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FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, June 16, 2008


By Charles Johnson

They’re teaching children to hate and kill Jews and Christians.

A former school valedictorian, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, was convicted of joining Al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush.

And they’ve been spreading this radical Islamic ideology in the US for decades.

But the State Department has no plans to close the Islamic Saudi Academy in Fairfax, Virginia.

Because they promised to change their textbooks.

State Department officials said Thursday they have no plans to close a Saudi-financed Islamic school in Northern Virginia that has failed to eliminate violent and intolerant language in textbooks.

“They told us they would revise the textbooks by the 2008 school year,” State Department spokesman Rob McInturff said. “We don’t plan to take additional action apart from the discussions that have been going on with the Saudi government.”

Results released Wednesday from a federal investigation into the Islamic Saudi Academy - with campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax - found textbooks at the 900-student private school had passages that blame the Jews for “discord” and say it is sometimes permissible to kill non-Muslims.

The investigation by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom focused on 17 textbooks used during the last school year and obtained from independent sources. The panel, formed by Congress, last year recommended the State Department close the school, though members had not yet reviewed the textbooks. The commission said the Foreign Missions Act gives the Secretary of State authority to “require a foreign mission to divest itself of or forgo the use of property and to order it to close.”

State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos on Thursday cited the Saudi government’s 2006 acknowledgement of a need to revise its textbooks and agreement to do so “in time for the start of the 2008 school year,” which starts this fall.


By Charles Johnson

CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, has put together yet another devastating exposé of the Saudi-funded, Hamas-linked radical Islamic front group CAIR: Civil Rights or Extremism?

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) claims to be a leading U.S. civil rights group – an Islamic version of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) or the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It describes its mission as enhancing understanding of Islam, protecting civil liberties, and empowering American Muslims.

But unlike the NAACP and ADL, CAIR has been listed by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism funding trial. Unlike those groups, its alumni include former officials and staffers who have been convicted on terrorism-related charges. Unlike the NAACP or ADL, CAIR’s co-founders had ties to an international religious extremist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood has influenced many Sunnis with its anti-Western, anti-Jewish, anti-modern and anti-secular ideology. It inspired or spawned extremist off-shoots including al Qaeda and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

On one hand, CAIR representatives have conducted “sensitivity training sessions” for law enforcement personnel and have participated in interfaith meetings across the country. Council members have met with Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

On the other hand, CAIR co-founder and former board chairman, Omar Ahmad, once declared that the Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, “should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth” (San Ramon Valley Herald, Calif., July 4, 1998). Though five years later Ahmad denied making the statement, the newspaper stood by the accuracy of its reporter. In that talk to a local Muslim group, Ahmad also reportedly urged American Muslims to be open to U.S. society but not to assimilate to it.

CAIR largely has enjoyed a pass from major American news media. Many have accepted the council’s self-portrait and uncritically disseminated its pronouncements. This CAMERA Special Report (in Adobe Acrobat format) strongly suggests that closer examination is overdue.  Sunday, June 15, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

The Times of London reports that the US and the UK have launched the most extensive operations within Pakistan since 9/11 to capture Osama bin Laden. The new operation reportedly has Pakistani approval and aims to flush Osama towards the Afghanistan border. If they succeed, they plan on throwing quite the party for bin Laden:

The Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment have been taking part in the US-led operations to capture Bin Laden in the wild frontier region of northern Pakistan. It is the first time they have operated across the Afghan border on a regular basis.

The hunt was “completely sanctioned” by the Pakistani government, according to a UK special forces source. It involves the use of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with Hellfire missiles that can be used to take out specific terrorist targets. …

A Pentagon source said US forces were rolling up Al-Qaeda’s network in Pakistan in the hope of pushing Bin Laden towards the Afghan border, where the US military and bombers with guided missiles were lying in wait. “They are prepping for a major battle,” he said.

