These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 18, 2010.
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Gitmo detainee acquitted of all but 1 charge in NY
By Tom Hays for AP:
NEW YORK - The first Guantanamo detainee to face a civilian trial was acquitted Wednesday of all but one of the hundreds of charges he helped unleash death and destruction on two U.S. embassies in 1998 - a mixed result for what's been viewed as a terror test case.
A federal jury convicted Ahmed Ghailani of one count of conspiracy to destroy U.S. property and acquitted him on more than 280 other counts, including one murder count for each of the 224 people killed in the embassy bombings. The anonymous jurors deliberated over seven days.
Ghailani, 36, rubbed his face, smiled and hugged his lawyers after the jurors filed out of the courtroom.
Prosecutors had branded Ghailani a cold-blooded terrorist. The defense portrayed him as a clueless errand boy, exploited by senior al-Qaida operatives and framed by evidence from contaminated crime scenes.
The trial, at a lower Manhattan courthouse, had been viewed as a test for President Barack Obama's administration's aim of putting other terror detainees - including self-professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - on trial on U.S. soil.
U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday's verdict confirms that the Obama administration's decision to try Gitmo detainees in civilian courts "was a mistake and will not work."
Prosecutors had alleged Ghailani helped an al-Qaida cell buy a truck and components for explosives used in a suicide bombing in his native Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998. The attack in Dar es Salaam and a nearly simultaneous bombing in Nairobi, Kenya, killed 12 Americans [and over 200 Kenyans].
The day before the bombings, Ghailani boarded a one-way flight to Pakistan under an alias, prosecutors said. While on the run, he spent time in Afghanistan as a cook and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and later as a document forger for al-Qaida, authorities said.
He was captured in 2004 in Pakistan and was held by the CIA at a secret overseas camp. In 2006, he was transferred to Guantanamo and held until the decision last year to bring him to New York.
Other witnesses described how Ghailani bought gas tanks used in the truck bomb with cash supplied by the terror group, how the FBI found a blasting cap stashed in his room at a cell hideout and how he lied to family members about his escape, telling them he was going to Yemen to start a new life.
What can one say? A jury of his peers has decided that yes, he purchased components for a truck bomb that destroyed two U.S. embassies, but that he had no idea that this would lead to murder. Ghailani is no "clueless errand boy". The only "clueless" ones are those whose decisions will give him a relatively short prison sentence, followed by his eventual release from prison in a decade or so.
Posted on 11/18/2010 1:07 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Death for Maj. Hassan Recommended by Fort Hood Massacre Military Panel
Maj. Nidal Hasan April, 2010
Maj Nidal Hassan may be facing a death penalty if recommendations of an Article 32 hearing are adopted by the Military Command for prosecution of his Jihad massacre at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. That massacre killed 12 and injured more than 31 persons, some severely.
The Dallas Morning News in a report in this morning's edition notes the basis of the Article 32 Hearing required under the Inform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan should face a capital-murder court-martial for last year's slaughter at Fort Hood, the officer presiding over his pretrial hearing has recommended.Col. James L. Pohl found probable cause to justify 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 charges of attempted premeditated murder against Hasan, officials at Fort Hood confirmed Wednesday.Pohl also found reasonable grounds for a death-penalty trial. In military law, that requires a finding that a crime involves aggravating factors, such as the death of more than one person.The recommendations will initially be considered by a Fort Hood brigade commander, who is also awaiting findings from a board of military mental health experts assigned to examine Hasan's mental state. Ultimately, a general will make the final decision on how Hasan is tried and how he is punished if he is found guilty. Pohl's report followed a nine-day preliminary proceeding known in military law as an Article 32 hearing.During that proceeding, prosecutors called 56 witnesses to describe how Hasan stood near the entrance of a crowded soldier processing building and began firing with a high-powered semi-automatic pistol. More than a dozen witnesses identified him as the gunman. Many said they heard the gunman shout, "Allahu akbar" - an Arabic-language exhortation that means "God is great" - just before unleashing a barrage of bullets.
Hasan's chief defense counsel, John P. Galligan, said he was surprised only that Pohl's recommendations included a finding that Hasan should be tried on capital murder charges. Military law experts said that a court-martial is inevitable. The next legal skirmishes are likely to involve where the case is tried. Galligan has said that Hasan cannot get a fair trial at Fort Hood. If the defense succeeds in getting a change of venue, that would probably mean a trial at another major military installation, such as Fort Lewis in Washington state or Fort Bragg in North Carolina. A panel of 12 officers of Hasan's rank or higher would be chosen to hear the case. If Hasan is found guilty, the panel would consider two possible punishments - life in military prison or execution by injection. A recommendation that a general order a death sentence would require a unanimous panel vote.
We will now see if the Army courts martial can carry out the capital crime charges recommended by the Article 32 Hearing panel and can render an appropriate swift judgment. Doubtless, Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the US will endeavor to intervene via lobbying of the US Department of Justice for evaluation of Maj. Hasan's mental state at the time of his Jihad assault and, failing to secure possible incarceration in a military or civilian mental hospital, may seek to have Hasan tried in a civilian Federal court on the grounds that he cannot obtain a fair trial under the UCMJ. Given the evidence from witnesses in the Article 32 hearing panel's deliberations, we believe that the courts martial should proceed and that an appropriate penalty be rendered up to an including the recommended death by lethal injection. Maj Hasan is paralyzed from his chest down resulting from returned fire of security officers who responded to the Jihad massacre at the Fort Hood deployment processing center.
Posted on 11/18/2010 3:07 AM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Justin Gillis On Sea-Level Rise
Read both Gillis' article, originally published in The New York Times on November 15, about the future rise in sea levels, and its consequences, and the comments on his article -- intelligent and unintelligent (e.g. Comment #5), at www.realclimate.org.
Posted on 11/18/2010 8:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
America 'never will be' at war with Islam, Obama declares in Indonesia
Full text of the speech given by President Obama in Indonesia kept as part of the archieve ofthe Los Angeles Times here. Prefaced by political comment by Andrew Malcolm below.
Although not everyone in Indonesia was happy with the Democrat's visit (see photo below), the address was widely anticipated as a kind of Cairo Address to the Muslim World 2.0. Although the president remembers that trip as just last June, it was actually 17 months ago that he flew to Egypt as part of his ongoing outreach to the Muslim world.
