Keeping the press honest

Wouldn’t this be nice? From an email

Wouldn’t this be nice?

WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT TO TURN ON THE TV AND HEAR ANY U.S. PRESIDENT,
DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN GIVE THE FOLLOWING SPEECH?

My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been
completed.

Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our
mission in Iraq is complete.

This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American
forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now
to begin the reckoning.

Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries
which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short.
The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the
countries listed there.

The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the
world’s nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing
copies of both lists later this evening.

Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those
nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved
during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the
Iraqi war.

The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world
Hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption.

Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France.

In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money
toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that
note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt
you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the
earth.

Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China.

I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France,
Germany, and Russia . Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring
from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.

I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN
diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking
tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and
crushed. I don’t care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps
have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or
watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be turned over to some of
the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York

A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are likely
to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not
pissing us off for a change.

Mexico is also on List 2. The entire corrupt government really needs an
attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry
divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border
security. So start doing something with your oil.

Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty -
starting now.

We are tired of the one-way highway. Immediately, we’ll be drilling for
oil in Alaska – which will take care of this country’s oil needs for
decades to come. If you’re an environmentalist who opposes this decision,
I refer you to List 2 above: pick a country and move there. They care.

It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens.
Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, “darn
tootin.”

Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the
world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the
planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America . It is time to
eliminate homelessness in America . It is time to eliminate World Cup
Soccer from America. To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks
guys. We owe you and we won’t forget. To the nations on List 2, a final
thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic. God bless America. Thank
you and good night. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are
reading it in English, thank a soldier.

There Is No Solution to a Lying Press

  http://dearbornunderground.blogspot.com/

  

There Is No Solution to a Lying Press

When does press bias cross the line into outright lying?

In the Nation & World news section of today’s Detroit News, a top of the page headline purporting to quote General David Petraeus speaking about Iraq makes him scream ‘There is no … solution.’ This headline was written in abject service of the Democrat-liberal media axis’s message that there is absolutely, positively no combination of ideas, resources, time or effort that could possibly lead to a success in Iraq.

But, as the highly-paid Detroit News copy editor simply had to know, (perhaps overpaid, as evidenced by his headline just below, “Bush tries new tact with foes” –ouchie!), the ellipses not only shortened and simplified Gen. Petraeus’s quotation, but put something into the General’s mouth that he never said. (In fact, the online edition of the article skips the ellipses, and simply invents the Petraeus quote, ‘There is no solution.’)

Can you appreciate how someone poorly informed about the situation in Iraq, (a huge number of Americans), and trusting that headline to tell the gist of the story, comes away believing that the President’s new commander in Iraq no sooner got his boots on the ground before he threw up his hands in despair and pronounced the utter futility of the mission?

But the headline is lying. That is not what General Petraeus said.

Alexander Zavis’s Los Angeles Times story below this deceitful headline reported the following:

“The new U.S. commander in Iraq acknowledged Thursday that U.S.-led forces could not protect all Iraqis from ‘thugs with no soul’ bent on reigniting sectarian warfare.

“’Any student of history recognizes that there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq,’” Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said at his first news conference since assuming command last month.

“Political negotiations were vital and would require reaching out to ‘some of those who have felt the new Iraq did not have a place for them,’ Petraeus said. ‘Military action is necessary to help improve security but it is not sufficient.’”

Rather than echoing the Democratic party’s counsel’s of despair, Petraeus was merely re-iterating what has always been the coalition strategy in Iraq: to use military force to ensure stability, while at the same time fostering political democracy and freedom so the Iraqis can rebuild their own nation.

Zavis said as much when he wrote, “Petraeus’ point was one U.S. officials have been making for several years as they pressed for Iraqis to assume control of their country after the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein.”

It was never the mission in Iraq to reduce the level of conflict and sectarian strife to nothing, as if that were even possible. Yet resorting to ridiculous benchmarks is one more way the Left can redefine an uphill, but clearly progressing, slog to final victory as an utter failure and a total loss.

The stepped up suicide attacks by insurgents in response to the increased military crackdown in Baghdad was predicted by the President weeks ago when he announced the new plan, and is completely unsurprising. The insurgents are well aware that the only hope they have of fighting back against US forces is to destroy the political will of America, and they have been consistent in their use of this weapon. As Victor David Hanson wrote last week, “[t]he terrorists learned from our own domestic calculus that each month of televised IEDs was worth one or two U.S. senators suddenly dropping their support for the war.” (“Anatomy of Iraq: How did we get to this baffling scenario?”).

Likewise, suicide attacks aimed at Shias have been powerfully effective at convincing misinformed Americans, (especially with the twisted versions of events we’re being spoon-fed by the media), that sectarian violence is a problem without a solution–so we may as well just turn our backs and tackle something easier, like stopping the polar ice caps from melting.

Petraeus’s point that political, not military, solutions are the only road to success in Iraq merely restates what has always been our strategy there from the beginning. But the Left’s re-telling of the story of the Iraq war is so focused on proving it was a mistake from the beginning and the greatest foreign policy failure of all time, they stubbornly exclude the historical facts of three successful elections in Iraq–the glaring evidence that political solutions were always meant to take over where the military strategy had reached its limit.

And Petraeus’s comments come amid signs that sectarian violence has dropped dramatically pursuant to the increased troop presence, and many families have felt secure enough to begin returning to the homes from which the violence had driven them.

Consider this eyewitness account of things on March 2nd from the outstanding Iraqi blog, Iraq the Model:

While many Iraqi families are returning to the homes they once were forced to leave, there are also Baghdadis who are reopening their stores, ending the months they spent out of business because of violence and intimidation. Some streets that were virtually deserted a few months ago are slowly showing signs of returning to life.

The reopening stores even include some liquor shops! There are two stores on one street that I used to shop that closed early last year when their owners received death threats from the insurgents and the militias. Yesterday I walked through that street and, to my amazement, I found both stores open and back in business.

Of course the reopening of two liquor stores is no big deal by itself when we are talking about a city where thousands of businesses are still shuttered. I regard this as a further positive sign of a change in Baghdad’s daily life. It means that those shopkeepers are leaving their fear behind, and openly ignoring the threats of militias and insurgents who once ruled the streets and intimidated the people with threats and violence.

The results of Operation “Imposing Law” are not magical. We didn’t expect them to be magical. The commanders didn’t claim they’d be when the Operation began. Still these latest developments are certainly promising. And let’s not forget that what has been achieved so far was achieved while many thousands of the new troops assigned to Baghdad are yet to arrive.

There are times when the perfidious manipulation by the press makes me want to give up. And it only makes it worse when the Democrat-media axis offer mutual protection of one another’s phony poses as the Protectors of Truth, even while they manufacture lie after lie about the war in Iraq, and the people who are still trying to win it.

Latest Scandal Exposed: Link Discovered Between Vice President of the United States and President of the United States!

  http://dearbornunderground.blogspot.com/

  

Latest Scandal Exposed: Link Discovered Between Vice President of the United States and President of the United States!

