Views From Kennewick

Thursday, March 29, 2007

March 29, 2007
Ethiopia: Muslims beat Christian evangelist to death
Christian proselytizing is a capital offense under Islamic law. "Ethiopian Evangelist Beaten to Death by Militant Muslims: Militant Wahabbi Islamists Drag Christian Evangelist into Mosque and Beat Him to Death," from Christian Newswire, with thanks to Tom:

WASHINGTON, Mar. 29 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that an Ethiopian evangelist named Tedase was beaten to death by militant Muslims on Monday, March 26th, as he and two young women were on a street evangelism assignment in Jimma, Ethiopia. This marks the second time in six months that Christians residing in Southeast Ethiopia have been attacked and killed by extremist (Wahabbi) Muslims.
On Monday afternoon Tedase and two female coworkers were conducting street evangelism on Merkato Street in Jimma, Southern Ethiopia. Merkato Street runs by a Wahabbi Mosque. As the team was walking by the Mosque, a group of Muslims exited the Mosque and began to run after them to confront them. Tedase's female coworkers ran away from the mob but Tedase continued on. The Muslims caught up with Tedase, pulled him into the mosque, and savagely beat him to death. Sources from Jimma reported that Tedase was beaten with a calculated intention to kill him. This was no accident or case of mob frenzy getting out of control. His body was later taken to the hospital for an autopsy and he was buried Tuesday, March 27.

Our sources also reveal that Jimma Christians were conducting an evangelism campaign, and news of the outreach was spreading among Jimma residents as well as militant Muslim groups in the area. The Muslims that belonged to the Wahabbi sect purposefully beat Tedase to death as a message to Christians that they are ready to combat evangelism.

I am John Doe
A magisterial column by Michelle Malkin (with video here):

Dear Muslim Terrorist Plotter/Planner/Funder/Enabler/Apologist,
You do not know me. But I am on the lookout for you. You are my enemy. And I am yours.

I am John Doe.

I am traveling on your plane. I am riding on your train. I am at your bus stop. I am on your street. I am in your subway car. I am on your lift.

I am your neighbor. I am your customer. I am your classmate. I am your boss.

I am John Doe.

I will never forget the example of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who refused to sit back on 9/11 and let themselves be murdered in the name of Islam without a fight.

I will never forget the passengers and crew members who tackled al Qaeda shoe-bomber Richard Reid on American Airlines Flight 63 before he had a chance to blow up the plane over the Atlantic Ocean.

I will never forget the alertness of actor James Woods, who notified a stewardess that several Arab men sitting in his first-class cabin on an August 2001 flight were behaving strangely. The men turned out to be 9/11 hijackers on a test run.

I will act when homeland security officials ask me to "report suspicious activity."

I will embrace my local police department's admonition: "If you see something, say something."

I am John Doe.

I will protest your Jew-hating, America-bashing "scholars."

I will petition against your hate-mongering mosque leaders.

I will raise my voice against your subjugation of women and religious minorities.

I will challenge your attempts to indoctrinate my children in our schools.

I will combat your violent propaganda on the Internet.

I am John Doe.

I will support law enforcement initiatives to spy on your operatives, cut off your funding and disrupt your murderous conspiracies.

I will oppose all attempts to undermine our borders and immigration laws.

I will resist the imposition of sharia principles and sharia law in my taxi cab, my restaurant, my community pool, the halls of Congress, our national monuments, the radio and television airwaves, and all public spaces.

I will not be censored in the name of tolerance.

I will not be cowed by your Beltway lobbying groups in moderates' clothing. I will not cringe when you shriek about "profiling" or "Islamophobia."

I will put my family's safety above sensitivity. I will put my country above multiculturalism.

I will not submit to your will. I will not be intimidated.

I am John Doe.

A Call to Arms: CAIR Must Be Fought - Part II
The Fifth Column Henry Mark Holzer
March 26, 2007

Last week I wrote an article in these pages entitled A Call To Arms: Cair Must Be Fought. In my article I repeated what I have been saying (and writing) since the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) began attacking the free speech rights of American citizens: that CAIR must "be countered with a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity that could raise tax-deductible contributions for the sole purpose of fighting CAIR in court." Examples of CAIR's court cases, including its most recent on behalf of the "flying imams," were discussed.

As a result of my article, I've been asked exactly how CAIR could be fought in court. There are many ways, and the remainder of this article explains just one of them.

At least 23 states and one territory have statutes known by their acronym SLAPP-"Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation." [1] Actually, the laws are known as "Anti-SLAPP" statutes because they protect "public participants" from lawsuits brought by people who want to silence them.

Since the "flying imam" flap originated in Minnesota, I'll use that states' "Anti-SLAPP" statute as my example of what smart, tough lawyers can do to the bullying thugs of CAIR. The statute appears in bold face below; my comments are interspersed.

