Archive for July 24th, 2007

Taliban Hostage Deadline Looms: South Korean Christians Face Death

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

We need to continue to pray for Christians who face very real and deadly persecution for their faith. As usual, Islam seems to be the root of the problem.

Michelle Malkin has more:

Update 11:40am Eastern. Taliban wants an 8-for-8 hostages for jailed jihadis trade.

I know I shouldn’t been stunned by the lack of attention being paid to this story, but I am. The 23 South Korean Christians, including 18 women, kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan are scheduled to be put to death tonight. The hostages are mostly medical workers and teachers. The ultimatum has been pushed back three times now:

    Qari Yousef Ahmadi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, said the militants had extended the deadline on the fate of the kidnapped South Koreans another day after the Afghan government refused to release any of the 23 Taliban prisoners the insurgents want freed.The militants have pushed back their ultimatum at least three times.

The Independent reports on the underground Afghan Christian movement. Apostates, as you’ll remember from the Abdul Rahman case, are subject to the death penalty for abandoning Islam:

    The kidnapping of South Korean church volunteers by the Taliban has sparked vigils in Seoul, and shone the spotlight on Afghanistan’s small, underground Christian community. In Mazar-e-Sharif, home to one of Islam’s most revered shrines, Ahmedi, 33, says he would be killed instantly if his faith were exposed. In this staunchly traditional society, conversion from Islam remains reviled by many Afghans – and by government officials. “If the war had not happened, if the Americans and foreigners had not come to Afghanistan, we would not have this freedom and we would not have this office,” says Ahmedi, who was fearful of giving his full name. The “office” is a community centre set up by a Christian charity, and Ahmedi is one of 100 or so Christians living in the northern city.Rumours abound here that many aid organisations are used as a cover by foreigners to indoctrinate people into Christianity. And in Ahmedi’s case, there is an element of truth – he converted from Shia Islam three years ago after meeting an American evangelical. Now his wife and four children are also Christian, and he is the priest of a local church. He has even helped convert other Afghans.

    The 23 South Koreans were kidnapped last week at gunpoint from a bus in Ghazni province, and belong to the Saemmul Church in Bundang, which says they are working as volunteer nurses and English teachers. However, boasts from some evangelical church leaders in South Korea about unofficially sending missionaries to Afghanistan has muddied the water between Christian volunteers doing humanitarian work, and those whose primary mission is to seek converts overseas.

    In Mazer-e-Sharif, a recent convert called Abdullah recalled how his family reacted when he revealed his change of faith. “When I received Jesus, I went to my house and I didn’t say prayers any more like other Muslims,” he said. “One night my father asked me to get up and pray, but I told him I can’t. He asked me why, and I told him I was a Christian. He started to fight with me.”

    Abdullah’s parents have come to accept his religion, but his oldest brother continues to ostracise him, and most other people do not even know he has converted. “If I go out and say I am a Christian they will curse me, hit me and kill me,” he said, matter of factly…Despite the dangers they face, Afghan Christians refuse to give in to the fear that they will be found out. “If I am afraid I will never receive Jesus,” said Abdullah.

As of 8:30am, there is nothing on the front page of the Human Rights Watch website about the plight of the South Korean Christian volunteers. Instead, the lead story is an article lambasting U.S. mandatory deportation laws regarding convicted criminal aliens. I kid you not.

Update: Reader Ken writes that he lived in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan “for most of 2002 and the Christian Charity there is called ‘Samaritan’s Purse’ based in North Carolina. They did wonderful things with very few resources unlike much better-funded organizations like ‘Save the Children.’ I am not surprised to hear they’ve converted 100 Muslims to Christianity as they simply do good things everyday. They give out shoes and food to the endless orphans abandoned by Islam to the backdrop of their revered ‘Blue Mosque.’ I specifically remember ‘Nina’ bravely walking through the streets of MeS (that what we called Mazar-i-Sharif) minus even her head scarf. Men glared at her but she was very strong and carried herself with the full knowledge men can only kill her body but not her spirit.”

Original Link.

Seattle Airport Officials Propose Ban on ‘Religious’ Christmas Decorations

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

They just don’t get it. I’ll say it yet again…it is not against the law to show religious decorations in public.

Unless history repeats itself, Christmas may be canceled at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as holiday decorations are once again the subject of a proposed ban.

The Port of Seattle’s Holiday Decorations Advisory Committee says the airport should be decorated for Christmas this year, but without any religious symbols. Last December, nine trees decorated with red ribbons and bows were removed after a rabbi threatened to sue unless a menorah was added. However, the trees were put back on display after the rabbi said he never wanted them removed.

