These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 14, 2010.
Thursday, 14 January 2010
Al Qaeda linked to rogue aviation network
Even as Muslims make flying on jetliners more uncomfortable and dangerous (most recently evidenced by the knickerbomber, h/t Mary), they are creating their own fleet of airplanes, carrying G*d-knows-what to and from G*d-knows-where. From Reuters:
TIMBUKTU, Mali (Reuters) – In early 2008, an official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent a report to his superiors detailing what he called "the most significant development in the criminal exploitation of aircraft since 9/11."
The document warned that a growing fleet of rogue jet aircraft was regularly crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean. On one end of the air route, it said, are cocaine-producing areas in the Andes controlled by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. On the other are some of West Africa's most unstable countries.
The report, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, was ignored, and the problem has since escalated into what security officials in several countries describe as a global security threat.
The U.S. official who wrote the report for the Department of Homeland Security said the al Qaeda connection was unclear at the time.
The official is a counter-narcotics aviation expert who asked to remain anonymous as he is not authorized to speak on the record. He said he was dismayed by the lack of attention to the matter since he wrote the report.
"You've got an established terrorist connection on this side of the Atlantic. Now on the Africa side you have the al Qaeda connection and it's extremely disturbing and a little bit mystifying that it's not one of the top priorities of the government," he said.
Since the September 11 attacks, the security system for passenger air traffic has been ratcheted up in the United States and throughout much of the rest of the world, with the latest measures imposed just weeks ago after a failed bomb attempt on a Detroit-bound plane on December 25.
"The bad guys have responded with their own aviation network that is out there everyday flying loads and moving contraband," said the official, "and the government seems to be oblivious to it."
CAIRO – The U.N.'s former nuclear chief has yet to return home to his native Egypt after almost a quarter century monitoring the world's atomic programs, but the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner has already created the biggest political stir in his homeland in years by hinting at a new career in politics.
Mohamed ElBaradei may one day regret plunging into Egypt's politics — where challenges to the regime have been few and swiftly dealt with — but his move has injected fresh hope into the country's stagnant political atmosphere.
Egypt has been ruled for nearly 30 years by Hosni Mubarak, now 81, who appears to be trying to set up a political dynasty by grooming his son to succeed him.
From Canada Press and the Toronto Sun
An alleged member of the so-called Toronto 18 was planning what he called the perfect crime, a bomb plot that would "shut down" Canada and win the endorsement of al-Qaida, an informant testified Wednesday.
Shareef Abdelhaleem, 34, who has pleaded not guilty to participating in a terror group and intending to cause an explosion, rubbed his head as he listened to the informant, a former friend, testify about a plan to leave "blood, glass and debris everywhere."
Abdelhaleem dubbed the attack the battle of Toronto and said a bomb powerful enough to blow up three city blocks was to be detonated outside the Toronto Stock Exchange, Shaher Elsohemy told the court.
"He described it to me as the perfect crime," said Elsohemy, who was paid more than $4 million by the RCMP to be an informant.
"Then he goes on to say this plot will screw (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper, the government and the military. The whole place will be scorched. Canada will be shut down."
Elsohemy, describing how Abdelhaleem predicted his role would land him a 10-year term in a Kingston, Ont., prison.
"He also said Kingston would be full of black Muslims and these guys would consider him (their) leader," said Elsohemy, who added Abdelhaleem thought he would come out of prison at 40 and still be able to have a family.
Abdelhaleem and 17 others were arrested in the summer of 2006 and charged in a plot to wreak havoc and bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange, a CSIS building and an Ontario military base.
Abdelhaleem envisioned total havoc on downtown Toronto streets and across the country, and he thought the attack would rank higher than the London bombing, Elsohemy told the court.
"He described wanting to set off bombs day after day and this will eventually lead to Canada pulling out of Afghanistan."
Abdelhaleem had grand plans of expanding the attacks, if successful in Canada, court heard.
