"Revelations from Rep. King hearing
We learned much—not only from the testimony, but the disturbing reactions to it"
Episode 5 - Special Guest Frank Gaffney
"Friday’s email from Lisa Piraneo provided us a disturbing look into how some members of the House Homeland Security Committee view reformist Muslims like Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. Their condescension bordering on contempt was stunning.
Perhaps just as disturbing was how many of the Muslims who attended the hearing reacted. As Lisa noted, they didn’t try very hard to conceal their ridicule and even contempt for these Muslims witnesses who had the courage to speak out against the radicalization going on in America.
One of those witnesses was Melvin Bledsoe, whose son is charged with shooting and killing a member of our armed forces at a recruiting station in Arkansas.
Mr. Bledsoe’s statement is re-printed below. Take special note of the role he claims a Nashville mosque and its imam played. This is precisely what Brigitte Gabriel has been talking about for years, and addressed in her two best-selling books, Because They Hate and They Must Be Stopped—the growing advocacy of radical Islam inside many of America’s mosques.
Statement by Melvin Bledsoe
Father of Carlos Leon Bledsoe (aka) Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad
“The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response”
Committee on Homeland Security
US House of Representatives, Washington DC, March 10, 2011
Thank you very much for allowing me to come here and tell the country what happened to my son. This hearing today is extremely important to begin the discussion about the issue of Islamic radicalization in America and my hope is that this Committee can somehow address this issue in a meaningful, productive way.
First, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the family of Private William Long, and to the wounded soldier, Quinton Ezeagwula. I would like to talk about those complicit in Private Long’s murder – the Islamic radicals who programmed and trained my son Carlos to kill.
I want to tell the American people and the world what happened to my son. We sent him off to college at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee in the fall of 2003. Our dreams about his future ended up in a nightmare.
Carlos is my only son. He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. My wife and I operate a tour company in Memphis, Tennessee and Carlos started helping out with the family business at the age of eight. He loved talking to the traveling public; and he had a lot of fun interacting with the customers.
After graduating from high school, he wanted to get a degree in Business Administration. We thought perhaps he would come back to Memphis to run the business and give my wife and me early retirement.
After the fall of 2005 – his sophomore fall in Nashville –Carlos came home that Christmas for the holidays.
We were sitting around in the family room, Carlos’s only sister, Monica, her husband and I, having a normal conversation about life in general. But at a certain point, Carlos and his brother-in-law Terrell got into a heated conversation about the Muslim religion. Then and later, we felt like Carlos’s personality changed when we spoke about Islam. We thought maybe he had some Muslim friends in college and was offended by our comments.
The next time Carlos came home, we saw another side of him that we hadn't seen before. During the night, he took down all the pictures from the walls in the bedroom where he slept. He even took Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. picture off the wall. We asked Carlos: "What is going on with you?”
He replied that he is now a new convert to Islam and that everything he does from now on will be to honor Allah. We got very concerned: While he was growing up, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s picture had always hung on his bedroom wall; but now treated the picture as if Dr. King was nobody to him.
We asked Carlos not to take Dr. King's picture off the wall, but he took it off the wall anyway. This became a big concern to us. We went to visit him in Nashville because we wanted to learn more about what was really going on with Carlos.
We discovered that Carlos had dropped out of school, at the beginning of the 2005 fall semester. He was working a temporary job. He had gotten a dog while in college, and now we found out that he had turned the dog loose in the woods because he was told that Muslims consider dogs dirty creatures. I really couldn't understand how he could do that, because Carlos grew up with a dog in the house since he was five years old.
So my wife and I thought that there something or someone was getting in his head and changing the way he thinks. It had gotten to the point where he had no interest in coming home, even for the holidays.
All of this was part of brainwashing him, and changing his thinking a little bit at a time. He had a job in Nashville, together with some Muslims, who would tell him that according to Islamic law, his employer had to let him pray at certain times of the day, regardless of what was going on at the job. As a business owner, I told Carlos that it would be very difficult for an employer to do this for all of his employees.
As the next step on his process of radicalization, Carlos was convinced to change his name. He chose the name Abdulhakim Muhammad. At this point, his culture was no longer important to him, only the Islamic culture mattered.
