Some of you may have seen parts of this before, but I’ve added some new stuff and rearranged it quite a bit. Be sure to check out the latest addition regarding Ayers’ group being trained by KGB agents while in Cuba. It’s a long read but an important one if you really want to know what kind of people Barack Obama has selected to associate himself with. ie, they weren’t just "domestic terrorists", they were revolutionary communist "domestic terrorists" who actually allied themselves with the Viet Cong. They were only against the war because they wanted South Vietnam to fall to the North. In fact, both Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, to this day, openly admit they’re communist, yet Hannity, Limbaugh and nearly every other popular conservative pundit refuses to call them such and get into these sorts of ‘details’!
Fortunately, as an organization, the Weather Underground didn’t kill anyone, other than three of their own in the NYC townhouse explosion. But they definitely tried.
From David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag.com/DiscoverTheNetworks.org: March 6, 1970: "three members of the Weather Underground accidentally killed themselves in a Manhattan townhouse while attempting to build a powerful bomb they had intended to plant at a social dance in Fort Dix, New Jersey – an event that was to be attended by U.S. Army soldiers. Hundreds of lives could have been lost had the plot been successfully executed." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6808
From David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag.com/DiscoverTheNetworks.org: "On October 20, 1981 — long after the Weather Underground had ceased to exist — former Underground member Kathy Boudin and her soon-to-be husband, David Gilbert, were accomplices in the robbery of a Brinks armored car in Nyack, New York. In the course of that heist, one Brinks guard and two Nyack police officers were murdered. Also involved in the robbery was Judith Clark, who had served a prison term for her participation in the ‘Days of Rage.’ Boudin hired attorney Leonard Weinglass, a law partner of her father, to defend her in the case.
Weinglass arranged for a plea bargain whereby Boudin pled guilty to one count of felony murder and robbery, in exchange for a prison sentence of twenty years to life. She was paroled in 2003, however, over strong opposition from New York State police. Gilbert remains in New York’s Attica State Prison, having refused to bargain.
In 1985, former Weather Underground members Susan Rosenberg (who also was implicated in the Nyack robbery) and Linda Evans were apprehended while transporting 740 pounds of explosives which they both acknowledged were slated for use in additional bombings. Rosenberg was sentenced to 58 years in prison, Evans 40; President Bill Clinton pardoned both women in January 2001." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6808
The 1981 Former Weather Underground members/Black Liberation Army Brinks truck robbery/murder:
"David J. Gilbert, 37, rented the vehicle that same day in the Bronx. Gilbert was a long time member of the Weather Underground and a fugitive from the state of Colorado where he faced charges of assault and possession of explosives. The passenger in the front seat of the U Haul was Kathy Boudin, on the run from the law since the townhouse explosion in 1970. The couple had dropped off their one-year old child with a babysitter in the morning and was waiting for the return of the red van."
"In the back of the red van were Cecilio ‘Chui’ Ferguson, 35, Samuel Brown AKA Solomon Bouines, 41, Samuel Smith AKA Mtayari Sundiata, 37, and Donald Weems AKA Kuwasi Balagoon, 35. There were others present, but it has never been proven who, or how many. All the men in back of the van were members of a group they called ‘The Family.’ Most of them had ties to the Black Panthers or the Black Liberation Army, radical political groups that had many violent confrontations with police during the 1970s."
"At approximately 3:55 p.m., Paige, a 24-year Brink’s veteran and his partner, Joe Trombino, 48, exited the doors to the Mall rolling out the moneybags on a hand truck. They walked over to the Brink’s truck and began to load up the bags onto the rear deck. Simultaneously, the red van pulled up and the rear doors swung open. One of the suspects, armed with a shotgun, ran to the front of the truck and immediately fired two blasts directly at the bulletproof windshield. The guard in the front seat ducked just in time and was unhurt.
Another suspect, wearing a ski mask, opened up with his M-16 automatic rifle before his feet even hit the pavement, striking Paige in the neck, arm and chest. He was killed instantly.
Joe Trombino fired just one shot before he was hit several times in his upper arm and shoulder. The bullets all but severed his arm off his shoulder. "I’ve got no arm!" he screamed. But Trombino would survive that day, only to perish years later in another terrorist attack at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001."
Allies in War By David Horowitz FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, September 17, 2001:
ON THE MORNING OF THE ATTACKS on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, along with a million other readers of the New York Times including many who would never be able to read the paper again, I opened its pages to be confronted by a color photo showing a middle-aged couple holding hands and affecting a defiant look at the camera. The article was headlined in an irony that could not have been more poignant, "No Regrets For A Love Of Explosives."
The couple pictured were Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, former leaders of the 1960s’ Weather Underground, America’s first terrorist cult. One of their bombing targets, as it happened, was the Pentagon.