Abdelhaleem wanted to repeat the attacks in three months in the United States, targeting the Sears Tower in Chicago and the United Nations building in New York, Elsohemy said.
But Abdelhaleem acknowledged the challenge in such an attempt, Elsohemy testified.
Of the 18 people who were charged, four have pleaded guilty, a youth was found guilty, seven had their charges dropped or stayed and five others still face a trial in March.
The trial continues tomorrow.
From the Catholic News Agency
The Church of the Most Holy Trinity at the Shrine of Fatima in Portugal was attacked last weekend by vandals who sprayed Islamic graffiti on several statues, including one of Venerable Pope John Paul II.
According to the newspaper La Razon, officials at the shrine said the statues were defaced with the words, “Islam, moon, sun, Muslim and mosque,” which led officials to believe the vandals were linked to the Muslim faith.
Police officers said these kinds of acts “do not occur often” and called the incident “absolutely isolated, not organized or related to any organization.”
Free Geert Wilders: Charges Against Him Widened as Trial Proceeds on January 20th
Hon. Geert Wilders, MP and popular leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands goes on trial on January 20th in Amsterdam. Read our NER interview with him, here. He is being tried on what many believe are trumped up charges of criminalizing hate speech and now racism. All because Wilders has exercised his free speech – criticizing Islam and suggesting a ban on immigration of Muslims. Those charges couldn’t be brought in a US court of law because of our First Amendment guarantees of free speech include the ability to criticize a religion. But not in Holland where a contrived case brought by a cabal of leftists and Dutch Muslims won an Amsterdam Appeals court decision.
What this amounts to is a political trial of Wilders, a highly popular Dutch political figure because of his populist stands including such issues as banning burkas and fining Muslim women who don such Sharia compliant attire in public, as well as banning Muslim immigration to the Netherlands. Make no mistake about it, the trial is a thinly disguised attempt to convict and imprison Wilders on Islamic Sharia compliant charges of blasphemy. If he is convicted, it would likely deny him the ability to form a ruling coalition in the Netherlands should the popular Freedom Party become the leading party in the next general elections scheduled for 2011.
The absurdity of this Amsterdam show trial of Wilders – the equivalent of the infamous Dreyfus trial that roiled France in the late 19th and early 20th Century - was reflected in the actions of the Amsterdam Court yesterday. Radio Netherlands reported, “Geert Wilders hate speech charges widened.”
The charges against far-right MP Geert Wilders have been extended to include inciting hatred towards Moroccans and non-Western ethnic minorities, de Volksrant newspaper reports.
Up to now the Freedom Party leader has been charged with inciting hatred against Muslims through his remarks in the media and his anti-Islam film Fitna. Mr. Wilders has compared the Qur’an to Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and called for it to be banned.
However, the public prosecutor’s office has now decided to widen the charges, based in part on Mr. Wilders response in a 2006 interview when asked what he would do if he came to power in the Netherlands: "The same day the borders would be closed to all non-Western immigrants." Mr. Wilders has also expressed this view in parliament.
The decision to widen the charges is striking because initially the public prosecutor’s office decided that Mr. Wilders had no case to answer. It only went ahead with the prosecution when an Amsterdam court ruled last year that Mr. Wilders should indeed face charges of insulting Muslims as a group and inciting hatred and discrimination towards them.
The lawyers who brought the case against Mr. Wilders have welcomed the public prosecutor’s move. Haroon Raza of anti-racism organization NBK told de Volkskrant he was “extremely satisfied”. NBK argues that Mr. Wilders is not only anti-Islam but also racist. Amsterdam lawyer Gerard Spong described the public prosecutor’s decision as a sign of “deepening insight”. It was he who brought the appeal against the initial conclusion that Mr. Wilders should not be prosecuted.
The public prosecutor’s office has not commented on the reasons behind its decision to widen the charges. A spokesperson told de Volkskrant that the motivation would be explained during the initial hearing in the case, set for 20 January. Objections
Mr. Wilders’ lawyer Bram Moszkowicz set out his objections to the charges in a closed hearing on Wednesday. He argued that there are no grounds to prosecute his client for insulting Muslims as a group.