But before getting to that, I want to set the stage.

A broadcaster urges the FBI to search every mosque in America, a blogger demands the state department deny visas to Muslims, a newspaper editorial insists that the Attorney General prosecute citizen Islamofascists for treason.

Next, on behalf of itself and/or the allegedly injured parties, CAIR sues everyone connected with the incident. Also sued, as in the flying imam case, are "John Does"-other people allegedly connected to the incident whose names are not yet known to the plaintiffs.

These defendants are not powerless. These defendants are not sheep going to slaughter under CAIR's knife. Every one of these defendants, every time, should invoke an available "Anti-Slapp" statute, like this one.

Minnesota Statutes Annotated
554.01. Definitions

Subd 1. Scope. The definitions in this section apply to this chapter.

Subd. 2. Government. "Government" includes a branch, department, agency, official, employee, agent, or other person with authority to act on behalf of the federal government, this state, or any political subdivision of this state, including municipalities and their boards, commissions, and departments, or other public authority.

This is a broad definition of "government." It is meant to include every type of entity and individual. If CAIR or another plaintiff claims that the "government" requirement of Section 554.03 (below) is not satisfied, the likelihood is that the court would interpret this section broadly to embrace, for example, a "division" of an agency and a "representative" of an "official."

Subd. 3. Judicial claim; claim. "Judicial claim" or "claim" includes any civil lawsuit, cause of action, claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or other judicial pleading or filing seeking damages for an alleged injury. "Judicial claim" does not include a claim solely for injunctive relief.

This is an important provision, for two reasons. First, it means that the statute includes every conceivable manner in which a claim can be formulated. However, the statute textually embraces only those claims seeing money damages. Were CAIR for itself or another plaintiff to seek only an injunction-unlikely because injunctions against speech are virtually impossible to obtain-this statute would not be available to the defendant.

Subd. 4. Motion. "Motion" includes any motion to dismiss, motion for summary judgment, or any other judicial pleading filed to dispose of a judicial claim.

This is a standard, unexceptional definition.

Subd. 5. "Moving party" means any person on whose behalf the motion described in
section 554.02, subdivision 1, is filed seeking dismissal of an action under this chapter.

This is a standard, unexceptional definition.

Subd. 6. "Public participation" means speech or lawful conduct that is genuinely aimed in whole or in part at procuring favorable government action.

This is one of the statute's most important provisions because it broadly embraces speech and conduct so long as its intention is to influence government action (like searching mosques), but not necessarily on behalf of the speaker/actor who has now become a defendant in a SLAPP lawsuit. The only textual limitation in this definition is that the conduct be "lawful" and that the speech and conduct be "genuinely" motivated.

Subd. 7. "Responding party" means any person against whom a motion described in
section 554.02, subdivision 1, is filed.

This is a standard, unexceptional definition.

554.02. Protection of citizens to participate in government

Subd 1. Applicability. This section applies to any motion in a judicial proceeding to dispose of a judicial claim on the grounds that the claim materially relates to an act of the moving party that involves public participation.

Notice that four of the terms in this section-motion, judicial claim, moving party, public participation-have been defined in the previous section.

Subd. 2. Procedure. On the filing of any motion described in subdivision 1:

(1) discovery must be suspended pending the final disposition of the motion, including any appeal; provided that the court may, on motion and after a hearing and for good cause shown, order that specified and limited discovery be conducted;

This subsection means that once a defendant who believes he has been sued to punish him for "public participation-that is, for having said or done something allegedly offensive to Islam, CAIR, or any of its interests-makes a motion (i.e., asks the court) to dismiss the case because it is a SLAPP suit, "discovery" stops. In other words, neither party-subject to the statute's proviso that the court can allow limited discovery-can take depositions or seek to obtain documents.

From the defendant's perspective this provision is the proverbial two-edged sword. Although the plaintiff can't harass the defendant by employing the various oft-devastatingly time-consuming tools of discovery, the defendant is unable to dig into the plaintiff's motives and evidence. This is, however, an acceptable price for a SLAPP suit defendant to pay for early termination of a spurious lawsuit.

(2) the responding party has the burden of proof, of going forward with the evidence, and of persuasion on the motion;

This is a crucially important provision (to be read in conjunction with Subsection (3) below). Ordinarily, in civil litigation the plaintiff who has brought the lawsuit has the burden of proof-e.g., that the broadcaster/defendant really did defame the plaintiff.

This said, one would think that when a defendant claimed that the plaintiff's lawsuit was a SLAPP suit aimed at silencing and/or punishing the defendant for something he said or did, the defendant would have to prove that. Not so. Under the statute, when the defendant makes the SLAPP motion to dismiss the case, it is the plaintiff who has the burden of proof. What is that burden? The next subsection contains the answer.

