June 26, 2010

Accused Jamaican Drug Lord Pleads 'Not Guilty' in New York City Court

"Christopher "Dudus" Coke could face a life sentence if convicted in a U.S. court. What incredible stories might he tell in a plea bargain about the relationships between Jamaica's dons and the country's outwardly respectable politicians and businessmen? It's also interesting to speculate about whether any of these Jamaicans over the years played the anti-American card, cozied up to certain American politicians from New York and Massachusetts (among others), and delivered high-minded speeches in the United Nations and other venues."

--"Obama's Fruitless Quest to Extradite A Drug Thug," American Thinker, March 7, 2010

"If Jamaica's most notorious drug kingpin makes it into a U.S. courtroom, one can only guess at what incredible stories he might tell about his country's drug trade. No doubt, some of Jamaica's political and business elites are very worried."
--"Obama's Lesson in Realpolitik," American Thinker, May 21, 2010

June 25, 2010

Actor Val Kilmer apologizes for insulting Vets, New Mexico residents

By David Paulin

Hollywood actor Val Kilmer on Wednesday gave a partial apology to New Mexico residents who
were outraged that he'd reportedly called them drunks and also disparaged Vietnam veterans. Among the magazines that allegedly misquoted the actor were Rolling Stone and Esquire. In a bizarre moment at the public hearing where Kilmer spoke, a Hispanic man suggested the actor was a racist businessman.

Kilmer, wearing a prominent pony tail, got the permits he was seeking from county commissioners to turn his sprawling ranch outside Santa Fe into an upscale bed-and-breakfast. But resident Abran Tapia -- who together with other residents had opposed the permits because of Kilmer's alleged insults -- was not satisfied with what one local TV station called Kilmer's "partial apology."

"It's the biggest piece of crap that I've ever heard, Tapia said of Kilmer, who has put on considerable weight since the height of his Hollywood days.

Tapia, rising another concern, also complained that Kilmer's bed-and-breakfast would be "racist" because Hispanics couldn't afford to stay there, according to one
news report. It was a puzzling remark, to be sure -- one that no doubt caught Kilmer off guard. No matter that it reflects a common sentiment among deep-thinking Hollywood liberals, members of ACORN, and perhaps even President Obama and his friends in Washington and Chicago. (Originally published at The American Thinker).

June 24, 2010

Netherlands may use "decoy Jews" to fight anti-Semitism

By David Paulin

Anti-Semitism has gotten so ugly in The Netherlands that Jews walking along Amsterdam's street are being harassed by young Muslims who yell insults or give Nazi salutes. Last Sunday, a Dutch TV channel aired a secretly recorded video that showed a rabbi enduring such harassment, according to a Dutch
news report.

To fight such anti-Semitism, Acting Amsterdam Mayor Lodewijk Asscher has hit upon a novel crime-fighting idea: "Decoy Jews."

Dutch police "already use people posing as pensioners and gay men in an effort to catch muggers and gay-bashers," noted DutchNews. So the use of "decoy Jews" represents a new variation of an old crime-fighting tactic.

The idea of using "decoy Jews" was put forth by Labor MP Ahmed Marcouch and "fits in with Asscher's decision to take unorthodox measures to try to reduce verbal and physical attacks on Jews in the capital," explained DutchNews.

The Netherlands, of course, has for years suffered from a growing pathology -- a toxic mix of multiculturalism; Muslim immigration; and a proclivity for tolerating the intolerant. Nobody who understands this will be completely surprised that a rabbi strolling along Amsterdam's streets can now expect to encounter anti-Semitic harassment. A country of
16.3 million, The Netherlands' Muslim population numbers 945,000 or 5.8%.

One of the first to sound alarm bells about what was happening in The Netherlands was writer Bruce Bawer in his
disquieting book: "While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within." It was published after a Muslim immigrant from Morocco, Mohammed Bouyeri, murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on an Amsterdam street on Nov. 2, 2004. Van Gogh's crime: defiling Islam.

Bawer offered keen insights into the pathologies of Dutch society that opened the way for such a crime. He wrote:

Van Gogh's murder came as a shock, even though I'd seen something like it coming for years. In 1998, I'd lived in a largely Muslim neighborhood of Amsterdam, only a block away from the radical mosque attended by Bouyeri. There I'd seen firsthand the division between the native Dutch and their country's rapidly growing Muslim minority. That division was stark: the Dutch had the world's most tolerant, open-minded society, with full sexual equality, same-sex marriage, and libertarian policies on soft drugs and prostitution. Yet many Dutch Muslims kept that society at arm's length, despising its freedoms and clinging to a range of undemocratic traditions and prejudices.

