Ground Zero Imam: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf – Denier, Defender and Apologist For the Genocide in Dafur, the Sudanese President and the Janjaweed/Militia.

Imam behind NYC Mosque Faces Divisions over Center

McAuley’s World Comments In Blue

What absolute nonsense… it is well known that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf refuses to condemn HAMAS  but did you know Imam Rauf also refuses to acknowledge or condemn the Genocide in Dafur, Sudan?  


Genocide Arrest Warrant Poster - Sudanese President

“12 July 2010 – UNITED NATIONS – The International Criminal Court (ICC) today issued a second arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, adding genocide to the list of charges for crimes he has allegedly committed in the war-ravaged Darfur region.”. “In March 2009 the Sudanese leader became the first sitting head of State to be indicted by the Court, which charged him with two counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity.”

The Sudanese government has orchestrated and taken part in “large-scale international crimes” in Darfur, a high-level UN human rights team said today. Headed by the Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams, the UN assessors found the Sudanese government was responsible for waging a ruthless campaign resulting in war crimes and human rights abuses.”The principal pattern is one of a violent counter-insurgency campaign waged by the government of the Sudan in concert with Janjaweed/militia, and targeting mostly civilians. Rebel forces are also guilty of serious abuses of human rights and violations of humanitarian law”  

Imam Rauf refuses to even recognize the genocide, never mind condemn the genocide.

The U.N. estimates that 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million forced from their homes…

Amid the killing of tens of thousands of people, women in Darfur’s towns, villages and camps have experienced grave human rights abuses, including abductions, sexual slavery, torture and forced displacement at the hands of the Janjawid. As Amnesty International reported in July; women and girls as young as 8 are being raped and used as sex slaves in the conflict area, despite guarantees by the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjawid. These women and girls are being attacked not only to dehumanize them, but also to humiliate, punish, control, inflict fear upon, displace and persecute the community to which they belong.

The Janjawid have acted with full impunity and with the full knowledge or acquiescence of the government army, and the government of Sudan has not charged a single member of the Janjawid or of the armed forces with committing rape or kidnapping. In fact, the mass rapes ongoing in Darfur are war crimes and crimes against humanity that the international community is doing little to stop.  

There is an undeniable and overwhelming international consensus that genocide is taking place in Dafur. Imam Rauf refuses to even acknowledge the genocide, let alone condemn it… Contrary to what the liberal MSM is spinning … “Bridge Building” is not always a “positive” endeavor,  sometimes it is preferable to keep the river between you and what is on the other side. Just ask the women and children of Dafur. They have “No Where To Turn”.”Nowhere to Turn” is the title of a report documenting the scope and long-term impact of rape and other sexual violence experienced by women who fled attacks on their villages in Darfur and are now refugees in neighboring Chad. This scientific study was conducted in partnership with Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI).

Dafur - Violence aganst woman

Imam Rauf, through the Cordoba Initiative, continues to act as denier, defender and apologist for the genocide in Dafur, the Sudanese President and the Janjaweed/militia.            

Imam behind NYC Mosque Faces Divisions over Center  


Artist Rendering Ground Zero Memorial Park


—Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has long worked to bridge divisions, be they fissures between interfaith husbands and wives or political chasms separating the United States and the Muslim world. The 61-year-old clergyman is now in the midst of a polarizing political, religious and cultural debate over plans for a multistory Islamic center that will feature a mosque, health club and theater about two blocks north of ground zero.

He is one of the leaders of the Park 51 Project, but has largely been absent from the national debate over the implications of building a Muslim house of worship so close to where terrorists killed more than 2,700 people.

Though Rauf has said the center, which could cost more than $100 million, would serve as a space for interfaith dialogue, moderate Muslim practice and peaceful prayer, critics say it will create a base for radical, anti-American Islam. Some critics have also asked where the funding for the center might originate and whether it may come from sources linked to Muslim extremists.

Artist Rendering of 8 Acre Memorial Park At Ground Zero

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, called the backers of the project  “radical Islamists.” “They’re trying to make a case about supremacy” with the center, he said.

The American Jewish Committee has said that while Park51’s leaders have a right to build their center, they must “fully reveal” their sources of funding and “unconditionally condemn” terrorism inspired by Islamist ideology before they can obtain the organization’s support.

Those who know Rauf and have worked with him say that he is anything but extreme in his beliefs or intentions.

“He is one of the really important Muslim leaders in America, working for and working with other religions,” said the Rev. James Parks Morton, the former dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine who has known Rauf and his family for more than 30 years. “He’s a very, very conciliatory, intellectual guy.”

During the past few months, Rauf has been in Malaysia, where his family has long-standing ties, and on a State Department-financed goodwill tour of Gulf countries.

Through a spokesman and his wife, he declined to speak with The Associated Press in recent weeks. His few interviews lately have been with local Arabic media during his State Department tour.

He told the daily Bahrain newspaper Akhbar Al-Khaleej on Aug. 24 that he blamed the news media, in part, for strained relations between Muslims and Americans. Rauf said the media “has succeeded in portraying stereotypical images, focusing on the negative and criticizing the other.”

[What role does the media play in Dafur, Sudan? Does the Imam believe the media has created a false “impression” of the genocide in Dafur? Shockingly, the answer is yes! The Imam will tell you the genocide in Dafur is, in fact, a fiction of the Western media.]

Ground Memorial Pool - Victims Names Will Be Inscribed Around The Pool

With Rauf largely absent from the debate, opponents have scoured past statements and critics portray the imam as tone-deaf to the sensitivities of families who lost relatives on Sept. 11. They argue he should forthrightly condemn Arab political movements such as Hamas that the U.S. government has designated as terrorist organizations.

Asked in June by WABC-AM whether he believed the State Department was correct in designating Hamas as a terrorist organization, Rauf gave a winding response: “I am not a politician. … The issue of terrorism is a very complex question. … I do not want to be placed … in a position of … where I am the target of one side or another.”

[Evil is evil and should be called what it is …. there is no room for equivocation]

Rauf rarely deviates in his interviews, speeches and books from a core message of the need for interfaith dialogue to resolve religious conflicts. What emerges is a portrait of a man who has passionately argued that Islam is inherently compatible with American life, and that each is enriched by the other.

[Then the Imam should stand and call for the acceptance of a universal right to “Freedom of Religion” and ask that his fellow Imams and the leaders in every Muslim Counrty and every other land of the world open their borders and welcome those who do not share the Muslim faith and that these people be allowed to establish  or re-establish Synagogues, Temples and Churches throughout Muslim lands … to put into practice the words of the Prophet Mohammed, “…There is no compulsion in religion…” (Quran 2:256),  because without such a statement and such actions Islam is not “inherently compatible with American life” … Why would the Imam not make such a call on behalf of “freedom of religion” everywhere? ] 

[… “to resolve religious conflict”,  how then does one resolve the “relgious conflict” in Dafur when the “conflict’ takes the form of genocide and one will not admit that genocide is taking place … genocide is not a “religious conflict” that can be “negotiated” … genocide is an evil and genocide must be ended not “negotiated” … one cannot compromise on genocide]

He has strongly opposed acts of violence in the name of Islam.

[Well, what absolute nonsense – to begin with Imam Rauf denies the genocide in Dafur, and is a major apologist for the Sudanese Regime charged with War Crimes by the U.N. International Criminal Court …] 

“The Quran allows fighting only in defense — when we are attacked or thrown from our homes or denied our basic rights because of what we choose to believe,” he writes in his 2004 book.

Terrorist Group Al-Shebab Beheads 7 "Christian Spies"

 [One of the reasons for the genocide in  Dafur is that the native Sudanese African farmers are “animists” and follow the ancient beliefs of their ancestors and refuse to surrender or “submit” to the Quran … The Islamists and Imam Rauf refuse to permit the African Sudanese’ the right to a freedom of their own ancestral religions. Animist: ]

“But even in those cases where fighting is allowed, the Quran never allows the killing of innocent people.”

[Why then does Imam Rauf refuse to acknowledge and condemn the genocide in Dafur?]

The annex of his book includes a 2001 fatwa, or religious ruling, signed by five Islamic scholars, that permits Muslims to fight for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

He also writes that there is no circumstance under which the Prophet permitted suicide, and says so-called “martyrdom operations” are unsupported by Islam.

It is a phenomena that no civilized society — in the Muslim world or the West — should be content to accept,” he said.  


Boys, 15 & 16 years old executed for "homosexuality"

[An interesting phrase and concept, “a phenomena that no civilized society … should be content to accept“. Don’t civilized societies believe in “Freedom of Religion” for all, don’t civilized societies condemn genocide and don’t “civilized societies” condemn terroists orgainizations like HAMAS?]

