Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Camouflaging the Truth

The pre-trial hearings of 9/11/01 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four co-defendants began this week in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Meanwhile, another terrorist attack was foiled in New York City. 

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, a Bangladeshi national, was arrested in downtown Manhattan after he allegedly attempted to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound bomb at the New York Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street in lower Manhattan's financial district.  He was arraigned in federal court in Downtown Brooklyn and remanded without bail.

Nafis read the online terror magazine called “Inspire,” originally published by Anwar al Awlaki, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, who was killed by an American drone in Yemen.  When Nafis came here in January, he set out immediately to find possible accomplices, using Facebook and other internet based resources to find like-minded potential terrorists.

It proved to be his undoing.  Instead he found an undercover FBI informant who monitored him and flagged him on the internet three months ago.  Authorities say that before he tried to detonate the bomb from his room in the Millennium Hotel, Nafis first made a video claiming responsibility.

In it he said this: “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”

Down in Guantanamo Bay, in the meantime, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been up to his usual tricks, posing for the courtroom sketch artist, lecturing the judge, and demanding that he be allowed to wear a woodlands camouflage hunting vest over his white tunic at his pre-trial hearing.  One of his Army lawyer’s said the uniform is similar to what he wore as a mujahedeen fighter in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

Mohammed’s bushy beard is dyed a rust color with henna.  He considers himself a prisoner of war, and wants the same right to wear a uniform as the Japanese and German troops prosecuted for war crimes after World War II.

But, according to the Associated Press, when he and a co-defendant sought to wear camouflage items at their May 5 arraignment, their request was denied. At the time, the commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison said the camouflage might make it harder for the military prison guards to gain control if necessary, suggesting the clothing could create confusion about telling the difference between prisoners and fellow troops.  Prosecutors also argued it might make a mockery of the military tribunals.

“The detainee’s attire should not transform this commission into a vehicle for propaganda and
undermine the atmosphere that is conducive to calm and detached deliberation and determination of the issues,” prosecutors wrote in a court motion.

The judge in the case, Army Col. James Pohl, rejected those arguments Tuesday. He dismissed the suggestion that the more than a dozen military members in the courtroom would have any problem distinguishing the bearded defendants. But just to be sure, he specifically prohibited them from wearing any items from U.S. military uniforms.

Mohammed and his four co-defendants are accused of planning and aiding the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. They face charges that include terrorism, conspiracy and 2,976 counts of murder in violation of the law of war, one count for each known victim of the Sept. 11 attacks at the time the charges were filed. They could get the death penalty if convicted.

The court is holding a hearing this week on about two dozen pretrial motions in preparation for a trial that is likely at least a year away.

According to reporter Ben Fox, the Atlanta Constitution-Journal, Mohammed also lectured the military court on government hypocrisy Wednesday, wearing the previously banned camouflage vest to his pretrial hearing before being rebuked by the judge for his comments.

The hearings will involve arguments on proposed rules for handling classified evidence in the war-crimes case. KSM denounced the prosecution’s hypocrisy for seeking to keep secret some details of what happened to him during years of captivity in the CIA's secret prisons.

Mohammed told the judge, Army Col. James Pohl, that “the government uses national security as it chooses,” urging him to keep that in mind as he considers requests from defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union to scale back the rules for evidence and testimony.

“Many can kill people under the name of national security, and to torture people under the name of national security,” the Arabic-speaking Mohammed said through a translator. “And detain their underage children under the name of national security.”

In an apparent reference to Osama Bin Laden, Mohammed noted that “the president can take someone and throw them into the sea in the name of national security.”

He also made an oblique reference to Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni militant killed in a September 2007 U.S. drone strike, and told the judge not to be affected by the “crocodile tears” of prosecutors when they refer to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 2001 attacks.

“When the government feels sad for the killing of 3,000 on Sept. 11, we also should feel sorry that the U.S. government ... has killed thousands of people,” Mohammed said, before correcting himself to say millions of people.

“Your blood is not made of gold and ours is made of water. We are all human beings,” he said.

