Archive for the 'The War on Terror' Category

Sami Al-Arian and the curse of the black pearl

Posted in Politics, The War on Terror on December 6th, 2005 by Pants Of Time

Bush supporter turned terrorist, Sami Al-Arian was acquitted on the major charges in his case today. The story behind this guy is nothing short of fascinating. You can find tons of interesting stuff here on Wikipedia, but I’ll paraphrase some amusing stuff here.

For his background, the Wikipedia link above should be consulted, but the FBI started investigating him in the 1990′s for various degrees of first amendment usage. Following that, who better to befriend than Bush himself: “After his brother-in-law, Mazen Al-Najjar was imprisoned on secret evidence, Al-Arian became politically active in the United States. He campaigned against the use of secret evidence in immigration cases and was for George W. Bush during the 2000 presidential election, and was photographed with Bush that year in Plant City, Florida. ”

Okay well thats something special right there. But what then?

The following year, Al-Arian’s son, Abdullah, became a congressional intern, but was by a mistake kicked out of a White House meeting, sparking a walkout by twenty other Muslims in attendance. However, President Bush soon apologized to the Al-Arian family for the incident. On June 20, 2001, Sami Al-Arian’s attended Eisenhower Office Building for a briefing, led by Karl Rove, with 160 other Muslim leaders.

Ah he must be a terrorist if his own brother is a Congressional intern deemed important enough to get an apology from the President himself. Then O’Reilly invited him on his show and accused him of being a shady character. Fun times.

Well as we know, O’Reilly attracts the most intelligent and productive members of society to watch his show, so they decided to take matters into their own hands.

Following the airing of the program, USF received several death threats for Al-Arian. University president Judy Genshaft placed Al-Arian on paid leave and barred him from the campus on September 27, ostensibly for his own safety and the safety of others at the university.

Thanks Bill, you’ve done the country a real service as always. I wonder if those lovely fellows in Kansas got hints from your show or parent network. I wouldn’t be surprised.

On February 20, 2003, the FBI arrested Al-Arian after indicting him and seven others on 50 terrorism-related charges. United States Attorney General John Ashcroft alleged at a press conference that Al-Arian was the North American head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the secretary of the PIJ’s international organization.

FIFTY charges. If I have heard correctly, Ashcroft used this case to exemplify his backing of the Patriot Act and said that this is the result of putting it to good use. Clearly he was right.

Iraq .. I agree with Bush

Posted in Big Business, Iraq, Politics (Opinion), The War in Iraq, The War on Terror on November 30th, 2005 by zedlappy

Well a little anyway.
Lets start with the following:
- We had no right to invade Iraq. Iraq posed no threat to the US and had no links to Al Qaeda. That much is as clear as day no matter what anyone else says.
- We invaded Iraq for the following reasons: OIL, He tried to kill my daddy, OIL, Haliburton, OIL, having an american base of operations in the middle east, OIL, Oedipus, and for the bunnies
- Iraq is not better off now. Yes Saddam is gone and he is/was a bad man but Iraqis were united in hating him as opposed to the west. There was an infrastructure in place(utilities, govt etc… no matter how corrupt) and there weren’t bombings taking place every day killing dozens.
- Women had more rights under Saddam than it looks like they will once a theocratic islamist regime/govt comes into power soon.
- 2000+ and counting US deaths and at least 100k Iraqis killed by US military. This is the blood on our conscience that will not wash away much like Vietnam.
- The US is most definitely not safer now than we were before we invaded. This has not only created a great recruiting tool for “the terrorists” but also caused a general feeling of ill will with the Muslim world and absolutely wasted the political cache and sympathy we had following 9/11

Now where do I agree with Bush: We cannot pull out now or anytime soon.
- Just because we invaded for the wrong/no reason and have destroyed the country doesn’t mean we can “cut and run” now. We have to fix or at least make a good faith effort to fix the mess that we have caused. Those 100K+ deaths and the many more to come are on the US’s hands now.
- The leaders of the resistance are definitely aligned or associated with Al Qaeda now and they are more organised than any other group in Iraq. If we leave, they will take over and that is bad.

