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April 26, 2006

Israel

Global Jihad Ongoing

By Craig Martelle | April 26, 2006

Usama bin Laden gave his "state of the union" message a couple days ago, going once around the world in order to condemn all the anti-Islamic "evil" acts along with praising the Al Qaeda minions. UBL has global reach, thanks to Al Jazeera's public airing of his messages.

Within three days following bin Laden's message, five suicide bombers had killed dozens and wounded over 100 people, and from all reports to date, the victims were all Muslims. Why this war between Muslim groups when the overall Islamist efforts are seeing submission from the west? Look to Europe for the apologies following the cartoon jihad. Look to America's MSM who refused to publish the cartoons, because they didn't want to inflame tensions (Comedy Central even censored its wildly popular South Park).

Fox explores the questions, but found no answers. The Israelis, being closest to these latest attacks have an opinion.

For months now, security officials have warned that al-Qaida and Global Jihad were slowly closing in on Israel and were attempting to establish cells in the Palestinian territories. Even though this most recent attack was not in Israel, it was still cause for concern at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, where senior officers on Tuesday referred to it as another sign of Global Jihad's encroachment on Israel.

Egyptian security agencies are reporting that the Dahab bombers were Sinai Bedouins. Bedouins who happen to be disenchanted with the Mubarak government and have been considered ripe for Al Qaeda recruiting.

But Monday's bombings did not come as a surprise to the defense establishment, which months ago issued an advisory against traveling to Egypt and particularly Sinai. Military Intelligence believes Sinai has turned into an al-Qaida hotbed whose cells were behind all of the latest Sinai terror attacks, including the bombings in Sharm e-Sheikh last July and in Taba in 2004, which together killed over 100 people.

Still, the question remains unanswered regarding why Muslims are not just being killed, but being actively targeted. Is it possibly that each major player already sees the demise of the West and are jockeying for the key leadership of the Islamic world on the day the West capitulates? Or do the Islamic extremists hate each other as much as they hate the Christians and the Jews? The more complex view, rooted in recent history is offered by Barry Rubin.

As for Sunni-Shi'ite conflict, most Muslims denied there was any real problem, explaining this as merely one more phony issue raised by their enemies. Everyone got along just fine, thank you very much.

But now the crisis is undeniable. One of the reasons for this situation is the Arab world's decline since its leaders are refusing to make necessary reforms whether they involve civil rights, economic changes, pragmatism, or moderation toward the West and Israel.

The breakdown is apparent in virtually every country even though the regimes are still managing to use demagoguery, Arab nationalism, and the fear of Islamism to hold onto power.

American intervention in Iraq was a key element to establish a buffer between Shiite Iranian Persians and the rest of the Arab world. And the minority Sunni paid the price when they were thrown from power.

But three years of terrorism by Sunni on Shi'ite Muslims (though there have also been bloody reprisals in the other direction) have stirred up passions that might not end short of full-scale civil war. And the Sunnis will lose that war. By cheering on the terrorists, the Arab regimes have taken the side of the Sunnis against the Shi'ites - and Iraq's Shi'ite majority knows it. Saudi Arabia supplies money for the insurgents, Jordanians cross the border to fight, and Syria sponsors the terrorist war in every way.

Rubin concludes that the only reason that disparate Islamist agents worked in concert in Iraq was that of mutuality of short-term goals. That is, he agreed with Craig's first law of international relations - the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

By reading out the Shi'ites, and certainly by showing so little sympathy for them, the Sunni Muslims may be transforming an Iraqi civil war into a general Arab and Muslim civil war. And if Iraq's majority is being driven toward Iran, the Arab leadership and Sunni Islamists are largely to blame. If Iran gets nuclear weapons, this new power alignment will become even more evident and dangerous.

The Jewish World Review just published an article regarding how the world is dealing with the Hamas and its legitimate position as the elected government of the Palestinian people while still openly supporting terrorism, lauding terrorist acts against Israel.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, through his spokesperson, called upon the Palestinian Authority "to take a clear public stand against such unjustifiable acts of terrorism." In other words, Annan wants Hamas to condemn as "unjustifiable" something it has just justified. And do so sincerely. This is the response of civilized men to barbarity: They're reduced to begging for a lie.

