Sunday, November 28, 2010

The South Country, Part 8

You may wish to review the previous installments in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7. I begin by quoting an excerpt from Part 2:

An excellent article by STRATFOR blames [this year's trouble in Kyrgyzstan] on Moscow, with excellent analysis of the rationale that would lead to the Kremlin's involvement. I present here only an excerpt, and very highly recommend that you read the article, Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Resurgence, in its entirety.

Central Asia largely comprises a massive steppe of more than a million square miles, making the region easy to invade. The one major geographic feature other than the steppe are the Tien Shan mountains, a range that divides Central Asia from South Asia and China. Nestled within these mountains is the Fergana Valley, home to most of Central Asia's population due to its arable land and the protection afforded by the mountains. The Fergana Valley is the core of Central Asia.

To prevent this core from consolidating into the power center of the region, the Soviets sliced up the Fergana Valley between three countries. Uzbekistan holds the valley floor, Tajikistan the entrance to the valley and Kyrgyzstan the highlands surrounding the valley. Kyrgyzstan lacks the economically valuable parts of the valley, but it does benefit from encircling it. Control of Kyrgyzstan equals control of the valley, and hence of Central Asia's core.

Moreover, the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek is only 120 miles from Kazakhstan's largest city (and historic and economic capital), Almaty. The Kyrgyz location in the Tien Shan also gives Kyrgyzstan the ability to monitor Chinese moves in the region. And its highlands also overlook China's Tarim Basin, part of the contentious Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Given its strategic location, control of Kyrgyzstan offers the ability to pressure Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. Kyrgyzstan is thus a critical piece in Russia's overall plan to resurge into its former Soviet sphere.

Last summer, the following series appeared: "'A Completely Lawless Place' Kyrgyzstan Has Become an Ungovernable Country" by Erich Follath and Christian Neef in Osh, Kyrgyzstan: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Here are excerpts. From Part 1:

A country without leadership is an ideal haven for extremists and criminals. Fundamentalists fighting the government in neighboring Tajikistan are in the country, as are Uighur activists from China's troubled Xinjiang Province. Drug traffickers use Kyrgyzstan as an important transport route, which passes from Afghanistan straight through Osh. For the world's major powers, Kyrgyzstan is a dangerous weak link in the region.

But the foreign powers also need this small country. China hopes to use Kyrgyzstan to satisfy its demand for natural resources. Moscow needs the region as a buffer zone against the advances of fundamentalist Islam, and the United States uses it as the site of a resupply base for its war against al-Qaida and the Taliban. Chaos and anarchy in Kyrgyzstan are the last thing the Americans, Russians and Chinese need. Ironically, the Western press only recently referred to this country as "the Switzerland of Central Asia."

From Part 3:

"It doesn't matter who started it," says Cholpon Jakupova. "The far more serious problem is that we are turning this country into another Afghanistan."

Jakupova, a 51-year-old lawyer and Kyrgyzstan's best-known human rights activist, heads the Adilet human rights organization. She too has been in the city for days, searching for victims of the pogroms.


The whole thing may have been a calculated game, says Jakupova. "A few people in the government of President Otunbayeva pushed through the new constitution to get themselves into the parliament, which will be Kyrgyzstan's new center of power starting this month. After that, they are the ones who will decide what happens in the country, not Otunbayeva. But the constitution would never have been approved if the pogroms hadn't happened in Osh. People were desperate to restore the peace after that, and so they voted yes. It was a farce."

Kyrgyzstan is "turning... into another Afghanistan".

Or, perhaps, Kosovo is the better model?

How does this compare with Mexico these days? And the US southern border?

From The South Country, Part 7:

Next, we consider an excerpt from Kyrgyzstan Destined To Become Another Narco-State?, April 18, 2010:


As a matter of fact, Kyrgyzstan, once a 'model Central Asian democracy', as it used to be regarded in 1990s, and the first (!) post-Soviet state that joined WTO back in 1998, has ended up with two illegitimate coup d'etat in 5 years. It makes us believe that the events we witnessed in early April are only partly a result of mismanagement by the Kyrgyz ruling clan, their reckless appropriation of the state funds, international credits and national assets at the expense of their own people. We can assume that the tragedy in Kyrgyzstan reflects a wider diabolic strategy.

The theory of 'manageable chaos' as a perfect instrument for dominating the world 'after tomorrow' is thoroughly scrutinized by the leading Western minds and political practitioners. The old London's and later Washington's habit to impose 'puppet' dictators anywhere in the world has proved its ineffectiveness. Sooner or later the dictator starts playing his own game, as it was in case of Saddam Hussein. Much more promising are configurations with a sequence of weak and irresponsible 'democratic' governments holding office exclusively thanks to propaganda support from the media centers of global power. Such scheme allows maintaining 'controllable conflicts' in any zone, making up ideal environment for elusive 'terrorist cells' and drug cartels, targeting the strategic adversaries in the neighborhood.