Rauf was born in Kuwait, the son of an Egyptian imam and noted Islamic scholar, Muhammad Abdul Rauf, who came to New York City in the 1960s and helped lead efforts to establish the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, the city’s first building designed as a mosque. The multimillion-dollar project took more than 25 years and opened in 1991. The elder Rauf also led the Islamic Center of Washington before taking a job in Malaysia.

The younger Rauf didn’t follow his father’s path into religion until later in life. He studied physics at Columbia University and in New Jersey, and dabbled in teaching, sales and real estate. He married, first to an American who converted to Islam, and a second time to a Malaysian woman. He has two children from each of the marriages.

[When was the Imam at Columbia? Did he study at Columbia with President Obama? Neither Obama’s nor Rauf’s

Mass Execution of Christian "dissidents" by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Court

 records from Columbia have been made available for public review … can you name even one prior President who has kept his educational records secret from the American public? 

I find this curious, not for some grand conspriracy theory, but because my tax dollars are paying for Rauf’s tour of the Middle East and I want to know if that might be due to a personal friendship between Obama and Rauf, one that may have started at Columbia University. Obvioulsy, the MSM failed to properly vet either of these men …]

In the late 1990s, he married his third wife, Daisy Khan, who has actively supported the Islamic center proposal.

In 1983, Rauf was asked to lead prayers at a small mosque in lower Manhattan, 12 blocks from the World Trade Center site and near the Park51 project. The mosque, Masjid al-Farah, was created by a Sufi order called Nur Ashki Jerrahi, currently led by a woman, which means the order of light and love. Sufism is a mystical tradition that emphasizes a direct and personal experience of God through chanting and other acts of devotion, and is known for adapting to local culture.

[ – The author of the article has failed to note that the proposed “Ground Zero Mosque ” has nothing to do with the Sufi Sect. There are no Islamic states which regard themselves as officially Sufi. Sufism is characterized by the veneration of local saints and by brotherhoods that practice their own rituals. Sufis organize themselves into “orders” or groups, called Tariqas. These groups are headed by a leader called a Shaykh who is considered the most spiritual man with the most Taqwa among them.

Rauf is especially popular among young, urban professionals.

[– ]

CRIME: Adultery SENTENCE: Beheading

Author Asra Nomani said she once attended a retreat organized by Rauf and Khan, and noted that Rauf allowed parallel prayer sections for men and women — a rare practice. In the majority of mosques, women sit behind men, shielded by a room divider.

“Imam Feisal, he has always been on a moderate course — many of us would call it a liberal-progressive course,” said Saleemah Abdul, 36, who works for the United Nations and is editor of a book on American Muslim women. “He has promoted women’s leadership, youth leadership in a time and a place where many Muslims felt isolated and alienated.”

[Liberal-Progressive? Is this what she means by Liberal-Progressive behavior? Parallel prayer sections? Wouldn’t a “Liberal-Progressive” publicly acknowledge a universal right to freedom of religion, that all men and woman are created equally and that all people are made in the image of God; Muslim, Jew – Hindu – Anamist and Christian, believer and non-believer alike, and that equal rights between the sexs are God given, not a creation of man. Wouldn’t a “Liberal-Progessive”  call upon all world leaders to acknowledge the same, specifically, that the leaders in Muslim lands recognize these basic rights of all mankind. If this is not so than how can Islam be “inherently compatible with American life”. Tell me do good “Liberal -Progressive Muslim’s” deny and defend genocide these days? Liberal – Progressive Islam with it’s “parallel prayer sections” for men and women and it’s “parellel systems of justice” for believer and non-believer …]

Rauf helped to establish the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative, two organizations with missions to build dialogue between Muslims and the West.

[See the links above and the Imam’s actual letters from the Cordoba Initiative to the American Muslim Magazine, concerning what one might think is, based upon the Imam’s letters, a “genocide-less” Dafur].

His travels have been financed partly by the U.S. government, which has been sending him on diplomatic trips to

Public Executions Followed Protest of Iranian Election 2010

 Muslim nations since the Bush administration. Contributions to his nonprofit organizations have come from American groups like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation, government agencies in Qatar and the Netherlands, and the Kingdom Foundation, a philanthropy affiliated with Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the largest shareholder in Citigroup.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Rauf was called on repeatedly by news organizations to help explain to Americans why the U.S. was so hated by some factions in the Muslim world.

[Can he now explain to us why the “Muslim’s Factions” are so hated in Dafur today? Can the Imam explain the Muslim world’s replusion to the freedom of religion, revulsion to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and equality of the sexes and how this revulsion lies at the root of Islam’s replusion to all that is “inherently compatible with American life “ ] 

Some of his comments then have now been seized on by critics as evidence of anti-American views.

Iraqi Army Invades Kuwait

“We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaida has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims, he said in a 2005 lecture in Australia. “You may remember that the U.S.-led sanction against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations.”

[What a strange analogy for a “Liberal/Progressive”; Is he refering to the sanctions approved by 114 member countries of the United Nations, sanctions that were put in place after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the Regime of Suddam Hussien’s continued “human rights violations”,”acts of genocide’ and “crimes against humanity”, the acts that ultimately led to the conviction and execution of Hussein by the Iraqi people … 

Has the Imam been asked his opinion about the execution of Saddam Hussien? Were the Iraqi people justified in their actions? Was the execution a “just act” under Muslim Law as he understands it? 

Given this statement by the Imam and the Imam’s failure to condemn HAMAS, shouldn’t the MSM ask the Imam his

Mass Funeral Victims Hussein's Poison Gas Attack

opinion of the current sanctions against Iran? To specifically ask the Imam his opinion … will the sanctions against Iran provide justification for the Imam to one day compare the terrorist activities of a rogue group of militant extremists to the unified actions taken by the United Nations against Iran? Could the Iranian sanctions serve to  justify some other terrorist attack in the Imam’s mind? A Liberal? A Progressive?]  

Rauf told an interviewer in July that about a decade ago he envisioned a global association of Muslim community centers modeled after the Young Men’s Christian Association, serving as centers of interfaith dialogue and spreading moderate Islam worldwide.

The first of these Cordoba Houses, as he initially referred to them, would be established in New York City.

[The quetion that begs to be asked is this, “and is it your intent that these Centers replace the YMCA’s, that your “Centers” will act to the exclusion or explusion of  YMCA’s throughout the world as Mosques have acted to forcibly replace Synagogues, Churches and Temples throughout the Muslim world? Is your goal, first and foremost, not interfaith dialogue but to spread Islam?]

Iraqi Troops Arrive in Halabja After Gas Attack - 5000 Murdered

“Our stated objective is to establish this as a launching point, as a headquarters if you want, of a global understanding, of a moderate Islam that is true to its fundamental principles,” He told the New York-based Intersections International, a group that has endorsed the Islamic center.

[Coincidentally, this is the same group that employed Michael Enright the man who slashed New York City Taxi Driver Ahmed H Shari.

 What did the Imam just say? Did the Imam just say the “Mosque would serve as a headquarters for the launching point of an Islam that is true to its fundamentalist principles”?. I, for one, believe he did … I for one, want a clear definition of the Imam’s “moderate Islam”, especially a “moderate Islam … true to it’s fundamentalist principles’ …]

 “And to accuse us as being the opposite of that flies in the face off our stated vision, our mission, my track record and everything I’ve ever done or stood for.”

Twelve Questions For Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

1). Will you acknowledge the genocide in Dafur?

2). Do you acknowledge the charges of “War Crimes” brought by the United Nations International Criminal Court against the regime in the Sudan?

3). Will you condemn the genocide in Dafur?

4). Do you, as an individual, recognize an international right, an unalienable right, of all people throughout the world to worship or not worship, as they choose, without fear of harm, an international right to freedom of religion for all people?

5). Do you call upon all leaders, in all lands and of all faiths to recognize this right?

6). Will you call upon the civil, religious and most importantly, the theocratic leaders throughout the world to reopen the places of worship that they may have closed or may have been closed by their predecessors, within their lands and to permit the free and unencumbered exercise of the religion of choice by all people in all lands? If not, please explain how your position ”is inherently compatible with American life”?7). Will you acknowledge a universal right of equality between the sexes and call for an end to the “crimes against humanity” being committed in Dafur, Sudan? Will you call for an end to the barbaric and sexist practices of mutilating, stoning and beheading of women, whenever these actions might be occurring throughout the world? If you refuse to condemn these actions will you explain how these actions are “inherently compatible with American life”?

