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Thursday August 12, 2004

We're a Syrian band... We're coming to your town, we're gonna...? Annie Jacobsen writes of another passenger from flight 327 who has come forward with new information:

I also have to tell you one detail that you didn't catch. I emailed this detail to the Department of Homeland Security but I haven't heard back. As I mentioned, the tall man in the jogging suit sat right behind me. He got up and passed by me to go to the bathroom up in first class. I also have to tell you one detail that you didn't catch. I emailed this detail to the Department of Homeland Security but I haven't heard back. As I mentioned, the tall man in the jogging suit sat right behind me. He got up and passed by me to go to the bathroom up in first class. The man was gone for a very long time. And when he came back, he reeked of chemicals -- the chemicals from the toilet bowl. He absolutely reeked of it. And I thought, what was he doing in the toilet? He didn't smell like chemicals when he got up to go to the bathroom -- it was when he came back. It was so spooky. What was he doing in there? That he would smell so strong of chemicals from the toilet?

Assume arguendo that this was a dry run for a future terrorist act. If so, what did these potential terrorists learn? Frankly, they've learned important information. First, they have been able to gauge the reactions of the flying public in a post 9/11 environment. Obviously, when confronted with a clear terrorist threat (wielding a knife, gun, etc.) there will be overwhelming response a la flight 93 when heroic Americans such as Todd Beamer defeated the hijackers and the aircraft subsequently slammed into the Pennsylvania dirt. But what of a less obvious threat? What about mere suspicion? Without clear evidence of danger, most people will simply sit (albeit, in fear). Billie Jo Rodriguez (the latest passenger from flight 327 to come forward) put it quite succinctly: "I was afraid to look around. Quite frankly, I thought to myself, 'Well, this is it.' At this point, I was doing some praying. I know it sounds chicken, but that's what I was doing...I did NOT feel safe on that plane. I felt there was a definite threat. That's why I was so nervous. As I said earlier, I thought 'Billie Jo, this is it.". But not just Billie Jo, many others reacted the same way: "Because many other people noticed something was happening. I exchanged looks with other passengers. Every single person around me noticed something was awry. How could you not notice?" Others, such as Annie Jacobsen, will express their concerns to the flight attendants. But that's about it. Any potential terrorists can feel quite certain that they won't be confronted by any other passengers.

Secondly, would-be fanatics have been able to assess the response of the flight crew. Undoubtedly, the flight crew aboard flight 327 had noticed the unusual behavior of the 14 Syrians. Several passengers expressed their concerns to them. What was their response? As Billie Jo reports, "The flight attendants seemed to be paying no attention. One of them occasionally turned around and looked back at the cabin at what was going on. But the other one, well, unless she's a great actress, she had no idea. She was flitting around the cabin like nothing was happening." Islamacists can generally count on the non-confrontational nature of most Americans--from both passengers and flight attendants--when their activities cause suspicion, but not a certain threat. When established rules are clearly broken, however, there is this response:"When we were finally landing, I hear this flight attendant say, "Sir, stay in you seat." She was strapped into her seat -- it was on the microphone. She said again, "Sir, stay in your seat," and again, "Sir, stay in your seat!" This, at the end of a quite long flight with unusual activity amongst a group of 14 Syrians. The attendant was strapped in her seat. Not in the aisle confronting the individual. Important information.

Finally, the tactics and response threshold of the air marshals has been revealed. If this was a "probing exercise" the devotees of the "Religion of Peace" can know for a fact that air marshals were aboard. They can also know, that despite their crazy Syrian antics, they elicited no response from the marshals. The Federal Air Marshals aboard had indeed noticed the activity, but as Dave Adams, the Federal Air Marshal Services (FAM) Head of Public Affairs said, "...the Air Marshals on flight 327 had determined that there was in fact "suspicious activity" on board flight 327 but that they determined it wasn't a "threat." And this (from a Time article of the incident) "Nothing my main partner or I saw on Flight 327 brought us anywhere near a conclusion that we considered breaking our cover or deploying as we've been trained. And we never came close to drawing our weapons." So in the future, potential terrorists now can know what activities will trigger a response from the on board air marshals--in the rare event that marshals are aboard their selected target.