Pohl had allowed Mohammed to make the statement, but then said he wouldn't allow it to happen again.

“This is a onetime occurrence,” the judge said. “No matter how heartfelt, I am not going to entertain personal comments of any accused about the ways things are going.”

A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, Hina Shamsi, urged the judge to reject the proposed restrictions documents, arguing that they were overly broad and intended not to protect national security so much as to prevent the public from learning more details about the harsh treatment of the defendants in the CIA’s prisons overseas.

But government prosecutor Joanna Baltes said the ACLU and other critics of the proposed rules are exaggerating the restrictions. She said the restrictions are similar to those in major terrorism cases in civilian courts. After hearing the arguments, the judge said he would rule later on the case.

KSM is infamous for his courtroom antics and theatrics.  In the past, he has read aloud from the Koran during proceedings, invoked George Washington as an anti-hero model for Osama Bid Laden (and himself), and made outrageous statements of pride about his role in the 9/11 attacks:

At his first public court hearing in 2008, he chanted verses of the Quran and said he would welcome becoming a martyr for his Sept. 11 role. The following year he released a written statement calling the attacks a “noble victory.”

In his absence, terrorists have not been idle, staging their own version of a 9/11 attack on Sept. 11, 2012 on the Libyan consulate in Benghazi.  The perpetrators followed Ambassador Christopher Stevens to the safe-house, made sure all three entrances were guarded, then set fire to the building.  Then they invited their mates, via cell phone, to come to the ‘party’ and watch as the Stevens and his guards were mowed down.  The residents, who reports say regarded Stevens as a beloved figure, dragged his body through the streets to the hospital that he allegedly had come to visit.
This is what Obama had to say about the matter the day in a Rose Garden press conference.  When read in full context, we see that Mitt Romney was entirely justified in his criticism of the president during Tuesday night’s debate.  Please note, Candy Crowley, that this is the “full” transcript, not the highlighted version you were given prior to the beginning of the debate.

10:43 A.M. EDT  Sept. 12, 2012

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation. Often, they are away from their families. Sometimes, they brave great danger.

Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic t in Benghazi. Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed. And today, the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.

The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. We're working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats. I've also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.

Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.

Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya. Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’ body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.

It's especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save. At the height of the Libyan revolution, Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi.
With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya. When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there. He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.

Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the
recent experience of war. Today, the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on. I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home.

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.

And make no mistake, justice will be done. 

But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity. They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.

We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory, and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children.

Thank you. May God bless the memory of those we lost and may God bless the United States of America.

Notice that Obama didn’t refer to them as “terrorists” in paragraph three; he calls them “killers,” as though they were simply ordinary killers, not religious fanatics bent on destroying Western civilization.  What’s more, he notes, “With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he [Stevens] built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya.”
“Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’ body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died,” Obama insisted.  However, video of the incident revealed Libyan locals more or less dragging his body through the streets, with no particular tenderness, as crowds jeered.

Obama then invoked the 9/11 of 2001 and finally got around to using the word “terror” in this sentence:  No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for” and “But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity.”

The issue for Obama, it seems, is that, well, yeah it was an act of terror (in the fourth to last paragraph), and no religious fervor excuses acts of violence.  However, for two weeks afterwards, he did excuse the violence in the Middle East on an obscure, stupid video mocking the prophet Mohammed.  Not that we Americans had anything to do with that video as a nation, he assured the Middle East, but nevertheless, it was created by someone here in America (who was actually one of the luckier Coptic Christians who has managed to escape the annihilation of Coptic Christians in the wake of the Arab Spring).

Obama and Candy Crowley managed to double-team Mitt Romney, who still took them both on quite handily, and camouflage the truth about the attack in Benghazi.  Even though our Ambassador to the United Nations insisted for two weeks that the video was to blame, and Obama huffily defended her against the ‘impudent’ accusations of Mitt Romney (and the citizen at the town hall debate) – how dare you question me or any member of my staff!? – the fact still remains that the Libyan president himself averred that the video had nothing to do with Stevens’ assassination.  There’s no escaping – or camouflaging – that fact.

