Archive for December 22nd, 2006

Indonesia overturns terror conviction

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

I didn’t expect anything less.

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia overturned a terror conviction Thursday against the militant Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who served 2 1/2 years for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed more than 200 people.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he was upset for the families of the 88 Australian victims but was powerless to help. Australia, along with the United States, publicly accused the aging cleric of being a top leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian terror group.

“Of course it is the court system of another country and we can’t change that,” Howard told the Nine Network television. “But it doesn’t stop us feeling upset, and I know there will be a feeling of anger on the part on the parents and loved ones, and I am feeling for them this morning very much.”

Howard noted, however, that those who carried out the bombings and those who were directly responsible for them have been convicted.

Bashir, 69, who was released from prison in June, has long claimed that the government in the world’s most populous Muslim nation succumbed to pressure from the West when it arrested him soon after the Bali attacks.

Bashir’s son, Abdurrahmin, said his father had received word of the verdict.

“Thank God the Supreme Court has finally revealed the final truth,” he said by telephone from Bashir’s hometown on Java island. “He is praying now to say thanks to God that his prayers have been accepted.”

Brian Deegan, an Australian lawyer whose 21-year-old son Josh died in the attack, said he had given up trying to understand Indonesian justice.

“I’ve steeled myself to the point that I will never understand the Indonesian judicial system,” Deegan told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “I lost faith a long time ago in the entire process.”

Thursday’s ruling was in response to an appeal filed during Bashir’s imprisonment.

Supreme Court Chief Judge German Hoediarto told reporters he had decided to quash the conspiracy conviction following testimony from 30 witnesses, but gave no more details. A written verdict will likely be made public soon.

The 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, were the first in a string of attacks in Indonesia targeting Western interests, with 2003 and 2004 blasts at the Australian Embassy and the J.W. Marriott Hotel and triple suicide bombings on Bali last year.

Bashir has always denied any wrongdoing, but admits having known several Southeast Asian militants in the 1980s and 1990s who went to Afghanistan and trained there at al-Qaida-run camps.

Since his release, he has preached in towns across the country, espousing fiercely anti-American and anti-Jewish views and promoting his campaign to transform Indonesia’s secular state into an Islamic one.

Original Link.

Pro-Family Advocates Cast Doubt on Guttmacher’s Reported Premarital Sex Stats

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

(AgapePress) – A pro-family group is expressing skepticism about the accuracy of a new report that says 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex. A study by Lawrence Finer of the Alan Guttmacher Institute finds that 99 percent of Americans had sex by the age of 44, and 95 percent had done so before getting married.

The “reality-check research,” as Finer calls it, was based on interviews of more than 38,000 people, some 33,000 of them women, in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey on Family Growth. The study purportedly examined how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time. According to Finer’s analysis, even among those individuals who abstained from sex until at least age 20, four-fifths had had premarital sex by age 44. The study also found women, even those born decades ago, virtually as likely as men to engage in premarital sex.

An Associated Press report on the study quotes Finer as saying that the likelihood of Americans having sex before marriage has remained stable since the 1950s. In other words, the researcher claims premarital sex is “normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades.”

However, Dr. Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America (CWA) sees Finer’s report as a ploy to cast doubt on the need for abstinence-until-marriage programs. “My eyebrows went up when I first saw the numbers,” she recalls, “and I thought that the results were a bit too pat because they fit so specifically into the agenda of Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute.”

For that reason, Crouse says she is “quite suspicious” about the numbers cited in the Institute’s report. “They are so extreme,” she contends, “I think you’d have to have another study done to replicate those results before I would buy into them.”

One reason the CWA spokeswoman feels the credibility of this report on Americans and premarital sex needs to be questioned is that Finer works for a group which she believes actually favors both extramarital sex and abortion. The Guttmacher Institute, a private New York-based think tank that investigates sexual and reproductive issues, is an organization that strongly discourages government-funded abstinence-only programs and instead promotes so-called “comprehensive sex education,” which is condom-based and emphasizes the concept of “safe sex.”

