Saturday, October 02, 2004

NEW DOCUMENT INDICATES KERRY WROTE DISPUTED VIETNAM REPORT

Here's a new tidbit

By THOMAS LIPSCOMB Special to the Sun

A faded 35-year-old operations order recovered from the Naval Historical Center in Washington bears directly on the ongoing dispute between Senator Kerry and the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth about who wrote the key after-action report that ended Mr. Kerry’s service in Vietnam.The report appears in the official Navy records and is posted on Mr. Kerry’s campaign Web site.
It details Mr. Kerry’s participation in a naval operation on the Bay Hap River on March 13, 1969, in such glowing terms that Mr. Kerry was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for pulling Special Forces officer James Rassman out of the water while under heavy enemy fire. This third Purple Heart award allowed Kerry to cut short his tour in Vietnam after only four months.
The report in question described a mission of five Swift boats ambushed on their way to the sea by a mine explosion that seriously damaged one boat while simultaneously the Swift boats received “heavy A/W [automatic weapons] and S/A [small arms] [fire] from both banks. Fire continued for about 5,000 meters,” a little over three miles. The admiral who commanded the Swift boats in Vietnam, Roy Hoffman, finds that detail alone absurd. Admiral Hoffman points out “There was never an incident under my command in all of Vietnam where my boats were engaged by continuous fire from both banks of a half-mile in length, much less three.”
The report mentions two other mines detonating as well. So according to this report, which now stands as the official Navy record, this Swift boat mission concluded by running a veritable gauntlet of almost 3 miles of enemy fire from both banks, the detonation of three mines, and yet the only casualties occurred on the boat that hit the first mine.The Swift boats managed to escape and even more miraculously retrieve the sinking PCF-3 without getting a single bullet hole in any vessel or crewmember.
“It is miraculous all right, because it never happened,” recalls Larry Thurlow, who commanded the mission.“PCF-3 hit a mine, all of my boats directed supressing fire on both banks expecting the mine to be followed up by gunfire.
“But after a couple of minutes we ceased firing and took steps to aid the sinking PCF-3 and its injured crewmembers. There was never a shot fired at us and no additional mines went off either. And if we had been facing gunfire from both sides of three miles of riverbank, I would have called in the standby air support. I didn’t. All I called for was damage control to be brought to us so we could keep the PCF-3 afloat.”
After he returned to the United States the following month, Mr. Thurlow was surprised to find that he had received a Bronze Star himself because of his activities described in the after action report.
When Mr. Thurlow first saw the report last July he didn’t recognize the mission it contained. The Kerry campaign pointed to Mr.Thurlow’s own citation referring to his being “under constant enemy small arms fire” as well when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth first contested Mr. Kerry’s account in August.
As the commander of the mission, normally Mr. Thurlow would have filed the disputed after-action report. But he denies writing it. And the “MARKET TIME Spot Report” supports his denial. It was written by someone designated “TE 194.5.4.4/1.” An operations order re-sent two months earlier, on January 3, by Admiral Hoffman, set the format for the designation.The operations order procedures, originated by the operational commander of the Coastal 11 An Thoi unit Mr. Kerry served with, Commander Adrian Lonsdale, were the basis for the terms of designation used in this kind of report subsequently. Upon seeing the report Mr. Lonsdale recognized it and recalled the procedures it required as being followed in his command.
“TE” for example refers to a “task element,” which is defined by the numbers to the right that shows the command structure over the task element in action. “194” is Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, commander of U.S. naval forces in Vietnam; “5” is Admiral Roy Hoffman’s Swift boat command; “4” is Commander Adrian Lonsdale’s command; the last “4” is Captain George Elliot’s Swift boat base at An Thoi, where the boats on this mission were based. And the final “/1” indicates someone other than the commander of the mission. If the report had been submitted by the mission commander, in this case Larry Thurlow, according to the operations order, it would have begun with a “C” for commander of the Task Element, and the sender would have been “CTE 194.5.4.4.”
According to a Navy communications expert, Troy Jenkins, who has examined the message traffic, the report in question was sent from the USCGC Spencer, Commander Lonsdale’s command ship, at 11:20 that night. Only three of the officers on the mission that day were on the Spencer: John Kerry, Dick Pease, and Donald Droz. Droz took the wounded from the mine explosion to be examined and treated at the Spencer, including the third officer, the severely wounded Dick Pease. Since the Spencer had no helipad for the evacuation of the wounded, Mr. Droz then had to return to the USS Washtenaw County, an LST stationed about 25 nautical miles away,for medevac, leaving only Mr. Kerry aboard the Spencer at the time the message was sent at 11:20 that night.
Could Mr. Droz have somehow written the report? Mr. Lonsdale said he thinks that command precedence of days in Swift boat service alone rules this out: “According to the command procedure I set down, Kerry would have been the only logical candidate. Kerry had been in Viet Nam since November. Droz just arrived at An Thoi in February.”
Larry Thurlow adds, “I never liked the paperwork anyway. I was happy to have Kerry write them up.”
And there is another factor. Mr. Thurlow ordered Mr. Droz to take care of the wounded after the action on the Bay Hap. Mr. Droz had ferried them 40 miles out to the Spencer and now had to take them 25 miles back to the LST. Moving wounded on and off a 327-foot- long Coast Guard cutter from a 50-foot Swift boat on the open sea was not something Mr. Droz was likely to leave unsupervised long enough to dash off a report. Mr. Kerry had no duties other than reporting to the sick bay, where according to his doctor recently he was seen at 7 that night.And he spent the night on the Spencer.
The head of the Operational Archives Branch of the Naval Historical Center in Washington, Kathy Lloyd, has verified the operations order of January 3, 1969. Neither the Kerry campaign nor its Swift Boat Veteran critics contest the validity of the after-action report by “TE 194.5.4.4/1.”
Kerry spokesmen have repeatedly insisted that Mr. Kerry denies writing the report and that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were arguing with the official Navy record. But if “the official Navy record” now turns out to have been written by Mr. Kerry himself, the principal beneficiary of its glowing references to his performance, the Swift Boat critics’ charges look far more consequential.
After all, the report completely leaves out how Kerry’s own boat, PCF 94, ran downriver, leaving James Rassman overboard and the other three boats to deal with the ambush and the sinking PCF 3. All the living boat commanders on that mission are in firm agreement on that action by Kerry and agree that the report is a fraudulent misrepresentation of an action they remember well.





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WONDER LAND

By DANIEL HENNINGER

http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109659336051633422,00.html

YOU DON'T NEED A STAGED DEBATE TO SEE THE FUTURE


The deadline imperatives of national newspaper production leave me debate-less, not good for a columnist who gets paid for Friday morning quarterbacking. I wrote these words and then went home to consume debate popcorn and politics like everyone else.

Does it matter? By now the presidential debates heave into the campaign like ponderous, overblown blimps. The coverage of the campaigns has become increasingly personal, sort of like reality TV, celebrifying the candidates and in the process devaluing their connection to the two parties they represent. In a sense, all presidential candidates now run as "independents."

Democratic nominees like Bill Clinton or John Kerry haven't resisted being decoupled from the party because the core Democratic base that nominates them is too liberal to win a general election. The presidency, however, isn't a made-for-TV movie. In office, a President is unavoidably the product of the ideas and sentiments his party accretes over time.

Iraq and what now to do about it is an issue whose execution in office, by the next government, transcends whatever Tom, Dick or moderating Harry said about it last night. Running for President is a bizarre obsession. Running the country is a real job. A Kerry administration won't -- can't -- cut and run from Iraq. The Kerry ship of state, tillered by old hands from previous Democratic governments, would manage its Iraqi inheritance, wind it down and deal with to the next crisis. Let's, as the famous Sorosified Web site says, move on.

Think about the next crisis and you'll have a better idea which post-campaign reality you'll want in the Oval Office. The next crisis, already in view, is a madman or a mad mullah with a nuclear bomb. It's North Korea and Iran. And on the nuclear runway sit Syria, Egypt and perhaps Saudi Arabia. You don't need a staged debate to decide whether you want a Republican or Democrat dealing with that problem. Ever since Reagan, the parties have divided over confronting the nuclear threat. You have a choice.

The outlines of this hardest of all policy issues were evident earlier this week at a conference on nuclear oversight held at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. John Bolton, the State Department's point man on proliferation, opened by saying that the Bush administration wants the International Atomic Energy Agency to stop temporizing over Iran and refer the problem of its nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council.

He noted that it is technically possible for Iran to remain in compliance with the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, then suddenly renounce the NPT and "breakout" with its own bomb. Rather than wait for that moment, the administration wants a Security Council referral, which would elevate the problem politically.

Speaking from the Democratic side of the divide, the Carnegie Endowment's Joseph Cirincione defended the IAEA's inspection process and said the agency isn't referring Iran to the Security Council because the Bush administration's handling of Iraq's WMD created a problem of "trust and credibility."

Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control reduced the status quo to three lines: "You cannot verify a lie. You cannot successfully inspect a country that lies. You come to a dead end." But it is only the policymakers of the civilized world who come to the dead end. Beyond the dead end and deep inside the dark, trail-less forest, the Irans and North Koreas of the world are assembling a bomb and the missiles to deliver it. Current "policy" won't stop them. What will?

The Bush administration filed its answer two Septembers ago with the National Security Strategy, a 31-page document whose most famous word was "preemption." It said, "In an age where the enemies of civilization openly and actively seek the world's most destructive technologies, the United States cannot remain idle while dangers gather."

Preemption now is wholly associated with the Iraq war. But whether to act preemptively again -- or not -- is almost certain to re-emerge over the next four years with another country that we know but cannot verify is building a nuclear weapon.

Just this week in an interview with Fox's Bill O'Reilly, Mr. Bush said about Iran's bomb program, "We've made it clear, our position is that they won't have a nuclear weapon." Diplomacy, he said, was the first option, but "all options are on the table."

The Democrats? The Kerry campaign's published statement on Iran proposes "a global effort" which would buy back Iran's spent nuclear fuel. "If Iran does not accept this offer, their true motivations will be clear." He then would "push" the IAEA to "to discern the full extent of Iran's nuclear program." And then the statement's final sentence: "If this process fails, we must lead the effort to ensure that the IAEA takes this issue to the Security Council for action." And after that, what?

Before 9/11, many Americans were content not to think about such stark and awful questions, which seemed distant. Those days are gone. We live in a country and at a time when we are obliged both to produce an answer and live as a target.

If the world arrives at diplomacy's dead end, will George Bush and a Republican government project military power to stop a rogue nation from going nuclear? Most likely.

Mr. Kerry and the Democrats? It is most unlikely. Or it will come too late.

