Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is that Knock-off Handbag a Ticking Bomb?

Did you know that the Chanel or Fendi handbag knock-off you bought from that street vendor in New York City or Los Angeles poses a threat to our security? Dana Thomas in a terrific New York Times Op-Ed, "Terror's Purse Strings," says they do.

Terror is funded, so it seems, in two ways. By direct appeal to its supporters for cash contributions and, according to Ms. Thomas's research, by unknowingly supporting terrorists through the purchase of counterfeit goods. As to the former, witness the current trial involving the Holy Land Foundation that is accused of being a Hamas supporter funneling cash to that terrorist organization. According to Interpol, the proceeds from the sale of counterfeit goods wind up in the hands of Hezbollah and other terrorists.

With apologies to J.P. Morgan, maybe we as a society should remember to stick with the real thing and that if have to ask how much something costs, we cannot afford it.

Terror’s Purse Strings by Dana Thomas

Most people think that buying an imitation handbag or wallet is harmless, a victimless crime. But the counterfeiting rackets are run by crime syndicates that also deal in narcotics, weapons, child prostitution, human trafficking and terrorism.

Terror's Purse Strings

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Christiane Amanpour - Queen of Stereotypes

Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent for CNN, has come under withering fire for her series "Gods Warriors." Rightfully so, I say. Miss Amanpour is not a stranger to the fine lines of Middle Eastern thought and politics, but she cannot seem to help herself from blurring them over and over. Her latest report is more of the same old stuff.

Her series, supposedly an evenhanded treatment of fundamentalist driven terrorism in the Middle East, turned, instead, to a moral equivalence between Islamic, Christian and Jewish extremists.

As stated by Heather Robinson in the August 29, 2007 edition of The New York Sun
The moral equivalency begins with the opening sequence, in which an Orthodox Jewish woman appears on-screen saying, "God promised we would return to this land" and a Muslim woman appears saying, "This is the ultimate sacrifice, to give your soul as a gift to God the creator, and the country." Next comes a shot of Jerry Falwell saying, "I would like to see America become the nation under God again" and then Ms. Amanpour narrating, "They say, ‘God is the answer.' But their battle to save the world has caused anger, division, and fear."

Thus the message is that Jewish and Christian religious fundamentalism are as threatening to world peace as Muslim extremism of the variety voiced by the woman who romanticizes jihad martyrdom.

It is sad that a renowned journalist is trapped inside her own inability to issue a truly balanced report. We expect better from Christiane Amanpour, unfortunately, she does not deliver.

Queen of Stereotypes

Monday, August 27, 2007

How soon they forget...

The NABE Economic Policy Survey presents the consensus of a panel of 258 members of the National Association for Business Economics. Conducted semiannually, this survey was taken July 24-August 14, 2007.

The shocking result of the survey was:

"Financial market turmoil has shifted the focus away from terrorism and toward sub prime and other credit problems as the most important near-term threats to the U.S. economy,” says Carl Tannenbaum, NABE President and Chief Economist, La Salle Bank/ABN-AMRO. “However, these concerns appear to be somewhat transitory, as the five-year outlook for housing remains positive."

We have come far from 9/11 and the flag flying that we saw in the days, weeks and months that followed when the country was galvanized and girded for a war against terrorists and their sponsors. Now that it's harder to borrow money, terrorism is perceived as less of a threat? Makes no sense to me, but this is America, after all, and we Americans are sometimes incapable of thinking about anything other than how much the owner of Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball is going to make at auction.

The good thing about the real estate and stock markets is that they always correct themselves and come back to life. I wish I could say the same thing about terror victims. If we as a people divert our attention from the war on terror to mortgage interest rates, there will be more to pay than a higher monthly mortgage payment.

NABE Survey

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Beaten by Bin Laden in the PR Game

Thomas Friedman has it right when he claims that President Bush has been beaten by Osama Bin Laden and his henchman in the terror game. Friedman says,
"One thing that has always baffled me about the Bush team’s war effort in Iraq and against Al Qaeda is this: How could an administration that was so good at Swift-boating its political opponents at home be so inept at Swift-boating its geopolitical opponents abroad?"

What Friedman is saying in essence is that you can never let terrorists off the hook by being silent in the face of their actions or their press releases. We know that terrorists have their supporters, so do the victims. But why are the latter so silent in the face of the former?

Witness the case of Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian lived a lie for more than 10 years claiming he had nothing to do whatsoever with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. While acquitted of the most serious charges in a 2005 trial, he pleaded guilty to a charge of aiding PIJ. Immediately, his supporters launched a non-stop PR campaign how Al-Arian only took the plea to avoid another trial because he had no money to pay his lawyers or to save his family from sitting through another trial. We still get that same line today while he awaits deportation. Rather than admit his plea exists, his supporters want the world to look away.