This exchange between reporter John Roberts and Jim VandeHei of The Politico was lifted from a transcript of Roberts’s hit piece on Dick Cheney, which aired the other night on CNN’s Paula Zahn Now. The transcript was posted at NewsBusters. (“CNN’s John Roberts Defends His ‘Very Narrowly Sliced’ Cheney Attack Piece to Ingraham”).

ROBERTS: No question, Cheney is the most powerful vice president in recent memory, perhaps ever, intimately involved in policy development, national security. He has repeatedly frustrated Democratic attempts to peel back the veil of secrecy that surrounds his office. Will the Libby verdict force him to change his ways? Not likely, says VandeHei.

VANDEHEI: Dick Cheney is Dick Cheney. He’s certainly not going to change. And I — I don’t think that his critics will ever force him into changing. I mean, he has a modus operandi that’s well established. He does things behind the scenes. He works with the president very closely. He’s the president’s right-hand man. There’s no way that, suddenly, he’s going to become a lovable, huggable figure on the public stage.

My God, it just gets worse and worse. How will the Republic survive exposure of the VP actually being “intimately involved in policy development, national security,” rather than just fulfilling the role intended by the Founders of “a lovable, huggable figure on the public stage.”

Undoubtedly the House will soon be conducting hearings to get to the bottom of how the Vice President of the United States, for years now as far as we know, has been getting away with working with the President closely, even rising to the level of being the President’s “right-hand man.”

May God help us and our Constitution.

STOP THE ISLAMIFICATION OF EUROPE

NO SHARIA HERE!

So join the call

All European nations must be represented

SO IF YOU LOVE FREEDOM

IF YOU LOVE YOUR COUNTRY

BE THERE!!

The organizers of the demonstration are:
SIAD (Denmark) sioe@siad.dk phone: +45 96771784
No Sharia Here (England) sioe.nsh@btinternet.com

We are in contact with Akte-islam in Germany, which is organizing the German participation.

We seek people/organizations from all other European countries who will organize participation by their own countrymen.

For questions or coordination amongst countries, contact SIAD or No Sharia Here.

STOP THE ISLAMIFICATION OF EUROPE

The Origin of the Group

Stop the Islamification of EuropeStop the Islamification of Europe (SIOE) is an alliance of people from across Europe with the single aim of preventing Islam from becoming a dominant political force in Europe.

It originated with the joining of Stop Islamseringen Af Danmark (SIAD) — a political party dedicated to stopping the Islamification of Denmark — with a loose association of people in England whose rallying cry is “No Sharia Here”, people who want to maintain English law and stop the creeping growth of sharia law in England.

SIOE is growing in Europe with the amalgamation of similarly-minded groups.

Aims

SIOE exists to combat legally the overt and covert expansion of Islam in Europe.

SIOE condemns racism as the lowest form of human stupidity, but considers Islamophobia to be the height of common sense.

SIOE states that Islam and democracy are incompatible, due to teachings within the Koran itself and some of the hadith which comprise sharia law.

SIOE asserts that such incompatibility is self-evident when those tenuous democracies in countries where Islam is the dominant religion are scrutinized.

Such “democracies” have only existed in the post European colonial period, since the end of World War Two.

It has always been the case, but recently increasingly so, that in Islamic countries, whether “democratic” or not, non-Muslims are at best treated as second class citizens, or at worst oppressed.

SIOE believes this to be due to the teachings of Islam, which encourages Muslims to feel superior to non-Muslims, and that Islam must prevail over any other religion and political system, by any means.

SIOE finds the concept of “moderate” Muslims difficult because of the Islamic practices of taqiyya and kitman, which are designed to deceive and mislead non-Muslims in order to promote the ascendance of Islam over any other religion and political system.

Therefore, if a political party’s leaders and members may be accused of lying and their policies challenged, then the same should apply to a religion, especially Islam, which considers lying to be not only acceptable, but obligatory in the furtherance of its doctrine.
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Furthermore, SIOE wants all religions to be treated in law the same way as political parties, with no special legal protection. This should apply especially to Islam because it is a combined political, legal and judicial system administered and overseen by unelected theologians, and is completely contrary to Western concepts of democracy.

This is why democracy is failing in Islamic countries and giving way to Islamic theocracy.

SIOE considers that those Western politicians, journalists, academics, and social groups who support Islam are deliberately misleading Europeans about the nature of Islam. This is particularly evident in the non-reporting of Islamist atrocities around the world, but also in the re-writing of history to portray Islam in a favorable light as a non-aggressive religion.

SIOE reflects the attitude of most people in Europe that Islam is being favored above indigenous European cultures and that Muslims are being selectively protected by politicians and lawyers at the expense of non-Muslims who often find themselves unprotected.

SIOE challenges the funding by Saudi Arabia for the building of mosques and other Islamic institutions in Europe and elsewhere around the world, when that country itself outlaws any religion other than Islam, any politics other than Islam, and any jurisprudence other than Islam. Such asymmetric funding must be stopped.

No more mosques until we see churches in Mecca.

REASONS

To Maintain Our Hard-Fought Democracy

“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” is the rallying cry of all liberty-loving Europeans who are tired of seeing their values and ways of life eroded.

More than any other continent, Europe has arguably suffered most to achieve its present happy condition of liberal democracy.

Centuries of international conflicts and civil wars, most notably of course the two world wars of the 20th century, were endured by the ordinary folk of Europe.

However, conflict, strife and warfare are not the sole preserve of Europe. The USA suffered its own civil war; China and Russia are still staggering out of the rubble of revolution and down the rocky road to democracy.

Out of the centuries of Europe’s internal strife blossomed the Renaissance and Enlightenment, which in turn bore the fruits of democracy.

Freethinking men and women fashioned this fragile, imperfect political system, with its many nuances, which nevertheless survives and grows because of its intrinsic fairness and popularity.

Democracy in turn released those lucky people enjoying its benefits to form the most medically, scientifically and artistically productive part of the world, that which we call “The West”.

Many of the West’s achievements occurred during the period since the Second World War, when its people determinedly defended their hard earned principles of democracy and freedom against the totalitarian doctrine of Communism.

In winning both World War Two and the Cold War, the West defeated two of its greatest enemies, one the European cancer of Nazism, the second the contagion of Communism.

Unfortunately, the existence of both has led to the adoption in modern political parlance of the fatuous terms “left” and “right.”

Even more unfortunately, in Europe at least, “left” has misleadingly come to mean “good” and “right” to mean “bad”.

The table of political oppression is a round one, at which the power-ravenous “right” and “left” sit shoulder-to-shoulder, gnawing the bones of freedom’s cadaver.

Rational people know these truths.

Totalitarianism is the antithesis of liberty.

Theocracy is the antipathy of democracy.

Our Own Politicians, Police and Judges Are The Danger

So why have rational people allowed irrationality to rule?

It is because the main danger to liberal democracy is its inherent liberalism, which opens itself to being hijacked by self-styled liberals.

A Nazi will punch you for the good of the state. A Communist will kick you for the good of the state. A liberal will do both while shaking your hand and telling you it’s for your own good.

Rational people recognize that the only liberality self-styled “liberals” indulge in, is liberally banning everything they disagree with.

Lamentably, at the top of the agenda is banning free speech.

Understandably, because of the events of World War Two and also our colonial past, Europeans have become wary of persecuting minority groups.