During the Cold War, faced with thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads, Democrats (and some Republicans) excused many Soviet treaty violations, believing confrontation to be catastrophic and therefore infeasible. Ronald Reagan broke that mindset for Republicans; in December 2001 President Bush renounced the 1972 ABM treaty to proceed with deployment of a missile-defense system.

Against this, I believe an abhorrence of significant military confrontation with a nuclear power has become hard-wired into the Democratic party, even against a nation building a single bomb. This is consensus party policy, what they believe is right. They will walk to the dead end, inside the Security Council. Rather than act, they will talk. And they will talk. And if they act, it won't matter.

Send comments to henninger@wsj.com1


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Friday, October 01, 2004

Al Jazeera: Al-Zawahri--Resist 'crusaders'


Al-Qaida's number two has called for attacks on US interests

An audio tape from Ayman al-Zawahri has called for organised resistance against what the senior al-Qaida leader describes as invading crusaders in the Muslim world.

The man's voice on the tape, aired by Aljazeera on Friday, also said it was the "duty of every Muslim to liberate Palestine".

In his message, al-Zawahri called for attacking US interests. "In Palestine, we are not only facing the Jews but also the anti-Islam international alliance headed by the US crusaders.

"So, fighting Jews and leaving America without being attacked will not make the Americans or the crusaders lessen their aggression against us."

The speaker also urged Muslims "not to wait any longer, otherwise, we will be devoured, one country after the other".

'Don't wait'

"The youth must not wait for anyone and must begin resisting from now and learn a lesson from Iraq and Afghanistan and Chechnya," al-Zawahri said.

"It is the duty of every Muslim to liberate Palestine"

Al-Qaida's number two Ayman al-Zawahri in audio tape message

In addition to the US and Britain, al-Zawahri mentioned Australia, France, Poland, South Korea and Japan, saying they had all participated in the occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya and gave Israel its "means of survival".

"O Muslim youths! This is our message to you. If we die or get captured, follow the path and do not betray Allah and the Prophet," al-Zawahri said.

Previous message

The audiotape was the second to surface in less than a month.

On 9 September, Aljazeera broadcast a videotape of al-Zawahri proclaiming that the US will ultimately be defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US Central Intelligence Agency determined with a high degree of confidence that the videotape was authentic. The US government has offered up to $25 million for information leading to his killing or capture.


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My No-Spin analysis--Debate a Tie But Neither Scored Substance Points

Before I start my spinning--I think I'll try to give a no-spin, objective look at the debate last night. I'm told by book publishers that America is so fractured I must choose between Michael Moore and Anne Coulter--there is no reasoned middle--so this may be not well received--but several journalists--including Dan Rather's heir-apparent and the BBC agree with me.

Truly no-spin, the debate itself was a tie. Senator Kerry started off strong, kept on message, and didn't come across as some tin-foil fanatic like some of the left-wing crazies that flock to the democratic party like a pack of vultures on road kill. President Bush started off slow, kept on message and finished well. For all the attacks and slander he has endured, he gave another "presidential" performance.

Senator Kerry scored surprisingly well on style. His haughtiness, arrogance and aloofness were not evident. He attacked and made some good points without sounding like a hormonal 16-year girl with a bad period like many of his supporters do. I think the critical thing Senator Kerry did last night was come across as reasonable and non-threatening. I may be the only republican to say this--but he actually was likeable. We will see what the polls say but I think the debate last night will increase Senator Kerry's stature--which will (at least in the short-term) erase a big part of the 6-10 point lead the President has been enjoying.

President Bush succeeded on style as well. He is everyman's president--the guy who remains steadfast and true to his convictions--a realistic leader for hard times. Even when I disagree with him, I like him and trust him.

The tragedy in these debates, and in the entire political campaign process, is that there was very little of substance presented from either side. Both droned on with "message" the entire litany of soundbites that will permeate the media for the next 34 days and tell us precious little about what either of them will actually do. They end up bashing each other and leave anybody who is really trying to make a reasoned decision--wondering what the vote will really mean.

The two big issues on the night--Iraq and homeland security give perfect examples.

I happen to agree with Senator Kerry that the war in Iraq was ill-advised. We should have dealt with North Korea and Iran next--because as they both said--nuts with nukes will be the number one problem for the person living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the foreseeable future. The problem senator Kerry has--is that he so politicized Iraq--calling it a "diversion, colossal failure," etc that I don't know how I could vote for him--because every word he has spoken will be thrown up by the world press--and how do you think the troops will feel about having a commander-in-chief that blasts the war in which their friends are dying? How do countries like the UK and Italy feel about Kerry mocking the coalition? How will the Arab world use his comments against us? In short, in trying to be political, the Senator has limited his options if he were elected.

On the other hand, President Bush has fallen short on Homeland Security. He refuses to get control of the borders, explain the realities of treating terrorism as a counter-intelligence rather than a law-enforcement issue and what that means domestically (profiling-spying on citizens-proper airline security-being honest about the Islamist threat within America) Unfortunately, the tremendous cost of the war and insurgency in Iraq is diverting resources and energy from homeland security. We are one major al Qaida strike away from many of these liabilities to be exposed.

On the other hand, Kerry is supported by all the left-wing nutcases like the ACLU, senile Jimmy Carter, all the anti-war, anti-military, anti-intelligence groups that truly don't get how 9/11 has changed things. I fear he may do even less for homeland security. In the end, politics drives both of their responses and a major attack will expose them both.

Before my spin starts, I call last night a draw.
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Before I spin--a fairly level analysis--"neither landed a knockout blow"

Rob Watson of the BBC has an analysis of the debate that is closer to being objective:

The stakes in this debate were always higher for John Kerry. He is after all the challenger.

What he needed to do was show that intangible quality - to come across as being presidential.

He also had to make a critique of President George W Bush's foreign policy.

Mr Kerry was able to strike some serious blows against the president in his handling of the war in Iraq.

He charged that the war was poorly planned, and that it had been a distraction in the war on terrorism.

In general, when it came to a critique, Mr Kerry's point was that he would fight a smarter war on terrorism, a war that would be less upsetting to America's allies.

That was his theme throughout.

Even some of President Bush's supporters are likely to say that they would have liked to have seen him make a more convincing defence of his policies.

And after four years of being president, it is probably true that Mr Bush is not used to facing the kind of close-up criticism that Mr Kerry levelled at him.

The president is surrounded by people who are always telling him that he is the leader of the free world. It must have come as a bit of a shock.

But despite the pressure from Mr Kerry, the president didn't make any serious gaffes that could have left a serious opening for the challenger.

Passing the test

President Bush, after looking a little uncomfortable to start with, hit back.

He repeatedly stated that what was really needed in this war on terror was decisiveness, steadfastness, leadership.

The president also made the point that Mr Kerry had changed his position on Iraq, and sent mixed signals.

And although Mr Bush has had more successful debates, he didn't really fail the test.

The president has always been seen as a debater who relentlessly stays on message, and Thursday night was no exception.

His handlers will have been pleased that anyone watching those debates cannot have been in any doubt of his view: The war in Iraq was right; it was part of the war on terrorism; and that the other guy is unreliable.

Surgical attacks

Both men played the game that you expected them to play.

Mr Kerry launched surgical attacks against the president's handling of foreign policy. He showed his senatorial skills.

And Mr Bush played to his strengths by looking like a conviction politician.

In the end, neither one played above their game, and neither landed a knockout blow.

This debate was Mr Kerry's chance to keep himself in this race and possibly close the gap with President Bush.

Mr Kerry is definitely still a contender after the debate, but Mr Bush didn't make any serious mistakes.

This leaves things pretty much where they were.




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Thursday, September 30, 2004

11:01 FOX

FOX spin says Kerry will get a bump

Karen Hughes says Kerry was incoherent--I disagree. She was very happy with the President's performance

Sean Hannity said the President was very calm and articulate--I think this was true later but not in the beginning.


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CBS John Roberts Calls It A Draw

John Roberts called the debate a draw. Byron Pitts points out that the spin may decide the winner.Byron is right. Bob Schieffer says there are two men with radically different approaches ... I'm not sure I agree with that.

Dan and CBS are done--switching to CNN
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1046: CBS News Swing Voters

CBS chose uncommitted voters (that had a 70 percent belief the nation is going in a negative direction) and Kerry won this debate according to them. Bob Schieffer pointed out to Dan Rather that the poll is un-scientific and "I don't know what to make of it."

But Bob is right--if the national polls show this type of result--the race is going to get real tight
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10:35 McCain/Biden spins

The Senator disagrees with his friend, John Kerry's assertion about a mistake--he said Kerry came across as very knowledgable--I agree

Dan Rather asked the good question about the swing voters: McCain answered that the President's answer about freedom in Iraq and his very personal experience of visiting a killed soldier's family in Charlotte, NC as the most relevant for swing voters

Senator Biden's spin--Kerry broke through on world issues--President Bush showed class and truly bleeds for the soldiers killed anywhere.

Senator Biden predicts polls will show Kerry breakthrough in the morning.
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10:30 And now let's spin

I'm going to watch CBS--a certain sense of irony requires it--Dan Rather says--Kerry's headline is "A colossal mistake" Bob Sheiffer noted that Kerry started strong and President Bush finished strong--I tend to agree.

I think I'll mix another drink during the commercial
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10:20 Nuclear Proliferation

Well at least they agree on this one
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Character Issue

The character question was answered well by both--in an ugly campaign, they actually sounded civil and humane
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1000 Pre-emptive strike

Kerry has waffled here on the pre-emptive strike issue--many of his cronies have ranted and raved about this doctrine as dangerous
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9:51

Well this is at least a better debate than the Bush/Gore debate--Both are getting some good licks in--however some of the facts may be a bit twisted

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9:34

i think I'll watch awhile
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9:30

Haliburton time for a shot :-) Kofi mentioned time for a shot.

At least it's starting to get a little heated. Bush is making good points here.
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9:26 We''ll get you home when the mission is done

Oh God--here comes Kerry claiming troops said they needed him--just like the foreign leaders that wanted him?


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9:22 Kerry stays on message as well

There is a lot of BS being thrown around now--but Kerry is staying on message and just attacking

President Bush didn't answer this round--the Homeland redirest very well

Advantage Kerry
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Round Four

President Bush answers this question well--staying on message.

Kerry's rebuttal is weak

Advantage Bush
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9:13 Third Round

Kerry gives a good ripping into Bush about the war--he actually sounds human

The President comes back with his defense.

Advantage--President
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9:09 Second Round

The President's answer to the question about America being safer or in more danger if Kerry was elected

Kerry started the message of colossal misjudgement in Iraq


Second round--slight Kerry Edge
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9:00 The Balloon Goes Up

Sweet Buddha--The rules, flashing lights and buzzers are enough to give me a headache.

Kerry's opening statement is reasonably articulate and he sounds human. But he is very vague..but let's see

President Bush's opening is also smooth .... he's trying to be a little more specific and is flowing into some pacing that sounds a little weird


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8:45 Which Newscast To Follow?

