Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Andy McCarthy at the National Review has an interesting article (hat tip: Tigerhawk) on the source of terrorist rights under detention, saying they arise not from the Constitution but from statute. He argues that it is consequently well within Congress' power to regulate their detention. He slams the critics of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 saying "Congress has already given al Qaeda detainees the very rights the critics claim have been denied.". As they say, read the whole thing. In a related development, 10 Federal penitentiaries have admitted that they are unable to screen the thousands of pieces of mail that convicted terrorists send and receive because they lack the budget to hire translators.

The seriousness of the situation was brought home by the fact that convicted terrorists in US prisons were found to be corresponding with the Madrid train bombers. The Associated Press/Breitbart reports:

Mail for convicted terrorists and other dangerous federal inmates isn't being fully read by prison authorities, and that is a risk to national security, a Justice Department review concluded Tuesday.  ... "The threat remains that terrorist and other high-risk inmates can use mail and verbal communications to conduct terrorist or criminal activities while incarcerated," concluded the report by Inspector General .... But it is largely too cash- strapped to afford enough staff to sort through the thousands of letters ... what Bureau of Prisons Director Harley G. Lappin described to inspectors as searching for "a needle in a haystack."

Experts fear that a new generation of homegrown terrorists is being bred in prison and, after release, they will seek guidance from Islamic extremists still behind bars. The Justice Department's mail investigation was spurred, in part, after three convicted terrorists at a federal maximum-security prison in Florence, Colo., were found to have written an estimated 90 letters between 2002 and 2004 to Islamic extremists  some with links to the March 11, 2004, attacks on commuter trains in Madrid. Some of the letters later surfaced in the hands of a terror suspect who used them to recruit suicide operatives. ... Limited funding, in the face of a growing inmate population, has hindered those efforts, the inspector general's report concluded. About 10 percent of an estimated 191,000 federal inmates, as of July, are considered high risk. The number of high-risk inmates has grown by 60 percent over the last decade; by contrast, federal prisons' staff increased by 14 percent, from an estimated 30,200 to 34,600.


Blogger Pyrthroes said...

For prison inmates corresponding in Arabic (a language with 4,000 irregular verbs), the solution to "lack of translators" seems obvious: No messages in Arabic, or any other "translator-challenged" argot, may be either delivered or sent until routinely available translators have rendered them into English.

This will undoubtedly disrupt inmate communications. What a shame. On 'tother hand, why not hand sheafs of curlicued material to local Mosque-arellas, advising them to round-robin/spelling-bee this stuff as "public service", provided that all --repeat, all-- translated renderings be submitted to prison authorities pending review for terrorist communiques?

Whatever you do, Mr. Warden, do not advance Islamofascism by default, i.e. by posting unvetted writings due to misapprehended sensitivity to already convicted thugs and murderers. The time is long since past when these barbaric zealots deserve any consideration whatsoever.

10/03/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger RAB said...

Where is it written that convicted terroists have the right to send or receive mail while locked up?

10/03/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

So we continue to underwrite terrorist organizations with three hots and a cot, a terrorist business safe haven, so to speak, while they hatch plans underneath our not so watchful gaze. I wonder if they have time to screen drug traffickers and Mafia bosses correspondence. Pathetic really.

10/03/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Bureaucrats! Gotta love 'em! Can't figure out a solution, can they?

How about photocopying such letters and sending them in bulk to the Defense Language Institute (DLI) at the Presidio in Monterey, CA, (POM) to allow the various military Arabic language students enrolled there to use them for homework? Oh, no budget for postage, either, I guess.

10/03/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mark White said...

If we weren't throwing so many folks in federal jails for marijuana possession, we'd have plenty of resources be dedicate to riding herd on the jihadis.

Of course, if we took the oil fields from Iran and Saudi Arabia, the jihadis would have no unearned funds and would actually have to work for a living rather than spending all their time outside of jail on plotting and training. Might as well eliminate jihad right at the source, rather than gear up to contain it.

10/03/2006 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Chester said...

unbelievable. How do the SOB's pay for postage, btw?

10/03/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

In a related development, 10 Federal penitentiaries have admitted that they are unable to screen the thousands of pieces of mail that convicted terrorists send and receive because they lack the budget to hire translators.

1. Blame the ACLU Jews and other activists that have done so much for inmate and terrorist rights. Unlimited mail rights is now soooooooo protected from numerous ACLU 1st Amendment "free speech" lawsuits that there is little penetentiaries can do to limit the free flow of mail in and out. 40 years ago, any prison was able to limit mail.