(3) the court shall grant the motion and dismiss the judicial claim unless the court finds that the responding party has produced clear and convincing evidence that the acts of the moving party are not immunized from liability under
section 554.03; and

In other words, CAIR sues, the defendant moves to dismiss the lawsuit on SLAPP grounds, and CAIR must prove-not by the usual, lesser standard of proof by a "preponderance" of the evidence, but by the higher standard of "clear and convincing" evidence"-that the defendant was not immune from suit. We get to that immunity in a moment, once we pass the next subsection.

(4) any governmental body to which the moving party's acts were directed or the attorney general's office may intervene in, defend, or otherwise support the moving party.

This subsection means that the government can, if it chooses, provide legal assistance to the defendant-either by actually becoming a defendant itself, or providing representation or otherwise supporting the defendant (which could include financially).

554.03. Immunity

Lawful conduct or speech that is genuinely aimed in whole or in part at procuring favorable government action is immune from liability, unless the conduct or speech constitutes a tort or a violation of a person's constitutional rights.

This is the core provision of the statute. In the typical CAIR and CAIR-like baseless intimidation case this requirement will not be difficult to satisfy. In my examples, the broadcaster did urge the FBI to search every mosque in America, the blogger did demand the state department deny visas to Muslims, the newspaper editorial did insist that the Attorney General prosecute citizen Islamofascists for treason. There were no ulterior motives-only speech "genuinely procuring favorable government action." The same kind of speech used by the John Does in the "flying imam" case to have the airline, backed by government police power, to remove the troublemaking Muslims. Clearly, in both my examples and in the "flying imams" case none of the John Does e ngaged in conduct or speech that constituted "a tort [civil wrong, like negligence] or a violation of a person's constitutional rights."

554.04. Fees and damages

Subd 1. Attorney fees and costs. The court shall award a moving party who prevails in a motion under this chapter reasonable attorney fees and costs associated with the bringing of the motion.

Depending on how far into the litigation the motion to dismiss is made (an important tactical consideration), and given the cost of legal fees today, the amount assessed against the unsuccessful plaintiff could be substantial.

Subd. 2. Damages.

(a) A moving party may petition the court for damages under this section in conjunction with a motion under this chapter.

This section makes clear that not only can the defendant's lawyer(s) obtain attorney fees, but so can the defendant.

(b) If a motion under this chapter is granted and the moving party demonstrates that the respondent brought the cause of action in the underlying lawsuit for the purpose of harassment, to inhibit the moving party's public participation, to interfere with the moving party's exercise of protected constitutional rights, or otherwise wrongfully injure the moving party, the court shall award the moving party actual damages. The court may award the moving party punitive damages under section 549.20. A motion to amend the pleadings under section 549.191 is not required under this section, but the claim for punitive damages must meet all other requirements of section 549.191.

The first sentence of this subsection tracks the previous subsection. However, this subsection adds the power of the court to award punitive damages-which could be substantial since their purpose is not to make the defendant whole (that's what actual damages are for), but instead to punish the plaintiff and serve as a warning to others who also might be disposed to intimidate someone's free speech rights.

554.045. Action in district court

A person may bring an action under this section in state district court against a respondent who has brought a claim in federal court that materially relates to public participation by the person. If the person demonstrates that the respondent's action in federal court was brought for the purpose of harassment, to inhibit the person's public participation, to interfere with the person's exercise of protected constitutional rights, or otherwise wrongfully injure the person, the court shall award the person actual damages and reasonable attorney fees and costs. The court may award the person punitive damages under section 549.20.

This subsection provides that a defendant who is sued in a federal court in a SLAPP case can bring a SLAPP case of his own in a Minnesota court against the person who brought the federal case. Then, the federal court plaintiff becomes the state court defendant-who must somehow get around the "Anti-SLAPP" statute's immunity provision.

554.05. Relationships to other law

Nothing in this chapter limits or precludes any rights the moving party or responding party may have under any other constitutional, statutory, case, or common law, or rule.

This section makes it expressly clear that nothing in Minnesota's "Anti-SLAPP" statute should be understood not to preclude any other legal rights the SLAPP victim might have against the plaintiff.

And there are several such rights.

I'll discuss them in forthcoming articles.

[1] Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington.

Henry Mark Holzer, professor emeritus at Brooklyn Law School, is a constitutional and appellate lawyer. His most recent book 'The Supreme Court Opinions of Clarence Thomas (1991-2006)' has just been published. He maintains a website at

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hold your nose and check out the stats...