Still, Obama narrowly won the debate, chiefly because Romney dared to bring up the subject of the terror attack on the Benghazi consulate.  Apparently, viewers regarded Obama’s hissy fit as a proper presidential response to an outrageous attack on his authority.  Otherwise, Romney would have cleaned his clock.  Romney, to his credit, was unfazed and unimpressed by Obama’s temper tantrum.

Obama and KSM are two of a kind when it comes to basking in the limelight.  Both are extraordinary actors, with not a whit of compunction about lying, boasting, and only answering the questions whose responses will benefit them.  They both interrupt, disrupt, and corrupt.

KSM, just as the Army judge noted, is wasting his time wearing amouflage.  His character is such that you could easily pick him out of a crowd – or a forest of trees – no matter what he wears, what color he dyes his beard, or how he combs his hair.  His behavior always betrays him in the end.

The same could be said for Obama.  He’s been more successful in camouflaging himself as the champion of the middle class, economic freedom, and free enterprise.  His supporters believe him (and in some cases, worship him) in the same way KSM’s supporters and devotees worship him and the late Osama Bin Laden.  Just ask Mr. Nafis.

We can spot a foreign enemy like KSM more easily than we can detect a domestic enemy lurking within our own forest.  KSM not only stood out, but went out of his way to stand out.  Obama and his team are more cunning, depending upon the gullibility of white suburbanites desperate from the absolution of the leader of black people.  He also cleverly uses class-warfare as a weapon, painting Mitt Romney as the same kind of wealthy executive or manager who would be inclined to downsize a company, lay off employees, and send their jobs overseas.
Obama speaks to the less-educated of the middle class, an admittedly wide swath of people, who don’t always understand the mechanisms of business or how the interference of government through onerous regulations and taxes plays a huge role in driving their company overseas.
As my company was downsizing, I tried to explain the facts of business life to my fellow employees.  That was part of my job and I was being layed off, too.  I actually had to hand them the “Golden Shovel” and take their photos with it.  But the company’s concerns were beyond their comprehension or sympathy.  All they knew was that they were going to be out of work soon and had families to feed.  Because we weren’t allowed to discuss “politics,” I wasn’t permitted to explain the politics of the downsizing; that our company was in the most taxed state in the union, as well as the most regulated for our industry. 

The company could no longer afford to do business here.  And how could I tell them that the cost of living here also played a factor?  That, in short, they were making too much money?  The company offered everyone they could the chance to transfer to another part of the country.

Those of us who couldn’t move, or didn’t choose to, had to take our chances.  They were still sure that somehow some company executive, rather than a politician, was to blame.  The politicians were certainly telling them the executives were to blame, and the executives were telling them that they basically had to suck it up.  Still, our company did the job much better than most.

When you’re the bee that’s been pushed out of the hive so the rest of the bees can survive the winter,
you’re going to be angry and try to sting anyone who tells you that that’s the nature of things.  But we’re not bees; we’re human beings given the privilege of being able to reason. 

We’re adaptable (we have opposable thumbs); that’s how human beings got so far.  We can learn to do other things.  We’re smart (when we want to be) and can distinguish between the truth and a lie.  We’re also a bit lazy and corruptible sometimes; we’d sure like life to be easier than it is and full of free stuff.  That’s why many people play the lottery.  We also have the ability to look to the future, if we have the maturity, and save our resources for that inevitable downsizing or rainy day, as well as the material things we desire.  We have the ability to delay gratification.  At least some of us do.

Finally, we know how to pray.  We have faith in a higher authority upon whom we can trust more implicitly than the government, as long as we try.  The future is a scary place with no guarantees in this life.  If we take that leap of faith, however, our ultimate future and safety will be assured.  You have to believe that better days are coming and that God, not the government, will lead you there.

So lock your opposable thumbs together, get down on your knees and pray, and then takkeke your opposable thumbs to the voting booth on Nov. 6 and vote for the businessman who can put our country back to work.







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