Archives July 2008

SHIPPING PIRATES POSE A DEADLY THREAT

In May of this year, a Danish tugboat operator named Colin Darch was piloting his craft out of the Red Sea when heavily armed pirates approached in two small boats and began screaming and firing weapons. Though he made a gallant attempt to resist, the thugs boarded the tugboat and took the crew hostage for six weeks until a ransom was paid by the company’s owners, reportedly at $700,000. Interviewed later, Darch said his “heart sank” when the assault began.

In April, the French luxury yacht, Le Ponant, was seized off the coast of Somalia where thirty people were taken hostage. A reported two million dollars in ransom money was paid for their release.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, seventy-one vessels have been boarded in the first six months of 2008, 190 crew members were taken hostage, seven were killed and another seven are missing, and presumed dead. Over 2,463 acts of piracy were committed around the world between 2000 and 2006. Their goal: food and supplies targeted as foreign aid, cash, personal belongings of passengers, and ransom money. The most hazardous routes are along the Nigerian and Somali coastlines of Africa, Indonesia and the Gulf of Aden where shipping lanes are vital in and out of the Red Sea. Authorities estimate only a fraction of attacks are actually reported, for fear of inflated insurance costs.

Such thugs are not the romantic figures of yore. No Captain Kidd, no “Shiver me timbers,” no swashbuckling Blackbeards, no swords, no eye patches. Modern pirates are sophisticated and armed to the teeth in their quest for blood money. In November of 2005, the U.S. cruise ship, Seabourn Spirit, was seized more than 100 miles from the Somali shoreline by pirates in speedboats launched from a mother ship. The attackers were armed with automatic firearms and grenades. Often, pirates don night-vision goggles, carry rocket launchers and navigate with global positioning devices.

According to estimates by the Rand Corporation, armed attacks on the high seas are costing over one billion dollars a year.

It’s tantamount to international terrorism. Fear runs rampant along shipping lanes. Individual crew members carry pistols. Thugs kill and maim. But we hear little about this form of terror in the media, because they don’t explode bombs in busy marketplaces or on school buses, nor does it involve al Qaeda and other known terror organizations. The news is not sensational enough.

Besides the costs in human life, it is certainly having an impact on international tourism, and the cost of commerce because cargo tankers are being forced to navigate hundreds of miles — consuming tons of extra fuel — out of the way to distance themselves from the threat of terror.

It’s nothing new. Rogues of southern Asia and northern Africa have engaged in pirating for a millennium. Between the 16th and 19th centuries, Barbary Pirates menaced the Mediterranean and Atlantic shores, committing murder, robbing merchant chips, capturing hostages and taking more than 1.25 million Europeans as slaves to be sold in their markets along the North African coast.

(That’s right, victims of slavery were not limited to Africans)

The impact was devastating. France, England and Spain lost thousands of ships not to mention human beings. Long stretches of the southern coastline of Spain and Italy were abandoned for fear of pirates.

After America’s independence, the United States joined with other nations to engage in international shipping and commerce, but were impeded by constant raids and killings by the Barbary pirates. In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams personally met with the ambassador from Tripoli, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, and asked why his government had been so hostile to our country and to Europeans.

The ambassador’s response was delivered to the Continental Congress:

“It was written in the Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every Muslim who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy’s ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once”

 

In order to fend off violence with violence, the practice of appeasement and capitulation was born, followed by the success of ransoms between the U.S. and the pirates. Payments of tribute and ransom amounted to 20 percent of United States government revenues in 1800. Algeria, for example, wanted $60,000 per prisoner, while the U.S. would only pay $4,000. History books are replete with horror stories about slavery, rape, murder and robbery stemming from the Barbary Coast. In the end, appeasement and negotiations did nothing to stem to flood of terror. President Jefferson, and congress, finally decided on a more formidable tactic: guns.

