Friday, December 23, 2005

PETA's Ties to Terrorism?

By Cam Edwards
Townhall.com | December 23, 2005

This week’s revelation that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been the subject of an FBI investigation into the animal rights group’s possible ties to terrorism has stunned many liberals. PETA’s general counsel, Jeff Kerr, called the investigation “shocking and outrageous”, saying “it's an abuse of power by the F.B.I. when groups like Greenpeace and PETA are basically being punished for their social activism."

Two things here. First, how is PETA being punished? They’re being investigated. There’ve been no charges. There’ve been no indictments. They’re not being punished at all.

Secondly, and really the broader question: Should PETA be investigated for possible ties to terrorist groups like the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front, two domestic terror groups responsible for a series of arsons, bombings, and other violent acts that have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage? Again, many liberals say no. At the popular lefty website www.dailykos.com, a front page story decried the investigation, saying “Everything that many of us consider moral (taking care of the environment, opposition to the war, freedom to speak our minds, to protest, etc.) is on the FBI's ‘there might be a terrorist connection list.” So what are the chances that the liberals are right? Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the FBI’s files on PETA. I do, however, have an internet connection. Five minutes on Google can get you some pretty interesting information.

Did you know, for example, that PETA gave $1500 to the Earth Liberation Front back in 2001? That would be the same Earth Liberation Front recently described as one of the nation’s top domestic terror threats. According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, this “gift” (acknowledged in PETA’s end of the year tax return) is the only public donation the Earth Liberation Front has received.

PETA’s tax returns show some other interesting payments as well. A $2,000 payment to a David Wilson, at the time a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front. A $5,000 payment to Joshua Harper, a self-described anarchist who faces terrorism charges for smoke bombing an insurance company with ties to a medical research firm.
Harper, incidentally, denies being a terrorist. He did tell the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, however, that he has a spark of hope “"a spark of hope in every broken window, every torched police car and every mink running free as their hearts desire." He also says his ultimate goal is the “complete collapse of industrial civilization”.

Harper’s not the only animal rights extremist with a gift for eloquence. How about this quote from… well, let me wait to tell you who actually said this.

“I think it would be a great thing if, you know, all of these fast-food outlets and these slaughterhouses and these laboratories and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow. I think it's perfectly appropriate for people to take bricks and toss them through the windows, and you know everything else along the line. Hallelujah to the people who are willing to do it.”

Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds an awful lot like an endorsement of violence.
But PETA’s non-violent, so that quote couldn’t have come from one of its leaders, right? Wrong. Those are the words of Bruce Friedrich, PETA’s Director of Vegan Outreach. But hey, this is just one guy. Surely this attitude isn’t common at PETA, right? Well, here’s another quote, this time from PETA’s head, Ingrid Newkirk.

“We are complete press sluts.”

Whoops. Wrong quote, although she did say that in the New Yorker magazine back in 2003. This is the quote I was looking for.

“I will be the last person to condemn ALF.”

She’s right. PETA doesn’t condemn the Animal Liberation Front. In fact, Newkirk has written a gushing biography of the terrorist group entitled “Free the Animals”. She’s provided financial support for the ALF publication No Compromise. PETA has, over the years, compared ALF to the French Resistance, called the terrorist group the “army of the kind”, and has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the defense funds of ALF members charged with crimes.

In fact, Newkirk herself ended up as a footnote in the trial of Rodney Coronado, an ALF member convicted of firebombing a laboratory at Michigan State University. Newkirk received two packages from Coronado, one the day before the bombing, the other shortly afterwards. The second package was actually intercepted by the FBI. Inside the package were documents stolen from the lab. U.S. Attorney Michael Dettmer said Newkirk had “arranged to have the package[s] delivered to her days before the MSU arson occurred.”

Again, you don’t need to have a top secret clearance to learn these things. You just need to do some digging on the internet. After learning these facts, I’m not “shocked and appalled” that the FBI is investigating a possible tie between PETA and eco-terrorists. I’d be shocked and appalled if the government wasn’t looking into PETA.

