Did Nancy Pelosi commit a felony when she went to Syria?
BY ROBERT F. TURNER
Friday, April 6, 2007 11:30 a.m. EDTHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi may well have committed a felony in traveling to Damascus this week, against the wishes of the president, to communicate on foreign-policy issues with Syrian President Bashar Assad. The administration isn’t going to want to touch this political hot potato, nor should it become a partisan issue. Maybe special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, whose aggressive prosecution of Lewis Libby establishes his independence from White House influence, should be called back.
The Logan Act makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, “without authority of the United States,” to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government’s behavior on any “disputes or controversies with the United States.” Some background on this statute helps to understand why Ms. Pelosi may be in serious trouble.
President John Adams requested the statute after a Pennsylvania pacifist named George Logan traveled to France in 1798 to assure the French government that the American people favored peace in the undeclared “Quasi War” being fought on the high seas between the two countries. In proposing the law, Rep. Roger Griswold of Connecticut explained that the object was, as recorded in the Annals of Congress, “to punish a crime which goes to the destruction of the executive power of the government. He meant that description of crime which arises from an interference of individual citizens in the negotiations of our executive with foreign governments.”
The debate on this bill ran nearly 150 pages in the Annals. On Jan. 16, 1799, Rep. Isaac Parker of Massachusetts explained, “the people of the United States have given to the executive department the power to negotiate with foreign governments, and to carry on all foreign relations, and that it is therefore an usurpation of that power for an individual to undertake to correspond with any foreign power on any dispute between the two governments, or for any state government, or any other department of the general government, to do it.”
Griswold and Parker were Federalists who believed in strong executive power. But consider this statement by Albert Gallatin, the future Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson, who was wary of centralized government: “it would be extremely improper for a member of this House to enter into any correspondence with the French Republic . . . As we are not at war with France, an offence of this kind would not be high treason, yet it would be as criminal an act, as if we were at war.” Indeed, the offense is greater when the usurpation of the president’s constitutional authority is done by a member of the legislature–all the more so by a Speaker of the House–because it violates not just statutory law but constitutes a usurpation of the powers of a separate branch and a breach of the oath of office Ms. Pelosi took to support the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has spoken clearly on this aspect of the separation of powers. In Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall used the president’s authority over the Department of State as an illustration of those “important political powers” that, “being entrusted to the executive, the decision of the executive is conclusive.” And in the landmark 1936 Curtiss-Wright case, the Supreme Court reaffirmed: “Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.”Ms. Pelosi and her Congressional entourage spoke to President Assad on various issues, among other things saying, “We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace.” She is certainly not the first member of Congress–of either party–to engage in this sort of behavior, but her position as a national leader, the wartime circumstances, the opposition to the trip from the White House, and the character of the regime she has chosen to approach make her behavior particularly inappropriate.
Of course, not all congressional travel to, or communications with representatives of, foreign nations is unlawful. A purely fact-finding trip that involves looking around, visiting American military bases or talking with U.S. diplomats is not a problem. Nor is formal negotiation with foreign representatives if authorized by the president. (FDR appointed Sens. Tom Connally and Arthur Vandenberg to the U.S. delegation that negotiated the U.N. Charter.) Ms. Pelosi’s trip was not authorized, and Syria is one of the world’s leading sponsors of international terrorism. It has almost certainly been involved in numerous attacks that have claimed the lives of American military personnel from Beirut to Baghdad.
The U.S. is in the midst of two wars authorized by Congress. For Ms. Pelosi to flaunt the Constitution in these circumstances is not only shortsighted; it may well be a felony, as the Logan Act has been part of our criminal law for more than two centuries. Perhaps it is time to enforce the law.
Mr. Turner was acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs in 1984-85 and is a former chairman of the ABA standing committee on law and national security.
Almost Half of Americans Fear Corruption if Clintons Return to White House, Poll Finds
By Fred Lucas
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
April 05, 2007
(CNSNews.com) – More than six years after the Clintons left the White House, nearly half of the respondents in a new poll – 45 percent – worry that if they return, they could bring “high levels of corruption” with them.