Make no mistake - Hamas is one of the many fronts in Al Qaeda's global jihad. The attacks on Dahab were supposed to kill Coptic Christians and vacationing Jews. The fact that a few Muslims were sent to martyr-land in order to get the infidels seems to be an acceptable exchange to those who are conducting the terror war. The vast and silent Muslim majority needs to awaken and denounce these tactics. The suicide bomber is an impersonal weapon, but he comes from families who have worked hard to be families and to support those families. The terror war falls apart quickly when the faces of the victims are covered by veils or pious Islamic beards. The vast and silent Muslim majority allows terror to happen - if there is no recruiting ground and not even passive support, then the terrorists will be isolated and minimized. They will find no shelter and no new recruits. At this time, I don't see this conclusion. Al Zarqawi bombed a Jordanian hotel, killing numerous Jordanians. His goal was to kill American intelligence officials - he failed. He was condemned by Jordan and his Zarqawi relatives. He lost face, but only for a short time - no more bombings in Jordan. He dropped from view.

However,al Zarqawi has returned, bigger and better than before. Bill Roggio has a great analysis on the Counterterrorism blog. Stop by and take a look. Yes, al Zarqawi is the front man for Al Qaeda in Iraq, but what is his personal goal when the West falls? Are the Islamic extremists lining up for their just desserts when they win this war? Is the Global Jihad that close to a successful conclusion? Does the end appear that near to them?

Iran is clearly on the active and wrong side of the Global Jihad.The extremists believe that the Iranians are very close to having nuclear weapons - is there any question as to whether the terrorists believe what Iran will do with their nuclear option?

United States of America

Constitutionally Protected Blogging

By Craig Martelle | April 26, 2006

The U.S. District Court for South Carolina made a ruling less than two weeks ago that is earth-shattering for the blogging community. But it is earth-shattering in both protection and designation, a positive news story for bloggers - that's why you haven't seen it in the MSM. For reference, the First Amendment states the following.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (emphasis added)

The First Amendment has been defined and redefined throughout our past 200 plus years and is the subject of innumerable volumes of legal discussion. The key elements are emphasized "freedom of speech OR the press." The Constitution specifically does not say that freedom of speech is limited to the press. So any argument that blogging is not protected as "press" is non sequitur in the free speech debate. Press has some judicially defined protections against defamation and these specifically regard the status of the person(s) written about. If the person is a public entity - the person who has been thrust or thrust him/herself into the public eye, then he/she is fair game for any citizen or the press. If the person is private, then there is debate whether the blogger is an alternative media source and protected from the tort claim of defamation (libel).

But this is where bloggers and the press, in my opinion, must exercise restraint of the hard-earned liberty of free speech. If you are making libelous statements maliciously or willfully, then you are morally wrong. But the judiciary, over the years has determined that the press has the ultimate in protections. In the famous New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), the court ruled that the NY Times would not be liable for negligently published defamatory material, but would be liable for willful or malicious (and malice was specifically defined as "reckless disregard of the truth") publication. Mere negligence was not sufficient to establish liability for the press, whereas a private citizen would be liable if publishing defamatory statements negligently. So the debate goes on, but little known in the world is the most precedential ruling to date regarding the legally protected status of bloggers and the ruling was published less than two weeks ago.

Bidzirk, L.L.C. v. Smith, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19116 (2006) - this case has the strongest and clearest ruling to date (ruling published April 10, 2006) from the U.S. District Court of South Carolina. I'll quote the legal holding in the Judge's decision.

The Plaintiffs specifically object to Magistrate Judge Catoe's finding that they are not entitled to a preliminary injunction enjoining Smith from using BidZirk's trademark on the blog because his "use of [BidZirk's] trademark was in news reporting or news commentary." (Report and Recommendation 7 (internal quotation marks omitted).) The Plaintiffs object that the article is not news reporting or news commentary, but is nothing more than "cybergriping, a practice in which an individual often a disgruntled customer, complains (or flames) a business or a businessperson on the internet." (Objections 6 (internal quotation marks omitted).) Further, the Plaintiffs allege that Smith's article goes beyond news gathering and offers suggestions to the Plaintiffs on how to run their business. [*5] (Id. 6.) Moreover, the Plaintiffs submit that Smith's adversarial and vindictive approach towards the Plaintiffs indicates that the function of Smith's article on his blog is "to injure BidZirk and its principals."

And the following is another excerpt, very applicable in that it notes that the content of the blog defines its status as journalism and not the format.

However, under § 1125©(4)©, no "forms of news reporting and news commentary" are actionable under § 1125. These terms are not defined in the Lanham Act. Further, there is no published case deciding whether a blogger is a journalist. However, in determining whether Smith was engaged in news reporting or news commentating, the court has applied the functional analysis suggested by commentators and the Plaintiffs, which examines the content of the material, not the format, to determine whether it is journalism.