I’ve been fortunate enough to write a few columns on the animal rights extremists for Townhall.com, and after every one I always get a few emails from people criticizing me for writing about these organizations. They’d rather I highlight the positive stories of animal lovers, of which there are many. I’ll make these folks a deal. As soon as I start seeing some of these animal lovers renounce PETA, ALF, and others who condone violent terrorist actions, I’ll write a nice story about an animal lover. If not, I’ve got a great story in the pipeline about a number of animal rights extremists recently arrested in New Jersey, including one guy facing charges of “making a terrorist threat”. The peaceful, nonviolent activists strike again.

Here`s the link

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Pentagon Breaks the Islam Taboo?

From Frontpage Magazine:

December 14, 2005

By Paul Sperry

Washington's policy-makers have been careful in the war on terror to distinguish between Islam and the terrorists. The distinction has rankled conservatives who see scarce difference.

A little-noticed speech by President Bush in October gave them some hope. In a major rhetorical shift, he described the enemy as "Islamic radicals" and not just "terrorists," although he still denies that radicalism has anything to do with their religion.

Now for the first time, a key Pentagon intelligence agency involved in homeland security is delving into Islam's holy texts to answer whether Islam is being radicalized by the terrorists or is already radical. Military brass want a better understanding of what's motivating the insurgents in Iraq and the terrorists around the globe, including those inside America who may be preparing to strike domestic military bases. The enemy appears indefatigable, even more active now than before 9/11.

Are the terrorists really driven by self-serving politics and personal demons? Or are they driven by religion? And if it's religion, are they following a manual of war contained in their scripture?

Answers are hard to come by. Four years into the war on terror, U.S. intelligence officials tell me there are no baseline studies of the Muslim prophet Muhammad or his ideological or military doctrine found at either the CIA or Defense Intelligence Agency, or even the war colleges.

But that is slowly starting to change as the Pentagon develops a new strategy to deal with the threat from Islamic terrorists through its little-known intelligence agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity or CIFA, which staffs hundreds of investigators and analysts to help coordinate Pentagon security efforts at home and abroad. CIFA also supports Northern Command in Colorado, which was established after 9/11 to help military forces react to terrorist threats in the continental United
States.

Dealing with the threat on a tactical and operational level through counterstrikes and capture has proven only marginally successful. Now military leaders want to combat it from a strategic standpoint, using informational warfare, among other things. A critical part of that strategy involves studying Islam, including the Quran and the hadiths, or traditions of Muhammad.

"Today we are confronted with a stateless threat that does not have at the strategic level targetable entities: no capitals, no economic base, no military formations or installations," states a new Pentagon briefing paper I've obtained. "Yet political Islam wages an ideological battle against the non-Islamic world at the tactical, operational and strategic level. The West's response is focused at the tactical and operation level, leaving the strategic level -- Islam -- unaddressed."

So far the conclusions of intelligence analysts assigned to the project, who include both private contractors and career military officials, contradict the commonly held notion that Islam is a peaceful religion hijacked or distorted by terrorists. They've found that the terrorists for the most part are following a war-fighting doctrine articulated through Muhammad in the Quran, elaborated on in the hadiths, codified in Islamic or sharia law, and reinforced by recent interpretations or fatwahs.

"Islam is an ideological engine of war (Jihad)," concludes the sensitive Pentagon briefing paper. And "no one is looking for its off switch."

Why? One major reason, the briefing states, is government-wide "indecision [over] whether Islam is radical or being radicalized."

So, which is it? "Strategic themes suggest Islam is radical by nature," according to the briefing, which goes on to cite the 26 chapters of the Quran dealing with violent jihad and the examples of the Muslim prophet, who it says sponsored "terror and slaughter" against unbelievers.

"Muhammad's behaviors today would be defined as radical," the defense document says, and Muslims today are commanded by their "militant" holy book to follow his example. It adds: Western leaders can no longer afford to overlook the "cult characteristics of Islam."

It also ties Muslim charity to war. Zakat, the alms-giving pillar of Islam, is described in the briefing as "an asymmetrical war-fighting funding mechanism." Which in English translates to: combat support under the guise of tithing. Of the eight obligatory categories of disbursement of Muslim charitable donations, it notes that two are for funding jihad, or holy war. Indeed, authorities have traced millions of dollars received by major jihadi terror groups like Hamas and al-Qaida back to Saudi and other foreign Isamic charities and also U.S. Muslim charities, such as the Holy Land Foundation.

