House Select Committee investigating Benghazi — The Unintended Consequences Of President Obama’s Undeclared War on Libya and Central Intelligence Agency Covert Operations in Libya and Syria — Congress Did Nothing To Stop An Imperial President — The Lying and Blame Game On Display — “Disgusting and Reprehensible” — Videos

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Story 1: House Select Committee investigating Benghazi — The Unintended Consequences Of President Obama’s Undeclared War on Libya and Central Intelligence Agency Covert Operations in Libya and Syria — Congress Did Nothing To Stop An Imperial President — The Lying and Blame Game On Display — “Disgusting and Reprehensible” — Videos

benghazi-four obama_hillary_liars_benghazi_treason

Background Information

Obama and Hillary Blame Youtube Video for Benghazi Terrorist Attack as Coffins Arrive

Our Fallen Heroes

Published on Sep 15, 2012

President Obama speaks about the tragic loss of four of our fellow Americans who were serving in our diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. These Americans represented the best of our country; without people like them, we could not sustain our freedoms or security, or provide the leadership that the entire world depends on. During this time of turmoil in many different countries, the President makes it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths, but as Commander in Chief, he will never tolerate efforts to harm our fellow Americans and will ensure that those who attack our people find no escape from justice.

Obama and Press Secretary Carney Blame a Video for the Benghazi Attack

YouTube Video Maker Blamed for Benghazi Attacks Breaks Silence on CNN

White House Covers Up Benghazi Terrorist Attack

13 hours in Benghazi FULL VERSION INTERVIEW 5 parts combined.

ABC News’ Jon Karl hammers Jay Carney over New bombshell Benghazi emails

Benghazi Whistleblower Embarrassed by Obama Admin Placing Blame on a YouTube Video

Benghazi Gate – Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton – Question & Answer

Email Reveals Obama Advisor Urged Susan Rice to Blame Video for Benghazi

Exclusive: Docs Show Weapons Going From Benghazi To Syria – Benghazi Gate – Happening Now

Breaking: Hillary Clinton Knew About Libyan Arms Shipments to Syria in 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew that the US was sending arms from Libya to Syria back in 2011. She denied this during public testimony (under oath) in early 2013 after the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Melvin Goodman on why CIA Director Brennan is dangerous

The show is going to be about the response to CIA director Brennan’s press conference two weeks ago and then an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations last week, an on the record interview with Charlie Rose in New York about his plans to restructure the CIA to try to bring a more integrity to intelligence and make it less politicized. We are going to hear from today Melvin Goodman. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. He is he is a former CIA analyst. Melvin Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: the Decline and Fall of the CIA and the forthcoming book On the Path to Dissent: A Whistleblower at the CIA. Goodman is the national security columnist for Counterpunch, and he said of CIA director ‘s plan to restructure the CIA and I quote “Simply, it takes the CIA further from Truman’s concept and closer to the ability to politicize intelligence. Operations are part of the policy world and not the intelligence world. The Centers have made it too easy to provide the intelligence that the ‘masters’ desire, whether they are the masters on CIA’s 7th floor or the policy masters. Brennan’s world was the Center for Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism, and many of the intelligence errors and operational errors of the past 15 years have emanated from those centers. Organizationally, it makes no sense — what are the directorates of operations and analysis — they sound as if they are HR experts.”

CNN Benghazi Claims: Report alleges CIA operatives in Libya were sending weapons to Syrian rebels

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi

Clinton Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary

Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East…E

Why is Benghazi still a big issue for Hillary Clinton? BBC News

General Petraeus Testifies Before Congress For The First Time Since Resigning As Director Of CIA

Select Committee on Benghazi Holds First Hearing

Former CIA Director and General David Petraeus (Ret.) testified at a hearing on U.S. policy toward the Middle East and combating ISIS* in the region. He talked about his support for military enclaves in Syria and for greater military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS. He also gave his assessment of the Russian military build-up in Syria and of the Iran nuclear agreement.

At the beginning of his testimony, General Petraeus apologized for what what he called his “serious mistake” of sharing classified information with his biographer, with whom he also had an extramarital affair.

Select Committee on Benghazi Holds Second Hearing

Select Committee on Benghazi Holds Third Hearing

Rep. Gowdy: Either Petraeus Will Come Before Congressional Committee Or He Will Be Subpoenaed



Benghazi Select Committee (Hearing 4)

House Select Committee on Benghazi

Trey Gowdy Opening Statement Benghazi Committee Hearing. 10/22/2015

Rep. Trey Gowdy addresses Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his opening statement at a hearing Thursday by the House Select Committee on Benghazi. trey gowdy elivers opening statement of benghazi committee hearing with hillary clinton. trey gowdy says ‘We are going to find the #Truth because there is no expiration of it.’ Chairman Trey Gowdy opens #Benghazi hearing: ‘Previous investigations were not thorough. Trey Gowdy to Clinton: Trey Gowdy addressed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally at a high-stakes hearing on Thursday, telling the Democratic presidential candidate that the panel’s investigation is not about her. “Madame Secretary, I understand some people — frankly in both parties — have suggested this investigation is about you,” Gowdy said. “Let me assure you it is not. And let me assure you why it is not. This work is about something much more important than any single person. It is about four U.S. government workers, including our Ambassador, murdered by terrorists on foreign soil. It is about what happened before, during, and after the attacks that killed these four men.” He continued: “It is about what this country owes those who risk their lives to serve it. It is about the fundamental obligation of our government to tell the truth — always — to the American people. Not a single member of this Committee signed up for an investigation into you or your email system. We signed up because we wanted to honor the service and sacrifice of four people sent to a foreign land to represent us – who were killed – and do everything we can to prevent it from happening to others.” Gowdy also presented several key questions he would be asking in his opening statement: Why were there so many requests for more security personnel and equipment, and why were those requests denied in Washington? Why did the State Department compound in Benghazi not even come close to meeting proper security specifications? What policies were we pursuing in Libya that required a physical presence in spite of the escalating violence? Who in Washington was aware of the escalating violence in Libya? What special precautions, if any, were taken on the anniversary of 9-11? What happened in Washington after the first attack and what was the response to that attack? What did the military do or not do? What did our leaders in Washington do or not do and when? Why was the American public given such divergent accounts of what caused these attacks? And why is it so hard to get information from the very government these four men were representing and serving and sacrificing for?

Benghazi panel chair: Investigation not about Hillary Clinton

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Select Committee investigating Benghazi, tells Hillary Clinton in his opening statement that the probe is not singularly focused on the former secretary of state.

Benghazi hearing: Hillary Clinton’s entire statement

Hillary Clinton gave her opening statement to the House Select Committee investigating the 2012 attacks at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Benghazi Hearing Committee Chairman on Hillary Clinton’s Emails | The New York Times

Trey Gowdy questions Hillary Clinton (Part 1)

Trey Gowdy questions Hillary Clinton (Part 2)

Clinton to panel: 3 things we learned from Benghazi

Trey Gowdy GRILLS Hillary Clinton Benghazi Committee Hearing

Trey Gowdy GRILLS Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi Committee Hearing. trey gowdy went off on hillary clinton about blumenthal and more. watch the explosive exchange. Hillary Clinton coolly hit back at her Republican interrogators on the Benghazi committee during her long-awaited testimony on Thursday, rebuffing claims she was detached as the situation in Libya deteriorated and asserting she did not use email to conduct the “vast majority” of her work as secretary of state.

The Democratic front-runner told the House Selection Committee on Benghazi, which is 18 months into its probe of the 2012 attacks on the consulate in Libya, that the tragedy does not deserve partisan attacks, while insisting the U.S. needs to stay committed to diplomatic engagement.

“Despite all the previous investigations and all the talk about partisan agendas, I’m here to honor those we lost and to do what I can to aid those who serve us still,” Clinton said, speaking slowly and deliberately during her opening statement. “My challenge to you, members of this committee, is the same challenge I put to myself…. Let’s be worthy of the trust the American people bestow on us… they expect us to rise above partisanship. And I hopes it’s what we’ll strive for today and in the future.”

Republicans questioned Clinton about why numerous requests for additional security never made it Clinton’s attention. She said they went to the right place: to personnel who handled security. And when they pressed her on why she kept the compound open or did not give it additional, she retorted that she never received a recommendation to shut down the mission—even after two attacks on the compound.

The hearing kicked off on Thursday with the partisan sniping that has been the hallmark of the committee’s work, with House Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy defended his investigation, assuring Clinton that his probe is not centered on her.
Hour_2_151022_hillary_clinton_2_gty_1160­.jpg

WATCH LIVE: Hillary Clinton testifies before Benghazi Committee

“Madame Secretary, I understand some people — frankly in both parties — have suggested this investigation is about you. Let me assure you it is not,” Gowdy said in his opening statement, adding that it was about the people who were killed.

He also blamed her in part for the fact that the inquiry has dragged on for a year and a half.

The State Department only realized it did not have Clinton’s emails after they requested documents, triggering a lengthy process by which the department had to ask her and her top aides who also sometimes used private email for work purposes to turn them over.

“You had an unusual email arrangement with yourself, which meant the State Department could not produce your emails to us,” Gowdy said. “When you left the State Department you kept those public records to yourself for almost two years….Those decisions were your decisions, not ours… It just took longer to get them and garnered more attention in the process.

Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) blasted the committee as a partisan witch-hunt out to get Clinton, saying Republicans formed the panel because they “did not like the answers they got” in previous probe—“so they set up this select committee with no rules, no deadlines and a unlimited budget.”

“They set the noose because you’re running for president,” Cummings said, raising his voice before calling for the panel to disband. “It is time for Republicans to end this …fishing expedition.”

It only took Cummings a few minutes to highlight a number of embarrassing moments for Gowdy in recent weeks, including comments by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y) and a fired GOP Benghazi investigator who all suggested the panel was either out to hurt Clinton or increasingly focused on investigating her.

REP. Martha Roby vs Hillary Clinton at House Select Committee on Benghazi 10/22/15

Rep Jim Jordan Goes After Hillary ‘Where’d the False Narrative Start It Started With You’

REP Trey Gowdy vs Hillary Clinton Round 2 at House Select Committee on Benghazi 102215

Benghazi Select – Gowdy: this is an investigation, not a prosecution

Bickering among Benghazi panel as Clinton looks on silently

Fireworks erupt between Clinton, Republicans at Benghazi hearing



More Background Information

Weekly Address: Carrying on the Work of

America’s intelligence community, explained

THE RECRUIT – Spy School: Inside the CIA Training Program, 1 of 2

THE RECRUIT – Spy School: Inside the CIA Training Program, 2 of 2

Special Activities Division

Published on Aug 15, 2014

The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) National Clandestine Service (NCS) responsible for covert operations known as “special activities”. Within SAD there are two separate groups, SAD/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAD/PAG for covert political action.
Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection of intelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the government of the United States may deny all knowledge.

Inside America’s New Covert Wars: Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Blackwater, Security Contractors (2013)

The Daring Early Years of the CIA: Covert Ops from WW2 to Vietnam (1995)

How has the CIA been used as a secret Military force? William Blum • BRAVE NEW FILMS

The CIA began as a spy agency after World War Two, but soon the CIA was planning and executing covert operations across the globe without proper congressional oversight. From the removal of the democratically elected leaders of Iran and Guatemala to the attempted invasion of Cuba, to the removal of every secular government in the Middle East, the influence of the agency is insidious. But how can a democratic society tolerate such a secret and lethal institution that works against the very values America seeks to uphold around the world?

CIA Covert Operations in Africa: How Does the U.S. Government Make Decisions?

According to the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, a covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is “an operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor.” It is intended to create a political effect which can have implications in the military, intelligence or law enforcement arenas. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation. It is normally financed by government revenues but in this age of super-empowered individuals and corporations they could become a common tool of power beyond traditional war and diplomacy.

Under United States law, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must lead covert operations unless the president finds that another agency should do so and properly informs the congress. Normally, the CIA is the US Government agency legally allowed to carry out covert action. The CIA’s authority to conduct covert action comes from the National Security Act of 1947. President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 titled in 1984. This order defined covert action as “special activities”, both political and military, that the US Government could legally deny. The CIA was also designated as the sole authority under the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and in Title 50 of the United States Code Section 413(e). The CIA must have a “Presidential Finding” issued by the President of the United States in order to conduct these activities under the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act. These findings are then monitored by the oversight committees in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result of this framework, the CIA “receives more oversight from the Congress than any other agency in the federal government”. The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, responsible for Covert Action and “Special Activities”. These special activities include covert political influence and paramilitary operations. The division is overseen by the United States Secretary of State.

Special Activities Division – Special Operations Group | SAD SOG

Published on Jun 30, 2015

The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as “special activities”. Within SAD there are two separate groups, SAD/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAD/PAG for covert political action. The Special Activities Division reports directly to the Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service.

Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection of intelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the United States government may deny all knowledge.

SOG is generally considered the most secretive special operations force in the United States. The group selects operatives from other tier one special mission units such as Delta Force, DEVGRU and ISA, as well as other United States special operations forces, such as USNSWC, MARSOC, Special Forces, SEALs and 24th STS.

SOG Paramilitary Operations Officers account for a majority of Distinguished Intelligence Cross and Intelligence Star recipients during any given conflict or incident which elicits CIA involvement. An award bestowing either of these citations represents the highest honors awarded within the CIA organization in recognition of distinguished valor and excellence in the line of duty. SAD/SOG operatives also account for the majority of the names displayed on the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters indicating that the agent died while on active duty.

REVEALED: If This Is True, Benghazi Is Even Worse Than We Ever Thought

Insiders Come Forward, Proof of Benghazi Stand Down Order, It was Obama

Obama Lies About Libya – Imperial Presidency

Media Silent About Obama’s Undeclared Wars

Did the Military Intervention in Libya Succeed? (Benjamin Friedman)

Drones are Obama’s weapon of choice for waging illegal and undeclared wars

Special Activities Division

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency

The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency‘s (CIA) Directorate of Operations (DO) responsible for covert operations known as “special activities”. Within SAD there are two separate groups, SAD/SOG for tactical paramilitary operations and SAD/PAG for covert political action.[1] The Special Activities Division reports directly to the Deputy Director for the Directorate of Operations.

Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include the collection ofintelligence in hostile countries and regions, and all high threat military or intelligence operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated.[2] As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government.[3] If they are compromised during a mission, the United States government maydeny all knowledge.[4]

SOG is generally considered the most secretive special operations force in the United States. The group selects operatives from other tier one special mission units such as Delta Force, DEVGRU, ISA, and 24th STS, as well as other United States special operations forces, such as USNSWC, MARSOC, Green Berets, SEALs, SWCC, Force Recon, Pararescuemen,Combat Controllers, and Army Rangers.

SOG Paramilitary Operations Officers account for a majority of Distinguished Intelligence Cross and Intelligence Star recipients during any given conflict or incident which elicits CIA involvement. An award bestowing either of these citations represents the highest honors awarded within the CIA organization in recognition of distinguished valor and excellence in the line of duty. SAD/SOG operatives also account for the majority of the names displayed on the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters indicating that the agent died while on active duty.[5]

Political Action Group (PAG) is responsible for covert activities related to political influence, psychological operations and economic warfare. The rapid development of technology has added cyberwarfare to their mission. Tactical units within SAD are also capable of carrying out covert political action while deployed in hostile and austere environments. A large covert operation usually has components that involve many, or all, of these categories, as well as paramilitary operations. Political and Influence covert operations are used to support U.S. foreign policy. Often overt support for one element of an insurgency would be counter-productive due to the impression it would have on the local population. In such cases, covert assistance allows the U.S. to assist without damaging these elements in the process. Many of the other activities (such as propaganda, economic and cyber) support the overall political effort. There have been issues in the past with attempts to influence the US media such as in Operation Mockingbird. However, these activities are now subject to the same oversight as all covert action operations.[6]

Overview

SAD provides the President of the United States with an option when overt military and/or diplomatic actions are not viable or politically feasible. SAD can be directly tasked by the President of the United States or the National Security Council at the President’s direction. This is unlike any other U.S. special mission force. However, SAD/SOG has far fewer members than most of the other special missions units, such as the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force) or Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU).[7][8][9]

As the action arm of the DO, SAD/SOG conducts direct action missions such as raids, ambushes, sabotage, targeted killings[10][11][12] and unconventional warfare(e.g., training and leading guerrilla and military units of other countries in combat). SAD/SOG also conducts special reconnaissance, that can be either military orintelligence driven, but is carried out by Paramilitary Officers (also called Paramilitary Operatives) when in “non-permissive environments“. Paramilitary Operations Officers are also fully trained case officers (i.e., “spies”) and as such conduct clandestine human intelligence (HUMINT) operations throughout the world.[13]SAD/SOG officers are selected from the most elite U.S. military units.[9]

The political action group within SAD conducts the deniable psychological operations, also known as black propaganda, as well as “Covert Influence” to effect political change as an important part of any Administration’s foreign policy.[1] Covert intervention in a foreign election is the most significant form of political action. This could involve financial support for favored candidates, media guidance, technical support for public relations, get-out-the-vote or political organizing efforts, legal expertise, advertising campaigns, assistance with poll-watching, and other means of direct action. Policy decisions could be influenced by assets, such as subversion of officials of the country, to make decisions in their official capacity that are in the furtherance of U.S. policy aims. In addition, mechanisms for forming and developing opinions involve the covert use of propaganda.[14]

Propaganda includes leaflets, newspapers, magazines, books, radio, and television, all of which are geared to convey the U.S. message appropriate to the region. These techniques have expanded to cover the internet as well. They may employ officers to work as journalists, recruit agents of influence, operate media platforms, plant certain stories or information in places it is hoped it will come to public attention, or seek to deny and/or discredit information that is public knowledge. In all such propaganda efforts, “black” operations denote those in which the audience is to be kept ignorant of the source; “white” efforts are those in which the originator openly acknowledges himself; and “gray” operations are those in which the source is partly but not fully acknowledged.[14][15]

Some examples of political action programs were the prevention of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from winning elections between 1948 and the late 1960s; overthrowing the governments of Iran in 1953, and Guatemala in 1954; arming rebels in Indonesia in 1957; and providing funds and support to the trade unionfederation Solidarity following the imposition of martial law in Poland after 1981.[16]

SAD’s existence became better known as a result of the “Global War on Terror“. Beginning in autumn of 2001, SAD/SOG paramilitary teams arrived in Afghanistanto hunt down al-Qaeda leaders, facilitate the entry of U.S. Army Special Forces and lead the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan against the rulingTaliban. SAD/SOG units also defeated Ansar al-Islam in Iraqi Kurdistan prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003[17][18] and trained, equipped, organized and led theKurdish peshmerga forces to defeat the Iraqi army in northern Iraq.[13][17] Despite being the most covert unit in U.S. Special Operations, numerous books have been published on the exploits of CIA paramilitary officers, including Conboy and Morrison’s Feet to the Fire: CIA Covert Operations in Indonesia,[19] and Warner’sShooting at the Moon: The Story of America’s Clandestine War in Laos.[20] Most experts consider SAD/SOG the premiere force for unconventional warfare (UW), whether that warfare consists of either creating or combating an insurgency in a foreign country.[7][21][22]

SOCOM.jpg

There remains some conflict between the National Clandestine Service and the more clandestine parts of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM),[23] such as the Joint Special Operations Command. This is usually confined to the civilian/political heads of the respective Department/Agency. The combination of SAD and USSOCOM units has resulted in some of the most notable successes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to include the locating and killing of Osama bin Laden.[22][24] SAD/SOG has several missions. One of these missions is the recruiting, training, and leading of indigenous forces in combat operations.[22] SAD/SOG and its successors have been used when it was considered desirable to have plausible deniability about U.S. support (this is called a covert operation or “covert action”).[13] Unlike other special missions units, SAD/SOG operatives combine special operations and clandestine intelligence capabilities in one individual.[9] These individuals can operate in any environment (sea, air or ground) with limited to no support.[7]

Covert action

Under U.S. law, the CIA is authorized to collect intelligence, conduct counterintelligence and to conduct covert action by the National Security Act of 1947.[1]President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 titled “United States Intelligence Activities” in 1984. This order defined covert action as “special activities,” both political and military, that the U.S. government would deny, granting such operations exclusively to the CIA. The CIA was also designated as the sole authority under the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and mirrored in Title 50 of the United States Code Section 413(e).[1][22] The CIA must have a presidential findingissued by the President of the United States in order to conduct these activities under the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act.[25]These findings are then monitored by the oversight committees in both the U.S. Senate, called the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) and the U.S. House of Representatives, called the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).[26]

The Pentagon commissioned a study to determine whether the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) should conduct covert action paramilitary operations. Their study determined that the CIA should maintain this capability and be the “sole government agency conducting covert action.” The DoD found that, even under U.S. law, it does not have the legal authority to conduct covert action, nor the operational agility to carry out these types of missions.[27] The operation in May 2011 that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden was a covert action under the authority of the CIA.[24][28]

Selection and training

SAD/SOG has several hundred officers, mostly former members of special operations forces (SOF) and a majority from theJoint Special Operations Command (JSOC).[29] The CIA has also recruited individuals within the agency.[30] The CIA’s formal position for these individuals is “Paramilitary Operations Officers” and “Specialized Skills Officers.” Paramilitary Operations Officers attend the Clandestine Service Trainee (CST) program, which trains them as clandestine intelligence operatives (known as “Core Collectors” within the Agency). The primary strengths of SAD/SOG Paramilitary Officers are operational agility, adaptability, and deniability. They often operate in small teams, typically made up of six operators (with some operations being carried out by a single officer), all with extensive military special operations expertise and a set of specialized skills that does not exist in any other unit.[9] As fully trained intelligence case officers, Paramilitary Operations Officers possess all the clandestine skills to collect human intelligence—and most importantly—to recruit assets from among the indigenous troops receiving their training. These officers often operate in remote locations behind enemy lines to carry out direct action (including raids and sabotage), counter-intelligence, guerrilla/unconventional warfare, counter-terrorism, and hostage rescue missions, in addition to being able to conduct espionage via HUMINT assets.

There are four principal elements within SAD’s Special Operations Group: the Air Branch, the Maritime Branch, the Ground Branch, and the Armor and Special Programs Branch. The Armor and Special Programs Branch is charged with development, testing, and covert procurement of new personnel and vehicular armor and maintenance of stockpiles of ordnance and weapons systems used by SOG, almost all of which must be obtained from clandestine sources abroad, in order to provide SOG operatives and their foreign trainees with plausible deniability in accordance with U.S. Congressional directives.

Together, SAD/SOG contains a complete combined arms covert military. Paramilitary Operations Officers are the core of each branch and routinely move between the branches to gain expertise in all aspects of SOG.[30] As such, Paramilitary Operations Officers are trained to operate in a multitude of environments. Because these officers are taken from the most highly trained units in the U.S. military and then provided with extensive additional training to become CIA clandestine intelligence officers, many U.S. security experts assess them as the most elite of the U.S. special missions units.[31]

SAD, like most of the CIA, requires a bachelor’s degree to be considered for employment. Many have advanced degrees such as Master’s and law degrees.[32]Many candidates come from notable schools, many from Ivy League institutions and United States Service Academies, but the majority of recruits today come from middle-class backgrounds.[33] SAD officers are trained at Camp Peary, Virginia (also known as “The Farm”) and at privately owned training centers around the United States. They also train its personnel at “The Point” (Harvey Point), a facility outside of Hertford, North Carolina.[34][35] In addition to the eighteen months of training in the Clandestine Service Trainee (CST) Program[36] required to become a clandestine intelligence officer, Paramilitary Operations Officers are trained to a high level of proficiency in the use and tactical employment of an unusually wide degree of modern weaponry, explosive devices and firearms (foreign and domestic), hand to hand combat, high performance/tactical driving (on and off road), apprehension avoidance (including picking handcuffs and escaping from confinement), improvised explosive devices, cyberwarfare, covert channels, Military Free Fall parachuting, combat and commercial SCUBA and closed circuit diving, proficiency in foreign languages, surreptitious entry operations (picking or otherwise bypassing locks), vehicle hot-wiring, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape(SERE), extreme survival and wilderness training, combat EMS medical training, tactical communications, and tracking.

History

World War II

While the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was technically a military agency under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in practice it was fairly autonomous of military control and enjoyed direct access to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Major General William Joseph Donovan was the head of the OSS. Donovan was a soldier and Medal of Honor recipient from World War I. He was also a lawyer and former classmate of FDR at Columbia Law School.[37] Like its successor, the CIA, OSS included both human intelligence functions and special operations paramilitary functions. Its Secret Intelligence division was responsible for espionage, while its Jedburgh teams, a joint U.S.-UK-French unit, were forerunners of groups that create guerrilla units, such as the U.S. Army Special Forces and the CIA. OSS’ Operational Groups were larger U.S. units that carried out direct action behind enemy lines. Even during World War II, the idea of intelligence and special operations units not under strict military control was controversial. OSS operated primarily in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) and to some extent in the China-Burma-India Theater, while General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was extremely reluctant to have any OSS personnel within his area of operations.

From 1943 to 1945, the OSS also played a major role in training Kuomintang troops in China and Burma, and recruited other indigenous irregular forces for sabotage as well as guides for Allied forces in Burma fighting the Japanese army. OSS also helped arm, train and supply resistance movements, including Mao Zedong‘s People’s Liberation Army in China and the Viet Minh in French Indochina, in areas occupied by the Axis powers. Other functions of the OSS included the use ofpropaganda, espionage, subversion, and post-war planning.

One of the OSS’ greatest accomplishments during World War II was its penetration of Nazi Germany by OSS operatives. The OSS was responsible for training German and Austrian commandos for missions inside Nazi Germany. Some of these agents included exiled communists and socialist party members, labor activists, anti-Nazi POWs, and German and Jewish refugees. At the height of its influence during World War II, the OSS employed almost 24,000 people.[38]

OSS Paramilitary Officers parachuted into many countries then behind enemy lines, including France, Norway, Greece and The Netherlands. In Crete, OSS paramilitary officers linked up with, equipped and fought alongside Greek resistance forces against the Axis occupation.

OSS was disbanded shortly after World War II, with its intelligence analysis functions moving temporarily into the U.S. Department of State. Espionage and counterintelligence went into military units, while paramilitary and related functions went into an assortment of ‘ad hoc’ groups, such as the Office of Policy Coordination. Between the original creation of the CIA by the National Security Act of 1947 and various mergers and reorganizations through 1952, the wartime OSS functions generally went into CIA. The mission of training and leading guerrillas generally stayed in the United States Army Special Forces, but those missions required to remain covert were folded into the paramilitary arm of the CIA. The direct descendant of the OSS’ Special Operations is the CIA’s Special Activities Division.

Tibet

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet in October 1950, the CIA inserted SAD paramilitary teams into Tibet to train and lead Tibetan resistance fighters against thePeople’s Liberation Army of China. These teams selected and then trained Tibetan soldiers in the Rocky Mountains of the United States;[39] training occurred atCamp Hale.[40][41] The SAD teams then advised and led these commandos against the Chinese, both from Nepal and India. In addition, SAD Paramilitary Officers were responsible for the Dalai Lama‘s clandestine escape to India, narrowly escaping capture and certain execution by the Chinese government.[39]

According to a book by retired CIA officer John Kenneth Knaus, entitled Orphans Of The Cold War: America And The Tibetan Struggle For Survival, Gyalo Thondup, the older brother of the 14th (and current) Dalai Lama, sent the CIA five Tibetan recruits. These recruits were then trained in paramilitary tactics on the island ofSaipan in the Northern Marianas.[42] Shortly thereafter, the five men were covertly returned to Tibet “to assess and organize the resistance” and selected another 300 Tibetans for training. U.S. assistance to the Tibetan resistance ceased after the 1972 Nixon visit to China, after which the United States and China normalized relations.[43]

Korea

The CIA sponsored a variety of activities during the Korean War. These activities included maritime operations behind North Korean lines. Yong Do Island, connected by a rugged isthmus to Pusan, served as the base for those operations. These operations were carried out by well-trained Korean guerrillas. The four principal U.S. advisers responsible for the training and operational planning of those special missions were Dutch Kramer, Tom Curtis, George Atcheson and Joe Pagnella. All of these Paramilitary Operations Officers operated through a CIA front organization called the Joint Advisory Commission, Korea (JACK), headquartered at Tongnae, a village near Pusan, on the peninsula’s southeast coast.[44] These paramilitary teams were responsible for numerous maritime raids and ambushes behind North Korean lines, as well as prisoner of warrescue operations. These were the first maritime unconventional warfare units that trained indigenous forces as surrogates. They also provided a model, along with the other CIA-sponsored ground based paramilitary Korean operations, for theMilitary Assistance Command, Vietnam-Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG) activities conducted by the U.S. military and the CIA/SAD in Vietnam.[7][44] In addition, CIA paramilitary ground-based teams worked directly for U.S. military commanders, specifically with the 8th Army, on the “White Tiger” initiative. This initiative included inserting South Korean commandos and CIA Paramilitary Operations Officers prior to the two major amphibious assaults on North Korea, including the landing at Inchon.[7]

Cuba (1961)

Main article: Bay of Pigs Invasion

Map showing the location of the Bay of Pigs

The Bay of Pigs Invasion (known as “La Batalla de Girón”, or “Playa Girón” in Cuba), was an unsuccessful attempt by a U.S.-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba and overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The plan was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency of the United States. TheCuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the exile-combatants in three days.

