May 24, 2013 Leave a comment
Nabil sounds off on the Woolwich attacks and says exactly what Miscellany101 would say! This is a brilliant No Comment segment!
"I have often been forced to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that there was no place else to go.”
May 24, 2013 Leave a comment
Nabil sounds off on the Woolwich attacks and says exactly what Miscellany101 would say! This is a brilliant No Comment segment!
July 27, 2012 Leave a comment
We are now in the middle of a campaign season where President Obama is seeking a second term and the horror of George Bush’s war on terror is quickly becoming a distant memory. Unfortunately, the illegal legacy of that war and what it has done to the fabric of America is still being revealed and this latest revelation casts a negative light on how terror suspects were interrogated and the nature of the information gained from their interrogation.
Reports have been circulating for years that US officials, and because of the very nature of these allegations accountability will be difficult if not impossible to pinpoint who they are, have been using drugs during the interrogation of people captured on various military theaters where American forces have been engaged. The very use of drugs during questioning is considered torture according to laws and conventions that we, America, used to subscribe. Torture under these circumstances is defined as
the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality.
Detainees captured by or sold to US forces and their allies were given drugs against their will, not told what the drugs were or what their effects would be and then questioned and the legal system put in place under these circumstances presumed that any information obtained from such an interrogation was accurate. It didn’t matter to those in charge that powerful antipsychotic drugs’ side effects included lethargy, tremors, anxiety, mood changes and an inability to remain motionless, the idea that any information gathered as a result of this type of medical intervention was acceptable as a legitimate source of intelligence. This then became another rung on the torture ladder that the government hung their treatment and handling of people during the war on terror. What happened to our country is it engaged in illegal torture, saying it was necessary to protect America and during the course of that illegal behaviour further exacerbated it by employing drugs meant to alter a captive’s perception of reality, and skew the information passed on to officials, who then trumpeted that before we the people to justify continuing illegal activity. The war on terror and the information we supposedly gathered fighting that war, and even the enemy itself was all a sham a ruse, made up to justify invading countries with an expanded, bloated military. In other words, we cooked the books…we made things up, we frightened ourselves with lies obtained through drugs from people who were sold to us in most cases or who had nothing to do with the attacks on our country . This is the legacy Bush’s war on terror has left us.
February 25, 2012 1 Comment
It used to be in American politics if you hurled insults, character assassination and humiliating invective towards your opponent you could either get them to shut up or do what you want. That worked because the victim of such verbal abuse dealt from a position of weakness or insecurity. Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and others within the Israeli government are trying that with chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey because of his stance towards Iran and the seeming confrontation Israel wants to have with the Iranians. Let’s hope the tactic doesn’t work. Dempsey is a decorated military officer who has served his time and his country in the United States military, at times fighting for the best interests of the Israeli government to the detriment of America. Our latest foray into Iraq is the most recent example of that….and now he seems to think along with others that a much more prudent path should be taken in dealing with the Iranians. He’s not alone in that assessment however. American men and women serving in the US military seem to have grown tired of endless wars that drain the national resources of their country, ask them to make sacrifices that are not in their best interests and ruin the reputation of their country and make it a target of the disillusioned. They are making that discontent known by supporting financially and overwhelmingly the non-interventionist candidacy of Ron Paul more than all the other candidates running for office combined, including Obama!
Perhaps Dempsey has sampled that discontent; certainly he has observed the effects a decades old war on two fronts has had on the US military and understands the impact another confrontation could have. Moreover, conclusive proof that Iran has a nuclear weapon or the means to obtain one shortly is far less than conclusive, much like the weapons of mass destruction meme we were so used to hearing leading up to the Iraqi war. The Israelis have also decided to reach back into the WMD bag of insults bristling at Dempsey’s words of caution with personal attacks and innuendo, which ring all too much like the cries of traitor and impotent neo cons hurled at dissenters and doubters of the Iraqi war a decade ago. The latter were proved too prescient, yet despite being discredited neo-cons and their Israeli supporters are still around to assail us with sophomoric insults that have no basis in fact. Certainly not with the likes of General Dempsey who has nothing to prove to anyone about his loyalties or his competence. Juan Cole in his blog, Informed Comment, lists Dempsey’s credentials thus
Dempsey served in the Gulf War and deployed twice to Iraq during the Iraq War. “General Dempsey’s awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with “V” Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.”
What’s unfortunate for America is that election years tend to make officials running for office weak kneed when it comes to standing up to lobbying interests, and especially those of Israel. Even though America is perhaps the safest it has ever been, in spite of recent flare ups in Afghanistan and Iraq, officials who worship at the altar of political action committees like AIPAC, et.al cannot say “no” when it comes time to draw a line between American and Israeli interests, so this salvo directed at Dempsey is only the opening shot. There will be more to come, from the Israelis as well as their American surrogates who are running for office on both sides of the isle. In an age where political donations have no limit and can be endlessly given to candidates who can run for office regardless of the electoral process’ outcome, one can expect such boorish behavior designed to publicly question and deride honorable public servants to continue. Hang on to your hats America…..it’s gonna’ be a bumpy ride!
December 2, 2011 Leave a comment
New York, NY – The Associated Press recently reported on know-your-rights trainings happening in New York City’s Muslim communities. This was one of the latest installments in the wire agency’s series confirming what Muslim New Yorkers had long suspected – that the New York Police Department has engaged in indiscriminate surveillance on ethnic and religious grounds, without concrete suspicion of criminal activity. Curiously, the AP’s latest story turns the series on its head, giving the dangerous impression that Muslim communities are refusing to share with law enforcement tips on actual criminal activity. This could not be further from the truth.
Through the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project at CUNY School of Law, we provide know-your-rights trainings in response to the NYPD and FBI’s broad-based surveillance of Muslim communities. We advise targeted communities about their rights when law enforcement knocks on their doors, asking questions about mosque attendance, political opinions and charitable giving that are unconnected to any suspicion of criminal activity.
We were therefore quite surprised to read the AP’s latest article, beginning with its headline, “Muslims Say: ‘Don’t Call NYPD’”. Our work focuses on a very different scenario: what to do when the NYPD calls you. And, in that context, the advice we offer is standard and uncontroversial fare, such as the rights to silence and to retain a lawyer, rights that apply to all within the United States.
