Archive for March, 2011

 Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 31Mar11.
 

Security
Gadhafi Push Tests Allies
Libya: Illusions and Delusions of War
Power-Sharing Not the Answer for Libya
Libyan opposition set to launch TV channel from Qatar
The myth of tribal Libya
Rebels’ ‘Vision Statement’ Has Familiar Ring
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis press demand for president’s ouster, condemn factory blast
Saleh makes new offer to protesters
Syrian President blames unrest on ‘conspiracy’
Protests in Syrian city Latakia after Assad speech
Turkey sees Kurdish threat in Syria unrest
Analysis: Sound of a dictator preparing for a long battle
Bahraini FM accuses Hezbollah of training Shi’ite protester
Bahrain’s Shiite opposition leader demands Saudi-led troops leave Gulf island
Bahrain detains leading blogger
Egypt adopts interim constitution
Egypt’s transitional constitution keeps references to Sharia
Egypt’s military will hold presidential elections at the latest in November
Egyptian FM: We’ll Turn Over A New Leaf With Iran, Hizbullah
Muslim Brotherhood In Egypt Invites Copts To Join Its New Political Party
Egypt Opposition Divided over New Political Parties Law
Egypt likely to face more difficult relations with Israel, U.S.
Iraq blames al-Qaeda for attack
Turkey Balances Its Ties With West and Islamic World in Libya Operation
Turkish PM Erdogan Visits Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Sistani, KRG
Gaza’s Islamic Jihad militant group says Israeli airstrike kills 1 fighter
Palestinians to Arab leaders: Stop blaming us for unrest
Israeli PM warns of Arab unrest resulting in theocratic regimes
UN chief chastises Israel at ‘crucial time’ in peace process
Understanding the third terror war
Al Qaida: Arab revolts herald ‘great leap forward’
Al-Qaeda Mag: We Heart The Mideast Revolts
Overriding desire for democracy tops agenda in Arab youth survey
Pro-Ouattara forces seize Ivory Coast capital
Pope sends envoy to Ivory Coast to encourage peaceful solution to violence
Nigeria to increase police and army presence ahead of elections which begin Saturday
Namibia declares floods emergency
Ethiopia to defy Egypt and build huge dam
South African counterterrorism police arrest white supremacist, seize weapons, ammunition
Pakistan bike bombing kills seven
Japan mulls covering Fukushima reactors to prevent fallout
Leadership vacuum at Japanese utility as radiation levels rise outside leaking nuclear plant
China Builds Higher Fences Over Fears Of Instability In North Korea
Arab revolt keeps China on its toes
China has a blueprint for social order
North Koreans wrap up talks with former US officials in Germany on nuclear issues
Assessment of Burma’s earthquake slow to emerge
3 al-Qaida-linked militants killed in clash with troops in southern Philippines
Islamist Website Threatens Britain’s Royal Wedding, Promising ‘Nightmare’ If Demands Are Not Met
UK authorities are investigating how fake bomb was smuggled aboard cargo flight to Turkey
Medvedev in ‘blow to Putin ally’
Germany’s Dangerous Foreign Policy Course
Dutch court rules hate speech case against anti-Islam lawmaker should continue
Kosovo court orders president to step down, says his election violated the constitution
Guatemala ‘drug lord’ captured
Canadian police arrest man linked to Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab
Top State Department official Steinberg leaves, replaced by Middle East expert
U.S. to seek new term on U.N. human rights panel
Critics: U.S. lacks overall strategy at Mexico border

Military
CIA Director Leon Panetta To Be The Next Secretary Of Defense?
Marine dead, 3 hurt in Hawaii helo crash
UK Government Denies Pilot Shortage for Libya No-Fly Zone
Philippines seen as model for counterinsurgency

