Archive for January, 2008

Planet of the Islamic Apes

By Randy Taylor, Independent Analyst

13 January 2008: I recently was able to view some of my favorite movies with all the various channels playing back to back marathons of movies during the holiday. One of my favorites has always been the “Planet of the Apes” series. As a child, these were fascinating films so I figured a replay was in order.

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IslamOnline & “How to Behead:” Hate speech without condemnation

The path to publication of a perverse instructional missive by a convicted terrorist amid the silence of a CAIR-Canada board member associated with the web site of publication.

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

12 January 2008: While the people in the West were ringing in the New Year with their renditions of Auld Land Syne, IslamOnline.net published a “poem” titled How to Behead” (copied in its entirety at the end of this article). The written composition, promoted under the pretext of art, is weighted more with gruesome instruction and perverse elation rather than artistic conceptualization. The decision to post the “poem” in the venue on which it appears, and that it was written by a convicted terrorist from the UK is exponentially more important than what has been written about it on various Internet Blogs and forums known for their generally superficial reporting of the musings and utterances of militant Islamists.

In the Muslim world as well as in the West, the Internet web site IslamOnline.net is a very popular “go-to” site for all things Muslim, and many Muslims consider it to represent the moderate views of Islam. Having been in existence prior to the millennium, the web site bills itself as “[T]he first interactive portal offering an in-depth look at Islam, Muslim societies, and the world through Muslim eyes, featuring information on current events and discovering Islam. IslamOnline.net is an independent and balanced media outlet…”

The site’s “Meta Description,” or internal HTML coding used to describe the site for search engines defines the site as follows: “IslamOnline.net (IOL) is a web-portal that informs about Islam, its sciences, its civilization, and its nation. It presents a moderate Islamic perspective. It offers Islamic verdicts on everything related to the Islamic Shari`ah. It provides Arabic, Islamic, and world news. It is concerned about Muslim affairs, arts and cultures, youth problems, marriage and gender issues, and health and science.” [Emphasis mine]

Closer investigation shows that in the virtual world, IslamOnline.net is heavily linked to a number of U.S. and Canadian based Islamic organizations, including but not limited to: the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and CAIR-Canada, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA). These are not random links, as investigation found that members of each organization play at least some role in the maintenance and perpetuation of IslamOnline.net. Therefore, it is a reasonable extrapolation that IslamOnline.net and the other organizations referenced above share at least some of the same religious doctrine and ideology. The marriages of philosophy between the individuals and organization are evident within the fabric of IslamOnline, a fabric that is threadbare, thus exposing their anti-West, anti-U.S. and pro-Islamist movements inside North America.

By active association, IslamOnline.net provides a convenient vehicle for disseminating the violent and virulent messages of Islamic fundamentalism that groups like CAIR and CAIR-Canada publicly condemn on one hand, yet apparently permit and even privately facilitate on the other. It is in this manner that such organizations, at least at first blush, seemingly can have it both ways, publicly condemning violence when the suggestions of advocating or approving violence are direct, yet sitting in apparent tacit approval of violent content when the association is not quite as apparent to those unwilling to do the research.

The article “How to Behead” is a clear example of this tactic in action.

By their own proclamation, IslamOnline.net provides “verdicts on everything related to the Shari’ah,” or Islamic law. One active arbiter of Shari’ah on behalf of IslamOnline.net is Jamal BADAWI, (pictured at left) an Egyptian born Muslim Canadian Professor Emeritus at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. BADAWI is also a sitting board member of CAIR-Canada. As an aside, BADAWI was also a featured guest speaker at a three-day conference held last year in Doha, Qatar that honored HAMAS spiritual leader Youssef Al-Qaradawi.

Accordingly, there is an undeniable and active relationship between Jamal BADAWI,a CAIR-Canada board member, and IslamOnline.net, where he is also a recognized scholar and published resource on Shari’ah law on which the grotesque missive, obviously aimed at non-Muslim infidels, was published. Conspicuously absent is any condemnation by BADAWI, CAIR-Canada, CAIR or other organizations closely related or linked to islamOnline.net. This illustration of duplicity is also evident by CAIR and their numerous, well-trained spokespersons, who are the first to vociferously object to anything that could be considered hate speech against Muslims.

Apparently, the perverse presentation “How to Behead” lacks the necessary objectionable elements that comprise hate speech as condemnation is non-existent from the various Muslim advocacy groups and their spokespersons.

The convoluted path to publication does not rest there, however. As referenced, the author of this demented work published by IslamOnline.net is 23 year-old Samina MALIK, (left) the self-described “Lyrical Terrorist” and the first woman to be convicted under Great Britain’s new terrorist laws. MALIK was convicted in November of possessing and disseminating a library of material for terrorism, including instructional manuals on explosives, poisons, martyrdom and jihad. She was a member of the Muslim terrorist organization Jihad Way, which is group established to assist Islamic Jihad through the dissemination of terrorist propaganda and martyrdom motivational materials. Last month, MALIK received a nine month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, for one count of possessing an article useful to a person committing, or preparing an act of terrorism. But there’s more.

In addition to being a self-styled lyricist, MALIK was also an employee of a branch of WH Smiths on the airside of Heathrow airport - inside the security perimeter of the airport.

