>The Apocalypse, Space Aliens, Vampires and Unbiased Journalists
>Americans believe three out of the four, but know one is a fantasy.
>> By Dan Gainor
>The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow
>Business & Media Institute
>12/2/2009 12:24:06 PM
>The imminent end of the world. Aliens (the ones from space, not the illegal
>kind). Witches and warlocks. Those are some of things Americans believe in.
>Unbiased journalism? Not so much.
>That's what the polling tells us. A 2008 Harris Poll reinforced that belief.
>More Americans believe in ghosts (44 percent), UFOs (36 percent) and witches
>(31 percent) than believe journalists. No major media outlet scored that
>high according to the 2009 Pew State of the Media report.
>Hollywood must be paying attention. Nearly every top film of 2009 reflects
>those topics. Everything from the "Transformers" sequel to the "Night at the
>Museum" sequel to the latest "Star Trek" and "Twilight" movies has been a
>success. Top 100 films have taken in more than $8 billion according to
>Boxofficemojo.com. Nine of the top 10 are fantasy, science fiction or
>horror. They amount to more than $2.2 billion of that total.
>You don't see Hollywood doing many big budget movies about journalism. Of
>course, that might be due to the wonky and mundane life of reporters and
>editors. Or it might be because simply no one trusts journalists any more.
>The biggest example of a journalist in entertainment these days is the
>sleazy, Tokyo Rose-like reporter on "V," who says he modeled his character
>after real-life CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. "V" star Scott Wolf described
>his character on "Good Morning America" as a "morally compromised news
>journalist" or in terms the viewing audience can appreciate, "he's more of
>This natural distrust of the news is essential if Americans are to dig their
>way out of some of the biggest issues of the day - including the economy,
>health care reform and climate change. In every case, journalists have been
>spinning the debate in favor of big government, big cost solutions.
>That film is really just getting started. The fight so far has just been the
>opening scenes of an epic. This week the plot thickens, as they used to say
>in the old movies. The White House holds its summit on jobs, the health care
>reform debate heats up and President Obama gets ready for next week's
>climate catastrophe marathon in Copenhagen.
>The jobs event is laced with irony. Thanks to the stick-it-to-business
>policies of the Obama administration, the only one hiring is Uncle Sam. And,
>after the incredibly wrong predictions from the Obama gang that unemployment
>wouldn't pass 8 percent if the stimulus passed, it's amazing he has any
>credibility on the issue at all. Even lefty blogger entrepreneur Arianna
>Huffington cautioned that the "unfolding unemployment disaster is
>threatening to do the same for the Obama White House" as Hurricane Katrina
>did for Bush.
>Why then did network broadcasts first promote the stimulus and then try to
>defend its impact on the economy. First they picked stimulus supporters by
>more than 2-to-1 over anyone who questioned the $787 billion bill. Then when
>the economy settled a little, journalists were quick to call an end to the
>recession. Back in August, Newsweek declared the "recession is over."
>The July 28 "Good Morning America" did the same thing, bringing on two
>separate experts who said the recession was over. Sure, unemployment is
>called a "lagging indicator," but it's not just lagging, it's in double
>digits. Ordinary voters know that 10.2 percent - more than twice what it was
>for much of the Bush administration - isn't a recovery.
>The latest episode of the health care reform saga is much the same script.
>Obama has pushed for a quick national takeover of one-sixth of the economy.
>Even many liberals have balked at that. If he doesn't get the votes, the
>curtain comes down on his whole plan.
>Imagine where Obama would be without his media support on health care
>reform. Back in spring, network journalists ignored the whole issue of cost
>- mentioning it in just 9 percent of their many stories on the topic. Now
>even those rare times when journalists are honest about the failings of
>health care reform, they still support it. Newsweek Assistant Managing
>Editor Evan Thomas recently described it as "a fiscal fraud." Of course,
>here's the kicker: "I'd still vote for it," he said.
>Then there's the ClimateGate scandal, which is rapidly escalating into a
>media scandal as well. So far only a few in the media are even addressing
>this possible scientific fraud just days before the Copenhagen summit. Phil
>Jones, director of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit,
>has stepped aside pending a probe into whether he helped overstate the
>danger of climate change.
>That story is all over the Internet and even in major print outlets. But you
>can't find it on the evening and morning news shows on ABC, CBS or NBC, even
>with a global climate conference just days away.
>In every case, the media position has been clear: root for Obama, back
>bigger government and hope for a happy ending.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
In Iran, death by poison salad and a hair-cream overdose
Iranian whistleblower Dr. Ramin Pourandarjan was killed by a poison salad, says prosecutor, in the fourth explanation of his Nov. 10 death. It's not the first bizarre death in Iranian political circles.
By Scott Peterson | Staff writer 12.03.09
ISTANBUL, TURKEY — Prosecutors in Iran says they don’t yet know whether the suspicious death of a doctor – Ramin Pourandarjan – was murder or suicide. But they know the cause: a poisoned salad.
At least, that’s the latest in a case where authorities have already made a number of competing claims, from a car crash that never happened to suicide in a courthouse. <!--[endif]-->
A poisoned salad might sound unlikely, but stranger causes of death have been known in Iranian political circles.
The political and cultural war between hard-line conservatives and more moderate reformists has produced similar surprises – notably in 1999, when a key Iranian intelligence official supposedly committed suicide by drinking hair removal cream. Yes, that’s the official line. <!--[endif]-->
Why was Dr. Pourandarjani’s salad laced with poison?
