Filed under: 9/11, al Qaeda, Bin Laden, politics, Sept. 11, September 11, terrorism, World Trade Center, WTC | Tags: 9/11, America, Sept. 11, September 11, terrorism, World Trade Center, WTC
None of us in the United States will ever forget Sept. 11, 2001.
All political, social and religious differences dissolved that morning. For a fleeting moment we were one. It was as if a veil were lifted… and in an instant we came to the chilling realization that there is such a thing as pure evil in this world. We learned that there are men walking this earth who view evil as good — who see the cruelest acts against innocent people as a service to their god.
These were men whose dogma was so ingrained in them that there would literally be no changing of their minds or their hearts under any circumstances. The men who hijacked those planes on Sept. 11 lived among us. They worked among us. They experienced our creativity, resourcefulness and sense of humor. They saw the wonderful opportunities that this country offered and how wonderful the people could be. And they still hated us.
On that day we saw radical Islam as it truly was, unfiltered in all of it’s ugliness. We KNEW that these attacks were the act of terrorists. We KNEW that it was wrong. We KNEW that it was evil. We KNEW that the perpetrators not only needed to be punished, but taken out completely. We KNEW that it was us or them.
And so that sense of frailty and helplessness we experienced that morning was quickly replaced with a righteous anger. A GOOD anger. An anger that said not MY brother, not MY sister, not MY spouse, not MY child, not MY country, not MY freedom. Oh NO YOU DON’T, scumbags.
For a moment… for a few days… for a few weeks… we realized just what we had and how precious and sacred these things were to us. And we were willing to fight to keep them. It’s never a bad idea to revisit that passion from time to time.
President Bush is asking for a moment of silence at 8:46 this morning — the exact time the first plane struck the World Trade Center. If you have the chance — regardless of your political affiliation — I hope that you will participate. If you believe in God, pray. If you don’t, maybe just give a thought to the victims of the attacks and reflect on the things you hold dear. And give a thought to the soldiers fighting overseas. They’ve shaken al Qaeda to it’s core and we owe our continued freedom to them.
Whatever our differences, I think that most of us can agree that we love this country and that we are proud of it.
Filed under: al Qaeda, Bin Laden, GITMO, Guantanamo Bay, military tribuna, Osama bin Laden, Salim Hamdan, September 11, terrorism, World Trade Center | Tags: al Qaeda, Bin Laden, GITMO, Guantanamo Bay, military tribunal, Osama bin Laden, Salim Hamdan, September 11, terrorism
After years of wrangling by the Bush administration to have Osama bin Laden’s driver and bodyguard declared an enemy combatant, a U.S. military jury in Guantanamo Bay has now decided upon the fate of Salim Hamdan. All I’m going to say is apparently SKATES are now part of a detainee’s prison uniform:
Salim Hamdan’s sentence of 5 1/2 years, including five years and a month already served at Guantanamo Bay, fell far short of the life sentence he could have gotten for aiding terrorism by driving and guarding bin Laden. It now goes for mandatory review to a Pentagon official who can shorten the sentence but not extend it.
For some background on the charges against Hamdan, here’s a little rap sheet from the Summary of evidence memo presented during the Combatant Status Review Tribunal:
a. Detainee is a member of Al-Qaeda.
- Detainee admits that he served as a personal driver to Usama Bin Laden (UBL) both before and after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
- In addition to serving as UBL’s driver, detainee served as a member of UBL’s bodyguard detachment and armed himself with a weapon.
- In the above roles, detainee gained substantial knowledge of al Qaida operations and came in contact with a number of highly placed al Qaida figures, such as Abu Hafs [sic], Saif Al Adel [sic] (al Qaida Security Chief), and Abu Zabaydah [sic].
- One of detainee’s known aliases was on a list of captured al Qaida members that was discovered on a computer hard drive associated with a senior Al-Qaida member.
b. Detainee engaged in hostilities against the US or its coalition partners.
- While detainee denies ever personally receiving training at the Al-Farouq training camp, he admits transporting UBL there, so UBL could provide training and lectures to al Qaida trainees.
- Detainee was captured in a vehicle by Northern Alliance forces in the vicinity of Kandahar in possession of a weapon.
The prosecution was trying to assert that Hamden’s role as bin Laden’s driver made him in essence a co-conspirator in the 9/11 terrorist attacks that were planned and executed during his employment. Hamdan’s explanation:
Hamdan admitted he drove bin Laden around Afghanistan at the time of the 2001 attacks, but said he took the job without knowing the al-Qaida leader was a terrorist. It came as “a big shock,” he said, when he learned bin Laden was responsible for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, where Hamdan is from.