The first Barbary war lasted from 1801 to 1805, the second took place in 1815. The enemy was defeated by the U.S. Marines at Tripoli, thus the hymn lyrics,… “to the shores of Tripoli.” Shipping piracy and kidnapings came to a near halt. The Barbary pirates understood one message only: force.

The United Nations has basically been impotent in stemming these actions. A Security Council resolution passed on June 2nd allows for the U.S. and coalition nations to intervene by all necessary means to stem piracy off the Somali coast. But with attacks occurring far out into international waters, they come under no country’s jurisdiction, and no legal protection. Most often, for shippers and boaters, it’s every man to himself, defend as you can.

The U.S. has been active in patrolling waters and escorting some ships carrying foreign aid. We have also donated equipment, and coordinated training exercises for Indonesian sailors, urging them to work with their neighbors in Singapore and Malaysia. But the attacks continue. The U.S. cannot police the world.

Just like the action taken against the Barbary pirates of the 19th century, the only recourse may be the use of force. It is foreseeable that all seafaring crafts in hazardous regions will train and arm themselves with grenade launchers and heavy artillery which will send a dire message to the pirates of the 21st century; Seizing a ship may be hazardous to your health.

Once aware they are likely to be blown out of the water, the pirates will think twice.

There is another common denominator at the root of most acts of piracy today. It should be clear to anyone who studies this problem. Piracy is not just about money. It’s alluded to in the message from the Tripoli ambassador delivered by Jefferson to the Continental Congress in the 1780’s.

But I dare not demonize.

CHANGE? BE WARY

There’s an old saying that warns, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”

Warren Harding rose to the presidency in the wake of WWI, when an electorate was dismayed at the Democratic reign of Woodrow Wilson. America wanted change. We got it. It backfired. Historians generally consider Harding as one of the worst presidents ever.

In 1968, the nation was tired of the five-year quagmire in Viet Nam, plus many years of civil unrest and too much federal spending. Lyndon Baines Johnson would surely be a loser if he ran again, so he bowed out. Hubert Humphrey was seen as an extension of Johnson. He didn’t have a chance. The country wanted change! America got what America wanted.

We got Richard Nixon.

Six years later, it was all over. Nixon disgraced the presidency and became the first to resign from the Oval Office. Gerald Ford made a gallant effort, but his pardon of Nixon was too much to bear for a jaded electorate. The opposing party portrayed him as an extension of Nixon. America wanted change! And, it changed indeed.

We got Jimmy Carter.

The peanut farmer from Plains, Georgia, who had served only one term as governor, had an endearing smile and promised to raise the morality of the highest office in the land. Sound familiar? Again, Americans got what they wanted. We also got an economic disaster with runaway inflation reaching double-digits, soaring interest rates, a huge budget deficit and slow economic growth. Then, of course, the faux pas with the Shah of Iran resulting in the return of the Ayatollah, and the subsequent taking of 53 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran for 444 days which many consider the onset of the war with radical Islam. And, did I mention the calamitous Mariel boat lift when Castro pulled a coup over the U.S. by shipping 125,000 of his most undesirable residents onto our shores?

Ah, yes. Change…the magic word.

Just two years ago, America had enough of a Republican dominated congress and made a change at the polls. Consequently, the Democratic Party became a majority in the Senate and House of Representatives. The most recent Gallup Poll conducted this month shows that congress’ approval rating has sunk to its lowest point in three decades. Only 14 percent of Americans approve of the job the House and Senate are doing, which is far lower than President Bush’s record-low approval rating of 28 percent. Americans wanted change, and we got it.

There are many examples in history where citizens of other nations thirsted for change. National pride was at an all-time low in 1933 when the German people elected a new chancellor who instilled vibrance and hope to sagging spirits. He certainly made changes, but not exactly what was expected. Most Germans refused to believe the warnings of “fear mongers” because they were blinded by Hope, and Charisma. The voters heard what they wanted to hear, and discarded what they did not want to hear.

Cuba wanted change. The new leader had fooled everyone, until he assumed office.

Change is what’s happening throughout Africa today.