According to the Quran, jihad is not something a Muslim can opt out of. It demands able-bodied believers join the fight. Those unable -- women and the elderly -- are not exempt; they must give "asylum and aid" (Surah 8:74) to those who do fight the unbelievers in the cause of Allah.

In analyzing the threat on the domestic front, the Pentagon briefing draws perhaps its most disturbing conclusions. It argues the U.S. has not suffered from scattered insurgent attacks -- as opposed to the concentrated and catastrophic attack by al-Qaida on 9-11 -- in large part because it has a relatively small Muslim population. But that could change as the Muslim minority grows and gains more influence.

The internal document explains that Islam divides offensive jihad into a "three-phase attack strategy" for gaining control of lands for Allah. The first phase is the "Meccan," or weakened, period, whereby a small Muslim minority asserts itself through largely peaceful and political measures involving Islamic NGOs -- such as the Islamic Society of North America, which investigators say has its roots in the militant Muslim Brotherhood, and Muslim pressure groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose leaders are on record expressing their desire to Islamize America.

In the second "preparation" phase, a "reasonably influential" Muslim minority starts to turn more militant. The briefing uses Britain and the Netherlands as examples.

And in the final jihad period, or "Medina Stage," a large minority uses its strength of numbers and power to rise up against the majority, as Muslim youth recently demonstrated in terrorizing France, the Pentagon paper notes.

It also notes that unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam advocates expansion by force. The final command of jihad, as revealed to Muhammad in the Quran, is to conquer the world in the name of Islam. The defense briefing adds that Islam is also unique in classifying unbelievers as "standing enemies against whom it is legitimate to wage war."

Right now political leaders don't understand the true nature of the threat,\ it says, because the intelligence community has yet to educate them. They still think Muslim terrorists, even suicide bombers, are mindless "criminals" motivated by "hatred of our freedoms," rather than religious zealots motivated by their faith. And as a result, we have no real strategic plan for winning a war against jihadists.

Even many intelligence analysts and investigators working in the field with the Joint Terrorism Task Forces have a shallow understanding of Islam.

"I don't like to criticize our intelligence services, because we did win the Cold War," says a Northern Command intelligence official. "However, all of these organizations have made only limited progress adjusting to the current threat or the sharing of information."

Why? "All suffer heavily from political correctness," he explains.

PC still infects the Pentagon, four years after jihadists hit the nation's military headquarters.

"A lot of folks here have a very pedestrian understanding of Islam and the Islamic threat," a Pentagon intelligence analyst working on the project told me. "We're getting Islam 101, and we need Islam 404."

The hardest part of formulating a strategic response to the threat is defining Islam as a political and military enemy. Once that psychological barrier has been crossed, defense sources tell me, the development of countermeasures -- such as educating the public about the militant nature of Islam and exploiting "critical vulnerabilities" or rifts within the Muslim faith and community -- can begin.

"Most Americans don't realize we are in a war of survival -- a war that is going to continue for decades," the Northcom official warns.

It remains to be seen, however, whether our PC-addled political leaders would ever adopt such controversial measures.

Cross-posted at IsraPundit

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quotes from: "Poll finds support for use of torture in war on terror" from AP, Dec 7