Rolf: Where is Terry McAulliffe when you need him? You know that weasel has DRUGS!

William: Here, Rolf take another drink of that 100 percent agave--we're sitting here arguing about which feed to watch. Rolf wants Fox. Amber wants the Playboy channel. Nicole wants MSNBC. And I'm thinking of CBS because I swear Dan Rather is wasted during most of the debates and elections--besides after his fake document fiasco--he will have to go out-of-his-way to appear objective.
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The Burning Bush 8:30

Hi this is William Webb live from an undisclosed location in the nation's capitol and we're covering an event that is so vital to the future of the free world that we've decided Mas Tequilla is the only way to really handle the magnitude of it--I'm joined by my colleague Rolf--who was in some sort of unholy tryst with threee lesbians and a Gibbon with Mary Mapes during their college days. Rolf, Just how big an event is this tonight?

ROLF: Well William, I think it is safe to say we've seen nothing like this since Moses came down from his encounter with The Almighty--that burning bush thing--I mean this is the main event--the cock is getting ready to crow and some poor Mo Fo is going to have their presidential dreams crushed like an eighteen wheeler running over an errant raccoon--Buddha this is a strong margerita!

There you have it folks--all the elements are here--and were here--and we've got one big bottle!
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Bush-Kerry Debate Blogged in Real-time 8:21pm EST

Well, since CSI isn't on .... just kidding .... we're going to have near real-time commentary here at the Political Blog For The Politically Incorrect .... I'm going to down copious amounts of alcohol to help me through it

William
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AL QAEDA SEEN PLANNING FOR 'SPECTACULAR' ATTACK

Here's a story that is getting lost in the election year spin

By Bill Gertz
Washington Times

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded recently that al Qaeda — fearing its credibility is on the line — is moving ahead with plans for a major, "spectacular" attack, despite disruptions of some operations by recent arrests in Britain and Pakistan.

Officials said recent intelligence assessments of the group, which is blamed for the September 11 attacks, state that an attack is coming and that the danger will remain high until the Nov. 2 elections and last until Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

"They [al Qaeda] think their credibility is on the line because there hasn't been a major attack since 9/11," said one official familiar with intelligence reports on the group.

A second official said: "There isn't reason to believe that the recent arrests have disrupted their plans."

Authorities in Pakistan and Britain recently arrested key al Qaeda leaders, but the group uses tight "compartmentation" of its operations. The process, used by intelligence services, keeps information about operations within small "cells" of terrorists to protect secrecy.

Thus, details of the possible attack remain murky, but analysts say it is planned to be bigger and deadlier than the September 11 attacks, which killed 3,000 people.

Potential targets include the White House, Pentagon, U.S. Capitol and congressional buildings, as well as landmarks and business centers in New York, the officials said. The officials said that there is no specific information about targets.

Intelligence officials say a key figure in al Qaeda's North American operations is Adnan Shukrijumah, who is being sought by the FBI for the past several years.

One official said Shukrijumah recently was seen in Mexico and earlier had been in Canada near a university with a nuclear reactor, leading to concerns that he was seeking radioactive material for a radiological bomb.

The Mexican newspaper Proceso, quoting Mexican officials, reported earlier this month that Shukrijumah was being sought in northeastern Mexico after being tracked to Sonora in August.

Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin told a Senate hearing last month that al Qaeda's ability to keep its operations secret is a "strategic weapon."

Mr. McLaughlin told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the group "compartments secrets down to a handful of people in a cave somewhere."

"It's very well-documented in the 9/11 report how few people knew about that," he said Aug. 17. "They use secrecy as a strategic weapon. It's a strategic weapon for them because it asymmetrically works against us because we don't keep secrets very well."

Several key arrests of al Qaeda members were made over the past several months in Britain and Pakistan.

One major intelligence "break" was the arrest in June of Musaad Aruchi, who was captured in Karachi. Aruchi was a senior al Qaeda member who provided information that led to other key arrests within weeks.

The arrest of Aruchi, a nephew of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, provided U.S. and Pakistani intelligence and security officials with information that led to further arrests, including that of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian linked by U.S. intelligence to the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Along with Ghailani, U.S. and Pakistani authorities also arrested another al Qaeda member, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a Pakistani, who was picked up in Lahore on July 13.

Khan was seized along with a laptop computer that had information on al Qaeda planning and operations.

The computer did not contain specific information about plans for a major attack in the United States, but the information did lead to the raising of the national terrorism alert levels in Washington and New York.

Eisa al-Hindi, an al Qaeda leader in Britain, was arrested after the arrest of Khan. Al-Hindi was arrested in London Aug. 3 along with 12 other suspected al Qaeda members.


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Should law enforcement profile Muslims?

by Daniel Pipes

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2091

Amnesty International USA answers emphatically no. It asserts in a report issued last week that "law enforcement's use of race, religion, country of origin, or ethnic and religious appearance as a proxy for criminal suspicion" has harmed some 32 million persons in the United States. It even claims that this practice "undermines national security."

Law enforcement, of course, categorically denies any form of profiling. But I agree with Amnesty that profiling takes place. Specifically, it has held terrorist suspects for whom there is no probable cause to arrest by calling them "material witnesses" to a crime.

Consider the case of Abdullah al Kidd, an American convert to Islam was held by American authorities as a material witness for two weeks in early 2003, then released. Asked why he was held, Norm Brown, an FBI supervisor, cited three "red flags":

Mr. Kidd's having listed on a Web site jihad as an interest; the FBI interpreted this as a reference to a holy war.
Mr. Kidd's having "sold tapes and books containing the teachings of radical sheikhs" when he lived in Idaho.
Mr. Kidd's owning a video that "had to do with the hijacking and terrorist events on September. 11, 2001."
But I, a speci­alist on militant Islam, engage on a routine basis in all three of Mr. Kidd's "red-flag" activities. My website discloses a keen interest in jihad; I have personally and institutionally disseminated the teachings of radical sheikhs; and I have assembled an archive of materials about 9/11. As a non-Muslim, however, these activities have (so far) not aroused suspicions.

Clearly, Mr. Kidd was held in part because of his Islamic identity. Nor was he the only Muslim in America whose religion was a factor in his arrest.

Ayub Ali Khan and Jaweed Azmath, two Indian Muslims, were men arrested on 9/12 while riding a train and carrying about $5,000 in cash, black hair dye and boxcutters were detained for a year on suspicion of being part of the 9/11 operation. Eventually exonerated and freed, they claimed to have been profiled. This is self-evidently correct: Had the two not been Muslim, the police would have had little interest in them and their boxcutters.

Brandon Mayfield: the FBI had fifteen fingerprints that it thought might match the one sent from Spain and connected to the bombings there on March 11, 2004. Of the 15 potential suspects, it zeroed in on the Muslim, namely Mr. Mayfield, perhaps because of his multiple connections to Islamists and jihadists. Mr. Mayfield was released after 16 days in prison, when the fingerprint match proved faulty.

Abdallah Higazy: suspected with owning an air-to-ground transceiver found in a hotel across the street from the fallen World Trade Center, he was detained for a month before a pilot claimed the transceiver.

More broadly, Anjana Malhotra notes that of the 57 people detained as material witnesses in connection with terrorism investigations, "All but one of the material witness arrests were of Muslims." In the murky area of pre-empting terrorism, in short, it matters who one is.

So, yes, profiling emphatically does take place. Which is how it should be. The 9/11 commission noted that Islamist terrorism is the "catastrophic threat" facing America and, with the very rarest of exceptions, only Muslims engage in Islamist terrorism. It would therefore be a mistake to devote as much attention to non-Muslims as to Muslims.

Further, Amnesty International ignores that some instances of preemptive jailing have worked. It has foiled terrorism (Mohammed Junaid Babar, Maher Hawash, Zakaria Soubra, James Ujaama) and dealt with other crimes (Mohdar Abdullah, Nabil Almarabh, Omar Bakarbashat, Soliman S. Biheiri, Muhammad Al-Qudhai'een).

Plenty of material witness cases have yet to be decided, such as those of Ismael Selim Elbarasse, Mohamad Kamal Elzahabi, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, Jose Padilla, Uzair Paracha, and Mohammed Abdullah Warsame, and could lead to convictions.

Amnesty International has laid down the gauntlet, placing a higher priority on civil liberties than on protection from Islamist terrorism. In contrast, I worry more about mega-terrorism – say, a dirty bomb in midtown Manhattan – than an innocent person spending time in jail.

Profiling is emerging as the single-most contentious issue in the current war. Western governmental authorities need to stop hiding behind pious denials and candidly address this issue.


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Syrian Professor:It is Islam that adorns television screens with body parts

Mundir Badr Haloum, a lecturer at a Syrian University, wrote a column in the Lebanese daily Al-Safir stating that Muslims today are responsible for terrorism around the globe, and calling for Islamic religious reform in order to bring Muslims back onto the stage of history not through suicide attacks, but rather by other means. The following are excerpts from the column:(1)


'Ignominious Terrorism Exists, and One Cannot but Acknowledge its Being Islamic'

"Twelve Nepalese citizens are slaughtered - Islam. A metro station is bombed - Islam. Civilian aircraft crash - Islam. A school is taken and the souls of 50 children [are lost] for the soul of [each] terrorist - Islam. A bus is bombed here, a railway train there, and before that there were hospitals and theaters, etc ... all of them Islamic acts. [Behind] the color green are exposed rivers red with blood, flowing in the streets and public squares. And Muslims everywhere.

"Islam is in the names of all of the organizations that decapitate using knives, all the while saying the Fatiha [the first chapter of the Koran, said as a prayer] before the slaughter. The victims are butchered in the Islamic way ... Christians, Buddhists, and Jews... After all, they are only infidels, fuel for the blaze, enemies, or potential enemies, or the friends of enemies, or their neighbors, and so on. The soul has no value and the body parts are laid out and displayed on the tables of Islam ... Islam ... Islam. The Islamic press searches for something that will absolve 'Islam' of the crimes of the Shahada [martyrdom]... It is Islam that adorns television screens with body parts... Islam - whether those who praise its mercies like it or not - is the foul odor of the putrefaction of Islamic history and its stench, as well as [being] other things that are honorable, which some people like and others do not...

"Ignominious terrorism exists, and one cannot but acknowledge its being Islamic. Anyone who is unable to bear its ignominy and wishes to absolve himself of the ugly mark of terror which is stamped in our soul ... must scrutinize the recesses of his mind and search out there the terror that conceals itself behind pretty and misleading names..."