A Zogby International poll released Thursday in Washington highlights in particular concerns about former President Bill Clinton’s ability to “behave honestly in the White House” if his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) is elected president in 2008.
The poll results indicate that scandals which dogged the Clinton administration remain relevant to a significant number of voters.
The 45 percent figure would likely be even higher, said Tom Fitton, president of conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, if elected officials and the media were more willing to ask tough questions about numerous ethical quandaries that surrounded the Clinton administration and the then-first lady’s role in those issues.
“It’s because the media doesn’t want to talk about it and the American leaders won’t talk about it,” Fitton said. “The fact that no one is talking about it and people are still concerned speaks volumes.”
Judicial Watch sponsored the poll.
Forty-two percent of respondents also said they view Sen. Clinton as corrupt. Of those, 17 percent regard her as “very corrupt.”
One in five Democrats (22.1 percent), and 39.3 percent of independents among the respondents believe Sen. Clinton is corrupt. Meanwhile, 55.6 percent of respondents who attend church once per week believe there would be high levels of corruption.
Perhaps the best news for Bill Clinton from the new poll was its finding that 50 percent believe he would behave honestly in the White House. Thirty-six percent of respondents felt otherwise, while the remaining 14 percent was undecided on the issue.
The New York senator is leading the pack among Democratic candidates for president in most polls. She announced this week that she had shattered previous fundraising records – though just slightly above her top primary rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
The Clintons weathered numerous investigations into alleged criminal conduct and ethical lapses during the Clinton presidency, and in some of them, Hillary Clinton was suspected to have played a major role.
Fitton pointed out that these include: the Whitewater probe, in which independent counsel Robert Fiske said she was not truthful to a federal grand jury but did not believe he could obtain an indictment from a Washington D.C. jury; the firings in the White House travel office; and smears against women from her husband’s past through the hiring of private investigators during the 1992 campaign to curb what became known as “bimbo eruptions.”
These are all questions Sen. Clinton should answer, Fitton said.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to invitations to comment about the poll Thursday.
Fitton added that every other candidate should also answer questions about their own past ethical lapses.
“Some are old issues in the sense that they took place several years ago,” he said. “But they’re new issues in the sense that they don’t have answers.”
Other candidates have questions to answer as well, Fitton stressed. Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor, is under scrutiny over what he may have known about his former police chief’s ties with a company associated with organized crime.
Arizona Sen. John McCain was involved in a major campaign finance controversy with four other lawmakers in the 1980s, a case that became known as the Keating Five scandal. Obama was last year linked to a questionable real estate deal with a now-indicted political fundraiser.
On a broader question, 93 percent of respondents in the new poll said they believe corruption is still a significant problem in Washington, and 78 percent think bigger government leads to more corruption.
Wafa Sultan is an incredibly courageous, Syrian-born psychologist who emigrated to the United States in 1989. A naturalized citizen, she has become famous since 9/11 for her participation in Middle East political debates, her widely circulated Arabic essays, and her television appearances on Al-Jazeera and CNN. This video, seen by more than a million people via the Internet, is from a weekly, Al Jazeera discussion program. Sultan spoke from Los Angeles, where she resides, arguing with host Faisal al-Qassem and Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli about Samuel P. Huntington’s controversial Clash of Civilizations theory. Like Sultan, we disagree with Huntington. The term clash, in our view, implies a conflict caused by both sides; rather, Radical Islam, or Islamism, has declared war–jihad–on the West, seeking nothing less than the conquest of Europe and the destruction of the US and its ally, Israel.
watch her on youtube
An update on this story. Imam Yusuf Kavakci, like Husham Al-Husainy at the Democratic National Committee winter meeting in February, echoed the Fatiha, the most common prayer in Islam and the first sura of the Qur’an — a prayer which has been traditionally understood as condemning Jews and Christians. And Kavakci followed its wording more closely than did al-Husainy, referring to it explicitly.