During her employment at Heathrow, authorities found that MALIK was in e-mail contact with Sohail Anjum QURESHI, 29, a Pakistani resident of Forest Gate in East London. QURESHI, a dental assistant by profession, was arrested at Heathrow on November 16, 2006, before boarding a flight to Islamabad on a mission of Islamic jihad. Ultimately, QURESHI admitted to three-(3) charges of preparing or commissioning terrorist acts, possessing articles likely to be used in a terror act and possessing records likely to be useful in terrorism.

According to court records, IslamOnline.net contributor Samina MALIK provided QURESHI inside information about the status of airport security via e-mail, in an effort to assist him to circumvent airport security. Last week, Qureshi was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for plotting terrorist attacks.

It is evident that the mere publication of “How to Behead” is not sufficiently offensive to the “moderate” Islamic web site IslamOnline.net or a board member of the adamantly “mainstream” Council on American Islamic Relations – Canada. Nor is it sufficiently outrageous that the article was written by a convicted Islamic terrorist and facilitator of jihad operations against non-Muslims.

The West must wake up and understand that outrage over and allegations of “hate speech” are nothing more than selectively applied tactics used to repress the truth relative to Islam.

How to Behead Hold himTie the arms behind his back

And bandage his legs together

Just by the ankles

Blindfold the punk

So that he won’t hesitate as much

For on seeing the sharp pointy knife

He’ll begin to shake

And continuously scream like an eedyat

And jiggle like a jelly

Trust me–this will sure get you angry

It’s better to have at least two or three brothers by your side

Who can hold the fool

Because as soon as the warm sharp knife

Touches his naked flesh

He’ll come to know what’ll happen

It’s not as messy or as hard as some may think,

It’s all about the flow of the wrist.

No doubt that the punk will twitch and scream

But ignore the donkey’s ass

And continue to slice back and forth

You’ll feel the knife hit the wind and food pipe

But don’t stop

Continue with all your might.

About now you should feel the knife vibrate,

You can feel the warm heat being given off,

But this is due to the friction being caused.

Two state car chase - man claims to have explosives

9 January 2008: Yousef Abdel ADHAMI, (a/k/a Joseph ADHAMI), 38, who lists his address as 2110 Market Street, Youngstown, Ohio was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police on Monday following a car chase that began in Ohio and ended in a brief standoff in Pennsylvania after ADHAMI claimed to have a bomb strapped to his chest. The suspect was arrested early Tuesday morning by Pennsylvania State Police in a cornfield along PA Route 318, west of Greenfield Road in Lackawannock Township.

Police from Hubbard Township, Ohio began chasing ADHAMI late Monday night, notifying Pennsylvania State Police shortly before 11:00 pm. They picked up the chase and ultimately stopped ADHAMI after he drove his Dodge Neon into a cornfield and threatened to set off explosives. After searching ADHAMI and finding a solid object on his person, police summoned the Explosives Ordnance Disposal Unit from Pittsburgh, PA. Officers from that unit searched the suspect and his vehicle, finding no explosives.

ADHAMI was taken into custody and is charged with fleeing police, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction. His bail was set at $75,000 after he was arraigned by District Justice Lorinda Hinch. He is currently in the Mercer County Jail.

According to the police source speaking to the Northeast Intelligence Network on the condition of anonymity, ADHAMI is no stranger to law enforcement. He was stopped by Ohio Highway Patrol on 29 June 2000 for traveling 85 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 76, west of SR 534. He is also awaiting trial in Ohio on charges of petty theft, stemming from an arrest on 28 December 2007 by the Austintown Police Department.

According to property records, the address used by ADHAMI is a used car lot owned by AWAMAN Enterprises, Inc. The Northeast Intelligence Network is continuing to investigate this incident.

The Enemy Within Our Citadel

“’Islam is a religion of peace’ is fine for public policy statements, but is not and cannot be the point of departure for competent military or intelligence analysis…it is in fact a logical flaw under any professional research methodology…you have stated the conclusion before you have done the analysis.” – LTC Joseph Myers

By Sean Osborne, Associate Director, Military Affairs

8 January 2008: Over the past couple of weeks, I have made much of the revelation from Bill Gertz’ “Inside the Ring” that Major (US Army Reserve) Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon Joint Staff’s Islamic law specialist was the apparent victim of an Islamofascist conspiracy, the intent and substance of which was noted by Gertz as an effort “to try and discredit Major Coughlin as a ‘Christian extremist with a pen’ and force him out of the building.

What was it that our Pentagon expert on Islam did with his pen that so upset the Islamofascists within the Pentagon? Major Coughlin dared to specifically identify in an official memorandum the extremist Islamofascist organizations (read: “front groups”) within the United States to whom our Department of Defense is running an “outreach” program. This “outreach” program is under the leadership of Hasham ISLAM, a close and pro-Islamofascist aide to Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England.

Which of several pro-Islamofascist groups did Major Coughlin identify with his pen as having direct ties to the extremist Muslim Brotherhood (al-Muslimuun al-Ikhwan)? The Islamic Society of North America for one. Anyone who has spend a modicum of time reading and listening to the principals of the Northeast Intelligence Network for at least the last six months should know by rote the inter-relationships being referenced by Major Steven Coughlin in his memorandum, particularly in our coverage of the Holy Land Foundation trial (declared, in part, a mistrial) in Dallas, Texas.