8). Will you call for an immediate end to the barbaric practice of executing individuals because of their sexual orientation and for an end to the equally barbaric practice of drugging and raping virgin’s prior to their execution. (“Members of Iran’s feared Basij militia forcibly marry female virgin prisoners the night before scheduled executions, raping their new “wives” and making it religiously acceptable to execute them, a self-professed member of the paramilitary group says… ” – ; Google “Virgin Rape Iran” for a long list of articles condemning this barbaric practice )

9). You have refused to acknowledge or condemn HAMAS as a terrorist organization. The Charter of HAMAS states that, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it”.

Absent a general condemnation of HAMAS, will you as an Iman and a purported “Liberal/Progressive Muslim American leader”, denounce and condemn this specific component of the HAMAS charter, that your faith, Islam, has the right to ”obliterate” any other People, Race, Religion or Country?  Certainly, you must be willing to condemn the basic “concept” that any faith, be it “Islam” or any other faith or religion,  has a right to “obliterate” any other faith, people, religion or Country … the Imam does recognize, doesn’t he, that such a concept is not “inherently compatible with American life”.  

10). Will you specifically acknowledge that those individuals who choose not to believe in the “One True God” and choose to pursue forms of worship such as; Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism or those who choose not to pursue any religion at all, should be left to their personal freedom of expression, whatever it might be and that these individuals should never be put in fear of their life because of the choice they make and will you condemn those who will not acknowledge this universal right?  

11). Was the execution of Saddam Hussein for “crimes against humanity” a just and acceptable action under Islamic Law as you understand that law?

12). You have expressed an unusual position on the United Nations sanctions against Iraq; using those sanctions to justify the attack on innocent civilians in the WTC on 911 because of the “blood on American hands” that you associate with the United Nation’s Iraqi sanctions. 

The United Nations has recently initiated a host of sanctions against Iran. Will those sanctions serve as a justification in your mind if other attacks are launched by extremist Islamic Militants against innocent American civilians? 

Preparations are almost complete ... Gather the stones

The Immigration Debate: The Arizona Law – Judge Bolton’s Decision (Part 3)

The Immigration Debate: The Arizona Law – Judge Bolton’s Decision (Part 3)

Even if the Government’s allegation that, “It will result in the harassment of lawfully present aliens,” is true, and it is not, the allegation fails to state a claim subject to  one of the three areas of “preemption”. A claim of harassment may lend itself to a “civil rights claim”, it is not a within the “class of claims” to be considerd under the Federal preemption doctrine.

Example: A suspect is arrested and it is alleged that the suspect had 10 tons of cocaine in his possession. After the suspect is placed under arrest he is charged with bank robbery. Even if the Judge assumes the suspect had 10 tons of cocaine in his possession, the Judge must dismiss the bank robbery charges, because those charges do not apply to the facts alleged.

Even if the Government’s allegation is true, that the Arizona Law will “result in the harassment” of lawfully present aliens”, such action does not give rise to a claim of preemption.

Claim 2:  “it will burden federal resources and impede federal enforcement and policy priorities.”

Does this allegation state a basis for a “preemption claim” or is this claim one of “administrative inconvenience”. One type of claim is protected by the Constitution, one is not.

Is this a claim of Express Preemption? No, the DOJ doesn’t allege that Congress “reserved” enforcement for the Federal Government, such a claim would be unsustainable.

Is this a claim of Field Preemption? No, the DOJ has not alleged that the Congress intended to preclude the States from supplementing the enforcement of our Immigration Laws.

Is this a claim of Conflict Preemption? No, the allegation fails to state a claim which, even if it were true, would fall within the criteria of “conflict preemption”. The allegation is one of “administrative inconvenience” not of “conflict preemption”. The Holder DOJ has not alleged that the Arizona Law creates the situation where “compliance with both federal and state regulations is a physical impossibility”… the Holder DOJ just states that compliance will be difficult … the DOJ does not state that it is impossible.

What was the Congressional Intent?

Despite being instructed by both the Federal Appellate Courts and the U.S.  Supreme Court to, “look to the intent of Congress” prior to interpreting Immigration Law, this Judge failed to do so.

Title 8, Chapter 12, § 1252c, (b) Cooperation

We know what Congress intended  when Congress passed Title 8, Chapter 12, § 1252c, (b) Cooperation; because Congressional expressly stated what Congress wanted the Attorney General, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to do; Congress instructed, “The Attorney General shall cooperate with the States to assure that information in the control of the Attorney General, including information in the National Crime Information Center, that would assist State and local law enforcement officials in carrying out duties under subsection (a) of this section is made available to such officials.”

This Congressional statement is the exact opposite of an “express preemption” of Federal Law, the statement is, in fact, an “express invitation” to the States. Congress’ language evidences an “express invitation” by Congress to the States, an invitation for the States to assist in the enforcement of Federal Immigration Law. The language also “orders” the Attorney General and his DOJ and the DHS to supply the necessary information.

Title 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c),

Title 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c), This Court makes reference to this section of Title 8 later in this opinion. The Court states. “DHS is required to “respond to an inquiry by a Federal, State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status …

Who placed this obligation on the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security? The Congress imposed this requirement, this obligation. Unequivocal evidence of Congressional intent.

The LESC – “The Law Enforcement Support Center”

Later in this opinion Judge Bolton will discusses the LESC, however, Judge Bolton does not discuss the Congressional intent behind the LESC, what the LESC does nor will she acknowledge the accomplishments of the LESC.

From the LESC Website:   

The Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) serves as a national enforcement operations center by providing timely immigration status and identity information to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on aliens suspected, arrested or convicted of criminal activity. The LESC operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week assisting law enforcement agencies with information gathered from 8 DHS databases, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the Interstate Identification Index (III) and other state criminal history indices.

So, the LESC was created to comply with Congressional mandates and the specific mission of the LESC is to provide the exact information to be requested under the Arizona Law by Arizona Law Enforcement Officers.

In addition to providing real time assistance to law enforcement agencies that are investigating, or have arrested, foreign-born individuals involved in criminal activity, the LESC also performs the following investigative functions:

The LESC is “chartered” to assist assists law enforcement officers in completing the exact law enforcement duties anticipated under the Arizona Law.

National Crime Information Center (NCIC) – The LESC administers and controls immigration related cases in this nationwide law enforcement consortium and criminal database for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The LESC Communications Center serves the law enforcement community with NCIC hit confirmation information. (As is required under Title 8, Chapter 12, § 1252c, (b) Cooperation.)

You can read the August 1, 1995 GAO report to Congress on the LESC here:

The LESC defines its mission this way:

The mission of the Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) is to protect the United States and its people by providing timely, accurate information and assistance to the federal, state and local law enforcement community—365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

The Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC), administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is a critical point of contact for the national law enforcement community, providing a wide range of informational services to officers and investigators at the local, state and federal levels.

The primary users of the LESC are state and local law enforcement officers in the field who need information about foreign nationals they encounter in the course of their daily duties.

LESC technicians have ready access to a wide range of databases and intelligence resources, including the following:

ICE immigration databases;

National Crime Information Center (NCIC);

Interstate Identification Index (III);

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS);

U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) system; and

National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS).

The LESC has devised a “computerized contact screen” accessible by State and Local Law enforcement from their squad cars. The LESC “contact screen” has been incorporated into “State” computerized criminal investigation systems.

Over the last 6 years. LESC has processed nearly 10,000,000 (10 million) information requests from State and Local Law Enforcement Officers.

Over 90 percent of the “information requests” submitted to the LESC are submitted electronically. (Just like the NCIC System). Over 90 percent of the requests are processed in under 10 minutes … under 10 minutes. In the last 4 years the LESC has processed over 4,000,000 electronic queries. Electronic inquires are system based and system responded … they require no human contact. The NCIC system relies on electronic inquiries/responses.    


From the Official NEERS web site:

The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) also known as Special Registration, put in place after September 11, 200 , to keep track of those entering and leaving our country in order to safeguard U.S. citizens and America’s borders. NSEERS was the first step taken by the Department of Justice (DOJ)  and then by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to comply with the development of the Congressionally- mandated requirement for a comprehensive entry-exit program.

Through the Special Registration system, the U.S. government can keep track of the more than 35 million nonimmigrant visitors who enter the United States as well as some nonimmigrant visitors already in the United States. These individuals are required to register with immigration authorities either at a port of entry or a designated ICE office in accordance with the special registration procedures.

Nonimmigrant visitors who do not comply with special registration requirements or other terms of their admission to the United States during their stay will be considered out of status and may be subject to arrest, detention, fines and/or removal from the country.

Brief summary of preemption:

There are there “classifications” of preemption;

1). Express

2). Implied: Field

3). Implied Conflict.

The Department of Justice alleged that the Arizona Law, A.R.S. § 11-1051(B). Section 2(B), was prohibited because, “this section is preempted because (1) it will result in the harassment of lawfully present aliens and (2) will burden federal resources and impede federal enforcement and policy priorities.” Neither DOJ claim qualifies for protection under the Federal Preemption Doctrine. 