The sea-borne invasion force landed on April 17, and fighting lasted until April 19, 1961. CIA Paramilitary Operations OfficersGrayston Lynch and William “Rip” Robertson led the first assault on the beaches, and supervised the amphibious landings.[45] Four American aircrew instructors from Alabama Air National Guard were killed while flying attack sorties.[45]Various sources estimate Cuban Army casualties (killed or injured) to be in the thousands (between 2,000 and 5,000).[46] This invasion followed the successful overthrow by the CIA of the Mosaddeq government in Iran in 1953[47] and Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954,[48] but was a failure both militarily and politically.[49] Deteriorating Cuban-American relations were made worse by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Bolivia

The National Liberation Army of Bolivia (ELN-Ejército de Liberación Nacional de Bolivia) was a communist guerrilla force that operated from the remote Ñancahuazú region against the pro-U.S. Bolivian government. They were joined by Che Guevara in the mid-1960s.[50][51] The ELN was well equipped and scored a number of early successes against the Bolivian army in the difficult terrain of the mountainous Camiri region.[52] In the late 1960s, the CIA deployed teams of SAD Paramilitary Operations Officers to Bolivia to train the Bolivian army in order to counter the ELN.[52] These SAD teams linked up with U.S. Army Special Forces and Bolivian Special Forces to track down and capture Guevara, who was a special prize because of his leading role in the Cuban Revolution.[52] On October 9, 1967, Guevara was executed by Bolivian soldiers on the orders of CIA paramilitary operative Félix Rodríguez shortly after being captured, according to CIA documents.[53]

Vietnam and Laos

South Vietnam, Military Regions, 1967

The original OSS mission in Vietnam under Major Archimedes Patti was to work with Ho Chi Minh in order to prepare his forces to assist the United States and their Allies in fighting the Japanese. After the end of World War II, the US agreed at Potsdam to turn Vietnam back to their previous French rulers and in 1950 the US began providing military aid to the French.[54]

CIA Paramilitary Operations Officers trained and led Hmong tribesmen in Laos and Vietnam, and their actions of these officers were not known for several years. Air America was the air component of the CIA’s paramilitary mission in Southeast Asia and was responsible for all combat, logistics and search and rescue operations in Laos and certain sections of Vietnam.[55] The ethnic minority forces numbered in the tens of thousands and they conducted direct actions mission, led by Paramilitary Operations Officers, against the communist Pathet Lao forces and their North Vietnamese allies.[7]

Elements of SAD were seen in the CIA’s Phoenix Program. One component of the Phoenix Program was involved in the capture and killing of suspected Viet Cong (National Liberation Front – NLF) members.[56] Between 1968 and 1972, the Phoenix Program captured 81,740 National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF or Viet Cong) members, of whom 26,369 were killed. This was a large proportion of U.S. killings between 1969 and 1971. The program was also successful in destroying their infrastructure. By 1970, communist plans repeatedly emphasized attacking the government’s “pacification” program and specifically targeted Phoenix agents. The NLF also imposed quotas. In 1970, for example, communist officials near Da Nang in northern South Vietnam instructed their agents to “kill 400 persons” deemed to be government “tyrant[s]” and to “annihilate” anyone involved with the “pacification” program. Several North Vietnamese officials have made statements about the effectiveness of Phoenix.[57][58]

MAC-V SOG (Studies and Observations Group) (which was originally named the Special Operations Group, but was changed for cover purposes), was created and active during the Vietnam War. While CIA was just one part of MAC-V SOG, it did have operational control of some of the programs. Many of the military members of MAC-V SOG joined the CIA after their military service. The legacy of MAC-V SOG continues within SAD’s Special Operations Group.[59]

Maritime activities against the USSR

In 1973, SAD/SOG and the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology built and deployed the USNS Glomar Explorer (T-AG-193), a large deep-sea salvage ship, on a secret operation. This operation was called Project Azorian (erroneously called Project Jennifer by the press).[60] Her mission was to recover a sunken Sovietsubmarine, K-129, which had been lost in April 1968.[61][62] A mechanical failure caused two-thirds of the submarine to break off during recovery,[60] but SAD recovered two nuclear-tipped torpedoes, cryptographic machines and the bodies of six Soviet submariners.[63] An alternative theory claims that all of K-129 was recovered[64] and that the official account was an “elaborate cover-up”.[65]

Also in the 1970s, the U.S. Navy, the National Security Agency (NSA) and SAD/SOG [66] conducted Operation Ivy Bells and a series of other missions to place wire taps on Soviet underwater communications cables. These operations were covered in detail in the 1998 book Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage.[67] In the 1985 edition of “Studies in Intelligence”, the CIA’s in-house journal that outsiders rarely get to see, the CIA describes the “staggering expense and improbable engineering feats” that culminated in the August 1974 mission.[68]

Nicaragua

In 1979, the U.S.-backed Anastasio Somoza Debayle dictatorship in Nicaragua fell to the socialist Sandinistas. Once in power, the Sandinistas disbanded theNicaraguan National Guard, who had committed many human rights abuses, and arrested and executed some of its members. Other former National Guard members helped to form the backbone of the Nicaraguan Counterrevolution or Contra. SAD/SOG paramilitary teams were deployed to train and lead these forces against the Sandinista government. These paramilitary activities were based in Honduras and Costa Rica. Direct military aid by the United States was eventually forbidden by the Boland Amendment of the Defense Appropriations Act of 1983. The Boland Amendment was extended in October 1984 to forbid action by not only the Defense Department, but also to include the Central Intelligence Agency.[69][70]

The Boland Amendment was a compromise because the U.S. Democratic Party did not have enough votes for a comprehensive ban on military aid. It covered only appropriated funds spent by intelligence agencies. Some of Reagan’s national security officials used non-appropriated money of the National Security Council (NSC) to circumvent the Amendment. NSC officials sought to arrange funding by third parties. These efforts resulted in the Iran-Contra Affair of 1987, which concerned Contra funding through the proceeds of arms sales to the Islamic Republic of Iran. No court ever made a determination whether Boland covered the NSC and on the grounds that it was a prohibition rather than a criminal statute, no one was indicted for violating it. Congress later resumed aid to the Contras, totaling over $300 million. The Contra war ended when the Sandinistas were voted out of power by a war-weary populace in 1990.[70][71] Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega was re-elected as President of Nicaragua in 2006 and took office again on January 10, 2007.

El Salvador

CIA personnel were also involved in the Salvadoran civil war.[72] Some allege that the techniques used to interrogate prisoners in El Salvador foreshadowed those later used in Iraq and Afghanistan.[73] In fact, when a similar counter-insurgency program was proposed in Iraq, it was referred to as “the Salvador Option”.[74]

Somalia

Location of Somalia

SAD sent in teams of Paramilitary Operations Officers into Somalia prior to the U.S. intervention in 1992. On December 23, 1992, Paramilitary Officer Larry Freedman became the first casualty of the conflict in Somalia. Freedman was a former ArmyDelta Force operator who had served in every conflict that the U.S. was involved in, both officially and unofficially, since Vietnam.[75] Freedman was killed while conducting special reconnaissance in advance of the entry of U.S. military forces. His mission was completely voluntary, as it required entry into a very hostile area without any support. Freedman was awarded the Intelligence Star on January 5, 1993 for his “extraordinary heroism”.[76]

SAD/SOG teams were key in working with JSOC and tracking high value targets (HVT), known as “Tier One Personalities”. Their efforts, working under extremely dangerous conditions with little to no support, led to several very successful joint JSOC/CIA operations.[77] In one specific operation, a CIA case officer, Michael Shanklin[78] and codenamed “Condor”, working with a CIA Technical Operations Officer from the Directorate of Science and Technology, managed to get a cane with a beacon in it to Osman Ato, a wealthy businessman, arms importer, and Mohammed Aideed, a money man whose name was right below Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s on the Tier One list.

Once Condor confirmed that Ato was in a vehicle, JSOC‘s Delta Force launched a capture operation.

a Little Bird helicopter dropped out of the sky and a sniper leaned out and fired three shots into the car’s engine block. The car ground to a halt as commandos roped down from hovering Blackhawks [sic], surrounded the car and handcuffed Ato. It was the first known helicopter takedown of suspects in a moving car. The next time Jones saw the magic cane, an hour later, Garrison had it in his hand. “I like this cane,” Jones remembers the general exclaiming, a big grin on his face. “Let’s use this again.” Finally, a tier one personality was in custody.[77]

President Bill Clinton withdrew U.S. forces on May 4, 1994.[79]

In June 2006, the Islamic Courts Union seized control of southern Somalia, including the country’s capital Mogadishu, prompting the Ethiopian government to send in troops to try to protect the transitional government. In December, the Islamic Courts warned Ethiopia they would declare war if Ethiopia did not remove all its troops from Somalia. Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, leader of the Islamic Courts, called for a jihad, or holy war, against Ethiopia and encouraged foreign Muslim fighters to come to Somalia. At that time, the United States accused the group of being controlled by al-Qaeda, but the Islamic Courts denied that charge.[80]

In 2009, PBS reported that al-Qaeda had been training terrorists in Somalia for years. Until December 2006, Somalia’s government had no power outside of the town of Baidoa, 150 miles (240 km) from the capital. The countryside and the capital were run by warlords and militia groups who could be paid to protect terrorist groups.[80]

CIA officers kept close tabs on the country and paid a group of Somali warlords to help hunt down members of al-Qaeda according to the New York Times.[citation needed] Meanwhile, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, issued a message calling for all Muslims to go to Somalia.[80]On January 9, 2007, a U.S. official said that ten militants were killed in one airstrike.[81]

On September 14, 2009, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior al-Qaeda leader in East Africa as well as a senior leader in Shabaab, al Qaeda’s surrogate in Somalia, was killed by elements of U.S. Special Operations. According to a witness, at least two AH-6 Little Bird attack helicopters strafed a two-car convoy. Navy SEALs then seized the body of Nabhan and took two other wounded fighters captive.[82][83] JSOC and the CIA had been trying to kill Nabhan for some time including back in January 2007, when an AC-130 Gunship was called in on one attempt. A U.S. intelligence source stated that CIA paramilitary teams are directly embedded with Ethiopian forces in Somalia, allowing for the tactical intelligence to launch these operations.[84] Nabhan was wanted for his involvement in the 1998 United States embassy bombings, as well as leading the cell behind the 2002 Mombasa attacks.[82][85]

From 2010 to 2013, the CIA set up the Somalia National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) by providing training, funding and diplomatic access. In the same time period, the EU and UN has spent millions of dollars for the military training of the Somali National Army (SNA). NISA is considered a professional Somali security force that can be relied upon to neutralize the terrorist threat.[86] This force responded to the complex al-Shabaab attack on the Banadir Regional Courthouse in Mogadishu which killed 25 civilians. NISA’s response however saved 100s and resulted in the death of all the al-Shabaab guerrillas involved.[87]

Significant events during this timeframe included the targeted drone strikes against British al-Qaida operative Bilal el-Berjawi [88] and Moroccan al-Qaida operative Abu Ibrahim.[89] It also included the rescue of U.S. citizen Jessica Buchanan by U.S. Navy SEALs.[90] All likely aided by intelligence collection efforts in Somalia.[91]

Afghanistan

Hamid Karzai with Special Forces and CIA Paramilitary in late 2001.

During the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Paramilitary Operations Officers were instrumental in equippingMujaheddin forces against the Soviet Army. Although the CIA in general, and a Texas congressman named Charlie Wilson in particular, have received most of the attention, the key architect of this strategy was Michael G. Vickers. Vickers was a young Paramilitary Operations Officer from SAD/SOG. The CIA’s efforts have been given credit for assisting in ending the Sovietinvolvement in Afghanistan and bringing Taliban to power.[92]

SAD paramilitary teams were active in Afghanistan in the 1990s in clandestine operations to locate and kill or capture Osama Bin Laden. These teams planned several operations, but did not receive the order to execute from President Bill Clintonbecause the available intelligence did not guarantee a successful outcome weighed against the extraordinary risk to the SAD/SOG teams that would execute the mission.[13] These efforts did however build many of the relationships that would prove essential in the 2001 U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan.[13]

On September 26, 2001, members of the Special Activities Division, led by Gary Schroen, were the first U.S. forces inserted into Afghanistan. The Northern Afghanistan Liaison Team entered the country nine days after the 9/11 attack[93][94] and linked up with the Northern Alliance as part of Task Force Dagger.[95]

They provided the Northern Alliance with resources including cash to buy weapons and prepared for the arrival of USSOCOM forces. The plan for the invasion of Afghanistan was developed by the CIA, the first time in United States history that such a large-scale military operation was planned by the CIA.[96] SAD, U.S. Army Special Forces, and the Northern Alliance combined to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan with minimal loss of U.S. lives. They did this without the use of conventional U.S. military ground forces.[13][97][98][99]

The Washington Post stated in an editorial by John Lehman in 2006:

What made the Afghan campaign a landmark in the U.S. Military’s history is that it was prosecuted by Special Operations forces from all the services, along with Navy and Air Force tactical power, operations by the Afghan Northern Alliance and the CIA were equally important and fully integrated. No large Army or Marine force was employed”.[100]

In a 2008 New York Times book review of Horse Soldiers, a book by Doug Stanton about the invasion of Afghanistan, Bruce Barcott wrote:

The valor exhibited by Afghan and American soldiers, fighting to free Afghanistan from a horribly cruel regime, will inspire even the most jaded reader. The stunning victory of the horse soldiers – 350 Special Forces soldiers, 100 C.I.A. officers and 15,000 Northern Alliance fighters routing a Taliban army 50,000 strong – deserves a hallowed place in American military history”.[101]

Small and highly agile paramilitary mobile teams spread out over the countryside to meet with locals and gather information about the Taliban and al-Qa’ida. During that time, one of the teams was approached in a village and asked by a young man for help in retrieving his teenage sister. He explained that a senior Taliban official had taken her as a wife and had sharply restricted the time she could spend with her family. The team gave the man a small hand-held tracking device to pass along to his sister, with instructions for her to activate it when the Taliban leader returned home. The team responded to her emergency signal, capturing the senior Taliban official and rescuing the sister. The siblings’ tearful reunion left the team at a loss for words—a rarity for the normally loud warriors of CIA’s Special Activities Division.[102]

Tora Bora

In December 2001, SAD/SOG and the Army’s Delta Force tracked down Osama bin Laden in the rugged mountains near the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan.[103]Former CIA station chief Gary Berntsen as well as a subsequent Senate investigation claimed that the combined American special operations task force was largely outnumbered by al-Qaeda forces and that they were denied additional US troops by higher command.[104] The task force also requested munitions to block the avenues of egress of bin Laden, but that request was also denied.[105] The team allegedly uncovered evidence in the subsequent site exploration that bin Laden’s ultimate aim was to obtain and detonate a nuclear device in a terrorist attack.[96] According to other press reports, SAD were ineffectual and “Bin Laden and bodyguards walked uncontested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal area.”[106]

Surge

In September 2009, the CIA planned on “deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence ‘surge’ ordered by President Obama. This will make its station there among the largest in the agency’s history.”[107] This presence is expected to surpass the size of the stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars.[107] The station is located at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and is led “by a veteran with an extensive background in paramilitary operations”.[108] The majority of the CIA’s workforce is located among secret bases and military special operations posts throughout the country.[108][109]

Also in 2009, General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, planned to request an increase in teams of CIA operatives, including their elite paramilitary officers, to join with U.S. military special operations forces. This combination worked well in Iraq and is largely credited with the success of that surge.[108][110] There have been basically three options described in the media: McChrystal’s increased counterinsurgency campaign; a counter-terror campaign using special operations raids and drone strikes; and withdrawal. The most successful combination in both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been the linking up of SAD and military special forces to fight alongside highly trained indigenous units. One thing all of these options have in common is a requirement for greater CIA participation.[110]

The End Game

According to the current and former intelligence officials, General McChrystal also had his own preferred candidate for the Chief of Station (COS) job, a good friend and decorated CIA paramilitary officer.[111] The officer had extensive experience in war zones, including two previous tours in Afghanistan with one as the Chief of Station, as well as tours in the Balkans, Baghdad and Yemen. He is well known in CIA lore as “the man who saved Hamid Karzai‘s life when the CIA led the effort to oust the Taliban from power in 2001″. President Karzai is said to be greatly indebted to this officer and was pleased when the officer was named chief of station again. According to interviews with several senior officials, this officer “was uniformly well-liked and admired. A career paramilitary officer, he came to the CIA after several years in an elite Marine unit”.[111][112]

General McChrystal’s strategy included the lash up of special operations forces from the U.S. Military and from SAD/SOG to duplicate the initial success and the defeat of the Taliban in 2001[113] and the success of the “Surge” in Iraq in 2007.[114] This strategy proved highly successful and worked very well in Afghanistan with SAD/SOG and JSOC forces conducting raids nearly every night having “superb results” against the enemy.[115]

In 2001, the CIA’s SAD/SOG began creating what would come to be called Counter-terrorism Pursuit Teams (CTPT).[116][117] These units grew to include over 3,000 operatives by 2010 and have been involved in sustained heavy fighting against the enemy. It is considered the “best Afghan fighting force”.

Located at 7,800 feet (2,400 m) above sea level, Firebase Lilley in Shkin serves as a “nerve center for the covert war”.[117] This covert war includes being a hub for these CTPT operations with Firebase Lilley being just one in a constellation of CIA bases across Afghanistan.[117] These units have not only been highly effective in combat operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, but have also been used to engage with the tribes in areas with no other official government presence.[118]

This covert war also includes a large SOG/CTPT expansion into Pakistan to target senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).[119] CTPT units are the main effort in both the “Counterterrorism plus” and the full “Counterinsurgency” options being discussed by the Obama administration in the December 2010 review.[120] SOG/CTPT are also key to any exit strategy for the U.S. government to leave Afghanistan, while still being able to deny al-Qaeda and other trans-national extremists groups a safehaven both in Afghanistan and in the FATA of Pakistan.[121]

In January 2013, a CIA drone strike killed Mullah Nazir a senior Taliban commander in the South Waziristan area of Pakistan believed responsible for carrying out the insurgent effort against the US military in Afghanistan. Nazir’s death degraded the Taliban.[122]

The U.S. has decided to lean heavily on CIA in general and SAD specifically in their efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan as it did in Iraq.[123] There are plans being considered to have several US Military special operations elements assigned to CIA after the withdrawal.[124]

Yemen

On November 5, 2002, a missile launched from a CIA-controlled Predator drone killed al-Qaeda members traveling in a remote area in Yemen. SAD/SOG paramilitary teams had been on the ground tracking their movements for months and called in this air strike.[125] One of those in the car was Ali Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, al-Qaeda’s chief operative in Yemen and a suspect in the October 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole. Five other people, believed to be low-level al-Qaeda members, were also killed to include an American named Kamal Derwish.[126][127] Former Deputy U.S. Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called it “a very successful tactical operation” and said “such strikes are useful not only in killing terrorists but in forcing al-Qaeda to change its tactics”.[126]

“It’s an important step that has been taken in that it has eliminated another level of experienced leadership from al-Qaeda,” said Vince Cannistraro, former head of counter-terrorism for the CIA and current ABC News consultant. “It will help weaken the organization and make it much less effective.”[128][129] Harithi was on the run, pursued by several security forces who were looking for him and Muhammad Hamdi al-Ahdal, another suspect in the USS Cole bombing case.[130]

In 2009, the Obama administration authorized continued lethal operations in Yemen by the CIA.[131] As a result, the SAD/SOG and JSOC have joined together to aggressively target al-Qaeda operatives in that country, both through leading Yemenese special forces and intelligence driven drone strikes.[131] A major target of these operations is Imam Anwar al-Aulaqi, an American citizen with ties to both Nidal Hassan, the alleged Fort Hood attacker, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas 2009 attempted bomber of Northwest Airline flight 253.[132] Imam al-Aulaki was killed on September 30, 2011 by an air attack carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command.[133]

Iraq

SAD paramilitary teams entered Iraq before the 2003 invasion. Once on the ground they prepared the battle space for the subsequent arrival of U.S. military forces. SAD teams then combined with U.S. Army special forces (on a team called the Northern Iraq Liaison Element or NILE).[17] This team organized the KurdishPeshmerga for the subsequent U.S. led invasion. This joint team combined in Operation Viking Hammer to defeat Ansar al-Islam, an Islamist group allied to al-Qaeda, which several battle-hardened fighters from Afghanistan had joined after the fall of the Taliban, in a battle for control over the northeast of Iraq – a battle that turned out being one of the “most intense battles of Special Forces since Vietnam”.[134] This battle was for an entire territory that was completely occupied by Ansar al-Islam and was executed prior to the invasion in February 2003. If this battle had not been as successful as it was, there would have been a considerable hostile force in the rear of the U.S./secular Kurdish force in the subsequent assault on the Iraqi army to the south. The U.S. side was represented by paramilitary operations officers from SAD/SOG and the army’s 10th Special Forces Group (10th SFG). 10th SFG soldiers were awarded three Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars with V for valor for this battle alone [135] and several paramilitary officers were awarded the Intelligence Star for valor in combat.[136] This battle was a significant direct attack and victory on a key U.S. opponent. It resulted in the deaths of a substantial number of militants and the uncovering of a crude laboratory that had traces of poisons and information on chemical weapons at Sargat.[17][137] The team found foreign identity cards, visas, and passports on the enemy bodies. They had come from a wide variety of Middle Eastern and north African countries including Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Morocco, and Iran.[135]Sargat was also the only facility that had traces of chemical weapons discovered in the Iraq war.[18][136][138]

The village of Biyara and Base of Ansar al-Islam 2001–2003

In a 2004 U.S. News & World Report article, “A firefight in the mountains”, the author states:

“Viking Hammer would go down in the annals of Special Forces history—a battle fought on foot, under sustained fire from an enemy lodged in the mountains, and with minimal artillery and air support.”[135]

SAD/SOG teams also conducted high risk special reconnaissance missions behind Iraqi lines to identify senior leadership targets. These missions led to the initial assassination attempts against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his key generals. Although the initial air strike against Hussein was unsuccessful in killing the dictator, it was successful in effectively ending his ability to command and control his forces. Other strikes against key generals were successful and significantly degraded the command’s ability to react to and maneuver against the U.S.-led invasion force.[17][139] SAD operations officers were also successful in convincing key Iraqi army officers to surrender their units once the fighting started and/or not to oppose the invasion force.[18]

NATO member Turkey refused to allow its territory to be used by the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division for the invasion. As a result, the SAD/SOG, U.S. Army special forces joint teams, the Kurdish Peshmerga and the 173d Airborne Brigade were the entire northern force against the Iraqi army during the invasion. Their efforts kept the 13 divisions of the Iraqi Army in place to defend against the Kurds rather allowing them to contest the coalition force coming from the south.[134] This combined U.S. special operations and Kurdish force defeated the Iraqi Army.[17] Four members of the SAD/SOG team received CIA’s rare Intelligence Star for “extraordinary heroism”.[18]

The mission that captured Saddam Hussein was called “Operation Red Dawn“. It was planned and carried out by JSOC’s Delta Force and SAD/SOG teams (together called Task Force 121). The operation eventually included around 600 soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division.[140][141] Special operations troops probably numbered around 40. Much of the publicity and credit for the capture went to the 4th Infantry Division soldiers, but CIA and JSOC were the driving force. “Task Force 121 were actually the ones who pulled Saddam out of the hole” said Robert Andrews, former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict. “They can’t be denied a role anymore.”[140]

CIA paramilitary units continued to team up with the JSOC in Iraq and in 2007 the combination created a lethal force many credit with having a major impact in the success of “the Surge“. They did this by killing or capturing many of the key al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq.[142][143] In a CBS 60 Minutes interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward described a new special operations capability that allowed for this success. This capability was developed by the joint teams of CIA and JSOC.[144] Several senior U.S. officials stated that the “joint efforts of JSOC and CIA paramilitary units was the most significant contributor to the defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq”.[142][145]

In May 2007, Marine Major Douglas A. Zembiec was serving in SAD Ground Branch in Iraq when he was killed by small arms fire while leading a raid.[146][147]Reports from fellow paramilitary officers stated that the flash radio report sent was “five wounded and one martyred”[148] Major Zembiec was killed while saving his soldiers, Iraqi soldiers. He was honored with an intelligence star for his valor in combat.[149]

On October 26, 2008, SAD/SOG and JSOC conducted an operation in Syria targeting the “foreign fighter logistics network” bringing al-Qaeda operatives into Iraq (See 2008 Abu Kamal raid).[150] A U.S. source told CBS News that “the leader of the foreign fighters, an al-Qaeda officer, was the target of Sunday’s cross-border raid.” He said the attack was successful, but did not say whether or not the al-Qaeda officer was killed.[151] Fox News later reported that Abu Ghadiya, “al-Qa’ida’s senior coordinator operating in Syria”, was killed in the attack.[152] The New York Times reported that during the raid U.S. forces killed several armed males who “posed a threat”.[153]

In September 2014 with the rise of the Islamic State, the U.S. government began aggressive military operations against them in both Iraq and Syria. SAD Ground Branch was placed in charge of the ground war.[154] This is a testament to SAD being the preeminent force for unconventional warfare and their long-standing relationship with the most effective fighting force in the region, the Kurdish Peshmerga.[155]

Pakistan

SAD/SOG has been very active “on the ground” inside Pakistan targeting al-Qaeda operatives for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Predator strikes and along with USSOCOM elements they have been training Pakistani Special Service Group Commandos.[156] Before leaving office, President George W. Bush authorized SAD’s successful killing of eight senior al-Qaeda operatives via targeted air strikes.[157] Among those killed were the mastermind of a 2006 plot to detonate explosives aboard planes flying across the Atlantic Rashid Rauf and the man thought to have planned the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing on September 20, 2008 that killed 53 people.[158][159] The CIA Director authorized the continuation of these operations and on January 23, SAD/SOG performed killings of 20 individuals in northwestern Pakistan that were terrorists. Some experts assess that the CIA Director – at that time Leon Panetta – has been more aggressive in conducting paramilitary operations in Pakistan than his predecessor.[160] A Pakistani security official stated that other strikes killed at least 10 insurgents, including five foreign nationals and possibly “a high-value target” such as a senior al-Qaeda or Taliban official.[161] On February 14, the CIA drone killed 27 taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in a missile strike in south Waziristan, a militant stronghold near the Afghan border where al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri were believed to be hiding.[162]

According to the documentary film Drone, by Tonje Schei, since 2002 the U.S. Air Force 17th Reconnaissance Squadronhas been working for the CIA as “customer”, carrying out at least some of the armed missions in Pakistan.[163]

In a National Public Radio (NPR) report dated February 3, 2008, a senior official stated that al-Qaeda has been “decimated” by SAD/SOG’s air and ground operations. This senior U.S. counter-terrorism official goes on to say, “The enemy is really, really struggling. These attacks have produced the broadest, deepest and most rapid reduction in al-Qaida senior leadership that we’ve seen in several years.”[164] President Obama’s CIA Director Leon Panetta stated that SAD/SOG’s efforts in Pakistan have been “the most effective weapon” against senior al-Qaeda leadership.[165][166]

These covert attacks have increased significantly under President Obama, with as many at 50 al-Qaeda militants being killed in the month of May 2009 alone.[167][168][169] In June 2009, sixty Taliban fighters were killed while at a funeral to bury fighters that had been killed in previous CIA attacks.[170] On July 22, 2009, National Public Radio reported that U.S. officials believeSaad bin Laden, a son of Osama bin Laden, was killed by a CIA strike in Pakistan. Saad bin Laden spent years under house arrest in Iran before traveling last year to Pakistan, according to former National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell. It’s believed he was killed sometime in 2009. A senior U.S. counter-terrorism said U.S. intelligence agencies are “80 to 85 percent” certain that Saad bin Laden is dead.[171]

On August 6, 2009, the CIA announced that Baitullah Mehsud was killed by a SAD/SOG drone strike in Pakistan.[172] The New York Times said, “Although President Obama has distanced himself from many of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism policies, he has embraced and even expanded the C.I.A.’s covert campaign in Pakistan using Predator and Reaper drones”.[172] The biggest loss may be to “Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida”. For the past eight years, al-Qaeda had depended on Mehsud for protection after Mullah Mohammed Omar fled Afghanistan in late 2001. “Mehsud’s death means the tent sheltering Al Qaeda has collapsed,” an Afghan Taliban intelligence officer who had met Mehsud many times told Newsweek. “Without a doubt he was Al Qaeda’s No. 1 guy in Pakistan,” adds Mahmood Shah, a retired Pakistani Army brigadier and a former chief of the Federally Administered Tribal Area, or FATA, Mehsud’s base.[173]

Airstrikes from CIA drones struck targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan on September 8, 2009. Reports stated that seven to ten militants were killed to include one top al-Qaida leaders. He was Mustafa al-Jaziri, an Algerian national described as an “important and effective” leader and senior military commander for al-Qaida. The success of these operations are believed to have caused senior Taliban leaders to significantly alter their operations and cancel key planning meetings.[174][175]

The CIA is also increasing its campaign using Predator missile strikes on al-Qaeda in Pakistan. The number of strikes in 2009 exceeded the 2008 total, according to data compiled by the Long War Journal, which tracks strikes in Pakistan.[108] In December 2009, the New York Times reported that President Obama ordered an expansion of the drone program with senior officials describing the program as “a resounding success, eliminating key terrorists and throwing their operations into disarray”.[176] The article also cites a Pakistani official who stated that about 80 missile attacks in less than two years have killed “more than 400” enemy fighters, a number lower than most estimates but in the same range. His account of collateral damage was strikingly lower than many unofficial counts: “We believe the number of civilian casualties is just over 20, and those were people who were either at the side of major terrorists or were at facilities used by terrorists.”[176]

On December 6, 2009, a senior al-Qaeda operative, Saleh al-Somali, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan. He was responsible for their operations outside of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and formed part of the senior leadership. Al-Somali was engaged in plotting terrorist acts around the world and “given his central role, this probably included plotting attacks against the United States and Europe”.[177][178] On December 31, 2009, senior Taliban leader and strong Haqqani ally Haji Omar Khan, brother of Arif Khan, was killed in the strike along with the son of local tribal leader Karim Khan.[179]

In January 2010, al-Qaeda in Pakistan announced that Lashkar al-Zil leader Abdullah Said al Libi was killed in a drone missile strike. Neither al-Qaeda nor the US has revealed the date of the attack that killed Libi.[180] On January 14, 2010, subsequent to the suicide attack at Camp Chapman, the CIA located and killed the senior Taliban leader in Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud. Mehsud had claimed responsibility in a video he made with the suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.[181]

On February 5, 2010, the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and CIA’s SAD/SOG conducted a joint raid and apprehended Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Baradar was the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the beginning of the Afghan War more than eight years ago until that date. He ranked second to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and was known to be a close associate of Osama bin Laden. Mullah Baradar was interrogated by CIA and ISI officers for several days before news of his capture was released.[182] This capture sent the message that the Taliban leadership is not safe in Afghanistan or Pakistan.[183] “The seizure of the Afghan Taliban’s top military leader in Pakistan represents a turning point in the U.S.-led war against the militants”, U.S. officials and analysts said.[184] Per Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, several raids in Karachi in early February netted dozens of suspected Afghan militants.[184] In other joint raids that occurred around the same time, Afghan officials said that the Taliban “shadow governorsP for two provinces in northern Afghanistan had also been detained. Mullah Abdul Salam, the Taliban’s leader in Kunduz, and Mullah Mir Mohammed of Baghlan were captured in Akora Khattack.[185]

On February 20, Muhammad Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of four people killed in the drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal region in North Waziristan, according to two Pakistani intelligence sources.[186]

On May 31, 2010, the New York Times reported that Mustafa Abu al Yazid (AKA Saeed al Masri), a senior operational leader for Al Qaeda, was killed in an American missile strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas.[187]

From July to December 2010, predator strikes killed 535 suspected militants in the FATA to include Sheikh Fateh Al Misri, Al-Qaeda’s new third in command on September 25.[188] Al Misri was planning a major terrorist attack in Europe by recruiting British Muslims who would then go on a shooting rampage similar to what transpired in Mumbai in November 2008.[189]

Operation Neptune Spear

File:President Obama on Death of Osama bin Laden.ogv

President Barack Obama‘s address(Text)

On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed earlier that day in Abbottabad, Pakistan by “a small team of Americans” acting under his direct orders during a CIA operation under Director Leon Panetta.[24][28][190] The helicopter raid was executed from a CIA forward operating base in Afghanistan by the elements of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (assigned to the CIA) and CIA paramilitary operatives.[191] [192][193]

The operation in the Bilal military cantonment area in the city of Abbottabad resulted in the acquisition of extensive intelligence on the future attack plans of al-Qaeda.[194][195][196] The body of bin Laden was flown to Afghanistan to be identified and then out to the USS Carl Vinson for a burial at sea.[197] DNA from bin Laden’s body, compared with DNA samples on record from his dead sister, confirmed his identity.