Obama rejected a recent Indian proposal that he visit the Sikh Golden Temple in Amritsar during his long visit to India because, reportedly, he would have to don a head covering, and aides feared that would increase doubts about his Christian faith among Americans, However, Obama then agreed to a Jakarta visit to the Istiqlal Mosque, where First Lady Michelle Obama had to wear a headcovering and both were required to remove their shoes.
Indonesia was Obama's childhood home for several years. More importantly, it is the largest Muslim nation on earth and, as you'll see in his 61 minutes of remarks below, in Obama's eyes is a model nation of pluralism and tolerance that resides warmly in his mind.
He certainly seemed pleased to be back.
Posted on 11/18/2010 5:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Matter Captures Antimatter, Or, Tweedledum Captures Tweedledee
From a story on the capture, for a second, of two dozen atoms of antimatter, by more than two dozen humans who claim themselves to be made of matter and not of antimatter [but do we believe them?] in an expensive edifice by the shores of Lac Leman:
"What is antimatter?
Antimatter, according to team member Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University in Denmark, is the "mirror image of normal matter" - in theory identical but opposite. (Thus, if the universe - human beings included - was made of antimatter, it would look and feel the same.)
Antimatter was believed to have existed at the very beginning of the universe but vanished for unknown reasons. Antimatter has been known and studied by modern science for about the past 75 years. A 1955 experiment at the University of California at Berkeley discovered anti-proton, which led to Emilio Segrè and Owen Chamberlain winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959.
Antihydrogen was first observed at CERN in 1995. Experiments in 2002 showed that it was possible to create enough anti-hydrogen that detailed observation experiments were in theory possible, if the atoms could be trapped."
What do you mean "identical but opposite"?
And what do you mean -- even more -- by insisting that "if the universe -- human beings included -- was made of antimatter, it would look and feel the same"?
Why write such things? What can the layman, or the scientist not in the immediate field, possibly make of such statements? Why should the journalist pretend to understand something, and make others think that they can, and should, comically pretend that they do too?
There's a lot wrong with the popular coverage of science. This is one example.
Posted on 11/18/2010 6:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
A Musical Interlude: Boum (Charles Trenet)
Watch, and listen, here.
And for sing-along, watch,and listen here.
Posted on 11/18/2010 6:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
A. Millar On Appeasement Of Muslim Fanatics
From Hudson NY
Britain Extends the White Flag of Surrender to Islamist Radicals
by A. Millar
November 17, 2010
"If we know anything," former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, once observed "we know that weakness is provocative." Mired in political correctness, Britain's "elites" apparently prefer to think of displays of weakness as "outreach."
Britain's "elites" seem not to notice Islamism, but prefer to believe that if those protesting against Islamism could be silenced, the problem of radical Islam would disappear. It was this mindset that saw parliament introducing a religious hate speech law, aimed at silencing criticism of Islam and Islamism, in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings. Britain's establishment, in other words, has busied itself clearing a very large space in which the Islamists can operate.
Last month, the British coalition government unveiled The Strategic Defense and Security Review [pdf]. The defense budget will be slashed by 8% over the next four years. Britain's flagship HMS Ark Royal, Harrier jump jets, replacement Nimrod spy planes will be axed, as will 42,000 jobs in the armed forces and the Ministry of Defense .
The cuts are so severe that top military officers are said to be considering threatening resignation if the budget cuts go ahead as planned. US Secretary if Stare Hillary Clinton has also aired the US administration's concern over the size of the cuts.
The scrapping of the flagship aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal must surely have caused top navy brass to reflect on the decommissioning of the HMS Intrepid in 1982: only four months after decommissioning had begun, Argentina invaded the British territory of the Falklands Islands. In the ensuing 74-day war, Britain lost more than 250 servicemen, before reclaiming the territory.
Prior to the outbreak of conflict, it was almost universally believed that Britain could not defeat the Argentine forces. The HMS Intrepid had to be hurriedly brought back into commission, and sent to the Falklands to defend the islands.
Since British companies began oil exploration off the islands early in the year, Argentina has once again made clear its intention to bring them under Argentine sovereignty.
There is also the Spanish and British dispute over the British territory of Gibraltar.
Both are potentially serious situations, even if they do not rank very highly in the concerns of the British public. To them, unsurprisingly, terrorism is considered "a Tier One risk," if not the major threat to British security.
In the words of the Strategic Defense and Security Review: "The most significant terrorist threat to the UK and its interests overseas comes from the Al Qaeda senior leadership based in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and their affiliates and supporters."
The risk sounds reassuringly far away.
It was, of course, intended to.
The sense that terrorism is a distant threat, however, is not only created by invoking the hinterlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan and "Al Qaeda senior leadership," but by the complete absence of an acknowledgment of the ideology behind the threat. Nowhere in the report is Islamism, or political Islam, mentioned.
Much of Europe is now openly, if reluctantly, acknowledging the problems wrought by political multiculturalism, not least of all how it has facilitated the rise of Islamic radicalism in European states.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that multiculturalism has "utterly failed." However, Britain's "elite" - the government, media, and various protest groups - still insist on turning a blind eye to the new fascism. Rather than face down those calling for the destruction of Western civilization, their knee-jerk reaction appears to be to appease them.
Those who do speak up against Islamism are smeared. Some prominent anti-Islamist spokespeople claim also to have been threatened with arrest. With Britain's establishment afraid to mention Islamism, Islam's extremist radical adherents seem to have it easy in comparison to anti-Islamists.
Imagine what the group of Islamist radicals, calling itself Muslims Against Crusades, must have thought a few days ago. In Britain (as in Canada, New Zealand, and some other countries) it is a tradition to wear a poppy on November 11, to commemorate "Poppy Day," or what the Americans call "Armistice Day." The emblem comes from the poem In Flanders Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918) of the Canadian army, when Flanders had been the site of continual warfare during World War I, and Lt. McCrae had invoked the poppies that grew wild in its fields to suggest the scale of the fatalities there. The poppy, with its red petals, and black center, is also reminiscent of a wound by a gunshot, and, as such, is worn with a certain mixture of pride and humility.
About 50 members of Muslims Against Crusades [MAC] turned up in central London carrying the black flag of Islam and banners reading "Islam will dominate," "democracy go to Hell," and "Allah is our protector; you have no protector." They had come to burn a large poppy, a couple of feet square, and to disrupt the two minutes of silence for Britain's fallen soldiers.