On Friday, January 4, Bill Gertz again led all media in breaking the news about what transpired within the Pentagon regarding Major Coughlin’s memorandum. He has been sacked, fired from his job at the end of his contract in March 2008. The Islamofascist’s and their Dhimmi’s within the United States Department of Defense have won the day and silenced a truth-teller. How is it we are waging this war against the supremacist ideology of Islam when its most devout adherents are embedded within the U.S. department tasked to engage and defeat them across the entire planet?

I’ll say it point blank - the United States Department of Defense has been compromised at the Joint Staff level by the very Islamofascist enemy we are fighting. No question about it.

In keeping with my long-established ‘Rules of Engagement’ with Lt. Col Joseph Myers, I was very reluctant to publish his private e-mail correspondence I received last Friday. That e-mail was also sent to many other people, and in a subsequent overtaking by events, has been published, albeit unauthorized, across the internet. LTC Myers’ email is a reaction to Bill Gertz most recent “Inside the Ring” column linked above. Since the e-mail has already been widely rebroadcast across the Internet, I’m sharing Joe’s e-mail with all of you, direct from my inbox. He nails it as usual. It is imperative that everyone who is interested in WINNING the war we are fighting – and interested in understanding why we are NOT winning, needs to read the words of LTC Myers carefully:

MAJ (USAR) Stephen Coughlin is to my knowledge the only Islamic Law scholar on the Joint Staff…

He is a lawyer by training and a reserve Military Intelligence Officer. His first interface with Islamic Law began in Pakistan where he was investigating and prosecuting an intellectual property rights case about 10 years ago. Reviewing Pakistani property rights law, he kept seeing footnoted references to the Quran and sharia law…

I have long argued and wondered why our military from senior leaders down to tactical level are so unread and unstudied on Islam, jihad in Islam, even the topic of terrorism. I have often contrasted this unconscionable wartime state of affairs, with the due diligence the US military showed since I was a cadet at West Point 30 years ago, where we lived, ate, slept and drank Soviet warfighting doctrine…it was the threat we oriented on and we developed our own doctrine around– “AirLand Battle” in the early 1980’s.

Yet today we are in the process of prosecuting war, that from doctrinal perspective, we fundamentally do not understand. Over two years I have had 90 of the Army’s top majors come through ACSC, across all branches including MI and special operations forces, and only one had read a book with the title Understanding Terror Networks, that by Marc Sageman…

Just before Christmas I presented a lecture on Understanding Terrorist and Insurgent Support Systems to an interagency audience at the Joint Special Operations University, that included Joint Staff and Joint Command officers, DIA and other IC reps, DHS and law enforcement… there, two people had read Sageman’s work…two out of the special ops community. The third individual was Sageman himself.

More importantly we have not studied Islamic Law and few have seen or heard of even the English translation of it that has been in print for years, none had at JSOU or had read a work titled Understanding Jihad or even The Quranic Concept of War…I can go on but let me be frank.

This failure of intellectual preparation is a leadership failure, and it is as the 9-11 Commission warned, a failure of vision.

We have spent much intellectual capitol revamping and analyzing our own doctrine as it relates to counterinsurgency…it’s time we do our homework on the threat.

Coughlin has briefed senior Marine Corps leaders and staff and has presented his thesis in various military educational venues…by all accounts the veil of ignorance is lifted for all but only a few who are afraid to face what Islamic Law, doctrinal Islam, says and means with respect to jihad and how it plays out across the Islamic world from al Qaida, to the Saudi government, to Pakistan to the Muslim Brotherhood…

What Coughlin did was provide the epiphany in his over 300-page Joint Military Intelligence College thesis titled, “To Our Great Detriment”: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad” that is meticulously documented and powerfully argued.

In short, he argues we have in fact intellectually pre-empted our military decision making process and intelligence preparation of the battlefield process, the critical step 3—“evaluate the threat.” Strategically we have failed to do that by substituting policy for military analysis, for substituting cliché for competent decision processes.

We began on September 12, 2001 with “Islam is a religion of peace” which soothed ideological sentiments of many but has failed us strategically, short-stopped the objective evaluation of the doctrine of the enemy we face.

“Islam is a religion of peace” is fine for public policy statements, but is not and cannot be the point of departure for competent military or intelligence analysis…it is in fact a logical flaw under any professional research methodology…you have stated the conclusion before you have done the analysis.

If one has studied the implication of the Holy Land Foundation trial discovery documents as I have, as a former DIA senior military analyst, and understanding as even Bill Gertz has written in his book, Enemies about the dismal record of our counter-intelligence one has to wonder and question the extent we are in fact penetrated in government and academia by foreign agents of influence, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists and those who truly in essence do not share our social compact.

The termination of Stephen Coughlin on the Joint Staff is an act of intellectual cowardice.

We can only hope he can be positioned in his next venue to continue to educate our military for the fight we are in– if we don’t understand the war and the enemy we are engaged against we remain vulnerable and we cannot win.

No victory in the war on terror.

Have your say: Comment on the NEIN Blog HERE.