"I don’t regret setting bombs," Ayers was quoted in the opening line of the Times profile; "I feel we didn’t do enough." In 1969, Ayers and his wife convened a "War Council" in Flint Michigan, whose purpose was to launch a military front inside the United States with the purpose of helping Third World [Maoist-communist] revolutionaries conquer and destroy it.
Taking charge of the podium, dressed in high-heeled boots and a leather mini-skirt – her signature uniform – Dorhn incited the assembled radicals to join the war against "Amerikkka" and create chaos and destruction in the "belly of the beast."
Her voice rising to a fevered pitch, Dohrn raised three fingers in a "fork salute" to mass murderer Charles Manson whom she proposed as a symbol to her troops. Referring to the helpless victims of the Manson Family as the "Tate Eight" (the most famous was actress Sharon Tate) Dohrn shouted:
"Dig It. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!"
Today William Ayers is not merely an author favored by the New York Times, but a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
His Lady Macbeth [Bernardine Dohrn] is not merely a lawyer, but a member of the American Bar Association’s governing elite, as well as the director of Northwestern University’s Children and Family Justice Center. [it's true! see: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/aclu/]
Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. Obama served on the board with Ayers, who was a Weathermen leader and has written about his involvement with the group’s bombings of the New York City Police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972.
"I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough," Ayers told the New York Times in an interview released on Sept. 11, 2001, "Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon," Ayers wrote in his memoirs, titled "Fugitive Days." He continued with a disclaimer that he didn’t personally set the bombs, but his group set the explosives and planned the attack.
A $200 campaign contribution is listed on April 2, 2001 by the "Friends of Barack Obama" campaign fund. The two appeared speaking together at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, "Should a child ever be called a ‘super predator?’" and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002, entitled, "Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?"
The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance. Ayers is married to another notorious Weathermen terrorist, Bernadine Dohrn, who has also served on panels with Obama. Dohrn was once on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the "most dangerous woman in America." Ayers and Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 [Brinks truck] murder and robbery that left 4 people [actually 3, 2 police officers and 1 Brinks truck guard] dead.
"Sara Jane Olson and former fugitive Bernardine Dohrn chatted before Dohrn was to lead a panel discussion about conspiracy prosecutions of political activists in 2000. Olson (former Symbionese Liberation Front captor of Patty Hearst) has been sent back to prison for her role in a murder committed during a bank robbery, but **Dorhn and Ayers never had to serve a day in prison for their deeds in the Weather Underground, thanks to bleeding heart judges who threw the case out of court on a technicality."–source unknown
"All charges against him [Bill Ayers] were dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct during the long search for the fugitives. They later became legal guardians of Chesa Boudin, the son of former Weathermen David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin, after his parents were arrested for their part in the Brinks Robbery of 1981. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ayers
"During his fugitive years, Mr. Ayers said, he lived in 15 states, taking names of dead babies in cemeteries who were born in the same year as he. He describes the typical safe house: there were usually books by Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh, and Che Guevara’s picture in the bedroom; fermented Vietnamese fish sauce in the refrigerator, and live sourdough starter donated by a Native American that was reputed to have passed from hand to hand over a century."
"Mr. Ayers, who in 1970 was said to have summed up the Weatherman philosophy as:
‘Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that’s where it’s really at,’ is today distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
And he says he doesn’t actually remember suggesting that rich people be killed or that people kill their parents, but ‘it’s been quoted so many times I’m beginning to think I did,’ he said."
"He also writes about the Weathermen’s sexual experimentation as they tried to ‘smash monogamy.’ The Weathermen were ‘an army of lovers,’ he says, and describes having had different sexual partners, including his best male friend."
Bill Ayers, TODAY, April 6, 2008, begging to debate communism vs capitalism with Sean Hannity! Yet Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh and nearly every other conservative commentator FAILS to mention that these people were and still are revolutionary communists. Instead, they describe them as simply "domestic terrorists". Seems nearly everyone these days is afraid to use the ‘C’ word! Even in this extremely rare case where one of them actually admits it.
Bill Ayers, April 6, 2008: "Imperialism. I’m against it, and if Sean Hannity and others were honest, this is the ground they would fight me on. Capitalism played its role historically and is exhausted as a force for progress: built on exploitation, theft, conquest, war, and racism, capitalism and imperialism must be defeated and a world revolution—a revolution against war and racism and materialism, a revolution based on human solidarity and love, cooperation and the common good —must win.
We begin by releasing our most hopeful dreams and our most radical imaginations: a better world is both possible and necessary.
Note: Ayers is very likely quoting Bob Avakian, chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, with the phrase ‘both possible and necessary’ in regards to a communist overthrow of the US government. See these Yahoo search results for "bob avakian" + "possible and necessary"–Eye On The Left
From wikipedia.com: 6 March 1970 – Another group blows themselves up when their ‘bomb factory’ located in New York’s Greenwich Village accidentally explodes. WUO [Weather Underground] members Theodore Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins die in this accident.