'What Gets Passed on from One Generation to the Next is the Belief in Legal Rulings that Forbid Thought and Permit Killing'

"Self-examination ... would result in favor of abandoning Islam ... yet what gets passed on from one generation to the next is ... the latest version of Islam - Algeria, Afghanistan, Moscow, and New York, the version of the planes and the buses, the metro stations, the theaters and the residential complexes. What gets passed on from one generation to the next is the faith of Jihad that takes lightly the spilling of others' blood. How easy it is to shove someone into the category of the enemy. What gets passed on from generation to generation is the belief in legal rulings that forbid thought and permit killing... Religious Muslims prepare an offering to heaven - a fresh bit of human flesh, meant to be evidence of the truth and the proof of Jihad for the absolute truth.

"Indeed, we as Muslims produce terrorism, succor it, and praise it. We condemn it only when forced to. Motivated by considerations of power, interests, and diplomacy, we wear a pained expression on our faces but in our hearts we rejoice at the brilliant success - a large number of casualties. Unfortunately, in this black reality it does not matter if it is an American, Israeli, or Russian mind who is responsible for certain terrorist operations ... or whether those who kill themselves are poor, ignorant, or destitute ..."


'Reform is the Only Path to Our Return to History as Muslims and Not as Terrorists'

"This is a reality that must be acknowledged as a first step toward a non-terrorist Islam ... an Islam that teaches the values of truth and justice... Islam as a religious establishment is today in need ... of a precise definition of its position between earth and heaven, between this world and the next. If it chooses the earth, it must accept the laws of politics that regulate earthly affairs, and must leave the holy to those who occupy themselves with the affairs of heaven. If it chooses heaven, it must leave politics and earthly affairs to those who find interest in them. He who cleaves to both realms undoubtedly [chooses] terrorism and certain death...

"Islam is in need of true reform. Islam's need [for reform] - or, to be precise, our need for Islam's reform - is not less than the need for reform in the Arab political regimes... This is the need for people who are capable of fearlessly acknowledging that terrorism nests within us as Muslims and that we must exorcise it... Unfortunately, the meaning of delay is more death... The reform will take a long time and the price will be high, but it is the only path to our return to history as Muslims and not as terrorists..."

Endnote:
(1) Al-Safir (Lebanon), September 13, 2004.


*********************
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles
and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
E-Mail: memri@memri.org
www.memri.org

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The Islamic States of America?

by Daniel Pipes

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2100

The hardest thing for Westerners to understand is not that a war with militant Islam is underway but that the nature of the enemy's ultimate goal. That goal is to apply the Islamic law (the Shari‘a) globally. In U.S. terms, it intends to replace the Constitution with the Qur'an.

This aspiration is so remote and far-fetched to many non-Muslims, it elicits more guffaws than apprehension. Of course, that used to be the same reaction in Europe, and now it's become widely accepted that, in Bernard Lewis' words, "Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century."

Because of the American skepticism about Islamist goals, I postponed publishing an article on this subject until immediately after 9/11, when I expected receptivity to the subject would be greater (it was published in November 2001as "The Danger Within: Militant Islam in America"). I argued there that

The Muslim population in this country is not like any other group, for it includes within it a substantial body of people—many times more numerous than the agents of Osama bin Ladin—who share with the suicide hijackers a hatred of the United States and the desire, ultimately, to transform it into a nation living under the strictures of militant Islam.

The receptivity indeed was greater, but still the idea of an Islamist takeover remains unrecognized in establishment circles – the U.S. government, the old media, the universities, the mainline churches.

Therefore, reading "A rare look at secretive Brotherhood in America," in the Chicago Tribune on Sept. 19 caused me to startle. It's a long analysis that draws on an exclusive interview with Ahmed Elkadi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader in the United States during 1984-94, plus other interviews and documentation. In it, the authors (Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Sam Roe, and Laurie Cohen) warily but emphatically acknowledge the Islamists' goal of turning the United States into an Islamic state.

Over the last 40 years, small groups of devout Muslim men have gathered in homes in U.S. cities to pray, memorize the Koran and discuss events of the day. But they also addressed their ultimate goal, one so controversial that it is a key reason they have operated in secrecy: to create Muslim states overseas and, they hope, someday in America as well. …

Brotherhood members emphasize that they follow the laws of the nations in which they operate. They stress that they do not believe in overthrowing the U.S. government, but rather that they want as many people as possible to convert to Islam so that one day—perhaps generations from now—a majority of Americans will support a society governed by Islamic law.

This Brotherhood approach is in keeping with my observation that the greater Islamist threat to the West is not violence – flattening buildings, bombing railroad stations and nightclubs, seizing theaters and schools – but the peaceful, legal growth of power through education, the law, the media, and the political system.

The Tribune article explains how, when recruiting new members, the organization does not reveal its identity but invites candidates to small prayer meetings where the prayer leaders focus on the primary goal of the Brotherhood, namely "setting up the rule of God upon the Earth" (i.e., achieving Islamic hegemony). Elkadi describes the organization's strategic, long-term approach: "First you change the person, then the family, then the community, then the nation."

His wife Iman is no less explicit; all who are associated with the Brotherhood, she says, have the same goal, which is "to educate everyone about Islam and to follow the teachings of Islam with the hope of establishing an Islamic state."

In addition to Elkadi, the article features information from Mustafa Saied (about whose Muslim Brotherhood experiences the Wall Street Journal devoted a feature story in December 2003, without mentioning the organization's Islamist goals). Saied, the Tribune informs us, says

he found out that the U.S. Brotherhood had a plan for achieving Islamic rule in America: It would convert Americans to Islam and elect like-minded Muslims to political office. "They're very smart. Everyone else is gullible," Saied says. "If the Brotherhood puts up somebody for an election, Muslims would vote for him not knowing he was with the Brotherhood."

Citing documents and interviews, the Tribune team notes that the secretive Brotherhood, in an effort to acquire more influence, went above ground in Illinois in 1993, incorporating itself as the Muslim American Society. The MAS, headquartered in Alexandria, Va. and claiming 53 chapters across the United States engages in a number of activities. These include summer camps, a large annual conference, websites, and the Islamic American University, a mainly correspondence school in suburban Detroit that trains teachers and imams.

Of course, the MAS denies any intent to take over the country. One of its top officials, Shaker Elsayed, insists that

MAS does not believe in creating an Islamic state in America but supports the establishment of Islamic governments in Muslim lands. The group's goal in the United States, he says, "is to serve and develop the Muslim community and help Muslims to be the best citizens they can be of this country." That includes preserving the Muslim identity, particularly among youths.

Notwithstanding this denial, the Tribune finds MAS goals to be clear enough:

Part of the Chicago chapter's Web site is devoted to teens. It includes reading materials that say Muslims have a duty to help form Islamic governments worldwide and should be prepared to take up arms to do so. One passage states that "until the nations of the world have functionally Islamic governments, every individual who is careless or lazy in working for Islam is sinful." Another one says that Western secularism and materialism are evil and that Muslims should "pursue this evil force to its own lands" and "invade its Western heartland." [links added by me, DP]

In suburban Rosemont, Ill., several thousand people attended MAS' annual conference in 2002 at the village's convention center. One speaker said, "We may all feel emotionally attached to the goal of an Islamic state" in America, but it would have to wait because of the modest Muslim population. "We mustn't cross hurdles we can't jump yet."

These revelations are particularly striking, coming as they do just days after a Washington Post article titled "In Search Of Friends Among The Foes," which reports how some U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials believe the Muslim Brotherhood's influence "offers an opportunity for political engagement that could help isolate violent jihadists." Graham Fuller is quoted saying that "It is the preeminent movement in the Muslim world. It's something we can work with." Demonizing the Brotherhood, he warns, "would be foolhardy in the extreme." Other analysts, such as Reuel Gerecht, Edward Djerejian, and Leslie Campbell, are quoted as being in agreement with this outlook.

But it is a deeply wrong and dangerous approach. Even if the Muslim Brotherhood is not specifically associated with violence in the United States (as it has been in other countries, including Egypt and Syria), it is deeply hostile to the United States and must be treated as one vital component of the enemy's assault force

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A disturbing set of Translation from MEMRI

Egyptian Intellectual: Al-Azhar University Curricula Encourages Extremism and Terrorism

Progressive writer and Cairo University lecturer on the sociology of religion Sayyed Al-Qimni wrote, in an article in the Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Youssef, that the curricula of Al-Azhar University encourage extremism and terror. The following are excerpts from the article:(1)


'A Few of the Sheikhs at Al-Azhar are Trying to Drag it [Back] to the Middle Ages'

"Let us take a look together at the curricula of Islamic jurisprudence, which are taught in Al-Azhar's intermediate stages, not in order to call for the banning of [books on these curricula], but in order to understand that their removal from the curricula is the first step required for reform. They should, of course, remain in an Islamic library as a source for whoever wants to know what the Muslims thought in the golden era of Islamic jurisprudence and in order for us to understand the way of thinking of [certain] sheikhs [today] and what they want from our youth...

"Al-Azhar continues to be a place of acquisition of education and defense of moderate Islam and of the [generally] accepted ideas. Nevertheless, a few of the sheikhs at Al-Azhar are trying to drag it [back] to the Middle Ages and to draw [their ideas] from some radical schools of thought. If Al-Azhar gets rid of them and of their ideas, it will remove those black stains from its garments.

"If we examine some of the extremist curricula, we will find that the principle of fighting any non-Muslim and killing him is not an offensive innovation by [founder of Wahhabism] Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab and by [Ayman] Al-Zawahiri, [Osama bin Laden's deputy and the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization]. This [is] because a book of the Hanafi [school of thought], 'Al-Ikhtiyar fi Ta'lil Al-Mukhtar' [by Abdallah Ibn Mahmoud Al-Mawsily] teaches the next generation that 'the war against the infidels is an obligation of all intelligent, healthy, free, and able men... And when the Muslims besiege their enemies in a town or a fortress, they must call upon them to convert to Islam. If they convert, [the Muslims] must cease fighting them, and if they do not convert, they must call upon them to pay the jizya [poll tax]. If they refuse to pay the jizya, the Muslims must call upon Allah's help in the war against them, to erect catapults, to destroy their fields and their trees, to burn them, and to pelt them [with catapult stones], even if [the enemies] use Muslims as a human shield...'"


'What Kind of Thinking are We Teaching Our Next Generation, that It has the Right to Attack Other Countries in Order to Convert Them to Islam?'

"The book then instructs [Muslims] to act with compassion in this war: 'The Muslims must not breach a contract assuring protection [of the subjugated], must not take more than their share of the booty, must not mutilate bodies, kill madmen, women, children, cripples, one whose right hand has been amputated, or an elderly man, unless one of them is a king or a person able to fight, to incite [to war], to give advice about war or to instigate [fighting] by means of his possessions.' The stipulation that women, elderly, and cripples would be pardoned if they did not incite to war implies that everyone, in effect, should be killed, since no citizen living in a country attacked by foreigners does not incite to battle...