Mr. Wilders argues that his criticism has always been directed against Islam as a religion, and not against Muslims. He attended the hearing in person although his Mr. Moszkowicz said he did not enter the court by the main entrance due to the death threats which have been made against him.
At the end of the hearing the court threw out Geert Wilders' objections to the charges and the trial will now go ahead as planned next week. Wilders again said he considers the prosecution to be politically motivated, he said there was more justice in North Korea.
The political conspiracy against Wilders cries out for justice – the quick dismissal of the Amsterdam court of these absurdly surrealistic charges.
Here’s how you can put the Dutch government and courts on notice about the travesty of Wilders trial that begins on January 20th. You can send email, letters and faxes to the Embassies and Consular legations in your respective countries expressing your objections to this political show trial and support for dismissal of all charges against Wilders. Here is a link to the email addresses of Dutch Embassies and Consular legations around the world.
"Khamenei has angrily resisted this revolt within the clergy. Several seminaries and residences of these reformist ayatollahs have been attacked by hired mobs working for the regime. Then there’s the case of the Ayatollah Sanei. As I have mentioned, he is one of the most important thinkers in this new movement. But he has, in recent days, been declared unfit to be an ayatollah by the influential Qom-based cleric Ayatollah Yazdi, notorious for his corruption and conservatism. Yazdi’s statement is ominous. Sanei, who has been accepted as an ayatollah for more than twenty years, is now accused of issuing dangerous fatwas. And it’s true, Sanei has declared the value of a woman's life--or diye, in Shia parlance, the sum a murderer must pay to the family of the murdered as punishment--equal to that of a man. And he has argued that girls should not be married off at the age of nine. But there are very, very few precedents for this sort of defrocking."
Two officers accused of stealing classified material from an underground missile launching center at Minot Air Force Base have been allowed to resign rather than face courts-martial, the military said. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley approved the resignation of Capt. Paul Borowiecki and Capt. Javed Abbas. Neither man could be reached for comment. The men, who worked 90 feet underground preparing to launch nuclear missiles, were accused of taking a device that had been used to detect equipment tampering in the launching facility.
The officres working 90 feet undreground, at a nuclear missile launching center, "were accused of taking a device that had been used to detect equipment tampering in the launching facility."
Now why was that, do you suppose? What could they do, if they managed to take that "device that had been used to detect equipment tampering in the launchng facility"?
There are only two possibilities.
The first is that they, or others, wished to tamper with the launching facility, to do something to cause some kind of malfunction, perhaps blowing up on launch, or slight misdirection. Use your imagination.
The second is that they intended to sell -- perhaps even had buyers already approach them -- for such a device that might be able to detect "equipment tampering" in a nuclear missile launching facility.
It is not hard to guess that the interested party in question, for either possibility, would have been, and still would be, ; the Islamic Republic of Iran.
And it's not hard to guess why they were allowed to resign. The American government and military cannot stand any more scrutiny of its laxness, its naivete, its idiocy. It prefers, after many years of debate -- the theft or attempted theft took place in 2005 -- to let the men resign quietly rather than itself face the embarrassment of public attention. Five years of discussion have led to this. Well, let's hope the public pays attention.
What, on the other hand, is hard to guess is what has been going through the minds of our civilian and military leaders who, as late as 2005, were allowing an officer named Javed Abbas to work 90 feet underground at an American nuclear missile launching site.
You try to guess. I can't. It's beyond me.
And I am still trying to think of what words to use, if one were to discover that even today officers or men with names akin to "Javed Abbas" were working in or near major weapons sites, or airplanes, or anything else of that deadly ilk.
