Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ecuadorian Socialist Leader Rafael Correa Hospitalized After Attack By Police

From Gateway Pundit:

Ecuadorean Socialist Leader Rafael Correa Hospitalized After Police Attack (Video)

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, September 30, 2010, 10:50 PM

Chavista puppet and socialist President Rafael Correa was hospitalized on Thursday after his police forces attacked him during protests. The Ecuadorean army came in and rescued their socialist leader from the attackers.

The BBC reported on the rioting:

Soldiers in Ecuador have rescued President Rafael Correa from a police hospital after a day of protests by security forces angry at benefit cuts.

Mr Correa was rescued after soldiers opened fired on dissident police.

Moments after being freed he appeared on the balcony of Quito’s presidential palace and spoke to thousands of cheering supporters.

He thanked the crowds and said he had just lived through the saddest day of his government.

The violence came after dark on a day of unrest in Ecuador that the president and his supporters said amounted to an an attempted coup.

Mr Correa had been holed up in the police hospital, where he was treated after being hit by tear gas in a confrontation.

Avigdor Lieberman's Dose Of Truth

From The American Spectator:

Avigdor Lieberman's Dose of Truth

By P. David Hornik on 9.30.10 @ 6:08AM

Not surprisingly, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman's speech to the UN General Assembly this week drew condemnations, with Palestinian delegates walking out on the speech.

Israel's left-wing daily Haaretz ran an article claiming U.S. Jews were "outraged." It quotes extreme-dovish activist Seymour Reich as saying, "If Lieberman can't keep his personal opinions to himself, he ought to resign from the cabinet," and an unnamed "leader" as saying, "Every time…Lieberman voices his skepticism about achieving peace, he undermines Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's credibility."

In Israel, among prominent commentators denouncing the speech was Ron Ben-Yishai in Yediot Aharonot, the country's largest daily. In a piece called "Time to Fire Lieberman," Ben-Yishai, who usually writes on military affairs and is often quite reality-cognizant, bitterly accused Lieberman of showing "chutzpah and contempt" toward Netanyahu, "undermin[ing] Israel's image as a democratic, enlightened state," and "grant[ing] a diplomatic victory" to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

Ministers from the left-of-center Labor Party -- part of Netanyahu's coalition -- also skewered the speech.

Now, what did Lieberman actually say? A perusal of the short address reveals nothing morally or intellectually objectionable.

After the opening pleasantries, Lieberman asked: "why, during the seventeen years since we signed the Oslo Accords, have we not arrived at a comprehensive agreement signifying the end of the conflict [with the Palestinians]?"

He went on to contest "the prevalent view that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the heart of the instability in the Middle East," noting that:

More than ninety percent of the wars and war victims of the [region] since the Second World War did not result from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are in no way connected to Israel, stemming rather, from conflicts involving Muslims or conflicts between Arab states. The Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf war, the wars between North and South Yemen, the Hamma atrocities in Syria, and the wars in Algeria and Lebanon, are just a few examples of a list that goes on and on.

Anything wrong there? Nope; I could have said it myself.

Lieberman then turned to the "second flawed explanation" for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, namely, "the so-called 'occupation,' the settlements in Judea and Samaria and the settlers themselves." He pointed out:

Firstly, all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza were under Arab control for 19 years, between 1948 and 1967. During these 19 years, no one tried to create a Palestinian state.

Peace agreements were achieved with Egypt and Jordan despite the presence of settlements. And the opposite is also true: we evacuated twenty-one flourishing settlements in Gush Katif [in Gaza], and we transferred more than 10,000 Jews and in return, we have Hamas in power and thousands of missiles on Sderot and southern Israel.

Again, all quite accurate.

Lieberman went on:

The other misguided argument is the claim that the Palestinian issue prevents a determined international front against Iran…. In truth, the connection between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is precisely reversed. Iran can exist without Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah, but the terrorist organizations cannot exist without Iran…. [I]n searching for a durable agreement with the Palestinians…one must understand that first, the Iranian issue must be resolved….

Adding that "this is not a sufficient condition [but] it is nevertheless a necessary one," Lieberman was again spot-on.

He then came to some remarks that indeed diverge from Netanyahu's -- recently -- stated positions. Referring to the conflict's underlying "emotional problems" such as the "utter lack of confidence between the sides," Lieberman said:

[W]e should focus on coming up with a long-term intermediate agreement, something that could take a few decades. We need to raise an entire new generation that will have mutual trust and will not be influenced by incitement and extremist messages.

As is true everywhere, where there are two nations, two religions and two languages with competing claims to the same land, there is friction and conflict. Countless examples…confirm this, whether in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Africa, the Far East or the Middle East. Where effective separation has been achieved, conflict has either been avoided, or has been dramatically reduced or resolved. Consider the cases of the former Yugoslav republics, the split-up of Czechoslovakia and the independence of East Timor….

Thus, the guiding principle for a final status agreement must not be land-for-peace but rather, exchange of populated territory. Let me be very clear: I am not speaking about moving populations, but rather about moving borders to better reflect demographic realities.

…This is not an extraordinary insight [nor] a controversial political policy. It is an empirical truth.

Again, this is reasonable thinking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, both well grounded and out-of-the-box. It's inconsistent with what Netanyahu has lately been saying in two regards: the prime minister's declared optimism that an agreement with the Palestinians can be reached within a year; and his seeming acceptance of the dominant land-for-peace paradigm now considered (wrongly) to be based on the 1967 borders.

Nevertheless, Netanyahu's reaction to his subordinate's talk was mild. His office stated that Lieberman's address was not coordinated with him, and that "the prime minister is the one who is heading the negotiations on behalf of the State of Israel. Issues related to the peace process will be discussed and decided on at the negotiation table, not anywhere else."

It was a distancing but not a repudiation, and the question is why.

One thing to point out is that Lieberman is not from Netanyahu's Likud Party but, instead, the leader of his own Yisrael Beiteinu faction. As such, in Israel's parliamentary system, Lieberman's independence of Netanyahu could be seen as less jarring. This is, however, a nicety that may not be appreciated abroad.

Also to be mentioned is Netanyahu's wish to avoid rocking the boat of his so-far stable coalition. So is the need to project that he's in charge, hence not react too sharply to Lieberman's seeming defiance.

But there may be another factor at play as well.

Few observers believe Netanyahu is actually a convert to Pollyannaish views of Israel's conflict with its environment. More likely, his approach to the Palestinian issue is aimed at managing the relentless pressure from a U.S. president for whom it's an obsession, and who in his own recent UN speech devoted ten paragraphs to it compared to two paragraphs for international terror and two for the Iranian threat.

It could well be that for Netanyahu, too, Lieberman's words were a breath of fresh air. Someone needs to tell the truth.

Letter to the Editor

P. David Hornik is a writer and translator in Beersheva, Israel, blogging at

Pakistan Blocks NATO Supply line

From The American Thinker:

September 30, 2010

Pakistan blocks NATO supply line

Rick Moran

The military says it's a protest against recent drone and air strikes in Pakistan but there is far more to it than that.

Pakistani officials said Thursday that NATO supply trucks had been blocked from entering Afghanistan at a key border post in response to an early morning NATO airstrike that they said killed three Pakistani border security soldiers.

According to a Pakistani military statement, the attack occurred at 5:25 a.m. at the Mandata Kandaho border post about 600 feet inside Upper Khurram agency, a region in Pakistan's tribal belt that borders Afghanistan's Khost province. After the helicopters "engaged through cannon fire" with the post, the six soldiers stationed there fired warning shots with their rifles, and the helicopters responded with two missiles that destroyed the post, according to the Pakistani account.

Within hours, the border crossing at Torkham had been ordered closed by federal officials, and NATO supply trucks were idling there, according to transporters stuck at the pass and officials in the region, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The pass, which lies north of Peshawar, is the most important entry point for coalition forces' fuel and supplies, most of which come into Pakistan through the southern port of Karachi.

"We will have to see whether we are allies or enemies," Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said of the border incident, without mentioning the blockade.

Pakistan is currently embroiled in another political crisis with the country's independent judiciary in a stand off with President Asif Ali Zardari over whether he should have received immunity for numerous crimes prior to his taking office. The immunity agreement was made with former dictator Pervez Musharraf and was subsequently declared unconstitutional by the courts.

There is a real chance that Zardari's government will fall if the Supreme Court rules that Zardari's immunity is no longer in force. That decision is expected in a couple of weeks after a crisis was avoided earlier this week when the court agreed to extend a deadline to hear Zardari's defense.

The blockade sends a signal to the civilians that the military has a strong say in the country's national security and foreign policy. While most observers don't expect a coup by the military, the army appears to be flexing its muscles in anticipation of the court's decision on Zardari.

Posted at 11:13 AM

North Korea's Youthful Indiscretions

From The New Ledger:

North Korea’s Youthful Indiscretionsby Ethan Epstein

In America, old age is no virtue. This principle applies from pop culture to politics. In the 2008 election, much was made of the fact that Obama was “youthful” and Senator McCain was – horror of horrors – “old.” American culture’s disdain for the old is itself an old story.

