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FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, June 18, 2008


ANOTHER HADITHA MARINE EXONERATED

By Charles Johnson

All charges against the highest-ranking officer in the political circus known as the Haditha trial have been dropped. And get a load of how Reuters describes it:

LOS ANGELES, June 17 (Reuters) - A military judge on Tuesday dismissed the case against the highest-ranking U.S. Marine charged in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians at Haditha, whittling down the list of those who must still face justice for the 2005 killings to just the accused ringleader.

JAWDROPPER OF THE DAY: BRITAIN TO RELEASE AL QAEDA LEADER

By Charles Johnson

I was going to write “unbelievable,” but unfortunately this sort of British governmental absurdity has become all too believable; so tied up in political correctness and delusional multiculturalism that they coddle their own mortal enemies: Abu Qatada: Radical cleric to be released ‘in next 24 hours’.

Radical cleric Abu Qatada, described as “Osama bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe,” is to be released in the next 24 hours.

Qatada, who is accused of giving advice and support to terrorists including the leader of the September 11 hijackers, has been described in official documents as a “truly dangerous individual” who was “heavily involved, indeed at the centre of terrorist activities associated with al-Qa’eda.”

He has been convicted twice in Jordan in his absence for conspiracy to carry out bomb attacks on two hotels in Amman in 1998, and providing finance and advice for a series of bomb attacks in Jordan planned to coincide with the Millennium.

It was those convictions which allowed him to argue in the Appeal Court he would not get a fair treatment in his home country.

With the prospect of extradition removed, the Ministry of Justice has been forced to release him by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.

The bail order was signed this afternoon and he is expected to be released from Long Lartin jail in Worcestershire tomorrow.  Tuesday, June 17, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com

*

DEMS ENERGY POLICY


By Lisa Benson


www.townhall.com/funnies

*

THE PATH TO VICTORY

By JohnHinderaker

With oil prices shaping up as the dominant issue of this campaign season, evidence is growing that Republicans can win in November if they get behind a program of aggressive energy development. Our friend Michele Bachmann showed how it's done yesterday, with a proposal that she (and the House Republicans) estimate could cut gas prices in half at the pump:

Gas prices could be slashed in half if Congress would open up the country's Arctic slope, deep-sea reserves and oil shale fields for exploration and drilling, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said Monday. ***

The plan, contained in a half-dozen bills that Bachmann has cosponsored, also includes opening new oil refineries (three of them at closed military bases) and incentives to invest in alternative energy sources such as wind, nuclear energy and clean coal-to-liquid technology.

The paper contacted Bachmann's Democratic opponent for a comment; it's striking how lame and whiny his response was. In truth, though, it's about as good as the Democrats are going to do.

Poll data indicate that the American people are anxious to start drilling. This Rasmussen survey, which came out today, says that by an overwhelming 67% to 18% margin, respondents favor offshore drilling. Even a plurality of liberals are in favor. Other poll data yield the same conclusions.

The Democrats are boxed in between the rock of environmental extremism and the hard place of hate for companies that make money, so they will be endlessly wrong-footed on the issue.

The Republicans' biggest problem is that they can't be the party of economic growth and affordable energy unless John McCain supports the initiative at the top. So far, he's getting better, but is far from the full-throated advocate the party needs.

Today McCain gave an energy speech in Houston--the first of several he will give over the weeks to come. As we previewed last night, the highlight of McCain's speech was his endorsement of offshore drilling:

We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States. But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production. And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use.

We can do this in ways that are consistent with sensible standards of environmental protection. And in states that choose to permit exploration, there must be an appropriate sharing of benefits between federal and state governments. But as a matter of fairness to the American people, and a matter of duty for our government, we must deal with the here and now, and assure affordable fuel for America by increasing domestic production.

That's good, obviously. But McCain larded it up with ritual invocations of the global warming myth:

We now know that fossil fuel emissions, by retaining heat within the atmosphere, threaten disastrous changes in climate. No challenge of energy is to be taken lightly, and least of all the need to avoid the consequences of global warming.

