Ex-CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed gets “rocky” Jacksonville City Council approval
After three tumultuous weeks, the Jacksonville City Council voted 13 to 6 to confirm Parvez Ahmed, ex- CAIR national chairman as an unpaid member of the City Human Rights Commission. Ahmed had been nominated by Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, subject to council confirmation. Ahmed was opposed by a coalition of grass roots activists led by Randy McDaniels, Jacksonville ACT! For America chapter leader. Watch this News4Jax.com video of a rally organized by McDaniels that occurred last Friday during which an ADL letter is shown opposing Ahmed’s appointment because of his support for designated foreign terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.
The issue of Ahmed’s appointment went far beyond the local matter and gathered attention from the anti-Jihad blogging community and advocacy groups like the ADL, Florida Security Council, Former Muslims United, Faith Freedom International and the Center for Security Policy. Even state politicians of note weighed in on the controversial appointment. The major issues in the campaign against the Ahmed confirmation were CAIR’s Muslim Brotherhood background; its connections to terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah; Ahmed’s defense of convicted felon Sami- Al Arian; RICO and breach of fiduciary interest legal matters brought on behalf of Muslim Americans defrauded by a CAIR civil rights manager, Morris Days; Parvez and the CAIR Jacksonville chapter’s failure to abjure death Fatwas against former Muslims; and support for Sharia law in America.
Ahmed and many CAIR officers resigned in 2008, possibly because of the fraud allegations and the Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation trial and convictions that held CAIR and several other Muslim Brotherhood Fronts as un-indicted co-conspirators for funneling $12 million dollars in charitable funds to designated foreign terrorist group, Hamas. The anti-Ahmed campaign took the form of rallies and emails highlighting these issues sent to the Mayor of Jacksonville and City Council members.
Former Mayor John Delaney, now UNF President, defended Ahmed by saying that the charges against Ahmed were “racist.”
The City Council vote was 13-6. Voting in favor were members Bill Bishop, Reggie Brown, Richard Clark, Michael Corrigan, John Crescimbeni, Ronnie Fussell, Johnny Gaffney, Art Graham, Kevin Hyde, Warren Jones, Stephen Joost, Denise Lee and Art Shad.
Daniel Davis, Ray Holt, Glorious Johnson, Don Redman, Jack Webb and Clay Yarborough voted no.
As discussion began, Redman called Ahmed to the podium and asked him to "say a prayer to your God." The comment elicited a negative reaction from the audience and from Deputy General Counsel Cindy Laquidara, who rushed to the microphone to ask to speak with Redman privately.
After a moment of confusion, Redman said he wouldn't ask Ahmed to pray but instead asked if the council's opening prayer offended him. When Ahmed asked Redman why that was relevant, and that people had a right to pray to whomever they please, Redman said Ahmed would be offended by a prayer to Jesus, and therefore was not suitable to serve on the commission.
That drew a sharp rebuke from member Stephen Joost.
"This is not the Muslim commission; this is not the Jewish commission, or the Christian commission. This is the Human Rights Commission," Joost said. " ... "I'm offended by this line of questioning."
Councilman Clay Yarborough, who at first voted in favor of Ahmed's nomination in the Rules Committee but reversed himself when the committee voted again last week, read a long statement about why he changed his mind.
He said he was given reason to pause because four U.S. representatives asked the attorney general to look into relationship between the Council on American-Islamic Relations, of which Ahmed was once a board member and chairman, and terrorism. FBI has formally cut ties with CAIR.
Member Glorious Johnson chastised her fellow council members, at first.
"Look at us. Just look at us. We have separated ourselves from one another. This makes no sense," she said. Moments later, she said that because Ahmed's nomination was so controversial and would distract from the commission's work, she couldn't support it.
"If he is on the commission it will polarize what we are trying to do on the commission," she said. "For that reason I will be voting against Mr. Ahmed's nomination to the commission."
Several other council members spoke on behalf of the nomination, including Art Shad and Kevin Hyde, each of whom apologized to Ahmed and said he hoped the city wouldn't be tainted by the vote of the vocal minority.
The News4Jax.com account had these comments from Randy McDaniels, ACT! For America Jacksonville leader and coordinator of opposition to the Ahmed appointment:
Leading a charge against Ahmed was Randy McDaniels of Act for America. McDaniels voiced concerns over Ahmed's former job with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which has been linked to terrorism.
Youssef Ibrahim Speaks Truth To Samantha Power (And To Many Others)
What Comes After the Death of the Mideast Peace Process?
So what happened? What went wrong in that tortured peace process?
It is not easy to belittle Aaron David Miller’s renunciation of what he described as ‘’False Religion of the Mideast Peace’’ in his essay published in Foreign Policy.
Framed in impeccable logic with unchallenged knowledge from a man who more than any other senior US official has led our Middle East peace camp ever since 1978, that’s a big deal. Miller served as special envoy and senior advisor on the Middle East for 30 years across Republican and Democratic administrations reporting directly to several presidents.
Miller’s despair is more poignant coming from a Jewish senior American policy-maker, one of many who deeply sympathized with Arabs and Palestinians, so much he once accused a fellow Jewish peace-maker, Dennis Ross who is now a special advisor to the president, of being ‘’Israel’s lawyer’’!