According to, here are some of the realities that Flake-Gutierrez would airbrush out of the picture:

Number of Illegal Aliens in the Country


Money Wired to Mexico City since January, 2006


Cost of Social Security Services for Illegal Aliens since 1996


Number of Children of Illegal Aliens in Public Schools


Cost of Illegal Aliens in K-12 Since 1996:

$13, 965,063,431.00

Number of Illegal Aliens Incarcerated


Cost of Incarcerations Since 2001


Number of Illegal Aliens Fugitives


Skilled Jobs Taken by Illegal Aliens


Figures can trick your eyes. Take particular note that items 2,3,5, and 7 reflect BILLION not millions of dollars -- and that item 3 exceeds one-third of a TRILLION dollars.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Islamists Contriving A Takeover of Native American Tribal Courts TO IMPLEMENT ISLAMIC LAW

Native American Courts: Precedent for an Islamic arbitral system *

Issa Smith

In the United States today, there is a system of courts which is just outside of the federal and state court systems, known as the American Indian Tribal Courts. The Tribal Courts deal with criminal, civil and family court issues, and have their own lawyers, judges, and court officials. The Muslim Community can learn from the experience of the American Indian Tribal Court System as we attempt to implement Muslim Family Law in North America.

I will use the terms “Indian” or “American Indian” to describe the descendants of the people indigenous to North America, who are also sometimes referred to as “Native Americans.” The complex and confusing legal relationships between the United States and the American Indians begins with the U.S. Constitution which in Article 1, section 8 states: “The Congress shall have the regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” Since the constitution was accepted and implemented in 1789, Indian tribes have been treated as “quasi-sovereign governments”, dependent on the United States for support and protection.

The treatment of American Indians during the last 200 years has been tragic and shameful. In 1789, it was estimated that 10 million Indians lived in the area now part of the United States. Today there are less than 2 million, half of whom live in urban areas and a third of whom live on reservations. There are currently about 300 Indian tribes that are recognized by the federal government, and dozens more that have state recognition. In addition, there are more than 200 recognized “native villages” in Alaska. Every year, there is legislation in Congress, which recognizes new tribes or takes away recognition of existing tribes.

Only about half of these tribes have tribal courts, and most of these were created during the past twenty years. Each court is independent of the others. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is part of the Department of Interior, has regulatory control over Indian Tribal Courts.


The question of jurisdiction has been a major and continuous problem for Indian Tribal Courts, and the source of conflict between state courts and tribal courts. Basically, tribal courts have jurisdiction over tribal members, or non-Indians. Jurisdiction generally does not extend beyond the border of the reservation. In a landmark decision in 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an Indian tribe may not assert criminal jurisdiction over an Indian who is not one of its members. The case, known as Dura vs. Reina, involved the killing of an Indian youth on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Reservation in Arizona. The accused, Albert Duro, was an enrolled member of another tribe. The tribe prosecuted Duro for the misdemeanor crime of illegally firing a weapon, since federal law dictates that major crimes such as murder must be tried in state or federal courts. Duro was convicted, but appealed and sought dismissal of the case on the basis of his not being a tribal member. The Supreme Court justices, in a 7-2 decision, agreed. They reasoned that non-members or non-Indians should not be subject to an alien and potentially discriminatory tribunal. The decision also meant that non-member Indians are to be considered as non-Indians in tribal courts.

Family Courts

Since our concern is primarily with family law, let us examine some issues of family law in tribal courts. The same matters considered to be part of Muslim family law (marriage, divorce, support, custody, adoption, legitimacy, abuse etc.) are covered in tribal courts.

A major concern of Indian tribes used to be the large number of Indian youths from broken homes who were adopted into non-Indian families. Often a state court would assume jurisdiction and rule that the reservation environment was not in the best interest of the child. The Indian tribes strongly opposed this idea. Although they agreed that the environment of the reservation was harsh and poverty-stricken, they wanted the children to be raised by their extended families, as was the custom in Indian culture.

In 1978, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act, which radically changed the relationship between state courts and tribal courts. One result was that tribal courts had greater jurisdiction in the placement of adopted Indian children. Many tribal courts were created just to take advantage of the greater powers given then by the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Marriage is one of the most common issues faced by tribal courts. A marriage conducted by a tribal court is valid anywhere in the U.S. An Indian couple wishing to divorce, and who live off the reservation, have the option of going to the state courts in the same manner as non-Indians, or returning to the reservation for a divorce. The second option is usually much quicker and cheaper.

Which support institutions and organizations have arise to work with Indian tribal courts? As mentioned, tribal courts have their own lawyers, judges and court officials. The requirements for filling these posts are determined by the tribe. This means, for example, that to be a lawyer or judge in the tribal court you do not necessarily have to have a law degree, or even a college diploma. I have spoken to a chief judge of a tribal court who had only finished high school. She has been in her post for eight years and is highly respected by tribal members.