The members of MAC began by shouting "Allahu Akbar," and continued to chant "British soldiers burn in Hell" throughout the two minutes. Over a loudspeaker, the leader of the organized mob gibed: "your dead are in fire, and our dead are in paradise." The group later posted a video of their disturbance.
Muslims Against Crusades appears to be the latest manifestation of al-Muhajiroun, an organization that has operated under various names - most recently as Islam4UK, headed by Anjem Choudary. It was officially banned in January, although Choudary was interviewed on the BBC Daily Politics show [video] the next day to discuss the ban, free speech, and his interest in transforming the UK into a state under Islamic sharia law. Since the emergence of MAC, Choudary has been careful not to be seen as its leader, making only the occasional cameo appearance, such as at a protest at the US embassy on 9/11, 2010, where MAC burned a US flag [video].
Al-Muhajiroun has been linked to one in seven terror-related convictions [pdf]; and MAC hardly disguises its militant Islamist agenda. Only a few months ago, the organization held a demonstration in central London, in which it called for Islamic sharia law to replace democracy in Britain [video] - "Whether you like it or not," as one of their placards read.
The day after Poppy Day, apparently a Conservative Party councilor, Gareth Compton, in Birmingham was arrested for posting on Twitter what he later described as an "ill-conceived attempt at humor," asking for a Muslim journalist to be stoned: "Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing really." If his "humor" is anything to go by, the councilor is crass, reckless, and stupid, and should, at the very least, be reprimanded by his party; but did his "tweet" sink to the level of a crime?
By contrast, after their demonstration of hatred for British troops, Britain, democracy, and so on, the police escorted members of MAC to the nearest public transport, apparently to ensure their safety. While escorted, the Islamists continued to wave their black flags and banners, apparently without complaint from the police.
The job of the police is to keep the peace and to protect the right of free speech, even of an organization such as MAC. No doubt protecting it leaves many officers with a bad taste in their mouths. The problem is not guaranteeing Islamists the same right to free speech as everyone else. The problem is that everyone else, and most especially those who demonstrate against Islamism, do not -- in flagrant examples of selective application of the law, and violations of equality under the law -- appear to be afforded the same level of protection.
When MAC agitates for sharia law, it is literally agitating for stoning, for the punishment of amputating the hand of thieves, and for the killing of himosexuals, and si forth. If the Caliphate they dream of were ever to be established, this group would be capable of stoning a female Muslim to death.
Arresting a dim-witted Conservative councilor, but not members of MAC, sends a message that can only embolden the UK's unsurprisingly ever-bolder Islamist contingent.
Since his organization was banned, Choudary has ramped up his rhetoric. He has been in contact with the militant Islamist group Revolution Muslim, based in New York; he told Reuters in September that the US was about ten years behind the UK in terms of Islamization, but that he believed that US-based groups were "on the verge of something big;" and he told CNN recently [video] that there are two camps in the world, one headed by president Obama, and the other headed by Osama bin Laden. "I am in the camp of the Muslims," Choudary proclaimed. "At the current time that is headed by Sheikh Osama bin Laden." Choudary insists that he is a peaceful admirer of al-Qaeda, although he cannot say the same for all of the young men he comes into contact with.
Choudary is happy to speak to them, and to represent bin Laden's "camp" in the UK. He is advertized as a speaker at the International Islamic Revival conference to be held in London on November 27. Other listed speakers include, among other oarticipants, Abdullah el-Faisal (accused of inspiring the Christmas day bomber), Omar Bakri Muhammad (probably via video link. Bakri Muhammad was recently sentenced in absentia in the Lebanon on terrorism charges), and Abu Izzadeen (recently released from prison in the UK, where he had been sentenced for terrorist fund raising).
With the British authorities arresting those protesting against Islamism - the ideology of promoting installing a Muslim Caliphate under sharia law, with or without terrorism, in Britain, the US, and around the globe - perhaps they might look at this group with a s little more seriousness. The government acknowledges that terrorism is a "Tier One" threat to the UK. Yet, the general, cultural surrender to political correctness, and to the raising of the black flag of Islam, gives the impression that the nation's "elites" have raised the white one.
Posted on 11/18/2010 10:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
A Cinematic Interlude: The Happiest Days Of Your Life (Alistair Sim)
Posted on 11/18/2010 10:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
‘Right, Right’ Is Wrong? Weel, Michty Me, That Cannae Be Right!
In Glasgow, recently, a Lecturer in English was explaining to an evening class of working men that in English (the language) a double negative makes a positive (cf. "there's nothing you can't do") whereas a double positive does not make a negative and, in fact, usually makes no sense.
This observation was greeted with a silence broken only by a wee Govan man saying, scornfully,
(Mary's original post here
Posted on 11/18/2010 10:41 AM by John M. Joyce
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Abdur Rahman Al Rashid In Passing On The Palestinian People And How They Grew
We all know -- now that we have been forced to find out about -- Jihad, its meaning, and world-without-end significance. And some -- not nearly enough, but that will happen as the results of 40 years of Arab propaganda are steadily reversed and undone -- recognize that the war that is conducted within the countries of Western Europe is no different from the war has been and always will be waged against Israel. Both are local Jihads, and the world-wide Jihad is nothing more than the sum of all the local Jihads.
And some realize that the Arabs, after their defeat in the Six-Day War, had to re-fashion for propaganda purposes their war on Israel, to make it seem to be about the "rights" of a "tiny people" -- and thus were the local Arabs, the shock troops of the Jihad against the Infidel nation-state of Israel, re-presented themselves on the world stage as something they had never been before: as the just-invented "Palestinian people." A little historical amnesia helped. Few remembered that until the Six-Day War, the Arabs had never been called, not by a single Arab diplomat or ruler or other representative, the "Palestinians." The word was always used as an adjective, as in "the 'Palestinian Arabs" as a way of identifying "the Arabs of Palestine."
Zuhair Mohsen, the leader of one "Palestinian" Arab terrorist group, As Saiqa, famouslly said -- not famously enough, to my mind -- to James Dorsey, a Western journalist -- the very term "Palestinian" applied to create the illusion of a new and distinct identity was pure propaganda.
Here is how Zuhair Mohsen put it:
"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.
"For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."
Now comes the well-heeled former editor of the Saudi-financed Asharq Al Awsat, Abdul Rahman Al Rashid, who has become the General Manager of the fAl-Arabiya network, a man famously "moderate" -- a word that must always be treated cautiously, to be used always relatively, never absolutely. And Abdul Rahmanproceeds to echo, and support, what Zuhair Mohsen maintained, and what anyone familiar with Islam, and the history of the area would have known without needing anyone's carelessly confirmatory revelation.