When such a man now turns around to say the peace process is dead; that President Obama is wrong pressuring Israel; and the US has become tone-deaf to more important strategic threats including the Iranian nuclear issue, his thesis and his warnings demand attention. They will get plenty: the questioning is just beginning within the professional Mideast peace making-establishment and its lobbies.
Typically, the coolest answers come from military men. In the same issue of Foreign Policy, no less a figure than General Anthony Zinni, former head of U.S. Central Command in 2001 and 2002 who worked closely with Mr. Miller said just about everything did. And what’s worse, he said we are repeating it all over again: ‘‘We should realize what doesn't work: summits, agreements in principle, special envoys, U.S-proposed plans, and just about every other part of our approach has failed. So why do we keep repeating it?’’ Gen. Zinni asks.
Undaunted, President Obama and his secretary of State Hillary Clinton are forging ahead with a new Broadway production of the same failed show dotted with ‘’indirect talks’’ because Palestinians do not want to face Israelis -- and more edicts to stop construction of settlements which Israel will roundly ignore, along with a panoply of international conferences and more special envoys.
The folks who have been there and back, people like Gen. Zinni and Miller and historian Michael Oren, currently Israel’s ambassador to the US, as well as a sizeable number of Egyptian and Jordanian experts who for obvious reasons do not voice their skepticism openly in their politicized Arab world, are in fact saying that the paradigm of peace has shifted. We are working off an obsolete database.
Forty years is a long time, especially in the Mideast where many countries are 50 to 70 years old. In other words the picture of 1979 -- when Egypt and Israel signed a peace accord under the gaze of a US president and the mid 80s when Jordan and Israel signed-- is not the same in 2010.
Antagonists out there today are not nation states alone . They now include armed militias such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. To use the famed expression of the late Egyptian diplomat Tahseen Bashir, making peace now involves dealing with ‘’tribes with flags’’, a practically impossible task. That is part of the new paradigms.
Another is lack of leadership. Until Mideast leaders of the caliber of late Egyptian president Anwar El Sadat, Yitzhaq Rabin and Menachem Begin of Israel and the late King Hussein of Jordan who are now all dead -- two of them at the hands of assassins-- emerge, there is not much leadership out there strong enough to strike deals and make them stick.
Paradigms-wise, furthermore, the Soviet Union is gone, robbing that Mideast challenge of its Cold War exigency.
The new enemy rising to challenge America is not an unresolved dispute between Israelis and Palestinians but Islamic fundamentalism that rejects all western concepts of modernization and equal rights for women and citizens. Its tentacles run out of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, ironically all three categorized as friends of the USA.
Finally, as paradigms go, strategically and tactically speaking, the US has no closer ally in the world than Israel. We could not operate in the Middle East without Israeli assistance and our population, the grand majority of Americans and their representatives in Congress, would never allow Israel to stand alone under attack. This is a basic fact of political life in America that the Obama White House understands too well.
Speaking as an Arab-American, I welcome the protection that Israel’s existence as a minority Jewish state in the Muslim Middle East projects for other minorities including some 25 million Christian Arabs under extreme pressure, 30 million Kurds and other tribal or religious populations who must live free of persecution. Israel stands as a symbol that it is possible to have a multi-cultural tolerant Middle East.
What Miller and Zinni and more analysts are asking is why, therefore, is this administration expanding such extraordinary resources to resolve what clearly has receded to a minor strategic threat when far greater menaces loom?
As Miller pointed out on CNN in an interview with John King: Would Obama become the first US president on whose watch Iran turns into nuclear power? He also wonders, correctly, if Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would accept being the first Israeli prime minister to let this happen.
Another primary strategic concern for the USA is the ongoing disintegrations of both Iraq and Afghanistan.
What is our strategy in Iraq should civil war break out again as it seems it could? How do we define “winning” there? And, will thousands of American forces in Afghanistan do baby-sitting for a decade, or longer?
These appear pressing issues with not a single indication of an American strategy.
On the Israeli side, one can assume the country can take care of itself militarily and otherwise. It has matured into a nation of 7.5 million including 1.5 million Arab Israelis who are not as unhappy as their Palestinian brethren suggest, and would, if pressed, more likely opt for an Israeli quality of life. Israel just hit a per capita income level of around $ 35,000, putting it squarely in the higher-ranks of the industrialized Western living standards, with an economy bigger than all its neighboring countries. It has never lost a war and can still win any.
Beyond this, the best strategy for the White House, when it comes to those Middle East ‘’tribes with flags,’’ may be “benign neglect.” When you think of it, despite predictions of dire consequences such as World War Three out there, the Middle East dispute has already survived quite well, with various accommodations, for over a 100 years.
ISLAMABAD: The United States is all set to provide Pakistan with a 64.77 million dollar guided missile frigate. The USS McInerney will be given to Pakistan under Foreign Military Funding.
A spokesman for the Pakistan Navy says that a contract has been signed between the United States and Pakistan, which will allow the transfer of the ship.
He said that it is important to mention that Pakistan will not have to pay a single dollar for the guided missile frigate.
According to his statement, the spokesman says that the United States will not only hand over the ship, but will also refurbish the vessel, provide ammunition and train the ship's crew.
Under the agreement, the USS McInerney will be handed over to Pakistan on the 31st of August in Florida. The ship will be renamed and then commissioned as the PNS Alamgir.