Conclusion: Passengers, for the most part will not confront suspicious persons. Flight attendants will not be very proactive. Even the rare air marshal indicates that "breaking cover" is nearly equivalent to "drawing weapons". That is to say, that terrorists wouldn't even be confronted by air marshals (for fear of breaking their cover) unless there was an imminent and clear threat. So to be successful terrorist, one need not take bold, aggressive actions lest the wrath of those onboard will be unleashed. Delay the response of passengers, crew and marshals until it's too late.

Epitaph: What of the reponse of the various federal agencies at the gate after the plane landed? What have the terrorists learned from this? Not applicable. The plane won't land.

This is just so bizarre. And sad. And bizarre.

Right on, Jeff Jacoby. The more I read him, the more I like him. He makes a point that I've often made on this page. Here's what he had to say about last weeks Unity conference of minority journalists where both Kerry and Bush spoke:

It would be nice to report that Bush and Kerry used their time at the Unity podium to condemn the organization's obsession with skin color, and to remind the journalists in the room that true diversity, the only diversity worth fighting for, is intellectual diversity: the diversity of minds.

..."I will do my part to bring more diversity into the media," Kerry assured them. "As president, I will expand opportunities for people of color in the media by appointing FCC commissioners committed to enforcing equal employment and ensuring that small minority-owned broadcasters are not consolidated into extinction."

Bush spoke the next day. "You believe that there ought to be diversity in the newsroom," he said. "I understand that. You believe that there ought to be diversity on the editorial pages of America. I agree. You believe that there ought to be diversity behind that managing editor's desk. I agree with that too."

Neither candidate rose to the occasion. What the convention should have been told is that it is neither moral nor progressive to view the world through a racial prism. Unity's "journalists of color" should have heard the blunt message that journalism does not need more reporters and editors of color. It doesn't need more white journalists, either. What it needs are men and women of talent and integrity -- adults who have no interest in a "diversity" that is merely skin-deep. Bob Jones University has abandoned its benighted fixation with color. It's time American journalism followed suit.

In light of the unarguable preponderance of liberals in the media and numerous clear and convincing examples of media bias, this statement by Unity's president is laughable:

A media outlet with no minorities in its D.C. bureau is guilty of "dishonest journalism," fumed Unity's president, Ernest Sotomayor, "because it . . . means the media company is satisfied with providing its readers or audience a skewed view of the news."

Tuesday August 10, 2004

Widespread, silent killing, but the EU, like the UN, dare not call it genocide:

"We are not in the situation of genocide there," Pieter Feith, an adviser to the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said in Brussels after returning from a fact-finding visit to Sudan. "But it is clear there is widespread, silent and slow killing and village burning of a fairly large scale. There are considerable doubts as to the willingness of Sudan's government to assume its duty to protect its civilian population against attacks."

Here's why:?

The genocide convention, adopted by the UN in 1948, calls on signatories to "prevent" and "punish" genocide. If governments accept events in Darfur amount to genocide they would be obliged to intervene.

This sums it ip pretty well:

If the U.N. cannot help, who will? And if this is not genocide, what is? The U.N. must step up, do its job and redeem its good name and the whole idea of multilateralism. The civilized world must send money, food and soldiers. Otherwise, the killing will stop only when there is no one left to kill.

Something to remember (from March 2003):

Seventy-two percent of Americans interviewed in a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Saturday and Sunday favor the war against Iraq, while 25% are opposed.

Here's the Kerry campaign's take on the recently published Unfit for Command:

The campaign source said that the book was not considered a "serious" problem for the campaign, because, "the media wouldn't have the nerve to come at us with this kind of stuff," says the source. "The senior staff believes the media is committed to seeing us win this thing, and that the convention inoculated us from these kinds of stories. The senior guys really think we don't have a problem here."

The good professor over at Instapundit is ALL OVER the swift boat stories. Rich bloggy goodness, as they say.

Where has the BBC been? They report this as news:

An inquiry into possible corrupt dealings in the defunct UN-administered Iraq oil-for-food programme says the allegations of misconduct are serious.

Chock-full of new detail:

The multi-billion programme allowed Iraq to sell oil in order to buy humanitarian goods.

Claudia Rosett call your office. The BBC is all over this one.