The operation was a result of years of intelligence work that included the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the CIA, the DSS, and the Delta Force‘s, apprehension and interrogation of Khalid Sheik Mohammad (KSM),[198][199][200] the discovery of the real name of the courier disclosed by KSM, the tracking, via signal intelligence, of the courier to the Abbottobad compound by paramilitary operatives and the establishment of a CIA safe house that provided critical advance intelligence for the operation.[201][202][203][203]

The material discovered in the raid indicated that bin Laden was still in charge of his Al-Qaeda organization and was developing plans and issuing orders at the time of his death. There is considerable controversy over claims that elements of the Pakistani government, particularly the ISI, may have been concealing the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.[204][205][206] Bin Laden’s death has been labeled a “game changer” and a fatal blow to Al-Qaeda, by senior U.S. officials.[207]

Iran

In the early 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency and Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service were ordered to overthrow the government of Iran, Prime MinisterMohammed Mosaddeq, and re-install deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.[208] This event was called Operation Ajax.[209][210] The senior CIA officer was Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., the grandson of American president Theodore Roosevelt. The operation utilized all of SAD’s components to include political action, covert influence and paramilitary operations. The paramilitary component included training anti-Communist guerrillas to fight the Tudeh Party if they seized power in the chaos of Operation Ajax.[211] Although a significant tactical/operational success, Operation Ajax is considered very controversial with many critics.[212]

In November 1979, a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American embassy in support of the Iranian Revolution.[213] Operation Eagle Claw was the unsuccessful United States military operation that attempted to rescue the 52 hostages from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran on April 24, 1980. Several SAD/SOG teams infiltrated into Tehran to support this operation.[214]

On March 9, 2007 alleged CIA Agent Robert Levinson was kidnapped from Iran’s Kish Island. On July 7, 2008, Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist and author Seymour Hersh wrote an article in the New Yorker stating that the Bush Administration had signed a Presidential Finding authorizing the CIA to begin cross border paramilitary operations from Iraq and Afghanistan into Iran. These operations would be against Quds Force, the commando arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, public and private sector strategic targets, and “high-value targets” in the war on terror. Also enrolled to support CIA objectives were the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, known in the West as the M.E.K.,and the Baluchis insurgents. “The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”[215] Any significant effort against Iran by the Obama Administration would likely come directly from SAD.[216] and in July 2010, Director Panetta chose a former chief of SAD as the new NCS Director.[217]

Libya

After the Arab Spring movements overthrew the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt, its neighbours to the west and east respectively, Libya had a major revolt beginning in February 2011.[218][219] In response, the Obama administration sent in SAD paramilitary operatives to assess the situation and gather information on the opposition forces.[220][221] Experts speculated that these teams could be determining the capability of these forces to defeat the Muammar Gaddafi regime and whether Al-Qaeda had a presence in these rebel elements.

U.S. officials had made it clear that no U.S. troops would be “on the ground”, making the use of covert paramilitary operatives the only alternative.[222] During the early phases of the Libyan offensive of U.S. led air strikes, paramilitary operatives assisted in the recovery of a U.S. Air Force pilot who had crashed due to mechanical problems.[223] [224] There was speculation that President Obama issued a covert action finding in March 2011 that authorizes the CIA to carry out a clandestine effort to provide arms and support to the Libyan opposition.[225]

Syria

CIA paramilitary teams have been deployed to Syria to report on the uprising, to access the rebel groups, leadership and to potentially train, equip and lead one of those rebel groups against the Bashar al-Assad regime.[226] In early September 2013, President Obama told U.S. Senators that the CIA had trained the first 50-man insurgent element and that they had been inserted into Syria.[227] The deployment of this unit and the supplying of weapons may be the first tangible measure of support since the U.S. stated they would begin providing assistance to the opposition.[228][229]

In October 2013, SAD was tasked with overthrowing the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This program was considered too limited to have the desired outcome.[230] However, with the rise of the Islamic State, SAD was given the overall command and control of the ground fight against them. This fight will cross the borders between Iraq and Syria.[154][231]

Worldwide mission

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after his capture

The CIA has always had a Special Activities Division, which secretly carries out special operations mission. However, since September 11, 2001 the US government has relied much more on SAD/SOG because fighting terrorists does not usually involve fighting other armies. Rather, it involves secretly moving in and out of countries like Pakistan, Iran and Somaliawhere the American military is not legally allowed to operate.[232]

If there are missions in these countries that are denied to U.S. military special operations forces, SAD/SOG units are the primary national special missions units to execute those operations.[233]

In the War on Terror, SAD has the lead in the covert war being waged against al Qaeda.[11][234] SAD/SOG paramilitary teams have apprehended many of the senior leaders. These include: Abu Zubaydah,[235] the chief of operations for al-Qaeda;Ramzi bin al-Shibh,[236] the so-called the “20th hijacker”;[237] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.;[238] Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, alleged to be the mastermind of theUSS Cole bombing and leader of al Qaeda operations in the Persian Gulf prior to his capture in November 2002;[239] Abu Faraj al-Libi, al Qaeda’s “field general” believed to have taken the role of No. 3 in al Qaeda following the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Pakistan;[240] andMullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the number two taliban commander and the highest level taliban commander apprehended in the Afghan War.[241] Prior to the beginning of the “War on Terror”, SAD/SOG located and captured many notable militants and international criminals, including Abimael Guzman and Carlos the Jackal. These were just three of the over 50 caught by SAD/SOG just between 1983 and 1995.[242]

In 2002, the George W. Bush Administration prepared a list of “terrorist leaders” the CIA is authorized to kill in a targeted killing, if capture is impractical and civilian casualties can be kept to an acceptable number. The list includes key al Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden (deceased) and his chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as other principal figures from al Qaeda and affiliated groups. This list is called the “high value target list”.[243] The U.S. president is not legally required to approve each name added to the list, nor is the CIA required to obtain presidential approval for specific attacks, although the president is kept well informed about operations.[243]

SAD/SOG teams have been dispatched to the country of Georgia, where dozens of al Qaeda fugitives from Afghanistan are believed to have taken refuge withChechen separatists and thousands of refugees in the Pankisi Gorge. Their efforts have already resulted in 15 Arab militants linked to al Qaeda being captured.[125]

The SAD/SOG teams have also been active in the Philippines, where 1,200 U.S. military advisers helped to train local soldiers in “counter-terrorist operations” against Abu Sayyaf, a radical Islamist group suspected of ties with al Qaeda. Little is known about this U.S. covert action program, but some analysts believe that “the CIA’s paramilitary wing, the Special Activities Division (SAD), has been allowed to pursue terrorist suspects in the Philippines on the basis that its actions will never be acknowledged”.[125]

On July 14, 2009, several newspapers reported that DCIA Leon Panetta was briefed on a CIA program that had not been briefed to the oversight committees in Congress. Panetta cancelled the initiative and reported its existence to Congress and the President. The program consisted of teams of SAD paramilitary officers organized to execute targeted killing operations against al Qaeda operatives around the world in any country. According to the Los Angeles Times, DCIA Panetta “has not ruled out reviving the program”.[11] There is some question as to whether former Vice President Dick Cheney instructed the CIA not to inform Congress.[244]Per senior intelligence officers, this program was an attempt to avoid the civilian casualties that can occur during predator drone strikes using Hellfire missiles.[245][246]

According to many experts, the Obama administration has relied on the CIA and their paramilitary capabilities, even more than they have on U.S. military forces, to maintain the fight against terrorists in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region, as well as places like Yemen, Somalia and North Africa.[247][248] Ronald Kessler states in his book The CIA at War: Inside the Secret War Against Terror, that although paramilitary operations are a strain on resources, they’re winning the war against terrorism.[247][249]

SAD/SOG paramilitary officers executed the clandestine evacuation of U.S. citizens and diplomatic personnel in Somalia, Iraq (during the Persian Gulf War) andLiberia during periods of hostility, as well as the insertion of Paramilitary Operations Officers prior to the entry of U.S. military forces in every conflict since World War II.[250] SAD officers have operated covertly since 1947 in places such as North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, El Salvador,Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Pakistan.[251]

Innovations in special operations

The Fulton system in use

The Fulton surface-to-air recovery system (STARS) is a system developed in the early 1950s by CIA paramilitary officers for retrieving persons on the ground from a MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft. It uses a harness and a self-inflating balloon that carries an attached lift line. An MC-130E engages the line with its V-shaped yoke and the individual is reeled on board.[252]Project COLDFEET was a very successful mission in 1962 in which two military officers parachuted into a remote abandoned Soviet site in the Arctic. The two were subsequently extracted by the Fulton sky hook. The team gathered evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice US submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.[253]

Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) Billy Waugh was a Special Forces soldier attached to CIA in the 1960s. During his time at MACV-SOG in Vietnam, he developed and conducted the first combat High Altitude-Low Opening (HALO) jump, “In October 1970, my team made a practice Combat Infiltration into the NVA owned War Zone D, in South Vietnam, for reassembly training, etc. This was the first one in a combat zone.”[254] HALO is a method of delivering personnel, equipment, and supplies from a transport aircraft at a high altitude via free-fall parachute insertion. HALO andHAHO (High Altitude-High Opening) are also known as Military Free Fall (MFF). In the HALO technique, the parachutist opens his parachute at a low altitude after free-falling for a period of time to avoid detection by the enemy. Waugh also led the last combat special reconnaissance parachute insertion into enemy territory occupied by communist North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops on June 22, 1971.[255]

Notable paramilitary officers

On October 25, 2003, paramilitary officers Christopher Mueller and William “Chief” Carlson were killed while conducting an operation to kill/capture high level al-Qa’ida leaders near Shkin, Afghanistan. Both these officers were honored with Stars on the CIA Memorial Wall at their Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.[256] “The bravery of these two men cannot be overstated,” Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet told a gathering of several hundred Agency employees and family members. “Chris and Chief put the lives of others ahead of their own. That is heroism defined.” Mueller, a former US Navy SEAL and Carlson, a former Army Special Forces soldier, Delta Force operator, and member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, died while on this covert operation. Both officers saved the lives of others, including Afghan soldiers, during the engagement with al-Qa’ida forces.[256][257][258] In Oliver North’s book American Heroes in Special Operations, a chapter is devoted to their story.[259]

Notable political action officers

  • Virginia Hall Goillot started as the only female paramilitary officer in the OSS. She shot herself in the leg while hunting in Turkey in 1932, which was then amputated below the knee. She parachuted into France to organize the resistance with her prosthesis strapped to her body. She was awarded theDistinguished Service Cross. She married an OSS officer named Paul Goillot and the two joined the CIA as paramilitary operations officers in SAD. Once aboard, Mrs. Goillot made her mark as a political action officer playing significant roles in the Guatemala and Guyana operations. These operations involved the covert removal of the governments of these two countries, as directed by the President of the United States.[260]
  • E. Howard Hunt (October 9, 1918 – January 23, 2007) was an Ivy league educated Naval officer who joined the CIA in 1949 after serving with the OSS in World War II. Hunt was a political action officer in what came to be called their Special Activities Division.[261] He became station chief in Mexico City in 1950, and supervised William F. Buckley, Jr., (Not to be confused with a famous SAD Paramilitary Officer of the same name) who worked for the CIA in Mexico during the period 1951–1952. Buckley, another SAD political action specialist, only served briefly in the CIA and went on to be considered the father of the modern American conservative movement. Buckley and Hunt remained lifelong friends.[262] Hunt ran Operation PBSUCCESS, which overthrew the government in Guatemala in 1954, was heavily involved in theBay of Pigs Invasion operation, frequently mentioned in the JFK assassination, and was one of the operatives in the Watergate scandal.[263]Hunt was also a well-known author with over 50 books to his credit. These books were published under several alias names and several were made into motion pictures.[264]
  • David Atlee Phillips Perhaps the most famous propaganda officer ever to serve in CIA, Phillips began his career as a journalist and amateur actor in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He joined the Agency in the 1950s and was one of the chief architects of the operation to overthrow Communist president Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. He was later heavily engaged as a principal member of the Bay of Pigs Task Force at Langley, and in subsequent anti-Castro operations throughout the 1960s. He founded the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) after successfully contesting a libel suit against him.

CIA Memorial Wall

Main article: CIA Memorial Wall

The CIA Memorial Wall is located at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It honors CIA employees who died in the line of duty.[265] As of August 6, 2012, there were 103 stars carved into the marble wall,[266] each one representing an officer. A majority of these were paramilitary officers.[265] A black book, called the “Book of Honor”, lies beneath the stars and is encased in an inch-thick plate of glass.[266] Inside this book are stars, arranged by year of death, and the names of 77 employees who died in CIA service alongside them.[265][266] The other names remain secret, even in death.[265]

See also

Declaration of war by the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the declaration of war against Japan on December 8, 1941

A declaration of war is a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation and another. The document Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications gives an extensive listing and summary of statutes which are automatically engaged upon the US declaring war.

For the United States, Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution says “Congress shall have power to … declare War”. However, that passage provides no specific format for what form legislation must have in order to be considered a “declaration of war” nor does the Constitution itself use this term. Many[who?] have postulated “Declaration(s) of War” must contain that phrase as or within the title. Others oppose that reasoning. In the courts, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Doe v. Bush, said: “[T]he text of the October Resolution itself spells out justifications for a war and frames itself as an ‘authorization’ of such a war.”[1] in effect saying an authorization suffices for declaration and what some may view as a formal Congressional “Declaration of War” was not required by the Constitution.

This article will use the term “formal declaration of war” to mean Congressional legislation that uses the phrase “declaration of war” in the title. Elsewhere, this article will use the terms “authorized by Congress”, “funded by Congress” or “undeclared war” to describe other such conflicts.

History

The United States has formally declared war against foreign nations five separate times, each upon prior request by the President of the United States. Four of those five declarations came after hostilities had begun.[2] James Madison reported that in the Federal Convention of 1787, the phrase “make war” was changed to “declare war” in order to leave to the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks but not to commence war without the explicit approval of Congress.[3] Debate continues as to the legal extent of the President’s authority in this regard.

After Congress repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in January 1971 and President Richard Nixon continued to wage war in Vietnam, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (Pub.L. 93–148) over the veto of Nixon in an attempt to rein in some of the president’s claimed powers. The War Powers Resolution proscribes the only power of the president to wage war which is recognized by Congress.

Declarations of war

Formal

The table below lists the five wars in which the United States has formally declared war against eleven foreign nations.[4] The only country against which the United States has declared war more than once is Germany, against which the United States has declared war twice (though a case could be made for Hungary as asuccessor state to Austria-Hungary).

In World War II, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Germany and Italy, led respectively by Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, declared war on the United States, and the U.S. Congress responded in kind.[5][6]

War Declaration Opponent(s) Date of declaration Votes President Result
Senate House
War of 1812 Declaration of War upon the U.K.  United Kingdom June 18, 1812 19–13 79–49 James Madison Treaty of Ghent(December 24, 1814)
Mexican–American War “An Act providing for the Prosecution of the existing War between the United States and the Republic of Mexico.”[7] Mexico May 13, 1846 40–2 173–14 James K. Polk Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (February 2, 1848)
Spanish–American War Declaration of War upon Spain  Spain April 25, 1898 42–35 310–6 William McKinley Treaty of Paris(December 10, 1898)
World War I Declaration of War upon Germany  Germany April 6, 1917 82–6 373–50 Woodrow Wilson Treaty of Berlin (August 25, 1921)
Declaration of War upon Austria-Hungary[8][9]  Austria-Hungary December 7, 1917 74–0 365–1 1921 U.S.–Austrian Peace Treaty (August 24, 1921), 1921 U.S.-Hungarian Peace Treaty (August 29, 1921)
World War II Declaration of War upon Japan  Japan December 8, 1941 82–0 388–1 Franklin D. Roosevelt V-J Day, Japanese Instrument of Surrender(September 2, 1945),Treaty of San Francisco(September 8, 1951)
Declaration of War upon Germany  Germany December 11, 1941 88–0 393–0 V-E Day, German Instrument of Surrender(May 8, 1945), Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany (September 12, 1990), Treaty of Vienna with Austria (May 15, 1955)
Declaration of War upon Italy  Italy 90–0 399–0 Paris Peace Treaty(February 10, 1947)
Declaration of War upon Bulgaria  Bulgaria June 5, 1942 73–0 357–0
Declaration of War upon Hungary[8]  Hungary 360–0
Declaration of War upon Romania[8]  Romania 361-0

Military engagements authorized by Congress

In other instances, the United States has engaged in extended military combat that was authorized by Congress.

War or conflict Opponent(s) Initial authorization Votes President Result
U.S. Senate U.S. House
Quasi-War France Act Further to Protect the Commerce of the United States
July 9, 1798
18-4 John Adams Treaty of Mortefontaine
First Barbary War Tripoli February 6, 1802[10] Thomas Jefferson War ended 1805
Second Barbary War Algiers May 10, 1815[11] James Madison War ended 1816
Enforcing 1808 slave trade ban; naval squadron sent to African waters to apprehend illegal slave traders Slave traders and pirates “Act in addition to the acts prohibiting the Slave Trade” 1819 James Monroe 1822 first African-American settlement founded in Liberia, 1823 U.S. Navy stops anti-trafficking patrols
Redress for attack on U.S. Navy‘sUSS Water Witch  Paraguay 1858.[12] James Buchanan
Occupation of Veracruz  Mexico H.J.R. 251, 38 Stat. 770
April 22, 1914
337–37 Woodrow Wilson Force withdrawn after six months. However, the Joint Resolution was likely used to authorize the Pancho Villa Expedition. In the Senate, “when word reached the Senate that the invasion had gone forward before the use-of-force resolution had been approved, Republicans reacted angrily” saying it was a violation of the Constitution, but eventually after the action had already started, a resolution was passed after the action to “justify” it since Senators did not think it was a declaration of war.[13][14]
Intervention during the Russian Civil War  Russia 1918 [15] Woodrow Wilson
Lebanon crisis of 1958 Lebanese opposition, led by
Al-Mourabitoun
Progressive Socialist Party
H.J. Res. 117, Public Law 85-7, Joint Resolution “To promote peace and stability in the Middle East”, March 9, 1957[16] 72–19 355–61 Dwight D. Eisenhower U.S. forces withdrawn, October 25, 1958
Vietnam War Viet Cong
North Vietnam
Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, August 7, 1964 88–2 416–0 John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon U.S. forces withdrawn under terms of the Paris Peace Accords signed January 27, 1973
Multinational Force in Lebanon Shia and Druze militias; Syria S.J.R. 159
September 29, 1983
54–46 253–156 Ronald W. Reagan Forces withdrawn in 1984
Persian Gulf War Iraq H.R.J. Res. 77
January 12, 1991.
52–47 250–183 George H.W. Bush The United Nations Security Council drew up terms for the cease-fire, April 3, 1991
War in Afghanistan Afghanistan
al-Qaeda
S.J. Res. 23
September 14, 2001
98–0 420–1 George W. Bush War ended on December 28, 2014
Iraq War[17] Iraq H.J. Res. 114,
March 3, 2003
77–23 296–133 George W. Bush Ba’athist Iraqi government deposed April 2003. U.S. combat operations ended August 31, 2010. War ended December 15, 2011. Destabilization of Iraq and emergence of ISIL in the region 2011–present.[18]

Military engagements authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolutions and funded by Congress

In many instances, the United States has engaged in extended military engagements that were authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolutions and funded by appropriations from Congress.

Military engagement Opponent(s) Initial authorization President Result
Korean War  North Korea
 China
UNSCR 84, 1950 Harry S. Truman Korean Armistice Agreement,[19] 1953
Multinational Force in Lebanon Shia militias, Druzemiltias, Syria UNSCR 425, 1978UNSCR 426, 1978 Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan U.S. forces withdrew in 1984
Persian Gulf War Iraq UNSCR 678, 1990 George H. W. Bush UNSCR 689, 1991
Bosnian War Republika Srpska UNSCR 770, 1992
UNSCR 776, 1992
UNSCR 836, 1993
Bill Clinton Reflagged as IFOR in 1995, Reflagged as SFORin 1996, Completed in 2004
Second Liberian Civil War Peacekeeping UNSCR 1497, 2003 George W. Bush U.S. forces are withdrawn in 2003 after theUNMIL is established.
Haitian coup d’état UNSCR 1529, 2004UNSCR 1542, 2004 2004
Libyan Civil War Libya UNSCR 1973, 2011 Barack Obama Debellation of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, October 31, 2011

Other undeclared wars

On at least 125 occasions, the President has acted without prior express military authorization from Congress.[20] These include instances in which the United States fought in the Philippine–American War from 1898–1903, in Nicaragua in 1927, as well as the NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia in 1999.

The United States’ longest war was fought between approximately 1840 and 1886 against the Apache Nation. During that entire 46-year period, there was never more than 90 days of peace.[citation needed]

The Indian Wars comprise at least 28 conflicts and engagements. These localized conflicts, with Native Americans, began with European colonists coming to North America, long before the establishment of the United States. For the purpose of this discussion, the Indian Wars are defined as conflicts with the United States of America. They begin as one front in the American Revolutionary War in 1775 and had concluded by 1918. The United States Army still maintains a campaign streamer for Pine Ridge 1890–1891 despite opposition from certain Native American groups.[21]

The American Civil War was not an international conflict under the laws of war, because the Confederate States of America was not a government that had been granted full diplomatic recognition as a sovereign nation by other sovereign states.[22][23] The CSA was recognized by the United States government as a belligerent power, a different status of recognition that authorized Confederate warships to visit non-U.S. ports. This recognition of the CSA’s status as a belligerent power did not impose any duty upon the United States to recognize the sovereignty of the Confederacy, and the United States never did so.

The War Powers Resolution

In 1973, following the withdrawal of most American troops from the Vietnam War, a debate emerged about the extent of presidential power in deploying troops without a declaration of war. A compromise in the debate was reached with the War Powers Resolution. This act clearly defined how many soldiers could be deployed by the President of the United States and for how long. It also required formal reports by the President to Congress regarding the status of such deployments, and limited the total amount of time that American forces could be deployed without a formal declaration of war.

Although the constitutionality of the act has never been tested, it is usually followed, most notably during the Grenada Conflict, the Panamanian Conflict, the Somalia Conflict, the Persian Gulf War, and the Iraq War[clarification needed]. The only exception was President Clinton’s use of U.S. troops in the 78-day NATO air campaign against Yugoslavia during the Kosovo War.[citation needed] In all other cases, the President asserted the constitutional authority to commit troops without the necessity of Congressional approval, but in each case the President received Congressional authorization that satisfied the provisions of the War Powers Act.

On March 21, 2011, a number of lawmakers expressed concern that the decision of President Barack Obama to order the U.S. military to join in attacks of Libyan air defenses and government forces exceeded his constitutional authority because the decision to authorize the attack was made without Congressional permission.[24]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Doe v. Bush, 03-1266, (March 13, 2003)”. FindLaw. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  2. Jump up^ Henderson, Phillip G. (2000). The presidency then and now. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-8476-9739-7.
  3. Jump up^ The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 reported by James Madison : August 17,The Avalon Project, Yale Law School, retrieved Feb 13, 2008
  4. Jump up^ Official Declarations of War by Congress
  5. Jump up^ BBC News, On This Day
  6. Jump up^ Whereas the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the government and the people of the United States of America… the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared. The War Resolution
  7. Jump up^ United States Congress (May 13, 1846). “An Act providing for the Prosecution of the existing War between the United States and the Republic of Mexico.” (PDF).Government of the United States of America. Government of the United States of America. Retrieved August 10, 2006.
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b c https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL31133.pdf
  9. Jump up^ H.J.Res.169: Declaration of War with Austria-Hungary, WWI, United States Senate
  10. Jump up^ Key Events in the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, (retrieved on August 10, 2010).
  11. Jump up^ Key Events in the Presidency of James Madison, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, (retrieved on August 10, 2010).
  12. Jump up^ Expenses – Paraguay Expedition, House of Representatives, 36th Congress, 1st Session, Mis. Doc. No. 86 (May 11, 1860), p. 142
  13. Jump up^ http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA416074
  14. Jump up^ http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/ACF18F1.pdf
  15. Jump up^ A History of Russia, 7th Edition, Nichlas V. Riasanovsky & Mark D. Steinberg, Oxford University Press, 2005.
  16. Jump up^ http://www.shafr.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/U.S.-Congress-Approval-of-the-Eisenhower-Doctrine-1957.pdf
  17. Jump up^ http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38944049/ns/politics-white_house
  18. Jump up^ Londoño, Ernesto (August 19, 2010). “Operation Iraqi Freedom ends as last combat soldiers leave Baghdad”. The Washington Post.
  19. Jump up^ s:Korean Armistice Agreement
  20. Jump up^ The President’s Constitutional Authority To Conduct Military Operations Against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them
  21. Jump up^ Army Continues to Parade Wounded Knee Battle Streamer, National Congress of American Indians.
  22. Jump up^ “Preventing Diplomatic Recognition of the Confederacy, 1861–1865”. U.S. Department of State.
  23. Jump up^ McPherson, James M. (2007). This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War. Oxford University Press US. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-19-531366-6.
  24. Jump up^ Obama Attacked for No Congressional Consent on Libya, New York Times.

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Playing The Blame Game — Avoiding Responsibility and Accountability — Government Failure! — 9/11: Trump Blames Bush — Clinton Blames Republicans ! — Videos

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Story 1: Playing The Blame Game — Avoiding Responsibility and Accountability — Government Failure! — 9/11: Trump Blames Bush — Clinton Blames Republicans ! — Videos

Hillary Clinton and the “Dark Forces” in Benghazi

Kenneth Timmerman, author of Dark forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi, looks at Hillary Clinton’s next scheduled appearance before the Benghazi special committee and the Iranian nuclear deal. He cites evidence that the Iranians were behind the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans on September 11, 2012. In addition, Timmerman says Iran was involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Timmerman also discusses Russian backing for Iran and the Russian role in attacking the opponents of Assad in Syria. Timmerman also looks at: Will Russia attack the Kurds? And who are the Kurds? Is Obama a Muslim? Will Israel strike Iran?

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Richard Alan Clarke (born October 27, 1950) is the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism for the United States.

