Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Attack by Fire: The Pale Horse

It was going to be a terrific night – Johnny just knew it was going to be a night to remember.

Mr. Falcone had a big deal going down with Aladdin, and he had entrusted Johnny to supervise the deal.

It was in a warehouse area along a tributary to the West River which, in turn, wound past Gotham Island into the Gotham River.

There had been a great deal of business lately, with barges loading and unloading; some places in the area were working two and even three shifts. It was not unusual for activity to be occurring after midnight around here, so the deal wouldn't attract too much suspicion. Besides, Mr. Falcone had enough of law enforcement on his payroll to make sure the cops didn't come snooping around.

The only concern was whether Batman might show up, but they were ready for him. As a precaution, Mr. Falcone had made sure there were forty guys to guard the deal – with automatic rifles, grenade and rocket launchers – and that was in addition to the couple of boys that Johnny had with him to help watch things.

There was a yacht tied up at the dock. After the deal went down, Johnny was invited to make use of the yacht for a party that would last until dawn. He and his boys would party, while Falcone's men kept watch over everything.

Mr. Falcone had provided the girls, too. They were new in town, and he wanted Johnny and his boys to break them in tonight. Johnny smiled. Two of his men were keeping an eye on them now.

The only thing now was to wait for Aladdin's men to show up, they would check things out, make the swap, Aladdin's men would leave with their stuff, and it would be party time.

Johnny smiled some more. Mr. Falcone trusted Johnny, and Johnny was loyal to Mr. Falcone.

The master picked up his laptop computer, and started for the door. It was mid-morning in the village, which meant that it was after midnight in Gotham City. He had heard about what was happening in Gotham City, and he wanted to hear some news. There was a cybercafé in the village, and he could take his laptop there, go online, and learn what was going on.

Then he paused, reconsidering.

He needed a better source of information.

Looking around, he grabbed a package of his best tea, and a package of cookies, placed these in a bag and, with his bag in one hand and the carrying case for his laptop in the other, he started out for the fortune-teller's hut on the other side of the village.

Sasha's heart was beating rapidly; it felt as if her heart were in her throat.

Since becoming Bruce's partner, this was the first time she was out on a mission with him.

Bruce was in the Batmobile; the vehicle Sasha was in looked more like a sportscar, and wouldn't draw much attention. It lacked the stealth technology and the jet engine, but it had more armor, and a great deal more firepower.

Alfred was in the Batcave, monitoring. Bruce, Alfred and Sasha were sharing information via the Batlink, which was a frequency-hopping digital datalink transmitting and receiving data in coded burst transmissions. Anything that could be known by any one of them – or by the Batbot that was scouting the grounds – would be known by them all, immediately.

Sasha's job was as a backup – if sent in, either by Bruce or by Alfred, she would go in and get everyone's attention long enough for Bruce to regain the initiative. Then, Sasha would withdraw first, and Bruce, in the faster, stealthier vehicle, would make his escape.

The Batbot, too, could be used to create a substantial diversion, if needed.

Sasha looked at the multifunction displays – she was able to confirm the presence of the girls that had been trafficked in for the party near a small building on the corner of the property. She could also confirm the presence of the cocaine, high-tech arms and cash that were in the warehouse; Falcone was using this to pay for the heroin. There were pallets full of weapons, drugs and money, and when Aladdin's men got there, there would be several pallets full of high-quality heroin.

Sasha squinted into the screen. "Bruce," she whispered into the microphone, "the guards seem to be backing away from the girls a little. And there are some vehicles pulling up to the warehouse, too."

She immediately rethought her transmission. It probably was not necessary, as Bruce could see everything that she could see. Still, it might make everyone more comfortable to know exactly where the girls were. Above all else, they had to protect the girls this evening.

The master was nearing the fortune-teller's hut.

She was just coming outside, setting up her table.

Approaching, he smiled and bowed to her. She smiled and bowed back.

He offered her the tea and cookies, bowing slightly. Bowing again, she smiled and accepted them, and gave them to her daughter, who stepped inside to prepare the tea and serve the cookies.

"It's a beautiful day outside," the master said in the fortune-teller's language.

"Yes, it is," she smiled again. "It is a good day to be alive," she added, smiling.

It was awkward, as the master was eager to find out what was going on, and the fortune-teller of course knew what he was there for, but neither wanted to appear rude by beginning to speak about the business before them.

Happily, the fortune-teller's daughter brought out some of the cookies served on a plate.

"Our friend sent them to me, from Gotham City. They are made by a bakery that he owns. They are very good. Please, try one," he smiled, as the girl offered the cookies to him.

He took a cookie from the plate, and offered it with both hands to the woman. She took it with both hands, nodding and smiling, and tasted it. He was relieved to see that she seemed to enjoy it. She took a cookie and offered it to him in a similar manner, but he nodded in the direction of her daughter.

"You are too polite," she smiled at him. Relenting, she gave that cookie to her daughter, then offered another to the master.

Smiling, he accepted, and took a bite. Meanwhile, the girl hurried inside to prepare the tea, and just as quickly returned carrying a tray with a teapot and two cups on it.

"Speaking of our friend, how is he?" she asked.

Thankfully, she had brought the topic up first.

"I have not heard any news lately," he answered. "I am worried, and hoping that you can tell me how he is doing," he smiled back.

The deal was done. Aladdin's men were hurriedly preparing to leave with their merchandise, and Falcone's men were securing theirs. Johnny looked over at the girls, then glanced to the yacht, and thought about the party that was about to start.

Johnny did anything Mr. Falcone asked, and did it well, and, in return, Mr. Falcone took care of Johnny. It was like Rick had said that one time to the boss: "Your problems are our problems."

Johnny smiled.

One of his men came up to him with some kind of an envelope.

Likely a little something extra from the boss, he thought.

He looked at the girls again, dressed in their skimpy outfits and huddled near the utility shack, trying to stay out of the wind.

It was quite chilly, and, aside from looking nice, dressing them like that helped deter anyone from getting any ideas about running away in the cold.

He smiled – they would be happy to get inside the yacht, he thought.

He looked down at the envelope and opened it up.

It was a card.

He took it out.

On the front was some kind of a strange shape.

It was an oval shape, with a black outline, and a yellow background inside the outline. Against the background was a black shape – it looked like some kind of creature, some kind of winged creature.

Johnny's heart skipped a beat.

It looked like a bat.

Hurriedly, he opened the card and read what it said.

Regret to inform you,
the girls will be unable
to attend tonight's event.

– Batman

The fortune-teller pulled out her deck and handled the cards, first smiling at her guest, then losing herself staring out into space ahead of and above her. Slowly, the smile disappeared as she handled her deck of cards.

Her daughter served them tea, then withdrew with another cookie.

The master smiled at the girl, then looked at the fortune-teller. Despite his years of training, there were times when he found it difficult to control his impatience.

She placed some cards down on the table in front of her.

Trying to not appear too anxious, the master leaned over casually and looked. He could make out the King, Heaven, the Sword and Justice among the cards on the table before her.

Alfred was studying the displays – it appeared the Batshield had been deployed around the girls near the building.

Those guards stepped a little too far away from the girls, and at the wrong moment, Alfred thought. Now they were about to regret it.

Johnny looked up from the card, in the direction of the girls, but he could no longer see them. There was something covering them, kind of like a giant parachute or something – and it had the same insignia on it that the card in his hand had on it.

Somebody next to him pointed at a dark vehicle between the warehouse and the utility building.

"It's Batman!" the man yelled.

"Powerful is the Emperor of Heaven, and fierce is His righteous wrath," the fortune-teller said. "Sharp is the sword of His Son, Who executes His Father's judgment."

It was all happening in slow-motion.

Johnny saw dozens of men simultaneously open fire on Batman's car.

Johnny looked behind him to the shooter, but the shooter was running away as fast as he could.

Sasha looked at her display. The Batmobile's master-arm switch was on, and Bruce was employing the fuel-air munitions.

The fortune-teller looked up, and the master smiled and asked her, "And where is our friend right now?"

Johnny's thought went to the warehouse. He looked at it, and, in that moment, orange fire leapt from every opening, orange fire leapt out the windows, and the walls suddenly came apart at the seams, large panels of steel flying every which way, large panels of steel flying directly toward Johnny!

The fortune-teller placed more cards on the table. The master looked: the Warrior, Hades, and the Devil.

Suddenly, Johnny realized he was no longer standing, but was on his back, hurt, several yards from where he had been. He looked around, and other men had been knocked down, several were firing automatic weapons at the dark vehicle, and many were just running as fast as they could.

He looked up.

Bits and pieces of the warehouse were raining down – the weapons that now belonged to Aladdin's Mujahideen were raining down, too.

It was raining big bags of heroin and cocaine, most of the bags broken open.