This article by David L. Hudson, Jr. is cited in BidZirk. It is a compelling piece regarding pornography on the internet as protected free speech. Its arguments are applicable in the MilBlogging debates every bit as much.

John Cornyn, R-Texas makes the following comments regarding bloggers.

“At our last hearing, one of our witnesses described bloggers as the modern-day equivalent of the revolutionary pamphleteer who passed out news bulletins on the street corner,” Cornyn said. “However, the relative anonymity afforded to bloggers, coupled with a certain lack of accountability, as they are not your traditional brick-and-mortar reporters who answer to an editor or publisher, also has the risk of creating a certain irresponsibility when it comes to accurately reporting information.”

Cornyn covers both sides of the issue in two sentences, taking neither side and placating what he calls the "brick and mortar" journalists who answer to an editor. What editor would that be? The New York Times? The Dan Rather news crowd? Journalists and news people who identify themselves as nearly 90% liberal (yet unbiased)? John! Look to who you are calling to task for self regulation. Thus, the so-called alternative media is finding a protected voice. Why? Because "reporters" like Matt Drudge broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal and others broke Rathergate, the Swift Boat Veterans, and many, many more. The authority of responsible reporting has established credibility for the bloggers. It is our responsibility to maintain that credibility. We accept the responsibility and not lightly so. The story we tell as bloggers and as policy analysts is one that needs to be told by those who may have more insight on a specific issue than career journalists. Obviously our ability to write and write well is not in question. And we support our own, but we do not protect wrongdoers from within our ranks (see the story on the Washington Post's conservative blogger - woe to him discredited by the NY Times).

Another case, Bynog v. SL Green Realty Corp., 97 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 709 (2005) resulted in Plaintiff's failure to get an injunction to stop the blogger from making statements on his website because the Plaintiff could not show irreparable harm.

Also, Cahill v. Doe, 879 A.2d 943 (2005) - ISP ordered to reveal anonymous bloggers identities because of defamatory statements thereon. Note that a trial was still required under defamation as the Plaintiff would still have to prove that the Defendant "knowingly" published false material.

The end result for the blogging community is to quote BidZirk often and forcefully. Although the ruling is from a U.S. District Court, it is still a federal court and the highest court to make such a ruling. Until overruled or redefined, this ruling stands as the established law. The legal term is "stare decisis," or the "thing is decided." And remember the ruling is that content, not format, defines whether it is journalism and therefore protected under the First Amendment. This will undoubtedly send shock waves through the establishment - if you write pieces to keep the public informed, you have just become a journalist, no other credentials or secret handshakes needed...

Other legal references on blogging:
Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship

April 18, 2006

Iran

Tehran Int'l Conference on Al-Qods Final Declaration

By Steve Schippert | April 18, 2006

The full text of the Final Declaration of the International Conference on Al-Qods and Support for the Rights of Palestinian People is as follows:

1) The Conference underscores that Palestinian cause is pivotal for the Arabs and the Muslim ummah and it is the duty of both Arab and Muslim ummah to support the people of Palestine who the are in the vanguard of the ummah in the struggle for the freedom of Palestine.

2) The Conference considers the Zionist regime presently on the soil of Palestine as usurper, unfamiliar, non-native, and foreign to the regional Arabic and Islamic fabric, and legally and legitimately has no right of existence.

3) The Conference rejects the Olmert Plan which is called "unilateral separation plan", the purpose of this plan as stated by the Zionist regime is to have the control about 60% of the lands in the West Bank and breaking them into parts and completing the judaization process of Al-Qods, separation of the West Bank from its Arabic environment and threatening the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes and property. This is in line with belittling the cause of Palestine and imposition of defeat on Arab and Muslim ummah in Palestine.

4) The Conference calls on the parliamentarians, lawyers, defense attorneys, human rights organizations, and groups and societies that support the rights of Palestine to issue warrants of arrest and commence legal proceedings against political and military officials of Israel at the international courts and the courts of different countries, especially in the European countries.

The Conference also condemns the war crime committed by attacking Ariha Prison by the forces of the Zionist regime which was carried out in open and flagrant collaboration with the US and the UK and led to the abduction of the combatant Secretary General of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Saadat, and his fellow combatants and major general Foad Alshobeiki.

Therefore, the Conference supports all legal and political efforts to secure the release of these abductees and demands that complaints be filed against the governments of the United States and England and those responsible be tried in the court of law.

5) For the purpose of ending the situation whereby the Palestinian always remain in the state of needing to receive financial help, the Conference calls on all Arab and Islamic countries to encourage their import and export agencies to buy goods and products of Palestinians.

