It is not difficult both to dislike and to criticize consumerism. It is often as vacuous as it is unattractive. Last week, for example, my wife took me to something called an ‘outlet village,’ an expanse of shops built in faux Eighteenth Century style that sold designer products at allegedly low prices (though, wanting nothing in particular, they seemed high enough to me). There was actually a queue to obtain entry into Prada whose products are hardly those of first or primary necessity. However deep our economic crisis, this was no queue for rations in wartime; and though I am far from an egalitarian I felt uneasy that there were so many people wanting and even eager to pay hundreds or perhaps thousands for what seemed to me to be aesthetically cheap and vulgar gewgaws while so many people await their heating bill with extreme anxiety and trepidation.
If I am honest, however, what really appalled me about the ‘outlet village,’ which, incidentally, proclaimed itself a ‘community,’ was the appalling taste of the moneyed masses. Though they shopped all day for clothes – you couldn’t buy so much as a newspaper, let alone a book, in the ‘community’ – I didn’t see a single smartly dressed person among them, let alone an elegantly dressed one. On the contrary, they were to a man and woman attired in expensive slum- casual garments whose brands alone distinguished them from what the poor would wear. As consumers, then, they weren’t even very good at what they did, namely consume. They wore brand names as if they were medals awarded in the war to distinguish themselves as individuals from others in some way. If the justification for disparities in wealth is that the wealthy beautify the world, these people failed utterly to justify their prosperity. Purchasing power without power of discrimination is (at any rate for me) dispiriting to behold; but I am under no illusion that if income and assets were more equally distributed in society things would be any better from the aesthetic point of view, irrespective of the economic or social effects of redistribution.
Appalled or even disgusted as I was by what I thought was this vast outdoor exhibition of mass vacuity and spiritual emptiness, to say nothing of absence of taste, I kept enough control of my gut reaction not to suppose that it would be a very good guide to or motive for economic or social policy. It is very easy when appalled by one’s fellow human beings to want impose virtue (or taste) upon them, but this is a temptation that should be resisted. Deeper reflection is necessary; intemperance and impatience usually end in something worse than they were designed to amend.
I was therefore not completely out of sympathy with some of the premises of the Pope’s latest apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, the Joy of the Gospel; but it seems to me that he has yielded in it to the temptation to mistake an initial apprehension of what is wrong as an understanding of economics.
His apprehension of certain trends in modern societies was one which many people share, so many in fact that it was almost banal or at any rate commonplace (precisely as was my reaction to the ‘outlet village’ and those who shopped there). We – by ‘we’ I mean all who are likely to read this – are aware that a life of consumption of ever more material goods is profoundly unsatisfying and in the end self-defeating. We all know that an egotistical individualism is deeply unattractive and not even satisfying to the many millions of whom it is the leading characteristic. Even the improved means of communication that the Pope extols in his exhortation may not only conduce to self-preoccupation but serve to isolate people further. A million monologues is not a conversation.
He writes, inter alia, that ‘Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed on the powerless.’ This is demagoguery of the purest kind, the kind that ruined the Pope’s native Argentina seventy years ago and from whose effects it still has not fully recovered.
‘As a consequence,’ continues the pope, ‘masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.’
If we put the two sentences together, a certain conclusion is inescapable: if only the powerful stopped cannibalizing the powerless, the latter would have work, possibility and the means of escape. To change slightly the framework of reference, four legs good, two legs bad.
The Pope is loose and inaccurate in his thinking. The trickle-down theory of wealth may or may not be correct, but those who hold it do not express, and never have expressed, ‘a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power…’ On the contrary, according to the theory it is not the rich whose goodness benefits the poor, but the system that allowed them to become rich, even if the rich should turn out to be hard-hearted skinflints. A system of redistribution, by contrast, really does require the goodness of at least the superior echelons of the system, faith in which is genuinely rather crude and naïve.
Most egregiously, the Pope quotes from St John Chrysostom:
Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods that we hold, but theirs.
This could only be true if an economy were a zero-sum game, if my wealth were your poverty and vice versa. But if the world has learnt anything since the death of St John Chrysostom one thousand six hundred years ago, it is that an economy such as ours is and ought to be dynamic rather than static. I am not poor because Bill Gates is rich; as it happens in enriching himself he enriched me, though the ratio of his wealth to mine is probably greater than the ratio of my wealth to the poorest person in my society. I do not care; it does no harm to me unless I let it do me harm by dwelling upon it. In the meantime, I have enough to eat and much else besides.
This is not to say that all is for the best in this the best of all possible worlds, far from it. The world is full of dishonesty, corruption, cruelty, indifference and injustice. But Peronist demagoguery dressed up as apostolic exhortation will not improve matters, quite the reverse.
When we posted on the turmoil in Syria, we noted the assassination of a senior Hezbollah military leader, Hassan Lakkis. Was Lakkis taken out by Mossad, much like another Hezbollah terrorist mastermind, the late Imad Maghniyah was in a headrest bomb secretly placed in his Mitsubishi Pajero SUV that took his life on February 12, 2008 when he entered the vehicle after a celebration of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus. In a fascinating Foreign Policy article, “Israel’s Kill List”, Ronen Bergman, military and intelligence columnist for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth and author of The Secret War with Iranprovides background on the role of Lakkis as Hezbollah’s technical terroist mastermind equivalent to “Q” the fictional technical wizard in the James Bond novels and films and Mossad’s program for targeted assassination program. In the course of which Bergman provides insights in Lakkis’ role in establishment of Hezbollah terrorist cells in the US and Canada. We interviewed Bergman about Israeli decision making regarding timing for a possible military option taking out key Iranian nuclear facilities in the February 2012, New English, Review, “Is The Clock Ticking on Nuclear Iran?”
Bergman quotes Mossad officials remarking about Lakkis’ assassination:
"There'll be a summit conference in the sky," smiled an Israeli intelligence official Wednesday morning when he learned of the assassination of Hassan Lakkis, the Hezbollah commander in charge of weapons development and advanced technological warfare, in a Beirut suburb around midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The killing of Lakkis is yet another in the latest in a long series of assassinations of leading figures in what Israeli intelligence calls the "Radical Front," which comprises two countries -- Syria and Iran -- and three organizations: Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas.
He notes the leaders of the terrorism Radical front on Mossad’s kill list including the latest assassination, Lakkis:
Israeli intelligence drew up a list of these men. The list was headed by two men: Imad Maghniyah, Hezbollah's supreme military commander, and Gen. Muhammad Suleiman, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's head of secret special projects, including the building of a nuclear reactor, and the person in charge of Syria's ties with Iran and Hezbollah. As Meir Dagan, the former Mossad chief, told me: "Gen. Muhammad Suleiman was in charge of Assad's shady businesses, including the connection with Hezbollah and Iran and all sensitive projects. He was a figure Assad was leaning upon. And these days, he misses him."
After them came Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, head of missile development for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the export of missiles to Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad; Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas official in charge of tactical ties with Iran; and Hassan Lakkis (also spelled in FBI documents as Haj Hassan Hilu Laqis), who was identified by Aman in the early 1990s as Hezbollah's weapons development expert. In an article about Lakkis' death, Lebanon's Daily Star called him a "key figure in Hezbollah['s] drone program." The Israeli intelligence source continued the analogy with the Bond movies and called him "Hezbollah's Q."
While Mossad had tracked Lakkis from the 1990’s, what was chilling was his role in establishing Hezbollah terror cells in Canada and the US. Bergman notes;
Lakkis was also wanted in Canada and the United States for running Hezbollah cells in those countries in the early 1990s. He had dispatched "elements with criminal tendencies there, and they were therefore happy to send them to North America so that they would not carry on such activities close to the organizations members" in Lebanon, according to a classified Aman paper. These Lebanese criminals settled in Vancouver, North Carolina, and Michigan, where they worked in the wholesale counterfeiting of visas, driver's licenses, and credit cards, raking in huge profits. Lakkis permitted them to skim off a fat commission, as long as most of the cash was used for the procurement of sophisticated equipment that Hezbollah was finding it difficult to acquire elsewhere, such as GPS and night-vision equipment and various kinds of flak jackets.
In the wake of information conveyed by Israeli intelligence, the FBI and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service mounted a number of operations against these cells, and their members either fled or were arrested and sentenced to long jail terms for offenses including illicit acquisition of weapons and conspiring to attack Jewish targets. Lakkis himself learned about the raids in time and canceled a planned visit to the United States. In the last telephone calls recorded by the FBI before the crackdown, Lakkis was heard rebuking the cell members for not doing enough for Hezbollah and enjoying the good life in America while the organization's members in Lebanon were being hammered by Israel.
Bergman notes how Mossad took out Lakkis and the other targets on the Radical Front Kill List:
Maghniyah was killed by a bomb in his car in Damascus in February 2008; Suleiman was shot dead by a sniper on a beach in Syria in August of the same year; Mabhouh was strangled and poisoned in a Dubai hotel room in January 2010; Moghaddam was blown sky high along with 16 of his personnel in an explosion at a missile depot near Tehran on Nov. 12, 2011. And on Tuesday night, two unidentified masked men cut Lakkis down in the parking garage of his apartment building in a suburb of Beirut.
He quotes an Israeli intelligence official saying: "Now they're all together." Then he recited words from the Jewish religious blessing that's meant to be said on hearing that someone has died: "Blessed be the Judge of the Truth."
The question remains, who else in the Radical Front is on Israel’s kill list? Stay tuned.
An Islamist fanatic admitted trying to decapitate Drummer Lee Rigby because “the most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular”, a jury has heard. 'The most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular, this is what I believe, this is how we kill our animals in Islam. He may be my enemy but he is a man - so I struck at the neck and attempted to remove his head.' That's halal slaughter, not humane at all, but utterly Islamic.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, told police he was not sure “how I struck the first blow” . . . He said soldiers were a “most fair target” but revealed 25-year-old Mr Rigby died because he was simply the first soldier they spotted and it was as if “Allah had chosen him”. He said he thought Fusilier Rigby was the 'non-Muslim version of myself and my brother Ismail [ie Adebowale]', adding: 'To be killed on the battlefield is not something we shy away from and in fact this is something that Allah loves.'
The comments came during a fourth interview with police ten days after Fusilier Rigby was allegedly run over with a car and then hacked to death close to his Woolwich barracks in south east London. It was the first time the jury in the Old Bailey murder trial had heard Adebolajo admit to killing Mr Rigby, as footage of the interview was played in court.
He said he had previously thought how it would be possible to kill someone by driving in to them and when he crossed the road in front of him “it was almost as if I was not in control of myself. I accelerated, I hit him”.
He said he did not wish to give Mr Rigby much pain and could see he was still alive.
He could not remember how he made the first blow but said: “I had concluded many, many years ago that the most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular,” adding: “So I struck at the neck and attempted to remove the head.”
He said in the war between Muslims and the British people soldier was “the most fair target because he joins the army with kind of an understanding that your life is at risk."
After the interview was played, David Gottlieb, for Abebolajo, asked detective constable Dhuval Bhatt why officers had held an urgent interview with the 28-year-old in the wake of the killing. He told the court: "It was believed that there were others out there who may be planning attacks."
Jurors were also told that extremist material belonging to Adebolajo was found when they searched his father's house. This included one book called Extreme Islam, in which the following passages had been highlighted: 'Allah does not like any drop more than the drop of blood shed in his way', 'Martyrdom means transfusion of blood into society' and, 'That is why Islam is always in need of martyrs. The revival of courage and zeal is essential for the revival of a nation'.
Another book included a chapter entitled: 'The virtues of killing a non-believer for the sake of Allah'.
Works by Anwar al-Awlaki, described as a Muslim scholar, were among the material, and a copy of the magazine Inspire, which the court heard is reportedly published by Al Qaeda.
Secretary of State Kerry with Israeli PM Netanyahu, Jerusalem
December 5, 2013 Source AP Photo
Ever the optimistic diplomat for the floundering Obama Administration, John Kerry, the seemingly indefatigable US Secretary of State, is in Jerusalem today for meetings with Israeli PM Netanyahu and later with PA President Abbas. Kerry has been on a whirl-a gig following the announcement of the P5+1 deal with Iran’s nuclear program on November 24th in Geneva. His globe girdling schedule has included a stop back in Washington to brief the Administration, media and key Senate Leaders on the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal negotiations. That was followed by a sudden trip by Vice President Biden to Japan and China over the latter’s sudden assertion of its sphere of influence with the announcement of an air defense zone covering disputed Islands in the South China Sea disputed in a flyover by USAF B-52’s. This appears to be more of the tilt towards the Pacific Rim startegy fostered by the West Wing in the Obama White House given its apparent failures in the Middle East in Syria and Egypt.
This week, Kerry jetted off to attend NATO Security meetings in Brussels and made hurry up side trip to Moldava to bolster support for EU integration with former Soviet era eastern European countries, most notably the Ukraine. A Ukraine with leaders facing massive opposition to a move nixing EU integration deal while tilting towards Putin asserting Russian hegemony in the region with former Soviet era satellite republics.
