Thursday :: Aug 24, 2006

Deceiving Appearances

by pessimist

There are many things occuring during the Bu$hCo Era of Fear that aren't what they appear to be when they are examined closely. One of those things is the claim that 'we have to fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here.' but how does one go about this successfully? Using the military to do police work isn't the way to go about it, according to this former participant in the Phoenix Program of the Vietnam War:

Killing Won’t Win This War
August 21, 2006

Terence J. Daly is a retired military intelligence officer and counterinsurgency specialist who served in Vietnam as a province-level adviser.

The United States needs a professional police organization specifically for creating and keeping public order in cooperation with American or foreign troops during international peacekeeping operations. Counterinsurgency is work better suited to a police force than a military one.

The legislation establishing the police force should firmly anchor it in respect for human rights. Its mission will be to advance American ideals of justice and freedom under the law, and it must do so by example as well as word. That will be both difficult and critical in a place like Iraq, where it would have to wrest control of the population from insurgents who regard beheading hostages with chain saws as acceptable.

Stringent population control measures like curfews, random searches, mandatory presentation of identity documents, searches of businesses and residences without warrants and preventive detention would be standing operating procedure. For such measures to be acceptable to the public, they must be based on solid legal ground and enforced fairly, transparently and impartially.

Counterinsurgency is about gaining control of the population, not killing or detaining enemy fighters. A properly planned counterinsurgency campaign moves the population, by stages, from reluctant acceptance of the counterinsurgent force to, ideally, full support.

In Britain, such efforts have been underway for a while now in the Muslim immigrant neighborhoods - and don't seem to be achieving the desired effect.

British Law Against Glorifying Terrorism Has Not Silenced Calls to Kill for Islam
August 21, 2006

Last week, David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, chastised the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair for failing to enforce laws intended to make it more difficult for political extremists to operate. “I do not believe that our government is doing enough to fight Islamist extremists at home or to protect our security," he said. “Why have so few, if any, preachers of hate been prosecuted or expelled, with those that have gone having done so voluntarily?”
[T]he new measures do not appear to have silenced
those either praising or calling for violence
in the name of Islam.
Some Islamist preachers have carefully scaled back their language, even if, in context, the meaning seems clear. On Sunday, speaking before 8,000 followers in Manchester, Azam Tamimi extolled the glories of suffering for the faith. “The greatest act of martyrdom is standing up for that is true and just,” Mr. Tamimi said.
“Martyrs are those who stand up in defiance of George Bush and Tony Blair.”

Maybe, it isn't helping that Islamic media companies are entering the British markets - and are capturing significant viewership numbers away from domestic purveyors, who are lashing out with every politically-connected weapon at their disposal. But the consumers of media services are feeling the heavy hand of the would-be monopolists as well, and they are fighting back in their own ways:

Al Jazeera on Television Is Causing Trouble for British Pubs, but It’s Not Political
August 21, 2006

Al Jazeera Sports Plus, a fast-growing satellite sports channel, has become popular with viewers who want Formula One races and British soccer matches. The commentary is strictly Arabic, but the cut-rate service, along with other foreign satellite channels, is gaining a broad following in British pubs, where customers are getting accustomed to toasting their favorite soccer teams while watching the occasional ad for a Greek supermarket or a Czech car dealer.

“We’ve had whole games where we don’t have any English commentary,” said Derek Hopper, owner of the Royal Exchange, a pub in Portsmouth, England. “We just turn the volume down. I tell customers, ‘Just watch with your eyes like you do at a real game.’ ”

Since its start a year ago, the pay channel Al Jazeera Sports Plus has grown to 850,000 subscribers across 23 countries in its region in the Middle East and North Africa, said Hedi Smirani, director of marketing for Al Jazeera Sports. It priced its subscriptions low — about 25 euros ($32) a year — to develop a big audience.

But popularity means nothing when powerful interrests get their profit toes trod upon:

Britain’s powerful FA Premier League, however, is not cheering. The Premier League says the only legal way to watch its soccer matches in a local commercial setting is through the British Sky Broadcasting Group, which is far more expensive than the foreign options.

