THE DIVISION OF THE WORLD
By Avi Davis
No one should be too surprised by the insistence of the U.N on the renewal of the Combating Defamation of Religion resolution. It has come up for approval and actually been renewed every year by the United Nations General Assembly since 2005. And there is a very good reason for it. The measure is fully supported and promoted by the Organization of Islamic Conference , a 57 member bloc that dominates the United Nations and for decades has been behind some of its most notorious resolutions. The densely worded document is meant to safeguard religious ideas and allow religious minorities to lead "a life of respect ... free of coercion, fear or threat." According to the special U.N. rapporteur for anti-discrimination there has been an alarming escalation in anti – Islamic rhetoric and behavior throughout the world.
And what acts does this refer to? They include remarks made last year about Islam by Pope Benedict XVI, the publication of cartoons in Danish newspapers that contained unflattering images of the prophet Muhammad and the incendiary comments and attacks on Islam by Muslim writers such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie.
In the West , of course, to criticize, deride or even lampoon a religion or faith had usually been protected under freedom of speech. But as we have consistently reported in the Western Word and I have stated in many articles, freedom of speech, in the western democracies nearly always takes a secondary role in its confrontation with Islam. But there is another reason other than Islamic empowerment which has brought about such a sorry state of affairs. That is the West’s apparent willingness to play along with whatever is politically expedient. It is significant that at the recently convened Democratic National Convention in Denver , the threat of militant Islam, was never mentioned. Cast as the struggle with internationalism terrorism, the Democrats seemed content with relegating the real threat against this country as a something akin to a natural phenomenon, a scourge whipped up out of thin air having no antecedents or roots in an anti- Western ideology. Rudi Guiliani was therefore right to point out in Minneapolis this week that politically correct thinking and the determination not to offend anyone will effectively derail the war on terrorism. Because if you can’t even name your enemy and identify the ideological roots of his animus, how can you expect to achieve an ultimate victory?
The apparent queasiness the West feels about castigating Islam, can also be seen in it attitudes towards the actions of Russia, China and Iran... Russia’s recent invasion of Georgia and its support for the independence of two new provinces received only a tepid response in the West, a restraint explained by Western leaders’ unwillingness to accept that Russian imperialism has assumed a new incarnation and its centuries old determination to dominate its region has been reborn. China similarly receives a clean bill of health for its regular abuse of human rights and its threatening stance towards its neighbor Taiwan. China’s piracy of Western designs and patents is one of the gravest threats to international economic order, and yet the West refuses to acknowledge China’s rampant breaches of law and exploitation of Western greed for cheap knock offs.
Perhaps the most egregious example of the West’s continuing willful blindness can be found in its attitudes towards Iran’s persistent flaunting of international censure regarding the development of its nuclear program. Iran has learned that it can bait the West with guarantees and assurances about peaceful intentions while making explicit and dire threats against Israel. The failure to recognize that the threat to the State of Israel is a threat against the West itself that may ultimately prove to be one of the gravest diplomatic blunders in history – akin in many ways , to the West’s policies of appeasement of 70 years ago.
For all this, there is some safeguards built into the situation which offers the West some cause for confidence that it will prevail in its confrontations with rogue regimes and would-be Hegemons. That is that all of these countries – Russia, China, Iran and the countries of the OIC, are all eager to present the appearance of playing by international rules. Vladimir Putin did not seize power and establish a new Stalinist –like dictatorship, but followed Russia’s constitutional process and handed the Presidency off to a new successor, even though he is still clearly the power behind the throne. China may be breaking its own agreements regarding intellectual property rights but it is nevertheless willing to conduct discussions and conferences to address the issue. Iran continues to seek justification for the continuation of its nuclear program, rather than off handedly dismissing Western grievances.
The bottom line, therefore, is that Western opinion and diplomatic acceptance still matters to these regimes. They still seek legitimacy from the West for their actions because they recognize that the West still retains the economic clout, and perhaps even the military capacity, to bring them to heel. This places considerable power in the hands of Western governments. The world may well be drifting back into traditional 19th Century style balance of power politics – with each power center carving out its own sphere of influence. But if the West displays resolve and unity in facing down aggression - and backs it up with assertive action, such as sanctions and even threat of military force - the inevitability of a new world order in which the West is only one player among many – an equal but lesser role than it currently maintains – does not have to eventuate.
Avi Davis is the Executive Director and Senior Fellow of the American Freedom Alliance.