Israel’s PM Netanyahu has made it abundantly clear that he is very skeptical about the P5+1 deal denying Israel's primary national security concerns, dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. A program that was on the verge of achieving nuclear breakout having enough fissile material for creation of one or more nuclear weapons. The interim six months P5+1 deal has only marginally delayed by a few weeks achievement of nuclear breakout, while enabling Iran to continue nuclear enrichment, evading start up of plutonium production at the heavy water plant under construction at Arak and development of nuclear triggers at the secret Military research center at Parchin. It is alleged that PM Netanyahu may be seeking to link both the Iran nuclear and Palestinian final status discussions, while Kerry would like to keep them on separate tracks. Good luck.
On the final status agreement discussions with the PA Kerry has brought along with him US Marine General John Allen, his special deputy for security in the faltering final status peace discussions with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Gen. Allen was ISAF Commander in Afghanistan and, according to press reports, has been busy liaising with IDF and Israeli security officials about security arrangements for proposed final status agreements. See his bio, here.
These peace discussions are at the mid-point of a timetable announced on July 30, 2013 in Washington seeking to conclude an agreement by April 2014. PA President Abbas has basically abandoned interest in the talks broadly hinting US presence is biased towards Israel. Further, seeing no progress to date he might opt for seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian State in the fall of 2014. Such a Palestinian statelet, would, in his view, be based on the 1949 Armistice line with ‘minor land swaps’ that would divide Israel’s capital of Jerusalem and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, the West Bank. That would suborn language in UN Security Council Res. 242, adopted in November 1967, giving Israel the right to conclude “secure and defensible borders”. Gen. Allen’s presence would appear to be evidence of the Administration ultimately foisting an agreement on both parties, Israel and the PA, given the apparent stalemate in final status discussions.
In an email exchange with Professor Yisrael Medad in Israel, I suggested that perhaps Gen. Allen might cover rumored security arrangements by a multi-national force, led by the US, providing security on the Judean hills overlooking the key approaches from the Jordan River Valley. The more nettlesome aspects would be use of any proposed international force to police the modified 1949 Armistice line, the alleged pre-1967 June War boundaries. That would divide the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, and possible jeopardize protection for the more than 350,000 Israelis in towns in Judea and Samaria. Communities that the international media refers to as West Bank 'settlements'. PM Netanyahu has gone on record rejecting those proposals.
These ruminations about security arrangements and imposition of a US deal on Israel and the PA were raised in both AP and Ha’aretz stories about today’s stop by Kerry and Gen. Allen in both Jerusalem and Ramallah. The AP report on today’s meetings noted:
The U.S. diplomatic officials said Kerry and his security adviser, retired Gen. John Allen, have been working on security issues in hopes of breaking the deadlock. They believe the absence of any concrete plans so far is a main reason for the lack of progress.
The American officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Kerry has not yet presented his proposals.
The Ha'aretz daily said that Allen would present his ideas at a meeting with Netanyahu on Thursday. After that meeting, Kerry is scheduled to head to the West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It said the American thinking is that if Israeli security concerns can be met, other issues, such as borders, will then fall into place.
One U.S. official said Allen "has been working closely on the ground with his Israeli counterparts." The official said the Americans realize that security is "paramount" as Israel contemplates taking "calculated risks for peace."
The officials refused to provide details on Allen's work, including whether it might include stationing international forces along the West Bank border with Jordan. Netanyahu has insisted that Israel maintain a security presence in the West Bank as part of any final deal.
Yuval Diskin, former director of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, featured in the controversial film, The Gatekeepers, was quoted by The Times of Israel that failure to achieve a two state solution “dwarfed’ the existential Iranian nuclear threat. Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the discredited faux Geneva Initiative, allegedly based on prior permanent status discussions, Diskin said:
“The alternative to the vision of a two-state solution is one state,” Diskin said. “In a situation like this, the vision of a democratic Jewish state will disappear. This is perhaps the last opportunity to reach a two state solution. The Geneva Initiative provides the basis for an agreement.
“We cannot live in a single state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and we cannot relate to the conflict as shrapnel in the buttocks, as one of our ministers did,” he added, alluding to widely publicized comments made by Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) in June.
“The question will be who the shrapnel is and who is the buttocks,” he quipped.
”The implications of a lack of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are more existential than the Iranian nuclear [program],” he said, noting that the current state of affairs in the West Bank was like a powder keg.
“It does not seem as if the current government is trying to change the trend regarding the settlement enterprise,” he said, in a jab at Netanyahu. “Our friends in the world are giving up on the prospect of a two-states-for-two-nations solution. There is tremendous frustration in the West Bank. The Palestinians feel that their state is being stolen from them. Soon the Palestinian masses will feel that there is no future, only a bad past.
“We must take into account the relationship between the Palestinians and their Arab-Israeli brethren,” he continued. “The concentration of fumes is so high that a little spark could lead to a big explosion.”
The Netanyahu government immediately dismissed these comments of Diskin, implying perhaps they were motivated by his being passed over for Mossad director. An official with the Netanyahu government was quoted by The Times of Israel saying:
Anyone who thinks the Palestinian threat is larger than the threat of a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran, which has made it its goal to destroy the State of Israel, is cut off from reality and lacks any strategic perspective.
The criticism by the marginalized Israeli left of the Netanyahu government, seeking to assure the country’s national security interests vis a vis final status negotiations with the PA, neglects the dissimilitude, corruption and total lack of integrity of the PA leadership under President Mahmoud Abbas. The left in Israel live in a virtual dream world denying the overarching Islamist threat facing Israel on virtually all of its borders. Diskin is reflecting the disingenuous approach of Israel’s left frantically promoting final status agreements that would suborn the national security interests let alone the existence of the Jewish nation. We trust that Secretary Kerry and Gen. Allen do not take seriously these views as indicative of the majority of Israel’s polity. They are most decidedly not ther case as reflected in Israeli polls. Most Americans polled support Israel, the only democratic ally and capable military force in the troubled Middle East. That support is reflected in serious questioning of the interim P5+1 Geneva agreement and strong bi-partisan support in Congress for strengthened sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program in pending Defense Appropriations amendments.
This is not a return to Diana West’s book. However, Andy McCarthy, a man for whom I have very great respect and whom I like very much, has written a review of it in The New Criterion that, because of its revisionist presentation of a number of historical events, is among the most discouraging political documents I have read in many years. Mr. McCarthy, a former prosecutor and distinguished and perceptive writer of the sensible Right, has frequently inspired me by his writing, and when I met him, at a difficult time in my own former travails, by his conversation also. I confidently turned to his review of Ms. West’s America Betrayed, which readers of this column will find it hard to forget after the robust knockabout the book received here and in her reply to me. The rigor of the review and its application to the book are matters I will address in a letter to The New Criterion, which the editor of that publication graciously invited, as I am mentioned, quite unexceptionably, in the review.
What seriously depresses me are three positions taken in the review. First is Andy McCarthy’s view that the scandalous, cowardly refusal of the mainstream elite of American culture and politics to recognize that America’s Islamist enemies are enemies can be traced to Soviet infiltration of the U.S. government in World War II. It is a fact that alarms and disgusts all of us in this debate, including Ms. West and her more vocal (than I am) critics, but I do not agree about the source of the problem. Second is Andy’s qualified accommodation, as worthy of reasonable consideration, of the claims by Ms. West that Lend-Lease was at least in significant part a mistaken reinforcement of Stalinist totalitarianism to the ultimate detriment of the West; that the Normandy invasion served Stalin’s purposes and enhanced his penetration of Western Europe; that Franklin D. Roosevelt was more or less ambivalent about the comparative virtues of Stalinist Communism and Western democracy (though he acknowledges that FDR disapproved of the barbarism of Stalin’s rule); that the Yalta agreement “gave” Stalin half of Europe; and that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were so significantly influenced in a pro-Soviet direction by Soviet agents and such arch-sympathizers that the distinction between an agent and a sympathizer was academic in the United States. And third, I am distressed by Andy McCarthy’s partial defense of Joseph R. McCarthy and his conclusion that the smear of McCarthy enabled Communism and anti-American reflexes to flourish in the United States through all the intervening years and are responsible for the inadequate general response to the Islamist threat that, I repeat, all the participants in this very heated and prolonged exchange revile in almost equally emphatic strictures.
The unanimity on this last point underlines the source of my concern. A relatively united Right, which included Diana West and other participants in this discussion, exercised a great influence in assisting President Reagan and his followers and collaborators in mobilizing opinion to support his arms buildup, his development of anti-missile defenses, his stiffening of the backbone of the Western alliance, and the consensus he helped create for a rollback of the Soviet intrusions in Central America, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the imposition of martial law in Poland. That unity of the influential Right was vitally important to the course corrections that lifted the United States and the West out of the inanities and shabby compromises of the Carter era, and led the world to the collapse of the Soviet Union and of international Communism, and to the triumph of democracy and market economics in most of the world. The New Criterion itself played an important and distinguished role in the intellectual phase of that struggle. Diana West, Andy McCarthy, and most of those who have supported and opposed Ms. West in this controversy all played their parts, and there is credit for all of them in the result: the greatest and most bloodless strategic victory in the history of the nation-state.
A schism as profound as this controversy has now become will splinter the Right and render it incapable of united action, and perpetuate the precise condition that Andy decries and mistakenly lays at the door of Soviet wartime infiltration, both directly and through sympathizers. The process of fragmenting the Right, in this now notorious instance, began with Ms. West’s frequently, though not entirely, outrageous book, but for a writer of the stature of Andy McCarthy to take the positions mentioned above, and for The New Criterion to lend the exposition of those opinions the mantle of its earned prestige, is, and to say the least, very worrisome.
To address substantively the sources of my concern cited above: The United States government under Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized that the United States had to become engaged in the world or the anti-democratic forces would subdue or exterminate democracy everywhere in the world except the Americas (and there wasn’t much among what FDR generously called “our sister republics” to the south), and if the U.S. were not engaged in Europe and the Far East, everything would be at risk, every generation. He spoke German well (he always spoke German with Dr. Einstein) and saw from the start, even before Churchill, that it would be impossible to coexist with Hitler. He doubted that France could hold Germany and, when France fell, saw that only war between Germany and the USSR would prevent the complete and durable German domination of all of Central and Western continental Europe. He warned Stalin that if he made his pact with Hitler, Hitler would turn on him after he had disposed of France; he warned Stalin of the imminent German attack, and told Stalin when the Japanese withdrew their forces to the south from the Soviet-Manchurian border, so Stalin could reinforce Moscow and Leningrad with forces from the Far East for their final defense at the end of 1941.
Roosevelt had no liking for Stalin or his regime, condemned it in the Russo-Finnish War, and repeatedly, publicly and privately, stated his distaste for it. But he knew that the Anglo-Americans were not going to provide the 400 divisions that would have been necessary to land amphibiously in the West to dislodge Hitler, and that there was no substitute for Stalin as a source of manpower (i.e., battle deaths and casualties) to do so. He and Churchill agreed as soon as Hitler attacked Stalin that the USSR had to be assisted, and it is nonsense to state that they gave him more than was necessary. There was always a danger of another separate peace between Germany and the USSR, and discussions were initiated between them in Stockholm between the Russian victory at Stalingrad and the Tehran Conference. But Roosevelt wanted Stalin on board for the purpose of assisting in the defeat of Germany and Japan (if atomic weapons didn’t work), not for anything else. He declined to advance a cent of promised post-war assistance ($6.5 billion) until Stalin honored his commitments to a free, liberated Eastern Europe; rejected any Soviet presence on the Italian occupation authority; and objected to a demarcation of occupation zones in Germany because he believed that the Germans would surrender in the West and fight to the last cartridge in the East after the West crossed the Rhine (which happened), and that the West should capture Berlin. (He was outvoted on the demarcation of zones in Germany by Churchill and Stalin at the European Advisory Commission. Stalin was afraid the West would occupy Berlin, and Churchill, because the British had only 14 divisions on the Western Front, feared that he would end up with a postage-stamp-sized zone.) Truman stopped all Lend-Lease aid to the USSR as soon as the European war ended. Eisenhower never attached one jot of credence to the nonsense about invading up the Adriatic (Operation Armpit, it was called), which would have given Stalin all Germany and probably France while the Americans, British, Canadians, and French bumbled about in the Alps.
Roosevelt thought that the U.S. would stay about where it was ideologically, or move slightly to the left through such measures as his G.I. Bill of Rights, but that Communism was such nonsense it would eventually gravitate toward social democracy; this does not justify any of these alarmist Ahas about his views of “convergence.” Yalta did not give Stalin anything, which is why he violated every clause of it. There is not one scintilla of acceptable historical evidence that the supposed 500 Soviet agents, “many of them operating at the very highest levels of the federal government,” existed in such numbers or influenced American foreign policy in these most important matters at all, or that any actual policymaker from Roosevelt down thought of anything except the national interest of the United States and the desirability of the reign of democracy within countries and of international law among them.