Traditionally Confucian societies are different. In Korea, age guarantees respect, trust, and authority. Also, it confers the right to push younger people out of the way - I’ve done battle with more than a few septuagenarians when trying to board a crowded Seoul subway.

North Korea’s half century of existence has represented an attempt to undermine Korea’s Confucian social structure. The family, the most important unit in Korean society, has been systematically decimated by the Kim dynasty. The cardinal Confucian value of loyalty has been undermined by the creation of a snitch state. And now, with Kim Jong Il’s preposterous decision to elevate his 26 year old son, Kim Jong Eun, to the rank of Four Star general and certain successor, we are witnessing an attempt to destroy Korea’s traditional veneration of the aged.

This time, it may not work.


A very important article in the Washington Post earlier this month reported that North Korean people are deeply wary of being led by someone as young as Kim Jong Eun. Here is an excerpt:

Just as North Koreans know little about their potential future leader, the rest of the world knows almost nothing about North Korean opinions. Recent academic research, based on surveys with defectors, suggests that North Koreans are growing frustrated with a government that allowed widespread starvation in the early 1990s and orchestrated brutal currency reform in 2009 that was designed to wipe out the private markets that enable most residents to feed themselves.

Still, in South Korea, an emerging patchwork of mini-samples suggests that many North Koreans view their government as a failed anachronism, and they see the young general, as he’s called, as a sign of the status quo. They associate Kim Jong Eun with the December 2009 currency revaluation. They don’t know his age – he’s thought to be in his late 20s – but they think he’s too young to be anything more than a figurehead. (italics mine.)

North Koreans will not take kindly to being ruled by a 26 year old. Kim Jong Eun’s youth may be his downfall – and, hopefully, the entire regime’s.

Thursday Iran Talking Points

From Blog:

3:28 PM (6 hours ago)Thursday Iran Talking Pointsfrom Blog by Ali Gharibfrom LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for September 30th, 2010:

The Washington Post: Thomas Erdbrink reports that sanctions imposed against Iran by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have resulted in the Iranian rial dropping in value against the U.S. dollar (by 15 percent) and the Euro since Sunday. With hard currency scarce and exchange rates on the rise, the government will receive more rials for its petrodollars to boost its income. This in turn may lead to inflation. The UAE is one of the largest finance and trading hubs in the Middle East and has been under pressure from the U.S. to impose sanctions on Iran.

The Wall Street Journal: The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz and Benjamin Weinthal repeat their warnings that European firms, specifically in Germany and Switzerland, continue to do business with Iran. They say that a Swiss firm continues to provide equipment to an Iranian engineering firm and that Swiss and German companies continue to sign energy deals with the Islamic Republic. “Neither [the Swiss firm that signed a gas contract with Iran] nor any other company has been sanctioned by the U.S. Senior Obama Administration officials have told us that they are ‘very, very close’ to a decision on which firms will face penalties under U.S. law,” say Dubowitz and Weinthal. They conclude with a warning that, “The German Chancellor Angela Merkel should be held to the promises she made, including to the U.S Congress and Israeli Knesset, to stop Iran’s nuclear drive. The same goes for the rest of Europe.”

The New York Times: John Markoff and David Sanger write there may be a Biblical reference built into the code of the Stuxnet virus, which appears to have been designed to infect computers related to Iran’s nuclear program. The reference is to “the Book of Esther, the Old Testament tale in which the Jews pre-empt a Persian plot to destroy them.” Neither the Israelis nor the U.S., which both have robust cyber-warfare programs, have claimed involvement. No matter the origins, the virus serves Western interests by “ramp[ing] up psychological pressure,” observes one unnamed former U.S. intelligence official. The reporters cite a slew of troubles Iran has encountered with its nuclear program: “[S]omething — perhaps the worm or some other form of sabotage, bad parts or a dearth of skilled technicians — is indeed slowing Iran’s advance.”

Foreign Policy: Barbara Slavin interviews former Congressman and elder statesman Lee Hamilton, who is stepping down from his role as director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Hamilton will continue to advise President Obama on foreign policy and intelligence matters. He noted the President ignored his pleas to pursue the Turkish-Brazilian-brokered fuel swap agreement, which Hamilton said “wasn’t too different from what we had suggested” to Iran the previous fall. He added the U.S. “should have tried to build on the positive aspects of it” and thought the deal would come back up in future negotiations. Though currently favoring engagement and opposed to military strikes, Hamilton told Slavin: “A year from now I don’t know how I’ll feel.”

Obama's Wars: Status Of U.S. Relationship With Pakistan Shocking To Obama Administration

From Jihad Watch:

Woodward book: Status of U.S. ties with Pakistan was like a "cold shower" for Obama administration

"Pakistan is living a lie." Pakistan is "playing Russian roulette." "We're living on borrowed time."

All quite true. "Status of US ties with Pak was like a 'cold shower' for Obama: Woodward," from Asia News International, September 27:

Well-known author-cum-journalist Bob Woodward has revealed in his latest book "Obama's Wars that President Barack Obama's focus is turning increasingly to Pakistan, even as his administration's military efforts continue to be directed at Afghanistan.

Woodward told ABC News that Obama was told of deep problems in the US relationship with Pakistan in his very first intelligence briefing, and it seemed like"a cold shower" coming days after his triumphant 2008 presidential victory.

"Imagine the high of being elected on that Tuesday and they come in two days later and say, by the way, here's-here are the secrets, and one of the secrets is Pakistan," Woodward said.

"We're attacking with a top-secret, covert operation, the safe havens in Pakistan, but Pakistan is living a lie. And this is a theme throughout the whole Obama presidency: 'How do you get control of Pakistan?' "

Uh-oh: something you can't fix by just being nice?

In Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari is depicted as quietly providing help to U.S. enemies, with the CIA suspecting that his government compromised its intelligence.

"You can't keep playing one side against the other," Biden warns Zardari, according to Woodward's book.

Interesting contrast of public and private conduct:

For his part, Zardari expresses frustration that Americans are too concerned about civilian casualties. Woodward reports that Zardari told then-CIA Director Michael Hayden that his poll numbers were high enough to weather blowback from casualties.

"Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me," Zardari told Hayden, Woodward writes....

More on this story: "US warned Pakistan against selective action on terror groups," from Indo-Asian News Service, September 29:

Washington, Sep 29 (IANS) Shortly after the failed Times Square bombing plot, the US warned Pakistan against playing 'Russian roulette' with terrorist groups associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks, threatening the US.

President Barack Obama dispatched his national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, and CIA director Leon Panetta to Pakistan to convey this warning less than three weeks after a Pakistan-born US citizen tried to blow up an SUV in New York City's famous Times Square, according to a new book, 'Obama's Wars' by Bob Woodward.

'We're living on borrowed time,' Jones told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the first meeting in Islamabad.

'Jones thought that Pakistan - a US ally with an a la carte approach of going after some terrorist groups and supporting others - was playing Russian roulette. The chamber had turned out to be empty the past several times, but Jones thought it was only a matter of time before there was a round in it,' Woodward writes.

Asking Pakistan 'to reject all forms of terrorism as a viable instrument of national policy inside your borders,' the two officials told Zardari whatever Pakistan was doing with the many terrorist groups operating inside its borders, it wasn't good or effective enough.

Panetta pulled out a 'link chart', developed from FBI interviews and other intelligence that showed how Pakistan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) had assisted the Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad.

The two officials pointed 'to the disturbing intelligence about Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the horrific 2008 Mumbai attacks that had killed 175, including six Americans'.

Pakistani authorities are holding the commander of the Mumbai attacks, Jones said, but he is not being adequately interrogated and 'he continues to direct LeT operations from his detention center'.

Intelligence shows that Lashkar-e-Taiba is threatening attacks in the US and that the possibility 'is rising each day'.

The two in effect told Zardari that if there is a successful attack in the US, there might be no way to save the strategic partnership, the book suggests. 'If that happens, all bets are off,' Panetta is quoted as saying.

Afterward, the American officials met privately with Pakistani Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the most powerful figure in the country. But he had other concerns.

'I'll be the first to admit, I'm India-centric,' he is quoted as saying. ...Posted by Marisol on September 29, 2010 4:07 PM

Denmark: Appeasement, Appeasement And More Appeasement

From Winds of Jihad:

Appeasement, Appeasement & More Appeasement….

by sheikyermami on September 29, 2010

Cartoon Jitters

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark’s foreign minister met Wednesday with ambassadors from 17 Muslim countries in a move to avoid tensions ahead of the five-year anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons. (JAN M. OLSEN (AP)

Official Indicates Eight Germans And Two British Brothers At Heart Of Al Queda-Linked Terror Plot Against European Cities

From the AP and Alliance Defense Fund:

Sep 30, 6:21 PM EDT

Official: Germans, Brits behind Europe terror plot


Associated Press Writers

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Eight Germans and two British brothers are at the heart of an al-Qaida-linked terror plot against European cities, but the plan is still in its early stages, with the suspects calling acquaintances in Europe to plan logistics, a Pakistani intelligence official said Thursday. One of the Britons died in a recent CIA missile strike, he said.