The NYPD’s seeming suspicion of entire communities seems to be based on the notion that when Muslims live their faith and identity or associate with other Muslims, they pose a danger to American society. Like everyone else in the US, and especially given pervasive ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim communities, Muslims have a right to remain silent, and they have a right to retain attorneys.
This basic rights awareness message is important in Muslim communities where law enforcement has interrogated at least tens of thousands of people not suspected of any crime. The government seems most concerned about legally protected activity. Agents have attempted to question our clients about the mosques they attend, about what is said in those places of worship, about what they make of recent events in the Middle East, and about the websites they visit to get their news.
Of course, the government has no business prying into protected activity or fishing for opportunities to pressure people into sharing information about their families, neighbours and communities. Accordingly, we advise the clients and communities we serve to do what any American senator, president or public figure has done when law enforcement knocks: to exercise their right to remain silent and to retain an attorney.
The AP article misses an essential distinction between the reporting of criminal activity and participation in law enforcement’s indiscriminate efforts to collect information on the expressive and lawful activities of Muslim communities. To call Muslims “uncooperative” for exercising their rights in the face of such broad-based surveillance programmes is unfair and absurd.
In fact, there is no support for the claim that Muslims do not share information with law enforcement when they suspect criminal activity. It was a Muslim community in California, for example, that reported Craig Monteilh to the police when he started talking about blowing up buildings in the name of Islam. It turned out Monteilh was an informant on the FBI’s payroll. Taxpayer dollars were funding his efforts to collect the names, phone numbers, email addresses and licence plate numbers of Muslims in southern California.
The FBI and NYPD’s covert surveillance programmes in Muslim communities rely heavily on the deployment of undercover agents and informants such as Monteilh. Many informants are vulnerable community members themselves, who are pressured by the government to report voluminous amounts of information on the lawful activities of Muslims. In the cases that we know of, the government has used money, the threat of deportation or imprisonment and other forms of coercion to recruit its informants.
Though this may come as a surprise to a segment of the general public, informants are not typically sent into Muslim communities when law enforcement fears criminal activity is afoot. Instead, often without any suspicion of criminal activity, they are dispatched to countless mosques and community spaces around the country on fishing expeditions. Sometimes, as in the case of Monteilh, the informants actually promote violence.
A recent rally organised against NYPD surveillance in Manhattan signals that there remains great reason to hope. Even in this age of surveillance and fear, Muslims joined fellow New Yorkers to reject, collectively and publicly, the hallmarks of a police state. Together, they stood, prayed and chanted so that Muslims, too, can enjoy and exercise a full panoply of rights, including the right to express political opinions, to organise and, yes, to remain silent and to retain attorneys.
November 3, 2011 1 Comment
At the moment America is too consumed with news about Herman Cain’s sexual predilections to hear or be interested in the the latest terror plot. It seems, sex sells even better than terror, or at least good enough to obscure news about terror. The fact that the defendants are not the types we like to associate with terror, although they are of the demographic that is more likely to be terrorists here in America than any Muslim, makes our fascination with their case even more fleeting if not downright non existent. Four men in their 60s and 70s have been charged with offenses that could only be considered terrorism given what it was they were accused of doing.
Federal authorities said the men held clandestine militia meetings, beginning in March, in which they discussed using toxic agents and assassinations to undermine federal and state government…
This will never get the play in the media that foreigners or foreign sounding terrorist names would get in the face of such revelations and that is one of the many problems with the politicization of terrorism in today’s America. The four defendants aren’t just some cranky old men hatching another isolated incident of terror inspired violence on America, they are a side of America which has always been around and views change as violent and necessarily so.
During the 60s and 70s people of similar mindset were paraded in front of our televisions and on the front pages of our newspapers as threats to our society, and politicians made their political fortune denouncing the likes of the Black Panthers, SDS, SNCC, SCLC and other alphabet soup organizations that we were told posed an imminent threat to our democracy. These organizations and the people that participated in their activities bore the full brunt of an enraged federal government and its police agencies that trampled on their rights, spied on and at times even killed them because some one said it was necessary and the right thing to do and very few of us flinched nor protested. Rather we cheered on and elected those politicians who said such actions were necessary in order to preserve the social order. That was the same response we had to the cries from neocons about the clash of civilizations meme.
Somehow we are not quite able to see the threat the same way when it’s presented to us in the form of four senior citizen white males who are members of groups we’ve been told since the beginning of the Obama Administration were equally vicious and threatening to the American fabric. (On a side note, I wonder how vociferous would our denunciation be if Obama decided to unilaterally send a drone attack over one of the meetings these four defendants had to hatch their plots and killed them and any of their relatives?) Our minds still seem to be focused only on the dark, seedy,murderous, savage fundamentalist Muslims who want to destroy what we stand for because they are unable to reach the greatness that is America. Such imagery when attached to anything evokes a response of horror and disgust, revulsion and abject rejection even when that thing is notable and essential to the life of our Nation. How else can we look at our indifference to the various Occupy movements spreading across the country, and the hostility they face from political leaders and members of the media who conjure up images of opponents of a bygone era or radical associations of a more recent time.
This is the story that will probably not receive the attention it deserves, not because these men wanted to overthrow the country….they couldn’t, or not because they are symptoms of a wider problem, they are but we are a country of over 300 million people and we’ve got a lot of problems. This story deserves attention because there are too many people who believe that in order to defend this country they have to go out and kill somebody to do it. How did we get to this point that people like 73 year old Frederick Thomas think, ‘when it comes to saving the Constitution, that means some people gotta die.” Perhaps, his time would have been better spent joining #OccupyWallStreet in Atlanta where he could have affected real change rather than plotting acts of terror that would only lead, as it has, to his own ruin.
October 14, 2011 2 Comments
Now that the big kahuna — Osama bin Laden — has been killed, the “War on Terror” is much less exciting.
Even before Osama’s demise, experts sent chills through the massive post-9/11 U.S. government anti-terrorism bureaucracies by concluding that the threat from al-Qaeda had been much weakened by the group’ s own bloody excesses against civilians, many of whom were Muslims.
Yet the way government works, every agency needs a threat to hype to keep the cash flowing in from scared taxpayers. So the anti-terrorism agencies need to keep the threat, however declining, fresh in the public mind and publicize their efforts to successfully combat the danger.