Change is a stimulating sound. But change doesn’t always work out for the better. Change can be a bitter pill. Americans should think twice about feeding into the glow of change before voting this November. In these times, when international terror and radical jihadists are at our doorstep, another backfire could portend long term disaster.

Be careful what you wish for.

MAMA MIA

If you enjoy musicals and pure entertainment without a heavy plot, be sure to see “Mama Mia,” the movie version of the hit Broadway play. Twas refreshing, for once, to sit through a picture with seeing cars smashing, bullets flying, buildings destroyed, blood gushing and sex oozing.

The story line is simple enough. Raised on a Greek island by a formerly rebellious mom who never disclosed the identity of her father, a bride-to-be locates three men who might be her father and invites them to her wedding.

The draw, of course, is the versatile talents of singing, dancing, acting Meryl Streep who seemingly is incapable of a poor performance. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her with another Golden Globe, or even an Oscar for this one.

Twenty-two year-old Amanda Seyfried is delightful as the young bride-to-be, full of life, fun, energy and a voice to go with it. She’s bound to go far in the movie world.

Next best, were the lady buddies of Streep’s character (Mama), played by Julie Walters and Christine Baranski…you’ll recognize them when you see them.

Two of the three possible dads were funny, believable and engaging in their roles, though they are relatively unknowns. (Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard). Then comes the miscasting of Pierce Brosnan who was utterly awkward and stiff trying to play a loose character out of Streep’s past, not to mention his second-rate singing voice. Casting Brosnan in this role would be like casting Charles Laughton as The Lone Ranger. Obviously, the producers were pandering for star power when they selected the former James Bond, but it detracted from an otherwise good movie.

The story line could well have eliminated the one quasi-gay scene which added nothing, and… like Brosnan’s inane performance, presented more of a distraction.

But…it’s an enjoyable musical ride, not of the same quality of “Chicago” and other past musical greats.

I give it 6 ½ out of 10.

 

 

 

SWIFT BOATING, DEMONIZING AND McCARTHYISM

 

Folks who cannot present a legitimate argument to counter an issue, or enter into dialogue over differing points of view, have a way of dismissing what they don’t agree with by using one-line labels. That’s the quickie, no-brainer response.

When I write about the threat of a Radical Islamic threat in the United States, I’m accused of DEMONIZING all Muslims.

When I cite specific reasons why Senator Obama may not be a fit candidate for the presidency, the best some folks can do is accuse me of SWIFT BOATING the man.

Then there’s the all-encompassing, wrap-it-up-with-one-word, McCARTHYISM, whenever I express concerns over the surreptitious infiltration of Radical Islam and their quest to destroy our country from within.

I appreciate all the responses from people, whether we agree or not, but it’s very disappointing when the best anyone can do is call names and assign labels. It sure tells me they haven’t done their homework.

Let’s talk more about each one of these inane metaphors.

Demonizing all Muslims: First, people should read, and not assume…because we all know what happens when one assumes? It makes an ass of u and me. If the metaphorians would actually read, and see what’s written, not what they think is written, they’d notice that nearly all my references to the threats posed to the U.S. are grounded in Radical Islam. I often note that the greatest majority of Muslims in the world are peace loving people, and that (according to most experts) approximately 15 to 20 percent are in support of Islamic jihad, which are the Radicals that scare the devil out of human beings all over the world, including other Muslims.

Am I demonizing Radical Islamists? You bet I am. Because 15 percent of the world of Islam equals more than 225,000 million hate-mongers who are financed with billions of petro dollars and are unafraid to die in order conquer or kill you and me. These are the people who are brainwashed from birth, and then brainwash their own youth, to hate America, hate Jews, hate Israel and will rejoice when the Islamic flag flies over the White House. I will demonize the enemy of America as much as I possibly can, so long as the information is true and it helps to wake up the comatose.

Swift Boating Obama: Paralleling Obama’s multi-faceted and dubious background to the single-issue of John Kerry’s Purple Hearts, is not just apples to oranges, it’s comparing a single apple to an entire orange grove.