Manageable chaos... an ideal environment for terrorist cells and drug cartels....

What we're seeing is a phenomenon known as State Capture.

Do an Internet search on that expression and see what you come up with.

More to follow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Patriotic Song, Part 3

(You may wish to read Part 1 and Part 2; then again, you may not.)

First, the latest news: South Korea tightens security ahead of drill, November 26, 2010:

South Korea is now on its highest state of alert against further provocations by North Korea ahead of a joint military drill with the United States that is scheduled to start on Sunday.

The military has called back soldiers from vacation to bolster security on Yeonpyong Island, which came under artillery attack by the North on Tuesday. The attack killed 2 soldiers and 2 civilians, wounded at least 18 and destroyed a residential area.

The commander of US forces in South Korea, General Walter Sharp, visited the island on Friday to inspect the extent of the damage. He called the attack an obvious breach of the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War and stressed that the United States will take a firm line with South Korea if North Korea makes further provocations.

The same question I asked in previous parts, I ask now: what are they going to do about it?

The answer is the same: nothing.

Analysis from Déjà vu all over again with North Korea, by Michael J. Green, November 24, 2010:

The pattern is sickeningly familiar. North Korea reveals (or is caught with) a previously unknown nuclear weapons program (except that the intelligence community had warned it was there all along). The United States and its allies vow that this will only lead to further "isolation" of the North (next the comfy pillow). North Korea pledges to bring all out war to the peninsula and engages in dangerous military escalation. The North then invites some well-meaning Americans to Pyongyang to profess their sincere interest in de-nuclearlizing the Korean peninsula, if only the United States would abandon its "hostile policy." Beijing calls for restraint on all sides and an immediate return to talks. The administration is skeptical, but seeing no other path agrees to return to the talks. An agreement is finally hammered out where the North freezes the least interesting part of its fissile material production (temporarily, of course) in exchange for sanctions relief, heavy fuel oil, aid or other concessions. The North waits, cheats on the agreement, creates another crisis, and continues marching towards its goal of marrying nuclear warheads to ballistic missiles and winning acceptance as a full nuclear weapons state.

....repeat as necessary.

I'm not sure how this latest incident connects to the North's ongoing nuclear weapons program (?), but except for that, the rest of the analysis is right on the money: some kind of problem, the North gets away with something, and the US looks weak by wishing China would do something.

In this context, here are excerptw from War talk, and factory visits, by Donald Kirk, November 25, 2010:

SEOUL - The specter of a powerful American naval force steaming into the Yellow Sea escalates the drama of conflict off the Korean Peninsula to a new level of intensity.

The decision to include the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington in a strike force of five vessels defies not only North Korean threats but also the objections of China into what the Chinese have come to regard as their own sphere of influence.


North Korea has breathed fresh outrage, promising to launch attacks against hostile forces intruding so much as one millimeter into their own waters. It was on that pretext that North Korea on Tuesday fired 170 shells into an island populated mainly by fishermen and farmers living near bases where South Korean marines were operating.

Hours after the barrage, North Korea was boasting of its success in defeating the South, and the sense now is that the North has made its point. North Korean forces may strike again anywhere, on sea and along the 160-mile land border between the two Koreas, taking South Korea and the US by surprise.

Given that strategy, the appearance of USS George Washington in the Yellow Sea is clearly another act in the drama but not a sign of mounting hostilities. The US command covered the announcement in a veneer of verbiage intended to show that the operation was not only "defensive in nature" but "well planned before yesterday's unprovoked attack".


The real problem, however, is that the US and South Korea seem incapable of persuading China to bring enough pressure on North Korea to persuade the North to pull back from a strategy of intermittent violence and intimidation.

The United States has been pleading with China to bring North Korea into line as a prerequisite for any consideration of returning to negotiations.


Neither [US President Barack] Obama nor [South Korea's President] Lee [Myung-bak], however, seems willing to go beyond joint exercises.

Okay, so the response will be posturing.

But, what is North Korea up to?

Back to another excerpt from Déjà vu all over again with North Korea:

Anyway, back to what is really happening. And that is this. Kim Jong Un, the 27-year-old third son of Kim Jong Il (recently promoted to Four Star General) needs to demonstrate that he is willing to go all the way to war (in the worlds of the DPRK's Japanese language website). When Kim Jong Il had his coming out party in the 1980s, he demonstrated his bona fides by directing operations to blow-up the South Korean cabinet in Rangoon and plant a bomb in a Korean Airlines Flight, killing everyone aboard.