Joseph R. McCarthy may have made a point about a loyalty issue, which was followed up satisfactorily by Richard Nixon in the Eisenhower administration. But Andy cannot just gloss over as a mere mistake his denunciation on the floor of the Senate at great length of General Marshall, as the author of the treasonable surrender of much of Europe and all of China to the Communists. Marshall did as much as almost anyone to contain Communism by his conduct in war and as secretary of state, originator of the Marshall Plan, and co-founder of NATO. The founder of this publication [National Review], Bill Buckley, a dear friend, because of his many virtues and charms, got away with a lot in his shabby defense of McCarthy with Brent Bozell, which he later effectively recanted. I don’t accuse Diana West of McCarthyism, but Stanton Evans’s whitewash of him is not the pristine triumph of revisionist scholarship Andy presents.
I put it to all of them that the reason for the enfeeblement of America today is not World War II: The United States and its allies wiped the floor with the Nazis and Japanese and then the Communists. It is, rather, the destruction of the Nixon administration and the scuttling of the anti-Communist effort in Indochina in a false avalanche of misplaced sanctimony by the self-hating Left that has done this damage. The public has never forgiven the mainstream media for what they did, and those media have never ceased to congratulate themselves for it and to deluge themselves with professional commendations and awards. After the halcyon interlude of the unique Ronald Reagan, the bloodless assassins of Nixon have gradually worked, as a sequel, toward a policy of supine appeasement of America’s enemies, including militant Islam. If Diana West and Andy McCarthy and their facilitators split the intellectual Right with a revival of the Yalta Myth and its accompanying defamations, they will push the governance of America into the lap of the soft left-center, the sodden, hopeless lumpenbourgeoisie that will sink and take the country with them into the arms of an unkind Morpheus, nodding before CNN and eating Twinkies. As the last pre-revolutionary prime minister of Russia said: “It is time to pray.” (Although it didn’t do much good then and probably wouldn’t in this hypothesis either.)
Zahran Alloush, leader of proposed Syrian Islamic Front Hassan al-Laqqis, Assassinated Hezbollah military leader
Source: AFP/Getty Image Source: IBT
Below the fold in today’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) was a mind numbing article about the Obama Administration caving in to support an Islamic Front opposition group in another desperate move In the volatile Middle East, “U.S., Allies Reach Out to Syria's Islamist Rebels”. The motivation is to unite Saudi and Emirate funding to support a fundamentalist militia, Jaysh al-Islam (Islamic Front) as a Plan B against the two principal Al Qaeda affiliates, the Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). These Al Qaeda affiliates have effectively vanquished the so-called secular opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the country’s North and East adjoining Iraq. The al Qaeda affiliates have been bolstered by foreign fighters from Iraq, Chechnya in Southern Russia and an increasing number of Jihadis from EU countries.
These seemingly desperate efforts are directed at presenting a unified opposition Syrian National Council (SNC)at an UN-sponsored round of alleged peace discussions in Geneva in late January 2014. The SNC is backed by the London 11, the nations in a loose coalition opposing the Assad regime. Assad is backed by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah with support from Russia. The Assad military, supplied by Russian weapons and endless flow of arms from Iran, has scored some successes despite acknowledging the Chemical Weapons disaster in the Damascus suburbs in August 2013. The Assad regime has advanced in certain areas, while the Al Qaeda affiliates have taken control of swaths of the embattled country now in its 33 month of civil war with over 120,000 dead. The objective of the al Qaeda Affiliates is to create mini-Caliphates ruled under Sharia. The fundamentalist Islamic Front is headed by Syrian Zahran Alloush, whose resume indicates that there may be little difference between his form of fundamentalism and that of the Al Qaeda affiliates. The WSJ report noted this about his background:
The leader of Jaysh al-Islam, Zahran Alloush, is a Syrian educated in Saudi Arabia whose father is a preacher in the Saudi holy city of Medina. Mr. Alloush pledged allegiance late last month to the Islamic Front.
On his purported Twitter feed and in interviews posted on YouTube, he has called for Syria to be ruled by an Islamic council rather than a democratically elected body. He also has spoken in YouTube videos approvingly of the torture of Shiite opponents fighting for Mr. Assad.
His rebel faction—with an efficient media arm that prominently features Mr. Alloush, usually in closely trimmed beard and tight fitting camouflage—denied it has taken funds from Saudi or any other Gulf state. However, Mr. Alloush has in tweets thanked private donors from the Gulf.
Jaysh al-Islam is based in part in Ghouta, the Damascus suburb hit in August by the worst chemical attack of the civil war. At times, it coordinates with the al Qaeda-allied opposition forces on the battlefield, including in fighting this month to try to break regime sieges of Damascus suburbs.
Note what the WSJ article suggests is the underlying rationale for the US abandoning the secular opposition acceding to Saudi requests for formation of the Islamic Front to combat the Al Qaeda Affiliates:
Fractures among Syria's opposition forces have bedeviled the U.S. effort.
Western diplomats said they are pressing the Islamists to rein in their criticism of moderate leader Gen. Salim Idris and the Syrian National Council, the opposition's political umbrella group, arguing that tensions between the opposition factions risk undermining the Geneva peace conference.
Gen. Idris and Ahmad Jarba, head of the Istanbul-based SNC, have struggled to maintain discipline among their forces on the ground in Syria, Western diplomats said. And the umbrella group has no say over the activities of the Islamist militias.
A senior opposition official close to Gen. Idris said the general has welcomed the formation of the Islamic Front as a way to unify the opposition and exclude more extremist factions.
The official … said the two major battalions in the Front will be the key to forming a spearhead for any future campaign to drive al Qaeda-linked ISIS out of northern and eastern Syria.
"It cannot be done without their buy-in. It's definitely understood by our Gulf partners. The question is do Western policy makers, specifically Washington, realize that the only way to fight back against al Qaeda is to work with these groups," the opposition official said.
The only ethnic group that has shown pluck and strength in clearing out the Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria has been the Kurds in the country’s Northeast. The Kurds have achieved virtual autonomy in their ancestral homeland, Rojava , abutting both Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurds have control over the commercial breadbasket of Syria and its oil reserves. Not unlike their Kurdish cousins in adjacent Iraq, the Kurds in Syria have discussed the possibility of having oil flow through Turkish pipelines to the Mediterranean.
The Obama Administration’s only gesture of support to quiet things down in Syria has been to assist in the challenge to destroy the Syrian chemical warfare stockpiles cleared by the Hague-based Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Neighboring Lebanon is now embroiled in a new controversy. There are reports that Israel may have been behind the assassination of a Hezbollah military leader, Hassan al-Laqqis, who masterminded the transfers of strategic weapons that were the subject of a series of dramatic air attacks inside Syria by the IAF.
Tensions have risen dramatically regarding Syria without any substantive resolution of objectives by SNC and the London 11 including the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates. The US and Saudi Arabia partnering in establishment of an Islamic Front composed of fundamentalist fighters adds a degree of risk that the Geneva talks with the Assad Regime may break down or be cancelled. That raises the likely prospect that internecine bloodshed will continue in Syria. The US is now caught up in a dangerous form of Islamist roulette by siding with fundamentalist opposition in Syria to fight against al Qaeda Affiliates both groups supporting Sharia. This could result in the disintegration of Syria into a failed state divided into warring ethno religious enclaves. Thus fueling massive refugee outflows, causing more problems for adjacent countries like Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Israel.
from the website of the Australian Coptic Movement Association (a site well worth visiting and bookmarking, especially if you are Australian) an excellent and telling article by a Copt who has escaped the hell-on-earth that is Islamified Egypt, and now lives in relative peace and safety - for now - in a country town in Australia. It formed one of the many essays in an anthology entitled "Free the Copts", which was recently published by Australia's Coptic community. In Australia, with the help and encouragement of clear-sighted persons such as Rev Dr Mark Durie, the Copts have found their feet - and, increasingly, their voices. I sincerely hope that our politicians will listen to people like Dr Moheb Ghaly, and heed their witness and their warnings.
Sarah, at AUSCMA, gives Dr Ghaly's potted biography as follows:
"Dr Moheb Ghaly is a specialist general surgeion who has been practising for 27 years in Taree, Australia. (Taree being a middle-sized country town, on the New South Wales central coast - CM). In 2012, he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to medicine and the community. He is a proud Australian and Coptic Christian".
"What is In a Name?"
"Martha is a Christian: she will alwasy remain so".
"Of course, it came as little surprise ot me that, because of this simple but clear testimony Martha, a medical student, was failed.
"Notable Copts, there are many - for instance, esteemed Emeritus Professor Dr Emil A Tanagho, a urologist, and Professor Sir Magdy Yacoub, a cardiothoracic surgeon, knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1991.
"But what do these two Copts have in common?
"Both were denied the opportunity to work in Egypt - on religious grounds - and both left for the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively, where they have achieved international recognition for their work.
"Perhaps one exception to this is the Egyptian urologist and Egyptologist Wassim Al-Sissy. Unlike many doctors who have left Egypt, he advocates for Copts in situ.
"There are, of course, many other renowned Copts in various fields. For example, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the famous Egyptian politician and diplomat, was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations during the 1990s.
An ambiguous figure, this one; famous he may have been, but he had not freed himself from dhimmi attitudes, alas. - CM
"And, closer to home, Nick Kaldas, APM, holds the position of Deputy-Commissioner of the NSW Police."
I stand corrected; in commentary to a news article I discussed earlier at this site, I had wondered whether Mr Kaldas was of Greek ancestry; now I find that he is of Coptic background. A forgiveable error, in that there is a very strong Greek influence - both pre-Christian and Christian - within Coptic culture. Greeks and Copts, of course, both have in common the fact that they have endured the horror of dhimmitude; the Greeks, however, managed to throw off the yoke, whereas Copts still remain in thrall, hopelessly outnumbered by the Muslim Ummah that has taken over their country and reduced them to a persecuted minority in their own native land. - CM
"What is common in these cases, and also in my own, is the flourishing that happens upon leaving Egypt. The act of leaving triggers the flourishing.
"It seems a great shame that to flourish one has to leave Egypt (which is, of course, the native and ancestral homeland of the Copts - CM) and seek a better life in the West.
That is: one must somehow claw one's way out of the predator pit that is dhimmitude, de jure or de facto, and escape into the Lands of the Non-Muslims. - CM
"But this opportunity is reserved for those who are fortunate enough and have the means to leave in the first place.
"The fate that befalls those who are not given this choice cannot be overstated, particularly with the current political climate in Egypt.
"In remembering my own experiences, I am struck by the systematic institutional discrimination that blights Egypt - and how that led to my journey as a doctor, starting in England and ending in Australia.
"I was born in Cairo in 1950, and lived there until I was 25 years of age.
"I graduated from medicine in 1974, and worked in Egypt for two years, before leaving for England to work and continue my training.
"I obtained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), four years later.
"After returning to Egypt in 1979, knowing the Egyptian Army would be looking for me, I completed the compulsory army service and arrived in Australia with my wife, Mona, in February 1981.
"Discrimination occurred in the Egyptian education system.
"First, there were more opportunities for Muslim students to enrol in their own university, Al-Azhar University, where Christians were forbidden.
"During my studies at Ein Shams University in Cairo, I witnessed discrimination against Christians (that is: Muslim discrimination against Christians - CM), especially in oral and clinical exams.
"I recall a student by the name of Boulos Boulos, who was told by the professor conducting the oral examination, "I usually fail one Boulos. And you, well, you are two!". He ushered him out of the room without examining him, and then failed him.
"This is just one example of the blatant institutional (sic: Muslim institutional - CM) discrimination resulting from the name "Boulos", or "Paul" in English, which is a Christian name.
"Later, when I was working in England, and preparing for the final examination, I bumped into the same Dr Boulos Boulos, while he was lecturing at the Royal Free Hospital in London. I was reminded of the discrimination he faced in his own country many years earlier, and compared it with his achievements in this new country.
"I also recall the story of a student named Martha.
"When an examiner (that is, a Muslim examiner - CM) mockingly asked her, "Martha, is that name Christian or Muslim?", she replied, "Martha is Christian; she will always remain so."
"After I reviewed the examination results on the board, I noticed that Martha had passed all her subjects with high grades - but failed the subject involving the oral examiner who mocked her religion.
"So moved was I by her brave testimony, that we named our first child Martha.
"It is a common custom for Coptic Christians to be identified by their name or a cross tattooed on the wrist.
"Because I lack a tattoo and my name is neutral, neither Muslim nor Christian, a lecturer infamous for failing Christians did not know how to categorise me.
"I recall, in an oral examination, this examiner asking me to show him the structures on the front of the wrist - and, naturally, he insisted I show him my right wrist. Looking for the cross tattoo, while I presented the structures of the wrist, and finding nothing, I assume he resolved that I was Muslim. And that is why I passed and received a distinction. This shows that institutional discrimination can be overt or subtle.