Obama Administration Starts To Recognize That The U.N. Is A Problem
UN should be sidelined in future climate talks, says Obama official
American climate change representative Jonathan Pershing, deputy special envoy for climate change with the US State Department, during the opening session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bangkok, Thailand, 28 September 28, 2009. Photograph: Barbara Walton/EPA
America sees a diminished role for the United Nations in trying to stop global warming after the "chaotic" Copenhagen climate change summit, an Obama administration official said today.
Jonathan Pershing, who helped lead talks at Copenhagen, instead sketched out a future path for negotiations dominated by the world's largest polluters such as China, the US, India, Brazil and South Africa, who signed up to a deal in the final hours of the summit. That would represent a realignment of the way the international community has dealt with climate change over the last two decades.
"It is impossible to imagine a global agreement in place that doesn't essentially have a global buy-in. There aren't other institutions beside the UN that have that," Pershing said. "But it is also impossible to imagine a negotiation of enormous complexity where you have a table of 192 countries involved in all the detail."
Pershing said the flaws in the UN process, which demands consensus among the international community, were exposed at Copenhagen. "The meeting itself was at best chaotic," he said, in a talk at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "We met mostly overnight. It seemed like we didn't sleep for two weeks. It seemed a funny way to do things, and it showed."
The lack of confidence in the UN extends to the $30bn (£18.5bn) global fund, which will be mobilised over the next three years to help poor countries adapt to climate change.
"The UN didn't manage the conference that well," Pershing said. "I am not sure that any of us are particularly confident that the UN managing the near-term financing is the right way to go."
Pershing did not exclude the UN from future negotiations. But he repeatedly credited the group of leading economies headed by America for moving forward on the talks, including on finance and developing green technology. He suggested the larger forum offered by the UN was instead important for countries such as Cuba or the small islands which risk annihilation by climate change to air their grievances.
"We are going to have a very very difficult time moving forward and it will be a combination of small and larger processes," he said.
The first test of the accord agreed by America, China, India, South Africa and Brazil arrives on 31 January, the deadline for countries to commit officially to actions to halt global warming. Here, too, Pershing indicated the focus would be narrower in scope than the UN's all-inclusive approach. "We expect there will be significant actions recorded by major countries," he said. "We are not really worried what Chad does. We are not really worried about what Haiti says it is going to do about greenhouse gas emissions. We just hope they recover from the earthquake."
Key groups of developing countries are to meet this month to try to explore ways to get to agree a binding agreement.
As the dust settles on the stormy Danish meeting, environment ministers from the so-called Basic countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – will meet on 24 January in New Delhi. No formal agenda has been set, but observers expect the emerging geopolitical alliance between the four large developing countries who brokered the final "deal" with the US in Denmark will define a common position on emission reductions and climate aid money, and seek ways to convince other countries to sign up to the Copenhagen accord that emerged last month.
Fewer than 30 countries out of the 192 who are signed up to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which organised Copenhagen, have indicated that they will sign. Many are known to be deeply unhappy with the $100bn pledged for climate aid and the decision not to make deeper cuts in emissions.
Under UN laws, consensus is required. There is confusion over the legal standing of the agreement reached in Copenhagen and many countries may not be in a position to sign up by 31 January because they have yet to consult their parliaments.
Meanwhile, Bolivia, one of a handful of poor countries which openly opposed the deal in Copenhagen, has invited countries and non-governmental groups which want a much stronger climate deal to the World Conference of the People on Climate Change.
Pershing said that he had told some of those leaders that there was no prospect of reaching a stronger deal that would limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
The conference, to be held in Cochabamba in Bolivia from 20-22 April, is expected to attract heads of state from the loose alliance of socialist "Alba" countries, including Venezuela and Cuba. Alba, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America countries, was set up to provide an alternative to the US-led free trade area of the Americas.
Bolivia this week urged leaders of the world's indigenous ethnic groups and scientists to come. "The invitation is to heads of state but chiefly to civil society. We think that social movements and non government groups, people not at decision level, have an important role in climate talks," said Maria Souviron, the Bolivian ambassador in London.