Monday August 9, 2004

Don Feder on the "Religion of Peace":

Jackie Mason seems only to be observing the evidence all around him. Curiously, two men are arrested in a sting operation trying to buy the type of weapon used to take down airplanes, and – Guess what? They’re not Baptists! Gunmen burst into a church in Pakistan and fire round after round into the prostrate bodies of women and children. The perps aren’t Scientologists or Latter-Day Saints. A Jewish kid is stabbed outside a yeshiva in Brussels, and the gang of youths believed responsible don’t belong to the local Buddhist temple. Churches and monasteries are torched in Kosovo; not the work of Hindus.

Judaism, Christianity and Islam – all have had a profound impact on Western civilization. One faith was founded by a lawgiver who led his people out of tyranny. One religion was established by a man of peace, who wouldn’t even resist his own execution and asked God to forgive his executioners. The last was started by a man who personally led his adherents into battle. The faith did not spread from the Pyrenees to the Philippines within 100 years of Mohammed’s death, by peaceful proselytizing. There are over 120 chapters (suras) in the Koran calling on believers to fight Jews and Christians, subjugate them, murder them, break treaties that are made with them, cut off their heads, lips and the tips of fingers, crucify them – and other acts of conciliation. A review of the actual history of Islam for past 1,400 years shows the religion has interpreted these texts just as today's "radicals" do.

In his opus, The Clash of Civilizations And Remaking of World Order (1996) Samuel Huntington spoke of Islam’s "bloody borders" – meaning that wherever a significant Muslim population comes into contact with others, violence ensues. Wherever Muslims are living in proximity with Christians, Jews or Hindus – someone is getting shot, bombed, burned alive, stoned to death, forcibly converted, ethnically cleansed, uprooted, jailed or otherwise persecuted. Where Muslims are in the majority, other faiths are proscribed (Saudi Arabia), severely circumscribed (Egypt) or subjected to relentless persecution (Pakistan, Indonesia, the Sudan and Northern Nigeria). Where Moslems are a substantial minority (Serbia, Macedonia, The Kashmir, Israel, Chechnya) there’s intifada – terrorism in pursuit of succession.

And more from this guy:

Last May, in Nigeria's second city, Kano, Muslim youth went on a midnight rampage with cutlasses, clubs and machetes, massacring 600 Christians and leaving their bodies in the streets. Sixteen churches burned to the ground. The senior Muslim cleric in the city ordered all Christians out. Some 30,000 were driven from their homes.

In Kosovo in March, Albanian mobs, enraged over false rumors that Serbs were responsible for the drowning of three Muslim boys, looted and torched 17 monasteries, churches and convents. To protect these same Kosovar Albanians, the United States launched a 78-day bombing campaign on Belgrade and Serbia in 1999.

All the world is today focused on Darfur in the western Sudan. Forgotten are the millions of Christians in the southern Sudan who suffered torture, slavery, mutilations, rapes, starvation, massacres and exile at the hands of Sudanese soldiers after Khartoum declared Islamic law for the nation.

Between 1974, when Indonesia invaded East Timor, and 1999, when East Timor voted for independence, the United Nations has documented at least 120 massacres, with many involving hundreds of dead in this small Catholic country. After independence, Indonesian troops slaughtered over 1,000 East Timorese in rage over their decision to break free of Jakarta.

In Egypt, the 6 million Christian Copts have begun openly to protest persecution by Muslim fanatics and local authorities. If, as President Bush has assured us, "Islam is a religion of peace," what is going on? Why the persecutions? Why the rampages and massacres to force peaceful Christians to flee their homes in Nigeria, Sudan, Kosovo, Iraq, Egypt, Indonesia?

Answer: What is going on in the Islamic world is something akin to what happened in Europe from the Spanish Reconquista in 1492 through the Thirty Years War. As Isabella was determined to expel the Moors and de-Islamicize all of Spain, militant Muslims are today determined to expel all Christians and to de-Christianize the Islamic world.

And they are watching us:

"What we have seen all across the country -- at military bases, at critical infrastructure facilities, at soft civilian targets such as schools, shopping malls [and] sports arenas, and domestic and international airline flights -- are probing attacks" said Peter Leitner, co-founder of the Higgins Counter Terrorism Research Center in Arlington, Va.