As a matter of fact, a degree from the average law school is of little use to someone wishing to practice law in a tribal court. Only two or three law schools offer courses in American Indian law. Many reservations have saved up and sent their most talented youth away to law school, only to find upon graduation that the new layers had to be completely re-oriented to tribal law. The situation is somewhat analogous to a Muslim law school graduate trying to practice Islamic family law. To assist those interested in working in tribal courts, the National Indian Justice Center was created in 1983. The center is an Indian-owned and operated non-profit organization based in California, and conducts training sessions around the country. It has also developed an Associate in Arts degree in Indian Justice at the New College of California in San Francisco. The center evaluates tribal courts and has developed a voluntary certification program for court officials. It also publishes a newsletter and monographs.

The American Indian Law Center in Albuquerque, NM, provides similar servics, with an emphasis on legal research. The Institute for the Development of Indian Law is based at Oklahoma City University’s law school. It provides courses in Indian Law as part of a law degree. There are numerous professional organizations for those in the field of Indian Law. The National American Indian Court Judges Association has several regional affiliates. The American Indian Bar Association represents many of the over 700 Indian lawyers. The American Indian Law Students Association has chapters on many of the larger law schools such as Harvard. The Native American Rights Fund is a civil rights organization based in Colorado which deal with Indian issues and has a board of directors composed of Indians from across the country, including native Hawaiians.

The American Indian Law Review is an academic journal devoted to the study of tribal courts. There are many non-Indian groups interested in tribal courts as well. Interfaith Impact, a Washington based coalition of more than 30 religious advocacy groups including the American Muslim Council, has a task force on Native American civil rights which monitors tribal court legislation. National organizations such as the American Bar Association and the National Child Support Enforcement Association have hosted educational conferences on tribal court issues.

Numerous local and regional social service organizations have been created to address problems of American Indians and work with tribal courts. In short, a vast network of support organizations has been developed which strengthens the tribal court apparatus.

Although the Muslim community in North America is vastly different from the Indian community, I feel that in developing a plan for the implementation of Muslim family law, we can in some ways imitate the paradigm of the tribal court system and its supporting network. In particular, I recommend that as a first step, supporting organizations dealing with Islamic family law be established immediately. A professional association of Muslims in the law field (of whatever specialty) is a must. A law school students’ support group should be formed, and Muslim youth should be encouraged to enter this field.

A second step would be to establish institutes in the U.S. which can supplement legal education with courses in Islamic family law. At the same time, pressure should be put on law schools to include courses in Shariah taught by Muslims. An idea suggested in several quarters and being developed by the American Muslim Council, is the moot court where students and legal experts can act out Muslim family court scenarios.

There is a serious lack of Muslim social service agencies. Muslim Family Services in Brooklyn, New York is one of the oldest and best-known—an example to be emulated elsewhere. These organizations will have to be in place when we start asking for control of our family court issues.

The process of implementing Muslim family law will not be accomplished overnight. Changes of their type take place very slowly in American society, and our community is far from being prepared for this tak. I commend the continental council of Masajid for organizing this conference, and bringing together so many workers and thinkers. I pray to Allah the real decisions are made here that can be implemented by those ready to work. However, I strongly urge that consideration be given to political realities and the sensitivities of the American public. Such a radical change in American law—allowing Muslims to take control over their family law issues - must be initiated from the indigenous Muslim community here in the United States. To have it seem that this initiative is originating from overseas or from organizations financed overseas, would create a very negative impression that would likely destroy this effort.

* Originally published in the print edition of The American Muslim April-June Spring 1993

updated notes

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Implications of a Nuclear Iran

The Implications of a Nuclear Iran

Jerusalem Issue Brief

Ephraim Sneh

· Iranian President Ahmadinejad belongs to a school of thought which believes that the return of the Shiite messiah - the Mahdi - is supposed to happen very soon. Ahmadinejad believes he has a divine role in making this arrival concrete in our lifetime, maybe even within a few years.

· Iran's aspiration is to build a Shiite- or Iran-dominated belt from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean. Iran is meddling in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. In addition, Iran has its eye on the oil wealth of the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf states are scared.

· Tehran pays 100 percent of the Islamic Jihad budget and gives a bonus for every Israeli murdered. In addition, through Hizbullah Iran pays the Al Aqsa Brigade, which belongs to Fatah in name only.

· Iran imports 40 percent of its consumption of refined oil products. An embargo on gasoline could create a very serious problem for the regime. In addition, Iran is dependent on the flow of money and credit from Europe, which could be severed.

· While Israel may be the first victim on Iran's list, it won't be the last. The ideology of the Iranian regime despises the entire culture which Europe and Israel share.

· The Iranian people would prefer a different regime, but they do not see a glimmer of support from outside. The international community is evasive and aversive to confrontation with the regime. The people see that the Western democracies prefer to court the regime rather than confront it.

