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CAN supporters sound off about Sudan Teddi tirades Son of supporter in America lives in England, wrote to London’s Guardian

(Christian Action Network) Christian Action Network president Martin Mawyer said he loves hearing of CAN supporters and friends out there making a difference.

It may be a dialogue with local leaders, lawmakers or churches, feedback from handing out “Jihad in America” booklets, or perhaps a letter to the editor that gets published.

“I like to think we had some hand in it,” Mawyer said. “God knows our friends have a mighty hand impacting what we are able to do here.”

It’s a developing team effort to get the word out and provide a response to the terrorist threat of jihadism and fundamentalist, literalist Islamists.

The U.S. based family members of Matthew Martin let us know that Mat, in London, wrote a letter in the Guardian. Mat let fellow Londoners know:

[British English language teacher] Gillian Gibbons’ apology for her ‘innocent mistake’ of naming the class teddy bear Mohammad (Guardian, 27th November) seems to point to a more pertinent issue of a fear of violence or political retaliation in ‘never wanting to insult Islam.’

In 2005, the BBC refused to publish the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad for reasons of ‘cultural sensitivity.’ Yet by these standards, flippant and insensitive references to other cultural fugureheads are prevalent in the British media.

‘Never wanting to insult Islam’ seems emblematic of a dire refrain from any critical thinking on the religion in the mainstream media caused by a fear of a violent response from certain Muslim groups, but blanket-coated by issue evasion terms such as ‘cultural sensitivity.’

Mawyer said it is absolutely right, or “quite right” [just a little British lingo] to point out the double standard. “The effort on the part of these jihadists is a matter of Islamization – our Christian symbols can be insulted, but Islam can never be questioned,” he said.

“This is the sort of thing that is creating a culture of Dhimmitude already, now, in the west, and it’s happening even though the Muslim population is less than four-percent of the whole.”

The flap about Gibbon’s class naming a teddi bear Muhammad is not over. Nations are busy sweeping it under a rug, but Mat aptly describes how the matter adds to our understanding of what Islam truly stands for.

“We are learning that it definitely does not stand for free, individual thought or critical thinking,” Mawyer said. “I say, thank you Mat for willing to sound off, I hope more of us do.”

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December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | Leave a comment

al-Qaida No. 2 Blasts Peace Conference

(AP) Al-Qaida’s deputy leader denounced last month’s Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Md., as a “betrayal” of Palestinians in a new audio message posted Friday on an Islamic militant Web site,

It was the first reaction by the terrorist network to the Mideast conference, sponsored by President Bush and attended by key Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt, as well as Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

The conference relaunched Palestinian-Israeli peace talks after a seven year hiatus – a key breakthrough in the region’s core conflict.

“The Annapolis meeting was held to turn Palestine into a Jewish state,” the voice, purported to be that of Ayman al-Zawahri, said the 20-minute posting that carried a still photo of the white-turbaned militant against a backdrop of a photograph from the conference.

“The czar of Washington invited 16 Arab countries … to sit in one room, at one table with the Israelis,” al-Zawahri said, adding that the conference “witnessed the betrayal deals to sell Palestine.”

The authenticity of the Friday’s posting could not be independently confirmed, but it appeared on a Web site commonly used by militants.

Al-Zawahri mainly addressed Arabs, urging them to condemn the Annapolis conference and label Mahmoud Abbas as “the traitor,” adding that the Palestinian “brother-president sold you out in Annapolis and in its aftermath.”

It’s time now, he said, for the Muslims to “extent hands to other jihad brothers”- a likely reference to militants beyond the Middle East.

“My brothers in Palestine, we, all Muslims, the Mujahedeen are by your side, in your confrontation with the Zionist enemy,” al-Zawahri said. “We will not let you down even if your politicians do.”

He also criticized imprisoned Islamic militants in Egypt, who after years in jail turned away from their militant stance. “Those revisionists are in fact calling for a new American religion that violates God’s rules,” he said.

A top jailed Jihad leader, Sayed Imam, last month announced his “Revisions” – a recanting of his past calls for the use of force to overthrow Arab governments seen by militants as infidels.

Egypt is hoping the “Revisions” will diminish support for militancy but al-Qaida leaders have dismissed similar past recantations as forced on imprisoned militants.