The British soccer league sells images of its games to 200 broadcasters in other countries, including Al Jazeera, ART and Nova, the Greek satellite provider, which shows games on its SuperSport channel. BSkyB clearly holds rights to the live Premiership games in England, although it is leaving the protection of its rights to the league. With the approach of the new soccer season, the British league is planning more prosecutions of pub owners by dispatching investigators to track whether the bar clientele has suddenly developed a zest for Arabic or Greek fare.

It doesn't take much in technology or know-how to satisfy a developing taste for such programming:

To watch foreign programming, all a viewer needs is a satellite dish, a set-top box and a smart card that allows the box to decode the right signals. Greek satellite providers issue smart cards only to Greek addresses, and Mr. Smirani insists that Al Jazeera Sports sells its cards only in its territory.

But once issued, the cards can end up anywhere. “We have a lot of pubs buying them,” said Joe Ibrahim, managing director of Digital Sales, a satellite supplier that offers pubs a yearly package for the Greek Nova system and for the Czech UPC channel. Mr. Ibrahim says the business is insured against legal costs.

“We look at it this way:
any insurance company wouldn’t underwrite this
unless they think that it’s legal.”

I disagree. If there is a significant profit in a corrupt and illegal operation, would an insurance company have any scrupples insuring it, even on the sly, if they felt they had a good chance of escaping detection? Some would - but not all.

The case of the pub owners sued by Sky for using Al Jazeera Sports Plus services illustrates the situation which would face such an insurance company:

In two cases, the judge ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove an element of dishonesty — in other words, the pub owners had not realized that they were doing something illegal. Charges were dropped against the other three, including Mr. Hopper, when the soccer league’s lawyer demanded more time to gather evidence and the judge refused.

The soccer league dismisses the outcome as a narrow victory for the pub owners. Mr. Johnson, the league’s spokesman, argues that bar owners are now more aware of the legal debate surrounding use of foreign satellite services.

So that leaves bar owners like Mr. Hopper mulling whether to flip on his Arabic channel, since he is now as well versed in broadcast rights as he is in the qualities of Guinness.

“I’m between the devil and the deep blue sea,” Mr. Hopper said. “If I show it and get caught, I’m going to get hung. And if I don’t show it, I could lose my customers. And if I show Sky, it will eat up all my profits.

“We don’t mind paying a fair price, but Sky is holding us for ransom.”

This is what is going to happen to the Internet if the Congress gives total control of the technology to a small handful of companies who aren't going to have any effective competition and will abuse that advantage in the same manner Sky is in Britain.

But I digress. We were discussing Pakistanis living in Anglo-Saxon lands, not sports media contestants.

I used to live in Chicago near this area being discussed in this next article. It had been a heavily-Jewish neighborhood, fairly prosperous, neatly kept, and relatively sedate and quiet. I haven't seen any of the changes about to be described, so I cannot advocate one way or the other. But suffice it to say that if I had visted there, I would have found many incredible changes from what I once knew.

That aside, it looks as if the traditional American Melting Pot continues to do its job of assimilating new arrivals - despite George Bush's Department of Homeland Insecurity. In fact, there are several important truths revealed within:

Pakistanis Find U.S. an Easier Fit Than Britain
August 21, 2006

The stretch of Devon Avenue in North Chicago also named for Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, seems as if it has been transplanted directly from that country. The shops are packed with traditional wedding finery, and the spice mix in the restaurants’ kebabs is just right.

Similar enclaves in Britain have been under scrutiny since they have proved to be a breeding ground for cells of terrorists, possibly including the 24 men arrested recently as suspects in a plot to blow up airliners flying out of London.

Yet Devon Avenue is in many ways different. Although heavily Pakistani, the street is far more exposed to other cultures than are similar communities in Britain.

Indian Hindus have a significant presence along the roughly one-and-a-half-mile strip of boutiques, whose other half is named for Gandhi. What was a heavily Jewish neighborhood some 20 years ago also includes recent immigrants from Colombia, Mexico and Ukraine, among others.