The Center for Public Intellectuals & The University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) April 19th-20th, 2002, Conference [Participants include: William/Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Sen Barack Obama]
April 19th-20th, 2002 Chicago Illini Union 828 S. Wolcott
This conference is part of the Center’s mission of helping to create a more engaged civil society, working towards social change, fostering coalitions between theorists and activists, and combating anti-intellectualism in contemporary culture. It will be both a celebration of ideas and a rigorous examination of the roles and responsibilities that intellectuals play in society.
I. Why Do Ideas Matter? (a keynote panel)
We introduce the “meta” theme of the conference by hearing “success stories” from diverse voices discussing their experiences intervening intellectually.
Timuel Black, Chicago activist; Prof. Emeritus, City Colleges of Chicago Lonnie Bunch, President, Chicago Historical Society Bernardine Dohrn, Northwestern University Law School, Children and Family Justice Center Gerald Graff, UIC, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Richard Rorty, Stanford University, Philosophy
III. Lunch and Public Encounters
Alternative breakout tours led by Chicago activists. Tours of Bronzeville and other communities, and visits to organizations that are working on partnering theorists with activists.
IV. Intellectuals in Times of Crisis Experiences and applications of intellectual work in urgent situations.
William Ayers, UIC, College of Education; author of Fugitive Days Douglass Cassel, Northwestern University, Center for International Human Rights Cathy Cohen, University of Chicago, Political Science Salim Muwakkil, Chicago Tribune; In These Times Barack Obama, Illinois State Senator Barbara Ransby, UIC, African-American Studies (moderator)
"They’re certainly friendly" –quote from ‘Obama’s chief strategist (and reigning expert on Chicago’s political tribes), David Axelrod.’
"In July 1969, Dohrn, Eleanor Raskin, Dianne Donghi, Peter Clapp, David Millstone and Diana Oughton, all representing ‘Weatherman’, as Dohrn’s faction was now called, traveled to Cuba and met with representatives of the North Vietnamese and Cuban governments." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardine_Dohrn
From David Horowitz’s FrontPageMag.com/DiscoverTheNetworks.org: "FBI files from 1976, recently made public under the Freedom of Information Act, confirm the connections between Weatherman, Havana, and Moscow. Weatherman leaders like Mark Rudd traveled illegally to Havana in 1968 to engage in terrorist training. There, camps set up by Soviet KGB Colonel Vadim Kotchergine were educating Westerners both in Marxist philosophy and urban warfare." http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6808
**Note: the video missilethreat.com has is the ORIGINAL youtube video of Senator Obama discussing his plans to cripple the US militarily. It comes from the Obama camp itself. There is another, titled, "In 52 seconds why Obama can never win the general election". However, though it is being circulated far more widely (over a million hits vs a few thousand), it is a poor quality, and therefore suspicious to some, COPY someone made from this one. The original is titled "Obama-Caucus4Priorities". So if you’re going to pass the clip around, please use the original. –Eye On The Left: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o84PE871BE
As Barack Obama’s candidacy comes under increasing scrutiny, his account of his religious upbringing deserves careful attention for what it tells us about the candidate’s integrity.
Obama asserted in December, "I’ve always been a Christian," and he has adamantly denied ever having been a Muslim. "The only connection I’ve had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father’s side came from that country [Kenya]. But I’ve never practiced Islam." In February, he claimed: "I have never been a Muslim. … other than my name and the fact that I lived in a populous Muslim country for 4 years when I was a child [Indonesia, 1967-71] I have very little connection to the Islamic religion."
"Always" and "never" leave little room for equivocation. But many biographical facts, culled mainly from the American press, suggest that, when growing up, the Democratic candidate for president both saw himself and was seen as a Muslim.
Obama’s Kenyan birth father: In Islam, religion passes from the father to the child. Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. (1936–1982) was a Muslim who named his boy Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Only Muslim children are named "Hussein".
Obama’s Indonesian family: His stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, was also a Muslim. In fact, as Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng explained to Jodi Kantor of the New York Times: "My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim." An Indonesian publication, the Banjarmasin Post reports a former classmate, Rony Amir, recalling that "All the relatives of Barry’s father were very devout Muslims."
Barack Obama’s Catholic school in Jakarta.
The Catholic school
: Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press reports that "documents showed he enrolled as a Muslim" while at a Catholic school during first through third grades. Kim Barker of the Chicago Tribune confirms that Obama was "listed as a Muslim on the registration form for the Catholic school." A blogger who goes by "An American Expat in Southeast Asia" found that "Barack Hussein Obama was registered under the name ‘Barry Soetoro’ serial number 203 and entered the Franciscan Asisi Primary School on 1 January 1968 and sat in class 1B. … Barry’s religion was listed as Islam."