This has led to Europeans encouraging people from around the world to settle in Europe and to share the benefits of Western ideals.

However, this laudable intention has been usurped, not only by some of the groups of people coming to Europe, but worse still by self-loathing, guilt-laden politicians not only of the “liberal” persuasion, but also capitalist free-marketeers.

Such people have insinuated themselves into positions of power.

Together they undermine our ways of life, stifle any dissent from their diktats, and spread feelings of political remoteness and hopelessness among the majority of European people.

This is exactly the kind of totalitarianism we fought against in World War Two and the Cold War.

So What’s the Difference?

So what is different about the present battle, which some describe as a war?

This time around the struggle is against a theocratic totalitarianism called Islam.

The very fact that it is a theocracy, in other words a religion, protects Islam from being challenged.

Political constitutions (written or otherwise) across the West enshrine the principle of freedom of religious practice.

Therefore, religions may not be attacked in the same way as political parties.

In the West, politicians and their parties come under continuous verbal and written onslaughts in the media regarding their policies, performance and personnel.

Religious practice, however, is protected.

Despite this, Christianity, Europe’s main religion, has constantly been ridiculed, criticized and condemned, more often than not with impunity.

This is because Christianity is an easy target, mainly due to the fact that calling for Christian heretics to be killed is deemed more than unacceptable by Christian clergy, and actually killing heretics contravenes laws drawn up by democratically elected legislators.

Certainly leaving Christianity, or any other religion besides Islam, does not merit any punishment, in this world at least.

As we all know, this is not the case with Islam’s sharia law, which stipulates a death sentence for apostates leaving Islam for any reason.

Until recently, religion has been kept in its place in Western society. It has become a matter of one’s own personal belief and private conscience.

For generations, offending a religious person has been regarded as no more than bad manners. One of the fundamental benefits in the West is the right to offend and be offended.

Religion has not been a threat to society and the clergy has not formulated legislation in the West, although it has been allowed to lobby the various elected governments.

All this is changing due to the imposition of Islam.

No other religion demands more from those who do not adhere to its doctrine.

This would not be a problem in the West, if our leaders actually stood up for Western values and insisted that Muslims live within our laws and accepted our cultures and social systems.

Instead, it is we who are told we must abandon our values, cultures and societies in order not to offend Muslims. It is Islam that is being rammed down our throats and the throats of our children.

It is not only in the West that Islam is causing misery and mayhem. All around the world Islam is battling the “infidels”.

In response, all our politicians, journalists, social commentators and religious leaders do is avoid mentioning the murderous activities in places like Indonesia, Thailand and sub-Saharan Africa. However, if an Israeli soldiers so much as farts within earshot of a Palestinian mosque the whole world knows about it within minutes and politicians resoundingly condemn Israel.

Such sanctimonious, selective conscience is contemptible and Europeans are fed up with being oppressed for the sake of what most believe to be the most corrosive and intolerant political system ever devised.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

The US – Mexico Border Powder Keg

The US – Mexico Border Powder Keg

Douglas Hanson
Jerry Seper of The Washington Times reports  today that there has been an “unprecedented surge” of violence along the US – Mexico border, much of it carried out by gangs armed with modern military weapons and gear.  Seper says that the arms largely come from the US, however, it says later in the article that Mexican authorities have not yet determined the origin of the weapons, only that one of the trucks transporting the gear was registered in Texas.

Nevertheless, federal, state, and local law enforcement officials in the Southwest US continue to sound the alarm that such weaponry far outclasses anything the Border Patrol could muster to guard our southern border.  Among the arms seized:

  •  
    • M-16 assault rifles, one equipped with an M-203 40mm grenade launcher
    • M-4 carbines
    • Handguns of various calibers
    • Hundreds of magazines for different weapons
    • Nearly 10,000 rounds of ammunition
    • Assault vests
    • Two completed improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and materials for making 33 more
    • Hand grenades

This level of sophistication may be surprising to many Americans, but it is only the latest example of how militarized the border area has become, and is something I wrote  about last year.  Since the demise of the Eastern Bloc and the end of the Cold War, the communists’ global proxy warriors had to find gainful employment from bosses that had equally deep pockets and a need for their deadly skills.  It was a natural fit for drug traffickers and illegal alien smugglers to ally with the East’s former special operators.  Since the early 90s, we have known that these agents,

… were experts at infiltrating across international borders, and most importantly, they were experienced in corrupting and destabilizing local governments and law enforcement agencies.  This component of their operation was to have decisive consequences for years to come in our ability to stop illegal immigrants and drug smuggling.

And that,

…the narco-terrorist force had capabilities matching those of modern infantry units: assault rifles, crew-served machine guns, anti tank weapons systems, and man portable anti-aircraft missiles of both Western and Warsaw Pact manufacture.  The enemy had also dug tunnels, established hidden staging areas, weapons and food caches, and most importantly, had infiltrated operatives on our territory to gather intelligence and undertake direct action missions in border towns.  Expecting the Border Patrol and the DEA to deal with these guys with side arms and arrest warrants was and still is laughable.

There are those civil libertarians who view this problem as one that can be solved by legalizing drugs, thereby removing the huge profits to be gained which, in their view, would dissolve this entire logistics infrastructure and para-military organization.  This ignores the clear operational intent of this foreign army that uses drugs and human trafficking as but a few of many tactical measures to deliberately weaken our national resolve and sovereignty.
Conducting political destabilizing operations in Hometown, USA in the entire southwest border region has far more important implications beyond the so-called war on drugs.  Yet, successive administrations have done the “ostrich drill” when it comes to recognizing the threat to our national security.  Earlier this year, the lack of a serious defense on the border was on display in grand fashion when the mostly unarmed National Guard units stationed on the border were overrun by a few armed men.  The response?  The National Guard ended up being protected by volunteers of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.
The deteriorating situation along our border has been evident for decades.  But if people in charge of protecting our nation acknowledge the truth, then action is required to remedy the problem.  So, don’t expect an “official finding” to be forthcoming from the defense establishment, the Congress, or the President, because they might actually have to do something about it.

China’s “Bamboo Network”

China’s “Bamboo Network”
By Carl F. Horowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 9, 2007