The editorialists at the St. Petersburg Times (FL) are in a snit over the recent Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads. Of course, Bush is to blame:

Whether Kerry is the better candidate for president is an issue that deserves vigorous debate. Whether he, like McCain, was a genuine combat hero who risked his life in service to his country is beyond dispute. If the president can't distance himself from such political filth, then he brings dishonor upon his own campaign.

Since John F. Bronze Star, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts Kerry has wrapped his "fit for command" argument entirely in his four months in Vietnam, I think it is relevant to hear from those who see things differently. After all, how long did we hear about President Bush's National Guard service. As Jay Nordlinger comments:

Let me get this straight: Vietnam vets — especially those who served with Kerry — are allowed to praise him to the skies. But Vietnam vets — including those who served with Kerry — are not allowed to criticize him. We revere veterans when they're for Kerry; we revile them when they're against.

But what of all this clamor from the Kerry camp for Bush to distance himself from the ad? I certainly don't think President Bush has actually endorsed the ad. I haven't heard the President embrace the SBVFT. The same surely cannot be said for the vicious anti-american, distasteful, and rabidly hate-filled rhetoric that has been flowing from the left and which has been implicitly and explicitly endorsed by Kerry:

Whoopi Goldberg hosted a Democrat fundraiser in June at New York's Radio City Music Hall. The evening was filled with music, good cheer and x-rated diatribes against the president. Goldberg made repeated, sexual double-entendres about the president's surname, and other performers referred to Mr. Bush as a "cheap thug" and a "killer." Does John Kerry agree with Goldberg & Company's vision of the president? Apparently so, because at the end of the evening, Kerry ­ who sat through the entire show laughing and cheering ­ lauded the performers for "convey (ing) to you the heart and soul of our country." Running mate John Edwards said the evening was "a celebration of American values." Are these the values of the Kerry/Edwards ticket?

Al Gore has gone over the edge with his hatred for George W. Bush. He's called the president a liar, a traitor ("He betrayed this country!!!!") and our "most dishonest president." Recently the former vice president labeled the president's support staff as "digital Brownshirts" and Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison the "Bush gulag." Are these sentiments shared by John Kerry? Evidently so, because Al Gore gave a major speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

At a June fundraiser for Kerry, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley said the following: "I remember after the attacks of September 11, as mayor of the city, I was very, very worried about al-Qaeda and still am. But I'm even more worried about the actions and inactions of the Bush administration." Does John Kerry agree that the president is a greater danger to America than Osama bin Laden? One must assume he does, because Martin O'Malley was also a featured speaker at Kerry's nominating convention.

Michael Moore ­ filmmaker, agitprop expert and overall America-hater ­ is getting rich (er) from his latest film that stretches truth beyond the breaking point. Two of the movie's central claims, involving a relationship between the Bush and royal Saudi families, and alleging the military action in Afghanistan was aimed at cementing a pipeline deal for an American oil and gas company, have been proven false by the 9/11 commission. Moore says the Iraqi insurgents who kill Americans "are the Minutemen, the revolution, and they will win." Moore thinks Americans are "possibly the dumbest people on the planet." On September 12th, 2001, Michael Moore posted a Web site article in which he suggested the terrorists should have killed Republicans, not "thousands of people who did not vote for (Bush)." Moore has not directly endorsed Kerry, but his actions certainly aid the senator's campaign. Does Kerry share Moore's outlook on things? Apparently he does, because Kerry has not once disavowed Moore's avalanche of vitriol.

Don't forget, Moore was in the VIP booth with Jimmah at the Democratic National Convention is a liberal Web site that grew from a small defense group helping Bill Clinton fight impeachment to a major fundraiser and rallying force for Democrats. Last year, held a contest that accepted entries for political ads designed to help the eventual Democrat nominee. Two of the ads equated President Bush with Adolf Hitler. The ads were posted on the Web site for days, before public outcry forced their removal. None of the outcry came from John Kerry. Does he agree with's vision of Bush-as-Hitler? Judging by his silence, Kerry must indeed agree although, Kerry once did criticize the Hitler ads ­ but he criticized the Bush campaign's use of them in its own online ad that displayed the caliber of the president's opposition. So it wasn't the Hitler comparison that bothered Kerry; he was angry that the ad was thrown back into his face.

David Meir-Levi connects the dots.