Did Dutch officials address this problem? No. Like their politically correct counterparts across Western Europe, they responded to it mostly by churning out empty rhetoric about multicultural diversity and mutual respect -- and then changing the subject. I knew that by tolerating intolerance in this way, the country was setting itself on a path to cataclysmic social confrontation; yet whenever I tried -- delicately -- to broach the topic, Dutch acquaintances made clear that it was off limits. They seemed not to grasp that their society, and Western Europe generally, was a house divided against itself, and that eventually things would reach the breaking point.

Given the forgoing, it's a safe bet that "decoy Jews" will be too little -- too late.

Originally published at The American Thinker blog.

Portrait of a Jamaican Drug Lord
Still on the loose, Christopher "Dudus" Coke is a reputed 'math whiz'

Update: Accused Jamaica drug lord captured!

By David Paulin
Reputed Jamaican drug lord Christopher Michael Coke -- now the Caribbean nation's most wanted man -- was a "math whiz" in high school who startled teachers with his dazzling test scores.

After math, Coke had a second favorite subject: religion.
Coke did poorly in every other subject and had “inconsistent” attendance, according to confidential school records obtained by a Jamaican newspaper. Today, U.S. authorities call Coke -- known as "Dudus" to Jamaicans -- one of the world's most dangerous narcotics kingpins. He's wanted in the U.S. for drug trafficking and arms smuggling.

Coke is no ordinary drug thug, as it turns out. He attended an elite private secondary school in Kingston, Ardenne High School. In 1927, it was
founded by an American husband-and-wife missionary team with the Anderson, Ind.-based Church of God. They'd first arrived in Kingston, the capital, in 1909 after it suffered a devastating earthquake. The school's motto: "Deo Duce Quaere Optima" -- "With God As Guide, Seek The Best."

How might the school founded by American missionaries from small-town Indiana have influenced Coke's reputed success in the world of organized crime? Interestingly, Coke was
not known as one of Jamaica's typically "flashy" crime lords or "dons" as Jamaicans call them. He was low key: not one to party it up at night clubs with scantily clad women. He avoided the limlight. In a sense, he was not not unlike many denizens of the small towns and rural areas of America's Midwest: places like all-American Anderson, Indiana.

It's also interesting to speculate on whether Coke was immersed in a Protestant work ethic at Ardenne that later helped him in his career in crime; an ethic that sociologist Max Weber contended was part of America's successful "
spirit of capitalism.”

Coke's math teacher at Ardenne recalled that "Michael" (the name the boy went by) was a "bright mathematics student" -- a boy who was quiet and well-behaved during the five years he taught him. Recently, the veteran teacher told a Jamaican newspaper that he had often wondered what happened to the gifted Michael Coke after he'd graduated, believing the boy "had all ingredients" for success.

It was not until years after Coke graduated that the teacher learned that his gifted student was the son of the late
Jim Brown, one of Jamaica's most fearsome drug lords. In 1992, Brown died when a fire engulfed his jail cell, just days before he was to be extradited to the U.S. on murder and drug trafficking charges. He allegedly headed the Shower Posse, an international drug gang so named because of the penchant of its gunmen for showering bullets upon rivals and anybody who getting in their way.

Some sons take over the family business and make a shambles out of it. Coke wasn't one of them. Like Michael Corleone in “The Godfather, Coke allegedly took the family business to new levels of success, while simultaneously functioning as a legitimate businessman and “community leader” in West Kingston.

Over the years, he obtained many
government contracts for things like road work and construction, which allowed him to distribute jobs in the gritty area that he ruled. He staged a popular weekly street dance and a "dancehall" event. His stronghold in the Tivoli Gardens area of West Kingston is part of a so-called "garrison community" -- a mini-state within a state that has links to Jamaica's ruling and center-right Jamaica Labor Party. Other such “garrisons” have ties to the left-leaning People's National Party.

Go to The American Thinker for the rest of this article, which was originally published on Sunday, June 20, 2010. (Photo is from the Jamaica Observer.)

June 15, 2010

An execution in Texas Stirs Debate

By David Paulin

The counter-culture and anti-war movement of the 1960s and 70s had a destructive influence on millions of young Americans who rebelled against authority, experimented with drugs, and "dropped out." One of them was David Lee Powell. He was from a small Texas town and had nearly perfect SAT scores when he entered the University of Texas in Austin as a freshman. But before long, the valedictorian of his 15-member high school class was experimenting with drugs and had became an antiwar "activist."