And he's never going to come around on ANWR:

Quite rightly, I believe, we confer a special status on some areas of our country that are best left undisturbed. When America set aside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we called it a "refuge" for a reason.

McCain does speak eloquently about the collateral consequences of failing to develop our own energy resources. For example:

We are borrowing from foreign lenders to buy oil from foreign producers. In the world's capital markets, often we are even borrowing Saudi money for Saudi oil. For them, the happy result is that they are both supplier and creditor to the most productive economy on earth. For us, the result is both dependency and debt. Over time, in interest payments, we lose trillions of dollars that could have been better invested in American enterprises. And we lose value in the dollar itself, as our debt portfolio undermines confidence in the American economy.

As bad as all that is, the second consequence is worse by far. Oil revenues are enriching the enemies of the United States, and potentially limiting our own options in containing the threat they present. Iran alone receives more than 66 billion dollars a year from oil sales, even as that regime finances terrorists, threatens Israel, and endangers the peace of the world with its designs on nuclear weapons.

These are powerful points. But in the weeks to come, McCain needs to emerge as an aggressive, enthusiastic advocate of affordable energy and economic growth. If he can do that, he, and the Republican Party, will sweep to victory in November.

Unfortunately, with McCain it is often one step forward and one step back. Today his campaign released a new television ad that focuses not on energy costs, but on global warming. Apparently the idea was to distinguish McCain from President Bush, but it's exactly the wrong message--the one message that will fuzz the issue and let the Democrats off the hook.

UPDATE: President Bush has joined in the call for Congress to repeal the ban on OCS drilling.  Tuesday, June 17, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com

*

OFF-SHORE DRILLING

By Michael Ramirez



*

ISLAMIC SAUDI ACADEMY DIRECTOR ARRESTED

By Charles Johnson

As we noted last week, the director of the Islamic Saudi Academy in Fairfax, Virginia, failed to report an allegation of child abuse; on June 9th Abdullah Al-Shabnan was arrested, with virtually no coverage by media.

Here is the full report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom on the radical Islamic ideology and hatred being taught at the Islamic Saudi Academy: Saudi Arabia: USCIRF Confirms Material Inciting Violence, Intolerance Remains in Textbooks Used at Saudi Government’s Islamic Saudi AcademyTuesday, June 17, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com

*

DISTRICT COURT ADMINISTRATION'S PREEMPTIVE SURRENDER ON SOLOMON AMENDMENT

By Paul Mirengoff

I wrote here and here about the Defense Department's unwillingness to enforce the Solomon Amendment at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) which, for three years, has allowed near riots by professors and students to drive military recruiters from its job fairs, while non-military recruiters have enjoyed an unimpeded opportunity to meet with students interested in employment. I also noted that, in a suit prosecuted by the Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), the Young America’s Foundation has challenged the Defense Department’s surrender to UCSC and its anti-military radicals.

Now, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has granted the Defense Department's motion to dismiss this lawsuit. The court concluded that DOD has total discretion as to when, if ever, to enforce the Solomon Amendment. It also found that YAF lacks standing because its injury (the inability of its members to visit with recruiters at UCSC), was not the fault of DOD (for failing to insist on the presence of recruiters on campus) or of UCSC (for not disciplining students and faculty members who drove recruiters from campus). The court concluded instead that the harm was caused the students and professors -- third parties who were not named as defendants. The court also thought it was pure conjecture to suppose that UCSC, deprived of $80 million in federal funds, would change its conduct and bring the students and faculty in line with the UCSC's purported policy of allowing recruiters on campus. The fact that such "conjecture" lies at the core of Congress' thinking in passing the Solomon Amendment appears to have counted for nothing.

The real fault here lies not with the court (whose core holdings may be defensible in light of the applicable precedents), but with the Bush administration. It has handed left-wing colleges and universities a free pass to circumvent the Solomon Amendment. These institutions can adopt a formal policy in favor of recruiters but stand idly by as students and faculty members drive recruiters off the campus. This was not a case in which the college attempted unsuccessfully to curb the riotous behavior of its students and faculty members, and it is clear that the Bush administration is indifferent as to whether college's make such efforts. In fact, students who lost the opportunity to meet with military recruiters at UCSC never even received a response to a letter they wrote to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld reporting this. Given its indifference, one wonders why the administration went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to confirm the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment.