“Texas Senate prayer excludes Christians: Pro-Khomeini imam seeks protection from ‘those who have lost the way,'” from WorldNetDaily.com, with thanks to all who sent this in:
A controversial Texas imam who at one point participated in a “tribute to the great Islamic visionary” Ayatollah Khomeini, has offered a prayer to open the state Senate that excluded both Christians and Jews.”Oh, Allah, guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored, not of those who have earned your wrath or of those who have lost the way,” prayed Imam Yusuf Kavakci of the Dallas Central Mosque….
The imam introduced what he was going to do: “We will pray by reading from first chapter, opening chapter, Al-Fãtehah, from holy Quran, followed by recitation, traditional way of recitation of text from holy Quran, with an addition.”
The he prayed:
In the name of god, Allah, the beneficent, the merciful. All praise is for Allah, our lord, the lord of the worlds, the compassionate, the merciful, master of the day of judgments. Oh, god, Allah, you alone we worship, and you alone we call on for help. Oh, Allah, guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored, not of those who have earned your wrath or of those who have lost the way. Our lord, have mercy on us from yourself and guide us in our efforts, strivings, and works.”
Officials said a recording of the prayer was available at this link by clicking ‘You can hear the opening ceremony, including the prayer, here.’
The Fatiha asks Allah: “Show us the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favoured; not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.” The traditional Islamic understanding of this is that the “straight path” is Islam — cf. Islamic apologist John Esposito’s book Islam: The Straight Path. The path of those who have earned Allah’s anger are the Jews, and those who have gone astray are the Christians. The classic Qur’anic commentator Ibn Kathir explains:
Allah asserted that the two paths He described here are both misguided when He repeated the negation `not’. These two paths are the paths of the Christians and Jews, a fact that the believer should beware of so that he avoids them. The path of the believers is knowledge of the truth and abiding by it. In comparison, the Jews abandoned practicing the religion, while the Christians lost the true knowledge. This is why `anger’ descended upon the Jews, while being described as `led astray’ is more appropriate of the Christians. Those who know, but avoid implementing the truth, deserve the anger, unlike those who are ignorant. The Christians want to seek the true knowledge, but are unable to find it because they did not seek it from its proper resources.This is why they were led astray. We should also mention that both the Christians and the Jews have earned the anger and are led astray, but the anger is one of the attributes more particular of the Jews. Allah said about the Jews,
[مَن لَّعَنَهُ اللَّهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ]
(Those (Jews) who incurred the curse of Allah and His wrath) (5:60).
The attribute that the Christians deserve most is that of being led astray, just as Allah said about them,
[قَدْ ضَلُّواْ مِن قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّواْ كَثِيراً وَضَلُّواْ عَن سَوَآءِ السَّبِيلِ]
(Who went astray before and who misled many, and strayed (themselves) from the right path) (5:77).
It isn’t just Ibn Kathir. Most Muslim commentators believe that the Jews are those who have earned Allah’s wrath and the Christians are those who have gone astray. This is the view of Tabari, Zamakhshari, the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, the Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, and Ibn Arabi, as well as Ibn Kathir. One contrasting, but not majority view, is that of Nisaburi, who says that “those who have incurred Allah’s wrath are the people of negligence, and those who have gone astray are the people of immoderation.”
|Spencer: A free speech for Sestak, if he CAIRs|
|Gil Spencer , Times Columnist|
Here is a copy of the speech Congressman Joe Sestak should give (but won’t) at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet Saturday. I am honored to be here today — despite what some people are saying — and to have the chance to talk to you all about something that concerns us all.
That thing, is terrorism. And, lately, some people in this country seem to think we have less and less reason to be concerned about it.
It has been six years since the infamous 9/11 attacks engineered by Osama bin Laden and al Qaida. And since then we have been spared any serious follow-up attacks, thanks primarily to changes in our laws, stepped up security and greater vigilance.
In the past, CAIR itself has been criticized for being slow to condemn specific acts of terror perpetrated by fellow Muslims in the name of Islamic jihad.
This is a fair criticism and it has created something of a public relations problem for American Muslims.