The revelations underscore the role of Pakistan as a haven for many would-be Islamist militants with foreign ties, a worrying prospect for Western countries who face additional challenges when tracking terror suspects among citizens who have passports and easier access to their shores.

Pakistan, Britain and Germany are tracking the suspects and intercepting their phone calls, the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information to the media.

The official is part of an intelligence team that has been tracking the two British brothers of Pakistani origin for nearly a year and the Germans for more than six months.

He said the suspects are hiding in North Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal region where militancy is rife and where the U.S. has focused many of its drone-fired missile strikes.

"They have been making calls to Germany and London," the official said. "They have been talking about and looking for facilitators and logistics they need there to carry out terror strikes."

Western security officials said Wednesday that a terror plot to wage Mumbai-style shooting sprees or other attacks in Britain, France and Germany was still active. Both European and U.S. officials said the plot was still in its early stages and not considered serious enough to raise the terror threat level.

Still, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was briefly evacuated Tuesday - the second time in two weeks because of an unspecified threat - and there was a heavy police presence around Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben. Police on Thursday evacuated a street near Britain's Parliament in London after reports of a suspicious vehicle but said they did not regard the incident as serious.

Although he characterized the plot as immature, the Pakistani official warned against underestimating the suspects, whom he said have backing from al-Qaida, the Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan Taliban, all groups that are separate yet interconnected.

"It does not mean that they are not capable of materializing their designs," the official said. "They are very much working on it."

The U.S. has dramatically stepped up its missile attacks in North Waziristan, and is believed to have launched at least 21 this month. The official said a Sept. 8 strike killed one of the Britons, whom he identified as Abdul Jabbar, originally from Pakistan's Jhelum district. Jabbar was believed to be less than 30 years old.

In Brussels on Thursday, Europol director Robert Wainwright said a drop in terror attacks in Europe - coupled with intelligence that had thwarted major plots in the past - masked an ongoing threat.

"There has been a significant decline in the number of terrorist attacks in Europe - certainly committed by Islamist groups - that hides the reality that these groups are still active," Wainwright told AP.

Asked about the suspected plot, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abdul Basit, said the government was unaware of any such plans.

"Let me reiterate that Pakistan is committed not to allow its territory for terrorist actions anywhere in the world," he said.

A German intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media, said Germany regularly tracks suspected radicals leaving the country to go to train in Pakistan or Afghanistan, but cannot do anything to prevent them from leaving the country.

When they return, however, German laws enacted since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S. now let authorities charge people for training in such camps.

In August, for example, a 25-year-old German citizen identified only as Rami M. was extradited from Pakistan and charged with membership in a terrorist organization. According to prosecutors at the time, he left Germany in March 2009 to join a terrorist training camp in Pakistan, where he learned how to handle "weapons and explosives," prosecutors said when he was charged.

He then joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan's fighting in the region, the prosecutors said. The group is suspected of terror attacks mostly targeting Pakistani security forces or NATO's international troops in Afghanistan, prosecutors said.

Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office would not comment on the report of eight Germans being involved. But a spokeswoman, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of departmental policy, said there are indications that some 220 people have traveled from Germany to Pakistan and Afghanistan for paramilitary training, and "concrete evidence" that 70 of those had done so.

She said it is believed that about a third of those 70 have returned to Germany. The Pakistani intelligence official said there are believed to be around 60 Germans in North Waziristan now.

French authorities, meanwhile, have received indications from allied intelligence services about the possibility of attacks, but no plot outright, a high-ranking French security official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

A recent spate of anonymous, phoned-in bomb threats in Paris - including on the Eiffel Tower - didn't appear to have the "signature" of al-Qaida, the official said, noting the terror network hasn't typically tipped off authorities to attacks in advance.

The ability of homegrown militants to cross borders and commit acts of terror has long confounded law enforcement officials. The secretary-general of Interpol, Ronald K. Noble, told the AP that one of the biggest challenges law enforcement and terror officials encounter was that passport details of millions of passengers each year were not being checked against Interpol databases.

Last year, out of the nearly 1 billion passengers that traveled through airports, only 400 million had their passport details checked against national and Interpol databases, he said.


Dodds reported from Brussels. Associated Press writers David Rising in Berlin and Jamey Keaten in Paris contributed to this report.

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U.S. House Passes Tariff Bill To Stop China's Yuan Imbalance With U.S.

From The Washington Times and The Heritage Foundation:

House passes tariff bill to stop China's yuan imbalance with U.S.

By Patrice Hill


The Washington Times

Updated: 8:07 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29, 2010

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander M. Levin, Michigan Democrat, says the tariff bill was drafted to ensure it complies with U.S. trade obligations so it will not be struck down by the World Trade Organization. (Associated Press)PrintEmailView 6Comment(s)Enlarge Text

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The House on Wednesday fired a warning shot at China by passing a bill with strong bipartisan support that would raise tariffs on Chinese imports if the Asian giant keeps an artificial lid on its currency.

Republicans from industrial states joined most Democrats in giving new powers to the Commerce Department to consider whether China's policy of tying the value of its currency to the dollar, rather than allowing it to rise in response to market forces, represents an unfair trade practice.

The vote was 348-79, with all but five Democrats and 74 Republicans voting in favor.

"Talk doesn't work," said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander M. Levin, rejecting protests from the Obama administration — like the Bush administration before it — that the best way to persuade China to abandon its practices is to use quiet diplomacy in international forums.

China promised to loosen its currency restrictions this past spring in response to international pressures, but the Chinese yuan or renminbi has risen by less than 2 percent since then. Economists estimate that it is undervalued by as much as 40 percent.

"A 25 percent to 40 percent tilt against us is unacceptable," said Mr. Levin, Michigan Democrat. "This bill says we cannot and will not look the other way. We are going to act."

Mr. Levin, in drafting the committee bill, diluted an earlier version of the legislation that would have imposed across-the-board tariffs on Chinese goods if it keeps fixing its exchange rate. Instead, the bill allows the administration to make case-by-case determinations in connection with complaints against classes of Chinese imports raised by trade unions and manufacturers.

Mr. Levin said the bill was also carefully drafted to ensure it complies with U.S. trade obligations so it will not be struck down by the World Trade Organization.

Nevertheless, opponents said the bill will do little to change China's exchange policies, while it could provoke dangerous retaliatory action against U.S. businesses and exports. China is the fastest-growing U.S. export market.

"This will likely result in retaliatory action by the Chinese," said Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, lamenting that it was the only trade measure to be brought to the House floor in two years since Barack Obama was elected as president.

"We're into the crazy season where we're simply pandering instead of helping to open new markets," he said.

A few other conservative Republicans echoed his concerns, though nearly all agreed with bill sponsors that China is not allowing market forces to determine the value of its currency.

Analysts said that while the bill may be primarily a vehicle for legislators to cater to public sentiment in favor of taking a tough stance against China, it risks touching off a trade battle with the Asian giant.

"It's politics," said Raghav Subbarao, an analyst with Barclays Capital. "Bear in mind that so close to the midterm elections, legislation is less likely to be driven by policy considerations and more by populism."

Still, the strong vote for the bill in the House "raises the risk that some form of the legislation, albeit a watered-down version, will be passed ahead of the elections, raising the prospect of a conflict with China," he said.

The legislation also is popular in the Senate, where sponsors say they may push for a vote after the Nov. 2 elections.

"For so many years we have watched China's trade deficit grow and grow and grow, and today we're finally doing something about it," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. "We're recognizing that currency manipulation is a way of subsidizing exports."

Mrs. Pelosi said fear of offending China has prevented Congress from acting on the issue for years.

"We understand the U.S.-China relationship is an important one in every way — culturally, politically, diplomatically, economically, commercially. But we need to have them play by the rules," she said.

"We do this because 1 million American jobs could be created if the Chinese government took its thumb off the scales."

Republicans, who have fought nearly every other Democratic initiative this year, said they were glad to finally get a chance to vote on the currency measure after futilely waiting for years for China to act on its own.

"The bill sends a signal to China that Congress' patience is wearing out," said Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican, noting that he was drawn to the bill because it was drafted to comply with WTO rules. "We cannot allow ourselves to be afraid of China's reaction."

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner earlier this month expressed concern that the legislation must comply with trade rules. But the Treasury and White House were silent and gave no opinion on the bill that passed Wednesday.

Mr. Obama endorsed at least the sentiments behind the legislation on Wednesday, after having discussed the currency issue privately last week with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

"The reason that I'm pushing China about their currency is because their currency is undervalued," he said at a backyard meeting with voters in Iowa. "That's not the main reason for our trade imbalance, but it's a contributing factor."

© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC

© Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC

North Korea: Government Releases Photo Of Kim Jung Un

From My Way News and The Heritage Foundation:

NKorea prints photo of heir apparent Kim Jong Un

North Korea publishes first photo of heir apparent

Email this Story

Sep 30, 2:27 AM (ET)


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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea published a photo in state media Thursday of leader Kim Jong Il's youngest son and heir apparent Kim Jong Un in the first official image of him released.

A photo of a group of senior Workers' Party officials was published in Thursday's edition of the authoritarian regime's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper.

