Wednesday, December 24, 2014
British soldier investigated for war crimes after touching Taliban terror suspect on nose with piece of paper
A British soldier was investigated for possible war crimes for thrusting a piece of paper at a Taliban fighter, it has emerged.
He was accused of abuse for touching the terror suspect on the nose with the sheet during a routine interrogation in Afghanistan.
The enemy fighter had been captured and detained as a potential ringleader in the murder and mutilation of four French soldiers in 2008.
But it was the military intelligence officer, who had an exemplary record, who was investigated for possible war crimes amid claims he had broken rules banning the touching of prisoners during interrogation.
On another occasion an interrogator was probed for shouting in a suspect’s ear in case he burst an ear drum, it was claimed.
The investigation is said to have taken place four years after the alleged offence.
The incidents came to light after the Ministry of Defence tightened the rules governing tactical questioning in the wake of several highly-damaging allegations that UK troops abused captives in their custody.
The changes have led to considerable disquiet in the military that soldiers are being hampered in their ability to extract information from insurgents that could potentially save lives.
Last week, the Al Sweady Inquiry report into the fallout from a firefight in Iraq in 2004 which became known as the Battle of Danny Boy concluded that insurgents and their families had used ‘deliberate lies’ to smear British troops.
Sir Thayne Forbes, who led the £31million inquiry, found that claims soldiers murdered, mutilated and tortured detainees were ‘wholly and entirely without merit’.
But while blasting the Iraqis and their legal aid-funded British lawyers, the 1,250-page report also turned the spotlight on nine examples of military intelligence officers abusing Iraqi detainees during questioning, although these instances were found to be ‘relatively minor’.
One soldier was criticised for walking around a captured and blindfolded Iraqi insurgent and blowing gently on his neck, which Sir Thayne said ‘amounted to a form of ill-treatment’.
The soldier was also castigated for banging a metal tent peg on a table to startle the prisoner, shouting in the man’s ear and warning him he would never see his wife if he refused to co-operate.
Following the revelations, a former senior Army interrogator, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘There was an incident in 2008 when French soldiers were massacred and the bodies of four of them were mutilated.
‘We had two of the suspects in detention and they were brought in for questioning. ‘One of the interrogators touched one of the suspects on the nose with an A4 piece of paper and he was investigated by the special investigation branch for abuse.
‘Just for touching a detainee on the nose. The fact somebody could be investigated for that is to my mind incredible. It was ridiculous. These French soldiers had been horribly mutilated and yet it was the interrogator who was investigated.’
Blaming MoD lawyers, the former soldier said: ‘We once had in for questioning a well-known Taliban fighter. ‘He didn’t say a word; he wouldn’t speak to us and when he eventually did all he would say through the translator was: “Your detention policy is toothless”.
‘We would have these suspects in and there we are worried about what the lawyers in Britain are going to say. These are really bad people. They mutilate their victims. ‘They murder women and children and all we can think about is did we shout in their ear and will we get investigated for that? That’s how ridiculous it got.’
Colonel Tim Collins, who made a celebrated eve-of-battle speech during the Iraq war, said he blamed ‘ambulance-chasing lawyers’ and ‘play-it-safe judges’ for the new rules on interrogation. He said: ‘We are no longer able to carry out tactical questioning. That in itself brings risks to the lives of the people we deploy.
‘These insurgents are not nice people. These are criminals. They behead people; they keep sex slaves. They are not normal people.’
Atheist Group's Complaint Backfires, Lands Nativity In Full Public View
When the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) went after a city council in Jay, Fla., for displaying a nativity set on public property, the atheist group might have won a battle, but seems to have lost the war.
The FFRF, known for protesting any and all religious displays in public places, sent a complaint letter recently to local officials in the 526-person city of Jay, arguing against the life-sized nativity that had been set up on the site every Christmas for nearly 40 years, the group said in a press release.
In a letter sent to the city’s mayor, FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel alleged, "It is unlawful for the town to maintain, erect, or host a holiday display that consists solely of a nativity scene, thus singling out, showing preference for, and endorsing one religion.” He added there are "ample private and church grounds where religious displays may be freely placed.”