"Although this institutional discrimination occurred in the 1960s, today there is not even a question of name origins. It is visual; female Christian students are unveiled.
"Recently, I read in a newsletter about the charity, 'Coptic Orphans'. This charity described a Christian girl too terrified to attend school - even fully veiled. She has to brave the bullying at her school and is mistreated - because she is Christian.
Islam: the religion of self-righteous bullies. - CM
"In the 1970s and 1980s Christians left Egypt to improve their standard of living and to avoid more discrimination; now they are leaving because they fear for their safety and are terrified of losing their lives.
"We hear of kidnappings, killings, and attacks on properties and Coptic Churches all over the country. Neither justice nor security exists.
It is my own opinion that a Muslim genocide of the Copts, analogous to that which Muslims in Turkey unloosed upon the Armenian and other Christians between the late 1890s and 1916, is already underway, and gathering force. - CM
"I have returned to Egypt twice, primarily to do some volunteer work and to accompany my daughters so they could experience their cultural background.
"During these trips I saw extreme poverty, lack of infrastructure - and even worse institutional discrimination against Christians in the hospital setting, than in the past. Copts study and work hard, but are not offered jobs, because of their religion.
Australia should not accept, on any pretext, any Muslim from Egypt, into Australia, from this day forward: not as tourists, not as students, not as businessmen, and certainly not as immigrants or 'asylum seekers'. The only people from Egypt that Australia should be accepting - and for whom we could, in fact, be preferentially making room, since they are as endangered, today, as were the Jews of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, or the Armenian Christians in 1900, are those identifiable as Coptic Christians. - CM
"My experience suggests that mainstream Australians are unaware of the suffering of minority religious groups around the world, such as the Copts in Egypt. Take Taree, Australia. It is a predominantly secular community, in my experience, and only a few people show interest in overseas religious conflicts. So human rights issues for Egypt's Copts are not at the forefront.
"Although the media coverage of the Arab Spring (the so-called Arab Spring - CM) sparked some interest, even then it was clear most people were quite unaware of the complexity, context, and consequences of the situation. The Australian public was also unaware of the concern and scepticism that the Copts expressed in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"Many Copts understand the events of recent years must be viewed in the context of centuries of violence, martyrdom, and persecution against Coptic Christians.
That is: "centuries of Muslim attacks upon, mass murder, oppression, exploitation and persecution of Coptic Christians". Bat Yeor gives a good overview in her historical essay, "A Christian Minority: The Copts in Egypt".
"Reverend Dr Mark Durie describes this in his book "The Third Choice", which explains the Islamic concept of dhimmitude, and what it means for non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians".
Dr Ghaly's mention of this book - which distils and then extends upon Bat Yeor's pioneering labours - shows that Dr Durie is reaching not only ordinary Aussies, but also people within Australia who have lived as de facto dhimmis before they came here, or are descended from dhimmis. This is very, very important: for all of us. It is essential that people like Dr Ghaly be able to clearly name the source and the agents of the misery they endured. - CM
"Without grasping this concept, mainstream Australia will be inflicted with the same short-sightedness as the mainstream media.
Worse than that: mainstream Australia will be greatly in danger of not recognising the mortal threat represented by the expanding Muslim Fifth Column now established in our midst; and we will be in danger of being 'groomed' for dhimmi status, ourselves. If we do nothing, and allow the Ummah or Mohammedan Mob within Australia to grow, and grow, and grow, then one day non-Muslim Australians - of all colours, and of all non-Islamic faiths, or none - will find themselves under the Muslim boot, being mercilessly exploited and bullied and killed, as now happens to the indigenous Christian Copts of Egypt, who have been reduced to a terrorised remnant in their own country. - CM
"The discrimination against Martha in the late 1960s because of her name is a mild example, by today's standards, of the daily suffering experienced by Coptic Christians living in Egypt.
"Working and living in a small Australian country town gives me an opportunity to represent Copts positively and to educate the public about the human rights of Egypt's Christians.
Keep on reading and rereading "The Third Choice", Dr Ghaly. Then read the companion booklet, "Liberty to the Captives". As well as educating Australians about Muslim persecution of Christians in Egypt, Dr Ghaly, I encourage you to take step further: try to warn non-Muslim Australians that they had better put a stop to all further Islamisation of Australia, lest they end up like the Copts of Egypt. - CM
"I am proud to be Egyptian - but even prouder to be Australian.
"I share the feelings of many Copts in the diaspora, who fear for the fate of Egypt's Copts in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"The Australian Coptic Movement Association's efforts and commitment to Coptic Christians in Egypt is commendable."
I encourage all Australian non-Muslims who read this article by Dr Ghaly, to check the Australian Coptic Movement Association website regularly, and - if possible - to participate in such rallies and consciousness-raising events as they may organise from time to time. The more support and encouragement they receive, the bolder they will become, as the habits of centuries of dhimmitude - especially with the help of people like Dr Durie - are shucked off. - CM
Kudos to Mr Higgins and the editor of The Australian for using the M-word, without qualifiers, in a headline. - CM
'Islamic activist group Hizb ut Tahrir ('activist group'? - now that's a newie on me, by way of a euphemism for 'bunch of sinister jihad-inciting-and-plotting gang bosses' - CM) described the arrests yesterday of two Muslims (congratulations, Ean Higgins and The Australian, once again, for calling them what they are - Muslims. Just Muslims. Bog-standard Muslims, engaging - as per Quranic instructions - in Jihad fi sabil allah - CM) alleged to have tried to join the struggle (interesting choice of words: does Mr Ean Higgins know that 'jihad' in Arabic equates to 'struggle' in English or 'kampf' in German? - CM) in Syria, or to have arranged for others to do so, as a bid to "intimidate and silence" the Muslim community.
Personally, I'd have preferred for these and all the other aspiring 'soldiers of allah' to be wafted on their way out of the country...but with their Aussie citizenship quietly and inexorably cancelled, or else a sentence of Outlaw and Exile For Life brought down upon them, as soon as it was known that they were in Syria, in the dar al Islam, back where they belong, and where they ought to be required to remain. - CM
'Hizb ut Tahrir, an international organisation ('organisation' is a good word, but 'crime syndicate' would do as well: see the following article from Russia Today on the manner in which Hizb ut Tahrir raises money for jihad:
dedicated to the creation of a global caliphate to rule all Muslims around the world (no: this caliphate they dream of would not just apply to Muslims: they are after nothing less than a planetary Sunni Muslim sharia-compliant despotism within which all non-Muslims on earth would be reduced to near-slave dhimmis, humiliated, degraded, exploited, treated with contempt, and periodically mass-murdered - CM) said the federal government was hypocritical in criticising such activities at the same time it had troops fighting in Afghanistan.
Fine. We Infidels will be only too happy to take our men out of Muslim Afghanistan, so long as all soldiers of allah, and their camp followers, all the Fifth Columnists of the Ummah, or Mohammedan Mob, the Allah Gang, the de facto Empire of Islam, will reciprocally remove themselves from all majority non-Muslim lands, worldwide, and confine themselves henceforward to those portions of the earth already ruled, and ruined, by Islam. - CM
"Why are the acts of Australian troops in conflicts abroad characterised as an ultimate sacrifice to be celebrated but the sacrifice of Muslims in wanting to assist the oppressed characterised as criminal, problematic conduct to be condemned?" it said in a statement from its Australian media office.
'Oppressed'. When Muslims use this word, one must remember that in Muslimspeak - which is even more perverse than the Newspeak of George Orwell's '1984' - words like 'justice', 'truth', 'oppressed', 'persecuted', etc, do not mean what they mean for us Infidels. At this point, to clarifywhat Hizb ut Tahrir and other Mohammedan whiners really mean when they use the word 'oppression' and claim that Muslims are 'oppressed', I shall link to a classic piece published in 2005 by Australia-resident Bengali ex-Muslim Abul Kasem, entitled, "When Is Islam Oppressed?"
Mr Kasem begins his article by quoting the ipsissima verba of a sinister jihad-inciting Muslim 'cleric' or jihad gang boss, Abdul Nacer Benbrika: "I am telling you that my religion doesn't tolerate other religion. It doesn't tolerate. The only one law which needs to be spread, it can be here or anywhere else, has to be Islam".
A little later on, he explains, in tones dripping with sarcasm: "Islam is grossly offended by any un-Islamic moves of the infidels / not-so-good Muslims". And after quoting Quran 5: 33, which prescribes harsh punishment for "waging war against Allah (i.e. the unbelievers who reject Islam) and His messenger", he explains that "the words 'waging war' in the above verse has very little to do with real combat (like Iraq, Afghanistan). Any action, activity, remark, gesture, word/s, sound, utterance, look, manner, habit, conduct, style and so on, which are not in conformity with Islamic precepts are considered as blasphemous or 'waging war". Thus, even the slightest criticism of Islam, Muhammad, Quran or Sharia, verbally or in writing, might be treated as gross violations of Islamic tenets...
"Below, I have listed a few innocuous activities, manners, social customs, traditions, and the daily way of life, which the Kafirs blithely take for granted, but which are extremely un-Islamic. According to Islamic morals, customs and laws these offensive activities/ practices might be construed as oppressive to Islam, and, therefore, they are legitimate targets for eradication, or they must be replaced by Islamic practices or Islamic purification.
"Here is how Islam is oppressed by the unbelievers.
"The infidels do not submit to Allah despite repeated warnings to them. This is the highest form of rebelliion by the Kafirs and an extreme type of oppression to Islam..".
Read it all, if you have not read it before. Then, whenever some Hizb ut Tahrir or other Muslim whinger starts squawking about how awfully Muslims are being 'oppressed', you will have an entirely different perspective. - CM
'Hizb ut Tahrir has run an active media and public forum campaign urging Australian Muslims (that is: Muslims currently resident in Australia - CM) to be cautious of cooperating with Australian authorities, or taking on mainstream Australian values.
Of course. No Muslim is supposed to genuinely and permanently befriend or ally themselves with non-Muslims. Hizb ut Tahrir is merely reminding their fellow Muslims of the pivotal Muslim principle of al wala wa al baraa, loyalty (to the Ummah only) and enmity (toward all non-Muslims qua non-Muslims). - CM
'At a convention in western Sydney last month, it said ASIO and federal and state police were engaged in a harassment and persecution campaign against activist (hmmm - jihad-minded? sharia-pushing? - CM) and traditionalist Muslims, in a bid to suppress dissident views inconvenient to the government, and promote an "acceptable" and "watered down" version of Islam.
And that, my friends, gives the game away, and how. Because it tells us that real Islam, Islam pur et dur, involves enmity and aggression toward non-Muslims. Speaking as an Australian, I would like to see Hizb ut Tahrir banned, like, yesterday; and all its front groups shut down, and all non-citizen members and 'activists' turfed out, and investigation undertaken into how on earth any known Hizb ut Tahrir members and 'activists' managed to obtain Australian citizenship in the first place...and consideration given to the stripping of citizenship from those who openly flaunt their membership in and loyalty to a transnational - indeed, criminal (see the Russia Today news story I linked above, about Hizb ut Tahrir criminal activity) organisation and openly express total contempt for the non-Muslim polity within which they currently reside.
Their use of the term 'persecution' to describe actions taken in self-defence by Australian government and law enforcement should be taken, moreover, as a threat. Quran 2: 214, supposedly recited after Mohammed's banditti had - violating previous custom of no war during the sacred months - attacked a Quraysh caravan at Nakhla, concludes with the words "persecution is worse than slaughter". The 'persecution' was alleged or perceived Quraysh opposition to Muslims; the 'slaughter' was the Muslim killing of said Quraysh. That is: when Muslims cry 'persecution' one must be wary, because it is very probable that they are ginning themselves up to attack those whom they are labellilng as 'persecutors'.
Opposition to Muslims = persecution; just as opposition to Muslims = oppression. Anyone who resists and tries to defend themselves against Jihad - against the Muslim campaign to impose Muslim dominance and the sharia of Islam, world-wide, upon all human beings - is viewed as causing the jihad. See the following classic essay on Islamspeak, for more:
'It issued yesterday's statement after the announcement of the arrests of Amin Mohamad, alleged to have tried to travel to Syria to fight against the Assad regime, and Hamdi Alqudsi, who allegedly organised travel and arranged overseas contacts for seven Australians (sic: 'seven Australian-passport-holding Muslims - CM) to fight in Syria.
'The men were allegedly sent to fight with the terrorist group (that is, the jihad gang - CM) Jabhat al Nusra, also known as the Al-Nusra Front, and affiliates of al-Qaida.
'In its statement, Hizb ut Tahrir said Attorney-General George Brandis, in linking these arrests to Australia's national security, had engaged in "ridiculous and irresponsible fear-mongering".