The public school: Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times learned from Indonesians familiar with Obama when he lived in Jakarta that he "was registered by his family as a Muslim at both schools he attended." Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star visited the Jakarta public school Obama attended and found that "Three of his teachers have said he was enrolled as a Muslim." Although Siddiqui cautions that "With the school records missing, eaten by bugs, one has to rely on people’s shifting memories," he cites only one retired teacher, Tine Hahiyari, retracting her earlier certainty about Obama’s being registered as a Muslim.
Barack Obama’s public school in Jakarta.
: In his autobiography, Dreams of My Father, Obama relates how he got into trouble for making faces during Koranic studies, thereby revealing he was a Muslim, for Indonesian students in his day attended religious classes according to their faith. Indeed, Obama still retains knowledge from that class: Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times, reports that Obama "recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them [to Kristof] with a first-rate accent."
Mosque attendance: Obama’s half-sister recalled that the family attended the mosque "for big communal events." Watson learned from childhood friends that "Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque." Barker found that "Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers." One Indonesia friend, Zulfin Adi, states that Obama "was Muslim. He went to the mosque. I remember him wearing a sarong" (a garment associated with Muslims).
Piety: Obama himself says that while living in Indonesia, a Muslim country, he "didn’t practice [Islam]," implicitly acknowledging a Muslim identity. Indonesians differ in their memories of him. One, Rony Amir, describes Obama as "previously quite religious in Islam."
Obama’s having been born and raised a Muslim and having left the faith to become a Christian make him neither more nor less qualified to become president of the United States. But if he was born and raised a Muslim and is now hiding that fact, this points to a major deceit, a fundamental misrepresentation about himself that has profound implications about his character and his suitability as president.
An British pilot flying solo around the world was arrested by U.S. police today after trying to land his plane at George Bush’s ranch in Texas.
Retired vet Maurice Kirk, 63, wanted to "drop in" on the president to say thanks after American coastguards saved his life two months ago.
Mr Kirk was impressed when they rescued him from shark-infested waters of the Caribbean after his World War II plane ditched in the sea on the latest leg of his around-the-world adventure.
But when the former drinking pal of hellraising actor Oliver Reed touched down six miles from the Bush ranch armed security officials quickly surrounded his light aircraft.
He was arrested, handcuffed and taken to Austin State Hospital where he was being assessed.
U.S. officials confirmed Mr Kirk was arrested for flying into the prohibited airspace over Mr Bush’s Prairie Chapel ranch near Waco, Texas.
The president was not at home at the time but has been told of the security breach.
Mr Kirk’s wife Kirstie was waiting for news of him yesterday (tues) at the family home near Barry, South Wales.
Village vet Mrs Kirk, 48, said: "Maurice realised he could not land at the president’s ranch so he put his aircraft down nearby.
"He intended to walk to the ranch gates and pin a thank you note on them for Mr Bush.
"But instead a car drove towards him and he found two Smith and Wessons pointed at him.
"He was handcuffed, put in a police car while several other cars drew up – he thinks there were 11 altogether."
The father-of-four was initially accused of being drunk but tests proved he was sober.
His wife said: "He was later told that he needed to be cleared by a medic and was driven to Austin State Hospital where he has what he describes as a ‘minder’. "He is required to have a psychiatric assessment before the CIA or FBI question him further.
"A vision of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest comes to mind."
Mr Kirk was attempting to fly solo around the world when his vintage plane crash landed in the shark-infested waters of the Caribbean in February.
The accident-prone pilot was rescued after U.S. coastguards picked up a signal from his emergency beacon.
He was discovered bleeding from a head wound sitting on the wreckage of his museum-piece aircraft – 80 miles from the nearest land.
The 1,583 acre Prairie Chapel Ranch is subject to a four-mile no-fly zone, imposed by America’s Federal Aviation Administration. Mr Kirk had flown straight through it.
When the president is home the aircraft-ban is extended to 12 miles.
The property, which is around 90 miles north of Austin, was bought by Bush and his wife Laura in 1999.
McLennan County chief deputy sheriff Randy Plemons said Mr Kirk had been taken to the psychiatric unit after talking about his flying experiences — including his brush with sharks off the Dominican Republic.
US and Iraqi troops continue to battle the Mahdi Army in Baghdad. Forty-one Mahdi Army fighters were killed in recent clashes in Baghdad and Hussaniyah. Twenty-two were killed in a single engagement as they attack a checkpoint in Baghdad. Most of the Mahdi Army fighters were killed as they attacked checkpoints and patrols during a sandstorm in Baghdad.
