Monday, August 13, 2007

NYPD terror adviser sued for 'anti-Islamic' messages

A Muslim analyst for the New York City Police Department is suing the city for workplace harassment, alleging he was subject to a regular stream of "anti-Islamic" messages from an e-mail list run by a former adviser who trained detectives in counter-terrorism.

The contracted adviser, retired 21-year CIA veteran Bruce Tefft, is also a defendant in the suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan last December. But Tefft - a founder of the CIA's Counter-Terrorism Unit - told WND he believes the analyst, who is not named in court papers, has no case against him. Tefft, noting the suit so far has cost him $50,000 in legal fees, cites First Amendment protections and argues NYPD personnel signed up for his e-mail list at their own will and were completely free to unsubscribe at any time. He also points out his employer at the time, the private intelligence firm Orion Scientific Systems, covered his entire salary and expenses, effectively donating his services to the NYPD.

A hearing is scheduled for next month on a motion to dismiss the case. Tefft continues to send out about 50 to 60 e-mails a day comprised mostly of unclassified material and news reports from around the world related to terrorism and Islam. In a fraction of those dispatches he adds his own comments, some of which became a focus of the complaint. "This is a global war we are in," Tefft said, explaining the relevance of the e-mailed reports to domestic officials. "The enemy is a global enemy. Jihadists are all over the world. So whatever goes on around the world has value here."

The suit by the Egyptian-born analyst - who filed as "John Doe Anti-Terrorism Officer" because he works undercover in the Cyber Unit - says the e-mails "ridiculed and disparaged the Muslim religion and Arab people, and stated that Muslim- and Arab-Americans were untrustworthy and could not reliably serve in law enforcement positions or handle sensitive data." He also claims he was subject to disparaging remarks by NYPD personnel and that on one occasion, Muslim and Arab-American employees of the intelligence unit were asked to leave the room after giving a presentation, while other employees were allowed to stay, according to the New York Observer.

The suit contends that despite the analyst's repeated complaints to supervisors about Tefft's e-mail distribution over a period of three years, the city "failed to do anything to stop it." "Tefft's hate-filled and humiliating email briefings were distributed to virtually all City employees who worked in the NYPD's Intelligence Division, including the highest-ranking members of that division and Plaintiff's supervisors," says the complaint. The Muslim analyst's lawyer, Ilann Maazel, was not available for comment.

The analyst, a former prison guard at the city's Rikers Island jail, has been assigned since 1998 to the NYPD's Intelligence Division, where he helped form the Cyber Unit in 2002, Maazel told the New York Times in December. The members scan the Internet to monitor potential threats, and Maazel said the analyst's family in Egypt could be harmed if the nature of his work were revealed.

According to the suit, Tefft's personal notes on the e-mails included comments such as "a good Muslim . can't be a good American," "Burning the hate-filled Koran should be viewed as a public service at the least," and "This is not a war against terrorism ... it is against Islam and we are not winning." On one article headlined "1 in 4 Hold Anti-Muslim Views," Tefft added, "Then 1 in 4 is well-informed." On another one titled, "Has U.S. threatened to vaporize Mecca?" he commented, "Excellent idea, if true."

Tefft, who spent 17 of his 21 years in clandestine services stationed overseas, including hot spots such as Mogadishu and Angola, makes no apologies for his views. "I won't dispute what I was saying; I could justify what I said about Islam," he told WND. Tefft believes the threat of Islam to the U.S. is so serious he has no time to mince words. "I'm not a sentimentalist, and I'm not hate-filled either," he said. "Hate is an emotion. I don't feel emotional about it at all. I feel analytical and logical."

Tefft insists there clearly is a link between fundamental Islam and terror. "There is nothing un-Islamic about Osama bin Laden," he said of the al-Qaida leader. "If there were, he would have been declared apostate, non Islamic."

Maazel, in a December interview with the New York Times, called the e-mails "racist," but Tefft says that is absurd. "I don't consider Islam a race," he said. "So to call me racist is ridiculous. I have good friends who are Egyptian officials. I've worked all over the world." Islam, he maintains, should be regarded as a political ideology bent on world conquest....