John Kerry got whitewashed by the swift boaters who created doubt about the authenticity of his heroics in Viet Nam. A single issue which — in reality — had no real bearing on his credentials to be president. But it was a ploy that had a negative impact on his election.

Want to start with Senator Obama? Hundreds of questions have been raised regarding his credentials to be president. Here’s a brief sampling, in consideration of word count.

* Start with the easy one first. He hasn’t done anything. Obama ran for U.S. Senate and hit the deck running for president without establishing a notable record in office. In all, he has spent less than 150 days on the Senate floor, and never initiated a significant bill that passed through congress. His voting record in the Illinois state house, as most people know, is replete with abstentions. Obama’s inexperience — especially in these times — is a major red flag concerning his qualifications for the Oval Office.

* Twenty years of a chummy relationship with a pastor who hates America, who accuses the United States of deliberately injecting AIDS into black people, who declares that the 9/11 attack was the chickens coming home to roost…tells me a lot about Barack Obama. Those sermons didn’t just begin when Obama ran for president. He and his family sat through that kind of hate-mongering, racist hoopla Sunday after Sunday for twenty years. It tells a lot more about Obama’s character than anything Kerry did or didn’t do in Viet Nam.

* Knowingly a member of a church that has embraced racist, Jew-hating, Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrahkan for twenty years.

* Years of close personal relationships with the likes of William Ayers, admitted, unapologetic, Weather Underground, terrorist/bomber.

* Why Palestinians have formed phone banks to support his presidency.Click here: Palestinians for Obama

* Why he is so well-liked by Hamas, Ahmedinijad, American Muslims in general, as well as the American Communist Party? Click here: Marxists/Communists for Obama

* His questionable association with Raila Odinga, Marxist, radical Islamic terrorist who bullied his way into the prime minister’s post in Kenya with a promise to impose Sharia Law.

* His wife’s disparaging view of America, from her own lips.

* His association with rabidly anti-Israel Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi.

* His association with sleeze bag, Tony Rezko.

That’s a start. Swift Boating? Please.

McCarthyism: When a writer says something negative about radical Muslims in America, or elsewhere in the world, he/she is often likened to Wisconsin’s Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950’s and his fear mongering about the threat of communism.

Fair enough. But there are huge differences.

Communist infiltrators and their supporters of the 1950’s numbered about five to ten million and were primarily based in Russia and Eastern Europe. Radical Islamist numbers are over 200 million and they are based in more than one hundred countries.

Communist infiltrators were afraid to die, like most humanoids. No one ever told the Soviet youth that they were going to heaven to meet up with a harem of virgins if they killed infidels in the name of Allah. When an enemy is brainwashed to welcome death, we face a frightening dimension unparalleled in history.

Cold war communists did not have anything close to the scorecard for successful terror strikes and mass murder, as radical Islam.

Communism didn’t have multi billions of petro dollars to spread around the world, not just for terror, but for infiltrating our nation’s infrastructure, our universities, our prisons, our law enforcement, our government and our media, and for indoctrinating our own youth within.

Communism never used the protective umbrella of the First Amendment’s right of “religious freedom” in spreading their hate and propaganda.

The communist scare compared to Radical Islam, is a platoon compared to an army.

I’m but one American who has self-educated and become aware of the menace that faces our country if we don’t wake up and accept reality. My mission is to share this information with as many people as possible. To dismiss these warnings as “McCarthyism” is the easy way for critics to beg out of a dialogue when they haven’t made the effort to study the issue beyond the NY Times and CNN.

Am I a fear monger? Guilty, as charged. This threat is as real as the keyboard I’m pounding. I just hope Americans who are in denial begin waking up before it is too late.

The same comatose mentality in Europe accused Churchill of being a fear monger back in the 1930’s. Rather, they embraced the naive ideology of Neville Chamberlain, because he told everyone what they wanted to hear.

Sound familiar?