Today at 6 p.m., Powell, 59, is scheduled to be executed in Texas for shooting to death an Austin police officer, Ralph Ablanedo, during a traffic stop 32 years ago. Arrested shortly after the killing, Powell, then 27, had a ragged and crazed appearance not unlike Charles Manson. He shot Ablanedo ten times in the chest with an AK-47. The high-powered assault rifle's bullets pierced Ablanedo's bulletproof vest.

Officer Ablanedo, one year younger than Powell, had made far different choices in life. Clean-cut and well-respected, he was married and had two children. Powell had been on his way to do a drug deal when he was stopped. In addition to his AK-47, he was carrying $5,000 in methamphetamine, a .45-caliber pistol, and a hand grenade that he threw at police who were pursuing him; it didn't go off.

During his 32 years in prison, Powell has been described as a model prisoner. His good behavior and good deeds, say his supporters, ought to provide him with some sort of redemption -- namely, the commutation of his death sentence to life in prison. After all, Powell is not the same man he was 32 years ago, argues the liberal editorial board
of the Austin American-Statesman; accordingly, his execution has "lost its meaning." Powell, who now looks nothing like he did 32 years ago, also has himself put forth the case for sparing his life. "Every person is more than the worst thing that they've ever done, and I'm no exception," he said during a jail-house interview with Statesman reporters.

On the other hand, members of the law-enforcement community in Austin are among many who are glad to see justice finally being delivered. It will bring "closure" to many whose lives were ruined by Powell, they say. Many Austin police officers will be attending the execution at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas. Others are said to be heading to a local bar at 6 p.m. to drink a toast to their fallen colleague at the moment of his killer's execution.

Among those in the death chamber will be the sister of Ralph Ablanedo, Irene. According to the Statesman, she "plans to stand at the window in the Huntsville death chamber to watch Powell die from five feet away. She will be thinking about her brother, what he meant to his family and how he was taken away too early. The pain of loss still burns."

"I can't wait for that bastard to take his last breath," she said. "That is what he deserves."

The death penalty arouses much debate. It's not an issue that neatly divides liberals and conservatives. Consider the case of Karla Faye Tucker
, who was executed in 1998 in Texas at the age of 38. She grew up in a troubled family and was into sex and drugs in her early teens. Like her mother, she was for a time a Rock' n Roll groupie. In 1981, Tucker and her boyfriend, Danny Garrett, murdered Jerry Dean and Deborah Thornton during a late-night burglary. They used a hammer and pick-ax to brutally kill the couple in their bedroom.

In prison, Karla Faye Tucker converted to Christianity, and her conversion seemed genuine to many. Here is a YouTube interview
with her, during which she talks about her new-found faith. She said she was not afraid of dying, because "Jesus has prepared a place for me."
Conservatives such as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich and televangelist Pat Robertson lobbied to have her sentence committed to life; they were part of a large international movement seeking a life sentence for Tucker -- one that brought together many liberals and conservatives. Also lobbying in Tucker's behalf was the brother of murder victim Deborah Thornton, who felt there would be no "closure" in Tucker's execution. But Texas Gov. George W. Bush, steel-willed in his conviction, declined to commute Tucker's sentence to life. “May God bless Karla Faye Tucker and may God bless her victims and their families,” he said.

Reasonable people can disagree over the death penalty. Some are uneasy over it because of the possibility of executing an innocent person, although there were no such concerns in David Lee Powell's case -- and nor in the case of Karla Faye Tucker. What's more, the evidence is paltry that the execution of ordinary murderers serves as a deterrent to other criminals (although the same probalby cannot be said in respect to using the death peanlty against imprisoned murderers who kill again while in prison). Imprisoned for life, they would have nothing else to loose except for their lives.

But some crimes are so ghastly that the death peanalty seems approprite. One example was the execution of Saddam Hussein, which sent a powerful message at the time to dictators around the world (especially the Middle East), while also providing closure for untold numbers of Saddam's victims. His trial and execution paved the way for rebuilding a psychologically-scarred nation.
In the cases of David Lee Powell and Karla Faye Tucker, there can ultimately be no debate about one thing: Both to a great extent were products of their times.

Photos are from the Austin American-Statesman. This was originally published at the American Thinker blog.