Academic distortions

By V.D. Hanson

I. Presidential aspirant Mike Gravel recently opined on the advantages of having gays in the military: "...the Spartans trained their people to be homosexuals because they were better fighters."

Not quite. I think the popular myth that has fooled Gravel has arisen lately because of the movie 300 - and the natural confusion between the Spartan 300 who died holding the pass at Thermopylai (480 BC) and the 300 of the Theban Sacred Band (378-338 BC).

The Spartans did not instruct their youth to be homosexuals (no word really exists in the Greek vocabulary for our notion of homosexual). Xenophon (Lac. Pol. 2.13), for example, insisted that the older males in the army were specifically not to engage in physical relations with their younger warrior-pages (paidika).

And if in reality some hoplite soldiers occasionally did engage in what we would call gay sex, in Sparta or elsewhere, the practice was analogous to the protocols of the modern prison in the absence of women: physical relationships were loosely defined among those interested as an active older male and a younger male that served as a surrogate female. In general, most Greeks thought that male sexual passivity was shameful, as was exclusively male sex, as were those who appeared outwardly feminine.

The closest the classical Greek world of the polis came to Gravel's notion of an idealized gay warrior cult was in Thebes, where the 300 aristocrats (150 pairs of "lovers") of the Sacred Band fought often at the acme of the phalanx-a very small cadre (perhaps less than 2-3% of the Boiotian army) that was predicated on class and philosophically idealized. But even here we are not quite sure what actually was the relationship between eromenoi ("beloved") and erastai ("lovers") in this tiny clique; it might not necessarily have even been physical. So in general, the Spartans most certainly did not train their soldiers to be homosexuals.

II. Just saw an eerie tape of a smiling Prof. John Mearsheimer ("A very small percentage of the American casualties is due to the Iranians" and "Iran is not responsible in any meaningful way for our trouble in Iraq") expounding on Iran and the bomb at the recent Daily Kos convention.

I say eerie since he gave a brief excursus on Persian philology and why we have been hoodwinked into thinking that Ahmadinejad said something to the effect that Israel should be wiped off the map.

But aside from the ongoing dispute between Persian scholars over the proper translation, to dwell on that point is to ignore the serial assertions (and reasons for such assertions) by Ahmadinejad that there was no Holocaust, and the far scarier announcement not long ago by Rafsanjani that "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam."

Mearsheimer then followed almost immediately with a disclaimer that even if Ahmadinejad did actually say what he just had insisted he didn't say, that it was a mere "idle threat." But "idle" for whom, a mere 60 years after the Holocaust?

Even worse was his moral equivalence of arguing that it is de facto permissible for Iran to have a bomb since Israel has one too-as if an anti-American theocracy run according to Sharia Law is no more a nuclear threat than a pro-American liberal democracy


Tony Blair's domestic legacy: corruption and the erosion of liberty

Some excerpts from THEODORE DALRYMPLE below

At the outset of his tenure, Mr. Blair said that his government would be tough on crime and on the causes of crime. He wanted to appeal--and succeeded in appealing--to two constituencies at once: those who wanted criminals locked up, and those who saw crime as the natural consequence of social injustice, a kind of inchoate protest against the conditions in which they lived.

Mr. Blair's resultant task was to obfuscate, so that the electorate and even experts could not find out, without great difficulty, what was going on. For example, Mr. Blair's government, aware of public unrest about the number of criminals leaving prison only to commit further serious crimes, introduced indeterminate sentencing--open-ended imprisonment--apparently a tough response to repeat offenders. But the reality was different: the sentencing judges still had the discretion to determine such criminals' parole dates, which, in England, are de facto release dates. The sentences that criminals would serve, in other words, would be no longer than before the new law.