NEWS: EUROPE AND AMERICA
Undercover In Britain’s Mosques: Preaching Separatism, Murder For Apostates
Preachers of separatism at work inside Britain's mosques
Britain's leading Muslim bodies say they are fighting extremism. In one of our most respected mosques, Sara Hassan came face to face with hardline female preachers of separatism. Here, she reports on the shocking results of her investigation
In a large balcony above the beautiful main hall at Regent's Park Mosque in London - widely considered the most important mosque in Britain - I am filming undercover as the woman preacher gives her talk.
What should be done to a Muslim who converts to another faith? "We kill him," she says, "kill him, kill, kill…You have to kill him, you understand?"
Adulterers, she says, are to be stoned to death - and as for homosexuals, and women who "make themselves like a man, a woman like a man ... the punishment is kill, kill them, throw them from the highest place".
These punishments, the preacher says, are to be implemented in a future Islamic state. "This is not to tell you to start killing people," she continues. "There must be a Muslim leader, when the Muslim army becomes stronger, when Islam has grown enough."
A young female student from the group interrupts her: the punishment should also be to stone the homosexuals to death, once they have been thrown from a high place.
These are teachings I never expected to hear inside Regent's Park Mosque, which is supposedly committed to interfaith dialogue and moderation, and was set up more than 60 years ago, to represent British Muslims to the Government. And many of those listening were teenage British girls or, even more disturbingly, young children.
My investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches came after last year's Undercover Mosque, which investigated claims that teachings of intolerance and fundamentalism were spreading through Britain's mosques from the Saudi Arabian religious establishment - which is closely linked to the Saudi Arabian government. In response, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia denied it was spreading intolerance, while Regent's Park Mosque, which featured in the film, urged all mosques to be "vigilant" and monitor what was taught on their premises.
So earlier this year, dressed in a full Islamic jilbaab, I went back to Regent's Park Mosque to see what was being taught there. As a woman, I had to go to the main female section, where I found this circle preaching every Saturday and Sunday, eight hours at a time, to any woman who has come to pray.
The mosque is meant to promote moderation and integration. But although the circle does preach against terrorism and does not incite Muslims to break British laws, it teaches Muslims to "keep away" and segregate themselves from disbelievers: "Islam is keeping away from disbelief and from the disbelievers, the people who disbelieve."
Friendship with non-Muslims is discouraged because "loyalty is only to the Muslim, not to the kaffir [disbeliever]". A woman who was friendly with a non-Muslim woman was heavily criticised: "It's part of Islam, of the correct belief, that you love those who love Allah and that you hate those who hate Allah."
One preacher even says Muslims shouldn't live in Britain at all: "It is not befitting for Muslims that he should reside in the land of evil, the land of thekuffaar, the land of the disbelievers."
Another, Um Saleem, says Muslims should not take British citizenship as their loyalty is to Allah.
"Some conditions can take you into disbelief, to take the British citizenship, whether you like it or not, for these people, you are selling your religion, it's a very serious thing, it is not allowed to give allegiance to other than Allah."
Their teachings shocked me. This was not the Islam that I and many other Muslims in the UK were taught as youngsters, nor is it a version that most Muslims follow.
I was amazed at how many young British women seemed to find this version of the faith attractive. One young girl told me that when she first attended the circle, she was dressed in jeans and that she had many non-Muslim friends. She now loves only those that are around her - "other sisters in the circle" - and only engages with non-Muslims to try to convert them. Many of the sisters had the idea of living as a separate community - a concept alien to me and many other Muslims I know.
Regent's Park Mosque has a major interfaith department, which arranges visits from the Government, the civil service, representatives of other religions and thousands of British school children a year. (Telegraph)
The reporter's name has been changed. 'Dispatches: Undercover Mosque - The Return' will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 8pm on Monday
Caving Into Islam The Swedish Way
Sweden: Prime Minister calls on companies to offer Muslims services
The Swedish Prime Minister spent the first day of Ramadan learning more about halal products. At the slaughterhouse in Johanneshov Fredrik Reinfeldt spoke of how important multiculturalism is for Sweden.