The militant radicals who hijack planes to fly into skyscrapers and kill thousands of civilians have announced they would like to see Sharia law imposed on the entire world.
In fact, certain members of CAIR have publicly expressed the same desire.
As far back as July 1998, CAIR Chairman Omar M. Ahmad told a crowd of California Muslims, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran … should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.”
Now, some years later, Mr. Ahmad denied saying that. He said the newspaper reporter who was in the crowd that day got it wrong. But can the same be said for Ibrahim Hooper?
The CAIR spokesperson hasn’t denied telling the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1993:
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future. But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
Hooper, Ahmad and bin Laden all share the same goal. They just use different tactics to achieve it.
It is perfectly acceptable in this country to try to get people to believe in the god and the things that you do. And if you believe a U.S. government that would impose the strictest sort of Shirah law on the American people would be a good thing, you are free to say so.
But that is not why you all came to America is it? You didn’t come here to repeal the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and substitute for them the most severe teachings of the Koran.
You came here for the same reasons my people came here: to take advantage of the freedoms and opportunity that this wonderfulcountry provides.
The freedom to work and to raise a family and say what you think without fear of being thrown in jail.
If you wanted to live under a strict Islamist government, you could have stayed in Pakistan or Iran or any number of other Muslim-ruled countries around the world.
And having been here a while you know America is not an intolerant, Muslim-hating country. If it were, why would you stay here?
When I was in the White House serving under President Bill Clinton, this country went to war in Europe to protect the lives of millions of embattled Muslims in Bosnia, victims of the genocidal aims of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.
I have called the war in Iraq a “tragic misadventure.” But George Bush didn’t go to war in Iraq to kill Muslims. He went to war to depose a dictator, Saddam Hussein, one of the most prolific killers of Muslims in world history.
After 9/11, the vast majority of Americans bent over backward not to blame Muslim-Americans for the attacks. Our greatest blame was directed at our government for failing to recognize the threat of foreign terrorists. And rightly so.
So when CAIR accuses non-Muslim Americans of acting out of bigotry and bad faith, it is actually CAIR that is acting in bad faith
That’s why when given the opportunity to vote to protect travelers from harassment lawsuits like the one CAIR recently filed on behalf of the Minnesota imams, I did just that. And I’d do it again tomorrow.
Members of CAIR would do well to listen to fellow Muslims like Dr. Zhudi Jasser.
In writing about the US Airways imams case, Dr. Jasser said, “This fiasco has stirred the passionate cry of victimization from the Muslim activist community and imam community. But where were the news conferences, the rallies to protest the endless litany of atrocities performed by people who act supposedly in my religion’s name? Where are the denunciations, not against terrorism in the abstract, but clear denunciations of al-Qaida or Hamas, of Wahhabism or militant Islamism, of Darfurian genocide or misogyny and honor killings, to name a few? There is no cry, there is no rage. At best, there is the most tepid of disclaimers. In short, there is no passion. But for victimization, always.”
Dr. Tawfik Hamid also calls on Muslims to speak out against the brutality of Shirah law. He is a former member of Jemaah Islamiya, a terrorist group, but he has seen the light.
“Muslims who do not vocally oppose brutal Sharia decrees should not be considered “moderates.”
It’s time for our local Muslim community and CAIR to step up and start to take seriously our shared responsibility to protect each other here in America.
I ran for Congress as a critic of this Republican administration. But radical Islamists were calling the United States “The Great Satan” long before George W. Bush took office.
The Great Satan?
You live here. You know better. You should set these America-hating radicals straight.
If you don’t, you will risk being counted as part of the problem, not the solution. The choice is yours.
Nancy, with the headscarf and the smile
Walking a dhimmi mile
On the Road to Damascus.
Nancy, with a heartful of bile
Wanting Israel to tarry a while
On the Road to Damascus!
In spite of murder you found Bashar so dear?
For the people of Hama nary a tear?
On the Road to Damascus?
Nancy, if you and Assad made a pact
Condi can unleash the Logan Act
And you may find you have to walk back alone
To atone for the Road to Damascus!