"Let us continue to read from some of the curricula of the extremism ['Al-Ikhtiyar fi Ta'lil Al-Mukhtar']: 'When the imam conquers a country by force, if he so desires - he will divide it among those taking the spoils, [and] if he so desires - he will execute the prisoners, subjugate them, or leave them under the patronage of the Muslims. [Moreover,] if he wishes to return [to the country] [and has] livestock, which he cannot take with him, he will slaughter and burn it.'

"What kind of way of thinking are we teaching our next generation, that it has the right to attack other countries in order to convert them to Islam or to [make them] pay jizya, and that if they don't - we will annihilate them down to the very last one? [That it has the right] to pillage countries and return with the loot, and [that] if it cannot transport the booty - [that it can] burn it? Can anybody imagine a member of another religion, paying jizya, in a state of subjection, to a people he does not recognize, merely because it is able to attack, to kill and to slaughter?...(2)"


'One Must Degrade Dhimmis [Non-Muslims Living in Muslims Countries]'

"And what about after the conquest, the emigration and the taking up of residence in the conquered land alongside its non-Muslim residents, who pay the jizya? [On this matter] there are guidelines [in 'Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba Sharh Zad Al-Mustaqna' by Mansur Ibn Yunes Al-Buhuti] [through which] one can see what the position of an Al-Azhar graduate [will be] towards his [non-Muslim] brother in the [Arab] homeland: '... The [hair] on their foreheads must be cut... They are permitted to ride [mounts] other than horses, such as donkeys, without a saddle... [One] must not rise in their honor or precede them in greetings... [One] must not offer them condolences, visit them in sickness or participate in their celebrations. They are forbidden to establish new churches or to rebuild those that were destroyed... They are forbidden to build a structure higher than those belonging to Muslims... They must be forbidden to raise their voice in mourning the dead.' If a dhimmi(3) invites a Muslim to a wedding celebration, he must not go, 'because one must degrade dhimmis...'"


'This is What is Taught at Al-Azhar ... and there are Other Things that Arouse Disgust'

"What else do these extremist curricula contain...? In 'Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba' ... we find the following legal issue concerning relations between the dhimmi and the Muslim: If someone of the People of the Book,(4) the dhimmi, avoids paying the jizya - his life and his property are permissible. If [the dhimmi] kills a Muslim, he must be killed, but if a Muslim kills him - the Muslim is not to be killed, but must pay blood money, and the blood money for [the killing of] a dhimmi is half the blood money for [the killing of] a Muslim. The height of justice.

"However, in addition to all this darkness and ugly tyranny, there are anecdotes. Thus, in a chapter of 'Al-Rawdh Al-Murabba' dealing with endowments, you find that it is permitted to endow [property] for the benefit of an infidel who is not an enemy or of an apostate. Why is this? [You will] enjoy this [explanation]: because it 'will not be forever, since they both will be executed shortly.'

"In addition, one must prevent the irreverent from reading the Koran and [one must] forbid an infidel to read it even if one wants him to convert... In a chapter about amputation [as punishment] for theft, [it is written that] amputation is conditional upon the stolen [property] being respectable property. [This means that] it is permissible to steal musical instruments...

"This is what is taught at Al-Azhar ... and there are other things that arouse disgust and are hurtful, such as the purification condition after relieving oneself... It is forbidden to use respectable paper, meaning the kind on which the name of Allah or a private name is written, such as [books of] Hadith and Shari'a [Islamic law]. However, it is permissible to use disreputable paper, the kind on which philosophical or logical sciences are written, providing one verifies that Allah's name is not mentioned [from 'Al-Iqna' fi Haqq Alfaz Abi Shuja' by Mansur Ibn Yunes Al-Buhuti].

"And we wonder where terror comes from. This is just an example of the writings of extremist sheikhs who have infiltrated our noble religious institution. We present [these writings] in the hope that these curricula will be reexamined, that Al-Azhar will attend first and foremost to what is happening within its ranks, and will place the interests of the homeland at the top of its priorities..."

Endnotes:
(1) Roz Al-Youssef (Egypt), July 10, 2004.
(2) The concept of the jizya to be paid in a state of subjection appears in Koran 9:29: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, of those who are the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya in a state of subjection."
(3) A non-Muslim under Islamic rule whose life and property are protected, while living in an inferior status.
(4) A Jew or a Christian, who may be offered the choice of living under Muslim rule as dhimmis while retaining their religion.


*********************
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles
and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
E-Mail: memri@memri.org
www.memri.org

|

Muslims condemn candidate's comments

This From Robert Spencer at Jihadwatch

Truth-telling and shoring-up of the Big Lie in Chicago. From the Daily Herald, with thanks to Twostellas:

The Republican challenger to three-term Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky said Monday he's distrusted Islam "for years" and supports the federal government planting human monitors in mosques to track the activity of those practicing the religion there.
Kurt Eckhardt's comments brought swift criticism from Schakowsky and Muslim groups, who described his remarks as inaccurate and dangerous.

"This feeds the cycle of misunderstanding, feeds the cycle of prejudice, feeds the cycle of hate crimes," said Yaser Tabbara, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Tabbara's organization, North America's largest Islamic civil rights group, is working to promote the mainstream Muslim voice, which does not condone violence.


No mention, of course, of the fact that "Tabbara's organization" was so busy promoting the mainstream Muslim voice that it failed to notice that three of its officials were involved in terrorist-related activities: Bassem Khafagi, Ismail Royer, and Ghassan Elashi.

"We are unequivocally opposed to terrorism," he said. "Our religion does not condone it in any way."
Great. What are you doing to inform Osama bin Laden, Abu Hamza, Shamil Basayev, and other people who say things like this of this much-overlooked fact about your misunderstood religion?

In an interview with the Daily Herald editorial board, Eckhardt, of Chicago, called the threat of fundamentalist Islamic expansion "profound" and said secular democracies around the world need to become proactive and in some cases pre-emptive against the spread of the groups worldwide.
"No other issue matters if we're dead," Eckhardt said....

Eckhardt said terrorist acts were not "aberrational behavior" by a few extreme Muslims but possibly part of a broader culture.

"Where is the voice of reason in the Islamic community?" Eckhardt said. "There is none, except in nations we control."

Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, said terrorism or calls to violence were "not at all" inherent in Islam.

"Going in with the suspicion that every mosque is somehow a breeding ground for terrorism defies all the information," she said.


Does it really? Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi Muslim, testified before a State Department Open Forum in 1999 that 80% of American mosques were under the control of extremists. That claim has never been investigated. What "information" does Schakowsky that makes it certain that it's not true?

Kareem Irfan, chair of the Lombard-based Council of Islamic Organizations, noted that 35,000 Muslims congregated peacefully at an Islamic Society of North America convention in Rosemont over Labor Day weekend. Irfan said Islam has 1.25 billion peaceful believers worldwide.
"They have nothing to do with violence and terror," he said.


I am certain that many, if not most, do not. But to make such a blanket assertion about all 1.25 billion Muslims worldwide is to fly in the face of reality. Unless, I suppose, Irfan is assuming that the Muslims who are waging jihad today in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Chechnya, Bosnia, Nigeria and elsewhere are all really CIA and Mossad operatives, trying to smear Islam.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Pakistan Daily Times: Foiling Plutonium -239 Sale

From http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_29-9-2004_pg7_5

BISHKEK: Kyrgyz security forces have foiled an attempt to sell 60 containers of plutonium-239, a substance used in nuclear weapons, a national security committee spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

It remained unclear how much plutonium was captured, but an official said its grade was high enough to make a so-called “dirty bomb” that disburses high doses of radiation over large areas.

One man was detained during the seizure of the plutonium last week while another suspect escaped, the spokeswoman said.

“Plutonium-239 is not used in Kyrgyzstan. The security service is trying to establish how this material reached the hands of the detained person,” she said.

Fears about chemical and nuclear site security in Kyrgyzstan have risen in recent years with the discovery of several such attempts to sell radioactive materials in the black market.

Although unsuspected of having produced nuclear weapons, this former part of USSR was a major uranium producer until its independence in 1991. afp


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Here's Why You Should Fear Kerry, Kofi and all the other Globalists

Here's a great idea--let's allow the rest of the world weigh in on our politics http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1309889,00.html

Still no votes in Leipzig

US policy now affects every citizen on the planet. So we should all have a say in who gets to the White House

Jonathan Freedland
The Guardian

There were few pleasures to be had following Bob Dole's doomed presidential campaign in 1996, but one was the unique brand of anti-charm adopted by the candidate. I was once on the receiving end of it myself, during a stop in New Hampshire. Dole had just inspected a factory and a huddle of reporters gathered to ask some questions. I was only three words into mine when the would-be president cut me off. He'd heard my accent and decided there was no point giving me the time of day. "No votes in Liverpool," he snapped, before calling on the man from the Kansas City Star.
I later heard a reporter from Finnish TV dismissed with a crisp "No votes in Leipzig". Dole's familiarity with both British accents and European geography may have been slightly off, but the point was clear enough. He was running in an American election: he needed to speak to Americans and Americans alone. No one else mattered.

At the time, that logic seemed fair enough. Americans were choosing their own leader to run their own government. Americans would pay the taxes and live with the consequences of their decision. It was up to them.

But now I'm not so sure. For who could honestly describe the 2004 contest of George Bush and John Kerry as a domestic affair? There's a reason why every newspaper in the world will have the same story on its front page on November 3. This election will be decisive not just for the United States but for the future of the world.

Anyone who doubts it need only look at the last four years. The war against Iraq, the introduction of the new doctrine of pre-emption, the direct challenge to multilateral institutions - chances are, not one of these world-changing developments would have happened under a President Al Gore. It is no exaggeration to say that the actions of a few hundred voters in Florida changed the world.

So perhaps it's time to make a modest proposal. If everyone in the world will be affected by this election, shouldn't everyone in the world have a vote? Despite Bob Dole, shouldn't the men who want to be president win the support of Liverpool and Leipzig as well as Louisville and Lexington?

It may sound wacky, but the idea could not be more American. After all, the country was founded on the notion that human beings must have a say in the decisions that govern their lives. The rebels' slogan of "No taxation without representation" endures two centuries later because it speaks about something larger than the narrow business of raising taxes. It says that those who pay for a government's actions must have a right to choose the government that takes them.

Today, people far from America's shores do indeed pay for the consequences of US actions. The citizens of Iraq are the obvious example, living in a land where a vile dictatorship was removed only for a military occupation and unspeakable violence to be unleashed in its place. The would-be voters of downtown Baghdad might like a say in whether their country would be better off with US forces gone. Perhaps John Kerry's Monday promise to start bringing the troops home, beginning next summer, would appeal to them. But they have no voice.