Some Muslim leaders had taken advantage of my son. But he’s not the only one being taken advantage of: this is going on in Nashville and in many other cities in America.
In Nashville, Carlos was captured by people best described as hunters. He was manipulated and lied to. That’s how he made his way to Yemen. Carlos was hoping to go there for a chance to cross over to Saudi Arabia and visit Mecca, as he was taught all true Muslims must do at one time in their life. He was taught that he would get to walk on the ground where Prophet Muhammad walked be able to travel around the area. But these hunters had other plans for him. They set him up, telling him that he could teach English at a British School in Aden in South Yemen, This school turned out to be a front and Carlos ended up in a training camp run by terrorists.
Carlos’s joining in with Yemeni extremists was facilitated by their American counterparts in Nashville. We have since discovered that the former Imam of a Nashville mosque, the Al Farooq Mosque, wrote the recommendation letter Carlos needed for the school in Yemen. We also discovered that the school functions as an intake front for radicalizing and training Westerners for Jihad.
From what I understand, the FBI had been following Carlos since before he left Nashville and continued to do so after he came back from Yemen. When Carlos was arrested for overstaying his visa in October of 2008, he was interviewed by an FBI agent based in Nashville even before the U.S. Embassy was alerted about the arrest. According to the Embassy, the FBI was alarmed about what they learned from Carlos.
We wish they could have told us - his family – about what they learned. If we knew how serious his extremism had become, we could have put in every effort to prevent the tragedy in Arkansas from happening.
When my son was arrested in Yemen, my family cried out for help in bringing our son back to America from our Government. We got in touch with the U.S. Embassy and the State Department. We also asked for help from our U.S. Representative, Steve Cohen’s office, and from FBI Special Agent Greg Thomason, who had been tracking my son since Nashville.
After our son was finally released and brought home to us. No one said anything to us about what might have happened to him in Yemen or what they may have learned that so alarmed the FBI agent who interrogated Carlos while he was in the custody of Yemen’s Political Security Organization.
Carlos’s experience in Yemeni political jail was the final stage of his radicalization. He was in there with true evil-doers – hard-core Al Qaeda members who convinced him to get revenge on America.
Something is wrong with the Muslim leadership in Nashville. What happened to Carlos at those Nashville mosques isn’t normal. I have other family members who are Muslims, and they are modern, peaceful, law abiding people, who have been Muslim for many years and are not radicalized.
I also have several uncles and brothers in the military. Our family has fought for the United States in every war since the Civil War. I have nephews who are currently in Afghanistan, as I speak, fighting for democracy and freedom for all Americans.
It seems to me that the American people are sitting around and doing nothing about Islamic extremism, as if Carlos’s story and the other stories told at these hearings aren’t true. There is a big elephant in the room, but our society continues not to see it.
This wrong is caused by political correctness. You can even call it political fear - yes, fear. Fear of stepping on a special minority population’s toes, even as a segment of that population wants to stamp out America and everything we stand for.
I must say that we are losing American babies – our children are in danger. This country must stand up and do something about this problem. Yes, it’s my son’s tragic story you’re hearing about today, but tomorrow it could be your son or your daughter. It might be an African-American child that they went after in Nashville, but tomorrow their victim might have blonde hair and blue eyes. One thing is for sure, it will happen again.
We must stop these extremist invaders from raping the minds of American citizens on American soil. Here in America today, there are people with radical Islamic political views who are organizing with one goal in mind: to convert our citizens and to turn them against the non-believers. This is a big problem now in Nashville, on college campuses and in the nearby area. Nashville has become a hot bed for radical Islamic recruiting.
Carlos grew up a happy-go-lucky kid. He always had a big smile on his face, and loved to crack a joke or two. Everyone liked him. He loved to play team sports like basketball and football. He loved swimming, dancing, and listening to music.
Today we have two families that have been destroyed. This could have been prevented. I would like to see something change so that no other family in this great country of ours has to go through what our family is facing now.
GOD HELP US! GOD HELP US!