Here, in an article in praise of the monstrous Arafat, is a paragraph worth reading and remembering:
Arafat: The Man We Now Miss
|Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed
|the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. Mr. Al Rashed is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.
If late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was among us today, would the Palestinian situation be as it is? Gaza is in a state of secession, negotiations are at a stalemate, the Palestinian cause has dropped down the list of priorities, coming behind the issues of Iraq, Iran, the Shebaa farms, Darfur and al-Qaeda in Yemen.
What distinguished the late President Arafat was his ability to light a candle and start a fire at the same time, thus giving hope and creating chaos simultaneously. Arafat was not an adventurous man and was often criticized by others, but would always end up with the least amount of losses. This explains his frequent retreats, and refusals to accept settlements, which he had earlier agreed to. It also explains why many had grown accustomed to waiting for his actions, rather than his words. He was long known to be a political chameleon rather than a hot-headed military commander. His pistol was just a symbolic appearance; his most remarkable skill was his power of persuasion and argument.
Yasser Arafat's skills were evident in the Palestinian camp, which was crammed with rival leaderships, some of which were loyal to several foreign parties. Arafat knew how to connect with them, or at least how to pull on their reins from a distance. He was a clever acrobat who had fallen multiple times off the tightrope, without breaking his neck. He was well aware that everyone, even those who were fighting him, would be of use some day. Accordingly he never shut the door on anyone.
One of the late Palestinian leader's most prominent achievements was imposing the idea of Palestine, as a state project, upon the Arabs in 1988. Prior to that, Palestine was just an Anglo-Ottoman legacy, divided amongst Jordan, Egypt and Syria. It was not easy to convince those countries to give up their "Palestinian territories". Nevertheless, Arafat excelled, and maintained good relations with Aman, Cairo and Damascus, albeit with some short-term setbacks.
However, after liberating the Palestinian territories on paper, from their Arab owners, Arafat could not do much against the Israeli occupation. The biggest enemy he had to face was the facts of Arab geography. Nasser, and then Sadat, had both closed off Sinai to the Palestinian resistance. Equally, the Syrian leadership tightened its closure of the Golan Heights, whereas Jordan expelled all members of the Palestinian resistance, after bloody clashes, and their efforts to target the Jordanian regime.
Afterwards, everyone agreed to leave one open channel for the Palestinian resistance, namely Lebanon, for it was considered to be a soft state. The Lebanese had no choice but to incorporate the Palestinian resistance into their local conflicts. The resistance participated in clashes between Sunnis and Christians, Sunnis and Syrians, Syrians and Christians, and finally Sunnis and Shiites. Eventually, Israel expelled Arafat from Lebanon to Tunisia, on a journey that was thought to be a final farewell.
By creating a secret Palestinian negotiating team as a replacement for Arafat, the U.S. hoped it would lure agents away from Yasser Arafat, who had taken up residence in al-Hammam district in Tunis. Surprisingly, Arafat was in on everything that the U.S. was planning. He knew of the conspiracy that was being organized but was waiting for the right time to play his hand. Arafat had no desire to compete with Hanan Ashrawi, and Abdul Shafi, in the dangerous negotiating game.
The Palestinian negotiators served and paved the way for him. They took a risk and entered into negotiations. Yasser Arafat felt that the Arabs and the Palestinians would not object if he insisted on completing his mission, thus he returned to Palestine.
Executing such political manoeuvres at that time was far more dangerous than doing so today. The Arab regimes in control at the time were far more severe. For example, Saddam Hussein had equipped himself with dangerous people, such as Abu Nidal, whom he had invited to Baghdad, to take on the task of killing Yasser Arafat's men.
What really exhausted the late Palestinian president was not Israel, but rather his Arab brothers. Most of the dangers faced by Arafat came from rival Arab countries, with conflicting interests. For example, if he shook hands with one Arab leader, he would be considered an enemy in the eyes of another, and so on and so forth. Yet Arafat did not hesitate to participate in this game of conflicting interests, out of a belief that it was the only means to protect Palestinian interests.
Today we can't say that President Mahmoud Abbas is less competent, but he is definitely playing the game in a different style. Had Arafat been present today, maybe Hamas wouldn't have led such a smooth and comfortable existence in Gaza. Arafat would have protested, and would have been a constant thorn in their side. Yet today, Hamas is suffocating President Abbas. With regards to the major cause, Abbas, the apprentice of Arafat, negotiates without taking risks, leaving the final settlement issue to those who would succeed him.
Posted on 11/18/2010 11:48 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Cause of crash: pilot disorientation
From the wikpedia article about Garuda Indonesia Flight 152:
Garuda Indonesia Flight 152 (GA152, GIA152) was a scheduled domestic Indonesian passenger flight from Jakarta to Medan Sumatra operated by state owned flag carrier Garuda Indonesia. On September 26, 1997, the Airbus A300 flying this route, registered PK-GAI, crashed into woodlands 18 miles from Medan in low visibility. All 234 passengers and crew were killed in the disaster. The crash site was at an altitude of 3,000 feet (915 m) above sea level, near the village of Pancur Batu, Desa Buah Nabar.
It remains the deadliest single-aircraft disaster in Indonesian history, and the deadliest aviation accident and incident in 1997. It was the fourth highest death toll of any aviation accident involving an Airbus A300 after the crash of American Airlines Flight 587.
The cause of the crash, according to the official report of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), were:
- The aircraft turned left instead of right as instructed by the ATC at 06:30:04.
- The aircraft descended below the assigned altitude of 2,000 ft and thereafter struck treetops at 1550 ft above mean sea level.
According to data gathered from the plane's cockpit voice recorder, the phrase "Aaaah! Allahu Akbar!" ("God Is Great!") were the last words said by the pilot before the crash.
Posted on 11/18/2010 11:58 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Stakelbeck on Terror: The Iran/Venezuela Axis
The latest episode of the Stakelbeck on Terror show is a special 30-minute expose of the growing Iran/Venezuela axis in our hemisphere.
Watch as former high-ranking State Department official Roger Noriega and leading Iran expert Ilan Berman provide exclusive evidence that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is providing heavy assistance to Iran on virtually every level: militarily, economically and in the nuclear realm.
We reveal how Iran is mining for uranium in Venezuela. We also feature never-before seen-photos that show how Venezuela is working closely with Iran's terrorist proxy, Hezbollah.
