the imam after "a person arrested in Africa carrying false passports and counterfeit money was found with Darkazanli's telephone number." The Joint Inquiry found: "A CIA report notes that, despite careful scrutiny of Darkazanli and his business dealings, authorities were not able to make a case against him."


Here we see all the elements of the story in play: 1) a mosque, which we Westerners gladly tolerate, not wishing to deny someone's civil rights and freedom of religion; 2) a firebrand jihadist preacher, spewing venomous anti-Western hatred, which we gladly tolerate, not wishing to deny someone's civil rights and freedom of speech; and 3) political activity paving the way for "military" (terrorist) activity, which targets innocent civilians because they are not adherents of the Religion of Peace.

The devil always overplays his hand, and with Islamic efforts to conquer the world, we see it with increasing clarity; as Islam gets stronger, it becomes more obvious that Islam, as we know it, will have to be destroyed if our society and culture are to survive.

And vice-versa.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Open Your Eyes

First, watch:



Then, read: CAIR: Muslims Ask MN Gov. to Retract Statement Against NY Islamic Center

They are using democratic processes to impose a totalitarian ideology.

If you can't see this, try opening your eyes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The District Next Door

Anyone following the news is aware of the Taliban's killing of some international aid workers in Karan Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan.

First, we consider excerpts from International Assistance Mission slayings: part of Taliban war strategy by Patrik Jonsson, August 7, 2010:

The execution-style killings of 10 people working for a Christian medical team in a remote region of northern Afghanistan fit into Taliban insurgents' stated shift in tactics: Target Western civilians, especially Christians, as "foreign invaders."

The Taliban took credit for one of the deadliest attacks yet on aid workers in Afghanistan, saying the Christian charity workers were proselytizing to poor villagers – a charge that the International Assistance Mission, which dispatched the team, denies.

[snip]

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in conversations with Western reporters. "One of our patrols confronted a group of foreigners," Mr. Mujahid was quoted as saying. "They were Christian missionaries and we killed them all." In the past, the Taliban has claimed responsibility for attacks carried out in actuality by bandits and independent warlords.

But the Los Angeles Times quoted Gen. Agha Nur Kamtuz, police chief in Badakhshan, saying the area had become dangerous in the past month, with intense fighting taking place between Taliban and Western-backed Afghan security forces.

Notice the name of the Taliban spokesman: Mr. Mujahid - in English, Mr. Holy Warrior. That's another story altogether... or perhaps it is the same story?

The article points out that the Taliban claim credit for any kind of attack on Westerners, which makes sense: any street gang wants to claim credit for any drive-by done on its rivals within the boundaries of its turf.

However, notice also that they are stating Badakhshan Province has become dangerous lately. Badakhshan is along the extreme easternmost frontier of Afghanistan bordering both Pakistan and China.

From Afghanistan war: Deadly ambush of medical mission roils one of safest provinces, by Ben Arnoldy, August 7, 2010:

In one of Afghanistan's safest provinces, 10 members of a medical mission - including six Americans - were killed by militants. The attack highlights the trouble coalition forces have had containing the reach of insurgent activity in the Afghanistan war.

[snip]

Some reports suggested the attack might stem from criminal activity, but a Taliban spokesman claimed the killings, telling the Associated Press that the group was "spying for the Americans" and "preaching Christianity." The group, International Assistance Mission (IAM), is a Christian organization, but on its website the group says it does not use aid to further a religious view.

[snip]

Badakhshan is located in the far northeast of Afghanistan and is home to few ethnic Pashtuns, the group from which the Taliban draws its membership.

However, "dry tinder" for militancy remains: The province lies on a major opium smuggling route and some former commanders are searching for work. Meanwhile, the Taliban have recently overrun several bordering districts in Pakistan and Afghanistan, imperiling the stability of one of the country's calmest provinces.

"I believe we have this risk of losing some areas of Badakhshan, either through the criminal groups, former commanders who are allied with insurgents, and some who are part of the insurgency," says Waliullah Rahmani, head of the Kabul Center for Strategic Studies.

In the second quarter of this year, Badakhshan ranked 5th safest out of 34 provinces in terms of attacks initiated by armed opposition groups, according to the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office.

[snip]

The attack on the international medical team took place in Badakhshan's southernmost district, Kuran wa Munjan. The group had been performing medical work in neighboring Nuristan Province. The head of the IAM told the Associated Press that the group decided to drive back to Kabul via Badakhshan because they thought that was the safest route.

[snip]

An aid worker based in Badakhshan says that Kuran wa Munjan borders two districts in Pakistan that had been taken by the Taliban two months back.

And another bordering district, Nuristan's Barg-e-Matal, has switched hands four times this year between insurgents and coalition forces. Last month, several hundred Taliban seized control of the district before being pushed back by NATO and Afghan troops.

