DICE Roundup 21 August

Ray Semko DICE Radio

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Additional Information

Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years for Leaking Secrets (ABC News)

Bradley Manning, the Army private convicted of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks, was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison today.

Pfc. Manning will also be reduced in rank to private, forfeit all pay and allowances and receive a dishonorable discharge.

Manning expressed no emotion as a military judge announced the sentence. He was then quickly escorted out of the courtroom.

He will serve his prison sentence at the military’s detention facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

As is customary in the military justice system, Manning would be eligible for parole after serving one-third of his sentence. It’s unclear whether he would receive his first parole review after 12 years, or sooner, because of the 1,294 days credited toward his sentence.

The credit amounts to the 1,182 days Manning served during pre-trial confinement, plus 112 days he received for rough treatment at the Marine brig in Quantico, Va.

Manning, 25, a former Army intelligence analyst, was convicted July 30.

He was found guilty of 20 of the 22 charges he faced, mostly for espionage, theft and fraud. But the judge found him not guilty of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, which carries a life sentence.

The 20 charges originally carried the possibility of 136 years in prison, but judge Col. Denise Lind later granted a defense motion that reduced the potential maximum sentence to 90 years. . . . (read more)


Fort Hood suspect Nidal Hasan rests case without presenting a defense (AP)

A military judge has adjourned the Fort Hood trial for the day after the soldier accused in the shooting called no witnesses and rested his case.

Col. Tara Osborn said Wednesday the trial would resume on Thursday morning. She asked prosecutors if they were ready to present closing arguments on Wednesday, but they said they would prefer to wait until Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Maj. Nidal Hasan told Osborn he wouldn’t be calling any witnesses in his defense. Hasan is representing himself in his trial.

Hasan has sat mostly silent during the trial’s first two weeks, raising few objections and briefly questioning only three of prosecutors’ nearly 90 witnesses.

Hasan is accused of killing 13 people at the Texas military base. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

About five minutes after court began Wednesday, a day after prosecutors rested their case, the judge asked Hasan how he wanted to proceed.

He answered: “The defense rests.”

Osborn then asked Hasan: “You have the absolute right to remain silent. You do not have to say anything. You have the right to testify if you choose. Understand?”

Hasan answered that he did. When the judge asked if this was his personal decision, he said: “It is.”

Osborn then adjourned the trial until Thursday morning, agreeing to give prosecutors an extra day to prepare their closing arguments. Jurors were led out of the courtroom.

Hasan’s move wasn’t completely unexpected. He has made no attempt since he trial began two weeks ago to prove his innocence. He also has done little to challenge the narrative of military prosecutors, who showed evidence of Hasan’s laptop being used to search the Internet for “jihad” and find articles about calls to attack Americans in the days and even hours before the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting.

He has sat mostly silent, raising few objections, declining to let military lawyers take over his defense and questioning only three of prosecutors’ witnesses. Several of those witnesses were shot during the attack and recalled hearing a shout of “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — inside a crowded medical building before Hasan opened fire using a laser-sighted handgun.

Hasan, an American-born Muslim, suggested before trial that he wanted to argue that the killings were in defense of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, but that strategy was rejected by the judge.

Since then, he has offered little for jurors to consider. In fact, during a brief opening statement, Hasan said evidence would show he was the shooter and called himself a soldier who had “switched sides” in a war.

Suspicions about Hasan’s defense strategy elevated as the trial dragged on, as he leaked documents to journalists revealing that he told military mental health workers after the attack that he could “still be a martyr” if convicted and executed by the government. . . . (read more)


Muslim group blasted for planning mass demonstration on Sept. 11 (Fox News)

Critics say a Muslim group picked the wrong day – Sept. 11 – to march on Washington to complain about religious profiling and President Obama’s handling of an investigation into the terror attacks that rocked America 12 years ago.

The mass demonstration, called the “Million Muslim March,” was changed to a more mainstream-sounding event, “Million American March Against Fear,” but the name did not seem to gain much traction and has apparently reverted back to its original title.