This will help economic growth and development of Palestine and supporting the people of Palestine and improving their livelihood they can be helped to stand against any siege.

6) The Conference regards the brave and sacred resistance of Palestinians which is in keeping with their natural and historical rights and based on international treaties and customs as a firm, understandable and legitimate response to occupation and racist and expansionist policies of the Zionist regime. [End of text. Emphasis added.]

Interestingly, Paragraph 3 rejects the Olmert Plan because Israel is attempting to 'control about 60% of the lands in the West Bank'. Paragraph 2, however, bluntly states that Israel has no right to exist at all. Is Paragraph 3 a non-sequitor?

It is not illogical to conclude, based on Paragraph 2, that should Israel cede the '60% of the lands' in question, the Jewish State would still be occupying Palestinian Territory, as Israel is 'presently on the soil of Palestine as usurper, unfamiliar, non-native, and foreign to the regional Arabic and Islamic fabric', which is why it 'legally and legitimately has no right of existence'.

The list of official foreign governmental attendees was long. According to Iran’s state-run media, 600 foreign governmental representatives attended, including:

Twenty parliament speakers from Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan, Indonesia, Uganda, Cameroon, Congo, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leon, Cuba, Comoros, Madagascar, Malaysia, Qatar, Mauritania, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Guinea.

Eleven vice-speakers from Libya, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Tunisia, the Philippines, Gambia, Togo and Senegal will also take part in the conference.

Representatives from parliaments of South Africa, Kuwait, Russia, Mexico, Kenya, Somalia, Benin, Mali, Bosnia, Armenia and Albania are among other participants at the conference.

Based on the collective Final Declaration of the International Conference on Al-Qods and Support for the Rights of Palestinian People, is it then an official position of each of the above officially represented nations that Israel ‘legally and legitimately has no right of existence’?

Is it then also an official position that a ‘war crime [was] committed’ when Israel seized the Ariha Prison and secured Ahmad Saadat before he was to be released by Hamas, as they had declared, after they were to assume power?

Is it also an official position that their respective governments will coordinate to ‘issue warrants of arrest and commence legal proceedings against political and military officials of Israel’ in all courts available?

Is it therefore also the official position of represented nations that Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide bombers who blow up civilians in restaurants are regarded ‘as a firm, understandable and legitimate response’?

From some of the nations, such public declarations are neither new nor unexpected.

But what of countries such as Russia, Mexico, Jordan, the Philippines and American regional allies Qatar and Kuwait? Each of these countries had official representation.

Perhaps the US Department of State may wish to inquire. Perhaps our Mexican and Russian friends, among others, may wish to issue a clarification.

April 10, 2006

United Kingdom

British 7/7 Bombing Report Ignores al-Qaeda

By ThreatsWatch | April 10, 2006

(Primary research by Dan Darling, Co-written by Steve Schippert)

A glimpse of the United Kingdom’s 'official' version of the 7/7 London bombings can be had if the leak to London’s The Observer can be deemed credible. On its face, it is a troubling view taken by a government responsible for the security of its citizens. Said the source, “The London attacks were a modest, simple affair by four seemingly normal men using the internet.”

His telling of the coming UK 7/7 report inspired the following depiction from The Observer:

Far from being the work of an international terror network, as originally suspected, the attack was carried out by four men who had scoured terror sites on the internet. Their knapsack bombs cost only a few hundred pounds, according to the first completed draft of the government's definitive report into the blasts.

But these four men did far more than ‘scour terror sites on the internet’, and for the UK government to conclude otherwise is mind-boggling. There are clear links to international terror abound. Yes, including al-Qaeda.

The ring-leader, Mohammad Siddique Khan, as well as Shehzad Tanweer, appeared in a video sent to al-Jazeera after the bombing that included Khan’s suicide message and direct praise for the attacks from bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman Zawahiri. If this video came to al-Jazeera from their usual al-Qaeda sources, how did al-Qaeda have Khan’s suicide video beforehand? Perhaps the video did not come directly from al-Qaeda sources and was a third-party montage, but consider the multitude of other factors that would, regardless, make this a mute point.

Khan has also been linked to the mastermind of the Bali bombings, Riduan Isamuddin, better known by his nom de guerre, Hambali. According to al-Qaeda analyst Rohan Gunaratna, author of Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror, Khan had ’met senior leaders of Jemaah Islamiah, including the suspected Bali bombings organiser Hambali.’

