Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Israel's Prisoner Release, my two cents

Much has been written, pro and con, about Israel's release of convicted terrorists from prison.  It's an upsetting event.  The following is from the New York Post-

Will my daughter’s killers go free?

Last Updated: 12:33 AM, July 31, 2013
Posted: 10:15 PM, July 30, 2013
My stomach flipped when I heard the news this week that Israel is releasing more than 100 imprisoned Palestinian terrorists, including many who’ve murdered civilians.
My daughter Alisa was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 1995. Some of those terrorists or their co-conspirators were killed by Israeli security forces; some were arrested by the Palestinian Authority, then released soon afterward. Two have been in an Israeli prison since 1995, serving life sentences.
Unlike the United States, Israel doesn’t have the death penalty for terrorists, but I thought these guys would be behind bars for, well, life — because Israel, our family was told, wouldn’t use terrorists as political bargaining chips. That was a “red line” that Israel would supposedly never cross.
I’ve always accepted the fact that Israel would have to make hard decisions when it came time to negotiate a solution to 65 years of Arab hostility and warfare against the Jewish state. I understood this when an Israeli prime minister shook hands with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn in 1993.
And I didn’t complain to the Israeli government when, after Alisa was murdered by Islamic Jihad, some Israeli officials called her a “casualty of the peace” — when she was, in fact, murdered by Palestinian Arabs freely operating with the knowledge of the Palestinian Authority and some of her killers were roaming free under the noses of Arafat and his deputy — now Palestinian president— Mahmoud Abbas.
But then Israel began to breach the red line on releasing terrorists. Small numbers of Palestinian terrorists — although not those directly involved in murders — were set free as “good-will gestures” to either revive a stagnant peace process or because Israel’s hand was forced because of some political or military blunder.
Perhaps one could understand the logic of releasing prisoners to establish good will with the Palestinian public or to strengthen the Palestinian leadership. But it became clear to me, and (according to poll after poll) the Israeli public, that these efforts were not met with any reciprocity from the other side.
Terrorists are idolized by the Palestinian people; their leaders name parks, stadiums and athletic events after mass murderers.
As a result, I thought that by now Israel would have learned the first lesson of negotiating: Never negotiate with yourself.
I appear to be wrong, because, apparently at the behest of Secretary of State John Kerry, over 100 terrorists are going free, including many directly involved in multiple murders — as a good-will measure to “bolster” Abbas and to give Kerry something to say he accomplished after racking up so many frequent-flyer miles traveling to the Middle East.
What will Israel get in return? From all news accounts, it appears the answer is nothing more than the Palestinians returning to the negotiating table.
So I ask Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Will my daughter’s murderers, now in an Israeli prison, be released for the sake of good will? Can you show me anything concrete that will come from this action that will allow my son and his family, citizens of Israel, to sleep safely in their home in Jerusalem?
Show me something that will allow me to go to my eventual rest knowing that my personal efforts to assist in the ongoing development of the state of Israel weren’t a waste of time. Show me something, anything at all, and I will support you.
Unfortunately, I don’t think you can. Your present course of action will only lead to more tragedy.
Stephen M. Flatow lives in New Jersey; his daughter Alisa was murdered in an April 1995 terror attack at Kfar Darom.

Read more: Will my daughter’s killers go free? -

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Detaining enemy combatants, score one for the good guys

From the Wall Street Journal editorial pages commenting on the court decision supporting the government's detention policies-
"President Obama was a late convert to the Bush Administration's antiterror detention policies, but his latter-day position has now been vindicated. A panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals voted 3-0 last week to reject a lower court order that would have limited the ability of Congress to authorize the President to detain enemy combatants and those who aid and abet them.

"Hedges v. Obama was brought by former New York Times stalwart Christopher Hedges and other anti-antiterror activists who claimed that the Obama Administration's use of the National Defense Authorization Act was unconstitutionally vague. Because the law allows the government to detain those who "substantially support" terrorism or "associated forces," the plaintiffs said they were afraid they could be imprisoned because of their work.

"This was preposterous, but in September District Court Judge Katherine Forrest declared section 1021 unconstitutional. In overturning her decision, the Second Circuit panel wrote that the NDAA says nothing about the feds' ability to detain American citizens, and "the non-citizen plaintiffs have failed to establish a sufficient basis to fear detention under the statute to give them standing to seek preenforcement review."

"That point was made at oral argument by Baker Hostetler's David Rivkin, who represented Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte as amici in the case. The NDAA explicitly says that "[n]othing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force."

"The plaintiffs say they'll appeal to the Supreme Court, but don't expect the Justices to take the offer. The legal war on the war on terror continues, but the Constitution gives the President broad wartime powers. As for Judge Forrest, an Obama appointee, she ought to be embarrassed to have been overruled so decisively."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

NYPD: Guilty! Of saving lives

From NY's Police Commissioner Ray Kelly writing in the Wall Street Journal-
Since 2002, the New York Police Department has taken tens of thousands of weapons off the street through proactive policing strategies. The effect this has had on the murder rate is staggering. In the 11 years before Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, there were 13,212 murders in New York City. During the 11 years of his administration, there have been 5,849. That's 7,383 lives saved—and if history is a guide, they are largely the lives of young men of color.

To critics, none of this seems to much matter. Sidestepping the fact that these policies work, they continue to allege that massive numbers of minorities are stopped and questioned by police for no reason other than their race.

Racial profiling is a disingenuous charge at best and an incendiary one at worst, particularly in the wake of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. The effect is to obscure the rock-solid legal and constitutional foundation underpinning the police department's tactics and the painstaking analysis that determines how we employ them.
Read Ray Kelly: The NYPD: Guilty of Saving 7,383 Lives and let me know what you think about the Commish's arguments.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Some kids go to summer camp, others to terror camp

News out of Florida about indictment of would-be terrorist Shelton Thomas Bell.
A 19-year-old Jacksonville, Fla. man trained for violent jihad and traveled to the Middle East in hopes of joining a notorious al-Qaida branch. Shelton Thomas Bell was charged Thursday with two counts of conspiracy and attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group Ansar al Sharia, also known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
AQAP is the al-Qaida branch which successfully got would-be suicide bomber and Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab onboard a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam on Christmas Day in 2009. Abdulmutallab hoped to bring the plane down over Detroit, but the bomb sewn into his underwear failed to detonate.
Keep up the good work men and women of law enforcement.

Want to read more?  From For the Record, the IPT blog, Indictment: Jacksonville Man Tried to Join AQAP, by Abha Shankar.