The moderate fight for freedom must also be about empowering New Sweden, supporting integration and getting rid of a lot of unnecessary regulations that create value clashes in Swedish society. This is a task for the government, said Frederik Reinfeldt when he visited Qibbla Halal Kött i Johanneshov. A 30 [ed: meant 13] year old company with 26 employees who work with different halal products produced according to Muslim traditions and which get go-ahead from the Swedish authorities. With this Reinfeldt started off the fall visiting tour where he would especially meet and speak with immigrants about discrimination and value questions. In the past he had similarly gone about the rest of the country and visited small businesses, employment services and met with women in the public sector. (Islamineurope)
Extremist Preacher Abu Qatada Making A ‘Mockery’ Of His Bail Conditions
Hate preacher Abu Qatada's bail conditions under review after his meeting with car bomb extremist-James Slack
Abu Qatada's bail conditions were under review last night after security experts said allowing the hate preacher to associate with a convicted terrorist made a 'mockery' of the rules. Home Office officials are investigating the Daily Mail's exclusive picture showing Qatada - dubbed 'Osama Bin Laden's ambassador in Europe' - strolling through London with fellow fanatic Yasser Al-Sirri. Incredibly, Al-Sirri, who was convicted in Egypt and sentenced to death in absentia for his part in a 1993 car bomb attack - was not included on a list of more than 20 extremists with whom the preacher of hate is banned from associating. Whitehall sources said the Home Office is reviewing the evidence to see whether there are grounds to ask the courts to add Al-Sirri to the list. They will also investigate claims that Qatada, whose bail conditions forbid the use of a mobile phone, was using Al-Sirri to pass on messages. The Mail's picture, first published on Saturday, appeared to show Al-Sirri talking into a mobile after listening to an instruction from Qatada, who is under a 22-hour curfew.
Italian Museums To Accommadate Muslims With ‘Veil Rooms’ For Security Inspections
Italian museums introduce Muslim 'veil rooms' for security inspections
An Italian museum that barred a Muslim tourist because she was wearing a niqab which covered her face has introduced a "veil room" so visitors can be identified.-Nick Pisa in Rome
The woman, whose nationality was not disclosed, was with her husband and daughter when she was stopped by a security guard from entering Venice's Ca'Rezzonico museum. He told her that for "security reasons" she could not be allowed in as the niqab exposed only her eyes and Italian law forbids the wearing of face-covering masks or hoods in public because of terrorism fears. As a result of the outcry that followed the incident, Adriana Augusti, deputy superintendent of Venice Museums, has introduced veil rooms in Ca'Rezzonico as well as the Accademia and Oriental Art Galleries and the Archaeological Museum.
Veiled Muslim visitors are asked to remove their headdress in the presence of a female security guard before then being allowed to enter the gallery or museum. Ms Augusti dismissed suggestions that the rooms were discriminatory and said: "It is all a question of security. I have given the go ahead following what happened at Ca'Rezzonico. "It is simply a question of informing women that in Italy you cannot walk around in public with your face veiled - in these reserved rooms they are identified by a woman guard and then allowed in.
"We have had no problems in the two days we have started this policy. Two women in burqas with their husbands and children waited patiently outside while their families went in because they knew they would have to take their veils off." Nicola Spinosa, superintendent of Naples Museums, said: "If a Muslim visitor does not take off their veil to be identified then they are not allowed in. (Telegraph)
“I'm Not Sure That There's Much Use To The Term "Academic Freedom," And Too Often I Have Seen It Used Or Invoked As An Excuse For Irresponsibility.”
Academic Freedom Is Not a Divine Right-Stanley Fish
Is academic freedom a philosophical concept tied to larger concepts of individual dignity and autonomy, or is it a guild concept developed in an effort to insulate the enterprise from the threat of a hostile takeover? I come down on the side of guild concept. Academic freedom is not a subset of freedom in general, and one cannot reason from a theoretical account of freedom to what one is free to do in a university setting. Academic freedom, to put it simply and starkly, is freedom for academics — that is, for those engaged in a certain task. It is the nature of that task and not any large abstraction like freedom or freedom of speech that determines the range of permissible and prescribed behavior. You start with the idea of pursuing a line of inquiry to whatever conclusion it brings you, and then you ask for the freedom to engage in that pursuit without interference from external forces that would tie you to the agendas of another enterprise. The freedom you ask for is not added on to the project; it is constitutive of it, for you can't follow where an inquiry takes you if obstacles are constantly put in your way. When all is said and done, academic freedom is just a fancy name for being allowed to do your job, and it is only because that job has the peculiar feature of not having a pre-stipulated goal that those who do it must be granted a degree of latitude and flexibility not granted to the practitioners of other professions, who must be responsive to the customer or to the bottom line or to the electorate or to the global economy. (That's why there's no such thing as "corporate-manager freedom" or "shoe-salesman freedom" or "dermatologist freedom.")