It's not just those who live under US military rule who might wish to choose the commander-in-chief. Everyone from Madrid to Bali is now drawn into the "war on terror" declared by President Bush. We might believe that war is being badly mishandled - that US actions are aggravating the threat rather than reducing it - and that we or our neighbours will eventually pay the price for those errors. We might fear that the Bush policy is inflaming al-Qaida, making it more not less likely to strike in our towns and cities, but right now we cannot do anything to change that policy. Instead we have to watch the US campaign on TV, with our fingers crossed - impotent spectators of a contest that could shake up our lives. (Those who feel the same way about Tony Blair should remember: at least we will get a vote.)

So we ought to hold America to its word. When George Bush spoke to the UN yesterday, he invoked democracy in almost every paragraph, citing America's declaration of independence which insists on the equal worth of every human being. Well, surely equal worth means an equal say in the decisions that affect the entire human race.

That 1776 declaration is worth rereading. Its very first sentence demands "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind": isn't that exactly what the world would like from America today? The document goes on to excoriate the distant emperor George for his recklessness, insisting that authority is only legitimate when it enjoys "the consent of the governed". As the world's sole superpower, the US now has global authority. But where is the consent?

By this logic, it is not a declaration of independence the world would be making. On the contrary, in seeking a say in US elections, the human race would be making a declaration of dependence - acknowledging that Washington's decisions affect us more than those taken in our own capitals. In contrast with those founding Americans, the new declaration would argue that, in order to take charge of our destiny, we do not need to break free from the imperial power - we need to tame it.

Such a request would also represent a recognition of an uncomfortable fact. It would be an admission that the old, postwar multilateral arrangements have broken down. In the past, America's allies could hope to influence the behemoth via treaties, agreements and the UN. The Bush era - not just Iraq, but Washington's disdain for Kyoto, the test ban treaty, the international criminal court and the rest - suggests that the US will no longer listen to those on the outside. As candidate Dole understood, only those with votes get a hearing.

Will this modest proposal fly? Will it hell. Despite Bush's smooth talk in New York yesterday, his position remains that America does not need a "permission slip" from anybody to do anything. If Washington won't listen to the security council, it's hardly likely to submit itself to the voters of Paris and Pretoria.

Besides, every good Republican knows the world is solid Kerry territory. A survey by pollsters HI Europe earlier this month found that, if Europeans had a vote, they would back Kerry over Bush by a 6 to 1 margin. Bush would win just 6% in Germany, 5% in Spain and a measly 4% in France. No Republican is going to cede turf like that to the enemy.

You would think those numbers would hurt Bush, making clear how unpopular he is in the world. But they don't. If anything they hurt Kerry, suggesting he is the candidate of limp-wristed foreigners and therefore somehow less American. We may find that a sorry state of affairs. But there is little we can do about it. In the democratic contest that matters most to the world, the world is disenfranchised

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Senile Carter Gets Bashed In NY Sun Editorial

Jimmy Carter's War On Democracy

Long after most former presidents have settled down into an honored elder- statesman role, Jimmy Carter keeps chugging along like that battery bunny.
Now the ex-peanut farmer charges that Florida fails to meet the "basic international requirements" for fair elections in the November vote.

He claims that new Secretary of State Glenda Hood (who replaced Katherine Harris, the face of the Florida 2000 electoral recount) is biased and that the entire state is participating in a "suspicious process."

"It is unconscionable," Carter added, "to perpetuate fraudulent or biased electoral practices in any nation."

Oh, really?

Funny, Carter quickly endorsed the results of last month's recall effort against Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez, a pal of dictators from Saddam Hussein to Fidel Castro, officially beat back the recall with nearly 59 percent of the vote.



Oddly, that result was completely opposite the findings of an exit poll conducted by a well-regarded polling firm used often by the U.S. Democratic Party, which showed Venezuelan voters booting Chavez by the same 59 percent.

Other exit polls also pointed toward a comfortable recall win.

Carter's election observers were supposed to do a wide survey of the more than 20,000 electronic voting machines. Instead, they did only a quick check of a few. Only days later, in the face of major criticism, was an audit made of 150 of the machines — too late to affect any result.

Oh, and for good measure, a peaceful protest of the recall result was greeted by gunfire from a group of thugs loyal to Chavez. One woman was killed and several others were injured.

Yet Jimmy Carter said that the election was "free and fair."

And he presumes to judge American elections?

Yes, there are problems.

New York elections, for example, are replete with anecdotal evidence suggesting substantial polling irregularities. What do you suppose the odds are Carter will come to town to lecture fellow Democrats on how to hold fair elections?

Jimmy Carter seems to have a thing for heavy-handed rulers; before Chavez, there was his affection for North Korea's Stalinist thug, Kim Jong Il.

That's between the former president and his conscience, of course. But he would do well to butt out of America's sometimes flawed, but fundamentally fair, electoral processes.





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Current Electoral Vote Bush 273 Kerry 241


From : http://www.electoral-vote.com/
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Electoral Vote Predictor 2004: Kerry 241 Bush 273

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Wyoming (3 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 29%
Bush: 65%
Nader: 2%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 11)
2000: Gore: 28.3%, Bush 69.2%, Nader 2.0%


Wisconsin (10 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 38%
Bush: 52%
Nader: 4%
Source: Badger Poll-7 (Sep 21)
2000: Gore: 47.8%, Bush 47.6%, Nader 3.6%


West Virginia (5 EVs)
Weak Bush
Kerry: 42%
Bush: 51%
Nader: 2%
Source: Gallup-4 (Sep 20)
2000: Gore: 45.6%, Bush 51.9%, Nader 1.6%


Washington (11 EVs)
Barely Kerry
Kerry: 46%
Bush: 45%
Nader: 2%
Source: Strategic Vision (R)-3 (Sep 22)
2000: Gore: 50.2%, Bush 44.6%, Nader 4.1%


Virginia (13 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 42%
Bush: 53%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 23)
2000: Gore: 44.5%, Bush 52.5%


Vermont (3 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 50%
Bush: 40%
Nader: 4%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 12)
2000: Gore: 50.7%, Bush 40.8%, Nader 6.9%


Vermont (3 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 50%
Bush: 40%
Nader: 4%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 12)
2000: Gore: 50.7%, Bush 40.8%, Nader 6.9%


Utah (5 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 27%
Bush: 64%
Nader: 4%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 13)
2000: Gore: 26.5%, Bush 67.2%, Nader 4.7%


Texas (34 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 37%
Bush: 58%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 21)
2000: Gore: 38.0%, Bush 59.3%


Tennessee (11 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 41%
Bush: 55%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 22)
2000: Gore: 47.3%, Bush 51.2%


South Dakota (3 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 39%
Bush: 58%
Nader: 1%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 12)
2000: Gore: 37.6%, Bush 60.3%, Nader 0.0%


South Carolina (8 EVs)
Weak Bush
Kerry: 42%
Bush: 51%
Source: Rasmussen-7 (Sep 24)
2000: Gore: 40.9%, Bush 56.9%


Rhode Island (4 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 55%
Bush: 37%
Nader: 4%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 20)
2000: Gore: 61.0%, Bush 31.9%, Nader 6.1%


Rhode Island (4 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 55%
Bush: 37%
Nader: 4%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 20)
2000: Gore: 61.0%, Bush 31.9%, Nader 6.1%


Pennsylvania (21 EVs)
Weak Kerry
Kerry: 46%
Bush: 41%
Nader: 4%
Source: Rasmussen-7 (Sep 26)
2000: Gore: 50.6%, Bush 46.4%, Nader 2.1%


Oregon (7 EVs)
Weak Kerry
Kerry: 49%
Bush: 43%
Nader: 2%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 23)
2000: Gore: 47.1%, Bush 46.6%, Nader 5.1%


Oklahoma (7 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 33%
Bush: 64%
Source: Wilson Research-3 (Sep 26)
2000: Gore: 38.4%, Bush 60.3%


Ohio (20 EVs)
Barely Bush
Kerry: 46%
Bush: 47%
Source: Strategic Vision (R)-3 (Sep 27)
2000: Gore: 46.4%, Bush 50.0%


North Dakota (3 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 33%
Bush: 62%
Nader: 1%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 10)
2000: Gore: 33.1%, Bush 60.7%, Nader 3.3%


North Carolina (15 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 41%
Bush: 53%
Source: Research 2000-4 (Sep 27)
2000: Gore: 43.1%, Bush 56.0%


New York (31 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 51%
Bush: 31%
Source: Sienna College-4 (Sep 26)
2000: Gore: 60.2%, Bush 35.2%


New Mexico (5 EVs)
Barely Bush
Kerry: 43%
Bush: 47%
Nader: 2%
Source: Rasmussen-7 (Sep 16)
2000: Gore: 47.9%, Bush 47.8%, Nader 3.6%


New Jersey (15 EVs)
Barely Kerry
Kerry: 47%
Bush: 43%
Nader: 2%
Source: Strategic Vision (R)-3 (Sep 26)
2000: Gore: 56.1%, Bush 40.3%, Nader 3.0%


New Jersey (15 EVs)
Barely Kerry
Kerry: 47%
Bush: 43%
Nader: 2%
Source: Strategic Vision (R)-3 (Sep 26)
2000: Gore: 56.1%, Bush 40.3%, Nader 3.0%


New Hampshire (4 EVs)
Tied
Kerry: 46%
Bush: 46%
Nader: 2%
Source: Research 2000-4 (Sep 23)
2000: Gore: 46.9%, Bush 48.2%, Nader 3.9%


New Hampshire (4 EVs)
Tied
Kerry: 46%
Bush: 46%
Nader: 2%
Source: Research 2000-4 (Sep 23)
2000: Gore: 46.9%, Bush 48.2%, Nader 3.9%


Nevada (5 EVs)
Barely Bush
Kerry: 46%
Bush: 48%
Nader: 2%
Source: Gallup-4 (Sep 21)
2000: Gore: 46.2%, Bush 49.8%, Nader 2.5%


Nebraska (5 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 30%
Bush: 61%
Nader: 2%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 12)
2000: Gore: 33.2%, Bush 62.2%, Nader 3.5%


Montana (3 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 36%
Bush: 54%
Nader: 2%
Source: Mason-Dixon-3 (Sep 22)
2000: Gore: 33.4%, Bush 58.4%, Nader 5.9%


Missouri (11 EVs)
Weak Bush
Kerry: 44%
Bush: 50%
Source: Rasmussen-7 (Sep 26)
2000: Gore: 47.1%, Bush 50.4%


Mississippi (6 EVs)
Weak Bush
Kerry: 42%
Bush: 51%
Nader: 1%
Source: American Res. Group-4 (Sep 17)
2000: Gore: 40.7%, Bush 57.6%, Nader 0.8%


Minnesota (10 EVs)
Tied
Kerry: 46%
Bush: 46%
Source: Rasmussen-7 (Sep 27)
2000: Gore: 47.9%, Bush 45.5%