"By Will Lester
Associated Press
December 7, 2005

Most Americans and a majority of people in Britain, France and South Korea say torturing terrorism suspects is justified at least on rare occasions, according to a poll conducted in the United States and eight U.S.-allied countries.
Only in Italy and Spain do most people oppose torture under any circumstances, the AP-Ipsos survey found, while in Canada, Mexico and Germany there is a nearly even split.
However, majorities in every country except the United States said they did not want Americans conducting secret interrogations of terror suspects on their soil, reflecting concern about reports of secret prisons run by the CIA in Eastern Europe.
Meanwhile, an Internet video once again threw the spotlight on al Qaeda's architects of terror. The group's deputy leader, Ayman al-Zawahri said today its leader, Osama bin Laden, is still alive and leading the holy war against the West, Reuters news agency reported.
"Al Qaeda for holy war is still, thanks to God, a base for jihad [holy war]. Its prince, Sheik Osama bin Laden, may God protect him, is still leading its jihad," al-Zawahri said in a video posted on a Web site frequently used by militants.
"I bring a message of joy to all Muslims and mujahedeen that al Qaeda, thanks to God, is spreading and expanding and strengthening," he said.
In the poll, about two-thirds of those living in Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Spain said they would oppose allowing the United States to secretly interrogate terror suspects in their countries.
Almost that many in Britain, France, Germany and Italy said they feel the same way. Almost two-thirds in the United States support such interrogations on U.S. territory by their own government.
Officials with the European Union and in at least a half-dozen European countries are investigating reports of secret U.S. interrogations in Eastern Europe. The EU has threatened to revoke voting rights of any nation in the federation that was host to a clandestine detention center.
On the issue of torture, 61 percent of Americans refused to rule it out. About one in 10 -- 11 percent -- said it could be justified often, while 27 percent said sometimes and 23 percent said rarely. Almost four in 10 -- 36 percent -- said it could never be justified; another 3 percent were unsure.
Majorities in Britain, France and South Korea felt similarly, with South Koreans most willing to countenance it as a routine practice. In that country, 53 percent said it is sometimes or often justified, while only 10 percent said it should never be used.
Only in Italy and Spain do majorities oppose torture under any circumstances. The strongest opposition came in Italy, where six in 10 said it is never justified, while 54 percent of Spaniards took that position."

"The polls of about 1,000 adults in each of the nine countries were conducted between Nov. 15 and Nov. 28. Each poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Abbas Approves PA Assistance to Families of Suicide Bombers

From Israel Resource Review:

"Jonathan D. Halevi
Special report to "News First Class-Hebrew" at www.nfc.co.il

On the very day of a suicide bombing in Netanya, Machmud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority gave budgetary approval to assistance for the families of suicide bombers.

Each martyr's family will receive a monthly stipend of at least $250 from the PA.

The budget for families of martyrs, prisoners, and the wounded could reach $100 million a year out of an annual budget of over $1 billion."

Cross-posted at IsraPundit

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Crisis at Columbia: Nadia Abu El-Haj

By Hugh Fitzgerald
FrontPageMagazine.com | October 10, 2005

Nadia Abu El-Haj, an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Barnard, is listed among the members of the MEALAC faculty at Columbia. A graduate student at Duke University, she turned her doctoral thesis into a book: “Facts on the Ground: Archeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society.” One admiring reviewer (from the University of Chicago) said the book offers “an anthropology of colonialism and nationalism, which follows Foucault and Said” in which “she points to the convergence of archeology’s project with that of colonialism.” Others have not been so kind.

For this book is not really about archeology at all. Rather it is a relentless attack on how and why Israelis, Jews really, have done archaeology in the land they have the audacity to call Israel. For the past, like the present, is merely a cruel and daring fiction foisted on the world at the expense of Palestinians, a social construction, as the orotund phrase has it. Ignoring or destroying whatever got in their way, Jewish archaeologists have been relentless in their pursuit of the Jewish past to claim the land and its history for modern Israel, and of course to dispossess Palestinians and their “claim” to the past.

But El-Haj, it seems, is not really an archeologist. There is not the slightest evidence that she has ever seen the work of Israeli archeologists, ever visited a dig, ever studied the history of the development of Israeli archeology, ever inquired as to how Israeli archeologists choose the sites they do choose for digs (do they get instructions from the Jewish Agency? The ZOA? The Mossad?). She appears not to have any record of the kinds of artifacts the Israeli archeologists, often working with Western, non-Israeli and non-Jewish colleagues, have discovered, catalogued, and meticulously studied.

Shabby or pseudo or nonexistent scholarship disguises a naked political assault. Israel is guilty. Its crime: daring to dig, under the soil of Israel, on land where Jews lived from perhaps 1000 BCE until this very day. And built temples, and wrote on pottery and left scrolls on parchment, and fashioned menorahs, and cups for drinking, and dishes for eating – in short, a rich variety of artifacts for uses sacred and profane. But to demonstrate a connection between Jews past and Jews present is unacceptable, an abuse of archaeology, serving the cause of a “construct,” a Western imperial falsehood. That is, a Jewish state.