Neither the US nor victims' families should remain silent in the face of terror. You have to speak out, loudly and frequently.

Friedman: Swift Boated By Bin Laden

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Academic Boycott-- Prelude to terror?

Terrorists are not born, they are made. Schoolchildren and summer campers in the Mid-Eastern world are indoctrinated with hate of Israel, Jews and the West. The world's ills are blamed on the existence of Israel and, well, let's face it, the Jews. Not that the Muslims have enough teachers to spew their venom, British academia's teachers' union recently joined in by calling for a boycott of all things Israeli.
American university leaders have condemned such a boycott and took out a full page ad in the New York Times to condemn it. Is this enough? Not according to Ruth R. Wisse in

It is heartening to see such unanimity among academic leaders who normally shun group protests or statements; still, it is less heartening when one considers that these leaders may have found it easier to denounce an outrage overseas than to tackle prejudice in their own institutions. President Bollinger and his colleagues know that anti-Israel venom is widespread on American campuses. The real test of their resolve to preserve academic integrity will occur here, at home.

She's laid down the challenge, how will American universities react?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Jonathan Tobin Gets It Right About CAIR

Jonathan Tobin comments in the Jerusalem Post on the free ride given by prominent newspapers such as The New York Times to CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). Tobin correctly points to CAIR's creation as a front for HAMAS as evidence of its true being and Islamist leaning.

He writes,
"MUSLIMS WHO believe their community can and must integrate itself into liberal Western societies - who oppose the use of terrorism in the name of their faith, and who support democratic values as well as the rights of women - do exist.

"But where are such voices, so needed in an era when Islamists who are in a state of war with the West are working overtime to infiltrate and control Muslim communities and mosques? The answer is that, given the level of intimidation enforced by Islamist imams and their political fellow travelers, few are willing to step forward to challenge the radicals."

View From America: The vicissitudes of genuine Muslim moderates

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Jose Padilla Conviction: Why does it rankle the liberal media establishment?

Jose Padilla Conviction: Why does it rankle the liberal media establishment?

Funny thing about terror prosecutions, the government can never get it right. That is not true, but if you read the New York Times and Washington Post this week, you would think that the conviction of Padilla on terrorism charges following a 3-month trial was a loss for the prosecution.

Why? Because neither the Times nor the Post approve of America’s handling of the accused.

The Times cautioned that the case should not be considered “a vindication for the Bush administration’s serial abuse of the American legal system in the name of fighting terrorism.” Rights have been trampled, says the Times.
The Post was a little more tepid in its condemnation. Agreeing that not every terrorism case should be held in U.S. courts but chastising that “every person held by the government -- U.S. citizen or not -- must have due process to challenge that detention.”

I think we need a breather here and must remember that terrorism cases are not pleasant for either the public or the system. We must, however, give the system the chance to work.

New York Times Editorial

The Washington Post Editorial

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Muslim advocacy groups "doth protest too much, methinks."

Per the New York Sun, Shakespeare had it right. Complain too much and people begin to think the opposite. Well, it seems the folks at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations haven't learned the lesson. In response to the New York City Police Department's report "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat" representatives from those two organizations quickly weighed in by stating that the report "is un-American and goes against everything for which we stand" and of "labeling almost every American Muslim as a potential terrorist" and of encouraging "hostility toward the American Muslim community."

I, for one, would be more appreciative if these groups would condemn, by name, those who committed this week's mass slaughter of Iraqis rather than rant about a report that hits home.

The New York Sun - Aug 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hats Off to Dick Cheney

As the father of a terror victim, I join in the Wall Street Journal featured editorial article in support of Vice President Dick Cheney. It takes a tough man to take tough stances. Not everyone may love Dick Cheney and many would like him to disappear. But as author Stephen F. Hayes points out, "with intelligence officials in Washington increasingly alarmed about the prospect of another major attack on the U.S. homeland, and public support for the Bush administration's anti-terror efforts reclaiming lost ground, we need more Dick Cheney."

The Cheney Imperative. The surveillance and interrogation programs he helped implement have prevented further attacks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

You Can't Whitewash Hamas

Despite its supporters best efforts, Hamas cannot be whitewashed by pointing to its social, medical and educational programs. They do not mask the underlying nature of Hamas as a terror organization.
One temptation is to compare Hamas to the Irish Republican Army, the IRA, that made Northern Ireland a living political hell for Great Britain for many years. Now that the IRA has joined the Brits and the Ulsterites in working out a political, instead of military, solution to the issues, many feel called upon to cloak Hamas in the same mantle as the IRA. That comparison fails in many regards per Herb Kenion in the Jerusalem Post.For all its good deeds, Hamas is still a bunch of thugs.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hamas – A government or a bunch of cheap gangsters?