Michigan (17 EVs)
Barely Kerry
Kerry: 47%
Bush: 45%
Source: Rasmussen-7 (Sep 27)
2000: Gore: 51.3%, Bush 46.1%


Massachusetts (12 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 64%
Bush: 27%
Nader: 0%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 13)
2000: Gore: 59.9%, Bush 32.5%, Nader 6.4%


Massachusetts (12 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 64%
Bush: 27%
Nader: 0%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 13)
2000: Gore: 59.9%, Bush 32.5%, Nader 6.4%


Maryland (10 EVs)
Tied
Kerry: 48%
Bush: 48%
Source: Survey USA (Sep 19)
2000: Gore: 56.6%, Bush 40.2%


Maryland (10 EVs)
Tied
Kerry: 48%
Bush: 48%
Source: Survey USA (Sep 19)
2000: Gore: 56.6%, Bush 40.2%


Maine (4 EVs)
Barely Bush
Kerry: 46%
Bush: 47%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 22)
2000: Gore: 49.1%, Bush 44.0%


Louisiana (9 EVs)
Weak Bush
Kerry: 42%
Bush: 50%
Nader: 1%
Source: American Res. Group-5 (Sep 21)
2000: Gore: 44.9%, Bush 52.6%, Nader 0.8%


Kentucky (8 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 38%
Bush: 53%
Nader: 3%
Source: Bluegrass Poll (Sep 15)
2000: Gore: 41.3%, Bush 56.4%, Nader 1.5%


Kansas (6 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 35%
Bush: 57%
Nader: 2%
Source: American Res. Group-4 (Sep 18)
2000: Gore: 37.2%, Bush 58.0%, Nader 3.4%


Iowa (7 EVs)
Barely Bush
Kerry: 45%
Bush: 48%
Nader: 1%
Source: Opinion Dynamics-2 (Sep 22)
2000: Gore: 48.6%, Bush 48.3%, Nader 2.2%


Indiana (11 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 39%
Bush: 54%
Source: American Res. Group-5 (Sep 20)
2000: Gore: 41.0%, Bush 56.6%


Illinois (21 EVs)
Weak Kerry
Kerry: 49%
Bush: 40%
Source: Market Shares-4 (Sep 20)
2000: Gore: 54.6%, Bush 42.6%


Idaho (4 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 30%
Bush: 59%
Nader: 3%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 10)
2000: Gore: 27.6%, Bush 67.2%, Nader 2.5%


Hawaii (4 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 51%
Bush: 41%
Nader: 4%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 11)
2000: Gore: 55.8%, Bush 37.5%, Nader 5.9%


Georgia (15 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 42%
Bush: 53%
Source: Rasmussen-14 (Sep 23)
2000: Gore: 43.2%, Bush 55.0%


Florida (27 EVs)
Barely Kerry
Kerry: 49%
Bush: 48%
Source: Rasmussen-7 (Sep 27)
2000: Gore: 48.8%, Bush 48.8%


D.C. (3 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 78%
Bush: 11%
Nader: 6%
Source: American Res. Group-3 (Sep 13)
2000: Gore: 85.7%, Bush 9.0%, Nader 5.3%


D.C. (3 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 78%
Bush: 11%
Nader: 6%
Source: American Res. Group-3 (Sep 13)
2000: Gore: 85.7%, Bush 9.0%, Nader 5.3%


Delaware (3 EVs)
Weak Kerry
Kerry: 45%
Bush: 37%
Nader: 2%
Source: American Res. Group-3 (Sep 25)
2000: Gore: 55.0%, Bush 41.9%, Nader 2.5%


Delaware (3 EVs)
Weak Kerry
Kerry: 45%
Bush: 37%
Nader: 2%
Source: American Res. Group-3 (Sep 25)
2000: Gore: 55.0%, Bush 41.9%, Nader 2.5%


Connecticut (7 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 54%
Bush: 39%
Nader: 1%
Source: American Res. Group-3 (Sep 14)
2000: Gore: 55.9%, Bush 38.4%, Nader 4.4%


Connecticut (7 EVs)
Strong Kerry
Kerry: 54%
Bush: 39%
Nader: 1%
Source: American Res. Group-3 (Sep 14)
2000: Gore: 55.9%, Bush 38.4%, Nader 4.4%


Colorado (9 EVs)
Weak Bush
Kerry: 44%
Bush: 52%
Nader: 2%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 23)
2000: Gore: 42.4%, Bush 50.8%, Nader 5.3%


California (55 EVs)
Weak Kerry
Kerry: 48%
Bush: 43%
Source: Rasmussen-7 (Sep 26)
2000: Gore: 53.4%, Bush 41.7%


Arkansas (6 EVs)
Barely Bush
Kerry: 45%
Bush: 48%
Nader: 2%
Source: Rasmussen-14 (Sep 26)
2000: Gore: 45.9%, Bush 51.3%, Nader 1.5%


Arizona (10 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 43%
Bush: 54%
Source: Survey USA-3 (Sep 23)
2000: Gore: 44.7%, Bush 51.0%


Alaska (3 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 30%
Bush: 57%
Nader: 5%
Source: American Res. Group (Sep 11)
2000: Gore: 27.8%, Bush 58.8%, Nader 10.1%


Alabama (9 EVs)
Strong Bush
Kerry: 39%
Bush: 55%
Source: Rasmussen-14 (Sep 21)
2000: Gore: 41.6%, Bush 56.5%


Data in Excel format
Battleground states
Info about the states
Previous report
News



Strong Kerry (64)
Weak Kerry (107)
Barely Kerry (70)
Exactly tied (24)
Barely Bush (47)
Weak Bush (48)
Strong Bush (178)
Needed to win: 270

Sept. 29 New polls: DE FL MI MN NH NC OH OR PA

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News from the Votemaster
New polls put Kerry ahead in Oregon by 6%, by 49% to 43%, and in Florida.html by 1%. The latter means nothing, of course. With all the hurricanes in Florida, the outcome is more in doubt than ever. Will it effect the election? Maybe turnout will be depressed. Maybe people will be angry at the government for not providing more aid. Who knows.

Tony Blair has admitted that Saddam did not have WMD. In a speech to his Labor party he said: "The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons as opposed to the capability to develop them has turned out to be wrong." I wonder if the moderator of tomorrow's debate will ask President Bush if he still maintains that Saddam had WMD. Could be interesting.

The New York Times has an article today about how many of the swing states have been late in mailing absentee ballots to overseas voters, a group many experts see as the key to this election. As a consequence, many ballots are expected to arrive late, which will probably result in legal wrangling about whether ballots arriving Nov. 3 should be counted. In the Florida 2000 election, some late ballots were counted and others were not, leading to suspicions that election officials were counting those ballots (e.g., military ones) that they thought would be in their favor and ignoring those (e.g., civilian ones) that they thought would go against them. If you are an overseas voter who hasn't registered yet, go to and register right now, then follow the instructions on the Americans abroad page, but do it right now. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/29/politics/campaign/29military.html?hpex

Family values, Part I: Former governor Tony Knowles (D) has increased his lead over Lisa Murkowski (R) in the race for the Alaska Senate seat. Knowles is now ahead by 6%. Ms. Murkowski, as you may recall, was appointed to the Senate by her dad, the governor.

Family values, Part II: Marylander Alan Keyes, who is running for senator of Illinois, has based his entire Senate campaign on the theme that homosexuals are sinful, selfish people. He even condemned Cheney's lesbian daughter, Mary. Guess what? Keyes own 19-year-old daughter, Maya, is also a lesbian and has been outed. The story is all over the blogosphere. One good place to look is www.politics1.com, one of my favorite political blogs. Another favorite of mine is www.politicalwire.com.


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Projected Senate: 49 Democrats, 50 Republicans, 1 independent
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WWW www.electoral-vote.com







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FAIR Applauds Governor Schwarzenegger for Terminating Illegal Alien Driver's License

At least Arnold gets it!

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has some 25,000 members in California, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of legislation that would have granted driver's licenses to illegal aliens:
"We applaud Gov. Schwarzenegger for his courageous veto of a dangerous bill that would have exacerbated the illegal immigration crisis and compromised homeland security. Everyone understands the extreme pressure that was being brought to bear on the governor by a powerful pro-illegal alien faction of the California Legislature to sign the bill granting illegal immigrants licenses. Gov. Schwarzenegger demonstrated true leadership in doing what is right and in the public interest, rather than what might have been politically expedient.

"While radical factions of the Legislature continue to promote new benefits and privileges for illegal aliens, Gov. Schwarzenegger sided with the overwhelming majority of Californians in taking a stand against issuing official state identity documents to people who are violating U.S. immigration laws. Californians have repeatedly and unequivocally voiced their opposition to the idea of granting licenses to illegal aliens. Approval of a similar bill in 2003 contributed to the recall of his predecessor, Gray Davis, and the initiation of a ballot measure that would have allowed the voters themselves to override the law had it not been repealed by the Legislature.

"In the face of the clear assessment and strong recommendations of the 9/11 Commission - that America's lax policies regarding the issuance of vital documents contributed to the tragedy of 9/11 and continue to pose a threat to homeland security - we believe that Gov. Schwarzenegger indeed upheld the highest responsibilities of his office.

"Gov. Schwarzenegger has done his part. Now it is incumbent upon Congress to enact the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, including establishing national standards for driver's licenses that require all applicants to prove they are legal U.S. residents."

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Back: Let's Talk About The Issue Neither Candidate Will Touch

Back from Italy after a hellish travel day yesterday .... Plenty to blog about starting with the one issue neither candidate wants to talk about--the contiunes illegal alien invasion. Here's one article you need to read


By Steven Camarota

This study is one of the first to estimate the total impact of illegal immigration on the federal budget. Most previous studies have focused on the state and local level and have examined only costs or tax payments, but not both. Based on Census Bureau data, this study finds that, when all taxes paid (direct and indirect) and all costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion in 2002. We also estimate that, if there was an amnesty for illegal aliens, the net fiscal deficit would grow to nearly $29 billion.

Among the findings:

• Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household.

• Among the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).

• With nearly two-thirds of illegal aliens lacking a high school degree, the primary reason they create a fiscal deficit is their low education levels and resulting low incomes and tax payments, not their legal status or heavy use of most social services.

• On average, the costs that illegal households impose on federal coffers are less than half that of other households, but their tax payments are only one-fourth that of other households.

• Many of the costs associated with illegals are due to their American-born children, who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth. Thus, greater efforts at barring illegals from federal programs will not reduce costs because their citizen children can continue to access them.

• If illegal aliens were given amnesty and began to pay taxes and use services like households headed by legal immigrants with the same education levels, the estimated annual net fiscal deficit would increase from $2,700 per household to nearly $7,700, for a total net cost of $29 billion.