The USS McInerney served in the Iran/Iraq Tanker War (remembered for the Iraqi missile attack on the USS Stark that killed 37 crewmembers) and in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm.
The new name "PNS Alamgir" comes from the imperial title (meaning "conqueror of the world") of the 6th Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb. Under Aurangzeb (Alamgir I), the Mughal Empire invaded and conquered Hindustan from Uzbekistan, and ruled the entire Indian subcontinent for 300 years from the 1500's. Aurangzeb was less religiously tolerant than his predecessors, and strictly enforced Islamic sharia throughout his empire. In other words, he was a perfect role-model jihadi.
See here for a map of land-locked Waziristan in Pakistan. A guided missile frigate would be absolutely useless against the Taliban in Waziristan, 500 miles from the ocean up in the mountains. But it would be extremely useful against Pakistan's Hindu neighbor India.
This all begs the question, could we really be that jaw-droppingly stupid?
President Obama said tonight that the U.S. will set up exchange programs with business people throughout the Muslim world as part of the overall outreach program he outlined last year.
"The new beginning we seek is not only possible, it has already begun," Obama told the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington, D.C.
The exchange programs will include business opportunities in Silicon Valley, technology, telecommunications, health care, education and infrastructure, Obama told the summit that included delegates from the U.S. and Muslim countries.
The summit was one of the ideas Obama pitched during his June speech in Cairo outlining "a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities."
"Over the past year the United States has been reaching out and listening," he said.
That includes winding down the war in Iraq, working with Afghanistan and Pakistan to "isolate violent extremists," and seeking a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, Obama said.
There has also been cultural outreach, Obama said -- including a comic book series in which Superman and Batman work with their Muslim counterparts.
A We-Are-The-World Political Message From Barack Obama
Obama Jumps Into 2010 Race With Appeal to Latinos, African-Americans, Women and Youth
President Obama appeals to young voters, women, Latinos and African Americans in a video seeking support for Democrats in the November 2010 election (BarackObama.com).
President Obama left white, middle-age male voters in his rear-view mirror Monday in launching his first midterm election pitch, calling on "young people, African Americans, Latinos and women" to deliver for Democrats in November.
In a video to supporters, Obama urged those who helped get him elected in 2008 not to abandon Democrats in an election year that is shaping up to take a chunk out of the Democratic majority in Congress.
In the appeal, Obama says new voters who "powered our victory in 2008" need to "stay involved" in 2010.
"It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African Americans, Latinos and women, who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again," he said.
"If you help us do that -- if you help us make sure that first-time voters in 2008 make their voices heard again in November -- then together we will deliver on the promise of change and hope and prosperity for generations to come," he said.
The promotion, which reaches out to constituencies that voted in large measure for Obama but typically vote in lower percentages than older and white voters, is being sponsored by the Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America, the group formed from Obama's massive e-mail support during the 2008 campaign.
Obama also tweeted his message: "Announcing #OFA and @democratsdotorg plans for the 2010 elections—and the important role that you can play. Watch: http://j.mp/blRzwT."
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said as the November races gear up, the president wanted to speak to his supporters.
"There are elections in November and I'm sure the president is going to participate," Gibbs said.
While National Republican Committee Chairman Michael Steele has also said that he wants the party to reach out to minority voters, the president's appeal to minority voters comes just as immigration reform takes center stage inside Washington debate circles.
The statement also echoes Obama's warning during the health care debate -- that voters will decide in November whether they like what the administration and Democratic Congress is doing. His remarks repeat the positioning from congressional Democrats who allege Republicans are in the pocket of "big business" to the detriment of the American people.
"Despite everything we've done, our work isn't finished. Today, the health insurance companies, the Wall Street banks, and the special interests who have ruled Washington for too long are already focused on November’s congressional elections. They see these elections as a chance to put their allies back in power, and undo all that we have accomplished. So this year, I need your help once more," he said.
But National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh issued a response saying the president's "rally cry" is an attempt to sell a product independent voters don't want.
"I think the fundamental problem is that candidate Obama has turned out to be a much different person than President Obama and independent voters across the country are simply not buying what they’re trying to sell," Walsh told Fox News Radio. "That's because the politics of hope has been replaced by the policies of higher taxes, reckless spending and more government control over Americans' everyday lives."
Walsh noted that each time the president has gotten involved in an election over the past 15 months, it has not worked out well for Democrats.
"We certainly expect that he's going to go out on the campaign trail but I would point out that he sought to do the same thing in New Jersey and Virginia and most recently in Massachusetts and in all three elections the Democrats lost even with the president's last minute campaigning."
Fox News polling from last week shows that Obama has a 39 percent approval rating from independent voters with a 47 percent disapproval. A separate Gallup Poll out last week showed that self-identified party affiliation had reached its narrowest gap since 2005, when the war in Iraq under the Bush administration was growing unpopular. The poll out Friday showed 46 percent of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic, while 45 percent identified as or leaned Republican.
The Polygamist's Lawyer Intends To Sue Minister M. Hortefeux (In French)
L'homme accusé de polygamie envisage de poursuivre Brice Hortefeux pour diffamation
LEMONDE.FR avec Reuters | 26.04.10
'avocat de l'homme accusé d'être polygame et de frauder les allocations familiales par le ministre de l'intérieur a fait savoir lundi 26 avril qu'il envisageait de poursuivre Brice Hortefeux en diffamation. Le préfet de la Loire-Atlantique a saisi le parquet du tribunal de grande instance de Nantes pour qu'il demande à la caisse d'allocations familiales régionale "les éléments en sa possession" sur la situation de Liès Hebbadj.