That is the first goal. The second goal is to knock the United States and its allies off guard after revealing to former Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Sigfried Hecker that the North had built an advanced uranium enrichment facility in violation of all its prior agreements. Sanctions and pressure? Only if you are prepared to be met with massive firepower. That is the message to the outside world.

Oh! There's the nuclear connection... my mistake.

This round of the North Korean game is more dangerous though, for two reasons. First, Kim Jong Un is on much shakier ground than Kim Jong Il was three decades ago. The fabric of North Korean society and the legitimacy of the regime are much more fragile. It is not clear whether the younger "Great General" or the aging "Dear Leader" will be able to pull back from escalation as easily as they have in the past.

The second reason this is more dangerous is because uranium enrichment opens a new production line of potentially a bomb a year to the North. This is particularly threatening when one considers North Korea's support for Syria's El Kibar reactor construction, which Israel bombed in 2007, and Pyongyang's dialogue with Burma about a similar capability. It is also worrisome since the centrifuge facility shown to Hecker may only be one part of the North Korean uranium enrichment (and probably highly enriched uranium) capability.

Okay, that makes some sense. Here, Green's analysis seems in my opinion to be a little generous toward Obama:

The Obama administration's opening response has been smart. They have not fueled the sense of crisis in a way that would give Pyongyang more leverage, but they have shown resolve by deploying the USS George Washington to the coast of the peninsula.

But, from there, we go back to hoping China will act in the best interests of the US, South Korea, other neighbors (Japan), and world peace in general.

I, for one, am not holding my breath waiting for a communist regime to do that.

If you are following this series, don't just look for Part 4, but watch also for another series entitled "Abode of the Kings". ;)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks, TSA

Too many people stupidly want those crooks in Washington to make our country a prison, and put us people in protective custody, in order to save us from Islamic terrorists - though we can't point out any connection between terrorism and Islam, because, although terrorists are doing exactly what their prophet told them to do and exactly what their prophet did in his day, anyone who points out flaws in Islam is a racist.

Of course, you know, prisons are pretty dangerous places...

But, anyway, here some girls are thanking the TSA for saving us:

Funny, because maybe the TSA isn't.

According to an article at World Net Daily, the unsanitary conditions of TSA employees doing intimate pat-downs on person after person without changing gloves between gropes is not keeping us safe.

Syphilis, lice, gonorrhea, ringworm, chlamydia, staph, strep, noro and papilloma viruses all are part of the possible fringe benefits when airline passengers next go through a full hands-on pat-down by agents of the federal government's Transportation Security Administration, according to doctors.


"There is no doubt that bacteria (staph, strep, v.cholerae etc.) and viruses (noro, enteroviruses, herpes, hepatitis A and papilloma viruses) can be spread by contaminated vinyl or latex gloves," Dr. Thomas Warner of Wisconsin told WND in a letter to the editor.

"If a traveler has diarrhea and is soiled, as can and does happen, the causative agent can be spread by this method since bacteria and viruses in moist environments have greater viability."

Yes, thank you, TSA, for keeping us safe.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

E-Waste Threat

Interesting vid. It's over a year old, but worth the watch.

What I find interesting is not just the environmental impact of the improper handling of electronic waste, but the security risk, as well. Public school districts, government agencies and large corporations, as well as private citizens, are sending their old computers off, not know where or in whose hands they will wind up.

Hard drives that can be salvaged are displayed at open-air markets. Off camera, Ghanaians admit that organized criminals sometimes comb through these drives for personal information to use in scams.

As part of the investigation, one of the students buys a number of hard drives to see what is on them, secretly filming the transaction to avoid the seller's suspicions.

The drives are purchased for the equivalent of US$35.

The students take the hard drives to Regent University in the Ghanaian capital and ask computer scientist Enoch Kwesi Messiah to help read what is on them.

Within minutes, he is scrolling through intimate details of people's lives, files left behind by the hard drives' original owners.

There is private financial data, too: credit card numbers, account information, records of online transactions the original owners may not have realized were even there.

"I can get your bank numbers and I retrieve all your money from your accounts," Messiah says. "If ever somebody gets your hard drive, he can get every information about you from the drive, no matter where it is hidden."

That's particularly a problem in a place like Ghana, which is listed by the U.S. State Department as one of the top sources of cyber crime in the world. And it's not just individuals who are exposed. One of the drives the team has purchased contains a $22 million government contract.

It turns out the drive came from Northrop Grumman, one of America's largest military contractors. And it contains details about sensitive, multi-million dollar U.S. government contracts. They also find contracts with the defense intelligence agency, NASA, even Homeland Security.