An article accompanying the front-page photo listed the names of those in the picture. The 20-something Kim Jong Un was one of the officials named and appeared to be sitting near his father with a military officer between them.

The release of the photo comes after the younger Kim earlier this week was handed top military and party posts at a Workers' Party conference.

Lee Jong-joo, a spokeswoman at South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, said a photo of Kim Jong Un had never been published before. She said the young man sitting near Kim Jong Il appears to be Kim Jong Un.

The official Korean Central News Agency announced Tuesday that Kim Jong Un had been promoted to four-star general in the Korean People's Army - the first mention of his name in the country's tightly controlled state media.

He was mentioned again in several dispatches Wednesday announcing the names of people who were given posts at a rare meeting of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea held the day before. In addition to his military title, he was made a member of the organization's governing central committee and was also named to its military commission.

The mentions of Kim Jong Un in state media - and now the release of his photo - have confirmed what many analysts have increasingly believed for about the past two years: that Kim Jong Un has been chosen to succeed his father and carry the ruling family dynasty into a third generation.

Several purported photos of the younger Kim have been circulating for some of that time, mostly obtained and published by Japanese media. Kim Jong Il's former Japanese chef says Kim Jong Un resembles his father in looks, tastes and personality, going so far as to call his the elder Kim's "spitting image."

The unsmiling man sitting near Kim Jong Il in the photo has a round face with his hair apparently parted in the middle and bears a resemblance to his grandfather Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founder.

Kim Jong Il, 68, took over as the leader of North Korea in 1994 when his father Kim Il Sung died of heart failure in what became the first hereditary succession in the communist world.


Associated Press writer Kwang-tae Kim contributed to this report.

New U.N. Report Criticizes Arizonans As "Xenophobes And Racists"

From Floyd Reports:

New UN Report Targets Arizona “Xenophobes and Racists”?

Posted on September 30, 2010 by Ben Johnson by Ben Johnson

A report issued today by a United Nations agency appears to be a thinly veiled critique of Arizona’s immigration law, one that equates its supporters with “xenophobes and racists.” The Global Migration Group adopted its statement on the “Human Rights of Migrants in Irregular Situation” — that is, illegal aliens — earlier today in Geneva. The two-page document criticized unnamed nations for viewing illegal immigrants “through the lens of sovereignty, border security or law enforcement, sometimes driven by hostile domestic constituencies,” and demanded governments instead grant illegals “economic, social, and cultural rights,” including “reproductive healthcare.”

The report seems to be the fruition of Barack Obama’s decision to haul the state of Arizona before the UN Human Rights Council over its differences on domestic policy last month. The GMG is “an inter-agency group” of the United Nations consisting of 14 member agencies, including the World Bank, UNESCO, and the UN Population Fund. It is currently chaired by the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, which supports “the work of the United Nations human rights mechanisms, such as the Human Rights Council,” the agency with which the Obama administration filed its complaint.

The GMG’s statement is simultaneously an over-the-top indictment of anyone opposed to the Open Borders Lobby and an endorsement of European-style social welfare programs as “fundamental” human rights. The report states “migrants” are “more likely to be targeted by xenophobes and racists” or “victimized by unscrupulous employers.”

The document uses the the time-honored bad faith argument of cobbling together opposition to socialism with the most outrageous abuses. Illegal aliens, the report warns, “are often denied the most basic labor protections, due process guarantees, personal security, and healthcare.” Female illegals face everything from “sexual exploitation” and “HIV transmission” to “challenges in access to employment, and health services, including reproductive healthcare.” In international human rights speak, access to reproductive healthcare means taxpayer-funded abortion.

The report takes Arizonans — I mean, human rights abusers — to task for their lack of gratitude to the illegal invaders. It states, “[C]hildren can be banned from classrooms or denied their fundamental rights, even as their parents work and contribute to the economies of host countries and thus contribute to raising the standards of living and human development for those societies.” Of course, and their parents’ main contributions to the U.S. “standard of living” have been tuberculosis, whooping cough, hospital closures, gang violence, crime, and expanded welfare use. The National Academy of Sciences found years ago that each “migrant” with less than a high school education costs the United States $90,000, and that immigrants only begin to contribute to the economy if once they have a post-secondary education.

The problem, the report states, is that: “Too often, States [that is, nations -- BJ] have addressed irregular migration solely through the lens of sovereignty, border security or law enforcement, sometimes driven by hostile domestic constituencies.” Although it acknowledges nations have “legitimate interests in securing their borders” these “concerns cannot, and indeed, as a matter of international law do not, trump the obligations of the State to respect the internationally guaranteed rights of all persons.” The GMG states the U.S. has the obligation “to fulfill the rights necessary for them to enjoy a life of dignity and security.” Such “fundamental rights of all persons, regardless of their migration status, include” the “right to be free from discrimination based on race, sex, language…or other status.” Thus, a nation that refused to provide bilingual (or, actually, multilingual) ballots or education in school, to illegal immigrants, would be considered a human rights abuser.

Another obligation is the “right to a fair trial and to legal redress.” However, the Obama administration has denied illegals their day in court, dismissing pending immigration cases against as many as 17,000 illegals already arrested.

America’s debt to its invaders are not yet exhausted. The nation owes illegals the “right to protection of economic, social, and cultural rights, including the right to health, an adequate standard of living, social security, adequate housing, education, and just and favorable conditions of work.”

As a catchall, they are entitled to all rights “guaranteed by the international human rights instruments to which the State is party” — whether this is one of the many UN treaties to which the United States is a signatory or President Obama’s report to the UN Human Rights Council, which branded Arizona’s immigration law a violation of international law.

To this end, the GMG promises to “support [nations] in their efforts to ensure the effective implementation of appropriate legislation.” The GMG will also work for “the expansion of channels for regular migration” — that is, working for Open Borders.

Further, the GMG report calls for an all-out national crackdown on dissent against its program, including those who support the Arizona law. It “calls on States, civil society, the private sector, the media and host communities” to “work actively to combat xenophobia, racism and incitement to discrimination in national politics and in public discourse” and “to actively promote tolerant societies in which every person can enjoy his or her human rights, regardless of migration status.”

The world body’s new report echoes President Obama’s first-ever report to UN Human Rights Council, both in its excoriation of all opponents and in its role as a blueprint for socialism. In addition to listing Arizona’s S.B. 1070 as an example of discrimination — although it merely reiterates standing federal law — the missive expresses our nation’s commitment to such fundamental human rights as card-check union organizing, gays in the military, Affirmative Action, and equality of outcome.

After Arizona Governor Jan Brewer learned about Obama’s actions from this reporter’s work on this website, she expressed her “concern and indignation” in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, asking the reference to Arizona be struck. The Obama administration has refused. As it stands, the United States will be judged by genuine human rights abuser Cameroon on November 5. The troika will then draw up a plan for the United States to follow. In time, it may “decide on the measures it would need to take in case of persistent non-cooperation by a State with the” World Body.

Today’s report makes clear the United Nations cannot wait even a month to berate the United States, its patriotic citizens, or its most common-sense governor — and that Barack Obama has found a way to attack his fellow citizens by proxy.

Ecuador In Turmoil As President Denounces "Coup Attempt"

From Common

Published on Thursday, September 30, 2010 by Agence France Presse

Ecuador in Turmoil as President Denounces 'Coup Attempt'

QUITO -- Ecuador's government declared a state of emergency Thursday saying rebel troops and police were staging a coup, after seizing the main airport and storming Congress in a mutiny over pay cuts.

About 150 renegade troops seized a runway at Ecuador's international airport in the capital of the South American nation, as dozens of police protested against a new law which would strip them of some pay bonuses.

President Rafael Correa, 47, a leftist ally of his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, swiftly denounced what he called a coup bid.

"It is a coup attempt led by the opposition and certain sections of the armed forces and the police," Correa, who has governed the country since 2007, told local television.

"If anything happens to me, they will be responsible," he added, after seeking refuge in a hospital, blaming sections of the opposition and troops loyal to former president Lucio Gutierrez for the unrest.

As tear gas was used on the streets of the capital to try to beat back crowds of police protestors, the government declared a state of emergency and vowed to use all means to restore order.

Correa has vowed he will not bow in face of the protests.

"No, I will not step back if they want to seize the barracks, if they want to leave the citizens defenseless and betray their mission," Correa told soldiers from Quito's main regiment earlier as he sought to calm tensions.

"If you want to kill the president, he is here. Kill him if you want. Kill him if you can. Kill him if you are brave enough, instead of hiding in the crowd," he said in an impassioned speech.

But tempers flared at the barracks, and the president had to leave when scuffles broke out and tear gas exploded near him. Overcome by the fumes he was taken out by stretcher to the nearby hospital.

Correa was said to be meeting late Thursday with a delegation of the renegade police, after army chief Ernesto Gonzalez called on them to end their uprising.

Gonzalez said that "troops would analyze the situation and since we are in a state of emergency, if it is needed we will intervene."

But there were conflicting reports with the Vice President Lenin Moreno saying that Correa was being held inside the hospital, by rebel police who were trying to kidnap him.