Can they get Osama after over six years of frustration? The intel appears much improved over the last few months. We have hit major elements of al-Qaeda with drone and missile attacks in 2008, which indicates that the US has begun to unravel some important parts of the AQ network. They may have figured out a specific region in which Osama has hidden himself, perhaps along with Ayman al-Zawahiri. If the US and UK feel that they can send more Special Forces personnel into Pakistan, they could start conducting serious operations to either capture or kill the pair, or at least drive them into the open.The Times reports this as George Bush’s insistence on nailing Osama before he leaves office. However, this may have more to do with developments within Pakistan rather than in Washington. The Pakistanis have all but ceded sovereignty over the frontier provinces to the Taliban, negotiating for coexistence instead of combating the Islamists. The Pakistani Army has begun to retreat from its responsibilities in the region, which gives the US and UK an opportunity to operate without bumping into Pakistani soldiers.

The real key to this isn’t the end of George Bush’s term in office. It’s the likelihood that Pervez Musharraf won’t remain in office much longer, perhaps exiting before the end of the Bush term. Once Musharraf goes, the US will never get the same level of cooperation from Pakistan’s armed forces — which makes it imperative that they start rolling the dice now.  Sunday, June 15, 2008




By Lisa Benson




Muqtada al Sadr.

Muqtada al Sadr has ordered the Sadrist political movement to boycott the upcoming provincial elections. Sadr's order comes one day after his order to disband the Mahdi Army as a fighting force and the creations of a small, armed wing to attack Coalition forces exclusively.

Sadrist aides claim Sadr rejects the election process and fears being associated with the occupation. "Sayyid Muqtada does not believe in elections or in the coming provincial governments as long as the occupation forces are here," Salah al Obaidi, a senior aide to Sadr, told The Washington Post.

"We don't want anybody to blame us or consider us part of this government while it is allowing the country to be under occupation," Liwa Smeisim, the leader of the Sadr movement's political committee told The Washington Post.

But the Sadrist movement has embraced the political process in the past and never feared being associated with the "occupation." The Sadrist movement won an estimated 30 of the 275 seats in Iraq's parliament. The Sadrists then joined the United Iraqi Alliance, an umbrella Shia political group. The movement was instrumental in Nouri al Maliki's appointment as Prime Minister.

The Iraqi government had threatened to bar the Sadrist movement from participating in the upcoming provincial election if the Sadrists did not disband the Mahdi Army. The move, which has wide support amongst all of Iraq's political parties, sparked panic within the Sadrist movement. Sadr had refused to disband the Mahdi Army, claiming Shia clerics supported it. But Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the senior-most Shia cleric in Iraq, said the Iraqi government is the only authority that should enforce the law.

The Iraqi government has achieved its goal of disbanding the Mahdi Army while Sadr's political rivals in the Shia benefit from the absence of Sadrist opposition at the ballot box. On June 14, Sadr essentially disbanded the Mahdi Army as a fighting force after he called for the creation of small, specialized cells to attack Coalition forces. He ordered the Mahdi Army to put down its weapons and become a social organization.

The Sadrists' withdrawal from the provincial elections and the demobilization of the Mahdi Army comes as the Iraqi government has pressed a relentless series of offensives against the Mahdi Army in Baghdad, Basrah, and the wider South.

Operation Knights' Assault was launched against the Mahdi Army in Basrah on March 25. After six days of heavy fighting, the Mahdi Army pushed for a cease-fire. The Iraqi security forces also dealt the Mahdi Army a heavy blow in the southern provinces of Najaf, Karbala, Qassadiyah, Maysan, and Wasit.

The Iraqi security forces and the US military also confronted the Mahdi Army in Sadr City in Baghdad. After six weeks of heavy fighting, the Mahdi Army and the Iraqi government signed a cease-fire that allowed the military to enter Sadr City uncontested.

During the month of May, the Iraqi security forces expanded operations throughout Basrah province in Az Zubayr, Al Qurnah, and Abu Al Khasib along the Iranian border. This week, an operation kicked off in Dhi Qhar province. Just yesterday, the Iraqi military began operations in the Mahdi Army strongholds in Maysan provinceSunday, June 15, 2008 




By Scott Johnson

The Muslim American Society is a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, out of which the genocidal terrorist group Hamas emerged. The Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society has been the source of local controversies involving the purported observance of Sharia in public facilities such as taxis based at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society also houses a Minnesota charter school in the Twin Cities suburb Inver Grover Heights. The school is Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy -- named for the Muslim general who conquered medieval Spain. As a charter school, Minnesota taxpayers foot the bill for it.