So actually, much of the trouble is from the Barg-e-Matal District (also Bargi Matal) from neighboring Nuristan Province:


(To download your own copy of this map, which will allow you to see it much better, click here.)

But, the trouble really begins in Pakistan. The Taliban have a safe haven there. Among my many related posts, may I suggest The Colonel Imam Situation?

Meanwhile, we review excerpts from Paths of terrorism lead but to Pakistan by Ardeshir Cowasjee May 9, 2010:

Many of our neo-terrorists are schooled and brainwashed beings, with a grudge, or several grudges, imbued with bravado, intent on disrupting what is left of civilised life, with nary a care as to how many complete strangers they either blow to smithereens or maim, or how much they destroy.

[snip]

What is it about Pakistan that it manages to produce so many young men who are violence prone, caring neither for their own or other people's lives? We seriously need to ask ourselves this question.

It was asked and partially answered in the Wall Street Journal of May 3 by Sadanand Dhume under the heading 'Why Pakistan Produces Jihadists'. He firstly asks: "Why do Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora churn out such a high proportion of the world's terrorists?" He cites Mir Aimal Kasi, the CIA shooter, Ramzi Yousef, the 1993 World Trade Centre bomber, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed of 9/11 fame, Omar Saeed Sheikh, the Daniel Pearl kidnapper, and three of the four July 2005 London train bombers as being 'made in Pakistan'.

He goes on to list a few "whose passage to jihadism passes through" Pakistan — Osama bin Laden himself, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mohamed Atta, Richard Reid and his shoe, and John Walker Lindh of the so-called American Taliban. These are not lists to be proud of. Something is radically wrong and heaven alone knows how long it will take to even start to put it right. With the governments and leadership we have suffered and still suffer it is not likely that in the foreseeable future our production line will decrease, let alone cease.

[snip]

No one, not even the most nationalistic Pakistani, can deny that the country is used as a training ground for terrorists or jihadists or whatever.

It is open knowledge that both the ignorant poor and deprived and the university-educated youth, and even adult men, can come to Pakistan and learn how to make bombs to blow up themselves, if they so wish, and as many others that they can either take with them or leave dead and maimed while they flee.

Karan Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan is now unstable because of a nearby district, Barg-e-Matal in Nuristan. But the real trouble lies across the international boundary in Pakistan.

Islam's borders are bloody, but Islam's interior is bloodier still, and Pakistan was founded in an environment promoting Islam as a reason to divide the subcontinent upon independence from Britain. Now, however, that promotion of militant and political Islam has joined Wahabbism from Saudi Arabia, developing into a powerful jihadist conflagration that threatens the whole world.

But, the most threatened are those who live in among the burning fuel, and those who live nearby - in this case, in the district next door.

The Pakistan Sea and the Gulf of America

This is interesting.

I reproduce Why not the Pakistan Sea? by Ardeshir Cowasjee, August 8, 2010:


This country is suffering manifold miseries, as it has for many a year, but now more than ever, mainly inflicted by the forces of nature ably aided by the incompetence and follies of mankind.

That every nation has the government it deserves does not right now aptly apply to Pakistan since it has, to all intents and purposes, a non-government incapable of doing what it was elected and is paid to do.

Amidst the massive loss of life from north to south and the suffering of countless innocent deprived citizens, to offset the national and international negativity besetting us and to give a little light relief (with water being most topical) here is a suggestion put to our itinerant son-in-law president when and if he can spare a moment from his party politicking and travels.

In October 1973 (so many years ago) when I met the president’s father-in-law, the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, I put it to him that it was high time we named the sea around us as the Pakistan Sea. “Good, very good,” said he, his acquisitive eyes lighting up. “I’ll have the proposal examined — we must delve deep. Write to me.”

So write I did: “My research shows that invariably oceans, seas, bays, inlets, isthmuses are named by discoverers, explorers, navigators, cartographers or users. They either bear their name of that of the land or country upon whose shores they lap. I send herewith a list of oceans and seas which bear the names of countries, places or men.

“It is time that the sea around us is known as the Pakistan Sea. Why should our coast be on the Arabian Sea? The simplest way would be to instruct our naval cartographers to print Pakistan Sea in the admiralty charts they compile — PN charts PAK 4, 5, 6, 11, 15, 16, 18. Later on, others charting the same sea will follow suit. Usage would then take over.”

This resulted in a summons to Islamabad from our then foreign and defence secretaries who both wished to know how our sea had come to be called the Arabian Sea. They were provided with notes received in reply to my enquiries from the director of the International Hydrographic Bureau at Monte Carlo, from the chief of the Reference Department, Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress and from the keeper of the Map Room at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Space precludes a reproduction of these notes but all indicated that the north-west area of the Indian Ocean had been known as the Arabian Sea for many centuries, first appearing on a map of the Indian Ocean as Mare Arabicum et Indicum in 1596.