• Costs increase dramatically because unskilled immigrants with legal status — what most illegal aliens would become — can access government programs, but still tend to make very modest tax payments.

• Although legalization would increase average tax payments by 77 percent, average costs would rise by 118 percent.

• The fact that legal immigrants with few years of schooling are a large fiscal drain does not mean that legal immigrants overall are a net drain — many legal immigrants are highly skilled.

• The vast majority of illegals hold jobs. Thus the fiscal deficit they create for the federal government is not the result of an unwillingness to work.

• The results of this study are consistent with a 1997 study by the National Research Council, which also found that immigrants’ education level is a key determinant of their fiscal impact.

A Complex Fiscal Picture
Welfare use. Our findings show that many of the preconceived notions about the fiscal impact of illegal households turn out to be inaccurate. In terms of welfare use, receipt of cash assistance programs tends to be very low, while Medicaid use, though significant, is still less than for other households. Only use of food assistance programs is significantly higher than that of the rest of the population. Also, contrary to the perceptions that illegal aliens don’t pay payroll taxes, we estimate that more than half of illegals work “on the books.” On average, illegal households pay more than $4,200 a year in all forms of federal taxes. Unfortunately, they impose costs of $6,950 per household.



Social Security and Medicare. Although we find that the net effect of illegal households is negative at the federal level, the same is not true for Social Security and Medicare. We estimate that illegal households create a combined net benefit for these two programs in excess of $7 billion a year, accounting for about 4 percent of the total annual surplus in these two programs. However, they create a net deficit of $17.4 billion in the rest of the budget, for a total net loss of $10.4 billion. Nonetheless, their impact on Social Security and Medicare is unambiguously positive. Of course, if the Social Security totalization agreement with Mexico signed in June goes into effect, allowing illegals to collect Social Security, these calculations would change.

The Impact of Amnesty. Finally, our estimates show that amnesty would significantly increase tax revenue. Because both their income and tax compliance would rise, we estimate that under the most likely scenario the average illegal alien household would pay 77 percent ($3,200) more a year in federal taxes once legalized. While not enough to offset the 118 percent ($8,200) per household increase in costs that would come with legalization, amnesty would significantly increase both the average income and tax payments of illegal aliens.

What’s Different About Today’s Immigration. Many native-born Americans observe that their ancestors came to America and did not place great demands on government services. Perhaps this is true, but the size and scope of government were dramatically smaller during the last great wave of immigration. Not just means-tested programs, but expenditures on everything from public schools to roads were only a fraction of what they are today. Thus, the arrival of unskilled immigrants in the past did not have the negative fiscal implications that it does today. Moreover, the American economy has changed profoundly since the last great wave of immigration, with education now the key determinant of economic success. The costs that unskilled immigrants impose simply reflect the nature of the modern American economy and welfare state. It is doubtful that the fiscal costs can be avoided if our immigration policies remain unchanged.

Policy Implications
The negative impact on the federal budget need not be the only or even the primary consideration when deciding what to do about illegal immigration. But assuming that the fiscal status quo is unacceptable, there are three main changes in policy that might reduce or eliminate the fiscal costs of illegal immigration. One set of options is to allow illegal aliens to remain in the country, but attempt to reduce the costs they impose. A second set of options would be to grant them legal status as a way of increasing the taxes they pay. A third option would be to enforce the law and reduce the size of the illegal population and with it the costs of illegal immigration.

Reducing the Cost Side of the Equation. Reducing the costs illegals impose would probably be the most difficult of the three options because illegal households already impose only about 46 percent as much in costs on the federal government as other households. Thus, the amount of money that can be saved by curtailing their use of public services even further is probably quite limited. Moreover, the fact that benefits are often received on behalf of their U.S.-citizen children means that it is very difficult to prevent illegal households from accessing the programs they do. And many of the programs illegals use most extensively are likely to be politically very difficult to cut, such as the Women Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program. Other costs, such as incarcerating illegals who have been convicted of crimes are unavoidable. It seems almost certain that if illegals are allowed to remain in the country, the fiscal deficit will persist.

Increasing Tax Revenue by Granting Amnesty. As discussed above, our research shows that granting illegal aliens amnesty would dramatically increase tax revenue. Unfortunately, we find that costs would increase even more. Costs would rise dramatically because illegals would be able to access many programs that are currently off limits to them. Moreover, even if legalized illegal aliens continued to be barred from using some means-tested programs, they would still be much more likely to sign their U.S.-citizen children up for them because they would lose whatever fear they had of the government. We know this because immigrants with legal status, who have the same education levels and resulting low incomes as illegal aliens, sign their U.S.-citizen children up for programs like Medicaid at higher rates than illegal aliens with U.S.-citizen children. In addition, direct costs for programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit would also grow dramatically with legalization. Right now, illegals need a Social Security number and have to file a tax return to get the credit. As a result, relatively few actually get it. We estimate that once legalized, payments to illegals under this program would grow more than ten-fold.

From a purely fiscal point of view, the main problem with legalization is that illegals would, for the most part, become unskilled legal immigrants. And unskilled legal immigrants create much larger fiscal costs than unskilled illegal aliens. Legalization will not change the low education levels of illegal aliens or the fact that the American labor market offers very limited opportunities to such workers, whatever their legal status. Nor will it change the basic fact that the United States, like all industrialized democracies, has a well-developed welfare state that provides assistance to low-income workers. Large fiscal costs are simply an unavoidable outcome of unskilled immigration given the economic and fiscal realities of America today.

Enforcing Immigration Laws. If we are serious about avoiding the fiscal costs of illegal immigration, the only real option is to enforce the law and reduce the number of illegal aliens in the country. First, this would entail much greater efforts to police the nation’s land and sea borders. At present, less than 2,000 agents are on duty at any one time on the Mexican and Canadian borders. Second, much greater effort must be made to ensure that those allowed into the country on a temporary basis, such as tourists and guest workers, are not likely to stay in the country permanently. Third, the centerpiece of any enforcement effort would be to enforce the ban on hiring illegal aliens. At present, the law is completely unenforced. Enforcement would require using existing databases to ensure that all new hires are authorized to work in the United States and levying heavy fines on businesses that knowingly employ illegal aliens. Finally, a clear message from policymakers, especially senior members of the administration, that enforcement of the law is valued and vitally important to the nation, would dramatically increase the extremely low morale of those who enforce immigration laws.

Policing the border, enforcing the ban on hiring illegal aliens, denying temporary visas to those likely to remain permanently, and all the other things necessary to reduce illegal immigration will take time and cost money. However, since the cost of illegal immigration to the federal government alone is estimated at over $10 billion a year, significant resources could be devoted to enforcement efforts and still leave taxpayers with significant net savings. Enforcement not only has the advantage of reducing the costs of illegal immigration, it also is very popular with the general public. Nonetheless, policymakers can expect strong opposition from special interest groups, especially ethnic advocacy groups and those elements of the business community that do not want to invest in labor-saving devices and techniques or pay better salaries, but instead want access to large numbers of cheap, unskilled workers. If we choose to continue to not enforce the law or to grant illegals amnesty, both the public and policymakers have to understand that there will be significant long-term costs for taxpayers.

Summary Methodology
Overall Approach. To estimate the impact of households headed by illegal aliens, we rely heavily on the National Research Council’s (NRC) 1997 study, “The New Americans.” Like that study, we use the March Current Population Survey (CPS) and the decennial Census, both collected by the Census Bureau. We use the March 2003 CPS, which asks questions about income, household structure, and use of public services in the calendar year prior to the survey. We control total federal expenditures and tax receipts by category to reflect actual expenditures and tax payments. Like the NRC, we assume that immigrants have no impact on defense-related expenditures and therefore assign those costs only to native-headed households. Like the NRC, we define a household as persons living together who are related. Individuals living alone or with persons to whom they are unrelated are treated as their own households. As the NRC study points out, a “household is the primary unit through which public services are consumed and taxes paid.” Following the NRC’s example of using households, many of which include U.S.-citizen children, as the unit of analysis makes sense because the presence of these children and the costs they create are a direct result of their parents having been allowed to enter and remain in country. Thus, counting services used by these children allows for a full accounting of the costs of illegal immigration.

Identifying Illegal Aliens in Census Bureau Data. While the CPS does not ask respondents if they are illegal aliens, the Urban Institute, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), and the Census Bureau have used socio-demographic characteristics in the data to estimate the size and characteristics of the illegal population. To identify illegal aliens in the survey, we used citizenship status, year of arrival in the United States, age, country of birth, educational attainment, sex, receipt of welfare programs, receipt of Social Security, veteran status, and marital status. This method is based on some very well-established facts about the characteristics of the illegal population. In some cases, we assume that individuals have zero chance of being an illegal alien, such as naturalized citizens, veterans, and individuals who report that they personally receive Social Security benefits or cash assistance from a welfare program or those who are enrolled in Medicaid. However, other members of a household, mainly the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens, can and do receive these programs. We estimate that there were 8.7 million illegal aliens included in the March 2003 CPS. By design, our estimates for the size and characteristics of the illegal population are very similar to those prepared by the Census Bureau, the INS, and the Urban Institute.

Estimating the Impact of Amnesty. We assume that any amnesty that passes Congress will have Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR) as a component. Even though the President’s amnesty proposal in January seems to envision “temporary” worker status, every major legalization bill in Congress, including those sponsored by Republican legislators, provides illegal aliens with LPR status at some point in the process. Moreover, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has indicated his strong desire to give LPR status to illegal aliens.

To estimate the likely impact of legalization, we run two different simulations. In our first simulation, we assume that legalized illegal aliens would use services and pay taxes like all households headed by legal immigrants with the same characteristics. In this simulation, we control for the education level of the household head and whether the head is from Mexico. The first simulation shows that the net fiscal deficit grows from about $2,700 to more than $6,000 per household. In the second simulation, we again control for education and whether the household head is Mexican and also assume that illegals would become like post-1986 legal immigrants, excluding refugees. Because illegals are much more like recently arrived non-refugees than legal immigrants in general, the second simulation is the more plausible. The second simulation shows that the net fiscal deficit per household would climb to $7,700.

Results Similar to Other Studies. Our overall conclusion that education level is the primary determinant of tax payments made and services used is very similar to the conclusion of the 1997 National Research Council report, “The New Americans.” The results of our study also closely match the findings of a 1998 Urban Institute study, which examined tax payments by illegal aliens in New York State. In order to test our results we ran separate estimates for federal taxes and found that, when adjusted for inflation, our estimated federal taxes are almost identical to those of the Urban Institute. The results of this study are also buttressed by an analysis of illegal alien tax returns done by the Inspector General’s Office of the Department of Treasury in 2004, which found that about half of illegals had no federal income tax liability, very similar to our finding of 45 per

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