Mahdi Army fighters used the sandstorm to take advantage of the lack of air cover to attack US and Iraqi positions in eastern and northeastern Baghdad. Helicopters, fighters, and unmanned aerial vehicles were grounded due to lack of visibility. The biggest clash occurred on Sunday after a "large group of criminals" attacked a joint Iraqi and US Army checkpoint in a region in northeastern Baghdad with small-arms fire. Twenty-two Mahdi Army fighters were killed after the soldiers at the checkpoint returned fire. A US Abrams tank was also involved in the fighting. "The criminals’ small-arms fire was ineffective and there were no U.S. Soldier or ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] casualties in the attack," Multinational Forces Iraq reported in a press release on the incident.
The same day, US soldiers killed 16 Mahdi Army fighters during a series of engagements in northeastern Baghdad. Mahdi Army fighters attacked patrols with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. In several instances, Mahdi Army fighters engaged US Abrams tanks, with no effect. No US casualties were reported in the fighting.
On April 26, Iraq soldiers from the 37th Iraqi Army Reconnaissance killed three Special Groups fighters in the town of Hussaniyah north of Baghdad. Hussaniyah has been a hotbed of Mahdi Army activity in the recent past, and Iraqi and US troops are conducting operation in the town "to disrupt Special Groups leadership by limiting their ability to coordinate large scale operations against Iraqi and Coalition forces." Iraqi troops killed nine Mahdi Army fighters in Hussaniyah on April 22.
The Mahdi Army has suffered a heavy toll during the fighting over the past eight day since Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army, threatened to conduct a third armed uprising. US and Iraqi troops have killed 151 Mahdi Army fighters in northeastern Baghdad since Sadr issued his threat on April 20.
Today Barack Hussein Obama denounced Rev. Wright’s anti-white/anti-American bullshit. Yeah well, I don’t buy it. I think it’s a gawddamn shakedown. I think Barack came out today and pretended to denounce Wright’s bullshit because Barack is a Marxist and being anti-American doesn’t set well with most voters. He needs to cover up his true Marxist self if he’s to have a chance to get elected to the U.S. presidency. Barack will certainly be perceived as patriotic if he comes out now and denounces his comrade Wright. It’s all about the votes.
Call me paranoid, but I think Barack and Wright are in on this bogus denunciation together.
(Editor’s Note: If Bos Smith, who holds a law degree from Wake Forest University can be hauled away by an angry group of angry Muslims in Islamic garb to the basement of a mosque where a group of 20 “security guards” in karate suits all for taking a photo, what about a tourist taking pictures for his travelogue? The working man’s lament, “It’s a free country, isn’t it?” doesn’t seem to work anymore.)
A tree grew in Brooklyn.
It has been uprooted by the Masjid At-Taqwa and other radical mosques that have sprouted up like huge mechanical mushrooms throughout the borough.
If you tarry in front of the Masjid At-Taqwa in the Bedford-Stuyvesant district and dare to take a photo, you might get hauled away by a group of angry Muslims in Islamic attire to the basement of the facility where a group of twenty “security guards” in karate suits will interrogate you.
This sounds preposterous.
But it happened on a weekend in late April at 3:00 in the afternoon.
Ali Kareem, the head of security for Siraj Wahaj’s mosque, conducted the grilling. A small, muscular man with a wispy black beard that has been dyed red with henna, Kareem demanded to know the reason why a trio of kafirs had dared to photograph the building on a public street without securing his permission.
He further insisted on securing our identities and obtaining our motives for such a violation of Islamic space.
Being surrounded by a group of militant guards in a mosque basement from which there is no means of escape is not a comforting place to be for a Wall Street financier.
We tried to explain that we found the neighborhood with its halal meat vendors and food stores; Islamic dress shops, featuring the latest styles in burqas and hijabs; Muslim souvenir outlets, replete with bumper stickers stating “Don’t Be Caught Dead Without Islam”; and Middle Eastern restaurants offering a variety of goat dishes to be rather quaint and interesting.
This explanation was not sufficient.
Kareem was impatient and did not want a detailed explanation of the reason for our excursion (simple sight-seeing) or a graphic account of the sights we had seen and photographed.
“I ask the questions here,” he said, “and you provide the answers.”
Realizing that we were in a bit of a pickle, my companion explained that we were interested in various religions and knew Siraj Wahaj, the imam of the mosque, was a prominent Muslim figure whom we would like to interview for a news outlet.
This didn’t work too well since we could not produce a business card from a wacko blog, let alone credentials from a national publication.
At last, we blurted out that we were admirers of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) and wanted to obtain information about conversion. We were even knowledgeable enough to blurt out “Salaam” and “Allahu akbar.”
The last utterance seemed to be the “Open Sesame” that got us out of the basement and back to Bedford Street, where we managed to take a picture of the mosque before hailing a cab and making a getaway.
The experience was disconcerting. Surely, anyone who takes a picture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral or the Riverside Church is not hauled off to a basement for questioning by a threatening figure in a karate uniform and a band of Ninjas.