The term ‘Arabian Sea’ developed from the important seaborne, but coastal, trade from Arabia and East Africa along the south-east coast of Arabia. The 12th century Islamic geographer, Sahrif al-Idrisi had noted that the sea along the north-west coast of India was known as the Bahr al Larwi, named after Lar, the ancient name for Gujarat.

The foreign secretary asked why we would want another war with India, why upset the Indians. Why on earth would India be upset, I countered, it has the third largest ocean of the world (65,526,700 sq km) named after it.

He then asked why upset the Saudis? Why should they be upset, I said, not a wave of the Arabian Sea laps against an inch of the Saudi coast — it was the users, the Arabs and the Indians, who had named the sea centuries before Pakistan was even a glint in Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s eyes.

How about the English Channel, known to the French as La Manche? And the Iranian Gulf, known as the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Gulf which many maps now playing safe refer to as simply The Gulf.

The defence secretary treated the discussion as a joke but subsequently, at the end of 1973, wrote to me shooting down the proposal on the grounds that “we are bound to create alarm and bring about adverse political repercussions in the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. By merely printing the words ‘Pakistan Sea’ in our admiralty charts will have no impact and if we announce it publicly it is unlikely to succeed”.

He cited the example of the earlier efforts of President Soekarno of Indonesia who had decided “to name the sea surrounding his islands as the ‘Indonesian Sea’ but his efforts bore no fruit.”

This was not compatible with our case. Soekarno’s efforts to rename the Malacca Straits were linked with his confrontational policy towards Malaysia and the Philippines. Freedom of the Straits was involved, as were drilling rights.

End of matter — then. Now, in the midst of turmoil, strife and international opprobrium, can Pakistan not assert itself in some safe way? At the Law of the Sea Convention in 1982 an area of 240,000 sq km of sea was demarcated as Pakistan’s Exclusive Economic Zone, over which we exercise full economic rights. Who can object to this portion of the sea being named the Pakistan Sea? Our Arabian friends could be won over — no loss to them. There is no question of the elimination of the Arabian Sea. It can be written in next to the Arabian Peninsula, below the 20th parallel.

Our naval might being what it is, with more flag officers to its name than ships, no one in their right mind would credit us with aggressive designs.

All that is needed is an imaginative man (surely one can be found) to instruct our naval cartographers and the Surveyor General of Pakistan to map in ‘Pakistan Sea’ within the demarcated 240,000 sq km of our EEZ.

arfc@cyber.net.pk

At first, when I saw the title and glanced over the article, I thought the idea was dumb. It has been the Arabian Sea for centuries.

However, by the end of the article, I found myself agreeing with the author.

Pakistan can call that body of water whatever the Pakistani people want to call it. The rest of the world does not have to follow suit.

And, all the author is suggesting is for the Pakistani government to start using that term, The Pakistan Sea, on its official documents referring to the waters along Pakistan's coast.

__________


You know, what with all the illegal immigrants coming into America, why don't we Americans take something that doesn't belong to us?

We could start calling that body of water between Florida and Texas, where we had the big oil spill, the Gulf of America. After all, people all the way down to Argentina, and even in Europe, are quick to point out that the entire landmass in this hemisphere is America - the term doesn't just apply to the United States. And, the "Gulf of Mexico" washes the shores of Cuba - why should Mexico take all the credit from our buddies in Havana?

The whole hemisphere - with the possible exception of our neighbors immediately to the south - should support this initiative. The Gulf of America for all Americans, from northern Canada to southern Argentina and Chile.

Let's call it the Gulf of America.

Only we Americans know what we really mean by the term.

:)

Sliding Toward Censorship

From a recent article in the New York Times entitled After Afghan War Leaks, Revisions in a Shield Bill, by Charlie Savage, August 3, 2010:

WASHINGTON — Democratic senators who have been working on legislation providing greater protections to reporters who refuse to identify confidential sources are backpedaling from WikiLeaks, the Web site that recently disclosed more than 75,000 classified documents related to the Afghanistan war.

Senators Charles E. Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, Democrats of New York and California, are drafting an amendment to make clear that the bill’s protections extend only to traditional news-gathering activities and not to Web sites that serve as a conduit for the mass dissemination of secret documents. The so-called “media shield” bill is awaiting a vote on the Senate floor.

"WikiLeaks should not be spared in any way from the fullest prosecution possible under the law," Mr. Schumer said in a statement. "Our bill already includes safeguards when a leak impacts national security, and it would never grant protection to a Web site like this one, but we will take this extra step to remove even a scintilla of doubt."

The key paragraph comes a little later on:

Still, in case WikiLeaks or a similar organization sought to invoke a shield law, proponents of the legislation are trying to create legislative history that would show judges that Congress did not intend for the law to cover such organizations. The idea, aides said, would be to add language bolstering a section defining who would be covered by the law as a journalist — an area that can be tricky in an era of blogging and proliferation of online-only news media outlets.