In response to the group’s complaints, the city council declared the nativity set surplus property and sold it to the Santa Rosa County Ministerial Association, thus removing it from public property.
The FFRF’s co-president, Dan Barker, praised the city council’s decision as “divesting the town of a divisive display.”
But the town has not been deprived of the nativity, reports the American Pastors Network. In fact, after the ministerial association purchased the nativity, they then placed the huge Christian display on private property near one of the busiest parts of the small town, reports the American Pastors Network.
“It now stands at a busy corner at the town’s main stop light—ironic, say nativity supporters, because many more people will see it there,” the APN said in a news release, adding that the more prominent display shows the citizens of Jay “have no intention of removing the real meaning of Christmas from public display.”
The APN said the complaint was just the latest in a continued attack on religious freedom by groups like the FFRF.
“Anyone who actually takes time to study our nation’s history and read the writings of our founders—not the interpretations of those writings written two hundred years later—knows that religious liberty and the acknowledgement of Almighty God as the source of that liberty are the bulwark of our nation,” said APN President Sam Rohrer in the release. “Threats like these against towns that want to display nativities are a blatant attack on our God-given and constitutionally protected freedoms.”
“The truth remains that public displays of the nativity scene on government property in no way violate the Constitution. FFRF’s attempts to stifle religious liberty, however, do,” he added.
According to the APN, a similar nativity placed by a local government in the nearby town of Century, Fla., also came under attack from the FFRF. That nativity was also bought by a church and placed on private property.
A third nativity display in Brookville, Ind., is still standing despite the FFRF’s attempts to force the local government to remove it, the group added.
“Brookville is going a step further and ignoring FFRF’s letters and instead rallying around its nativity,” APN reported in the press release, adding the town held a candlelight walk last weekend to show support for the nativity scene.
Nobody Has a Right to an Anti-Gay Wedding Cake, Either
Theodore Shoebat is the answer to the question, "Why should anybody care so much about freedom of association, anyway?" Shoebat and his father, Walid, have a Christian conservative site that features stories with headlines like "The Homosexual Empire," "America Is Becoming an Agent of Satan (We Are Now Living in Sodom and Gomorrah)," and "America's Most Embarrassing Muslim Spy and His Terrorist Connections Have Been COVERED UP and are NOW EXPOSED."
So probably not the site for me, and a lot of folks, and that's fine. The Internet is a big and wonderful place. Shoebat recently, though, performed an experiment some fans of freedom of association simply ponder. He called a bunch of gay or gay-friendly bakeries to see if they would make a cake for him that says "Gay marriage is wrong." He has posted videos of his conversations on YouTube and you can watch them here.
Shoebat is kind of his own worst enemy in trying to perform this experiment. He can't keep from referring to the homosexual agenda "in California" and trying to argue with the folks in the other end of the call rather than simply asking if they'd sell him the cakes he wants. And his claim that they all rejected him isn't exactly true. His first call is to a cookie place, not a bakery. After arguing with the woman and saying that she'd be discriminating against him if she refused to make his cookie, she finally says she'll do it, though sarcastically says she'd add a big penis to the cookie. When a baker says they won't make him the cake because "They don't support that," he doesn't respond by saying that he's not asking them to support his position, just make a cake. Instead he asks them why they don't support his statement, which is missing his own point. Shoebat needed to be making the argument that it shouldn't matter whether they agree, because they're just providing a service.
But while it would have been better for a more articulate person to have performed this experiment, it's instructive nevertheless. If bakers are a "public accommodation" as is argued, there's no reason for them to refuse to make these cakes or cookies or what have you. The bakeries would not be saying "Gay marriage is wrong." They're just selling a cake to somebody who believes that. Just as making a gay wedding cake is not an endorsement of gay marriage. It's just fulfilling a customer's orders.
But it's wrong on both counts. Nobody should, by order of the government, have to make Shoebat's stupid cakes. And nobody should be forced to make gay wedding cakes either. Ethical and moral consistency requires demanding both or neither, not one or the other. Somehow some people see that it's obviously wrong for anybody to be forced to make Shoebat's cakes, but not gay wedding cakes.