2. Blame the Federal government, particularly the Bushies so wrapped in Iraq monomania that they never did things that were absolutely required and have been done in previous conflicts:

a. Start language schools to bolster American knowledge of enemy tongues.
b. Begin a strategic communications effort.
c. Begin funding major cultural studies programs on enemy lands, offering university scholarships.
d. Immediately begin recruiting and vetting native language speakers of enemy languages here for national service - as was done with German-Americans and Japanese-Americans who taught military language and culture schools, monitored enemy communications, served as agents sent into enemy territory (Germans, Italians) - and after wars end, played critical roles in occupation administration and serving as pointmen interfacing between US and occupied nation nationals.

The result is pretty sad.

We do have Pork and Tax Cuts for the wealthy.

We don't have a growing military, but one that is attriting downwards in major warfighting vehicles, planes, ships, subs. And we don't have translators for many deployed units.

We don't have anyone recruited to run special language schools. We lack personnel to monitor Internet Jihadi websites, Muslim personal sites, radio traffic. We don't have the people with language skills to monitor Islamoids in US prisons or at detention facilities outside CONUS.

I suppose the rationale was Bush believed the neocons that all that would be unecessary once we proved that we could create a flourishing, secular democracy in Iraq and still get even more tax cuts for the wealthy by 2006 (end the luxury tax on yachts, end the multimillionaire estate tax).

Time for Plan B, if there is a Plan B.

10/04/2006 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

Cedarford's right about translators -- but it's been perhaps the biggest obvious Bush, Clinton, and Bush I failure since Desert Storm; perhaps including Reagan.

Photocopying all docs is easy -- it should also be used as a Database for Optical Character Recognition of Arabic (to create computer text, not just scanned text-picture images).

Also, there should be more prizes, every year, for automatic Arabic text into English text. Preferably open source engines (perhaps double prize for open source as compared to proprietary).

In the meantime, limited quantity of letters, and length of each letter, seem pretty reasonable.

In the future, the USA will not be able to keep America safe from violent terrorism while continuing to fight against peaceful, voluntary, drug use.

10/04/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

It ought to be fairly eash to identify "high risk" prisoners. why shoiuld these be allowed unlimited correspondence? At least a federal law would be required, but even a Constitutional Amendment seems to me to be necessary if that is what it takes.

I see no reason why these convicts should be allowed unlimited correspondence anyway, some thing like 2 or 3 massages a month to and from pre-designated correspondents should do it, with no forwarding allowed, from the correspondents to others. Photo copy all correspondence, deliver only the photo or computer generated copies. Correspondents should be given fairly thorough background checks by the appropriate government agency.

The ideas for language schools are well enough but unless data-mining from the correspondence is productive, I would prefer they get no correspondence at all.

10/04/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

C4,you made an interesting point, "Blame the ACLU Jews and other activists that have done so much for inmate and terrorist rights." You probably could have been less abrasive and a little more effective by toning down the anti-semetic bias that conmes through, but I suspect that basically your point is well taken. On the other hand I don't "know" that Jewish law firms are the chief source of funding for that organization although I have been told that is so.

Is not the ACLU a "charitable" organization and therefore tax free? Do they not therefore have to make their donor list available? I have a suspicion that all their funding is handled through 3rd party trusts like the Ford Foundation. That in itself would be weird if it is a fact, I seem to have heard somewhere that the Ford Foundation is quite anti-semetic.

Does anyone know the ropes to access the ACLU Donors List? Why not publish it and try to get a boycott organized. O'Reilly of the No Spin Factor on Fox news would publish it I think, if it had any worth while targets.

It may be though, that the funding comes through several levels of trusts and gets so wide spread that it is totally indecipherable.

I don't mind secondary and tertiary boycotts but I suspect this is like taxes, have to shut down the entire economy. The ACLU annoys me so much that I would favor anything to get rid of them.
Bushitler, where are you?

10/04/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Dave H: One of the more deep pocketed sources of ACLU funds is the and outfit known as the

It seems that the ACLU benefits from a governemt policy that allows law firms to pocket part of the fines that result when they point out illegal actions by private companies. They snitch and then get paid for it by the US Taxpayer.

How often would you guess they uncover such illegality by firms that are either politically liberal in outlook or have paid the ACLU protection money - uh, ... I mean have made large contributions to this vital defender of our liberties.

The difference bewteen the ACLU and the Mafia is that the Mafia employees have to worry about getting shot by competitors and arrested by the police. And the Mafia probably does less damage.

10/04/2006 01:23:00 PM  

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