American Muslim Political Action Committee (AMPAC), which is organizing the march, claims Muslims nationwide have been the victims of anti-Islamic bigotry in the years following the Sept. 11, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on American soil.

“On 9.11.01 our country was forever changed by the horrific events in New York. The entire country was victimized by the acts done on that day,” the group said in a statement.

“Muslim and Non Muslim alike were traumatized but we as Muslims continue 12 years later to be victimized by being made the villains. To this day every media outlet and anti Islamic organization has committed slanderous and libel statements against us as Muslims and our religion of Islam.” . . .

Kuwait passes law to execute those who slander Islam and the prophet (Blaze)

What Islam Means by “Slander” (Gates of Vienna)

Behind Muslim “Hurt Feelings” Is Islamic Law (Center for Security Policy)

. . . . Briefly, the consensus of scholars in Islam (i.e., what is required to establish a final, unalterable ruling on a subject) have agreed that, one who blasphemes against Islam, in effect, engages in slander against the religion (“Slander [ghiba] means to mention anything concerning a person [a Muslim] that he would dislike,” according to a canonical Shaf’i jurist al Misri) and places a Muslim in the category of apostate, for which the punishment is death. An example (not from the misty past, but from 2007) illustrates this concisely:

If a Muslim commits blasphemy against the Prophet, this is an act of disbelief which takes him out of the fold of Islam. Allaah Says (what means): {Make no excuse; you have disbelieved [i.e. rejected faith] after your belief. If We pardon one faction of you—We will punish another faction because they were criminals.}[Quran 9:66] If joking is considered as an act of apostasy, then it is more confirmed for one who is saying it intentionally. If the blasphemer does not repent, he should be killed for his apostasy. However, if he sincerely repents to Allaah, Allaah will accept his repentance. Repentance expiates all sins, even Shirk (associating partners to Allaah). Allaah Knows best.” [Blasphemy against the Prophet is an act of apostasy. Islam Web Fatwa Center, Fatwa No. 17316, December 11, 2007] . . .

Ignoring the Call to Islam Will Bring Jihad (Clarion Project)

. . . The classical Islamic doctrine of jihad mandates that enemies (i.e. infidels/non-muslims) must be given the opportunity to convert to Islam or pay the jizya tax before it is permissible to attack them. This obligation is compulsory because it is written in the Qur’an as a divine order. . . .


Al Jazeera America debuts news channel to a small audience (Washington Post)

. . . AJE launched in 2006 and was an immediate and lasting flop in the United States. Cable operators across the country declined to add it to their channel lineups.

So Al Jazeera’s owner, the royal emir of the oil-rich Persian Gulf state of Qatar, decided to crash the lucrative American market the old-fashioned way: He bought his way in. In January, Al Jazeera paid $500 million for Current TV, the little-viewed network part-owned by Al Gore. Al Jazeera didn’t want Current so much as it wanted Current’s contracts with cable companies, which ensure that it is delivered to about 45 million American homes . . .(read more)

Al Jazeera America launches, sues AT&T (USA Today)

Some advertisers view al Jazeera America as too risky (Ad Week)

Muslim Extremists Invading Britain? (Military.com)

VIDEO: Stacey Dooley returns to her hometown of Luton, in the UK, to investigate Muslim extremists protesting the arrest of Mona Thorney, the wife of the Stockholm bomber.


Study: Welfare pays more than minimum wage in most states (Fox News)

Welfare pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, creating little incentive for Americans to take entry-level work and likely increasing their long-term dependency on government help, according to a new study by the libertarian think tank Cato Institute.

The finds come 17 years after the Clinton administration, with bipartisan support from Congress, passed landmark welfare reform legislation that was supposed to move Americans away from entitlements and into the workforce.

However, “welfare benefits continue to outpace the income that most recipients can expect to earn from an entry-level job,” the study authors said. “And the balance between welfare and work may actually have grown worse in recent years.”