And we analyze how Hugo Chavez may be working on a nuclear weapons program of his own-in our backyard-as the U.S. government fails to respond.
Posted on 11/18/2010 12:51 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Europe Coming To Its Senses About Islam; American State Department Doesn't Approve
But because contempt for America is widespread in Europe, at least let that sentiment -- so often unpleasant -- now be put in the service of a good cause. Let contempt for America lead to contempt for American statecraft, beginning with the waste in Iraq and Afghanistan (based on a refusal to grasp the meaning, and menace, of Islam),and let the resentment felt at the American arrogance in presuming to lecture Europeans about how they should deal with this most serious threat to their continued existence -- and that invoking of an irrelevant "religious freedom" when Islam is not only, not even mainly, a "religion" in the Western understanding -- make it possible for Europeans of an anti-American bent now to express a well-justified fear of, and hostility towards, Islam, Islam, Islam.
Here's the appalling story:
Clinton critical of religious freedom in Europe
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized Wednesday the state of religious freedom in Europe, as Washington highlighted policies and attitudes toward Muslim veils and Islam as a whole.
"Several European countries have placed harsh restrictions on religious expression," Clinton said, without elaborating as she unveiled the State Department's report on international religious freedom for the last year.
Her assistant secretary for human rights, Michael Posner, cited France's ban on wearing the niqab and other face coverings in public places and a Swiss motion passed last year that bans building new minarets.
Both measures have been criticized as intolerant moves stigmatizing Europe's growing Muslim population.
Posner acknowledged "growing sensitivity and tension in Europe" over Islam.
"What we are urging our European friends to do is to take every measure to try to alleviate that tension," he added.
The different attitudes toward Muslims in Europe and the United States are the source of frequent tensions and misunderstandings between both sides of the Atlantic.
"We have gone to court in the United States to enforce the right of Muslim women and girls to wear a burqa, and on the streets, in schools, et cetera," said Posner.
"That's our position. It's a position we articulate when we talk to our European friends."
France's law banning veils -- passed last month -- was considered an especially controversial move in a country with Europe's biggest Muslim population, estimated at nearly six million. The Netherlands is expected to follow suit.
Clinton defined religious freedom as the ability for people to freely practice their faith, raise their children within those traditions, publish religious texts without censorship and to be able to either change religion or practice none.
She noted strong US opposition to any legislation condemning religious libel because of freedom of expression concerns.
The State Department's annual report -- covering a period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 -- found that respect for religious freedom deteriorated in Afghanistan and Iran while China and Indonesia earned mixed scorecards.
Posted on 11/18/2010 7:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
A Musical Interlude: If I Had You (Rudy Vallee)
Posted on 11/18/2010 8:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
In Afghanistan, The Squandering And Senseless Policy Will Apparently Continue, Because No One Can Stop To Study Islam
Pentagon says 2014 Afghan deadline "aspirational"
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Hamid Karzai's target to take the lead from NATO in securing Afghanistan by the end of 2014 is only "aspirational" and may not be possible everywhere in the country, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The 2014 target is expected to be a top agenda item at a NATO summit in Lisbon this week, where world leaders including President Barack Obama will lay the plans for their troops' eventual exit from the unpopular war.
Karzai has said he wants the Afghan army and police to take control of the country by 2014, a target Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have called realistic.
"I would emphasize two things here: Number one, it is the end of 2014, so effectively, it's by 2015," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.
"Although the hope is, the goal is, to have Afghan security forces in the lead over the preponderance of the country by then, it does not necessarily mean that ... everywhere in the country they will necessarily be in the lead," he added.
Mark Sedwill, the top NATO civilian representative in Afghanistan, said earlier this week that the transition process may run into 2015 and beyond, and that after foreign troops step down from combat roles the country could see "eye-watering levels of violence".
Analysts have interpreted the NATO comments as an attempt to soften the timeline while sticking to a more appealing message that U.S. and NATO forces are preparing for an eventual exit after more than nine years of war.
Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were overthrown in late 2001, with record casualties on all sides of the conflict, and the insurgency spreading to previously peaceful northern and western parts of the country.
The Taliban, who some analysts say may be heartened by a deadline for the departure of foreign troops, have said they aim to continue to step up their military campaigns.
"Basically we have no expectation that (foreign troops) will leave without any pressure," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location.
"They should learn from our history, but it seems they do not. Whatever strategy or timetable they adopt, it will not have an impact on our pressure."
Karzai, already embroiled in a dispute with NATO's commander about a recent criticism of the visibility and intensity of foreign forces' operations, declined direct comment on Sedwill's recent remarks.
His spokesman said that the president expected the summit to focus on transition, and would underline the need for Afghan forces to play a more high-profile role in operations.
Posted on 11/18/2010 10:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Into Each Life, Apparently, A Little Avoidance Of Reality Must Fall
As the danger of Islam is derided by so many of those on the left. so is the danger of Global Climate Disruption derided by so many on the right. The symmetrical distribution fascinates. For many apparently possess a limited store of common sense and comprehension, and when they choose to use it up on Topic A they have little left over to help them deal with Topic B.
Here's an article in Le Monde on the appeal of climate "skepticism" for so many deemed to be on the right:
Les climatosceptiques "se recrutent plutôt à droite"
pour Le Monde.fr | 18.11.10
Dans un chat sur LeMonde.fr, Jérôme Fourquet, directeur adjoint du département opinion de l'IFOP, explique que l'âge et l'orientation politique l'emportent sur le niveau socioculturel dans les clivages sur les questions climatiques. - Guillaume : Que veut dire climatosceptiques ?
Jérôme Fourquet : On entend par ce terme les personnes qui remettent en cause ou nuancent fortement l'idée selon laquelle un phénomène de réchauffement climatique serait aujourd'hui à l'œuvre, et dont la cause serait liée aux activités humaines, notamment par l'effet des émissions de CO2.
Lud : Quel pourcentage de climatosceptiques y a-t-il en France ?
Nous avons constaté, dans notre enquête publiée aujourd'hui dans Le Monde, qu'environ un quart des Français adhéraient à cette thèse, et donc doutaient de l'impact du comportement humain sur le réchauffement climatique.
Poseidon : Pouvez-vous tracer le portrait-robot, s'il existe, du climatosceptique ?
Les climatosceptiques se recrutent d'abord dans les tranches d'âge les plus âgées (plus de 65 ans). Il s'agit plus souvent d'hommes que de femmes, et on constate également une sur-représentation dans l'électorat de droite.
