Saturday, March 04, 2006

Another Call For Jihad From al-Zawahri

For the second time in recent past, number two al-Qaeda operative Ayman al-Zawahri calls for mass murder in strikes against the West:

As well as physical attacks on the West, Zawahri, who is deputy to al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden, called for an economic boycott against several countries.

“It is our duty to take part in a mass economic boycott of Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, and all countries that take part in this crusader attack against Islam,” he said, referring to the cartoons first published in a Danish newspaper last year.

He described the cartoons as part of a U.S.-led “crusader” campaign. “An example of the hatred of the crusaders led by America ... are the repeated offences against the personality of the Prophet Mohammad, may peace be upon him,” Zawahri said.

There has been a growing number of these sorts of rally calls from some major players both in al-Qaeda and the radical Islamic movement as a whole, especially in the past several months.

This is a good sign.

These men are ratcheting up their rhetoric because they realize they are losing the GWOT. The troops of the United States and our allies have been making life very difficult for al-Qaeda and the rest of the terrorists, and their leaders understand that as long as we have their backs up against the wall, it beocmes increasingly difficult to properly organize a large-scale attack on the West.

So while it is alarming to hear Zawahri and others like him call for the death of the West, realize that this alos means we are winning the GWOT.

It Was For Retribution

I knew there would be a valid explanation for Friday's SUV crash at UNC, but I really hoped this wasn't it:
The driver of an SUV that plowed into a group of pedestrians at UNC-Chapel Hill on Friday told police it was retribution for the treatment of Muslims around the world, according to ABC News.

...Sources say Taheriazar told police he was seeking retribution for the treatment of Muslims around the world, according to ABC News justice correspondent Pierre Thomas. Taheriazar apparently told police he tried to rent the biggest SUV he could find to use in the attack.

By Friday afternoon, a police SWAT team had surrounded a Carrboro apartment complex where Taheriazar reportedly lived.

(HT: Michelle Malkin)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Al Qaeda Plotting A "Big Bang' In Iraq?

CBS News is reporting on the latest terrorist threat in Iraq:

(CBS/AP) U.S. officials tell CBS News that intelligence has picked up reports that al Qaeda in Iraq is planning what one source calls the "Big Bang," a spectacular terrorist attack in Iraq against either a single high-profile target or multiple targets simultaneously.

Last week's mosque bombing in city of Samarra that brought Iraq to the brink of civil war was the work of terrorists, some U.S. officials have theorized. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi seems to be betting that another big bang would push the country over the brink, reports CBS News correspondent David Martin. The bomb in one of the holiest sites for Shiite Muslims set off violence all across the country that left hundreds dead.

The Iraqi government has banned all private vehicles in Baghdad during daylight hours Friday, the Muslim prayer day, just as it did last week. That kept car bombs, what the military cars vehicle-born improvised explosive devices, off the streets.

Many precautions are being taken to avoid such an event, but if any thing like this happens, I would hope that Iraqi officials would handle the fallout in the same way that they addressed the bombings last week.

Calm, patience, and cooperation are always the answer in outlasting and defeating the terrorists.

Trouble At UNC

There is a lot of commotion over at the University of North Carolina where a driver steered his SUV into a large crowd before fleeing the scene. From The Daily Tar Heel:

A University graduate careened his silver Jeep Grand Cherokee through the Pit on Friday about noon, striking nine pedestrians and sending six to UNC Hospitals.

Mohammed Reza Taheriazar, 23, who graduated in 2005, is in custody at the Department of Public Safety after turning himself in after the incident. He was born May 5, 1983, according to University registrar records. He was a psychology and philosophy major. He was published in The Charlotte Observer for dean's list honors in spring 2005.

At about 2 p.m. a bomb threat was called into the University Commons apartments, at 303 Smith Level Road. State Bureau of Investigations officials entered the building at 3:03 p.m.

Capt. Joel Booker, of the Carrboro Police Department, said they are not sure how the threat is related to the campus incident.

Chapel Hill police spokeswoman Jane Cousins said a Mohammed Reza Taheri-Azar has a prior arrest. He was arrested June 16, 2003 on one count of resisting arrest and reckless driving.

Could this incident perhaps have something to do with the publication of the Mohammed cartoons in the UNC's campus newspaper?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

An Educator's Abuse of Power

A teacher from Denver has been using his tenth grade Geography class as a staging area for his far left rhetoric.

High school teacher Jay Bennish saw an opportunity to discuss his hatred for the Bush administration on a daily basis by pushing his views on the his young and impressionable high school students. They probably wouldn't notice the difference between geography and political discourse anyway.