Another way to confuse the public was to corrupt official statistics. Last year, to take one example, the government dropped three simple but key measures from the compendious statistics that it gathers about people serving community sentences--that is, various kinds of service and supervision outside prison: their criminal histories prior to sentencing, their reconviction rates, and the number given prison sentences while serving their community sentences. Instead, it introduced an utterly meaningless measure, at least from a public-safety perspective: the proportion of people with community sentences who abide by such conditions as weekly attendance for an hour at a probation office.

The police also received encouragement to keep crime numbers down by not recording crimes. The crime rate has fallen in part because shoplifting has ceased to be a crime, for instance. Police now deal with it the way they do with parking violations: shoplifters get on-the-spot fines worth half, on average, of the value of the goods that they have stolen.

The problem of unemployment in Britain illustrates perfectly the methods that Mr. Blair's government used to obscure the truth. The world generally believes that, thanks to Labour's prudent policies, Britain now enjoys low unemployment; indeed, Mr. Blair has often lectured other leaders on the subject. The low rate is not strictly a lie: those counted officially as unemployed are today relatively few.

Unfortunately, those counted as sick are many; and if you add the numbers of unemployed and sick together, the figure remains remarkably constant in recent years, oscillating around 3.5 million, though the proportion of sick to unemployed has risen rapidly. Approximately 2.7 million people are receiving disability benefits in Britain, 8% or 9% of the workforce, highly concentrated in the areas of former unemployment; more people are claiming that psychiatric disorders prevent them from working than are claiming that work is unavailable. In the former coal-min- ing town of Merthyr Tydfil, about a quarter of the adult population is on disability. Britain is thus the ill man of Europe, though all objective indicators suggest that people are living longer and healthier lives than ever.

Three groups profit from this statistical legerdemain: first, the unemployed themselves, because disability benefits are about 60% higher than unemployment benefits, and, once one is receiving them, one does not have to pretend to be looking for work; second, the doctors who make the bogus diagnoses, because by doing so they remove a possible cause of conflict with their patients and, given the assault rate on British doctors, this is important to them; and finally, the government, which can claim to have reduced unemployment.

But such obfuscation is destructive of human personality. The unemployed have to pretend something untrue--namely, that they are sick; the medical profession winds up humiliated and dispirited by taking part in fraud; and the government avoids, for a time, real economic problems. Thus the whole of society finds itself corrupted and infantilized by its inability to talk straight; and that Mr. Blair could speak with conviction of the low unemployment rate, and believe that he was telling the truth, is to me worse than if he had been a dastardly cynic.

Tony Blair's most alarming characteristic, however, has been his enmity to freedom in his own country, whatever his feelings about it in other countries. No British prime minister in 200 years has done more to curtail civil liberties than has Mr. Blair. Starting with an assumption of his infinite beneficence, he assumed infinite responsibility, with the result that Britain has become a country with a degree of official surveillance that would make a Latin American military dictator envious. Sometimes this surveillance is merely ludicrous--parking-enforcement officers' wearing miniature closed-circuit security cameras in their caps to capture abusive responses from those ticketed, say, or local councils' attaching sensing devices to the garbage cans of three million homes to record what people throw away, in order to charge them for the quantity and quality of their trash.

But often the government's reach is less innocuous. For example, in the name of national security, the government under Mr. Blair's leadership sought to make passport applicants provide 200 pieces of information about themselves, including bank-account details, and undergo interrogation for half an hour. If an applicant refused to allow the information to circulate through other government departments, he would not get a passport, with no appeal. The government also cooked up a plan to require passport holders to inform the police if they changed their address.

A justification presented for these Orwellian arrangements was the revelation that a would-be terrorist, Dhiren Barot, had managed to obtain nine British passports before his arrest because he did not want an accumulation of stamps from suspect countries in any of them. At the same time, it came to light that the Passport Office issues 10,000 passports a year to fraudulent applicants--hardly surprising, since its staff consists largely of immigrants, legal and illegal.

