June 15, 2002


of the world, unite!
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The US wants an unnamed Iraqi UN official booted from the country, using diplomatic-speak to accuse that official of espionage.
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June 14, 2002


: John Berger, who's now become an on-the-street sleuth in the JD#2/Padilla case, has turned up a few more pieces of the puzzle:

Six Degrees Of Jose Padilla

The story so far: Jose Padilla looks like the semi-mythical third suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing, John Doe No. 2. Since Padilla is a native of Chicago and was flying to that city when he was arrested, I've posited that Chicago is the common denominator. Specifically, my last update looked at the Benevolence International Foundation, which was based in the Chicago area and was recently shut down by the federal government, which claims BIF is a front to fund al Qaeda terrorist operations.

I was able to sketch some possible connections between BIF and Terry Nichols. What we have been missing so far is a connection between BIF and Jose Padilla, aka Abdullah al Muhajir.

Here's a promising possibility. According to a Miami Herald article dated Dec. 16, 2001, "Benevolence International registered with the U.S. government as a charity in 1992 and opened its first office on University Dive in Plantation in early 1993, according to charity officials and public records. The charity relocated to Palos Hills in May 1993." Plantation is about 15 minutes away from Fort Lauderdale, where Padilla lived at worked at that time. According to this Web site, whose information I have been unable
to verify as yet, the chapter actually remained open as a branch office until 1994.

Even if the BIF Florida offices closed in 1993, it still coincides with Padilla's decision to seek information about Islam, which AP dates to late 1992. The mosque he later studied is alleged to have ties with the Holy Land Foundation, another Islamic charity targeted by the government for its alleged support of al Qaeda and wash shut down around the same time as BIF.

So Padilla potentially had access to BIF in 1992, three years before OK City. He was seeking information about Islam at the same time BIF was operating in the area where he lived. Alleged BIF conspirators identified by the government include Wali Khan Amid Shah, whom an independent journalist alleges met with Terry Nichols in the early 1990s. The potential for a connection exists. Now let's just hope we're not playing a more sinister version of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon."

I'm inclined to agree that, to the extent that this is a story, Chicago seems to be its axis. Padilla is from there and was arrested there, and seems to have used an address there as a residence even while actually living in South Florida. And we can demonstrate tenuous connections between Terry Nichols and this alleged terrorist front organization, the BIF. And that organization was in the same town as our Mr. Padilla in South Florida, who was actively seeking connections and information in the world of radical Islam. Hmmmmm. Probably another coincidence.
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to you folks coming in from Reason. I guess that makes it official: JunkYardBlog has achieved world hegemony. And years ahead of schedule.
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about JD#2/Jose Padilla here. Can't say I like the site's title, and by his own admission he's a bit less circumspect than I am, but he's doggedly pursuing the story and offers a bit on the Chicago connection. I've got some feelers out in that direction too.
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: This has absolutely nothing to do with JD#2, but it's cool nonetheless: astronomers have found a new solar system, with a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting the star at about Jupiter's distance from our own sun. In our solar system, Jupiter plays the role of planetary vacuum, gravitationally sweeping up debris that could otherwise slam into us. This other system's Jupiter-like counterpart could be doing the same thing in its own neighborhood, raising somewhat the possibility of life beyond our solar system.
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No Title

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June 13, 2002


, but for now this search is starting to cost money. I've set up a little store called JunkYardSwag, offering among other things a John Doe #2 frisbee thingy. Check it out--all proceeds go to the betterment of JunkYardBlog World Headquarters, currently a three-year-old desktop machine.
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that didn't quite average 200 hits per day a week ago is currently #10 on Blogdex, to which I can only say "Thank you." To all the sites who've linked me this week, and most importantly to the emailers and commentors who've added to the Muhajir/Padilla story, thank you. You're the engine here.
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to you folks coming in from The Village Voice. There's more to see here than just the main attraction, so please look around and get comfy.
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: You can't make make this stuff up, er, unless you're The Onion or something.
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from NewsMax:

Al Muhajir had been out of the country since 1998. Though he was unemployed, somehow he was able to afford travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan. U.S. officials say they have proof that he spent much of that time training at al-Qaeda camps. His specialty was wiring bombs, and he did some research on radiological material, investigators said.

He's also being a very uncooperative witness:

"He wouldn't even admit he had been in Afghanistan," one official said. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, on a trip to help lower the temperature in the dispute between India and Pakistan, said earlier that the United States didn't necessarily want to prosecute the suspect, just find out "what he knows." That might not prove so easy.

U.S. investigators consider the suspect a particularly hard nut to crack with a lengthy criminal history, including murder.