Adrien : Pourquoi les personnes âgées sont-elles moins sensibles que les plus jeunes sur la question du réchauffement climatique ?
Je pense qu'on touche ici au rapport de l'homme avec la nature. Les générations les plus âgées ont grandi durant les "trente glorieuses" et demeurent, pour beaucoup, imprégnées de certaines valeurs mettant en avant le mythe prométhéen de la capacité de l'homme à maîtriser la nature.
Ce sont également des générations où l'idéologie productiviste et l'attachement à la société de consommation sont très importants.
Par ailleurs, reconnaître l'impact de l'activité humaine, au cours des dernières décennies, sur le réchauffement climatique est plus dur pour ces générations, qui peuvent se sentir "coupables" alors que cette culpabilité est moins forte dans les jeunes générations, dont la "responsabilité" est moins évidente.
Lucien : Comment se placent les thèses climatosceptiques par rapport aux autres craintes (terrorisme, chômage, etc.) ?
On a mesuré non pas le climatoscepticisme par rapport à d'autres menaces, mais le réchauffement climatique. Et ce thème se place dans la hiérarchie des craintes des Français assez loin derrière la crise économique et la menace terroriste.
Pour autant, quand on s'intéresse uniquement aux menaces environnementales, la question du réchauffement climatique arrive en tête des préoccupations.
Guest : A-t-on des preuves avérées de lien entre climatosceptique et lobbyiste énergétique ?
Il m'est difficile de répondre précisément sur ce sujet. Néanmoins, on observe, dans notre enquête, que les thèses climatosceptiques sont beaucoup plus répandues et en forte progression aux Etats-Unis qu'en France. Or on sait qu'aux Etats-Unis, d'importants lobbies et groupes énergétiques sont engagés dans une campagne visant à remettre en cause le thème du réchauffement climatique.
Pierre : Si 25 % sont climatosceptiques, cela veut-il dire que 75 % adhèrent à la thèse de la responsabilité des hommes dans le réchauffement ?
Tout à fait. On a effectivement 74 % des Français qui disent que l'augmentation de la température observée depuis un siècle est "avant tout due aux effets de l'activité humaine". A titre de comparaison, cette proportion n'est que de 50 % aux Etats-Unis.
Nol : Voit-on une évolution de ce chiffre d'un quart de Français concernés ? Y a-t-il corrélation (perverse) entre matraquages médiatique et augmentations des sceptiques ?
Nous n'avons pas à proprement parler de points de comparaison sur cette question précise. On constate néanmoins que par rapport à 2008, le niveau d'inquiétude sur le réchauffement climatique a connu une baisse sensible. Nous sommes aujourd'hui 41 % à estimer que c'est la menace environnementale la plus grave, contre 53 % il y a deux ans.
Gérard D. : La manière d'appréhender le débat sur le réchauffement climatique a-t-elle un rapport avec le niveau socioculturel ?
C'est l'une des surprises de notre sondage : les clivages sur la question du réchauffement climatique se font d'abord sur un critère d'âge, puis d'orientation politique, et très peu en fonction du niveau social ou du niveau de diplôme.
En d'autres termes, il y aura plus d'écart entre un jeune cadre et son père, lui-même cadre, qu'entre le jeune cadre et un jeune ouvrier sur la question du réchauffement climatique.
Pierre : N'est-il pas paradoxal que sur une question scientifique de cet ordre, le niveau d'étude soit si peu discriminant ? Quelle est votre interprétation ?
Effectivement, ce résultat ne semble pas évident à première vue. Il peut s'expliquer par le fait que, d'une part, tous les diplômés n'ont pas forcément une culture scientifique très développée, d'autre part, par le fait que les manifestations du réchauffement climatique correspondent à des phénomènes et qui peuvent avoir un très fort impact dans l'opinion quel que soit le niveau de diplôme, qui sont donc facilement appréhendables par le plus grand nombre. Je veux parler, par exemple, de la fonte des neiges des glaciers ou des tempêtes et inondations plus violentes que par le passé.
Camille : Quelle est l'influence des climatosceptiques des Etats-Unis ? Sont-ils particulièrement puissants ?
L'étude fait ressortir de vraies différences d'appréciation sur le sujet de part et d'autre de l'Atlantique. Les thèses climatosceptiques semblent nettement plus répandues aux Etats-Unis qu'en France.
On peut y voir l'influence de campagnes actives menées par les climatosceptiques, mais peut-être, également, un meilleur accueil réservé à ces thèses dans la société américaine, très attachée à son mode de vie et de consommation aujourd'hui très critiqué ailleurs dans le monde.
Arturo : La France est-elle spécifique en matière de climatoscepticisme ? Les "Claude Allègre" ont-ils bonne presse en Europe ? L'opinion est-elle aussi tranchée qu'en France (66%) ?
Je serais tenté de dire que la France présente une certaine spécificité dans le sens où l'adhésion à l'idée du réchauffement climatique est plus forte que dans d'autres pays européens.
En d'autres termes, les climatosceptiques ont apparemment moins d'influence en France que dans d'autres pays. Une enquête réalisée par l'IFOP pour Le Monde à la veille du sommet de Copenhague dans plusieurs pays avait montré que c'était en France que la menace climatique était la mieux perçue.
Marie : Ne donne-t-on pas aux climatosceptiques, par un souci de démocratie mal conceptualisé, une part trop grande, en particulier dans les médias ?
Quand on interroge les Français sur la gravité du réchauffement climatique telle qu'elle est décrite dans les médias, une majorité (46 %) estime qu'elle est plutôt réaliste, et 14 % déclarent même qu'elle est sous-estimée. On peut donc en conclure que nos concitoyens estiment que la menace climatique est correctement traitée dans les médias et que la part accordée à une vision moins catastrophiste n'est pas très importante.
Raphael : Est-il vraiment sérieux de mesurer l'opinion plutôt que les faits ? J'ai l'impression que l'opinion générale est plus forte que les faits en eux-mêmes.
Comme dit l'adage, la perception de la réalité n'est pas la réalité. Pour autant, il nous semble utile et intéressant de pouvoir connaître le ressenti et la perception de nos concitoyens sur ce débat de société, dont les répercussions vont engager des choix politiques importants.
Arnaud : Le fait d'utiliser le terme de "climatosceptiques" présentant ces gens comme "ayant forcément tort" n'influe-t-il pas sur la mesure d'opinion "êtes-vous climato-sceptique ou êtes-vous normal ?"