Ahmadinejad's Messianic Challenge

Iranian President Ahmadinejad belongs to a school of thought which believes that the return of the Shiite messiah, the Vanished Imam or the Mahdi, is supposed to happen very soon. More than that, Ahmadinejad believes he has a divine role in making this arrival concrete in our lifetime, maybe even within a few years. His faith and convictions say that the messiah, the Mahdi, will come back only if there is a sort of Armageddon, a doomsday or a major global calamity, as a result of which the Shiites will govern the entire globe.

When he was mayor of Tehran, Ahmadinejad paved a broad boulevard in the city for the Mahdi to drive on. He is making concrete preparations because he is serious. His actions and declarations are a result of his messianic beliefs, and the elimination of the Jewish state is an indispensable part of the doomsday which must precede the arrival of the Mahdi. More than that, Ahmadinejad says the Mahdi actually advised him to run for president and made his election possible.

Iran considers itself to be a rising global power - not just a regional power. Ahmadinejad has said: "We are the rising sun and the United States is the setting sun."

Iran's concrete aspiration is to build a Shiite- or Iran-dominated belt from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean. Iran is already meddling in Afghanistan, and succeeded in taking advantage of the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq in order to build a Shiite state in the south, which very clearly is under direct Iranian influence. Iran has infiltrated and captured several key positions in the central government of Baghdad, and thus has a growing influence there. Iran is also involved in the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq to discourage a Kurdish national movement there and in Iran. It has succeeded in building a strategic alliance with Syria. The last step to enable Iran to reach the Mediterranean is Lebanon. A third of the Lebanese are Shiites, and Iran is trying to take over the Lebanese government by using the political power of the Shiites in Lebanon.

Another direction of expanding Iranian influence is in the Persian Gulf. Iran is very active in Bahrain, which is 70 percent Shiite, seeking to actively undermine the government there. Most of Iran's naval exercises simulate the takeover of the Strait of Hormuz where most of the world's oil flows. Iran has its eye on the oil wealth of the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf states are scared. Iran wants to overthrow all the reasonable, moderate Arab regimes. If it succeeds, it will have the power to stifle the flow of oil to the world.

Iran 's Palestinian Connection

The Palestinian organization most active now is Islamic Jihad, which every day violates the ceasefire by launching rockets at Israel, and which plans suicide bombings inside Israel. Tehran pays 100 percent of the Islamic Jihad budget and gives a bonus for every Israeli murdered. Iran is the only member of the United Nations that pays a bonus for killing civilians.

In second place for Iranian-subsidized terrorist activity is the military wing of Fatah - the Al Aqsa Brigade - which belongs to Fatah in name only because it has been bought by Hizbullah, which is an arm of Iran. Hizbullah pays the Al Aqsa Brigade, but the orders and money come from Tehran - the tireless spoiler of Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement.

Finally there is Hamas, now heading a democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood government. Iran has promised Hamas $250 million to buy arms and pay those who use them. The weapons come from Sudan and enter Gaza through Sinai.

The Long Arm of Iranian Terrorism

The long arm of Iranian terrorism has not only reached Israel, but was also responsible for the bombing of the Israeli embassy and of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. To illustrate the reach of Iran, in the early 1990s, a United States destroyer launched a ship-to-air missile that accidentally shot down a civilian Iranian airliner with 120 innocent casualties. Years later, the wife of the commander of the ship was assassinated in a shopping mall in Los Angeles by a bomb put under her car. Iran found her on the West Coast of the United States.

Iran has a gruesome record on human rights. In addition to suppression of the press, no opposition candidate can run for election, and terrible punishments are meted out in their religious courts, such as amputations and death by stoning.

Now imagine that this regime, this powerhouse of terrorism - with the ambition of expansion and domination over the entire region, if not beyond - would achieve the power of nuclear blackmail. How would life in this region look, not only to Israel but to other countries as well? That is why we believe everything should be done to prevent this.

What Can Be Done?

More can be done with regard to sanctions against Iran. Iran imports 40 percent of its consumption of refined oil products, especially gasoline for cars. An embargo on gasoline could create a very serious problem for the regime. In addition, Iran is dependent on the flow of money and credit from Europe, which could be severed. These are two ideas which could make a difference. Is there a shipping company in the world that would consider it worthwhile to bring gasoline to Iranian ports and then not be able to enter any U.S. seaport?

While Israel may be the first victim on Iran's list, it won't be the last. The ideology of the Iranian regime despises the entire culture which Europe and Israel share.

The Iranian people are dissatisfied and would prefer a different regime, but they do not see a glimmer of support from outside. The international community is evasive and aversive to confrontation with the regime. The people see that the Western democracies prefer to court the regime rather than confront it.

The Iranian people have not been seriously encouraged to take their fate in their own hands, as was the case in Ukraine. The previous ruler of Ukraine was far less dangerous to the world than Ahmadinejad. He did not produce nuclear weapons or send terrorists to other countries, but there was a very clear message from the Western democracies to the Ukrainian people that if they removed him they would have Western backing. The Iranian people do not hear such a message. The Iranian people will decide when and how to change the regime, and this cannot be imposed from outside.

