Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Department of Justice Press Release November 24, 2010Here it is the end of November, and my longsufferring readers have gone three weeks without a post from The White Man. I shall try to organise my thoughts to respond to this supposedly historic event.
United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Virginia
Five Somalis Convicted of Piracy Against USS Nicholas
NORFOLK, VA—A federal jury in Norfolk, Va., has convicted five men from Somalia of engaging in piracy and related offenses in their attack on the USS Nicholas, marking what is believed to be the first piracy trial conviction in the United States since 1820.
Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's New York Field Office; Alex J. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Norfolk Field Office; and Mark Russ, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by United States District Judge Mark S. Davis.
"Today marks the first jury conviction of piracy in more than 190 years," said U.S. Attorney MacBride. "These five Somali pirates were convicted of an armed assault on the high seas against what they thought was a merchant vessel, but turned out to be a U.S. Navy frigate engaged in counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa. Modern-day pirates not only threaten human lives but also disrupt international commerce by extorting hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom payments. Today's conviction demonstrates that armed attacks on U.S.-flagged vessels are crimes against the international community and that pirates will face severe consequences in U.S. courts."
"Ensuring maritime security on the world's seas continues to be a high priority for NCIS as part of the international law enforcement community," said NCIS Special Agent in Charge Russ. "NCIS is forward deployed with U.S. naval forces and is able to deliver a unique blend of capabilities to help deter and prosecute pirates."
After nine days of trial, the jury convicted the five men—Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Wali Dire, Abdi Mohammed Gurewardher, and Abdi Mohammed Umar, all from Somalia—of piracy, attack to plunder a vessel, act of violence against persons on a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon on federal officers and employees, conspiracy to use firearms during a crime of violence, and multiple firearm counts, including the use of a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). They face a mandatory penalty of life in prison when they are sentenced on March 14, 2011.
The Somalis were indicted on April 21, 2010, and were later charged with additional crimes in a 14-count superseding indictment on July 7, 2010. According to evidence and trial testimony, the five men left Somalia in search of a merchant ship to pirate. They used a larger ship full of supplies, along with two smaller vessels loaded with assault weapons and a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) that served as attack boats. On April 1, 2010, Hasan, Ali, and Dire boarded one of these smaller vessels and set out to pirate what they believed to be a merchant ship, while Gurewardher and Umar remained onboard the large ship to maintain that ship during the attack.
Ali and Dire each carried an assault weapon, and Hasan carried an RPG. They opened fire on a ship, which they later discovered was the USS Nicholas, an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate homeported in Norfolk, Va.
The piracy conviction and the conviction for the use of a destructive device (an RPG) in relation to a crime of violence both carry a mandatory penalty of life in prison. In addition, they are facing a maximum of 10 years in prison for attack to plunder a vessel; a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy and an act of violence against persons on a vessel; a maximum of 10 years in prison for assault with a dangerous weapon in the special maritime jurisdiction; a maximum of 20 years in prison for assault with a dangerous weapon on federal officers and employees; a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to use firearms during a crime of violence; a maximum of 10 years in prison for one count of use of a firearm during a crime of violence, a second firearm count carries an additional 25 years—to equal 35 years—in prison.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph DePadilla, John Davis, and Benjamin L. Hatch from the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Jerome Teresinski from the Department of Justice's National Security Division prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.
Notice, as in all cases of violent crime, the battery of charges pressed against the suspects. It is quite ridiculous that in addition to serving life in prison for the act of piracy itself, they will serve an additional (?!) 115 years for 'related charges'. It appears that 'life in prison' is essentially a meaningless sentence.
The money spent to prosecute these men has by now no doubt exceeded several million dollars. Housing them for the duration of their sentence will cost several million more. We taxpayers would have been better off if the naval officers of the USS Nicholas had invited them on board, escorted them to a stateroom, and given them an all expense paid cruise back to America, where they could have been put up in a first-class motel and privately tutored in English 16 hours a day until such time as they could understand it well enough to join the Navy as deck seamen. Eight weeks of Boot Camp would be plenty enough punishment for their crimes, with the understanding that if they washed out they would get a ride back to Somalia in the brig of the next warship headed that way. Should they graduate, they could then earn their keep chipping rust, slapping on paint, and standing watch for the next four years. With the money they would earn, they could pay cash for a house in the Somali section of a US city and settle down to a life of plenty.
Instead, they get to spend the rest of their lives recruiting new terrorists from the vast federal prison system, eating--and probably sleeping--better than they ever did in Somalia. And need I mention that being sent to prison for life will substantially raise their life expectancy?
No, there's nothing to get excited about here--unless you're a lawyer.