Selon le ministre de l'intérieur, l'homme, qui est né à Alger, aurait quatre femmes et chacune bénéficierait de l'allocation de parent isolé – des délits qui méritent selon lui la déchéance de la nationalité française qu'il a obtenue par mariage en 1999. Liès Hebbadj a admis avoir des "maîtresses". "Si on est déchu de sa nationalité française parce qu'on a des maîtresses, alors beaucoup de Français peuvent l'être, les maîtresses ne sont pas interdites par l'islam, peut-être par le christianisme, mais pas en France que je sache", a-t-il déclaré à la presse.
Son avocat a contesté "de façon véhémente et sereine les déclarations totalement fantaisistes de Brice Hortefeux". "On ne peut reprocher à quelqu'un la polygamie qui est un délit pénal sans avoir un minimum d'éléments à sa disposition. Cela pourrait même être qualifié de diffamation si on reprend les textes de loi", a estimé Me Franck Boëzec. "On se pose la question (de savoir s'il faut porter plainte)", a-t-il dit en ajoutant : "Si le climat s'apaise, il n'y aura pas de raison d'aller sur ce terrain-là".
Depuis dimanche, le ministre de l'immigration, Eric Besson, qui étudie le dossier d'une éventuelle déchéance de la nationalité de Liès Hebbadj, fait preuve d'une grande prudence, en plein débat sur l'interdiction du voile intégral. Il a reconnu qu'il serait délicat de prouver sa polygamie. Lundi après avoir évoqué une "adaptation législative" du code de la nationalité, il a précisé qu'il faudrait y procéder seulement "si on estimait que c'est indispensable".
L'homme, âgé d'une trentaine d'années, n'est pas décrit par les pouvoirs locaux comme un extrémiste. Il tient une boucherie halal dans le sud de Nantes et préside une association culturelle musulmane à Rezé, dans la banlieue nantaise. Il ne serait marié civilement qu'avec une de ses compagnes.
Aucun des deux délits évoqués par Brice Hortefeux ne peut provoquer la déchéance de nationalité. L'annulation de sa naturalisation peut être obtenue, sur avis conforme du Conseil d'Etat, s'il est prouvé que l'homme était déjà marié civilement au moment du mariage de 1999 et a donc obtenu sa naturalisation "par mensonge ou par fraude".
LA GAUCHE DÉNONCE UNE AFFAIRE "INDIGNE"
La gauche a déploré un coup médiatique de la part de la droite, qui se servirait de cette affaire pour promouvoir sa future loi sur l'interdiction du port du voile intégral. Pour Manuel Valls, les déclarations de Brice Hortefeux conduisent à un amalgame dangereux pour la République.
"Je ne pense pas que ce soit à la hauteur du rôle d'un ministre. C'est même indigne d'une certaine manière", a dit le député socialiste sur Canal+.
En revanche, le porte-parole de l'UMP, Frédéric Lefebvre, entend mettre cette affaire à profit. Lors d'un point de presse, il a évoqué une "polygamie à des fins mercantiles" voire une forme de "traite des êtres humains". A ses yeux, "il serait sans doute utile d'élargir les possibilités dans notre droit de renforcer et d'accélérer les procédures de déchéance de nationalité".
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, center, in Kabul in March. He gets PowerPoint printouts the night before staff meetings.
“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter.
The slide has since bounced around the Internet as an example of a military tool that has spun out of control. Like an insurgency, PowerPoint has crept into the daily lives of military commanders and reached the level of near obsession. The amount of time expended on PowerPoint, the Microsoft presentation program of computer-generated charts, graphs and bullet points, has made it a running joke in the Pentagon and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat.
“It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”
In General McMaster’s view, PowerPoint’s worst offense is not a chart like the spaghetti graphic, which was first uncovered by NBC’s Richard Engel, but rigid lists of bullet points (in, say, a presentation on a conflict’s causes) that take no account of interconnected political, economic and ethnic forces. “If you divorce war from all of that, it becomes a targeting exercise,” General McMaster said.
Commanders say that behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making. Not least, it ties up junior officers — referred to as PowerPoint Rangers — in the daily preparation of slides, be it for a Joint Staff meeting in Washington or for a platoon leader’s pre-mission combat briefing in a remote pocket of Afghanistan.
Last year when a military Web site, Company Command, asked an Army platoon leader in Iraq, Lt. Sam Nuxoll, how he spent most of his time, he responded, “Making PowerPoint slides.” When pressed, he said he was serious.
“I have to make a storyboard complete with digital pictures, diagrams and text summaries on just about anything that happens,” Lieutenant Nuxoll told the Web site. “Conduct a key leader engagement? Make a storyboard. Award a microgrant? Make a storyboard.”
Despite such tales, “death by PowerPoint,” the phrase used to described the numbing sensation that accompanies a 30-slide briefing, seems here to stay. The program, which first went on sale in 1987 and was acquired by Microsoft soon afterward, is deeply embedded in a military culture that has come to rely on PowerPoint’s hierarchical ordering of a confused world.