It was raining money – bundles of cash, burning, smoldering. Individual bills were floating in the air, twirling, falling toward earth.

Intent on her screen, Sasha could see the Batmobile advancing toward several men in front of the vehicle. Bruce was now arming the flamethrower.

The fortune-teller opened her eyes, looked at the cards, then looked at the master.

"He has descended into the lower parts of the earth. There, he is surrounded by devils."

They were motioning to Johnny to run for the yacht. Several of his men were on it already, and others were covering him, firing at the dark car.

He started running toward the yacht – it was only yards away, but it was taking forever.

He looked toward the dark car, which was approaching his men.

Suddenly, it belched fire!

"What is he doing?" the master asked.

The fortune-teller closed her eyes, handled her deck, and began to place more cards on the table.

Sasha winced. At a range of less than five meters from Falcone's men, the Batmobile's flamethrower was being discharged.

He made it to the yacht, and turned and looked. Men were on fire, rolling, running, screaming... and still, burning debris was floating in the sky.

He looked again. It was raining money!

It was raining money, and nobody cared!

The yacht's motor was running, and the yacht was pulling away from the pier, amid a rain of smoldering money, and by the light of human torches.

He looked at the dark vehicle. It had approached the end of the dock, and it was pointed right at the side of the yacht.

Men were shooting at the vehicle, but most had given up; they were starting to jump off the yacht into the water.

Alfred was looking at the display from the Batmobile, with an eye on the image from the Batbot's camera. The Batmobile's missiles were armed, and – fire one!

The Batbot's camera was directed at the yacht.

The yacht disappeared in a blinding light.

The camera quickly corrected the infrared gain, and the image could again be seen. Direct hit! Amidships, below the bridge, right above the waterline! The yacht was burning furiously, broken in two large pieces, which were settling fast.

On the table, she placed the Magician and Fire....

"There he works magic; using the eternal flame, he torments the devils," the fortune-teller explained, opening her eyes.

From behind some crates about a football-field away, the shooter looked at the scene, unaware of his own furious and heavy breathing.

From deep in the back of his mind, he recalled something his great-grandmother used to say to him when he was a young child, and had been misbehaving:

"And I looked, and behold a pale horse:
and his name that sat on him was Death,
and Hell followed with him."

Happy Rosh Hashanah

As Ramadan comes to an end in the Islamic World, I would like to wish a Happy Rosh Hashanah to those who celebrate the Jewish New Year.


While you're out and about in cyberspace today, may I suggest you check out the following blogs:

Stilettos in the Sand is written by an American expat living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sabra has a variety of articles on her daily life and miscellaneous subjects. If you are interested in the humor in daily life, this is a good place to find it; it also gives you a glimpse at life for a foreigner in the Sandbox; and, it is a nice break from the ideology, politics and corruption that I write about. :)

Red.eVolution is a relatively new blog, blogging in the counterjihad and for Israel. You may wish to see yesterday's post, related to content I write about often, entitled Kosovo nine years later, and the KLA's legacy.

The Xeriscapist is another relatively new -- and somewhat occasional -- counterjihad blog, but with some promise.

The Faithful Remnant offers some political insights from a Christian perspective.

Newcomer to the blogosphere Claudia offers us Blogging for a Free World, just started so far this September, but with an apparent great deal of enthusiasm.

If you are new to the counterjihad, you may find Great Satan's Girlfriend (GSGF) humorously inspiring, and The Gates of Vienna (GOV) always has well-researched and insightful articles.

Please note that I am not endorsing all the things said at these blogs, merely suggesting you have a look.

Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as several series continue, including the latest installments in the Gotham City series (see bottom of sidebar), under the title Attack by Fire.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Attack by Fire: Three in the Morning

Vasilissa stepped out onto her balcony, and took a deep breath of the cool, fresh air. It was the beginning of autumn, and, while the days were still warm and sunny, in the evenings it cooled off dramatically, with fresh air blowing in from the north. By this time, well after midnight, it could be quite chilly.

She thought back to her days as a girl in the country – back before her innocence was taken from her, before she was forced into a life of prostitution.

In recent months, she was permitting herself to think more and more about her childhood.

It was as if she could sense that soon she would be back there, a kid again, and not here, as a high-class call girl in Gotham City.

A small rustle could be heard on the balcony behind her.

She smiled.

"Aren't you taking a chance? How many times have they tried to kill you, right outside my apartment?"

She turned around, and saw the giant, looming figure, towering over her, and smiled a little more.

"They're pretty busy right now," he answered matter-of-factly.

His low, raspy voice had a way of getting her attention.

"Your attack last night hurt Falcone."

She thought about it, and smiled some more. Somehow, he had broken into that place where girls were being introduced to their lives as prostitutes.

The new girls had been brought in from all over the globe, and from all over Gotham City and Gotham's suburbs. She knew the drill – they were beaten, forced to take drugs, raped – all to get them compliant, all to get them dependent on drugs and ready to do anything to pay for them, all to get them used to sex with strange men – all to break their will.

But last night was different. A giant man dressed in flowing black broke into this one place, released the girls, turning them out into the streets with clothes, blankets -- and the money from the establishment. The men who ran the place were found beaten, tied and hung on the wall outside, with the drugs they use on the girls – mostly narcotics – stuffed in their pockets and in the alleyway at their feet. The computers in which they kept the records of the establishment, as well as assorted files and incriminating paperwork, were there in the alleyway, too. The inside of the building was burning furiously, and the rats and cockroaches were climbing out of the building, some of them scurrying over the beaten and bruised men who had run the place. It was quite a scene the Gotham police and firefighters found when they arrived.

The paperwork implicated Mr. Falcone in narcotics- and arms-trafficking, trafficking of women for forced prostitution... the paperwork tied in several of Gotham's elected officials to the prostitution network, with some surprising names on the list of clients seeking the newest, most beautiful girls Falcone had to offer.

Of course, Falcone's men in the Gotham Police Department were keeping the lid on it, for the most part, but word was leaking out.

"I think he does business with Falcone, because he came here today to ask what I know about you," she commented, turning back to look at the Gotham City skyline, the smile disappearing from her face.

"It is because of your father that you're here," the low, raspy whisper answered from behind her. "He does business with the same cartel that trafficked you – they also traffic in heroin. They are also instrumental in paying off Gotham's politicians. In fact, Councilman McMullen and Councilman Lidden are both on their payroll." He paused, imaging the recognition in her eyes of the names – one a candidate for mayor, the other a candidate for vice-mayor, the running mate of the first man's opponent – both promising change, each blaming the politics of the other's faction for Gotham City's problems.

"The cartel that trafficked you is key to supplying Falcone with the heroin he distributes here in Gotham," he continued, "and Falcone supplies them with cocaine, marijuana and synthetic drugs, which they traffic in the eastern suburbs. Your father does business with all of them."


"His stated goal is to allow Gotham City to become so corrupt that it collapses of its own weight."

"And what about what happened to me?"

"As far as I can tell, he is not happy about that, but he writes you off as a casualty of his version of a war on crime – a war that is very profitable for him, since he has become a criminal himself."

Vasilissa – Nyssa – thought of her father, Ra's al Ghul. She had only the vaguest of memories of him, from when she was very young. "How convenient," she commented disgustedly. "I know about the mayor's 'War on Crime', but what about his?"

"He was misled, and has become part of the problem, and now he makes money by furthering the problem, justifying his actions as necessary to end the problem – just as he justifies what happened to you as martyrdom for his cause."

"Just like Aladdin," she added.

"Just like Aladdin," he repeated.

She turned to him. "So what is your story?" she asked.

He looked at her, as she stepped closer.

"I want to leave this life, I want to escape..." she began. She paused, and for the first time in many years, she felt like a little girl, and was at a loss for words speaking to a man – for the first time since she had been a teenager, she found a man thoroughly attractive. "I would like to help you, and I know you don't spend all your time in that outfit," she explained, eyeing the Batsuit. "I...."

She stopped, and turned away, covering her face.

"You probably wouldn't want anything to do with a prostitute, would you?"

There was a pause as Vasilissa – Nyssa – turned back and looked, not at the giant figure, but into the eyes of the man who was Batman.

"Nyssa, what you have gone through is terrible, it is more than anyone should ever have to go through..." he began.

"Oh, spare me," she interrupted with a smile.

"You have received 'three in the morning'," he continued, undeterred.

Again there was a pause.

"'Three in the morning' – what's that?"

Bruce Wayne looked at the master.

"Yes," the master commented. "It must have been very traumatic. Far more than a little boy should have to face."

"I can still see it all, like it was yesterday – every detail, in slow motion: how he shot my mom, and she fell to the ground, her blood pouring out into the gutter; how the pearl necklace that my father and I had given her that day broke, and the pearls fell into the gutter beside her; how he leveled the gun at my forehead, and would have shot me, too, had his partner not called him away. When I turned around, I saw that my father had been shot, too, but he was still alive...."