What is taking place within Masjid At-Taqwa?
And what about Siraj Wahaj, the celebrated imam of this mosque who claims to be a moderate?
Masjid At-Taqwa at 1226 Bedford Street was an abandoned clothing store, which Wahaj purchased at an auction in 1979 for $30,000 with cash from oil-rich Saudis. The interior is divided into spacious, windowless rooms that have been painted green and beige.
At Friday afternoon prayers the meeting room is crammed with hundreds of congregants. Some show up in do-rag stocking caps and Sean John sweatshirts; others wear finely embroidered, authentic-looking Muslim caps and flowing robes of crimson and gold. About half of the attendees are African-Americans. The others are immigrants from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Worshipers range from Brooklyn street bums to the local celebrities, such as former heavy-weight champion Mike Tyson.
The place has played host to a number of notorious exponents of radical Islam, including Clement Rodney Hampton-El (Dr. Rashid), a key player in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Mr. Hampton-El is presently cooling his heels in a federal slammer since he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy. Mr. Hampton-El, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, fought as a mujahadeen under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the holy war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Upon his return, Hampton-El was hailed as a hero by members of the mosque. Imam Wahaj has said that he was sought out by young and old alike for spiritual advice as an “elder” in the community. Wahaj, in fact, appeared as a character witness for Hampton El when the former mujahadeen stood trial before Judge Michael Mukasey in New York’s Federal District Court on charges of seditious conspiracy and attempted bombing.
Hampton-El is currently serving thirty-five years in a supermax prison for America’s most dangerous inmates.
Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman visited Masjid At-Taqwa on many occasions while serving as the imam of the nearby Masjid al-Fooqra at 554 Atlantic Avenue, several blocks from Masjid At-Taqwi. On the second floor of Rahman’s mosque, al Qaeda had opened an office under the name of the al-Kifah Refugee Center. It became a favorite haunt for members of Wahaj’s congregation.
Rahman also spoke on occasion at Masjid At-Taqwa. In one speech, the fiery sheikh suggested that Muslims should rob banks to benefit Islam.
In 1995, Sheikh Rahman was hauled into court as the alleged architect of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and for planning to blow up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge, and buildings throughout Manhattan. At his side was his good friend Siraj Wahaj who provided testimony of the sheik’s sterling character.
In a Feb. 2, 1995, letter to defense lawyers in the landmarks-bombing case, then-U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named about 170 people as “un-indicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators.” Imam Wahaj was on the list.
Other infamous characters reportedly have made their way to the Bedford Street mosque, including Imam Gulshair el-Shukrijumah, whose son Adnan has been singled out by the Justice Department as “the next Muhammad Atta.” Gulshair, it turns out, served a stint as imam at another radical Brooklyn mosque – - the now defunct Masjid Nur a-Islam, at 21 Church Street.
Another visitor, according to informed sources, was Sheikh Gilani, the founder of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, who served as the imam of yet another Brooklyn mosque – - the Yasin Masjid at 777 Saratoga Avenue. This infamous mosque is now a beauty salon. From 1980 to 1995, it served as a recruiting center for the jihad and for paramilitary Islamic compounds that remain in existence throughout the country.
Since the time of its inception, Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been responsible for more terror attacks on American soil (30 and counting) than all other terrorist groups combined. Members of ul-Fuqra, which maintains headquarters in Pakistan, have been convicted in US courts of such crimes as homicide, conspiracy to commit murder, firebombing, gun smuggling, grand theft, counterfeiting, and workers’ compensation fraud. Others remain leading suspects in criminal cases throughout the country, including ten unsolved assassinations and seventeen fire-bombings. Some of the better-known adherents of ul-Fuqra are Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and John Allen Muhammad, the Beltway sniper.
But what of Wahaj? Is he an exponent of radical Islam – - a man who poses a threat to millions of Americans?
He is a well-known and welcome figure in Washington, DC. He was the first Muslim cleric to offer the invocation at the opening session of Congress. He has dined with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and serves on the boards of no less than five major Muslim organizations. He has received commendations from the Brooklyn police for eradicating crime from the Bedford-Stuyvesant area. In 2003, Siraj Wahaj Day was celebrated in Brooklyn in recognition of what one borough official called a “lifetime of outstanding and meaningful achievement.”
But the proof of the real Wahaj is in the proverbial pudding.
In one of his sermons, Wahaj announced that the “real terrorists” are the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. In another, he said, “In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam.” He proclaimed that a society governed by strict Islamic law, in which adulterers are stoned to death and apostates beheaded, would be vastly superior to American democracy.
To a Muslim audience in New Jersey, Wahaj advocated the idea of Muslims forming a coup to take control of the federal government. “If we are united and strong,” he said, “we’d elect our own emir [leader] and give allegiance to him. Take my word for it, if six to eight million Muslims are united in America, the country will come to us.”