“Harassment” claims don’t qulaify for consideration under the “preemption doctine”.

The claim that the Arizona Law will “burden federal resources and impede federal enforcement and policy priorities.” fails to State an allowable  claim under the Federal preemption doctrine. When the alleged “burden” is created by an “act” or “acts” invited by Congress and anticipated  in the Congressional Legislation that created the “complaining”  Executive Agency, a claim of “preemption” cannot be sustained. In non-legal terms, an Executive Agency cannot escape the responsibilities and obligation specifically placed on the Executive Agency by Congress  by claiming, “but if we do our job, we will be too busy to do our job Congress, even if it is the job Congress gave us to do.”

The Congressional intent, manifested in: Title 8, Chapter 12, § 1252c, (b) Cooperation; Title 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c); the creation of LESC and NSEERS, (a creation “mandated” by Congress) gives clear and unequivocal evidence that Congress intends for State Law Enforcement Officers to routinely make inquiry concerning immigration status and that State Law Enforcement Officers  were expected by Congress to make routine contacts with the “Federal Executive Agencies” and obtain immigration status information as part of their daily law enforcement duties. Information that is to be obtained by State and Local Law Enforcement Officers form LESC.

Preliminary Conclusion:

The preliminary allegations of the DOJ do not state a cause of action under the “federal preemption doctrine”. The facts complained of in this case and discussed to this point, do not violate any law of the United States nor are they in vio;ation of the U.S> Constitution. The clear intent of Congress is that State Law Enforcement Officers are to make immigration inquiries and that the Federal Executive Agencies are “required by” Congressional “mandate”  to respond to the requests and that the Executive Agencies are “required” by Congress to provide the requested information. The Congressional intent is clear, expressed and specific. The Congressional intent is unequivocal.

Back to the Bolton opinion.

a. Mandatory Immigration Status Determination Upon Arrest

The Court first addresses the second sentence of Section 2(B): “Any person who is arrested shall have the person’s immigration status determined before the person is released.” Arizona advances that the proper interpretation of this sentence is “that only where a reasonable suspicion exists that a person arrested is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States must the person’s immigration status be determined before the person is released.” (Defs.’ Resp. to Pl.’s Mot. (“Defs.’ Resp.”) at 10.)5  Arizona goes on to state, “[T]he Arizona Legislature could not have intended to compel Arizona’s law enforcement officers to determine and verify the immigration status of every single person arrested – even for United States citizens and when there is absolutely no reason to believe the person is unlawfully present in the country.” (Id.) The Court cannot interpret this provision as Arizona suggests. Before the passage of H.B. 2162, the first sentence of Section 2(B) of the original S.B. 1070 began, “For any lawful contact” rather than “For any lawful stop, detention or arrest.” (Compare original S.B. 1070 § 2(B) with H.B. 2162 § 3(B).) The second sentence was identical in the original version and as modified by H.B. 2162. It is not a logical interpretation of the Arizona Legislature’s intent to state that it originally intended the first two sentences of Section 2(B) to be read as … (Page 15, lines 9 to 25)

FOOT NOTE 5: Arizona acknowledges that this sentence of Section 2(B) “might well have been more artfully worded.” (Id.) (Page 15, line 27 & 28).

dependent on one another. As initially written, the first sentence of Section 2(B) did not contain the word “arrest,” such that the second sentence could be read as modifying or explicating the first sentence. In S.B. 1070 as originally enacted, the first two sentences of Section 2(B) are clearly independent of one another. Therefore, it does not follow logically that by changing “any lawful contact” to “any lawful stop, detention or arrest” in the first sentence, the Arizona Legislature intended to alter the meaning of the second sentence in any way. If that had been the Legislature’s intent, it could easily have modified the second sentence accordingly. As a result of this conclusion, the Court reads the second sentence of Section 2(B) independently from the first sentence. The Court also concludes that the list of forms of identification that could provide a presumption that a person is not an unlawfully present alien applies only to the first sentence of Section 2(B) because the second sentence makes no mention of unlawful presence: the second sentence states plainly that “[a]ny person who is arrested” must have his or her immigration status determined before release. A presumption against unlawful presence would not dispose of the requirement that immigration status be checked because a legal permanent resident might have a valid Arizona driver’s license, but an inquiry would still need to be made to satisfy the requirement that the person’s “immigration status” be determined prior to release. The United States asserts that mandatory determination of immigration status for all arrestees “conflicts with federal law because it necessarily imposes substantial burdens on lawful immigrants in a way that frustrates the concern of Congress for nationally-uniform rules governing the treatment of aliens throughout the country – rules designed to ensure ‘our traditional policy of not treating aliens as a thing apart.’” (Pl.’s Mot. at 26 (quoting Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, 73 (1941)).) Finding a state law related to alien registration to be preempted, the Supreme Court in Hines observed that Congress “manifested a purpose to [regulate immigration] in such a way as to protect the personal liberties of law-abiding aliens through one uniform national . . . system[] and to leave them free from the possibility of inquisitorial practices and police surveillance.” 312 U.S. at 74. (Page 16, lines 1 to 28).

And what substantial burden does this activity place on those who are arrested … what is the substantial burden on those taken into custody … the DOJ is required to actually demonstrate a burden .. the DOJ is the moving party here … simply claiming a “substantial burden” does not “cut mustard”. 

The clear and unequivocal intent of Congress is for State and Local Law Enforcement Officers to make such inquiry during their daily routines. After all, the proof is in the fact that the LESC has processed over 10,000,000 requests for information over the last 6 years and that the LESC notes, in its mission statement, that Congress created the LESC specifically to reply to the requests from State and Local Law Enforcement Officials and that these Officials are expected to make such inquiry as a part of their normal law enforcement duties.

“Congress “manifested a purpose to [regulate immigration] in such a way as to protect the personal liberties of law-abiding aliens”…

Yes, the operative term in the Hines case is “law abiding”. The Arizona Law is not an “alien registration program”, to suggest that it is silly. An investigation of Immigration status is being conducted not on “law abiding aliens” but on those who have been arrested, before the arrested party is released.

Do you remember how many of the 911 terrorists were encountered by Law Enforcement Officers prior to flying the planes into the World Trade Center? Prior to 911 we lacked the systems to identify those terrorists and the fact that they were in this Country illegally. Today we do not.

The Hines case is not on point. What does a State registration system of those who have not been arrested, have to do with confirming an arrested suspect’s immigration status with the Executive Agencies chartered to provide local law enforcement personal with that specific information.      

Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked. Given the large number of people who are technically “arrested” but never booked into jail or perhaps even transported to a law enforcement facility, detention time for this category of arrestee will certainly be extended during an immigration status verification. (See Escobar, et al. v. City of Tucson, et al., No. CV 10-249-TUC-SRB, Doc. 9, City of Tucson’s Answer & Cross-cl., ¶ 38 (stating that during fiscal year 2009,

(Page 17, Lines 1 to 9)

I’m so disappointed in this Judge. I expected her to at least try to appear impartial and attempt to hide her political bias.

First: No State Law Enforcement Officer in any State is empowered to determine the “immigration status” of any individual. The DOJ and the DHS are charged by Congress to make that determination. The State Law Enforcement personal are charged with investigation, apprehension and inquiry … to make an immigration status inquiry to the appropriate Executive Agencies cretaed to handle such requests.

“burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked”.

Truthfully, I’ve never read an argument with less merit or less insight. The Law Enforcement Officer is making an “inquiry” concerning an arrested suspect, so while the person may or may not be “lawfully present” they have been “arrested”.  As a “criminal violator” the individual’s criminal background will be checked through the NCIC data base regardless of immigration status. The NCIC, the National Crime Information Center is administered by the FBI and as previously noted, is linked to the LESC.  The LESC inquiry and the NCIC inquiry will be done electronically and over 95% of those inquiries are completed within 10 minutes. Only those who cannot “identify themselves”, “present appropriate identification” or “refuse to identify themselves” are burdened further.

From the Official NCIC web site: 

The National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, was launched on January 27, 1967 with five files and 356,784 records. By the end of 2009, NCIC contained more than 15 million active records in 19 files. NCIC averages 7.5 million transactions per day.

NCIC helps criminal justice professionals apprehend fugitives, locate missing persons, recover stolen property, and identify terrorists. It also assists law enforcement officers in performing their official duties more safely and provides them with information necessary to aid in protecting the general public.