If you think of academic freedom in this way — as a logical extension of a particular task and not as a free-standing value — you will be able to defend it both from those who see it as an unwarranted indulgence of pampered professors and from those pampered professors who would extend it into a general principle that allows them to say and do, or not do, whatever they like. To those who regard academic freedom as an unwarranted indulgence you can say, No, it's not an indulgence, it's a necessary condition for engaging in this enterprise, and if you want this enterprise to flourish, you must grant it. To those professors who turn freedom into license by using the classroom as a partisan pulpit, or by teaching materials unrelated to the course description, or by coming to class unprepared or not at all, you can say, Look, it's freedom to do the job, not freedom to change it or shirk it. This is what it means to say that academic freedom is not a general freedom like the freedoms guaranteed you by the Constitution and the First Amendment; it is task-specific and task-limited. You might have the general freedom as a teacher at a public institution not to be dismissed because of your religious views, but you could be denied promotion because your department decided that an interest in theology — a perfectly respectable academic topic — did not fit in with its long-range plans. And while your department might be free to make that decision, the dean is also free to decide that a department that so decides is not one she wants to encourage; she might deny it faculty lines or move to take away its graduate program. Of course a dean who does that risks incurring the displeasure of a provost or a president who is free to replace her on the spot. Administrators have no academic freedom; they serve at will. And while faculty members do not serve at will — as long as they have tenure, that is — the limited freedom they enjoy in the classroom and in research does not protect them from being disciplined or even fired if they fail to carry out the ordinary duties of their positions. In short, both the nature and quantity of your freedom vary with the professional context in which you might seek to exercise it. What then is left of academic freedom as a rallying cry? Not much. It's not a grand philosophical concept; it's not even a legal concept apart from the contract you enter into when you accept employment. If that contract lists areas in which you are free to make responsible academic choices concerning the subject matter and organization of a course, you might be able to sue for breach of contract if the administration steps in and tells you that this is the textbook you must use. But if the course were a large multisectioned course with a prescribed syllabus and required texts, you'd probably lose, and even if you won, what would be affirmed is not your freedom, but your rights under contract. In the end, I'm not sure that there's much use to the term "academic freedom," and too often I have seen it used or invoked as an excuse for irresponsibility. One could reply that academic freedom has a rhetorical use; it's a flag that we can wave around in the hope that it will stop some hostile adversary force — a legislature, a board of trustees, a moral majority — in its tracks. I guess that's OK so long as we don't take the huffing and puffing too seriously and begin to believe that it is academic freedom — rather than professional independence or better working conditions — that we are defending. In saying that, I don't mean to deny that politics threatens academic freedom both from the outside and the inside: from the outside when the academic enterprise is in danger of being hijacked, and from the inside when the academic enterprise is in danger of being hijacked. But of course what is being threatened from either direction is not freedom per se or even freedom of thought; what is being threatened is the enterprise itself, which cannot be identified with freedom, but which needs freedom of a certain kind — freedom from external impositions — as a condition of its exercise. The trouble with the term "academic freedom" is that the emphasis almost always falls on the "freedom" part rather than the "academic" part, with the result that the concept is made to seem much grander than it is. The word "freedom" is just too big — it conjures up images of the last scene in a bad Mel Gibson movie. Invoking academic freedom carries with it the danger of thinking that we are doing something noble and even vaguely religious, when in fact what we are doing, or should be interested in doing, is no more — or less — than our academic jobs.
Stanley Fish is a university professor and professor of law at Florida International University, and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His book Save the World on Your Own Time has just been published by Oxford University Press. (TheChronicleReview)
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Organisation Of the Islamic Conference “Turning Freedom Of Expression Into Restriction of Expression”
U.S. fights Islamic anti-defamation push - Betsy Pisik (Contact)
UNITED NATIONS | The Bush administration, European governments and religious rights organizations are mounting a new effort to defeat a General Assembly resolution that demands respect for Islam and other religions but has been used to justify persecution of religious minorities.
