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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Two Memorial Project commissioners quit over the Project’s bad behavior

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Two Pennsylvanian’s quit the Flight 93 Memorial Commission last week, protesting Park Service plans to condemn five crash-site properties that it never negotiated for in good faith. Consider the case of the Lambert family, who have been on their land for three generations:
"It's absolutely a surprise. I'm shocked by it. I'm disappointed by it," said Tim Lambert, who owns nearly 164 acres that his grandfather bought in the 1930s. The park service plans to condemn two parcels totaling about five acres — land, he said, he had always intended to donate for the memorial.

"To the best of my knowledge and my lawyer, absolutely no negotiations have taken place with the park service where we've sat down and discussed this," Lambert said.

Lambert said he had mainly dealt with the Families of Flight 93 and said he's provided the group all the information it's asked for, including an appraisal.
They are condemning land that he was trying to GIVE to them, just because he had the gall to expect the Park Service to actually do its part.

Project members have embraced the “absolute moral authority” conceit

How dare anyone not rush to give these grieving 9/11 family members whatever they want? Didn’t they hear Maureen Dowd’s proclamation that “the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq [or on 9/11] is absolute”?

When crash-site owner Mike Svonavec put up a donation box to try to cover some of the cost of hiring security guards for the hugely popular Temporary Memorial, Patrick White, cousin of Flight 93 hero Louis Nacke, told the press:
That land has been paid for with 40 lives ... the donation box is an insult to that cost.
When Svonavec insisted that the Park Service follow its own legally required procedures for assessing property values (procedures that, as it happens, take into account current property values, not just pre-crash property values), White accused Svonavec of trying to profit from the blood of his cousin:
"I think Svonavec believes his land, because it has the blood of my cousin and 39 other people, it's worth more," he said.

Using the flag of victim-hood to defend Paul Murdoch’s terrorist memorial mosque

Project members use the same trick to deflect criticism of the giant Islamic-shaped crescent that is now being built on the crash-site. When people point out the hidden terrorist memorializing features—things that no one knew about when the Crescent of Embrace design was chosen—like the Mecca-orientation of the giant crescent, or the 44 glass blocks emplaced along the flight path, Project members not only deny these easy to verify facts, but they pretend that they are being accused of intending to honor the terrorists:
“That’s an absolute, unequivocal fabrication that is being portrayed as fact,” said Edward Felt’s brother, Gordon Felt [about the 44 blocks claim].

He says he is insulted people would believe he would participate in anything that honored his brother's killers.
In The Church of Liberalism, Ann Coulter slammed the media for granting the Jersey Girls an “absolute moral authority” card, not questioning the Girls’ practice of blaming the Bush administration instead of al Qaeda for their husband's deaths on 9/11. The Jersey Girls were bad enough, but nowhere is the flag of victim-hood being used to cover up more bad behavior than at the Memorial Project.

Active cover-up of an ongoing Islamic supremacist plot

Like the Jersey Girls, the Memorial Project gives Islam a pass for 9/11. Project members might not have known about the Mecca-orientation of the Crescent of Embrace, but they DID know that it was a giant Islamic-shaped crescent. Now they are doing far worse. Now they DO know that the giant crescent points almost exactly at Mecca, and are consistently misleading the press about it.

Their own Muslim consultant told them not to worry about the Mecca-oriented crescent, claiming that it can’t be seen as a mihrab (the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built) unless it points EXACTLY at Mecca (a claim that was contradicted earlier this month by Saudi religious authorities).

So what does Project Supervisor Joanne Hanley say when asked about the Mecca-orientation claim?
The only thing that orients the memorial is the crash site.
They are actively and knowingly covering up clear evidence of an ongoing al Qaeda sympathizing plot. Bad behavior indeed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama equates the Muslim law of hate with the Christian law of love

From Obama's Notre Dame speech:
For if there is one law that we can be most certain of, it is the law that binds people of all faiths and no faith together. It is no coincidence that it exists in Christianity and Judaism; in Islam and Hinduism; in Buddhism and humanism. It is, of course, the golden rule - the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love. To serve. To do what we can to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we share the same brief moment on this earth.

