by baldilocks

The little guys have to follow the rules; the Big Guys and Girls, not so much.

The Army is booting out a 13-year public affairs sergeant for including in an unclassified government email the same information about a special operations unit and Osama bin Laden found on Army.mil web pages.

The irony in the narrative of Staff Sgt. Ricardo Branch is that his motive was to keep classified material away from public view.

His disclosure in a private Army email is also the same information as told by his commander in chief, Barack Obama, in May 2011 when the president visited Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to personally thank the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), or “Night Stalkers,” for its critical role in killing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

And, the transgression of Sgt. Branch, 34, is, on its face, far less serious than that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who faced no punishment for keeping classified data on her personal unsecured server.

(Emphasis mine; commas added.)

Free Beacon:

The sergeant needs a jar of this.

The incident occurred in February 2014, when Branch, then a public affairs officer for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), reviewed a proposed article by Boeing for the company’s internal news service[.]

The article discussed SOAR personnel visiting a Boeing unit in Mesa, Arizona, and revealed the regiment’s role in transporting Navy SEAL Team 6 to Pakistan for the 2011 raid to kill Osama bin Laden. Branch reportedly recognized that the Pentagon had never officially acknowledged SOAR’s role in the bin Laden operation and emailed his superior saying Boeing should delete the sentence.

Branch also wrote the sentence in an official .mil email.

Because Branch forwarded the sentence, which contained sensitive information, in an unclassified email, an investigation was launched and he was ordered home.

A superior officer had seen the email and notified Army intelligence. About two months later, Branch agreed to a nonjudicial punishment known as an Article 15 hearing, during which he received an oral reprimand and thought the matter was done.

The Army transferred Branch to South Korea. But then the service in 2015, pressured by budget cuts, sought to reduce personnel and identified blemished soldiers through the Quantitative Management Program. Branch was identified as a blemished soldier because his Article 15 resulted in a one-time poor performance evaluation, and the investigation was relaunched.

Branch received high marks on all prior and subsequent performance reviews, according to the [Washington]Times.

This sort of travesty furthers my suspicions that a vast Coconut Treatment—a hollowing out of all seemingly reliable institutions—is nearing its conclusion. By the way, if the Army forces Sgt. Branch out, he will probably receive a discharge that is other than honorable. This will make it very difficult for him to find employment and he won’t be able to receive any VA benefits which would have, otherwise, been his due.

I’m hoping that there’s something more to this story, but I’ll bet that there isn’t. And if I were this guy, I’d do what he’s doing—making it public—and then get out anyway.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on April 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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If you asked Republicans the most important reason they voted for Donald Trump, a significant number would answer the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nomination of Neil Gorsuch is more important that Obamacare, the wall or anything else. It is conceivable that Trump may appoint at least two other justices during his tenure as Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy are both in their 80s.

The Democrats have demonstrated their intolerance for an excellent candidate for the court by a threat to filibuster the nomination after making some of the most inane statements against Gorsuch’s record.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, the ideologue who took over from California ideologue Barbara Boxer, tweeted, “Judge Gorsuch has consistently valued legalisms over real lives. I won’t support his nomination.” That’s right! “Legalisms”–otherwise known as the law–should be set aside to “real lives.”

Arguably the dumbest question ever asked during a Supreme Court nomination hearing came from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota as she “probed” Gorsuch’s attitude toward originalism.

The question: “So when the Constitution refers, like, 30-some times to ‘his’ or ‘he’ when describing the president of the United States, you would see that as, well back then, they thought a woman actually could be president of the United States even though women couldn’t vote?”

The answer: “I’m not looking to take us back to quill pens and horses … Of course, women can be president of the United States. I’m the father of two daughters. And I hope one of them turns out to be president.”

But the other senator from up north, former comedian Al Franken, who has become a favorite of the Washington elite, got cited for two of the top five dumb questions at the same hearing. See http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/03/five-dumbest-questions-to-gorsuch.php

In the tortured logic of the left, Gorsuch, who most say is imminently qualified to serve on the court, must not be confirmed because the Republicans did not consider President Obama’s late-term nominee. As Newsweek puts it: “Gorsuch, unfortunately, must be sacrificed on the altar of obscene partisanship erected by the Republicans in recent years.”

As a result of this logic, Senate Majority Leader Charles “Chuckie” Schumer has threatened a filibuster.

Bring it on! That would force Republicans to disown the niceties of the Senate and would make it easier for future Trump nominees to the court get confirmed. It’s time for the GOP to recognize that it can be its own worst enemy. Republicans would control every branch of the federal government, making it possible to return the country to some sense of sanity.

The Wall Street Journal has provided an excellent analysis on how good Gorsuch would be and how pathetic his critics are: https://www.wsj.com/articles/neil-gorsuch-how-would-you-vote-1490052137

Let’s not muck this one up!


Christopher Harper teaches media law.

Are Russian hackers an actual threat to democracy? Or are US intelligence agencies with “deep state” factions opposed to the government the bigger threat? And what do the Vault 7 revelations along with others coming out since the change of administration tell us about the Democrats’ constant finger pointing and fear mongering?