The master turned away, as Bruce Wayne wiped his eyes.

"You have received 'three in the morning'."

"What does that mean?" Wayne asked, clearing his throat.

"A man kept monkeys," began the master. "On the morning of the first day that he had them, he went to their cage, and said to them: 'You each get three bananas in the morning, and four in the afternoon.' Of course, this made the monkeys irate, and they protested loudly. The man then said, 'Okay, okay, you get four bananas in the morning, and three in the afternoon.' Hearing this the monkeys quieted down, and were quite content again as the man gave them their four bananas."

"I don't get it," Wayne commented, intrigued by the story.

"Don't you? Three plus four, or four plus three – either way, each monkey gets seven bananas each day, but one arrangement made them very angry, while the other arrangement made them content."

"Well, they're monkeys, what do you expect? But, we are people, not monkeys, and we don't think like that."

"I would hope not, Mr. Wayne," the master smiled.

"That's an interesting way of looking at things, Mr. Batman," Nyssa commented thoughtfully, turning back to him.

"It's not at all that you were forced into a life as a prostitute, Nyssa," he said, stepping closer to her. "Even if you had chosen this life, that wouldn't be it," he continued. "Everyone knows how beautiful you are on the outside, but what is a secret is how beautiful you are on the inside." He paused. "You have had to experience some things that no one should ever have to experience, and this has left you a little cynical, but inside, you have never given up hope, and the experience in a way has made you a very warm, tender, caring person. On top of that, you are intelligent and witty, you have educated yourself, you are polite and have excellent manners.... You have the best part of your life ahead of you – you will get five, or maybe even six bananas in the afternoon," he added with a smile, as she smiled, and even blushed a little. "In so many ways, you're so very special...."

"But..." she continued his thought.

"But there are more girls like you out there right now, and there is still time to save many of them from having to go through what you went through. And beyond that, all of Gotham City is in danger now because of Aladdin and your father, and their mutual desire to destroy it."

She nodded, her smile disappearing slowly. "And you can't let anything – or anyone – distract you."

"Situation reversed, would you?"

She turned back to look at Gotham City, thinking about it for a moment, then, mustering a renewed smile, she answered, "No, I don't suppose I would." Turning back to him, she added, "But I still want out of this prison I am in."

He smiled. "The prison bars, the prison walls – it's all an illusion. You can walk away any time you want to."

She thought about that, then looked at him. "And what about the prison you are in? Is that an illusion, too?"

The smile disappeared from his face for a moment, and more than ever, his face seemed to be the mask of the dark outfit he wore.

"I, like you, have received three in the morning," he answered slowly.

It was quiet for a moment, then, suddenly, he ran and jumped off the balcony, his cape opening wide as he began his descent.

She stepped over to the rail and looked down, but already Batman had vanished.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Free Speech Protection Act of 2008: "The Wrong Victim"

House Bill H. R. 5814 has now passed in the House of Representatives; next is the battle in the Senate.

For those of you who don't know what it is about, here are excerpts from H. R. 5814:


This Act may be cited as the 'Free Speech Protection Act of 2008'.


The Congress finds the following:

(1) The freedom of speech and the press is enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(2) Free speech, the free exchange of information, and the free expression of ideas and opinions are essential to the functioning of representative democracy in the United States.

(3) The free expression and publication by journalists, academics, commentators, experts, and others of the information they uncover and develop through research and study is essential to the formation of sound public policy and thus to the security of Americans.

(4) The First Amendment jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, articulated in such precedents as New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), and its progeny, reflects the fundamental value that Americans place on promoting the free exchange of ideas and information, requiring in cases involving public figures a demonstration of actual malice--that is, that allegedly defamatory, libelous, or slanderous statements about public figures are not merely false but made with knowledge of that falsity or with reckless disregard of their truth or falsity.

(5) Some persons are obstructing the free expression rights of Americans, and the vital interest of the American people in receiving information on matters of public importance, by first seeking out foreign jurisdictions that do not provide the full extent of free-speech protection that is fundamental in the United States and then suing Americans in such jurisdictions in defamation actions based on speech uttered or published in the United States--speech that is fully protected under First Amendment jurisprudence in the United States and the laws of the several States and the District of Columbia.

(6) Some of these actions are intended not only to suppress the free speech rights of journalists, academics, commentators, experts, and other individuals but to intimidate publishers and other organizations that might otherwise disseminate or support the work of those individuals with the threat of prohibitive foreign lawsuits, litigation expenses, and judgments that provide for money damages and other speech-suppressing relief.

(7) The governments and courts of some foreign countries have failed to curtail this practice, permitting lawsuits filed by persons who are often not citizens of those countries, under circumstances where there is often little or no basis for jurisdiction over the Americans against whom such suits are brought.

(8) Some of the plaintiffs bringing such suits are intentionally and strategically refraining from filing their suits in the United States, even though the speech at issue was published in the United States, in order to avoid the Supreme Court's First Amendment jurisprudence and frustrate the protections it affords Americans.

(9) The Americans against whom such suits are brought must consequently endure the prohibitive expense, inconvenience, and anxiety attendant to being sued in foreign courts for conduct that is protected by the First Amendment, or decline to answer such suits and risk the entry of costly default judgments that may be executed in countries other than the United States where those individuals travel or own property.

(10) Journalists, academics, commentators, experts, and others subjected to such suits are suffering concrete and profound financial and professional damage for engaging in conduct that is protected under the United States Constitution and essential to informing the American people, their representatives, and other policy-makers.

(11) In turn, the American people are suffering concrete and profound harm because they, their representatives, and other government policymakers rely on the free expression of information, ideas, and opinions developed by responsible journalists, academics, commentators, experts, and others for the formulation of sound public policy, including national security policy.

(12) The United States respects the sovereign right of other countries to enact their own laws regarding speech, and seeks only to protect the First Amendment rights of Americans in connection with speech that occurs, in whole or in part, in the United States.


(a) Cause of Action- Any United States person against whom a lawsuit is brought in a foreign country for defamation on the basis of the content of any writing, utterance, or other speech by that person that has been published, uttered, or otherwise disseminated in the United States may bring an action in a United States district court specified in subsection (f) against any person who, or entity which, brought the foreign suit if the writing, utterance, or other speech at issue in the foreign lawsuit does not constitute defamation under United States law.

(b) Jurisdiction- It shall be sufficient to establish jurisdiction over the person or entity bringing a foreign lawsuit described in subsection (a) that such person or entity has filed the lawsuit against a United States person, or that such United States person has assets in the United States against which the claimant in the foreign action could execute if a judgment in the foreign lawsuit were awarded.

(c) Remedies-
(1) ORDER TO BAR ENFORCEMENT AND OTHER INJUNCTIVE RELIEF- If the cause of action set forth in subsection (a) is established, the district court shall order that any foreign judgment in the foreign lawsuit in question may not be enforced in the United States, including by any Federal, State, or local court, and may order such other injunctive relief that the court considers appropriate to protect the right to free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(2) DAMAGES- In addition to the remedy under paragraph (1), damages may be awarded to the United States person bringing the action under subsection (a), based on the following:
(A) The amount of the foreign judgment.

(B) The costs, including all legal fees, attributable to the foreign lawsuit that have been borne by the United States person.

(C) The harm caused to the United States person due to decreased opportunities to publish, conduct research, or generate funding.

(d) Treble Damages- If, in an action brought under subsection (a), the factfinder determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the person or entity bringing the foreign lawsuit at issue intentionally engaged in a scheme to suppress First Amendment rights by discouraging publishers or other media not to publish, or discouraging employers, contractors, donors, sponsors, or similar financial supporters not to employ, retain, or support, the research, writing, or other speech of a journalist, academic, commentator, expert, or other individual, the factfinder may award treble damages.

(e) Expedited Discovery- Upon the filing of an action under subsection (a), the court may order expedited discovery if the court determines, based on the allegations in the complaint, that the speech at issue in the foreign defamation action is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(f) Venue- An action under subsection (a) may be brought by a United States person only in a United States district court in which the United States person is domiciled, does business, or owns real property that could be executed against in satisfaction of a judgment in the foreign defamation lawsuit giving rise to the action.

(g) Timing of Action; Statute of Limitations-
(1) TIMING- An action under subsection (a) may be commenced after the filing of the defamation lawsuit in a foreign country on which the action is based.

(2) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS- For purposes of section 1658(a) of title 28, United States Code, the cause of action under subsection (a) accrues on the date on which the defamation lawsuit in a foreign country on which the cause of action is based is filed.