The resolution, called "Combating Defamation of Religion," is sponsored by the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and has been approved by the world body annually since 2005. It comes up for renewal this fall. U.S. officials said they hope to persuade moderate Muslim nations - among them Senegal, Mali, Nigeria and Indonesia - to reject the measure, which lacks the force of law but has provided diplomatic cover for regimes that repress critical speech. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic. Religious rights groups say other U.N. measures, including statements by the Human Rights Council in Geneva, replicate the language of the resolution. "Before, it was one resolution with no impact and no implementation," said Felice Gaer, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan federal body that investigates abuses and proposes policies to advance "freedom of thought, conscience and religion." "Now we are seeing a clear attempt by OIC countries to mainstream the concept and insert it into just about every other topic they can," Miss Gaer said. "They are turning freedom of expression into restriction of expression." European governments are also concerned. The European Center for Law and Justice filed a brief with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights in June warning that such anti-defamation resolutions "are in direct violation of international law concerning the rights to freedom of religion and expression." (WashingtonTimes)
Community Security Trust Publishes Report On Antisemitic Discourse In Britain 2007
Race-hate comments ‘normalised by web’-Simon Rocker
The Community Security Trust has for the first time produced a report into antisemitic rhetoric in political speech, public discussion and the media in the UK. Although explicit antisemitism "is extremely rare" and "taboo" in public life, the report says that extremists are expressing antisemitic themes through "a demonising language that depicts Zionism as a great hidden conspiracy, centred in Israel and the USA against the rest of the humanity". The CST regularly publishes statistics into antisemitic incidents in Britain. But its 56-page glossy report, Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2007, which is published on Monday (September 1) and is intended to be updated annually, marks a departure in examining contemporary antisemitic ideology. The report notes the potential for the spread of antisemitic conspiracy theories, citing a 2007 UK poll where half of the respondents thought Jews were "probably" more loyal to Israel than their own country, and a third thought that American Jews control US foreign policy. It also argues that the internet is "normalising" antisemitic discourse on the websites of organisations "that would not otherwise tolerate antisemitism" - adding that this is a particular problem in the blogging sections of newspapers and bookselling outlets. The report carries critiques of several examples, including the claim that warmongering "Zionist" neocons are behind a belligerent US foreign policy; the fallout from the academic boycott campaign against Israel; and the writings of radical cleric Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. It describes the English edition of al-Qaradawi's book, Fatawa on Palestine, published last year, as a "startling combination of religious incitement to both terrorism and antisemitism in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is framed by theological prophecy of a ‘battle' between ‘all Muslims and Jews' in which Muslims will triumph." (JewishChronicle)
Southern Poverty Law Center Takes An In-Depth View Of Antisemitism On College Campuses
Anti-Semitism Goes to School: Hate on California, Oregon Campuses-Sonia Scherr
Intelligence Report Fall 2008
Half a century ago, American institutions of higher education nationwide had quotas sharply restricting the number of Jewish students allowed to enroll. Today, those quotas have ceased to exist — along with the school-sanctioned discrimination they embodied. But while anti-Jewish sentiment no longer receives the blessing of university officials, it hasn't been fully eradicated from campuses. "Many colleges throughout the United States continue to experience incidents of anti-Semitism," states a 2006 report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. "This is a serious problem which warrants further attention." In terms of numbers alone, the problem may seem small. An audit by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which fights bigotry, found that 94 anti-Semitic incidents were reported on U.S. campuses in 2007 — a number that has remained fairly stable over the past few years and represents only about 6% of known occurrences last year of harassment and vandalism targeting Jews. But such incidents tend to affect campus communities disproportionately, often resulting in very public controversies and bitter disputes between students. College campuses are particularly susceptible to anti-Semitism that originates in certain sectors of the far left. This source of anti-Jewish sentiment often begins with condemnation of Israeli policies and devolves into derogatory statements about all Jewish people. Although criticism of Israel does not typically amount to anti-Semitism — and many critics of the Jewish state are unfairly accused of bigotry — in some cases those who denounce Israel also cross the line into denigration of Jews as a group. According to the report from the federal civil rights commission: "On many campuses, anti-Israeli or anti-Zionist propaganda has been disseminated that includes traditional anti-Semitic elements, including age-old Jewish stereotypes and defamation. This has included, for example, anti-Israel literature that perpetuates the medieval anti-Semitic blood libel of Jews slaughtering children for ritual purpose, as well as anti-Zionist propaganda that exploits ancient stereotypes of Jews as greedy, aggressive, overly powerful or conspiratorial."