Once they get the authority to define who is a journalist and who isn't, they will have the authority to define the term "press" - and the First Amendment becomes circumvented.

Because, once they can define what the "press" is, they can gag and control anyone not defined as part of the "press" and thereby eliminate those freedoms, while maintaining the facade of complying with the Constitution's Bill of Rights.

It's kind of like torture: The government can torture people all it wants to, while saying it doesn't torture; the trick is to define the specific torture techniques they want to use as "enhanced interrogation" instead of as torture, and they can have it both ways.

Congress has no right to define what a journalist is, or what the press is, or the meaning of a plethora of other terms; the obvious intent of the First Amendment is to give Freedom of Speech and of the Press a wide berth as a bulwark against dictatorship, and every time that gang in Washington does something like this, it is another step down the slippery slope into the abyss of censorship, which will inevitably lead us to tyranny.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Colonel Imam Situation

The Counterterrorism Blog has a post linking to Flashpoint, which received a video and posted its transcript dealing with the kidnapping of retired Pakistani military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer Colonel Imam Sultan Amir Tarar.


First, here is the English transcription, with the vid below:

Today is July 24, and tomorrow, it will be July 25. I am Sultan Amir, son of Ghulaam Amir, and people know me as Colonel Imam. I am in the custody of Lashkar Jhangvi Al Alami, Abdullah Mansoor. I sent my statements and CD messages to the government several times, but no attention has been given until now.

You know what mentality these people have and what are they up to. Khalid Khwaja has already been killed and we might receive an even harsher treatment, which will be damaging for Pakistan.

They cannot be pressured by anyone. They are well organized. According to them, my previous statements have not been released to the media either. I appeal, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, DG ISI Jahangir Gul and Jasim Baig, to accept the demands of Lashkar Jhangvi Al Alami as soon as possible.

You people know about the services I rendered for my country. If the Pakistan government does not care about me, then I don't have any reason to care about the nation either, and [I] will reveal all the weaknesses of our nation.

Whatever game is being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America, I know about all of it. It is now for the Pakistani government to decide. Four months have now passed but you don't care about me. I am fed up of spending my whole life all the time in a basement.

It should be conveyed to my family to pray for me and to take care of the children. I also want it to make it clear to my son Nauman Umar to resign from his government post. At the moment, they don't seem to care about me, so why would they make a fuss over him in the future either.

Wasalam, your well wisher, Sultan Amir.



But, who is this Colonel Imam? From Former Pakistani Officer Embodies a Policy Puzzle, dated March 3, 2010 (shortly before Col. Imam was captured):

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — With his white turban, untrimmed beard and worn army jacket, the man known uniformly here by his nom de guerre, Col. Imam, is a particular Pakistani enigma.

Once a promising protégé for the United States, Brig. Sultan Amir, who is known as Col. Imam, has taught insurgent tactics.

A United States-trained former colonel in Pakistan's spy agency, he spent 20 years running insurgents in and out of Afghanistan, first to fight the Soviet Army, and later to support the Taliban, as Pakistani allies, in their push to conquer Afghanistan in the 1990s.

Today those Taliban forces are battling his onetime mentor, the United States, and Western officials say Colonel Imam has continued to train, recruit and finance the insurgents. Along with a number of other retired Pakistani intelligence officials, they say, he has helped the Taliban stage a remarkable comeback since 2006.

In two recent interviews with The New York Times, Colonel Imam denied that. But he remains a vocal advocate of the Taliban, and his views reveal the sympathies that have long run deep in the ranks of Pakistan's military and intelligence services.

Despite Pakistan's recent arrest of several high-level Taliban commanders, men like Colonel Imam sit at the center of the questions that linger around what Pakistan's actual intentions are toward the Taliban.

American and NATO officials suspect that retired officers like Colonel Imam have served as a quasi-official bridge to Taliban leaders and their rank and file as well as other militant groups.

The group that kidnapped Col. Imam is Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami - classified by both the US and Pakistan as a terrorist organization, and which follows Deobandi/neo-Wahhabi Islam. This is the group that killed journalist Daniel Pearl in early 2002, and the suicide bomber that killed Benazir Bhutto and 20 others in 2007 was said to belong to this group.

In other words, these guys are reputedly hardcore fanatic freaks.

So, why are they holding a retired Pakistani intelligence officer who is reputed to have essentially founded the Taliban, and to be a rogue element continuing to support the Taliban despite the fact that his country, Pakistan, is supposed to be allied with the US fighting against the Taliban?

Because, if this Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami is who everyone says it is - a terrorist organization - and if this Colonel Imam is who everyone says he is - a guy who founded the Taliban and has been treasonously supporting them despite the fact that his government is now at war against them - then Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami and Colonel Imam should be allies.