“I am addressing the Muslim nation in Egypt in particular: where is your role in confronting aggression on Islam and Muslims?” al-Zawahri said. “Stand up and … be aware of the poisons of weakness and submission which the traitor regime is trying to inject into you through the tongues of the revisionists.”

He called on Egyptian soldiers and also Bedouin tribes in Egypt’s Sinai penisnsula to rise against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

“God wants you to get ready, for the sake of God,” al-Zawahri said.

Al-Zawahri – seen by many counterterrorism experts to be al-Qaida’s operational chief, rather than bin Laden – is believed to play a large role in directing al-Qaida’s strategy on the ground and issues frequent videos an audiotapes, often laying out the network’s doctrinal line.

In most recent postings, al-Zawahri sought to galvanize fighters from North Africa to Afghanistan in a September video. In an audiotape in July, he threatened to retaliate against Britain for having honored novelist Salman Rushdie and railed against Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | 1 Comment

UK Terror Plots Tied To Al Qaeda In Iraq British Inquiry of Failed Plots Points to Iraq’s Qaeda Group

(New York Times) LONDON — Investigators examining the bungled terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow six months ago believe the plotters had a link to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which would make the attacks the first that the group has been involved in outside of the Middle East, according to senior officials from three countries who have been briefed on the inquiry.

The evidence pointing to the involvement of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia includes phone numbers of members of the Iraqi group found on the plotters’ cellphones recovered in Britain, a senior American intelligence official said.

British authorities have said that the plotters, Bilal Abdulla, a British-born doctor of Iraqi descent, and Kafeel Ahmed, an Indian aeronautical engineer, parked two vehicles laden with gas canisters and explosives near a popular nightclub in central London at the end of June. The cars, apparently positioned to strike people leaving the nightclub, failed to ignite.

The next day, the two men rammed a Jeep Cherokee loaded with gas canisters into the Glasgow airport. It erupted in flames, and the driver, Mr. Ahmed, was severely burned and died several weeks later.

British intelligence agencies have feared a blowback from Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war, and after the events in London and Glasgow officials and terrorism experts speculated that Iraq-based groups could have been involved. More recently, as the investigation progressed, British intelligence officials told foreign diplomats that they believed the attacks were the first sign of such a reaction, said a senior diplomat of a country allied with Britain.

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is a homegrown Sunni extremist group that American intelligence officials say is led by foreigners.

The American intelligence official noted several similarities between the events in Britain and attacks in Iraq attributed to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, including the use of vehicle-borne explosives aimed at multiple targets. The officials agreed to talk about the attack only on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing secret intelligence information.

While officials stopped short of saying that the plot originated with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, or was directed by the group, they did say it was the closest collaboration they knew of between the Iraq group and plotters outside the Middle East. The American official who noted the evidence found on the recovered cellphones was unable to provide details about how often the accused plotters called Iraq or how soon before the bungled attacks calls were made.

Two other American counterterrorism officials generally concurred with this assessment of the link to the Iraqi group, but one of them cautioned against overstating the role of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, also known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, or A.Q.I., saying, “The event is best viewed as A.Q.I.-related, rather than A.Q.I.-directed.”

However, none of the officials would divulge the exact nature of the group’s involvement in the operation.

Recent terrorist attacks in Britain, including the July 2005 bombing of London’s transit system that killed 52 commuters, and several foiled plots appeared to have some connection to Pakistan. They have been conducted mostly by Britons of Pakistani origin, and some of the suspects trained in Pakistan.

Yet before the failed attacks in London and Glasgow, the British intelligence services suggested in a quarterly review on the terrorist threat that an attack against Britain was possible from Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

“While networks linked to A.Q. (Al Qaeda) Core pose the greatest threat to the U.K., the intelligence during this quarter has highlighted the potential threat from other areas, particularly A.Q.-I (Al Qaeda in Iraq),” said the report by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center based at the headquarters of MI5, the domestic intelligence service. Parts of the report were published in The Sunday Times in April. According to the newspaper’s account of the intelligence report, British intelligence officers wrote that “we are aware that A.Q.-I networks are active in the U.K.”

According to officials who have been briefed on the inquiry, investigators suspect that Dr. Abdulla, the British-born doctor reared in Baghdad, was the connection to the Iraq-based network, although it is not clear what they see as the nature of the link.

Dr. Abdulla was working at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Scotland, after qualifying for a limited registration in the diabetes department at the time of the attacks. After his arrest, colleagues told Scottish newspapers that Dr. Abdulla was hard to motivate to do medical rounds because he seemed preoccupied by following Islamic affairs on his computer.

