Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

January 16, 2005

Coptic Family Murdered in New Jersey

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:32 pm

Lest anyone think that Muslim extremists murder only random Americans and random Jews in Israel, we have this story from Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, in which an Egyptian Coptic Christian family was brutally murdered in their own home after receiving threats online from local Muslim extremists. Hossam Armanious, 47, his wife Amal Garas, and their daughters Sylvia and Monica were found brutally stabbed to death in their home.

Via PowerLine via JihadWatch via the New York Post:

The father of a murdered New Jersey family was threatened for making anti-Muslim remarks online — and the gruesome quadruple slaying may have been the hateful retaliation, sources told The Post yesterday.

Hossam Armanious, 47, who along with his wife and two daughters was found stabbed to death in his Jersey City home early Friday, would regularly debate religion in a Middle Eastern chat room, one source said.

Armanious, an Egyptian Christian, was well known for expressing his Coptic beliefs and engaging in fiery back-and-forth with Muslims on the Web site paltalk.com.

He “had the reputation for being one of the most outspoken Egyptian Christians,” said the source, who had close ties to the family.

The source, who had knowledge of the investigation, refused to specify the anti-Muslim statement. But he said cops told him they were looking into the exchanges as a possible motive.

The married father of two had recently been threatened by Muslim members of the Web site, said a fellow Copt and store clerk who uses the chat room.

“You’d better stop this bull—- or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you,” was the threat, said the clerk, who was online at the time and saw the exchange.

But Armanious refused to back down, according to two sources who use the Web site.

Armanious’ fervor apparently rubbed off on his daughter, Sylvia — who would have turned 16 yesterday.

“She was very religious and very opinionated,” said Jessica Cimino, 15, a fellow sophomore at Dickenson HS.

A family member who viewed photos of the bloodbath said Sylvia seemed to have taken the most savage punishment.

“When we saw the pictures, you could tell that they were hurt really, really bad in the face; especially Sylvia,” said Milad Garas, the high-school sophomore’s great-uncle.

The heartless killer not only slit Sylvia’s throat, but also sliced a huge gash in her chest and stabbed her in the wrist, where she had a tattoo of a Coptic cross.

Also found murdered were the wife, Amal Garas, and the parents’ other daughter, Monica.

More comments from JihadWatch here.

ACLU Amends the Constitution (Update #2)

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:17 pm

Azure Field reports that Richard John Neuhaus reports in the Feb. 2004 issue of First Things a fact from which we might conclude that the ACLU’s amendment-by-ellipsis seems to be working:

[A] recent national survey asked administrators and students about the First Amendment. Only 21 percent of administrators and 30 percent of students knew that the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom. Only six percent of administrators and two percent of students knew that religious freedom is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment. Only 41 percent of administrators and 32 percent of students believe that religious people should be permitted to advocate their views by whatever legal means available. On the other hand, 74 percent of students and 87 percent of administrators think it “essential” that people be able to express their beliefs unless—and then come a host of qualifications, all amounting to the condition that their beliefs not “offend others.” Commenting on the survey, Alan Charles Kors, a University of Pennsylvania historian, said, “If an antiwar group put up a poster of Iraqi children they claimed were maimed by George Bush, nobody would blink. But let a pro-life group put up a poster of an aborted fetus and suddenly it becomes, ‘Well, they crossed the line.’” Students surveyed said they remember having heard something about the Bill of Rights back in high school. But then they moved on to higher things.

One year of Heavy Lifting

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:45 pm

Happy one-year anniversary (blogiversary?) to the Heavy Lifting blog!

FBI Retires Carnivore

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:03 pm

According to this article, the FBI has retired it’s e-mail-snooping “Carnivore” software. Not because it invades people’s privacy — but because they’ve found commercial products that do the same job better. This is not good news for privacy, partly because it means that with commercial products anybody could be snooping on you, not just the government.

Everyone who uses e-mail should be aware that e-mail is not particularly private. If you want to make it a bit more private, use PGP or GnuPG.

Why do people write computer viruses?

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:45 pm

I’ve always wondered about this. One former virus writer — now working in the computer security industry, of course — gave this interview. But after reading it, I still don’t understand.

Q: Why did you join a virus-writing group like 29A? What is the purpose of the group?

A: The purpose of 29A has always been technical progress, invention and innovation of new and technically mature and interesting viruses. 29A distances itself from virus-spreading, since 29A always tried to act as a security group, not any cybergang, as has been portrayed in the media. 29A just wants to share ideas with others, and source code is a way of expression.

Flying planes into buildings in New York and blowing up pizza parlors in Israel are also “way[s] of expression,” but that doesn’t explain why people do those things (never mind justifying them).

People that (have known me for) some time know very well that I’ve always distanced myself from spreading (viruses) and that I never did such a stupid thing. I am not member of 29A anymore, since I try to orient myself on my work, which I like as much as virus writing.

People who make the explosive belts for suicide bombers but don’t actually deliver them are still considered terrorists, aren’t they?

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