Mat Staver is founder of Liberty Counsel, which intervened in the dispute last year. He says legal action may be necessary again. “Obviously, Liberty Counsel will get involved as we did last year with this airport,” the attorney explains. “We sent a letter [last year] demanding that they return the Christmas decorations to the airport — and with the public outcry, the airport did. This year, obviously, we’re back to the battleground again, and we’re certainly going to go to bat for protecting Christmas.”

Staver says it is absurd that government officials in Seattle are once again trying to censor Christmas in public. “I think it’s ridiculous in a country where we have December 25 as a state and federal holiday to celebrate and honor Christmas — something that’s rooted in the history of America — that governmental entities would come to censor it out,” he says.

Staver predicts that legal action is likely if the panel does not revamp its proposal to accommodate religious symbols.

Original Link.

“A Climate of Greed Never Changes” from Overlawyered

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

As if the sue happy, “something for nothing”, “entitled” people of this country will actually do the right thing. I’m sure they will sue as long as the day is long.

Among the nightmare scenarios of global warming, there’s one only now coming into view – and it’s definitely manmade: As predictable as the rising seas, we can expect a flood of class-action lawsuits trying to cash in on the issue.

Climate change promises to be “a lucrative new field” for the tort bar reports the Newark Star-Ledger. A Rutgers law professor predicts that global warming will make for “one of the biggest legal practices in the next 20 years.” (The Star-Ledger, 7/8/07)

The opinion is shared by the president of the World Resources Institute: “Companies that generate significant carbon emissions,” he warns, “face the threat of lawsuits similar to those common in the tobacco, pharmaceutical and asbestos industries.” (The Toronto Star, 4/29/07)

And if you thought asbestos and tobacco litigation were profitable, try to imagine all the “mass tort” cases that global warming will inspire. Energy companies, coal mines, any firm at all that generates carbon dioxide – these industries and many more can expect to find themselves accused of causing climate change.

Some law firms already have “climate-change groups” studying the possibilities. Another hint of things to come was a class action suit was filed on behalf of Mississippi residents against oil and coal companies after Hurricane Katrina – arguing that company emissions caused the climate change that caused the hurricane. (Star-Ledger, 7/8/07).

In Alaska, the Inuits claim that their island is sinking because of global warming. The aggrieved islanders haven’t decided who to sue yet – but they’ve got a Houston trial lawyer working on it. (Star-Ledger, 7/8/07)

All of which proves nothing at all about the actual causes or dangers of global warming. It’s just more evidence of a climate of greed and opportunism in the trial bar. And that’s one climate that never changes.

Steve Hantler

Original Link.

New Haven First City in U.S. to Offer ID Cards to Illegal Immigrants

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again…what part of “illegal” are people having a problem understanding??

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — This city is becoming the first in the nation to offer identification cards to illegal immigrants, trying to bring them out of the shadows even as many municipalities crack down on them.

Beginning Tuesday, New Haven will offer the ID cards to all of its 125,000 residents, including some 10,000 to 12,000 illegal immigrants.

The cards will allow immigrants to open bank accounts and use other services that may be unavailable without driver’s licenses or state-issued IDs. If they can open bank accounts, immigrants will be less likely to carry large amounts of cash, a practice that makes them easy targets for robbers.

City officials say the cards will also encourage immigrants who are crime victims or witnesses to cooperate with police.

“The simple straightforward purpose here is to build a stronger community,” Mayor John DeStefano said Monday. “You can’t police a community of people who won’t talk to our cops.”

Opponents say the cards will encourage more illegal immigration.

“It’s going to be a welcome mat for illegal aliens to come to the region, flood the labor market and dry up working-class and middle-class jobs,” said Bill Farrel, coordinator of the Southern Connecticut Immigration reform.

DeStefano said that wasn’t true.

“Work draws it, not a piece of plastic,” the mayor said.

He said the federal government has failed to address immigration-related issues, forcing cities to find ways to manage them.

The ID cards stand in contrast to new laws or proposals in more than 90 cities or counties around the nation prohibiting landlords from leasing to illegal immigrants, penalizing businesses that employ them or training police to enforce immigration laws.

New Haven already offers federal tax help to immigrants and prohibits police from asking about their immigration status. The new ID cards cost $5 for children and $10 for adults.

Days after city officials approved the program, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conducted raids that led to about 30 arrests. City officials said the raids appeared to be retaliatory, but ICE officials have said the raids had nothing to do with the city’s approval of the ID program.

They would not comment on the prospects of more raids.

“ICE is mandated by Congress to enforce a wide range of immigration and customs laws and we will continue to enforce those laws in Connecticut and throughout the U.S.,” the agency said in a statement.

DeStefano acknowledged that some immigrants may be reluctant to apply for an ID card because of the raids, but predicted most will still seek the ID cards.

Junta For Progressive Action, an advocacy group for Latinos, quickly ran out of 50 applications for the cards on Friday, executive director Sarahi Almonte said.