Security Minister Miguel Carvajal told reporters the armed forces "have received instructions to maintain public order and guarantee the rights of citizens."

Dozens of police units took over government buildings in the country's other two main cities, Guayaquil and Cuenca, and Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino blamed the insurrection on "sectors aiming to overthrow the government."

The unrest, which recalled a military-backed coup against the elected president in Honduras last year, rocked Ecuador's neighbors with many leaders swiftly coming out in his support. Its closest neighbors, Peru and Colombia, swift closed their joint borders with Ecuador.

The main regional group, the Organization of American States (OAS), maintained that a coup was underway and in emergency talks was drawing up a resolution urging all sides to avoid violence.

The White House expressed "full support" for Correa and called for a peaceful end to the crisis, while EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton urged all sides to refrain from violence.

Correa was said to be considering dissolving Congress and holding snap elections to resolve the political crisis.

Dozens of Correa supporters were meanwhile descending on the hospital where the president had sought refuge, vowing to rescue him. "Down with the coup, down with the enemies of the people," they chanted.

The leftist Correa was re-elected last year to a second term at the helm of the country of some 14.5 million people.

Since taking power in 2007, Correa has proven controversial because of his close ties to regional leftists like Chavez.

The US-educated economist took a tough stance with investors and refused to repay foreign debt, in moves welcomed by supporters who blamed the effects of the economic crisis on unbridled free-market policies.

His reelection was seen as giving some stability to the world's leading banana exporter that has seen three of its previous presidents -- between 1996 and 2006 -- ousted before the end of their terms.

Content Adjustment

Starting tonight, I will shift defense-related issues and war developments to my other blog, Gleanings and Musings, Courtesy of a Veteran Cold Warrior.  This blog will continue to contain foreign affairs and international developments.  Domestic politics will remain on The Rise, Cresting, and Looming Eclipse, Decline And Fall of the American Empire.

Osama Bin Laden's Spokesman Is Released By Iran

From The Long War Journal:

Osama bin Laden’s spokesman freed by Iran

By Thomas JoscelynSeptember 28, 2010


Sulaiman Abu Gaith, Osama bin Laden, and Ayman al Zawahiri, from an al Qaeda propaganda tape. Image from BBC/AP.

Iran has allowed an al Qaeda terrorist who served as Osama bin Laden’s spokesman to return to Afghanistan. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti preacher who gained worldwide infamy after the September 11 attacks, had lived in Iran since early 2002, and was reportedly held under a loose form of house arrest beginning in 2003.

Abu Ghaith’s departure from Iran was first reported by the Kuwaiti press, which has long tracked the influential cleric because of his following inside Kuwait and beyond. The preacher was stripped of his Kuwaiti citizenship in late 2001 after promising another al Qaeda strike on America during an appearance on Al Jazeera.

Al Watan, an online Kuwaiti newspaper, reported earlier this month that three batches of al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists have been released by Iran in exchange for the release of Heshmatollah Attarzadeh, an Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped by the Taliban in northern Pakistan in 2008. Abu Ghaith was among the terrorists released in the third and final batch.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal say the account is credible. But, these officials say, Ghaith’s “house arrest” was really a form of safe haven.

Post-9/11 threats

Abu Ghaith garnished widespread media coverage in the weeks following the September 11 attacks. In a statement released in October 2001, he praised the 9/11 hijackers and threatened more attacks. “The actions by these young men who destroyed the United States and launched the storm of planes against it have done a good deed,” the Kuwaiti said, according to a transcript published by BBC News.

“The Americans should know that the storm of plane attacks will not abate, with God's permission. There are thousands of the Islamic nation's youths who are eager to die just as the Americans are eager to live.”

Abu Ghaith’s praise for the September 11 attacks is not surprising. The 9/11 Commission found that there was a schism within al Qaeda in the summer of 2001 over the impending attacks on New York and Washington. Several high ranking al Qaeda members objected to the operation, fearing that it would compromise al Qaeda’s safe haven inside Afghanistan by provoking a significant American reprisal. Abu Ghaith was not one of the terrorists who objected, however. The Kuwaiti preacher gave the operation his blessing.

While living in Iran in 2002, Abu Ghaith posted a screed on the Internet in which he said al Qaeda has “the right to kill four million Americans, including one million children, displace double that figure, and injure and cripple hundreds and thousands.”

US intelligence officials took notice. In his book At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, former CIA Director George Tenet says that it “would have been easy to dismiss his ranting as the hyperbole of a deranged man,” but US officials “had to consider the possibility that Abu Ghaith was attempting to justify the future use of weapons of mass destruction that might greatly exceed the death toll of 9/11.”

Ghaith’s threat is one of several made by al Qaeda in this vein. Obviously, al Qaeda has failed to launch an attack utilizing WMD. But the terrorist group has long sought such a capability and had active biological and chemical weapons programs in pre-9/11 Afghanistan.


Sulaiman Abu Gaith, from an al Qaeda propaganda tape. Image from BBC/AP

Faylaka Island attack on Marines

On October 8, 2002, two al Qaeda operatives opened fire on US Marines who were training on the Faylaka Island in Kuwait. One Marine was killed and another was wounded. As explained by Stewart Bell in his book, The Martyr’s Oath, the gunmen were recruited and indoctrinated by Abu Ghaith.

One of the gunmen was a Kuwaiti named Anas al Kandari, who was killed in the firefight. According to declassified documents produced at Guantanamo, a current detainee named Faiz al Kandari is related to Anas al Kandari. In addition, the two received training along with Abu Ghaith at one of Osama bin Laden’s training camps in pre-9/11 Afghanistan.

In a memo prepared for Faiz al Kandari’s case, US military officials explained:

The detainee is related to one of the al Qaeda members responsible for the attack on U.S. Marines on [Faylaka] Island, Kuwait on 8 October 2002. This relative is considered by his peers as among the best al Qaeda cadre. Additionally, the detainee, Salayman Abu Ghayth, and the detainee’s relative attended an airport training camp near Qandahar.

A DC district judge denied Faiz al Kandari’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus earlier this month. US intelligence officials at Gitmo concluded that Faiz, who was given the internment serial number 552, was an influential al Qaeda recruiter and advisor with ties to Osama bin Laden.

“House arrest” as a form of safe haven

According to Al Watan, Saad bin Laden, Osama’s son, and Saif al Adel, one of al Qaeda’s most senior military planners, were also part of the deal for Heshmatollah Attarzadeh. Both reportedly left Iran after receiving refuge there since late 2001.

Saad left Iran in 2008 and was reportedly killed in a US airstrike in northern Pakistan in 2009. But in conversations with the Long War Journal, US intelligence officials cautioned that Saad’s death has yet to be confirmed.

Al Qaeda typically releases martyrdom tapes when senior terrorists are killed. No such tape has been released for Saad, the officials pointed out.

Although Abu Ghaith, Saad bin Laden, Saif al Adel and other senior al Qaeda terrorists were reportedly under “house arrest,” it was a loose form of detention. “House arrest is a convenient cover for high-level meetings,” one US intelligence official explained.

Iran also continues to allow the al Qaeda network to operate on the mullahs’ soil.

Saad bin Laden and Saif al Adel were implicated in terrorist attacks in 2002 and 2003. Saad was implicated in the April 11, 2002 bombing a Tunisian synagogue, as well as the May 12, 2003 attacks on three separate apartment complexes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saif al Adel, who received training from Hezbollah and Iran in the early 1990s, was also implicated in the Riyadh attack. The pair was in contact with the al Qaeda cells that pulled off the operations.

After the Riyadh bombings, American and Saudi officials complained about the al Qaeda network operating on Iranian soil. It was after these complaints that Iran placed a cadre of al Qaeda leaders under “house arrest.” But the al Qaeda leaders continued to meet and plan on Iranian soil, while being careful not to raise international scrutiny once again. There is evidence that al Qaeda operatives continue to receive training inside Iran, along with Taliban fighters, as well.

The Iranians have been coy when pressed about their al Qaeda guests. The State Department has repeatedly noted in its Country Reports on Terrorism that Iran remains “unwilling to bring to justice senior al Qaeda members it has detained, and has refused to publicly identify those senior members in its custody.”

In addition, “Iran has repeatedly resisted numerous calls to transfer custody of its al Qaeda detainees to their countries of origin or third countries for trial” and “fail[s] to control the activities of some al Qaeda members who fled to Iran following the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.”

In March of 2010, General Petraeus discussed al Qaeda’s presence in Iran in written testimony delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Al Qaeda “continues to use Iran as a key facilitation hub, where facilitators connect al Qaeda’s senior leadership to regional affiliates,” Petraeus explained. “And although Iranian authorities do periodically disrupt this network by detaining select al Qaeda facilitators and operational planners, Tehran’s policy in this regard is often unpredictable.”

Iran’s behavior can be explained by way of analogy. Like a corrupt cop in league with the mob, the Iranians have been willing to clamp down and turn over small-time operatives, while allowing bigger players to operate with impunity.