A Space Odyssey

It was an explosion nobody heard.  And at more than 500 miles above the earth’s surface, nobody could.  But that January 11 outer-space collision — a People’s Republic of China medium-range, surface-to-air ballistic missile destroying one of its aging weather satellites — ought to be a reminder of that country’s military prowess, and how to some extent it obtained it, especially during the Nineties. The Chinese government at first denied any intention to flex military muscle.  Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao assured the press that his country “opposes the weaponization of space and any arms race.”  Yet several days later, Yao Yunzhu, a Chinese one-star general, speaking in flawless English at a World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, revealed different intentions.  “Outer space is going to be weaponized in our lifetime,” she said.  If there’s going to be a space superpower, “It will have company — China.” Meanwhile, halfway around the world Senator Hillary Clinton announced on January 20 that she would be a candidate for president in 2008.  The two events seemed unrelated — on the surface.  In fact, the evidence is persuasive that Mrs. Clinton, during her years as First Lady, knowingly facilitated the transfer of top U.S. military secrets by way of Chinese spies their network of military and financial influence-peddlers.  What China got was technology.  What she, her husband and their party got in return were campaign contributions and reignited political careers.  Reporters ought to remind Hillary Clinton of three names above all others — Charlie Trie, Johnny Huang and James Riady.  Mrs. Clinton makes no mention of them in her post-White House memoir, Living History, nor does Bill Clinton cite them in his own memoir, My Life.  There are, as one soon shall see, good reasons for their omissions.   Getting Around Election Law   Federal statutes bar foreign individuals and corporations from contributing or soliciting funds for political campaigns.  Moreover, federal employees may not use their office to affect federal elections nor may anyone, federal employee or not, use government property to engage in political fundraising.  President Clinton, in signing the Hatch Act Reform Amendments of 1993, acknowledged as much, stating, “The Federal workplace, where the business of our Nation is done, will still be strictly off limits to partisan political activity.” Somehow the mainland Chinese government and its agents operating in this country skirted such inconveniences, and with the apparent tacit cooperation of the Clinton White House.  It was a match whose necessity became apparent, at least from the Democrats’ standpoint, in the wake of the 1994 election debacle.  The Chinese government, already having gained a foothold in the party, wanted military technology.  President Clinton, facing a funding shortfall and a possible primary challenge, by all accounts, was willing to cut a deal.  He would help out the Chinese if they provided funds for the 1996 election cycle.  As this arrangement lay well outside the bounds of standard diplomacy, pulling this off would require a high degree of coordination. Charlie Trie Yah Lin “Charlie” Trie, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Taiwan, ran the Fu Lin restaurant in Little Rock, Ark., one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s favorite hangouts during Mr. Clinton’s days as Arkansas governor.  The two men remained close friends after that.  “When they meet,” reported the Los Angeles Times, “the two embrace like lost brothers.”  But this was no ordinary restaurateur.  Trie also owned a Little Rock-based firm, Daihatsu International Trading, which represented about 30 companies in the U.S., China and Hong Kong, and which had satellite offices in Washington and Beijing.  He also was a member of the Four Seas Triad, a Taiwanese crime syndicate allied with Chinese military and intelligence.   Chinese triads, noted an unpublished 1988 Justice Department report, were involved in “narcotics trafficking, money laundering, contract murders, illegal gambling, loan-sharking, extortion, interstate prostitution rings and alien smuggling.” One of Charlie Trie’s close Triad business partners, Ng Lapseng, on six separate occasions from June 1994 to August 1996 passed through customs at San Francisco International Airport declaring suitcases full of cash in the cumulative amount of $333,000.  In each case, he was recorded as entering the White House within 48 hours of arrival to meet with Clinton fundraiser Mark Middleton.  If the purpose was to make campaign contributions, this was not known for certain, since the White House did not report such contributions to the Federal Election Commission.  The source of the money, reported Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II, in their 1998 book-length expose, Year of the Rat, was Mr. Lapseng’s brothel operating out of the Fortuna Hotel in Macau, southern mainland China, with “hostesses” serving well-heeled clientele in 30 VIP rooms. 

Lapseng did more than carry cash.  He also wired it — in amounts totaling between $1.1 million and $1.5 million, mainly from accounts at the (state-owned) Bank of China — to Charlie Trie.  Some $220,000 reportedly made its way to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and another $460,000 went to Bill Clinton’s Legal Defense Trust, established in response to the Paula Jones sexual-harassment lawsuit.