Perhaps the explanation can be found in a blog post. From US "Trapped" By ISI, August 4, 2010:

The following article apparently sounds like ISI being demonized, but reading between the lines, it actually reflects the fear and frustration they have in their hearts, the way they are terrorized of the genius of ISI strategists and that how badly are they trapped in the same labyrinth they have been trying to build to achieve their covert goals in this region. The "ISI Terror" is becoming a nightmare for the open and covert enemies of Pakistan. They didn't learn from history and didn't see whats coming, hence falling in their own trap. This region is sure to become the graveyard of another superpower. ISI did it once, they can do it again. Soon the Americans will be seen being "farewell-photographed" with Pakistani officials.

PKKH

================================================

T. J. S. George

The leakage of 92,000 secret military intelligence documents is sensational anywhere any time. When the documents pertain to the war against Taliban-Al-Quaida, it is also disturbing because it shows (a) that America is in a trap and is unlikely to win this war, and (b) that India is in for trouble, big trouble.

Let's not forget that the information now leaked is new only to us, the lay public. To the top echelons of leadership in America, the facts were known all along. They also knew that the records had leaked. Two months ago, in May, the US Army Criminal Investigation Command had arrested an intelligence analyst in the army and charges were filed against him early this month, well before the leaked documents hit world headlines.

The arrested man, Bradley Manning, is 22 years old. If he is indeed the man who leaked the secrets, he must have done so as a matter of conscience, appalled by the atrocities American troops were committing. This is a "problem" with American democracy. One man with conscience will always be around to do the unexpected.

Remember those pictures of Iraqi citizens being humiliated and tortured by fun-loving American soldiers? Earlier, Vietnam war secrets were published by Daniel Ellsberg, another military analyst then working for the Rand Corporation.

The latest documents had much to reveal about Pakistan's complicity in terror network in the region. This led to some patriotic drum-beating in India — as if Pakistan had been caught with its pants down and now America would be forced to act.

Nothing of the kind will happen. America has been seeing Pakistan with its pants down for quite a while. For example, it said more than once in recent weeks that Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan. Blandly, Pakistan denied it. And America let it rest at that. Pakistan is for America, a pill that is too bitter to swallow and too sweet to spit out, a classic diplomatic trap.

Pakistan's military leaders, especially the smart strategists of the ISI, know this very well, hence their audacious policy of helping al-Quaida and the Taliban. Some of the terror outfits the ISI trains and equips are fighting America. Knowing this, America goes on giving Pakistan one billion dollars in aid every year. That is how smart the ISI is.

I'm wondering just how "kidnapped" this Colonel Imam really is.

What I think is going on is this:

Bhutto understood quite well that Pakistan was supporting the terrorists that we are supposedly fighting, as does everyone else who is paying attention. (In fact, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Russian leadership immediately pointed out that such an operation could only be carried out with the support of a state intelligence apparatus.) Bhutto commented on how dictatorships (such as that of General Pervez Musharraf, who was running Pakistan while Bhutto was campaigning) need terrorists, and terrorists need dictatorships.

Considering Pakistan's long-standing support for the Taliban and other Islamic terrorist groups, it is not surprising that Pakistan was unable to provide adequate security for Benazir Bhutto, and so Bhutto ultimately wound up assassinated by the same kind of terrorist group that Mushy's government had been supporting.

Now, for the first time in years with a civilian government - one which likely does not know the full extent of involvement of Pakistan's own military intelligence in everything from nuclear weapons proliferation to supporting terrorism - there is a definite possibility (however slight) that the civilian government might rein in Pakistan's Interservices Intelligence (ISI).

To keep this from happening, guys like Colonel Imam need to be out of reach of legitimate authorities who might want to investigate this terrorist support network.

What better place to keep him than "in a basement" supposedly "kidnapped" by the terrorists?

If he should ever get "released" (i.e., captured, for example, in a covert operation), his cover story and alibi are intact - he was, after all, not collaborating with terrorists, he was their hostage.

I close with another excerpt from Former Pakistani Officer Embodies a Policy Puzzle:

If Colonel Imam personifies the double edge of Pakistan's policy toward the Taliban, he also embodies the deep connection Pakistan has to the Afghan insurgents, and possibly the key to controlling them.

Once a promising protégé for the United States, he underwent Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1974, learning in particular the use of explosives, and he went on to do a master parachutist course with the 82nd Airborne Division.

On his return to Pakistan, he taught insurgent tactics to the first Afghan students who fled the country's Communist revolution in 1978, among them future resistance leaders Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ahmed Shah Masood. He then worked closely with the C.I.A. to train and support thousands of guerrilla fighters for the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Army throughout the 1980s.

Once the Soviets were pushed out, the Taliban emerged and Colonel Imam, then serving as a Pakistani consular official in Afghanistan, provided critical support to their bid to rule the country, Western officials said.