Dr. Abdulla has been charged with conspiracy to use explosives, and the trial is expected to begin next year. Six people were initially detained in Britain in connection with the attack. Three have been released; two others in addition to Dr. Abdulla have been charged.

Martin Rackstraw, a lawyer for Dr. Abdulla, said he was unable to comment on the case under British law.

The son of a prominent doctor, Dr. Abdulla returned to Britain in 2004 with his new Iraqi medical degree, said Shiraz Maher, a British Muslim who knew him when they both lived in Cambridge. Before joining the hospital, Dr. Abdulla worked part time at a Staples store in Cambridge, while studying for the exams he needed to pass to practice medicine here, Mr. Maher said in an interview.

Mr. Maher, who at the time was a member of the radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, said he remembered Dr. Abdulla from that period as being obsessed by the war in Iraq, and as someone who practiced an intense and “austere” form of Wahhabism, a conservative strain of Islam. He was outraged, Mr. Maher said, by the American attack on Falluja, Iraq, in November 2004. Dr. Abdulla was not a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Mr. Maher said.

He was with Dr. Abdulla on almost a daily basis for prayers, he said. Mr. Maher, who left Hizb ut-Tahrir in mid-2005, said he did not see Dr. Abdulla again after that.

Mr. Maher described Dr. Abdulla as “defiant” and said that Mr. Ahmed, the man who died of burns suffered in the Glasgow attack, was more passive. “They had a close relationship,” Mr. Maher said.

Whatever the extent of assistance or inspiration the plotters may have gotten from Iraq, counterterrorism officials and experts said they were struck by the amateurish nature of the attacks. The cars parked at the London nightclub were packed with propane gas tanks, but they failed to explode because the plotters did not leave the windows open enough to allow air in to ignite the fuel in the gas tanks, said two terrorism experts with knowledge of the case.

Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert and professor of international relations at Georgetown University, said the plotters appeared to be relatively efficient at organizational planning but had failed to pay enough attention to making the bombs. “Technical expertise is different from operational sophistication,” Mr. Hoffman said.

Mind you this is the same Al Qaeda in Iraq that our media has regularly assured us is of no threat whatsoever.

Of course The Times does their best to obscure that inconvenient fact by insisting on suddenly calling them Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia whenever possible.

They are so subtle.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | Leave a comment

Terror Trial Turns Into Mistrial For Liberty City Seven

(N.T.A.R.C.) One of seven defendants was acquitted Thursday of plotting to destroy Chicago’s 110 story Sears Tower and wage war against the US, and a mistrial was declared for the remaining six after the federal jury deadlocked.

The seven men were accused of plotting with al-Qaida to destroy the Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices in Miami and elsewhere. They had faced up to 70 years in prison if convicted of four terrorism-related conspiracy charges.

The jury in Miami found one defendant, Lyglenson Lemorin, not guilty of charges of conspiring to help foreign terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda, and conspiring to blow up buildings and overthrow the US government.

Following nine days of deliberation the jury sent a third note to the judge on Thursday saying: “We believe no further progress can be made”. After reading it in court, Judge Joan Lenard declared a mistrial.

Prosecutors said that they would seek to retrial the six defendants next year, with jury selection set for January 7.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | Leave a comment

The debacle of the ‘Seas of David’ terrorist plot

(The CarpetBagger Report) There have been a series of alleged terrorist plots that the White House has claimed to have disrupted. Sometimes Bush and his team tout these thwarted plots to defend torture, and sometimes it’s to defend illegally tapping Americans’ phones, but the bottom line is always the same — there are dangerous bad guys out there, and the president is stopping them.

As it turns out, most, if not all, of the examples of thwarted plots touted by the Bush gang fall apart under scrutiny, but my all-time favorite has to be the “Seas of David” cult (aka, the “Miami 7″).

When these would-be terrorists were captured, the administration characterized it as an enormous victory. Shortly after the suspects were taken into custody, Dick Cheney personally bragged that the Miami group was “a very real threat.” Then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was so excited he held a press conference to highlight this stunning counter-terrorism success story.

The AG said the group represented a “new brand of terrorism” created by “the convergence of globalization and technology.” The Justice Department said the terrorists in Miami intended to even blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago.