Here is yet another instance of preemptive surrender by this burned-out, largely ineffectual administration.

SIC THE LAWYERS ON 'EM

By John Hinderaker

Yesterday, in an interview with ABC's Jake Tapper, Barack Obama reinforced the perception that as President he would return to the Clinton administration's policy of fighting terrorism only with law enforcement tools. I think that's a reasonably fair inference, as Obama held up the Clinton administration's response to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center as a model:

[L]et's take the example of Guantanamo. What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.

And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world....

If Obama really meant to suggest that we should follow the criminal prosecution only policy in response to future terrorist attacks, it suggests an ignorance of history--very recent history--analogous to his holding up John Kennedy's 1961 summit with Nikita Khrushchev as a model of diplomacy. The McCain campaign was quick to pounce. Earlier today, they held a telephone press conference. Jim Woolsey, who was CIA Director at the time of the 1993 bombing, said:

I want to stress that the approach that Senator Obama is suggesting, that we do everything through the law enforcement system, is precisely what failed in the 1990s.

I was director of central intelligence for the first two years of the first Clinton administration. And, of course, just a few months into that, we had the first World Trade Center bombing.

And the administration proceeded with an almost complete law enforcement focus. It did not work.

We were able, after I left in '95, in '96, it was at least possible to indict Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, because of his involvement with the Bojinka plot to blow up American airliners over the Pacific, and actually it also included plans to assassinate President Clinton and Pope John Paul II. But he continued to, although under indictment, to plot murder and mayhem.

And then Osama bin Laden himself was indicted in '98. That was, however, before the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and before the bombing of the USS Cole, and before 9/11.

The criminal justice -- totally criminal justice approach to dealing with international terrorists, particularly when they are suicidal and are able to pull off plots like 9/11, has not worked. It was tried for essentially eight years, from the first year of the first Clinton administration up until 9/11, during the first year of the first Bush administration.

It was a miserable failure.

The McCain campaign also pointed out that one of the conclusions of the September 11 Commission--remember the Democrats' demands that all of the Commission's recommendations be implemented?--was that the crime-and-punishment model was inadequate to deal with an organization like al Qaeda.

Then there were these strong words from Woolsey and former Navy Secretary John Lehman, in response to a question:

QUESTION: Good morning. This is some of the most severe language I guess we've heard yet describing the difference on approaches that the two candidates would take towards national security.

I'm curious, just judging from what we've heard from you gentlemen this morning, should we -- ladies and gentlemen -- should we read this to believe that, if Senator Obama were to win the presidency and implement this approach, then we should expect another terrorist attack?

LEHMAN: Could I answer that? John Lehman here.

I can't believe that Senator Obama will not change his position on this, because it is a totally unsupportable position. It would provide such an opening for terrorism that, no matter how naive he is, he would not go forward with it, in my belief. If he did, it would certainly make it far more dangerous in the United States.

WOOLSEY: This is Jim Woolsey. I don't say this lightly: This is an extremely dangerous and extremely naive approach toward terrorism, international terrorism and toward dealing with prisoners captured overseas who have been engaged in terrorist attacks against the United States.

Obama does have one thing going for him when he talks about scaling back our efforts against Islamic terrorists--wishful thinking. No doubt many voters would find it comforting to be told that we can go back to letting the police and the courts worry about terrorism.  Tuesday, June 17, 2008

www.powerlineblog.com

*

OBAMA'S NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: WINNIE THE POOH

By Charles Johnson

Un-freaking-believable: Barack Obama aide: Why Winnie the Pooh should shape US foreign policy.

Richard Danzig, who served as Navy Secretary under President Clinton and is tipped to become National Security Adviser in an Obama White House, told a major foreign policy conference in Washington that the future of US strategy in the war on terrorism should follow a lesson from the pages of Winnie the Pooh, which can be shortened to: if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.

Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”

Oh yeah. Let’s put these people in charge of the United States. What could possibly go wrong?