Clarke worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to chair the Counter-terrorism Security Group and to a seat on the United States National Security Council. President Bill Clinton retained Clarke and in 1998 promoted him to be the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, the chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council. Under President George W. Bush, Clarke initially continued in the same position, but the position was no longer given cabinet-level access. He later became the Special Advisor to the President on cybersecurity. Clarke left the Bush administration in 2003.

Clarke came to widespread public attention for his role as counter-terrorism czar in the Clinton and Bush administrations in March 2004, when he appeared on the 60 Minutes television news magazine, released his memoir about his service in government, Against All Enemies, and testified before the 9/11 Commission. In all three instances, Clarke was sharply critical of the Bush administration’s attitude toward counter-terrorism before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and of the decision to go to war with Iraq.

On March 24, 2004, Clarke testified at the public 9/11 Commission hearings.[17] At the outset of his testimony Clarke offered an apology to the families of 9/11 victims and an acknowledgment that the government had failed: “I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11…To the loved ones of the victims of 9/11, to them who are here in this room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you. Those entrusted with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. We tried hard, but that doesn’t matter because we failed. And for that failure, I would ask, once all the facts are out, for your understanding and for your forgiveness.”[17]

Many of the events Clarke recounted during the hearings were also published in his memoir. Clarke charged that before and during the 9/11 crisis, many in the Administration were distracted from efforts against Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda organization by a pre-occupation with Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Clarke had written that on September 12, 2001, President Bush pulled him and a couple of aides aside and “testily” asked him to try to find evidence that Saddam was connected to the terrorist attacks. In response he wrote a report stating there was no evidence of Iraqi involvement and got it signed by all relevant agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA. The paper was quickly returned by a deputy with a note saying “Please update and resubmit.”[18] After initially denying that such a meeting between the President and Clarke took place, the White House later reversed its denial when others present backed Clarke’s version of the events.

Clarke is currently Chairman of Good Harbor Consulting and Good Harbour International, two strategic planning and corporate risk management firms; an on-air consultant for ABC News, and a contributor to the Good Harbor Report, an online community discussing homeland security, defense, and politics. He is an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School and a faculty affiliate of its Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.[35] He has also become an author of fiction, publishing his first novel, The Scorpion’s Gate, in 2005, and a second, Breakpoint, in 2007.

Clarke wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post on May 31, 2009 harshly critical of other Bush administration officials, entitled “The Trauma of 9/11 Is No Excuse”.[36] Clarke wrote that he had little sympathy for his fellow officials who seemed to want to use the excuse of being traumatized, and caught unaware by Al-Qaeda’s attacks on the USA, because their being caught unaware was due to their ignoring clear reports a major attack on U.S. soil was imminent. Clarke particularly singled out former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

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Trump’s take on birthright citizenships

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Jamie Gorelick’s wall

– The Washington Times – Thursday, April 15, 2004

The disclosure that Jamie Gorelick, a member of the September 11 commission, was personally responsible for instituting a key obstacle to cooperation between law enforcement and intelligence operations before the terrorist attacks raises disturbing questions about the integrity of the commission itself. Ms. Gorelick should not be cross-examining witnesses; instead, she should be required to testify about her own behavior under oath. Specifically, commission members need to ask her about a 1995 directive she wrote that made it more difficult for the FBI to locate two of the September 11 hijackers who had already entered the country by the summer of 2001.

On Tuesday, Attorney General John Ashcroft declassified a four-page directive sent by Ms. Gorelick (the No. 2 official in the Clinton Justice Department) on March 4, 1995, to FBI Director Louis Freeh and Mary Jo White, the New York-based U.S. attorney investigating the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In the memo, Ms. Gorelick ordered Mr. Freeh and Ms. White to follow information-sharing procedures that “go beyond what is legally required,” in order to avoid “any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance” that the Justice Department was using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, instead of ordinary criminal investigative procedures, in an effort to undermine the civil liberties of terrorism suspects.

At issue was the oft-noted wall of separation that prevented counterterrorism agents and federal prosecutors from communicating with one another prior to September 11. Information collected under special FISA warrants, which do not require a probable cause, was generally not to be shared with personnel responsible for enforcing federal criminal laws — where probable cause must be demonstrated for a warrant to be issued. As lawyers David Rivkin and Lee Casey noted on our Op-Ed page yesterday, the practical effect of the wall was that counterintelligence information was generally kept away from law enforcement personnel who were investigating al Qaeda activities. But Ms. Gorelick’s memo clearly indicated that the Clinton administration had decided as a matter of policy to go even beyond the law’s already stringent requirements in order to further choke off information sharing.

As Mr. Ashcroft noted during his testimony before the September 11 commission, all of this had a devastating effect into the investigation of al Qaeda operations in this country in the summer of 2001. For example, in late August, when the CIA told the FBI that Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi had entered the country, FBI investigators refused to permit criminal investigators with considerable knowledge about the most recent al Qaeda attack to join the manhunt. Also, a criminal search warrant to examine the computer of Zacarias Moussaoui, whose interest in flying aircraft had attracted attention, was rejected because FBI officials were afraid of breaching the wall.

Ms. Gorelick has been among the most partisan and aggressive Democratic panel members in questioning the anti-terror efforts of the Bush administration. The nation deserves a full accounting from Ms. Gorelick of why the Clinton administration felt it necessary to go the extra mile in order to hamper the capability of law enforcement and intelligence agents to talk to one another. If Ms. Gorelick fails to provide this, her actions would bring into serious doubt the credibility of the commission.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/apr/15/20040415-094758-5267r/

Mistress of Disaster: Jamie Gorelick

Ken Lay and Jack Abramoff must be green with envy over the all the mischief that has been accomplished by Jamie Gorelick, with scarcely any demonization in the press.
Imagine playing a central role in the biggest national defense disaster in 50 years. Imagine playing a central role in one of the biggest economic disasters in your country’s history. Imagine doing both as an un-elected official. Imagine getting filthy rich in the process, and even being allowed to sit self-righteously on a commission appointed to get to the bottom of the first disaster, which of course did not get to the bottom of that disaster or anything else for that matter.
Imagine ending, ruining or at least causing signficant quality deterioration in the lives of millions of people, most of whom will never know your name. Imagine counting your millions of dollars while people who tried to stop you from causing all this mayhem were getting blamed for most of the ills you actually contributed to.
Well, as un-imagineable as this is, there is one American who doesn’t have to imagine it. One Jamie Gorelick is this American. And without pretending that she caused the loss of countless thousands of lives and countless billions of dollars of wealth by herself, she certainly did push some of the early domino’s in catastrophic chain events that are a major factors in life in America today.
This is not a bad millineums’s work, when you think about it. Gorelick, an appointee of Bill Clinton, is the one who constructed the wall of separation that kept the CIA and the FBI from comparing notes and therefore invading the privacy of nice young men like, say, Muhammed Atta and Zacarius Moussaoui. While countless problems were uncovered in our intelligence operations in the wake of 9-11, no single factor comes close to in importance to Jamie Gorelick’s wall.
In fact, it was Gorelick’s wall, perhaps more than any other single factor, that induces some people to blame Clinton himself for 9-11 since he appointed her and she acted  consistent with his philosophy of “crime fighting.” She put the wall into place as Deputy Attorney General in 1995.
And for good measure, she was appointed by Tom Daschle to serve on the “non partisan” 9-11 Commission. And we thought the fox in the henhouse was simply a metaphor. Of course, in a splendid example of “reaching across the aisle,” feckless Republican Slade Gorton of Washington did all he could to exonerate Gorelick in the commission. Thanks, Slade. God forbid the nation actually knows the truth.
But for Ms. Gorelick, one earth shaking catastrophe is just not enough. You might think that she caused enough carnage to us infidels on 9-11 as to qualify her for the 72 virgins upon her death. (this would also keep her consistent with several of Clinton’s philosophies).
Alas, that’s only part of her resume. Her fingerprints are all over the Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac mess, which is to say the mess that is central in the entire mortgage-housing crisis. Without so much as one scintilla of real estate or finance experience, she was appointed as Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae in 1997 and served in that role through 2003, which is when most of the systemic cancers that came home to roost today happened. She was instrumental in covering up problems with Fannie Mae while employed there and took multiple millions in bonuses as she helped construct this house of cards.
From Wikipedia:
One example of falsified financial transactions that helped the company meet earnings targets for 1998, a “manipulation” that triggered multimillion-dollar bonuses for top executives.  On March 25, 2002, Business Week  Gorelick is quoted as saying, “We believe we are managed safely. Fannie Mae is among the handful of top-quality institutions.” One year later, Government Regulators “accused Fannie Mae of improper accounting to the tune of $9 billion in unrecorded losses”
As we know, the financial damage done by the housing related problems in this country are still incalculable. Ms. Gorelick’s evil tab is still growing.
But it doesn’t stop there. She managed to be on the wrong side of the Duke LaCrosse case, working for Duke University to protect that school from it’s damaging knee jerk reactions to the spectacularly unbelievable charges filed by a stripper. (excuse me, exotic dancer). So, even on a smaller scale, she continues to make money while working to ruin the lives of innocent Americans in defense of liberal dogma. At the Department of Defense, when she served as legal counsel there in 1993, she drafted the “Don’t ask /don’t tell” policy.
From what can be gleaned, it all comes from being well connected. She was educated (is that what they call it?) at Harvard undergrad and Harvard Law. From there, she kept getting appointed to positions above her experience level where she could flex her liberal muscles, add a resume item, and move upward.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/09/mistress_of_disaster_jamie_gor.html#ixzz3p3M8KxQf
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Leading From Behind and Strategic Patience — Obama’s Total Failed Foreign Policy Disaster — No Leadership, No Guts, No Strategy — Obama The Empty Suit — Putin Resets The Middle East — Trump Strategy For Syria, Islamic State and Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos

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 Story 1: Leading From Behind and Strategic Patience — Obama’s Total Failed Foreign Policy Disaster — No Leadership, No Guts, No Strategy — Obama The Empty Suit — Putin Resets The Middle East — Trump Strategy For Syria, Islamic State and Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos

halloween-obama-empty-suit-costume-cartoonobama policy on syriaPutin-LinesCartoon Ramirez Obama Red Line Editorial_cartoon_Obama_foreign_policyObama-Red-Line-2cartoon-obama-foreign-policy   help us obama syriaobama up in the air obama golf     obama-putin-syria-cartoon  putin obama  soccfer obamaislamic state and obamaobama strategykey mapsyria bombing by Russia and US mapsyria_strike_targets_464russian_airstrikes_syria-mapcorvette missile firedmap missilesrussia2_syria_caspian_sea_624russian fire cruise missile syria bountrussian missilerussian navy ships

Russia hits ISIS from Caspian Sea

Four Russian cruise missiles launched from the Caspian Sea fell short of their Syrian targets and landed in a rural part of Iran, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The errant missiles were part of a volley of 26 long range cruise missiles that Russians fired from ships in the Caspian Sea a day earlier, according to officials who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss intelligence matters.

The Russians fired Kalibir cruise missiles, which had not yet been used in combat conditions. The flight path took the missiles over Iran and Iraq. One U.S. official said they had not been able to detect any casualties or damage from the strikes, suggesting they may have fallen harmlessly in a rural part of Iran.

The development comes amid growing concerns about Russian actions in the region. The Russians have launched airstrikes in Syria, saying they are attacking terrorists. Washington and its allies have accused Russia of trying to prop up the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned Thursday that Russia will soon experience consequences as it ramps up its military campaign in Syria. “In the coming days, the Russians will begin to suffer from casualties,” he said.

Syria crisis Russian missiles ‘fell on Iran’

Russia Launches Missile Strikes In Syria

Cruise missile attack from Caspian sea – Russian Navy fires on ISIS

Ralph Peters: The time for a no-fly zone in Syria has come and gone.

U.S. diverting aircrafts over Syria

Russia fires missiles from warships into Syria

Iran Hit by Russian Cruise Missiles Intended for Syria

Four Syria-Bound Russian Missiles Crashed in Iran, U.S. Officials Say

Jim Zirin-Will Obama’s Failed Foreign Policies Hurt the Democrats?-James M. Lindsay

Jim Lindsay focuses on the relationship between foreign policy and domestic political considerations at the Council on Foreign Relations. He considers the domestic political fall-out from Obama’s Iran deal and the failed policies in Syria, and shares with Jim Zirin that it is too early to tell whether these factors will affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

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MSNBC: Obama’s Syria policy ‘in tatters’ and his greatest foreign policy failing

Gen. Flynn: Obama causing collapse of foreign policy

Closer look at Russian fighter jets bombing ISIS (EXCLUSIVE)

John McCain condemns Russian airstrikes in Syria calls Obama Crazy – LoneWolf Sager

Donald Trump: ‘Let Russia fight ISIS’

Trump insists Russia will fight ISIS; ALSO says he will send back Syrian refugees Obama bringing in

Trump says US does not win wars anymore, calls for a change

Obama’s Admin “Foreign Policy Unraveveling” – Where’s The Accountability? – Donald Trump

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High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq

Syrian forces begin ground offensive backed by Russia air and sea power

By Andrew Roth and Erin Cunningham

Russia’s Caspian Sea fleet on Wednesday launched a complex cruise missile strike against Syrian rebels from nearly 1,000 miles away, a potent exhibition of Moscow’s firepower as it backs a government offensive in Syria’s multi-faction civil war.

The bombardment was the first naval salvo of Russia’s week-old military intervention in Syria, where it has already launched more than 100 airstrikes against the Islamic State and factions of Islamist and U.S.-backed rebel forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

The attack showcased Russia’s advanced military capabilities and closer coordination with the governments of Iran and Iraq, whose airspace the missiles traversed before striking targets in Syria held by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda.

Like Russia, Iran is a key backer of Assad. Iraq’s leadership has close ties with Iran but also depends on support from the United States and Western allies.

[Why Russia is in Syria]
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a nationally televised briefing that the ships launched 26 cruise missiles, destroying 11 targets and killing no civilians. He also said that Russian planes continued to carry out airstrikes Wednesday.

The naval strikes on Wednesday were the first known operational use of state-of-the-art SSN-30A Kalibr cruise missiles, which were still being tested by the Russian navy in August.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the strikes spoke to the professionalism of Russia’s revamped army.

“We know how difficult it is to carry out this kind of anti-terrorist operation,” Putin told Shoigu. “Of course, it is early to draw conclusions. But what has been done so far deserves a highly positive assessment.”

The strikes came as Syrian troops backed by Russian air power launched their first major ground offensive since Moscow began its intervention in the conflict Sept. 30.

News reports and video of fighting uploaded to the Internet on Wednesday showed that the Syrian army was moving from the city of Hama toward Idlib, a stronghold held by a coalition of mostly Islamist rebels.
While the Kremlin’s stated aim in the conflict is to fight the Islamic State in Syria, the United States and its allies say Russia is concentrating its firepower against other rebel groups to prevent Assad from being overrun. One video on Wednesday appeared to show the Free Syrian Army, a moderate force backed by the West, firing anti­tank missiles at government troops advancing with Russian air support.

Ground level: On the scene of controversial Russian airstrikes in Syria
View Photos The actions, quickly criticized by Washington, add an unpredictable element to a multilayered war.
“Russia is targeting civilians and the Free Syrian Army brigades that are supported by America. They are not targeting the Islamic State as they claimed,” said Raed Fares, a Syrian activist in Idlib. “Russia is here to keep Assad in power, so they will strike what Assad strikes.”

In televised remarks on Wednesday, Putin encouraged the Free Syrian Army to join an alliance with Assad’s troops against the Islamic State. At the same time, he belittled the influence of moderate rebels on the conflict.

“True, we don’t currently know where it is and who is leading it,” Putin said of the Free Syrian Army.

[These are the cruise missiles Russia just sent into Syria]

Russian news reports Wednesday said Syrian forces launched a heavy artillery bombardment and were moving toward Idlib, but they added that it was not yet clear how far the Syrian troops had advanced.

The news reports also said Syrian troops used advanced rocket-launch systems similar to the ones that Western officials say Moscow shipped to Syria last week.

In a video posted to YouTube from the town of Kafranboudah, in the western part of the Hama countryside, a Syrian rebel commander said government forces­ began shelling his unit’s position on the front line early Wednesday. Kafranboudah is about 16 miles east of Latakia province, a Syrian regime stronghold. More than a dozen rebel groups formed a coalition to oust government forces­ from Hama in August.

Regime soldiers on Wednesday stormed the town from three sides with Russian air support, the rebel commander said, and the fighting has extended nearly 20 miles southeast to the town of Maan. He did not say whether his fighters suffered any losses­ but said Syrian rebels destroyed at least four regime tanks with anti­tank missiles.
The West, which has launched more than 7,000 airstrikes against the Islamic State in the past year, has bristled at Moscow’s military build­up in Syria. Russia has deployed surface-to-air missiles, fighter jets and radar-jamming equipment that officials say is meant to interfere with Western forces.

On Tuesday, U.S. and Russian officials tentatively agreed to resume talks on how to coordinate in the skies over Syria. Turkey, a NATO member that shares a border with Syria, has already accused Russia of violating its airspace.

In Rome, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter did not respond directly when asked by reporters about the Russian military’s apparent support for the Syrian government’s ground offensive.

But the Pentagon chief for the first time ruled out any cooperation with Moscow in the fight against the Islamic State, saying that Russia’s strategy was clearly just to support Assad and his government.

“We believe Russia has the wrong strategy. They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. This is a fundamental mistake,” Carter said, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State.

In the past, the Obama administration has publicly held out hope — however faint — that Moscow might cooperate in the military campaign against the Islamic State.

In his most hard-line comments to date about Russia, Carter rejected the possibility of teaming up with the Russians in that regard. He said the Pentagon still wanted to talk with Moscow about finding ways to manage the crowded airspace above Syria and avoid any hostile or inadvertent encounters. “That’s it,” he said flatly.

There have been no reported close encounters or unsafe incidents involving U.S. and Russian warplanes so far in Syria, according to a senior U.S. defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss military operations.

Russian aircraft have “come closer” to U.S. drones on at least one occasion, the official said, but it was not a dangerous incident.

“Certainly they are in similar battle space, so they see each other and they are aware of each other,” the official said of Russian and U.S. warplanes.
Pentagon officials have said the Russian intervention in Syria has not forced the U.S. military or its coalition partners to alter the rate or location of their surveillance missions and airstrikes against the Islamic State.

The two sides have jousted in recent days over the conditions for holding another round of talks. Washington wants to limit the discussion to technical factors about aviation safety, while Moscow has said it wants a broader conversation about possibly coordinating military operations — something the Pentagon steadfastly opposes.

The senior U.S. defense official said the Pentagon drafted a document last week for the Russians that lays out “basic rules of flight conduct,” such as what language and radio frequencies pilots would use in a hostile or inadvertent encounter.

The Russians have not responded to any of the particulars, the official said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syrian-activists-russian-air-strikes-pound-rebel-zones-in-latest-blows/2015/10/07/fb3be168-5cf3-4e38-98f3-f6b75ed53871_story.html

Russia fires cruise missiles from warships into Syria

Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired cruise missiles Wednesday as Syrian government troops launched a ground offensive in central Syria in the first major combined air-and-ground assault since Moscow began its military campaign in the country last week.

The missiles flew nearly 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) over Iran and Iraq and struck Raqqa and Aleppo provinces in the north and Idlib province in the northwest, Russian officials said. The Islamic State group has strongholds in Raqqa and Aleppo, while the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front has a strong presence in Idlib.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Russia was continuing to strike targets other than Islamic State militants, adding that he was concerned about the Syrian ground offensive backed by Moscow’s airpower.

The latest developments came a week after Russia began airstrikes in Syria, its longtime ally, on Sept. 30, and added a new dimension to the complex war that has torn apart the Mideast country since 2011.

Activists and rebels say the targets have included Western-backed fighters and other groups opposed to President Bashar Assad.

A Syrian official and activists said government troops pushed into areas in the central province of Hama and south of Idlib in the boldest multipronged attack on rebel-held areas, benefiting from the Russian air cover. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Moscow has mainly targeted central and northwestern Syria, strategic regions that are the gateway to Assad’s strongholds in Damascus, and along the Mediterranean coast where Russia has a naval base.

The Russian airstrikes strikes appear to have emboldened Syrian troops to launch the ground push after a series of setbacks in northwestern Syria in recent months.

The Islamic State group is not present in the areas where the ground fighting is underway.

The offensive in central Syria and the ensuing clashes with militants, including the Nusra Front, was the first major ground fighting since the Russian campaign began.

Appearing on television with President Vladimir Putin, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 26 missile strikes were conducted from four warships in the Caspian. Shoigu insisted the operation destroyed all the targets and did not launch any strikes on civilian areas.

The launches marked the combat debut of the Russian Kalibr long-range cruise missiles, equivalent to U.S. Tomahawk missiles.

“The fact that we launched precision weapons from the Caspian Sea to the distance of about 1,500 kilometers and hit all the designated targets shows good work by military industrial plants and good skills of personnel,” Putin said.

Andrei Kartapolov of the Russian General Staff told Russian news agencies the strikes were planned so that the cruise missiles would fly “over unpopulated areas.” Shoigu also said Russia has carried out 112 airstrikes on IS positions since Sept. 30.

Iranian state TV, citing Russian media, reported that the Russian missiles flew through Iran’s airspace and hit targets in Syria.

“The Russian military operation in support of the Syrian army continued at new higher technological level,” said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, adding that the Syrian army began an offensive “with our fire support.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a government offensive began early Wednesday on four fronts in Idlib and neighboring Hama provinces in what the group’s director Rami Abdurrahman called “the most intense fighting in months.”

In Syria, the leader of a U.S.-backed rebel group Tajammu Alezzah confirmed the ground offensive in a text message to The Associated Press, saying Russian and Iranian soldiers were involved in the operation.

Russian officials deny sending any ground troops to the battlefield. Iran has been bolstering Assad by sending weapons and advisers, and helping arrange the deployment of Shiite fighters from Iraq and Hezbollah, as well as sending financial aid.

Last month, an intelligence sharing center was set up in Baghdad by Russia, Iraq, Iran and Syria to coordinate efforts to combat the Islamic State group.

Maj. Jamil al-Saleh said the offensive, accompanied by air cover and shelling, came from three fronts, including Latamneh, north of Hama province where his Tajammu Alezzah group is based, and Kfar Zeita to the north. The offensive targeted rural areas of Hama and Idlib that are almost totally controlled by rebel groups, he said.

Activist Ahmad al-Ahmad, who is in Idlib, said government troops “heavily” shelled central areas after rebels attacked an army post and destroyed a tank. He said the advance covered an area of over 16 kilometers (10 miles), and was a coordinated, multipronged attack, the boldest in the area in months. The rebels repulsed government troops, al-Ahmad said.

The Observatory, which has a network of activists in Syria, said the main launching point for government forces was the town of Morek on a highway linking Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and its former commercial hub. Rebels have controlled areas on the highway since 2012.

The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, said rebels were able to destroy two tanks and an armored personnel carrier in northern Hama province near Idlib. Video on social media by rebel fighters showed government tanks burning, apparently after being hit by U.S.-made TOW missiles.

The Observatory said 37 Russian air raids hit on Wednesday alone.

Syrian state TV quoted an unidentified Syrian military official as saying Russian warplanes attacked IS positions in the towns of Al-Bab and Deir Hafer in Aleppo province.

Two low-flying helicopters were seen in Morek but escaped militant fire, the Observatory said. It was not immediately clear if the pilots were Russians or Syrians. Assad’s air force has Russian-made helicopters.

Although the Islamic State has no presence in the areas hit by airstrikes Wednesday, the Nusra Front is active in central and northern parts of the country — as are the Western-backed rebels. Russian officials have said the Nusra Front is among the groups it is targeting.

At a news conference in Rome, Carter said the U.S.-led coalition that also is conducting airstrikes in Syria has not agreed to cooperate with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State, and no collaboration is possible as long as Moscow continues to hit other targets.

He said the U.S. will conduct basic, technical talks with Russia about efforts to ensure that flights over Syria are conducted safely and, “That’s it.”

Washington is not prepared to cooperate with Russia’s strategy that is “tragically flawed,” he said.

“They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL,” Carter said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. “We believe that is a fundamental mistake.”

Since September 2014, the coalition has been hitting Islamic State positions mostly in northern and eastern parts of Syria, as well as in Iraq. U.S. aircraft are still flying missions daily over Syria, the Pentagon said.

Russia’s entry into the crowded and sometimes uncoordinated air wars in Syria is making the U.S. increasingly nervous, reflecting concern at the Pentagon and in Europe about the risk of accidents or unintended conflict.

At least one U.S. military aircraft changed its route over Syria recently to avoid coming dangerously close to Russian warplanes, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. He could not provide details, including how many times this has happened.

In Turkey, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu renewed criticism of Russia, insisting the airstrikes were mainly targeting the moderate Syrian opposition and thus helping strengthen IS. He urged Moscow to respect Turkey’s airspace, saying the country would not “make any concessions” on its border security.

Russian warplanes violated Turkey’s borders twice over the weekend, drawing strong protests from Turkey’s NATO allies. Turkey scrambled F-16s in response and also summoned the Russian ambassador to lodge protests.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said it had proposed a meeting between Turkish and Russian military officials in Ankara on avoiding Russian infringements of its airspace.

http://www.am1280thepatriot.com/news/articles/fighting-erupts-in-central-syria-amid-russian-airstrikes#sthash.q3DwCkmm.dpuf

Russia’s Kalibr Cruise Missiles, a New Weapon in Syria Conflict

By

By mounting a missile strike on Syria from warships nearly 1,000 miles away on Wednesday, the Russian military demonstratedan important new capability. But the reports on Thursday that some of its missiles had fallen short and crashed in Iran suggested that Russiahas not yet entirely mastered it. Here is a look at the missiles.

Q. What kind of missiles were they?

A. Moscow has said they were Kalibr ship-launched cruise missiles, also known as 3M-14s or, in NATO parlance, SS-N-30s. They are a fairly recent addition to an established family of ship-launched missiles that are mostly intended for ship-to-ship or shorter-range missions. The new model, intended for land attacks, is reported to have a much longer range than its siblings, perhaps reaching 1,550 miles.

Q. What is a cruise missile?

A. Unlike a ballistic missile, which is fired on a fairly simple high-altitude arc like a cannonball, a cruise missile does most of its flying horizontally at low altitude, like an airplane or a drone. The missiles can trace a complex flight paths, and some, like the Kalibr, are believed to accelerate to supersonic speeds as they approach their targets, making them hard to detect and intercept. Depending on their guidance systems, cruise missiles can be highly accurate, compared with ballistic missiles. But they are single-use weapons and are relatively complicated and expensive to manufacture.

Q. How was the strike launched?

A. The Defense Ministry said the missiles were fired from four ships in the Caspian Sea and flew across Iran and northern Iraq to reach their targets. Russia has maintained a naval flotilla in the Caspian — which is landlocked from the rest of the world’s seas — for nearly 300 years. The flotilla currently has no aircraft carriers or other large capital ships, but it has frigates and Buyan-class missile corvettes, including two that were commissioned just last year, the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Veliky Ustyug. Those two ships reportedly fired cruise missiles at sea targets during a major naval exercise last month.

Q. Does the United States use similar weapons?

A. Yes, frequently. The best-known American cruise missile, the Tomahawk, has been used in both Persian Gulf wars and against targets in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Libya, Yemen and most recently Syria.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/09/world/middleeast/russias-kalibr-cruise-missiles-a-new-weapon-in-syria-conflict.html?_r=0

Pentagon: Some Russian cruise missiles crashed in Iran

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff

Several cruise missiles fired from Russian ships at targets in Syria Wednesday crashed in Iran, according to Pentagon officials.

Twenty-six cruise missiles, launched from the Caspian Sea, traveled more than 900 miles over Iran and Iraq before hitting targets throughout Syria, according to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry.

However, according to a senior U.S. defense official who requested anonymity to discuss intelligence matters Thursday, a few of the missiles did not make it to their intended targets.

[Syrian forces begin ground offensive backed by Russia air and sea power]

Reports on Iranian TV indicated that an “unidentified flying object” had crashed and exploded in a village near near the Iranian city of Takab. A number of cows were killed in the ensuing blast.

While it is unclear what made the missiles crash, videos posted on social media showed them flying overhead at low altitude. While it is common for cruise missiles to fly low (to avoid radar detection), it can make traversing mountainous terrain perilous.
The Russian Defense Ministry in Wednesday’s statement however, said that the new Kalibr-NK cruise missiles all hit within nine feet of their intended targets. The strikes landed in Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo provinces, and Russian officials said they destroyed Islamic State positions, including training camps and ammunition depots.

The Kalibr cruise missile is a relatively new addition to Russia’s arsenal, and according to IHS Jane’s analyst Jeremy Binnie, Wednesday’s launch was the first time the missile’s 900-plus-mile range had been made public.

