Wednesday, June 28, 2006

political Islam and Islamist terrorism

* juancole:
"There is a real distinction between political Islam and Islamist terrorism. The problem is that Bush's rash policies have blurred the sharp edges that formerly distinguished the two. Many Sunni fundamentalists who before Bush's invasion would never have accepted Zarqawi's brutal tactics clearly have a soft spot in their hearts for him. They admire him as an anti-imperialist fighter, and his religious fundamentalism, while more extreme than their own, makes him seem a kindred spirit to many of them.
The fault lines revealed by Zarqawi's death lie not just between the Sunni and the Shiite, but between the secular nationalists and the fundamentalists. The danger is that his successors will find ways of surmounting terrorism to become a genuine political force. The U.S. military occupation of a major Arab country is in danger of discrediting moderate governments such as that of Jordan, and of pushing ordinary Arabs into the arms of the fundamentalists."
* question: would the world be a better place today if the flag-burning amendment had passed 20 years ago?

* some possible good news via calipendence:
"(Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT)) has proposed language to the Executive Branch Reform Act of 2006 (H.R. 5112) that would limit the use of the state secrets privilege in blocking whistle-blowers' lawsuits. Specifically, the provision requires that courts rule in favor of a whistleblower claim if the government invokes the state secrets privilege to end the case. Basically, so long as an inspector general investigation supports the overall claim of the whistleblower and the government could no longer get a dismissal of the case by claiming state secrets privilege. Instead, under these provisions, the case would automatically be ruled in favor of the whistleblower without any public discussion of the details. In cases where no inspector general investigation has been conducted, the administration must explain to Congress why the use of the privilege is necessary and demonstrate that efforts have been made to settle the case amicably. The bill containing the Shays language was reported out of the House Government Reform Committee.

''If the very people you're suing are the ones who get to use the state secrets privilege, it's a stacked deck,'' said Shays, who has long been a proponent of limiting government secrecy."
do we trust chris shays? (DU thread here.)

* meanwhile, wapo:
"In a breakthrough for advocates of whistle-blower rights, the Senate has approved an amendment that would tighten up protections for federal employees who expose waste, fraud, abuse and threats to public safety.
Federal employees "who put their country before their personal well-being should not be restrained because of fear of retaliation for doing what's right," Akaka said in a statement.

Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the amendment "reverses the steady erosion of whistle-blower protections caused by employment practices that circumvent current protections and adverse court decisions."

Akaka and Collins were joined by Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) in sponsoring the amendment. Akaka praised Collins for helping "forge the consensus needed" to pass the amendment.

"The need to act now was heightened because of last month's Supreme Court decision that limits whistle-blower protection under the First Amendment. It's unacceptable for the courts to add another deterrence to federal whistle-blowing," Akaka said."

of course, ya know that if Lieberman is involved there must be something fishy. As Sibel says
In the next few days you'll be reading or hearing about a 'Fantastic Whistleblower Bill' sponsored by Senator Collins (Senate Homeland Security Committee). The senate & some organizations will represent this bill as a solution to whistleblowers. That is not True. Here is why:
1- Intelligence & Law enforcement agencies are all exempt from this bill. Meaning: the so-called protection does Not apply to us.

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