Recently, two incidents illustrate the extent of the government’s refrain that the “terrorists are (still) coming, the terrorists are (still) coming!”
As the public has tired of drawn-out, muddled and costly (in blood and treasure) counterinsurgency wars in faraway places that seem to have only a tangential relationship to battling insidious terrorists, technology has ridden to the rescue.
Now any U.S. president can kill potential terrorists with pilotless drone aircraft much more cheaply and without casualties from putting troops on the ground. For example, the U.S. is using such technology in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen to take out alleged Islamic terrorists.
Recently, an American drone successfully assassinated Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who spoke fluent English and was inspiring Islamist militants with charismatic speeches. U.S. authorities also made vague allegations that he was operationally involved in the BVD (underwear) bombing and a plot to blow cardboard boxes on cargo planes out of the sky.
Even disregarding the obvious problem of what legal authority the United States used to justify violating the Fifth Amendment’ s prohibition on taking life, liberty or property without due process — the Justice Department’ s legal memo justifying Awlaki’ s killing is classified, and Awlaki doesn’ t seem to be covered by the post-9/11 authorization for war, which only approved military action against those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks or harbored the attackers — the U.S. government clearly hyped the threat that Awlaki posed.
Awlaki was little known in the Middle East, and one knowledgeable scholar termed him “a-dime-a-dozen cleric.” Thus, his importance to the war on terror was largely a creation of the American government and media.
Seeing the opportunity for some free publicity — what terrorists crave — al-Qaeda then pushed Awlaki further into the manufactured limelight.
And now that the U.S. has made him a martyr by assassinating him on the basis of secret criteria, vague allegations, and no due process, the State Department had to put out a worldwide travel alert to American citizens warning of retaliatory attacks to avenge Awlaki’s death.
Also as part of the post-9/11 terrorism hype, the government has created a terrorist watch list containing 420,000 names, with no public disclosure of the criteria used to put that many people on it and no due process for such persons to answer the allegations. If only a fraction of that massive and wildly inflated list is trying to do harm to the United States, we are all in trouble.
In sum, in the war on terror, the U.S. government hypes the threat to justify expanding anti-terrorism efforts and budgets, argues that war is the only means to effectively combat the inflated threat (instead of using low-key intelligence and law enforcement measures, which don’t generate more terrorists by poking the hornet’s nest), and creates a wider retaliatory threat by using such draconian military action.
This wider danger is used to justify the need for even harsher military action, and the action-reaction cycle escalates. In sum, the government is creating the demand for its own services; private businesses should be in awe of such ability.
And not only is the government hyping the terrorist threat, it is creating it.
Like the hapless BVD bomber, who didn’t even have a bomb big enough to bring down the airliner, a graduate student the FBI recently arrested for plotting to blow up the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol with hobbyists’ remote-controlled aircraft would have been foiled by the fact that the planes just couldn’t carry enough explosives to do the job.
The student, a U.S. citizen, got very different treatment than Awlaki. Instead of being assassinated, he was arrested, but before that, the U.S. government purposefully helped him. The government, in order to entrap him, gave him money and grenades, assault rifles, C-4 plastic explosives, and even the remote-controlled aircraft to carry out the attack.
Without all this money and equipment, the student would have likely been no threat at all. In fact, according to The New York Times, Carmen M. Ortiz, the U.S. attorney in Boston, admitted, “The public was never in danger from the explosive devices.”
This is not an isolated case. In similar cases, the FBI has provided the means to carry out terrorist attacks but then arrested the alleged plotter. Such entrapment provides opportunities for people to do what they otherwise would not or could not do.
And Muslims have complained that the FBI is targeting their community with such “gotcha” tactics.
Such governmental hyping of the terrorist threat, or actual creation of it, to justify greater federal coercive action makes one wonder whether to fear more the low probability of a successful terrorist attack or the massive, expensive and intrusive government efforts to combat it.
August 26, 2011 1 Comment
John Walker Lindh, the American who was taken prisoner by US forces in Afghanistan at the very beginning of the Afghan/Iraq war and his subsequent mistreatment both by the Bush Administration and corporate media, which marked the beginning of America’s decent into lawlessness and criminality has always had a stalwart defender in his father Frank Lindh. The senior Lindh wrote a lengthy, detailed piece for The Guardian newspaper earlier this summer asserting his son’s innocence against the charges of terrorism leveled by Bush’s justice department and proclaiming that the son, John met bin laden at some point BEFORE 911 but wasn’t impressed with him and felt no desire to do whatever it was bin laden wanted done in the way of terror. He also says John was in Afghanistan to fight the Northern Alliance who at one point was even at odds with the Bush Administration, the implication being Lindh was doing America’s dirty work in fighting the NA until 911 happened. Below is an excerpt; the entire article is linked above
As they moved among the prisoners, they singled out captives for interrogation. They never identified themselves as American agents, and so they appeared to John and the other prisoners to be mercenaries working directly for General Dostum.
John was spotted and removed from the body of prisoners for questioning. The moment was recorded on video and later seen by millions on television.
In the video, John sits mutely on the ground as he is questioned about his nationality.
“Irish? Ireland?” Spann asks.
John remains silent.
“Who brought you here?… You believe in what you are doing that much, you’re willing to be killed here?”
Still no reply.
Tyson to Spann [for John's benefit]: “The problem is, he’s got to decide if he wants to live or die, and die here. We’re just going to leave him, and he’s going to [expletive] sit in prison the rest of his [expletive] short life. It’s his decision, man. We can only help the guys who want to talk to us. We can only get the Red Cross to help so many guys.”
I think it was apparent that Spann and Tyson were American agents, but because they were in the company of Dostum’s forces, unaccompanied by American troops, it clearly was not safe for John to talk to them. They meant business when they said John might be killed by Dostum, and that the Red Cross could only “help so many guys”. John was in extreme peril at that moment, and he knew it.
John was then returned to the main body of prisoners, while others were still being brought out of the basement and forced to kneel in the horse pasture. Then, there was an explosion at the entrance to the basement, shouts were heard, and two prisoners grabbed the guards’ weapons. According to Guardian journalist Luke Harding’s account: “It was then… that Spann ‘did a Rambo’. As the remaining guards ran away, Spann flung himself to the ground and began raking the courtyard and its prisoners with automatic fire. Five or six prisoners jumped on him, and he disappeared beneath a heap of bodies.”