[Russia declares partial victory in bombing campaign in Syria]

While cruise missiles are traditionally used at the beginning of bombing campaigns to hit multiple high-value targets simultaneously while avoiding radar detection and maintaining the element of surprise, Russia’s strikes did none of those things. Instead, Binnie believes, everything that was targeted by the Russian cruise missiles could have easily been hit by other Russian assets within Syria (more than 50 aircraft) or possibly by Russian ships in the Mediterranean Sea.
“I think if you look at what cruise missiles are traditionally used for . . . this isn’t one of those scenarios,” Binnie said. “Russia has been striking the [Islamic State] for more than a week, and the U.S. has been for more than a year.”
Binnie went on to say that the cruise missile strikes were probably a show of Russian military force and technology, noting that the ships that fired the missiles — mostly small missile corvettes — were intended to demonstrate that even the small ships in the Russian navy are stronger than they look.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the smaller ships that participated in the strikes are approximately 230 feet long and their primary weapon is the Kalibr cruise missile. The flagship of the strike group, the Dagestan, is 320 feet long and displaces 2,000 tons.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/10/07/these-are-the-cruise-missiles-russia-just-sent-into-syria/

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Should President Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Apologize For A Failed Foreign Policy Leading To Genocide and Democide in Iraq, Syria, and Libya? — Yes, but They Never Take Responsibility For Their Failures But Blame It On Others — No Wonder Carson and American People Oppose A Muslim President — ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’ — Videos

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Story 1: Should President Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Apologize For A Failed Foreign Policy Leading To Genocide and Democide in Iraq, Syria, and Libya? — Yes, but They Never Take Responsibility For Their Failures But Blame It On Others — No Wonder Carson and American People Oppose A Muslim President —  ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’ — Videos

United States Constitution

Article VI

All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlevi

U.S. Bill of Rights

Amendment I (1): Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

https://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-constitution-amendments/bill-of-rights/

Sharia Law

Shariah law

Sharia law is the law of Islam. The Sharia (also spelled Shariah or Shari’a) law is cast from the actions and words of Muhammad, which are called “Sunnah,” and the Quran, which he authored.

The Sharia law itself cannot be altered, but the interpretation of the Sharia law, called “figh,” by imams is given some leeway.

As a legal system, the Sharia law covers a very wide range of topics. While other legal codes deal primarily with public behavior, Sharia law covers public behavior, private behavior and private beliefs. Of all legal systems in the world today, Islam’s Sharia law is the most intrusive and strict, especially against women.

According to the Sharia law:

•  Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand (above).
•  Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Muhammad is a prophet is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Allah, the moon god of Islam is punishable by death.
•  A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
•  A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
•  Girls’ clitoris should be cut (per Muhammad‘s words in Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
•  A woman can have 1 husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
•  A man can unilaterally divorce his wife but a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
•  A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
•  Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
•  A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
•  A woman’s testimony in court, allowed only in property cases, carries half the weight of a man’s.
•  A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
•  A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
•  A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
•  Meat to be eaten must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah – i.e., be Halal.
•  Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
•  The list goes on.

http://www.billionbibles.org/sharia/sharia-law.html

HUMAN GENOCIDE DOCUMENTARY. IRAQ AND SYRIA . ISIS, USA, UN ::: 2ND AUGUST 2014

Christians in Iraq are heeding an ultimatum by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to convert to Islam, get out or be killed.

Reports from the Middle East say that large numbers of Christians have fled the northern city of Mosul — now under control of the ISIL — after a message warning them to get out by Saturday was broadcast by loudspeakers on the city’s mosques.

An ISIL document reviewed by AFP said that there would be “nothing for them but the sword” if Christians didn’t adhere to the deadline.

The ISIL announcement also said that Christians could stay and pay a tax, often known as a “jizya,” though the exact amount was unspecified. A jizya is a historical policy of allowing non-Muslims to keep their own religion and their property if they pay a certain amount to Islamic rulers.

In centuries past, there have been examples of Christians paying the tax and living peacefully with Muslims. Recently however, it has often been exploited as a form of extortion against non-Muslims.

Many Christian families fleeing Mosul didn’t seem to put much trust in the promise of peace.

The aim of this documentary is to raise awareness.
WE ARE URGING ALL: PEOPLE TO SPEAK UP AND DO SOMETHING!!!

help world’s

TO DONATE FOR OUR CHRISTIANS PLEASE VISIT:
http://theacero.org/donate/

Fox’s Oliver North: ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’

Priests from Iraq and Syria: what’s happening in the Middle East is genocide

What Is Sharia Law?

How Is Sharia Law Dangerous for Western Society?

484. Is Islam A Religion Of Peace?

485. Was Muhammad A Prophet Of Peace?

493. What Is Sharia Law?

Enforcing Sharia in Raqqa: The Islamic State (Part 3)

Shocking documentary about Islam – The world’s most dangerous cult! ISIS ISLAMIC STATE

ISIS – “Islamic” Extremism? | Full Documentary – HD

Is Sharia Law Coming to America?

Sharia Law In America‽

David woods story of sharia law in America!

\

Shariamerica: Islam, Obama, and the Establishment Clause

US caught working to impose Islamic Sharia Law

Irving, Texas says “take a hike” to foreign (i.e. Sharia) laws

Ann Coulter on Muslims

Ben Carson Does Not Believe a Muslim Should Be President Meet The Press

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said today he would not support a Muslim as president on meet the press The retired neurosurgeon also said Islam, as a religion, was inconsistent with the Constitution. Carson told NBC’s “Meet the Press” he believed a president’s faith should matter “depending on what that faith is.” “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said. “If it’s [a president’s faith] inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.” Carson, who has been near the top of several presidential polls, said he would consider voting for a Muslim in Congress “[depending] on who that Muslim is and what their policies are.” ABC News has reached out to Carson’s campaign for comment.
Ben Carson Does ‘Not Advocate’ A Muslim As President Sun, Sep 20 Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson tells Chuck Todd that the faith of a presidential candidate should matter to voters “if it is inconsistent with the values … of America.”

GOP candidate Carson: Muslim shouldn’t be elected president

Cruz says no religious test for the presidency

The Alex Jones Show (VIDEO Commercial Free) Sunday September 20 2015: Sharia vs. Constitution

Muslim-American group calls on Ben Carson to drop out

Important: 260 Million Unarmed Civilians Killed – Democide = Death By Government

Sharia Law and the U.S. Constitution

[Update I:  I have streamlined the following post to be easily readable to the average layman, but informative enough for a lawyer or law professor to learn a bit more on the similarities and differences between Sharia and U.S. Law]

Is Sharia compatible with the U.S. Constitution?

The simple answer is of course “no”.

But lets take a look at some aspects of Sharia Law and where it may or may not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.  (For disclosure I am not a lawyer nor a legal expert in Sharia or U.S. Law.)

First, what is Sharia?

Wikipedia states Sharia refers to the sacred law of Islam.  All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails.  Which will be difficult to discern what to apply when, but we’ll labor along for the sake of discussion.

In Western countries, where Muslim immigration is more recent, Muslim minorities have introduced Sharia family law, for use in their own disputes. Attempts to impose Sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare (Second Sudanese Civil War).

The recent incidents at the Arab International Festival have reinforced the poor image of Sharia inside the United States and its incompatibility with American culture and law.

The following is a truncated version with a couple of modifications (eliminating repetitious ibids and links) of multiple Wikipedia entries [with my comments]:

Legal and Court Proceedings:

Wikipedia states that Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences with other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law.

1. Sharia courts do not generally employ lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves.

2. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system.

3. There is no pre-trial discovery process, no cross-examination of witnesses, and no penalty of perjury (on the assumption that no witness would thus endanger his soul) Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents under the principle of stare decisis and unlike civil law, Sharia does not utilize formally codified statutes (these were first introduced only in the late 19th century during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, cf. mecelle).

4. Instead of precedents and codes, Sharia relies on medieval jurist’s manuals and collections of non-binding legal opinions, or fatwas, issued by religious scholars (ulama, particularly a mufti); these can be made binding for a particular case at the discretion of a judge.

5. Sharia courts’ rules of evidence also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony and excluding written and documentary evidence (including forensic and circumstantial evidence), on the basis that it could be tampered with or forged.

6. A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of a witness are the only evidence admissible in a Sharia court, written evidence is only admissible with the attestations of multiple, witnesses deemed reliable by the judge, i.e. notaries.

7. Testimony must be from at least two witnesses, and preferably free Muslim male witnesses, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character; testimony to establish the crime of adultery, or zina must be from four direct witnesses.

8. Forensic evidence (i.e. fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.

9. Testimony from women is given only half the weight of men [in most sources outside of Wikipedia Sharia states that a woman’s testimony only carries the weight of 1/4th of a man’s], and testimony from non-Muslims may be excluded altogether (if against a Muslim).

10. In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence.

11. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.

12. Sharia courts, with their tradition of pro se representation, simple rules of evidence, and absence of appeals courts, prosecutors, cross examination, complex documentary evidence and discovery proceedings, juries and voir dire proceedings, circumstantial evidence, forensics, case law, standardized codes, exclusionary rules, and most of the other infrastructure of civil and common law court systems, have as a result, comparatively informal and streamlined proceedings. [that’s one way of putting it]

13. This can provide significant increases in speed and efficiency (at the cost of the safeguards provided in secular legal systems), and can be an advantage in jurisdictions where the general court system is slow or corrupt, and where few litigants can afford lawyers. (end Wikipedia)

This is not a concise review of the difference nor similarities between U.S. Law and Sharia.  It is only meant to educate us on what Sharia law is in comparison to our legal system.

http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/25/sharia-law-and-the-u-s-constitution/

Sharia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Islamic law” redirects here. For Islamic jurisprudence, see Fiqh.

 

Sharia applies in full, covering personal status issues as well as criminal proceedings

 

Sharia applies in personal status issues (such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody)

 

Regional variations in the application of Sharia

 

Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation where Sharia plays no role in the judicial system

Sharia or sharia law (Arabic: شريعة‎ (IPA: [ʃaˈriːʕa]), is the Islamic legal system[1] derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. The term sharia comes from the Arabic language term sharīʿah, which means a body of moral and religious law derived from religious prophecy, as opposed to human legislation.[2][3][4]

Sharia deals with many topics, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Adherence to sharia has served as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim faith historically.[5] In its strictest and most historically coherent definition, sharia is considered in Islam as the infallible law of God.[6]

There are two primary sources of sharia: the Quran, and the Hadiths (opinions and life example of Muhammad).[7] For topics and issues not directly addressed in these primary sources, sharia is derived. The derivation differs between the various sects of Islam (Sunni and Shia), and various jurisprudence schools such as Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali andJafari.[8][9] The sharia in these schools is derived hierarchically using one or more of the following guidelines: Ijma(usually the consensus of Muhammad’s companions), Qiyas (analogy derived from the primary sources), Istihsan(ruling that serves the interest of Islam in the discretion of Islamic jurists) and Urf (customs).[8][10]

Sharia is a significant source of legislation in various Muslim countries. Some apply all or a majority of the sharia code, and these include Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen andMauritania. In these countries, sharia prescribed punishments such as beheading, flogging and stoning continue to be practiced judicially or extra-judicially.[11][12] The introduction of sharia is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements globally, including in Western countries, but attempts to impose sharia have been accompanied by controversy,[13]violence,[14] and even warfare.[15] Most countries do not recognize sharia; however, some countries in Asia, Africa and Europe recognize parts of sharia and accept it as the law on divorce, inheritance and other personal affairs of their Islamic population.[16] In Britain, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal makes use of sharia family law to settle disputes, and this limited adoption of sharia is controversial.[17]

The concept of crime, judicial process, justice and punishment embodied in sharia is different from that of secular law.[18] The differences between sharia and secular laws have led to an ongoing controversy as to whether sharia is compatible with secular forms of government, human rights, freedom of thought, and women’s rights.[19][20][21]

Etymology and origins[edit]

Scholars describe the word sharia (/ʃɑːˈriːɑː/, also shari’a, šarīʿah) as an archaic Arabic word denoting “pathway to be followed” (analogous to the Hebrew termHalakhah [“The Way to Go”]),[22] or “path to the water hole”. The latter definition comes from the fact that the path to water is the whole way of life in an arid desert environment.[23]

The etymology of sharia as a “path” or “way” comes from the Quranic verse[Quran 45:18]: “Then we put thee on the (right) Way of religion so follow thou that (Way), and follow not the desires of those who know not.”[22] Malik Ghulam Farid in his Dictionary of the Holy Quran, believes the “Way” in 45:18 (quoted above) derives from shara’a (as prf. 3rd. p.m. sing.), meaning “He ordained”. Other forms also appear: shara’u[Quran 45:13] as (prf. 3rd. p.m. plu.), “they decreed (a law)”[Quran 42:21]; and shir’atun (n.) meaning “spiritual law”[Quran 5:48].[24]

The Arabic word sharīʿa has origins in the concept of ‘religious law’; the word is commonly used by Arabic-speaking peoples of the Middle East and designates a prophetic religion in its totality. Thus, sharīʿat Mūsā means religious law of Moses (Judaism), sharīʿat al-Masīḥ means religious law of Christianity, sharīʿat al-Madjūs means religious law of Zoroastrianism.[3]

The Arabic expression شريعة الله (God’s Law) is a common translation for תורת אלוהים (‘God’s Law’ in Hebrew) and νόμος τοῦ θεοῦ (‘God’s Law’ in Greek in the New Testament [Rom. 7: 22]).[25] In contemporary Islamic literature, sharia refers to divine law of Islam as revealed by prophet Muhammad, as well as in his function as model and exemplar of the law.[3]

Sharia in the Islamic world is also known as Qānūn-e Islāmī (قانون اسلامی).[citation needed]

History

In Islam, the origin of sharia is the Qu’ran, and traditions gathered from the life of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (born ca. 570 CE in Mecca).[26]

Sharia underwent fundamental development, beginning with the reigns of caliphs Abu Bakr (632–34) and Umar (634–44) for Sunni Muslims, and Imam Ali for Shia Muslims, during which time many questions were brought to the attention of Muhammad’s closest comrades for consultation.[27] During the reign of Muawiya b. Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, ca. 662 CE, Islam undertook an urban transformation, raising questions not originally covered by Islamic law.[27] Since then, changes in Islamic society have played an ongoing role in developing sharia, which branches out into fiqh and Qanun respectively.

The formative period of fiqh stretches back to the time of the early Muslim communities. In this period, jurists were more concerned with pragmatic issues of authority and teaching than with theory.[28] Progress in theory was started by 8th and 9th century Islamic scholars Abu Hanifa, Malik bin Anas, Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others.[8][29] Al-Shafi‘i is credited with deriving the theory of valid norms for sharia (uṣūl al-fiqh), arguing for a traditionalist, literal interpretation of Quran, Hadiths and methodology for law as revealed therein, to formulate sharia.[30][31]

A number of legal concepts and institutions were developed by Islamic jurists during the classical period of Islam, known as the Islamic Golden Age, dated from the 7th to 13th centuries. These shaped different versions of sharia in different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, called fiqhs.[32][33][34]

The Umayyads initiated the office of appointing qadis, or Islamic judges. The jurisdiction of the qadi extended only to Muslims, while non-Muslim populations retained their own legal institutions.[35] Under the Umayyads Islamic scholars were “sidelined” from administration of justice and attempts to systematically uphold and develope Islamic law would wait for Abbasid rule.[36] The qadis were usually pious specialists in Islam. As these grew in number, they began to theorize and systemize Islamic jurisprudence.[37] The Abbasid made the institution of qadi independent from the government, but this separation wasn’t always respected.[38]

Both the Umayyad caliph Umar II and the Abbasids had agreed that the caliph could not legislate contrary to the Quran or the sunnah. Imam Shafi’i declared: “atradition from the Prophet must be accepted as soon as it become known…If there has been an action on the part of a caliph, and a tradition from the Prophet to the contrary becomes known later, that action must be discarded in favor of the tradition from the Prophet.” Thus, under the Abbasids the main features of sharia were definitively established and sharia was recognized as the law of behavior for Muslims.[39]

In modern times, the Muslim community have divided points of view: secularists believe that the law of the state should be based on secular principles, not on Islamic legal doctrines; traditionalists believe that the law of the state should be based on the traditional legal schools;[40] reformers believe that new Islamic legal theories can produce modernized Islamic law[41] and lead to acceptable opinions in areas such as women’s rights.[42] This division persists until the present day (Brown 1996, Hallaq 2001, Ramadan 2005, Aslan 2006, Safi 2003, Nenezich 2006).

There has been a growing religious revival in Islam, beginning in the eighteenth century and continuing today. This movement has expressed itself in various forms ranging from wars to efforts towards improving education.[43][44]

Definitions and disagreements

Sharia, in its strictest definition, is a divine law, as expressed in the Quran and Muhammad’s example (often called the sunnah). As such, it is related to but different from fiqh, which is emphasized as the human interpretation of the law.[45][46] Many scholars have pointed out that the sharia is not formally a code,[47] nor a well-defined set of rules.[48] The sharia is characterized as a discussion on the duties of Muslims[47] based on both the opinion of the Muslim community and extensive literature.[49] Hunt Janin and Andre Kahlmeyer thus conclude that the sharia is “long, diverse, and complicated.”[48]

From the 9th century onward, the power to interpret and refine law in traditional Islamic societies was in the hands of the scholars (ulema). This separation of powers served to limit the range of actions available to the ruler, who could not easily decree or reinterpret law independently and expect the continued support of the community.[50] Through succeeding centuries and empires, the balance between the ulema and the rulers shifted and reformed, but the balance of power was never decisively changed.[51] Over the course of many centuries, imperial, political and technological change, including the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, ushered in an era of European world hegemony that gradually included the domination of many of the lands which had previously been ruled by Islamic empires.[52][53] At the end of the Second World War, the European powers found themselves too weakened to maintain their empires as before.[54] The wide variety of forms of government, systems of law, attitudes toward modernity and interpretations of sharia are a result of the ensuing drives for independence and modernity in the Muslim world.[55][56]

According to Jan Michiel Otto, Professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries at Leiden University, “Anthropological research shows that people in local communities often do not distinguish clearly whether and to what extent their norms and practices are based on local tradition, tribal custom, or religion. Those who adhere to a confrontational view of sharia tend to ascribe many undesirable practices to sharia and religion overlooking custom and culture, even if high-ranking religious authorities have stated the opposite.” Otto’s analysis appears in a paper commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[57]

Sources of sharia law

Main article: Sources of sharia

There are two sources of sharia (understood as the divine law): the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran is viewed as the unalterable word of God. It is considered in Islam to be an infallible part of sharia. The Quran covers a host of topics including God, personal laws for Muslim men and Muslim women, laws on community life, laws on expected interaction of Muslims with non-Muslims, apostates and ex-Muslims, laws on finance, morals, eschatology, and others.[58][59] The Sunnah is the life and example of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Sunnah’s importance as a source of sharia, is confirmed by several verses of the Quran (e.g.[Quran 33:21]).[60] The Sunnah is primarily contained in the hadith or reports of Muhammad’s sayings, his actions, his tacit approval of actions and his demeanor. While there is only one Quran, there are many compilations of hadith, with the most authentic ones forming during the sahih period (850 to 915 CE). The six acclaimed Sunni collections were compiled by (in order of decreasing importance) Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah. The collections by al-Bukhari and Muslim, regarded the most authentic, contain about 7,000 and 12,000 hadiths respectively (although the majority of entries are repetitions). The hadiths have been evaluated on authenticity, usually by determining the reliability of the narrators that transmitted them.[61] For Shias, the Sunnah include life and sayings of The Twelve Imams.[62]

Quran versus Hadith

Muslims who reject the Hadith as a source of law, sometimes referred to as Quranists,[63][64] suggest that only laws derived exclusively from the Quran are valid.[65]They state that the hadiths in modern use are not explicitly mentioned in the Quran as a source of Islamic theology and practice, they were not recorded in written form until more than two centuries after the death of the prophet Muhammed.[63] They also state that the authenticity of the hadiths remains a question.[66][67]

The vast majority of Muslims, however, consider hadiths, which describe the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad during his life, as a source of law and religious authority second only to the Qur’an.[68] Similarly, most Islamic scholars believe both Quran and sahih hadiths to be a valid source of sharia, with Quranic verse 33.21, among others,[69][70] as justification for this belief.[64]

Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.

For vast majority of Muslims, sharia has historically been, and continues to be derived from both the Quran and the Hadiths.[64][68][70] The Sahih Hadiths of Sunni Muslims contain isnad, or a chain of guarantors reaching back to a companion of Muhammad who directly observed the words, conduct and example he set – thus providing the theological ground to consider the hadith to be a sound basis for sharia.[64][70] For Sunni Muslims, the musannaf in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim is most trusted and relied upon as source for Sunni Sharia.[71] Shia Muslims, however, do not consider the chain of transmitters of Sunni hadiths as reliable, given these transmitters belonged to Sunni side in Sunni-Shia civil wars that followed after Muhammad’s death.[72] Shia rely on their own chain of reliable guarantors, trusting compilations such as Kitab al-Kafi and Tahdhib al-Ahkam instead, and later hadiths (usually called akhbār by Shi’i).[73][74] The Shia version of hadiths contain the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad and Imams, which they consider as sinless, infallible and an essential source of sharia for Shi’ite Muslims.[72][75]However, in substance, the Shi’ite hadiths resemble the Sunni hadiths, with one difference – the Shia hadiths additionally include words and actions of its Imams (al-hadith al-walawi), the biological descendants of Muhammad, and these too are considered an important source for sharia by Shi’ites.[73][76]

Disagreements on Quran

Main article: Naskh (tafsir)
Authenticity and writing of Quran

Some scholars such as John Wansbrough have challenged the authenticity of the Quran and whether it was written in the time of Muhammad.[77] In contrast, Estelle Whelan has refuted Wansbrough presenting evidence such as the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock.[78][79] John Burton states that medieval era Islamic texts claiming Quran was compiled after the death of the Prophet were forged to preserve the status-quo.[80] The final version of the Quran, states Burton, was compiled while the Prophet was still alive.[81] Most scholars accept that the Quran as is used for Sharia, was compiled into the final current form during the caliphate of Uthman.[82][83]

Abrogation and textual inconsistencies

From the founding of Islam, the Muslim community has also debated the authenticity of compiled verses and the consistency within the Quran.[84][85] The inconsistencies in deriving sharia from the Quran, were recognized and formally complicated by verses 2.106 and 16.101 of the Quran, which are known as the “verses of abrogation (Naskh)”,[86]

When We substitute one revelation for another, – and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages),– they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.

The principle of abrogation has been historically accepted and applied by Islamic jurists on both the Quran and the Sunnah.[84][86] Sharia is thus determined through a chronological study of the primary sources, where older revelations are considered invalid and overruled by later revelations.[86][87] While an overwhelming majority of historical and modern Islamic scholars have accepted the principle of abrogation for the Quran and the Sunnah, some modern scholars disagree that the principle of abrogation necessarily applies to the Quran.[88]

Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh)

Main article: Fiqh

Fiqh (school of Islamic jurisprudence) represents the process of deducing and applying sharia principles, as well as the collective body of specific laws deduced from sharia using the fiqh methodology.[8] While Quran and Hadith sources are regarded as infallible, the fiqh standards may change in different contexts. Fiqh covers all aspects of law, including religious, civil, political, constitutional and procedural law.[89] Fiqh deploys the following to create Islamic laws:[8]

  1. Injunctions, revealed principles and interpretations of the Quran (Used by all schools and sects of Islam)
  2. Interpretation of the Sunnah (Muhammad’s practices, opinions and traditions) and principles therein, after establishing the degree of reliability of hadith’s chain of reporters (Used by all schools and sects of Islam)

If the above two sources do not provide guidance for an issue, then different fiqhs deploy the following in a hierarchical way:[8]

  1. Ijma, collective reasoning and consensus amongst authoritative Muslims of a particular generation, and its interpretation by Islamic scholars. This fiqh principle for sharia is derived from Quranic verse 4:59.[90] Typically, the recorded consensus of Sahabah (Muhammad’s companions) is considered authoritative and most trusted. If this is unavailable, then the recorded individual reasoning (Ijtihad) of Muhammad companions is sought. In Islam’s history, some Muslim scholars have argued that Ijtihad allows individual reasoning of both the earliest generations of Muslims and later generation Muslims, while others have argued that Ijtihad allows individual reasoning of only the earliest generations of Muslims. (Used by all schools of Islam, Jafari fiqh accepts only Ijtihad of Shia Imams)[8][91]
  2. Qiyas, analogy is deployed if Ijma or historic collective reasoning on the issue is not available. Qiyas represents analogical deduction, the support for using it in fiqh is based on Quranic verse 2:59, and this methodology was started by Abu Hanifa.[92] This principle is considered weak by Hanbali fiqh, and it usually avoids Qiyas for sharia. (Used by all Sunni schools of Islam, but rejected by Shia Jafari)[8][10]
  3. Istihsan, which is the principle of serving the interest of Islam and public as determined by Islamic jurists. This method is deployed if Ijtihad and Qiyas fail to provide guidance. It was started by Hanafi fiqh as a form of Ijtihad (individual reasoning). Maliki fiqh called it Masalih Al-Mursalah, or departure from strict adherence to the Texts for public welfare. The Hanbali fiqh called it Istislah and rejected it, as did Shafi’i fiqh. (Used by Hanafi, Maliki, but rejected by Shafii, Hanbali and Shia Jafari fiqhs)[8][10][30]
  4. Istihab and Urf which mean continuity of pre-Islamic customs and customary law. This is considered as the weakest principle, accepted by just two fiqhs, and even in them recognized only when the custom does not violate or contradict any Quran, Hadiths or other fiqh source. (Used by Hanafi, Maliki, but rejected by Shafii, Hanbali and Shia Jafari fiqhs)[8][10]
Schools of law
Main article: Madhhab

Map of the Muslim world with the main schools of Islamic law (madhhab)

A Madhhab is a Muslim school of law that follows a fiqh (school of religious jurisprudence). In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many madhhab. Several of the Sahābah, or contemporary “companions” of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own. In the Sunni sect of Islam, the Islamic jurisprudence schools of Medina (Al-Hijaz, now in Saudi Arabia) created the Maliki madhhab, while those in Kufa (now in Iraq) created the Hanafimadhhab.[93] Abu al-Shafi’i, who started as a student of Maliki school of Islamic law, and later was influenced by Hanafi school of Islamic law, disagreed with some of the discretion these schools gave to jurists, and founded the more conservative Shafi’i madhhab, which spread from jurisprudence schools in Baghdad (Iraq) and Cairo (Egypt).[94] Ahmad ibn Hanbal, a student of al-Shafi’i, went further in his criticism of Maliki and Hanafi fiqhs, criticizing the abuse and corruption of sharia from jurist discretion and consensus of later generation Muslims, and he founded the more strict, traditionalist Hanbali school of Islamic law.[95] Other schools such as the Jaririwere established later, which eventually died out.

Sunni sect of Islam has four major surviving schools of sharia: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali; one minor school is named Ẓāhirī. Shii sect of Islam has three: Ja’fari(major), Zaydi and Ismaili.[96][97][98] There are other minority fiqhs as well, such as the Ibadi school of Khawarij sect, and those of Sufi and Ahmadi sects.[89][99] All Sunni and Shia schools of sharia rely first on the Quran and the sayings/practices of Muhammad in the Sunnah. Their differences lie in the procedure each uses to create Islam-compliant laws when those two sources do not provide guidance on a topic.[100] The Salafi movement creates sharia based on the Quran, Sunnah and the actions and sayings of the first three generations of Muslims.[101]

Hanafi-based sharia spread with the patronage and military expansions led by Turkic Sultans and Ottoman Empire in West Asia, Southeast Europe, Central Asia and South Asia.[102][103] It is currently the largest madhhab of Sunni Muslims.[104] Maliki-based sharia is predominantly found in West Africa, North Africa and parts of Arabia.[104] Shafii-based sharia spread with patronage and military expansions led by maritime Sultans, and is mostly found in coastal regions of East Africa, Arabia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and islands in the Indian ocean.[105] The Hanbali-based sharia prevails in the smallest Sunni madhhab, predominantly found in the Arabian peninsula.[104] The Shia Jafari-based sharia is mostly found in Persian region and parts of West Asia and South Asia.

Categories of law

Along with interpretation, each fiqh classifies its interpretation of sharia into one of the following five categories: fard (obligatory), mustahabb (recommended),mubah (neutral), makruh (discouraged), and haraam (forbidden). A Muslim is expected to adhere to that tenet of sharia accordingly.[106]

  • Actions in the fard category are those mandatory on all Muslims. They include the five daily prayers, fasting, articles of faith, obligatory giving of zakat (charity, tax) to zakat collectors,[107][108] and the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.[106]
  • The mustahabb category includes proper behaviour in matters such as marriage, funeral rites and family life. As such, it covers many of the same areas as civil law in the West. Sharia courts attempt to reconcile parties to disputes in this area using the recommended behaviour as their guide. A person whose behaviour is not mustahabb can be ruled against by the judge.[109]
  • Mubah category of behaviour is neither discouraged nor recommended, neither forbidden nor required; it is permissible.[106]
  • Makruh behaviour, while it is not sinful of itself, is considered undesirable among Muslims. It may also make a Muslim liable to criminal penalties under certain circumstances.[109]
  • Haraam behaviour is explicitly forbidden. It is both sinful and criminal. It includes all actions expressly forbidden in the Quran. Certain Muslim dietary and clothing restrictions also fall into this category.[106]

The recommended, neutral and discouraged categories are drawn largely from accounts of the life of Muhammad. To say a behaviour is sunnah is to say it is recommended as an example of the life and sayings of Muhammad. These categories form the basis for proper behaviour in matters such as courtesy and manners, interpersonal relations, generosity, personal habits and hygiene.[106]

Areas of Islamic law

Main article: Topics of sharia law

The areas of Islamic law include:

Other classifications

Shari’ah law has been grouped in different ways, such as:[110][111] Family relations, Crime and punishment, Inheritance and disposal of property, The economic system, External and other relations.

Reliance of the Traveller“, an English translation of a fourteenth-century CE reference on the Shafi’i school of fiqh written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, organizes sharia law into the following topics: Purification, prayer, funeral prayer, taxes, fasting, pilgrimage, trade, inheritance, marriage, divorce and justice.