Is it surprising, is it illegitimate, is it deplorable, that in once again having a restored Jewish state, that the Jews of Israel should not have dug into the earth, not attempted to study the past, including – and this must be emphasized for it is left entirely out of El-Haj’s account – artifacts from every period, and not only artifacts of the Jewish past? Israeli archeologists have, often with foreign colleagues, discovered Roman coins and mosaic floors and temples, have uncovered Byzantine artifacts, and those of the Islamic conquest, both of the Arab period, and of the period of Ottoman rule. Many of the Islamic artifacts have, in fact, been meticulously and scrupulously catalogued, studied, and preserved – all serious students know about the Islamic Museum in Jerusalem and its exceptional collection. Does Nadia El-Haj? El-Haj seems to think that the study of the Jewish past by Israeli archeologists, observing the highest professional standards, known for the meticulousness, is an outrageous political act, an act of “Jewish settler-colonial nation state-building” (that phrase itself deserves analysis, for the hysterical confusion of its English).

El-Haj’s political fulminations may attempt to hide behind the rhetoric of “scholarship.” Is there a single example of attempts by Israeli archeologists to either hide the past, or destroy the past, or to create a false past? If so, she has failed to mention it in her book – which, by the way, relies entirely on quite recent, English-language publications, as critical reviewers noted. And since she is a Palestinian nationalist, how does her charge sheet compare with the treatment toward ancient sites by the Palestinian Arabs and by the Arabs more generally?

As is well known, in Islam there has been an almost total indifference to the non-Islamic or pre-Islamic world. Many of the artifacts of that world have been destroyed over 1350 years of Muslim conquest and subjugation of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists. In India, the Muslim conquerors destroyed as much of the Buddhist and Hindu heritage as they could, sometimes in order to quarry the stone, sometimes to destroy statuary. The Indian historian K.S. Lal has provided a meticulous list of tens of thousands of identified Hindu temples destroyed by the Muslim invaders, for example. The recent destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas was not an aberration; those Buddhas were virtually the last remnants of the Greco-Buddhist civilization that Afghanistan had once possessed.

The systematic assault by the Palestinian Arabs on all sorts of significant sites, some of them regarded as holy, was on display again in 2002, when the systematic and complete destruction of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus (that destruction can be seen on-line), took place. This was no aberration. Even El-Haj had to mention the matter in her book (knowing that if she omitted it altogether, reviewers might notice), but she justified it as the uncharacteristic, but understandable reaction of desperate people, brought to the end of their collective tether by the diabolical behavior of the Israelis.

In Egypt, members of the Muslim Brotherhood even muttered about destroying the Pyramids, but cooler heads prevailed. It was not out of Egyptian nationalism, save among the Copts and a small sliver of the Egyptian elite, nor out of any respect for the pre-Islamic past, but rather the fact that too many Egyptians depend for their livelihood on tourist dollars, that managed to prevent attacks. Similarly, the tourist attraction of Petra seems safe, precisely because it is a money-maker, not out of some deep conviction that these Roman-era ruins are otherwise of note.

In Iraq, the old Sunni elites, trained by Gertrude Bell and others, did acquire a certain taste for preserving the pre-Islamic artifacts, and that seems to be the one exception – and an exception only among a very small sliver of Iraqi society – to the general indifference to any artifacts except those representing the time of Islam, not that of the pre-Islamic Jahiliyya.

Indeed, many Muslims oppose even Muslim sites which would distract from worship of Allah. When the Wahhabi under Abdul Aziz ibn Saud conquered Mecca, they razed to the ground virtually every old building then standing. An old Ottoman fort was one of the few buildings spared. In 2002, overnight, that Ottoman fort was also destroyed.

Like her distant mentor, the presiding genius domus over so much of Middle East matters today, Edward Said, El-Haj seems incapable of understanding that other societies, the representatives of other civilizations, are capable of studying the past as something other than a political project, and in Israel, as something other than working hand-in-glove with “Jewish settler-colonial nation state-building.”

That such a book was written, and published, is a disgrace. That its author was, at a time when hundreds or indeed thousands of worthy graduate students in this and related fields cannot find employment, was given a job at Columbia, is deplorable.

Hugh Fitzgerald wrote this piece for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, which is designed to critique and improve Middle East Studies at North American colleges and universities. It is part of a series of analysis addressing Columbia University’s Middle East Studies faculty.

Here`s the link.