Monday, October 30, 2006

U.S. led naval 'excercises' taunt, aim to intimidate Iran

A naval training exercise led by the U.S. and aimed at blocking smuggling of nuclear weapons began in the Persian Gulf Sunday.

"From Iranian news reports we know the exercise got the attention of Iran," said Robert Joseph, the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said Friday. Why would you want Iran to notice, unless you were trying to intimidate and instigate a situation?

The maneuvers were taking place under the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which is designed to counter trafficking in weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials, the U.S. Navy said.

Iran called the two-day maneuvers "adventurist," but the Foreign Ministry said the Islamic Republic's response would be "rational and wise." Also, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said, "We are watching their movements very carefully."

South Korea watched but did not get involved, "because there is a high possibility of armed clashes if the PSI is carried out in waters around the Korean peninsula," Smart, but why can't the Bush Administration try to avoid these confrontations? Oh! They don't want to avoid them, they want to create them.

Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown said the exercise was not openly aimed at any country and would not affect Iranian vessels or ships heading to Iran. But we have no reason to believe this since the Administration has a consistent history of pathologically lying. Full article via IHT

Citing Improvements to Law, ACLU Withdraws Section 215 Case But Vows to Fight Individual Orders

The ACLU announced on Friday that they were dropping their case against the US Government over the highly contested section 215 of the Patriot Act. ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson stated: 'While the reauthorized Patriot Act is far from perfect, we succeeded in stemming the damage from some of the Bush administration's most reckless policies. The ACLU will continue to monitor how the government applies the broad Section 215 power and we will challenge unconstitutional demands on a case-by-case basis.

ACLU via Slashdot

American Muslims hold back on giving to charities for fear of being linked to terrorism

Zakat, or charity, is a part of the Muslim faith. The month of Ramadan is a time of giving for Muslims. However, stories of significantly lowered contributions to American Muslim charities are becoming more common. There is fear that sending money to a Muslim charity will spark an unwanted investigation for a link to terrorism.

Many people are admitting they don't want to be asked over the phone to give money because they worry the government is eavesdropping. Fear for potential raids onto their properties, into their homes, and investigations of their lives are keeping donations at bay.

"The Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Treasury Department has shuttered five major Muslim charities in the United States since 2001, seizing millions of dollars in assets, yet not a single officer or organization has been convicted of anything connected to terrorism. " (New York Times)

You have to think about the fact that many Muslims came the United States looking for freedom from government intelligence forces, and having the same worries over here only intensifies their fear more. According to The New York Times, the offices of Life for Relief and Development were raided in September on the basis of a sealed affidavit. The government has said that the raid was not terrorism-related, although agents of the Joint Terrorism Task Force were along on the raid. The hanging questions put a damper on fund-raising. How is there freedom of religion when Muslims are afraid to contribute to charities only because they are Muslim?