“There’s a lot of PowerPoint backlash, but I don’t see it going away anytime soon,” said Capt. Crispin Burke, an Army operations officer at Fort Drum, N.Y., who under the name Starbuck wrote an essay about PowerPoint on the Web site Small Wars Journal that cited Lieutenant Nuxoll’s comment.
In a daytime telephone conversation, he estimated that he spent an hour each day making PowerPoint slides. In an initial e-mail message responding to the request for an interview, he wrote, “I would be free tonight, but unfortunately, I work kind of late (sadly enough, making PPT slides).”
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates reviews printed-out PowerPoint slides at his morning staff meeting, although he insists on getting them the night before so he can read ahead and cut back the briefing time.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and says that sitting through some PowerPoint briefings is “just agony,” nonetheless likes the program for the display of maps and statistics showing trends. He has also conducted more than a few PowerPoint presentations himself.
General McChrystal gets two PowerPoint briefings in Kabul per day, plus three more during the week. General Mattis, despite his dim view of the program, said a third of his briefings are by PowerPoint.
Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, was given PowerPoint briefings during a trip to Afghanistan last summer at each of three stops — Kandahar, Mazar-i-Sharif and Bagram Air Base. At a fourth stop, Herat, the Italian forces there not only provided Mr. Holbrooke with a PowerPoint briefing, but accompanied it with swelling orchestral music.
President Obama was shown PowerPoint slides, mostly maps and charts, in the White House Situation Room during the Afghan strategy review last fall.
Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point. Imagine lawyers presenting arguments before the Supreme Court in slides instead of legal briefs.
Captain Burke’s essay in the Small Wars Journal also cited a widely read attack on PowerPoint in Armed Forces Journal last summer by Thomas X. Hammes, a retired Marine colonel, whose title, “Dumb-Dumb Bullets,” underscored criticism of fuzzy bullet points; “accelerate the introduction of new weapons,” for instance, does not actually say who should do so.
No one is suggesting that PowerPoint is to blame for mistakes in the current wars, but the program did become notorious during the prelude to the invasion of Iraq. As recounted in the book “Fiasco” by Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin Press, 2006), Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, who led the allied ground forces in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, grew frustrated when he could not get Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the commander at the time of American forces in the Persian Gulf region, to issue orders that stated explicitly how he wanted the invasion conducted, and why. Instead, General Franks just passed on to General McKiernan the vague PowerPoint slides that he had already shown to Donald H. Rumsfeld, the defense secretary at the time.
Senior officers say the program does come in handy when the goal is not imparting information, as in briefings for reporters.
The news media sessions often last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone still awake. Those types of PowerPoint presentations, Dr. Hammes said, are known as “hypnotizing chickens.”
Cinq islamistes présumés, se livrant à l'apologie du djihad via des sites internet radicaux, ont été interpellés tôt ce matin, dans les Bouches-du-Rhône, le Morbihan, en Seine-Saint-Denis et dans l'Essonne, a-t-on appris de sources proches du dossier.
Voile intégral: "consensus républicain"
Le président de l'Assemblée nationale Bernard Accoyer (UMP) s'est dit aujourd'hui "confiant" sur le fait que la procédure d'urgence ne sera pas utilisée pour faire adopter avant l'été un texte sur le voile intégral et que "le temps sera pris" pour bâtir "un consensus républicain".
Le texte, qui doit être présenté le 19 mai en Conseil des ministres, "arrivera pour une première lecture à l'Assemblée avant la suspension des travaux pour l'été", a indiqué Bernard Accoyer sur Europe 1. "Pour le reste, je ne sais pas, le gouvernement décidera exactement le calendrier", a-t-il dit.
Le président de l'Assemblée nationale qui a rencontré hier François Fillon avec son homologue du Sénat Gérard Larcher, a souligné avoir le sentiment d'avoir été "entendu" par le Premier ministre. "Son oreille a été très attentive, nous sommes confiants".
Le Premier ministre "travaille sans perte de temps, il consulte dans la sérénité et le temps sera pris pour préparer un texte qui sera un texte réalisant un consensus républicain", a ajouté M. Accoyer.
Il a reconnu avoir "une divergence" avec le chef de file des députés UMP Jean-François Copé, farouche partisan de l'adoption d'un texte en urgence, interdisant le voile intégral dans tout l'espace public.
"Nous vivons une période où il serait pour les Français plus apaisant, plus rassurant, plus constructif que chacun soit exactement dans le rôle que les institutions nous font", a-t-il dit.
Quant au problème de la polygamie soulevée par le conjoint de la femme voilée verbalisée au volant de sa voiture, il a jugé qu'"il faut là encore prendre son temps et ne pas faire, à partir d'un fait précis, toute une affaire".
"Avant de modifier encore une fois la loi et de légiférer encore sur des sujets qui ne sont pas toujours la première préoccupation des Français, prenons du recul, analysons la situation", a encore plaidé M. Accoyer.
Six years and one day after he murdered an Israeli border policeman, Hamas terrorist Ali Sweiti was shot dead on Monday when he tried escaping from IDF troops who had surrounded his house near Hebron.
Wanted since the early 2000s, Sweiti was believed to have been behind a series of deadly shooting attacks along Hebron-area roads throughout the second intifada.
