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 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 Chester said...

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

10/03/2006 05:19:00 PM  
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 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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