So many of you at Notre Dame - by the last count, upwards of 80 percent - have lived this law of love through the service you've performed at schools and hospitals; international relief agencies and local charities.
In fact the Christian "law of love" (the Commandment of Jesus to "love your neighbor") is explicitly universal. Asked "who is my neighbor," Jesus answered with the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The Koran, in contrast, is explicit that its call to treat others in a loving way is NOT universal:
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. [Koran verse 48.29]

O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed. [9.73]
The Koran is replete with instructions for carrying out this "law of hatred" as one might call it:
I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. [8.12]

Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame.... [9.14]

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. [9.29]

Obama knows the Koran

Obama is fully aware that the Islamic version of the golden rule applies only to other Muslims. Not only did he study the Koran as a boy, but he even studied "menjaji," which is the Indonesian term for recitation of the Koran in Arabic. Menjaji is the gold-standard of fundamentalist Islamic education. This is how Obama was able to recite the Shahada for NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof "with a first rate [Arabic] accent." He was drilled on it.

The Shahada is the Islamic profession of faith: "I witness that there is no god but Allah; I witness that Muhammad is his prophet." According to Sharia law, a single sincere utterance of this profession of faith constitutes conversion to Islam. The Shahada comes at the beginning of the Islamic call to prayer, which Obama recited for Kristof. Judge for yourself whether his utterance was sincere:
Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”
Having drilled the Shahada as a boy, Obama certainly knew what it meant to recite these words to Kristof. Obama IS a Muslim.

If he were a moral Muslim, he would speak about the need for Islamic reform, instead of covering up the unpleasant truths of orthodox Islam. By hiding his own Islam, Obama is following another unpleasant truth about orthodox Islam: that it is a religion of deceit.

Tabari's History recounts the story of Nuaym, a recent convert to Islam, who set Muhammad's enemies against eachother at the Battle of the Trench:
‘I ‘ve become a Muslim, but my tribe does not know of my Islam; so command me whatever you will.' Muhammad said, ‘Make them abandon each other if you can so that they will leave us; for war is deception.' [Tabari volume 8, p. 23. This incident is also recorded in Ishaq's Life of Muhammad, p. 458.]
Like Nuaym, Obama's tribe does not know of his Islam either. (Well, his African tribe does, but his American tribe does not.) That is the price we pay for America's Ignorance about Islam. With just a little knowledge about Islam, we can even tell what kind of Muslim Obama is. His deceptions about Islam demonstrate that he is orthodox. He tells the same "religion of peace" lies that CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood organizations tell.

When ignorant multi-culturalists call Islam a religion of peace, they are just following their own injunction to respect every culture but western liberty (which they call oppressive). But Obama is not an ignorant multi-culturalist. He knows his Islam. When he calls Islam a religion of peace, the meaning is very clear: "war is deceit."

Friday, May 08, 2009

Saudi authorities contradict U.S. Park Service: mihrabs do NOT have to point exactly at Mecca

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A Muslim consultant told the Park Service in 2006 that the Crescent of Embrace memorial to Flight 93 cannot be seen as a mihrab (the Mecca-direction indicator around which every mosque is built), because the giant Islamic-shaped crescent does not point exactly at Mecca:
Mihrab orientation is either correct or not. It cannot be off by some degrees.
Saudi religious authorities recently had to address this question when observers noted that some 200 mosques in Mecca itself do not point directly at the Kaaba (the “Sacred Mosque” that all Muslims are supposed to face for prayer). Meccans who worried that their prayers might not count were assured by the Islamic Affairs Ministry that “it does not affect the prayers.”

The necessity for such a rule is obvious. Throughout most of Islam’s 1400 year history, Muslims who were any significant distance from Mecca had no accurate way to determine the direction to Mecca. Thus it became established religious principle that what matters is intent. It is the mind of the believer that needs to face directly towards the Kaaba, and directly towards God. This principle applies in Mecca the same as anywhere else.

All the great mosques of the ancient world point well away from Mecca

Older mosques often point 10, 20, 30 or more degrees away from Mecca. The most famous mihrab in the world, the mihrab of the Great Mosque in Cordoba Spain, points more than 45° off of Mecca:

The Cordoba mihrab points south, while Mecca is east-southeast of Spain.

In contrast, the Crescent of Embrace points a mere 1.8° north of Mecca, ± 0.1°, which is highly accurate by Islamic standards.