TIZA is formally "sponsored" as a charter school by Islamic Relief USA. Islamic Relief is a problematic organization. Its parent has been identified by Israel as a supporter of Hamas. See Joe Kaufman's disturbing "American Islamic Hamas relief." Kaufman describes Islamic Relief USA as an extremist group.

Star Tribune metro columnist Katherine Kersten attended the MAS Minnesota convention in Minneapolis and discovered that it was essentially promoting the school as an Islamic institution. Kersten's two Star Tribune columns on TIZA have provided a window onto a local scandal hiding in plain sight. They also elicited a call for her firing from the Star Tribune by state Rep. Mindy Greiling, chair of the Minnesota House of Representatives K-12 Finance Division. I wrote about Greiling's contribution to the TIZA controversy here and here. (Greiling never responded to our message asking for her to specify what facts she disputed in Kersten's two Star Tribune columns on TIZA.)

In addition to Greiling, CAIR also entered the fray on behalf of TIZA. CAIR of course holds itself out as a civil rights organization representing Muslims in the United States, but it is in fact a front group serving the interests of Hamas and its friends among the offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood. Thus CAIR found itself named an unindicted co-conspirator in the government's prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, another Hamas front group.

Working from its standard playbook, CAIR jumped in to raise alarms over the safety of the school's students when the school allegedly received threats in the wake Kersten's columns. CAIR Minnesota chapter coordinator Chris Schumacher said that prejudice could have prompted the alleged threats and "we wanted to bring that to light in case that wasn't already obvious to people."

Sensing a story here, the Wall Street Journal asked Kersten to bring its readers up to speed on it. Today's Wall Street Journal features Kersten's "Charter schools shouldn't promote Islam." It provides a good summary of the story to date.

Kersten demonstrates that Muslim activists have found a workable seam in the purported separation of church and state in Minnesota. One does not need to engage in much speculation to foresee the day when Minnesota's burgeoning Muslim population will be educated in separate charter schools like TIZA at taxpayers' expense, where they will receive religious instruction courtesy of the likes of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. We can only hope that Kersten's work will inspire someone else who practices journalism for a living to to follow up with a look at the rest of the Twin Cities Muslim-oriented charter schools and on the constellation of Islamist forces at work in Minnesota.  Saturday, June 14, 2008




By Scott Johnson


When Don Imus sought absolution for his characteristic display of poor taste, he bent his knee to Pope Al Sharpton. How is it that Al Sharpton has become the arbiter elegantiae for matters pertaining to race and etiquette? Though he is accorded an absurdly respected role in the Democratic Party, and even though President Bush hosted him in the White House to celebrate black history month earlier this year, he is easily one of the most vile men active in American public life.

Jay Nordlinger reviewed Sharpton's record as of early 2000 in his brilliant National Review feature article "Power Dem." Jay updated his take on Sharpton this past December in his Impromptus column "Words from Pope Al." From his promotion of Tawana Brawley's hoax and his defamation of Steven Pagones and Robert Abrams, to his defense of the Central Park "wilding" rapists, to his role in the pogroms leading to the murders of Yankel Rosenbaum in Crown Heights and eight victims in Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem, Sharpton has compiled a record that should result in his excommunication by decent people from civil society.

Writing in the Village Voice in December 2004, Wayne Barrett proclaimed Sharpton to have hit "a new low." Yet the press has devoted remarkably little attention to Sharpton's modus operandi. Today's New York Post article "Rev. Al soaks up boycott bucks" by Isabel Vincent and Susan Edelman is therefore worthy of note. The Post quotes Peter Flaherty describing Sharpton's method as "a shakedown operation." Flaherty observes that Sharpson is "good at harassing people and making noise. CEOs give him his way because it is a lot easier than confronting him." Rev. Al responds:

"That's the old shakedown theory that the anti-civil-rights forces have used against us forever," he told The Post yesterday. "Why can't they come up with one company that says that? No one has criticized me."
The Post article includes a striking tribute to Sharpton from a witness with first-hand knowledge of his modus operandi:
"His way of doing things was, 'If we're going to support you and you're not going to support us, then we have to focus on telling the African-American community not to spend their money,'" said La-Van Hawkins, a partner in Hawkins Food Group, which owns and operates fast-food franchises nationwide.