His so-called “moderate” interpretation of the Qu’ran became clear by this remark: “If Allah says 100 strikes, 100 strikes it is. If Allah says cut off their hand, you cut off their hand. If Allah says stone them to death, through the Prophet Muhammad, then you stone them to death, because it’s the obedience of Allah and his messenger—nothing personal.”
Wahaj informed an audience of black women wearing Muslim head coverings in Orlando, Fla., that Islam condones a man’s marrying up to four wives, and that this rule, when introduced in the seventh century, served as a restriction on arrangements involving even more wives per husband.
And there are the national organizations to which Wahaj remains affiliated. He served as emir (president) of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), which has been charged with funneling millions to terror groups, and as an advisory board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has been labeled by author and counter-terrorism expert Steven Emerson as a “radical fundamentalist front group for Hamas.”
All this may be well and good, save for the fact that Wahaj and his mosque retains a small army not of brown-shirts but black-belts who now claim the right to collar ordinary citizens on the sidewalk and to haul them off for interrogation.
You’re only safe in Brooklyn at this writing if you say your prayers – - meaning, of course, the Basmalah.
Here’s a way to show your patriotism as the 2008 Democratic National Convention approaches. The Denver committee hosting the convention has teamed with Xerox to expand the company’s “Let’s Say Thanks” campaign to support troops in Iraq.
Denver area schoolchildren aged 6 to 14 are invited to submit drawings and artwork that could grace a postcard. Suggested designs are patriotic themes to local and regional landmarks.
Xerox will pick designs and add them to its existing inventory. The program allows you to go to their site and pick a card to send to troops for free. So far, the company, which has many partners in this endeavor, says it has sent 16 million of the cards.
Host committee spokesman Chris Lopez says the committee got the idea to help Xerox expand the program during talks with the company about sponsorship. The host committee is trying to raise $55 million in cash and services to help stage the convention. Lopez says he expects Xerox to join the committee’s pool of sponsors soon.
Artists interested can learnthe details for submission from the host committee or Xerox. The deadline is May 16.
[Note: Contra Costa Times refers to aliens, whether legal or not, as "immigrants"]
California’s burgeoning population of immigrants could bring a huge wave of voters, especially as their U.S.-born children reach voting age, a study released today found.
Under the most aggressive prediction, one-third of state voters in 2012 would be an immigrant or have at least one parent who is, the study says. This scenario, however, is likely to occur more gradually than predicted: It depends on how many eligible residents will be or can be naturalized, whether immigrant citizens and their children will register, and whether they will cast ballots.
Even so, the coming wave has huge political and social implications if politicians and philanthropic groups engage these groups and encourage them to naturalize and vote, the report’s authors and funders conclude. The study was funded by members of the nonpartisan Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, an umbrella group that includes the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
"The civic potential of immigration in California is rarely discussed," especially on the local and state legislative district level, said Rob Paral, the report’s author. And on the statewide level, it’s staggering: "If you naturalize these 2.3 million people who are eligible, you would grow the adult citizen population by 10 percent and dramatically expand your electorate." Santa Clara County ranks third, behind Los Angeles and Orange counties, in terms of the raw number of immigrant voters and their children who potentially could be on the rolls by 2012, a presidential election year.
Based on Census Bureau and federal immigration data, the county has a maximum potential for 539,908 voters by 2012.
However, immigration rules almost certainly will affect the growth.
Because there are quotas that limit the number of immigrants from individual countries, and because in Santa Clara County, for example, there is such a long backlog of people from India and China who have applied for a green card, some immigrants from those countries may be unable to complete the naturalization process by 2012, even if they have already started it.
The study also estimated the number of children of immigrants, who they suggest are more familiar with the immigrant experience than other native-born voters.
They found nearly three in four Latinos who will be 18 by 2012 will have an immigrant parent, rising to a dramatic nine in 10 for Asians in that category.
The political implications almost certainly will be debated. While immigrant-rights advocates welcome the study as evidence that federal immigration reform and drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, for example, might find new supporters, others predict that the effect of these potential voters will be more gradual.
Studies and exit polling show that lack of language skills, affluence and understanding of the voting process tend to depress voter registration and turnout among ethnic groups and younger voters. The participation rates generally are increasing, but they still lag behind native-born, non-Latino white adults. However, other studies indicate that naturalized Latinos have higher registration percentages than native-born Latinos.
"There needs to be an investment from civic organizations, political parties and unions to educate and mobilize the voting eligible electorate," said Louis DeSipio, a professsor of political science and Chicano studies at UC Irvine. "Whether that impact of immigrants begins in 2012, 2016 or 2020, it will be felt eventually." Even in California, where Latinos generally support Democrats, Republicans see potential, too.