Even if the DOJ’s laughable argument were true, that the Arizona law “burdens lawfully-present aliens”, the burden cannot be removed by a claim of Federal preemption … Congress, after all, established the system creating the burden … remember the “burden” on the “suspect” is created by making an inquiry to an “Executive Agency” chartered to receive the inquiry in the first place … and the Executivew Agency has been instructed by Congress to respond to the inquiry …

Tucson used the cite-and-release procedure provided by A.R.S. § 13-3903 to “arrest” and immediately release 36,821 people).) Under Section 2(B) of S.B. 1070, all arrestees will be required to prove their immigration status to the satisfaction of state authorities, thus increasing the intrusion of police presence into the lives of legally-present aliens (and even United States citizens), who will necessarily be swept up by this requirement.6  The United States argues that the influx of requests for immigration status determination directed to the federal government or federally-qualified officials would “impermissibly shift the allocation of federal resources away from federal priorities.” (Pl.’s Mot. at 30.) (Page 17, Lines 8 to 17)

What a bizarre argument. “The influx of requests for immigration status determination directed to the federal government or federally-qualified officials would “impermissibly shift the allocation of federal resources away from federal priorities.”

As if the executive agencies are allowed to set their own priorities. As if the Executive Agencies are not “tasked” with specific “responsibilities”, specific “duties and specific “obligations” by Congress.

Never mind that fact that the DOJ is asking the Judge to accept the “hypothetical” argument that the Arizona Law would result in an “influx of requests” … so what if the law did create an “influx of requests” … the Executive Agencies receiving the requests were chartered to do just that in the first place …. receive immigration inquiry requests from the State and Local Law enforcement officers.

Can you imagine the DOJ arguing that a state law was unconstitutional because the law resulted in more letters being delivered to the Post Office …. The post office is the “Federal Agency” chartered to receive and deliver mail … can you imagine a claim that a state law is “unconstitutional” because “the influx of” mail to be sorted and delivered by the Post Office or federally-qualified Postal Officials would “impermissibly shift the allocation of federal resources away from federal priorities for mail delivery”.  

If this were not such a serious issue, this argument would be worthy of a good hard laugh.   

State laws have been found to be preempted where they imposed a burden on a federal agency’s resources that impeded the agency’s function. See Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Comm., 531 U.S. 341, 351 (2001) (finding a state law preempted in part because it would create an incentive for individuals to “submit a deluge of information that the [federal agency] neither wants nor needs, resulting in additional burdens on the FDA’s evaluation of an application”); cf. Garrett v. City of Escondido, 465 F. Supp. 2d 1043, 1057 (S.D. Cal. 2006) (expressing concern in preemption analysis for preliminary injunction purposes that burden on DOJ and DHS as a result of immigration status checks could “impede the functions of those federal agencies”). (Page 17, Lines  18 to 28)

The major case cited by the DOJ and Judge Bolton,Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Comm,  is clearly not on point. In citing Buckman the Court noted, “would create an incentive for individuals to submit a deluge of information that the [federal agency] neither wants nor needs”.

Under the Arizona Law information is not being submitted to the an Executive Agency, it is being sought from it … information the Executive Agency has been instructed, instructed by Congress, to provide …

The information being requested by Arizona Law Enforcement is the very information the Executive Agency is chartered to provide … it is the “reason” for the Executive Agency’s existence and answering the request and supplying the information is an “obligation” imposed on the Agency by Congress … answering the request is not optional … it is the job the Executive Agency was created to complete.

Foot Note 6:  The Court is also cognizant of the potentially serious Fourth Amendment problems with the inevitable increase in length of detention while immigration status is determined, as raised by the plaintiffs in Friendly House, et al. v. Whiting, et al., No. CV 10-1061-PHX-SRB. (Page 17, Lines 26 to 28)

The Judge’s Liberal activist leanings are showing again. The Plaintiff DOJ has not raised the issue of Fourth Amendment problems in this section of their pleadings and as this is a request for a preliminary injunction, it isn’t proper for the Court to consider this issue on its own accord.

Let us return, briefly to Title 8, Chapter 12, § 1252c, (b) Cooperation, for an examination “Congressional intent”.

“The Attorney General shall cooperate with the States to assure that information in the control of the Attorney General, including information in the National Crime Information Center, that would assist State and local law enforcement officials in carrying out duties under subsection (a) of this section is made available to such officials.” 

Congress did not qualify the duties of the Attorney General or the DOJ. The Congress stated that the Attorney General shall cooperate. Congress did not state that the Attorney General could cooperate when the Department of Justice felt like cooperating, that the DOJ could pick and choose when it wanted to cooperate, that the DOJ could selectively following this “instruction’. That the DOJ was excused from following this Congressional mandate if it were difficult or would strain resources.

Congress was unequivocal –  the DOJ shall respond. The word “shall” is an instruction, a directive, an order to cooperate, not a suggestion that the DOJ might want to cooperate. The Congressional intent is clear and unambiguous.

Read Part 1 here:

Read Part 2 here:

Read Part 4 Here:

Day 95 In The Gulf: Rigs, ships moving away from Gulf oil spill site as Tropical Storm Bonnie approaches

McAuley’s World Comments in Bold Blue

Rigs, ships moving away from Gulf oil spill site as Tropical Storm Bonnie approaches

With Tropical Storm Bonnie heading into the Gulf of Mexico and expected to kick up high waves and winds near the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site this weekend, crews on Thursday began disconnecting the rigs drilling two relief wells in the Gulf, effectively delaying the effort to permanently plug the blown-out Macondo well by nearly two weeks. Late Thursday, the federal government ordered dozens of ships to evacuate the spill site.

BP and government officials also said Thursday that the cap now sealing the well and preventing oil from flowing into the sea will remain in place during a storm evacuation.

“Due to the risk that Tropical Storm Bonnie poses to the safety of the nearly 2,000 people responding to the BP oil spill at the well site, many of the vessels and rigs will be preparing to move out of harm’s way beginning tonight,” National Incident Commander Thad Allen said Thursday evening. “This includes the rig drilling the relief well that will ultimately kill the well, as well as other vessels needed for containment. Some of the vessels may be able to remain on site, but we will err on the side of safety. ”

Allen said BP will continue with the well shut-in procedure while the work to kill the well is temporarily suspended. “I have also directed BP to take measures to ensure the vessels operating the ROVs are the last to leave, and the first to return in order to maximize monitoring of the well,” Allen said. “Monitoring of the site during the well integrity test remains one of the government’s highest priorities. ”

Allen acknowledged that these actions will delay the effort to kill the well for several days, but he said “the safety of the individuals at the well site is our highest concern. We are staging our skimming vessels and other assets in a manner that will allow us to promptly restart oil mitigation efforts as soon as the storm passes and we can ensure the safety of our personnel,”

The National Hurricane Center named Tropical Storm Bonnie on Thursday about 5:15 p.m. after an Air Force reconnaissance plane recorded surface winds of 40 mph near the Bahamas. It is the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Tropical storm force winds and seas of up to 8 feet are forecast over Gulf waters, including the site of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, by Saturday, according to the Slidell office of the National Weather Service. Tides along Louisiana’s coast could increase by 2 to 3 feet above predicted levels because of strong easterly and southeasterly winds, and rainfall could total 2 to 4 inches, with some isolated higher amounts possible through Monday. The chance of rain in New Orleans will rise to 40 percent on Saturday and 60 percent by Sunday.

Relief well drilling halts

Although it had yet to reach the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday night, the storm had already affected all facets of the oil spill response effort.

BP temporarily suspended work on its primary relief well Wednesday morning by plugging it with a stopper. On Thursday night, the company said it will disconnect the rigs from the well and move them out of the way of the storm, though they will remain in the Gulf.

BP is drilling two relief wells in the Gulf, a primary and a backup. The primary well had been expected to intercept the Macondo well at the end of this month, pumping it with heavy mud and cement to seal it shut. But because of the storm, drilling is not expected to resume for eight to 10 days, the time it will take for the weather to clear and the drilling rigs to move back on site and be reconnected. [Thank God, the well is capped or this storm would mean 10 days of uninterupted oil flow into the Gulf]

That pushes back the planned interception of the Macondo well by nearly two weeks to mid-August. It could take anywhere from days to a few weeks to fill the well with mud and seal it after it is intercepted.

The two vessels drilling the relief well are the first to be removed because they take the longest to disconnect and move the most slowly. Other vessels, including the Q4000 and the Helix Producer, require shorter amounts of time to disconnect.

After the rigs are reconnected to the relief wells and the primary well is lined with casing — one of the final steps before the wells intercept — BP will likely attempt a “static kill” of the Macondo well, Wells said. The procedure, which involves pumping heavy mud into the well at low pressure and rates of speed until it pushes oil back into the reservoir, has received preliminary approval from Allen, Wells said. Were it not for weather, the maneuver could have been tried this weekend. BP will seek Allen’s approval again before executing the kill, Wells said.