By his own account, he was so close to the Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, that he visited him in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, and left only when the American bombing campaign began later in 2001. He says he has not returned since. His parting advice to Mullah Omar, he said, was to fight on, but stick to guerrilla tactics.

A Government-Run Depression

First, some excerpts from An Avoidable Depression by Mike Whitney, dated August 5, 2010:

The economy has gone from bad to worse. On Friday the Commerce Department reported that GDP had slipped from 3.7% to 2.4% in one quarter. Now that depleted stockpiles have been rebuilt and fiscal stimulus is running out, activity will continue to sputter increasing the likelihood of a double dip recession. Consumer credit and spending have taken a sharp downturn and data released on Tuesday show that the personal savings rate has soared to 6.4%. Mushrooming savings indicate that household deleveraging is ongoing which will reduce spending and further exacerbate the second-half slowdown. The jobs situation is equally grim; 8 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession, but policymakers on Capital Hill and at the Fed refuse to initiate government programs or provide funding that will put the country back to work. Long-term "structural" unemployment is here to stay.

[snip]

No one believes that the U.S. is the land of opportunity anymore or that their children will have a better life than they did. As the slump deepens, pessimism will turn to desperation, higher crime and social unrest. Everyone pays for long-term unemployment.

Factory orders, household purchases and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) are all in the dumps. New mortgage applications and home sales have plummeted to historic lows. Housing prices are expected to follow the downward trend in sales. Still, the stock market lunges upward in fits-and-starts utterly disconnected from the underlying "real" economy where personal balance sheets are in a shambles and where 6 applicants battle for every new job opening.

[snip]

Washington has sold out its small businesses to Wall Street and the multinationals. America's jobs-generating engine is kaput. Expect more outsourcing, more offshoring, more tax-dodging, and more middle class bloodletting for the foreseeable future. The New World Order continues apace.

Unlike stocks, the bond market reflects the true condition of the economy. 2-year Treasuries are at historic lows, while the 10-year has dipped below 3%. The flight-to-safety is pushing bond yields down even while equities continue to surge. Deflationary pressures are building. Bondholders are not taken-in by the cheery news of green shoots. They know how to read the data--spending is down, credit is tight, unemployment is headed higher, the banks are hiding their red ink, Europe's in trouble, manufacturing is about to slide, housing is in freefall, the money supply is shrinking, and the Fed is sitting on its hands doing nothing. When industry-leader Proctor & Gamble missed analysts estimates on Tuesday, it became clear that product prices would be slashed in an effort to retain market share. When prices fall, inventories are reduced and workers are laid-off. That's how the downward spiral begins.

[snip]

The economy is slipping fast into deflation, but there's still time to act. The bond market is telling us that the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. The labor market is telling us that the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. The housing market s telling us that the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. Manufacturing, consumer spending, consumer credit and bank lending are all telling us that the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. Every sector and data-point is telling us the economy needs more fiscal stimulus. But congress, the White House, and the myriad far-right think tanks and foundations won't budge. They want debt consolidation, austerity measures, structural adjustment and belt-tightening.

The prescription is alluded to at the end of the first paragraph: government (tax-and-spend) "funding that will put the country back to work."

Government programs run by government bureaucrats serve one purpose well: giving voters the illusion that something is being done by government politicians so government politicians can get re-elected.

We now consider excerpts from Private Enterprise Does It Better, by John Stossel, August 5, 2010:

In Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity, I bet my readers $1,000 that they couldn't name one thing that government does better than the private sector.

I am yet to pay.

Free enterprise does everything better.

A little overstated, but more on that in a moment.

Why? Because if private companies don't do things efficiently, they lose money and die. Unlike government, they cannot compel payment through the power to tax.

Even when a private company operates a public facility under contract to government, it must perform. If it doesn't, it will be "fired"—its contract won't be renewed. Government is never fired.

Contracting out to private enterprise isn't the same thing as letting fully competitive free markets operate, but it still works better than government.

Roads are one example. Politicians call road management a "public good" that "government must control." Nonsense.

In 1995, a private road company added two lanes in the middle of California Highway 91, right where the median strip used to be. It then used "congestion pricing" to let some drivers pay to speed past rush-hour traffic. Using the principles of supply and demand, road operators charge higher tolls at times of day when demand is high. That encourages those who are most in a hurry to pay for what they need. It was the first time anywhere in the world that congestion pricing was used. Bureaucrats were skeptical. Now congestion pricing is a hot idea for both private and public road management systems.

Likewise, for years there was a gap in the ring road surrounding Paris that created huge traffic problems. Then private developers made an unsolicited proposal to build a $2 billion toll tunnel in exchange for a 70-year lease to run it. They built a double-decker tunnel that fits six lanes of traffic in the space usually required for just two. The tunnel's profit-seeking owners have an incentive to keep traffic moving. They collect tolls based on congestion pricing, and tolls are collected electronically, so cars don't have to stop. The tunnel operators clear accidents quickly. Most are detected within 10 seconds -- thanks to 350 cameras inside the tunnel. The private road has cut a 45-minute trip to 10 minutes.