A Report from the Hill: Inside the House Homeland Security Committee Hearing on the Radicalization of Muslims
by Lisa Piraneo, Director of Government Relations
Would you like to get Lisa Piraneo’s live Tweets from Capitol Hill? Click on the following link: @LisaPiraneo
I arrive at the Cannon House Office Building at 7:30 a.m.—two hours before the scheduled start of Congressman Peter King’s (R-NY) much-publicized hearing on Muslim Radicalization in our country. For the past few months Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups like the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and Hamas front group CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) have been whipping the Muslim community and the media into a frenzy about this hearing. There have been rallies in New York City and front page articles in the so-called “establishment media” about how “unfair” and even “dangerous” holding this hearing will be.
So I expect there will be a large crowd waiting to get into the Committee room and I am right. There is a line from its entrance all the way down the hall, wrapped around the corner, and half way down the next hall. I park myself in line and wait.
More people arrive. More press arrive. More police arrive. There have been threats against Chairman King leading up to the hearing and it is clear they are being taken seriously. A police officer confronts several bowtie-wearing gentlemen in front of me for cutting into line. They see the length of the line and realize that the odds of them getting into the hearing if they go to the end are slim to none. “You need to get to the end of the line, sir.” He says. “See all of these people behind you? They are waiting too.” There is some tense back and forth and finally they acquiesce.
The waiting crowd is clearly majority Muslim or Muslim-American. I hear multiple discussions about how unfair Representative King is—and lots of strategy about what to do once the hearing is over. Some waiting in line have signs with them. One reads “Stop Demonizing Muslims.” Standing directly behind me is Alejandro Beutel, of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. He gives multiple interviews to press while waiting in line, telling them that the organization is taking a “wait and see” approach.
At 9:15 a.m.—an hour and 45 minutes after I arrived and 15 minutes prior to the hearing’s commencement—an announcement is made that the Committee room will soon open. Warnings are given from both the Capitol Police as well as Committee staff that outbursts and signs in the hearing room are against House rules and will not be tolerated. The line starts to move, slowly. They are letting people in the room a little at a time. I learn that a large section of the small hearing room is already taken up by press. Not a good sign for me.
I am 10 people away from the doors to the hearing room when an announcement is made that the Committee room is now full. The choice to the hundreds still in line: stay there and take the chance that others will leave the hearing, opening up additional space; move to a small “overflow room” right next to the Committee room; or go home. I opt for the overflow room, as I don’t want to miss one second of the hearing. In a matter of seconds, the overflow room is filled to capacity as well, as it is already half full with press when I arrive. I grab one of the few remaining seats and get ready to Tweet.
Representative King, as the Committee Chair, speaks first, offering his Opening Remarks. He states that today’s hearing will be the first of a series dealing with the “critical issue” of the radicalization of Muslim-Americans. He states “Let me make it clear today I remain convinced that these hearings must go forward. And they will. To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this committee—to protect America from a terrorist attack.”
The hearing is divided into two panels: The first panel consists of two sitting Members of Congress: Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA). During Representative Ellison’s remarks, he breaks down and openly weeps when talking about Mohammad Salman Hamdani, an American Muslim firefighter who died on 9/11 and notes how his name was smeared. Congressional drama. I’ve seen it often and it can distract from the issue at hand. A news report later in the evening notes that no such smears against the firefighter could be found in a Google search.
Representative Wolf speaks next and comes out swinging, especially at CAIR. He states “My concern about CAIR is not limited to its disturbing origins and connections to terrorist financing. I am equally concerned about CAIR’s role in attacking the reputations of any who dare to raise concerns about domestic radicalization.”
No questions are posed to either Member of Congress after they make their statements. Time for Panel Two, which consists of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a medical doctor and former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander; Abdirizak Bihi, whose nephew left the states to join al-Shabaab in Somalia; Melvin Bledsoe, the father of Carlos Leon Bledsoe (aka) Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, a Muslim convert who attacked an Army recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas killing one soldier; and Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca.
Though I have attended many congressional hearings, I am shocked by the behavior of some of these elected officials as they interact with the witnesses. It is rude and disrespectful—particularly toward Dr. Jasser, who stresses that terrorism will never be eliminated until the political side of Islam is removed. He also notes that there are Muslim groups in the U.S. who are pledging their allegiance to the Koran instead of to the U.S. Constitution. A vast majority of the audience in the room clearly disagrees with Dr. Jasser as there is a lot of eye rolling and snickering when he speaks.