Hawkins spoke from the Yankton Federal Prison in South Dakota, where he's serving time for attempted bribery.

After Hawkins lost an attempt to sue Burger King in 2000 for denying him franchises, he sent Sharpton, attorney Johnnie Cochran and a Miami lawyer to meet with the company's top execs.

"They ended up settling with me for $31 million," Hawkins said.

Sharpton did not get a cut, but Hawkins Food Group paid him an annual $25,000 fee, Hawkins said. He said he has donated "over $1 million" to NAN.

(More on Hawkins here.) Some cynics might think that Hawkins's tribute to Sharpton supports what Sharpton dismisses as "the old shakedown theory," but the Post merely juxtaposes Sharpton's self-defense with Hawkins's tribute and leaves it to the reader to draw his own conclusions.  Sunday, June 15, 2008




By Charles Johnson

A Democratic delegate from Wisconsin is about to find out what happens to apostates from the party.

Washington - As an avid supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries, Debra Bartoshevich is not alone in her frustration over Clinton’s defeat.

And she’s not entirely alone in saying she’ll vote this fall for Republican John McCain instead.

But what makes her unusual is that she holds these views as an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.

“I’m sure people are going to be upset with me,” said Bartoshevich, a 41-year-old emergency room nurse from Waterford in Racine County, and convention delegate pledged to Clinton.

Joe Wineke, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, reacted with disbelief when first told Friday afternoon that one of his state party delegates is now a McCain supporter. “Not a delegate? To the national convention?” said Wineke, who was getting ready for the start of the Wisconsin state party convention Friday in Stevens Point.

“We have a Clinton national (convention) delegate who says she’s voting for John McCain?” Wineke repeated, for clarification. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

Wineke said “almost everybody I know who was for Hillary” is solidly behind Obama now. As for Bartoshevich, he said, “my suspicion is she doesn’t know what she’s getting into” because “the delegates to this convention will be very upset.”

UPDATE: Now you see her, now you don’t: Delegate Stripped of Position After Pledging to Vote Republican.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has stripped a woman of her position as delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

That’s after she told a newspaper she would vote for Republican Senator John McCain for President in November.

Last night in Stevens Point, state party members held a unanimous vote to strip Debra Bartoshevich of her delegate status and appoint an alternate for the Denver Convention.


By Charles Johnson

Canada is getting incredibly weird. I thought when Stephen Harper was elected that things would take a turn for the better, but the Orwellian madness of the Alberta Human Rights Commission has now entered the realm of the surreal: Alberta’s HRC: breeding the next generation of complainers.

Yesterday I mentioned the new propaganda document circulated by the Alberta human rights commission. It’s disgusting to begin with, but the fact that it is deliberately targetting new immigrants is downright vile. The Alberta human rights commission — in other words, the Government of Alberta — is trying to persuade newcomers to Alberta to support their grievance industry, and become little race hustlers, little Al Sharptons, just like Khurrum Awan of the Canadian Islamic Congress. It makes sense; complaints are down 15% year over year in Alberta; if all of those professional race hustlers in Ed Stelmach’s government are going to keep their jobs, they need new complaints, and fast.

I read through the propaganda brochure again, and I thought I’d highlight a few bits.

Let’s start with this one, called “Maria’s story”. I can tell you right now, having read every ruling issued by the Alberta HRC is recent years, that there is no “Maria”, and there is no “Maria’s story”. There has never been a ruling about a woman whose parents came to Canada from Mexico, who was upset about Mexican jokes that aren’t funny.

It’s a fabrication. That’s called propaganda — telling new Latino immigrants that they’re coming to a bigoted province, where Mexicans are treated poorly.

But let’s look at “Maria’s story”. A co-worker “tells jokes about Mexicans. I don’t think the jokes are funny. She doesn’t tell jokes about other people.”

According to the government, “that is discrimination”, and thus illegal.

Read the whole insane story.