Spann’s body was later recovered by US special forces troops. He was the first American to die in combat in the American–Afghan war. He was buried with full military honours at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington.
There were two groups of Taliban prisoners in the fortress: those who chose to fight and those who hunkered down in the basement of the pink building and tried to survive. John was in the latter group.
By Wednesday, the last of the resisting Taliban fighters had been killed, and Dostum’s soldiers were once again in full control of the fortress. Luke Harding was allowed into the compound along with some other journalists, and he found a horrific scene: “We had expected slaughter, but I was unprepared for its hellish scale… It was hard to take it all in. The dead and various parts of the dead… turned up wherever you looked: in thickets of willows and poplars; in waterlogged ditches; in storage rooms piled with ammunition boxes.” Harding observed that many of the Taliban prisoners had died with their hands tied behind their backs.
On Saturday 1 December, the Red Cross arrived at the fortress and the survivors, who for several days had been trying to surrender, were finally allowed to exit the basement. When they emerged into the bright sunlight, they encountered a confusing horde of journalists, Red Cross workers, Dostum’s soldiers, and British and American troops.
That evening John and the other survivors were taken to a prison hospital in Sheberghan. Although wet and cold from the flooding of the basement, they were transported in open bed trucks in the frigid night air. At Sheberghan, John was carried on a stretcher and set down in a small room with approximately 15 other prisoners. CNN correspondent Robert Pelton came in accompanied by a US special forces soldier and a cameraman. Despite John’s protests, Pelton persisted in filming John and asking questions as an American medical officer administered morphine intravenously. By the time he departed a short time later, Pelton had captured on videotape an interview in which John said that his “heart had become attached” to the Taliban, that every Muslim aspired to become a shahid, or martyr, and that he had attended a training camp funded by Osama bin Laden.
The CNN interview became a sensation in the US. By mid-December, virtually every newspaper in America was running front-page stories about the American Taliban, and the broadcast media were saturated with features and commentary about John. Here was a “traitor” who had “fought against America” and aligned himself with the 11 September terrorists. Newsweek magazine published an issue with John’s photograph on the cover, under the caption “American Taliban”.
Beginning in early December, President Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, members of the cabinet and other officials then embarked on a series of truly extraordinary public statements about John, referring to him repeatedly as an “al-Qaida fighter”, a terrorist and a traitor. I think it fair to say there has never been a case quite like this in the history of the US, in which officials at the highest levels of the government made such prejudicial statements about an individual citizen who had not yet been charged with any crime.
I will offer only a small sample of these statements. In an interview at the White House on 21 December 2001, President Bush said John was “the first American al-Qaida fighter that we have captured”. Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defence, told reporters at a press briefing that John had been “captured by US forces with an AK-47 in his hands”. Colin Powell, secretary of state, said John had “brought shame upon his family”. Rudy Giuliani, New York mayor, remarked: “I believe the death penalty is the appropriate remedy to consider.”
John Ashcroft, the US attorney general, staged two televised press conferences in which he accused John of attacking the US. “Americans who love their country do not dedicate themselves to killing Americans,” he declared.
A federal judge took the unusual step of writing to the New York Times criticising the attorney general for violating “Justice Department guidelines on the release of information related to criminal proceedings that are intended to ensure that a defendant is not prejudiced when such an announcement is made”.
Even the ultra-conservative National Review thought Ashcroft had gone too far in making such prejudicial comments about a pending prosecution. It criticised the comments as “inappropriate” and “gratuitous”, stating that in the future “it would be better for the attorney general simply to announce the facts of the indictments, and to avoid extra comments which might unintentionally imperil successful prosecutions”.
Once John was in the custody of the US military, the US government had to decide what to do with him. The FBI has estimated that during the 90s as many as 2,000 American citizens travelled to Muslim lands to take up arms voluntarily, and that as many as 400 American Muslims received training in military camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. None of these American citizens was indicted, or labelled as traitor and terrorist. They were simply ignored by their government, which made no attempt to interfere with their travel. But the 9/11 attacks changed everything, and it was the timing of John’s capture that contributed to his fate. It soon became apparent to me that, rather than simply repatriate my wounded son, the government was intent on prosecuting him as a “terrorist”.
In the days and weeks that followed, John endured abuse from the US military that exceeded the bounds of what any civilised nation should tolerate, even in time of war. Donald Rumsfeld directly ordered the military to “take the gloves off” in questioning John.
On 7 December, wounded and still suffering from the effects of the trauma at Qala-i-Jangi, John was flown to Camp Rhino, a US marine base approximately 70 miles south of Kandahar. There he was taunted and threatened, stripped of his clothing, and bound naked to a stretcher with duct tape wrapped around his chest, arms, and ankles. Even before he got to Camp Rhino, John’s wrists and ankles were bound with plastic restraints that caused severe pain and left permanent scars – sure proof of torture. Still blindfolded, he was locked in an unheated metal shipping container that sat on the desert floor. He shivered uncontrollably in the bitter cold. Soldiers outside pounded on the sides, threatening to kill him.
In June 2002, Newsweek obtained copies of internal email messages from the justice department’s ethics office commenting on the Lindh case as the events were unfolding in December 2001. The office specifically warned in advance against the interrogation tactics the FBI used at Camp Rhino, and concluded that the interrogation of John without his lawyer present would be unlawful and unethical. This advice was ignored by the FBI agent who conducted the interrogation.
Interestingly, in an 10 December email, one of the justice department ethics lawyers noted: “At present, we have no knowledge that he did anything other than join the Taliban.”
John’s lawyers filed a motion to “suppress” the statements that had been extracted him under duress at Camp Rhino. A hearing was scheduled in July 2001, which would have included testimony by John and others about the brutality he had suffered at the hands of US soldiers. On the eve of the hearing, the government prosecutors approached John’s attorneys and negotiated a plea agreement. It was apparent they did not want evidence of John’s torture to be introduced in court.
In the plea agreement John acknowledged that by serving as a soldier in Afghanistan he had violated the anti-Taliban economic sanctions imposed by President Clinton and extended by President Bush. This was, as John’s lawyer pointed out, a “regulatory infraction”. John also agreed to a “weapons charge”, which was used to enhance his prison sentence. In particular, he acknowledged that he had carried a rifle and two grenades while serving as a soldier in the Taliban army. All of the other counts in the indictment were dropped by the government, including the terrorism charges the attorney general had so strongly emphasised and the charge of conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Mike Spann.