For a summary from its sponsors of this bill's importance, I quote a passage from a news release from Senator Joe Lieberman:

"Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of expression of ideas, opinions, and research, and freedom of exchange of information are all essential to the functioning of a democracy, and the fight against terrorism," Senator Specter said. "There is a real danger that American writers and researchers will be afraid to address the crucial subject of terror funding and other important matters without these protections."

"Discovering the truth requires full and open debate, which is not possible when courts are used to chill inquiry and research," Senator Lieberman said. "The freedom of American journalists should not be threatened by foreign courts that do not adhere to America's principles of free speech."

"Our journalists provide us with insight on issues that affect all Americans, such as war and terrorism," Rep. King said. "We cannot allow their voices to be silenced by those who prefer to keep secret the inner details of these issues. American authors and journalists should be able to practice their first amendment right without the fear of a lawsuit."

This legislation creates a federal cause of action and federal jurisdiction so that federal courts may determine whether there has been defamation under United States law when a U.S. journalist, speaker, or academic is sued in a foreign court for speech or publication in the United States. The bill authorizes a court to issue an order barring enforcement of a foreign judgment and to award damages.

The impetus for this legislation is litigation involving Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, a U.S. citizen and Director of the American Center for Democracy. Dr. Ehrenfeld's 2003 book, Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It, which was published solely in the United States by a U. S. publisher, alleged that a Saudi Arabian subject and his family financially supported Al Qaeda in the years preceding the attacks of September 11. He sued Ehrenfeld for libel in England, although only 23 books were sold there.

For some background, we have the following excerpt from U.S. should stand up to 'libel tourism', published earlier this month:

When Rachel Ehrenfeld wrote Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It, she assumed she would be protected by the First Amendment. She was, in the United States. But a wealthy Saudi businessman she accused in the book of being a funder of terrorism, Khalid bin Mahfouz, sued in Britain, where the libel laws are heavily weighted against journalists, and won a sizable amount of money.

The lawsuit is a case of what legal experts are calling "libel tourism." Ehrenfeld is an American, and “Funding Evil” was never published in Britain. But at least 23 copies of the book were sold online, opening the door for the lawsuit. When Ehrenfeld decided not to defend the suit in Britain, bin Mahfouz won a default judgment and is now free to sue to collect in the United States.

British law is un-American

The upshot is a First Amendment loophole. In the Internet age, almost every American book can be bought in Britain. That means American authors are subject to being sued under British libel law, which in some cases puts the initial burden on the defendant to prove the truth of what she has written. British libel law is so tilted against writers that the U.N. Human Rights Committee criticized it last month for discouraging discussion of important matters of public interest.

Bin Mahfouz, who has denied financing terrorism, said Ehrenfeld's book contained inaccuracies and demanded a retraction. He also demanded a significant contribution to a charity of his choice – a charity Ehrenfeld said she feared would be one with ties to terrorism. Ehrenfeld, who describes herself as being "in the business of stopping people who fund terrorism," refused to back down. "I said," she later recalled, "he's found the wrong victim."

For a list of Senators you can contact regarding this bill, see Rachel's Law for Free Speech -- although I recommend you investigate this matter yourself and write your own letter, not just copy-and-paste the letter found at the link.

For more information, you can also see the posts linked in my sidebar; for other background and contact information, you can see Exclusive: Your Turn: Contact Congress about the Free Speech Protection Act.

I also highly encourage you to go to Dr. Ehrenfeld's website to learn more, and to contribute to our legal counterjihad.

To hear Sheikh bin Mahfouz' side of the story, see the link in my sidebar under the heading "Financiers of Holy Terror".

Attack by Fire: Prelude

The shooter was out of breath, so he ducked into an alley and stopped running. Here in the darkness of the alley, he could rest for a moment.

Breathing heavily, he looked around, then looked back out on the street. The cars they had come in were burning, and in the distance, he could hear sirens; already, the police and fire departments were on their way. At this time of the night, there was little traffic, and they would get here quickly. The shooter had to keep moving.

He looked down the alley, and saw that it came out on another street, but wondered whether he really wanted to go down the alleyway – after all, he might be down there.

Thinking it through, he decided to go back out on the street, and walk calmly to the street corner, and then go down the next street. He stepped out of the alleyway, and began walking. It was only several yards to the corner.

Gotham Police were arriving, and an officer in one car looked him over closely. The officer said something to his partner who was driving, and the car slowed down, well before arriving at the site of the burning vehicles.

Too late – the shooter turned the corner, and walked a little faster to the next corner. By the time the police came back around to where he now was, he would be somewhere else.

The shooter's thoughts went back to what had just happened.

He and another guy were going out to look for him, and maybe take a shot at him – maybe even collect the reward – but he had surprised them. Now, the cars they were in were burning furiously, and the other man was hanging from a fire escape on the fourth floor. He wasn't badly hurt, he wouldn't talk to the police, and Mr. Falcone would take care of him – but the shooter had to make it back to tell Mr. Falcone.

The shooter glanced around, crossed the street, came to the next corner, and turned again, then continued thinking about it.

The other guy saw him first, and got off some shots at him, but it was no use. He grabbed the guy, literally flew up to the fourth floor with him, and stuck him there on the fire escape, dangling thirty-five feet above the alley below.

The shooter was startled, and didn't want to hit his buddy, so he hesitated and didn't open fire himself, and in that moment, he had hung his buddy from the fire escape, then disappeared. As the shooter was looking around, he was already aware of the attention that his buddy's shots had begun to draw.

Suddenly, the shooter turned, and froze – his heart melted within him, as he looked into the eyes, as if looking into the angry eyes of a demon sent straight from Hell.

He grabbed the shooter, and lifted him right up off the ground.

He had a quiet, deep voice, a kind of a raspy whisper. "I'll be back for you, later," he had said. The way he emphasized the last two words was unnerving; it was creepy.

Just then, enormous explosions had ripped apart his car and his buddy's car, startling the shooter, and in that moment, he smiled, threw the shooter down behind some garbage cans, and in the time that it took the shooter to recover himself and look up, he had disappeared.

The shooter was coming to another street corner, so he again looked around, jaywalked across the street, and turned the corner.

The shooter looked around some more, looking high up on the buildings on both sides of the street, as well as up and down the street, studying momentarily each of the few persons and vehicles he saw.

One thing was for sure: though an hour ago he had been the hunter, there was now no doubt about it; the roles had reversed, and now the shooter was the hunted.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two Plus Two, Part 6

We continue from Two Plus Two, Part 5 with SENATOR BIDEN: AN INDEPENDENT KOSOVA IS INEVITABLE, which was written in 2002:

Biden noted throughout his address to the Albanian American community from Illinois and Wisconsin that he had come to the Albanian issue "not in an academic way, but in an emotional one." His Irish great grandparents could neither read nor write, but if they had been literate, the British of the nineteenth century would have killed them. Biden explained that it was because of this personal understanding of oppression and his meeting Joe DioGuardi (with Senator Claiborne Pell in 1991) that he spoke out on the Senate floor against the arms embargo that was penalizing the Bosnian Muslim victims of aggression at the hands of Slobodan Milosevic. In his subsequent report, "Lift and Strike," Biden called for lifting the arms embargo and striking Serbia. Later, in 1998 and 1999, he introduced Senate resolutions condemning Serbian attacks on Kosovar Albanians and calling for the bombing of Serbia to end Milosevic's genocidal warfare.

Throughout his foreign policy work in the Balkans, Senator Biden said that his aim was "to change five hundred years of history." As long as the Balkans are viewed as "a backwater and an appendage of Europe," Biden observed, "the world will not care if seven million Albanians are being persecuted." As long as the Balkans remain isolated, its peoples will be at the mercy of external powers, adding that the Europeans must stop making Albanians "pawns that can be moved on the chessboard by others." To the extent that the Robert Kaplans of the world can sell the message that the people of the Balkans are "uncivilized, not cultured, and not capable, we will lose," Biden said. He appealed to Albanians in the audience, and through the Civic League, to be the people who move the world's perspective in a different direction.

Returning to the image of the spotlight, Biden expressed his grave concern that the "light that had shone brightly" during the NATO bombing campaign was "beginning to fade." He emphasized that, "To the degree that the world does not shine light on the plight of Albanians, their condition will become dire." To prevent this fate and to make Albanian freedom a reality, Biden said that Albanians must become part of Europe. Simultaneously, Biden expressed his strong conviction that the U.S. government must remain involved in the Balkans for integration to happen. The United States must have its "arms and rifles and boots on the ground," he said, if there is to be "ultimate security for seven million Albanians through integration into Europe." He added that the kind of functioning multiethnic societies that the West would like to see in the Balkans cannot occur in the absence of physical security and economic growth.

And, of course, "arms and rifles and boots on the ground" also help provide security for other things besides democracy in multiethnic societies. From A discreet deal in the pipeline, dated February 15 2001:

In November 1998, Bill Richardson, then US energy secretary, spelt out his policy on the extraction and transport of Caspian oil. "This is about America's energy security," he explained. "It's also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We're trying to move these newly independent countries toward the west.