   In exchange for services rendered, Trie received an appointment to the Commission on U.S.-Pacific Trade and Investment Policy, an act requiring a special executive order to expand the commission’s size.  He also enjoyed easy access to the White House, visiting between 23 and 37 times.  On February 6, 1996, Trie arranged admission to a White House fundraising “coffee” for Wang Jun, head of China’s most powerful arms export company, Poly Technologies.  Just four days prior to Wang’s visit, the administration granted his company import permits to allow the shipment of more than 100,000 semi-automatic weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition to a Detroit company, China Jiang An, with ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army.  Clinton himself later admitted that Wang’s attendance was “clearly inappropriate.” From January 11, 1995 to August 23, 1996, according to administration documents released in January 1997, the White House hosted 103 coffees, most of them lasting at least an hour, with President Clinton in attendance at most of them.  They generated $26.4 million in political contributions.  Whatever Charlie Trie knew, however, he wasn’t talking.  By the end of 1997 he’d fled the country, vowing never to cooperate with congressional investigators.  On April 4, 1996, at a White House meeting, Mrs. Clinton, when pressed to recall her involvement with Trie, according to a Senate committee report, did not recognize his name.  Then, quickly, she changed her mind, recalling him as “the owner of a restaurant in Little Rock.”  The calculated vagueness was a ruse.  The Clintons in fact had maintained close ties to Trie all along, often seating him at the president’s table at White House and Democratic National Committee dinners.  At a February 15, 1995 DNC dinner held in honor of fundraisers, Trie sat at the First Lady’s table.  That sounds like a lot more than a casual acquaintance.     John Huang That leads to another name Mrs. Clinton would like to temporarily forget — John Huang.  Mr. Huang had donated $100,000 to Bill Clinton’s inaugural committee following his 1992 election.  That greased the wheels for a July 1994 appointment as the Commerce Department’s deputy assistant secretary for international economic policy.  Hillary’s personal intervention was instrumental to Huang getting the job, argue Timperlake and Triplett; indeed, it was “common knowledge” among Commerce Department officials.  Huang’s boss, Jeff Garten, would testify later that Huang was “totally unqualified” for the job, and should be “walled off” in particular from China issues. Huang, like Trie, a Taiwan-born naturalized American citizen, had serious money to throw around — and reasons for doing so.  Previously, he’d been president of Lippo Bank, a Los Angeles-based subsidiary of the Lippo Group, an Indonesian conglomerate with extensive financial, real estate and infrastructure holdings in Indonesia, China, the U.S. and elsewhere.  Lippo also happened to be involved in a joint venture with China Resources, a trading and holding company wholly owned by the Chinese government and frequently used as a front for espionage operations. The founder and CEO of the Lippo Group was Mochtar Riady, an ethnic Chinese billionaire and also a major donor to the Democratic National Committee.  He was particularly close to President Clinton.  According to CNN News, “President Clinton met twice with Riady at the White House, and belatedly acknowledged receiving a detailed letter from him that pressed Clinton to establish formal relations with Vietnam and to renew Most Favored Nation trading status with China, among other issues.”  Mrs. Clinton was especially close to Riady.  His company owned the firm she selected to operate the White House Travel Office, she’d given the existing office staff the heave-ho. Huang first met Riady and one of his sons, James, in Little Rock in 1980 at a Harvard-sponsored seminar.  When Huang assumed his duties at the Department of Commerce some 14 years later, with a $780,000 severance bonus (not including a luxury Mercedes) from Lippo in hand, his actions suggested an overweening desire to merge government service with political fundraising and serving the interests of his former employer.  Phone records show he had made at least 261 calls from his department office to Lippo Group headquarters in Indonesia.  Office records show he also received 37 intelligence briefings from the CIA, viewing between 10 and 15 reports at each session.  He also visited the White House at least 67 times, meeting with President Clinton on at least 15 of those occasions, and attended over 100 classified meetings. That doesn’t even include communications from the Washington offices of Stephens, Inc., an investment firm instrumental in bankrolling Clinton’s 1992 presidential run, located across the street from the Commerce Department.  Huang reportedly used the Stephens office as a safe house at least twice a week to make phone calls, retrieve or deliver fax messages, and send packages.  A former Stephens secretary testified before the Senate that he often left his office with classified files without bringing all of them back.  Additionally, unbeknownst to his supervisors, he made multiple visits and telephone calls to the Chinese embassy.  Huang’s CIA briefing officer, John Dickerson, stated for the record that Huang had access to “extremely sensitive sources.”        Huang wasn’t the sort of person meriting any security clearance.  Yet thanks to string-pulling by Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Huang acquired a top-secret clearance nearly a half-year prior to his appointment.  His mid-level, as opposed to upper-level rank proved critical.  “If Huang had been appointed one step farther up the bureaucratic ladder,” observed Timperlake and Triplett, “his Lippo connections would have been open to congressional examination and his confirmation would have been doubtful.”  Not for nothing did James Riady call Huang “my man in the American government.” Huang left the Commerce Department in December 1995, his security clearance remaining intact for more than a year after, to become the DNC’s vice chairman of finance.  He proved an effective conduit for campaign contributions, raising more than $3.4 million, much of it from Chinese-connected commercial and arms-trading fronts, including Wang Jun’s Poly Technologies.  Some of that company’s representatives were indicted in San Francisco in May 1996 after a 16-month federal sting operation uncovered an illegal shipment of 2,000 AK-47 rifles (estimated street value:  $4 million) for sale to Los Angeles street gangs.  U.S. Customs agents had seized the weapons from an Oakland-docked ship owned by COSCO, the naval arm of the Chinese military.  The Lippo Group also happened to be co-owner of a bank through which Poly Technologies planned to funnel profits from illegal arms smuggling. Mr. Wang was and remains chairman of China International Trust and Investment Corp. (CITIC), a state-owned investment company established by the People’s Republic of China in 1979, which came to run more than 40 subsidiaries, mainly banks, in China, Hong Kong, the U.S. and elsewhere.  CITIC’s specialty was bond issues, and it effectively borrowed billions from Wall Street investors to modernize the Chinese military.  The firm got help from future Clinton economic adviser and Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, at the time still managing director of Goldman Sachs.  Rubin opened the doors for a $250 million CITIC bond offering, the first of several during the Nineties.  There was a lethal downside to this liquidity.  Roger W. Robinson, Jr., a Reagan-era National Security Council aide, predicted a decade ago, “The bond market is going to become the principal funding agency for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the twenty-first century.  This is a massive global threat to the security of this country.”  That looming reality apparently wasn’t of much concern to Johnny Huang.         James Riady That brings us to the aforementioned James Riady.  He had donated more than $475,000 to the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton Inaugural Fund and various Democratic candidates.  Bank statements, memos and checks show that one of Riady’s 1992 donations was directly covered by foreign funds, with the rest coming from a personal bank account likely receiving foreign money.  James Riady’s close relations with Bill Clinton went back nearly a decade earlier to his Arkansas governor days.  In early 1984, Riady’s father, Mochtar, along with Arkansas billionaire Jackson Stephens, head of Stephens, Inc., bailed out Little Rock’s failing Worthen Bank. The Riady-Stephens team bought $16 million in Worthen stock and installed James Riady, still only in his 20s, as a director.  According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Riady-Lippo file on the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission alone was more than five inches thick, containing hundreds of letters between James Riady and Clinton. The Riadys’ management of Worthen Bank was less than stellar.  The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency criticized Worthen for making “excessive loans at preferential terms” to companies controlled by Stephens and Mochtar Riady, likely violating federal law in the process.  The Riadys soon shed Worthen, with James Riady resigning from the board in 1986.  Not long after, the younger Riady bought the Bank of Trade in California, the oldest Chinese ethnic bank in the U.S.  Soon, federal regulators issued cease-and-desist orders for “hazardous lending” and violating money-laundering statutes.  Riady quickly sold the bank. 

Riady also was close to Associate U.S. Attorney General Webster Hubbell, who’d been one of Hillary Clinton’s fellow partners at the Rose Law Firm back in Little Rock.  Hubbell eventually pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion after being accused by Kenneth Starr’s team of special prosecutors of generating $400,000 in fraudulent billings during 1989-92 at the firm.  Hubbell’s phone logs included a large number of calls from James Riady.  After Hubbell promised to cooperate with Starr, the Lippo Group made payments to him for “consulting” work totaling between $100,000 and $250,000.

Bill Clinton, in political hock, knew how to return favors.  During his November 1994 visit to an Asian Pacific Economic Council summit in Jakarta, the president’s business entourage, stage-managed by Ron Brown, scored some $40 billion in contracts.  And Clinton’s nomination of William Perry as deputy secretary of defense, and then secretary (following the death of original Secretary Les Aspin), also made sense.  Perry had done very well during the 60s and 70s as head of ESL, Inc., an electronics firm that had performed extensive contract work in defense communications and intelligence systems for Chinese clients.  The Riady family’s contacts had paid off.    Investigations and Consequences All of this strongly suggests that the Clintons, Hillary as well as Bill, chose to look away from the possibility that the administration was transferring military secrets to the Chinese in return for campaign cash.  Indeed, they may have been active and not simply passive partners.  This, and not real or alleged recreational sex, should have been the basis for impeachment hearings. The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, at least, wanted to know what was going on.  During July-October 1997, the committee, led by Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., held hearings on the Democratic Party-Chinese connection.  As one committee investigator asserted at the time, “If you believe in following the money, then all roads lead to China.”  The final report, issued on March 5, 1998, pointed to a systematic abuse of power by operatives within the Democratic Party and the Clinton administration.  But getting the goods on the principal players would be a tough act.  The report’s Executive Summary noted:   

The full scope and import of [John] Huang’s activities while at Commerce may never be known:  he has invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to cooperate with the Committee, [James] Riady has left the country, and many of his former LippoBank colleagues have returned to Indonesia.  The volume of Huang’s contacts with Lippo and the Chinese embassy, however, is cause for concern.  The Committee has found no direct evidence that Huang passed classified information, but he had the opportunity to do so and his activities have not otherwise been adequately explained.