“The benefits outweigh the risks,” she said.

Original Link.

“Forgetting Pearl Harbor” by Jack Kinsella

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese government launched a sneak attack against the United States, striking without warning and scoring a devastating blow against a nation that thought it was at peace.When asked what he thought the Japanese sneak attack against the US Sixth Fleet had accomplished for the Japanese Imperial war effort, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto offered a surprisingly glum assessment.

It was surprising because the Imperial Japanese Navy had scored an uncompromising victory.

The Japanese strike force had succeeded in destroying five battleships, a minelayer, and had sunk or severely damaged three battleships. One hundred and eighty-eight aircraft were destroyed on the ground, and the US Navy suffered 2,333 dead and 1,139 wounded.

By contrast, Japan’s losses were negligible: five midget subs, 29 aircraft and 64 men. Instead of jumping for joy at the victory, Yamamoto said instead, “I fear that all we have accomplished is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

On December 7, 1941, the United States was nowhere near ready for war. It’s fleet was antiquated, its military forces were still at peacetime levels, it had no air force to speak of, and those forces that it did have were poorly equipped.

Some new recruits, in the first few months following the attacks, trained using wooden rifles and mock weapons because there weren’t enough to go around.

But Yamamoto was right. The battle cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor” struck deep into the hearts of every American, and the “terrible resolve” it imbued resulted in the utter destruction of the Japanese war machine just over three and a half years later.

On September 11, 2001, forces loyal to Islam launched a sneak attack against US civilian targets within the homeland, using US civilian aircraft as improvised bombs.

Both of the towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed: the 110 story structures collapsed from the heat of the fires, killing 2,752 innocent American civilians — an even greater death toll than those lost at Pearl Harbor.

A second attack, this one launched against the heart of the US military in the heart of the American capital, destroyed a significant part of the Pentagon’s outer wall and killed another 189 Americans.

And yet a third attack, this one aimed at the US Capitol Building, or perhaps the White House, was thwarted by the passengers aboard Flight 93, who forced that plane down into a farmer’s field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

In total, 2, 974 Americans died on September 11, 2001. Unlike Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind of this attack, Osama bin-Laden, danced with glee.

In a grainy videotape smuggled out of Afghanistan months later, Osama is chortling about how pleased he was at the carnage, which he said was much greater than he had expected.

Osama bragged that he inflicted that carnage with only 19 losses to his side, most of whom, Osama chuckled, didn’t know they were on a suicide mission until after the planes had taken off.

Osama had no fear of having ‘awakened a sleeping giant’. And he had already long before reached the conclusion that American resolve was a myth.

It will be six years this September since 19 hijackers armed with box knives killed more Americans than the fleet of 20 Japanese ships of the Imperial Navy inflicted at Pearl Harbor.

As Osama expected, the sleeping giant quickly rolled over and went back to sleep. American resolve evaporated as quickly the Democrat’s promises not to politicize the war for partisan purposes.

Within months, Democrats were solemnly declaring the war in Afghanistan was a “quagmire” and that George Bush had “dragged the nation into another Vietnam.”

Teddy Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, the New York Times, etc., were all reminding us that Afghanistan defeated the mighty Soviet Union after a twelve year conflict and prognosticating that same fate for America.

When that prediction failed to materialize, they dusted off the same rhetoric, replacing “Afghanistan” with “Iraq.”

Three and a half years after the fall of Saddam, (about the same length of time necessary to destroy the Imperial Japanese war machine) the Democrats in Congress forced an all-night debate over the issue of surrendering — to the same al-Qaeda terrorists that attacked us on 9/11.

Colin Powell, in a National Public Radio interview, predicted current U.S. troop levels can’t be sustained past the middle of 2008.

“We have to get us out of a middle of a civil war,” said Joe Biden. The debate was over a bill that would require the US to begin to withdraw its forces from Iraq within 120 days, finishing the withdrawal by April 30, 2008, leaving al-Qaeda’s forces in possession of the battlefield.

“We can’t win,” says Senators Carl Levin and Jack Reed. “We’ve already lost,” moans Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “President Bush has embroiled us in a quagmire!” the Democrats chant in unison.

“This bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap,” lamented Democratic ally, Ayman al Zawahiri.

Pearl Harbor? Pearl Harbor? Isn’t that a beach somewhere in Hawaii?

Original Link.

Youth Hockey Coach, Former Deputy Nabbed In Sex Sting

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

For those who think we do not have a problem with pornography and sexual predators in this country, think again.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County deputies and state investigators arrested 22 men for allegedly using the Internet to solicit sex with children. Among those arrested in the undercover sting were a youth hockey coach and a former Marion County deputy.

Polk County deputies and state investigators set up shop at a house, went online and pretended to be children. More than 20 men thought they were going to meet kids for sex, but instead they met up with deputies.