Environment
At least 300,000 people killed in disasters in 2010

Politics
Lawmakers Near Deal on Spending
Many experts agree: Government shutdown likely
Some House Republicans seek DoD budget boost
Senate vote may end Obama’s climate change ambitions
Amid rising gas prices, Obama to outline plans to make US less dependent on foreign oil
Is it Time to Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
Agency to continue rejecting green-card applications from same-sex couples
States Rely Too Much on High Earners
Arizona governor signs law to ban on abortions based on race or sex of fetus or race of parent

Religion
80 Ethiopian Jews reported wounded, 80 arrested at demonstration over lack of citizenship
Third Church Attacked as Pakistani Extremists Declare War Over Florida Koran Burning
Pakistan Fails To Protect Its Muslim Reformers and Christians From Radical Muslims
Iran: A House Church is invaded by plain clothes security agents and 10 members are arrested
Police In India Arrest 14 For Illegal Conversion To Christianity
Ultraconservative Muslim sect clashes with villagers in Egypt
Muslims in Egypt Demand Release of Alleged Convert to Islam
Christians reject Malaysia gov’t offer to resolve dispute over seized Bibles
Malaysia nixes serial numbers
Prospects Dim for Religious Freedom in Nepal
Hindu temple attacked in Australia
Transgendered clergy gaining greater acceptance in UK

 A PACFLT Icon Passes

Posted by Chris van Avery on 31Mar11.
 

No, it’s not ADM Williard, but Fred the Rooster.

All good things must come to an end. Rest in peace, Fred.

By the way, what’s for dinner?

 Islamic Jihad: So Sorry About That Mubarak Thing

Posted by Chris van Avery on 30Mar11.
 

Islamic Jihad strategist and co-conspiritor in the assassination of Anwar Sadat, Abboud Al-Zumar, has begun his own “apology tour” in the Egyptian media, most likely to reposition his organization for the new political environment in Egypt.

“I’d like to apologize to the Egyptian people (for the assassination of Sadat) because we did not intend to bring Hosni Mubarak to power. Our goal was to bring about change and deliver the Egyptian people from the conditions in which they found themselves.”

There are two notable things here. First, Al-Zumar is not apologizing for killing Sadat or political violence in general, he’s merely apologizing for facilitating the rise of Mubarak. Second, in response to the interviewer’s attempt to humanize the killing of Sadat, Al-Zumar cites the fatwa against Sadat in what appears to be an iteration of the “just following orders” argument. It seems jihadists have more than just hatred of Jews in common with Hitler’s minions.

Unfortunately, the interviewer doesn’t press Al-Zumar on what their ideal replacement regime would have looked like.

 Unraveling the 9th Circuit’s Stolen Valor Ruling with One Question

Posted by Chris van Avery on 30Mar11.
 

Alex Kozinski, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, explains in a decision to rule the Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional, how he sees lying as protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

“We lie to protect our privacy (‘No, I don’t live around here’); to avoid hurt feelings (‘Friday is my study night’); to make others feel better (‘Gee, you’ve gotten skinny’); to avoid recriminations (‘I only lost $10 at poker’),” Kozinski wrote recently in a case about an inveterate liar named Xavier Alvarez who, just to drive home the point, is also known as Javier Alvarez.

Kozinski listed 28 other reasons we avoid the truth, including to “avoid a nudnick” and to “defeat an objective (‘I’m allergic to latex’),” and ending sweetly with “to maintain innocence (‘There are eight tiny reindeer on the rooftop’).”

Kozinski’s entertaining treatise was in service to his point about the Constitution.

“If all untruthful speech is unprotected . . . we could all be made into criminals, depending on which lies those making the laws find offensive,” he wrote. “And we would have to censor our speech to avoid the risk of prosecution for saying something that turns out to be false.

“The First Amendment does not tolerate giving the government such power.”

First, I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me the law is not about all lying, it’s about one specific type of lying.

Second, to get to the point in my title, here’s my question: if lying is protected speech, will the 1st Amendment protect me from a perjury charge if I lie to your court, Judge Kozinski?

I can hear the “No!” echoing already.


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