How dare the Filthy Unbelievers notice the hostile intentions and actions of Muslims toward non-Muslims and toward other-sect / deemed-heretical Muslims! How dare the Filthy Unbelievers criticise anything done by any kind of Muslim!! Actually, as far as I can tell, Attorney-General George Brandis is still a long, long way from grasping the full meaning and menace of Islam, Islam, Islam. He wasn't fear-monging; he was, if anything, gravely understating the nature of the threat that the Mohammedan Fifth Column, some half a million strong and counting, entrenched within towns and cities across Australia, now represents toward all non-Muslim Australians. - CM
"On the one hand the government has criminalised support for forces opposing Assad, yet on the other is itself, through its foreign ministery, undertaking various political manoeuvres in support of the secular elements of the opposition", Hizb ut Tahrir said.
True enough. Strictly speaking, Infidel Australia does not have a dog in this fight, which boils down to a Sunni Muslim attempt to overthrow deemed-heretical Shiite-aligned Alawites: any so-called 'secular elements' are negligible in both power and numbers and are probably not as 'secular' as they appear in any case. The only people Australia should care about, in Syria, and the only people I want us to help and to whom we can and should offer asylum (it could probably be done via the Russian embassy and perhaps the French), are the desperately-imperilled and defenceless indigenous Syrian Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic. If nothing is done to help them, they will be slaughtered wholesale...and chief among the ululating butchers will be Jabhat al-Nusra, whom Hizb ut Tahrir are so zealously supporting. - CM
"The truth is that government poiicy on this issue is not about violence or national security.
Wrong. It is: though they're going about it the wrong way. In fact, Australia and other infidels would have been safest if the semi-Muslim Alawites remained in power in Syria..just. Any kind of full-strength-Islam regime, anywhere in the world, is bad for Infidels. - CM
"It is about seeking to legitimise and push the political alternative for Syria the government deems acceptable and de-legitimising and criminalising that which it deems problematic".
How dare we Aussie kuffar criticise, condemn and refuse to provide support for people - such as the allahu-akbaring mohammedthugs of the Jabhat al Nusra and all the other jihad gangs currently operating in Syria - who cut off heads (including, sometimes, the heads of their own fellow-fighters, if they mistake them for the Enemy - ooops!), slit open bodies and munch on still-warm guts, kidnap priests and hold them to ransom, kidnap and rape nuns, kidnap and rape Christian girls (and then murder them), burn churches, and sack and pillage ancient Christian villages!! How dare we regard such wholly-sharia-compliant and Quranically-encouraged jihad ultraviolence as criminal and 'problematic'!! - CM
"it is about promoting and working for a secular lackey as the alternative to Assad".
As opposed to, say, promoting and working for the institutionalised sadism of a Sunni Muslim sharia despotism? Because that's what Hizb ut Tahrir wants and is actively working towards achieving - not only for Syria, but for the whole wide world, including Australia. - CM
We recently posted on Wilders' ninth anniversary of the Royal Dutch Protection Service putting him the equivalent of 24/7 protection because of threats on life from jihadists that followed in the wake of the murder of Dutch film maker, Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam. Wilders responded to these continuing threats to his life wityh his own controversial film Fitna, and his virgorous exercise of free speech as an outspoken crtiic of Islam and mass Mulsim immigration in The Netherlands the EU and here in North America.
Researchers from the Israeli/American Security and Intelligence Company (ITRR) intercepted a new threat on an internet forum for Jihadists, directed toward PVV-leader Geert Wilders. The message is a call to murder Wilders in an attack with explosives.The writer of the message calls Wilders a “pig” and a “coward.” The message was posted in a response to Wilders’ recent call to add a text to the flag of Saudi Arabia, that reads: ‘The Islam is a lie, Mohammed is a criminal, the Koran is poison.’
Wilders is a frequent subject of threats on internet forums and through email and social media. Just last Friday he tweeted: ‘after nine years sick souls on the internet still give me the creeps.’
Since the assassination of Theo van Gogh, early November 2004, the PVV-leader has lived under police protection. On the party’s website Wilders “celebrated” that fact: ‘since that ominous day, nine years ago, I’ve been forced to live under police protection. I have lived in barracks, jails, and safe houses. The threats continue and have robbed me of my privacy and freedom.’
We understand that Wilders may be returning to America in early 2014. We will endeavor to keep you posted on those developments.
I thought at first he was in an Irish prison. But no, he is in an English prison but the only newspaper interested is in Ireland. Most Irish people have relatives living or working in the United Kingdom. They see what has happened here; they do not want anything similar happening in Ireland. From the Irish Independent.
A Muslim jailed for his involvement in the killing of a woman at a christening party has been accused of bullying and intimidating jail inmates to convert to Islam, it was revealed today. Jude Odigie, 24, was a teenager when he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced at the Old Bailey in February 2007 to detention "for public protection" and ordered to serve a minimum period of seven years, three months, eight days.
He was part of a gang which invaded a christening party at a community centre in Peckham, south London, and stole mobile phones and handbags. A shot was fired by another member of the gang and hit a woman, who was holding a baby, in the head. The baby was unharmed but the woman, Zainab Kalokoh, 33, died later in hospital.
Odigie was held at various prisons until he was moved in June 2012 to Lowdham Grange, a Category B training prison for men operated by Serco Ltd in the East Midlands.
His cell was searched on October 12 2012 and a tin opener was found which came apart, with one handle sharpened to a point. A plastic handle was also found wrapped in bootlaces into which the sharpened point could fit to make a weapon, the High Court heard.He was then moved to Full Sutton high security prison.
He launched a High Court challenge and asked deputy judge Philip Mott QC to quash the transfer decision and return him to Lowdham Grange on the basis the move was procedurally unfair and an abuse of power.
Today, Judge Mott said Odigie's application for judicial review "fails on all grounds".
The judge said a gist of the accusations against him "does set out a consistent pattern of information pointing to pressure being put on other prisoners to convert to Islam, and the use of threats to those who do not comply".
The cell search was "prompted by intelligence, and proved to be absolutely justified . . . The discovery of a home-made weapon in his cell appeared to substantiate this intelligence." He ruled: "In my judgement the undisputed facts and background were sufficient to justify action being taken without waiting for the result of the adjudication. The finding of the weapon was a serious matter. The background of perceived threats and bullying clearly had to be borne in mind also, but was not needed to justify taking action.
The name Jude suggests Christian origins. I wonder if he was a Muslim at the time he was convicted, or whether he converted inside.
COUNTER-terrorism officers have c?harged a figurehead of last year's Muslim riots and infamous Sharia "whipping" case over an attempted ATM ram-raid in Sydney's north. Wassim Fayad, 46, one of two head spokesmen during the riots, was arrested at 7.30am last Friday at Auburn and charged over the failed ram-raid involving at least two other men at North Ryde on May 15.
The investigation, kept under wraps until now, has been continuing for several months, running at the same time as another case with the Joint-Counter Terrorism Team examining a syndicate sending young Australian Muslims to fight in the Syrian civil war. Police also have been investigating Fayad's activities to see whether he has any connection with the Syrian syndicate.
While the ATM attack would normally be left with local authorities, counter terror police are understood to have led the investigation because of their interest in how the alleged assailants had planned to spend the proceeds of the crime.
The new charge, laid by the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command, is over the aggravated break and enter on a shopping centre at Waterloo Rd, North Ryde.
The incident involved a four-wheel drive and a van driven into the shopping centre about 4am. Police will allege the four-wheel drive was used to ram two ATMs before Fayad and at least two others allegedly tried to access the cash inside. They left empty-handed.
Fayad was also charged last week by the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad with being an accessory after the fact in an unrelated attempt to murder case - he appeared in court on both charges. That accessory charge was laid following an investigation into the attempted murder of a man outside the Aarows sex club at Rydalmere, on May 1, two weeks before the alleged ATM attack.
NSW Police confirmed officers with the Joint Counter-Terror team laid the charges in relation to the attempted robbery. Police are continuing to probe links between the men and others who have been radicalised in the community.
Peggy Noonan nails Obama and his administration at the WSJ blog (with thanks to Richard Rubenstein):
The president’s problem right now is that people think he’s smart. They think he’s in command, aware of pitfalls and complexities. That’s his reputation: He’s risen far on his brains. They think he is sophisticated.
That is his problem in the health insurance debacle.
* * *
People have seen their prices go up, their choices narrow. They have lost coverage. They have lost the comfort of keeping the doctor who knows them and knows they tend to downplay problems and not complain of pain, and so doing more tests might be in order, or tend to be hypochondriacal and probably don’t need an echocardiogram, or at least not a third one this year.
At the very least people have been inconvenienced; at the most they’ve been made more anxious in an already anxious world. In a month, at the worst they may be on a gurney in an ER not knowing the answer to the question “Do you have insurance?” and hoping they can get into an exam room before somebody runs the number on the little green plastic card they keep in the back of their wallet.
Everyone understands in their own rough way that ObamaCare is a big mess. And that it’s not the website, it’s the law itself. They have seen systems crash. In the past 20 years they’ve seen their own computers crash. They know systems and computers get fixed.
But they understand a conceptual botch when they see one. They understand this new program was so big and complex and had so many moving parts and was built on so many assumptions that may or may not hold true, and that deals with so many people with so many policies—and they know they themselves have not read their own policies, for who would when the policies, like the law that now controls the policies, are written in a way that is deliberately obscure so as to give maximum flexibility to administrators in offices far away. And that’s just your policy. What about 200 million other policies? The government can’t handle that. The government can barely put up road signs.
The new law seems like just another part of the ongoing shakedown operation that is the relationship of the individual and the federal government, circa 2013.
But back to the president, and his problem with being known as intelligent—Columbia, Harvard Law, lecturer on constitutional issues at the University of Chicago Law School.
The program he created in 2009-10, ran on in 2012, and whose implantation he delayed until one year after that election—in retrospect, that delay seems meaningful, doesn’t it?—has turned out to be wildly misleading as to its basic facts.
Millions are finding you can’t keep your plan, your premium, your deductible, your doctor. And millions more will discover this when the business mandate kicks in.
All of this—the fraudulent nature of the program—came as a rolling shock to people the past two months.
It’s a shock for most people that it’s a shambles. A fellow very friendly to the administration, a longtime supporter, cornered me at a holiday party recently to ask, with true perplexity: “How could any president put his entire reputation on the line with a program and not be on the phone every day pushing people and making sure it will work? Do you know of any president who wouldn’t do that?” I couldn’t think of one, and it’s the same question I’d been asking myself. The questioner had been the manager of a great institution, a high stakes 24/7 operation with a lot of moving parts. He knew Murphy’s law—if it can go wrong, it will. Managers—presidents—have to obsess, have to put the fear of God, as Mr. Obama says, into those below them in the line of authority. They don’t have to get down in the weeds every day but they have to know there are weeds, and that things get caught in them.
It’s a leader’s job to be skeptical of grand schemes. Sorry, that’s a conservative leader’s job. It is a liberal leader’s job to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful.
And this president wasn’t. I think part of the reason he wasn’t careful is because he sort of lives in words. That’s been his whole professional life—books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it’s been said and publicized it must be real. He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it. It’s all been pretty abstract for him, not concrete. He never had to stock a store, run a sale and see lots of people come but the expenses turn out to be larger than you’d expected and the profits smaller, and you have to figure out what went wrong and do better next time.
People say Mr. Obama never had to run anything, but it may be more important that he never worked for the guy who had to run something, and things got fouled up along the way and he had to turn it around. He never had to meet a payroll, never knew that stress. He probably never had to buy insurance! And you know, his policies were probably gold-plated—at the law firm, through his wife’s considerable hospital job, in the Illinois Legislature, in the U.S. Senate. Those guys know how to take care of themselves! Maybe he felt guilty. Maybe that’s to his credit, knowing he was lucky. Too bad he didn’t know what he didn’t know, like how every part has to work for a complicated machine to work.
Here I will say something harsh, and it’s connected to the thing about words but also images.
From what I have seen the administration is full of young people who’ve seen the movie but not read the book. They act bright, they know the reference, they’re credentialed. But they’ve only seen the movie about, say, the Cuban missile crisis, and then they get into a foreign-policy question and they’re seeing movies in their heads. They haven’t read the histories, the texts, which carry more information, more texture, data and subtlety, and different points of view. They’ve only seen the movie—the Cubans had the missiles and Jack said “Not another war” and Bobby said “Pearl Harbor in reverse” and dreadful old Curtis LeMay chomped his cigar and said “We can fry a million of ‘em by this afternoon, Mr. President.” Grrr, grrr, good guys beat bad guys.
It’s as if history isn’t real to them. They run around tweeting, all of them, even those in substantial positions. “Darfur government inadequate. Genocide unacceptable.” They share their feelings – that happens to be one of the things they seem to think is real, what they feel. “Unjust treatment of women—scourge that hurts my heart.” This is the dialogue to the movies in their heads.
There’s a sense that they’re all freelancing, not really part of anything coherent.