 A major reason for the lack of smoking guns, the report noted, was that the Congressional resolution authorizing the investigation had set a December 31, 1997 deadline, a clause virtually inviting delay tactics by administration-friendly witnesses.  Indeed, when it was all over, more than 45 witnesses either had fled the country or asserted their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The Justice Department established a Campaign Financing Task Force following the 1996 election cycle to investigate allegations of campaign finance abuse.  Here, as in the Senate, the investigation was designed to hit a roadblock.  Attorney General Janet Reno declined to appoint an independent counsel, despite advice to the contrary from task force head Charles La Bella and FBI Director Louis Freeh.  Moreover, once the investigation got underway, there was in-house resistance.  FBI agent Ivian C. Smith wrote a letter to Freeh, dated August 4, 1997, expressing “a lack of confidence” in the Justice Department’s willingness to conduct a thorough investigation.  Smith and three other career agents had testified before the Senate that the Justice Department had impeded their inquiry.  FBI agent Daniel Wehr stated that lead U.S. Attorney Laura Ingersoll told the agents they should “not pursue any matter related to solicitation of funds for access to the president.”  Her reason:  “That’s the way the American political process works.”  The four agents also said that Ingersoll (who eventually was replaced) prevented them from executing search warrants to stop the destruction of evidence.  New York Times columnist William Safire described Attorney General Reno’s chief stonewaller, Lee Radek, as a person whose job was “successfully making certain that no investigation of illegal Asian money poured into the Clinton-Gore campaign touches any of the higher-ups.” Eventually, dominoes fell, but at the cost of our ability to reach the top of the Democratic Party food chain.  Our trio of starring Chinese players each copped a plea.  Charlie Trie in May 1999 pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws by making political contributions in someone else’s name and causing a false statement to be made to the Federal Election Commission.  In return, he received assurances that he would serve no prison time.  John Huang pleaded guilty a few months later to an unrelated federal charge that during 1992-94, before taking his Commerce Department job, he’d made an illegal $2,500 contribution to the unsuccessful 1993 Los Angeles mayoral campaign of Michael Woo and a $5,000 contribution to a Democratic fundraising operation, the California Victory Fund.  In return, he was granted immunity from prosecution for his Clinton fundraising activity.  Huang was a tough guy to squeeze, having taken the Fifth Amendment over 2,500 times when asked if he was an agent of the People’s Liberation Army of China.  James Riady was indicted following the Senate investigation and wound up pleading guilty in January 2001 to campaign finance violations.  He was ordered to pay a fine of $8.6 million.  LippoBank California pleaded guilty to 86 misdemeanor counts related to James Riady and John Huang’s illegal foreign campaign contributions from 1988 through 1994. In all, the Justice Department indicted 26 individuals and two corporations in this ‘bamboo connection,’ all of whom (save for the few who couldn’t be found) pled guilty.  And the Democratic Party had to return more than $2.8 million in illegal or improper campaign contributions, around 80 percent of which had been raised or contributed by two men — Charlie Trie and John Huang — who in effect had been on the payroll of the Chinese government. Message to Hillary Clinton: China Is a Rival, Not a Partner            That is the context surrounding China’s destruction of one of its satellites this January.  And we haven’t even covered auxiliary angles of the case, such as Vice President Al Gore’s close fundraising relationship with the Hsi Lai Buddhist temple in the Los Angeles area or the $366,000 in illegal Democratic Party campaign contributions made by Taiwanese-born Southern California businessman Johnny Chung, who eventually pled guilty to federal bank fraud, tax evasion, and election law charges.  The missile may have been launched from China, but somewhere, if one looks hard enough, it contained the words, “Made in Washington and Arkansas.”  Given the pattern of Chinese military espionage in this country established prior to the Nineties — confirmed in a 1999 House report overseen by then-Rep. (and presently U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman) Christopher Cox, R-Calif. — the lax oversight by the Clinton administration is nothing short of stupefying.  The Cox committee had concluded that the Chinese, systematically and for years, had been penetrating our nation’s nuclear labs, stealing classified military secrets to accelerate the design, development and testing of nuclear weapons.  Well, would you trust the Chinese?  Current President Hu Jintao is a committed Communist, if far more in governing style than beliefs.  His government has supplied expertise to develop North Korea’s weapons-grade plutonium program, even as it has worked fitfully with our own government to end it.  This past December the Chinese signed a $16 billion contract with Iran to buy natural gas and develop their oilfields, while remaining steadfastly unwilling to support our attempts to impose sanctions against that country’s fundamentalist Islamic regime.  In virtually all foreign conflicts between the Americans and the Russians, the Chinese have allied themselves with the latter, going so far as to buy naval-based nuclear missiles from the Russians.  And China is expanding its military presence in a hurry.  The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, in its annual publication, Military Balance, estimates that the People’s Republic of China has increased its military spending by nearly 300 percent since the mid Nineties, buying advanced submarines, jet fighters, missiles and other weaponry.          These trends are of particular concern to Americans because our military is so heavily dependent upon satellite technology for activities such as targeting bombs, tracking weather changes, relaying communications, and spying.  And satellites are vulnerable.  If China’s anti-satellite technology becomes armed with high-powered lasers, by no means a remote possibility, our entire military capability could be in jeopardy.  A report to Congress nearly a decade ago stated, “China already may possess the capability to damage, under specific conditions, optical sensors on satellites that are very vulnerable to damage by lasers.  However, given China’s current interest in laser technology, it is reasonable to assume that Beijing would develop a weapon that could destroy satellites in the future.”  Loren Thompson, director of security studies at the Arlington, Va.-based Lexington Institute, notes, “Space is a much bigger part of our military posture than it used to be, so any effort by the Chinese or anybody else to jam our satellites is potentially a big deal.”  It’s an especially big deal if that effort in any way was made possible by de facto bribes paid by the Chinese to the Democratic Party leadership.      Yes, there is common ground — economic, cultural and even political — between the U.S. and China.  The Chinese certainly have come a long way since the dark days of Maoist rule, modernizing their economy and (less so) property rights.  We enjoy more free trade and fewer travel restrictions.  With Beijing serving as host city for next year’s Summer Olympics, the Chinese government can be counted on to be on their good behavior for the time being.  But not being an outright enemy is a lot different than being an ally.  Latter-day Chinese nationalism has a xenophobic aggression easily overlooked.  “Without a solid basis for a national identity,” observes eminent MIT political scientist Lucian Pye, “it is not surprising that China’s leaders tend to be thin-skinned and quick to take offense at any perceived slight.  The overall effect of such hypersensitivity is a collective sense that China is being mistreated by a hostile outside world and that its leaders need to be aggressive in demanding greater dignity and respect from others.”  In such a worldview, the accidental NATO aerial bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in May 1999 was no accident.  Adding to the tension, to be blunt, is a racial animus.  That many of the key people in this spy ring originated from Taiwan and Indonesia, ostensible adversaries of the People’s Republic of China, is of far more than passing significance. 

The prospect of a China fully prepared for modern warfare, playing on our level, ought to induce campaign reporters to forget the old Washington axiom about not fighting “yesterday’s battles.”  They should remind Mrs. Clinton that her husband’s tenure as president, which he vowed from the outset would be the “most ethical administration in the history of the country,” managed to produce serious breaches in America’s national security that every subsequent administration, including the current one, must face.  As she billed that presidency as “two for the price of one,” she should be held accountable.