“There is integration even when you have an enclave,” said Nizam Arain, 32, a lawyer of Pakistani descent who was born and raised in Chicago. “You don’t have the same siege mentality.”

Even so, members of the Pakistani immigrant community here find themselves joining the speculation as to whether sinister plots could be hatched in places like Devon (pronounced deh-VAHN) Avenue. The most common response is no, at least not now, because of differences that have made Pakistanis in the United States far better off economically and more assimilated culturally than their counterparts in Britain.

The point needs to be made here: successful participation in the economy is a better vehicle for community security than divisions of soldiers will ever be.

Even the Pakistanis in Chicago think so:

“You can keep the flavor of your ethnicity, but you are expected to become an American,” said Omer Mozaffar, 34, a Pakistani-American raised here who is working toward a doctorate in Islamic studies at the University of Chicago.

Nationwide, Pakistanis appear to be prospering. The census calculated that mean household income in the United States in 2002 was $57,852 annually, while that for Asian households, which includes Pakistanis, was $70,047.

By contrast,
about one-fifth of young British-born Muslims are jobless,
and many subsist on welfare.

Note to our Israeli readers - the related Palestinian statistics in Gaza and elsewhere are probably worse than this - with equivalently worse consequences.

But I digress.

Even Chicago's Pakistanis are concerned with what makes a young Muslim take up radicalism. some have some insights from personal experience:

A more important factor in determining who becomes a militant is most likely the feeling of being stigmatized as less than equal, community activists say, noting that such discrimination remains far more common in Britain. Overt bigotry is rarer here, but it exists.

It is still going on involving American citizens as the objects of racism. In Shreveport, Louisiana, black school kids were forced to sit in the rear of their school bus so white kids could sit up front.

But I digress.

For instance, Mohamed Hanis, a taxi driver who is a Pakistani immigrant, said that on the Friday night after the terror alert in London, a young white man climbed into his cab. Noticing the name Mohamed, the man threatened to report that Mr. Hanis had admitted to supporting terrorist attacks unless he could get a free ride. Instead, Mr. Hanis hailed a police officer who forced the passenger to pay.

Ugly situations like this will only become more frequent and violent as it gains official sanction from national governmental entities - such as Owwer Leedur with his 'Islamofascist' blather the other day:

The attitude of the American government in adopting terms like “Islamic fascists” and deporting large numbers of immigrants, [Hanis] said, makes Muslims feel marked, as if they do not belong here.
“The society in the United States
is much fairer to foreigners than anywhere else,”

he said, but that mood is changing.”

The keys to peace are in all of us. All we have to do is recognize them, in ourselves, and in each other. No, building the trust necessary if it is lost will not be easy, but it helps if it doesn't get lost in the first place. It also helps to use the right tools for the job. Warring against cultural changes isn't the answer. Acceptance - on all sides - is.

This acceptance isn't going to come if the United States continues to treat the world as its personal Wal-Mart, treating the people of the world as Wal-Mart treats its employees, only a magnitude of order more violently.

The US cannot avoid a hit to our standard of living, because just like the housing bubble, we've been living a prosperity lie which is about to be exposed.

Welcome to the Shock of the New:

2 signs of trouble for Bush and GOP

Bracketts Point [MN] is the heart of the Republican vineyard, a prestigious address in the state's most generous political gift-giving ZIP code (55391, which means Wayzata). But a protest against George Bush here? That's like finding a Baptist information table at the Vatican.

Betsy Hannaford still calls herself a Republican. But she says she is a "reformed" one. And that the president has "reformed" her.

"I'm no longer voting that way," she said, meaning Republican. And she said she isn't the only "reformed" Republican.

"People have issues with Mr. Bush," she said. "I think people are troubled by the war, his energy policies, a host of things. And his position on choice."

[M]aybe the polls are right: Bush and his policies are deep in doo-doo.
"My grandparents have been Republicans a long time," Mary Connolly said. "And they look aghast at the idea of going to see the president. We know a lot of people who, at one time, would have attended.
"Now, they're looking around and asking:"'Why would I?'"

Let's hope that their displeasure extends to actually voting against those who still support Bu$hCo.

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pessimist :: 6:30 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!