(Hat tip: LGF readers.)  Sunday, June 15, 2008




By John Hinderaker

The news this morning is full of speculation about Eric Holder, one of three individuals selected by Barack Obama to conduct his vice-presidential selection process. One, Jim Johnson, is already gone. Holder is an obvious target because of his role in the pardon of convicted fugitive, Marc Rich, which was indeed one of the Clinton administration's most disreputable actions.

This morning's Washington Post is typical, with an article titled "Next on the GOP List: Eric Holder:"

Like sharks sensing blood in the water, conservatives who helped press the case against James A. Johnson, formerly the head of Barack Obama's vice presidential vetting committee, are bearing down on their next target: former deputy attorney general Eric Holder.

You think the author, Jonathan Weisman, might be a Democrat?

Holder is a legitimate target because of the Rich affair, I guess, but frankly I have little or no interest in who helps Obama choose a V-P. What bothers me most about these battles is the implicit assumption by some that just about any involvement in the business world is somehow suspect. Consider these observations from the same Post piece:

"Will Obama Vet Holder?" goaded the RNC this morning.

"Eric Holder (Covington & Burling) is defending UBS Financial Services in a discriminatory employment practices matter against African Americans," an e-mailed missive from a freelancer warned this morning, not mentioning Phil Gramm, a senior executive at UBS and top John McCain adviser.
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is trying to scare up some sharks of its own. The target is John McCain's lead VP vetter, Arthur Culvahouse, a prominent Republican lawyer who has lobbied for Johnson's former company, Fannie Mae. His law firm, O'Melveny & Myers, has served an array of power players, from Exxon Mobil to the former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling.

Another target is Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett Packard and a McCain economic spokeswoman, who received a $21 million severance package from HP, including "mortgage assistance" totaling $650,000.

This is frankly stupid. Covington & Burling and O'Melveny & Myers are top-notch law firms that have represented a vast array of clients. The idea that there is something wrong with associations with companies like UBS, Exxon Mobil and Hewlitt Packard is absurd. If any connection with a top law firm or a large corporation is somehow taken as a black mark, pretty soon those who advise our Presidential candidates, or serve in their administrations, will be as inexperienced as, say, Barack Obama himself. That would be a sad outcome.  Sunday, June 15, 2008


By John Hinderaker

In a speech to senior citizens in Ohio yesterday, Obama unveiled his new position on Social Security. The Associated Press tries to make sense of it, with the assistance of Obama staffers, here.

Obama proposes an increase in Social Security taxes. Here is how he described it to his audience in Ohio:

Here's where I would start. Right now, the Social Security payroll tax is capped. That means that most middle-class families pay the payroll tax on every dime that they earn. But, once you get to $102,000 per individual, then you're no longer paying the payroll tax.

And what that means is, is that while you, most of the people here, paid Social Security on every dime you ever earned, you've got billionaires and millionaires who are paying only a tiny fraction -- paying payroll tax on only a tiny fraction of their income.

I've got a friend in Omaha -- you may have heard of him -- named Warren Buffett. He's worth $56 billion. You know, if he's only paying the first $100,000, that is .000001 percent of his income is he paying Social Security. I may have lost a couple of zeroes in there.

The point is, it's negligible to him. It's not even noticeable. Now, I think that's why the best way forward is to first look to adjust the cap on the payroll tax so that people like me -- because I'm earning more than $102,000 -- pay a little bit more and people in need are protected.

There is a reason, of course, why the income on which we pay Social Security taxes has always been capped. The Social Security program was intended as a safety net, not as a wealth redistribution program. Since the amount of benefits one can receive is capped, it has always been considered fair to cap the income on which the tax is paid as well.

Obama, of course, is not a courageous enough politician to follow his own logic if it will cost him votes. So, weirdly, he goes on to create an exemption from his own tax increase:

And, by the way, I think that we should exempt anyone making under $250,000 from this increase, so it will not burden the middle class. Anybody under $250,000 would not be affected whatsoever; 97 percent of Americans will see absolutely no change in their taxes under my proposal, 97 percent.

This makes no sense. If it is unfair for someone making $100,000 to pay Social Security taxes on all of his income while "billionaires" likewise pay only on their first $100,000 of income, then why isn't it unfair for the $100,000 guy to pay taxes on his whole income, while the $200,000 earner pays Social Security taxes only on the first half?