Incidentally, the CIA has spent YEARS trying in vain to penetrate al-Qaeda’s upper ranks. Who would have known all it took to cozy up to the most wanted terrorist in the world was to answer a “Driver Wanted” ad in the newspaper. That and a little “Durka Durka” and you’re in the door…
Hamdan’s account conflicts with that of FBI interrogator Ali Soufan. According to Time Magazine:
… Soufan said he was undeniably part of the al-Qaeda conspiracy, pointing out that Hamdan swore a bayat, or oath of loyalty, to bin Laden.
And I imagine this oath of loyalty went a little further than a pinky swear. To put it in better perspective, here is a Moroccan-born French intelligence informant’s account of how difficult it was for him to infiltrate an al Qaeda training camp. From The Raw Story:
“Every moment of my existence was a test, every little answer, every little movement,” the informant, who wrote of his experience under the pseudonym Omar Nasiri, told Whitlock of his time in the camps. “You had to show complete devotion to the cause. If someone does all this to blend in, even if it is deception, the risk is that sooner or later he will believe it.”
If that’s what it takes just to get into a training camp, it’s not a stretch to assume that Hamden went through some pretty rigorous testing to land this dream-job of chauffeur and bodyguard to the Big Sleaze himself. I would even surmise that it’s one of those positions a man would “kill for”.
Another of the charges dropped against Hamden involved a little “misunderstanding” after being caught with a couple of missiles in his car (who among us hasn’t been there?)
At the time of his capture at a roadblock in Afghanistan in November 2001, Hamdan had two shoulder-launched missiles, but he said the car was borrowed and the rockets were not his.
Ahhh… the old “hanging on to them for a friend” excuse. I remember using that one in my misguided youth… only they were joints instead of missiles. Didn’t fly with my mom so I’m a little perplexed as to why a MILITARY JURY is buying this guy’s story.
After his sentencing, a grateful Hamdan addressed the jury:
“I would like to apologize one more time to all the members and I would like to thank you for what you have done for me,” Hamdan told the five-man, one-woman jury, all military officers picked by the Pentagon for the first U.S. war crimes trial in a half-century.
Hamdan waved both hands as he left the courtroom, saying “bye, bye” in English.
Adorable. I’m sure he followed that with “suckers” in Yemen.
A link to the full story:
Filed under: Hamas, Israel, Jaffa Road, Jerusalem, Palestinians, terrorism | Tags: bulldozer attack, Hamas, Israel, Jaffa Road, Jerusalem, Palestinians, terrorism
BBC reporter Tim Franks had a bird’s eye view of Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem by a Palestinian bulldozer operator. Franks watched the surreal scene unfold as the enraged driver flattened cars, knocked over a bus and killed at least 3 people before being shot dead himself. Here is part of his chilling testimony:
What I first of all heard rather than saw was the shouts and screams of people down below me on the street.
I have an office that overlooks the Jaffa Road, and I looked out and saw that a bulldozer had gone into the side of a bus.
I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing, but then my astonishment grew further when I realised that this was a deliberate attack because the bulldozer then went back into the side of the bus, and then I think a third time before the bus toppled over.
It’s down on the street just in front of me, now I’m looking at it from my office, and it went over, apparently very, very easily… of course with people inside it.
There were people on the street who seemed almost as if they were flapping ineffectually at the bus, trying in some way to keep it upright, but it went over.
At that point, we careered down onto the street to see in more detail what was going on, and by the time we got down there, the bulldozer had gone maybe 100m-150m (330ft-500ft) further down the road, and had come to a halt, but not before several cars and taxis had been run over with people inside.
It was a grisly scene, and horns were still blaring.
Most news outlets report that Police are calling this a terrorist incident. Surprisingly Reuters did use the “T” word in their account as well… but then made darn sure to immediately follow that with a Hamas spokesman’s take on the attack:
“We do not expect it will influence the Gaza calm,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in the Gaza Strip.
“There is a continued aggression against our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem and so it is natural that our people there will respond to such aggression,” he said.
Yes, flattening innocent Jewish commuters is SO natural. And these are the swell people Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter want to sit down and have a friendly chat with.
This area is a powder keg and we’d best brace ourselves for what is to come. It is becoming abundantly clear that there is not going to be peace in this region without war preceding it, folks.