 

 

 

 

SHARIA LAW – ON THE WAY

 

One more notch.

Not surprisingly, England’s legal eagles are capitulating in the face of fear and intimidation. Rather than following the lead of Australia, where that nation’s leaders told the radicals if they didn’t like their laws, they could leave.

Not the United Kingdom. Weak-kneed top judge, Lord Philips, has stated that he supports the notion of having Islamic Law (Sharia) intervene in matters of marital and financial disputes. So much for English Law. And, this man is in line to head up the British Supreme Court.

It’s creeping everywhere, like cancer. The British Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, also argued earlier this year, that capitulating to Sharia Law was unavoidable, and that it would “improve social cohesion.” Fact is, it’s social erosion. Where will this lead to in another twenty years? Fifty? Where is the foresight of our world’s leaders?Click here: Another Big Endorsement of Shari’a in the UK

It’s not just England. Last year, a German judge capitulated to Sharia Law when she denied a divorce to a Muslim woman on the grounds that Islamic laws permit wife beating. After all, it’s part of the culture. Hey girl, marry a strict Muslim, and that’s the risk. Tough. This judge canned German law in favor of the laws of radical Islam. Muslims make up 3.3 million people in Germany, (and growing) that’s quite a voting block.

Throughout Europe, in Spain, France, Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, Muslim youths are increasingly becoming more vocal in their demands for separated legal systems from their host countries. Assimilation?

The United States? It’s on the way. Give it a few more years.

It’s only because I had to delve into a major research project to write a book, that I have some knowledge about the downside of Sharia Law. Allow me to pass it on to folks who are unaware.

* Women are the possession of men. In places where strict Sharia is practiced, they are considered much the same as owning a camel.

* Sharia law permits wife beating. Click here: Islam Wife Beating -Video

* When a man wants a divorce, he must stand and announce three times to her: “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you.” Bang it’s over. When a woman wants a divorce, it is a major affront which either ends up in a court room or on a morgue tray. In some places, a woman’s request for divorce is prohibited. Abuse is not grounds.

* A divorced man has no obligation to support his ex-wife or his children.

* A divorced woman must remain single, or she can lose custody of her children.

* An arranged marriage can be conducted without the presence of the bride, so long as the guardian consents.

* Muslim women may only marry Muslim men.

* A married woman who is raped, and dares to report it, must produce four witnesses, and they must all be males. If the rape is not confirmed by law, she is to be stoned to death for adultery.

* Homosexuality is banned. In some countries, Sharia Law calls for the death sentence.

* The punishment for thievery is amputation of hands. (In Iran, an eight-year-old boy was forced to lay his arm under a truck tire as it rolled over. He stole a loaf of bread.)

* Under Sharia, those who gamble or drink alcohol can be flogged/whipped.

* Highway robbers are to be crucified and mutilated.

* Death penalty to Muslims that criticize Muhhammed, the Koran or Sharia Law.

* Apostates (those who leave Islam) are to be killed.

That’s a sampling. For more details and examples, I suggest visiting web site:

Click here: American Thinker

Yes, there’s a lot more to it, such as dietary laws and such. Other religions also have rules and customs regarding marriage, diet and inheritance, but none so barbaric as what is imposed upon homosexuals and women who live under strict Sharia Law.  The problem, is that these radicals are hell-bent on exporting Sharia to the west.

Americans are a selfish lot. We can’t see beyond our noses. We think about the “now” and think not about the “tomorrow” when our children and grandchildren will be dealing a lot more with these issues.

One only has to reflect twenty years back, and remember such words and phrases dealing with Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law were rarely heard or written about, especially inside of western nations. Today, it’s pervasive. Imagine what it’s going to be like in another twenty years.

Cal Thomas wrapped it up best, in his last article. He wrote:

“There is no due process under Sharia law. Lord Phillips has signed the death warrant for his nation if his opinion becomes the law of England. It’s one thing to fight a war and lose it. It’s quite another to willingly surrender without a struggle.”