On April 25, 2004, Sweiti killed border policeman Yaniv Mashiah and wounded two others in an ambush in the southern Hebron Hills on Remembrance Day. He had been on Israel’s most-wanted list and was believed to be involved most recently in efforts to reestablish Hamas military infrastructure in the West Bank.
A resident of Beit Awa, the 42-year-old terrorist was held responsible by the IDF for another five shooting attacks in the West Bank. He joined Hamas in 2002 at the behest of another resident of Beit Awa, Jihad Sweiti. Together, the two allegedly carried out several shooting attacks against Israeli vehicles in the West Bank between 2000 and 2003.
Early Monday morning, members from the Israel Police’s elite YAMAM counter-terror unit, alongside soldiers from the Nahal Brigade, surrounded Sweiti’s house and called on him to surrender. He refused and opened fire at the security forces, which returned fire and even used a new weapon called the Matador – a shoulder-launched missile, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, that can be used to blow through concrete walls.
India has arrested a woman working as a diplomat in its Islamabad embassy on charges of spying for Pakistan.
Madhuri Gupta, 53, is a second secretary in the embassy and works in the press and information section. She was arrested on a work trip to Delhi.
Officials say she is suspected of handing over classified documents to Pakistan's ISI intelligence service.
There was no immediate response from Pakistan. The neighbours have a history of mistrust and have fought three wars.
The arrest comes as the prime ministers of the two countries are due to meet in this week on the sidelines of a regional summit in Bhutan.
Relations have been strained since the 2008 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks, which India blamed on militants from Pakistan.
"A number of inquiries have been held and a number of questions have been asked," the Indian ministry of external affairs spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.
"We have reasons to believe an official in the Indian high commission in Pakistan has been passing information to Pakistani intelligence officials."
An investigation has begun and the official is co-operating, he said.
The Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, quoting sources, said Ms Gupta had been arrested four days ago after being summoned to Delhi on the pretext of discussing preparations for the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (Saarc) summit in Bhutan.
She was produced in court on Monday and has been sent to police custody for another five days, PTI said.
Ms Gupta has worked in Islamabad for three years, reports say.
The head of India's intelligence agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) in Islamabad is also being investigated, PTI reports.
With defeat looming, Labour's Jack Straw casts off his last shred of integrity and makes a desperate bid for the Muslim vote. From the Daily Mail:
Justice Secretary Jack Straw has publicly said sorry for controversial remarks about Muslim women who cover their faces.
He issued the apology during a public meeting with Muslims in his Blackburn constituency.
Mr Straw said in 2006 that he asked female constituents from Islamic backgrounds to remove their veil during meetings.
He added that he felt 'uncomfortable' about talking with someone whose face he cannot see.
The minister told the meeting - organised by the campaign group Engage - that his remarks were taken out of context and he still regularly sees women wearing the full veil.
But speaking at a public meeting on Sunday, Mr Straw expressed his regret at triggering a ferocious public debate which may have adversely impacted on the Muslim community.
I don't like "impacted" as a verb, but at least he says "on".
Tory MP Philip Davies said: 'This seems like a shameless effort to muster up some Muslim votes in his constituency. Jack Straw was more than happy to milk the publicity at the time, but now he has realised that his comments have not gone down too well with is own constituents.
'It is pretty desperate stuff to be apologising on the eve of a General Election when he has had plenty of opportunity to do so in the past. '
Mohammed Asif, chief executive of Engage - which encourages Muslim communities to engage in the democratic process, said: 'Jack Straw's mea culpa is a welcome admission of the controversy and hysteria that has subsequently entered our media and politics since his fateful comments on the wearing of the niqab by Muslim women in the UK.
When was the last time a Muslim issued a "mea culpa"?
It seems the creators of Everybody Draw Muhammad Day have suddenly developed cold feet. The facebook effort continues; however, we will issue profanity warning for the facebook page. People seem to be pretty riled up over this.
Anything that damages Labour is good news. But perhaps this candidate would have got more votes if he'd stayed on:
A Labour candidate has been suspended after allegedly saying on an internet forum that he would not want any children of his to marry a Muslim.
John Cowan, who is said to have admitted paying cash to a cleaner claiming benefits, called the row a "storm in a tea cup".
Why would any non-Muslim want his children to marry a Muslim? If it's a daughter, she will be subject to all the evils that Islam allows: beating, rape, imprisonment, divorce by repudiation, polygamy. If a son, he will have to convert to Islam to marry a Muslim, with all that entails. To object to such a marriage is natural. Would a Muslim Labour MP have ben suspended for saying that his daughter should not, indeed cannot, marry a non-Muslim?
His suspension comes too late for him to be replaced on the ballot paper for South East Cambridgeshire.
A party spokesman said he hoped voters may "hold their noses" but vote Labour.
Mr Cowan told the BBC it was all "really a storm in a tea cup" adding that "one or two things... were misquoted and taken out of context".
"Out of context"? Looks like he's well on the way to reversion, inshallah.
A request has come in from a translation agency on Dianastrasse in Zurich, Switzerland for a translator able to translate approximately 500 words from English into Chippewa-Mohawk. I'm too busy to do it myself. Anyone out there whose Chippewa-Mohawk isn't too rusty?
This is from Meat Info the The Online Meat Trades Journal. Yes, honestly.