The meeting, which is intended to cement ties between the seven Alba countries, is also expected to pursue the idea of an international court for environmental crimes, as well as the radical idea of "mother earth rights". This would give all entities, from man to endangered animal species, an equal right to life.
"Our objective is to save humanity and not just half of humanity," said Morales in a speech at Copenhagen. "We are here to save mother earth. Our objective is to reduce climate change to [under] 1C. [Above this] many islands will disappear and Africa will suffer a holocaust. The real cause of climate change is the capitalist system. If we want to save the earth then we must end that economic model."
THIS year, for the first time, glatt kosher food will be sold at the Super Bowl.
Certainly, faith will prompt some of the fans at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., to line up at one of two carts selling grilled salami sliders and garlicky knoblewurst. But for others, the appeal of a kosher hot dog will have nothing to do with religion...
That's right. They will commit jihad, which means they will quietly and introspectively meditate on how to improve themselves. From AP:
SAN'A, Yemen – A group of prominent Muslim clerics warned Thursday they will call for jihad, or holy war, if the U.S. sends troops to fight al-Qaida in Yemen.
The group of 15 clergymen includes the highly influential Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, whom the U.S. has branded a spiritual mentor of Osama bin-Laden but who is also courted by the Yemeni government for his important backing.
The clerics' warning goes straight to the Yemeni government's dilemma in cooperating with Washington against an al-Qaida offshoot in the country. In doing so, Yemen's weak regime must avoid upsetting al-Zindani and other radical Islamic figures whose support it needs to stay in power.
Actually, it goes straight to the schizophrenic insanity of supporting Muslim governments and relying on them to deal with Islamic violence.
Nine Promises that say it all about our Soviet-style NHS
The Government has lavished unprecedented sums on the NHS but it is still difficult for patients to see the same doctor twice. From the point of view of those working in the service (some 1.6million people), an important result of all this expenditure has been the creation of an increasingly Soviet atmosphere, where fear, lies and a nomenklatura reign.
A friend, who works in a hospital not far from the one in which I worked until my recent retirement from the NHS, sent me a copy of the monthly newspaper published by his NHS trust. I fear to name the trust because those who work there might be suspected of 'treason'.
The newspaper, distributed to thousands of staff whether they want it or not, is in colour. Its production must cost a fair bit. Its model seems to be the Soviet Monthly: happy, smiling workers, everything getting better and better.
The chief executive appears in 11 photographs. This compares with six photographs of doctors, one not named, and none of them appearing twice. This helps to explain why the NHS now employs 400,000 more people than it did ten years ago: after all, a nomenklatura needs its apparatchiks.
One of the doctors photographed is praised for his 40 years of devotion to a particular speciality. What the caption does not mention is that the unit to which he devoted much of his working life has just been closed.
I was reminded of a phrase in the memoirs of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich: 'The celebration of a great cultural event, like the closing of a theatre.'
One of the photos of the chief executive shows him with the winner of the trust's talent competition, a nurse, to whom he presented the £500 first prize. Second prize was £200 and there were several third prizes of £100. The caption does not mention the source of the prize money.
The chief executive was also shown hosting the annual staff awards. 'More than 200 guests attended the event and were treated to a red-carpet arrival, a three-course meal and live music.'
Again, what is not mentioned is who paid for all this. If it was the trust, most taxpayers would regard this as a misuse of public funds.
Two items in the newspaper sound like something from Mao's Cultural Revolution. The first describes Eight Steps To Improving Privacy And Dignity and the second highlights Nine Promises To Patients. The latter was a contribution to National Customer [note, not Patient] Care Week. This, of course, was quite distinct from what is called 'the launch of the Trust's new branding'.
The Nine Promises were paraded on 'giant banners' outside the hospitals. They were made to the public by management, without the consent or knowledge of the staff. One of the promises - 'I will go the extra mile' - amounts to a lie, at least where junior medical staff are concerned. They are not allowed to work more than 48 hours a week.