Until one student, 16 year-old Sean Allen took a stand. He recorded his teacher in order to back up his notes, and gave the tape to his father. On the recordings, there were statements such as this:

I'm not saying Bush and Hitler are exactly the same, obviously they're not. OK? But there are some eerie similarities to the tones that they use. Very "ethnocentric."

I remember my high school geography class, and I certainly never learned anything like that. If I had, I'm sure I would have done the exact same thing that Sean Allen and his father did: contact the school administrators. And when they did nothing about it, as school administrators so often do when individual parents complain, I would consider taking my recordings to a radio station (which Allen and his father did).

Well, it didn't take long before the school administrators were forced to take action, and put teacher Jay Bennish on academic leave while they did some investigating.

This is a huge story, and one that should be followed very closely. High school is one of the most important times in a developing teen's life, and if kids are going to be put through far lefty diatribes daily during class, I want to know about it, and I want to put an end to it.

Education is about learning objective lessons about the world, not being force-fed a political agenda.

The best class I ever had in high school was a Contemporary Issues class where we debated political issues. What I liked the most about the class is that we considered issues from every angle, and debated. The teacher merely moderated. He was a firm believer that it was not his duty to take sides and promote one view above the other, but to let us decide for ourselves.

This is what education is all about. You take a good hard look at the issues, then allow the students to use their acquired critical thinking skills to solve the issues on their own.

Mr. Bennish should be held accountable, and steered away from his profession if he continues to teach in such a manner, as should any other high school teacher who behaves in such a way.


Michelle Malkin is transcribing the audio from the recordings that student Sean Allen made of his teacher's lefty banter.

The Patriot Act Goes Through

Earlier today the Senate voted overwhelmingly to renew the USA Patriot Act, 89-10. Senators said that they "struck a better balance between privacy rights and the government's power to hunt down terrorists."

The House will consider the legislation next week, and likely pass it along to the president so he can sign it before 16 provisions of the act expire on March 10.

Depsite the delay, and although some necessary provisions of the Patriot Act were withheld, its passage must be considered a very important success for President Bush and his administration. The Patriot Act is an essential part of the GWOT, its presence ensures a more adequate defense against the forces of al Qaeda.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Al Qaeda's Foreign Fighters In Iraq

Bill Roggio considers the significance of foreign al-Qaeda presence in Iraq, and makes note of the opportunity it provides the American military:

While the presence of foreign al-Qaeda in Iraq is often underplayed in the press, numerous veteran al-Qaeda operatives have been killed or captured inside the country. Most recently, Asharq Alawsat reports Abdallah Salah al-Harbi, one of the suspects in last week’s attacks on the massive Saudi oil facility in Abqaiq, was arrested attempting to cross at the Saudi border. Abu al-Farouq al-Suri (the Syria), likely an al-Qaeda cell leader was arrested in Ramadi. And perhaps the biggest catch is Saad Hussaini, who was arrested in Syria while trying to recruit and facilitate jihadis to fight in Iraq.

However, the presence of foreign al-Qaeda in Iraq is not all good news. Roggio sees it as a type of double-edged sword:

The influx of jihadis into Iraq is both a blessing and a curse. The positives: the influx of terrorists into Iraq has given the United States access to kill or capture experienced terrorists and jihadi sympathizers, where they were previously lying dormant in their home countries, beyond the reach of the U.S. military. This has given the U.S. intelligence on al-Qaeda’s networks and exposed the terrorist group’s support mechanisms and lines of communications. U.S. and Iraqi military and intelligence services are gaining valuable experience in identifying and fighting terrorists.

The negatives: there is the very real concern about ‘bleedback’, where jihadis gain experience on the battlefields of Iraq and return to their home countries to train others and conduct terror attacks. Coalition soldiers and the Iraqi people are paying with their lives, and the future of Iraq remains in doubt as the terror campaign continues.

One of the goals in the GWOT (and subsequently in Iraq) is to put an end to or at least curb the influence of al-Qaeda. The capture of major operatives aids this pursuit, and we continue to inch closer towards this goal everyday.

But the fact that there is a presence of foreign al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq isn't surprising. Iraq is where the fight is. In Iraq, al-Qaeda jihadists can carry out attacks against Americans on their own soil. This requires less effort as there is no need to infiltrate the United States and carry out an elaborate attack.