Ramin Pourandarjani was a 26-year-old doctor working at Iran’s Kahrizak detention facility. He witnessed abuses of Iranians taken there in the violent aftermath of Iran’s June presidential election. He then testified about the abusive treatment to a parliamentary committee. The facility was finally closed down, but not before former detainees said rape and torture were common practice.
Dr. Pourandarjani, as part of his military service, was assigned to the facility. He had seen the badly beaten son of the adviser of one of Iran’s conservative candidates, and one of the most high-profile detainees. ”
That detainee, Mohsen Rouhalamini, was brought to him “in a dreadful state after being subjected to extreme physical torture. He was in a critical state,” the opposition Mowjcamp Web site reported him telling parliamentary deputies, as translated by the AP.
When the detainee died, Pourandarjani reportedly said, “officials at Kahrizak threatened that if I disclosed the causes of the wounds of the injured at Kahrizak, I would not be able to live.”
Iranian opposition and media reports said the doctor was forced to change the cause of death to “meningitis.”
The doctor was concerned about his safety after his revelations further tarnished Iran’s reputation after the contested June vote. More than 4,000 Iranians were arrested and scores killed during weeks of clashes with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia. Accusations of rape and torture by Iranians who were detained have embarrassed the Islamic Republic, adding to what military commanders have called the most serious crisis for Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Accident? Suicide? Or what?
But Pourandarjani’s Nov. 10 death has been shrouded in a trail of false claims. Initially, authorities called the doctor’s father in Tabriz, Iran, saying his son had been in a car accident, broken his leg, and needed their consent for surgery. Then the story changed to a heart attack in his sleep.
Last week, Iran’s police commander claimed that Pourandarjani was facing charges over his Kahrizak duties, had killed himself in a courthouse lounge, and had left a note on his body.
Now, a salad brought to Pourandarjani by a delivery man was found to be laced with heart and blood pressure medicine, according to Iranian news reports, which quoted Tehran public prosecutor Abbas Dowlatabadi as saying that the doctor died of “poisoning by drugs.”
After Pourandarjani’s death, the father said that suicide was unlikely: “Just the night before his death, my child talked to me on the phone, it was around 8 or 9 p.m. He sounded great, very dignified, displaying no sign of someone about to commit suicide,” the father told the Associated Press from Tabriz last month. “He was even full of hope,” and making future plans.
Similar doubt of suicide attended the 1999 death of Saeed Emami, a deputy minister of intelligence who was charged with running a “rogue” death squad in Iran’s intelligence ministry.
The group had brutally murdered a string of dissident intellectuals in late 1998, and were found to have had target lists of 200 more reformists. Many Iranians say they believe Emami was deeply engaged in scores of assassinations of regime opponents in Europe and Iraq through the mid-1990s.
So few Iranians find credible the official report that he took his own life, by drinking hair removal cream, while having a bath.
Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 37
December 3, 2009 02:48 PM Age: 2 hrs
Category: Terrorism Monitor, Global Terrorism Analysis, Home Page, Africa, Terrorism
Mahmoud Said Omar, an arrested member of a group of Minneapolis natives that allegedly sent recruits to fight with al-Shabaab in Somalia.
On November 23, federal prosecutors in the United States unsealed indictments against members of a group of Minneapolis natives accused of being at the heart of a cell sending men and boys to fight with al-Shabaab, a radical Islamist movement in Somalia with close ties to al-Qaeda.  The unsealing of the documents came in the wake of the arrest of one of the members of the group, Mahamud Said Omar in the Netherlands, and the possible discovery of a similar cell operating out of Toronto (AP, November 10; National Post [Toronto], November 21).
The release of the information, which for the most part does not pertain to new cases, does shed further light on the recruitment structures in place and the radicalization method by which a foreign terrorist organization like al-Shabaab is able to entice young Westernized men to join their ranks. In many ways, the revelations show the degree to which the sort of radicalization that was previously thought to be more prevalent in Europe is in fact a problem shared by the United States. On the basis of the growing numbers of American jihadis, it would appear as though foreign terrorist rhetoric has found an increasing resonance in America.
The released documents which show in detail the path taken by 26-year-old Shirwa Ahmed, a young Somali-American who laid claim to the dubious honor of being America’s first suicide bomber, having been identified by a finger that was found at the site of one of a pair of suicide car-bombings that targeted offices of the Puntland Intelligence Service in Bossaso on October 29, 2008.  Ahmed was part of a group of men who left Minneapolis in early December 2007, but while the others headed for Northern Somalia, Ahmed instead went on Hajj to Saudi Arabia, landing in Jeddah on December 4, 2007 (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, November 25, 2008).
Having completed his pilgrimage, Ahmed joined the others who had first passed through a series of al-Shabaab safe houses before starting a training course alongside dozens of “young ethnic Somalis from Somalia, elsewhere in Africa, Europe and the United States.” At these camps, the men were taught to use a variety of weapons while being indoctrinated in “anti-Ethiopian, anti-American, anti-Israeli, and anti-Western beliefs.”  The training regimen was apparently tough, with only Ahmed and one other recruit completing the course. These two went on to take part in an assault on Ethiopian troops before the second man left the conflict and lost track of Ahmed.
The documents also show the importance of a local support network of older individuals who help in the radicalization process and aid in supplying the young men with equipment and money to go to Somalia. Three individuals in particular are identified in the new documents: Abdulahi Ahmed Farah, 32; Abdiweli Yassin Isse, 24 (who both remain at large and were last spotted crossing the San Ysidro border into Mexico on October 8 with tickets to Mexico City); and Mahamud Said Omar, 43, who was captured in the Netherlands on November 8. 