The private sector does not do everything better.

For example, mercenaries do not do a better job at national security and warfighting than the military. A glaring example was when our human resources intelligence capabilities were cut, and as prisoners from the War on Terror came in for interrogation, this process was outsourced. The "private sector" apparently did not have enough adequately-trained employees to do the interrogations, so they consulted US military documents on how the former Soviet Union could have been expected to handle prisoners (a degree of what I might call "sophisticated mental brutality" aimed not at gaining useful information, but at coercing the person to conform to communist domination).

The result of this should have been predictable: the treatment violated norms for handling of prisoners of war, damaging America's reputation tremendously and depriving us of much of our moral authority; the treatment also violated legal standards, making it very difficult to process criminal cases in the US court system. One benefit, though, is that those in power now have a precedent set; all they have to do is accuse someone of being a terrorist, and they can violate that person's human rights and, if the person is a US citizen, they can violate that person's Constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights, and too many on the "right" will applaud and cheer.

This function should be done by appropriately-trained and supervised government agencies.

But, that's another story.

The private sector - non-profit charitable organizations, such as churches - do charitable work better than government programs. Some states are experimenting with outsourcing charitable programs to for-profit organizations. This leads to another predictable disaster.

But, beyond these points and perhaps a couple of more, Stossel's point is essentially correct: the private sector does things far better than the government.

However, the crowd that runs Washington believes the opposite, all evidence to the contrary.

So, instead of allowing freedom to work its magic, the Washington crowd will want to tax-and-spend us out of this mess which will, of course, only make things worse: the programs they will try to implement will be everything that ran the Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea into the ground.

But, do these Obamanistas and Neo-libs really believe they can do it better, or do they just want you to think they are the only ones who can do it, so they can take your money and decide how to spend it - thus generating a need for "them" to make your decisions for you, perpetuating their political power?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Controversy in Maricopa County, Arizona

There is a great deal of controversy around Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

First, Justice gives Az. sheriff deadline in rights case, dated August 3, 2010:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department says an Arizona sheriff known for his efforts against illegal immigrants has refused to cooperate with a civil rights investigation and the department is threatening to sue.

Since March 2009, the U.S. Justice Department has been investigating Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office in Phoenix for alleged discrimination and for unconstitutional searches and seizures. Arpaio says the inquiry is focused on his immigration efforts.

In a letter, assistant attorney general Thomas Perez gives the sheriff's office until Aug. 17 to turn over documents first requested last year in what the department calls an inquiry into claims of discrimination based on national origin.

Further information can be found from a local competitor news station. From Justice gives Az. sheriff deadline in rights case, also posted this afternoon:

Since March 2009, the U.S. Justice Department has been investigating Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office in Phoenix for alleged discrimination and for unconstitutional searches and seizures. Arpaio says the inquiry is focused on his immigration efforts.

In a letter, assistant attorney general Thomas Perez gave the sheriff's office until Aug. 17 to turn over documents first requested last year in what the department calls an inquiry into claims of discrimination based on national origin.

Arpaio and his legal counsel said a year ago that the sheriff's office would not cooperate with the inquiry.

The office "has continued its unwarranted refusal to cooperate," Perez wrote.

In June, the office supplied a position statement regarding the operation of its jail facilities.

The statement says "nothing at all about the allegations of discriminatory police practices," and includes no agreement to provide access to sheriff's office facilities and personnel, Perez said in the letter to the sheriff department's legal counsel. The letter also said a limited production of accompanying documents fails to respond to the first request for material made 17 months ago.

Allegedly, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office signed a contract with the federal government for assisted programs, and the contractual agreement stipulates that the federal government gets access to documents that the MCSO is denying.

The devil is always in the details with federal programs.

There is a website devoted to removing Sheriff Arpaio from office, which alleges abuse of authority, lies, deceit, etc. Sheriff Arpaio's own website is down as of this afternoon:


On a slightly different (?) note, a press release by the MCSO states:

Court of Appeals Rejects Former Candidates Claims

(Phoenix, AZ) An ex-Mesa police officer and former Buckeye Police Chief who tried and failed twice to unseat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the 2004 and 2008 elections, lost to Arpaio again today - this time in the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Dan Saban and his attorney Joel Robbins have tried for the past several years to convince Arizona courts that Sheriff Arpaio defamed Saban, invaded his privacy and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him relating to accusations made by Saban's adoptive mother that the candidate for Sheriff sexually assaulted her several years ago.

Accusations about the sexual charges were reviewed by the Sheriff's Office and turned over to another law enforcement agency for investigation. The accusations were subsequently the subject of several media reports in 2005.
Saban sued Arpaio, his chief deputy, a local Channel 15 reporter and two Sheriff's deputies in 2005. In 2007, after an 11 day trial, a jury found in favor of the Sheriff and awarded him the taxable costs in the litigation.