The Muslim consultant who lied to the Park Service was a classmate of architect Paul Murdoch

Who told the Park Service that a mihrab has to point exactly at Mecca to be legitimate? It was Nasser Rabbat, a professor of Islamic architecture at MIT and an expert in the history of mosque design. No one knows better than Professor Rabbat that mihrab orientation does NOT have to be exact.

There is only one reason why Rabbat would lie to the Park Service about such a basic fact. He recognizes that the giant Mecca-oriented crescent at the heart of the Flight 93 memorial IS a legitimate mihrab, and he wants this al Qaeda sympathizing plot to succeed.

A look at Rabbat's background shows that he was a classmate of Crescent of Embrace architect Paul Murdoch, both getting masters degrees in architecture from UCLA in 1984 and both doing their masters work on Middle Easter subjects. (Murdoch wrote a “masters project” titled: “A museum for Haifa, Israel.” Rabbat wrote a master thesis on house design in Cairo and Damascus.)

This prior connection between Murdoch and Rabbat raises the possibility that Murdoch himself was able to orchestrate the Park Service investigation into warnings about his own design. By the same token, having the two classmates both show up in the Flight 93 memorial raises the possibility that Rabbat was Murdoch's source of expertise on how to incorporate the full complement of typical mosque features into his Crescent design. (For the dozen typical mosque features, see Crescent of Embrace, chapter 5.)

The Crescent of Embrace also includes an exact Mecca-orientation

While exact orientation on Mecca is not a traditional requirement, modern mosque designers do generally employ now-available techniques for orienting their mihrabs more precisely on Mecca than was previously possible. Murdoch satisfies this modern norm (and provides hidden proof of intent) by including a true thematically-defined crescent that does point exactly at Mecca.

Murdoch's thematic explanation for his crescent design is that the circle was broken on 9/11 by the path of Flight 93. The terrorist-piloted airplane smashes our peaceful circle, turning it into a giant Islamic-shaped crescent (that just happens to point to Mecca). The terrorist-memorializing implications of this theme are hardly less overt than the Islamic symbol shapes themselves. Nothing particularly subtle here folks.

The symbolic breaking of the circle occurs at the upper crescent tip, where the fifty-foot tall, thousand-foot long Entry Portal Wall is parted by the Entry Portal Walkway, which follows the flight path through the wall:

The section of wall to the right of the walkway in this image is symbolically "broken off" by the flight path. Remove this symbolically broken off part, and the remaining crescent structure points EXACTLY at Mecca, ± 0.1°:

What symbolically remains standing in the wake of 9/11: a giant Islamic-shaped crescent pointing EXACTLY at Mecca.

Rabbat knew about this too, since the original report that Rabbat was commenting on detailed both the slightly inexact Mecca-orientation of the full Crescent of Embrace, and the exact-Mecca-orientation that results when the symbolically broken-off parts are removed. Same for the Park Service. As the original recipient of Alec Rawls' report, the Park Service knew about both orientations. They also knew, because it was also in the original report, that a mihrab does NOT have to point exactly at Mecca. Yet they still publicly touted Rabbat’s claim that the crescent can’t be seen as a mihrab because it doesn’t point exactly at Mecca. A veritable web of self-conscious lies by Rabbat AND the Park Service.

The design is called a broken circle now, but the circle is still broken in the same place as before (where the flight path crosses the upper crescent tip). The unbroken part of the circle, what is symbolically left standing in the wake of 9/11, remains completely unchanged. It is still a giant-Islamic shaped crescent, still pointing exactly at Mecca.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gertz says his Pentagon sources didn’t lie, he just didn’t report all of what they told him (PLUS some information from Larry Johnson)


Joe Miller at Annenberg FactCheck says he was told by the Pentagon that the USS Bainbridge arrived at the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama on Friday February 10th and that authorization to send in the first SEAL team came at 8:00PM that night, rebutting a purported word-of-sailor report of a 36 hour delay. But news reports on the 9th said that the Bainbridge actually arrived before dawn local time on THURSDAY. Since 8:00 P.M. Friday was 4:00AM Saturday in Somalia, that would make the actual delay, local time to local time, about 48 hours.