"We would like to see them reliant on western commercial and political interests rather than going another way. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian, and it's very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right."

The project has been discussed for years. The US trade agency notes that the Trans-Balkan pipeline "will become a part of the region's critical east-west Corridor 8 infrastructure ... This transportation corridor was approved by the transport ministers of the European Union in April 1994". The pipeline itself, the agency says, has also been formally supported "since 1994". The first feasibility study, backed by the US, was conducted in 1996.

The pipeline does not pass through the former Yugoslavia [yes, it does; Macedonia is a former Yugoslav Republic -- YD], but there's no question that it featured prominently in Balkan war politics. On December 9 1998, the Albanian president attended a meeting about the scheme in Sofia, and linked it inextricably to Kosovo. "It is my personal opinion," he noted, "that no solution confined within Serbian borders will bring lasting peace." The message could scarcely have been blunter: if you want Albanian consent for the Trans-Balkan pipeline, you had better wrest Kosovo out of the hands of the Serbs.

So, there's Senator Biden's "arms and rifles and boots on the ground" -- unless we agreed to the demands of Albanian leaders (who are extensively tied to organized crime), there would be no deal on an oil pipeline; but if we did agree to those demands, there would be (and is) heroin and oil money for the campaigns of our political leaders in Washington, and business for their cronies.

From The Most Dangerous Game in the World: Oil, War, and U.S. Global Hegemony, dated July 25, 2002 (numerals in parentheses are footnotes; see original):

The Balkans is considered to be central to the "pipeline map", because oil destined for Western Europe must pass through them at one point or another.(34) During the 1999 Kosovo war, some of the critics of NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia alleged that the US and its allies in the West were seeking to secure a passage for oil from the Caspian Sea. This claim was mocked by the British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who observed that "there is no oil in Kosovo". This observation was, of course, true but irrelevant to the claim. The oil reserves of the Caspian are a long way from the Balkans, but the routes by which this oil must come to the markets in the West are not. In 1997, BP and the Texas Halliburton Company proposed a pipeline that would go from Burgas in Bulgaria through Skopje in Macedonia to Vlore, a port in Albania.(35) This would be one of the shortest and least expensive of the possible routes. All these give the necessity of security in the Southeastern Europe an additional direct economic importance, adding to the primary strategic concerns that stand behind the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. Geography makes the Balkans region a key stepping stone to oil interests in Eurasia.(36)

It was claimed that the main globalistic objective of the US-led NATO operations in Kosovo was to pacify Yugoslavia so that transnational oil corporations can secure the oil transportation route from the Caspian Sea through Yugoslavia, into Central Europe.(37) After the NATO's bombing campaign in March 1999, the US spent 36,6 million dollars to build Camp Bondsteel in southern Kosovo. The largest American foreign military base constructed since Vietnam, Camp Bondsteel was built by the Brown & Root Division of Halliburton, the world's biggest oil services corporation, which was run by Dick Cheney before he was made Vice-President.(38) On 2 June 1999, the US Trade and Development Agency announced that it had awarded a half-million dollar grant to Bulgaria to carry out a feasibility study for the pipeline across the Balkans.(39)

And that's how a Republican administration can agree with a powerful Democrat Senator on foreign policy -- it seems buddies of Bush & Cheney are getting a big piece of the action.

And that's why we support Islamic terrorists and heroin traffickers in Kosovo -- 1) over Christian Serbs, whose nation has been dismembered in violation of international law, and 2) to the detriment of the decent people among Southeastern Europe's ethnic Albanian Muslim community, who have been (and are being) sold out to governments of criminals and terrorists.


Biden was candid in his criticism of the Bush administration for "exaggerating progress in the Balkans" in order to allow Americans to disengage prematurely from Kosova, Macedonia, and Bosnia. He cited Serbia as an example. While acknowledging that the government of Kostunica and Djindjic was certainly better than the Milosevic regime, Biden said that he and many others in Congress would continue to insist that Serbia, as the "prime mover of the insane genocidal warfare of the 1980s and 1990s," must meet all of the conditions necessary to receive U.S. assistance. Specifically, he said that Belgrade must cease its negative interference in Kosova and Bosnia; that it must end the de facto partition of Mitrovice and let displaced Albanians return to their homes in the north and Serbs to theirs in the south; that it must turn over all of its war criminals to The Hague; and that it must publicly apologize for its genocidal campaigns in Kosova, Bosnia, and Croatia. Like the Germans of the Nazi era, Biden argued that it was important for Serbs to shed the mythology that they are victims—a mythology that has enabled them to justify their acts of aggression against others—so that new generations do not repeat history.

It seems Senator Biden and President Bush were bidding for the praise and attention of the ethnic Albanian community -- at least insofar as that praise and attention were represented by the AACL.

To be sure, not everyone associated with the AACL is associated with Albanian organized crime. It is helpful to recall a quote from Sibel Edmonds, made in the context of her case, but which seems to apply here; from An Interview with Sibel Edmonds, Page Two by Chris Deliso, July 1, 2004:

CD: [snip] At several points you state that such organized crime networks employ "semi-legitimate organizations" as their point of interface with governments and the "legit" world. Can you explain exactly what you mean?

SE: These are organizations that might have a legitimate front -- say as a business, or a cultural center or something. And we've also heard a lot about Islamic charities as fronts for terrorist organizations, but the range is much broader and even, simpler.

CD: For example?

SE: You might have an organization supposed to be promoting the cultural affairs of a certain country within another country. Hypothetically, say, an Uzbek folklore society based in Germany. The stated purpose would be to hold folklore-related activities -- and they might even do that -- but the real activities taking place behind the scenes are criminal.

CD: Such as?

SE: Everything -- from drugs to money laundering to arms sales. And yes, there are certain convergences with all these activities and international terrorism.

Drugs, money laundering, arms sales -- and trafficking in women for forced prostitution -- and terrorism, as well as Big Oil and Big Oil Services.

And money... from Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate by Jim Hogue, May 7, 2004:

JH: Here's a question that you might be able to answer: What is al-Qaeda?

SE: This is a very interesting and complex question. When you think of al-Qaeda, you are not thinking of al-Qaeda in terms of one particular country, or one particular organization. You are looking at this massive movement that stretches to tens and tens of countries. And it involves a lot of sub-organizations and sub-sub-organizations and branches and it's extremely complicated. So to just narrow it down and say al-Qaeda and the Saudis, or to say it's what they had at the camp in Afghanistan, is extremely misleading. And we don't hear the extent of the penetration that this organization and the sub-organizations have throughout the world, throughout their networks and throughout their various activities. It's extremely sophisticated. And then you involve a significant amount of money into this equation. Then things start getting a lot of overlap -- money laundering, and drugs and terrorist activities and their support networks converging in several points. That's what I'm trying to convey without being too specific. And this money travels. And you start trying to go to the root of it and it's getting into somebody's political campaign, and somebody's lobbying. And people don't want to be traced back to this money.

From Big money in politics - sign of excess? by Deborah Charles, March 26, 2008:

"Yes it's a lot of money. But really -- it's less about the overall amount of money than where that money is coming from and who is supplying it," said [Gary] Klaman [of watchdog group U.S. PIRG].

Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics said even with the Internet contributions, only about 4 percent of Americans make a contribution to a federal politician.

"The bulk of the money is coming from a tiny group of largely wealthy Americans who are having a great impact disproportionate to their numbers on something that should be important to everybody," he said.

Klaman agreed.

"That is what should frighten Americans -- when these guys get elected are they looking primarily out for the good of the people or are there debts that they need to pay back," he said.

"[D]ebts that they need to pay back...."

It seems there is far too much oil in the Caspian Basin to bring out through the Turkish Straits, and Russia is a big competitor, seeking to move oil through a pipeline in Bulgaria and Greece...

so we needed our own oil pipeline, linking to a secure deepwater port in Albania to effectively compete...

but, for that, we needed to give ethnic Albanian organized crime and terrorists what they wanted, an independent Kosovo and US "arms and rifles and boots on the ground" to protect it -- and to protect the pipeline.

So, here's America's energy security -- being built to be dependent upon Islamic extremists tied to Bush's friends, the Saudis, most notably and emphatically including ties to Sheikh Osama bin Laden.

And, here's Senator Joe Biden -- in the pocket of Albanian organized crime (the same pocket that Senator John McCain is in), and in the pocket of Big Oil; with Presidential ambitions, and perhaps soon to be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Dark Knight, Part 5 of 5

Alfred stepped into the security office. "What is the status of the intruders in Area 5, Mr. Marshall?"