And some senior al Qaeda terrorists, like Abu Ghaith, have now gone free. The terms of the supposed quid pro quo for the kidnapped Iranian diplomat remain murky. And the timing is suspicious. According to the US Treasury Department, which designated several members of al Qaeda's network in Iran, Saad bin Laden may have left Iranian custody as early as September 2008. But Heshmatollah Attarzadeh was reportedly kidnapped two months later, in November 2008.

So, it seems unlikely this was really an exchange of hostages. It is possible that there is more to the deal than meets the eye, just like the Iranians’ concept of house arrest.

In any event, Abu Ghaith has now left Iran for Afghanistan. “He won’t stay there for long,” one US intelligence official surmised, “because he knows he will be hunted.”

Read more:

ISAF Kills Senior Al Queda Leader And An IED Expert In Kunar Strike

From The Long War Journal:

ISAF kills senior al Qaeda leader and an IED expert in Kunar strike

By Bill RoggioSeptember 29, 2010

The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that it killed a top al Qaeda leader who was targeted in an airstrike over the weekend. A senior al Qaeda IED facilitator and several al Qaeda operatives were also killed in the airstrike.

Abdallah Umar al Qurayshi, a senior al Qaeda commander "who coordinated the attacks of a group of Arab fighters in Kunar and Nuristan provinces," was killed after being tracked to "a remote compound in the Korengal Valley" in the district of Pech, ISAF stated in a press release.

"The Al Qaeda facilitators and extremists he works with throughout the Middle East directly threaten the safety and security of Afghan government officials and civilians," ISAF continued. "He routinely facilitates the travel of foreign fighters into the region."

Also killed in the "precision air strike" were an al Qaeda "explosives expert" named Abu Atta al Kuwaiti "and several Arabic foreign fighters." The deaths of Qurayshi, al Kuwati, and other al Qaeda and Taliban leaders occurred while they were in a meeting.

"ISAF is working to confirm the exact identities of other high-level insurgent commanders, who were meeting when the strike was conducted," the press release stated.

Al Qaeda maintains a strong presence in Kunar and greater Afghanistan

Kunar province is a known sanctuary for al Qaeda and allied terror groups. The presence of al Qaeda cells has been detected in the districts of Pech, Shaikal Shate, Sarkani, Dangam, Asmar, Asadabad, Shigal, and Marawana; or eight of Kunar's 15 districts, according to an investigation by The Long War Journal.

Al Qaeda's extensive reach in Afghanistan is documented in the body of press releases issued in recent years by the International Security Assistance Force. Looking at press releases dating back to March 2007, The Long War Journal has been able to detect the presence of al Qaeda and affiliated groups such as the Islamic Jihad Union in 62 different districts in 19 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.

Al Qaeda operates in conjunction with the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Hizb-i-Islami Guldbuddin network throughout Afghanistan. Al Qaeda operatives often serve as embedded military trainers for Taliban field units and impart tactics and bomb-making skills to these forces. Al Qaeda often supports the Taliban by funding operations and providing weapons and other aid.

This picture is vastly different from the one painted by top Obama administration intelligence officials including CIA Director Leon Panetta and Nation Counterterrorism Center Director Michal Leiter. Last spring, Panetta and Leiter claimed that only 50 to 100 al Qaeda operatives act active in Afghanistan.

Counterterrorism operations intensify in Kunar

Since June, US and Afghan forces have stepped up operations against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Kunar after withdrawing forces from outposts in remote districts in Kunar and neighboring Nuristan late last year as part of the US' population-centric counterinsurgency strategy. The Taliban and al Qaeda have taken advantage of these new safe havens to strike at neighboring districts and provinces.

Within the past two months, Afghan and US forces have primarily conducted counterterrorism operations in Kunar, with sweeps, raids, and airstrikes making up the effort against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other terror groups entrenched in the northeast.

On Sept. 18, an ISAF airstrike killed Haji Mohammad, who was the Taliban's shadow governor for the district of Shigal and an ally of al Qaeda. At the end of August, US and Afghan forces killed 19 Taliban fighters during an air assault in Pech. On Aug. 26, US troops killed four Taliban fighters in an airstrike in the Pech district.

And on Aug. 19, special operations forces killed three members of the Taliban subgroup Jamaat ul Dawa al Quran during a raid in the village of Shamun in Pech. Sayed Shah, a wanted commander in Jamaat ul Dawa al Quran, was among those killed.

ISAF targets al Qaeda's top leader in the region

In late July and early August, ISAF announced that it was hunting Qari Zia Rahman, who is the Taliban's top regional commander as well as a senior military leader in al Qaeda. He operates in Kunar and neighboring Nuristan province in Afghanistan, and he also operates across the border in Pakistan's tribal agency of Bajaur.

Qari Zia is closely allied with Pakistani Taliban leader Faqir Mohammed as well as with Osama bin Laden. Qari Zia's fighters are from Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and various Arab nations. Earlier this year, the Pakistani government claimed they killed Qari Zia in an airstrike, but he later spoke to the media and mocked Pakistan's interior minister for wrongly reporting his death.

The US has targeted Qari Zai in three raids over the past summer. On June 29, the US launched a battalion-sized operation in Kunar's Marawara district. More than 150 Taliban fighters were reported killed in the operation. On July 20, US and Afghan forces launched another battalion-sized operation in Marawara to flush out Qari Zia. And on Aug. 2, combined forces conducted a raid, again in Marawara, that targeted the al Qaeda leader.

The top al Qaeda commander in Kunar province is Abu Ikhlas al Masri, an Egyptian who has spent years in Afghanistan and has intermarried with the local tribes. Abu Ikhlas is al Qaeda's operations chief for Kunar province, having assumed command after Abu Ubaidah al Masri was promoted to take over al Qaeda's external operations branch (Abu Ubaidah died in early 2008 of a disease).

Background on al Qaeda commanders killed or captured in Kunar

Over the past year, the US military has killed other top Taliban and al Qaeda leaders in Kunar. On Nov. 26, 2009, Dowron, the Taliban commander of the Pech River Valley, was killed in a US strike. Dowron had ties to multiple al Qaeda members and was involved in attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces and bases, as well as on Afghan civilians.

On Dec. 1, 2009, Qari Masiullah, the al Qaeda chief of security for Kunar province, was killed during another operation. Masiullah ran a training camp that taught insurgents how to use and emplace IEDs that were used in attacks on Afghan civilians and Afghan and Coalition forces throughout the provinces of Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar, and Laghman.

Also, on Oct. 11, 2009, US forces targeted an al Qaeda base in the mountains in Pech. The raid targeted an al Qaeda commander who is known to use the mountainside base near the village of Tantil to conduct attacks in the Pech Valley. The al Qaeda leader, who was not named, and his cadre are also known to facilitate the movement of foreign fighters from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

Read more:

Wednesday Iran Talking Points

From Blog:

2:46 PM (11 hours ago)Wednesday Iran Talking Pointsfrom Blog by Eli Cliftonfrom LobeLog: News and Views Relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for September 29th, 2010:

The Wall Street Journal: Benoit Faucon and Spencer Swartz report on Iran’s announcement on Tuesday that it would begin exporting domestically refined gasoline. Iran has depended heavily on imported gasoline in the past. Yesterday’s announcement sends a message of defiance about international sanctions as well as an indicating that Iran has significantly boosted its domestic refinery capacity. “Iran has achieved self-sufficiency in production of gasoline,” said Ali Ashgar Arshi, the international affairs director at the National Iranian Oil Co. It also appears timed to echo statements from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the new sanctions have only made Iran stronger.

The Weekly Standard Blog: Bill Kristol posts an excerpt from the prepared text of Joe Lieberman’s speech today at the Council on Foreign Relations. Lieberman will say, “It would also be a failure of U.S. leadership if this situation reaches the point where the Israelis decide to attempt a unilateral strike. If military action must come, the United States is in the strongest position to confront Iran and manage the regional consequences. This is not a responsibility we should outsource.” “It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table. Our message to our friends and enemies in the region needs to become clearer: namely, that we will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability — by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must,” concludes Lieberman.

Commentary: Daniel Gordis, senior vice president of Jerusalem’s Shalem Center, writes in the October issue of Commentary on “The Other Existential Threat.” It’s not only the possibility of an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel that poses a threat, he writes, but on a more existential level the potential of Iran possessing of such a bomb will hang over Israel’s head. In turn, this will revert Jews back “to the status of European victims-in-waiting,” “dependent on the choices their enemies make.” In outlining what is at stake for Israel, Gordis concludes with why he does not believe Israeli leaders will allow Iran to go nuclear and what his country needs from the United States: “If Barack Obama could come to understand in precisely what way this is a matter that goes to the heart of Israel’s very existence [...] his administration might recognize the profound nature of the present moment and history’s call to this president to do what must be done.”

Spiegel Online: In a contentious interview, Iran’s nuclear agency chief Ali Akbar Salehi says that Iran “will not give up [its] guaranteed right to enrich uranium to a low level for civilian purposes” and accuses the new director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, of being biased against Iran. Salehi says he is not threatening to end cooperation with the IAEA, but is issuing a “friendly, but serious, warning that one should not allow oneself to be politically instrumentalized.” He considers the MEK’s allegations about a covert nuclear facility an “unjustified allegation,” and maintains Iran is still open to a deal to acquire fuel rods for its Tehran Research Reactor.