Bill Gertz at the Washington Times also talked to the Pentagon, but his report uses slightly different language than Miller's, relating that the Bainbridge “took charge” of the hijack scene on April 10th without being specific about when it arrived on the scene. Could the Pentagon have been making a distinction between arriving on the scene and taking control?

I thought that unlikely, given that a spokesman for the Maersk Alabama said on the 9th that the Navy took immediate control. As I quoted in my “Pentagon lied” post:
"When the Navy comes in, they're in charge," Speers told CNN.

Gertz says that the Pentagon WAS making a distinction between arriving on scene and taking control

Via email, from Bill Gertz:
April 10 was when the Pentagon was put in charge of the operation, which is different than arriving on the scene. Prior to that point, the owner of the ship was in charge and was advocating a money-for-hostage deal.
If this is what Gertz was told, why wasn’t it in his article? And why didn’t he question it, given that Maertz itself denied staying in control after the Navy arrived?

If Gertz let his readers know that the USS Bainbridge arrived on scene early on the 9th, then the Pentagon claim that the Captain of the Bainbridge waited a full day to ask for additional resources that he obviously might need becomes implausible. That grounds for skepticism should have been exposed, but Gertz covered it up.

Larry Johnson’s intel

Larry Johnson has some important information about the timeline, and an interesting take. First the intel (via email):
The Spec Ops folks received the first notice of the pirate attack around 8am edt on 8 April. They went forward with a recommendation to SOCOM [Special Operations Command]. SOCOM in turned made a recommendation to SecDef and it hung there in limbo until Friday at around 11 am edt.
At 8:00 AM edt on the 8th, the Bainbridge would have en route to the Maersk Alabama, but Johnson says that SOCOM was not responding to any request for resources from Bainbridge Captain Frank Castellano, since Castellano did not yet have any more information about the hostage situation than CENTCOM did. Rather, SOCOM was just reacting to the information then available (that the crew had regained control of the Maersk Alabama, and that the pirates had Captain Philips on a lifeboat).

Thus as far as Captain Castellano initiating his own request for special resources (a key point in both the Pentagon timeline and the SEAL-pals timeline), it seems the critical point would be the Bainbridge’s arrival at the Maersk Alabama, allowing Castellano to verify the situation for himself. Even if the Navy DID wait until the next day to officially “take control,” there was no reason for Castellano to delay in requesting resources that he obviously might need.

In the larger picture, Johnson’s intel makes Castellano’s role seem a bit of a red herring. The recommendation to send the SEAL teams was already put forward by SOCOM on Wednesday, and Johnson says that Castellano would not have been included in the discussions about whether to act on that recommendation, which would be undertaken at the Joint Chiefs/SecDef level. Once Castellano had verified what the Joint Chiefs had heard from the crew of the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday, they didn’t need Castellano to tell them what resources were called for. Castellano may well have made requests, but this seems almost irrelevant. The actual decision-makers already knew what he knew and they already had SOCOM’s recommendations.

From this point of view, the SEAL-pals account seems to have been a bit of good-luck for the Obama-defenders at the Pentagon. It put the focus on when Castellano made his request, which whenever it actually occurred would have been well after the Joint Chiefs' deliberations about sending in the SEALs actually began (back on Wednesday morning).

At the other end, Johnson says that the authorization to deploy the Kenya-based SEAL team came at 11:00 AM edt Friday, not 8:00 PM, as Joe Miller’s Pentagon source claimed. That again makes the real delay about 2 days: from Wednesday morning to Friday morning. (Add another 12 hours for the authorization of the SEAL sniper team, which was likely part of the original SOCOM recommendation.)

Does this mean that somebody did not want the Special Operations option to be available on scene?

I put that question directly to Johnson, because that is how it looks from the outside. Absent a pressing need for SEAL teams elsewhere, why in the world would there be ANY delay in deploying these teams to where they MIGHT be critical for a successful mission?

Deploying the teams and using them are two different things. If they turn out not to be needed, don’t use them. They don’t do any harm. Wouldn’t the only reason to keep the teams off-site be if somebody did not want the Special Operations option to even be available?