Filed under: 9/11, GITMO, Guantanamo, Guantanamo Bay, military, September 11, terrorism | Tags: 9/11, arraignment, GITMO, Guantanamo, Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ralph Kohlmann, September 11, terrorism, terrorists
Most of us recall the capture in 2003 of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who is accused of masterminding the 9/11 hijackings. C’mon, you remember… he was that very, very, very, VERY hairy, sweaty, unshaven, mustachioed mass of flesh in a white undershirt whose newspaper photo etched itself in our minds and ruined our appetites for several weeks to follow… remember now?
Well, after several years of legal wrangling, Mohammed is finally coming up for prosecution in a U.S. Military courtroom at the base in Guantanamo Bay. He has already stated to the judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, that he wants the death penalty so that he can be martyred for Allah (that can SO be arranged). The only question that remains is this: will the U.S. Military finally be able to proceed with prosecution of Mohammed and 75 or so other “freedom fighters” detained at GITMO OR will the incessant whimpering of moonbats over such interrogation tactics as waterboarding drown out any attempts to bring them to justice?
From USA Today:
His [Mohammed’s] long-awaited arraignment could begin to answer fundamental questions about the United States’ handling of justice in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: Will the military commission system, which President Bush created to prosecute accused terrorists, ever hold one of them accountable for the tragedy? Or will the federal government’s efforts to secure guilty verdicts crumble amid mounting concerns about the evidence, fairness to the defendants and treatment of the accused while in custody? And if guilty verdicts ultimately are rendered for Mohammed, four alleged co-conspirators and about 75 other Gitmo detainees facing prosecution, will those verdicts be widely viewed as valid?
Here are the answers, USA Today: YES, NO and YES.
Down comes the gavel, all rise for the honorable Col. Kohlmann, let’s get this party started.
Full story here:
Filed under: CNI, Council for the National Interest, Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Paul Findley, politics, Richard Viets, terrorism | Tags: CNI, Council for the National Interest, Gaza, Hamas, Haniyeh, Israel, Paul Findley, Richard Viets, terrorism
Taking Jimmy Carter’s lead, another group of idiots has recently decided it would be a grand idea to have a warm little chin-wag with members of Hamas as part of a “fact finding” mission. Some former U.S. diplomats met with the terrorist organization this past Sunday:
Richard Viets headed the delegation of retired U.S. diplomats representing the Council for the National Interest, a group that criticizes Israel’s “repression of human rights and territorial expansion.”
CNI was founded by former U.S. Rep. Paul Findley (R-Ill.), a longtime critic of U.S. policy toward Israel, who has blamed the Israeli lobby in the U.S. for contributing to his defeat in the House of Representatives in 1982.
Holding a grudge, are we?
The retired diplomats met with former Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, reports said. (Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas replaced Haniyeh with Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad after the violent Hamas takeover in the Gaza Strip last June.)
Viets, who served as a senior diplomat in Israel from 1977 to 1979 and as ambassador to Jordan in the 1980s, described his talks with Haniyeh as “very interesting and very frank.”
Viets said that Haniyeh had “outlined in detail” the Gazan government’s view on several issues, AFP reported.
Yes, Islamic radicals always relish any opportunity to tell the rest of us – with great bravado – how things are. I’ll bet Viets didn’t get two words in during the entire “dialogue”.
For those of you who are not familiar with CNI, let me better acquaint you. Besides Findley, the organization’s co-founder is another former congressman named Pete McCloskey, In 2000, McCloskey was the keynote speaker at the 13th IHR conference. By the way, IHR stands for Institute of Historical Review… and they do indeed have an interesting take on historical subjects. Here is a brief description of the event from IHR’s website
Bringing together attendees and speakers from a wide range of political leanings and varied ethnic and religious backgrounds was a common passion for intellectual freedom and truthful history, scorn for the enemies of free thought and expression, and a healthy skepticism of dogmatic or “official” history.
That’s right… these folks are what we call revisionists. And the “healthy skepticism” they are referring to includes denial of the Holocaust as well as denial of pretty much every other historical event that might cast the Jewish race in a sympathetic light.
IHR gave us a little taste of what McCloskey had to say at the 2000 conference:
“I came because I respect the thesis of this organization,” said former Congressman Paul (Pete) McCloskey, Jr., “that thesis being that there should be a reexamination of whatever governments say or politicians say or political entities say.” In his Sunday evening banquet address, the one-time federal lawmaker from northern California spoke bluntly about the corrupting role of Jewish-Zionist special interest groups, especially the powerful Anti-Defamation League.