Mexican Mayors Blame Increase In Violence On U.S. Deportation Of Violent Mexican Criminals

From Fire Andrea Mitchell:


Of course! Mexico’s Mayors Blame Rise in Country’s Violence on America

Obama and the progressives blame America for all of the world’s problems. Why not the Mexican Mayors too? According to Fox News, a coalition of Mexican mayors has asked the United States to stop deporting illegal immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes in the U.S. to Mexican border cities, saying the deportations are contributing to Mexican border violence. Instead, why should keep these violent criminals in our country and foot the bill for them! Sounds like a great idea don’t you think?

The request was made at a recent San Diego conference in which the mayors of four Mexican border cities and one U.S. mayor, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, gathered to discuss cross-border issues.

Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes blamed U.S. deportation policy for contributing to his city’s violence, saying that of the 80,000 people deported to Juarez in the past three years, 28,000 had U.S. criminal records — including 7,000 convicted rapists and 2,000 convicted murderers.

Those criminal deportees, he said, have contributed to the violence in Juarez, which has reported more than 2,200 murders this year. Reyes and the other Mexican mayors said that when the U.S. deports criminals back to Mexico, it should fly them to their hometowns, not just bus them to the border.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Russia: Orthodox Chaplains Return To Russian Army

From The Audacity of Hypocrisy:

Russian Army Returns To Jesusfrom Audacity Of Hypocrisy by adminRecently Russian announced that, after an absence of nearly a century, chaplains were being reintroduced into the armed forces. This came after four years of negotiations with the Russian Orthodox Church, which would have to provide priests to be military chaplains. While the Orthodox church agreed, in the 1990s, to provide religious services to military personnel and their families, this did not include chaplains. That’s because, despite the shortage of priests, it was possible to use lay people to provide some priestly functions (like counseling and organizing charitable activities). Chaplains, on the other hand, are typically assigned to military units, like other specialists (doctors and staff officers). There were not enough priests for that, because the communists had limited the number of men who could become priests during the Soviet period (1921-91). But the church worked out a compromise with the military, and chaplains will be phased in as priests become available.

Chaplains were eliminated in the early 1920s, when the Russian civil war ended, with the victory of the communists. The chaplains were then replaced with “political officers” (Zampolits), who served many of the same functions (looked after morale, and correct thinking). But the current move to bring back chaplains is part of an effort to stamp out the custom of older troops hazing and exploiting younger ones.

Latest "Palestinian Aid" Convoy Arrives in Greece

From Middle East Affairs Information Center:

Viva Palestina Convoy Arrived in Greece

Posted by Crethi Plethi on Thu, September 30, 2010, in Anti-Israel, Gaza and Westbank, Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Israel, The Gaza Flotilla, The Lebanese Flotilla, United Nations .
Wed, Sept 29, 2010
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

The Viva Palestina aid convoy to the Gaza Strip, headed by George Galloway, reaches Salonika, Greece (Viva Palestina website, September 27, 2010)

Viva Palestina Convoy Arrived in Greece

Viva Palestina convoy: This past week the convoy organized by Viva Palestina and headed by George Galloway continued on its way to the Gaza Strip. It passed through France and Italy and is currently in Greece.

Freedom Fleet 2: The community of expatriate Palestinians in Italy said in an announcement that they were launching an aid ship to the Gaza Strip called the Stefano Chiarini (named for a pro-Palestinian activist who died in 2007), which would set sail in the middle of November 2010 in the upgraded flotilla currently being organized by the anti-Israeli coalition Freedom Fleet 2. The flotilla is expected to comprise 20 ships; its sailing date has not yet been set (AKI, September 21, 2010).

The Lebanese flotilla: Yasser Qashlaq, head of the Free Palestine Movement, claimed that he sought to send “weapons ships” to “Palestine,” just as the United States helps Israel. He called Israel “dangerous garbage” which had to be disposed of “to the countries supporting it,” and claimed that the Europeans needed a blow which would rouse them from the “influence of the drug of globalization and peace” (Al-Watan, September 21, 2010).

An Indonesian flotilla: Anis Matta, deputy chairman of the Indonesian parliament, said that preparations were being made for an Indonesian flotilla to the Gaza Strip. It was being organized by various Indonesian organizations and political parties with the support of “the upper political echelons” (Hamas’ Palestine-info website, September 22, 2010).

The One-Sided, Biased, Anti-Israeli Report of the UN Human Rights Council

The fact-finding mission sent by the UN to investigate the events aboard the Mavi Marmara issued its report on September 22.

As expected,[1] the report was one-sided and biased against Israel and completely adopted the IHH narrative of the events. It determined that Israel had used excessive force, that the weapons in the possession of the passengers aboard the movement were intended for self defense and that IDF soldiers abused detainees after they took control of the ship. The mission reached its conclusions based on statements made by anti-Israel operatives, which are in direct contradiction to Israeli information and evidence.



[1] For further information see the September 6, 2010 article, “The UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission examining the events of the flotilla has sent teams to Jordan and Turkey.”

Iran Begs For Help With StuxNet Cyber Worm From European Computer Security Experts

From Bare Naked Islam:

IRAN begs for help with the rampaging StuxNet Cyber Worm

Tehran this week secretly appealed to a number of computer security experts in West and East Europe with offers of handsome fees for consultations on ways to exorcize the Stuxnet worm spreading havoc through the computer networks and administrative software of its most important industrial complexes and military command centers.

DEBKA DEBKAfile’s intelligence and Iranian sources report Iran turned for outside help after local computer experts failed to remove the destructive virus.

The impression DEBKAfile sources gained Wednesday, Sept. 29 from talking to European computer experts approached for aid was that the Iranians are getting desperate. Not only have their own attempts to defeat the invading worm failed, but they made matters worse: The malworm became more aggressive and returned to the attack on parts of the systems damaged in the initial attack.

None of the foreign experts has so far come forward because Tehran refuses to provide precise information on the sensitive centers and systems under attack and give the visiting specialists the locations where they would need to work. They were not told whether they would be called on to work outside Tehran or given access to affected sites to study how they function and how the malworm managed to disable them. Iran also refuses to give out data on the changes its engineers have made to imported SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, mostly from Germany.

One expert said: “The Iranians have been forced to realize that they would be better off not ‘irritating’ the invader because it hits back with a bigger punch.”

Looking beyond Iran’s predicament, he wondered whether the people responsible for planting Stuxnet in Iran – and apparently continuing to offload information from its sensitive systems – have the technology for stopping its rampage. “My impression,” he said, “is that somebody outside Iran has partial control at least on its spread. Can this body stop malworm in its tracks or kill it? We don’t have that information at present, he said.

As it is, the Iranian officials who turned outside for help were described by another of the experts they approached as alarmed and frustrated. It has dawned on them that the trouble cannot be waved away overnight but is around for the long haul. Finding a credible specialist with the magic code for ridding them of the cyber enemy could take several months. After their own attempts to defeat Stuxnet backfired, all the Iranians can do now is to sit back and hope for the best, helpless to predict the worm’s next target and which other of their strategic industries will go down or be robbed of its secrets next.

While Tehran has given out several conflicting figures on the systems and networks struck by the malworm - 30,000 to 45,000 industrial units - DEBKAfile’s sources cite security experts as putting the figure much higher, in the region of millions. If this is true, then this cyber weapon attack on Iran would be the greatest ever.






European Terror Plot Begins To Unravel

From The Long War Journal:

European terror plot begins to unravel

By Bill Roggio and Lisa LundquistSeptember 29, 2010

Within the past 24 hours, the existence of an ongoing multi-pronged international terror plot in Europe modeled after the 2008 Mumbai attacks has been exposed. The plan is said to involve simultaneous attacks, consisting of commando-style raids and hostage-taking, on major targets in England, France, and Germany.

The US Predator campaign in Pakistan has been ramped up to counter this threat, and several terrorist leaders associated with the plot are thought to have been killed in these strikes over the past month. Also, US special operations forces have targeted al Qaeda-linked terror groups in northern Afghanistan who have been linked to the plot.

The revelation of this latest terror plot shakes an already edgy Europe, which has recently seen the Eiffel Tower evacuated twice in the past two weeks due to anonymous bomb threats, the arrest in Norway of several operatives planning another attack on the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and specific threats to the French public transportation systems. At present, the terror alert level in France is high, as it is in England.

Western security officials may have made several arrests in an attempt to disrupt the plot, which apparently was not yet in the ‘imminent’ stage. These arrests follow a series of terror-related incidents in recent weeks linking individuals in Europe with al Qaeda and some of its affiliates.

The attack planning has been under the scrutiny of Western intelligence agencies for some time, and the recent flurry of drone strikes managed to interrupt the planning for the attack, according to the BBC. The dramatic increase in strikes has resulted from briefings with the Obama administration about the terror plot. In addition, the BBC observes, Western intelligence agencies have been somewhat dismayed by the leaks, as they have compromised an ongoing investigation.