At the insistence of defence secretary Rumsfeld, the plea agreement also included a clause in which John relinquished his claims of torture.
The punishment in the plea agreement was by any measure harsh: 20 years of imprisonment, commencing on 1 December 2001, the day John came into the hands of US forces in Afghanistan. The prosecutors told John’s attorneys that the White House insisted on the lengthy sentence, and that they could not negotiate downward.
On 4 October 2002, the judge approved the plea agreement as “just and reasonable” and sentenced John to prison. Before the sentence was pronounced, John was allowed to read a prepared statement, which provided a moment of intense drama in the crowded courtroom. He spoke with strong emotion. He explained why he had gone to Afghanistan to help the Taliban in their fight with the Northern Alliance, saying it arose from his compassion for the suffering of ordinary people who had been subjected to atrocities committed by the Northern Alliance. He explained that when he went to Afghanistan he “saw the war between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance as a continuation of the war between the mujahideen and the Soviets”.
John strongly condemned terrorism. “I went to Afghanistan with the intention of fighting against terrorism and oppression.” He had acted, he said, out of a sense of religious duty and he condemned terrorism as being “completely against Islam”. He said: “I have never supported terrorism in any form and never would.”
After a brief recess, the judge granted a request by John Spann, the father of Mike Spann, to address the court and express his dissatisfaction with the plea agreement. He began by saying that he, his family, and many other people believed that John had played a role in the killing of Mike Spann. Judge Ellis interrupted and said: “Let me be clear about that. The government has no evidence of that.” Spann responded: “I understand.” The judge politely explained that the “suspicions, the inferences you draw from the facts are not enough to warrant a jury conviction”. He said that Mike Spann had died a hero, and that among the things he died for was the principle that “we don’t convict people in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Osama bin Laden is dead. John Lindh, now 30 years old, remains in prison. He spends most of his time pursuing his study of the Qur’an and Islamic scholarship. He also reads widely in a variety of nonfiction subjects, especially history and politics. He remains a devout Muslim.
June 29, 2011 1 Comment
We’ve seen his picture blasted across TV screens and computer monitors the world over for the last ten years; we’ve heard his speeches speak of the doom our civilizations would suffer at the hands of his followers and the humiliation we would face at their victory and our defeat, and we watched as two presidents decided their political fate based on his words, but never mind. Seems Usama bin Laden wasn’t the real deal after all if this article is to be believed.
Osama bin Laden was out of touch with the younger generation of al Qaida commanders, and they often didn’t follow his advice during the years he was in hiding in northern Pakistan, U.S. and Pakistani officials now say…..bin Laden clearly wasn’t in control of al Qaida, though he was trying to remain involved or at least influential.
“He was like the cranky old uncle that people weren’t listening to,” said a U.S. official, who’d been briefed on the evidence collected from the Abbottabad compound and who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “The younger guys had never worked directly with him. They did not take everything he said as right.”
What does it mean for the greatest power in the world to spend all of the manpower and money it did over the last 10 years to bring to justice a man who it turns out was not really the leader of the most despised movement known to man after all? Opps, my bad. Does that also mean we’ll have to spend another decade hunting down the REAL leader of al-Qaeda?
June 19, 2011 Leave a comment
A 66 year old black man from the state of Georgia had this to say about Muslims.
You have peaceful Muslims, then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us…I was thinking about the ones that were trying to kill us.
I guess he forgot about the history of lynchings of people like him in his home state of Georgia by terrorists. Perhaps Mr. Cain doesn’t know the history of these terrorists whose tactics sound strikingly familiar to ones being used by members of Mr. Cain’s party today!
William J. Simmons renewed the KKK at a Stone Mountain, Georgia, ceremony in 1915. Later, Christian fundamentalist ministers aided recruitment as the Klan portrayed itself as the protector of traditional values during the Jazz Age.
As its membership grew into the millions in the 1920s, the Klan exerted considerable political influence, helping to elect sympathetic candidates to state and national offices. The group was strong not only in southern states such as Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas, but also in Oklahoma, California, Oregon, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Strongly opposed to non–Anglo-Saxon immigration, the Klan helped secure the passage of strict quotas on immigration. In addition to being racist, the group also espoused hatred of Jews, Catholics, socialists, and unions.
No doubt, Mr. Cain probably believes that black citizens of America wanted to be kept as slaves, so shallow and misguided is his understanding of his own history and that of his country, but what he says sounds good enough to enough Americans to be considered a serious contender to the Republican Party’s nomination! And you thought we didn’t have a race problem in this country!
June 19, 2011 1 Comment
and here’s why.
the Bible overflows with “texts of terror,” to borrow a phrase coined by the American theologian Phyllis Trible. The Bible contains far more verses praising or urging bloodshed than does the Koran, and biblical violence is often far more extreme, and marked by more indiscriminate savagery….
portions of the Bible, by contrast, go much further in ordering the total extermination of enemies, of whole families and races – of men, women, and children, and even their livestock, with no quarter granted…..
Commands to kill, to commit ethnic cleansing, to institutionalize segregation, to hate and fear other races and religions . . . all are in the Bible, and occur with a far greater frequency than in the Koran.
and so it goes. With all the Biblical references to death, murder, terror does that mean that Christians are terrorists and murderers and in order to preserve mankind we must institute collective punishment against all those who proclaim the Christian faith. Such talk is ludicrous, yet it is the type of talk directed towards Muslims who have been living peacefully, relatively speaking, for decades if not centuries in North America. The purveyors of this idea of collective punishment, a Biblical injunction ironically enough, claim that they are not racist or bigoted because Islam is an ideology, not a race, but they seek to make illegal practices of Muslims associated with the Islamic religion, like the ritual washing before prayer, or even the prayer itself even when such actions are beneficial to the greater society and not just Muslims like interest free banking, and they claim this is not racism or bigotry? It is the very definition of bigotry: intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself and xenophobia.