But when the fight moves, so will al-Qaeda. The more stable the Iraqi democracy becomes, the less likely it becomes that al-Qaeda will pour all of its resources into Iraq. So while we are fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq, we must continue to take advantage of the intelligence opportunities it provides us, but realize that in time we will be able to push al-Qaeda out of Iraq.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rioting Children

Following the example of their parents, Pakistani children rioted in the streets in "protest" of the Mohammed cartoons:

About 5,000 children chanting “Hang those who insulted the prophet” rallied in Pakistan’s largest city on Tuesday in the latest protest in the Islamic nation against the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The children, ages 8 to 12, burned a coffin draped in U.S., Israeli and Danish flags at a traffic intersection in the port city of Karachi as police in riot gear looked on.

The rally was organized by Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s largest Islamic group. The children, some wearing school uniforms and headbands emblazoned with “God is great,” were released from schools to take part.

Jamaat-e-Islami is part of a radical coalition of six Islamic parties that has rallied Muslims throughout Pakistan in recent weeks against the cartoons despite bans on protests in some cities.

This is the kind of thing you really hoped you wouldn't see.

These kids arguably have no real concept of what it is their rioting about. They see images on TV that seem to glorify the uncivilized behavior that has marked these riots. They are told what to do by the radical party leaders who organized the rally. Their parents tell them that these attitudes and behaviors are right.

These kids aren't autonomous individuals. They are not rioting of their own free will. These kids are just puppets for the radical ideologies of their parents.

It would be a lie to call this event a "protest." Protests generally require freely acting individuals, not ones pursuaded to act by radical elders.

The violent and insensible riots are one thing, but misguided children who don't realize the significance of what they are doing is completely different, and it makes me sick to my stomach to think that parents are teaching their children this sort of ideology.

Bush And The Blogs

Drudge is running a headline that reads "Bush Cheers Decline of Mainstream Media, Rise of Alternative Press." The opening graphs:

President Bush, for the first time, is hailing the rise of the alternative media and the decline of the mainstream media, which he now says “conspired” to harm him with forged documents.

“I find it interesting that the old way of gathering the news is slowly but surely losing market share,” Bush said in an exclusive interview for the new book STRATEGERY. “It’s interesting to watch these media conglomerates try to deal with the realities of a new kind of world.”

Bill Sammon's book, Strategery, is subtitled "How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media." It gives one of the most comprehensive behind-the-scenes looks at what is becoming a very historic presidency.

Perhaps that is why the book is currently 3rd on Amazon's sale charts right now.

But the thing that strikes me from this book is how truly on top of his game the president is. He is ahead of the learning curve in much of what he does, and this is exemplified by his recognition of the rise of new media and the blogs, as well as the current decay of the MSM outlets.

Wheter you want to admit it or not, the president is on to something. Why can't the Dems catch up?

The Avain Flu Moves To Sweden

The Bird Flu continues to spread throughout the EU countries, with strains of the H5N1 virus now found in Sweden:

PARIS (Reuters) - Avian flu, which has hit a French poultry farm, will probably spread to domestic flocks in other European states, experts said on Tuesday, as Sweden became the latest country to report an outbreak...

Cases in wild birds have appeared across Europe, the latest in Sweden which said on Tuesday it had detected its first cases of an "aggressive form of bird flu" -- though it was not yet confirmed as the deadly H5N1 strain -- in two wild ducks.

"The virus has been found in wild birds in the region of Oskarshamn (on Sweden's southeast coast)," the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it appeared to be the same strain as detected in Russia and China, both of which have been hit by outbreaks of H5N1, but that was still to be confirmed.

Not surprisingly, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has cut its estimate for global poultry consumption by around 3 million tons.

And now Budapest is on alert.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Latest From Iran

Rather than stopping his own country's uranium enrichment program like the U.N. has demanded, President Ahmadinejad is now demanding that the United States and Russia disarm their nuclear weapons before Iran follows suit:

A report by the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Iran appears determined to expand uranium enrichment, which can be a key step in producing nuclear warheads. The report also said a lack of Iranian cooperation has kept U.N. experts from establishing whether Iran's past clandestine nuclear activities were focused on making arms.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, called American and Russian nuclear arsenals a threat to the Middle East and called for them to dismantle their atomic weapons, although there was no indication he was making the demand part of Iran's negotiating position.

"We believe that these weapons, possessed by the superpowers and the occupiers in our area, are a threat to stability," he said.

Does he really think anyone outside of Iran actually takes him seriously? Does he really think that the U.S. and Russia and the rest of the world are eventually going to just cave in and say, "Okay, okay, we give up"?