What we should do:
- Apologize. Not to the american people but to the Iraqi people. Engage in diplomacy and use Imam Al Sastani (sp) one ofthe more respected people in Iraq to calm tensions. Explain US intentions clearly without double talk.
- Stop torturing people. Pass laws. Prosecute Rumsfeld and Cheney (realistically at least a slap on the wrists). Make the 10% or so of the military in Iraq who are complete idiots take some “How to behave like a decent human being” classes.
- Insist on a true democracy. Model it after the former Pakistani govt(an Islamic republic where women had at least quasi-equal rights) or a democracy that works in a majority muslim nation(indonesia?Bangladesh?).
-Send more soldiers if necessary. Thats what the generals want. Hire actually qualified people to implement the occupation!
- Impeach Bush

Al Qaeda, Saddam, and the mysterious briefing

Posted in The War in Iraq, The War on Terror on November 26th, 2005 by Pants Of Time

I came acrossed an article that I find very interesting. It talks about a presidential daily briefing on September 21, 2001 where Bush was told point blank that there’s no link between Al Qaeda and Saddam. Details of this briefing are not widely known due to its classified nature, but what makes it so intriguing is an additional juicy morsel of information: Saddam found Al Qaeda as a threat, and was actually planning potential action against them.

One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group. Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime. At one point, analysts believed, Saddam considered infiltrating the ranks of Al Qaeda with Iraqi nationals or even Iraqi intelligence operatives to learn more about its inner
workings, according to records and sources.

The September 21, 2001, briefing was prepared at the request of the president, who was eager in the days following the terrorist attacks to learn all that he could about any possible connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Indeed, the existence of the September 21 PDB was not disclosed to the Intelligence Committee until the summer of 2004, according to congressional sources. Both Republicans and Democrats requested then that it be turned over. The administration has refused to provide it, even on a classified basis, and won’t say anything more about it other than to acknowledge that it exists.

The mysteeeeeerious briefing… what else could have been disclosed? Maybe W had a temper tantrum. Poor muffin.

Rewriting history? Piss off Cheney, you’re a deceitful, treasonous, sack of turd.

In arguing their case for war with Iraq, the president and vice president said after the September 11 attacks that Al Qaeda and Iraq had significant ties, and they cited the possibility that Iraq might share chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons with Al Qaeda for a terrorist attack against the United States.

Man this is getting so damn old… we just keep seeing the same words in different forms all day long, but until these idiots own up to it, we can just keep repeating their words back to them as they trip over their responses.

But a comparison of public statements by the president, the vice president, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld show that in the days just before a congressional vote authorizing war, they professed to have been given information from U.S. intelligence assessments showing evidence of an Iraq-Al Qaeda link.

“You can’t distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror,” President Bush said on September 25, 2002.

I guess not.

More here.

From used cars to… arms deals?

Posted in The War in Iraq, The War on Terror on November 7th, 2005 by Pants Of Time

You’re doin a heck of a job Ziad.

Ziad Cattan was a Polish Iraqi used-car dealer with no weapons-dealing experience until U.S. authorities turned him into one of the most powerful men in Iraq last year — the chief of procurement for the Defense Ministry, responsible for equipping the fledgling Iraqi army.

As U.S. advisors looked on, Cattan embarked on a massive spending spree, paying hundreds of millions of dollars in Iraqi funds for secret, no-bid contracts, according to interviews with more than a dozen senior American, coalition and Iraqi officials, and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times. The money flowed, often in bricks of cash, through the hands of middlemen who were friends of Cattan and took a percentage of the proceeds.

“Before, I sold water, flowers, shoes, cars — but not weapons,” said Cattan, who signed most of the 89 military contracts worth nearly $1.3 billion to equip Iraqi security forces, according to the documents. “We didn’t know anything about weapons.”

Cattan’s improbable rise and fall raises troubling questions about American oversight of the Iraqi army’s development, considered the most important mission in reducing the number of U.S. troops in harm’s way.

The portrait that emerges from interviews and documents is a Defense Ministry whose members were picked with the care of choosing a pickup basketball team. U.S.-appointed military advisors often selected inexperienced Iraqis and watched as they cut pell-mell weapons deals that eventually totaled one-third of the entire procurement budget.

Lots more where that came from.

Its amazing what people will say when they’re being tortured… so lets go to war over it!

Posted in The War in Iraq, The War on Terror on November 6th, 2005 by Pants Of Time

So we tortured a guy into saying what we wanted… and then we went to war over it… BRILLIANT.

A high Qaeda official in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.

The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, “was intentionally misleading the debriefers” in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda’s work with illicit weapons.

The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi’s credibility. Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi’s information as “credible” evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.

Among the first and most prominent assertions was one by Mr. Bush, who said in a major speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that “we’ve learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.”

