Comments About Egypt: We have all been following the rapidly developing events in Egypt. I must apologize for not being able to offer much insight or make any coherent predictions at this point but I have not been following events in Egypt as closely as perhaps I should have. I will blog about it if and when I feel I can offer something more than an educated guess. One thing that happened today did catch my eye. The hypocrisy of the Iranian government is unending. Here is an official statement released by Tehran today:
"Iran expects Egyptian officials to listen to the voice of their Muslim people, respond to their rightful demands and refrain from exerting violence by security forces and police against an Islamic wave of awareness that has spread through the country in form of a popular movement," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Saturday.Remember: In 2009 this same government cracked down using the Military, Police, Revolutionary Guard and every other heavy handed tool available on a very similar wave of public protests after the people believed the Iranian government had hijacked their presidential elections. Hundreds died in the protests and thousands were arrested and tortured afterward.
Tehran attaches great importance to the fulfillment of public demands in Egypt, he said.
"Iran regards demonstrations by the Muslim people of this country as a justice-seeking movement in line with their national-religious demands."
Also: Another reliable source sent me the following important information:
The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt (from Gaza) and are closely collaborating with the MB (Muslim Brotherhood). The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.
9/11 Detainees May Go to Civilian Courts
The President and his team have left the door open to a civilian trial for the men thought responsible for the 9/11 attacks even though they are pursuing a military trial for the suspected bomber of the USS Cole, an attack that killed 17 sailors off the coast of Yemen in 2000.
Attorney General Eric Holder said the decision has been made to try Abd al-Nashiri at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But at a press conference, Holder was quick to say that it didn’t mean he was giving up on civilian courts for other terror suspects, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other 9/11 conspirators. “We are still in the process of determining where the trials will be and what form they will be in and no decision has been made,” Holder said of his proposal to try KSM in federal court in Manhattan, a plan which has been in legal limbo almost since the moment he first announced it 14 months ago. “Nothing is off the table yet.”
The announcement of a military trial for the Cole bombing suspect seemed to mark a departure for the White House after more than a year of trying, without success, to hold civilian trials for terror suspects. But Press Secretary Robert Gibbs pushed back on the idea that this was a change in approach, saying it was consistent with the President’s speech on the subject in May 2009 at the National Archives. “You heard the president back at the archives speech talk about the fact that we had different groups at Guantanamo that had to be dealt with in different ways,” Gibbs said.
The administration has never publicly explained a 14-month delay in the al-Nashiri case. Holder declared in November 2009 that al-Nashiri would face military justice. Holder made the announcement at the same press conference that he described his plan to try KSM, the self-professed plotter of the 9/11 attacks, in New York City, not far from the former site of the World Trade Center.
That met with fierce resistance in New York to the idea and a bipartisan coalition in Congress blocking funds for the plan, the administration was eventually forced to back away from the KSM plan. There has been no word for months on the plan for KSM and his alleged co-conspirators, but the decision to go ahead with a military trial in the Cole case opened broad speculation that the administration was finally ready to move forward.
Not everyone is happy about this decision. It should be noted that while hopeful that the President will still use federal courts for the 9/11 case, human rights groups are not happy with the Cole decision.
“U.S. partners abroad have been very critical of the use of military commissions,” said Andrea Prasow, senior counsel for Human Rights First. “In fact, some have refused to provide evidence to be used in the prosecution of detainees in a military commission while they would provide evidence in a federal court.”
The ACLU expressed disappointment in a statement and pointed to the fact that al-Nashiri is one of three detainees known to have been waterboarded – a harsh interrogation practice that simulates drowning. The group said the move by the Obama administration “raises serious questions about whether commissions are being used as a forum to hide the use of torture.
It was two years ago this week that Obama, in one of his first acts as President, signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo prison within one year. With 173 detainees still housed there, quick closure looks unlikely. Further complicating the plan is the fact that more than half of the detainees are from Yemen, which gave rise to two recent Al Qaeda plots against the U.S. which originated there. Terror analysts say the country is a prime location for the terror group, leaving Obama with difficult political choices.
“It's a purely political calculation. Guantanamo is not closed. It’s not going to be closed during the first term of the Obama administration,” said Cully Stimson of the Heritage Foundation who ran detainee affairs for the Defense Department during the Bush administration. “The human rights crowds are really angry about that, but the political damage is not going to spill over into the broader Obama voting bloc unless they start referring a large number of people to commissions.”
Pelosi gets Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Air Force
Here is some information uncovered by Judicial Watch regarding our former Speaker of the House. A Passenger Mission Activity chart detailing all of former Speaker Pelosi's flights as well as detailed shopping lists for some flights showed that Nancy Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. The Air Force documented in-flight expenses for 22 of these flights totaling $1,821.33. The Air Force did not provide expense information for the remaining 21 flights. Former Speaker Pelosi received chocolate covered strawberries as a birthday surprise on a March 26, 2010, flight. According to one internal Air Force e-mail sent on March 25, 2010: 'The speaker's office is requesting egg salad sandwiches on wheat toast with fruit (watermelon, etc) for desert (sic). It's the speaker's B-Day tomorrow so we're also asking for something like chocolate covered strawberries (dark chocolate preferred)...' The immediate response to the e-mail from another member of the Air Force staff: 'Copy all. We'll plan something for the birthday and take care of the meal.'"
Somehow it makes me mad to think that, while involved in two wars, the Air Force is being asked to waste time and money on something as trivial as Chocolate Covered Strawberries for the Speaker of the House. And, while the U.S. government is in crisis over deficits and excess spending, who’s tax payers money, may I ask, was used for this? That does not even address the question of how many of those 90,000 miles were necessarily part of the duties of the Speaker of the House.
Live Long and Prosper....