In some areas, there are substantial differences in the law between different schools of fiqh, countries, cultures and schools of thought.

Disagreement on the objectives of Islamic law

Main article: Maqasid

A number of scholars have advanced “objectives” (مقاصد maqaṣid al-Shariah also “goals” or “purposes”) they believe the Sharia is intended to achieve. Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali argued that they were the preservation of Islamic religion, and in the temporal world the protection of life, progeny, intellect and wealth of Muslims.[112][113]Yazid et al summarize sharia’s objective to be recognize the limitations of reason, and complement the role of reason with revelation.[114] They state that objective of sharia in Islamic finance is to provide rules and regulations from the Quran and Sunnah.[114]

Jan Otto writes that moderate Muslims and puritan Muslims differ in their interpretation of the objectives of sharia.[115] The moderate Muslims consider sharia to be a flexible code of law, where technicalities of its wording cannot subvert sharia’s objectives to “help Muslims in their quest for submission, humility, gratitude before God, and a quest for Godliness”.[115] In contrast, according to Otto, puritan Muslims believe that sharia is a strict, complete and exact set of rules that one must submit to, by strict compliance, because it is only “through meticulous obedience, Muslims will avoid punishment of God in after-life and will enter heaven” which is the ultimate objective, and it does not matter if some sharia “law is harsh or that its application results in social suffering, this perception is considered delusional”.[115]

Application

Application by country

Use of Sharia by country:

  Sharia plays no role in the judicial system
  Sharia applies to Muslim’s personal law
  Sharia applies in full, including criminal law
  Regional variations in the application of sharia

Most Muslim-majority countries incorporate sharia at some level in their legal framework, with many calling it the highest law or the source of law of the land in their constitution.[116][117] Most use sharia for personal law (marriage, divorce, domestic violence, child support, family law, inheritance and such matters).[118][119] Elements of sharia are present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of many Muslim-majority countries.[12]Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan andMauritania apply the code predominantly or entirely.[12][120]

Most Muslim-majority countries with sharia-prescribed hudud punishments in their legal code, do not prescribe it routinely and use other punishments instead.[116][121] The harshest sharia penalties such as stoning, beheadingand the death penalty are enforced with varying levels of consistency.[122]

Since 1970s, most Muslim-majority countries have faced vociferous demands from their religious groups and political parties for immediate adoption of sharia as the sole, or at least primary legal framework.[123] Some moderates and liberal scholars within these Muslim countries have argued for limited expansion of sharia.[124]

With the growing muslim immigrant communities in Europe, there have been reports in some media of “no-go zones” being established where sharia law reigns supreme.[125][126] However, there is no evidence of the existence of “no-go zones”, and these allegations are sourced from anti-immigrant groups falsely equating low-income neighborhoods predominantly inhabited by immigrants as “no-go zones.”[127][128]

Enforcement

Main articles: Islamic religious police and Hisbah

Sharia is enforced in Islamic nations in a number of ways, including mutaween and hisbah.[citation needed]

The mutaween (Arabic: المطوعين، مطوعيةmuṭawwiʿīn, muṭawwiʿiyyah)[129] are the government-authorized or government-recognized religious police (or clericalpolice) of Saudi Arabia. Elsewhere, enforcement of Islamic values in accordance with sharia is the responsibility of Polisi Perda Syariah Islam in Aceh province ofIndonesia,[130] Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Gaza Strip) in parts of Palestine, and Basiji Force in Iran.[131]

Official from the Department ofPropagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, beating a woman inAfghanistan for violating local interpretation of sharia.[132][133]

Hisbah (Arabic: حسبةḥisb(ah), or hisba) is a historic Islamic doctrine which means “accountability”.[134] Hisbah doctrine holds that it is a religious obligation of every Muslim that he or she report to the ruler (Sultan, government authorities) any wrong behavior of a neighbor or relative that violates sharia or insults Islam. The doctrine states that it is the divinely sanctioned duty of the ruler to intervene when such charges are made, and coercively “command right and forbid wrong” in order to keep everything in order according to sharia.[135][136][137] Some Salafist suggest that enforcement of sharia under the Hisbah doctrine is the sacred duty of all Muslims, not just rulers.[135] The doctrine of Hisbah in Islam has traditionally allowed any Muslim to accuse another Muslim, ex-Muslim or non-Muslim for beliefs or behavior that may harm Islamic society. This principle has been used in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and others to bring blasphemy charges against apostates.[138]For example, in Egypt, sharia was enforced on the Muslim scholar Nasr Abu Zayd, through the doctrine of Hasbah, when he committed apostasy.[139][140] Similarly, in Nigeria, after twelve northern Muslim-majority states such as Kano adopted sharia-based penal code between 1999 and 2000, hisbah became the allowed method of sharia enforcement, where all Muslim citizens could police compliance of moral order based on sharia.[141] In Aceh province of Indonesia, Islamic vigilante activists have invoked Hasbah doctrine to enforce sharia on fellow Muslims as well as demanding non-Muslims to respect sharia.[142]Hisbah has been used in many Muslim majority countries, from Morocco to Egypt and in West Asia to enforce sharia restrictions on blasphemy and criticism of Islam over internet and social media.[143][144][145]

Legal and court proceedings

Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences from other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law. Sharia courts traditionally do not rely on lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system. There is no pre-trial discoveryprocess, and no cross-examination of witnesses. Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents[146][147] under the principle of stare decisis,[148]and unlike civil law, sharia is left to the interpretation in each case and has no formally codified universal statutes.[149]

The rules of evidence in sharia courts also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony.[150] Witnesses, in a sharia court system, must be faithful, that is Muslim.[151] Male Muslim witnesses are deemed more reliable than female Muslim witnesses, and non-Muslim witnesses considered unreliable and receive no priority in a sharia court.[152][153] In civil cases, a Muslim woman witness is considered half the worth and reliability than a Muslim man witness.[154][155] In criminal cases, women witnesses are unacceptable in stricter, traditional interpretations of sharia, such as those found in Hanbali madhhab.[151]

Criminal cases

A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of Muslim witnesses are the main evidence admissible, in sharia courts, for hudud crimes, that is the religious crimes of adultery, fornication, rape, accusing someone of illicit sex but failing to prove it, apostasy, drinking intoxicants and theft.[156][157][158] Testimony must be from at least two free Muslim male witnesses, or one Muslim male and two Muslim females, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character. Testimony to establish the crime of adultery, fornication or rape must be from four Muslim male witnesses, with some fiqhs allowing substitution of up to three male with six female witnesses; however, at least one must be a Muslim male.[159] Forensic evidence (i.e., fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.[160][161]

Muslim jurists have debated whether and when coerced confession and coerced witnesses are acceptable. The majority opinion of jurists in the Hanafi madhhab, for example, ruled that torture to get evidence is acceptable and such evidence is valid, but a 17th-century text by Hanafi jurist Muhammad Shaykhzade argued that coerced confession should be invalid; Shaykhzade acknowledged that beating to get confession has been authorized in fatwas by many Islamic jurists.[162]

Civil cases

Quran recommends written contracts in the case of debt-related transactions, and oral contracts for commercial and other civil contracts.[155][163] Marriage is solemnized as a written financial contract, in the presence of two Muslim male witnesses, and it includes a brideprice (Mahr) payable from a Muslim man to a Muslim woman. The brideprice is considered by a sharia court as a form of debt. Written contracts are paramount, in sharia courts, in the matters of dispute that are debt-related, which includes marriage contracts.[164] Written contracts in debt-related cases, when notarized by a judge, is deemed more reliable.[165]

In commercial and civil contracts, such as those relating to exchange of merchandise, agreement to supply or purchase goods or property, and others, oral contracts and the testimony of Muslim witnesses triumph over written contracts. Sharia system has held that written commercial contracts may be forged.[165][166]Timur Kuran states that the treatment of written evidence in religious courts in Islamic regions created an incentive for opaque transactions, and the avoidance of written contracts in economic relations. This led to a continuation of a “largely oral contracting culture” in Muslim nations and communities.[166][167]

In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.[168] Taking an oath for Muslims can be a grave act; one study of courts in Morocco found that lying litigants would often “maintain their testimony ‘right up to the moment of oath-taking and then to stop, refuse the oath, and surrender the case.”[169] Accordingly, defendants are not routinely required to swear before testifying, which would risk casually profaning the Quran should the defendant commit perjury;[169] instead oaths are a solemn procedure performed as a final part of the evidence process.

Sentencing
Main article: Diyya

Sharia courts treat women and men as unequal, with Muslim woman’s life and blood-money compensation sentence (Diyya) as half as that of a Muslim man’s life.[170][171] Sharia also treats Muslims and non-Muslims as unequal in the sentencing process.[172] Human Rights Watch and United States’ Religious Freedom Report note that in sharia courts of Saudi Arabia, “The calculation of accidental death or injury compensation is discriminatory. In the event a court renders a judgment in favor of a plaintiff who is a Jewish or Christian male, the plaintiff is only entitled to receive 50 percent of the compensation a Muslim male would receive; all other non-Muslims [Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Atheists] are only entitled to receive one-sixteenth of the amount a male Muslim would receive”.[173][174][175]

Saudi Arabia follows Hanbali sharia, whose historic jurisprudence texts considered a Christian or Jew life as half the worth of a Muslim. Jurists of other schools of law in Islam have ruled differently. For example, Shafi’i sharia considers a Christian or Jew life as a third the worth of a Muslim, and Maliki‘s sharia considers it worth half.[172] The legal schools of Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi’i Sunni Islam as well as those of twelver Shia Islam have considered the life of polytheists and atheists as one-fifteenth the value of a Muslim during sentencing.[172]

Support

Anti-democracy, pro-Sharia public demonstration in 2014 in Maldives.

A 2013 survey based on interviews of 38,000 Muslims, randomly selected from urban and rural parts in 39 countries using area probability designs, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that support for making sharia the official law of the land is very high in many Muslim-majority countries: Afghanistan (99%), Iraq (91%), Niger (86%), Malaysia (86%), Pakistan (84%), Morocco (83%), Bangladesh (82%), Egypt (74%), Indonesia (72%), Jordan (71%), Uganda (66%), Ethiopia (65%), Mali (63%), Ghana (58%), and Tunisia (56%).[176] In Muslim regions of Southern-Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the support is less then 50%: Kosovo (20%), Albania (12%), Russia (42%), Kyrgyzstan (35%), Tajikistan (27%), Turkey (12%), Azerbaijan (8%).[176]

In Muslim-majority countries and among Muslims who say sharia should be the law of the land, a percentage between 74% (Egypt) and 19% (Kazakhstan) want sharia law to apply to non-Muslims as well.[177]

A 2008 YouGov poll in the United Kingdom found 40% of Muslim students interviewed wanted sharia in British law.[178]

Since the 1970s, the Islamist movements have become prominent; their goals are the establishment of Islamic states and sharia not just within their own borders; their means are political in nature. The Islamist power base is the millions of poor, particularly urban poor moving into the cities from the countryside. They are not international in nature (one exception being the Muslim Brotherhood). Their rhetoric opposes western culture and western power.[179] Political groups wishing to return to more traditional Islamic values are the source of threat to Turkey’s secular government.[179] These movements can be considered neo-Sharism.[180]

Extremism

Fundamentalists, wishing to return to basic Islamic religious values and law, have in some instances imposed harsh sharia punishments for crimes, curtailed civil rights and violated human rights. Extremists have used the Quran and their own particular version of sharia to justify acts of war and terror against Muslim as well as non-Muslim individuals and governments, using alternate, conflicting interpretations of sharia and their notions of jihad.[181][182]

The sharia basis of arguments of those advocating terrorism, however, remain controversial. Some scholars state that Islamic law prohibits the killing of civilian non-combatants; in contrast, others interpret Islamic law differently, concluding that all means are legitimate to reach their aims, including targeting Muslim non-combatants and the mass killing of non-Muslim civilians, in order to universalize Islam.[181] Islam, in these interpretations, “does not make target differences between militaries and civilians but between Muslims and unbelievers. Therefore it is legitimated (sic) to spill civilians’ blood”.[181] Other scholars of Islam, interpret sharia differently, stating, according to Engeland-Nourai, “attacking innocent people is not courageous; it is stupid and will be punished on the Day of Judgment […]. It’s not courageous to attack innocent children, women and civilians. It is courageous to protect freedom; it is courageous to defend one and not to attack”.[181][183]

Criticism

A protester opposing the Park51project, carries an anti-sharia sign.

Compatibility with democracy

Further information: Islamic ethics, Islam and democracy, Shura and Ijma

Ali Khan states that “constitutional orders founded on the principles of sharia are fully compatible with democracy, provided that religious minorities are protected and the incumbent Islamic leadership remains committed to the right to recall”.[184][185]Other scholars say sharia is not compatible with democracy, particularly where the country’s constitution demands separation of religion and the democratic state.[186][187]

Courts in non-Muslim majority nations have generally ruled against the implementation of sharia, both in jurisprudence and within a community context, based on sharia’s religious background. In Muslim nations, sharia has wide support with some exceptions.[188] For example, in 1998 the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned and dissolved Turkey’s Refah Party on the grounds that “Democracy is the antithesis of Sharia”, the latter of which Refah sought to introduce.[189][190]

On appeal by Refah the European Court of Human Rights determined that “sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”.[191][192][193] Refah’s sharia-based notion of a “plurality of legal systems, grounded on religion” was ruled to contravene the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It was determined that it would “do away with the State’s role as the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms” and “infringe the principle of non-discrimination between individuals as regards their enjoyment of public freedoms, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy”.[194]

Human rights

Several major, predominantly Muslim countries have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for its perceived failure to take into account the cultural and religious context of non-Western countries. Iran declared in the UN assembly that UDHR was “a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition”, which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.[195] Islamic scholars and Islamist political parties consider ‘universal human rights’ arguments as imposition of a non-Muslim culture on Muslim people, a disrespect of customary cultural practices and of Islam.[196][197] In 1990, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group representing all Muslim majority nations, met in Cairo to respond to the UDHR, then adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.[198][199]

Ann Elizabeth Mayer points to notable absences from the Cairo Declaration: provisions for democratic principles, protection for religious freedom, freedom of association and freedom of the press, as well as equality in rights and equal protection under the law. Article 24 of the Cairo declaration states that “all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic shari’a“.[200]

In 2009, the journal Free Inquiry summarized the criticism of the Cairo Declaration in an editorial: “We are deeply concerned with the changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a coalition of Islamic states within the United Nations that wishes to prohibit any criticism of religion and would thus protect Islam’s limited view of human rights. In view of the conditions inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Bangdalesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we should expect that at the top of their human rights agenda would be to rectify the legal inequality of women, the suppression of political dissent, the curtailment of free expression, the persecution of ethnic minorities and religious dissenters — in short, protecting their citizens from egregious human rights violations. Instead, they are worrying about protecting Islam.”[201]

H. Patrick Glenn states that sharia is structured around the concept of mutual obligations of a collective, and it considers individual human rights as potentially disruptive and unnecessary to its revealed code of mutual obligations. In giving priority to this religious collective rather than individual liberty, the Islamic law justifies the formal inequality of individuals (women, non-Islamic people).[202] Bassam Tibi states that sharia framework and human rights are incompatible.[203] Abdel al-Hakeem Carney, in contrast, states that sharia is misunderstood from a failure to distinguish sharia from siyasah (politics).[204]

Freedom of speech

Blasphemy in Islam is any form of cursing, questioning or annoying God, Muhammad or anything considered sacred in Islam.[205][206][207] The sharia of various Islamic schools of jurisprudence specify different punishment for blasphemy against Islam, by Muslims and non-Muslims, ranging from imprisonment, fines, flogging, amputation, hanging, or beheading.[205][208][209] In some cases, sharia allows non-Muslims to escape death by converting and becoming a devout follower of Islam.[210]

Blasphemy, as interpreted under sharia, is controversial. Muslim nations have petitioned the United Nations to limit “freedom of speech” because “unrestricted and disrespectful opinion against Islam creates hatred”.[211] Other nations, in contrast, consider blasphemy laws as violation of “freedom of speech”,[212] stating that freedom of expression is essential to empowering both Muslims and non-Muslims, and point to the abuse of blasphemy laws, where hundreds, often members of religious minorities, are being lynched, killed and incarcerated in Muslim nations, on flimsy accusations of insulting Islam.[213][214]

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

According to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[215] every human has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief. Sharia has been criticized for not recognizing this human right. According to scholars[19][216][217] of Islamic law, the applicable rules for religious conversion under sharia are as follows:

  • If a person converts to Islam, or is born and raised as a Muslim, then he or she will have full rights of citizenship in an Islamic state.[218]
  • Leaving Islam is a sin and a religious crime. Once any man or woman is officially classified as Muslim, because of birth or religious conversion, he or she will be subject to the death penalty if he or she becomes an apostate, that is, abandons his or her faith in Islam in order to become an atheist, agnostic or to convert to another religion. Before executing the death penalty, sharia demands that the individual be offered one chance to return to Islam.[218]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is not a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), he or she can live in an Islamic state by accepting to be a dhimmi, or under a special permission called aman. As a dhimmi or under aman, he or she will suffer certain limitations of rights as a subject of an Islamic state, and will not enjoy complete legal equality with Muslims.[218]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), sharia demands that he or she should be offered the choice to convert to Islam and become a Muslim; if he or she rejects the offer, he or she may become a dhimmi. failure to pay the tax may lead the non-muslim to either be enslaved, killed or ransomed if captured.[218]

According to sharia theory, conversion of disbelievers and non-Muslims to Islam is encouraged as a religious duty for all Muslims, and leaving Islam (apostasy), expressing contempt for Islam (blasphemy), and religious conversion of Muslims is prohibited.[219][220] Not all Islamic scholars agree with this interpretation of sharia theory. In practice, as of 2011, 20 Islamic nations had laws declaring apostasy from Islam as illegal and a criminal offense. Such laws are incompatible with the UDHR’s requirement of freedom of thought, conscience and religion.[221][222][223][224] In another 2013 report based on international survey of religious attitudes, more than 50% of Muslim population in 6 out of 49 Islamic countries supported death penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam (apostasy).[225][226] However it is also shown that the majority of Muslims in the 43 nations surveyed did not agree with this interpretation of sharia.

Some scholars claim sharia allows religious freedom because a Shari’a verse teaches, “there is no compulsion in religion.”[227] Other scholars claim sharia recognizes only one proper religion, considers apostasy as sin punishable with death, and members of other religions as kafir (infidel);[228] or hold that Shari’a demands that all apostates and kafir must be put to death, enslaved or be ransomed.[229][230][231][232] Yet other scholars suggest that Shari’a has become a product of human interpretation and inevitably leads to disagreements about the “precise contents of the Shari’a.” In the end, then, what is being applied is not sharia, but what a particular group of clerics and government decide is sharia. It is these differing interpretations of Shari’a that explain why many Islamic countries have laws that restrict and criminalize apostasy, proselytism and their citizens’ freedom of conscience and religion.[233][234]

LGBT rights

Main article: LGBT in Islam

Homosexual intercourse is illegal under sharia law, though the prescribed penalties differ from one school of jurisprudence to another. For example, only a few Muslim-majority countries impose the death penalty for acts perceived as sodomy and homosexual activities: Iran,[235] Saudi Arabia,[236] and Somalia.[237] In other Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Iraq, and the Indonesian province of Aceh,[238] same-sex sexual acts are illegal,[239] and LGBT people regularly face violence and discrimination.[240]

Women

Domestic violence

Many scholars[20][241] claim Shari’a law encourages domestic violence against women, when a husband suspects nushuz (disobedience, disloyalty, rebellion, ill conduct) in his wife.[242] Other scholars claim wife beating, for nashizah, is not consistent with modern perspectives of the Quran.[243]

One of the verses of the Quran relating to permissibility of domestic violence is Surah 4:34.[244][245] In deference to Surah 4:34, many nations with Shari’a law have refused to consider or prosecute cases of domestic abuse.[246][247][248][249] Shari’a has been criticized for ignoring women’s rights in domestic abuse cases.[250][251][252][253] Musawah, CEDAW, KAFA and other organizations have proposed ways to modify Shari’a-inspired laws to improve women’s rights in Islamic nations, including women’s rights in domestic abuse cases.[254][255][256][257]

Personal status laws and child marriag

Shari’a is the basis for personal status laws in most Islamic majority nations. These personal status laws determine rights of women in matters of marriage, divorce and child custody. A 2011 UNICEF report concludes that Shari’a law provisions are discriminatory against women from a human rights perspective. In legal proceedings under Shari’a law, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s before a court.[154]

Except for Iran, Lebanon and Bahrain which allow child marriages, the civil code in Islamic majority countries do not allow child marriage of girls. However, with Shari’a personal status laws, Shari’a courts in all these nations have the power to override the civil code. The religious courts permit girls less than 18 years old to marry. As of 2011, child marriages are common in a few Middle Eastern countries, accounting for 1 in 6 all marriages in Egypt and 1 in 3 marriages in Yemen.UNICEF and other studies state that the top five nations in the world with highest observed child marriage rates — Niger (75%), Chad (72%), Mali (71%), Bangladesh (64%), Guinea (63%) — are Islamic-majority countries where the personal laws for Muslims are sharia-based.[258][259]

Rape is considered a crime in all countries, but Shari’a courts in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia in some cases allow a rapist to escape punishment by marrying his victim, while in other cases the victim who complains is often prosecuted with the crime of Zina (adultery).[154][260][261]

Women’s right to property and consent

Sharia grants women the right to inherit property from other family members, and these rights are detailed in the Quran.[262] A woman’s inheritance is unequal and less than a man’s, and dependent on many factors.[Quran 4:12][263] For instance, a daughter’s inheritance is usually half that of her brother’s.[Quran 4:11][263]

Until the 20th century, Islamic law granted Muslim women certain legal rights, such as the right to own property received as Mahr (brideprice) at her marriage, that Western legal systems did not grant to women.[264][265] However, Islamic law does not grant non-Muslim women the same legal rights as the few it did grant Muslim women. Sharia recognizes the basic inequality between master and women slave, between free women and slave women, between Believers and non-Believers, as well as their unequal rights.[266][267] Sharia authorized the institution of slavery, using the words abd (slave) and the phrase ma malakat aymanukum (“that which your right hand owns”) to refer to women slaves, seized as captives of war.[266][268] Under Islamic law, Muslim men could have sexual relations with female captives and slaves without her consent.[269][270]

Slave women under sharia did not have a right to own property, right to free movement or right to consent.[271][272] Sharia, in Islam’s history, provided religious foundation for enslaving non-Muslim women (and men), as well as encouraged slave’s manumission. However, manumission required that the non-Muslim slave first convert to Islam.[273][274] Non-Muslim slave women who bore children to their Muslim masters became legally free upon her master’s death, and her children were presumed to be Muslims as their father, in Africa,[273] and elsewhere.[275]

Starting with the 20th century, Western legal systems evolved to expand women’s rights, but women’s rights under Islamic law have remained tied to Quran, hadiths and their faithful interpretation as sharia by Islamic jurists.[270][276]

Parallels with Western legal systems

Elements of Islamic law have influenced western legal systems. As example, the influence of Islamic influence on the development of an international law of the sea” can be discerned alongside that of the Roman influence.[277]

Makdisi states Islamic law also influenced the legal scholastic system of the West.[278] The study of legal text and degrees have parallels between Islamic studies of sharia and the Western system of legal studies. For example, the status of faqih (meaning “master of law“), mufti (meaning “professor of legal opinions“) andmudarris (meaning “teacher”), which were later translated into Latin as magister, professor and doctor respectively.[278]

There are differences between Islamic and Western legal systems. For example, sharia classically recognizes only natural persons, and never developed the concept of a legal person, or corporation, i.e., a legal entity that limits the liabilities of its managers, shareholders, and employees; exists beyond the lifetimes of its founders; and that can own assets, sign contracts, and appear in court through representatives.[279] Interest prohibitions also imposed secondary costs by discouraging record keeping, and delaying the introduction of modern accounting.[280] Such factors, according to Timur Kuran, have played a significant role in retarding economic development in the Middle East.[281]

See also

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia

Ben Carson says no Muslim should ever become US president

  • 2016 hopeful: ‘I would not advocate we put a Muslim in charge of this nation’
  • Retired neurosurgeon says Islam is not consistent with US constitution

The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said no Muslim should be president of the United States of America.

In an interview with NBC for broadcast on Sunday morning, the retired neurosurgeon said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s discussion with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd centered around controversy that arose this week when Donald Trump – the real-estate mogul keeping Carson in second place in the polls – failed to correct an audience member at a New Hampshire campaign rally who said President Obama was a Muslim.

The audience member also appeared to advocate the forcible removal of Muslims from the US.

On Saturday, in a series of tweets on the subject, Trump defended himself and said: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!”
Trump: I was not obligated to correct questioner who called Obama Muslim
Read more
He also addressed the issue in an appearance before an evangelical audience in Iowa, at which he brandished a Bible and said: “You see, I’m better than you thought.”

In such circles, Trump has lost some support to Carson.

In his NBC interview, Carson was asked: “So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?”

“No,” he said, “I don’t, I do not.”

Article VI of the US constitution states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

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The first amendment to the constitution begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Carson, a Christian, is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church. In October, he will publish a new book, written with his wife Candy Carson and entitled A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.

In publicity material issued by Penguin Random House, Carson is quoted as saying: “I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the US constitution.

“And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the constitution isn’t brain surgery.

He adds that he and his wife wrote the book to “help defend” the constitution “from those who misinterpret and undermine it”.

Carson did have a constituency to speak to, however. In a recent poll, 38% of voters said they would not vote for a Muslim president.
Quiet rise of Ben Carson is shaking up Republican presidential race
Read more
The Ohio governor, John Kasich, who is polling an average of 2.5%, enough for 10th place out of 16, was also asked by NBC if he “would ever have a problem with a Muslim becoming president”.

Kasich, one of the more moderate candidates in the GOP field, also had to field a question about whether he was a Republican at all. He did not say he would have a problem with a Muslim president, but nor did he dismiss the question.

“You know, I mean, that’s such a hypothetical question,” Kasich said. “The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigours, and people will look at everything.

“But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing, and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

Carson was also asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim candidate for Congress.

He said: “Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.”

Two members of Congress, both Democrats, are Muslim: Keith Ellison of Minnesota was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and André Carson of Indiana followed in 2008.

Every American should be disturbed … national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry
Representative Keith Ellison
This week, Ellison carried a clock around Congress to show support for Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old boy who was arrested at his school in Irving, Texas, over suspicions a homemade clock was in fact a bomb.

On Sunday Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, released a statement in answer to Carson’s comments.

“For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with who we are as a people,” he said.

“It’s unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry.”

 

Ahmed Mohamed is tired, excited to meet Obama – and wants his clock back
Read more
According to the Pew Research Center, the 114th Congress contains 491 Christians, of which 306 are Protestant, split between 13 sects though without any declared Anabaptists, Quakers or Pietists.

Another 164 members of Congress are Catholic, while 16 are Mormon and five Orthodox Christian. As well as the two Muslims there are 28 Jewish and two Buddhist members of Congress; there is one Hindu member, one Unitarian Universalist and one “unaffiliated”.

Nine members of Congress either told the Pew researchers they didn’t know what religion they were, or refused to answer the question.

On Meet the Press, Carson continued: “And, you know, if there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them.”

Asked if he believed President Obama was both born in the US – another issue raised at the Trump rally on Thursday and not rebutted by the candidate – and a Christian, Carson said: “I believe that he is. I have no reason to doubt what he says.”

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/20/ben-carson-no-muslim-us-president-trump-obama

Carson says he does not agree with a Muslim being elected president

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested Sunday that a Muslim should not be president, extending the new and unexpected religion debate on the 2016 campaign trail.

“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson, a Christian and retired neurosurgeon, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson, a top-tier 2016 candidate and popular among the GOP’s evangelical wing, made the statement after fellow Republican candidate Donald Trump was addressed by a man during a rally Thursday in New Hampshire who said President Obama is a Muslim.

“We have a problem in this country,” the unidentified man said. “It’s called Muslim. … You know our current president is one.”

Obama says he is a Christian. But Trump has declined to address the issue, saying he is not “morally obligated” to set straight the record.

Carson also described the Islamic faith as inconsistent with the Constitution. However, he did not specify in what way Islam ran counter to constitutional principles.

Carson said he believes Obama is a Christian and has “no reason to doubt what he says.”

He also said he would consider voting for a Muslim running for Congress, depending on “who that Muslim is and what their policies are.”

Carson also made a distinction when it came to electing Muslims to Congress, calling it a “different story” from the presidency that “depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says.”

Congress has two Muslim members, Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Andre Carson of Indiana.

“If there’s somebody who’s of any faith, but they say things, and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them,” Carson said.

Trump on Sunday told ABC’s “This Week” that he doesn’t talk about other people’s faith and that Obama is “very capable of defending himself.”

He also said the politically correct statement is that Muslims are not a problem in the United States but the reality is that “some” associated with terrorism pose a worldwide threat.

“We can say … everything’s wonderful,” Trump said. “But certainly it is a problem. … if I want to say no, not at all, people would laugh at me.”

Fellow GOP contender and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told ABC about the Muslim debate: “This has nothing to do with the future of our country. These issues have been discussed ad nauseam over the last few years. It’s a big waste of time. Barack Obama will not be president in a year and a half. It’s time to start talking about the future of America and the people that are at home.”