Anti-missile technology & American Airlines Flight 612 Revisited

6 January 2008: The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that passenger jets will be outfitted with anti-missile technology designed to thwart terrorists armed with shoulder fired missiles. According to the Department of Homeland Security, three American Airlines Boeing 767-200s, flying daily round-trip routes between New York and California will receive laser jamming capabilities this spring in a test of the anti-missile system.

From the FAA to the DHS and beyond, the American flying public has been told that the threat against our aircraft by shoulder-fired missiles, or MANPADS, is “very low.” We have been told that “there has not been an attempt to take down a jet on U.S. soil with a shoulder-fired missile.” On the other hand, we have been warned about potential attacks against our aircraft by such devices due to their portable and lightweight design, and the relative ease of their availability on the black market. In fact, one component of a recent terrorism investigation and conviction involved the leaders of a mosque in Albany, NY and the attempted acquisition of a shoulder-fired missile.

The Northeast Intelligence Network has been consistently warning about ongoing threats to our airliners, from the insufficiently explained incidents involving lasers “painting” aircraft, surveillance activities at our airports, to unexplained incidents involving airliners in flight. One such incident took place on November 26, 2005, involving American Airlines Flight 612 - an incident that was extensively reported by this agency and continues to be under investigation.

In the wake of last week’s announcement, it would be of interest to revisit the incident involving American Airlines Flight 612.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO: PILOT TO LAX

COMPLETE ARTICLE

National Security Risk: Bird flu pandemic on the horizon?

SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORTBy Douglas J. Hagmann, Director & Paul Bartling, Assistant Director

*The H5N1 strain has killed over half of all the people who have contracted it. The Spanish flu of 1918, in contrast, killed 40 million people, was fatal in fewer than one in 10 cases.

*The bird flu is 38 times more infectious than SARS.

*On January 17, 2006, it was reported that a U.S. avian flu pandemic on the scale of one that took place in 1918 could take the lives of an estimated 1.9 million people and cost the life insurance industry $133 billion in extra death claims, according to a study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute.

5 January 2008: It was in October 2005 when Paul Bartling, a licensed investigator and assistant director of the Northeast Intelligence Network reported that we were not being told the whole truth about the deadly H5N1 virus – more commonly known as the “bird flu.” Mr. Bartling sounded the alarm about this virulent and deadly virus, providing ample evidence that the virus was not only capable of human to human transmission despite the many publicized denials of federal health officials, but that actual cases of such transmissions were being held under wraps because of the ominous implications a pandemic could have to our national security. The news this week confirms what this agency has reported over two years agothe deadly H5N1 virus can be (and has) been passed through “human to human” infection and poses a significant health risk, yet the majority of people remain aloof and uneducated, or at least dangerously ignorant about the deadly ramifications of the bird flu. Additionally, health officials are continuing to downplay the significance of this latest report and obfuscate the facts about the potential for a pandemic unlike anything the world has seen to date.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Thursday, a case of human to human infection of the H5N1 bird flu virus was confirmed in Pakistan. The WHO confirmed the transmission of the virus through tests in special laboratories located in London and Cairo. Although H5N1 has been described in published reports as being 38 times more infectious than SARS, health officials stated that “there was no apparent risk of it spreading further.”

The most recent case in Pakistan offers perhaps the most blatant proof of human to human transmission of this most lethal virus. It involved an outbreak of up to nine people from late October through December, 2007. According to reports there, a veterinary doctor in the Peshawar region developed what was thought to be pneumonia. Shortly thereafter, three of his brothers developed similar symptoms. One died on November 23, however the cause of death was classified as “unknown.” On November 28, 2007, just five days after the first man died of “unknown causes,” another brother died. Medical tests on that man confirmed the presence of the H5N1 virus and ultimately verified the human to human transmission.

Despite the H5N1 virus not only having broken the species barrier but now confirmed by the World health Organization as being transmitted between humans, a WHO spokesman told Reuters on Thursday that all the evidence “suggests that the outbreak within this family does not pose a broader risk.”

It is difficult to understand how such a conclusion can be reached in the face of substantial evidence to the contrary.

Worst case scenario

On December 5, 2005, US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt reported that U.S. federal authorities are preparing to handle a possible avian flu pandemic in the by contemplating a worst-case scenario. According to that scenario, more than 92 million people will become ill in the space of four months. The projections are based on the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic that killed about 50 million people around the world and emerged as the most serious pandemic of the 20th century.

In a meeting with officials from each U.S. states and various local governments, Leavitt modeled preparedness planning after the 1918 pandemic. “The H5N1 virus we are concerned about currently resembles the triggering virus in 1918,” stated Leavitt.

According to mathematical projections used by Washington, everything begins with an epidemic that breaks out in Thailand in a small village, where the H5N1 virus has hypothetically mutated and acquired the ability to transmit among humans. At the time of the 2005 meeting with the various state officials, Leavitt stated that human to human transmission “has not yet occurred.” He added, “So far the virus has been jumping from birds to humans, but scientists believe it is just a matter of time before it learns how to move from human to human.”

The worst case scenario painted two years ago is frightening. Under the catastrophic scenario modeled after the 1918 pandemic, the bird flu could turn into a pandemic in just several weeks, spreading first in Asia before reaching Europe and the American continent 50 days later.