Marshall had been the head of security at Wayne Manor for over four years now, and still, he had no idea what was the mystery of Area 5. Intruders in Area 5 were not unheard-of – it happened every few months that he would notice an intruder. But, normally, it was an individual intruder, and this time he counted three. Also, normally, Alfred seemed to know all about the situation; this time, it seemed, he didn't.

"I'm counting three sir. They are moving slowly. I think they're looking for something."

"They are, indeed, Mr. Marshall."

Sasha stood behind Alfred, looking at the multifunction displays. It looked to her like there were at least four intruders. Also, from their position on the display, it looked like they were getting close to one of the entrances to the Batcave.

She and Alfred exchanged glances.

It had been a late summer day, one of the most beautiful in Gotham City that anyone could remember.

She had been to Gotham City before, but never had it seemed so lively, so bustling, yet at the same time, so tranquil and relaxing.

She had been having a vacation with the love of her life, Bruce Wayne. They were touring Europe, and had gone to Russia. They had been having a wonderful time. It was how she imagined a honeymoon would be, except that she and Bruce were not married. Bruce had a reputation, even then, as a dedicated bachelor; and she, herself, had no particular desire to marry. But, she really felt that if ever she were going to get married, it would be to Bruce Wayne, such was the time she had with him. It really hit her on the bank of the Moscow River – she was in love, hopelessly.

But, something was wrong. Suddenly, Bruce Wayne woke up, panic-stricken, and announced that he was leaving, immediately, returning to Gotham City – to a place where he had expressed little desire to go.

She later found out that it had been on the anniversary of his parents' death; in fact, he awoke, in Moscow, at the same time that his parents had been killed in Gotham City so many years before.

So, that had been early in the summer, in late June, and now it was late summer – a Tuesday morning in early September. After much thought, she had decided to pursue Bruce Wayne – she had decided to go to Gotham City, and find out what was wrong, and try to be part of his life.

In late August, she announced her plans to her father, but he was very emphatically against the idea. They had argued loudly, he demanding and insisting that she not go, that she obey him. It had all been so very confusing to her, because he approved of Bruce Wayne – what could the problem possibly have been? When pressed, he only explained that Gotham City was not a safe place to be, and that she should obey her father and stay away.

Then, it hit her. There was a terrible fire at the Gotham Trade Center. Both of the Gotham Towers were burning, dozens of stories above the street. This could be no accident – it was deliberate, a terrible crime, and her father was into it up to his neck. He had to be. He had known something was going to happen, and any crime this big took planning, and there is no way it could have happened without Ra's al Ghul knowing about it.

And now, tonight, he was leading his men into the Batcave, that secret place under Wayne Manor where Bruce Wayne's alter ego waged his personal war on crime.

What would come of it all? Talia sighed, unsure what to do next, torn between the two men in the world that she loved more than anyone or anything else – more than life itself.

It was a beautiful evening, late May, maybe early June. He couldn't be sure. The master had led him into the village again, and now they were on the edge of the village, along the bank of a stream. With the water from the melting snow, the stream had in recent weeks tumbled many of the rocks on its bed – some of them quite sizeable. But now, it was back to normal, a slow, steady flow of water from up on the nearby hill.

"Most skilled warriors seek to be like water, and that is a good thing," explained the master. "Just as water flows through and around obstacles, going past a boulder and flowing into a hole, so does a skilled warrior bypass strength and attack where his enemy is weak. And, just as water changes its shape according to its surroundings, so does the skilled warrior change his tactics to adapt to the situation."

The master paused, looking at him. "Just as water has no constant form, so does the skilled warrior constantly accommodate himself to his enemy, shaping his victories as they come."

Bruce Wayne nodded.

"Water can isolate an enemy; water can be powerful, and if it strikes with focus and concentration, it can tumble a boulder, or wear it down and break it apart." The master stopped, looking closely at Wayne. "There is something, however, far more devastating than water."

"I saw your signal, sir. All is ready," Alfred said into the telephone.

Marshall was monitoring the situation outside, deploying Wayne Manor's security personnel. He shook his head, not understanding his orders to keep them in Areas 1 through 4, where the mansion was, but not to enter Area 5, where the intruders were.

He looked at one monitor. Two vanloads of heavily armed personnel from Wayne Enterprises Corporate Security were still five minutes away. He looked at another monitor. Sasha was now taking up position in the panic room, which served as a secure alternate command post under Wayne Manor.

"Are you still counting three intruders, Mr. Marshall?" Alfred asked him.

He nodded, pointing at the screen. "Right in the middle of Area 5."

"Master Bruce says there are five."

"Water can isolate an enemy, even overthrow him, but fire can destroy him completely," the master continued. "There are different ways of attacking with fire, and there are seasons and times more favorable to setting fires; however, a medium must be relied upon always, and one should always have on hand the necessary implements to start a fire," the master explained, then added conspiratorially, "as well as the necessary implements to fight fires."

They were walking into the heart of the village now, where the villagers had a large bonfire going in a square, and a lively party was developing around it.

"Fire, like water, changes according to the situation, and so must one's responses to fire change, according to the situation. When a fire breaks out among your enemy, follow up if you can, but if your enemy remains calm and professional, it is better to bide your time."

Wayne looked around. The villagers were bringing a large animal to roast it – was it a boar from the woods?

"If you can set, away from your enemy, a fire which moves toward him, you need not set a fire among your enemy. However," the master cautioned, "care should be taken, and such a fire should be set at an appropriate time."

Wayne nodded, looking at the boar. He understood an implicit warning, that one should not be cooked in one's own fire.

Sasha was now fully suited up in her body armor, armed with a variety of weapons, including small grenades which were remarkably similar to the Batbombs she had seen down below, in the Batcave.

Her orders were to prevent anyone from moving from the Batcave up into Wayne Manor, and, if it became necessary, to coordinate with Alfred a counterattack to retake the Batcave, should it fall into enemy hands.

"You can cut the power to the Batcave, and leave the place in the dark, and you've got the chemical flood lights, which can blind the intruders with their intensity. You have smoke and Batgas available..." Bruce had explained to her. "If it comes down to it, lead the security detail in, and blast anything that moves," he added.

This remark caught a sharp glance from Alfred.

In answer to his unspoken comment, Bruce Wayne smiled. "Don't worry, Alfred. If it goes that way, I'll try to hold still."

"I was concerned about the raccoons, sir."

"Beware of the wind. It can blow all day, but die down at night, and it can bluster all night, and the morning can be calm," the master explained, cautioning, "and if you start a fire upwind, do not attack from downwind!"

There was dancing and music around, and Bruce Wayne recognized some friends of the master. They smiled and nodded to him. Off in the distance, he could see the fortune-teller, but she was looking the other way.

Sasha looked again at the screen: several heavily-armed figures were entering the Batcave.

She turned up the sound to try to hear anything they might say.

"Now to win a battle and take the position you are attacking, but not follow up, is very wasteful. So, the skilled leader considers the plan, and the skilled warrior executes it. If it is not in the interests of justice, do not attack. If you cannot succeed, then do not use force, and if innocent people are not in danger, do not fight. You must not go into battle because you are angry or resentful, for the enraged man may again be happy, and the resentful man again pleased, but the place that has been destroyed can never be restored as it was, nor can the dead be raised back to life."

Bruce Wayne studied the master carefully, then stated, "You are not speaking about fire." Wayne looked at the fortune-teller, and they exchanged smiles across the square which, were it not for the open fire, would now be quite dark. "This whole lesson is not about fire, or water, is it?"

"You are very perceptive, Mr. Wayne," the master answered.

"What are the villagers celebrating?"

"Your stay with us. It is your going-away party, Mr. Wayne. You have completed your studies, and will be leaving."

Surprised, Wayne looked at the master. "And where will I go?"

"Tomorrow or the next day, I do not know, but you will wind up back in Gotham City."

Wayne opened his mouth to protest, as he did not intend to return to Gotham City, certainly not any time soon, but the master waved his hand. "Don't take my word for it; ask your friend, the fortune-teller. She is hoping to dance with you."

The figures advanced, and suddenly, they saw ahead of them, looming out of the shadows, the prey they had sought. Stepping forward to meet them, it was the Batman, and, for a moment, the place was deathly quiet.

Sasha, watching and listening via the closed circuit surveillance system, gasped as the room erupted in a blur of movement and terrible sound: swords clashed, automatic weapons fire exploded in the air, equipment around the Batcave sparked as circuits shorted out, and smoke quickly could be seen throughout the Batcave – smoke from the gunfire, smoke from the damaged equipment....

As quickly as it had begun, it was over. The five men stood looking, but their prey was no longer standing before them. Slowly, they looked around, as Sasha strained her ears to listen for any sound.

They looked, they turned, they exchanged glances.... Finally, one of the men turned to another, who appeared to be the leader, and asked, "Where did he go?"