Carson’s comments drew strong criticism from the country’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“To me this really means he is not qualified to be president of the United States,” said the group’s spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper. “You cannot hold these kinds of views and at the same time say you will represent all Americans, of all faiths and backgrounds.”

Hooper said the Constitution expressly forbids religious tests for those seeking public office and called for the repudiation of “these un-American comments.”

In a separate appearance on NBC, fellow 2016 GOP candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was asked whether he would have a problem with a Muslim in the White House.

“The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigors, and people will look at everything. But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who taped Sunday an episode of Iowa Press, an Iowa Public Television program, was asked if he agreed with Carson’s statements on Muslims being president. “The Constitution specifies that there shall be no religious test for public office, and I am a constitutionalist,” Cruz said.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, “It’s hard to understand what’s so difficult about supporting an American citizen’s right to run for president.

“But unsurprisingly, this left Republicans scratching their heads. Of course a Muslim, or any other American citizen, can run for president, end of story.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/09/21/carson-suggests-muslim-should-not-be-elected-president/

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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Story 1: Should President Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Apologize For A Failed Foreign Policy Leading To Genocide and Democide in Iraq, Syria, and Libya? — Yes, but They Never Take Responsibility For Their Failures But Blame It On Others — No Wonder Carson and American People Oppose A Muslim President —  ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’ — Videos

United States Constitution

Article VI

All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlevi

U.S. Bill of Rights

Amendment I (1): Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

https://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-constitution-amendments/bill-of-rights/

Sharia Law

Shariah law

Sharia law is the law of Islam. The Sharia (also spelled Shariah or Shari’a) law is cast from the actions and words of Muhammad, which are called “Sunnah,” and the Quran, which he authored.

The Sharia law itself cannot be altered, but the interpretation of the Sharia law, called “figh,” by imams is given some leeway.

As a legal system, the Sharia law covers a very wide range of topics. While other legal codes deal primarily with public behavior, Sharia law covers public behavior, private behavior and private beliefs. Of all legal systems in the world today, Islam’s Sharia law is the most intrusive and strict, especially against women.

According to the Sharia law:

•  Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand (above).
•  Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Muhammad is a prophet is punishable by death.
•  Criticizing or denying Allah, the moon god of Islam is punishable by death.
•  A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
•  A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
•  A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
•  Girls’ clitoris should be cut (per Muhammad‘s words in Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
•  A woman can have 1 husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
•  A man can unilaterally divorce his wife but a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
•  A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
•  Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
•  A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
•  A woman’s testimony in court, allowed only in property cases, carries half the weight of a man’s.
•  A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
•  A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
•  A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
•  Meat to be eaten must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah – i.e., be Halal.
•  Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
•  The list goes on.

http://www.billionbibles.org/sharia/sharia-law.html

HUMAN GENOCIDE DOCUMENTARY. IRAQ AND SYRIA . ISIS, USA, UN ::: 2ND AUGUST 2014

Christians in Iraq are heeding an ultimatum by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to convert to Islam, get out or be killed.

Reports from the Middle East say that large numbers of Christians have fled the northern city of Mosul — now under control of the ISIL — after a message warning them to get out by Saturday was broadcast by loudspeakers on the city’s mosques.

An ISIL document reviewed by AFP said that there would be “nothing for them but the sword” if Christians didn’t adhere to the deadline.

The ISIL announcement also said that Christians could stay and pay a tax, often known as a “jizya,” though the exact amount was unspecified. A jizya is a historical policy of allowing non-Muslims to keep their own religion and their property if they pay a certain amount to Islamic rulers.

In centuries past, there have been examples of Christians paying the tax and living peacefully with Muslims. Recently however, it has often been exploited as a form of extortion against non-Muslims.

Many Christian families fleeing Mosul didn’t seem to put much trust in the promise of peace.

The aim of this documentary is to raise awareness.
WE ARE URGING ALL: PEOPLE TO SPEAK UP AND DO SOMETHING!!!

help world’s

TO DONATE FOR OUR CHRISTIANS PLEASE VISIT:
http://theacero.org/donate/

Fox’s Oliver North: ‘How Do You Spell Genocide? O-B-A-M-A’

Priests from Iraq and Syria: what’s happening in the Middle East is genocide

What Is Sharia Law?

How Is Sharia Law Dangerous for Western Society?

484. Is Islam A Religion Of Peace?

485. Was Muhammad A Prophet Of Peace?

493. What Is Sharia Law?

Enforcing Sharia in Raqqa: The Islamic State (Part 3)

Shocking documentary about Islam – The world’s most dangerous cult! ISIS ISLAMIC STATE

ISIS – “Islamic” Extremism? | Full Documentary – HD

Is Sharia Law Coming to America?

Sharia Law In America‽

David woods story of sharia law in America!

\

Shariamerica: Islam, Obama, and the Establishment Clause

US caught working to impose Islamic Sharia Law

Irving, Texas says “take a hike” to foreign (i.e. Sharia) laws

Ann Coulter on Muslims

Ben Carson Does Not Believe a Muslim Should Be President Meet The Press

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said today he would not support a Muslim as president on meet the press The retired neurosurgeon also said Islam, as a religion, was inconsistent with the Constitution. Carson told NBC’s “Meet the Press” he believed a president’s faith should matter “depending on what that faith is.” “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” Carson said. “If it’s [a president’s faith] inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter.” Carson, who has been near the top of several presidential polls, said he would consider voting for a Muslim in Congress “[depending] on who that Muslim is and what their policies are.” ABC News has reached out to Carson’s campaign for comment.
Ben Carson Does ‘Not Advocate’ A Muslim As President Sun, Sep 20 Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson tells Chuck Todd that the faith of a presidential candidate should matter to voters “if it is inconsistent with the values … of America.”

GOP candidate Carson: Muslim shouldn’t be elected president

Cruz says no religious test for the presidency

The Alex Jones Show (VIDEO Commercial Free) Sunday September 20 2015: Sharia vs. Constitution

Muslim-American group calls on Ben Carson to drop out

Important: 260 Million Unarmed Civilians Killed – Democide = Death By Government

Sharia Law and the U.S. Constitution

[Update I:  I have streamlined the following post to be easily readable to the average layman, but informative enough for a lawyer or law professor to learn a bit more on the similarities and differences between Sharia and U.S. Law]

Is Sharia compatible with the U.S. Constitution?

The simple answer is of course “no”.

But lets take a look at some aspects of Sharia Law and where it may or may not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.  (For disclosure I am not a lawyer nor a legal expert in Sharia or U.S. Law.)

First, what is Sharia?

Wikipedia states Sharia refers to the sacred law of Islam.  All Muslims believe Sharia is God’s law, but they have differences between themselves as to exactly what it entails.  Which will be difficult to discern what to apply when, but we’ll labor along for the sake of discussion.

In Western countries, where Muslim immigration is more recent, Muslim minorities have introduced Sharia family law, for use in their own disputes. Attempts to impose Sharia have been accompanied by controversy, violence, and even warfare (Second Sudanese Civil War).

The recent incidents at the Arab International Festival have reinforced the poor image of Sharia inside the United States and its incompatibility with American culture and law.

The following is a truncated version with a couple of modifications (eliminating repetitious ibids and links) of multiple Wikipedia entries [with my comments]:

Legal and Court Proceedings:

Wikipedia states that Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences with other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law.

1. Sharia courts do not generally employ lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves.

2. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system.

3. There is no pre-trial discovery process, no cross-examination of witnesses, and no penalty of perjury (on the assumption that no witness would thus endanger his soul) Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents under the principle of stare decisis and unlike civil law, Sharia does not utilize formally codified statutes (these were first introduced only in the late 19th century during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, cf. mecelle).

4. Instead of precedents and codes, Sharia relies on medieval jurist’s manuals and collections of non-binding legal opinions, or fatwas, issued by religious scholars (ulama, particularly a mufti); these can be made binding for a particular case at the discretion of a judge.

5. Sharia courts’ rules of evidence also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony and excluding written and documentary evidence (including forensic and circumstantial evidence), on the basis that it could be tampered with or forged.

6. A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of a witness are the only evidence admissible in a Sharia court, written evidence is only admissible with the attestations of multiple, witnesses deemed reliable by the judge, i.e. notaries.

7. Testimony must be from at least two witnesses, and preferably free Muslim male witnesses, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character; testimony to establish the crime of adultery, or zina must be from four direct witnesses.

8. Forensic evidence (i.e. fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.

9. Testimony from women is given only half the weight of men [in most sources outside of Wikipedia Sharia states that a woman’s testimony only carries the weight of 1/4th of a man’s], and testimony from non-Muslims may be excluded altogether (if against a Muslim).

10. In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence.

11. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.

12. Sharia courts, with their tradition of pro se representation, simple rules of evidence, and absence of appeals courts, prosecutors, cross examination, complex documentary evidence and discovery proceedings, juries and voir dire proceedings, circumstantial evidence, forensics, case law, standardized codes, exclusionary rules, and most of the other infrastructure of civil and common law court systems, have as a result, comparatively informal and streamlined proceedings. [that’s one way of putting it]

13. This can provide significant increases in speed and efficiency (at the cost of the safeguards provided in secular legal systems), and can be an advantage in jurisdictions where the general court system is slow or corrupt, and where few litigants can afford lawyers. (end Wikipedia)

This is not a concise review of the difference nor similarities between U.S. Law and Sharia.  It is only meant to educate us on what Sharia law is in comparison to our legal system.

http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/25/sharia-law-and-the-u-s-constitution/

Sharia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Islamic law” redirects here. For Islamic jurisprudence, see Fiqh.

 

Sharia applies in full, covering personal status issues as well as criminal proceedings

 

Sharia applies in personal status issues (such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody)

 

Regional variations in the application of Sharia

 

Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation where Sharia plays no role in the judicial system

Sharia or sharia law (Arabic: شريعة‎ (IPA: [ʃaˈriːʕa]), is the Islamic legal system[1] derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. The term sharia comes from the Arabic language term sharīʿah, which means a body of moral and religious law derived from religious prophecy, as opposed to human legislation.[2][3][4]

Sharia deals with many topics, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Adherence to sharia has served as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim faith historically.[5] In its strictest and most historically coherent definition, sharia is considered in Islam as the infallible law of God.[6]

There are two primary sources of sharia: the Quran, and the Hadiths (opinions and life example of Muhammad).[7] For topics and issues not directly addressed in these primary sources, sharia is derived. The derivation differs between the various sects of Islam (Sunni and Shia), and various jurisprudence schools such as Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali andJafari.[8][9] The sharia in these schools is derived hierarchically using one or more of the following guidelines: Ijma(usually the consensus of Muhammad’s companions), Qiyas (analogy derived from the primary sources), Istihsan(ruling that serves the interest of Islam in the discretion of Islamic jurists) and Urf (customs).[8][10]

Sharia is a significant source of legislation in various Muslim countries. Some apply all or a majority of the sharia code, and these include Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen andMauritania. In these countries, sharia prescribed punishments such as beheading, flogging and stoning continue to be practiced judicially or extra-judicially.[11][12] The introduction of sharia is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements globally, including in Western countries, but attempts to impose sharia have been accompanied by controversy,[13]violence,[14] and even warfare.[15] Most countries do not recognize sharia; however, some countries in Asia, Africa and Europe recognize parts of sharia and accept it as the law on divorce, inheritance and other personal affairs of their Islamic population.[16] In Britain, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal makes use of sharia family law to settle disputes, and this limited adoption of sharia is controversial.[17]

The concept of crime, judicial process, justice and punishment embodied in sharia is different from that of secular law.[18] The differences between sharia and secular laws have led to an ongoing controversy as to whether sharia is compatible with secular forms of government, human rights, freedom of thought, and women’s rights.[19][20][21]

Etymology and origins[edit]

Scholars describe the word sharia (/ʃɑːˈriːɑː/, also shari’a, šarīʿah) as an archaic Arabic word denoting “pathway to be followed” (analogous to the Hebrew termHalakhah [“The Way to Go”]),[22] or “path to the water hole”. The latter definition comes from the fact that the path to water is the whole way of life in an arid desert environment.[23]

The etymology of sharia as a “path” or “way” comes from the Quranic verse[Quran 45:18]: “Then we put thee on the (right) Way of religion so follow thou that (Way), and follow not the desires of those who know not.”[22] Malik Ghulam Farid in his Dictionary of the Holy Quran, believes the “Way” in 45:18 (quoted above) derives from shara’a (as prf. 3rd. p.m. sing.), meaning “He ordained”. Other forms also appear: shara’u[Quran 45:13] as (prf. 3rd. p.m. plu.), “they decreed (a law)”[Quran 42:21]; and shir’atun (n.) meaning “spiritual law”[Quran 5:48].[24]

The Arabic word sharīʿa has origins in the concept of ‘religious law’; the word is commonly used by Arabic-speaking peoples of the Middle East and designates a prophetic religion in its totality. Thus, sharīʿat Mūsā means religious law of Moses (Judaism), sharīʿat al-Masīḥ means religious law of Christianity, sharīʿat al-Madjūs means religious law of Zoroastrianism.[3]

The Arabic expression شريعة الله (God’s Law) is a common translation for תורת אלוהים (‘God’s Law’ in Hebrew) and νόμος τοῦ θεοῦ (‘God’s Law’ in Greek in the New Testament [Rom. 7: 22]).[25] In contemporary Islamic literature, sharia refers to divine law of Islam as revealed by prophet Muhammad, as well as in his function as model and exemplar of the law.[3]

Sharia in the Islamic world is also known as Qānūn-e Islāmī (قانون اسلامی).[citation needed]

History

In Islam, the origin of sharia is the Qu’ran, and traditions gathered from the life of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad (born ca. 570 CE in Mecca).[26]

Sharia underwent fundamental development, beginning with the reigns of caliphs Abu Bakr (632–34) and Umar (634–44) for Sunni Muslims, and Imam Ali for Shia Muslims, during which time many questions were brought to the attention of Muhammad’s closest comrades for consultation.[27] During the reign of Muawiya b. Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, ca. 662 CE, Islam undertook an urban transformation, raising questions not originally covered by Islamic law.[27] Since then, changes in Islamic society have played an ongoing role in developing sharia, which branches out into fiqh and Qanun respectively.

The formative period of fiqh stretches back to the time of the early Muslim communities. In this period, jurists were more concerned with pragmatic issues of authority and teaching than with theory.[28] Progress in theory was started by 8th and 9th century Islamic scholars Abu Hanifa, Malik bin Anas, Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and others.[8][29] Al-Shafi‘i is credited with deriving the theory of valid norms for sharia (uṣūl al-fiqh), arguing for a traditionalist, literal interpretation of Quran, Hadiths and methodology for law as revealed therein, to formulate sharia.[30][31]

A number of legal concepts and institutions were developed by Islamic jurists during the classical period of Islam, known as the Islamic Golden Age, dated from the 7th to 13th centuries. These shaped different versions of sharia in different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, called fiqhs.[32][33][34]

The Umayyads initiated the office of appointing qadis, or Islamic judges. The jurisdiction of the qadi extended only to Muslims, while non-Muslim populations retained their own legal institutions.[35] Under the Umayyads Islamic scholars were “sidelined” from administration of justice and attempts to systematically uphold and develope Islamic law would wait for Abbasid rule.[36] The qadis were usually pious specialists in Islam. As these grew in number, they began to theorize and systemize Islamic jurisprudence.[37] The Abbasid made the institution of qadi independent from the government, but this separation wasn’t always respected.[38]

Both the Umayyad caliph Umar II and the Abbasids had agreed that the caliph could not legislate contrary to the Quran or the sunnah. Imam Shafi’i declared: “atradition from the Prophet must be accepted as soon as it become known…If there has been an action on the part of a caliph, and a tradition from the Prophet to the contrary becomes known later, that action must be discarded in favor of the tradition from the Prophet.” Thus, under the Abbasids the main features of sharia were definitively established and sharia was recognized as the law of behavior for Muslims.[39]

In modern times, the Muslim community have divided points of view: secularists believe that the law of the state should be based on secular principles, not on Islamic legal doctrines; traditionalists believe that the law of the state should be based on the traditional legal schools;[40] reformers believe that new Islamic legal theories can produce modernized Islamic law[41] and lead to acceptable opinions in areas such as women’s rights.[42] This division persists until the present day (Brown 1996, Hallaq 2001, Ramadan 2005, Aslan 2006, Safi 2003, Nenezich 2006).

There has been a growing religious revival in Islam, beginning in the eighteenth century and continuing today. This movement has expressed itself in various forms ranging from wars to efforts towards improving education.[43][44]

Definitions and disagreements

Sharia, in its strictest definition, is a divine law, as expressed in the Quran and Muhammad’s example (often called the sunnah). As such, it is related to but different from fiqh, which is emphasized as the human interpretation of the law.[45][46] Many scholars have pointed out that the sharia is not formally a code,[47] nor a well-defined set of rules.[48] The sharia is characterized as a discussion on the duties of Muslims[47] based on both the opinion of the Muslim community and extensive literature.[49] Hunt Janin and Andre Kahlmeyer thus conclude that the sharia is “long, diverse, and complicated.”[48]

From the 9th century onward, the power to interpret and refine law in traditional Islamic societies was in the hands of the scholars (ulema). This separation of powers served to limit the range of actions available to the ruler, who could not easily decree or reinterpret law independently and expect the continued support of the community.[50] Through succeeding centuries and empires, the balance between the ulema and the rulers shifted and reformed, but the balance of power was never decisively changed.[51] Over the course of many centuries, imperial, political and technological change, including the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, ushered in an era of European world hegemony that gradually included the domination of many of the lands which had previously been ruled by Islamic empires.[52][53] At the end of the Second World War, the European powers found themselves too weakened to maintain their empires as before.[54] The wide variety of forms of government, systems of law, attitudes toward modernity and interpretations of sharia are a result of the ensuing drives for independence and modernity in the Muslim world.[55][56]

According to Jan Michiel Otto, Professor of Law and Governance in Developing Countries at Leiden University, “Anthropological research shows that people in local communities often do not distinguish clearly whether and to what extent their norms and practices are based on local tradition, tribal custom, or religion. Those who adhere to a confrontational view of sharia tend to ascribe many undesirable practices to sharia and religion overlooking custom and culture, even if high-ranking religious authorities have stated the opposite.” Otto’s analysis appears in a paper commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[57]

Sources of sharia law

Main article: Sources of sharia

There are two sources of sharia (understood as the divine law): the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran is viewed as the unalterable word of God. It is considered in Islam to be an infallible part of sharia. The Quran covers a host of topics including God, personal laws for Muslim men and Muslim women, laws on community life, laws on expected interaction of Muslims with non-Muslims, apostates and ex-Muslims, laws on finance, morals, eschatology, and others.[58][59] The Sunnah is the life and example of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Sunnah’s importance as a source of sharia, is confirmed by several verses of the Quran (e.g.[Quran 33:21]).[60] The Sunnah is primarily contained in the hadith or reports of Muhammad’s sayings, his actions, his tacit approval of actions and his demeanor. While there is only one Quran, there are many compilations of hadith, with the most authentic ones forming during the sahih period (850 to 915 CE). The six acclaimed Sunni collections were compiled by (in order of decreasing importance) Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah. The collections by al-Bukhari and Muslim, regarded the most authentic, contain about 7,000 and 12,000 hadiths respectively (although the majority of entries are repetitions). The hadiths have been evaluated on authenticity, usually by determining the reliability of the narrators that transmitted them.[61] For Shias, the Sunnah include life and sayings of The Twelve Imams.[62]

Quran versus Hadith

Muslims who reject the Hadith as a source of law, sometimes referred to as Quranists,[63][64] suggest that only laws derived exclusively from the Quran are valid.[65]They state that the hadiths in modern use are not explicitly mentioned in the Quran as a source of Islamic theology and practice, they were not recorded in written form until more than two centuries after the death of the prophet Muhammed.[63] They also state that the authenticity of the hadiths remains a question.[66][67]

The vast majority of Muslims, however, consider hadiths, which describe the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad during his life, as a source of law and religious authority second only to the Qur’an.[68] Similarly, most Islamic scholars believe both Quran and sahih hadiths to be a valid source of sharia, with Quranic verse 33.21, among others,[69][70] as justification for this belief.[64]

Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.

For vast majority of Muslims, sharia has historically been, and continues to be derived from both the Quran and the Hadiths.[64][68][70] The Sahih Hadiths of Sunni Muslims contain isnad, or a chain of guarantors reaching back to a companion of Muhammad who directly observed the words, conduct and example he set – thus providing the theological ground to consider the hadith to be a sound basis for sharia.[64][70] For Sunni Muslims, the musannaf in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim is most trusted and relied upon as source for Sunni Sharia.[71] Shia Muslims, however, do not consider the chain of transmitters of Sunni hadiths as reliable, given these transmitters belonged to Sunni side in Sunni-Shia civil wars that followed after Muhammad’s death.[72] Shia rely on their own chain of reliable guarantors, trusting compilations such as Kitab al-Kafi and Tahdhib al-Ahkam instead, and later hadiths (usually called akhbār by Shi’i).[73][74] The Shia version of hadiths contain the words, conduct and example set by Muhammad and Imams, which they consider as sinless, infallible and an essential source of sharia for Shi’ite Muslims.[72][75]However, in substance, the Shi’ite hadiths resemble the Sunni hadiths, with one difference – the Shia hadiths additionally include words and actions of its Imams (al-hadith al-walawi), the biological descendants of Muhammad, and these too are considered an important source for sharia by Shi’ites.[73][76]

Disagreements on Quran

Main article: Naskh (tafsir)
Authenticity and writing of Quran

Some scholars such as John Wansbrough have challenged the authenticity of the Quran and whether it was written in the time of Muhammad.[77] In contrast, Estelle Whelan has refuted Wansbrough presenting evidence such as the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock.[78][79] John Burton states that medieval era Islamic texts claiming Quran was compiled after the death of the Prophet were forged to preserve the status-quo.[80] The final version of the Quran, states Burton, was compiled while the Prophet was still alive.[81] Most scholars accept that the Quran as is used for Sharia, was compiled into the final current form during the caliphate of Uthman.[82][83]

Abrogation and textual inconsistencies

From the founding of Islam, the Muslim community has also debated the authenticity of compiled verses and the consistency within the Quran.[84][85] The inconsistencies in deriving sharia from the Quran, were recognized and formally complicated by verses 2.106 and 16.101 of the Quran, which are known as the “verses of abrogation (Naskh)”,[86]

When We substitute one revelation for another, – and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages),– they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.

The principle of abrogation has been historically accepted and applied by Islamic jurists on both the Quran and the Sunnah.[84][86] Sharia is thus determined through a chronological study of the primary sources, where older revelations are considered invalid and overruled by later revelations.[86][87] While an overwhelming majority of historical and modern Islamic scholars have accepted the principle of abrogation for the Quran and the Sunnah, some modern scholars disagree that the principle of abrogation necessarily applies to the Quran.[88]

Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh)

Main article: Fiqh

Fiqh (school of Islamic jurisprudence) represents the process of deducing and applying sharia principles, as well as the collective body of specific laws deduced from sharia using the fiqh methodology.[8] While Quran and Hadith sources are regarded as infallible, the fiqh standards may change in different contexts. Fiqh covers all aspects of law, including religious, civil, political, constitutional and procedural law.[89] Fiqh deploys the following to create Islamic laws:[8]

  1. Injunctions, revealed principles and interpretations of the Quran (Used by all schools and sects of Islam)
  2. Interpretation of the Sunnah (Muhammad’s practices, opinions and traditions) and principles therein, after establishing the degree of reliability of hadith’s chain of reporters (Used by all schools and sects of Islam)

If the above two sources do not provide guidance for an issue, then different fiqhs deploy the following in a hierarchical way:[8]

  1. Ijma, collective reasoning and consensus amongst authoritative Muslims of a particular generation, and its interpretation by Islamic scholars. This fiqh principle for sharia is derived from Quranic verse 4:59.[90] Typically, the recorded consensus of Sahabah (Muhammad’s companions) is considered authoritative and most trusted. If this is unavailable, then the recorded individual reasoning (Ijtihad) of Muhammad companions is sought. In Islam’s history, some Muslim scholars have argued that Ijtihad allows individual reasoning of both the earliest generations of Muslims and later generation Muslims, while others have argued that Ijtihad allows individual reasoning of only the earliest generations of Muslims. (Used by all schools of Islam, Jafari fiqh accepts only Ijtihad of Shia Imams)[8][91]
  2. Qiyas, analogy is deployed if Ijma or historic collective reasoning on the issue is not available. Qiyas represents analogical deduction, the support for using it in fiqh is based on Quranic verse 2:59, and this methodology was started by Abu Hanifa.[92] This principle is considered weak by Hanbali fiqh, and it usually avoids Qiyas for sharia. (Used by all Sunni schools of Islam, but rejected by Shia Jafari)[8][10]
  3. Istihsan, which is the principle of serving the interest of Islam and public as determined by Islamic jurists. This method is deployed if Ijtihad and Qiyas fail to provide guidance. It was started by Hanafi fiqh as a form of Ijtihad (individual reasoning). Maliki fiqh called it Masalih Al-Mursalah, or departure from strict adherence to the Texts for public welfare. The Hanbali fiqh called it Istislah and rejected it, as did Shafi’i fiqh. (Used by Hanafi, Maliki, but rejected by Shafii, Hanbali and Shia Jafari fiqhs)[8][10][30]
  4. Istihab and Urf which mean continuity of pre-Islamic customs and customary law. This is considered as the weakest principle, accepted by just two fiqhs, and even in them recognized only when the custom does not violate or contradict any Quran, Hadiths or other fiqh source. (Used by Hanafi, Maliki, but rejected by Shafii, Hanbali and Shia Jafari fiqhs)[8][10]
Schools of law
Main article: Madhhab

Map of the Muslim world with the main schools of Islamic law (madhhab)

A Madhhab is a Muslim school of law that follows a fiqh (school of religious jurisprudence). In the first 150 years of Islam, there were many madhhab. Several of the Sahābah, or contemporary “companions” of Muhammad, are credited with founding their own. In the Sunni sect of Islam, the Islamic jurisprudence schools of Medina (Al-Hijaz, now in Saudi Arabia) created the Maliki madhhab, while those in Kufa (now in Iraq) created the Hanafimadhhab.[93] Abu al-Shafi’i, who started as a student of Maliki school of Islamic law, and later was influenced by Hanafi school of Islamic law, disagreed with some of the discretion these schools gave to jurists, and founded the more conservative Shafi’i madhhab, which spread from jurisprudence schools in Baghdad (Iraq) and Cairo (Egypt).[94] Ahmad ibn Hanbal, a student of al-Shafi’i, went further in his criticism of Maliki and Hanafi fiqhs, criticizing the abuse and corruption of sharia from jurist discretion and consensus of later generation Muslims, and he founded the more strict, traditionalist Hanbali school of Islamic law.[95] Other schools such as the Jaririwere established later, which eventually died out.

Sunni sect of Islam has four major surviving schools of sharia: Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali; one minor school is named Ẓāhirī. Shii sect of Islam has three: Ja’fari(major), Zaydi and Ismaili.[96][97][98] There are other minority fiqhs as well, such as the Ibadi school of Khawarij sect, and those of Sufi and Ahmadi sects.[89][99] All Sunni and Shia schools of sharia rely first on the Quran and the sayings/practices of Muhammad in the Sunnah. Their differences lie in the procedure each uses to create Islam-compliant laws when those two sources do not provide guidance on a topic.[100] The Salafi movement creates sharia based on the Quran, Sunnah and the actions and sayings of the first three generations of Muslims.[101]

Hanafi-based sharia spread with the patronage and military expansions led by Turkic Sultans and Ottoman Empire in West Asia, Southeast Europe, Central Asia and South Asia.[102][103] It is currently the largest madhhab of Sunni Muslims.[104] Maliki-based sharia is predominantly found in West Africa, North Africa and parts of Arabia.[104] Shafii-based sharia spread with patronage and military expansions led by maritime Sultans, and is mostly found in coastal regions of East Africa, Arabia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and islands in the Indian ocean.[105] The Hanbali-based sharia prevails in the smallest Sunni madhhab, predominantly found in the Arabian peninsula.[104] The Shia Jafari-based sharia is mostly found in Persian region and parts of West Asia and South Asia.

Categories of law

Along with interpretation, each fiqh classifies its interpretation of sharia into one of the following five categories: fard (obligatory), mustahabb (recommended),mubah (neutral), makruh (discouraged), and haraam (forbidden). A Muslim is expected to adhere to that tenet of sharia accordingly.[106]

  • Actions in the fard category are those mandatory on all Muslims. They include the five daily prayers, fasting, articles of faith, obligatory giving of zakat (charity, tax) to zakat collectors,[107][108] and the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.[106]
  • The mustahabb category includes proper behaviour in matters such as marriage, funeral rites and family life. As such, it covers many of the same areas as civil law in the West. Sharia courts attempt to reconcile parties to disputes in this area using the recommended behaviour as their guide. A person whose behaviour is not mustahabb can be ruled against by the judge.[109]
  • Mubah category of behaviour is neither discouraged nor recommended, neither forbidden nor required; it is permissible.[106]
  • Makruh behaviour, while it is not sinful of itself, is considered undesirable among Muslims. It may also make a Muslim liable to criminal penalties under certain circumstances.[109]
  • Haraam behaviour is explicitly forbidden. It is both sinful and criminal. It includes all actions expressly forbidden in the Quran. Certain Muslim dietary and clothing restrictions also fall into this category.[106]

The recommended, neutral and discouraged categories are drawn largely from accounts of the life of Muhammad. To say a behaviour is sunnah is to say it is recommended as an example of the life and sayings of Muhammad. These categories form the basis for proper behaviour in matters such as courtesy and manners, interpersonal relations, generosity, personal habits and hygiene.[106]

Areas of Islamic law

Main article: Topics of sharia law

The areas of Islamic law include:

Other classifications

Shari’ah law has been grouped in different ways, such as:[110][111] Family relations, Crime and punishment, Inheritance and disposal of property, The economic system, External and other relations.