At the end of week six, Americans will see 722,000 pandemic cases in the United States, by week nine — 37.4 million, by week 12 — 90.8 million, and by the end of week 16, 92.2 million cases, according to Leavitt. “The reality is … pandemics happen,” the secretary said.

“When it comes to a pandemic, we are overdue and we are underprepared.”

NOVEMBER 2005 INTERVIEW: Noted Immunologist Explains How China Is Mishandling Bird FluSound of Hope Radio: Our subject today is a very popular topic: the bird flu. For many, when they hear the words “bird flu,” they become very fearful. Why is that? Because it is spreading not only in Asia but also in Europe via Russia. Many countries have taken or are contemplating measures to prevent bird flu.

In today’s program, we’d first like to ask Dr. Lili Feng to tell us about bird flu. What is it? What is the H5N1 virus?

Dr. Lilli Feng: There are two ways to classify bird flu. This is just a general classification. There are more detailed categories.

The first way to classify it is to differentiate by nucleoprotein and matrix protein. Nucleoprotein and matrix protein allow influenza viruses to be classified as types: A, B and C. Subtype A can be further divided based on the surface protein: one is hemagglutinin and the other is neuraminidase. H stands for hemagglutinin and N for neuraminidase. These can then be subdivided into other categories. For example, H has 16 subtypes, and N has nine subtypes.

Hemagglutinin (H) is a very important protein that is related to virus proliferation and pathogenic ability. It can be categorized even further, based on whether protease can be cleaved in different areas of the body, such as the lungs, small intestines or throughout the body. It could also be categorized according to whether the virus will cause regional or whole-body infections. The virus can also be categorized into highly pathogenic or less pathogenic according to its area of infection. Less pathogenic means that the infection is regional. Highly pathogenic viruses include the H5 type that people often hear about. Actually, both H5 and H7 are highly pathogenic viruses.

SOH: So the H5N1 type bird flu we often hear about is a highly pathogenic virus?

Dr. Feng: Yes. It can multiply in any part of the body, because every part of the body has the kind of protease needed to cleave it.

SOH: We have heard of bird flu before, but it didn’t seem so scary in the past. For example, in the last century, I think bird flu occurred in Spain and caused a lot of deaths. The most recent research says that the type of flu in Spain was the same bird flu we have now.

Dr. Feng: This is not entirely accurate, although it’s easy to make that mistake. In 1918, when the Spanish flu occurred, the lungs of most of those who died were completely destroyed. After very careful research, scientists found three people whose lungs remained relatively well and used a technology called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to get the virus.
Actually, the bird flu in Spain was not H5N1, but H1N1, a less pathogenic type of virus. I will talk about their differences. This was discussed in an article in Nature in 2004. It was very interesting. Its symptoms were similar to today’s, but there were differences, too.

SOH: In other words, it was also bird flu, but of a different kind. It wasn’t as bad as what we have now.

Dr. Feng: Yes, it was less pathogenic.

SOH: Yet a lot of people died back then.

Dr. Feng: Yes. There is also some confusion about this. A lot of people say that 20 million people died. Actually, the number could have reached 100 million. At that time, the world’s population was 1.8 billion. Imagine what 100 million deaths must have felt like! Many magazines and newspaper did not record the details of what happened, but one book was very thorough, and I would recommend it. The book is titled Flu, and the author is Gina Kolata.

SOH: Actually, in China for decades we called bird flu “chicken plague.” It was pretty common, especially in rural China. Why is it getting so much attention around the world?

Dr. Feng: Many experts have been studying the cycle of bird flu. Scientific research has found a few factors that can help us better understand the disease. First, the H1N1 virus that spread widely in 1918 was of low pathogenicity. Only enzymes in the lungs and intestines are able to cleave H1N1. But this year’s H5N1 virus is of high pathogenicity. Also, the H1N1 virus was transferred from fowls to people through pigs; that’s why it wasn’t so severe. But the H5N1 virus this year can directly infect people. Although infections between humans have not yet occurred, and the virus has not mutated to spread among people, the situation is still severe. It is much worse than H1N1 from 1918.

The second factor is the history of contagious diseases. It’s been almost 100 years since the bird flu pandemic in 1918. Since 1957, flu pandemics happened almost once every ten years: the Asian flu in 1957 by the H2N2 virus, the Hong Kong flu in 1968 by the H3N2 virus and the 1977 Russian flu by H1N1. Since Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule in 1997, the flu has been happening more frequently. In 1997, H5N1 spread in Hong Kong. In 1999, H3N2 spread in Hong Kong. The only case where the H5N1 virus didn’t occur in Hong Kong was in 2003, when it appeared in Holland. In 2004, H7N7 was found in Hong Kong. Also in 2004, H5N1 hit Asia. These occurrences have gone far beyond what scientists predicted. That’s why scientists are warning the public now.

The third factor was that the 1918 flu killed so many people in spite of being a less pathogenic virus, and occurred in an era with less developed transportation and lower population density. Can you imagine what could happen today, in 2005? International travel and high population density are hotbeds for infections.

The fourth factor is that there is no pharmaceutical medicine that can effectively curb the problem. The pharmaceutical medicines we now have to fight bird flu are somewhat effective, but I don’t think they can control the bird flu if it mutates. Tamiflu only inhibits and relieves the symptoms. Nobody knows if it can truly solve the problem.