For four years I have been told, by those who’ve worked in the administration and those who’ve visited it as volunteers or contractors, that the Obama White House isn’torganized. It’s just full of chatter. Meetings don’t begin on time, there’s no agenda, the list of those invited seems to expand and contract at somebody’s whim. There is a tendency to speak of how a problem will look and how its appearance should be handled, as opposed to what the problem is and should be done about it. People speak airily, without point. They scroll down, see a call that has to be returned, pop out and then in again.
It does not sound like a professional operation. And this is both typical of White Houses and yet on some level extreme. People have always had meetings to arrange meetings, but the lack of focus, the lack of point, the sense that they are operating within accepted levels of incoherence—this all sounds, actually, peculiar.
And when you apply this to the ObamaCare debacle, suddenly it seems to make sense. The White House is so unformed and chaotic that they probably didn’t ignore the problem, they probably held a million meetings on it. People probably said things like, “We’re experiencing some technological challenges but we’re sure we’ll be up by October,” and other people said, “Yes, it’s important we launch strong,” and others said, “The Republicans will have a field day if we’re not.” And then everyone went to their next meeting. And no one did anything. And the president went off and made speeches.
Because the doing isn’t that important, the talking is.
* * *
The president is interested in Ronald Reagan, and in the past has seemed mildly preoccupied with him, but he misunderstands him. Mr. Obama shows every sign of thinking Reagan led only through words. But Reagan led through actions, as every leader must. The words explained, argued for and advanced those actions; they gave people a sense of who it was who was acting. But Obama’s generation of the left could never see or come to terms with the fact that it was, say, the decision to fire the air traffic controllers, or the decision to take the hit and bleed out inflation, that made Reagan’s presidency successful and meaningful. With an effective presidency, everything is in the doing. The words are part of the doing and at some points can be crucial to it; at some interesting points they even are the doing, such as looking at the Soviets and declaring that we knew what their system was and wouldn’t accept any but an honest interpretation of it, and yes, that constituted a change of attitude and approach. That took words. But it’s never all words, it can’t be. It’s making the right decision and carrying it through—executing it.
Mr. Obama learned only half of Reagan’s lesson.
And here’s something odd. The first President Bush, George H.W., learned half the lesson too, but the other half. Bush managed, executed and decided his way through the peaceful fall of the Soviet Empire and the reunification of Germany. But he couldn’t, for reasons characterological and having to do with his own highly refined sense of the demands of diplomacy, explain to people exactly what he was doing, why he was doing it and how. And so a feat of great historical weight and magnitude, deserving of a Nobel Prize for peace and utterly ignored by that silly committee, is half forgotten. Whereas Mr. Obama won that prize—for words.
But let’s go back to the first paragraph, and the original point of this piece.
Mr. Obama’s problem now is that people think he is smart.
They think, as they look at his health-care vows, that either he didn’t know how bad his program was, what dislocations it would cause, what a disturbance it would be to the vast middle class of America . . .
Or he knew, and deliberately misled everyone.
If they thought he wasn’t very bright, they might give him some leeway on that question. But they think he’s really smart.
So they think he knew.
And deliberately misled.
They think he knowingly quelled people’s fears when he knew they had every reason to be afraid.
Which makes him just another dishonest pol, just another guy hiding in the deliberately obscure paragraph on page 1,037 of the omnibus comprehensive reform bill.
He has taken himself down, lowered his own stature.
Commentators like to decry low-information voters—the stupid are picking our leaders. I think the real problem is low-information leaders. They have so little experience of life and have so much faith in magic—in media, in words—that they don’t understand people will get angry at you when you mislead them, and never see you the same way again.
What was given short shrift in the rush to obtain the interim P5+1 deal in Geneva was the fate of three imprisoned Americans by the Islamic Regime. We noted:
Miller in his remarks to the audience of fellow Pensacolians made it clear that he viewed the P5+1 agreement, and reports of Administration’s secret negotiations with Iran as a fantasy. He stood firmly in support of Israel, America’s ally, who he said was in the gunsight of the Iranian nuclear threat. An Iran governed by radical Twelver Shiite Islamists denying liberty to their own people whose ideology brims with hatred towards Jews and Christians seeking their destruction in an apocalyptic event. An Iran that has currently imprisoned two American citizens, one a former FBI agent and a Jew , [a Marine veteran] and a Christian pastor arrested when he was endeavoring to build an orphanage in Iran. A pastor was only briefly mentioned in negotiations by the US delegation in Geneva.
Our colleague at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington, DC, Shoshana Bryen and her husband Stephen, a former Reagan era Deputy Defense Secretary, co-authored a highly revelatory article about this issue on the website of the Gatestone Institute, Iran Deal: Was the West Skinned? Their bottom line:
The Administration's position is that the nuclear deal is separate from any other conversation with Iran including the fate of the Americans imprisoned there: retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently housed in a "violent offenders" prison.
We get, essentially, nothing. But it is worse than that. Whatever the P5+1 believe it achieved pales in comparison to what the deal cost.
The Bryens further note how lop sided the Iran deal is:
The nuclear-related agreement signed between the P5+1 and the Iranian government is, on its face, one-sided. In essence, according to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), they get: billions in sanctions relief, 3,000 new centrifuges, a plutonium reactor and enough enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb. We get, essentially, nothing: no centrifuges dismantled; no uranium shipped out of the country; no facilities closed; no delay at the Arak plutonium plant; and no stop to missile testing, terrorism or human rights abuses. But it is, actually, worse than that.
The administration's position is that the nuclear deal is separate from any other conversation with Iran, including the fate of Americans imprisoned there. Asked whether retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini were discussed in Geneva, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, "The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues, but we have raised – repeatedly raised [these cases] in our bilateral discussions with Iran."
They note that the Administration gave away valued poker chips in negotiations: the release of Iranians involved with their nuclear program and no invasive inspections of the key nuclear weapons development sites like Parchin:
American hikers Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were targets of opportunity, captured and imprisoned as spies by Iran in July 2009. Shourd was released in 2010, Bauer and Fattal in September 2011. As part of an arrangement or not, in 2012, the United States released Iranian prisoners Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, Nosratollah Tajik, and Amir Hossein Seirafi. Unlike the Americans, however, the released Iranians were clearly working for the Islamic Republic's military establishment. Gholikhan had been convicted on three counts of weapons trafficking. Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan, was caught attempting to buy night-vision goggles from U.S. agents. Seirafi was convicted of attempting to purchase specialized vacuum pumps that could be used in the Iranian nuclear program.
It appears the price for the three hikers was three purchasers of illegal weapons for the Iranian government. The lopsided deal was made considerably odder by the later release of Mojtaba Atarodi, a top Iranian scientist.
The then-secret U.S.-Iranian nuclear talks began in March 2013, after the three-for-three. In April, according to Kerry Picket at Breitbart News, the U.S. released Atarodi, arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran's military-nuclear programs. The Atarodi case is very problematic, beginning with why such an Iranian scientist was allowed in the U.S. In cases involving theft of technology, charges are generally public and there is a trial. Atarodi's arraignment was secret and the U.S. attorney refused to provide any public information. It appears Atarodi was to have to have been released to house arrest with electronic monitoring, due to concerns about his health, but the deal fell through and he was kept in a federal detention facility in California. There is no public information on what he was attempting to acquire, but previous cases involving Iran have included very high speed cameras, very high frequency oscilloscopes, and nuclear trigger Krytrons. Atarodi would have been considered a high-value prisoner.
Meanwhile, the three Americans -- Levinson, Hekmati, and Abedini -- remained in jail in Iran. A balanced deal would have seen these three released. Levinson has been an Iranian prisoner since 2007. Hekmati was sentenced to death as a CIA spy, but while the Iranians set aside the death sentence and decided to have a new trial, it has not taken place. Abedini was sentenced to 8 years in prison for "anti-Iranian activities," which appears to mean having practiced his Christian faith while in Iran. He is currently housed in a "violent offenders" prison.
The fact that the U.S. negotiators failed to have any of them – let alone all of them – released in exchange for Atarodi could be seen as a harbinger of the unbalanced deal to come. And it came with the Western decision to omit any discussion of the military facility at Parchin.
The IAEA has been demanding to inspect the Parchin facility near Tehran since 2005, believing the site was used to test explosive triggers for a nuclear device. Satellite photography of Parchin shows the construction of a special explosives containment building that would serve precisely that purpose. Satellite imagery from August 2013 indicates major alterations in the Parchin site, including paving that would diminish "the ability of IAEA inspectors to collect environmental samples and other evidence that it could use to determine whether nuclear weapons-related activities once took place there," according to the Institute for Science and International Security.
That would seem to make it essential even to the strictly nuclear-related conversation the State Department claims it was having with Iran. But Parchin was not part of the discussion and not part of the deal. In its "Fact Sheet" the White House alludes to Parchin, saying "a number of issues" involving Iran's compliance with Security Council resolutions need to be resolved, including "questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran's nuclear program, including Iran's activities at Parchin."
The Joint Plan of Action, however, says nothing about Parchin or about Marivan near the Iraq border, where large-scale explosive testing is also reported to have taken place. There are probably dozens of other facilities in Iran where work on nuclear weapons is going on. None of the military facilities is part of the deal.
Anything the P5+1 believes it has achieved pales in comparison to what the deal cost. The West gave permission for Iran to continue uranium enrichment; permitted continued secrecy for a military-related facility that the international community had demanded to inspect; and acquiesced to continued imprisonment for three Americans caught in the Iranian prison system, while Iranians who were part of the nuclear program went free. And those are only the debits on nuclear-related issues. If Iran's human rights nightmare, support for the mass slaughter taking place in Syria, and support for terrorism around the world are factored in, the American pre-payment was a very bad deal for the West.
When the Congress reconvenes from the Thanksgivukkah recess. The first order of business should be passage of pending amendments to Defense Appropriations bills strengthening sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The second matter to be taken up should be the passage of a Joint Concurrent Resolution directing the President to demand Iran return immediately the three imprisoned Americans --Messrs. Levinson and Hekmati, and Pastor Abedini.
A psychiatrist concluded that one of the men on trial accused of killing soldier Lee Rigby does not have a mental disorder, a court has heard. The expert who assessed Michael Adebolajo said he was polite and co-operative and had mental capacity, the jury was told.
The statement read on behalf of the consultant forensic psychiatrist who assessed Mr Adebolajo at Kings College Hospital on three occasions said the defendant had been keen to talk about the incident that led to his arrest.
Mr Adebolajo stressed that he had not been taking any illicit substances and had not been feeling unwell in the run-up to the events of 22 May.
Mr Adebolajo told the psychiatrist that he was concerned about the impact the events in Woolwich would have on his family, but during their second meeting he said that he would present a risk to the military who behaved in a provocative manner.
In their final meeting on 31 May, Mr Adebolajo said he had no concerns about his medical care and that he was aware he would be transferred to police custody and interviewed.
Alas, the question has to be repeated over and over again. Will the politically ignorant American academics in our midst, so eager to attack Israel, ever accept the principle that truth is transmitted by academic freedom? Will those academics at colleges throughout the United States, usually uninformed about the realities and complexities of the Middle East, ever learn enough to resist the relentless pressure of Palestinian groups or "Palestinian civil society" and their fallacious Palestinian narrative of victimhood?
It is disgraceful that American academic organizations, supposedly dedicated to and essentially based on free exchange of ideas, call for punishing Israeli universities, and therefore the individual scholars working there, simply because of their nationality. Boycott of an institution affects everyone connected with it. Moreover, it is outrageous that the political horizon of these groups, purportedly concerned with non-political issues, is limited to criticism of only one country -- Israel -- and not to any of the other 192 member states in the world. Political behavior by those others -- dictatorships, autocracies, theocracies, countries based on gender discrimination and abuse of women -- do not appear in the biased, and possibly anti-Semitic, gyroscope of the slanted politically correct views of academic attackers of Israel.
This year, members of two academic organizations, the Association for American Asian Studies, (AAS) and the American Studies Association, (ASA) have both called for a boycott of Israeli universities. By doing so both have contravened the purposes for which they were established, though the zealots in them do not appear to have recognized this.
The constitution of the AAS clearly states its main objectives: forming a scholarly, nonpolitical association of all persons interested in Asian studies; and facilitating contact and exchange of information between scholars and scholarly organizations in North America interested in Asian studies and those in other countries.
It says nothing about expertise in the complexities of Middle East history and politics being a requirement for membership of the AAS. Nevertheless in April 2013, the general membership unanimously voted for a resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli universities, the first scholarly association in the U.S. to do so. Apparently the AAS, unaware of the existence and problems in China, Japan, and South Korea, believes that Israel is the major power in Asia. The AAS resolved that it will honor the "call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions."
The former president of AAS, Rajini Srikanth, a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, spoke of the "discriminatory practices of Israeli institutions." Apparently those practices in 2013 included winning Nobel Prizes. The 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went jointly to Arieh Warshel who had studied at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and at the Weizmann Institute of Science at Rehovat, and to Michael Levitt who is visiting professor at Weizmann. The Nobel Prize for Physics went to François Englert, a professor at Tel Aviv University.