In addition, bigoted speakers who are spurned elsewhere can end up finding a platform on campuses, which are understandably reluctant to bar the expression of even highly offensive views. "Racists and demagogues have ably exploited schools' commitment to free speech, cloaking their propaganda in the guise of academic freedom," states a 1997 ADL report about anti-Semitism on campus. "They have two objectives: hooking the country's future leaders on the ideas they preach, and generating mainstream media coverage through the controversy that inevitably erupts over particularly incendiary events." The Intelligence Report took an in-depth look at two different examples of modern-day anti-Semitism on college campuses (neither of which occurred in the classroom or was sanctioned in any way by university officials). In both cases, legitimate concerns about Israeli treatment of Palestinians found expression alongside anti-Jewish canards and Holocaust denial. During appearances on public university campuses in California, two Muslim clerics have espoused anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Sept. 11 and asserted that Jews control the media and other powerful institutions. Several hundred miles north, a discussion group seeking justice for Palestinians has morphed into a haven for white supremacists that's brought a string of Holocaust deniers to speak at the University of Oregon. (SPLC)
‘Moderate’ Fatah ‘To Continue Armed Resistance Against Israeli Occupation’
'Moderate' Fatah Militia Grads Vow Attacks on Israel-Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
(IsraelNN.com) The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in northern Gaza has graduated a new class of terrorists loyal to Palestinian and Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the United States and Western countries term a "moderate" because of his declared intention to recognize Israel and stop terrorism. The new militiamen said they intend "to continue armed resistance against the Israeli occupation," according to the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency, which is considered close to Abbas. The news agency stated that the general commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and senior Fatah policy makers attended the graduation. Members of the graduating class showed off their skills in kidnapping soldiers, storming buildings and launching rocket-propelled grenades. "Al-Aqsa Brigades asserted that the graduation of a class of fighters sends a clear message to Israel that resistance is still a valid choice for freeing Palestinian lands and the Al-Aqsa mosque," Maan reported. Fatah has been engaged in a bitter struggle with rival Hamas terrorists, who took over control of the Gaza region in June a year ago. Hamas has charged Al-Aqsa terrorists with trying to undermine the Gaza ceasefire by firing rockets on Israel. Fatah leader Abbas has not commented on the sporadic interruptions of the ceasefire and has continued to meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in an attempt to create a new Arab country within Israel's current borders. He has conditioned recognizing Israel on the Jewish state's surrendering all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including the Temple Mount and the Old City in Jerusalem, as well as the immigration of several million foreign Arabs claiming to be descendants of former Israeli Arabs. (IsraelNationalNews)
TERRORISM, INTERNET, JIHAD
“Home Grown” Islamists Indicted In Germany On Terrorist Bomb Plot
Germany Indicts "Home Grown" Islamists for Terrorist Bomb Plot-DPA
news agency (dc)
Germany Indicts "Home Grown" Islamists for Terrorist Bomb Plot-DPA news agency (dc)
German federal prosecutors have indicted three men, two of them Germans who had converted to Islam, for a plot to explode half a ton of explosives at places frequented by US nationals.
German federal prosecutors have indicted three men, two of them Germans who had converted to Islam, for a plot to explode half a ton of explosives at places frequented by US nationals. Police, who had eavesdropped on the plotters' communications and intervened to surreptitiously confiscate the main ingredient in the explosives, arrested the men a year ago. If the bombing had succeeded, it would have been Germany's bloodiest experience by far of Islamist terrorism. Fritz Gelowicz, 29, Daniel Schneider, 22, both Germans, and Adem Yilmaz, 29, a Turkish national, are to be tried by a state superior court in the western city of Düsseldorf, a spokesman for the prosecutors in Karlsruhe said.
Police say home-grown terrorists a big threat
Many Germans are shocked that the men had ordinary German upbringings, unlike the radicals who were born in Arab countries and moved to Germany to plot the Sept. 11, 2001 suicide attacks on New York and Washington using hijacked airliners. Police around Europe say home-grown terrorism has become as big a threat as that from radical immigrants. (dw-world)
Federal Grand Jury In New York Indicts Aafia Siddiqui On Assault And Attempted Terrorism
Aafia Siddiqui Indicted For Charges Including Attempted Murder and Assault-Andrew Cochran
Aafia Siddiqui has been indicted by a federal grand jury in New York City and will appear in court on Thursday in connection with this new indictment, which you can download from here. She is charged with: (1) one count of attempting to kill United States nationals outside the United States; (2) one count of attempting to kill United States officers and employees; (3) one count of armed assault of United States officers and employees; (4) one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and (5) three counts of assault of United States officers and employees. The DOJ press release and the indictment provide details of the incident in question: "On July 18, 2008, a team of United States servicemen and law enforcement officers, and others assisting them, attempted to interview Aafia Siddiqui in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she had been detained by local police the day before. The United States interview team included, among others: three officers and employees of the United States Army; two officers and employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and two United States Army contract interpreters. The interview of Siddiqui was to take place at an Afghan police compound in Ghazni. In a second-floor meeting room at the compound -- where Siddiqui was being held, unbeknownst to the United States interview team, unsecured, behind a curtain -- Siddiqui obtained one of the United States Army officer’s M-4 rifle and attempted to fire it, and did fire it, at another United States Army officer and other members of United States interview team. Siddiqui repeatedly stated her intent and desire to kill Americans. Siddiqui then assaulted one of the United States Army interpreters, as he attempted to obtain the M-4 rifle from her. Siddiqui subsequently assaulted one of the FBI agents and one of the United States Army officers, as they attempted to subdue her." The indictment supercedes the criminal complaint filed against Siddiqui in August; a copy of that is available on the NEFA Foundation website. The indictment also cites written notes and computer files taken from Siddiqui when she was captured. For instance, handwritten notes referred to a "mass casualty attack" and listed locations in the U.S., including Plum Island, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Other notes referred to the construction of "dirty bombs" and chemical and biological weapons, and discussed using reconnaissance drones, underwater bombs, and gliders. Her computer thumb drive contained correspondence referring to "cells," "attacks" by certain "cells," and "enemies." Siddiqui is also believed to have been in Liberia receiving al Qaeda diamonds in 2001. Douglas Farah wrote recently that "a woman had arrived to collect diamonds from al Qaeda operatives in Monrovia, and had returned, with two men, to Karachi, Pakistan, and then moved on to Quetta, where police and intelligence lost her trace. It was not clear to me at the time of the reporting that the woman was Siddiqui. Perhaps the New York trial will help clarify the issue." (CounterterrorismBlog)
Der Spiegel Reports On SITE And IntelCenter’s Work In Tracking Terrorist Groups Online
Tracking the Terrorists Online - By Yassin Musharbash in Washington, D.C
For years, al-Qaida and other terror groups have set up shop in the Internet. Those who track them have covertly followed. The companies SITE and IntelCenter have penetrated even deeper into the terror Web than most intelligence agencies.