The Guttmacher Institute is among a number of organizations, including the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, that tout “sexual rights” and “reproductive rights” — terms many pro-family and pro-life supporters understand to mean unrestricted sexual license and the right to abortion on demand. The Institute’s website, similar to those of Planned Parenthood and SIECUS, expresses the organization’s commitment to individuals’ rights to express themselves sexually — regardless of marital status — and to have access to “comprehensive” information that will enable them to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease and to “exercise the right to choose abortion.”

“The federal programs prior to the Bush administration were overwhelmingly supportive of comprehensive sex education, of course, which is provided by Planned Parenthood and supported by Guttmacher and SIECUS and all of the left-wing groups,” Crouse says. “And now that there is some money — just a tad of money — going for abstinence-till-marriage programs, [such groups] are objecting to any money whatsoever being spent in that direction.”

Lawrence Finer talks about people needing a “reality check” regarding premarital sex, Crouse adds. However, she insists it is his research that needs the reality check.

Abstinence Education Advocate: Guttmacher’s Facts Are Skewed
Abstinence-based sex education proponent Leslee Unruh, who heads the South Dakota-based Abstinence Clearinghouse, is also suspicious of the Guttmacher Institute’s findings — and of the motives behind them. “Of course, right now we know the reason abstinence education is being attacked and these types of studies are going to continue to come up more and more in the following months,” she says, “is because of the reauthorization of Title V. Title V is the federal dollars that are funding the abstinence-until-marriage program across the nation.”

Unruh says Guttmacher has been a part of Planned Parenthood in the past, and it continues to have an interest in pushing “this new, so-called research,” which appears to support comprehensive sex education programs. However, she insists that the sexual “freedom” being promoted by Guttmacher and the other organizations pushing the “safe-sex” myth has failed an entire generation of Americans.

“The sexual revolution came, it went, and it lost,” the Abstinence Clearinghouse director observes. “The sexual revolution ended the last century, and we feel people need to be looking to what the newfound research is on sexuality,” she says. “Today’s a new day, and we know that from the studies we have seen, that many young people are demanding the higher standard of abstinence education.”

Abstinence Clearinghouse has seen study after study indicating that increasing numbers of young people are open to the abstinence message and that many are choosing to remain chaste until marriage, Unruh observes. “According to the CDC, there are less kids having sex now than those that are,” she asserts. “So we have numbers that show there is a different thought process going on in America right now, and we believe a lot of that has to do with the fact that these programs raise the bar.”

Condom-based sex education, Unruh suggests, can have the effect of communicating to young people that “everyone else” is having sex, and that having premarital sex is not only normal but inevitable. What abstinence-only education does, the pro-family advocate contends, is empower young people to choose intimacy over immediate gratification, love over lust, so that more and more are “looking to a lifetime mate, a monogamous relationship, and choosing purity over promiscuity.”

Original Link.
My Original Post.

London Braces for Attack; ‘Miracle’ If There Isn’t One

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Members of the so-called “religion of peace” aka Islam, are promising to attack London sometime around Christmas. Just because. No real reason, just because they hope to kill a bunch of innocent people during our Holiest season.

British intelligence and law enforcement officials have passed on a grim assessment to their U.S. counterparts, “It will be a miracle if there isn’t a terror attack over the holidays in London,” a senior American law enforcement official tells ABCNews.com.

British police have been quietly carrying out a series of key arrests as they continue to track at least six active “plots” tied to what they call “al Qaeda of England.”

Officials said they could not cite any specific date or target but said al Qaeda had planned previous operations during the Christmas holidays that had been disrupted.

“It is not a matter of if there will be an attack, but how bad the attack will be,” an intelligence official told ABCNews.com.

Authorities say they are seeking at least 18 suspected suicide bombers.

Original Link.