Not to be outdone in this competition of arrogant ignorance, a group of the American Studies Association, named the Academic and Community Activism Caucus, in November 2013 proposed a resolution, in the same language as the AAS, that the whole ASA "honor the call of Palestinian society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions." Twice therefore we have the bizarre case of individuals, presumably paid to teach American studies, honoring instructions from unknown foreign Palestinians. Is there an Arab lobby at work within the ASA and the AAS?
The constitution of the ASA was chartered in 1951. Its object is "the promotion of the study of American culture ...through the strengthening of relations among persons in this country and abroad devoted to such studies, and the broadening of knowledge among the general public about American culture in all of its diversity and complexity."
These are desirable objectives, but there is a double problem. The first is that the ASA Caucus is preventing, not strengthening, relations with foreign countries, though it is only Israel that is affected. The other is that, in spite of the claim of "viewing America as a whole" a disproportionate number of the panels on the ASA agenda concentrate on issues of American imperialism and colonialism, and the "diversity" called for in the constitution is largely limited to critical comments on mainstream American behavior and life.
At the ASA meeting a petition in favor of the boycott of Israel received 850 signatures; one opposing the boycott was signed by about 50. Two sessions of these people in American studies were devoted to a "Town Hall Meeting on Palestine," and to "Open Discussion on Palestine."
The boycott resolution was endorsed by the current president and by the president-elect. The current president is Curtis Marez, an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the UC San Diego. His main focus seems to be on U.S. Latinos. Mr. Marez's only published book is Drug Wars: the Political Economy of Narcotics, issued in 2004. It is unclear what expertise he now has enabling him to endorse a statement that Israeli universities are involved in complicity of occupation.
The forthcoming president is Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. Her stated interests are mainly in the history of gender and sexuality and in gay and lesbian studies. She has published in 2003 one book under her own name, The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Does she know that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and that gay rights are protected in Israel as they are not in the other Middle East countries? When will these people honoring "Palestinian civil society" recognize that academic boycotts against Israel are flawed, that they impose a test of national or religious, essentially Jewish, identification or opinions that as the American Association of University Professors has suggested have nothing to do with eligibility for participation in the academic community. Moreover, the boycotters fail to recognize that Israeli academics do not necessarily agree with the political decisions of their government, and that they may share with the boycotters some of their views about the Palestinians.
It is time for the AAS, the ASA, and all academic and professional bodies, to recognize that academic freedom is precious. Institutions and individuals within them should be judged on the basis of their ideas and work, not on their nationality or religion. If they truly care for "Palestinian civil society" the critics should be building bridges, not boycotts. They ought to remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "don't use solutions that don't solve."
Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.
Later today David Cameron is expected to announce efforts to restrain Muslim hate preachers and jihadist recruiting. I have no reason to believe that these will be any more effective than the governments previous cosmetic attempts to convince the public that "something is being done". But Muslim whinge group Run and tell tales to Mummy, Tell MAMA isn't happy. From the Independent.
A group that monitors attacks on Muslims said it was preparing for an upsurge of violence as a result of the moves being announced today by David Cameron.
Under the Prime Minister’s proposals, Islamist radicals face being expelled from mosques, Muslim community groups and universities in a fight-back against fundamentalism. The courts would be given new civil powers – similar to Asbos – to ban suspected extremists from preaching or indoctrinating others.
At the same time internet companies have been asked to block terrorist material from overseas being accessed in this country.
The measures were proposed by the Prime Minister’s extremism task force – which included ministers, community groups, the police and the security services – set up after the killing of Lee Rigby.
Last night Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Tell Mama, which records anti-Muslim incidents, said he feared Mr Cameron’s announcements would reinforce negative perceptions of Muslims.
Mr Mughal said he had asked extra staff to be on standby because of an anticipated surge in hate attacks. He added that the new rules should cover all forms of extremism, including the activities of the far right. “There has to be parity and not a feeling that Muslims are being singled out,” he said.
Chris Allen, an expert on Islamophobia at Birmingham University, said: “The more the lens is turned on the Muslim community, the more society begins to think, ‘There’s no smoke without fire’.” (or the sword)
Speaking in China, Mr Cameron defended the proposals. “In light of the dreadful events in Woolwich, I thought it was very important to have a proper look through all of the UK’s institutions to make sure we really are doing everything we can to drive out radicalisation,” he said. “This is not just about violent extremism, this is about extremism that leads to radicalisation and particularly Islamist extremism.”
Mr Cameron said there were “just too many people” who had been radicalised at Islamic centres or who had been in contact with extremist preachers, who had “not been sufficiently challenged”.
The report includes a definition of Islamist extremism as a distinct ideology which, it says, should not be confused with traditional religious practice. It describes it as an ideology which is based on a “distorted interpretation of Islam, which betrays Islam’s peaceful principles”.
What did I say in my first paragraph? Read the comments under the article, in particular that of Lion Singh. Some people have been dealing with Islam up close and personal for a long time, and are not fooled by Cameron's apologetics.
'Sydney men 'sent Aussies [sic - CM] to fight in Syria'.
'The husband of controversial (sic: "lawfare-waging" would be a more accurate description; or "lying and trouble-making" - CM) Muslim woman Carnita Matthews (I wonder what her super-special convert-to-Islam Arabic name is? - CM) is one of two people arrested today for sending Australians (that is, for the 1000th time I find myself making this correction, "Australian-passport-possessing Muslims" - CM) to fight on the front lines of Syria's civil war.
Gee: what a surprise. - CM
'Hamdi Alqudsi, 39, was arrested at his St Helen's Park home, at the same time police were arresting a 23 year old man in Lidcombe.
The locations are unsurprising. The focus of the Ummah colony in Sydney is in Lakemba, now 51 percent Muslim, with Auburn not far behind; but there are now subsidiary colonies forming all across western and southwestern Sydney. - CM
'Alqudsi is the husband of Ms Matthews, who is best known for her run-in with police, when she refused to remove her burqa during a random breath test, two years ago."
She also made a false declaration accusing the police officer of mistreating her; but was caught out by the footage on his car cam which showed that he had not done what she said he did. She slithered free, however, in the resulting court case because - since she had worn the Slave Mask at the time when she made her statement accusing the officer - it was decided that it was not 100 percent certain that the woman in the car cam footage and the woman who handed in the accusation against the cop were one and the same.
If you click on the link to read the article at The Telegraph you will see her bearded jihadi husband being taken away by the cops and you will also see footage of Ms Matthews - or something that is said to be Ms Matthews, but how can one be sure? - in full black Ringwraith get-up, outside the court after the aforesaid case.
She has been busy producing little jihadis for the Cause...
"The pair (Al Qudsi and Matthews - CM) have several children between them.
'Police allege Alqudsi organised travel and arranged overseas contacts for six Australians to fight in Syria.
'This allegedly included fighting with the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra and affiliates of Al-Qaeda..".
Observe: where the slave-masked Muslimah scuttles, there also the Jihad gang boss prowls. If Al Qudsi wasn't already under scrutiny at the time his convert-to-Islam wife made an exhibition of herself and made false accusations against a policeman, he should certainly have come under scrutiny thereafter. Further thought: any country that has instituted or may in future institute a Burqa and Niqab Ban should, in the process of enforcing it, thoroughly investigate - as a matter of course - the Muslim male associates of any masked Muslimahs caught flouting the ban; for it's a safe bet that some of those males will turn out to be Up To No Good. - CM
Growing numbers of Americans believe that U.S. global power and prestige are in decline. And support for U.S. global engagement, already near a historic low, has fallen further. The public thinks that the nation does too much to solve world problems, and increasing percentages want the U.S. to “mind its own business internationally” and pay more attention to problems here at home.
Yet this reticence is not an expression of across-the-board isolationism. Even as doubts grow about the United States’ geopolitical role, most Americans say the benefits from U.S. participation in the global economy outweigh the risks. And support for closer trade and business ties with other nations stands at its highest point in more than a decade.
These are among the principal findings of America’s Place in the World, a quadrennial survey of foreign policy attitudes conducted in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a nonpartisan membership organization and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy.
Video: Key Findings from the Survey
The survey of the general public, conducted Oct. 30-Nov. 6 among 2,003 adults, finds that views of U.S. global importance and power have passed a key milestone. For the first time in surveys dating back nearly 40 years, a majority (53%) says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago. The share saying the U.S. is less powerful has increased 12 points since 2009 and has more than doubled – from just 20% – since 2004.
An even larger majority says the U.S. is losing respect internationally. Fully 70% say the United States is less respected than in the past, which nearly matches the level reached late in former President George W. Bush’s second term (71% in May 2008). Early last year, fewer Americans (56%) thought that the U.S. had become less respected globally.
Foreign policy, once a relative strength for President Obama, has become a target of substantial criticism. By a 56% to 34% margin more disapprove than approve of his handling of foreign policy. The public also disapproves of his handling of Syria, Iran, China and Afghanistan by wide margins. On terrorism, however, more approve than disapprove of Obama’s job performance (by 51% to 44%).
The public’s skepticism about U.S. international engagement – evident in America’s Place in the World surveys four and eight years ago – has increased. Currently, 52% say the United States “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” Just 38% disagree with the statement. This is the most lopsided balance in favor of the U.S. “minding its own business” in the nearly 50-year history of the measure.
After the recent near-miss with U.S. military action against Syria, the NATO mission in Libya and lengthy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, about half of Americans (51%) say the United States does too much in helping solve world problems, while just 17% say it does too little and 28% think it does the right amount. When those who say the U.S. does “too much” internationally are asked to describe in their own words why they feel this way, nearly half (47%) say problems at home, including the economy, should get more attention.
But the public expresses no such reluctance about U.S. involvement in the global economy. Fully 77% say that growing trade and business ties between the United States and other countries are either very good (23%) or somewhat good (54%) for the U.S. Just 18% have a negative view. Support for increased trade and business connections has increased 24 points since 2008, during the economic recession.
By more than two-to-one, Americans see more benefits than risks from greater involvement in the global economy. Two-thirds (66%) say greater involvement in the global economy is a good thing because it opens up new markets and opportunities for growth. Just 25% say that it is bad for the country because it exposes the U.S. to risk and uncertainty. Large majorities across education and income categories – as well as most Republicans, Democrats and independents – have positive views of increased U.S. involvement in the world economy.
To be sure, the public sees some harmful consequences from the movement of companies and people across borders. A majority (62%) says that more foreign companies setting up operations in the United States would mostly help the economy. But 73% think that the economy would be hurt if more U.S. companies move their operations abroad.
The public has mixed views of the impact of attracting more high-skilled and low-skilled people from other countries to work in the United States: 46% say more high-skilled workers from abroad would mostly help the economy while 43% see benefits from increasing the number of low-skilled workers from other countries.
Views of Council on Foreign Relations Members
A companion survey of 1,838 members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), conducted online from Oct. 7-Nov. 11, provides a unique perspective on public attitudes about America’s place in the world. The organization’s members have a decidedly internationalist outlook: For example, majorities see benefits for the United States from possible effects of increased globalization, including more U.S. companies moving their operations overseas.
The CFR members, who were enthusiastic about Barack Obama’s presidency four years ago, offer some significant criticism today. More than four-in-ten (44%) say Obama’s handling of foreign policy is worse than they expected, while just 16% say it is better than expected; 40% say it met their expectations. A particular area of disappointment stands out among the CFR members: that Obama’s handling of the situation with Syria weakened America’s reputation around the world.
Notably, there is consensus among the organization’s members that the public has become less internationalist. Fully 92% say that in recent years “the American public has become less supportive of the U.S. taking an active role in world affairs.”
When asked why the public has become less supportive of global engagements, 42% of CFR members point to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or explicitly cite “war fatigue.” About a quarter (28%) mention the struggling U.S. economy or the costs of international engagement. Other factors cited are the ineffectiveness of recent U.S. interventions (mentioned by 19%) and failures of U.S. leadership (17%). (For more on how members of the Council on Foreign Relations view America’s Place in the World, see section 6).
Opinion about Iran and Views of Global Security Threats
The surveys, which were completed before the multilateral agreement aimed at freezing Iran’s nuclear development program, find that most Americans do not believe that Iranian leaders are serious about addressing concerns over its nuclear program. Among those who heard at least a little about the nuclear talks, just 33% say they think Iranian leaders are serious about addressing international concerns about the country’s nuclear enrichment program, while 60% say they are not.
Members of the Council on Foreign Relations have more positive views of Iranian leaders’ intentions. Still, just half (50%) of the organization’s members say Iranian leaders are serious about addressing concerns over its nuclear program, while 44% disagree.
Among the public, there are partisan differences over whether Iranian leaders are serious about addressing concerns over the country’s nuclear program. Majorities of Republicans (73%) and independents (62%) who have heard at least a little about the nuclear talks say Iranian leaders are not serious in addressing nuclear concerns. Democrats who have heard about this issue offer more mixed evaluations; 42% say Iranian leaders are serious and 48% say they are not.