Johnson says no, that turf-battles ALWAYS happen, and that it is wrong to read so much into them:
The delay is quite normal. During the heat of the moment things are not always crystal clear. Then you get the turf battle of who is in charge and which agency is best positioned to help. Please recall that during the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 there was a huge fight at the scene between FBI, ATF, Port Authority Police and NYPD over who was in charge. It is just human nature.
This explanation for the delay sounds plausible, especially given that this was the first hijacking of an American-flagged vessel since forever, so the jurisdictional issues it raised had yet to be confronted. Johnson cites a host of agencies with a jurisdictional dog in the Maersk Alabama fight: “DOD, Homeland Security (because they are in charge of Coast Guard), State, CIA, DOJ and FBI.”

The outcome is bad: a resource that obviously might be needed should not be kept off-scene by turf battles, yet it happens. To attribute this to a particular agenda, we would have to have details about the positions the different parties were taking.

One bit of evidence that the delay WAS driven by Obama’s policy preferences is that claim from the second word-of-soldier account that:
He [Obama] reportedly question his staff, “Will ‘my’ FBI people get there before the Navy does?
Obama has been upfront about favoring a law-enforcement over a military approach to the Global War on Terror (now officially renamed “Overseas Contingency operations”). It was also circulated by the seemingly credible Captain Raymond Wellborn USN. Johnson is skeptical, however, because his own sources give a different account of the rescue than Wellborn’s do.

Three conflicting accounts of the rescue

From Wellborn’s source:
Pirates in a life boat at 30-meters could be compared to fish in a barrel. All that was necessary was to take out the plexiglass window so that it would not deflect the trajectory of the high velocity .308 round. So, a sniper (one of four) with a wad-cutter round (a flaxen sabot) would take out the window a split second before the kill-shot-- no change in sight-picture, just the window blowing out, clean.

… The pirate holding Captain Philips raised the gun to his head, and IMMINENT DANGER was so observed and noted in the Log as CO BAINBRIDGE gave the classic order: WEAPONS RELEASED! I can hear the echo in my earpiece now, "On my count (from 8.5 seconds), 3, 2, 1, !" POP, BANG! Out went the window, followed by three simultaneous shots. The scoreboard flashed: "GAME OVER, GAME OVER-- NAVY 3, PIRATES 0!"
Johnson’s paraphrase of his source’s account:
Phillips was at the doorway taking a piss. This was the first time after the lifeboat was hooked up to the tow line that the SEALs got all four people on board the lifeboat in sight at the same time. That's why they took the shot.
Neither of these accounts squares very easily with what McClatchy was told by the Navy:
Two of the captors had poked their heads out of a rear hatch of the lifeboat and the third could be seen through a window in the bow, pointing the rifle at the captain, who was tied up inside the 18-foot lifeboat, senior Navy officials told The New York Times. It took only three shots — one each by snipers firing from a distance at dusk, using night-vision scopes, the officials said.
Did the Navy not want to admit that Philips was relieving himself at the time of the rescue? Could be. Was there an extra wadcutter round that the Navy did not mention? Could be. Why didn’t Wellborn’s source mention that only one of the pirates was behind the plexiglass window? Because he didn’t know? And why is the busted window in the lifeboat near the stern (here and/or here), not the bow, as the Navy said? WTF????

Perhaps the sources for these different accounts will be willing to step up with clarifications. More information would be good, especially some credible details on why it took two days for CENTCOM to act on SOCOMS SEAL-team recommendations, when it must have been obvious to everyone that these resources MIGHT be needed. All else is to get to the bottom of the delay and the crazy ROE. Both are at this point well established facts, but were they agenda driven, or were they just bumbled onto?

What about that bogus claim that SEALs had the pirates sighted in when Philips jumped in the ocean on Friday morning?

At least part of this SEAL-pals claim is bogus. There were no SEALs on site Friday morning. This is apparently the explanation for Gertz’ one-sided report. Being convinced by this SEAL-pals error that the report is “obviously false,” he thinks there is something wrong with me for pointing out the holes in the Pentagon’s story:
Gen. Jones put his reputation out there for an internet rumor by agreeing to go on the record. He is the guy who was in the middle of it and he said he didn't recognize the rumors as being close to accurate. So you believe something which is obviously false versus the national security adviser to the president who spoke on the record? What's wrong with the picture.
The issue isn’t belief. It is getting to the bottom of what actually happened. Suppose the SEAL-pals report does turn out to be phony. Maybe it does not really come from any discussions with SEALs at all, never mind accurate ones. Then it provides no evidence for or against the claims that it puts forward.