The three men were allegedly involved in hosting a series of meetings at a variety of locations in Minneapolis, where Farah would tell the others of his experiences fighting in Somalia, claiming “that he experienced true brotherhood while fighting in Somalia and that travel for jihad was the best thing that they could do.” He exhorted them “not to be afraid” and that “to fight jihad will be fun.” Farah emphasized that “they would get to shoot guns in Somalia.”  Farah claimed that he had sustained injuries (corroborated by others who knew him in Minneapolis) while fighting on the Somali/Kenyan border and had left soon afterwards for Nairobi where he married two women – undoubtedly intending to persuade the young men in Minneapolis of the possible benefits of jihad in this world as well as the next. He also allegedly helped coordinate a conference call between a group of potential recruits at a Minneapolis mosque and Isse in Somalia (Pioneer Press [St. Paul], November 24).
While both Isse and Omar are reported to have contributed to this radicalization (Isse allegedly referred to fighting in Somalia “a good jihad,” while Omar “provided encouragement”), the released documents point to a greater role as fundraisers. Isse was apparently involved in approaching other members of the Somali community to ask them to contribute money to help individuals study the Koran in Saudi Arabia.  It is unclear from the documents where Omar got the money he is alleged to have given the men, but he had enough to help nine of them to travel to Somalia.  He is also alleged to have traveled to join the men at a Shabaab safehouse in Somalia, where he supplied them with money to purchase AK-47s and calling cards. He also gave money to their Somali hosts (Pioneer Press [St. Paul], November 27). Finally, he is alleged to have hosted a meeting in Minnesota in November 2008, a few days before another group left for Somalia (Minnesota Public Radio, November 24, 2009).
In early November, six young ethnic-Somali men disappeared from Toronto’s Somali community. Their families are reported to have received a phone call from Kenya, where the men were believed to be preparing to cross into Somalia to join al-Shabaab (Toronto Star, November 19; National Post [Toronto], November 18). The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) are searching for information on the missing men. Canadian Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan warned that those who traveled overseas to participate in terrorist activities could face prosecution in Canada (National Post, November 20). Toronto is home to about 150,000 ethnic-Somalis, a number of whom have returned to Somalia to join militant Islamist groups since 2006.
None of the new revelations point to a direct threat from these networks to the United States, but the role of a former fighter in the recruitment of others highlights the risk of such individuals returning home. Details are yet to emerge concerning the Minneapolis group (and the apparent Canadian parallel group in Toronto), but their existence shows an appetite for jihad amongst young Muslim men in North America. Whether this presages an impending threat on a scale similar to that seen previously in Europe is unclear, but it certainly shows that the United States is not immune to militant Islamist radicalization.
1. Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, “Terror Charges unsealed in Minneapolis against eight men, justice department announces,” November 23, 2009, www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/November/09-nsd-1267.html
2. United States District Court, State and District of Minnesota – Criminal Complaint, United States of America v. 1) Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax; 2) Abdiweli Yassin Isse, October 8, 2009. The document uses the official Somali written form in rendering the names.
5.Ibid, pp.9-10, 14
7. United States District Court, District of Minnesota – Indictment, Case 0:09-cr-00242-JMR-SRN, United States of America v. Mahamud Said Omar, August 20, 2009
Somali pirates taken in encounter with the Dutch
Thursday 3rd December, 2009
A Dutch military ship has captured 13 Somali pirates off the coast of Oman, 280 kilometres south of the western town of Salalah.
Navy personnel were also able to take possession of a large haul of weapons when the pirates were finally taken from their fishing vessel.
The incident occurred after the pirates attacked a merchant ship from speedboats.
The armed pirates tried to board the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged BBC Togo, but were repelled after shooting at the vessel.
The BBC Togo had taken on-board precautions to slow the pirates down, causing the pirates to finally give up and flee to a larger fishing boat.
Members of the Dutch frigate then captured them fairly quickly, finding onboard a large amount of weapons, including AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and rifle ammunition.
The pirates are believed to be Somalis.
FW: Terror-tied official teaching troops at Ft Hood, wrote of preemptive strikes against Islam's enemies
Posted on Thursday, December 03, 2009 5:21:53 PM by caper gal 1
Terror-tied ISNA official teaching troops at Ft Hood about to deploy to Afghanistan, wrote of "preemptive strikes" against Islam's enemies(UPDATED) It gets worse.
I was contacted today by an official in the military anti-terrorism community who was extremely upset that a top official for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) was conducting classes at Ft. Hood on Islam to troops about to deploy to Afghanistan. The individual in question, Louay Safi, actively promotes the ideology employed by Ft Hood killer Maj. Nidal Hasan, and has been caught on FBI wiretaps communicating with terrorist leaders operating in the US. Safi has also written a defense of "preemptive strikes" against Islam's enemies, such as that carried out by Maj. Hasan. (Update: It seems that Robert Spencer received the same report about Safi's appearance at Ft Hood today.)
Amazingly, at around 6:00pm this evening, Safi presented a check to the families of those killed less than a month ago in the Ft. Hood massacre.
My source told me: "This is nothing short of blood money. This is criminal and the Ft. Hood base commander should be fired right now."
(Excerpt) Read more at mypetjawa.mu.nu ...
If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves. WINSTON CHURCHILL
I watched President Obama's speech at West Point and thought it was a pretty good political speech. That's not entirely correct. I thought it was a very good political speech.
On behalf of everyone, I bristled at the knee jerk "blame it on Bush" section of the speech. And I'm still trying to understand how, if it will take six months to get 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and you have already declared they're coming back out 18 months from now, how much they can accomplish in the 12 months you have allotted.