Effectivement, en matière de sondage, les mots ont leur importance. C'est pour cela que, comme vous le soulignez, nous n'avons pas utilisé, dans le questionnaire, explicitement le terme de "climatosceptique", qui peut être connoté.
L'estimation du poids de ce courant de pensée a été faite à partir de questions qui ont été posées de manière, on l'espère, neutre et équilibrée.
Quentin : Comment expliquez-vous qu'une personne comme Claude Allègre reçoive tant de crédit dans les médias alors qu'il représente une minorité dans le monde scientifique (ceux qui réfutent la mise en cause de l'homme) ?
69 % des Français nous disent qu'ils ont déjà entendu parler de la remise en cause de la réalité et de la gravité du réchauffement climatique par certaines personnalités politiques et scientifiques. Ce chiffre montre donc qu'effectivement l'audience de ces thèses a été importante.
Néanmoins, seules 40 % des personnes ayant entendu parler de ces thèses se disent convaincues.
Arnaud : Le terme "climatosceptique" regroupe deux opinions très différentes : ceux qui réfutent la thèse d'un réchauffement et ceux qui l'acceptent mais ne voient pas d'influence de l'homme dessus. Ne faudrait-il pas traiter différemment ces deux opinions dans les études statistiques ?
Il se trouve qu'on enregistre, dans notre enquête, à peu près la même proportion de personnes à considérer soit que l'activité humaine est à l'origine du réchauffement climatique, soit que ce phénomène est réel et grave. On a donc une certaine convergence entre ces deux opinions qui, vous avez raison, ne sont pourtant pas tout à fait identiques.
Vincent : Quel est le poids des climatosceptiques sur le plan politique ? Sont-ils sur-représentés ou sous-représentés, par exemple, dans l'hémicycle ou aux autres postes de pouvoir ?
De mon point de vue, j'ai plutôt l'impression qu'il existe aujourd'hui, dans la classe politique, un certain consensus sur la réalité du réchauffement climatique. Certaines personnalités apparaissent plus critiques, mais me semblent plutôt isolées et minoritaires. En termes de positionnement, elles se recrutent plutôt à droite, à l'instar de ce qu'on constate dans notre enquête, où les sympathisants de l'UMP sont plus sceptiques que ceux de gauche sur ce sujet du réchauffement climatique.
Calamar dubitatif : Pourquoi n'y-a-t-il pas de prise de position officielle du pouvoir en place sur cette question ?
Je pense qu'une initiative politique comme celle du Grenelle de l'environnement peut s'assimiler à une prise de position officielle des plus hautes instances de l'Etat sur la réalité du phénomène.
On se souvient également de la forte implication du gouvernement dans la préparation du sommet de Copenhague. Il me semble donc que le "politique" en France a clairement choisi son camp dans ce débat.
Vincent : N'est-il pas du rôle du ministère de l'écologie de communiquer des faits au citoyens ? Surtout que nous avons pas mal d'éléments officiel maintenant.
Si la réalité du réchauffement climatique semble assez partagée dans notre pays, il n'en demeure pas moins que certaines catégories de la population restent plus interrogatives. Il conviendra donc, pour la nouvelle ministre de l'environnement, de communiquer peut-être et d'abord en direction de ces publics.
DkR : Vous dressez un portrait type du climato-sceptique dans une réponse plus haut. Sait-on quels sont les arguments principaux en faveur du climato-scepticisme qui sont les plus reconnus par ce portrait type ?
Nous n'avons pas posé de questions spécifiques sur ce point. On peut néanmoins faire l'hypothèse que c'est à la fois l'impact humain sur le phénomène qui est contesté par ce public, mais aussi la réalité même du processus de réchauffement qui est minorée ou niée par ces sceptiques.
Guest : Quel peut bien être l'intérêt d'un tel débat sur le climatoscepticisme ?
Cette interrogation et la réalisation de ce sondage ont été motivées par le souhait de pouvoir mesurer l'impact des prises de position de personnalités très connues, comme M. Allègre en France, mais aussi de toute la polémique qu'il y a eu autour du "Climategate".
Réaliser cette enquête aujourd'hui prend également son sens vis-à-vis de l'agenda politique. Nous avons une nouvelle ministre de l'environnement, et celle-ci doit faire face à un mouvement d'érosion ou de lassitude, décelable dans d'autres enquêtes, sur la préoccupation environnementale.
Le "greenwashing" qui a envahi les médias a contribué à cette saturation ou démobilisation partielle de l'opinion sur la question environnementale. Dans ce contexte, il nous paraissait intéressant de disposer d'un état des lieux de l'opinion sur l'adhésion aux thèses des climatosceptiques.
Posted on 11/18/2010 11:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Turkey Now Undermining And Weakening NATO From Within
Wall Street Journal
|NATO's Turkey Problem
, November 18, 2010
The quarrel between Ankara and NATO over the proposed missile-defense initiative suggests that Turkey is becoming the Alliance's "opt-out" member in operations in Muslim countries. The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) has so far refused to host the missile shield because it is directed against potential threats from two fellow Muslim countries -- Syria and Iran. The AKP considers itself the defender of a politically defined "Islamic civilization" and has recently moved closer to Damascus and Tehran.
Having already provoked a crisis with Washington when it voted against Iran sanctions at the United Nations Security Council in June, the AKP will probably want to avoid fresh troubles with the U.S. Public perception of American support for the AKP will also help the party at next year's elections. So there is a good chance that the AKP will eventually accept the missile-defense shield at NATO's summit in Lisbon this weekend. Expect Turkey's governing party though to drag its feet before implementing any agreement. Moreover, according to media reports, it might demand a high price for its approval. Most importantly, Ankara might insist that the defense shield's radar information will not be shared with third countries -- read: Israel.
Whatever the ultimate outcome, for the first time since joining NATO in 1952, Turkey has challenged an Alliance initiative. And in doing so, the AKP is wearing a politicized religious identity and ideology on its sleeve. It has already signaled a future rift with NATO over Iran and Syria by removing these two countries from its "Red Book," Turkey's official policy paper defining foreign security threats. Given that Turkey is the only NATO member bordering Iran and Syria, viewed by the U.S. as ballistic missile threats to NATO, this is a troubling strategic shift.