I've also been distilling some tips leading to McVeigh and a possible Iraqi connection. More to come...
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"John Ritter is getting another TV show over there at ABC. And now they're saying that George Bush knew about this last summer and failed to act on it."
- David Letterman
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No Title

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June 12, 2002


just to let everyone know I finally have a little time and I'm online culling information to piece together Jose Padilla's timeline. If you run across something related to him, please email it to junkyardblog@hotmail.com.
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to all you folks coming from Slate's Other Web Sites, and from numerous chat boards and other blogs working on the Jose Padilla case.

I'm getting ready, hopefully some time today, to take the nuggets that several commentors have left here and try to track Mr. Padilla's movements and line them up against the OK City bombing, and compile it all into one post. Hopefully today....so if you find anything that either helps or hurts the case, please email it to me. If I use it in my report, you'll get noted.

My own take on the whole thing is that I posted the pictures, not because I thought Padilla is John Doe #2, but because the resemblance is so striking. I posted it on a lark--I'm not much for conspiracy theories at all. But as evidence has built over the past day or so, I am starting to see more than a series of coincidences here. It could well be that--just a string of unlikely dots that have no real connections. I and the commentors report, you can decide...
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: An associate of his has been arrested in Pakistan.
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June 11, 2002


: This story offers more details about Padilla's arrest, and offers this justification for the reason he's in military jail while Johnny bin Walker isn't:

In an unusual legal twist, the Defense Department has imprisoned Padilla indefinitely in a Navy brig in South Carolina as an "enemy combatant." Government lawyers acknowledged Tuesday that under a 1942 Supreme Court ruling, even Americans who fight against the United States are subject to military courts — but only if they enter the country. The court's decision, from six decades ago, focused on "armed prowlers" who blow up bridges or cut telegraph wires.
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Iraq is showing signs of worry:

It looks as if Saddam Hussein is not taking too seriously those leaks from the U.S. military that no invasion of Iraq should be expected soon, if ever. Iraq Television reports that ministers and presidential advisers have completed a one-month rifle and handgun marksmanship course. And armored Republican Guard units are digging trenches outside Kirkuk and Mosul, two Kurdish cities under very nervous Iraqi government control. But UPI is told there is "no truth" in rumors -- widespread in the Middle East -- that CIA Director George Tenet made a secret trip to Kurdistan to shore up support for President Bush's "regime change" policy.

We should encourage them to dig more trenches. Trenches probably mean that he'll deploy his troops this time much like he did last time--in regular lines outside cities. Can you say "daisy cutter?" How 'bout "carpet bombing?"

Waiter, one regime change please...

(source: UPI hears)
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: Funniest reaction so far.

Here's the thing: This morning I was watching Fox & Friends while getting ready for work, and the hosts were taking callers for comment. Just before I clicked off, a caller said in passing that this dirty bomber guy sure does look like John Doe #2 from the Oklahoma City bombing. Being an enterprising blogger, I got online and checked into it--sure enough, they could be twins, or scarier still--they could be the same guy. So I snagged a photo of each, labelled them appropriately and posted them. I was half kidding, but the comments posted on the original post and the stories I've read about the guy(s) do make you think. The timeline between Padilla's jail time, his conversion to Islamofascism, the bombing, his travels abroad and his arrest on May 8th seem to work out. And John Doe #2 just went down the memory hole shortly after McVeigh's arrest. Maybe the memory hole has finally spit him back out.

And by the way, here's another sketch of the mysterious JD #2...

UPDATE: Lakefxdan (here's his blog) is all over this possible connection. Check out the comments on the original post if you haven't already.
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: Reader John Cummingham writes:

My father was a Marine in the First Marine Division, which was due to be one of the lead units in the Kyushu assault. Quite a high chance he would not have survived.

Needless to say, the arguments against the bombing are absurd.

I worked in Japan teaching English in 1971-72, and I occasionally discussed the bombing with Japanese people. They uniformly said that they understood the use of the A-bombs, and that OF COURSE Japan would have used them as well if they had them.
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MY LATEST (well ok, my first) ARTICLE

for National Review Online is now up.
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Padilla is 31 now, which means he'd have been 26 at the time of the OK City Bombing...

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg wonders whether the two pics here are legit. They are--the one on the left is from a conspiracy-theory site The John Doe Times, which claims to have identified John Doe #2 as Michael Brescia of Philadelphia. The one on the right is from a story linked on Yahoo this morning. I downloaded them, scaled them to roughly equal size (the sketch is much smaller than the photo) and added the text.

UPDATE #2: More spooky connections between OK City and al Qaida, courtesy James Robbins.

AND IT GETS THICKER: thanks to a reader tip I looked at CNN's story about the "dirty bomber." Their pic looks even more like the sketch than mine, and the story includes this interesting quote from Secretary of War Don Rumsfeld:

"Our interest is not in trying him and punishing him," Rumsfeld said of suspected al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla. "Our interest is in finding out what he knows."