I bet if he thought they wanted it, he’d also tell them about the dragons and the clouds and the magical fortress in the sky.

More here.

Who’s looking out for you?

Posted in Freedom of Speech, Politics, The War on Terror on November 6th, 2005 by Pants Of Time

I’ve been sitting on some of these articles for quite a while, but some are more recent. This is a small sample of some of the human rights abuses going on in the name of freedom.

The FBI’s Secret Scrutiny
In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau Examines Records of Ordinary Americans

“National security letters,” created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters — one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people — are extending the bureau’s reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Very in depth article here care of the Washington Post.

An American in chains
James Yee entered Guantanamo as a patriotic US officer and Muslim chaplain. He ended up in shackles, branded a spy. This is his disturbing story

My cell was 8ft by 6ft, the same size as the detainees’ cages at Guantanamo. Barely a week ago I had received a glowing evaluation for my work as the US army’s Muslim chaplain among the “Gitmo” prisoners. Now I was the one in chains.

It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to have a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon in it. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside. Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched.

It didn’t matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite US military academy. It didn’t matter that my religious beliefs prohibited me from being fully naked in front of strangers. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t been charged with a crime. It didn’t matter that my wife and daughter had no idea where I was. And it certainly didn’t matter that I was a loyal American citizen and, above all, innocent.

An American in Chains (thanks to the UK)

Oh and what post would be complete without an all new category of law… MIND CRIMES

Online erotic stories host Red Rose Stories announced on its site Friday that the FBI had forced it to shut down.
According to a posting on the site¡¦s main page, Red Rose Stories is facing obscenity charges for posting stories that allegedly involved bestiality, water sports, scat, bondage and domination, S&M, slavery, threesomes, orgies and sex with children.

According to Rosie, who runs the site, such topics have opened the door to her prosecution.

Trust me on this. I found out the hard way. I never thought I’d be in trouble for the written word,” Rosie told XBiz via email. I had no pictures of a sexual nature on my site, adult or otherwise. [It seems] the only legal sex stories are those that involve a man and a woman consenting to missionary position sex in a dark room.¡¨

Rosie said officials came to her house when she was not home and seized a number of items.

Thats right, text files containing nothing but words are illegal now too. Freedom isn’t free, nor is it available.

The rest is here.

Unsavory.

Posted in The War in Iraq, The War on Terror on September 27th, 2005 by DoubleMan

After Pants of Time showed me some horrible pictures from Iraq, I’ve had my fill of decapitations, scorchings, and general carnage, but some others out there haven’t. Mark and Marc at Morning Sedition interviewed Chris Wilson, a porn site operator who’s been trading free membership to his site for soldiers in Iraq who send him pictures of the unbelievably gruesome. I imagine he gets a lot of traffic.

Yum!

Don’t you dare denigrate.

Posted in Other Media, The War in Iraq, The War on Terror on September 23rd, 2005 by DoubleMan

I know for some of you it’s difficult to watch Bill O’Reilly, but this is a good one.

Phil Donahue, who’s generally a clown, gives Billy a taste of his own medicine.

Video here.

Thanks onegoodmove.

GO 9/11!

Posted in The Economy, The War on Terror on August 27th, 2005 by Pants Of Time

In the United States, the September 11 attacks are seen as the catalyst for a period of fear, war and economic worry.

But in the oil-rich Arab countries of the Gulf, September 11 is increasingly being seen as the event that kicked off a galloping economic boom — and prodded investors to pull their money out of a United States perceived as hostile to Arabs, and instead invest it at home.

Since late 2001, economies in the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries have soared, with stock markets up a collective 400 percent. During the same period, investments from those countries into the U.S. slowed to a trickle.

In Saudi Arabia, birthplace of 15 of the 19 terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks, gross domestic product rose 37 percent between 2001 and last year.

But investors and economists also credit a shift in strategy that led Gulf Arabs to pull their money out of slumping U.S. markets and invest it at home.

Before 9/11, World Bank figures show Middle Eastern oil exporters were plowing as much as US$25 billion (euro20 billion) year into U.S. investments. For the three years of 2001-2003, the figure only reached US$1.2 billion (euro0.98 billion).

The article speaks for itself.

Link (Source: CNN)

Dear Fox News….

Posted in Mainstream Media, News, The War on Terror on August 27th, 2005 by Pants Of Time

I hope this poor family sues you backwards, forwards, and inside out. Also, I love what this says about Fox News viewers. Not to mention – when was it the media’s job to identify where “suspected terrorists” live?

