Monday, May 03, 2004

Sami Omar al-Hussayen

"This is a big, important trial, and the fate of Hussayen serves as a microcosm of what could happen across the country. Boise has once again become a battle ground for human rights."

--Gerry Spence

The Department of Justice claims that Hussayen, by helping to maintain websites, has violated the USA Patriot Act's "expert advice" provision -- which makes it a crime to provide "expert advice or assistance" to groups that meet the Act's definition of "terrorist". The case is a key test of the limits and constitutionality of this part of the USA Patriot Act ("Patriot Act"). Although the facts of the case are still emerging at trial, to the extent that the government's case suggests that web hosting alone can constitute "expert advice," the prosecution has troubling implications for free speech. Question: The issues go far beyond the case itself. What about the chilling effect on others who are posting, or simply allowing on their forums, controversial ideas far short of an actual fatwa? What about the chilling effect on those who want to be moderators or posters, but know they will not be able to scrutinize everything that appears on their email lists, or everything they upload?[LINK]

On a recent thread about Sami Omar al-Hussayen, one Freeper commented: "Ther (sic) are no "innocent" muslims."
Freeper-types love to condemn without rational thought. The Freeper-types ought to follow the witch-hunting trails to one American they ideologically idolize before they hyper-judge:
CAIR -> Bassem K. Khafagi -> Grover Norquist

"My brothers and sisters, it is wrong to stay inside your house and think this storm is going to pass,” said Bassem Khafagi, community affairs director of the national office of CAIR. "We owe it to our kids to stand up and explain who we are and what we believe. Otherwise, what kind of country are you going to leave them-- a country that hates them? A country that knows nothing about their religion. Would you like your kid to say someday, ‘Oh, my dad left me with a million dollars, but with no dignity?’” Khafagi left no doubt about what he regarded as the path to salvation in America. “Are you an ambassador of Islam? Are you telling others about Islam? If you’re not doing your job, then don’t curse the media, please. Each one of us is responsible.”


NYT- In the Fulbright Mold, Without the Power
**The success in the effect of propaganda-media (ie: FOX) lies in the manipulation of public opinion. Politicians are, for all intents and purposes, enslaved to the slick bias of cable news. (Which means the American people are also enslaved to headline-hypnosis and punditry-thralldom by cable news editors.) Our Congressmen are forced to ignore the tenets of America's founding fathers in favor of their ugly politics. If we want to heal the bitter divisions in the nation, we have to become smarter media consumers. For some reason, I am doubtful this will happen anytime soon.**

Richard Lugar...the current chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee...has not spoken at any length to the president in nearly eight months...."In 1966, the foreign policy debate was focused on the Foreign Relations Committee," Mr. Hagel said. "It was the only forum the people of the country could go to.....Now, he said, "with all the talk shows, the cable news channels and the constant 24-hour-a-day barrage of news, the culture of the foreign policy debate has changed. "Even more important," Mr. Hagel said, "you have an administration that does not reach out to or see much value in consulting with Congress. They treat Congress as an appendage, a constitutional nuisance."

WP-Gamble on Sharon Goes Awry for Bush; Likud Vote Against Plan a Blow to U.S. Credibility

President Bush took a huge diplomatic gamble two weeks ago when he forcefully embraced Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza.....Now, the Likud Party's overwhelming rejection of that plan has left the administration's credibility in the Middle East in tatters...."The real objective of giving Sharon the blank check he left with was to shore up his political support at home," said a State Department official speaking on the condition of anonymity. "We paid a very high price and did not get a return."

NYT- After Attack, Company's Staff Plans to Leave Saudi Arabia
**Read Prince Abdullah's statement. What does this say about Saudi Arabia's government and their real attitude toward America vis-a-vis Israel?**

One diplomat said he also expected recent events in Iraq to spur more such attacks, especially in light of reports of Americans abusing Iraqi prisoners. "I fear that those pictures and the images are indelibly printed on the minds of many young Arabs and Muslims, and there will be outpourings of outrage," said a Western diplomat in Riyadh. Crown Prince Abdullah..blamed outside influences, specifically Israel, for the terrorism plaguing the country..."It became clear for us and I say it, not 100 percent but 95 percent, that Zionists' hands are behind what is going now," the crown prince said. "Unfortunately, they deceived some of our sons. The devil made them daring and they are supports of the devil and colonialism."

Yahoo News/AP- Bremer Takes Back Statements About Bush
**Unless we're impulsive fools, it's generally held that we don't say things unless we mean them.**

At a McCormick Tribune Foundation conference on terrorism on Feb. 26, 2001, Bremer said, "The new administration seems to be paying no attention to the problem of terrorism. What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh, my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this?' That's too bad. They've been given a window of opportunity with very little terrorism now, and they're not taking advantage of it."

WP- Bush Executive Powers in the Balance
**Who trusts this Supreme Court to make the right choices?**

After hearing the final oral arguments of the term last week, the Supreme Court enters an intense two-month period of opinion-writing that legal analysts expect to produce some of the most momentous legal pronouncements in recent memory -- and no one has more at stake in the outcomes than President Bush. To a significant extent, what the court will be ruling on is the Bush administration's effort to carve out greater presidential power and privilege, in the realms of foreign and domestic policy....

NYT/Maureen Dowd- Wolfie's Fuzzy Math
**I thought Bill Kristol looked like an angry child on FOX News Sunday yesterday. I kept thinking: This is the b*stard who carries heavy responsibility for us BEING in this Iraq mess, and he would begrudge a reading of the names of the men and women who died for his horrendouly Utopian bullsh*t ideas? Chris Wallace looked like a slave and a pathetic little (well-paid) whore for Mr. Murdoch when he criticized Ted Koppel's reading of the names of our Fallen. I thought Brit Hume was a refreshing voice of reason in his comments (for a change)...calmly stating the truth: that people will take away from 'the reading' what they will. You really do have to wonder why Bill Kristol got his shorts in an uproar.**

This is, of course, an administration that refuses to quantify or acknowledge the cost of its chuckleheaded empire policies, in bodies, money, credibility in the Arab world, reputation among our allies or the reinvigoration of militant Muslims around the globe. Duped themselves, they duped Americans into thinking it would be easy, paid for with Iraqi oil. But Donald Rumsfeld's vision of showing off a slim, agile military was always at odds with the neocons' vision of infusing enough security into Iraq to turn it into an instant democratic paradise.....Now things have deteriorated to the point that the administration is pathetically begging for help from the very people it was trying to roll over — the U.N., Saddam's Baathist generals and the Iranians.....When Ted Koppel decided to devote his Friday "Nightline" to showing the faces and reading the names of the men and women killed in action, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard denounced it as "a stupid statement.....Americans won't take casualties for the credibility of the Bush administration. That's not a good enough reason for people to die."

San Mateo Times-Ellsberg draws parallels between Iraq, Vietnam

If he hadn't waited until 1971 to go to the press with the Pentagon Papers, Ellsberg asked, could he have minimized the toll of war? They were tough questions without easy answers. He is still grappling with them. By extrapolation, he challenges the possible whistleblowers in the current administration to consider the harm they might prevent. Richard Clarke made recent headlines with his book charging that President George Bush failed to focus on the warnings about al-Qaida before Sept. 11 and diverted resources from the fight against terrorism by invading Iraq. It was better for Clarke to reveal his information before the presidential election, Ellsberg said, but he should have gone public two years ago.