I'm sure he'd love it if the rest of the world disarmed themselves. Then, when he finally developed his own nukes, he could impose his own will on the world.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, what is this guy going to do next?

Coast Guard Weary Of Port Deal

In a document released earlier today, the U.S. Coast Guard warned the administration of the potential for "intelligence gaps" if the U.S. goes through with the Ports Deal:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Citing broad gaps in U.S. intelligence, the Coast Guard cautioned the Bush administration that it was unable to determine whether a United Arab Emirates-owned company might support terrorist operations, a Senate panel said Monday...

"There are many intelligence gaps, concerning the potential for DPW or P&O assets to support terrorist operations, that precludes an overall threat assessment of the potential" merger," an undated Coast Guard intelligence assessment says.

"The breadth of the intelligence gaps also infer potential unknown threats against a large number of potential vulnerabilities," the document says.

Sen. Susan Collins, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee, released an unclassified version of the document at a briefing Monday. With the deal under intense bipartisan criticism in Congress, the Bush administration agreed Sunday to DP World's request for a second review of the potential security risks related to its deal.

The document raised questions about the security of the companies' operations, the backgrounds of all personnel working for the companies, and whether other foreign countries influenced operations that affect security.

"This report suggests there were significant and troubling intelligence gaps," said Collins, R-Maine. "That language is very troubling to me."

The administrations assurances aside, it does seem very plausible to resonate with the Coast Guard's charge that handing the control of U.S. ports over to a company owned by any Arab nation would lead to "intelligence gaps."

Specifically, if the U.S. was not in control of some of its own major ports, it does appear very likely that there would be a higher potential for certain details to fall through the cracks. Even if the U.S. was in charge of half of the ports' operations, the other half of the operations would be vulnernable to intelligence gaps, and surely even this much of an opening would grant al Qaeda or some other terrorist group enough wiggle room with which to inflitrate the ports' operations.

The mere fact that there is a great potential for these intelligence blindspots is enough for me to feel that the ports deal is not worth it. Promoting friendly relations and trade agreements with Arab nations does not have to come at the cost of national security.

What good are these efforts of appeasement if we must sacrifice the safety of Americans and open ourselves to the potential of another terrorist attack?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

If You Translate, You Will Know

Every new document and audio tape from Saddam's regime that gets translated reveals more evidence about what Saddam was really up to prior to the U.S. led invasion in 2003.

We already know that one of these pre-war activities was Saddam's training thousands of terrorists at his terror training camps in Iraq. This knowledge verified the pre-war fears of the administration that Saddam could provide WMDs to terrorists to use against the U.S.

Now newly translated records suggest that Saddam had WMDs --or at least had weapons programs close to giving him WMDs-- just prior to the Iraq War in 2003. A lot of the evidence for this comes from Saddam's audio tapes:

On them, Saddam talks openly of programs involving biological, chemical and, yes, nuclear weapons.

[A]s late as 2000, Saddam can be heard in his office talking with Iraqi scientists about his ongoing plans to build a nuclear device. At one point, he discusses Iraq's plasma uranium program — something that was missed entirely by U.N. weapons inspectors combing Iraq for WMD. This is particularly troubling, since it indicates an active, ongoing attempt by Saddam to build an Iraqi nuclear bomb.

"What was most disturbing," said John Tierney, the ex- FBI agent who translated the tapes, "was the fact that the individuals briefing Saddam were totally unknown to the U.N. Special Commission (or UNSCOM, the group set up to look into Iraq's WMD programs)."

This information, coupled with the testimony given by the Iraqi Air Force's second in command, Georges Sada, gives a great deal of support to the assumption that Saddam had or was very close to WMDs prior to the U.S. led invasion. (Sada's testimony explains how Saddam used commericial trucks, jets, and cargo ships to discretely remove the WMDs from Iraq under the cover story that this massive movement of materials was for aiding Syrian flood victims.)

Given these facts, the editorial sited above concludes:

President Bush was right. We had to invade to disarm Saddam — otherwise, he would have completely reconstituted his chemical, nuclear and bio-weapons programs when inspectors left.

It seems hard to me to reach any other legitimate conclusion.

Furthermore, it is important to realize that there is still a mountain of documents and audio tapes from Saddam's regime that are yet to be translated. These dcouments and audio tapes may likely provide even further information about pre-war Iraq, and what really took place under Saddam.

So as more of this evidence becomes translated we will continue to learn more about Saddam's regime, and potentially about how truly accurate the administration's assumptions were about Saddam.

This is big news, but don't expect much coverage from the MSM.