As was often the case with Mr. Blair and his government, the solution proposed was not only completely disproportionate to the problem; it was not even a solution. The government has admitted that criminal gangs have already forged the U.K.'s new high-tech passports. The only people, then, whom the process will trouble are the people who need no surveillance. No sensible person denies the danger of Islamic extremism in Britain; but just as the fact that the typical Briton finds himself recorded by security cameras 300 times a day does not secure him in the slightest from crime or antisocial behavior, which remain prevalent in Britain, so no one feels any safer from the terrorist threat despite the ever-increasing government surveillance.

Mr. Blair similarly showed no respect for precedent and gradual reform by Parliament itself, which--in the absence of an American-style written constitution--have been the nation's guiding principles. By decree, he made the civil service answerable to unelected political allies, for the first time in history; he devoted far less attention to Parliament than did any previous prime minister; the vast majority of legislation under his premiership (amounting to a blizzard so great that lawyers cannot keep up with it) passed without effective parliamentary oversight, in effect by decree; one new criminal offense was created every day except Sundays for 10 years, 60% of them by such decree, ranging from the selling of gray squirrels and Japanese bindweed to failure to nominate someone to turn off your house alarm if it triggers while you are out; he abolished the independence of the House of Lords, the only, and very limited, restraint on the elected government's power; he eliminated the immemorial jurisprudential rule against double jeopardy; he wanted to introduce preventive detention for people whom doctors deemed dangerous, even though they had as yet committed no crime; he passed a Civil Contingencies Act that permits the British government, if it believes that an emergency anywhere in the world threatens serious damage to human welfare or to the environment in Britain, to confiscate or destroy property without compensation.

That Mr. Blair should have turned out to be so authoritarian ought to come as no surprise to those who listened to the timbre of some of his early pronouncements. His early emphasis on youth; his pursuit of what he called, grandiosely, the Third Way (as if no one had thought of it before); his desire to create a "New Britain"; his assertion that the Labour Party was the political arm of the British people (as if people who did not support it were in some way not British)--some have thought all this contained a Mussolinian, or possibly Peronist, ring. It is ridiculous to say that Tony Blair was a fascist; but it would be equally absurd to see him as a defender of liberty, at least in his own country.....


Australia: Federal Leftist dishonesty about Iraq

A LEAKED letter from Kevin Rudd to Prime Minister John Howard shows the Opposition Leader backed Australia's involvement in Iraq in the aftermath of the invasion. The letter is at odds with Mr Rudd's current position that Iraq is "the greatest failure of national security policy since Vietnam" and will embarrass him in the run-up to the federal election.

In the letter, obtained by The Sunday Mail, Mr Rudd briefed Mr Howard on how to win in Iraq. Mr Rudd's November 2003 letter to the PM reveals that, far from opposing Australian involvement, he supported it. "Now that regime change has occurred in Baghdad, it is the Opposition's view that it is now the responsibility of all people of goodwill, both in this country and beyond, to put their shoulder to the wheel in an effort to build a new Iraq," Mr Rudd, as Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, said in the letter. He went on to recommend five policies. But he made no mention of troop withdrawal, even though three months later, then-Labor leader Mark Latham announced he would have the troops home by Christmas. The recommendations included:

* "An immediate review of protective security arrangements for all Australian staff in Iraq".

* "Deploying an appropriate number of trainers for capacity enhancement of the New Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police Force."

* Public employment measures to soak up the idleness of young men from joining terrorist groups.

* Using the Australian Electoral Commission to help Iraq stage elections.

* A smooth transition of the Oil for Food program to ensure Iraqis had proper food and medical supplies.

All of these measures were eventually adopted. Mr Rudd's letter was sent just as the Iraqi insurgency was gathering momentum, and after a visit to Baghdad. But in a speech last week, Mr Rudd outlined a different approach. "Despite the professionalism of the Australian Defence Force, the prosecution of the Iraq war has failed all key objectives set for it by the Howard Government," Mr Rudd told the Australian Security Policy Institute in Canberra.

Mr Rudd said no weapons of mass destruction were found, democracy had not spread in the Middle East, terrorism had blossomed and Iran's power had been enhanced. Labor now wants to pull out Australian combat troops if it wins this year's federal poll.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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