But, overall, I thought the content was good and the delivery was polished.
Remember, Obama has to protect himself from his own left. House Democrats have all but declared war on Obama's War [the Washington Post's phrase, not mine], Michael Moore took out a full page ad in advance of the speech to announce his opposition, and the MoveOn.org and Pink Slip organizations are threatening to … be really, really, angry.
Obama did what he could to mollify those groups by blaming Bush - always a safe bet when trying to curry favor from the Left - and by declaring there would be a time limit on the new deployment and they would be withdrawn starting in July 2011 - just as the 2012 re-election campaign would be getting underway.
I know Obama hedged his bet by saying that the timing of the withdrawal would ultimately be decided by "taking into account conditions on the ground," which was the rhetorical equivalent of the sticker on a new car - say a MullFord - which, having listed the required EPA information, tells you that your mileage may vary.
An additional 30,000 troops will bring the total of American forces to near 100,000. It is unclear to me how many NATO troops are in Afghanistan.
According to the NATO web site: "Since NATO took command of ISAF (the International Security Assistance Force) in 2003, the Alliance has gradually expanded the reach of its mission, originally limited to Kabul, to cover Afghanistan's whole territory. The number of ISAF troops has grown accordingly from the initial 5,000 to around 50.000 troops coming from 42 countries, including all 28 NATO members."
But if the U.S. already has 60,000 troops and is one of the 28 NATO members then the other 41 countries must have negative 10,000 troops, which I think may be incorrect.
Shortly after the President finished, my phone rang. It was Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt (Ret.) calling to ask me what part of speech the word "successfully" was in this sentence: "I will end the war successfully."
"Successfully," I said, "modifies the word 'end' which is a verb. Hence 'successfully' is an adverb."
This military man immediately understood that the President's goal is not to succeed in Afghanistan, but to end the war in Afghanistan.
"Pretty smart," I said. Kimmitt is a graduate of West Point and has an MBA from Harvard. I, as you know, took something over seven years to get a bachelor's degree from Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio 45750.
"Imagine," General Kimmitt said, "if FDR had done a fireside chat during World War II and told the American people he was going to end the war in Europe rather than saying he was going to defeat the Nazis."
There is precious little to recommend Afghanistan. For every ten kilometers you go outside of a major city, you go back in time 50 years. It is a desperately poor, illiterate, arid country run by tribal warlords and corrupt public officials.
Why do we care about Afghanistan? Because, if the Taliban takes back control of the country then Al Qaeda will once again use Afghanistan as Band Camp for terrorists.
Thus, the Obama strategy is dependent upon the Karzai government about which the NY Times' Dexter Filkins wrote: "But that is the heart of the problem: in laying down the gauntlet for the Afghans, Mr. Obama is setting criteria for success that he and his field commanders may be able to influence, but which ultimately they will not be able to control."
So, there you have the two views of President Obama's speech. From a political standpoint it was very good. From a military standpoint it was very weak.
Barack Obama has been fixated on being known as the Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the 21st century. This speech will do nothing to help him get there.
Thu Dec 3, 2009 6:12am EST
Dec 3 (Reuters) - An explosion tore through a graduation ceremony in Mogadishu on Thursday and killed at least 14 people including three government ministers, witnesses and senior government sources said.
Suspicion for the blast immediately fell on the al Shabaab group, which killed Somalia's security minister and at least 30 other people in the town of Baladwayne in June. Somalia has been mired in chaos for nearly two decades. Here are some details about the conflict:
* DESTABILISING THE REGION:
-- President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's Western-backed government is battling Islamist insurgents including the hardline al Shabaab group, which Washington accuses of being al Qaeda's proxy. -- The United States has offered military support to Somalia. It has also offered training for security forces as well as logistical and financial help.
-- The European Union said last month it planned to send some 100 troops to Uganda in 2010 to train Somali government forces. The intention is to train up to 2,000 Somali troops, which will complement other training missions and bring the total number of better-trained Somali soldiers to 6,000.
-- Violence in Somalia has killed more than 19,000 people since the start of 2007 and uprooted 1.5 million, and the chaos has helped fuel kidnappings as well as piracy off the coast.
-- The government and African Union have pleaded with the United Nations to send a robust peacekeeping force that could take over from the 5,200 AU troops from Uganda and Burundi who have said they are incapable of stabilising Somalia.
-- AU troops (AMISOM) troops come under near-daily attack from the rebels. In September 2009, al Shabaab hit their main Mogadishu headquarters with twin suicide car bombs that killed 17 peacekeepers, including the Burundian deputy force commander.
* ISLAMIST RULE:
-- In June 2006, Islamist militia loyal to the Somalia Islamic Courts Council seized Mogadishu after defeating U.S.-backed warlords. With tacit U.S. approval, Somalia's neighbour Ethiopia sent troops to defend the interim government in Dec. 2006. The Ethiopian force advanced rapidly, taking Mogadishu and driving the Islamists to Somalia's southern tip.
-- Since Ethiopian troops withdrew in January 2009 the biggest threat has come from al Shabaab which, controls much of southern Somalia and parts of the capital Mogadishu.
-- In April 2009, parliament voted to implement sharia law across the country in a move aimed at undermining the rebels.
-- Last month al Shabaab insurgents took over another town - Dhobley, near the Kenyan border after rival insurgents, Hizbul Islam, fled. The two groups were former allies but broke ranks over who should control the lucrative southern port of Kismayu. -- Al Shabaab's aim is to impose a strict version of Islamic law throughout Somalia. It has banned music, sport, videos, and shaving. It has also desecrated graves, beheaded rival clerics and publicly stoned to death women accused of adultery.