…McCloskey spoke of the “courage” of revisionists in France, Germany and other countries, who are legally persecuted for their dissident scholarship. “I don’t know if you are right or wrong about the Holocaust,” he said, but “I hope you’ll keep examining history.” He praised the Institute for Historical Review as the “striking edge” of the revisionist movement, and concluded by wishing the IHR “good luck.”
But wait, there’s more! According to Salon.com, a man named Abdurahman Alamoudi, who served on CNI’s board of directors from 1998-2004, had this to say while speaking at an anti-Israel rally across from the White House in November 2000:
‘Hear that, Bill Clinton! We are all supporters of Hamas. I wish they add that I am also a supporter of Hizballah. Anybody support Hizballah here?‘ The crowd cheered.
Get the picture? So the Sunday meeting between CNI and Hamas was more than just a fact finding mission. It was a teatime chat between old friends. I would imagine that somewhere in this exchange of pleasantries the words “Death to Israel” came up a time or two.
Not that any of this is surprising. Anyone who would meet with these pieces of human debris and treat them as if they represent a legitimate government body would pretty much have to have an inherent disdain for Israel. But it’s always good to have a little background, isn’t it?
Wouldn’t it be sweet if U.S. Customs had a little computer glitch and “lost” the passport information of Viets and crew upon their return to the states? I’m sure their Hamas buddies would be happy to put them up for a while.
Filed under: detainee, GITMO, Guantanamo Bay, interrogation, sleep deprivation, terrorism | Tags: detainee, GITMO, Guantanamo, interrogation, prisoner, sleep deprivation, terrorism
A detainee at GITMO has decided he’s tired of the tropical life and wants to go home. A lawyer for Mohammed Jawad (for once can’t one of you folks over there just name your kid Steve?) is trying to have the charges against him dismissed.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—An Afghan detainee at Guantanamo Bay was the alleged victim of an abusive tactic meant to decrease his resistance to interrogation, a Pentagon-appointed defense attorney said Wednesday in a motion to dismiss charges.
Air Force Maj. David Frakt filed the motion to dismiss war-crime charges against Mohammed Jawad because he was allegedly subjected to a sleep-disruption technique that involved round-the-clock cell transfers at the isolated U.S. detention center in Cuba.
Frakt alleged that Jawad underwent the so-called “frequent-flyer program” at the U.S. base a total of 112 times during a two-week period in May 2004. Jawad, a 23-year-old accused of a grenade attack that wounded two U.S. soldiers, was about 19 at the time.
Poor little jihadist, having to go from cell to cell like that. The humanity.
Give me a break.
I have no sympathy for Islamic radicals. Zero. Can’t quite remember where it all started… maybe it was that crisp fall day in 2001 when I witnessed smoke pouring up into the heavens where two buildings used to stand. Yeah… that pretty much iced it for me I think.
Since when did sleep deprivation become torture anyway? And if it is, can I bring my neighbor’s fox terrier to court? I’m not sure what secrets he is trying to pry out of me in the wee hours but he’s wearing me down fast.
Filed under: appeasement, barack obama, Democratic Party, democrats, george bush, Iraq, Joe Lieberman, liberalism, obama, politics, terrorism, war | Tags: appeasement, barack obama, Democratic Party, democrats, Joe Lieberman, liberalism, Lieberman, terrorism, Wall Street Journal, war, WSJ
“How did the Democratic Party get here?” This is how Joe Lieberman’s op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal begins. The former Democratic (now Independent) Senator pulls no punches as he takes his former party to task for their disconnect on national security issues. He laments what he sees as a drifting away from the values of the Democratic party he remembered growing up — in particular the firm stance they once took against America’s enemies. Even going so far as to mention Obama by name, this is guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers. Here are some excerpts:
Beginning in the 1940s, the Democratic Party was forced to confront two of the most dangerous enemies our nation has ever faced: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In response, Democrats under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy forged and conducted a foreign policy that was principled, internationalist, strong and successful.
This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided.
Lieberman then very accurately pinpoints where the problems began:
This worldview began to come apart in the late 1960s, around the war in Vietnam. In its place, a very different view of the world took root in the Democratic Party. Rather than seeing the Cold War as an ideological contest between the free nations of the West and the repressive regimes of the communist world, this rival political philosophy saw America as the aggressor – a morally bankrupt, imperialist power whose militarism and “inordinate fear of communism” represented the real threat to world peace.