When the drives' data are shown to James Durie, who works on data security for the FBI, he's particularly concerned about the potential breach at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

"The government contracting process is supposed to be confidential. If I know how you're hiring the people for security related job, TSA air marshals, then I can prepare a person to fit that model and get my guy in," Durie says. "Once I have my guy in, you have no security."

So, TSA employees and contractors, under color of government authority, are groping and scoping Americans. Meanwhile, the government and its contractors are not doing what it takes to defend us against a real information security threat, which happens also to be an environmental and public health disaster.

Who is more stupid? Our government officials for doing what they do, or we Americans for letting them get away with it?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dan's Brother Angel, Part 2

It's been a few months, but here is the next installment in the series entitled Dan's Brother Angel (you may wish to (re-)read Part 1 before continuing).

First, here is the complete, formatted text from an article entitled Drug Use Soars in Denmark, from October 22, 2010:

Drug Use Soars in Denmark

The Danish Government launches a new drug strategy in response to a dramatic increasing number of drug addicts and drug related overdoses.

There are an estimated 33.000 drug addicts (problem drug users) in a country with a population of 5 million. The government plans to introduce more involuntary treatment to stop this disturbing trend.

In the last 4 years, the number of drug addicts has increased with 15%; 5000 new users. In 2005, the number of registered addicts was 28.000. In 2009 the number of addicts registered in Denmark had soared to 33.000. The number of addict deaths has increased by 13% in one year alone, going from 239 in 2008 to 276 in 2009.

Involuntary treatment

The Danish Government now wants to use more involuntary treatment.

- I have met too many unhappy parents of the young addicts who do not want treatment. We may use involuntary treatment in the future, but only if it serves a good purpose, says the Social Minister Benedikte Kiær, who has the support of the Health Minister Bertel Haarder.

Denmark already has legislation permitting involuntary treatment if the patient is pregnant, but in reality this rarely happens. Scientific evidence shows that treatment that commence by means of coercion may be as effective as voluntary treatment.

New Drug Strategy

The government has now launched a 19 point policy for supply-reduction, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation which includes more outreach programs, treatment programs in prison and focus on mental health issues.

The issue of injection rooms has been raised, but Minister of Justice, Lars Barfoed, is adamant that this would be a mistake.

- That would be in conflict with our overall policy. It is immoral to aid the injection of drugs, says Barfoed.

Heroin Assisted Treatment

The Danish Parlament decided in 2008 to allow heroin assisted treatment. A trail project has been in existence in Copenhagen since March 2010. It is too early to make any conclusions, but this new government initiative suggests that authorities in Denmark believe that other measures must be taken in order to effectively address the disturbing increase in problem drug use.

Notice the mention of heroin.

Next, an article entitled 25 Arrested After Gang Clash, dated November 19, 2010:

Police arrested 25 people last night after a clash between the Bandidos bikers and members of an immigrant gang outside the Bandidos clubhouse in the northern Zealand town of Kvistgård.

During the clash, several shots were fired, but nobody was hit. A person connected to Bandidos, however, was hit by a car outside the clubhouse.

"Eleven people were arrested at Hillerød Hospital when they went to visit their friend. They have all been released again. And then fourteen were arrested near the clubhouse," said police spokesperson Henrik Suhr.

According to Suhr, the police will not decide until later today whether any of the fourteen that are still in custody will be taken to preliminary hearings.

"I cannot say anything else yet. We are not at all done with the technical investigations, and so I can’t say what the results are yet," he said.

In the recent weeks, the police have been stepped up their monitoring of activity at the Bandidos clubhouse in Kvistgård.

The area surrounding the club house will be cordoned off for another fourteen days.

Some background...

If you do an Internet search on motorcycle clubs, heroin distribution and related violence, you will find many years of history alleging two rival biker gangs, Hell's Angels and the Bandidos, being in violent competition in Scandinavia for control of distribution of illegal drugs. For example, Wikipedia has an article regarding violence between the groups in the 1990's, entitled Great Nordic Biker War.

Also, if you are following the situation regarding the changing demographics of Europe, you will notice that there is a significant number of Muslim immigrants from South and Southwest Asia, from the Middle East, and East and North Africa. However, there are keywords to look for regarding references to them in the overly-politically-correct "free" press of Western Europe, especially if the reference shows these people in a negative light. There will be little or no reference to where the group came from or what their original nationality or ethinicity is. For example, a keyword in the UK is a reference to "Asians" - one might mistakenly think this refers to people from Vietnam, China, Japan, or any number of other countries, but it does not; it predominantly refers to Muslim immigrants, many of whom come from Pakistan. In the above article, the reference is to "members of an immigrant gang".