Saturday, 6 November 2010
As is well known, Christian Arabs use the word "Allah," and "Allah" is found throughout the Arab Bible. But the contentious question for at least the past couple of decades has been, Did pre-Islamic Christians use the word "Allah?"
Well, a doctoral thesis recently made available online has finally put to rest the idea that "Allah" is a Muslim idol. The author analysed a medieval Arabic manuscript and was able to prove that it is a copy of a pre-Islamic Classical Arabic Gospel translated from an ancient form of Aramaic. It has proper nouns in forms that became extinct in the Islamic era, even among Christians. It even uses a spelling for 'Jesus' not used since among Christians or Muslims. But--guess what--it uses 'Allah' for God.
Allah is not an idol, any more than God is an idol. 'Allah' and 'God' are just two different ways of translating the word 'Theo' which, in turn, is the Greek word that translates "Elohim." 'Allah' is, in fact, much closer to 'Elohim' than 'God' or even 'Theo' are. Pre-Islamic Arabs were no strangers to the idea of one true God--they were, after all, descended from Abraham, who thought nothing of referring to God as "El Elyon."
Just because you name your teddy bear Theo, doesn't mean that God is a Greek teddy bear. Just because Muslims retained the pre-Islamic Arabic word for deity in their theology and creed, doesn't mean that Allah is a Muslim idol.
But alas--minds, once hardened, cannot be molded, even with the truth.
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Well, the Newer and Improveder New and Improved New International Version is out. This post will be a work in progress, comparing any changes it may have made to those I suggested on this blog. I actually sent some suggestions in as well, but I forget now what they were.
developing . . .
Where my suggestion is in italics, it indicates that it was made somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but nonetheless would have brought the reading more into line with the CBT's expressed philosophy of translation.
#1. Numbers 6:2-3 1984
If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD as a Nazirite, 3 he must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink.
If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the LORD as a Nazirite, 3 they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink.
‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the LORD as a Nazirite, 3 they must abstain from wine and beer and must not drink vinegar made from wine or beer.
#2. Ezekiel 40:5 The conversion factor apparently being used in chapter 42 is 20.4 rather than 21 inches. That cubit just keeps right on growing, but just how long IS it anyway?
"six long cubits"
a.The common cubit was about 1 1/2 feet (about 0.5 meter)[=9 feet or 3 meters]. --ONIV (cubit = 18 or 19.6")
a.That is, about 10 feet or about 3.1 meters; also in verse 12. The long cubit of about 21 inches or about 52 centimeters is the basic unit of measurement of length throughout Ezekiel 40–48. --TNIV (cubit = 20 or 20.3")
a.That is, about 11 feet or about 3.2 meters; also in verse 12. The long cubit of about 21 inches or about 53 centimeters is the basic unit of measurement of length throughout chapters 40–48. --NNIV (cubit = 21 or 22"
Ezekiel 42:2 "a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide"
a. The common cubit was about 1 1/2 feet (about 0.5 meter). -ONIV
a. That is, about 170 feet long and 85 feet wide or about 52 meters long and 26 meters wide -TNIV (cubit = 20.4 or 20.47")
a. That is, about 175 feet long and 88 feet wide or about 53 meters -NNIV (cubit = 20.86 or 21")
Ezekiel 42:3 (ONIV as before) "twenty cubits"
b. That is, about 34 feet or about 10.4 meters -TNIV (cubit = 20.4 or 20.47")
b. That is, about 35 feet or about 11 meters -NNIV (cubit = 21 or 21.65")
Jonah 3:5 1984, TNIV
The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
I hadn't made a suggestion here, just pointed out the inconsistency in not translating "men of Nineveh" as "people of Nineveh," as the CBT did in Matthew and Luke. But note that the CBT did take notice of one inconsistency, that of blaming all the Ninevites for proclaiming a fast, when apparently it was only the men who did so. They couldn't come out and say that, even yet, so they just deleted the entire subject of 'declared a fast'. How duplicitous.
Matthew 8:28 only change was in the title: Jesus Restores Two Demon-Possessed Men
28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,[a] two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.
a.Matthew 8:28 Some manuscripts Gergesenes; other manuscripts Gerasenes
Matthew 19:29 1973-1978
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother [Some manuscripts mother or wife] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife [Some manuscripts do not have or wife] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or spouse or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
Mark 10:12 unchanged
12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
Luke 12:14 unchanged
14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”
14 Jesus replied, “Sheesh!" Who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”
Allegedly, the CBT searched a database of English usage and found 'arbiter' to be on the lips of today's youth. And they remain convinced, by some tortured sociolinguistic reasoning, that the person here addressed was a male--when there is absolutely no hint in the Greek (of the kind they would normally accept) that this was so.