* ATTEMPTS AT GOVERNMENT:
-- In 2004 lawmakers elected warlord Abdullahi Yusuf as president and Ali Mohamed Gedi as prime minister to run the 14th attempt at government since Barre's fall. Gedi resigned in October 2007 and was succeeded by Nur Hassan Hussein as prime minister.
-- Yusuf himself resigned in December 2008. Somalia then elected President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, a moderate Islamist and Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke.
-- While some insurgents pledged to support the new administration, the al Shabaab group vowed to fight on.
-- Somalia's coastal waters -- strategic shipping lanes linking Asia and Europe -- have also become a focus of pirates who have made millions of dollars in ransom from hijacking vessels. In the latest seizure Somali pirates hijacked a Greek-flagged oil tanker 700 miles off the coast of Somalia last week. At least 15 ships are being held. -- NATO ships began anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast in Oct 2008, but have failed to stop the hijackings.
NYPD Undercovers Often Mistaken for Suspects
Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Updated: December 3rd, 2009 01:07 PM EDT
By COLLEEN LONG
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK --
Nearly 1 in 6 undercover officers in the nation's largest police department has been mistaken for a criminal by fellow officers - and has come face-to-face with a loaded gun.
In most of those instances, the undercover officer remained motionless, followed the orders of the uniformed cop and the situation was defused. There have been only 10 instances since 1930 where officers were killed by fellow cops.
The most recent, the shooting death of Omar Edwards on May 28, spawned a comprehensive review by the department. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wrote a letter to Gov. David Paterson detailing a 14-point plan to address the issue. Kelly spoke about the letter Tuesday.
The inquiry provides a rare look into the dangers of undercover policing in New York. More than 200 undercover officers were surveyed by the department, and 36 reported they were in gunpoint confrontations with other officers.
"In many instances, they're trying to look as if they're criminals. ... They're buying drugs, they're buying guns," Kelly said Tuesday.
In Edwards' case, he was in plainclothes, having just come from working a shift, and thought someone was breaking into his car, so he took off running with his service weapon in hand. Officer Andrew Dunton and two other uniformed cops mistook Edwards for a criminal and shot him to death.
Dunton and the other two officers were white; Edwards was black. A grand jury did not indict Dunton in the shooting.
Kelly's report outlines an attempt to reach out to fraternal organizations to create a list of suggestions to avoid such encounters.
"We have new training in place. We have officers that work in plain clothes go to roll call so that officers in uniform can identify officers in plain clothes," Kelly said.
The department has also called on Joshua Cornell, a University of Chicago professor who has conducted research on racial bias in officers' shooting decisions, to study NYPD police recruits and to develop new training accordingly.
Officers are using a new shield case that has a luminescent strap on it so it's easier to see in the dark. Also, new instructional videos were developed, and officers were retrained in the days after the shooting.
Gov. David Paterson formed a task force in June to examine confrontations between on and off-duty officers and determine what role, if any, race played. The task force meets again Thursday.
Edwards, 28, was posthumously promoted after his death. His family has expressed outrage over the shooting.
12 Days, 3 Networks and No Mention of ClimateGate Scandal
Even as Copenhagen looms, broadcast news ignores e-mails suggesting warming alarmists 'manipulated' data, conspired to destroy information and thwarted peer reviews.
By Julia A. Seymour
Business & Media Institute
12/2/2009 2:01:37 PM
It’s been nearly two weeks since a scandal shook many people’s faith in the scientists behind global warming alarmism. The scandal forced the University of East Anglia (UK) to divulge that it threw away raw temperature data and prompted the temporary resignation of Phil Jones of the university’s Climate Research Unit.
Despite that resignation and calls by a U.S. senator to investigate the matter, ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programming has remained silent – not mentioning a word about the scandal since it broke on Nov. 20, even as world leaders including President Barack Obama prepare to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark next week to promote a pact to reduce greenhouse gases.
Other news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and Associated Press have deemed ClimateGate worthy of reporting, but the networks were too busy reporting on celebrity car accidents and the killer whale that ate a great white shark. Instead of airing a broadcast news segment that might inform the public about the science scandal, both ABC and CBS relegated the story to their Web sites. There was one mention of the scandal on ABC’s Sunday talk show: “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
The ClimateGate scandal, as it is being called, has the hallmarks of a major news story: private emails purporting to show unethical or illegal behavior supplied by a hacker or whistleblower, high profile scientists like James Hansen and Michael Mann, and a potential conspiracy to distort science for political gain. But the networks haven’t bothered with the story.
Patrick J. Michaels, a climatologist and BMI adviser, said Nov. 20 of the leaked e-mails and documents: “This isn’t a smoking gun, it’s a mushroom cloud.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded to a question about ClimateGate by insisting that “global warming is happening” and that for most people it isn’t really a question anymore. That is the same message viewers get from the network news about climate change.
An examination of morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC since Nov. 20 yielded zero mentions of the scandal, even in the Nov. 25 reports about Obama going to Copenhagen to discuss the need for emissions reductions. But during the same time period, the networks reported on pro-golfer Tiger Woods’ “minor” car accident at least 37 times. They also found time to report on an orphaned Moose and the meal selection at the president’s State Dinner.