It was a low, raspy whisper; it was the kind of voice that got someone's attention. And, it came from immediately behind them.

"I'm right here."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gina Khan on Sharia Courts

Long-time followers of my blog will recall that I have occasionally written about Gina Khan in my posts, going so far as to incorporate an extensive interview she had done in the media into a series that I did.

Well, I have also been in touch with this remarkable lady via e-mail. It is my impression that many people have sent her e-mails, and that the bulk of them have been very supportive. To be sure, I understand that, for taking a stand against militancy and extremism in the Islamic world, Gina, a Muslim, has also received her share of death threats from extremists.

Last year, I had hoped Gina would do an interview for me to post on this blog. If I am not mistaken, she was receiving so many e-mails with similar requests that she was unable to grant all the requests -- though, being a real lady, she made an effort to at least answer the e-mails she received.

During the course of this year, however, I have continued to occasionally pester Gina with questions. She has been giving my questions some thought, and has been doing some research, but does not yet have definitive answers for me. She did send me answers she had to questions she had been asked elsewhere regarding the implementation of sharia law in the West, commenting:

"One thing is for sure, I deplore the idea of sharia law being implemented in the West... so take the opportunity to put it up on your web.

Take care

Though I only know Gina through the exchange of a few e-mails, my distinct impression is that she is honest and intelligent, and that she has a great deal of common sense and integrity -- no wonder the Islamists hate her!

I am pleased and honored now to present the thoughts Gina has asked me to share with my readers regarding sharia courts:

What is the drive behind these courts?

This is the culmination of decades of activism and ideological conditioning by Islamic institutions to incorporate the principles of separate laws for Muslims in the context of British society. More generally, it is a male-led movement, disguising itself under the rhetoric of equal rights and superficial notions of 'multiculturalism', to embed reactionary religious laws in our society, and beyond that, to increase the influence and power of Islamic values interpreted by male clerics over the lives of Muslims in Britain. Even the acceptance of the most innocuous forms of arbitration is a big stick in their hands, as they can then act out control and judgment with the sanction of the state, and can use that to intimidate or bully opponents of sharia in the Muslim community into silence, as well as Muslim women or men who do not want to be governed by this system of religious law, but are unable to deny its influence over them when it is used as a tool of arbitration with the tacit acceptance of the supposedly secular state. It is also a starting point to the long term attempts to increase the range and influence of sharia in Britain even further.

How are the courts viewed by the Muslim community? How are they viewed by women?

Most Muslims go about their daily lives without thinking about such things, because their most pressing concerns are to feed their families. Amongst conservatives there is support for the idea of basic sharia arbitration, especially when the denial of them as painted by activists like Bunglawala is erroneously generalized as discrimination against Muslims. On the other hand, all sentient non-Islamist Muslim women are horrified by the long term consequences of ceding power to sharia-ist men. We need to acknowledge that most Islamists are attempting to Islamize Britain and we need to acknowledge that sharia law is being used to discredit democracy. It is apparent that sharia law is different in may Muslim countries and very complex. The question we must ask is how will sharia judges be operating? There are serious ideological issues to consider, as well as legal, as a friend pointed out to me. Remember Anjem Chowdery (of al-Mujhajiroun) and Omar Bakri, who claimed to be judges of Uk sharia law. This is the impact of Islamist propaganda. Right now it's not the BNP I fear or militant jihadists as much as I fear the 'soft' jihadism creeping into almost every area of our lives at the grassroots level. Mr Bunglawala from the MCB seems to have an issue with the Jewish arbitrations Beth Din operating but they do not impose or contravene with British laws and rights. Above all it's not Judaismm that is in crisis, in conflict with democracies or a threat to Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide. Islam has been brought to a crisis and the sharia legal system is a major issue that cannot be resolved. It's ongoing and problematic.

What do I think government policy should be?

A brilliant barrister who has written to Muslim newspapers about Muslim marriages, Neil Addison, has already shown how Muslim practice is out of step with every other religious community in Britain, including the other main minority religious communities, in refusing to submit marriage ceremonies to British law. This leaves Muslim women and men beleaguered when marriages go wrong and they do not have the same legal rights as all non-Muslims have in a similar situation, all because many parts of the Muslim establishment in Britain refuse to deny the privileging of secular British law over sharia. The British government must openly declare a long term aim of harmonizing the Muslim community with mainstream British society, and the first step to doing this is to will into action at every level of administration in our country the intent to empower Muslim individuals by denying any religiously-inspired legal sanction against them. For the long-term emancipation of British Muslims, and for the long-term harmony of British society, there must be no legal barriers to hinder national integration between groups in our society. Anything that increases the power of imams and mullahs over Muslim women and men, and embeds their judgment and power, must be denied. The government must also be wary of 'sharia creep', where sharia is accepted tacitly. An example of this is the decision to allow the wives of a polygamous Muslim man to receive welfare benefits as a spouse. In the long term, the government is going to have to tackle issues like polygamy in the Muslim community, which is perpetuated by the reluctance of the Islamic establishment in Britain to submit their marriage laws to secular British law. In fact they need to start listening to Britsh Muslim women like Shaista Gohar and Diane Nammi, and ex-Muslim women Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maryam Nawaazi, who all strongly oppose sharia law. Plus, how are these courts going to be monitered and how can measures be taken to stop discrimination against women in these kangaroo courts, when Islamists make no scope for any kind of progress to create change within their interpretations of sharia law, in regards to family law and the rights of Muslim women? To me sharia law is medieval.

Is a failure to recognise sharia courts de facto anti-Muslim?

No. To suggest that it is anti-Muslim is a cheap rhetorical trick employed by Islamists to mask their real agenda of special privileges and social control, and to paint Muslim opponents of sharia as being in some way traitorous or complicit in mainstream society's discrimination against Islam. The fact remains that many British Muslim women and Pakistani Muslim women oppose sharia law, as it discriminates against them as women -- wives, mothers and daughters -- particuarly in cases of domestic violence, divorce, inheritance and rape/sexual abuse.

I hope we can look forward to more posts incorporating material from Gina Khan.


Two Plus Two, Part 5

In Two Plus Two, Part 4 we began to look at what the representative of an organization that fronts for Albanian organized crime had to say about Senator Joe Biden, the Democrat candidate for Vice President. We continue now with SENATOR BIDEN: AN INDEPENDENT KOSOVA IS INEVITABLE, a 2002 article by Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, the wife of Albanian lobbyist and former Congressman Joe DioGuardi:

Following the singing of the American and Albanian national anthems and a moment of silence for the victims of 9/11 and the Kosova war, Joe DioGuardi opened the event; Pajazit Murtishi and Iljaz Kadriu welcomed Senator Biden on behalf of the community; Taip Besiri presented the community’s concerns to him in the form of prearranged questions about the status of Albanians in Kosova, Macedonia, Presheva, Montenegro, and Chameria; and Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi introduced the Senator.

In her introduction, Cloyes DioGuardi talked about the Civic League's presentation of the its 2nd annual Balkan Peace Award to Senator Biden (the first was presented to General Wesley Clark) on June 18, 2002, in the presence of Nexhat Daci, Speaker of the Kosova Assembly. Cloyes DioGuardi pointed out that the Civic League created the award to honor people who "do not simply talk about our issues, but who do something to get the job done." Senator Biden, she said, "has consistently and forcefully insisted that the United States must not abandon the Balkans to Europe and that we must not leave the region until there is peace and economic security for all."

In his remarks on June 18, Cloyes DioGuardi said that Biden drew a striking contrast between the vision of Robert Kaplan's Balkan Ghosts—a book that falsely identified the source of the Balkan conflict in the 1980s and 1990s as centuries of ethnic hatred instead of the consequence of Slobodan Milosevic and his genocidal warfare—and the work of Joe DioGuardi, whom Senator Biden called the "Balkan Beacon," because Joe had kept a contant focus, a "beacon of light," on the possibilities for peace and justice in Southeast Europe since 1986. Cloyes DioGuardi then stated that the same could be said about Senator Biden: "If Joe DioGuardi is the 'Albanian Balkan Beacon,' then Senator Biden is the 'Congressional Balkan Beacon.' For more than fifteen years, he has been disinfecting the problems of the Balkans in his light and insisting on a just solution when others averted their eyes as thousands died. While the Albanian community is quick to credit former President Bill Clinton with dropping the bombs on Serbia, the bombs would never have been dropped and Milosevic's genocidal march across Europe would not have been halted if it had not been for Joe Biden. He has earned our respect and our support."

It is worth recalling what we have learned elsewhere about the people who have since come to power in "Kosova" -- I suggest you review the following articles: Kosovo in 2008, Kosovo in 1999, Part 1, Kosovo in 1999, Part 2, Kosovo in 1999, Part 3, and Another Domino Falls.