The Eight Steps To Improving Privacy And Dignity throw a lurid light on recent past practices. For example, one of the steps is that 'patients are assisted with meals where needed'. One might have supposed that helping frail patients to eat was a basic nursing duty. The fact that it is put forward as a new step suggests either that the trust has neglected patients badly, or the management is ignorant of what goes on in its own establishment.
Another step is that 'gloves are used as per infection control guidance'. This is elementary hygiene, not respect for privacy. Yet another step is that 'patients will be called by their preferred name' - which suggests that patients are currently humiliated by being called by their first names, or even by diminutives of their first names.
Patients should routinely be addressed formally until such time as they say 'Call me Bill' or 'Call me Betty'. The question 'How do you wish to be addressed, Mr Smith or Joe?' is not a neutral one: it intimidates people into an informality they don't want.
But we are told: 'Patients support "respect" campaign.' The evidence for this is that a woman called Betty W, aged 88 and not dignified by a title, said she found staff friendly, polite and respectful. Another patient said: 'The staff have always respected my privacy.'
We are not told whether their experiences are representative of patients as a whole and they do not mention the campaign, much less 'support' it. The article is, in effect, a propagandistic lie. The trust for which I worked put out similar propaganda but staff members were too afraid to protest.
The whole country is drowning in this kind of propaganda. Its function is to make the world safe for the looters of the public purse, who have brought about our current crisis at least as much as the bankers, and probably more.
'Hizb ut-Tahrir obsessed with radicalising students’
From The Times At universities across the country, Hizb ut-Tahrir operates freely behind a series of “front groups” holding events covertly and spreading its dangerous message of confrontation and separation. In recent years it has become more sophisticated in how it does this, circumventing attempts to clamp down on its activities.
Literature has been produced specifically for universities, presented in soft and temperate tones without any reference to the Hizb ut-Tahrir, and making it difficult to detect its presence. The aim is simple: to disseminate the party’s ideas to the broadest constituency possible while identifying those who are sympathetic to its message. Once sympathisers are spotted, intense pressure is applied on them to join.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is so committed to finding new recruits at universities that during my time as a member (2001-05) a specific “universities team” was created, which co-ordinated and directed the activity of party activists across Britain.
Not everything is simply about winning new recruits. There are also broader objectives that the party seeks to achieve, too. Scores of foreign students from the Muslim world come to Britain every year and Hizb ut-Tahrir obsesses about trying to radicalise them. It sees their presence as a golden opportunity to project the party’s message back into the Muslim world where it is severely curbed by local governments. Shiraz Maher is a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. He writes about radical Islam for Standpoint magazine,
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali: immigrants should accept Britain’s Christian values
From The Telegraph The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, said the country must never again repeat the multicultural experiment of recent decades.
He also called for an end to the segregation of Muslims in British cities, which he warned provides a breeding ground for extremists.
The bishop made his strongly-worded comments after Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, backed a campaign by the cross-party Balanced Immigration Group to stop Britain’s population reaching 70 million.
Bishop Nazir-Ali, who grew up in Pakistan before joining the Church of England, said in a statement: “Both he and the group are right that every country has limits to the numbers of new arrivals that it can accommodate and the UK, in particular, as a small country cannot take an indefinite number of people who wish to live here.
The question, however, is not simply one of numbers but also of the quality of would-be immigrants. One of the missing features of the mass immigration of the 50s and 60s was any concern for the congruence of such immigration with the values, culture and language of the host country. We must never again allow this to happen.”
“All would-be immigrants should be willing to adapt to living in a context shaped by traditional British values, which have been largely derived from the Judaeo-Christian tradition. . .
“Whilst we can acknowledge the reality and the value of a multi-cultural and multi-faith society, this should not again result in the kind of politically-correct multiculturalism which has led not to engagement and mutual learning between the different communities but to the isolation and segregation which has given extremists the chance to propagate their noxious ideology, especially among the young and impressionable. . . People from Islamic lands, in particular, should not be isolated by drawing a cordon sanitaire around them.”