SOH: I’d like to follow up on your last point. You said that in the last century many died from the Spanish flu. After a century, science and technology are much more advanced, and there are more ways to control diseases. Are you saying that we still can’t handle the new bird flu virus?

Dr. Feng: That’s correct, because the bird flu viruses can mutate.

SOH: You talked about the different flu pandemics and they all start with H and N, but the numbers that follow differ. Are they different viruses?

Dr. Feng: Yes, the antigenic determinant is different.

SOH: The antigenic determinant is different, meaning they are different types, but they are all called the bird flu.

Dr. Feng: Yes. Another important point is that when we review the history of influenza, much of it was around China. Especially recently, they have been finding the H5N1 virus in ducks exported from China to Japan and Korea.

Scientist all know that China is the source for influenza, and people don’t feel that they can trust the disease reports issued by the Chinese government. This is another cause of fear.

SOH: The international community has no confidence in the disease status reports issued by China?

Dr. Feng: That’s correct. But this information is very important to everyone in the world! People think this pandemic may be worse than the one in 1918. This is another reason.

Another possible factor is that pollution in China has become quite severe.

The pollution includes air, water and food. This is terrible for the human and bird immune systems. Birds’ immune systems are much less developed than humans’.

SOH: Just now you talked about bird flu’s frequent outbreaks in China. The population density in China is very high, and they also raise large numbers of poultry. If bird flu spreads quickly in China, it could be very dangerous.

Dr. Feng: That’s right. Now there are over 15 billion fowl in China.

SOH: This reminds me of the spread of SARS two years ago. It was quite frightening when the disease spread in mainland China and to other parts of Asia. Is the Chinese government handling this bird flu problem differently than SARS?

Dr. Feng: No. It’s just the same.

SOH: You think it’s just the same?

Dr. Feng: Everyone can recall how Zhang Wenkang vowed at the time that China was safe and had no SARS, or only one or two cases. Of course, he was removed from the post in the end.

SOH: So the former Minister of Health, Zhang Wenkang, was dismissed.

Dr. Feng: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) finally acknowledged [the existence of SARS in China]; this is equivalent to admitting that they had lied. Dismissing the Minister of Health was only to protect themselves, since Zhang alone did not decide this. But now, who is to be removed from his or her position? Perhaps someone from the Department of Agriculture, since they prevented Dr. Yi Guan from speaking the truth? Regrettably, as soon as the bird flu starts being passed from human to human, we will be faced with an even greater death rate than SARS. At that time, it will be too late, even if all CCP leaders are removed.

SOH: You just mentioned Dr. Guan. I read about him in the news, and he was named one of 18 heroes in Asia by Time magazine recently. What contribution did he make in the prevention of bird flu?

Dr. Feng: He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong. He is also my classmate from Jiangxi Medical College, but a year junior. He published in the internationally renowned journal Nature the research results he and his team found in the past five years. They collected nearly 100,000 bird specimens, listed more than 250 virus types and plotted how bird flu spreads and mutates in different regions. He did a wonderful job, so Time magazine named him the “bird-flu hunter.”

But the CCP closed down his lab in Shantou, China, and accused him of stealing state secrets, mainly because he spoke the truth, revealing how the bird flu originated from southern China.

SOH: So, just because he exposed bird flu, the authorities closed down his laboratory in Shantou?

Dr. Feng: Yes, this story is similar to that of Jiang Yanyong.

SOH: When exposing SARS, Dr. Jiang Yanyong of Beijing’s 301 Hospital was very brave, as he spread the truth overseas through Time magazine. Now, facing the very dangerous bird flu, would China’s Department of Agriculture still insist on keeping the information covered up?

Dr. Feng: Yes. It is reported that a little girl in Hunan Province died after eating chicken. The World Health Organization has repeatedly requested that China provide information about the girl’s death. But China refused, using the excuse that she was cremated. They said she died of pneumonia. Of course, I do not think cooked chicken would spread the flu virus, but in its preparation, if your hand was in contact with the dead chicken’s blood, you may become contaminated. Since China refused to make public the information and keeps it a state secret, I think it is likely she died of bird flu.

SOH: Other than its spread in China, what is the situation of bird flu in other countries right now?

Dr. Feng: Right now, it is not spreading from human to human. But when human-to-human spread starts, I am afraid that will be too late. The U.S. is prepared to close its borders at any moment; Australia is doing the same.

The U.S. may restrict travel; a bill to invest 7.1 billion dollars in bird flu is currently before Congress, and the U.S. has given Chiron 62.5 million dollars and Sanofi Pasteur 100 million dollars to develop bird flu vaccines.

The U.S. has adopted many measures. However, no country would be spared [in a pandemic], since it would involve everyone. This will be the pandemic of this century, and every scientist will tell you that it will come. The only question is whether it will come sooner or later.

SOH: Didn’t you just say that bird flu has not reached the degree of human-to-human contagion?

Dr. Feng: Now it is mainly in poultry. I remember that in the 1997 breakout of the H5N1 virus in Hong Kong, the first casualty was a three-year-old boy, who died of bird flu. Later the H5N1 virus was discovered in his body. Since that year was Hong Kong’s return to China, the Hong Kong government was careful in preventing the spread of bird flu and killed 1.2 million chickens. About 80 percent of Hong Kong’s chickens came from mainland China.