IPT: THE AMERICAN MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD TO COOK THE BOOKS AGAIN

By Charles Johnson

Here we go again, as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) joins forces with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to concoct another fraudulent “survey:” For the Record: American Muslim Brotherhood Looks to Cook the Books, Again.

This time they’re claiming it’s “the first comprehensive survey of its kind,” which is simply a lie. And both of these groups are unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial. But expect the mainstream media to swallow this “new survey” whole, like they swallow all the other lies, without informing the public about the terrorist ties and radical ideology of these groups.

On June 12, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced its intentions, along with a broad coalition of Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations (including the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim American Society, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the Islamic Circle of North America) to initiate a “nationwide census project, the first comprehensive survey of its kind, intended to collect accurate data about America’s mosques.”

That statement is particularly curious considering that CAIR, in 2001, issued a report titled, “The Mosque in America,“ which stated as its mission to present the:

...findings from the Mosque Study Project 2000, the largest, most comprehensive survey of mosques ever to be conducted in the United States. The purpose of the Study is twofold: to provide a comprehensive, detailed portrait of mosques, which can be subsequently used by mosque leaders and Muslim scholars to envision ways to strengthen mosques. Secondly the Study provides a public profile of mosques that will hopefully further the understanding of the Muslim presence in America. (emphasis added)
So in 2001, CAIR gave us the ”most comprehensive survey of mosques ever to be conducted in the United States“ and now they are promising ”the first comprehensive survey of its kind" on American mosques. So which is it? Are they admitting that the first report was, indeed, non-comprehensive?
JAWDROPPER OF THE DAY 2: AP WANTS TO CHARGE BLOGGERS PER WORD

By Charles Johnson

The Associated Press has not only jumped the shark, they’ve leaped over that baby like Carl Lewis: AP sets up a toll booth for bloggers citing its stories.

The AP’s disharmony with bloggers may have only just begun, as the alternative it’s now offering to being served with takedown notices involves paying an up-front sum for excerpting online articles — as few as five words.

A meeting between the Associated Press’ Vice President for Strategic Planning Jim Kennedy and Robert Cox, who heads the Media Bloggers Association, is now planned for Thursday of this week. The subject at hand is the AP’s attempt to find a new way of sharing AP content, which now involves a fee per excerpt based on its word length.

On the heels of a blogosphere revolt last week because of its harsh actions against social news site The Drudge Retort, the AP regrouped over the weekend to take a less litigative — but more bureaucratic — approach to dealing with those who wish to quote its material.

Where the group had previously invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and sent cease-and-desist orders to at least one blogger, seeking the removal of excerpted content (in some cases as few as 17 words in length), now the press service has attached an “Excerpt for Web Use” charge for passages as short as five words in length.

The pricing scale for excerpting AP content begins at $12.50 for 5-25 words and goes as high as $100 for 251 words and up. Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions enjoy a discounted rate.

Meanwhile, they continue to provide RSS feeds for free, in a classic case of one hand not knowing what the other’s doing.

if they plan to enforce this mind-bogglingly stupid policy, it will be interesting to see what happens with sites like Digg.com — which are nothing but excerpts from news articles, with hundreds of AP stories being posted every day.  Tuesday, June 17, 2008

http://littlegreenfootballs.com

*

WHERE'S OBAMA'S BOUNCE?

By Allahpundit

Stacy McCain hears a thud in the latest Gallup poll but he doesn’t know the half of it.

Today’s ABC News/Washington Post survey of adults, which was taken 6/12-15, shows Obama leading McCain 48-42% — down from Obama’s 7% lead one month ago. Meanwhile, a new Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll of RVs, also taken 6/12-15, shows Obama leading McCain 44-40%. Similarly, the latest Gallup tracking poll, which queried RVs between 6/13-15, shows Obama with a 4% lead, 46-42%.