After the War in Lebanon

The war in Lebanon was not a smashing victory for the IDF, but we succeeded in changing the reality in southern Lebanon. For the first time in thirty years the Lebanese army is on every inch of Lebanese territory, re-enforced by an effective international force, the new UNIFIL, which is different from the old UNIFIL.

The Lebanese people now understand what happens when other countries turn its territory into a springboard against Israel. There is not a single Arab leader who wants his capital to look like south Beirut after its treatment by the Israeli air force. This is a deterrent.

* * *

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Ephraim Sneh was first appointed Deputy Minister of Defense in 1999 and was reappointed in 2006. This Jerusalem Issue Brief is based on his presentation at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs in Jerusalem on January 15, 2007.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saudi Government Provided Aid to 9/11 Hijackers, Sources Say

Editors Note | Knowing what, if any, role the Saudis may have played in the attacks of September 11th would certainly help to complete our understanding of those events. The commission's report should not be edited. However, the broader issue that has been ignored by the commission and the commercial press is in regards to the White House. What did Mr. Bush and his associates know, and when did they know it? To assume that closure can be achieved without disclosure is foolhardy. - ma.)
Saudi Government Provided Aid to 9/11 Hijackers, Sources Say
By Josh Meyer
The Los Angeles Times
Saturday 02 August 2003
WASHINGTON - The 27 classified pages of a congressional report about Sept. 11 depict a Saudi government that not only provided significant money and aid to the suicide hijackers but also allowed potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to flow to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups through suspect charities and other fronts, according to sources familiar with the document.
One U.S. official who has read the classified section said it describes "very direct, very specific links" between Saudi officials, two of the San Diego-based hijackers and other potential co-conspirators "that cannot be passed off as rogue, isolated or coincidental."
Said another official: "It's really damning. What it says is that not only Saudi entities or nationals are implicated in 9/11, but the [Saudi] government" as well.
Despite such a harsh assessment of the alleged role of the Riyadh government, those U.S.officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say congressional investigators found no specific evidence proving that top Saudi officials notably members of the royal family conspired in any purposeful way to fund the Sept. 11 plot or other acts of terrorism.
And they concede that senior leaders of the CIA, FBI, Treasury Department and other agencies involved in the U.S. counter-terrorism effort have begun to raise strenuous behind-the-scenes objections to some of the assertions made in the classified section of the report.
Some U.S. officials disagree sharply over whether key members of the Saudi royal family knowingly took action to support terrorist activity or simply showed a pattern of what one official called "willful ignorance."
The nearly 900-page report, released last week, concluded that a series of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence failures preceded the Sept. 11 attacks and that there was evidence of financial support for the hijackers by an unnamed foreign government. U.S. officials have confirmed that that government is Saudi Arabia, but nearly all the details supporting that claim are contained in the lengthy redacted section of the document.
On Friday, several dozen U.S. lawmakers joined in calling on the Bush administration to declassify the section several days after the Saudi Arabian government also called for its release.
Saudi officials have vehemently denied any wrongdoing, saying any allegations of links to the Sept. 11 attacks contained in the report are unsupported by the facts and are politically motivated. They also denied allegations in the report that they allowed Saudi charities and other groups to raise money for Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations within their borders.
Adel al-Jubeir, a chief Saudi spokesman, said in an interview that there were thousands of members of the royal family, and that while an internal government investigation had uncovered "wrongdoing by some," such lapses were certainly not part of any government conspiracy.
The report itself cautions that its findings are inconclusive and require further investigation.
"On the one hand, it is possible that these kinds of connections could suggest, as indicated in a CIA memorandum, 'incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists,' " one passage from the unclassified section states. "On the other hand, it is also possible that further investigation of these allegations could reveal legitimate, and innocent, explanations for these associations."
Several U.S. officials confirmed that the classified report detailed what the FBI has long since concluded: that there were far more financial links than have previously been disclosed between Riyadh and American-based Saudis who associated with the hijackers, and to a larger network of terrorists worldwide.
Those officials refused to discuss the classified sections of the report but confirmed that they detailed additional allegations about Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan, two Saudi men, and their suspicious activities in the United States.
Al Bayoumi was an employee of the Saudi civil aviation authority who FBI agents said received "seemingly unlimited funding" from Saudi Arabia. Bassnan and his family received significant charitable support from Princess Haifa al-Faisal, wife of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan. Al Bayoumi and Bassnan are believed to be in Saudi Arabia.
Federal law enforcement officials said they viewed both men with deep suspicion, particularly Al Bayoumi, and that the ties between the purported San Diego-based student and Saudi officials were more extensive than has been disclosed to date. The classified section cites federal authorities as saying they believed both men, each of whom has been linked to Al Qaeda operatives, could have been Saudi intelligence agents who reported back to government officials in Riyadh and acted as conduits for financial aid for the hijackers and other Saudi militants. Sources say the classified section concludes that Al Bayoumi received at least $3,000 a month from Saudi officials.