SOH: Right. What are the symptoms of bird flu? Could you please tell us?

Dr. Feng: There are several symptoms. Fever, coughing and shortness of breath will occur 100 percent of the time; there may or may not be mucus.

These symptoms are similar to pneumonia, but they are very severe, and they come much more violently.

SOH: How can one tell if one is infected with bird flu?

Dr. Feng: If one person is infected with bird flu, the case should be reported to the World Health Organization and the medical departments that monitor the bird flu as soon as possible, because they can immediately know whether it has mutated. If we can catch the first mutant, it is certainly a blessing to humanity.

SOH: So, you should call the doctor [if you have a bad flu] and be examined; this can prevent the gene from mutating and threatening humankind?

Dr. Feng: Not only preventing it from mutating; in case it has mutated, they can figure out ways to deal with it. For example, it is easier to make a vaccine. Everything is clear‹if we know what kind of virus it has mutated to, it will be relatively easier to control.

SOH: You just talked about the issue of information transparency. For infectious diseases, the information transparency is absolutely important.

How does this information transparency affect every individual’s health?

Dr. Feng: This will be the first flu of the century and everyone will be involved. Probably no one can escape. But everyone should know the truth and at the same time let others know the truth. This is about life and death, crime and punishment, because everyone’s attitude of dealing with it may cause life-threatening danger to himself or herself or other people. Be sure never to ruin one’s life or that of others through selfishness or ignorance.

SOH: The information is still blocked in mainland China, therefore, we should let our friends and relatives know about this information so they can prepare.

Dr. Feng: Yes! It is very important!

Why are the United States and European countries so vigilant over this bird flu? They have learned their lesson from the past. In 1918, no official expected that such calamity could happen. In fact, prior to the outbreak of the epidemic, the medical authorities reassured the public based on groundless confidence. Of course, that was during wartime, and they might have thought that the war was the primary concern.

Concealing the state of an illness is absolutely not good; it can only harm people and the country. History has given the Chinese government lessons.

From 1918 until now, only two flus have had nothing to do with China‹one was the Russian flu and the other one was the Holland flu. But now, the Chinese government is still lying. Also, there was the lesson of SARS, so everyone should be clear about this and tell the truth.

SOH: From the larger perspective, we should allow everyone to know about and understand the seriousness of the bird flu. What specific measures should individuals take?

Dr. Feng: It is not like what people think, “I have strong immunity. I am not afraid of it!” Especially during the 1918 flu, most people who died were young people and people in the prime of life. The army had a very high death rate, and in some places the death rate was 60 percent.

SOH: Why were most of the deceased young and middle-aged adults?

Dr. Feng: Because the immune system is actually very much controlled by the nervous system. Of course, the nervous system controls the entire body and is not limited to special cells like T cells and B cells, which have specific functions. Other cells, such as the endothelial cells that are distributed throughout the body, also belong to the immune system. A disease such as the bird flu that attacks the entire body tests the integrity of one’s entire immune system.

The balance and harmony of the immune system is very important. When there is no attack from any disease, the immune system is in a relatively relaxed state. It is elastic, like a rubber ball. It can jump high when hit, and can stop immediately when needed, so that it wouldn’t cause death.

They did an experiment on the bird virus of the 1918 flu and found that what was truly lethal was not the virus, but the subsequent immune hypersensitivity induced by the virus, in which the cytokines and chemokines, which are two of my research subjects, were twice or three times more than that in ordinary viruses. This indicates that you must take care of your immune system. When your body and mind are in harmony, your immune system will be in a harmonized state.

SOH: The immune system you just mentioned would be stronger when a person is at ease, in harmony and happy; hence his immunity is stronger.

Dr. Feng: Having a strong immune system alone is not enough. I remember an interesting example, which is the 1918 phenomenon. Few children contracted the disease and died from it. An Eskimo village only had three adult and fifty child survivors. This violates a fundamental principle of immunology regarding the immaturity of children’s immune systems. However, children have pure hearts. We should learn from them, they are so pure minded. Hence, try your best to maintain a mental balance. However, at this time, one must pay attention and remind everyone that if the bird flu indeed comes, everyone needs to be mentally prepared; one must be calm and adjust one’s breath. Methods like Tai Chi and yoga are good for achieving that.

SOH: Because the Chinese government did not release detailed information on the epidemic of bird flu in China, the seriousness of its nature is unknown. Because of this uncertainty, one should be very aware of the situation.

Dr. Feng: Of course. Another issue is pollution. Chief engineer Liu Ning from the Ministry of Water Conservation said that fast economic development intensified the water quality problem in China. Currently, 25 percent of the water is contaminated, 35 percent of underground water is below standard, 54 percent of the domestic water in the plains is also below standard and over half of the cities have severe pollution of their underground water. Hence, what you drink is toxic for the immune system and can damage it. Besides the typical cells in the immune system, like the T cells and the B cells, there are also other cells in the immune system. For example, the integrity of the endothelial cells is important to the immune system during flu epidemics.

SOH: Has environmental pollution already damaged humans’ immune systems and caused their immunity to deteriorate?

Dr. Feng: There has definitely been deterioration. Earlier this year, many people had doubt about the Streptococcus suis outbreak then. Everyone was puzzled by how the bacteria Streptococcus suis could cause such damage.