ClimateGate began after someone (hacker or whistleblower) attacked servers of University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) and made thousands of e-mails and documents public. Those e-mails appear to show a conspiracy to falsify temperature data, a willingness to destroy information rather than release it under Freedom of Information (FOI) law and the intimidation of publications willing to publish skeptical articles.
CRU’s director Phil Jones admitted real CRU e-mails had been stolen when he told New Zealand’s Investigate magazine, “It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails.” Others argue a whistleblower was responsible for the breach.
One of those alleged e-mails was from Jones to Michael Mann (famous for his hockey stick graph of global warming) and two others appeared to indicate manipulation of scientific data.
Jones wrote: “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd [Sic] from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
Jones, who contributed to a chapter of the U.N.’s IPCC report, claims the term “trick” was used “colloquially as in a clever thing to do.” Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming Policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), supplied his own view of what Jones and Mann meant by hiding the decline.
Ebell wrote in the National Post: “What is the clever method that Prof. Jones learned from Prof. Mann? I think he is referring to the way Prof. Mann constructed his celebrated hockey stick graph. His proxy records showed flat temperatures for the past 1,000 years, including the past century. But everyone knows that temperatures have gone up rapidly in the past few decades … So what Prof. Mann did was splice the last few decades of surface temperature records onto his proxy record. Voila! – the hockey stick.”
The alleged e-mails were enough to force Jones’ temporary resignation. On Dec. 1, Associated Press reported that Jones is “stepping down pending an investigation into allegations that he overstated the case for man-made climate change.”
Other leaked e-mails asked people to delete e-mails and one said that if information was requested using FOI, it would be deleted rather than turned over:
Alleged e-mail from Jones to Mann Feb. 2, 2005:
“The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone. Does your similar act in the US force you to respond to enquiries within 20 days? – our does ! The UK works on precedents, so the first request will test it. We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.”
In Britain, it is a crime to delete information requested under FOI.
Networks Focus on Tiger’s ‘Minor’ Accident, Sea Lions, Pete the Moose
In more than a week, the networks couldn’t be bothered to report on the ClimateGate scandal. Instead they fixated on professional golfer Tiger Woods’ car accident and the rumors surrounding the crash at least 37 times.
And ABC, CBS and NBC had even more trivial stories to discuss during that time than Woods. Somehow the networks considered a sea lion glut in San Francisco, Pete the orphaned Moose, the color of tablecloths at the state dinner, Great White shark vs. Killer Whale, a baby panda and the Sonoma, Calif. crush of grapes. All were more worthy of reporting than a scandal that prompted one U.S. senator to call for an investigation.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said on Washington Times Radio Nov. 23 that “Since Barbara Boxer is the chairman and I’m the ranking member on Environment and Public Works, if nothing happens in the next seven days, when we go back into session a week from today that would change this situation, I will call for an investigation because this thing is serious.”
The three broadcast networks ignored ClimateGate even in reports about the upcoming climate change conference. On Nov. 25, all three evening newscasts mentioned Obama would be going to Copenhagen. NBC’s Brian Williams called global warming “one of the biggest issues facing the planet,” But didn’t say a word about the hacked emails or possibly manipulated data that laid the foundation for emissions reductions.
But just one day earlier, CBS’s Declan McCullagh reported on CBSNews.com that Congress might investigate “whether prominent scientists who are advocates of global warming theories misrepresented the truth about climate change.” McCullagh’s lengthy story detailed the e-mail leak and reactions to it from both warming advocates and skeptics.
ABCNews.com waited until Nov. 28 to do an original report on the leaked e-mails on its Web site.
The e-mails (which can be viewed and searched online) appear to show unethical and potentially illegal behavior on the part of prominent scientists (many of whom are involved in the UN IPCC process).
Here are just a couple of the most embarrassing e-mails that can speak for themselves:
From Kevin Trenberth to Michael Mann and others including James Hansen and Michael Oppenheimer in Oct. 2009:
“The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.”
From Jones to Raymond Bradley, Malcolm Hughes and Michael Mann on Feb. 21, 2005:
“PS: I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act!”
A May 2009 e-mail from Jones allegedly told Mann to delete e-mails regarding the Fourth IPCC draft and said Keith and Caspar would also delete the correspondence.
One scientist featured prominently in many of the CRU e-mails was Mann, whose research has long been scrutinized by other scientists. He introduced his hockey stick chart in the 1990s, but it was questioned in 1998 by Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of Harvard, according to a February 2005 Wall Street Journal article. In 2003 others, including mathematician Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick, also criticized Mann’s hockey stick.
The Journal reported at that time that Mann “tried to shut down debate by refusing to disclose the mathematical algorithm by which he arrived at his conclusions.”
Mann defended himself in a letter to the Washington Post on Dec. 1, 2009 saying “some have engaged in a smear campaign.” “They have stolen thousands of scientists’ personal e-mails, including some of mine, and have mined the e-mails for words or phrases whose meaning can easily be distorted,” Mann continued.
Iain Murray, a senior fellow at CEI, explained why the e-mails were so important and the three things everyone should know about ClimateGate.
“This may seem obscure, but the science involved is being used to justify the diversion of literally trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels. The CRU is the Pentagon of global warming science, and these documents are its Pentagon Papers,” Murray wrote.
Murray said the three vital things the documents indicated were that “the scientists discuss manipulating data to get their preferred results,” talked about “subverting the scientific peer review process” to prevent skeptics from being published, and worked to prevent disclosure of the information.
But the leaked e-mails were only the tip of the iceberg. According to The London Times online, scientists at the University of East Anglia “admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.”
That article described CRU as “the world’s leading centre for reconstructing past climate and temperatures,” and quoted Roger Pielke, an environmental studies professor from Colorado University.