When the Intelligence Community is Weaponized by the Political Powers that Be

Is it unreasonable to think that intelligence agencies that were capturing all metadata on emails and phone calls wouldn’t spy on a political rival they thought was a threat to their legacy?

It is alleged that the Obama administration used spy agencies to monitor and occasionally go after reporters, in addition to using the Espionage Act more than any prior administration. The Obama Administration hacked reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer because she was investigating Benghazi. In 2013, the Obama Administration spied on the Associated Press. The FBI labeled one journalist, James Rosen, an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case for reporting on matters and, according to a 2016 New York Times article, issued subpoenas to force reporters to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.

And they didn’t just use intelligence agencies to monitor the press. They were also used to spy on Angela Merkel, the head of Germany, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and several dozen other heads of nations. Nor did Obama limit his spying to our allies. The NSA spied on Congress during the negotiations on the Iran Nuclear Deal.

The Political Left’s Own Laxness with National Security

The Office of Personnel Management was copied in its entirety (and all subsequent updates) and sent via an “internet superhighway” to China because they didn’t bother to vet IT security contractors for foreign intelligence connections. This provided the Chinese with detailed personnel files of everyone with a security clearance from military contractors to government officials.

In February 2017, three Pakistani brothers were discovered to have compromised the computers of several House committee members. They were working as IT employees of the DNC and gained access to the computers of members of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. They funneled the data to external servers while taking money from nations like sources in Iraq.

And that’s aside from Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State having an unmonitored, unprotected email server in her home in violation of all IT security and classified data handling regulations, which was likely hacked by half a dozen nations. For example, such servers are supposed to be in a classified space, supported by people with appropriate clearance, and have documented backups to protect the information from loss in case of a hard drive failure.

Conclusion

The transformation of U.S. intelligence agencies into a surveillance state is concerning. While Russian hackers are an actual threat, the democrat party’s constant breach of privacy over the last few years was also a threat to democracy. And a sizable shadow government, a literal fifth column, sitting in the intelligence agencies already used to violating the law and using the information they have to attack critics actively working to undermine the sitting President is the greatest threat to our democracy we have faced in generations.

Col Klink:   No it’s not possible, General Mulendorf
Gestapo Captain Borman: With his arm around your shoulders.  
Col Klink: Yes we were friends
Gestapo Captain Borman: Close Friends, and very possibly associated in za plot to assassinate the Führer
Col Klink: I hardly knew the man, went to school together ten years, saw each other every day but what’s that?
Gestapo Captain Borman: You were also best man at his wedding
Col Klink:  Oh, Well I had nothing else to do that afternoon.

Hogan’s Heroes: The Big Picture 1970

In yesterday’s post on the Montreal Anti-Semitic Imam story I pointed out that the press in their writing seemed to miss that the outrage of the Muslim Community to invited guest Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr didn’t materialize until after the rest of the world saw the translation of his words in English months after he was invited, spoke and the words put online in arabic. Today’s piece touches on a more subtle but even more telling bit from the story is this quote from Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, presumably someone who knows a thing or two about his religion on the verse sited by the Jordanian Sheikh as reported by the CBC.

The hadith is one of more than 100,000 that are written in many books, some of which are considered authentic, while others are not, said Asali.

Now if your goal is to minimize the role of Islam as understood by Muslims you would do what the CBC did and move directly on, but if you were a reporter interesting is finding the truth, then Imam’s Asali’s quote leads to a rather obvious question:

Is the Hadith and the quote within it considered “Authentic” by Muslims?

Well to answer the question one would need to know what a Hadith is, which one this is and where it came from.

The encyclopedia Britannica defines a Hadith as:

Hadith, Arabic Ḥadīth (“News” or “Story”), also spelled Hadīt , record of the traditions or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, revered and received as a major source of religious law and moral guidance, second only to the authority of the Qurʾān, the holy book of Islam. It might be defined as the biography of Muhammad perpetuated by the long memory of his community for their exemplification and obedience. The development of Hadith is a vital element during the first three centuries of Islamic history, and its study provides a broad index to the mind and ethos of Islam.

 

Hmmmm it would seem to me then that being a “major source of religious law and moral guidance” and “second only to the authority of the Qurʾān,” a Hadith is not something to be taken lightly and dismissed in the cavalier fashion. One would think Imam Asali would know this.

But even if this is true about Hadith’s in general, the question still remains, is this Hadith a valid one?

The Hadith in question is titled: The Book of Miscellaneous ahadith of Significant Values which in addition to the offending quote has gems such as:

وعنه رضي الله عنه أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏ “‏يتبع الدجال من يهود أصبهان سبعون ألفا عليهم الطيالسة‏”‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏

or in English

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Dajjal (the Antichrist) will be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan and will be dressed in robes of green coloured satin.”

So the question now on the floor would be: Is The Book of Miscellaneous ahadith of Significant Values an authentic book from a credible source?