Today's decision upholds that jury verdict in Saban vs. Maricopa County, et al., CV2005-007294.

"I have always said Saban's charges against me and others in my office were without merit and that he was motivated strictly by his desire to win an election," Arpaio says.

This particular case resulted from a leak about a possible investigation into an alleged rape from decades ago - an allegation too old for the Pima County Sheriff's Office, to whom the case was transferred, to pursue. In Saban denied new trial in suit vs. Arpaio, dated July 9, 2008, in the summer before the last election when Dan Saban was running for election against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, we get the story.

Apparently, the allegations about Saban - allegations that he had sexually assaulted his adoptive mother in the 1970's - were then alleged to have been leaked to the press for political purposes in 2004, presumably to tip the scales in the race for sheriff. In response, Saban alleged that his adoptive mother had molested him.

Both Arpaio and Saban supporters have accused the other side of using the case for political gain, but as the case continues to move forward - Saban's attorney has vowed to appeal - Arpaio could benefit more from his opponent's tenacity than Saban ever could from proving sheriff's officials intentionally made defamatory statements, observers say.

"I think there's two completely different perspectives: From a standpoint of electoral politics, it's probably just as well to let it drop, 'cause, wow, that's heavy stuff," said Michael O'Neil, founder of O'Neil Associates, a Tempe public-opinion research firm. "I suspect this goes a lot deeper than politics.

"You can have a human being who is injured by what they feel are completely false accusations and they're angry. My guess is that it's not smart practical politics that's running this."

Saban filed suit after Channel 15 (KNXV) ran a story in April 2004 in which Norman alleged that Saban raped her 30 years earlier. The investigation was ultimately transferred to the Pima County Sheriff's Department in Tucson. That agency closed the case, saying it was too old to pursue.

Saban claimed that Arpaio's chief deputy, Dave Hendershott, leaked the story to a TV reporter to discredit him as he challenged the sheriff's re-election bid.

My question: how much of what is going on in Maricopa County deals with real concerns, and how much might just be political tit-for-tat or political smear?

The question is pertinent, because Sheriff Arpaio is now under attack for his pursuit of illegal immigrants - a pursuit for which he has received notoriety on the Internet. There are many Facebook pages, some supporting him, and a few against him; one even calls for his candidacy for President!



Much of the positive attention has come due to Sheriff Arpaio's apparent tough stance on illegal immigration. However, during campaigning, Dan Saban has alleged that this has come at a price. From Arpaio's Challenger: Race Boils Down to Celebrity Vs. Pro, dated March 31, 2008 (I fixed a typo):

Saban said the sheriff's race offers voters a clear choice.

"Do you want a celebrity or do you want a professional law enforcement person? That's what it is," said Saban, who lost to Arpaio four years ago.

[snip]

"We're going to take his (Arpaio's) name off everything. I'm just going to write "your." It's YOUR Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, and I'll be YOUR Maricopa County sheriff.

"There's money put into programs and gimmicks for self-promotion. I'm completely against that. I think the money and the efforts have got to be to provide the basic level of service to the county residents first," he said.

[snip]

Saban said he would cut nearly two-dozen executive staff positions in the office and use that money for crime-fighting efforts, restoring an emphasis on serving outstanding warrants and cutting gang activity. He suggested Arpaio's focus on illegal immigration is excessive.

"If I have two people who are running from me -- one's an undocumented immigrant who's committed no crime, one's a known felon on our list of 40,000 outstanding felony warrants -- the best investment is to get the one we know has committed felony crimes," he said.

So, what is the real story? The question is especially important, considering the lead Maricopa County seems to be taking in dealing with illegal immigrants, and considering that there is a movement to nominate Sheriff Arpaio for Security of Homeland Security (presumably under a Republican administration?), and a small, fledgling movement to have Sheriff Joe occupy the Oval Office itself!

Local Arizona politics will certainly have an impact on immigration, border security, US politics, and even international politics, so I am starting a new label: Arizona Politics.

Coffee Made From Cat Crap is Halal

From Wikipedia (see original for links):

Kopi luwak (Indonesian [ˈkopi ˈlu.ak]), or civet coffee, is coffee made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract.[1] A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet's intestines the beans are then defecated, having kept their shape. After gathering, thorough washing, sun drying, light roasting and brewing, these beans yield an aromatic coffee with much less bitterness, widely noted as the most expensive coffee in the world.

From 'Cat coffee' gets Halal green light, dated July 28, 2010:

Indonesia's top religious body has declared a premium coffee made from civet cat droppings fit for Muslims to drink.



If you want your coffee made by processing the beans through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet (it's more like a monkey than a cat; ecologically, it's similar to a raccoon), order online (no fatwa is necessary).