U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a resolution Thursday calling on President Barack Obama to fully explain the National Security Agency's spying activities in relation to Pope Francis and the Vatican.
"Do we want to be the country that is spying on the pope? For goodness sake, what good is that?" Paul said in a Fox News interview about 30 minutes after he submitted his resolution.
The accusation that the NSA has been spying on the pope came this week from an Italian publication. The NSA reportedly monitored phone calls made by cardinals and bishops before and after the papal conclave that chose Pope Francis. more >>
Two weeks ago, at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, counter-intelligence officers presented a briefing that identified the American Family Association – a non-profit Christian organization – as a "domestic hate group." This was not the first time something bizarre like this had happened. On another army base, evangelical Christians and Catholics were listed as prime examples of religious extremism. On yet another, the Founding Fathers were portrayed as extreme.
Then, last week, a similar report came out about a briefing at Fort Hood in Texas where Tea Party supporters, in addition to evangelical Christians, were labeled as extremists.
Each time, senior military officials downplayed the shocking classifications as isolated incidents. But a string of incidents reflect a pattern. more >>
Israel and Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) are engaging in negotiations refused for years by the PA. Yet, only weeks ago, the PA Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, delivered a paean to Shekih Ahmad Yassin, founder and leader of Hamas, the terrorist organization that has murdered hundreds of Israelis in scores of suicide bombings, calling him a Palestinian "icon." How can peace talks and glorifying a terrorist chieftain coexist in the PA?
Al-Habbash gave us the answer this summer, when he justified this return to diplomacy by reference to something well-known to his mosque audience––the 628 Treaty of Hudabiyyah.
Hudabiyyah was an agreement between Muhammad and the Meccan Quraish tribe, in which Muhammad promised a decade of peace. But in less than two years, a Qureishi-allied tribe committed a breach by attacking a Muhammad-allied tribe. Muhammad, who had meanwhile organized a huge army, took this pretext to attack the Qureishis. Isolated and unprepared, the Qureishis surrendered. more >>
Former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden has disputed a claim by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, that the government's phone record collection program isn't "surveillance" and is backing a mass rally against the NSA planned for Saturday in Washington, D.C.
"The call-records program is not surveillance. It does not collect the content of any communication, nor do the records include names or locations," wrote Feinstein in an op-ed for USA Today on Sunday.
"The NSA only collects the type of information found on a telephone bill: phone numbers of calls placed and received, the time of the calls and duration. The Supreme Court has held this 'metadata' is not protected under the Fourth Amendment," she explained. more >>
The Secretary of the Army has ordered military leaders to halt all briefings on extremist organizations that labeled Evangelical Christian groups as domestic hate groups. The shutdown comes just four days after I reported exclusively about a briefing at Mississippi's Camp Shelby that labeled the American Family Association as a domestic hate group.
"On several occasions over the past few months, media accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information or material that is inaccurate, objectionable and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy," Army Sec. John McHugh wrote to military leaders in a memorandum I obtained.
McHugh "directed that Army leaders cease all briefings, command presentations or training on the subject of extremist organizations or activities until that program of instruction and training has been created and disseminated," Army spokesman Col. David Patterson, Jr., tells me. more >>
A recent Arabic article appearing in Egypt's Al Ahram newspaper titled "Is Terrorism Jihad?" written by Islamic law expert Dr. Abdul Fatah Idris offers important lessons-from the fact that jihad does involve subjugating non-Muslims to why the Western mentality is still incapable of acknowledging it.
Idris, professor and chairman of Al Azhar University's Department of Comparative Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Sharia Law, is a well-reputed legal scholar. He begins his article by defining terrorism and quoting several international bodies that, in his words:
define terrorism as an act of violence or threat of violence coming from an individual either on his own volition or in participation with other individuals. It targets people or organizations or places or means of transportation or the general public in order to threaten or cause injuries or deaths of the people or simply to cripple the effectiveness of international organizations or to cause the loss or damage of those places or properties or to tamper with transportation to interfere in the friendly relations between countries or between the inhabitants of several countries or to extort concessions from some countries. more >>