Anti-Semitism Rising in the EU
The ongoing capitulation by Europe to radical Islam continues apace. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg annulled a 13-year-old decision made by the Council of the European Union to maintain Hamas on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations. The court explained that, while the “Council of the European Union adopted a common position and a regulation to combat terrorism” beginning Dec. 27, 2001, that decision was based “not on acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities but on factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.”
The Court further explained such decisions may not be made in that fashion but must rather rely on “elements which have been concretely examined and confirmed in decisions of national competent authorities within the meaning of the Common Position.”
When the Council established the list of terrorist organizations in 2001, Hamas' military wing, the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades, was placed on the list. It took another two years before the political wing of the organization was added to it.
Hamas had contested the part of the common position that included “freezing of the funds of those people and entities included on a list adopted and regularly updated by Council decisions.” And while the Court annulled that position, it maintained that freeze for a period of three months, or “if an appeal is brought before the Court of Justice, until this appeal is closed.”
The Court stressed that the annulments made on “fundamental procedural grounds do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group within the meaning of the Common Position.”
Perhaps the most burning question is what have the so-called national competent authorities been doing for the last 13 years? Besides its bloody track record of terrorist attacks and the indiscriminate firing of thousands of missiles into Israel, Hamas' founding charter, “The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement,” calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State. A statement from the Prophet Mohammed provides the rationale:
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”
One suspects far too many Europeans are more than willing to ignore such evidence in an effort to be “even-handed.” The leftist BBC implies as much, noting that the terror group’s “supporters see it as a legitimate resistance movement against Israel, with whom it has fought for years.” And only hours after that ruling, the European Parliament (EP) voted overwhelmingly to recognize a Palestinian state “in principle” by a margin of 498 to 88, with 111 abstentions. The vote is the culmination of a trend that began with similar recognition by the Swedish Parliament in October, followed by similar non-binding votes in Britain, Ireland, Spain, France and Portugal, with the latter two countries passing those resolutions last week.
All of the votes passed by large margins.
The EP’s vote reeks of an illegal double-standard exposed by the United Kingdom Independence Party’s (UKIP) Member of the European Parliament (MEP), James Carver. In September, he asked the EP to recognize the Islamic State of Somaliland. In October, they replied that only individual member states of the EU can act in that capacity. Even more transparently, they insisted that the status of Somaliland should be determined via “negotiations between the authorities of Somaliland and the Federal Government of Somalia” absent any effort by the EU to “influence the outcome of the process.”
Putting their collective fingers on the scale in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, even as decades of those negotiations have never held the Palestinians to remotely the same standards of compromise as Israel? Perfectly acceptable.
A survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League reveals the impetus behind that effort. It reveals nearly one-in-four Western Europeans and more than one-in-three Eastern Europeans harbor anti-Semitic feelings.
Virulent expressions of those feelings were chronicled by the Guardian last August. They reported on a series of attacks and fire-bombings of synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses throughout Europe. Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, illuminated the feelings of his co-religionists. “These are the worst times since the Nazi era,” he explained. “On the streets, you hear things like ‘the Jews should be gassed’, ‘the Jews should be burned’ – we haven’t had that in Germany for decades. Anyone saying those slogans isn’t criticizing Israeli politics, it’s just pure hatred against Jews: nothing else. And it’s not just a German phenomenon. It’s an outbreak of hatred against Jews so intense that it’s very clear indeed.”
Hamas was pleased with the Court’s decision. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk characterized it as “a correction of a historical mistake.” He added, “Hamas is a resistance movement and it has a natural right according to all international laws and standards to resist the occupation.” That would be the same Hamas reportedly repairing the “terror tunnels” used to infiltrate Israel for the sole purpose of killing as many Jews as possible. Increasingly and most ominously, it appears the EU is on board with the utterly bankrupt moral equivocation known as “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
Israeli economy minister Naftali Bennett called the Court’s annulment “immoral.” But he also offered the EU a warning. “Israel is strong and can defend itself against its enemies, but those who will suffer from strengthening terrorist groups will be the Europeans themselves,” he said. Suffer may be an understatement. Abject surrender to Islamic totalitarianism, one anti-Semitic-driven decision after another, is more like it.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.