The sting was called “Operation Guardian.” Polk County investigators, pretending to be girls between the ages of 13 and 15, began a series of online chats with numerous men. With surveillance cameras rolling, deputies watched as suspect after suspect arrived, thinking they were going to have sex with children.

“They lie to us. They tell us such stories, like they came to take the child out to explain how dangerous this is. We all know that isn’t true,” said Sheriff Grady Judd of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Among the men arrested were 22-year-old Nathan Galbraith, a youth hockey coach from Orlando, 42-year-old David Ronan, a former volunteer Osceola County firefighter, and 51-year-old Joseph Cioffi, a Department of Homeland Security employee at Orlando International Airport who used to be a Marion County deputy.

Deputies also arrested 59-year-old Arthur Auld, of The Villages. He’s a registered sex offender in Ohio and told investigators he was about to go a mission trip with kids from the Eagle’s Nest Baptist Church in Fruitland Park.

“This is shocking. It absolutely is frightening that the people we trust to keep our children safe are violating the law,” Judd said.

The sting was the third such operation in Polk County and deputies said the numbers of arrests are increasing. Despite heavy media coverage, these operations are yielding more and more suspects looking to take advantage of children.

“We are going to continue these operations. We will lock these predators up in jail and we mean for them to go to prison for a long time,” Judd added.

Deputies also arrested a man who rented strollers at Universal Studios. One man even paid $75 to travel from the Rosen Plaza to Polk County to meet with a child. Among other things, all of the suspects face charges for soliciting a minor via the Internet and attempted lewd battery.

Original Link.

Judge Drops Rape Charges Against Liberian Over Lack of Interpreter

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

This is one of those “over ride the brain and common sense” moments in our defunct judicial system. Sure, let’s put a rapist back on the streets because no one speaks Liberian, his native language. Let’s also forget the fact that he speaks English!!

ROCKVILLE, Md. — The prosecutor in the case of a Liberian native charged with repeatedly raping and molesting a 7-year-old girl said Monday that he is filing an appeal of a controversial judge’s ruling that dismissed all charges because an interpreter who spoke the suspect’s rare West African dialect could not be found.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy called the ruling last Tuesday by Judge Katherine Savage “improper,” adding that his office has “requested that an appeal be taken to reverse the court’s order.”

Savage ruled on July 17 that Mahamu Kanneh, a Liberian who received asylum in the U.S. and attended high school and community college here, was denied a speedy trial after three years awaiting a court-appointed interpreter who could speak the tribal language of Vai. Linguists estimate that only 100,000 people speak Vai.

Savage called her decision one of the most difficult she’s had to make in a long time, especially since she was aware of “the gravity of this case and the community’s concern about offenses of this type.”

Det. Omar Hasan wrote in the charging document that the victim “attempted to physically stop the behavior from the defendant, but was unsuccessful,” the Washington Post reported. Kanneh threatened the young girl “with not being able to leave the apartment unless she engaged in sexual behavior with the defendant,” Hasan wrote in his report.

McCarthy charged the delays cited in Savage’s order to dismiss the “result of the court locating a qualified interpreter,” and not the fault of the prosecutor.

“The fact is on four separate occasions this court provided Vai interpreters,” McCarthy said, adding that one of the interpreters had agreed to participate in further proceedings.

Court records, meanwhile, show that an interpreter was “sworn” by a Maryland court on the same day Savage dismissed the case, FOXNews.com has learned.

Loretta Knight, a clerk with the court system in Montgomery County, Md., claimed she had been unable to find an interpreter to stay on the case, even after an exhaustive search that included the Liberian Embassy and courts in 47 states.

But a look at the court docket for July 17, the day the case was dismissed, shows the entry “Interpreter sworn.” Several items below in the docket, Judge Savage “grants defendant’s oral motion to dismiss case based on a speedy trial violation.”

A review by FOX News of the audio from that hearing shows, however, that an interpreter was present throughout the entire court proceeding, during which time Kanneh’s lawyer, Theresa Chernosky, argued that her client had not been able to get a good job because of unresolved rape charges.

Chernosky is heard also telling Savage that her client works at a gas station, and has not signed up for school because of the uncertainty about his future.

The translator can be heard throughout the entire hearing.

Savage, however, notes to that the events in the case were “unforeseeable, truly difficult in terms of the interpreter issue.”

She then tells the court that “in spite of herculean efforts on the part of the state’s attorney … time has become the enemy.”

“What we come back to, then … too much time has passed, is that it’s the defendant who hold speedy trial rights.”

The Washington Post reported, however, that Kanneh had waived his rights to a speedy trial.

Why Savage dismissed the case when records indicate an interpreter had been sworn is just one of several questions raised by an examination of records by FOXNews.com.

Original Link.
Michelle Malkin has more about it here.