The answer, of course, lies in politics rather than logic. There are relatively few voters who earn more than $250,000, while there are a great many earning between $102,000 and $250,000. In fact, this income demographic corresponds with remarkable precision to Obama's core supporters, the only Americans to be singled out for a tax preference under Obama's plan. A "new kind of politics," indeed.

The incoherence of Obama's approach to Social Security doesn't stop there. He rails ritually against private accounts:

Now, my opponent in this general election, John McCain, his idea on Social Security amounts to four more years of what was attempted and failed under George Bush. He said that he supports private accounts for Social Security, in his words, along the lines that President Bush proposed. *** But let me be clear: Privatizing Social Security was a bad idea when George Bush proposed it; it's a bad idea today.

When Obama goes on to outline his own plan, however, it turns out that the centerpiece (along with a tax increase) is nothing other than private accounts:

Finally, we're not going to help people reach a secure retirement unless we encourage savings. But today, personal savings is at an all-time low, as the average American has seen their wages or incomes flat-line or even decline, at the same time as costs for everything are going up. *** And that's why I've proposed an automatic workplace pension. There's going to be no red tape or complicated forms. Employers will provide a direct deposit of a small percentage of each paycheck into your account. You can add to it, or you can opt out of it at any time. And so it's going to be optional. *** And employers will have an easy opportunity to match employee savings. If you switch jobs, your savings will roll over into your new employer system. If you become self-employed, you'll be able to control your account. *** And we'll also help middle-class families start their own nest egg by matching 50 percent of the first $1,000 saved, a match that will be directly deposited into your savings account, a tax cut that will truly encourage savings....

Are private accounts a good idea? Of course they are. Obama is planning for his own retirement through his 401(k) plan and related private accounts, not Social Security, as is probably every single person with whom Obama is acquainted. But it is incoherent and dishonest, even by Obama's standards, to denounce private accounts in one breath and propose them in the next.

UPDATE: Reader Jim Ogden points out that Obama's arithmetic and his knowledge of close personal friend Warren Buffett's finances are deficient:

First of all, Warren may be worth $56 billion, but he doesn’t earn that much. But let’s assume that he did. 102,000 divided by 56,000,000,000 is .0000018 which is .00018%, not .000001%. So the real figure would be 18,000% higher. But more importantly, according to Wikipedia, Warren’s salary (from 2006) is actually about $100,000. I know this to be true because I have heard him bemoan the fact that his secretary pays more income tax than him (since most of his income is from dividends). The last time I checked, we don’t pat social security tax on non-earned income. So Obama is dead wrong to suggest that his plan would cause Warren to pay more.  Saturday, June 14, 2008




By Ed Morrissey

The host committee for the Democratic convention will miss a key fundraising goal tomorrow, according to CNN, and the city now has to wonder whether they will be forced to pay millions of dollars for the Democratic convention. A rumored $15-million shortfall forced the cancellation of a media walkthrough this week, and the Democrats have had to cancel a number of auxiliary events already. The poor fundraising numbers puts the Democrats at a major disadvantage to the Republicans already:

The host committee for the Democratic National Convention faces a possible shortfall of $15 million, complicating logistics for the August event and forcing it to abruptly postpone a media walkthrough of the site scheduled for next week.

The Democratic National Committee has asked the cash-strapped panel to raise $40.6 million by Monday to finance the event. Last month, the committee said it had just $25 million in cash, and it has failed to meet each of several fundraising deadlines since signing a contract with the DNC last year. …

The Democratic National Convention Committee announced Friday that it had delayed a session for the news media next Thursday at the Pepsi Center, site of the August 25-28 convention, and hoped to
reschedule at a later date. “Postponing the event allows us to work through outstanding issues and ensure a successful event when media do arrive in Denver,” said Theodore LeCompte, the DNCC’s
director of media logistics.

A DNCC official who asked not to be identified cited financial and logistics problems for the delay.

Earlier this month, the Denver 2008 Host Committee canceled 24 separate welcoming events around Denver for convention delegates.

In contrast, and in a rare moment of Republican advantage, the RNC has outperformed expectations for its St. Paul convention. They had ten times the cash on hand of the DNC and have already begun coordinating with the John McCain campaign on the election. Democrats don’t have that luxury and may not until well after the convention.