Luke 12:45 1973
But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the men and women servants
But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and womanservants
But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants
But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women,
But suppose the overseer says to himself, 'Master is taking a long time to get back,' and begins to beat up the slaves--both men and women--
Wow. The CBT really had a hard time making up their mind on this one. But they're still not there yet; the abusive servant was definitely one in authority over the abused, but there's no indication whatsoever in the Greek that the abusive servant was a male--both of which points they appear to have missed in trying to settle on how to refer to the gender-specified slaves.
But if that worker begins to say to themself, 'My boss will be late this morning,' and starts throwing their weight around and abusing their underlings
John 6:33 unchanged from TNIV; KJV, NIV had 'he who'
33For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Acts 1:10-11 unchanged
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two angels dressed in white stood beside them.11 “Galileans,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
If 'men' can be translated 'people' or even 'sisters' depending on the supposed context, why not as 'angels' when that is clearly what they were? How unfortunate for gender equality that supernatural beings never manifest as females on the pages of Scripture. And it seems quite reasonable, by CBT standards, to assume that women were also being addressed in v. 11. How could the CBT have missed the chance to do for the 'men' of Galilee what they'd done for the 'men' of Nineveh?
Acts 1:14 unchanged
14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers and sisters.
The NIV now has a footnote, which they still haven't gotten around either to applying to this verse, or citing it for the one following:
Acts 1:16 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family; also in 6:3; 11:29; 12:17; 16:40; 18:18, 27; 21:7, 17; 28:14, 15.
Acts 1:15-16 1984
Peter stood up among the believers[Greek: brothers] (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers,
Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters,
2010 [d] adds the footnote quoted above
The explicit inclusion of women in the first exercise of church leadership is unchanged.
Acts 1:23 old & new NIV
So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.
So they proposed the names of two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.
Here is another place where the KJV did not have men, but the CBT nonetheless kept it when emasculating the 1984 NIV. The TNIV seems to have pulled 'names' out of thin air, and the CBT found it fit to remove; yet men still remains.
Acts 1:24 unchanged
Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen . . .
This is one gender-neutral change from the KJV that I have no problem with; men is not present in the Greek.
Acts 4:9 1973-1984
If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed,
If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed,
Acts 4:12 1973-1984
for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.
for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
Thus the fixing of a classic problem passage. But how do we know that this name was not given to men? It was, after all, spoken by a group of men addressing a group of men.
Acts 4:13-17 1984
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. . . “What are we going to do with these men?”. . . we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. . . “What are we going to do with these men?”. . . we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.
What? did Pete and Johnny suddenly cease to be the males of reference?
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary folks, they were astonished and they took note that they had been with Jesus. . . “What are we going to do with these people?”. . . we must warn these people to speak no longer to anyone in this name.
Acts 4:36 (since 1984 the only change was from Son to "son . . .")
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means "son of Encouragement"),
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Advocate),
The Greek idiom was left unchanged, despite its offensive gender specificity--apparently because we know from elsewhere that Barnabas was a man. As we pointed out, the latest revision of Acts 4 is replete with unnecessary male references.
Acts 11:15 unchanged
15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.
The CBT is determined to stand by its claim that it NEVER diminishes the masculinity of God--even when there is no masculinity present in the Greek. Thus having decided to refer to the Holy Spirit as 'he' in 1973, the CBT durst never retreat. The KJV uses 'he' for the Spirit elsewhere--but not here.
Acts 21:4-5 changed to TNIV
Romans 4:1 1973-1984
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?
What then shall we say that Abraham, the forefather of us Jews, discovered in this matter?
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?
Aha, 'flesh', which had been banned from all previous editions of the NIV, is back--even in verses which never had anything to do with the sinful nature. But 'forefather' is still in--allegedly because Abraham is specified, and we all know him to be a male. And "in this matter," which originally replaced "according to the flesh," was apparently left in as a pure oversight.
1 Corinthians 11:28 Changed to TNIV
One ought to examine himself--and, in so doing, eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
Galatians 4:26 unchanged
But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and it is our ancestor.
Hebrews 11:11 Changed to TNIV
By faith also, Sarah--herself barren--received power to conceive seed, and, beyond the time of age, bore a child--because she considered faithful the one who had promised.
11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[a] considered him faithful who had made the promise.
- Hebrews 11:11 Or By faith Abraham, even though he was too old to have children—and Sarah herself was not able to conceive—was enabled to become a father because he
Hebrews 11:35 unchanged
35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again.
I guess it was a bit too much to expect to find gender neutrality applied when women, rather than men, were explicit in the original.