In Part 1, I stated:

We know - though for now, we won't say from where - that much of the narcotics coming in from Afghanistan is moving via ethnic Turkish and Albanian organized crime, often via the Balkans, though the State Department report fingers Iranians and Pakistanis as well. Is this our "immigrant" or "Asian" connection?

Assuming that (at least some members of) Hell's Angels and the Bandidos are in fact involved in trying to control criminal trafficking of illegal drugs, and assuming the "immigrant gang" mentioned is an ethnic (though perhaps not practicing) Muslim group from the Balkans or Southwest Asia, then this new information fits nicely into the framework.

Here's the working theory: Certain immigrant groups, especially ethnic Albanians, control much of the heroin transshipment (as well as the people-trafficking and other smuggling) from Central and South Asia into Europe. Why should they take it to Denmark, and not also control its distribution within Denmark? So, they are trying to muscle in on, and likely take over, this aspect of the trafficking as well. Consequently, the two biker gangs, Hell's Angels and the Bandido's, are perhaps finding themselves with a common enemy.

If this is accurate, we could expect an alliance between the two biker gangs. This would be prudent, because they have a common enemy, against which the police are far less effective (and possibly far less capable due to political correctness).

From Denmark: Street war between Hells Angels and immigrant gangs spreading, dated September 14, 2008 (the source is unedited and a little rough to read):

Police and helped immigrant gangs by keeping down Danish bikers

One of the reasons that the immigrant gangs have been able to gain in strength, is because they are much less visible for the police than the motorcycle gang members, who are easily identified, because of their style of dress with visible logos, their more limited numbers and often also because of their physical stature.

The Hells Angels are tightly organized, and almost all members are known by the police, who have kept these groups under constant observation, making it increasingly difficult for them to defend themselves and their territories from the muslim gangs, who are much more loosely knit, are not easily identifiable and have their respective languages to complicate things for the Danish police.

In the recent past Hells Angels' members have been attacked openly by members of the ethnic crime syndicates, and one of their properties has been attacked and demolished by immigrant gangs. Some chapters closed after that. But not only the police has for all practical purposes more or less taken the part of the immigrants. The press too has been an active player in minimizing the problem with the many criminal immigrants, at the same time deamonizing any similar Danish groups. The words racism creep in everywhere, although it seldom has any relevance in these cases.

AK81, the new Hells Angels' support team

Now a newly established support group of 'hangarounds' has been established, and the Angels are openly recruiting for their team, saying that it is not neccesary to own a motorcycle to be a member. This has had a dramatic effect, and large numbers of young Danes are volunteering for the new movement, hoping that they will be able to contribute to the fight against the muslim invaders, who so far have been successful in obtaining almost total street domination.

The police, who have used all their resources at keeping the bikers in check, have used a far more soft touch towards the muslim gangs. Very often the police withdraw from confrontations, and leave demolishing hordes of immigrants untouched, contrary to a simple house search or an arrest relating to the Bikers' gangs, when they arrive in overwhelming numbers, ready with bullet proof vests and automatic weapons.


Police powerless against immigrant gangs

Partly this is part of a government and EU strategy, which puts great restrictions on the police when dealing with immigrants and immigrant gangs. There always are the accusations of 'racism', and the muslim gangs are also feared much more than the bikers when it comes to their threats to harm individual police officers or their families. Many policemen whose identities are known by the immigrant gangs, would rather not have their house torched or their loved ones attacked by the invaders who have taken their extremely violent mentality with them straight from the Middle East.

The Muslim groups organize quickly in what is called a "cell phone jihad" to mobilize large numbers of "immigrants" to show support - of whatever kind necessary - when members of their community are in some kind of trouble.

One thing is certain: it will get worse before it gets better.

Submission in the Name of Satan

Excerpts - not in order - from The Satanic Verses in Qur'an - Sura an-Najm (Star) 53:19-22:

When Muhammad and his community came under severe persecution, eighty-three of his followers who had no protection emigrated from Mecca to Ethiopia, taking refuge in the ancient Christian country, Abyssinia.1 Under increasing boycotts and pressure, Muhammad went through a time of weakness and compromised with the Meccan pagans by acknowledging the existence of three pagan goddesses alongside Allah: Lat, Uzza, and Manat. The Arabian goddesses are mentioned in Sura an-Najm (Star) 53:19-22.


Now tell me about Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat,
The third one, another goddess.
What! For you the males and for him the females!
That indeed is an unfair division.

أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ اللَّاتَ وَالْعُزَّى
وَمَنَاةَ الثَّالِثَةَ الْأُخْرَى
أَلَكُمُ الذَّكَرُ وَلَهُ الْأُنثَى
تِلْكَ إِذًا قِسْمَةٌ ضِيزَى. سورة النجم - سورة ‏٥٣: ١٩-٢٢‏


The true, vital issue about the Satanic verses is this. If Muhammad were unable to distinguish Satan's voice from God's voice, then could there be verses in the Qur'an that Muhammad assumed were from God but were really from Satan? Maybe much of the Qur'an is Satanic in origin, in spite of Muhammad's conviction that it was entirely from Allah.

The Qur'an clearly states that Muhammad spoke in the name of God and that he said things that God had not commanded him! Next, he charges that all the prophets of God voiced Satanic statements!


Well, I don't know if they all did, but I know of one man thought to be a prophet who was obviously misled at least a little...

Stick to Your Guns

This is interesting...

Beating the TSA: How a determined passenger spent hours arguing his rights before being waved through the checks, by James White, November 23, 2010:

It's the solution that millions of American airline passengers have been searching for - how to avoid bodyscanners and intrusive pat-downs when they fly.

Now one patient traveller has proved it is possible to bypass the high-level security measures in place at all airports, but only if you have time on your hands.

Blogger Matt Kernan recorded his epic experience as he returned to North Kentucky International Airport in Cincinnati from Paris on Sunday.

Exasperated at being told to prepare for a body scan and with time on his hands, the determined businessman decided to make a stand - with remarkable results.

Writing on his website, he said: 'I certainly don’t enjoy being treated like a terrorist in my own country, but I’m also not a die-hard constitutional rights advocate.

'However, for some reason, I was irked.'

'Maybe it was the video of the three-year old getting molested, maybe it was the sexual assault victim having to cry her way through getting groped, maybe it was the father watching teenage TSA officers joke about his attractive daughter.

'Whatever it was, this issue didn’t sit right with me. We shouldn’t be required to do this simply to get into our own country.'
As a result, Mr Kernan informed staff he did not want to go through the infamous Backscatter imaging machine.

He was told he would have to undergo an invasive pat-down search, but again politely told staff that he would consider any contact with his genital areas as assault.

After being told that the two options were TSA policy, he replied: ' I disagree with the policy, and I think that it is unconstitutional.

'As a US citizen, I have the right to move freely within my country as long as I can demonstrate proof of citizenship and have demonstrated no reasonable cause to be detained.'

As the situation escalated further airport police were called and more senior TSA officials but Mr Kernan refused to back down, remaining calm throughout.

Eventually causing a stand-off between police and TSA officers over who should resolve the situation, Mr Kernan was told by a superviser: 'Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to escort you out of the terminal to the public area.

'You are to stay with me at all times. Do you understand?'

He was then escorted by the police and no less than 13 TSA officer through security without a hand laid on him.

He said: 'And then came the most ridiculous scene of which I’ve ever been a part.

'I gather my things – jacket, scarf, hat, briefcase, chocolates.

'We walk over to the staff entrance and he scans his badge to let me through. We walk down the long hallway that led back to the baggage claim area. We skip the escalators and moving walkways.'

He was then waved away by annoyed officers and said: 'In order to enter the US, I was never touched, I was never “Backscatted,” and I was never metal detected.

'In the end, it took 2.5 hours, but I proved that it is possible. I’m looking forward to my next flight on Wednesday.'

The passenger's success shows that even senior TSA staff are unsure to handle awkward passengers who question the legality of the checks.

The revelation comes as TSA workers admitted they have been left terrified by a public backlash over the checks.

Angry passengers have allegedly subjected Transport Security Officers to verbal abuse and even physical threats.

The American Federation of Government Employee, the union which represents officers, said a TSO was punched by a passenger in Indianapolis.

Union President John Gage called for more information on the searches including leaflets for passengers.

He said: 'TSA must act now — before the Thanksgiving rush — to ensure that TSOs are not being left to fend for themselves.'

Up to two million passengers per day are expected to fly today and tomorrow ahead of Thanksgiving, with huge delays expected.

Apparently, this guy is not some kind of activist - he's just an ordinary guy.

And when Washington starts pissing off the ordinary guy, that's when the backlash really starts.

The TSA employees are afraid, and they should be. This is essentially a sexual assault, especially when done by young punks commenting about how pretty a girl is. Sexual assault committed by government officials under color of authority... how is this really different from the current regime in Iran, or the Nazi regime?

The government has gone too far.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and George Soros all need to go through the same treatment that they send down from Mt. Olympus for us less-priveleged mortals.

And, there's an important lesson in how-to: don't get loud or violent; just quietly, politely assert your rights with determination.

(I was going to say "stick to your guns", but then someone from the government would probably have to waterboard me to find out what that meant in the context of airline security.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Freedom to Commit Blasphemy

Whether you like it or not, it is implicit in the First Amendment.

And, it should be.