According to Sky News, the plan had been hatched by Pakistan-based militants and was “in an ‘advanced but not imminent stage’” and its planners “had been tracked by spy agencies ‘for some time’.” The report in The Telegraph states that the plan “was foiled after Western intelligence agencies, including MI6 and GCHQ, uncovered the plans by senior al Qaeda operatives in the lawless tribal areas.”

The Telegraph goes on to note that a German resident who was detained by the US military in Afghanistan in July has revealed considerable information related to attacks being planned on German and other European targets. He was “identified in Germany as ‘Ahmad S’, aged 36, [and] was said to be a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which is closely associated with al-Qaeda.” The New York Times notes that he has been identified in German media reports as Ahmed Sidiqui, of Hamburg. According to the Times, Sidiqi told US interrogators that some of the terrorist operatives may already be in Europe, and that the Haqqani Network in Pakistan is involved in the plot or plots.

Dramatic increase in drone strikes in September may be linked to European terror plans

Coalition Special Operations Forces have dramatically stepped up operations against the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan immediately after Sidiqui's capture in July. Multiple IMU commanders have been killed or captured in the northern Afghan provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan, and Takhar since July. Many of these commanders had integrated their operations with the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, and some held senior positions in the Taliban’s shadow government [See LWJ report, Coalition continues pursuit of IMU commanders in the Afghan north].

In conjunction with the operations against the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in the Afghan north, the US stepped up its Predator campaign in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The unprecedented rain of Predator strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas this month has killed more than a hundred militants, from several terror affiliates, including al Qaeda, the Islamic Jihad Group, and the Haqqani Network. Three top al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad Group commanders that may be linked to the plot have been reported killed in the past month.

The most significant al Qaeda leader reported to have been killed is Sheik Abu el Fatah al Masri, al Qaeda’s chief of operations for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Fateh is thought to have been killed in a drone strike on Sept. 25 in North Waziristan. Since the news of the European terror plot surfaced, reports have suggested that Fateh’s death has severely disrupted the plot. Other reports also suggest, however, that the plot itself, though unraveling, may not yet be completely interrupted.

Another significant terror leader linked to the plot who is thought to have been killed is Qureshi, an Uzbek commander from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Jihad Group, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. Qureshi was targeted in a drone strike in North Waziristan on Sept. 8. According to AKI, Qureshi "used to receive foreigners especially the Germans in North Waziristan and then train them and resend them to their country of origins." [See LWJ report, Islamic Jihad Group commander reported killed in Predator strike, for more on Qureshi’s death]. The Islamic Jihad Group is a splinter group of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and has numerous German and Turkish members.

Also, unconfirmed reports indicate that Bekkay Harrach, a German national who is based along the Afghan-Pakistani border, may have been killed the Aug. 23 Predator strike in Danda Darpa Khel, the hub for the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network in North Waziristan. Harrach is a German national who is a senior member of al Qaeda's external operations branch.

Uncertainties remain as to scope of plot and terror groups' involvement

The latest reports on the plot appear to downplay its significance as an imminent threat, and to stress the uncertainties at the moment. The Associated Press reports that "U.S. intelligence had heard of the European plot about a month ago and was monitoring the people involved." and stated that the US had increased the number of drone strikes in Pakistan in an effort to disrupt the plot. Reflecting the present lack of any clear answers on the issue, however, the AP report went on to quote an anonymous British official who cautioned that although the drone strikes were believed to have interrupted the planning for the European attacks, "the operation was still considered active."

Looking at the scope of the interrupted plot to attack several European countries simultaneously, it is apparent that for a plan of this size to succeed, operatives with diverse backgrounds would be most useful, in order for them to blend in effectively with the local populations. Al Qaeda planners might draw from the group’s various affiliates for this sort of extensive operation: they would likely use Pakistanis for the planned attacks in London, North Africans from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb for the attacks in France, and Germans from the IMU and IJG for the German attacks, for example.

Arrests have been recently made in Europe that may have some connection with this still-unraveling plot.

Yesterday, a US citizen of Algerian origins was arrested in Spain; he is reported to have links with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The arrest was made for his allegedly sending large amounts of money to al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb, al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa. AQIM has an extensive network in France and southern Europe.

In July, three men were arrested in Norway for plotting terror attacks in Europe, and more recently, the Norwegian authorities have revealed that one of the three Norwegian suspects, an Iraqi Kurd named Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak Bujak, has confessed to plotting to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which had published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed several years ago. The other two suspects are an Uzbek national named David Jakobsen, and a Norwegian citizen of Uighur origins named Mikael Davud, who arrived in Norway in 1999 and apparently was the main planner for the attack. MSNBC notes that Davud had gone to Waziristan at approximately the same time as New York subway plotter Najibullah Zazi, though, according to US officials, they did not meet or train together there.

In Germany, officials remain concerned about possible future terror attacks, in light of information provided by a Sidiqui, the German national of Afghan descent who was arrested by US forces in Afghanistan in July and has been held in Baghram since that time. According to the head of the German federal police, there is “concrete evidence that 70 Islamists from Germany had undergone paramilitary training in terror camps.“ The German police estimate that over 400 Islamists are currently in Germany, of which perhaps 131 could be potential "offenders.”

As the investigation in this unraveling terror plot continues, it has become apparent that much of the planning seems to have been on the radar of the various Western intelligence agencies for weeks and even months. The recent leaks may have forced Western intelligence services and law enforcement agencies to act more quickly than they might have otherwise done to arrest planners and operatives, thus potentially leaving other suspects at large, and other terror plans potentially intact.

Read more:

Trying Terrorists

From The American Thinker:

September 30, 2010

Trying Terrorists

By Elise Cooper

Recently, the Obama Administration has put all terrorist detainee trials on hold. Are they choosing to follow the Bush Administration and hold the Guantanamo detainees as enemy combatants? A former CIA official felt this is the most appropriate way to handle the detainees because unlike "the FBI who wants to build a criminal case, the CIA wants to grab everything in a target room, exploit the computers, pocket litter, cell phones, and anything else we can find for intelligence, and put the terrorists out of business. We don't care about any criminal case." Since some evidence may be declared inadmissible, the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine becomes significant in both a federal trial and a military commission. This leads to the argument that the detainees should be held as enemy combatants.

Al Qaeda declared war on the US by issuing a Fatwa and attacking military targets (the USS Cole) and America's homeland on 9/11. An act of war was effectively declared through Congress' authorization of funds, troops sent to fight on two fronts, Iraq and Afghanistan, and both President Bush and President Obama's statements that their job is to protect the national security of the United States. Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL), a former JAG prosecutor, clearly noted that "we are fighting a global war on terror, even though it is not a traditional war and it may not have a defined end. Acts of terror which are attempts to attack our entire country and our way of life by killing multitudes and instilling a sense of crippling fear are synonymous with acts of war." Therefore, the detainees should be held, as enemy combatants, until the conflict is over. Just because the detainees did not wear a uniform, did not fight for a particular country, or carry a particular flag does not mean that the detainee should get any specific privilege or exemption from the rules of war.

Even though it ran counter to how previous American wars were conducted, the Supreme Court held that habeas corpus should be exercised to review the status of the enemy combatants. The Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) was established for this purpose. Kyndra Rotunda, a professor of law, author of Honor Bound: Inside the Guantanamo Trials, and a former JAG prosecutor, felt that detainees are getting more procedural protections than what captured American soldiers receive and that "CSRTS procedures provide greater due process protections than what is required by the Geneva Convention. CSRTS afford more procedural protections than has ever been extended to enemy combatants. Detainees are assigned a personal representative to assist them in the CSRT hearing."

There are those that would argue that some of the Guantanamo detainees are innocent and that mistakes happened. There is never, whether on the battlefield, or in a court of law, 100% certitude or perfection. In a federal court of law, people are sometimes falsely accused, have their reputations ruined and have to spend money on a defense attorney, such as in the Duke Lacrosse Scandal and security guard Richard Jewell in the Atlanta Centennial Olympic bombing. The same is true for wartime situations where people get held and killed, and property is destroyed. Because human error will never be eliminated national security has to be the most important priority. The recidivism rate, which is now approximately 20%, shows that errors can be made where the guilty get released. Rooney concurs that "some of the enemy combatants who have been released have re-joined the fight. That's unacceptable. It is better to be safe than sorry."

In fact, President Obama's Guantanamo Review Task Force found that at least 95% of the detainees have some noteworthy ties to Al Qaeda or the Taliban in the files they reviewed. According to Andrew McCarthy, the prosecutor of the terrorists for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and author of The Grand Jihad, if the terrorists at Guantanamo were truly innocent, President Obama, now in office for two years, would have had them released because of his desire to close Gitmo. The administration is not doing it "because the executive branch has the intelligence evidence. They know they will be blamed if they released them and the terrorists went back and attempted to commit mass murder."

America should absolutely hold the detainees as enemy combatants. No enemy combatant in any war in the history of the US has ever have been granted judicial rights, that is until 2004. McCarthy's solution is for Congress to create a national security court that would allow the terrorists to be tried in a military commission; yet, held as enemy combatants since they are not mutually exclusive. The protection of the American people and military must be first and foremost.