Some examples that I include in my Tweets:
* Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) condescendingly states that she doesn’t think that the families and Dr. Jasser are “experts” about this issue and that she didn’t find their information “enlightening,” adding that she is Catholic yet cannot speak on pedophilia in the priesthood.
* Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) states that there is no “redeeming factual information” at the hearing and that you can’t “clean a dirty kitchen with dirty water.” She warns that the Constitution is in “pain” and that the hearing should have focused on the civil rights movement. Later, she is gaveled down by Chairman King, as she disregards him multiple times when he tells her that her time to speak has expired. More political theater with no benefit to the issue at hand.
* Rep. Al Green (D-TX) chastises Rep. King for not holding a hearing on the KKK, saying that “we’ve had 100 years of terrorism perpetrated by the KKK on Jews and African Americans.”
* Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), in a stunningly condescending tone to Dr. Jasser and Mr. Bledsoe, says that “extreme” is in the “eyes of the beholder.”
Also, I am surprised by the callous responses of the audience all around me—most of whom are clearly Muslim-American. Throughout the hearing they laugh at Dr. Jasser and Mr. Bihi—also Muslims. I feel that they are not affected by the pain of the family members at the loss of a child and nephew to radicalization and, in Mr. Bihi’s case, also to death. Mr. Bledsoe’s testimony ends with “God help us! God help us!”
The behavior of the Members of Congress who speak down to Dr. Jasser, Mr. Bihi and Mr. Bledsoe, and the repeated negative reactions these three get from the crowd of Muslims in the hearing room, is disturbing. Over and over we hear from government officials and the media that most Muslims are peaceful and law-abiding, and yet when three brave Muslims come forward to speak out against the ideology driving Muslim radicalization they are not praised by these four Members of Congress or most of the Muslims in the crowd—they are belittled. What message does that send to Muslim-Americans who are in agreement with Dr. Jasser? Stand up and be counted? Hardly.
Fortunately, there are Members of Congress who clearly “get it”—in addition to Chairman King—and it’s refreshing.
Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) asks Sheriff Baca if he realizes that, when he works so closely with CAIR, he is working with a terrorist organization (Hamas) and he cites the Holy Land Foundation Trial.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) speaks of the political ideology of Islamism. He says that he is “outraged…outraged!” by this Administration’s failure to define the enemy. He shows a slide that demonstrates the number of times words like “enemy,” “jihad,” and “Muslim Brotherhood” are mentioned in the 9/11 Commission report, and then in comparison how many times they are mentioned in the government’s security lexicon—zero.
All this from two freshman Members of Congress. What a difference an election makes! In addition, other Members of Congress such as Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Mike McCaul (R-TX), Paul Broun (R-GA), Mike Rogers (R-AL), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Candice Miller (R-MI)—all speak eloquently of the threat of radical Islam to the country and to the Constitution.
After over three and a half hours and lots of furious Tweeting by me, the hearing comes to an end. In the press conference that Chairman King holds immediately afterward he announces that the next hearing will be on Muslim radicalization in the U.S. prison system.
My final Tweet is geared toward preparation for further advancement of the cause: OK. Rep. King’s 1st hearing on Muslim radicalization is done. Next step: Write 2 YOUR MOCs 2 voice your concern about the issue. Speak up.
Syrian pilots said to be flying Libyan fighter jets
WASHINGTON — Opposition sources said Syrian Air Force officers were flying some of the MiG-23 and MiG-25 fighter-jets ordered to attack rebel-held towns in Libya. They said at least one Syrian Air Force officer was killed and identified after his plane was downed.
Syria has sent weapons and other military equipment to the Libyan regime of Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the opposition sources said.
Syrian opposition sources said the regime of President Bashar Assad has approved the deployment of hundreds of fighters to Libya as well as air and anti-tank munitions to Gadhafi. They said Syrians have also served as pilots for Gadhafi's fleet of MiG fighter-jets.
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Other opposition sources said Syria was relaying weapons to Al Qaida-aligned elements in Libya. They said Iran and Syria were believed to be cooperating in seeking to extend their influence over Libya's giant energy reserves.