Cap will stay in place

In a bit of bright news, BP and government officials also said Thursday that they will leave the well capped, even if a storm forces all of the vessels monitoring the cap out of the way. The well has been capped for just more than a week as BP crews and scientists study the pressure inside to determine whether the well has integrity, meaning it is intact, or whether there are holes somewhere beneath the seafloor where oil is escaping. Pressure inside the well was at 6,863 pounds per square inch and still slowly climbing Thursday afternoon.

Before it was capped last week, the well had been gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months, since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank 50 miles off the Louisiana April 20. Eleven people died in the accident.

Officials had been weighing whether the well could remain shut if the site was evacuated for a storm, because there would be little in the way of surveillance at the site to notify officials if something went awry. [and just why would you “remove” the cap and let oil flow into the Gulf unchecked, to prevent the cap from “leaking” … these peopel have no idea what they are talking about… ]

But Allen said scientists studying pressure readings and seismic and sonar indicators at the site now feel comfortable leaving it shut in.

“We have determined that if we have to leave the site we are prepared to leave the well capped,” Allen said. The decision came on the recommendation of Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Allen said.

If an evacuation were necessary, the last vessels to leave would be the ones operating the vehicles that are monitoring the well and conducting surveillance in search of oil leaks subsurface.

Wells said scientists are also looking at ways of recording data from the site if the remote operated vehicles are evacuated.
The storm is also impacting oil response efforts on the surface and shore. Surplus response equipment, including boom, that had been staged in low-lying areas is being trucked to staging facilities on higher ground, said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, who is leading the surface response. The equipment can be returned in six to eight hours, Zukunft said. Boom was also being removed Thursday from marsh areas where oil is not threatening the shore to prevent damage from heavy equipment.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 vessels that had been operating in the Gulf in various capacities, including as skimmers or as vessels of opportunity working to place boom, have been decontaminated and brought to shore in advance of the approaching storm.

“They’re being put in a position where they would be ready to respond if weather improves,” Zukunft said.

So far, there are no signs that suggest workers will need to be evacuated, Zukunft said. But if that changes, they will be evacuated before an official order for evacuation is made by various parish presidents so as not to impede the evacuation process of coastal residents.

Bonnie was predicted to make landfall near Morgan City on Sunday about 2 p.m., with the potential error bubble stretching from an area west of Galveston, Texas, to Mobile, Ala., according to a forecast released by the National Hurricane Center late Thursday afternoon.

Day 93 In The Gulf: Four Transocean Employees Fail To Appear Before Coast Guard Inquiry

Four Transocean workers have refused to appear before the Coast Guard-Interior Department inquiry into the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drill rig, forcing the panel to cancel a Wednesday hearing into the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

All four worked on the doomed rig’s blowout preventer, the massive fail-safe device that has failed to cut off the undersea gusher at the heart of the disaster. They “declined to voluntarily appear” before the joint Coast Guard-Interior Department board investigating the sinking, the panel said in a statement canceling the hearing.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Bordelon said the men are from the Houston, Texas, area, as are many of the BP and Transocean employees slated to testify in upcoming hearings, and cited problems with travel arrangements for their cancellation. The rest of the week’s proceedings are expected to go on as planned, and the men’s testimony has been rescheduled for August in Houston, where the board plans its next round of hearings, she said.

“We don’t anticipate any problems for the rest of the week or the future set of hearings,” said Bordelon, a spokeswoman for the investigative board.

Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon, which sank two days after an April 20 explosion off Louisiana that left 11 crew members dead. It leased the platform to BP, the owner of the ruptured well, and BP, Transocean and cementing contractor Halliburton all have blamed each other for the disaster.

The investigative panel is charged with finding the cause of the disaster “to the fullest extent possible” and could refer any findings of misconduct to federal prosecutors. The panel has a January 2011 deadline for completing its report, Bordelon said.

Day 93 In The Gulf: BP Temporarily “Corks” Relief Tunnel

Vessels begin to leave Gulf drilling site

BP has temporarily corked a relief tunnel deep beneath the sea floor as tropical rainstorms move toward the Gulf of Mexico.
The tunnel will be used to blast mud and cement into BP’s leaky
well, hopefully sealing it off for good. But the threat of a tropical storm has prompted the oil giant to shut off the tunnel to keep it from being damaged.
BP vice president Kent Wells says the relief well was plugged Wednesday morning and drilling was halted.
Once the storm threat passes, they’ll remove the plug and resume
Forecasters say a tropical weather system likely will move into
the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. It has a 50 percent chance of
becoming a tropical depression or storm within the next 48 hours.

Congressperson Sheila Jackson Lee & The Two Vietnams, Living Side By Side In Peace


There is only one Vietnam today. South Vietnam ceased to exist in 1975 when it was overrun by Communist North Vietnam.

It is a ruled by a tolertarian government with one of the worst human rights records in the world.

Has she no shame?

This from Amnesty International:

Viet Nam: Catholic Priest should be unconditionally released

“Father Ly should never have been detained in the first place. His release should be unconditional and permanent and he should be allowed to receive proper medical care,” said Amnesty International’s Viet Nam researcher Brittis Edman. “This small positive step is happening against the backdrop of a deteriorating human rights situation, with 16 dissidents imprisoned in the last six months alone, and dozens more currently detained for criticism of government policies.”

Father Nguyen Van Ly, who is serving an eight year jail term for spreading “propaganda” against the state in 2007.

Ly, 63, is one of the founders of the internet-based pro-democracy movement “Bloc 8406” and participated in banned political groups.

Vietnamese dissidents’ trial a mockery of justice

Amnesty International has called for the immediate and unconditional release of four Vietnamese prisoners of conscience jailed on Wednesday for their peaceful pro-democracy activism.

In a trial lasting one day, a court in Ho Chi Minh City convicted the four dissidents of “activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” and sentenced them to between five and 16 years in prison.

“These people should never have been arrested in the first place, let alone charged and sentenced. The trial allowed no meaningful defense for the accused, demonstrating all too clearly the lack of tolerance for free speech and peaceful dissent, and the court’s lack of independence,” said Brittis Edman, Amnesty International’s Viet Nam researcher.

The sentences come against a backdrop of escalating repression against critics of the government. A new wave of arrests began in May 2009, targeting independent lawyers, bloggers and pro-democracy activists critical of government policies. Over 30 prisoners of conscience remain behind bars after unfair trials.

Presented by
T. Kumar
Advocacy Director for Asia & the Pacific
Amnesty International USA
July 12, 2006

Thank you Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members of this committee. Amnesty International is pleased to testify at this important hearing.

The human rights situation in Vietnam has been of concern to Amnesty International for years. We have published reports, news releases, and urgent actions to highlight the situation in Vietnam.

Amnesty International is totally independent of any government, political ideology or religious creed. We work for the promotion and protection of human rights laid down in international covenants. We consider these rights to be universal, indivisible, and interdependent.

While we focus on human rights we do not take a position on a number of issues including linking economic sanctions to human rights. Therefore, we do not take a position on Permanent Normal Trade Relations to Vietnam.

2006 has been described as a critical year for Vietnam. The WTO negotiations, the trade relations status, the APEC Summit in Hanoi in November and President Bush’s first ever visit to the country are some of the key features. Also manoeuvring the country through this pivotal period is a brand new government, nominated in late June following the 10th Party Congress.

Current Status of human rights

Key concerns:

• Restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and association.
• The use of national security legislation and the criminal code to suppress criticism of the government. Much of this vaguely worded ‘catch-all’ legislation contravenes international law and standards to which Viet Nam is a state party.
• The continuing imprisonment of political prisoners.
• The use of severely repressive practices in some ethnic minority areas — notably the Central Highlands.
• Independence of judiciary.
• Restrictions on religious freedoms — continued intolerance of non-state sanctioned religions and denominations
• The application of the death penalty

Deterioration in the following area:

• The internet is an area which appears to be worsening with arrests and secretive procedures.
• Amnesty International is concerned about how the new internet regulations will be used.

Improvements in the following areas:

• Political restrictions appear to have eased ahead of the upcoming APEC summit in November and the WTO negotiations.
• The recent openness in the debate about corruption scandal involving the Ministry of Transport. This scandal led to the first ever appearances for questioning by ministers before the National Assembly, which has investigated the allegations.
• For the first time, the assembly raised a more independent voice vis-à-vis the Communist Party. Parts of the hearings were broadcast on radio and television.


Media are State controlled, censored, and chiefly used as propaganda tools. However, the above mentioned corruption scandal has resulted in an increase in investigative reporting; the media played a role in placing the scandal in the public domain.

Independence of Judiciary

Politically related trials in past years have routinely concluded in a matter of hours, without due process and with heavy jail sentences handed down to those convicted. Accused are regularly held in incommunicado detention, and consequently family members are often refused access to prisoners. Vaguely worded “national security” and spying charges are often used for people who have never advocated use of violence, and thereby criminalize peaceful dissent.