More than one year ago terrorists identified as members of the Popular Resistance Committee kidnapped an Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Schalit. Rather than act as the government it claims to be, Hamas has allowed the PRC thugs to continue to hold Schalit captive. Today, the spokesman for the PRC is blaming Schalit’s parents for their son’s continuing captivity.
Remind me, again, why the civilized world should respect Hamas.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

In Israel: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors-- A Divided Road

The New York Times reported today on the construction of a “divided road” being built through the West Bank to connect Palestinian cities in the north and south without having direct access to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. While Israelis and certain Palestinians will be allowed to access one side of the road with exits into the Holy City, other Palestinians will not be able to travel freely into the city. And why should they?
There is no credible evidence that Palestinians wish to live side by side in peace with Israelis. Witness another shooting last week while traveling on a highway adjacent to the separation barrier with the West Bank. Until the day comes when Palestinians are as concerned about Israeli’s rights to travel in their own country, I do not have much sympathy with claims that Israel is impeding their right to travel.

A Segregated Road in an Already Divided Land
Published: August 11, 2007
The Israeli side of a divided road being built through the West Bank has various exits; the Palestinian side bypasses Jerusalem.

The New York Times Frets, Again

The Gray Lady of the news was in high dudgeon today bemoaning the Congress giving the Bush Administration continued and, according to some, expanded wiretapping authority. The Times was in rare form as it cited the Administration for creating a “brew of fear to kill off” competing bills. On top of that, those dastardly people in the White House “cowed the Democrats into passing a bill giving Mr. Bush powers that go beyond even the illegal wiretapping he has been doing since the 9/11 attacks.”
At least the Times recognizes that the new law has “a six-month expiration date, and that leaders of both houses of Congress said they would start revising it immediately.”
I for one am not worried about my civil liberties or yours. This country has survived for more than two centuries because its institutions are bigger than any one man or newspaper.

The Need to Know
Published: August 11, 2007
If President Bush wants Americans to give him the power to spy on them at will, Americans should be allowed to know how much their freedoms are being abridged.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Give me a break, Mr. Ramsey

Ibrahim Ramsey, the Civil and Human Rights Director of the Muslim American Society Freedom division of the MAS, needs to chill as he writes, "For U.S. Muslims, More Surveillance Could Mean More Intimidation." He worries that an unfettered prosecution will select Muslims as targets because prosecutors are "willing and able to stretch, and even distort, the law when it comes to Muslims."

His case in point? None other than that of Sami Al-Arian, who according to Ramsey "languishes in a prison, suffering from diabetes and severe deprivation and cruelty, without being convicted of any crime. "

Wrong poster boy you have there, Mr. Ramsey. Sami Al-Arian is in prison because a) he pleaded guilty to assisting Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terror organization responsible for hundreds of murders, something he denied doing for more than 10 years, and b) he refuses to testify in a terror prosecution claiming that his plea agreement exempts him from what every other citizen must do when called upon.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Another tool in the fight against terror.

From the New York Times
August 6, 2007
Bush Signs Law to Widen Reach for Wiretapping by James Risen
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 — President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.

Where Did the Book Go?

Writer Mark Steyn tells us what happened to a book called Alms For Jihad: Charity And Terrorism In The Islamic World written by J. Millard Burr, a former USAID relief coordinator, and a scholar, Robert O. Collins.
Critical of a wealthy Saudi, Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, the book details his ties to charitable causes with ties to terrorism. As a result of a lawsuit in England, the publisher Cambridge University Press pulled all copies of the book.
Steyn questions the responsibility of the publisher for pulling the book and the chilling affect that such actions have on the First Amendment. You can find the article here:

Sunday, August 5, 2007

New Bill Expands Terrorism Suits

In 1996 Congress enacted the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. The bill was introduced at the request of then President Bill Clinton who called on Congress to provide tools for the fight against state sponsors of terrorism. The law gave American citizens access to US courts for the purpose of holding accountable those states sponsoring terrorism for the death and injury of Americans overseas in terror attacks.
An examination of the new law found many weaknesses, and as a result, the Flatow Amendment, named after terror victim Alisa Flatow, was passed. The Amendment put teeth into the law where none existed before.
As a result of subsequent laws, the original bill and the Flatow Amendment were weakened. On August 1, 2007, a bill designed to reinvigorate the law was introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and 13 other sponsors.
You can find a report of the new bill at

What We Are About

Sadly, the voice of terror victims is not only silenced by murder but by those who advocate, support and condone terror. Oftentimes, terror's supporters are in the guise of writers who claim to report the truth, but who, in fact, do the opposite.
It is my hope that this blog will give voice to the murdered victims of terror.