Then there’s Mohammed Junaid Babar, the Pakistani native in Queens, NY, who was arrested and admitted to helping set up an al-Qaeda training camp in South Waziristan, Pakistan, sending equipment and cash to an al-Qaeda leader there between the summer of 2003 and February 2004. Babar identified Khan from a photo, saying that he met him at an al-Qaeda terror training camp while he was there. Even more damning, Babar also admitted in 2004 to attempting to buy ammonium nitrate for al-Qaeda "with the knowledge that it was going to be used for a plot somewhere in the U.K."

Then there’s the Finsbury Park mosque connection, where all four 7/7 bombers eventually made their way, as well as all four of the failed 7/21 London bombers and such notables as Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui.

Have the British authorities completely dismissed Haroon Rashid Aswat's phone calls to the 7/7 bombers in the hours before their attacks? Prior, he had flown to London to choose the targets and organize the attacks. After the 7/7 London bombings, he was captured by Pakistani intelligence wearing a suicide belt and holding $30,000 in cash. Aswat was the al-Qaeda terrorist who began planning for setting up an al-Qaeda camp in Bly, Oregon while there in 1999.

A friend of Khan's, Omar Sharif, went from Britain to Tel Aviv where he plotted and participated in a bombing that killed five. Khan was in Tel Aviv weeks before the attack and it is believed he was there to run reconnaissance for the mission. An obviously devout Muslim terrorist travels to Tel Aviv, Israel. Why?

How did 22-year old Shehzad Tanweer, working at his father’s fish & chips stand, amass a net worth of $210,000? How did he know Australians who attended Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist training camps in Pakistan? Perhaps they went to 'school' together? Pakistan said USS Cole bombing suspects had confessed that bin Laden asked LeT to recruit volunteers "for suicide missions to be undertaken on behalf of al-Qaeda."

How did the “seemingly normal man using the internet” personally know Osama Nazir, a Pakistani who bombed a church in Islamabad that killed five, including two Americans, among other attacks?

What’s more, Saudi Arabia warned MI6 of intelligence learned about tube attacks in December 2004, and said that a captured Saudi terrorist, having just returned from Iraq, said that he had been tasked with funding London transit attacks, planned to occur over the first six months of 2005. This is not to suggest that this intelligence - or other intelligence via Saudi Arabia - proves negligence on the part of British authorities for not preventing the attacks. It does, however, open up the possibility of yet another connection between ‘international terrorism’ and what Britain seems to consider ‘web-surfing bombers’ who appear perfectly normal. This link may have been solidified by intelligence gained in Iraq from the hard drive of a captured terrorist which “showed 'knowledge' of the [7/7] attacks”. While possible, considering the reaction of those immediately involved, it is unlikely that the nature of the ‘knowledge’ was simply a downloaded news clip.

The apparent forthcoming ‘official’ British version of the events leading up to the 7/7 attacks that saw 56 bodies ripped apart and lives stolen in London is clearly disturbing in light of evidence to the contrary of the ‘web-surfing freelance jihadis’ position. It appears yet another refusal by yet another Western power to acknowledge the nature of the international terrorism threat, even when confronted with the blood and shattered flesh of its own citizens.

One thing is for certain: This is clearly ‘international terrorism’. Their friends had traveled to Tel Aviv to blow up civilians in markets, and Khan himself possibly ran recon on the area during his own visit. Further, Khan had Haroon Aswat’s phone number, not his web page, and Khan & Tanweer were attending LeT terrorist training camps, not visiting www.LeT.com. Khan knew other al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists personally, including the Pakistani church bomber, among others.

Yet even still, there are those in Britain who will draw comfort from the angry web-browsing conclusion. Consider one British professor who insists that the deadly bombings were merely "a demonstration" and not terrorism. Professor Ron Greaves of the University of Chester insists, "Terrorism is a political word which always seems to be used to demonise people." Lest we demonize those who murder 56 commuters for the sin of being British.

Thankfully, not all are drinking from the ‘official cup’. One quoted London official, Patrick Mercer, sees any such position taken by the report as merely a prelude to a showdown in Britain, saying, “A series of reports such as this narrative simply does not answer questions such as the reduced terror alert before the attack, the apparent involvement of al-Qaeda and links to earlier or later terrorist plots.”

Britain will need all of the Robert Mercers they can muster on the heels of the latest report that there are over 400 terror suspects on the loose in the UK, and over 600 “if all those thought to have returned from combat training in camps in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere are included.” Prudence would dictate.

One wonders if those returning from 'combat training' might be linked to international terrorism. Then again, perhaps they are also just 'seemingly normal men using the internet', like Khan and Tanweer.

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