To say that terrorists can find religious texts to justify their acts does not mean that their violence actually grows from those scriptural roots….The difference between the Bible and the Koran is not that one book teaches love while the other proclaims warfare and terrorism, rather it is a matter of how the works are read. Yes, the Koran has been ransacked to supply texts authorizing murder, but so has the Bible…If Christians or Jews want to point to violent parts of the Koran and suggest that those elements taint the whole religion, they open themselves to the obvious question: what about their own faiths? If the founding text shapes the whole religion, then Judaism and Christianity deserve the utmost condemnation as religions of savagery. Of course, they are no such thing; nor is Islam.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
June 12, 2011 2 Comments
American based terrorism doesn’t get much mention in mainstream media, maybe because those who are responsible for it in many cases reflect the ethnicity of those who write about terrorism. I mean it’s much easier to call someone who looks different from you and has a funny name a terrorist than it is to call your next door neighbor or the person who attends your church or synagogue one. Janet Napolitano knows a thing or two about what happens to people who take an even handed approach to this issue of homegrown terrorism because she was excoriated in the media by pundits for a 2009 report released by Homeland Security entitled, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment. Because there’s no mention of Islam in the title, the report was denounced by many across the political spectrum. Media Matters does a pretty nice job of detailing the arguments of some of the people opposed to labelling American terrorism just that, and their analysis can be found here. Needless to say, the 2009 report doesn’t follow the meme so often repeated in public discourse that ‘all terrorists are Muslim’ because such a statement is false on its face, racially charged and bigoted.
Do you know who the people pictured above are? They are members of Hutaree who see law enforcement as the enemy and they planned to kill a police officer, possibly at a traffic stop, and then attack the funeral procession to kill more officers. Sounds much like terrorism to me, but instead these folks were charged with seditious conspiracy against the government, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. Ever hear of the group The Sovereign Citizen? You can see for yourself the width and breadth of this group across the country here. The FBI has a full page on them which says in essence they do not feel bound to obey the laws of America, do everything to circumvent the law up to and including murder of public officials and the destruction of government institutions. The ubiquitous federal government isn’t the only entity to see the danger Sovereign Citizen members present to the general public. A local Texas sheriff, Chief Smith has issued his own terrorism warning saying in part
Chief Smith wants the Citizens to be aware that these people could be practicing their beliefgs in this area. Chief Smith warns that these persons have the potential to act out in very violent manners with both citizens and law enforcement if the contact with them is negative.
The Chief has every reason to be concerned. Just last week a ‘sovereign citizen’ in Florida, claiming he “did not have to follow the law or obey law enforcement officers” fired an AK-47 weapon at a store after calling them repeatedly to demand a product they did not have. Larry Kelly then led law enforcement officials on a chase through the city of Ensley, Florida before being captured. Again, last week another ‘sovereign citizen’ Matthew O’Neill was arrested after sending a white powder substance to the Colorado Department of Revenue which was dealing with his tax issues. It doesn’t take a genius to understand the significance of that in post 911 America does it? Then it was an act of terrorism, now it’s a disgruntled tax case. But ‘sovereign citizen’ encounters with the law have also been deadly. What’s significant is if one were to replace each of the above linked news stories with someone’s Arabic name or reference to their religious belief it would be a sure indicator of their terrorist inclinations, BUT absent such identifying tags, while still abhorrent and deadly, the acts are crimes which we have all too often been accustomed, absent the accompanying terrorism hysteria. Conservatives have for some time bemoaned the increase in laws on the books to handle what they consider situations already adequately addressed in law, yet many on the right are the first to claim the need for increased laws to save America from ‘sharia law’, for instance to the presence of municipally approved places of worship to articles of clothing to any number of other things associated with Islam and Muslims in America. This is the dilemma America faces today; how to deal with the hypocrisy and demagoguery of politicians and political parties, such as the Republican and Tea Party, while still legitimately addressing the role of the rule of law. What’s good for the goose IS good for the gander as well. It’s either all terrorism or it’s not, but most likely chances are it will not be classified terrorism, especially by the main stream media, as long as people who write about it look like the people above who perpetuate it.
May 2, 2011 1 Comment
The Obama Administration has just slapped the Republican Party two times in less than a week and relegated that party to the dust bin of history because Republicans wallow in mud instead of substance in their political postures. Any true Republican should hide his/her face in shame at the way their party has been manhandled by the Obama machine. In effect it, the Republican Party, got what it deserved. It gave into the crazies of the lunatic fringe within the party with its notions of dubious citizenship and questionable loyalties on the part of Obama and went up in flames when the President adroitly handled both to the point that everyone in the Republican Party was reduced to mumbling and looking quite frankly stupid.
First the release of the much ballyhooed long form birth certificate that party loyalists said was necessary to prove citizenship, when they thought that such a certificate could not be produced, was humiliating for them. Even the buffoon Donald Trump who so vociferously called for “proof” Obama was a citizen had to double back and say that he was proud of himself for getting Obama to release what should have never been and has never been requested from any other president in modern times to display. It didn’t help Trump’s cause for him to go on and begin to doubt Obama’s college transcripts/records in an attempt to say he got where he is undeservedly so. You gotta’ wonder whether Obama is sitting on highest honor diplomas from all the colleges and universities he ever attended, waiting to release them at the most propitious time during a presidential campaign season to further humiliate his opponents. It doesn’t look too good for Trump with the main stream media finally getting tired of his dog and pony show to the extent that even some of them are calling his snipping at Obama’s heels racism in the extreme. Trump is pathetically embarrassing.
The kicker however is the news released just today, Monday 2 May that bin laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan. You remember Osama bin Laden don’t you? The ONE everyone said was responsible for the most heinous terrorist attack on US soil ever in the history of America; the ONE who it was said made it necessary for Americans to invade two countries destroying both theirs and ours in unnecessary wars. It’s significant to point out that the operation carried out by US special forces was done with far less US firepower than it took to invade Afghanistan and Iraq practically nullifying the stupefying loss of life that occurred on all sides in what has turned out to be BEFORE bin laden’s death morally senseless, bankrupt wars of occupation. It took Obama two years to do what Bush couldn’t accomplish in two terms, despite the “mission accomplished” claims to the contrary; had this been the course of action of Bush a lot less “blowback” would have ensued for the world community and a lot more good will could have been generated that could have translated into the dollars and cents the invasions were really meant to accomplish.