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June 10, 2002


: If Star Trek were real, the EU would be the Ferengi. The EUreaucrats are cutting off funding to the Palestinian Authority, not because it's a murderous tyranny bent on terrorizing Israel, but because the EU may start start losing lawsuits to terror victims.

(link via Charles Johnson)
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When Pakistan shot one down last week, my first thought was "India has those things? I thought we were the only ones who had spy drones." Or something to that effect. Turns out India's source for the remote planes is a bit surprising:

The "Made in Israel' markings on the Indian unmanned reconnaissance drone shot down by Pakistani forces last week is just the tip of a very large iceberg of military cooperation between Tel Aviv and New Delhi, a friendship spurred by Israel's alarm at Pakistan's development of "the Islamic bomb." The spy plane was integrated with a network of six Israeli-supplied early warning stations, using the Green Pine radar system whose main purpose is to detect and monitor Pakistani missile launches. The overall system is known as "Homa" (Hebrew for the wall), and is linked to Israel's "Arrow" anti-missile missile. India is the only country to which Israel has supplied this very high-tech anti-missile system, although Tel Aviv has also agreed in principle to sell the system to its other regional friend, Turkey. So much U.S. technology (and finance) is in the Homa-Arrow system that Washington's formal permission is required for such sales -- and the United States is apparently stalling frantic Indian demands for the latest model, part of the pressure to persuade both India and Pakistan to step back from the brink in Kashmir. The pressure is paying off. India Monday agreed to lift the ban on Pakistani civilian flights over its airspace.

When you have the US, Israel, Turkey and India essentially on the same side in a conflict, the other side should be very worried.

(source: UPI hears)
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The administration is working up new rules of engagement for the Pentagon.
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takes out the media's favorite FBI agent. Well, okay, he's really bringing together Mickey Kaus' and Stuart Taylor's articles on Colleen Rowley--still worth a read.

The problem as stated by Kaus, Taylor and now Bennett, is that the law is the a$$ here, not FBI managers at HQ. Makes sense if you think about it--the FBI HQ types have to pay attention to the rather restrictive nature of law governing what the agency can and can't do, while also paying attention to the increasingly strident political environment in Washington. Field officers have more latitude to follow hunches, build reports and find dots for HQ to connect, but the law and political idiocy don't often allow for those dots to be properly connected.

As the law isn't likely to change much to allow the FBI greater flexibility, and as the political correctness stranglehold continues its unholy domination of Washington's political dynamics, don't expect the FBI to get much better at thwarting terrorists. We aren't, as a nation, serious about stopping terrorists yet.
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: I thought something didn't seem right when he wrote a column outlining the views of three pilots who don't favor guns in the cockpits a couple of weeks ago. Turns out he saw through their weak arguments too, but set them out for consideration to be fair. His most recent column presents and endorses the flip side. This blog also endorses the flip side, as do about 68% of the public--airline pilots should be armed. All we need now is a government that's as smart as its people.
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June 09, 2002


: Jeffrey Ballabon, founder of Roshem, the Center for Jewish Values, argues that American Jews should re-evaluate their skepticism of their Christian counterparts. As a non-Jew I'm slow to suggest what Jews should do, but I think Ballabon's thinking is worth a look. From my own background as a Southern Baptist growing up in Texas, where there were very few actual Jews around, I can state that I have nothing but respect for Jews and their faith. We were always taught in our Christian rightie church that Jesus is a Jew, that most of the writers of the New Testament were Jews, and that the Jews are God's chosen people. In fact, Christianity doesn't make much sense without its Jewish foundation and roots.

It's understandable, given the Jews' treatment at the hands of nominal Christians in Europe for the past couple of millenia, that Jews are wary of Christians here in the US. But we are different from our European cousins, as recent events have surely shown. While Europe condemns Israel and embraces the Arabs, and while Europe's synagogues burn, the US stands as a stalwart friend to Israel, is skeptical toward the Arabs, and American synagogues remain untouched. This difference in attitude results, in part, from the strength of Christianity here and the difference between America's more ardent Christians and Europe's more worldly variety. There are other factors too, but America's Christians have long been friends of Israel specifically and of Jews generally.