SOH: Do you mean the Streptococcus suis outbreak in Sichuan this year?

Dr. Feng: Yes, it caused 38 deaths. Many scientists thought it to be a lie initially, but to their surprise, their research results proved it true. Streptococcus suis normally exists in pigs. It is common for a pig farmer to carry Streptococcus suis. How can it cause death? First, modern people’s immunity is incredibly low; secondly, Streptococcus suis may have mutated, though there is no proof of it. Some people suspect it is due to drug resistance. Regardless of the cause, it is giving people a warning:

Environmental pollution may damage the immune system, so we must be on high alert!

In 2003, China had 65 billion tons of sewage discharge; about one third of industrial wastewater and two thirds of sanitary sewage had never been treated and was poured directly into rivers. Think about it. What kind of damage would this cause to people living there, and to their immune systems and the entire biological system? That includes the birds, and the immune system of birds is extremely weak.

SOH: So it is no surprise that there continue to be large-scale infectious disease breakouts in China.

Dr. Feng: In the beginning, they thought the cause of the infection was raising chickens, ducks and pigs together. Now this bad custom is still practiced, and there are other complicating factors. In one word, if the bird flu indeed breaks out in China, the outlook will be bleak. So everyone should inform others of this truth and tell them to be prepared. Good preparation always brings hope.

Compiled from a Sound of Hope interview by reporter Wang Yang. Lili Feng, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She has authored and co-authored several papers on immunology.

Attack on “hate speech” is an attack on the messenger

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

safaaibrahim

5 January 2008: Pictured above, Safaa IBRAHIM is the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) - San Francisco Bay Area chapter in Santa Clara, California. Personally, I believe that she should also be yet another of CAIR’s poster children for advocating the repression of free speech when inconvenient facts get in the way of intellectual honesty.

At issue is a column written by Cinnamon Stillwell titled “Savage vs. CAIR: The battle over free speech” that appeared in SF Gate on December 19, 2007. In that column, Ms. Stillwell offered well documented evidence of CAIR’s pattern of strategic aggression and tactics against those who disagree with their ideology and objectives, citing the case of talk radio giant Michael Savage as the latest in a series of examples. Ms. Stillwell’s position was cogent, her arguments well defined, and her points both contemporary and relevant. Arguably, the facts she presented about the history and actions of CAIR could well be described as “best evidence” if her discourse was offered in a courtroom environment.

Enter Safaa IBRAHIM, who, in response to the December article, immediately launched a textbook-style assault against Ms. Stillwell by accusing her of propagating hatred through the defense of hate speech against a wide range of people, including “African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, immigrants and women.”

I re-read Ms. Stillwell’s column and could find no validity to Ibrahim’s wild and unsubstantiated accusations. Then it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve seen this tactic used before, most effectively by the well-trained spokespeople of CAIR who march in lockstep to the same tune all across North America. If you cannot refute the uncomfortably factual evidence presented in a coherent manner, transform the argument into accusations of hate speech, and move the debate from one of facts to highly charged allegations of “hatemongering and Islamophobia.”

While Ms. Stillwell’s article focused on the case of Michael Savage, it naturally segued into salient truths about CAIR, all of which Ms. IBRAHIM apparently found troublesome, dismissing them as “recycled smears and distortions used by Stillwell to defame CAIR.” Instead of addressing the facts she describes as “distortions,” Ibrahim resorted to personally attacking Ms. Stillwell’s credibility as a columnist. In her factually-void, “would you like cheese with that whine” rant, IBRAHIM failed miserably at protecting the reputation of CAIR – a reputation that perhaps cannot be protected without assailing and attacking the messengers of truth, like Ms. Stillwell.

The article authored by Ms. Stillwell was well-researched and documented, while the response by Safaa IBRAHIM was devoid and barren. I cannot think of a better example of the transparent methods of transference of blame used by CAIR apologists than the article written by Safaa IBRAHIM. In a rather convoluted way, those who want to keep free speech truly free should thank Safaa IBRAHIM for displaying her lack of intellectual acuity in her published response to Ms. Stillwell.

US Airways and Minneapolis Airport Seek Jury Trial in Imams’ Lawsuit

4 January 2008: US Airways and Minneapolis airport officials are demanding a jury trial in a civil rights lawsuit filed by a group of Muslim imams who were removed from a flight for suspicious behavior. Red the complete article by Audrey Hudson in the Washington Times HERE.

Another Muslim honor killing in the U.S.?

Authorities mum on slaying motive2 January 2008: The two teenage daughters of Yaser Abdel SAID, 50, of Lewisville, Texas were found shot dead in his taxi that was abandoned in a suburban Dallas parking lot. SAID is suspected of shooting daughters Sarah Yaser Said, 17, and Amina Yaser Said, 18, in his taxi Tuesday night and abandoning it in a parking lot, leaving them to die.

According to police reports, one of the girls called 911 from a cell phone at approximately 7:30 pm local time Tuesday night, saying that she had been shot. Police found the taxi with the bodies inside an hour later.

Police are searching for Yaser Abdel SAID, who is described as 6’2,” weighing about 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. SAID was last seen wearing a black turtleneck shirt, a brown coat and tan pants.