Among the other findings is that welfare in 13 states pays more than $15 an hour, compared with the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.25. . . (read more)


VIDEO:  Ex-ACORN top lobbyist tapped by WH to run ObamaCare contest




QUOTE (unattributed)

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

  • From bondage to spiritual faith;
  • From spiritual faith to great courage;
  • From courage to liberty;
  • From liberty to abundance;
  • From abundance to complacency;
  • From complacency to apathy;
  • From apathy to dependence;
  • From dependence back into bondage.


Looming Helium Shortage Raises Alarms (Live Science)

The world is facing a critical helium shortage, which threatens much more than the party-balloon industry.

An odorless and colorless gas, helium (He on the periodic table) is the second-most-abundant element in the universe after hydrogen, but it’s not easy to find or store in usable quantities — most of the helium in the atmosphere escapes into space, and our current helium supplies are largely extracted from underground natural-gas reserves.

The United States is the global leader in helium production, producing about 75 percent of the world’s helium. . . (read more)


Lawmakers draft bill that would increase enforcement against U.S. trade secret theft (SC)

Two senators have drafted a bill that aims to help prosecutors keep foreign hackers and governments from stealing American intellectual property and trade secrets.

Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., released a “discussion draft” bill (doc) that would amend the Economic Espionage Act, which was enacted in 1996. Among proposed changes are provisions that would help prosecutors hold foreign hackers and nation states allegedly accountable for trade secret theft, as well as companies that are “substantially subsidized” by culpable foreign governments. . . .(read more)


All U.S. nuclear reactors vulnerable to terrorism, probe finds (McClatchy)

All 107 nuclear reactors in the United States are inadequately protected from terrorist attacks, according to a Defense Department-commissioned report released Thursday.

The report, by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, warns that the current security required of civilian-operated reactors fails to safeguard against airplane attacks, rocket-propelled grenades and more than a small handful of attackers. . . .(read more)

Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project website


Former US Navy sailor Robert Hoffman Espionage Trial


Food inspectors regularly working significant overtime (Fierce Government)

Many food inspectors work a significant amount of overtime, but officials at the Food Safety and Inspection Service weren’t aware, a report from the Agriculture Department office of inspector general says.

Hundreds of food inspectors averaged more than 120 hours per pay period during the entirety of fiscal 2012, compared to the standard 80 hours per 2-week pay period. Fourteen inspectors averaged more than 150 hours, three averaged more than 160 hours, and one averaged 179 hours–almost 90 hours per week over the course of a year.

“When we spoke to FSIS officials about the long hours some of their inspectors are working, they stated that they were not aware inspectors were working such long hours,” says the report (.pdf), dated July 31. . . .  (read more)



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A Toy Maker Comes Home to the U.S.A. (Wall Street Journal)

As every American child knows, toys come from the North Pole or—more likely—China. But K’Nex Brands LP, a family-owned company in this Philadelphia suburb, is trying to prove they can still be made in America.

Over the past few years, K’Nex has brought most of the production of its plastic building toys back to its factory in Hatfield from subcontractors in China. To make that possible, the company has redesigned some of the toys and even handed over to kids a bit of the assembly formerly performed by hand in China. . . .(read more)

K’nex tries direct online sales to China (Philadelphia Inquirer)

K’nex Brands, the Hatfield plastic fit-the-pieces toy company started by Joel Glicksman 21 years ago, says it’s attempting its first direct-to-consumer sales in China. K’nex has hired Export Now, of Akron, Ohio, to sell online via Chia’s Tmall.com and Taobao.com.  “We wanted to enter the Chinese markets” with “the right e-commerce partner,” K’nex ceo Michael Araten said in a statement. He’s planning to market K’nex’s Angry Birds and Super Mario lines, among others, and to add new products in China each quarter. K’nex retail and education products have been sold in China stores “for many years, but this is the first effort by K’nex at direct ecommerce sale” in China, K’nex spokesman Kate Loffio told me. . . .



Threats are Out There