When al-Qaida was founded, Josh Devon was nine years old. Ben Venzke was 15. The year was 1988, and Devon and Venzke were as uninterested in the terrorist network as its leader, Osama bin Laden, was in the two young Americans. Now, two decades later, things have changed. Venzke and Devon have both become fascinated in terrorism and have turned that interest into careers. And al-Qaida now takes careful note of their work. Venzke and Devon are two of the most prominent "terror trackers" worldwide. In the United States, and increasingly in other countries, the term refers to a community of people who spend their days analyzing traces that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations leave behind, especially on the Internet. The two Americans are essentially digital trackers in the age of globalized terrorism. IntelCenter and SITE Intelgroup are the companies that Venzke and Devon, respectively, have founded. They enjoy a strong reputation within the relatively small community of terrorism experts. Beyond that, though, they are virtually unknown -- but wrongly so.
Bin Laden's Words
The two companies exert tremendous influence, worldwide and around the clock. News agencies, intelligence services and law enforcement organizations from the entire Western world are among Devon's and Venzke's clients. SITE and IntelCenter deliver their product -- information -- via e-mail, telephone or fax, or directly to clients' PDAs or mobile phones. Almost every statement by Osama bin Laden published on the Internet, to name only one example, is first made public by SITE and IntelCenter. They find the statements in the confusion of Web sites associated with al-Qaida, and within seconds they have sent the first screen shots to their subscribers. It takes the companies only minutes to summarize bin Laden's speeches and within hours, they will have provided full translations, analysis included. Because hardly any news agencies, newspapers or magazines are in a position to obtain or examine this information themselves, the translations often end up being quoted verbatim in the media. They also land on the desks of intelligence analysts in the United States and Europe, providing them with special delivery, albeit secondhand, of bin Laden's words. (SpiegelOnline)
Jihad Site Promotes Soon To Be Released Video On Understanding 9/11
The Path to Understanding 9/11: Coming Soon, bi idhnillaah! Sept. 8 - 14
Why did al-Qaa’idah attack America on September the 11th?
Was it because of personal greed and their hatred for our freedoms?
Was it because they are savages and don’t understand anything else beyond their anger?
Or are they intelligent, rational and religious people that responded as harsh as the United States had oppressed the Muslim world for many years?
Does the media bring to our attention that it was an act of retaliation for the murder of millions of Muslims?
Or does the media tell us that they are the “voices of evil” that kill for the sake of killing?
Is there another perspective to 9/11 than just the American perspective which the world shares due to the globalized village via the media?
Do the average people of the world know the answers to these questions?
This is not an attempt to justify 9/11 or promote it or agree to it, but this is merely an attempt to isolate ourselves from the views of the Media regarding this important day and to really dive deep into the subject unlike the media who is satisfied with their superficial knowledge that is empty of wisdom and musing and full of rhetoric and blindness.
It is an attempt to bring the world into the perspective of those who are responding to extreme oppression after decades. When understanding the motivations, some might even ask, “Why did it take this long?”
We invite you to our 1 week series: “The Path to Understanding 9/11.” In this week, we will post one entry a day, for seven days, regarding how to understand 9/11 the way it was meant to be understood. It is a test of not only the intellectual prowess - as separating emotions from rationale is necessary - to go beyond the words of the media, but also a test of our allegiance and disavowal. For the Country we saw as innocent on that day, were they really innocent or did they successfully shove all of their atrocities in the closet of history from the American public and the world in general and loudly declared war upon the perpetrators? Was there a declaration of war and a great warning by the opposition much before that day? If so, what motivated the declaration?