A leading halal meat processor and member of the Eblex Halal Steering Group has accused the three main parties of neglecting Muslim issues surrounding the halal food market. Naved Syed, MD of Janan Meat, has said little is being offered for the UK Muslim population in this election, other than the ‘promise’ from the far-right to repatriate and close borders.
He said: “During the last 13 years we have seen the creation of the Food Standards Agency which in turn established and then disbanded the Muslim Organization Working Group, having allowed it to degenerate into a forum for disagreement and division. I am asking the three main parties – Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg – before we Muslims cast our votes, to tell us what you will do for our halal market, which is the fastest-growing market, with a rise of 10% expected for the next five to 10 years?
"Or are you leaving it for the far-right parties to destroy it? Some food for thought: 3% of the UK population is Muslim, yet they consume over 25% of the whole of the UK’s red meat and over 40% of the whole of the UK’s poultry production. (Greedy little buggers.) As we go to the polls I would like to say to the three main parties – and to the eventual winner or winners – the UK Muslim consumer deserves to be heard.
Slay the unbelievers? Crucify them? Cut off hands and feet on opposite sides? No, that's old hat. The modern Jihadi's weapons are values, discourse and aggressive hyphenation. Faisal Hanjra in The Guardian:
I was radicalised by my student Islamic society (Isoc). It started as an innocent means through which to meet down-to-earth and like-minded people. Then we started to break fast together in the prayer room, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was raising money for orphans and contributing to interfaith campaigns.
Another narrative which has been promulgated has been the linking together of conservative-religious identity with violent extremism, thereby conflating a values discourse with a national security discourse. One may find some viewpoints on campuses contentious – for example where many Isocs provide strict segregation between women and men in events, based upon their interpretation of religious teachings. However, findings by Gallup, Demos and MI5 show that most terrorists have a poor understanding of Islam and that a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation. So jumping from a conservative-religious identity to "ideology" to "extremism" is a leap that has absolutely no factual basis.
What we need instead is a fact-based leap-jumper of unconflated values-discourse to address unpromulgated issues around "hyphens" and quotation-marks. That's what "we" need right-now.
From Khalifah.com, home of the Hadith of horror - straight, therefore, from the horse's, or camel's, mouth:
When the volcanic ash cloud hit Europe last week I along with thousands of other Muslims was caught stranded in Saudi Arabia after performing the umra (minor pilgrimage).
As we set off for Jeddah Airport we were obviously concerned since our flight had been cancelled and we were unsure what assistance would be provided to us by the Saudi government's Hajj ministry and Saudi Airlines.
In the days prior to our departure from Makkah we watched the news reports showing passengers stranded at airports across the world. On the whole these airports were providing those stranded with food, blankets and makeshift beds in an attempt to ease their plight. Thousands of others were being accommodated in hotels by their airlines because any airline based in the EU must by law provide food, drinks, and hotel accommodation.
On reaching the Saudi Airlines terminal at Jeddah Airport it very quickly became apparent that unlike the hundreds of other airlines and airports across the world the Saudi government would be providing absolutely no assistance to those stranded. The Hajj ministry and Saudi Airlines refused to provide any financial assistance to those affected saying they couldn't afford to accommodate so many people. This is despite the fact that King Abdullah is the richest leader in the world with an estimated wealth of $21 billion!
This is the least of it. When do rich Muslim countries ever help poor Muslim countries, even - especially - the "Palestinians" whose "plight" they care so much about? When do rich Muslims help poor Muslims, other than providing them with weapons or bomb belts? And what has one half of the Muslim population, men, done for the other half?
When Constabulary Duty's To Be Done, To Be Done....
Police barred from penis enlargement
Fri, Apr 23 2010
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Forget about getting a job as a police officer in Indonesia's Papua if you have had your penis enlarged. You won't get it, according to local media reports citing the Papua police chief.
An applicant "will be asked whether or not his vital organ has been enlarged," said Papua police chief Bekto Suprapto, quoted on local website Kompas.com.
"If he has, he will be considered unfit to join the police or the military."
The ban was applied since the unnatural size causes "hindrance during training," said police spokesman Zainuri Lubis in Jakarta, quoted by news portal Detik.com.
Indonesia's remote easternmost province is home to Papuan tribes, many of whom are known for wearing penis gourds.
A low-level separatist insurgency has waged in the resources-rich part of Indonesia for decades and there is a heavy police and military presence there.
Papuans use a local technique to achieve the enlargement, according to a sexologist quoted by local newspaper Jakarta Globe, wrapping the penis with leaves from the "gatal-gatal" (itchy) tree so that it swells up "like it has been stung by a bee," the expert said.
The Lib Dems' surge continues to gather momentum, transforming the nature of British politics. For the first time in more than a century, they are the front-runners in an election campaign, something that would have been unthinkable before Nick Clegg's assured performance in last week's historic TV debate.
A key part of their growing appeal is their claim to be the party of moderation and honesty. That was certainly the tone that Nick Clegg adopted on Thursday night, posing as the honest man of reason who could be trusted to hold the centre ground and be straight with the British public.
The Liberal Democrat manifesto represents a huge blow to Britain's social cohesion and national identity
Yet, on perhaps the most important issue that British society faces, the Lib Dems are anything but moderate, reasonable or straight. On the question of immigration, the chief concern of many voters after more than a decade of Labour's disastrous open-door policy, Clegg and his party are ideological extremists.