While it's too much to expect the relationship between Jews and Christians in the US to change overnight, I hope it does change over time. Maybe Ballabon's article is a start. Both sides need to eliminate the misunderstandings that arise from matters like prayers at football games and "God Bless America" signs, and to eliminate the mutual suspicion that keeps us apart. Such arguments are a waste of passion and effort, given the similarity between us.
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of the Taliban was a raving, murderous loon. According to this story, a former Taliban intelligence chief sought US help in 1999 to get rid of Usama bin Laden and toss out Mullah Omar. He says he feared Usama would eventually commit an atrocity that would get Afghanistan destroyed. Either he's yanking our chain now, or he's smarter than your average talib. Either way, this seems to have been one more opportunity the Clinton folks had to stop Usama's reign of terror, and like all the other chances, they let this one pass.
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: After church today, my wife, son and I decided to drive out to Sharpsburg, MD to see the countryside and tour the Antietam battlefield. Beautiful weather with lots of sun and strong breezes greeted us, and the Maryland countryside's rolling hills were majestic. I dump on the ironically nick-named Free State routinely, but the fact of the matter is that, for a history buff like myself, it's tough to beat this area for the quantity and quality of sites within driving distance. Just to name a few, a drive of about three hours or less will get you to Gettysburg, Manassas, Frederick, New Market, and Antietam for Civil War sites, to Washington DC for, well, Washington DC, and further south in Virginia there are just too many sites to name here, including the Yorktown battlefield, where General Lord Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. George Washington, ending the American Revolution. Back in Baltimore, Ft. McHenry sits at the point opposite the Inner Harbor, and it was as a prisoner on a British ship near that fortress that Francis Scott Key penned "The Star-Spangled Banner" while watching the British fleet shell the fort. If American history interests you, it's difficult to find an area heavier with it than Maryland and northern Virginia.

So today, we went to Antietam, a perfectly preserved battlefield that looks much like it did during the Civil War. Antietam is the site of the bloodiest day in US military history, where 23,000 Union and Confederate troops fell--nine times the number of American troops that died on June 6, 1944, and more than had fallen in all of America's previous wars combined. In September of 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia into Maryland to press the war north, hoping to win enough battles and land to turn Maryland's opinion south, feed off the untouched Maryland farmland and garner European recognition for the Confederacy as a sovereign nation. Lee met up with Maj. Gen. George McClellan at a creek north of Sharpsburg, MD, and a horrifying battle ensued shortly before dawn on the 17th. When it was over, the Union had lost over 12,000, and the Confederates, over 10,000--all in one day, and most of them along a stretch of a sunken road that came to be known as the Bloody Lane. Five-thousand fell there, most within a brief, intense period of the battle.

The Battle of Antietam also effectively ended Gen. McClellan's military career. At about mid-day, Lee's command was fully engaged with elements of the Union forces. Had McClellan committed the remainder of his forces, tens of thousands of reserve troops, he would have had a huge numerical advantage and the momentum, as Lee's lines were threatening to break. McClellan would likely have destroyed or captured Lee's entire army, and been able to cut off retreat across the Potomac River to Lee's rear. But McClellan failed to press his advantage, and though the Union won a tactical victory Lee's army lived to fight another day--another day that became two more years. For his failure of nerve and vision, Lincoln sacked McClellan. McClellan had built a great fighting force in the Army of the Potomac, but he was an administrative general and feared committing his troops in battle.

There's a lesson in Antietam for our present war, which is that armies are built to be used, not admired. McClellan was in love with watching his grand army in its resplendent blue uniforms march up and down big parade squares in camp, and was in love with the attention and respect the commander of the Union army garnered. He spent much of his time away from camp, swinging through Washington's social circles, backbiting President Lincoln and puffing up his own ego. In battle, McClellan was hapless, not because he didn't understand the battle tactics of the day, but because simply lacked the decisiveness and courage a general needs. Lincoln needed a general who would fight, and he wouldn't find such a general until US Grant won a string of victories in the western theatre of the war.

Today's Pentagon seems to be in love with its reputation as the world's greatest military, but if reports of its skiddishness about Iraq are true, it seems to want to be admired as a military force, not used as one where high casualties are possible. Most of the time, that attitude serves it well, keeping a ready force of professionals at the service of the republic--our military is not the warmongering group many citizens seem to think it is, and that's good. But our current time doesn't resemble "most of the time," in fact it doesn't resemble any other time I can think of. We'll need our military leadership to carry out the orders of President Bush in destroying the Islamofascist conspiracy and ending its threat of international terror. Let's hope President Bush doesn't have to weed out a few McClellans on his way to discovering a US Grant. Let's also hope that if he does encounter a McClellan or two, he'll have the nerve to sack them and promote competent leaders who will take the fight to the enemy.
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poll numbers look good for President Bush. 74% stil approve of his overall job performance. Other interesting notes:

68 percent approve of airline pilots being armed; 22 percent disapprove; 10 percent were not sure.

70 percent approve of flight attendants being armed with stun guns; 22 percent disapprove; 8 percent were not sure.

54 percent approve of using racial profiling to screen Arab-male airline passengers; 34 percent disapprove; 12 percent were not sure.

Now if our high-flying, soccer-mom approved administration would just listen.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


: An interesting editorial exposes the thought process of some extreme Arabs. The writer of this piece pretty much wants the entire world to bow to his view of what's proper.
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: Here's a brief primer on how things in that part of the world got to be the way they are, starting with the Six Day War.
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