To understand these questions and more,
Join us to understand 9/11… from September 8 - 14.
Don’t Mess With Mother Nature-Geo-Engineering Likely To Cause More Harm Than Good
Scientists issue warning that technology to beat global warming may backfire-Mark Henderson
Engineering solutions to modify the Earth's environment and climate may be necessary if humanity is to adapt to global warming, a group of influential scientists will say today. Technological fixes such as encouraging cloud formation and increasing the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans have the potential to limit climate change, according to papers published in a special issue of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. The experts, however, also give warning that there is no guarantee that such ingenious schemes will work, and that so-called geo-engineering needs to be assessed properly to ensure that it does not cause more problems than it solves. Professor James Lovelock, the environmental scientist who developed the Gaia hypothesis of the Earth as a self-regulating organism, likened geo-engineering to 19th-century medicine — a tool that might sometimes work, but was generally too primitive to stave off disaster. “Whether or not we use ... geo-engineering, the planet is likely, massively and cruelly, to cull us, in the same merciless way we have eliminated so many species by changing their environment into one where survival is difficult,” he said. “Before we start geo-engineering, we have to raise the following question: are we sufficiently talented to take on what might become the onerous permanent task of keeping the Earth in homeostasis [balance]?” He raised the example of introducing aerosols into the stratosphere to induce a cooling effect. While this might have positive effects, it would not address ocean acidification, a separate problem caused by rising carbon emissions, which would then require another engineering solution. “We have to consider seriously that as with 19th-century medicine, the best option is often kind words and painkillers but otherwise do nothing and let Nature take its course,” Professor Lovelock said. (TimesOnline)
Homeowners Being Bilked By Certain Green Initiatives
Green initiatives are waste of money, experts warn
Homeowners who undertake "green" initiatives to save energy, could be wasting their money and will see little benefit, leading experts warn.
By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Installing solar panels on the roof, which can cost up to £5,000, would take as long as 208 years to pay back the cost. However, owners of a terraced house who installed cavity wall protection would see a return on their investment in as little as three years. The sums have been calculated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, which has published a 'Greener Homes Price Guide'. The guide warns that many homeowners are being duped into making radical changes to their home that will not save them money and will do little to reduce their carbon footprint. The guide is being published to help families save money after all the major energy companies increased their gas prices by up to 35 per cent, leading to customers' paying £1,400 for their annual gas and electricity bills. (Telegraph)
Susan Jacoby, Author Of The Age Of American Unreason Comments On The Web And Its Threat Upon Literacy In America
Reading On The Web Is Not Really Reading-Susan Jacoby
Susan Jacoby laments the intellectual crisis now gripping America and says that the torrent of digital infotainment is threatening basic literacy and news knowledge
One of Senator Barack Obama’s persistent themes, since the drawn-out US presidential campaign began in the snows of 2007, has been the need for parents to turn off the television, put away video games, and spend more time reading to and talking with their children. Although no candidate would be dumb enough to call potential voters dumb, Obama is in fact referring to the dumbing down of American culture over the past three decades — a phenomenon that can be measured by everything from a sharp decline in book and newspaper reading to the mediocre performance of American students on international assessments of proficiency in science and mathematics.
Obama’s approach is notable and novel because he is connecting the dots between the failings of formal education and a more general level of public ignorance, anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism. Obama, the internet-savvy candidate, is making a point which Senator John McCain (who doesn’t even know how to use email) is ill-placed to raise: that Americans are frittering away too much time in the land of digital infotainment. This is not an easy assertion to make — it carries a political risk. Anyone seen as a critic of the public’s intellectual laziness will inevitably be charged with what has become the most powerful pejorative in American culture — elitism.
But it’s a crucial point. The triumph of video over print is eroding the quality of American public life. Since the early days of the republic, it has been an article of faith that expansion of educational opportunity is essential to American democracy. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts delivered a eulogy for John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (who, in one of the more poignant coincidences of US history, both died on 4 July 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence), in which he asserted that the young nation was already distinguished by free inquiry and a ‘diffusion of knowledge through the community, such as has been before altogether unknown and unheard of’. Webster, a future senator and already a famous political orator, went on to declare that the fate of America was ‘inseparably connected, fast bound up, in fortune and by fate, with these great interests. If they fall, we fall with them; if they stand it will be because we have upholden them.’
For anyone looking honestly at the American intellectual landscape today, it is impossible to escape the fear that something has gone badly wrong with ‘diffusion of knowledge throughout the community’ — even though, ironically, the internet offers the most powerful tool ever invented for the spread of education. And everything that has gone wrong has gone particularly wrong among the young. (TheSpectator)