REFERENCES:

Adams, James Ring. “John Huang’s Bamboo Network,” The American Spectator, December 1996, pp. 24-27, 87.  de Borchgrave, Arnaud. “China’s Shot in the Dark,” United Press International, January 29, 2007. “China Jamming Test Sparks U.S. Satellite Concerns,” October 5, 2006, Reuters, http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news.  Dorn, James and Wang Xi, eds., Economic Reform in China:  Problems and Prospects, Chicago:  University of Chicago Press, 1990. Elliott, Michael et al., “The Chinese Century,” Time, January 22, 2007, pp. 32-42. Kislyakov, Andrei. “The Chinese Satellite Killer,” Space Daily, January 29, 2007, http://www.spacedaily.com/reports.  Pye, Lucian W. “Understanding Chinese Negotiating Behavior:  The Roles of Nationalism and Pragmatism,” in Between Diplomacy and Deterrence:  Strategies for U.S. Relations with China, Kim R. Holmes & James J. Przystup, eds., Washington, D.C.:  The Heritage Foundation, 1997, pp. 211-39. Timmerman, Kenneth R. “The Peking Pentagon,” The American Spectator, April 1996, pp. 24-31.  Timmerman, Kenneth R. “All Roads Lead to China,” The American Spectator, March 1997, pp. 30-38. Timmerman, Kenneth R. “While America Sleeps,” The American Spectator, June 1997, pp. 34-41, 78-79.  Timperlake, Edward and William C. Triplett II. Year of the Rat:  How Bill Clinton and Al Gore Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash, Washington, D.C.:  Regnery, 1998.    U.S. Department of Defense, Future Military Capabilities and Strategy of the People’s Republic of China, Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 1226 of the FY98 National Defense Authorization Act, Washington, D.C.:  Department of Defense, November 1998. U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China, Select Committee Report, May 25, 1999, http://www.house.gov/coxreport.  U.S. Senate, Committee on Governmental Affairs. Investigation on Illegal or Improper Activities in Connection with the 1996 Federal Election Campaigns, Majority Report:  Executive Summary, March 5, 1998. Walsh, Edward and Roberto Suro.  “Clinton Fund-Raiser Huang to Offer Guilty Plea,” Washington Post, May 26, 1999. Yost, Pete.  “Clinton Calls Arms Dealer’s White House Visit Inappropriate,” Associated Press, December 20, 1996.

Muslims call for beheading of Christian preacher who called them killers

Muslims call for beheading of Christian preacher who called them killers

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But of course. What better way to prove to Eli Soriano that Islam is peaceful than peacefully to separate his head from his body?

From AP, with thanks to Davsmi:

Filipino Muslims display a banner, which reads ‘Behead Those Who Insult Islam,’ and t-shirts with a wanted sign during a rally Wednesday March 7, 2007, at a downtown Manila square , to protest recent televised preaching by a Christian sect leader Eli Soriano, who alleges that Muslims are killers. More than 1,000 Muslims took part in the rally and demanded Soriano, who is currently in hiding, be extradited back to the Philippines so he can face charges being brought against him. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Iranian president Ahmadinejad is identified with Messianism, one of the factors contributing to the further radicalization of the regime but also challenging the rule of the mullahs.

Iranian president Ahmadinejad is identified with Messianism, one of the factors contributing to the further radicalization of the regime but also
challenging the rule of the mullahs.

 

The strengthening of Messianism in Iran

 

 

President Ahmadinejad’s Messianic tendencies as depicted by an Iranian cartoon artist (Ruz, October 2006)

 

A picture of President Ahmadinejad with a holy aura around his head (Fars, an Iranian official news agency)

1. In recent years, there has been a growing public debate in Iran around Messianism. Messianism is a popular grassroots movement which has given a concrete dimension to the return of the Hidden Imam (Imam al-Mahdi), to the point of calling for action. Iran’s president Ahmadinejad is identified with Messianism and, after being elected president, made many public references to the return of the Hidden Imam.

2. The belief that the imam is a superhuman, omnipotent, and faultless leader is one of the unique tenets of Shi’ite Islam. According to Shi’ite belief, the first imam was Ali, the “leader of the faithful”, Muhammad’s son-in-law and, according to Sunni tradition, the fourth caliph. The prevailing school of thought in Shi’ite Islam (the Twelvers) holds that there were twelve imams between the death of Ali in A.D. 661 and A.D. 874, when the twelfth imam disappeared. The Hidden Imam, according to Shi’ite belief, will return to the world as a “mahdi” (“guided by Allah on the path of righteousness”). He will return bearing the word of salvation, dispatch the Shi’ites’ enemies, and usher the world into an era of Islamic justice.

3. Messianism, which considers the Imam’s return to be a distinct, tangible possibility, poses a theological-conceptual threat to the foundations of the Iranian Islamic regime. Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution, based his rule on the combination of religious authority as a model to be followed ( Marja’ Taqlid ) and political-governmental authority. Messianism, however, disconnects (in theory) Shi’ite belief (waiting for the “mahdi”) from the vanities of this world. That is one of the reasons that holders of such views have been persecuted in the beginning of the revolution; accusations of Messianism are still used to besmirch political opponents; and the movement is strongly criticized by senior officials of the regime and the religious establishment.

Ahmadinejad as a representative of Messianism

4. Iran ‘s president Ahmadinejad is notable for his public statements on the coming return of the Hidden Imam. More than just political rhetoric, such statements stem from his authentic religious beliefs and his social and political background. The president of Iran seems to belong to the Jamkaran group, 1 itself a part of the larger movement of Hojjatiyeh (see below), which holds that a true Islamic regime is only possible when the Hidden Imam returns, and that the time of his return is drawing ever closer. Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, Ahmadinejad’s spiritual teacher (his Marja’ Taqlid , or “role model”) is the spiritual leader of the Jamkaran group.


President Ahmadinejad with his spiritual teacher,
Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi

5. Since being elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made many statements about the possible return of the Hidden Imam, claiming divine inspiration. For example:

a. Speaking at a convention of clerics on November 16, 2005, Ahmadinejad declared that “the main purpose of the Islamic revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of the twelfth imam and to define economic, cultural, and political policy in accordance with the policy of the return of [Imam] al-Mahdi.” Before that, a television camera captured the president telling a religious cleric named Ayatollah Amoli that during his speech at the UN (September 2005), he had felt himself “bathed in a divine aura” (and that he had even had a direct connection with Allah).

b. In a statement given to a crowd of supporters, Ahmadinejad claimed divine inspiration while saying that the President of the US was inspired by Satan 2 ( Iran News, October 15, 2006).

6. President Ahmadinejad’s Messianic faith also has political implications. Apparently, President Ahmadinejad’s belief in the coming return of the Hidden Imam (which will follow an apocalyptic war against Israel and the West) is one of the factors making him more extreme. That might explain some of his behavior and policy, such as his stubborn, arrogant pursuit of technology for manufacturing nuclear weapons and his extreme, defiant tone regarding Israel and the Jewish people (statements about destruction of the State of Israel and Holocaust denial which completely disregard international sensibilities).

7. President Ahmadinejad’s Messianic rhetoric is frowned upon by pragmatic conservatives—the “first generation” of the Iranian Islamic revolution. Top regime and religious establishment members widely and strongly criticize the spread of Messianism. They consider the interest in Messianism to be a growing threat and a significant ideological challenge to the regime and status of Iranian leader Khamenei, the focus of the “religious jurist’s rule” ( Velayat-e Faqih ) who is supposed to serve as a role model and to replace the Hidden Imam until he returns.