If the report is bogus, does that mean that the Navy was NOT following the crazy “imminent danger” ROE that the SEAL-pals report claims? Of course not. Gertz own article confirms that Philips had to be in “imminent danger” for our military to take action. Opportunities where the hostage was out of danger were off limits. If the pirates ever left Philips unattended, our sailors were not allowed to rescue him by taking out the pirates, just as the SEAL-pals report said.

The question is how much the errant claim about SEALs having the pirates sighted-in on Friday morning vitiates the SEAL-pals report as a source of evidence.

The SEAL-pals report also described the pirates as being sighted in by “Navy shooters”

If you read past the bullet points at the top of the SEAL-pals account, the fuller account below does not say that it was SEALs who had the pirates in their sights, but “Navy shooters.”

Is it possible that regular sailors aboard the Bainbridge did have the pirates in their sights when Philips leapt in the water? If so, then the SEAL-pals report could still be genuinely sourced, but couldn’t be too carefully vetted. It would be more like a compilation of things that were getting passed around (which is about how it presents itself, at least in the bullet points).

A key to whether the Bainbridge’s own sailors could have had the pirates in their sights is the distance to the lifeboat. The third reporter involved in the Pentagon’s SEAL-pals rebuttal effort (after Gertz and Miller) is NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski. Mik’s Pentagon sources claim that the Bainbridge was a mile away:
Friday, April 10
Captain Phillips jumped into the sea in an attempt to escape his pirate captors, but the Bainbridge was a mile away from the lifeboat at the time and had no special operations forces in the water or the air that could have helped Phillips escape.
Again, contemporaneous accounts contradict the Pentagon’s claims. The New York Daily News reported that Phillips: “had hoped to swim the few hundred yards to the warship Bainbridge.”

CBS reported that the Bainbridge was staying:
a minimum of 200 yards away — too far to send its own lifeboat to pick up the captain in just a few seconds, and it has no helicopter on board, they said.
If the Bainbridge was within a few hundred yards then the lifeboat was almost certainly kept under armed surveillance. Here is drone surveillance from the previous AM (Thursday), showing the lifeboat illuminated by the Bainbridge:

There was a full moon on April 9th, which at 3:59 AM would have been to the west. Since the illumination in this image is from the east, it has to be from the Bainbridge (either searchlights or infrared).

We also know that the Bainbridge has a pair of twin-.50 caliber machine guns:

And a pair of 25mm chain guns:

A couple hundred yards is the length of the Bainbridge. When Philips jumped in the ocean, wouldn’t Bainbridge gunners have been crying for an order to take out the lifeboat?

LJ says no:
You do not shoot at a lifeboat on heaving seas, particularly if the guy you want to rescue is anywhere near the field of fire. Moreover, a .50 cal or a chain gun are not, repeat not, accurate fire systems. You can blow the shit out of the lifeboat but you are just as likely to kill the captain.
But were the seas heaving? And even if LJ is right, would this stop the gunners from thinking they could have pulled off the shot, and venting frustration to their buddies at not being given the chance? Such an incident might well trigger a round of woulda-coulda-shouldas and end up in a word-of-sailor compilation, fair or unfair.

From someone who certainly WAS there

The officer of the deck did an interview with his hometown newspaper. He says that Bainbridge gunners never got a clear shot, but for LJ’s reason--because Philips did not get far enough away from the pirates--not because the Bainbridge was too far away:
As Sieg acted as officer of the deck again, Phillips dived from the lifeboat into the water.

"We threw on our engines," Sieg said in a phone interview Sunday from the ship. "We were firing flares. We were doing everything we could to distract the pirates, but we couldn't afford to shoot at the pirates because the captain never got away."

Sieg said it was his worst moment because despite Phillips' nerve and will to escape, the Navy couldn't help him at the time.

"It was maybe a one-minute escape attempt," he said. "It was over too quickly, and we never had an opportunity to intervene and help him out. It was a pretty terrible moment to be (the officer of the deck) and to know there was nothing to do to help him out."