Under the AKP, Ankara will be the enfant noir of NATO. In the same way Greece opted out of and blocked NATO operations against criminal regimes in the Western Balkans, citing its "affinity with its Orthodox brothers," the AKP will use the "Islamic civilization" excuse to abstain from or hinder NATO operations in the "Muslim world."
The AKP's objection to the appointment of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO secretary-general last year was a harbinger of troubles to come. Ankara objected to Mr. Rasmussen's appointment because of the way he "handled the cartoon crisis," demonstrating the party's Islamic weltanschauung.
For the AKP's brand of Islamism, however, respect is a one-way street. While others must respect Islamists, the latter are free to say whatever they want. In February 2009, for example, two months before the AKP's objection to Mr. Rasmussen over the Muhammad cartoons, Istanbul's AKP municipal government hosted an anti-Western and anti-Semitic cartoon exhibit in the city's central Taksim metro station.
When the AKP, rooted in Turkey's anti-Western and anti-democratic Islamist opposition, came to power in 2002, it seemed to show little interest in turning NATO into an ideological forum or in tinkering with the pro-Western orientation of Turkish foreign policy. But this seemed to have been only a tactical delay.
The AKP first went after pro-Western actors at home to prepare for the policy change abroad. The governing party has abused coup allegations to put the military in its barracks or behind bars, and its opponents, including prominent secular journalists and scholars, in jail. What's left of the independent and pro-Western media receive daily calls from the prime minister's office, prodding them to adjust their coverage in favor of the governing party, lest they face punitive fines.
Having consolidated its domestic position, the AKP began in 2005 to pursue also a new foreign policy, dividing the world along religious lines and rising to the defense of criminal regimes and Islamists.
As NATO membership provides Turkey with crucial technology and political clout, it is unlikely that the AKP is interested in ending the country's decades-old commitment to the Alliance. But particularly if the 2011 elections allow it to cement its rule, the AKP will increasingly use its NATO membership to undermine operations in the Muslim world and to defend its Manichean view of global politics.
Posted on 11/18/2010 11:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
The Return Of Elmo Tanner: Heartaches
Posted on 11/18/2010 11:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Sydney, Australia: Burqa Babe Gets 6 Months Jail for False Complaint
From Australian Associated Press, with a few extra details from the ABC.
She's been released on bail, and is appealing the sentence, but here's hoping.
First, the AAP version.
'Woman jailed for false complaint'.
'A Muslim woman who accused a New South Wales police officer of forcibly removing her face veil has been sentenced to six months' jail.
'Carnita Matthews, 46, of Woodbine in Sydney's south, had in August pleaded not guilty to one charge of knowingly making a false complaint relating to events in June.
'But in Campbelltown Local Court today, Magistrate Robert Rabbidge said the "evidence was overwhelming" that Matthews had submitted a false declaration to police.
"There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind beyond a reasonable doubt that she knew that the complaint she was making was false", he said in sentencing Matthews.
'The mother of seven was stopped in June by a police officer at Woodbine for a random breath test. She later filed a police complaint alleging the officer who pulled her over had tried to pull off her hijab, which concealed her entire face except for her eyes.
'The court was told that after being issued an infringement notice for not properly displaying her P-plates, the 46-year-old branded the officer "a racist" and claimed he only booked her because of what she was wearing. "I've got my P-plates on my car...there was nothing wrong with how they were displayed," Ms Matthews said on the video. "You look at me and see me wearing this and you couldn't handle it. All cops are racist."
'The court heard that Ms Matthews then drove to Campbelltown police station to complain that she was unfairly treated by the officer.
'Giving evidence yesterday, the station officer who took the complaint said he had told Ms Matthews the officer had been right to ask for identification. In a statement read to the court, Sergeant Paul Kearney said he told her: "I'm looking at you and all I can see is two eyes".
'However, the court was told that an officer who three days later accepted a statutory declaration from a burqa-clad woman he assumed to be Ms Matthews failed to check her identification. (Now that was an omission. Memo to all non-Muslim police dealing with Muslims; never, never, never take anything they say for granted. Cross-check everything. Check their ID, and double check. - CM).
'Ms Matthews' lawyer, Stephen Hopper, said there was no way for police to prove that his client was the one who signed the statutory declaration at Campbelltown police station on June 10.
(Really? Has a forensic handwriting expert had a look at the signature on the declaration, and compared it to Ms Matthews' handwriting in samples dated from before Ms Matthews' encounter with the police officer? And in any case: if indeed - which I personally do not believe, I think Ms Matthews is telling taradiddles - another woman, in a burqa, did front up at Campbelltown police station claiming to be Ms Matthews, and made false accusations in a stat dec against the very same police officer to whom Ms Matthews had taken a dislike, then that wouldn't say to me that Ms Matthews was innocent. It would say, rather, that there was malicious collusion of some kind between Ms Matthews and somebody else in the Muslim 'community' . And if that were the case, then two lying burqa babes would be going to jail for six months, not one. - CM).
'Mr Hooper said that meant Ms Matthews should not have been charged with the offence of making a false complaint to police.
And now for the bleached-of-any-reference-to-Islam ABC version, court reporter Jamelle Wells reporting, which nevertheless contains a little more of what the magistrate had to say.
'Hijab [sic: it should be burqa or niqab - CM] woman jailed for false statement'.
'A Sydney woman (sic: note that whereas the AAP identified her at the outset as 'a Muslim woman', the ABC, rather more squeamish, merely describes her as 'a Sydney woman' - CM) is appealing against a jail sentence for making a false complaint about a police officer.
'Carnita Matthews from Woodbine in Sydney's south-west made a complaint to Campbelltown police after she was pulled over for a random breath test in June. She had been given an infringement notice for not properly displaying her P-plates.
'But Matthews said the officer was racist and only booked her because of what she was wearing. She later claimed the officer had tried to remove her veil, which concealed her entire face, except for her eyes.
'The 46-year-old has been found guilty of 'making a false complaint to police'.
(And now we find out what the magistrate thought of her, after hearing and viewing all the evidence, including the policeman's video of the original encounter between the two - CM).
'In giving her a six-month jail sentence, a magistrate described her actions as "deliberate and malicious".
(I should say they were! - CM).
'Matthews has been granted bail and is appealing against the conviction and sentence.'
(I hope that in the appeals court she encounters just such another hard-headed judge as she has already encountered; someone who sees right through her lies and who will show no sympathy whatever for her well-rehearsed pantomime of victimhood - CM).
Posted on 11/18/2010 11:53 PM by Christina McIntosh