A fourth poll of the battlegrounds commissioned by NARAL shows Maverick down just two points. What gives? Obama claims it’s due to McCain having been given a free ride by the media while he was finishing off Hillary but Jonathan Martin swats that aside. I wonder if the answer doesn’t lie in this detail:

Obama still has some work to do to unite the Democratic Party. Almost nine in 10 Republicans now support McCain, while not quite eight in 10 Democrats said they support Obama. Nearly a quarter of those who said they favored Clinton over Obama for the nomination currently prefer McCain for the general election, virtually unchanged from polls taken before Clinton suspended her campaign.

There are many more Democrats than Republicans right now and more of them have yet to come home to Barry O. Once they do, he’ll presumably bump up to a double-digit lead. Is that the answer? Or is Hopenchange simply not quite the juggernaut among the public that it is at, say, MSNBC? I want to believe the public’s made a considered judgment and found, like Karl, that “Obama’s record, judgment and message are at best entirely undistinguished in the field of presidential politics,” but I actually believe they’re simply not paying much attention yet.  Tuesday, June 17, 2008

http://hotair.com

*

Iraqi troops replace border guards. Local police forces are raised. Maliki gives deadline for Mahdi Army to disarm. Sadrists fear being targeted.

The Iraqi government and military continue to shape the battlefield for the confrontation with the Mahdi Army in Maysan province. Starting late last week, Iraqi security forces started the operation by sealing off the entrances and exits to the province, deploying additional forces from Baghdad and Basrah, warning the population, starting patrols in Amarah, and relieving the provincial chief of police.

Since then, Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has ordered all wanted Mahdi Army fighters to turn themselves in and ordered the militia to turn in their weapons. "Those who have heavy and medium weapons, explosives or sniper guns, must hand them over to the security forces over the next four days until June 18 in return for cash," Maliki said.

Two centers have been opened in Amarah to collect weapons, Voices of Iraq reported. "A large amount of weapons and ammunitions were handed over and a number of wanted men gave themselves up in coordination with chieftains and political officials in the province," said General Abdul Karim Khalaf, a spokesman for the Iraqi police.

Military and police officials have said the operation will begin in full force on June 19. Iraqi Armored units, likely from the 9th Iraqi Army Division, have taken up positions on the major roadways leading into Amarah.

Defense Ministry spokesman Brigadier Mohammed Al Askari said the operation will encompass all of Maysan province, and will not focus exclusively on Amarah, the provincial capital.

The Iraqi security forces have moved elements of the 11th Iraqi Army Division to the border to replace the border guards. The move places the Iraqi Army directly on the border with Iran. There is no indication if the border enforcement teams have been relieved of their posts or are undergoing retraining, much as the Iraqi National Police have throughout 2006 to 2008.

The Iraqi security forces are also raising local forces to participate in the operation. Two "regiments" of local fighters have been recruited to work with the Army and police. "Each regiment will include 750 volunteers, who should be exclusively from local residents," Colonel Mahdi Hussein told Voices of Iraq.

Sadrists fear being targeted

The Sadrist political movement, which operates the Mahdi Army, worries the operation is targeting the group exclusively. A statement from a leading spokesman highlights the setbacks the Mahdi Army experienced in Basrah. "We do not want Basrah events to be repeated in Amara," said Sheikh Salih al Obaidi, the lead spokesman for the Sadrist movement. Obaidi instead called for "dialogue."

The Sadrist movement closed down its office in central Amarah and "moved to another 'good location.'" The Sadrists were occupying a building owned by the government.

Last week, Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement and the Mahdi Army, ordered the vast majority of the Mahdi Army to disband and withdrew the Sadrist party from the upcoming provincial elections.

Amarah is a strategic hub for Iranian operations in southern Iraq

Maysan province is a strategic link for the Ramazan Corps, the Iranian military command set up by Qods Force to direct operations inside Iraq. Amarah serves as the Qods Force—Ramazan Corps forward command and control center inside Iraq as well as one of the major distribution points for weapons in southern Iraq.

The Iraqi security forces have stepped up operations against the Ramazan Corps and the Mahdi Army in the southern provinces over the past several months. 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, which borders Maysan to the southeast.  Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For background on the Maysan security operation, see:

Report: Iraqi security forces preparing operation against Mahdi Army in Maysan
Iraqi offensive underway against the Mahdi Army in Maysan

www.longwarjournal.org




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