Except the story was wildly exaggerated. These alleged terrorists had no weapons, no bombs, no expertise, and no money. They didn’t behave or operate as terrorists. They apparently swore an oath of allegiance to Osama bin Laden, but because an undercover FBI infiltrator suggested the idea. For that matter, these guys weren’t even Muslims, but instead practiced their own hybrid religion that combined Islam and Christianity.

Their “plots” against the United States were “embryonic at best.” The New York Daily News described the group, which was more a cult than a terrorist network, as the “7 Boobs.” They’d have trouble attacking a convenience store, better yet the Sears Tower.

Yesterday, a jury found the administration’s case unpersuasive, at best.

One of seven indigent men charged with plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago as part of an Islamic jihad was acquitted on Thursday, and a mistrial was declared in the prosecution of the six others after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked.

The outcome was a significant defeat for the Bush administration, which had described the case as a major crackdown on homegrown terrorists.

Officials had acknowledged that the defendants, known as the Liberty City Seven for the depressed section of Miami where they frequently gathered in a rundown warehouse, had never acquired weapons or equipment and had posed no immediate threat. But, the officials said, the case underscored a need for pre-emptive terrorism prosecutions.

Maybe in some cases, but probably not in this one. The FBI accused these seven people of wanting to destroy the Sears Tower in large part because one of the seven had once visited the building.

Indeed, Paul Kiel reminded me of the group’s ringleader.

The clique, adherents of a sect “that mixes Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Freemasonry, Gnosticism and Taoism,” met in a windowless warehouse they called the “Temple.” The leader of the group, Narseal Batiste, was described as a “‘Moses-like figure’ who would roam the streets in a cape or bathrobe, toting a crooked wooden cane and looking for young men to join his group.” And when the group met in their Temple, the men “took turns standing guard outside the door, dressed up in makeshift military uniforms and combat boots.” … The group trained by shooting paintball guns in the woods.

Something to remember the next time Cheney describes something as “a very real threat.”

As for the mistrial, the administration reportedly will re-file charges next year against six of the seven. Stay tuned.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | 1 Comment

Passenger Removed After Flight Diverted

(AP) OKLAHOMA CITY — A Northwest Airlines flight was diverted to Will Rogers World Airport on Thursday and a passenger was removed from the plane, authorities said.

“We did have an airline flight sidetracked to Oklahoma City, it did make an emergency landing and they do have someone that they are holding for questioning,” Jennifer James McCollum, an airport spokeswoman, confirmed.

The plane made an emergency landing around 5:45 p.m., McCollum said.

She did not know where the flight originated or its destination.

McCollum said she had no information about where the person was being detained.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | Leave a comment

Pakistan arrests alleged al-Qaeda members in plot to kill Musharraf

(South Asia News) Islamabad – Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have foiled a plot to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf in the southern port city of Karachi and arrested several al-Qaeda members, officials said Thursday.

‘The arrests were made quite recently in a joint operation by various law enforcement agencies in the Malir area of the city,’ Major Asad Ali, a spokesman for the country’s Rangers paramilitary force, said.

He said the militants were planning to blow up a bridge on which Musharraf’s motorcade was to travel on its way from the airport into the city. But he refused to say when the alleged assassination attempt was supposed to take place or how many people were arrested in connection with the plot.

‘The arrests are a great success,’ Ali said. ‘We will provide further information to the media once investigations are completed.’

Musharraf has survived at least three assassinations attempts by al-Qaeda and pro-Taliban militants since 2001, after he dropped support for the Taliban in Afghanistan and allied Pakistan with the United States following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

On December 14, 2003, al-Qaeda-linked militants detonated a bomb under Musharraf’s motorcade as it reached a bridge near his official residence in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. But hi-tech jamming devices installed in his limousine delayed the explosion by seven seconds, allowing the convoy to cross the bridge before it collapsed.

Only eleven days later, two suicide bombers rammed explosives-laden cars into Musharraf’s motorcade just meters away from the site of previous attacks, killing some 16 people, including several policemen. The president’s limousine was heavily damaged but he escaped unharmed.

In July, Musharraf again narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when suspected Islamic militants fired an anti-aircraft gun at his airplane as it took off from Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | Leave a comment

Dems: Amen to Ramadan, but forget about Christmas 9 House members praise Islamic faith, won’t recognize Christian observance

(World Net Daily) Only weeks after voting for a resolution that “recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world,” nine Democrats in the U.S. House refused to vote for a Christmas resolution that condemns the worldwide persecution of Christians.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., was on the list of those who endorsed the statement recognizing Islam but refused to support the Christmas resolution that noted the holiday “is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and around the world.”