"Assad of Syria is sending arms to Gadhafi of Libya to kill his people with," the Reform Party of Syria said.
The Assad regime has denied the reports of both the Syrian and Libyan opposition. But Western diplomats said the reports of Syrian intervention were being taken seriously.
In a statement on March 6, RPS, based in Washington, did not elaborate on Syria's involvement in Libya. RPS said Assad was believed to have decided to help quell the Libyan uprising to prevent a similar threat to his regime.
"Assad is reasoning Gadhafi must win to discourage the Syrians from any reckless behavior such as seeking freedom, democracy, and accountability," RPS said.
Syria sends Qaddafi arms. Exodus begins from Benghazi
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report March 13, 2011, 6:23 PM (GMT+02:00)
Tags: arms deal Bashar Assad Libya Qaddafi
Bashar Assad helps Muammar Qaddafi defy West
As Washington commended the Arab League for approving a proposed no-fly zone over Libya and European powers drew up plans for saving the anti-Qaddafi movement from defeat, Syria began sending Muammar Qaddafi supplies of arms, ammunition and weapons spare parts to sustain his effort to crush the uprising. debkafile's military and intelligence sources report exclusively that over the weekend a Libyan army general arrived at the Syrian Naval command at Tartous to establish a liaison office for organizing military hardware supplies from Damascus to the Libyan army and arrange shipping schedules.
Our sources report that another Libyan official was in Damascus early last week to negotiate with Syrian President Bashar Assad the types of weaponry required, prices and transport arrangements. After he left, Assad ordered Syrian emergency military stores to be opened and civilian freighters chartered to carry the consignments they had decided on across the Mediterranean to Libya.
The Syrian and Libyan arsenals are fairly compatible: both are dominated by Russian military products, Mig and Sukhoi fighters and bombers, T-72 tanks, BM-21 rocket launchers, the same armored personnel carriers and anti-air and anti-tank missiles.
The Libyan-Syrian arms transaction is a landmark in the sense that it is the first time since the Arab revolts erupted in January that one Arab regime has stepped in to help another suppress an uprising.
Damascus is also in violation of last month's Security Council Resolution 1970 whichincluded an arms embargo against the Qaddafi regime and by supplying Libya weapons by sea Assad undermines the Western-Arab effort to introduce a no fly zone to curtail Qaddafi's aerial might.
By this action, Bashar Assad shows contempt for the US President Barack Obama's policy in support of the popular unrest against authoritarian Arab regimes and scorns the indulgence shown him by the US president.
In the last six months, Washington has gone to extreme lengths to establish friendly relations with Damascus – not only restoring the US ambassador after five years, but quietly accepting fresh Syrian meddling in Lebanon.
The Obama administration had hoped that Assad would respond by being helpful on the Palestinian issue and start distancing himself from Tehran. Instead, he has strengthened his military ties with Tehran, granting Iran its first permanent base on the Mediterranean at Tartous.
Now, by replenishing the regime's stocks of arms and ordnance, the Syrian ruler has gone directly against US policy of support for the Libyan opposition and spurred Qaddafi on for his final major offensive to crush the uprising without having to stop and wait for fresh supplies of war materiel.
In the last 24 hours, rebel militias were pushed out of the two key oil towns of Ras Lanuf and Brega in eastern Libya after losing their footholds in Tripolitania to the west. Pro-Qaddafi forces were landed for the first time by sea Saturday, March 12, at Agilah, 60 kilometers east of Ras Lanuf, indicating that Qaddafi intends to drop more troops on the coast of Cyrenaica to pursue his thrust into the rebel-held region.
Our military sources report that no obstacles now stand in the path of Qaddafi loyalist troops heading for the rebel center of Benghazi, 200 kilometers from Brega. The rebels have nowhere near the manpower they need to hold Libya's second largest city against a government offensive. There are first signs of an exodus beginning from the city.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has scheduled visits to Tunis and Cairo this week and a possible rendezvous with Libyan opposition National Transitional Council leaders in Cairo Tuesday, March 15. That timetable is prone to last-minute changes.
Pro-Qaddafi Forces Shell Key Oil Town as Troops Advance
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