U.S. officials also said their investigators have become suspicious over the years about the activities of Saudi Arabia's top law enforcement officer, Interior Minister Prince Nayef ibn Abdulaziz, who has been a vocal supporter of radical Islamist causes and has stated publicly that Jews were responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.
There is significant evidence, they say, that Prince Nayef is one of several top Saudi officials who, through individual efforts and in their roles as government overseers, funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in donations to suspect charities and other front organizations that ultimately may have helped finance the September 2001 attacks and other terrorist strikes.
But some U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials criticized such assessments. "There is a lot of information in there that's inflammatory but not accurate, or inferential or open to interpretation," one official familiar with the classified section said. "Some of it is based on information that is partial, fragmentary and wrong. It is certainly not conclusive."
Other officials said they believed the evidence cited in the classified section was inconclusive about whether top Saudi officials intentionally helped finance terrorism or simply demonstrated what an official described in an interview as a "stunning" ability to look the other way as money flowed to terrorist activities around the globe.
"If you look at the links, you can't prosecute them for that. There's nothing direct," said one senior law enforcement official overseeing the U.S. effort to investigate Saudi terrorist financing. "If I were their defense attorney, I'd say that they had no direct knowledge. Whether they did have [such direct] knowledge, no one knows."
However one interprets the 27 pages, all who have read them agreed on one thing: If they are made public, they will prove extremely embarrassing not only to the Saudi government but also to the U.S. government, particularly to the FBI for missing so many clues pointing to Riyadh and for not aggressively investigating them, sources said.
"If this comes out, it will blow the top off the relations with [the Saudi] government because the American people will just be outraged," said one source familiar with the report.
"People don't know how much is in there and how specific it is," the source said. "The public hasn't gotten anywhere near the meat of it."
Many U.S. officials involved in the war on terrorism stressed that they were still actively investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, and that they had recently redoubled their efforts to trace terrorist financing in and out of Saudi Arabia, in part because of the cooperation of Saudi officials themselves. A delegation of senior authorities from the FBI, Treasury Department and National Security Council is set to travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday. U.S. officials said the group will pursue new leads, even if they go to the top tiers of the royal family.
"We're going to track money in both directions, back to the operators and to the source of the donors and those who support terrorism, wherever that takes us," said one senior law enforcement official. "But completing the linkage between the Saudi [officials] and where the money ends up, that's what we're doing but it's going to be really difficult."
The officials will be bringing with them a list of suspected Saudi financiers of terrorism and will ask the Saudis to interrogate them and shut down certain businesses that they believe are being used as conduits.
They will also pressure Saudi leaders on why they haven't cracked down on many of the charities whose ties to terrorism and to top Saudi officials are detailed in the classified pages, according to several U.S. officials familiar with the trip.
Of particular concern, the U.S. officials said, were recent indications that the largest Saudi-based charity, the Al Haramain Charitable Foundation, continued to operate even though they had repeatedly pressed Saudi leaders to shut it down.
Saudi officials, who have extensive ties to Al Haramain, did order the closure of the massive charity's many overseas operations late last year as part of a series of promised reforms aimed at cracking down on terrorist financing. One senior U.S. official said the Saudis only did so after a U.S. delegation to Riyadh presented them with reams of "jaw-dropping" information about how Al Haramain's offices worldwide had been corrupted by Al Qaeda operatives.
Since that visit, the official said, Saudi leaders have reneged on virtually all of the promised reforms. Al-Jubeir, the Saudi spokesman, said such reforms were underway but that "they take time to implement fully."
Meanwhile, U.S. authorities said they would continue to investigate the other main charities cited in the congressional report as being conduits for terrorism, including the Muslim World League, the World Assembly of Muslim Youth and the International Islamic Relief Organization.
U.S. officials say top members of the Saudi royal family are involved in the oversight or operation of nearly all of those charities, and that they have refused to audit their books or question their activities despite repeated protests from Washington.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, said in an interview that ample evidence remained "that high-ranking Saudi officials and members of the Saudi royal family are involved in supporting Saudi organizations that have a dual purpose legitimate charitable work, but which also appear to be conduits to terrorist organizations."
"There has been no indication to me that they have seriously cracked down on or audited these charities that are under suspicion," said Collins, whose committee is investigating Saudi financing of terrorism. "I'm thinking of the phrase 'deliberate ignorance,' " Collins said of the Saudi leaders. "They don't want to know, they're not probing, they're not taking action that would uncover where the financing goes. I think they have knowledge at some level, that they intentionally are not seeking that information."
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