Well a quick net search answers that question. It comes from a fellow by the name of Imam Al Nawawi. Here is some background:

Al-Imām Muhy al-Dīn Abū Zakariyyā Yahyā ibn Sharaf al-Nawawī, born in the village of Nawa on the Horan Plain of southern Syria in 631 H. He was the imām of the later Shāfiʿī School, the scholar of his time in knowledge, piety, and abstinence, a hadīth master (hāfiẓ), biographer, lexicologist, and Sufi.

So this is a guy who was an early Islamic scholar but we need more than that.  What kind of guy is he, is he a well known scholar credible scholar of Islam?:

His Character

The scholars, elite of his society, and the public greatly respected Imam Nawawi on account of his piety, learning, and excellent character. He dressed and ate simply and humbly. Devout scholars do not care about attaining worldly possessions, they give preference to religious and academic pursuits, and the dissemination and propagation of faith. They experience more heavenly delight and joy in such activities than those who seek satisfaction in luxurious life styles. He was God-fearing who had high ambitions and aims in the dissemination and propagation of faith.

His Works and Death

Imam Nawawi had a very short life (44 years) but even during this short period, he wrote a large number of books on various subjects. Nearly every work is a masterpiece and a treasure of knowledge. Hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from these works.

Some of the prestigious works of Imam Nawawi, apart from the compilation of the “40 Hadith” (al-Arbaʿīn) include:

Riyāḍ al-Ṣāliḥīn
Commentary on Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī
Commentary on Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (Al-Minhāj fi Sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
Sharḥ Sunan Abī Dāwūd
Mukhtaṣar Al-Tirmidhī
Kitāb al-Rawḍah
Kitāb al-Adhkār
Al-Taqrīb fī ʿIlm al-Ḥadīth wa al-Irshād fīhi
Al-Tibyān
Bustān al-ʿĀrifīn
After spending 28 years in scholarly pursuits away from home, Imam Nawawi returned to his hometown. Soon after his arrival in Nawā, he fell ill and died. His works are of everlasting value. May Allah bless him.

Emphasis mine.  That seems like a guy whose work is credible, but are they still sought after today?  Here is Kitaabun.com a site that sells Islamic books and items offering his works

The famous 5th Century Hijri, Ahadith compilation by Imam Al-Nawawi, The ahadith are predominantly from Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim (Other ahadith are from the reliable Books such as Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Muwatta Imam Malik),
Considered by Many as the Most Important Book after the Qur’an Simply because it is a Summary of authentic Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

1900 Ahadith compiled over 372 Chapters and 19 Sections which can be generalised as follows:
The Book of Good Manners – The Book about the Etiquette of Eating – The Book of Dress -The Book of the Etiquette of Sleeping, Lying and Sitting, etc.- The book of Greetings – The Book of Visiting the Sick – The Book of Etiquette of Traveling – The Book of Virtues – The Book of I’tikaf – The Book of Hajj – The Book of Jihad – The Book of Knowledge – The Book of Praise and Gratitude to Allah – The Book of Supplicating Allah to Exalt the Mention of Allah’s Messenger (phuh) – The Book of the Remembrance of Allah – The Book of Du’a (Supplications) – The Book of the Prohibited Actions – The Book of Miscellaneous Ahadith of Significant values – The Book of Forgiveness

About Imam al-Nawawi (d. 676/1277)

Imam Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi was Born in the village of Nawa in Southern Syria, Imam Nawawi spent most of his life in Damascus where he lived in a simple manner, devoted to Allah, engaging single-mindedly in worship, study, writing and teaching various Islamic sciences. .
Although best known for his works in hadith, Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi (d. 676/1277) was also the Imam of the later Shafi’i school of Jurisprudence, and widely acknowledged as the intellectual heir to Imam Shafi’i. He was a renowned scholar and jurist who dedicated his life to the pursuit of Islamic learning.

emphasis mine. You can see a screen shot here it case it mysteriously disappears tomorrow, but if so you can always go to Amazon.com and find not only his books

but scholarly commentaries on them

Now I don’t claim to be an Islamic scholar, but all this tells me that Imam Al Nawawi is a significant scholar in the History of Islam and that his Hadiths are considered authentic.

So lets get back to his original statement about the Hadith in question from Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects

The hadith is one of more than 100,000 that are written in many books, some of which are considered authentic, while others are not, said Asali.

The statement is factually true, this is one of more that 100,000 Hadith, there are many books of them and some of those books are considered authentic and some are not.

However the Books of Miscellaneous Ahadith of Significant values isn’t just one of many books. It’s a historically significant book written by reputable and respected early scholar of Islam that is without a doubt considered authentic by Muslims to this day.

Now it’s of course theoretically  possible that all of these facts that I was able to discover in an hour or two on the net about Imam Al Nawawi and his place in Islamic Scholarship, and the Hadith The Book of Miscellaneous Ahadith of Significant Values are completely unknown to Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, but I suspect not. I suspect instead that he rightly assumed that the CBC had no interest in clarifying this question, and he was right.

Alas for Iman Asali, I don’t work for the CBC.


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