You may also wish to review Terror, Corruption and Sex Slaves: From Moldova to Macedonia, Natasha: "I want to shoot him.", "Everybody Does It", Patriot Games: Sex Slaves, Drugs, Guns and Bribes (Part 1 of 2) and Patriot Games: Sex Slaves, Drugs, Guns and Bribes (Part 2 of 2).

Cloyes DioGuardi concluded by praising the members of the greater Chicago and Milwaukee communities for "following and supporting both 'beacons' and acting on the message that diplomacy is now more important than armed struggle when we have the United States on our side."

How necessary is armed struggle, when you can slip a little money into the right political campaign, and have America's political leadership supply your side with arms and air cover?

(Because that is exactly what happened.)

Senator Biden delivered a powerful speech, in which he began by stating that it was important for Albanian Americans to become deeply engaged in a political structure. "It is difficult to get the attention of the president and the U.S. government today because so many other issues overshadow ours", and so "we must be able to make our case." (He refreshingly and repeatedly referred to Albanian issues as "our issues" throughout his speech.) The problem does not lie in a person or institution "being anti-Albanian or anti-engagement when it comes to U.S. foreign policy," explained. "The problem lies when America has a different focus and it leaves Albanian and Balkan issues behind. The spotlight must stay on us." Senator Biden praised the Civic League for keeping the spotlight on the gross injustices against Albanian people that must be remedied in the Balkans, and he praised Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, in particular, for "marshaling the facts and presenting the case that has gained the attention of the U.S. government."

It is important to note, as has Ms. Cloyes DioGuardi, Senator Biden's phraseology: "our issues".

As this series continues, we will look closely at what issues Senator Biden, who has been "achieving a mind meld on foreign policy" with Senator Barack Obama, shares with Albanian organized crime.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Two Plus Two, Part 4

In Two Plus Two, Part 1, we provided an introduction to how John McCain, US Senator and Republican candidate for President, and Joe Biden, US Senator and Democrat candidate for Vice President, are both linked to the same foreign organized crime cartel. In Part 2 and Part 3 we reviewed the connections between Senator McCain and an organization that fronts for Albanian organized crime and Islamic extremist terrorists. Starting in this part, we consider Senator Joe Biden's connections with this same organized crime and terrorist front group, and the influence Senator Biden would likely have on US foreign policy in an Obama Administration.

Months before Senator Joe Biden became Senator Barack Obama's running mate, an insightful article predicted a role for him should Obama win the November election. We begin with Secretary of State Biden?, dated May 22, 2008:

Joe Biden was going to be John Kerry's secretary of State. "That was what we were led to believe" before Kerry lost to George W. Bush in '04, says an aide to the Delaware senator, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Now Biden, who has been to foreign policy in the Senate what Ted Kennedy has been to domestic policy (almost anyway!), is emerging as a major consigliere to Barack Obama — perhaps with his eye on State once again. Among the top items on Biden's agenda: making sure that Obama has better luck in November than Kerry did. That means, first, relentlessly attacking and counterattacking the Republicans on the campaign trail, especially on national-security issues. And, second, relentlessly defining John McCain as "joined at the hip" to Bush, as Biden put it in a speech in Washington on Tuesday.

Considering what we have learned in this blog about John McCain's foreign policy, it is important to note the Senator Biden wishes to make a distinction between the foreign policy of an Obama White House and that of a McCain White House.

In an interview, Biden said that he and other leading Democrats are "absolutely, thoroughly, totally" making a conscious effort to ensure that Obama doesn't become the next Kerry. The failure of Kerry and the Dems of '04 to seize control of the national-security agenda and counterattack Bush was a mistake "that was emblazoned in my mind," Biden says. Hence this week's onslaught of Democratic ripostes to Bush's seeming suggestion, in a speech to the Israeli Knesset, that Obama was guilty of "appeasement" for indicating he would negotiate with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other U.S. adversaries. Biden called Bush's remarks a "long-distance Swift Boat attack" and said that the president seemed unaware that his secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, had "the day before" called for engagement with Iran and that Bush had previously "struck a deal with Libya's [Muammar] Kaddafi and wrote polite letters to North Korea's Kim Jong Il."

On Friday, Biden will fire back at another McCain proxy, Sen. Joe Lieberman, on the pages of The Wall Street Journal. In a Journal op-ed piece Wednesday, Lieberman repeated the appeasement charge against Obama, saying he has "not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing" and that the Democratic Party had drifted away from "Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy," succumbing instead to "the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price." Though the Democrats have been divided throughout the primary season, attacks like these may help bring them together. Biden was among the first Democratic foreign-policy leaders to champion Obama aggressively—though he has not officially endorsed anyone.

So is Biden running to be President Obama's secretary of State? He denies it, saying he's worked with Hillary Clinton "much longer" than with Obama. That's a politician's non-answer, of course. To a striking degree, Biden and Obama seem to be achieving a mind meld on foreign policy. While some differences remain — Obama is more forthrightly opposed to future Iraq funding than Biden — both senators have been out in front calling for two brigades to be moved from Iraq to Afghanistan. And in his speech Tuesday, Biden echoed Obama's much-quoted effort to define down success in Iraq during testimony last month by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker—when the Democratic candidate suggested it was unrealistic to stay in Iraq until every vestige of Al Qaeda or Iranian influence was wiped out. The similarity was no accident, Biden indicated. "I discussed with Senator Obama how to proceed with Petraeus and Crocker," Biden told me. "He asked for my advice." Biden adds that one condition of his taking the State job would be that he doesn't turn into Colin Powell—someone marginalized by taking a different viewpoint than the president. "I wouldn't stay in a Powell role," he said. "I would want to make sure I was on same page as the president."

"To a striking degree, Biden and Obama seem to be achieving a mind meld on foreign policy."

-- and --

"I wouldn't stay in a Powell role," he said. "I would want to make sure I was on same page as the president."

This is very key information -- Senator Biden is now Senator Obama's running mate, and, presumably, Senator Biden is on the same page as Senator Obama.

Logically, then, Senator Obama is on the same page as Senator Biden, too.

Let's keep that in mind as this series progresses.

Obama campaign advisers say that the Illinois senator does seek out Biden's counsel quite often. While the two don't have a "warm personal friendship," says a Biden aide, their relationship has "evolved dramatically" from the early days when Biden watched with some skepticism as Obama rocketed to national renown and eclipsed his own presidential ambitions, as well as those of other more senior senators. "I can tell you that Senator Obama has the highest respect for Senator Biden," says Obama foreign-policy coordinator Denis McDonough. "It's obviously vital to have an open line to somebody who has been a key player in critical national-security debates for some time." Adds Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton: "At this point there's no list [for secretary of State], but when one is drawn up Senator Biden would be on anyone's short list."

Obama, of course, has made his early opposition to the war in Iraq a key talking point; it's a comfort to him that Biden, though he voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002, was aggressive in urging that the Democratic Caucus "had to take its time on Iraq debate, and couldn't just let president dictate the timing of it," says one Obama adviser. "That whole summer, and in the fall, he said we've got to make sure we kick tires on this. He is a real pro."

If he's elected, Obama will need a real pro at his side right away. The first-term Illinois senator would inherit a landscape littered with more crises than most presidents encounter—in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and the Palestinian territories and possibly in Lebanon and North Korea. Let the negotiations begin.

Senator Biden is considered a "real pro" -- and a professional he is, if we are to believe the Albanian American Civic League's glowing words about him. We now consider SENATOR BIDEN: AN INDEPENDENT KOSOVA IS INEVITABLE, an article written in 2002 by Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, the wife of former Congressman and now Albanian lobbyist Joe DioGuardi:

On Sunday, September 15, the Chicago chapter of the Albanian American Civic League, in conjunction with the Albanian community in the State of Illinois, hosted a reception and forum with Senator Joseph Biden at Diplomat West banquet hall in Elmhurst, Illinois. Members of the Civic League chapter in the greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area also participated. The event, which was coordinated by Pajazit Murtishi, owner of Illyria Travel in Chicago, with the help of former Congressman and AACL President Joe DioGuardi and Balkan Affairs Adviser Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi in New York, was part of the Civic League's continuing effort to keep the Albanian dimension of the Balkan conflict at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy concerns.

The Civic League views Senator Biden as the key link for making foreign policy changes in the U.S. government that will impact the future of Albanians in the Balkans in a progressive way—not only because of his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but also because of his in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the Albanian people. For this reason, the Civic League has been making a concerted effort to introduce Senator Biden to Albanian communities across the United States and to demonstrate to him that we do not take for granted his past and present contributions to bringing justice and freedom to all Albanians and to Southeast Europe.

That's a pretty interesting introduction from a lobby group that fronts for Islamic extremist terrorists and organized crime cartels who traffic in guns, heroin and women for forced prostitution.