The 2004 criminal procedure code introduced increased rights for defendants, and a new law on legal aid was adopted by the National Assembly last June. Despite this and the fact that legal aid is spreading through the National Legal Aid Agency, access to lawyers remains very limited, as does awareness about free of charge legal aid for poor and vulnerable. Access to lawyers is still distant.

Crackdown on Internet users

On July 1, 2006 a new decree on sanctions for “administrative violations in the culture and information sector” entered into force. Instead of promoting the use of the Internet as a tool for development and exchange, the decree is one in a string of laws, decrees, and decisions that stifles access to and use of the Internet.
Some worrying elements of the decree:
• Introduces further control and prior permission of use of the Internet and circulation of e-mails by the State.
• Introduces fines for journalists for publishing articles with anonymous sources, or refusing interviewees to read prior to publishing.
• Enables authorities to punish offences that are not in the Criminal Code
• Imposes fines of up to 30 million dong (2,000 US dollars), for disseminating “harmful” information by media. Local authorities and police appear to have discretion to define “harmful information”.
• Imposes fines for revealing “Party or State secrets” (up to 30 million dongs/2,000 dollars)

Following the 2002/2003 crackdown on the Internet, the following Prisoners of Conscience remain behind bars:
Dr Pham Hong Son, a 37-year-old businessman and qualified medical doctor, remains in detention since his arrest on March 27, 2002 after translating an article entitled “What is Democracy?” from the US embassy in Vietnam’s website, sending it to friends and party officials. He also wrote articles and shared information from the Internet with friends and government officials, and signed a petition to the authorities in August 2002 calling for peaceful political reform.

Following his arrest, Dr. Pham Hong Son was held in pre-trial detention in excess of the legally allowed six months before being brought to trial on June 18, 2003 on charges relating to espionage. He was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment plus three years’ house arrest on release at the end of the closed trial lasting only half a day. His sentence was reduced to five years’ imprisonment on appeal in August 2003.

Dr Pham Hong Son’s health has deteriorated during his imprisonment; he has been reported as suffering from an inguinal hernia and to be coughing blood, for which he has not received or been given access to appropriate medical care. In September 2004 he was moved from Ba Sao prison camp in Nam Ha province where other political prisoners were detained, to a remote prison camp of Yen Dinh, Thanh Hoa province, making family visits difficult. Dr Pham Hong Son is married with two children.

Nguyen Vu Binh, a 37-year-old journalist and writer, has been in detention since his arrest in September 2002. He worked as a journalist at the official Communist Party of Vietnam Journal and the Communist Review (Tap Chi Cong San) for almost ten years, before resigning to attempt to form an independent political party. His request for official permission received no response.

He was also one of several dissidents who attempted to form an Anti-Corruption Association in 2001. After submitting a written testimony on the human rights situation to the US Congress in July 2002 he was briefly detained.

A Directive issued by the Communist Party of Vietnam in early 2003 referred to Nguyen Vu Binh as having already been arrested and prosecuted for spying activities. However, at that time he had not been officially charged and continued to be detained until he was brought to trial on December 31, 2003, more than a year after his arrest. Nguyen Vu Binh was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, plus three years’ house arrest on release for “spying” under Article 80 of the Vietnam Criminal Code. Amongst the charges against him were that he “communicated via emails” with “reactionary” organizations overseas and disseminated information about human rights in Vietnam. The sentence was upheld on appeal on May 5, 2004.

Nguyen Vu Binh is held at Ba Sao prison camp in northern Nam Ha province. He is reported to be disciplined because he has refused to sign a “confession”: He is held in isolation without being regularly allowed to leave his cell for a few hours each day, while other prisoners are permitted. He is married with one child.

Recent Internet related arrests
Three brothers – Truong Quoc Huy, Truong Quoc Tuan, and Truong Quoc Nghia and Pham Ngoc Anh Dao, also known as Lisa Pham were arrested from a house in Ho Chi Minh City on October 19, 2005. They were arrested for taking part in an Internet chat room entitled “The voice of people in Viet Nam and Abroad”, hosted by PalTalk website, in which opinions about democracy and issues about Vietnam are exchanged. Truong Quoc Nghia was subsequently released, while the others were reportedly charged with attempting to overthrow the government under Article 79 “Carrying out activities aimed at overthrowing the people’s administration” of the Penal Code.

There has been no public information about where Truong Quoc Huy, Truong Quoc Tuan and Pham Ngoc Anh Dao may be detained, or whether they have been formally charged or tried. To the knowledge of Amnesty International there have been no court hearings of their case and the organization is concerned that they have been held in pre-trial detention for a period exceeding the legal maximum of six months.

Beside the arrests of these three, there have also been unconfirmed reports of an arrest on March 11, 2006 at an Internet café of another man who participated in a Paltalk discussion. The Vietnamese authorities have denied this arrest.

Status of released political prisoners
• Nguyen Khac Toan: A former soldier, math teacher and businessman, Nguyen Khac Toan was arrested in January 2002 for passing information by the Internet to overseas Vietnamese activist groups about farmers’ protests in Ha Noi. He also reportedly helped farmers draft petitions voicing disapproval over official corruption and land confiscation. He was tried on December 20, 2002 and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, plus three years house arrest on release for spying under Article 80 of the Criminal Code.

After serving one third of his prison sentence, Nguyen Khac Toan was unexpectedly released under a prisoner amnesty to mark the Lunar New Year in January 2006. Despite being told not to give media interviews following his release, Nguyen Khac Toan told international media that he had been required to undertake not to carry out any anti-government activities, to meet with other dissidents or to give newspaper and radio interviews.

He remains under police surveillance. In late February 2006 he and another political dissident, Do Nam Hai, were arrested at an Internet cafe in Ha Noi and taken for interrogation to the municipal police station. Toan was allegedly charged with violating conditions of his house arrest (after his release from prison he was required to serve three years of house arrest). Do Nam Hai was reportedly charged with violating Decree 55, which prohibits people from accessing banned Internet websites. Amnesty International continues to consider Nguyen Khac Toan a prisoner of conscience and calls for all restrictions in place during his house arrest to be lifted immediately.

• Dr Nguyen Dan Que, 64, who has spent some 20 out of the last 28 years in prison for advocating for human rights and political reform, was last imprisoned in March 2003. He was released in February 2005 after having served 23 months in prison of a 30 month sentence. Since his release he has remained under surveillance and has occasionally been harassed, most recently on June 8, when a group of public security agents and police reportedly entered and searched his home — without showing a warrant. Dr Que has not been allowed to have access to the Internet until only two months ago, in May 2006. His telephone line remains cut off.

Statements by released political prisoners
Since his release, Nguyen Khac Toan has briefly described the conditions of detention at Ba Sao prison camp, Nam Ha province, stating that 241 political prisoners were detained in just one Section of the Ba Sao Prison. Some 225 of these are reportedly ethnic Christian Montagnards arrested in connection with the 2001 and 2004 demonstrations. Others are political prisoners serving 20-30 year sentences.

Another list, compiled by UBCV monk Thich Thien Minh, who was released in February 2005 after 26 years in re-education camp, contains the names of 66 religious and political prisoners, many of them old and sick, in Z30A Camp in Xuan Loc, southern Dong Nai province. Several of these prisoners have been detained for decades and are obliged to perform hard labour despite their poor health.


The situation of Montagnards in the Central Highlands remains a cause for concern, illustrated for example by the continued trickle of asylum seekers making their way across the border into Cambodia.

Vietnamese officials reportedly continue to violate the right to religious freedom in parts of the Central Highlands, pressuring Christians who belong to independent house churches to renounce their religion or to pledge loyalty to the state sanctioned ECVN. The right to freedom of movement is restricted for those involved in religious activities that are not endorsed by the government.

Also, peaceful dissent, certain religious activity, and attempts to seek refuge in Cambodia continue to be deemed criminal, while the Vietnamese government accuses Montagnard activists to use the issue of religion as a cover for separatist political activities.

Over 250 highlanders have been imprisoned since 2001. At least eighty people were arrested in 2005 alone and around 140 people were sentenced to prison terms during the same year. They were charged in connection with the 2001 and April 2004 protests about land ownership, religious freedom, and for assisting people to leave for Cambodia.

Status of returned Montagnard refugees
The January 2005 MoU between Vietnam, Cambodia and UNHCR appears to have been violated by Vietnamese authorities, who have detained, questioned, and in some instances severely mistreated people who sought sanctuary in Cambodian refugee camps but subsequently have returned to Vietnam.