In real terms, Obama has out Bush(ed) Bush and in the process made irrelevant the Republican Party which has increasingly separated itself from common political consensus andbeen overtaken instead by fanatical racist zealots who talk in terms of fear and divisiveness, at the expense of the American people. In response to them, Obama has slapped them silly, humiliated them; that might not have been his intention, and pushed them further into a corner of isolation and disarray. It’s sad to see. I hope the GOP for the good of the nation, stops its genuflections at the altar of American fear and xenophobia and returns to the mainstream. The way Obama has acted lately, it would serve them good to do so, or else, he may have to slap them silly again.
March 27, 2011 1 Comment
‘Not all Muslims are terrorist but all terrorists are Muslims’, so goes the ‘phobes chant when talking about the dangers of an imagined enemy, the Shariah welding Muslim fanatic. What they don’t say is all non-Muslim terrorists aren’t categorized as such. Rather they are given more inert sounding names like manic depressive and charged not with terrorism, but with ‘placing a bomb’ inside a federal building and thus fall beneath the terrorist radar. Such is the case with this guy, Gary Mikulich. His bomb sat in said federal building for over a month, is that fodder for a conspiracy theory or what, before it was discovered, which goes to show you all the money you can squeeze out of everyday working Americans and give to Homeland Security can’t buy security if people don’t do their jobs. This electrical engineering genius made a bomb and put it in front of a federal building with the intent to kill people, yet he’s not charged with a terrorist related offense. So what good are the terrorism laws if we don’t apply them equally to all? It should be apparent that the law is designed to single out a group of people , not law breakers, in order to effect a blanket condemnation of all members of that group. Shame on you America….you’re still as bigoted as ever.
January 12, 2011 1 Comment
Proponents of Guantanamo Bay have always maintained it’s necessary to keep that base open to house the meanest of the mean; black/brown Muslim terrorists who have the ability to swim from Cuba to the mainland, fashion knives out of paper products and invade the homeland causing death and destruction. To substantiate their claim to keep the facility eternally open, they have put forward some really astonishing claims about recidivism, which we have addressed on the pages of Miscellany101 here and here.
It appears Obama will not be able to close Guantanamo down anytime soon, nor does he appear to be up for the fight, having been effectively betrayed by members of his own party during a lame duck session after the congressional elections, and facing an ever more combative new Congress who no doubt will use this recidivism issue again to underscore their desire to keep Gitmo open. So here’s another study which “refudiates” that claim making it the third different one to do so which really begs the question why do the supporters of the facility bother with erecting false claims and figures in the first place.
On the ninth anniversary of the first detainee’s arrival at the infamous prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Washington think tank challenged intelligence estimates suggesting that large numbers of former detainees have taken up arms against the United States.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed in December — without offering any evidence — that 13.5 percent of former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed, and an additional 11.5 percent are suspected of “reengaging” in terrorist or insurgent activities after their release.
The conservative media embraced the storyline that as many as one in four former detainees had returned to the battlefield, up sharply from the prior year.
But three scholars with the New America Foundation are out with a new report — this one backed up with data — concluding that only 6 percent of released detainees engaged or are suspected of having engaged with insurgents aimed at attacking U.S. interests. Another 2 percent engaged or are suspected of having engaged against non-U.S. targets.
It appears that America is perfectly willing to let bygones be bygones and keep the facility even though for now it serves no useful purpose. Perhaps some hope it will house the millions of American Muslims who will be sent there after the King committee hearings?
January 12, 2011 Leave a comment
Sorry folks, but I have a real problem with demagoguery and Congressman Peter King, R of New York is at the center of my ire at the moment for exemplifying the untruthfulness typical of today’s politicians. Where do you begin with him?
After the latest terror attack on America this past weekend, King has now taken the liberal side of the crime in America argument to propose gun control legislation to limit carrying a firearm within 1000 feet of of certain high-profile government officials. Typical big government solution and one I wouldn’t expect from a Republican member of Congress, but there was no word from King, who’s set to take over the position of the Homeland Security House committee, when gun toters like the man in the picture above were seen walking around during an Obama rally in 2009, in of all places the state of Arizona. Everyone touted the rights of such individuals as “Chris” to carry openly the firearm of his choice even in the vicinity of a sitting US President. As a firearm owner myself, I was somewhat mixed about this brazen display of chutzpah, but King’s pronouncement now makes me wonder whether he would consider Obama, should he be re-elected a high-profile government official worthy of having the ban imposed for him or not? Most likely not…..since King is obliged to the ‘birther’ wing of his party for any future political aspirations.
The news that’s most upsetting about King is his intent to have hearings on the radicalization of Islam in America. The author of this piece calls it a show trial, I couldn’t agree with him more. Read on
It is just about certain that the new Republican House will hold hearings on the “radicalization of the American Muslim Community.” The hearings will be called by Peter King, the Republican representative from New York who is now the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
This move on the part of Rep. King will reveal more about him than it will about American Muslims.
Why so? Because King’s publicly expressed prejudices will shape the hearings he will hold, thereby giving us an accurate view of where he is coming from. Simultaneously, they will only supply an inaccurate and skewed view of American Muslims.
To date, what do Peter King’s public positions look like? Here are some examples:
1. King has publicly asserted, without evidence, that most of the leaders and organizations of the American Muslim Community are dangerous radicals. They are to be judged so because, allegedly, they are purveyors of “radical Islam.”
He has made the accusation that “80 to 85% of the mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists.” He here conflates radicals and fundamentalists. He has even written a novel, Vale of Tears, about Muslims plotting against the United States.
2. He has asserted that mainstream American Muslims, their leaders and organizations, have “not come forward and denounce(d), officially denounce(d), officially cooperate(d) with police against extremists and terrorists.” This accusation happens to be demonstrably false.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, the first Muslim American elected to the House, has spent a good bit of time documenting the efforts of Muslim Americans to do just what King says they don’t do. Among other things Ellison points out that “about one third of all foiled al-Qaida related plots in the U.S. relied on support and information provided by members of the Muslim community.”
A recent attempt at such terrorism, the placing of a car bomb in Times Square, was foiled by a Senegalese Muslim immigrant.
3. When Peter King is asked about his sources of information on American Muslims he names Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes. Emerson is one of those journalists turned self-proclaimed “experts” on security matters. He has written a number of books on “radical Islam” which, in turn, have been criticized by real Middle East experts.