The Christmas resolution, like the Ramadan resolution, decried the violence that targets religion around the world.

A spokesman for DeGette told WND her vote was because the Ramadan resolution, which she endorsed, was about “rejecting religious extremism and promoting of religious tolerance.”

The spokesman, Chris Aaron, however, said DeGette is a “strong supporter of separation of church and state and her view was that Congress should not favor one religion over another.

“She felt this resolution (recognizing Christmas and condemning persecution of Christians) promoted Christianity over other religions,” he told WND.

Other Democrats who supported the acknowledgment of Islam’s Ramadan but refused a similar recognition for Christianity’s Christmas included Gary Ackerman and Yvette Clarke of N.Y., Alcee Hastings, Fla., Barbara Lee, Fortney Stark and Lynn Woolsey, Calif., Jim McDermott, Wash., and Robert Scott, Va.

Both resolutions, carrying similar wording, ultimately were approved. But the American Family Association of Pennsylvania also raised the issue of representatives supporting Ramadan, but refusing to offer the same support for Christmas.

“We are very pleased that 17 of our 19 congressmen voted to recognize the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith. Congressman John Murtha was one of 40 who did not vote and unfortunately Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz decided to simply vote ‘present’ rather than take a stand on such a controversial issue as Christmas,” said Diane Gramley, president.

She noted on Oct. 2, Schwartz “did not hesitate” to vote for a resolution to support the religion “of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 who brought down the World Trade Center, flew their airliner/missile into the Pentagon, and caused the death of the crew and passengers of Flight 93 as it crashed into a field outside Shanksville, Pa.”

“I believe there are more Christians in her district than Muslims and they deserve an explanation for her vote last night,” Gramley said.

According to Liberty Counsel, the Christmas resolution was approved with nine “no” votes. Ten others voted “present” and 40 refused to vote at all.

“Amazingly, all but two of the representatives who answered “present” or voted against the Christmas resolution voted in favor of a resolution recognizing Ramadan, even though much of the language was similar,” the group said.

The Ramadan resolution began:

Whereas Ramadan is the holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims worldwide, and is the 9th month of the Muslim calendar year; and Whereas the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramandan commenced at dusk on September 13, 2007, and continues for one lunar month: …”

The Christmas resolution started:

Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world… Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ…Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others:”

The Ramadan resolution then acknowledged “the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world,” expressed “friendship and support for Muslims,” noted “the onset of Ramadan,” and rejected “hatred, bigotry, and violence directed against Muslims.” It also “commends Muslims … who have privately and publicly rejected interpretations and movements of Islam that justify and encourage hatred.”

The Christmas resolution continued to acknowledge “the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world,” expressed “continued support for Christians,” noted the historical importance of Christmas, the role “played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States,” and rejected “bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide.”

“Notice that the Christmas resolution uses similar language. It is astonishing that those who supported the Ramadan Resolution would vote against the Christmas Resolution,” Liberty Counsel said.

The group suggested voters check the lists for votes by their representatives. “If they voted against Christmas and in favor of Ramadan, respectfully point out their hypocrisy,” the group said.

Concerned Women for America said the true message of Christmas is under assault in the U.S. Shari Rendall, director of the group’s legislation and public policy divisions, noted Congress earlier approved not only the endorsement of Ramadan but also another resolution concern the Hindu religion.

“It astounds me that any member of Congress would oppose legislation that recognizes the important of Christmas in our country, particularly in light of the fact that earlier this year Congress passed two separate resolutions honoring the Hindu and Islamic religions…”

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | 1 Comment

Chertoff: Terror threat has not abated

(AP) WASHINGTON – The terrorist threat to the United States has not abated despite government steps in the past year to tighten rules for people and goods that enter the country, the nation’s chief of homeland security said Wednesday.

“The fact that we have not had a terrorist attack on this country in the last six years is not a cause for complacency or a time to celebrate,” Michael Chertoff said Wednesday during a year-end speech. “The threat is not going away. The enemy has not lost interest. And if you have doubt about it, look at yesterday’s reports about bombings in Algeria.”