Amnesty International has raised concerns about the MoU, which the organization believes contains gaps that diminish the protection of the asylum seekers’ fundamental human rights, particularly those who are returned to Vietnam.

The Vietnamese authorities are obliged under the agreement not to punish returnees for illegally having left the country, but this does not preclude punishment for religious or political beliefs. It has been reported that police and other authority representatives have ill-treated — placing under surveillance or house arrest, detained, interrogated and possibly even tortured — some of those who returned.

UNHCR has undertaken several brief monitoring visits to returnees and returned with positive findings. However, Amnesty International remains concerned that such short and highly visible monitoring visits are carried out in coordination with the authorities that UNHCR is meant to monitor. In light of the fear on the part of returnees and people related to the hundreds of people detained or imprisoned, as well as credible reports about ill-treatment, Amnesty International repeats calls for the authorities to allow unrestricted access to assess the human rights situation in the Central Highlands for independent and international human rights monitors, such as the UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture, on Religious Intolerance, and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

The lack of such access and the continued crackdown against particularly Christian Montagnards violate the basic human rights that Vietnam is obligated to uphold as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Religious persecution

Not only are Montagnard Christians repressed by the state; religious practice remains under the strict control of the authorities, despite the releases in 2005 of several religious dissidents and the issuing of instructions intended to facilitate official recognition of churches. Members of churches seen as opposing state policies keep being harassed, arrested, and imprisoned, while church property has been destroyed, most recently — to the knowledge of Amnesty International — a small Mennonite church in Ho Chi Minh City in May 2006.

Despite several welcome prison releases, especially in 2005, the senior leadership of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam (UBCV) remain under house arrest, including 86-year-old Supreme Patriarch Thich Huyen Quang, and his deputy Thich Quang Do. In Opinion 18 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) in October 2005 proclaimed their detention as arbitrary, in contravention of article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The WGAD called for the Vietnamese government to urgently remedy this ongoing breach of international law.

Of the religious dissidents and prisoners of conscience released in 2005, some individuals, such as UBCV Buddhist monk Thich Thien Mien and Catholic priest Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, are facing varying levels of surveillance, restriction and intimidation, illustrating how Vietnamese believers appear to enjoy freedom of worship at the individual level, but not systematic freedom of religion.

Death penalty — A State Secret

In February 2006 the Ministry of Public Security proposed a reduction in the number of offences punishable by the death penalty “in tune with the general tendency around the world, which Vietnam should follow”. The proposal, submitted to the central judicial reform commission for consideration, recommended that economic crimes such as fraud and embezzlement, smuggling, counterfeiting and bribery no longer be capital offences. It is reported that other offences punishable by death are also under consideration, and that the number of capital offences may be reduced from 29 to 20.

This welcome step, should it take effect in law, adds urgency to Amnesty International’s calls for an immediate moratorium on all executions, and outstanding cases where death sentences have been imposed for economic offences.

The last known execution for economic crimes took place on March 21, 2006, when Phung Long That, the former head of the anti-smuggling investigating division of the Ho Chi Minh City customs department, was shot by firing squad. He had been sentenced to death in April 1999 after being convicted of accepting bribes and smuggling goods worth 70 million USD.
Currently the death penalty in Vietnam is optional for economic crimes such as smuggling, counterfeiting, embezzlement, offering bribes when it involves property and money valued over specified amounts. Other offences for which the death penalty is applicable include murder, rape, drug trafficking and national security crimes.

The reporting on the death penalty in Vietnam is sketchy since regulations have classified dissemination of such statistics a state secret. According to official media sources, at least 21 people were executed and 65 people including six women were sentenced to death in 2005, but the true figures were believed to be much higher.

The 2006 Manifesto

In April 2006 a public petition calling for “freedom and democracy” was launched on the Internet, with a total of 118 original signatories, including prominent dissidents and former political prisoners from Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City. To date the so-called 2006 Manifesto on Freedom and Democracy for Vietnam has been signed by over 1,000 people, domestically as well as by dissidents abroad. Despite this interest it has so far not been met with any concerted repressive measures.

Among the initiators of the April appeals are both Nguyen Khac Toan and Reverend Nguyen Van Ly mentioned earlier, plus at least three of those arrested in the 2002/2003 Internet crackdown who were subsequently released: Colonel Pham Que Duong, 74, a retired colonel in the Vietnamese Army, military historian and former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Military history, Professor Tran Khue, 70, a former professor of Vietnamese and Chinese literature and writer, and Tran Dung Tien, 77, a military veteran.

The ways in which this petition and its signatories will be tackled by the new government and leadership will be a clear indicator in the months ahead of how committed they are to their obligations under international and national law.


• Lift all the restrictions on using internet for peaceful purposes and to repeal restrictive laws.
• End the use of national security legislation to stifle freedom of expression and association.
• Immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience.
• Allow independent and impartial agencies, e.g. the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, on religious intolerance, and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, unfettered access to the Central Highlands and to other areas to monitor and investigate allegations of human rights violations.
• Initiate full and independent investigations into allegations of human rights violations against the Montagnard minority, and to bring perpetrators to justice in accordance with international standards.
• Take steps to allow freedom of religious practice to members of all churches, regardless of whether they are state-sanctioned, without conditions.
• Take steps to reduce the number of capital offences and ensure that prisoners remaining on death row who have been convicted of non-violent economic crimes are not executed and that their sentences are commuted and move towards abolition of the death penalty.

Thank you.

T. Kumar
Advocacy Director for Asia & the Pacific
Amnesty International USA

Phone: (202)544-0200, ext:224
Fax: (202)546-7142

Day 87 In The Gulf:Leak Foils BP Effort to Choke Gusher With Cap

Photo Posted 07/15/2010

NEW ORLEANS — BP engineers working to choke the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico found a leak on a line attached to the side of the new well cap and were trying to fix it Thursday before attempting to stop the flow of crude.

BP said Wednesday evening it had isolated the leak and was repairing it before moving forward. It wasn’t clear how it would affect the timing of the operation, or whether oil continued to be slowly closed off into the cap.

Work started earlier Wednesday after a day-long hiatus to allay government fears that the disaster could be made worse by going forward with the tests to determine whether the temporary cap can withstand the pressure and contain the oil. It was the best hope yet of stopping the crude from streaming into the water for the first time since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 people.

The process began with BP shutting off pipes that were funneling some of the oil to ships on the surface so the full force of the gusher went up into the cap. Then deep-sea robots began slowly closing, one at a time, three openings in the cap that let oil pass through. Ultimately, the flow of crude will be blocked entirely.

Photo Posted 07/11/2010 - Where Is The Leak?

All along, engineers were watching pressure readings to learn whether the well is intact. The first two valves shut off like a light switch, while the third works more like a dimmer and takes longer to close off. The leak was found in the line attached to the dimmer switch, but live video footage showed that oil previously spewing from other sources on the cap remained closed off.

Work started earlier Wednesday after a day-long hiatus to allay government fears that the disaster could be made worse by going forward with the tests to determine whether the temporary cap can withstand the pressure and contain the oil. It was the best hope yet of stopping the crude from streaming into the water for the first time since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

The process began with BP shutting off pipes that were funneling some of the oil to ships on the surface so the full force of the gusher went up into the cap. Then deep-sea robots began slowly closing, one at a time, three openings in the cap that let oil pass through. Ultimately, the flow of crude will be blocked entirely.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Obama administration’s point man on the disaster, said a committee of scientists and

07/14/2010 Close up of area just above current leak - where is the oil?

engineers will monitor the results and assess every six hours, and end the test after 48 hours to evaluate the findings.

“I was gung-ho for this test and I remain gung-ho for this test,” he said Wednesday.

If the cap works, it will enable BP to stop the oil from gushing into the sea, either by holding all the oil inside the well machinery like a stopper or, if the pressure is too great, channeling some through lines to as many as four collection ships.

The cap — a 75-ton metal stack of lines and valves — was lowered onto the well on Monday in hopes of either bottling up the oil inside the well machinery, or capturing it and funneling it to the surface. But before BP could test the equipment, the government intervened because of concerns about whether the buildup of pressure from the gushing oil could rupture the walls of the well and make the leak worse.

Read the story of why the Obama Administration allowed oil to flow unchecked into the Gulf for two days here: DAY 86 In The Gulf: All Work Stopped On New Cap And Relief Wells – Oil Flows Unchecked Into Gulf

Update: 07/15/2010 –  The Oil Has Stopped!

BP: No oil leaking into Gulf from busted well

NEW ORLEANS – BP says oil from its broken well has stopped gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since April.

The announcement Thursday came after company officials said all valves had been shut on a new cap over the busted well in an experiment to stop the spill.

Kent Wells, a BP PLC vice president, said at a news briefing that oil stopped flowing into the water at 2:25 p.m. CDT.

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