The pirates jumped in immediately after their prisoner, and Phillips could not get away.
The local reporter forwarded my email to Ensign Sieg, asking for detail on the distance. Will update if he replies, but at this point the Pentagon claim of the Bainbridge being a mile away looks pretty wobbly.


If all the information is this bollixed up, it may be impossible to sort anything more out, but we do know two things. We do know that there was a two day delay in getting the SEAL teams deployed, notwithstanding the Pentagon’s attempt to focus on the lack of delay in getting authorization from Obama once they asked him for it, to the exclusion of the two day delay in asking for authorization. Second, we know that the ROE precluded any rescue of Philips if there was actually an opportune moment to do so. Instead, our sailors were ordered to wait until they thought the pirates were about to shoot Captain Philips, which by the official account is exactly what happened.

If the Pentagon wants to engage in public relations efforts, it should acknowledge these issues and what there is to learn from them. That ROE needs to be changed. Hostage holders need to be taken out when the risk to their hostages is at a minimum, not a maximum. According to Captain Wellborn’s sources, the ROE that was in force was actually the most restrictive possible:
It's the law in Article 19 of Appendix L in the "Convention of the High Seas" that the Commanding Officer of a US Ship on the high seas is obligated to respond to distress signals from any flagged ship (US or otherwise), and protect the life and property thereof when deemed to be in IMMINENT DANGER.
If that is correct (anybody know where to find a copy of the Convention?), it is pretty bad. The maximum restriction allowed by international law is not the proper ROE for our military to be operating under.

The Pentagon should also be straight about the 2-day delay. If it came in asking for presidential authorization, don’t deflect the issue by saying that authorization came quickly once asked for. Misdirection just compounds the grounds for criticism, and probably makes it harder to learn a constructive lesson. Just say that a two day delay is not that bad, given the number of agencies weighing in, and the time it takes to get a clear picture. Denying a multi-day delay that the whole country just witnessed breeds distrust, even if the press is willing to look the other way.

People say good things about Gertz, but he managed to cover up both the real delay, and the perversity of the ROE. Maybe he is right about the SEAL-pals account. Maybe it IS counterfeit. That doesn’t mean there is no need to get to the truth, and he was certainly wrong to smooth over the contra-indications.

Thanks to Larry Johnson for his input. Mr. Johnson forwarded quite a bit more information than what I excerpted here. For instance, he says that POTUS did not nix any plan to take out the pirates with swimmers (claimed by Captain Wellborn’s sources), because no such plan was ever put forward. If anyone wants to see the rest of Johnson’s remarks, I have posted our whole exchange (with Larry’s okay) at my Crescent of Betrayal website.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Obama's "Christian" grandmother to perform pilgrimage to Mecca

Sarah Hussein Obama, 2008
From USA Today:
Sarah Hussein Obama, grandmother of U.S. senator Barack Obama, when asked on Wednesday about recent attacks on her grandson that include the spreading of rumors that he is secretly a Muslim:

"Untruths are told that don't have anything to do with what Barack is about," she said in the local Luo language ... "In the world of today, children have different religions from their parents," she said. She, too, is a Christian.
Sarah Hussein Obama, 2009
From Pakistani Daily Times today:
US President Barack Obama’s paternal grandmother, Sara Obama, will perform haj this year along with her son Syed Obama ... performing haj is one of the most desired wishes of the US president’s grandmother.
Sarah Hussein Obama 2008
From USA Today:
Matt Drudge said that he was e-mailed a widely circulated picture of Obama in a turban and robe by the Clinton campaign.

"Bringing such pictures that are trying to imply that not only is he a foreigner, he is a Muslim is wrong, because that is not what he is," scolded Sarah Obama.
"Christian" Barack Hussein Obama, 2009:

Obama's head-down bow to Saudi King Abdullah, and no, this is NOT a two handed handshake, as an Obama aide tried to claim:

Obama's left hand is draped across his left leg, which is braced forward to support his deep bow. Notice how high Abdullah's and Obama's hands are (both pictures). Obama is practically kissing Abdullah's hand.
Figure it out people. Islam does not just permit lying about religion (Koran verse 16:106), but actively calls for it when such deception can advance the cause of Islamic conquest. See the hadiths of Tabari 8:23 (scroll to bottom), and Sahih Muslim, book 19, 4436.

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