When Blame Knocks on the Wrong Door
Since Fox News wrongly identified a La Habra home as that of a terrorist, its five- member family has faced an angry backlash.

By H.G. Reza, Times Staff Writer

Randy and Ronnell Vorick thought La Habra was about as far away as one could get from terrorism. They were wrong.

For the last 2 1/2 weeks, the lives of the couple and their three children have been plunged into an unsettling routine of drivers shouting profanities, stopping to photograph their house and — most recently — spray-painting a slogan on their property.

Their house, a suburban fixer-upper the Voricks bought three years ago, was wrongly identified in a cable news broadcast as the home of a terrorist.

“I’m scared to go to work and leave my kids home. I call them every 30 minutes to make sure they’re OK,” Randy Vorick said.

“I keep telling myself this can’t be happening to me. This can’t be happening to my family. But it is. I want our lives to be normal again,” he said.

In what Fox News officials concede was a mistake, John Loftus, a former U.S. prosecutor, gave out the address Aug. 7, saying it was the home of a Middle Eastern man, Iyad K. Hilal, who was the leader of a terrorist group with ties to those responsible for the July 7 bombings in London.

Hilal, whom Loftus identified by name during the broadcast, moved out of the house about three years ago. But the consequences were immediate for the Voricks.

Satellite photos of the house and directions to the residence were posted online. The Voricks told police, who arranged for the content to be taken down. Someone even removed the street sign where the Voricks live to provide some protection.

Still, it has not been easy.

A driver yelled a profanity at the family and called them terrorists as they barbecued on their patio Aug. 14. Some drivers have stopped and photographed the house, Randy Vorick said.

Last weekend, someone spray-painted “Terrist” on their home. Police, who have regularly patrolled their house since the day after the broadcast, now station a squad car across the street.

Randy, a restaurant manager, and Ronnell, a manager at a staffing agency, have been married 19 years and met as teenagers when they worked at a local McDonald’s.

They grew up in La Habra and bought the house three years ago after Hilal moved out so they could be close to Ronnell Vorick’s parents.

La Habra Police Capt. John Rees said the department was “giving special attention to the family to make sure they’re safe,” but declined to elaborate.

“This thing broke on a Sunday, when we started receiving inquiries from the public about terrorists,” he said.

The Voricks said they had made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Fox News and Loftus by telephone and e-mail. They want a public apology and correction.

Both have issued apologies — Fox in a one-line statement to the Los Angeles Times and Loftus in an e-mail to the family — after being contacted by the newspaper. The Voricks say they have yet to see or hear a correction.

“John Loftus has been reprimanded for his careless error, and we sincerely apologize to the family,” said Fox spokeswoman Irena Brigante.

Loftus also apologized and told The Times last week that “mistakes happen.”

“I’m terribly sorry about that. I had no idea. That was the best information we had at the time,” he said.

Loftus said he gave out the address to help local police, and insisted that Hilal, a Garden Grove grocery store owner, was a terrorist.

“I thought it might help police in that area now that we have positively identified a terrorist living in [Orange County],” he said.

Cathy Viray, an FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles, said agents were looking into Loftus’ terrorist allegations but stopped short of calling it an investigation.

The Voricks’ nightmare began Aug. 7 when they were returning from SeaWorld in San Diego with their daughters, 17 and 5, and son, 14.

“I was driving home and my neighbor called saying that some guy on Fox said a terrorist lives at my house and gave out the address,” Randy Vorick said.

The next day, the couple left for a four-day cruise to Santa Catalina Island and Ensenada, leaving their children in the care of a house-sitter and Randy Vorick’s brother, all unaware of the growing fallout from Fox’s report.

When they returned Aug. 12, Randy Vorick said he had received several e-mails and messages on his cellphone from friends who told him that Loftus had been interviewed on KFI-AM (640) radio and repeated his allegation about a terrorist living in La Habra. The radio station did not broadcast his address.

In addition, the house-sitter said police had stopped by Aug. 8 to check on their safety and were keeping an eye on the house. Randy Vorick said he had e-mailed Fox and Loftus, asking for a public retraction and apology.

He said the apologies that came were too little, too late.

On Monday night, the day after someone spray-painted their house, the Voricks were up all night looking at the street and the cars that drove by.

“I just want a good night’s sleep,” Randy Vorick said. “I don’t know when I’m going to have it.”

Link (Source: LA Times (premium))