Ultimately, Jesus was crucified because He was accused of blasphemy. And, the founders of this country understood, after having escaped official religions in Europe, the need for each individual to seek his or her own truth; God is truth, and to deny an individual the freedom to seek truth - making mistakes along the way - is to deny an individual the freedom to seek God.

Not surprisingly, the blasphemy laws on the books in many countries, and the ones being proposed in the international arena, are coming from a quarter where people are imprisoned, denied the freedom to seek God, but rather forced to believe in someone's interpretation of someone else's story: the Hell-on-Earth codified in Islamic Law. There exists no doubt in my mind that Mohammed, and too many of his followers, have, in their communications with "otherworldly" entities, been listening to the wrong guy, and that guy is a liar and the father of the lie.

However, while the trend in the West has been to crush Christianity and promote anything else - most recently nodding toward Islam - some people in the Islamic world have not been so foolish.

Intolerance of the Other, by Nadir Hassan, November 22, 2010:

Much of the commentary on the Aasia Bibi case has focused on her likely innocence. This was a women who, by all accounts, only stood up for her religion. If asserting your religious identity, we are told, is blasphemous then the word has lost all shred of meaning. Those advancing this argument are doing so on a purely utilitarian basis. Even if Aasia Bibi's words and actions had fallen under the legal definition of blasphemy, they would have been clamouring for the commutation of her death sentence and her release from jail.

In focusing on the abuse of the blasphemy laws rather than the laws themselves, we – by "we" I mean those who value individual liberty – are ceding ground to those who use the authority of the law to impose their version of group rights on the population, a version that says no one is permitted to in any way offend, insult or challenge the beliefs of the dominant group. If the "abuse of the law" argument is our primary weapon in this debate, what are we going to do when someone is proven guilty of blasphemy with multiple credible witnesses?

Think back to the vociferous debate when Musharraf tried to water down the impact of the blasphemy laws by making it tougher to register cases under the laws. He was ultimately unsuccessful in even this small attempt but even that would have been little more than a Pyrrhic victory as it didn't challenge the existence of the laws, only its abuse. And by focusing on the abuse we are complicit in the persecution of minorities; the only concession we make to decency being our demand that we be absolutely sure that the persecution is warranted. It would be like arguing that Hitler was a distortion of fascism rather than its obvious manifestation. When a law is as thoroughly discriminatory as the blasphemy laws, any abuse in the law in form of false testimony and trumped-up charges is secondary to the dehumanising law itself.

At a time when the main criticism of the courts has been its embrace of judicial activism, we will end up sounding incoherent when faced with a case where the accusation of blasphemy, as defined by our laws, is credible. After all, if we expect judges to adhere strictly to the letter of the law, how can we criticise them for handing out severe punishments in such cases? By all means we should plead for Aasia Bibi’s release, but let's not lose sight of the bigger battle: the repeal of all laws that discriminate on the basis of religion.

The true enemy in this fight is not the judiciary. Rather, an overwhelming majority of the population needs to be convinced that blasphemy laws are cruel and anachronistic. Britain, after all, had a blasphemy law – which made it a crime to speak against the Church of England – on the books until 2008, but the last time it was used was in 1922. When society understands that putting someone to death for their opinions and beliefs is fundamentally illiberal, the battle has already been won. In Pakistan, we haven't even begun to approach that level of enlightenment. Keep in mind that no one has been legally executed under the blasphemy laws in this country as the higher courts, particularly the Federal Shariat Court, have overturned all such death sentences. The real threat to the lives of those accused of blasphemy comes from enraged mobs, with the police playing the role of uninterested bystanders and the judgments of lower courts fuelling the anger.

Until these mobs, and those who silently support them, are silenced through force of argument, even the repeal of blasphemy laws will bring only marginal safety to minorities.

Remember that Jesus was executed for blasphemy. To whose kingdom was Jesus dangerous? Because that is who is behind blasphemy laws.

The real "War on Terror" - or whatever we call it - is being waged behind the scenes, and the fight for the hearts and minds of Pakistanis is perhaps the most critical campaign in it.

Some Kind of Orgy

Time for a Real Mutiny, by Alexander Cockburn, out this past weekend:

So much for 2010 as the year of mutiny, when the American people rose up and said, "Enough! Throw the bums out!" As the dust finally clears after the midterm elections, and the bodies are hauled from the field of battle, guess what? It was all so predictable. The safest thing to be in 2010 was an incumbent.

Out of 435 seats, 351 incumbents will be returning to the House in January. In the Senate, out of 100 seats, 77 incumbents will return in January. As the libertarian Joel Hirschorn puts it, "Welcome back to the reality of America's delusional democracy where career politicians will continue to foster a corrupt, inefficient and dysfunctional government because that is what the two-party plutocracy and its supporters want for their own selfish reasons."