At first glance, the home page for the “Iraq Veterans Memorial” looks like a genuinely respectful site honoring the troops.
The Iraq Veterans Memorial is an online war memorial that honors the members of the U.S. armed forces who have lost their lives serving in the Iraq War. The Memorial is a collection of video memories from family, friends, military colleagues, and co-workers of those that have fallen.
Other pages on the site encourage people and show them how to submit videos about their fallen family members and friends:
We encourage everyone who has lost a family member or friend to create a video memorial so that others can better understand the life that was lived and the love that was lost. Find out more information on contributing your video.
Nowhere on the site, however, is any indication given of the politics of those who have created the site. The only clue is a link to the Brave New Foundation which created the “memorial.” One sees a few code words on the BNF home page that might raise suspicion in the eyes of an observer of the left like me, but which to most people would look pretty benign:
“Championing social justice issues by using media to inspire, empower, motivate and teach civic participation that makes a difference.”
But dig into the Brave New Foundation a bit further, and the real nature of the enterprise starts to come into focus. Its board of directors includes Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Hollywood heiress and editor of the hard left magazine The Nation, Dolores Huerta, hard left Hispanic activist, the “national chaplain” for Planned Parenthood (praying for the souls of aborted babies?) and the president of a local of the left wing Service Employees International Union, the union which seeks to destroy Wal-Mart for the sin of being non-union and offering low prices to low income people.
Only by digging through further though not very prominent links does one discover Brave New Films, producers of left wing propaganda pieces attacking Fox News, Wal-Mart, Tom Delay, and Iraq War “profiteers.” It looks to me as though this arm of the enterprise is a major part of its activities. Brave New Films could be characterized fairly as a left wing propaganda factory, it seems to me.
Call me paranoid, but in my opinion, these people look like they are luring grieving families into sending them material expressing their loss, and stockpiling it for possible use in the sort of propaganda that claims it supports the troops but not their mission.
If these people were honest, wouldn’t they indicate their political perspective right on the Veterans Memorial page? The fact that they require multiple links be followed before revealing who they really are suggests deviousness.
Hat tip: Paul Shlichta
Camouflage pants under traditional Muslim garb.
“Women at Love Field ‘acting suspiciously’: Dallas: Police have no evidence Muslims have ties to terrorists,” by Jason Trahan for the Dallas Morning News, with thanks to Doc Washburn:
Dallas police and federal terrorism officials are investigating two women, both dressed in camouflage pants under their traditional Muslim robes and scarves, who were seen conducting what appeared to be surveillance and acting suspiciously at Dallas Love Field.One of the women, Kimberly “Asma” Al-Homsi, 42, of Arlington, who is on probation for a 2005 Garland road rage incident involving a fake grenade, is said to have long-range assault rifle and explosives training, according to a Dallas police intelligence bulletin issued March 5.
“I’m a trained sniper and proud of it,” Ms. Al-Homsi said in an interview Thursday after first refusing to comment on whether she has any terrorism ties. She then said no.
Police officials said they have no direct evidence the women have ties to terrorism.
“I am not a dangerous individual,” said Ms. Al-Homsi, who said she is an accountant who has dual Syrian-U.S. citizenship.
On the afternoon of Feb. 25, Ms. Al-Homsi and a friend who could not be reached for comment, Aisha Abdul-Rahman Hamad, 50, of Irving, were spotted at Love Field wearing Muslim robes and camouflage pants and “acting suspiciously,” the bulletin states. The surveillance video shows one of the women walking back and forth, apparently pacing off distances.
When confronted, the women told officials they were looking for the Frontiers of Flight museum. They left in a red Honda. Descriptions of the incident and the car were circulated at the airport.
Two days later, the museum executive director was leaving for the evening when he noticed the Honda parked facing the runway. A woman, later identified as Ms. Al-Homsi, was sitting on the hood, looking through binoculars at the airplanes. He told the women the museum was closing, and they left.