Presidential candidates rely on big, splashy conventions to get a big boost in the media. The Democrats have two big problems with that this year. First, they have their convention scheduled for the week before the RNC gala in St. Paul, which doesn’t give them more than a couple of days of post-convention media chatter before all eyes focus on the Republicans. Second, if they can’t get the media coordination started now, it’s likely to go awry and limit even that earned media coverage.

If Barack Obama gets his rumored $100-million June, expect him to direct a big portion of that to the DNC. However, Obama’s fundraising has fallen off three straight months from February’s $50 million to $31 million in April, and he has already run through most of that. With John McCain wooing some of Hillary Clinton’s fundraisers, Obama may not have as much cash to assist the convention as some may predict.  Sunday, June 15, 2008




By Chuck Asay




Baitullah Mehsud from a recent Taliban video.

The US military may have targeted Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud Several in an airstrike on June 14, according to several reports from Pakistan.

Baitullah's hideout in the town of Makeen in South Waziristan was hit with three missiles, according to Geo TV and the Daily Times. Only one person was confirmed killed in the strike. Baitullah is not believed to have been killed.

Baitullah, the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, sheltered in a safe house in Makeen run by Anwar Shah at the end of December 2008 after claiming credit for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

On week ago, 18 Taliban fighters from Makeen were killed during a major engagement in Paktika province, Afghanistan, as they attempted to cross the border.

US strikes inside Pakistan

If confirmed, the Makeen stake would be the fifth such targeted attack inside Pakistan this year. On June 10, the US military attacked Taliban fighters as they crossed the border, killing eight and sparking outrage from the Pakistani government. Two senior al Qaeda operatives were killed in the prior attacks.

Abu Laith al Libi was killed in a US strike inside the North Waziristan tribal agency in Pakistan in late January. Al Libi was the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and served as a chief spokesman for al Qaeda. Laith also commanded al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.

Abu Sulayman Jazairi, a senior Algerian operative for al Qaeda’s central organization, along with 13 associates, was killed in an airstrike against a Taliban and al Qaeda safe house in the town of Damadola in Pakistan’s Bajaur tribal agency on May 14. Jazairi is described as a senior trainer, an explosives expert, and an operational commander tasked with planning attacks on the West.

Jazairi is thought to have succeeded Abu Ubaidah al Masri, a senior al Qaeda operative who served as the former operations chief in Kunar, Afghanistan, before becoming al Qaeda operations chief for global strikes. Ubaidah took over for Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, a senior deputy for Osama bin Laden who was personally chosen by bin Laden to monitor al Qaeda operations inside Iraq. Hadi was captured by US forces as he attempted to enter Iraq in late 2006. Ubaidah is believed to have died from complications from an illness.

On March 12, the US military fired guided missiles from Afghanistan into a compound run by Siraj Haqqani, the wanted Taliban leader behind numerous attacks in Afghanistan. The attack is believed to have killed three senior Haqqani network commanders and "many" Chechen fighters.

On March 16, US forces struck at the fortified compound owned by Noorullah Wazir, a Pakistani tribal elder who lived in the village of Dhook Pir Bagh some five kilometers from Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan. Another nearby house, where Uzbek and Arab fighters recently stayed, was also destroyed in a separate round of missile fire.

Prior to the January strike that killed al Libi, the last US attack inside Pakistan occurred in Mir Ali in North Waziristan on December 28, the day after Benazir Bhutto's assassination. The US military targeted the home of Sheikh Essa, an Egyptian cleric responsible for pushing the Taliban to overthrow the Pakistani government. Essa was said to have been wounded in the attack.

In August 2007, when Pakistani forces hit two Taliban and al Qaeda bases in the village of Daygan, North Waziristan. Camps and bases in Damadola, Danda Saidgai, Chingai, Zamazola, again in Danda Saidgai, and Mami Rogha were hit over the course of 2006 and 2007.

These strikes have done little to disrupt the growth of al Qaeda and the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan. The Taliban and al Qaeda maintain 29 terror camps in North and South Waziristan alone.  Sunday, June 15, 2008


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