Pipes is a devotee of Israel and rarely deviates from a right-wing Zionist line. Both men have been described as aggressive enemies of Muslims and Islam. It is to these sorts of people that King looks to confirm his own biases. No wonder Peter King now regards American Muslim leaders as “an enemy living amongst us.”
4. Just to round out this picture we can add that, quickly after 9/11, King became a staunch supporter of the invasion of Iraq. Having taken this stand, he never addressed the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, nor has he ever publicly considered the fact that American foreign policy in the Middle East did have a lot to do with that event.
King was a strong defender of George W. Bush’s policy of torture, claiming that the Bush should be given a medal for authorizing water boarding. He supports a strict application of the “USA Patriot Act.” He says that Guantanamo Bay prison should not be closed, and the proposed “mosque” near “ground zero” should not be opened.
King has all the right credentials to qualify as a demagogue and a racist demagogue at that, for all of the reasons stated in the article above. Please read it in its entirety at the link, ConsortiumNews.com, home of investigative reporter Robert Parry, and one of the best damned news website currently operating anywhere in the world.
January 11, 2011 Leave a comment
I’m against waterboarding because I believe it’s illegal, but many on the right clamored for it when we were fighting our war on terror against people with Arabic names who, it was said, posed a threat to our Republic. The waterboard, that instrument of death, was pointed to as something needed to extract information from even the most diehard terrorist in order to save lives. When it was presented in those stark terms even some “progressives” demurred in their protests afraid they would be seen as anti-American, traitors or worse, threats themselves and singled out for persecution. (Regrettably, the latter may have happened a time or two.) It didn’t matter that America was a signatory to a law that said we were against torture and would prosecute anyone who committed it, we were told waterboarding was necessary.
After the latest assault on a sitting member of Congress and the murder of a federal judge at the hands of an assassin who resembles a skinhead in all appearances and who had made references to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, there comes news that another congressman has received ominious threats from places unknown, raising the specter that more death and destruction might be visited on members of Congress. How can we stop what looks like certain carnage? Waterboarding and profiling are two solutions offered up by those on the right when they spoke of Muslims and jihadists who were threats to the American way of life and yet not once, except on the pages of Miscellany101 have these tools not too long ago embraced by many Americans, been mention in the latest discourse. Unfortunately, neither has the matter of whether what Loughner commited is terrorism been discussed much in the media and for obvious reasons.
Terrorists can’t be white, non-Muslims and waterboarding or profiling (racial profiling) can’t be applied to them because it obscures the debate about what’s good and what’s bad for America. White crime is tolerated and ostensibly good for America…we can build case law around it, institutionalize it and put people to work combating it yet maintain a civil society, or so it seems. Terrorism many on the right maintain is the purveyor of dark skinned or Muslim people who threaten our very civilization and we must fight them by any means necessary, even illegal means that we visit upon them and sometimes ourselves. We have bemoaned that double standard time and time again here on Miscellany101. The right seems to relish, embrace it and heap scorn on those who point it out.
The “wingnuts” on the right have for the past decade managed to escape responsibility for any miscalculations on the political stage. The WMD fiasco was dismissed because Saddam was a bad guy and we needed to get rid of him anyway, the encroachment on our civil liberties was proposed because it’s government’s job to take care of us, during the administration of Bush, and during Obama because liberals elected him into office and he is a socialist and that’s what socialists do. The spiteful and intemperate political rhetoric is necessary because it’s a “war” of ideas and too the hearts and minds of the people. It seems every excuse is made that absolves the right from any responsibility for any misfortune that has occurred over the past decade even though they were the party in power for over half the time.
Now comes the political assassination in Tuscon, Arizona right after the virulent election campaigning of 2010 where the political opposition rode on the backs of people who believe in conspiracy theories that rival those concocted after 911. This murder didn’t come in a vacuum; it was sparked by a constant barrage of speech that equated a democratically elected political party with the equally repugnant foe of terrorists, jihadists and Muslims; some even calling the President a secret Muslim, whose goal is to promote a socialist agenda. It was against these policies that the right was shaped and the makers of these policies were the focal point of everyone’s rage. Loughner who it was claimed by neighbors/friends targeted Congresswoman Giffords wasn’t the only one. Byron Williams who had a shootout with authorities after planning acts of violence against the ACLU, a favorite target of the right and the Tides Foundation, said he wanted to spark a civil war and he pointed to a radio head pundit as being a primary source of his information and motivation. Yet the right, the more vocal among them, claim no responsibility for this violent swing in politics even while others among them are asking for de-escalation in the rhetoric. Fat chance.
This is the group that claims when it comes to their enemies that everyone of them is responsible for the crimes committed by one of them; that the idea of collective punishment, something practiced by the Israelis against Palestinians, is a legitimate way of dealing with a threat, not just the kind that a Loughner, or a Williams or the unknown assailant threatening Congressman Renny Davis pose. So there will be no talk of waterboarding anyone to get information from them about the impending murder of another Congressman, now will there be calls for profiling white males who look like Loughner, or Williams and we won’t hear not one suggestion that the motivating factors behind their rage be investigated or asked to condemn their murderous impulses because in almost every case they, these perpetrators of terrorism against the homeland are just like the pundits and politicians who use these acts of government coercion on others. That is the story of America and her injustices and it will plague us for as long as we continue to ignore it.
January 10, 2011 Leave a comment
Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, flew to Paris to speak in support of an Iranian exile group there — one that’s been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and that very act of appearing before such a group is a felony under US law. What’s amazing is Mukasey and Ridge, former Bush appointees in high cabinet level posts should have known that yet completely disregarded the illegality of their act. That it is illegal is clearly established by the US Departments of State and Justice and material support has been even more narrowly defined to include ‘not only cash and other tangible aid, but also speech coordinated with a “foreign terrorist organization” for its benefit’. A former presidential candidate, and secretaries of Homeland Security and Justice Department took a trip to Paris to address an organization on the US Dept of State’s terrorist list, and in doing so committed a felony and you don’t think for a minute they didn’t have the approval of the current administration? How can one account for the fact that these individuals have not been indicted for clear criminal behavior were they not acting on behalf of the Obama Administration? Once again, we have the spectre of a US administration walking back on laws it has either signed on or weighed in in a manner reminiscent of the Bush administration with the result that it could have deleterious effects on American interests before the international court of opinion.