The study found, on average, in Republican-held state Senate and Assembly districts, the potential immigrant voters could make up as much as 20 percent of the electorate.
"It shows a number of seats with high immigrant populations are already held by Republican legislators. And a lot of these immigrants are Asian, and that demographic is certainly more supportive than Latinos" are of Republicans, said GOP legislative strategist Kevin Spillane.
"The key word is potential, not real," he said. "It’s not all bad news for Republicans." Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, said he was not surprised that by 2012 one in three of his district’s electorate could be immigrant voters and their children. In Assemblyman Joe Coto’s district, which covers East San Jose, the maximum potential could be half.
"We’ve followed the transition of Silicon Valley," Beall said, "but this is news in many other parts of the state that you have to pay attention to the issues of immigrants." And, he added, Democrats cannot take those votes for granted, especially as decline-to-state voters rise in number, including among ethnic voters.
"Many are independent-minded voters and are not committed to one party or another," he said.
Mystery solved. On Sept. 6 of last year, Israeli warplanes struck a facility in the deserts of eastern Syria. The Israelis refused to explain what they had hit or why. The Syrians immediately bulldozed the site to block all further investigation. The U.S. government acknowledged the attack but declined otherwise to comment. And the world was left to speculate.
On Thursday, the Bush administration at last confirmed what had long been rumored: The Syrian facility was indeed a nuclear plant. The plant followed the same design as the Yongbyon plant in North Korea, and North Korean engineers and workers had helped to build it. North Korea and Syria had initiated discussions on the plant in 1997. Construction had commenced in 2005. When the Israelis struck, the plant was only weeks from completion.
All that would have been needed then would have been enough plutonium to start a weapons production cycle. Had the Syrians been allowed to proceed, they might well have been a nuclear weapons state by now.
This terrible story carries some significant lessons.
Military action against nuclear facilities can be effective–especially if those facilities are located far from population centres, as Syria’s was.
1) For years we have heard that it was impossible, inconceivable, that states such as Syria, North Korea, Iran or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq could ever co-operate with each other. We were told that Shiite Iran could never possibly ally with Sunni terrorist groups such as Hamas or al-Qaeda. Yet again and again, over the past half dozen years, we have witnessed just that. North Korea did help Syria. Iran and North Korea did exchange technology. Iran did subsidize Hamas. Al-Qaeda leaders did find refuge in Iran.
You know, it’s almost like they form an axis or something.
2) Many have urged the Bush administration to "reach out" to Syria. The Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by Lee Hamilton and James Baker, suggested that Syria could help broker a solution inside Iraq. Before that, Clinton secretary of state Warren Christopher elaborately courted Syria, visiting Damascus more often than any other government on Earth. Yet the bad faith, aggression and recklessness of the Syrian regime continue unabated.
Happily, this latest deadly threat was intercepted in time. But can we at last recognize that Syria’s Assad regime is part of the problem in the Middle East–not part of the solution?
3) Democrats and liberals have fiercely criticized the Bush administration for focusing on state sponsors of terrorism such as Syria and Iran, instead of focusing exclusively on non-state terror groups such as al-Qaeda. We’ve even heard it said that focusing on state sponsors of terror is a "distraction." But terrorists with nuclear weapons are a lot more dangerous than terrorists who lack them. Al-Qaeda’s attempts to acquire nuclear weaponry have fizzled. It is from states such as Syria and Iran and North Korea that the threat of nuclear terrorism chiefly comes.
4) Military action against nuclear facilities can be effective–especially if those facilities are located far from population centres, as Syria’s was. And despite Syria’s command of terrorist organizations, there has been no Syrian terrorist retaliation. Something to think about in connection with the much more ominous Iranian nuclear program.
5) The revelations underscore the lethal naivete of the advisers around Barack Obama. As Gabriel Schoenfeld has pointed out on the Commentary magazine blog, Joseph Cirincione, the man most widely identified as Obama’s top nuclear-affairs adviser, last September pooh-poohed as "far-right" "nonsense" the early rumors that the Syrian nuclear facility was indeed a nuclear facility.
Cirincione wrote on the Foreign Policy blog: "This [early news of the Syrian facility] appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted ‘intelligence’ to key reporters in order to promote a pre-existing political agenda. If this sounds like the run-up to the war in Iraq, it should. This time it appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement. Some Israelis want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria."
Cirincione seems to have been so determined to avert what he regarded as the threat of U.S. over-reaction–so eager to promote dialogue with Syria–that he blinded himself to the reality of a nuclear threat.
And this way of thinking is not, unfortunately, unique to him. It pervades the Democratic foreign policy establishment–and especially that portion of the establishment that has gravitated to Obama.
So here’s the final lesson from this week’s: For the safety of the world, these people have to be kept far, far away from political power.