Now it's on to 2012, through a largely familiar political landscape, right down to Sarah Palin telling ABC TV and the New York Times that yes, she might just go all the way and run for the Republican presidential nomination.

The possibility of a Palin run is just about the only ray of sunshine currently available to Barack Obama, now mesmerized by the verdict of the press - that the people have spoken and the President must "move to the centre". Onto the butcher block must go entitlements - Medicare, Social Security. The sky darkens with vultures eager to pick the people's bones.

As Obama reviews his options, which way will he head? He's already supplied the answer. He'll try to broker deals to reach "common ground" with the Republicans, the strategy that destroyed those first two years of opportunity. Even many of Obama’s diehard fans are beginning to say that the guy hasn’t a backbone, no capacity to stand and fight.

What do the next two years hold? Already there are desperate urgings from progressives for Obama to hold the line. Already there are the omens of a steady stream of concessions by Obama to the right.

There's hardly any countervailing pressure for him to do otherwise. The president has no fixed principles of political economy, and who is at his elbow in the White House? Not the Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis. Not that splendid radical Elizabeth Warren, whose Consumer Financial Protection Bureau the Republicans are already scheduling for destruction. Next to Obama is Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the bankers' lapdog, whom the president holds in high esteem.

Any hope that outgoing economic advisor Lawrence Summers might be replaced by someone of progressive cast has already been dashed by the news that the seedy Roger Altman is in the running to succeed him. Altman is an investment banker, a former deputy treasury secretary during the Clinton administration. The White House press office sends out signals that, in the words of a Washington Post news story, the president "is looking for someone from the business community to redeem the president in the eyes of corporate America."

Now there’s an encouraging signal to Obama's base, which is organized labor and black America – for whom he did precisely nothing in his first two years! Imagine the galvanizing effect, if the White House let it be known that Joe Stiglitz was under consideration to replace Summers.

In the months ahead, as Obama parleys amiably with the right on budgetary discipline and deficit reduction, the anger of the progressives will mount. At some point a champion of the left will step forward to challenge him in the primaries. This futile charade will expire at the 2012 Democratic National Convention amid the rallying cry of "unity".

The left must abandon the doomed ritual of squeaking timid reproaches to Obama, only to have the counselors at Obama's elbow contemptuously dismiss them, as did Rahm Emanuel, who correctly divined their near-zero capacity for effective challenge. Two more years, of the same downward slide, courtesy of bipartisanship and "working together"? No way. Enough of dreary predictability. Let's have a real mutiny against Obamian rightward drift. The time is not six months or a year down the road. The time is now.

Obama was a US senator from Illinois. He had been in federal office only four years, not even completing his first term as a US Senator. His rise to the Presidency can only be accredited to George Soros: Soros picked Obama as a horse to bet on years ago, when Obama was in state politics in Illinois, and once Soros got his horse as far as the general Presidential election, Obama's victory can be credited in part to the financial crisis that so conveniently occurred running up to election day.

Which, by the way, is curious. Doesn't George Soros have a reputation for destabilizing the economies of entire countries and even geographic regions to achieve his purposes?

Of course, Obama's victory can also be credited to the dismal performance of RINO Bush setting the stage for "maverick" John McCain's campaign.

And, just what is a "maverick" Republican? A RINO.

But, back to the point, the "Left" made the same mistake that many on the "Right" made in 2000: after 8 years of Clinton, we wanted to believe. Of course, what choices did we really have?

So, the Left took Obama at face value (not that Obama really committed himself to anything less nebulous than "change") and got what they wanted.

The "Left" in the US is extremely fragmented. It is a loose coalition of extremist groups, many of them militantly extremist. For example, it is not enough to be "gay", they have to be in-your-face evangelizing homosexuality; it is not enough to be agnostic or atheistic, they have to be in-your-face denying you your right to be Christian; and so on. (This in contrast to their gay, agnostic or atheistic counterparts in mainstream America, who are more live-and-let-live.) The only thing that brings them together is their hatred for some aspect of traditional American society.

In 1996, a very unhappy crowd of Lefties fought to re-elect Bill Clinton, knowing that after he was re-elected, there would be a battle for Clinton's soul, to keep him from waffling too far to the right.

The Left's options in 2012 are a similar battle to support Obama, or a grass-roots throw-the-bums-out approach mirroring the Tea Party movement.

If mainstream America has a movement that draws its name in association with an early American Colonial event, the Boston Tea Party, what will the radical Left draw upon for inspiration? The Sixties? (Many of the protesters from the Sixties are conservative now; such have they changed, and such has changed America.)

One thing for sure: it will not be a tea party.