Here is Bill Whittle's interview with a Pentagon official and an FBI official.
Part 1 is here. A Pentagon official tells how he knew the Jihadis used Islamic scripture to support their actions, but he assumed there was an existing counter argument somewhere in Islam. Those above him want to continue to act as though there is a counter argument and of course Muslim organizations keep up this fantasy. The FBI assumes that Muslim organizations in America are promoting this non-existent counter-argument and therefore bring them into counter-terrorism strategy meetings.
Part 2 is here. The FBI official discusses "influence operations" by these Muslim organizations and their propaganda efforts. "The enemy is advising us how to prosecute this war."
Condell argues that Choudary has done the British public a favour, by alerting us to an Islamic reality that mainstream Muslims - he mentions the Muslim Council of Britain, to which I would add the doubly duplicitous Quilliam Foundation - would rather we didn't know about.
By their words shall ye know them. As well as for the content, this video is interesting for the words - once obscure, but now current in the British press - that Condell uses. These are Dhimmi, Taqiyya and Kuffar. Condell knows his onions:
More On Javed Abbas And Paul Borowiecki And Those Nuclear Missiles
Military officers accused of theft allowed to quit
Two officers accused of stealing stealing classified material from an underground missile launch facility at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota have been allowed to resign rather than face courts-martial, the military said Wednesday.
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley approved the resignation of Capt. Paul Borowiecki in September and Capt. Javed Abbas last month, the military said. Abbas is currently stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., and "will be out of the Air Force in the near future," an Air Force statement said.
Borowiecki has been discharged from the service, and is living in Mesa, Ariz., records show.
Neither Borowiecki nor Abbas could immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. Neither man had a listed telephone number, and Abbas did not immediately respond to a message left for him at the base through an Air Force spokesman.
The Air Force had not named Abbas until Wednesday, the day it released the status of both officers, after months of inquiries by The Associated Press. [Why was that?]
The men were missile combat crew members assigned to the base's 91st Missile Wing. They were among the crew members who work 90 feet underground prepared to launch nuclear missiles.
They were accused of taking classified material in July 2005, rather than destroying it as required when it was no longer in use.
The device was used to detect equipment tampering in the launch facility, said Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. John Thomas.
The Air Force said Borowiecki admitted the theft in May 2008 and returned the device.
A hearing was held in September 2008 to determine whether Borowiecki would face a trial. A supervisor. Capt. David Walbeck, testified at the hearing that Borowiecki wanted the domino-size device as a souvenir because he thought it would be "a cool thing to have." Walbeck also testified that had the technology been compromised, it could have led to "unintended detonation" of a nuclear missile.
The Air Force later downplayed Walbeck's statement, saying the launch device is one of many safeguards that must work together to ensure security.
The Air Force has said Borowiecki told officials that Abbas had lied by saying he destroyed his device. The Air Force refused to confirm whether that device remains missing.
"An investigation determined there was no compromise of the safety or reliability of the system," an Air Force statement said.
Officials said the theft became known when Borowiecki was given a lie-detector test in applying for a job with the government's National Reconnaissance Office. Officials said he answered yes when asked if he had ever stolen classified material.
Borowiecki was charged with dereliction of duty, making false official statements, wrongful appropriation of military property and mishandling of classified items in violation of federal law.
A court-martial had been scheduled in March for Borowiecki but was postponed.
The Air Force said Abbas also had faced military and federal charges, but would not elaborate. The cases were handled by the military separately.
"It was determined that acceptance of these officers' requests for resignation and directing their administrative discharge from the Air Force was an appropriate resolution for this matter," the Air Force said in a statement. "Both individuals have been held accountable for their actions."
The Air Force has said the case led to changes in the procedure for destroying the launch devices after they are no longer in use, and that they are now destroyed at the base under the supervision of two other people with top-secret clearance.