Dallas officers stopped the car nearby, but the women refused to let police search their car, , according to a police report. The women had digital camera memory cards, binoculars, a flashlight and several lighters on them.
Police issued one of them a citation for having no front license plate and failing to change her address on a driver’s license. They were released.
“We were watching the airplanes,” Ms. Al-Homsi said. “That’s not a crime, unless you’re Muslim.”
Sure. It’s all about discrimination, racism, and Islamophobia. Just like 9/11.
Qaddafi backs what appears to be, especially in the wake of the British hostages affair, the strong horse. From MEMRI:
On March 31, 2007, Libyan leader Mu’ammar Qaddafi called, in a speech in Niger to Tuareg tribal leaders , for the establishment of a second Shi’ite Fatimid state in North Africa, after the model of the 10th-13th century empire that ruled North Africa, Egypt, and parts of the Fertile Crescent. In his speech, Qaddafi denounced the division of Muslims into Sunni and Shi’ite as a colonialist plot, and rebuked the Arab League members for “hating Iran.”At the beginning of the month, on March 1, 2007 – the eve of the anniversary of the coup that brought the Libyan Free Officers to power – Qaddafi gave a speech in which he denied the existence of a non-Arab Berber people (this also being a colonialist plot), provoking protest among Berbers and supporters of minority rights in the Middle East and North Africa.
The following are excerpts from Qaddafi’s speeches:
“Colonialism… Has Begun to Group the Arabs Against Iran and Iran Against the Arabs”
“… Today there is a divide [in the Islamic world] that we must acknowledge, and we must know who is deepening it. Perhaps it is colonialism, the enemy of Islam, the enemy of the Arabs, the enemy of the Persians, that is deepening it…
“They have divided Islam into two Islams, and there came to be Shi’ite Islam and Sunni Islam. This is a forbidden innovation [bid’a]… When did Muhammad say: ‘I have brought you Shi’ite Islam and Sunni Islam?…
“As a consequence of this, they have now begun to group the Arabs against Iran and Iran against the Arabs, and then Shi’ites against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shi’ites.
“Are we Muslims, or are we Shi’ites and Sunnis?! For whose benefit is this? It is for the benefit of the ‘other’ that we are speaking about, for the benefit of the enemy, for the benefit of colonialism.
“The Fatimid state arose in the beginning of the 10th century, and it formed an umbrella over North Africa, and under its banner all of the tribal, denominational, political, and ethnic differences fused, and they all became one single Fatimid identity, which lasted 260 years and extended as far as the Arab East.
“Now people say to us that the Shi’ites are in Iran and that Shi’ite means Persians, and Sunni means Arabs. This is a lie. This is deceit. Those who say this are ignoramuses who do not know history.
“To the contrary, the first Shi’ite state arose in North Africa. The Fatimid state was the first Shi’ite state…”
“In North Africa… go anywhere and ask them about their customs and traditions. They are all Shi’ite customs and traditions.
“[They include] the celebration of the ‘Ashura, the sorrow on the ‘Ashura and the remembrance of the ‘Ashura and our lord [sayyidna] ‘Ali; the very extensive stories about our lord ‘Ali, and being the party of [tashayyu’ l-] our lord ‘Ali.
“[The North Africans] do not know Mu’awiya [‘Ali’s rival and the founder of the Umayyad dynasty]. From Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean, there is not a single person named Mu’awiya. They are all named ‘Ali, Fatima, Khadija, Hassan, Hussein, etc.
“When we come to religious authority… have [people] not gotten themselves into a mess and said that the Sunnis are against the Shi’ites and the Arabs against the Persians? Who holds to this view? It is the foreign occupation and the Zionist settlement that brought this.
“North Africa is Arab and Shi’ite… The Shi’ite Fatimid state arose in North Africa, and not in Iran. We want to revive it once again. We direct a renewed call to all of the forces in the first Fatimid state to revive [it in] a modern, second Fatimid state – on the condition that it be free of all of the sectarian conflicts and [the debate about] the Imamate and [religious] rule [hakimiyya] and the sophistry of old…
Read it all.