Reliance of the Traveller“, an English translation of a fourteenth-century CE reference on the Shafi’i school of fiqh written by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, organizes sharia law into the following topics: Purification, prayer, funeral prayer, taxes, fasting, pilgrimage, trade, inheritance, marriage, divorce and justice.

In some areas, there are substantial differences in the law between different schools of fiqh, countries, cultures and schools of thought.

Disagreement on the objectives of Islamic law

Main article: Maqasid

A number of scholars have advanced “objectives” (مقاصد maqaṣid al-Shariah also “goals” or “purposes”) they believe the Sharia is intended to achieve. Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali argued that they were the preservation of Islamic religion, and in the temporal world the protection of life, progeny, intellect and wealth of Muslims.[112][113]Yazid et al summarize sharia’s objective to be recognize the limitations of reason, and complement the role of reason with revelation.[114] They state that objective of sharia in Islamic finance is to provide rules and regulations from the Quran and Sunnah.[114]

Jan Otto writes that moderate Muslims and puritan Muslims differ in their interpretation of the objectives of sharia.[115] The moderate Muslims consider sharia to be a flexible code of law, where technicalities of its wording cannot subvert sharia’s objectives to “help Muslims in their quest for submission, humility, gratitude before God, and a quest for Godliness”.[115] In contrast, according to Otto, puritan Muslims believe that sharia is a strict, complete and exact set of rules that one must submit to, by strict compliance, because it is only “through meticulous obedience, Muslims will avoid punishment of God in after-life and will enter heaven” which is the ultimate objective, and it does not matter if some sharia “law is harsh or that its application results in social suffering, this perception is considered delusional”.[115]

Application

Application by country

Use of Sharia by country:

  Sharia plays no role in the judicial system
  Sharia applies to Muslim’s personal law
  Sharia applies in full, including criminal law
  Regional variations in the application of sharia

Most Muslim-majority countries incorporate sharia at some level in their legal framework, with many calling it the highest law or the source of law of the land in their constitution.[116][117] Most use sharia for personal law (marriage, divorce, domestic violence, child support, family law, inheritance and such matters).[118][119] Elements of sharia are present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of many Muslim-majority countries.[12]Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan andMauritania apply the code predominantly or entirely.[12][120]

Most Muslim-majority countries with sharia-prescribed hudud punishments in their legal code, do not prescribe it routinely and use other punishments instead.[116][121] The harshest sharia penalties such as stoning, beheadingand the death penalty are enforced with varying levels of consistency.[122]

Since 1970s, most Muslim-majority countries have faced vociferous demands from their religious groups and political parties for immediate adoption of sharia as the sole, or at least primary legal framework.[123] Some moderates and liberal scholars within these Muslim countries have argued for limited expansion of sharia.[124]

With the growing muslim immigrant communities in Europe, there have been reports in some media of “no-go zones” being established where sharia law reigns supreme.[125][126] However, there is no evidence of the existence of “no-go zones”, and these allegations are sourced from anti-immigrant groups falsely equating low-income neighborhoods predominantly inhabited by immigrants as “no-go zones.”[127][128]

Enforcement

Main articles: Islamic religious police and Hisbah

Sharia is enforced in Islamic nations in a number of ways, including mutaween and hisbah.[citation needed]

The mutaween (Arabic: المطوعين، مطوعيةmuṭawwiʿīn, muṭawwiʿiyyah)[129] are the government-authorized or government-recognized religious police (or clericalpolice) of Saudi Arabia. Elsewhere, enforcement of Islamic values in accordance with sharia is the responsibility of Polisi Perda Syariah Islam in Aceh province ofIndonesia,[130] Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Gaza Strip) in parts of Palestine, and Basiji Force in Iran.[131]

Official from the Department ofPropagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, beating a woman inAfghanistan for violating local interpretation of sharia.[132][133]

Hisbah (Arabic: حسبةḥisb(ah), or hisba) is a historic Islamic doctrine which means “accountability”.[134] Hisbah doctrine holds that it is a religious obligation of every Muslim that he or she report to the ruler (Sultan, government authorities) any wrong behavior of a neighbor or relative that violates sharia or insults Islam. The doctrine states that it is the divinely sanctioned duty of the ruler to intervene when such charges are made, and coercively “command right and forbid wrong” in order to keep everything in order according to sharia.[135][136][137] Some Salafist suggest that enforcement of sharia under the Hisbah doctrine is the sacred duty of all Muslims, not just rulers.[135] The doctrine of Hisbah in Islam has traditionally allowed any Muslim to accuse another Muslim, ex-Muslim or non-Muslim for beliefs or behavior that may harm Islamic society. This principle has been used in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and others to bring blasphemy charges against apostates.[138]For example, in Egypt, sharia was enforced on the Muslim scholar Nasr Abu Zayd, through the doctrine of Hasbah, when he committed apostasy.[139][140] Similarly, in Nigeria, after twelve northern Muslim-majority states such as Kano adopted sharia-based penal code between 1999 and 2000, hisbah became the allowed method of sharia enforcement, where all Muslim citizens could police compliance of moral order based on sharia.[141] In Aceh province of Indonesia, Islamic vigilante activists have invoked Hasbah doctrine to enforce sharia on fellow Muslims as well as demanding non-Muslims to respect sharia.[142]Hisbah has been used in many Muslim majority countries, from Morocco to Egypt and in West Asia to enforce sharia restrictions on blasphemy and criticism of Islam over internet and social media.[143][144][145]

Legal and court proceedings

Sharia judicial proceedings have significant differences from other legal traditions, including those in both common law and civil law. Sharia courts traditionally do not rely on lawyers; plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves. Trials are conducted solely by the judge, and there is no jury system. There is no pre-trial discoveryprocess, and no cross-examination of witnesses. Unlike common law, judges’ verdicts do not set binding precedents[146][147] under the principle of stare decisis,[148]and unlike civil law, sharia is left to the interpretation in each case and has no formally codified universal statutes.[149]

The rules of evidence in sharia courts also maintain a distinctive custom of prioritizing oral testimony.[150] Witnesses, in a sharia court system, must be faithful, that is Muslim.[151] Male Muslim witnesses are deemed more reliable than female Muslim witnesses, and non-Muslim witnesses considered unreliable and receive no priority in a sharia court.[152][153] In civil cases, a Muslim woman witness is considered half the worth and reliability than a Muslim man witness.[154][155] In criminal cases, women witnesses are unacceptable in stricter, traditional interpretations of sharia, such as those found in Hanbali madhhab.[151]

Criminal cases

A confession, an oath, or the oral testimony of Muslim witnesses are the main evidence admissible, in sharia courts, for hudud crimes, that is the religious crimes of adultery, fornication, rape, accusing someone of illicit sex but failing to prove it, apostasy, drinking intoxicants and theft.[156][157][158] Testimony must be from at least two free Muslim male witnesses, or one Muslim male and two Muslim females, who are not related parties and who are of sound mind and reliable character. Testimony to establish the crime of adultery, fornication or rape must be from four Muslim male witnesses, with some fiqhs allowing substitution of up to three male with six female witnesses; however, at least one must be a Muslim male.[159] Forensic evidence (i.e., fingerprints, ballistics, blood samples, DNA etc.) and othercircumstantial evidence is likewise rejected in hudud cases in favor of eyewitnesses, a practice which can cause severe difficulties for women plaintiffs in rape cases.[160][161]

Muslim jurists have debated whether and when coerced confession and coerced witnesses are acceptable. The majority opinion of jurists in the Hanafi madhhab, for example, ruled that torture to get evidence is acceptable and such evidence is valid, but a 17th-century text by Hanafi jurist Muhammad Shaykhzade argued that coerced confession should be invalid; Shaykhzade acknowledged that beating to get confession has been authorized in fatwas by many Islamic jurists.[162]

Civil cases

Quran recommends written contracts in the case of debt-related transactions, and oral contracts for commercial and other civil contracts.[155][163] Marriage is solemnized as a written financial contract, in the presence of two Muslim male witnesses, and it includes a brideprice (Mahr) payable from a Muslim man to a Muslim woman. The brideprice is considered by a sharia court as a form of debt. Written contracts are paramount, in sharia courts, in the matters of dispute that are debt-related, which includes marriage contracts.[164] Written contracts in debt-related cases, when notarized by a judge, is deemed more reliable.[165]

In commercial and civil contracts, such as those relating to exchange of merchandise, agreement to supply or purchase goods or property, and others, oral contracts and the testimony of Muslim witnesses triumph over written contracts. Sharia system has held that written commercial contracts may be forged.[165][166]Timur Kuran states that the treatment of written evidence in religious courts in Islamic regions created an incentive for opaque transactions, and the avoidance of written contracts in economic relations. This led to a continuation of a “largely oral contracting culture” in Muslim nations and communities.[166][167]

In lieu of written evidence, oaths are accorded much greater weight; rather than being used simply to guarantee the truth of ensuing testimony, they are themselves used as evidence. Plaintiffs lacking other evidence to support their claims may demand that defendants take an oath swearing their innocence, refusal thereof can result in a verdict for the plaintiff.[168] Taking an oath for Muslims can be a grave act; one study of courts in Morocco found that lying litigants would often “maintain their testimony ‘right up to the moment of oath-taking and then to stop, refuse the oath, and surrender the case.”[169] Accordingly, defendants are not routinely required to swear before testifying, which would risk casually profaning the Quran should the defendant commit perjury;[169] instead oaths are a solemn procedure performed as a final part of the evidence process.

Sentencing
Main article: Diyya

Sharia courts treat women and men as unequal, with Muslim woman’s life and blood-money compensation sentence (Diyya) as half as that of a Muslim man’s life.[170][171] Sharia also treats Muslims and non-Muslims as unequal in the sentencing process.[172] Human Rights Watch and United States’ Religious Freedom Report note that in sharia courts of Saudi Arabia, “The calculation of accidental death or injury compensation is discriminatory. In the event a court renders a judgment in favor of a plaintiff who is a Jewish or Christian male, the plaintiff is only entitled to receive 50 percent of the compensation a Muslim male would receive; all other non-Muslims [Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Atheists] are only entitled to receive one-sixteenth of the amount a male Muslim would receive”.[173][174][175]

Saudi Arabia follows Hanbali sharia, whose historic jurisprudence texts considered a Christian or Jew life as half the worth of a Muslim. Jurists of other schools of law in Islam have ruled differently. For example, Shafi’i sharia considers a Christian or Jew life as a third the worth of a Muslim, and Maliki‘s sharia considers it worth half.[172] The legal schools of Hanafi, Maliki and Shafi’i Sunni Islam as well as those of twelver Shia Islam have considered the life of polytheists and atheists as one-fifteenth the value of a Muslim during sentencing.[172]

Support

Anti-democracy, pro-Sharia public demonstration in 2014 in Maldives.

A 2013 survey based on interviews of 38,000 Muslims, randomly selected from urban and rural parts in 39 countries using area probability designs, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that support for making sharia the official law of the land is very high in many Muslim-majority countries: Afghanistan (99%), Iraq (91%), Niger (86%), Malaysia (86%), Pakistan (84%), Morocco (83%), Bangladesh (82%), Egypt (74%), Indonesia (72%), Jordan (71%), Uganda (66%), Ethiopia (65%), Mali (63%), Ghana (58%), and Tunisia (56%).[176] In Muslim regions of Southern-Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the support is less then 50%: Kosovo (20%), Albania (12%), Russia (42%), Kyrgyzstan (35%), Tajikistan (27%), Turkey (12%), Azerbaijan (8%).[176]

In Muslim-majority countries and among Muslims who say sharia should be the law of the land, a percentage between 74% (Egypt) and 19% (Kazakhstan) want sharia law to apply to non-Muslims as well.[177]

A 2008 YouGov poll in the United Kingdom found 40% of Muslim students interviewed wanted sharia in British law.[178]

Since the 1970s, the Islamist movements have become prominent; their goals are the establishment of Islamic states and sharia not just within their own borders; their means are political in nature. The Islamist power base is the millions of poor, particularly urban poor moving into the cities from the countryside. They are not international in nature (one exception being the Muslim Brotherhood). Their rhetoric opposes western culture and western power.[179] Political groups wishing to return to more traditional Islamic values are the source of threat to Turkey’s secular government.[179] These movements can be considered neo-Sharism.[180]

Extremism

Fundamentalists, wishing to return to basic Islamic religious values and law, have in some instances imposed harsh sharia punishments for crimes, curtailed civil rights and violated human rights. Extremists have used the Quran and their own particular version of sharia to justify acts of war and terror against Muslim as well as non-Muslim individuals and governments, using alternate, conflicting interpretations of sharia and their notions of jihad.[181][182]

The sharia basis of arguments of those advocating terrorism, however, remain controversial. Some scholars state that Islamic law prohibits the killing of civilian non-combatants; in contrast, others interpret Islamic law differently, concluding that all means are legitimate to reach their aims, including targeting Muslim non-combatants and the mass killing of non-Muslim civilians, in order to universalize Islam.[181] Islam, in these interpretations, “does not make target differences between militaries and civilians but between Muslims and unbelievers. Therefore it is legitimated (sic) to spill civilians’ blood”.[181] Other scholars of Islam, interpret sharia differently, stating, according to Engeland-Nourai, “attacking innocent people is not courageous; it is stupid and will be punished on the Day of Judgment […]. It’s not courageous to attack innocent children, women and civilians. It is courageous to protect freedom; it is courageous to defend one and not to attack”.[181][183]

Criticism

A protester opposing the Park51project, carries an anti-sharia sign.

Compatibility with democracy

Further information: Islamic ethics, Islam and democracy, Shura and Ijma

Ali Khan states that “constitutional orders founded on the principles of sharia are fully compatible with democracy, provided that religious minorities are protected and the incumbent Islamic leadership remains committed to the right to recall”.[184][185]Other scholars say sharia is not compatible with democracy, particularly where the country’s constitution demands separation of religion and the democratic state.[186][187]

Courts in non-Muslim majority nations have generally ruled against the implementation of sharia, both in jurisprudence and within a community context, based on sharia’s religious background. In Muslim nations, sharia has wide support with some exceptions.[188] For example, in 1998 the Constitutional Court of Turkey banned and dissolved Turkey’s Refah Party on the grounds that “Democracy is the antithesis of Sharia”, the latter of which Refah sought to introduce.[189][190]

On appeal by Refah the European Court of Human Rights determined that “sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy”.[191][192][193] Refah’s sharia-based notion of a “plurality of legal systems, grounded on religion” was ruled to contravene the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It was determined that it would “do away with the State’s role as the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms” and “infringe the principle of non-discrimination between individuals as regards their enjoyment of public freedoms, which is one of the fundamental principles of democracy”.[194]

Human rights

Several major, predominantly Muslim countries have criticized the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for its perceived failure to take into account the cultural and religious context of non-Western countries. Iran declared in the UN assembly that UDHR was “a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition”, which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing the Islamic law.[195] Islamic scholars and Islamist political parties consider ‘universal human rights’ arguments as imposition of a non-Muslim culture on Muslim people, a disrespect of customary cultural practices and of Islam.[196][197] In 1990, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group representing all Muslim majority nations, met in Cairo to respond to the UDHR, then adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.[198][199]

Ann Elizabeth Mayer points to notable absences from the Cairo Declaration: provisions for democratic principles, protection for religious freedom, freedom of association and freedom of the press, as well as equality in rights and equal protection under the law. Article 24 of the Cairo declaration states that “all the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic shari’a“.[200]

In 2009, the journal Free Inquiry summarized the criticism of the Cairo Declaration in an editorial: “We are deeply concerned with the changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by a coalition of Islamic states within the United Nations that wishes to prohibit any criticism of religion and would thus protect Islam’s limited view of human rights. In view of the conditions inside the Islamic Republic of Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Bangdalesh, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we should expect that at the top of their human rights agenda would be to rectify the legal inequality of women, the suppression of political dissent, the curtailment of free expression, the persecution of ethnic minorities and religious dissenters — in short, protecting their citizens from egregious human rights violations. Instead, they are worrying about protecting Islam.”[201]

H. Patrick Glenn states that sharia is structured around the concept of mutual obligations of a collective, and it considers individual human rights as potentially disruptive and unnecessary to its revealed code of mutual obligations. In giving priority to this religious collective rather than individual liberty, the Islamic law justifies the formal inequality of individuals (women, non-Islamic people).[202] Bassam Tibi states that sharia framework and human rights are incompatible.[203] Abdel al-Hakeem Carney, in contrast, states that sharia is misunderstood from a failure to distinguish sharia from siyasah (politics).[204]

Freedom of speech

Blasphemy in Islam is any form of cursing, questioning or annoying God, Muhammad or anything considered sacred in Islam.[205][206][207] The sharia of various Islamic schools of jurisprudence specify different punishment for blasphemy against Islam, by Muslims and non-Muslims, ranging from imprisonment, fines, flogging, amputation, hanging, or beheading.[205][208][209] In some cases, sharia allows non-Muslims to escape death by converting and becoming a devout follower of Islam.[210]

Blasphemy, as interpreted under sharia, is controversial. Muslim nations have petitioned the United Nations to limit “freedom of speech” because “unrestricted and disrespectful opinion against Islam creates hatred”.[211] Other nations, in contrast, consider blasphemy laws as violation of “freedom of speech”,[212] stating that freedom of expression is essential to empowering both Muslims and non-Muslims, and point to the abuse of blasphemy laws, where hundreds, often members of religious minorities, are being lynched, killed and incarcerated in Muslim nations, on flimsy accusations of insulting Islam.[213][214]

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

According to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[215] every human has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief. Sharia has been criticized for not recognizing this human right. According to scholars[19][216][217] of Islamic law, the applicable rules for religious conversion under sharia are as follows:

  • If a person converts to Islam, or is born and raised as a Muslim, then he or she will have full rights of citizenship in an Islamic state.[218]
  • Leaving Islam is a sin and a religious crime. Once any man or woman is officially classified as Muslim, because of birth or religious conversion, he or she will be subject to the death penalty if he or she becomes an apostate, that is, abandons his or her faith in Islam in order to become an atheist, agnostic or to convert to another religion. Before executing the death penalty, sharia demands that the individual be offered one chance to return to Islam.[218]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is not a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), he or she can live in an Islamic state by accepting to be a dhimmi, or under a special permission called aman. As a dhimmi or under aman, he or she will suffer certain limitations of rights as a subject of an Islamic state, and will not enjoy complete legal equality with Muslims.[218]
  • If a person has never been a Muslim, and is a kafir (infidel, unbeliever), sharia demands that he or she should be offered the choice to convert to Islam and become a Muslim; if he or she rejects the offer, he or she may become a dhimmi. failure to pay the tax may lead the non-muslim to either be enslaved, killed or ransomed if captured.[218]

According to sharia theory, conversion of disbelievers and non-Muslims to Islam is encouraged as a religious duty for all Muslims, and leaving Islam (apostasy), expressing contempt for Islam (blasphemy), and religious conversion of Muslims is prohibited.[219][220] Not all Islamic scholars agree with this interpretation of sharia theory. In practice, as of 2011, 20 Islamic nations had laws declaring apostasy from Islam as illegal and a criminal offense. Such laws are incompatible with the UDHR’s requirement of freedom of thought, conscience and religion.[221][222][223][224] In another 2013 report based on international survey of religious attitudes, more than 50% of Muslim population in 6 out of 49 Islamic countries supported death penalty for any Muslim who leaves Islam (apostasy).[225][226] However it is also shown that the majority of Muslims in the 43 nations surveyed did not agree with this interpretation of sharia.

Some scholars claim sharia allows religious freedom because a Shari’a verse teaches, “there is no compulsion in religion.”[227] Other scholars claim sharia recognizes only one proper religion, considers apostasy as sin punishable with death, and members of other religions as kafir (infidel);[228] or hold that Shari’a demands that all apostates and kafir must be put to death, enslaved or be ransomed.[229][230][231][232] Yet other scholars suggest that Shari’a has become a product of human interpretation and inevitably leads to disagreements about the “precise contents of the Shari’a.” In the end, then, what is being applied is not sharia, but what a particular group of clerics and government decide is sharia. It is these differing interpretations of Shari’a that explain why many Islamic countries have laws that restrict and criminalize apostasy, proselytism and their citizens’ freedom of conscience and religion.[233][234]

LGBT rights

Main article: LGBT in Islam

Homosexual intercourse is illegal under sharia law, though the prescribed penalties differ from one school of jurisprudence to another. For example, only a few Muslim-majority countries impose the death penalty for acts perceived as sodomy and homosexual activities: Iran,[235] Saudi Arabia,[236] and Somalia.[237] In other Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Iraq, and the Indonesian province of Aceh,[238] same-sex sexual acts are illegal,[239] and LGBT people regularly face violence and discrimination.[240]

Women

Domestic violence

Many scholars[20][241] claim Shari’a law encourages domestic violence against women, when a husband suspects nushuz (disobedience, disloyalty, rebellion, ill conduct) in his wife.[242] Other scholars claim wife beating, for nashizah, is not consistent with modern perspectives of the Quran.[243]

One of the verses of the Quran relating to permissibility of domestic violence is Surah 4:34.[244][245] In deference to Surah 4:34, many nations with Shari’a law have refused to consider or prosecute cases of domestic abuse.[246][247][248][249] Shari’a has been criticized for ignoring women’s rights in domestic abuse cases.[250][251][252][253] Musawah, CEDAW, KAFA and other organizations have proposed ways to modify Shari’a-inspired laws to improve women’s rights in Islamic nations, including women’s rights in domestic abuse cases.[254][255][256][257]

Personal status laws and child marriag

Shari’a is the basis for personal status laws in most Islamic majority nations. These personal status laws determine rights of women in matters of marriage, divorce and child custody. A 2011 UNICEF report concludes that Shari’a law provisions are discriminatory against women from a human rights perspective. In legal proceedings under Shari’a law, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s before a court.[154]

Except for Iran, Lebanon and Bahrain which allow child marriages, the civil code in Islamic majority countries do not allow child marriage of girls. However, with Shari’a personal status laws, Shari’a courts in all these nations have the power to override the civil code. The religious courts permit girls less than 18 years old to marry. As of 2011, child marriages are common in a few Middle Eastern countries, accounting for 1 in 6 all marriages in Egypt and 1 in 3 marriages in Yemen.UNICEF and other studies state that the top five nations in the world with highest observed child marriage rates — Niger (75%), Chad (72%), Mali (71%), Bangladesh (64%), Guinea (63%) — are Islamic-majority countries where the personal laws for Muslims are sharia-based.[258][259]

Rape is considered a crime in all countries, but Shari’a courts in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia in some cases allow a rapist to escape punishment by marrying his victim, while in other cases the victim who complains is often prosecuted with the crime of Zina (adultery).[154][260][261]

Women’s right to property and consent

Sharia grants women the right to inherit property from other family members, and these rights are detailed in the Quran.[262] A woman’s inheritance is unequal and less than a man’s, and dependent on many factors.[Quran 4:12][263] For instance, a daughter’s inheritance is usually half that of her brother’s.[Quran 4:11][263]

Until the 20th century, Islamic law granted Muslim women certain legal rights, such as the right to own property received as Mahr (brideprice) at her marriage, that Western legal systems did not grant to women.[264][265] However, Islamic law does not grant non-Muslim women the same legal rights as the few it did grant Muslim women. Sharia recognizes the basic inequality between master and women slave, between free women and slave women, between Believers and non-Believers, as well as their unequal rights.[266][267] Sharia authorized the institution of slavery, using the words abd (slave) and the phrase ma malakat aymanukum (“that which your right hand owns”) to refer to women slaves, seized as captives of war.[266][268] Under Islamic law, Muslim men could have sexual relations with female captives and slaves without her consent.[269][270]

Slave women under sharia did not have a right to own property, right to free movement or right to consent.[271][272] Sharia, in Islam’s history, provided religious foundation for enslaving non-Muslim women (and men), as well as encouraged slave’s manumission. However, manumission required that the non-Muslim slave first convert to Islam.[273][274] Non-Muslim slave women who bore children to their Muslim masters became legally free upon her master’s death, and her children were presumed to be Muslims as their father, in Africa,[273] and elsewhere.[275]

Starting with the 20th century, Western legal systems evolved to expand women’s rights, but women’s rights under Islamic law have remained tied to Quran, hadiths and their faithful interpretation as sharia by Islamic jurists.[270][276]

Parallels with Western legal systems

Elements of Islamic law have influenced western legal systems. As example, the influence of Islamic influence on the development of an international law of the sea” can be discerned alongside that of the Roman influence.[277]

Makdisi states Islamic law also influenced the legal scholastic system of the West.[278] The study of legal text and degrees have parallels between Islamic studies of sharia and the Western system of legal studies. For example, the status of faqih (meaning “master of law“), mufti (meaning “professor of legal opinions“) andmudarris (meaning “teacher”), which were later translated into Latin as magister, professor and doctor respectively.[278]

There are differences between Islamic and Western legal systems. For example, sharia classically recognizes only natural persons, and never developed the concept of a legal person, or corporation, i.e., a legal entity that limits the liabilities of its managers, shareholders, and employees; exists beyond the lifetimes of its founders; and that can own assets, sign contracts, and appear in court through representatives.[279] Interest prohibitions also imposed secondary costs by discouraging record keeping, and delaying the introduction of modern accounting.[280] Such factors, according to Timur Kuran, have played a significant role in retarding economic development in the Middle East.[281]

See also

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia

Ben Carson says no Muslim should ever become US president

  • 2016 hopeful: ‘I would not advocate we put a Muslim in charge of this nation’
  • Retired neurosurgeon says Islam is not consistent with US constitution

The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said no Muslim should be president of the United States of America.

In an interview with NBC for broadcast on Sunday morning, the retired neurosurgeon said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s discussion with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd centered around controversy that arose this week when Donald Trump – the real-estate mogul keeping Carson in second place in the polls – failed to correct an audience member at a New Hampshire campaign rally who said President Obama was a Muslim.

The audience member also appeared to advocate the forcible removal of Muslims from the US.

On Saturday, in a series of tweets on the subject, Trump defended himself and said: “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!”
Trump: I was not obligated to correct questioner who called Obama Muslim
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He also addressed the issue in an appearance before an evangelical audience in Iowa, at which he brandished a Bible and said: “You see, I’m better than you thought.”

In such circles, Trump has lost some support to Carson.

In his NBC interview, Carson was asked: “So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?”

“No,” he said, “I don’t, I do not.”

Article VI of the US constitution states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

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The first amendment to the constitution begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Carson, a Christian, is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church. In October, he will publish a new book, written with his wife Candy Carson and entitled A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.

In publicity material issued by Penguin Random House, Carson is quoted as saying: “I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the US constitution.

“And as someone who has performed brain surgery thousands of times, I can assure you that the constitution isn’t brain surgery.

He adds that he and his wife wrote the book to “help defend” the constitution “from those who misinterpret and undermine it”.

Carson did have a constituency to speak to, however. In a recent poll, 38% of voters said they would not vote for a Muslim president.
Quiet rise of Ben Carson is shaking up Republican presidential race
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The Ohio governor, John Kasich, who is polling an average of 2.5%, enough for 10th place out of 16, was also asked by NBC if he “would ever have a problem with a Muslim becoming president”.

Kasich, one of the more moderate candidates in the GOP field, also had to field a question about whether he was a Republican at all. He did not say he would have a problem with a Muslim president, but nor did he dismiss the question.

“You know, I mean, that’s such a hypothetical question,” Kasich said. “The answer is, at the end of the day, you’ve got to go through the rigours, and people will look at everything.

“But, for me, the most important thing about being president is you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing, and you can help fix this country and raise this country. Those are the qualifications that matter to me.”

Carson was also asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim candidate for Congress.

He said: “Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.”

Two members of Congress, both Democrats, are Muslim: Keith Ellison of Minnesota was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and André Carson of Indiana followed in 2008.

Every American should be disturbed … national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry
Representative Keith Ellison
This week, Ellison carried a clock around Congress to show support for Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old boy who was arrested at his school in Irving, Texas, over suspicions a homemade clock was in fact a bomb.

On Sunday Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, released a statement in answer to Carson’s comments.

“For Ben Carson, Donald Trump, or any other Republican politician to suggest that someone of any faith is unfit for office is out of touch with who we are as a people,” he said.

“It’s unimaginable that the leading GOP presidential candidates are resorting to fear mongering to benefit their campaigns, and every American should be disturbed that these national figures are engaging in and tolerating blatant acts of religious bigotry.”

 

Ahmed Mohamed is tired, excited to meet Obama – and wants his clock back
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According to the Pew Research Center, the 114th Congress contains 491 Christians, of which 306 are Protestant, split between 13 sects though without any declared Anabaptists, Quakers or Pietists.

Another 164 members of Congress are Catholic, while 16 are Mormon and five Orthodox Christian. As well as the two Muslims there are 28 Jewish and two Buddhist members of Congress; there is one Hindu member, one Unitarian Universalist and one “unaffiliated”.

Nine members of Congress either told the Pew researchers they didn’t know what religion they were, or refused to answer the question.

On Meet the Pre