“The CRU is basically saying, ‘Trust us.’ So much for settling questions and resolving debates with science,” Pielke said.
Networks promote global warming, censor skepticism
Sadly, the willingness of the networks to capitulate to the global warming agenda and ignore other voices is not a recent phenomenon.
The Business & Media Institute has reported for years the way in which the news media have latched on to climate scares in the past 100 years (cooling, warming, cooling and now warming again). From ice age threats in the late 1800s to the warming in the 1920s, before returning to cooling fears again in the 1970s, print media encouraged fears of climate apocalypse.
But even more worrisome is the way the network news media have stifled debate on the issue of climate change. BMI released a Special Report in 2008 that found global warming skeptics rarely get any say on the networks, and when they do barbs like “cynics” or “deniers” are often thrown in to undermine them.
On the networks, man-made global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumber those with dissenting opinions. During the 2007 study window, there was an average of 13 global warming advocates for each skeptic featured. CBS had the worst ratio: 38-to-1. That report also found that the networks frequently omit the cost of so-called solutions to global warming.
In 2009, BMI found that the networks remained silent as House committee passed a cap-and-trade bill out of committee. That bill, known as Waxman-Markey, could cost $9.6 trillion in GDP loss by 2035, according to one estimate. Meanwhile, the networks ignored the bill and almost never explained what cap-and-trade meant.
Ignoring the ClimateGate scandal is just the latest in a long line of poor reporting on climate issues by the network news media. Marc Morano of ClimateDepot.com told the Business & Media Institute that the fact that the networks aren’t covering the story is actually “great news for the truth.”
Morano explained that the networks are making the “classic mistake” of thinking if they ignore the story it will go away, but talk radio and the internet are getting the information out to the public without spin from the networks which he said are “heavily invested in manmade global warming.”
On Sunday’s “Face The Nation” on CBS, Howard Dean, doctor, former Vermont Governor, former head of the DNC, stated that the Veterans Administration’s health care system is, in fact, a socialist system. Yes, he said that. And he praised it as the best, most effective health care provider in all the world.
The show’s host didn’t comment on this characterization of the VA as socialist, and Dean went on to point to Medicare as a single payer system, and praised it as well. This was his argument for the public option, and the certain path to government run health care as only option.
I have a friend currently dealing with the VA. He finds Dean’s assertion that it is the best health care provider laughable – except to him personally at the moment, it’s not very funny. He has been told by his doctor he is in serious and urgent need of as yet uncertain heart disease treatment – perhaps catheterization, perhaps surgery, maybe a stent. And he is waiting two, maybe three weeks for the required stress test and possibly other tests. To be followed by at least a week waiting for results and follow-up appointment.
The VA facility he was sent to is clearly over-burdened, under-staffed, un-clean and S-L-O-W. He’ll arrive for a 9:00 A.M. appointment, but be parked there for 4 hours, waiting.
It’s a look at the future.
And I wonder: has Dean conveniently forgotten the scandal over the disgraceful condition of VA facilities right there in Washington D.C., exposed by the media? Perhaps he hasn’t noticed that privately funded, charitable organizations are needed to provide care and rehabilitative therapy and equipment for wounded veterans. Or maybe he’s unaware of the too-many veterans who need advocates and attorneys to fight for them, to get the care they need, and most certainly have earned.
Dean may be right in calling it socialist, as surprising the admission may be. But praising it as the best? Well, I certainly think I’m getting better care from my private physicians, paid in part by my private insurance, than my friend is from the VA. Were I hosting “Face the Nation,” I think I’d have asked if Dean is getting his health care from the VA. Or if he’s ever even been in a VA facility.
What of Dean’s holding up Medicare as a poster-boy of single-payer systems? Has he missed President Obama’s assertion that Medicare is riddled with hundreds of billions of dollars of waste and fraud, and that his gigantic new health care scheme will pay for itself by eliminating that waste and fraud?
Every time Obama drags that old chestnut out, the media should be in unanimous chorus, screaming about this disgrace, demanding investigations and prosecutions now – not later, after a bigger version of the same beast is birthed.
Maybe Dean has missed the CBO’s analysis of Medicare as functionally bankrupt, a financial corpse waiting for official time of death. Maybe he should carefully examine how the House or Senate health care reform bills promise to gut that corpse, cut benefits, impose new limitations on care imposed by new boards, bureaucracies and czars. If Dean means to suggest that the new health care reform will be Medicare magnified and multiplied, there can be only one result: bankruptcy of the United States.
Dr. Dean is ridiculous. Too bad he went unchallenged.
Dan Kennedy is a serial entrepreneur, adviser to business owners, sought-after speaker and author of 13 books. More information about Dan can be found at www.NoBSBooks.com, and a free collection of his business resources including newsletters and webinars at www.DanKennedy.com.
The Apocalypse, Space Aliens, Vampires and Unbiased Journalists
Americans believe three out of the four, but know one is a fantasy.
By Dan Gainor
The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow
Business & Media Institute
12/2/2009 12:24:06 PM
The imminent end of the world. Aliens (the ones from space, not the illegal kind). Witches and warlocks. Those are some of things Americans believe in.
Unbiased journalism? Not so much.
That’s what the polling tells us. A 2008 Harris Poll reinforced that belief. More Americans believe in ghosts (44 percent), UFOs (36 percent) and witches (31 percent) than believe journalists. No major media outlet scored that high according to the 2009 Pew State of the Media report.