Chertoff spoke a day after twin truck bombings by an affiliate of al-Qaida targeted U.N. offices and a government building in Algiers, killing at least 31 people.

In 2008, the final year of the Bush administration, Chertoff said his department plans to complete a fence along 670 miles of the nation’s southwest border, push states to issue more secure driver’s licenses, launch a plan to protect cyberspace and stabilize the department – which has seen constant change in its five years of existence.

Homeland Security was created from 22 separate agencies in response to the September 2001 terrorist attacks, and has gone through nine reorganizations.

Chertoff blamed Congress for some of what he calls the department’s “organizational churn” because Congress has refused to consolidate its oversight, despite the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation to do so.

Eighty-six congressional committees and subcommittees have some oversight of the department. Chertoff called this “a recipe for conflicting direction and constant fighting over who controls jurisdiction over what part of my agency.”

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said the department needs better management overall.

“The department has come a long way in five years, and the American people have benefited from the work it has done,” Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, said in a statement. “Am I satisfied? No.”

Chertoff’s speech sought to highlight the department’s accomplishments in 2007, such as issuing regulations to secure dangerous chemicals in facilities across the country and an agreement with the European Union to provide passenger name information for international flights.

Missing from Chertoff’s top four priorities for 2008 was emergency management, but that does not mean the department is not focused on it. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, improving the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been at the top of the department’s agenda. “There’s no greater advocate for FEMA and its role in the department than the secretary,” Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said improvements to FEMA have been evident in the agency’s good response to the California wildfires in October and other natural disasters this past year. Collins is the top Republican on the Senate homeland security committee.

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | 1 Comment

No corner on extremism

(Akron Beacon Journal) In her Nov. 23 commentary on President Bush’s views of his critics and legacy, Kathleen Parker made a very bold claim. She said that his assertion that killing Osama bin Laden will never end extremism, only ”free societies will,” was ”surely true.” True, killing bin Laden will never end extremism, but will free societies fare any better?

I agree that radical Islamic fundamentalists who blow themselves up are extreme. But I also believe that the fundamentalist Christians who blew up abortion clinics in the early 1990s were also extreme. We should not forget that this extremism occurred in our own free society of America. While I’m not here to pass judgment on whether it’s wrong to have beliefs so strong that one is willing to kill for them, I am hoping to show the more disturbing aspect of Bush’s statement.

The president has implied that one form of society is more likely to breed extremism than another. We need to remember that extremism is related to time and place, and that no one religion, country, economic system or voting style intrinsically breeds extremism. Let us not forget that Adolf Hitler was voted into office in a free election in a free society. Let us be mindful that the Weathermen bombed ROTC buildings in the early 1970s, protesting (in extreme fashion) the very society that Bush contends will end extremism.

We can’t allow ourselves to believe that bringing democracy and freedom to a nation will end terrorism and extremism. This viewpoint is naive and dangerous, and simply leads to the erroneous assumption that free societies don’t have radicals bent on destruction.

I suppose it makes people in free societies feel better to call members of the Ku Klux Klan ”states’ rights activists.” Does this also mean that once we bring ”free societies” to the Middle East, al-Qaida can be called ”people with religious conviction”?

Simply changing the style of government that a nation has only leads to a change in labels and -isms. What is really needed is a change in consciousness, which begins by acknowledging that all people are capable of extremism. By holding the mirror up and understanding ourselves first, we might finally begin to understand extremism in those we like to call ”the others.” After all, if extremists all have one thing in common, it’s that they’re all human.

Lauren Mostardi

Akron

Righteous Republicans

With presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson making a strenuous appeal to certain religious constituencies, it sounds a lot like righteousness masquerading as good government. When the two get mixed, we get neither.

How stupid do they think the rest of us are?

S. Joseph Krause

Kent

Thrown to

the wolves

In response to Bob Dyer’s Nov. 13 column replying to criticism of him by the Rev. John R. Beaty (” ’Racist’ tag easy to apply”): The race card does not need to be played, when we all know it is already in the deck and being played on a daily basis.

We all know Tyree Feaster was thrown to the wolves, in that he is now housed in an adult prison. I firmly believe that if he had done as he was told by the system, he would have been released and would be dead by now. I am not justifying what Feaster did, or if he did what he was accused of, but he should have the chance to be rehabilitated and not thrown away.

Edna Torrey

Akron

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror | 1 Comment