And let’s not forget the McCarthy hearings from a few years previous which enabled the media to paint any future crusader against communism as a paranoid buffoon who was not to be taken seriously. Lieberman then goes on to nail the birth of what has become the current liberal mindset. See if this sounds familiar:
It argued that the Soviets and their allies were our enemies not because they were inspired by a totalitarian ideology fundamentally hostile to our way of life, or because they nursed ambitions of global conquest. Rather, the Soviets were our enemy because we had provoked them, because we threatened them, and because we failed to sit down and accord them the respect they deserved. In other words, the Cold War was mostly America’s fault.
Sound like anything that’s going on today? The piece then takes a turn I don’t completely agree with. He describes what he saw as a ray of hope with the rise of the “New Democrat” in the 1980’s culminating in the election of Bill Clinton.
Then, beginning in the 1980s, a new effort began on the part of some of us in the Democratic Party to reverse these developments, and reclaim our party’s lost tradition of principle and strength in the world. Our band of so-called New Democrats was successful sooner than we imagined possible when, in 1992, Bill Clinton and Al Gore were elected. In the Balkans, for example, as President Clinton and his advisers slowly but surely came to recognize that American intervention, and only American intervention, could stop Slobodan Milosevic and his campaign of ethnic slaughter, Democratic attitudes about the use of military force in pursuit of our values and our security began to change.
I’m sorry, but three months of NATO air-raids and tomahawk missiles lobbed from ships several miles away while the KLA does your dirty work on the ground is not my idea of a tough President. This same “brave” President — when we got a direct slap in the face from al-Qaeda in the bombing of the USS Cole — did nothing in retaliation. He was a complete wimp in handling the first WTC bombing as well. But I’ll forgive Lieberman for wanting to see something in Clinton that wasn’t really there in a desperate attempt to find a hopeful trend in the party he once loved.
Liberman also feels that Al Gore, like Clinton, was a strong proponent of defending our nation, and that George Bush was more soft in his foreign policy –at least at first. But then came what he saw as the big shift:
Today, less than a decade later, the parties have completely switched positions. The reversal began, like so much else in our time, on September 11, 2001. The attack on America by Islamist terrorists shook President Bush from the foreign policy course he was on. He saw September 11 for what it was: a direct ideological and military attack on us and our way of life. If the Democratic Party had stayed where it was in 2000, America could have confronted the terrorists with unity and strength in the years after 9/11.
Instead a debate soon began within the Democratic Party about how to respond to Mr. Bush. I felt strongly that Democrats should embrace the basic framework the president had advanced for the war on terror as our own, because it was our own. But that was not the choice most Democratic leaders made. When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves. By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.
I have emphasized in bold the statements which illustrate the stark contrast between the conservative and liberal mindset when approaching the war on terror. We see an enemy overseas. They see an enemy in the Oval Office. We blame terror attacks on the twisted ideology of religious zealots. They blame terror attacks on our constant “meddling” in the Middle East.
Next Lieberman aims his darts at the leading Democrat Presidential candidate (yes Barack, he IS really talking about you this time):
Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party’s left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign.
Ouch! Hopefully Obama will step into it again and fire off another press release which will in turn give this excellent article the exposure it deserves.
After throwing a little praise John McCain’s way for his tough stance on foreign policy, Liberman fires a couple more rounds at Obama:
There are of course times when it makes sense to engage in tough diplomacy with hostile governments. Yet what Mr. Obama has proposed is not selective engagement, but a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.
Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot.
Neither can I. He is right on the money here.
The Senator then concludes his game with nothing less than a slam dunk:
A great Democratic secretary of state, Dean Acheson, once warned “no people in history have ever survived, who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies.” This is a lesson that today’s Democratic Party leaders need to relearn.
“Making themselves inoffensive”. That gets right to the heart of Liberal thinking. For them, offense is something to be avoided at all costs. Domestically, whole laws are now crafted around offense. It is now a crime in certain western countries to offend certain people. Internationally, libs believe that if America is not universally liked, then we must be failing somehow in our foreign policy.
No, if we are failing at anything it is PR — we haven’t done an adequate job explaining what we are trying to accomplish. What we are doing overseas is simply what we have done in countless wars past… defending our freedom. Trying to snuff out those who hold a warped ideology that considers the liberty we enjoy to be a great sin that must be crushed — and who has potential access to weapons that can do tremendous damage and further their cause. Most Democrats refuse to see this danger. Joe Lieberman sees it with 20/20 vision.
Great piece, Senator.