Hollywood must be paying attention. Nearly every top film of 2009 reflects those topics. Everything from the “Transformers” sequel to the “Night at the Museum” sequel to the latest “Star Trek” and “Twilight” movies has been a success. Top 100 films have taken in more than $8 billion according to Boxofficemojo.com. Nine of the top 10 are fantasy, science fiction or horror. They amount to more than $2.2 billion of that total.
You don’t see Hollywood doing many big budget movies about journalism. Of course, that might be due to the wonky and mundane life of reporters and editors. Or it might be because simply no one trusts journalists any more.
The biggest example of a journalist in entertainment these days is the sleazy, Tokyo Rose-like reporter on “V,” who says he modeled his character after real-life CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. “V” star Scott Wolf described his character on “Good Morning America” as a “morally compromised news journalist” or in terms the viewing audience can appreciate, “he’s more of Anderson Cooper-y.”
This natural distrust of the news is essential if Americans are to dig their way out of some of the biggest issues of the day – including the economy, health care reform and climate change. In every case, journalists have been spinning the debate in favor of big government, big cost solutions.
That film is really just getting started. The fight so far has just been the opening scenes of an epic. This week the plot thickens, as they used to say in the old movies. The White House holds its summit on jobs, the health care reform debate heats up and President Obama gets ready for next week’s climate catastrophe marathon in Copenhagen.
The jobs event is laced with irony. Thanks to the stick-it-to-business policies of the Obama administration, the only one hiring is Uncle Sam. And, after the incredibly wrong predictions from the Obama gang that unemployment wouldn’t pass 8 percent if the stimulus passed, it’s amazing he has any credibility on the issue at all. Even lefty blogger entrepreneur Arianna Huffington cautioned that the “unfolding unemployment disaster is threatening to do the same for the Obama White House” as Hurricane Katrina did for Bush.
Why then did network broadcasts first promote the stimulus and then try to defend its impact on the economy. First they picked stimulus supporters by more than 2-to-1 over anyone who questioned the $787 billion bill. Then when the economy settled a little, journalists were quick to call an end to the recession. Back in August, Newsweek declared the “recession is over.”
The July 28 “Good Morning America” did the same thing, bringing on two separate experts who said the recession was over. Sure, unemployment is called a “lagging indicator,” but it’s not just lagging, it’s in double digits. Ordinary voters know that 10.2 percent – more than twice what it was for much of the Bush administration – isn’t a recovery.
The latest episode of the health care reform saga is much the same script. Obama has pushed for a quick national takeover of one-sixth of the economy. Even many liberals have balked at that. If he doesn’t get the votes, the curtain comes down on his whole plan.
Imagine where Obama would be without his media support on health care reform. Back in spring, network journalists ignored the whole issue of cost – mentioning it in just 9 percent of their many stories on the topic. Now even those rare times when journalists are honest about the failings of health care reform, they still support it. Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas recently described it as “a fiscal fraud.” Of course, here’s the kicker: “I’d still vote for it,” he said.
Then there’s the ClimateGate scandal, which is rapidly escalating into a media scandal as well. So far only a few in the media are even addressing this possible scientific fraud just days before the Copenhagen summit. Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, has stepped aside pending a probe into whether he helped overstate the danger of climate change.
That story is all over the Internet and even in major print outlets. But you can’t find it on the evening and morning news shows on ABC, CBS or NBC, even with a global climate conference just days away.
In every case, the media position has been clear: root for Obama, back bigger government and hope for a happy ending.
Mumbai Anniversary: Producers of film mark the anniversary of terror attack
December 2, 5:13 PMLaw Enforcement ExaminerJim Kouri
In an industry swamped with filmmakers such as Michael Moore, it's a surprise to find Obsession.
Photo credit: Police Times
The producers of the award-winning documentary Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West are making it available for free online viewing to mark the anniversary of the deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks.
The Mumbai terror attacks took the lives of 173 and injured more than 300 victims. Mumbai, India is the largest city in the world in terms of population, with the city proper having a population of approximately 14 million inhabitants
"The brutal attacks in Mumbai were yet another instance of innocent individuals murdered at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists," stated Raphael Shore, producer of Obsession. "It is important to recognize that these incidents are not isolated. Rather, each attack is merely a new front in a global jihad being carried out by dangerous extremists that seek to destroy western freedoms and democracy."
"Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the Mumbai victims. It is important for individuals around the world to truly pause and consider the losses suffered in Mumbai, and understand the heinous motivations behind such vicious attacks," Shore added.
The free stream of Obsession is part of a grassroots initiative to mark the anniversary of the attacks and educate the public about the threats that radical Islam pose to the world at large and the United States in particular. Concerned citizens will have the opportunity to watch the film throughout the week, and learn more about a growing radical movement targeting western liberties and ideals.
Over 30 million have seen the groundbreaking film, a powerful and controversial educational tool that media pundits have coined a "must-see." Obsession was the winner of the best feature film award at the Liberty Film Festival.
OBSESSION: Radical Islam's War Against the West documents the call for world domination and global jihad made by Islamic leaders on a daily basis. The film features exclusive footage from Arabic TV, as well as interviews with former terrorists, and experts including Alan Dershowitz, Steve Emerson and Caroline Glick. The film outlines parallels between Chamberlain's strategy of appeasing Hitler prior to WWII, with the West's current attitude of appeasing Iran and radical Islamists.
The free online stream is available for a limited time at: http://www.radicalislam.org/Obsession
Bloggers and web site owners are invited to host the free stream on their blogs or web sites. To embed the stream visit: www.clearspring.com/widgets/4aace992ff38389f
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.