8. Even though President Ahmadinejad is associated with Messianism, it still carries little weight in the Iranian regime. However, should it gain ground and begin to influence Iran’s decision-making, coupled with a strengthening of Ahmadinejad’s status and that of the ultra-conservative faction, it is possible that Iran’s inner consensus will shift in a religious-ideological direction that will further radicalize its policy.

Appendix A

Portrait of Iran ‘s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Personal details

1. Origin: Ahmadinejad was born in 1956 in the village of Aradan , a suburb of Garmsar (a city in the province of Semnan ). He is the fourth oldest of seven children. One year after his birth, his family moved to Tehran .

2. Education: Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering from the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST); PhD in transportation engineering from the University of Science and Technology.

Previously held positions and political activity

3. Before the Islamic revolution and concurrently with his studies, he began taking part in the religion lessons of clerics Motahari and Taleqani. It was then, as he participated in student activity against the Shah, that his political views began to form. At the beginning of the Islamic revolution he was chosen to represent the University of Science and Technology at meetings of Iran ‘s student organizations, held in the presence of the leader Khomeini.

4. With the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War, Ahmadinejad was sent to the front where, until 1985, he was involved in logistics and auxiliary activities. In 1986 he volunteered for the special Revolutionary Guards brigade situated at the Ramadan base and operated beyond Iran ‘s borders (in the town of Kirkuk in northern Iraq ). After that, he served as a combat engineering commander in a Revolutionary Guards division.

5. In the late 1980s Ahmadinejad served four years as the deputy and governor of the municipal area of Maku and Khoy (in the province of West Azerbaijan ). Later he spent two years as a development advisor in charge of the war effort in the western provinces.

6. In April 1993 he worked as cultural advisor for the Minister of Education and Higher Education. Between 1994 and 1997 he served as the governor of the province of Ardabil . In 1995 and 1996 he was elected Iran ‘s outstanding governor, and was highly praised for his efforts to rebuild and restore approximately 7,500 residential units destroyed in the earthquake that occurred in the region.

7. In April 2003 Ahmadinejad was elected the Mayor of Tehran , with the rise of the “New Conservatives” (Abadgaran, the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, the radical right-wing faction of the conservative bloc) in the municipal elections. During his term, he was praised by the residents of Tehran for his management of the city. Ahmadinejad was perceived as a talented, modest manager, effective in solving problems of Tehran ‘s residents. During his campaign he focused on political-economic aspects and presented himself as an Islamic Robin Hood (trading on his history as the son of a blacksmith), promising a comprehensive solution for the problems of poverty. Thus, he refused to accept a salary for his duties as mayor, and promised that women, too, would receive pensions, health insurance, and unemployment allowances. He also promised to grant interest-free loans to peasants and young couples (for marriage and housing), stabilize the inflation, increase teachers’ salaries, and transfer government funds from the big cities to the backward peripheral regions.

8. Before the presidential elections he won the support of some parties in the conservative Abadgaran coalition and the Ithargaran group—the dominant factor in the Majles’ conservative coalition. However, old-guard elements in the revolutionary establishment, particularly those belonging to the traditional right wing (the first generation of the revolution) were strongly against his candidacy, attempted to derail his campaign and called him a “political rookie”.

9. On June 24, 2005, Ahmadinejad was elected the president of Iran . He won the majority of the votes (approximately 62%), defeating Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president and candidate of the conservative-pragmatic bloc.

10. Ahmadinejad’s election to the presidency of Iran marked the ultra-conservative takeover of an important source of power in Iran . He was elected based on a platform of promises to make fundamental changes in the economy and society. In practice, however, he failed and was strongly criticized. His promises to fight corruption proved unfounded, particularly in light of appointments of his associates to key positions.

11. Ahmadinejad’s influence in day-to-day management of political-strategic issues, particularly Iran ‘s nuclear program and relations with Hezbollah, remains limited. Such issues are still controlled by those senior to Ahmadinejad (the “leader” and the Supreme National Security Council).

Appendix B 

What is the Hojjatiyeh movement and what is its connection to Ahmadinejad?

1. The Hojjatiyeh movement was founded in the early 1950s by Mahmoud Halabi, a cleric of Arab descent and Iranian nationality. The movement believes in the approaching return of the Hidden Imam, whose coming is predicted for a time of chaos and injustice. It believes that true Islamic rule is possible only upon his return. The movement does not accept the principle of Velayat-e Faqih established by Khomeini. Therefore, in 1983 it was outlawed in Iran . 3 Revolution leader Khomeini denounced the movement in a speech given in July 1983, and ordered that its supporters be persecuted (some were arrested and even executed).

2. Contrary to the idea of Velayat-e Faqih , which holds that all political power should be in the hands of a single leader, Hojjatiyeh claimed that a collective leadership should rule until the Imam’s return. The movement’s economic views are liberal, perhaps the reason for the support it receives from merchants and land owners, who object to any official supervision.

3. Over the years, rumors began to spread about a rift in the Hojjatiyeh movement, when its founder, Mahmoud Halabi, left to lead the Mahdaviyat group. While remaining ideologically close to Hojjatiyeh, it supports a more active approach focusing on spreading chaos to hasten the return of the Twelfth Imam. The movement made the headlines on April 24, 1999 when, according to official publications, its members attempted to assassinate the head of Tehran ‘s judicial system, Ali Razini.

4. In late 2002 and early 2003 Hojjatiyeh increased its activity. In response, Iranian senior officials quickly issued a warning against the entrance of its members into government institutions. Musavi Lari, then Interior Minister, said he was concerned about the movement’s activities whose purpose, he said, was to cause a religious rift. Ali Fallahian, former Intelligence Minister, suggested that the National Security Council examine whether the Hojjatiyeh movement posed a threat to national security. He indicated that during his tenure as Intelligence Minister his man had monitored the movement.

5. Ahmadinejad apparently belongs to the Jamkaran group, itself a part of the Hojjatiyeh group. Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi, Ahmadinejad’s spiritual mentor and the leader of the Jamkaran group, also holds Messianic views and is perceived by extremist circles as the embodiment of true revolutionary ideals. Some of the president’s closest associates are also members of the Hojjatiyeh movement. It cannot be confirmed that Ahmadinejad himself formally belongs to the Hojjatiyeh movement, however, belief in Messianism is common ideological ground between them.

 

1 Jamkaran is a Shi’ite group which holds radical views on both internal and foreign affairs. It is named after the Jamkaran Mosque, situated some 6km east of the Iranian holy city of Qom . According to Shi’ite traditions, the Hidden Imam was staying there when he disappeared. He is said to have proclaim it a sacred site and ordered that a mosque be erected there. Belief has it that it will also be the site of the Hidden Imam’s coming return. Accordingly, the mosque became a pilgrimage site for Shi’ites from across the globe. Ahmadinejad is said to have allocated funds to construct a railway from the Jamkaran Mosque to Tehran .

2 See MEMRI report no. 1328, dated October 19, 2006: “Iran President Ahmadinejad: ‘I have a Connection With God, Since God Said That the Infidels Will Have No Way to Harm the Believers’; We Have [ONLY] One Step Remaining Before We Attain the Summit of Nuclear Technology’; The West ‘Will Not Dare To Attack Us’”.

3 Some claim that the movement was never officially banned in Iran .

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