News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Friday, November 26, 2004

After reading Sarah Whalen's wacky commentary in Wednesday's ATol and noticing her claim to write for the Arab News, I was naturally curious as to who she was. Well, she's a 50 year old American from the state of Louisana who believes that the several hundred tribes of American Indians inhabiting the continent only spoke one language as she informs us here:
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The Indians, dispossessed, complained that “white men” spoke with “forked tongue.” Their language had no word to describe Americans’ especially duplicitous form of lying. “Forked tongue” — a split-ended snake’s tongue going two opposite ways — was as close as they could come to describe an American mouth in which one set of single-sounding words came out in two opposite-meaning directions.
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In another enlightening article, she states that the US needs religion in order to put the teeth back into secular US law. Exhibit B: "few ideas are more powerful than Islam. It is Islam’s all-pervasiveness that alarms the West... An Islam relegated to a Friday congregational sermon and communal exchanges of goodwill is what the West is looking for. The Shariah of course will be the first thing to go, Western culture having totally stripped the law of its power to cause fear and instill obedience. No more of those “barbaric” punishments."
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In the context of this article, it's pretty clear that she wishes America to be administered under none other than Sharia law.
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But none of this is as interesting as her pedigree. Check out the following from:
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Who is Sarah Whalen?
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Well, she's an Islamist apologist and the author of several deranged and incoherent articles that have been published over the past several months at the ever-titillating Arab News and The Palestine Chronicle. Among her other accomplishments, she's managed to blame Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg for their own murders and either Israel or the Bush administration (often both) for all of the world's other evils.
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A sample (from the Pearl article):
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But what largely incenses Muslims all over the world should trouble everyone — Israel’s power to compel obedience from the most powerful nation on earth. Danny Pearl was killed not for “being” Jewish, but for what “Jewish” has come to mean, rightly or wrongly, in a part of the world that sympathizes and suffers with those the Israelis have dispossessed from land, from culture, from civil rights. Danny was killed not by powerful actors in service of some evil ideology, but by those powerless before Zionism, an ideology that sacrifices Palestinians for “freedom” and “security”. . .
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Really.
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And from her latest: The Mahdi army is on the move again. It’s the Energizer Bunny of Iraqi urban militias. What makes it keep going and going and going?Neocons insist it’s Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr’s deep hatred for America. But what if the Mahdi army and Sadr are fighting because they love democracy, particularly freedom of speech and freedom of the press?What if some Iraqis don’t trust getting their news from the “occupier?” What if they are willing to fight and die for the right to talk their own talk?Is it just coincidence that last March’s Shiite uprising boiled over when then-US Ambassador Paul Bremer arbitrarily closed Al-Sadr’s daily newspaper, Al-Hawza, for “spreading anti-American views” and calling Bremer names?
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This is a woman whose relationship to reality appears to be somewhat tenuous. So I wasn't too surprised to find that I'm hardly the first to question her incredibly elusive credentials.
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Sarah Whalen teaches at Loyola University School of Law, New Orleans; she is an expert in Islamic law and taught Islamic law at Temple University School of Law.
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That's what she was claiming a few months ago. More recently, though, she apparently chose to drop Temple:
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— Sarah Whalen is an expert in Islamic law and teaches law at Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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She doesn't just "teach" at Loyola University School of Law, by the way, she's a professor (don't miss this story - the professor angle is important). But, perhaps because a check of the Loyola University School of Law faculty doesn't show her name, she's now switched to the past tense:
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— Sarah Whalen is an expert in Islamic law and taught law at Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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Did she? The only mention of her teaching at Loyola that anyone's been able to find to date (and it's apparently now long gone) was a single course at the Department of Religious Studies (not School of Law) entitled "Islam, Muhammad, and the Qur'an," and she was listed under the category of "extraordinary faculty" as an "instructor."
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WTF?
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But wait! When she spoke earlier this year at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law, an institution that's probably a little more scrupulous about checking academic credentials than, say, Arab News, Al Jazeera or The Palestine Chronicle, her rather extensive CV included no mention of Loyola whatsoever and no mention of her teaching at Temple. Which isn't to say that it wasn't an impressive CV. In fact,
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A frequent contributor to publications such as Arab News and The Palestine Chronicle, Whalen is widely published in both the United States and the Arab world on issues relating to international and Islamic law and on subjects ranging from the invasion of Panama to terrorism in Japan. She is certified to practice law in three states and is a seasoned litigator in the fields of personal injury, class actions, domestic relations and criminal law.As a former research assistant for Dr. Piero Gleijeses at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University, Whalen conducted extensive archival research on U.S. foreign policy, Cuba, Africa, and several Cold War projects. She also served as a consultant on international security issues for the United States Armed Services from 1984-1989 and worked as an attorney advisor at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 1984-1986. Whalen holds a B.A. degree in anthropology from the University of Miami; a J.D. from New York Law School; an M.A. in History from New York University; and an LL.M. from Temple University School of Law. She also specialized in comparative public and private international law while attending The Hague Academy of International Law in the Netherlands.
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Wow. I honestly don't know what to make of this.
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Especially since there's not one reference to most of these credentials anywhere else on the internet, either. She does appear to practice law with a New Orleans firm and her B.A. and J.D. degrees, at least, are listed in Martindale-Hubbell (but not her LL.M., which is odd, since an LL.M. is an advanced law degree, which she allegedly earned eight years ago). Well that, at least, seems to pin her down a bit.
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But, no, a Google search for her law firm turns up only one hit, which turns out to be a user post (scroll down about 3/5 of the way) at Free Republic in which someone is attempting to track down, you guessed it, the credentials of the elusive Ms. Whalen. The post shows a listing from lawyers.com in which yet another version of Whalen's history is displayed, this one including a stint as "Lecturer and Adjunct Professor" at Loyola, with no mention of the Law School.
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Unfortunately, I was unable to duplicate the results of that lawyers.com search. My attempts yielded 0 results. And it further appears that the name of the firm has changed, their website is "under construction," and no reference to the new firm includes a reference to Sarah Whalen.
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Here's a item of interest: she was appointed legislative liason for the River Region Caucus of the St. James Parish last year. I think this is pretty solid, but basically irrelevant.
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So who is Sarah Whalen? I have no idea. And it doesn't appear that anyone else does, either. Maybe she's just a really private person.
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(I can't leave this topic without mentioning that The Blue Octavo Notebooks has been on to Ms. Whalen for quite some time.)

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