Hard as it may be to believe, the Lib Dems are even more determined than Labour to dismantle our borders. The Liberal Democrat leader continually boasts about his 'honesty', but by far the most dishonest moment in last Thursday's debate was when Clegg talked tough about immigration.
With frightening hypocrisy, he spoke of a crackdown and more rigorous frontier controls, while also accusing Brown of presiding over 'chaos'.
But Clegg's words were hollow. For in its advocacy of an extraordinarily lenient policy on migration, his party's manifesto represents a huge blow to Britain's social cohesion and national identity. For too long already under Labour, immigration has been out of control, with 5.4 million people settling here since 1997.
During recent years the annual number of arrivals has been running at more than 500,000, and that doesn't include the countless number of illegal immigrants. Even in 2009, after all Labour's noisy rhetoric about new restrictions, the immigrant total was still 518,000.
Never in our history has this nation been through such a dramatic demographic change, and the trend is speeding up. No fewer than a quarter of all births in Britain are to foreign- born mothers, with the figure rising to an astonishing 55 per cent in London.
Any politician who cared about the future of our country would be calling for action to reverse this destructive pattern. But the Lib Dems, while cynically adopting a populist posture on the campaign trail, are dogmatic enthusiasts for more uncontrolled immigration.
They are like the worst sort of earnest student radicals, clinging to policies wholly out of tune with the public mood. For the Lib Dems want to institute a full amnesty for illegal immigrants living in Britain, meaning such law- breakers could work, demand benefits and gain British citizenship.
Using the language of sophistry, the party's manifesto asserts that this would not only boost our economy by turning illegals into taxpayers, but also free up the police to concentrate on real crimes.
But such claims insult the intelligence. The truth is that, once granted, an amnesty would act as a magnet for migrants from all over the world, as others would quickly realise that they would almost certainly be treated with the same welcoming leniency if they were to come here illegally.
Human trafficking would rocket. Relatives of illegals, from spouses to distant uncles, would pour into the country. The Government admits that it 'doesn't have a clue' how many illegal migrants there are in Britain, but reliable estimates point to at least 750,000.
If an amnesty were implemented, that number could be more than trebled by the subsequent, completely legal arrival of all their dependants. An amnesty would stretch our overly generous welfare system to breaking point.
The great myth of the pro-immigration lobby is to pretend that newcomers have been the engine of economic prosperity. True, many have made a wonderful contribution to this country.
But the fact is that any economic gains have been outweighed by the colossal costs to the public sector in housing, education, healthcare and social security. As a host of authoritative studies shows, migrants are more likely to be in receipt of benefits than the British-born population.
It is one of the reasons why our public finances have sunk into massive deficits during a period of unprecedented immigration. Moreover, there is a terrible injustice about an amnesty, in that it both makes a mockery of the law by rewarding criminals and is grossly unfair on those who settled here legally.
And the modern history of the western world is that amnesties do not work. Since 1980, Italy has had 20 of them and Spain six, as a result of which immigration in both countries has soared.
Similarly, the U.S. instituted an amnesty in 1986 when the number of illegals stood at 3.5 million. Today, that figure is thought to have reached 20 million. Far from serving as a symbol of decency, an amnesty represents a surrender to illegality. Such a move is a sign that a country has given up trying to maintain its borders.
But that is the entire thrust of the Lib Dems' policy. This is a party that no longer believes in the integrity of the United Kingdom. An 'EU-wide asylum system' is called for in the party's manifesto - meaning we have to surrender some of our border controls to bureaucrats in Brussels.
In the same undemocratic vein, the Lib Dems want to take power away from the Home Office and set up an 'Independent Agency For Asylum', as if Britain were not already drowning in state bureaucracy. At least the Home Secretary is answerable to Parliament and the electorate.
This quango, no doubt packed with the politically correct brigade, will be a law to itself, a honey-pot for Left-wing lawyers. In an even more unworkable measure, Clegg wants to introduce a 'regional points-based' system for the awarding of work permits, by which migrants would be encouraged to go 'to parts of the country which are short of workers'.
With more than five million Britons of working age living on benefits, the idea that there are any genuine shortages of workers is absurd. We should be pushing our own people into jobs, not importing yet more foreign labour by dishing out permits like confetti.
Furthermore, the regional basis of Clegg's plans is also hopelessly flawed - there is nothing to stop migrants gaining a permit for one area, then bringing in their family and moving to another area, where a full range of benefits can be claimed.
The Lib Dems' other policies in this area are similarly ill thought through. Everything about the Lib Dems is soft. They urge an 'end to the detention of children in immigration detention centres,' which, while sounding humane, in practice means yet more families being freed to live on the dole, since someone will have to look after these children.
They want to go easy on the deportation of failed asylum-seekers, another recipe for an explosion in bogus claims. In addition, they call for the abolition of the ban on asylum-seekers being allowed to work.
Given that a huge majority of refugees are economic migrants, this proposal amounts to a further incentive for more foreigners to arrive here, reciting their empty mantras about 'persecution'. In practice, the ban will just end up as another form of amnesty.
Yes, the British are a tolerant people but this small island and its social structure cannot cope with those numbers. The public is crying out for toughness on immigration, not more laxity and definitely not Clegg's scheme for even greater expansion of foreign incomers.