Iran’s nuclear program continues to be one of the top global threats to the United States in the public’s view. Nearly seven-in-ten Americans (68%) say that Iran’s nuclear program is a major threat to the well-being of the United States, which is changed only modestly from America’s Place in the World surveys in 2009 and 2005.
Views of other long-standing global threats, such as Islamic extremist groups like al Qaeda (75% major threat), North Korea’s nuclear program (68%) and China’s emergence as a world power (54%), also have changed little in recent years.
However, the public now is deeply concerned by an emerging security threat, possible cyber-attacks against the United States. Seven-in-ten (70%) say that cyber-attacks represent a major threat, placing this on par with Islamic extremist groups and Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
In terms of China and Russia, in particular, the public does not view either country very favorably – just 33% have a favorable opinion of China while 32% view Russia favorably.
Yet there is no evidence of growing public alarm about either China or Russia. Only about one-in-five Americans (23%) regard China as an adversary, while 43% see the country as a serious problem but not an adversary; 28% say China is not much of a problem. That opinion has held fairly steady for more than a decade. Similarly, relatively few (18%) view Russia as an adversary; 36% say Russia is a serious problem but not an adversary and 40% think the country is not much of a problem.
When asked which country represents the greatest danger to the United States, identical percentages volunteer Iran and China (16%). Nearly one-in-ten (9%) say that the United States itself represents the greatest danger, while 7% each cite North Korea and Iraq.
Public’s Top Foreign Policy Priorities: Terrorism and Jobs
As in the past, many leading foreign policy priorities reflect domestic concerns. While 83% say that protecting the United States from terrorist attacks should be a top long-range foreign policy goal, about as many (81%) rate protecting the jobs of American workers as a top priority.
Majorities also say that reducing the country’s dependence on imported energy sources (61%) and combating international drug trafficking (57%) should be top priorities, while nearly half say the same about reducing illegal immigration (48%).
Many of the public’s domestically oriented goals are not shared by most members of the Council on Foreign Relations: Just 29% say protecting the jobs of American workers should be top policy priority, compared with 81% of the public. And only about one-in-ten CFR members (11%) sees reducing illegal immigration as a top long-range policy goal; 48% of the public views reducing illegal immigration as a top priority.
Climate change stands out as an issue of greater priority to CFR members than the public: A majority of the organization’s members (57%) say that dealing with global climate change should be a top foreign policy goal, compared with 37% of the public.
Promoting human rights abroad, helping improve living standards in developing countries and promoting democracy rate as relatively low priorities for both the public and CFR members. These views have changed only modestly in recent years.
Perceptions of U.S. Global Power
In the public’s view, China long ago surpassed the United States as the world’s top economic power. In the new survey, 48% say China is the world’s leading economic power while just 31% say it is the United States. That is little changed from recent years.
Yet, most Americans (68%) continue to say that the United States is the world’s leading military power. Just 14% think China has overtaken the United States in military strength.
In general terms, however, an increasing share of Americans think that the United States plays a less important and powerful role as world leader than it did 10 years ago. Currently 53% see the U.S. as a less powerful world leader, up from 41% in 2009.
Members of the Council on Foreign Relations also believe that U.S. power has declined. A majority of the organization’s members (62%) express this view, compared with 44% in 2009.
Partisanship is a major factor in changing public opinion about U.S. global power. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans (74%) say the United States plays a less important and powerful role than it did 10 years ago, up from 50% four years ago and just 8% in July 2004.
Yet, the percentage of political independents who view the U.S. as less powerful also has grown, from 23% in 2004 to 45% in 2009 and 55% today. Democrats’ views have changed little over this period; in the current survey, 33% of Democrats say the U.S. is less powerful than it was a decade ago.
Partisan differences are not as pronounced in opinions about whether the United States is respected internationally. Majorities of Republicans (80%), independents (74%) and Democrats (56%) say the United States is less respected by other nations than in in the past.
In contrast with attitudes about America’s global power, there is more partisan agreement that the United States should be less active internationally. About half of independents (55%) and Republicans (53%) and 46% of Democrats say the United States should mind its own business internationally. In 2002, following the 9/11 attacks, 27% of independents, 22% of Republicans and 40% of Democrats wanted the United States to mind its own business internationally.
Obama and Foreign Policy
Barack Obama’s overall job approval rating has fallen over the past year, and he gets low ratings for his handling of number of foreign policy issues. His job rating is below 40% for nine of 10 foreign policy issues tested, including his overall handling of the nation’s foreign policy. Terrorism is the only issue on which more approve of the job he is doing (51%) than disapprove (44%).
Views of Obama’s job performance in handling foreign policy issues are mostly on par with ratings of his performance on some domestic issues. The survey finds that 37% approve of the way Obama is handling health care and just 31% approve of his handling of the economy.
About half of Americans (51%) say that Obama is not tough enough in his approach to foreign policy and national security issues; 37% say his approach is about right while 5% say he is too tough. The share saying Obama is not tough enough has risen 10 points since September (from 41%), though it is only slightly higher than the percentage describing him this way in April 2010 (47%).
With regard to specific security policies, 50% say the use of military drones to target extremists in Pakistan and other countries in the region has made the United States safer from terrorism, just 14% say it has made the U.S. less safe, while 27% say it has not made a difference.
The government’s phone and internet surveillance programs get mixed grades: 39% say they have made the nation safer from terrorism, 14% less safe and 38% say they have not made a difference. Finally, as the war in Afghanistan is winding down, just 31% of the public say the 12-year-long conflict has made the country safer from terrorism, 21% say it has made the U.S. less safe, and the plurality view (43%) is that it has not made a difference in U.S. security.
THE battle for Africa was raging on two fronts last night with fears of a genocide and horrific accounts of human rights breaches sweeping through its heartlands. Mali and the Central African Republic have both been plunged into crisis by reprisal religious killings and reports of widespread executions, torture and rape.
Almost half a million people, a tenth of the country’s (Central African Republic) population, have fled since Muslim rebels ousted President Francois Bozize last spring.
Tit-for-tat murders are a daily threat, increasing fears of a full-scale civil war.
As many as 35,000 people are trying to avoid the violence by sheltering in a church compound the size of a football stadium in the town of Bossangoa.
In recent days leaders from both sides of the religious divide have tried to bring about a reconciliation but outside the compound the Muslim Seleka rebels are still a threat.
Portrait photographer Mathieu Marco gave a terrifying description of the violence being exacted by the rebels. Speaking from the entrance to the compound, Marco told how he escaped death when a Muslim militia commander stormed into his home by hiding in a shower.
The rebel screamed at Marco’s young son to reveal where he was hiding before walking back into the street and killing a 13-year-old neighbour. "He killed him in cold blood, just like that. Pow! Pow!” said Marco. He is desperate for intervention to end the bloodletting. “French soldiers or Americans or Asians...we just want peace. “Seleka are just professional bandits. They have come here to plunder our nation. They must be chased away, that’s all.”
Outside the capital Bangui, Seleka violence has seen the rise of Christian militia known as the “anti-balaka”, meaning anti- machete.
EU aid chief Kristalina Georgieva warns that without a dramatic increase in the number of foreign peacekeepers the Central African Republic faces a Somalia-like state collapse and potential genocide.
The BBC gives equal culpability to the Christians efforts at self defence. CNN says Muslim 'maginalisation' is to blame. Suddenly Angola's suspicion of Muslim expansion looks very reasonable.
"Two Sydney Men Arrested By AFP For Allegedly Attempting to Join Fighting In Syria".
"Two Sydney men". That is: "Two Sydney-Resident Muslims". Note: for the benefit of non-Australian readers: AFP is the acronym for 'Australian Federal Police.'. - CM
"Police allege that one of two Sydney men arrested today is the ringleader of a criminal syndicate which has been helping recruit people ('people': that is - Sunni Muslims - CM) to travel to Syria to join the fight against the Assad regime.
That is: to join the Sunni Muslim jihad against the deemed-heretical Alawites. - CM
'The arrests, which the Australian Federal Police say are not related to any local terrorism threat (that is: to any Muslim plots to attack Infidels here in Australia; but what of the hapless minority Christians in Syria, whom these bloodthirsty thugs are very likely to target? - CM), come after reports emerge that an Australian man ("Australian"?? he was not "Australian", he was an Aussie-passport-holding Muslim - CM) had blown himself up in a suicide attack at a military airport in the east of Syria.
'Hamdi Al Qudsi, 39 (so - not a hot-headed 'youth'; he would have been born in 1974 - in Australia? or somewhere else? did his family come to Australia as Lebanese Muslim 'refugees' in the 1970s or 1980s? if they and all the other Muslims had never been admitted in the first place, we wouldn't have to worry about all this ugly stupidity, now - CM) has been charged with seven offences, including being a conduit for people (that is: Sunni Muslims - CM) leaving Australia to fight in armed hostilities against the Syrian government.
They see themselves as waging jihad to destroy the hated Alawite heretics. They would hate the Alawites and seek to crush them no matter what the Assad regime had done or not done. At bottom the Alawites are hated for being Alawites; that's all that it takes. Heretic, apostate, infidel = somebody who must be trampled beneath the feet of the pious Muslim...or annihilated altogether. The hate that is driving these Sunni Muslims from all over the world to swarm to Syria to attack the now-seen-as-vulnerable Alawites is also - the sooner Australian citizenry, law enforcement and lawmakers realize it, the better - directed toward all infidels everywhere, including those infidels who surround them, in Australia. - CM
'Police allege five young men (five young Sunni Muslim men - CM) left Australia for that purpose between late June and July this year.
I assume that we know exactly who they are? If so: what steps are being taken to prevent them from returning, to attack and kill Infidels in Australia - supposing that they do not, in Syria, emulate that other murder-'martyr' who blew himself up in the attempt to kill as many Alawites as possible?? - CM
'Al Qudsi appeared in Bankstown court this afternoon and was granted bail with very strict conditions, but will be held at Sydney's Silverwater jail until he can produce the $10,000 security required.
??? !!! Someone like this should not be granted bail, period (though, to be frank, if he flitted off to Syria to jump into the intra-Ummah bloodbath there, I would be glad to be rid of him...so long as he was stopped from coming back). But if someone - or more than one - does stump up the cash, I hope the AFP and the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, and ASIO, will take an interest in them. Follow the money. And I wonder what mosque he attends? I wonder what mosque those five eager-beaver jihadis attended? I hope it is being bugged, and searched, and thoroughly investigated. - CM
'The second man, 23 year old Amin Mohammed, was arrested as he was due to board a plane from Brisbane airport to Syria, allegedly to help fight in the conflict.
I'd have let him go...but I'd have cancelled his passport once I knew he was in Syria. I wonder what airline he was flying with? QANTAS, via Dubai?? But I guess the passengers on that flight are heaving sighs of relief at his having been arrested; especially whoever it was who would have been his seat-mate; imagine finding out that you would have had this high-on-Quran, Sira and Hadith jihad-intoxicated dreaming-of-slitting-throats mohammedthug sitting in the seat next to you for hours and hours and hours...- CM
'he was also granted bail with strict conditions but remains in custody after failing to come up with the $5,000 bond.
No-one in the Ummah stumped up for him? Looks like he's being tossed under the bus. Damage control...- CM
'AFP Deputy Commissioner Peter Drennan says the arrests were the result of a joint investigation between the AFP and NSW Police.
"We will allege one of the men is responsible for arranging overseas contacts, facilitating travel into Syria for Australian citizens (that is: for Muslims who hold Australian passports - CM) to fight on the front line", he said.
"Police will allege six people were facilitated into Syria and one was stopped by Australian authorities from leaving the country.
Why stop them? Let's just hurry up and rejig the immigration and citizenship laws so that Muslims who go off to jihad hotspots can be prevented from returning to the infidel lands where their Ummah fifth-column colony of origin is currently resident; then there would be no problem, indeed, the more of them left, the better. - CM
"Police also allege that the other male committed a number of acts ('acts' - odd phrasing, this. Had he, like that other Mohammedan from London, scratched up the money to buy the ticket, etc, for his Excellent Jihad Adventure, by robbing infidels? - CM) to leave Australia and to travel to Syria to fight in armed hostilities".
'He said the men were linked to a terror organisation (jihad gang no. 1001 - and counting - CM) Jabhat al-Nusra, which was affiliated with Al Qaeda.
And where does Al Qaeda come from? It didn't magically pop out of thin air. It is a completely natural and to-be-expected outgrowth from or crystallisation of the Ummah, the Mohammedan Mob. The Ummah is the nurturing sea within which the jihadists swim and from which, ceaselessly, they emerge. Got Muslims? - got Jihad. - CM
'Joining Syrian rebels a criminal offence in Australia'
"Federal Attorney-General George Brandis says the arrests are a reminder of the risks to Australia's national security from people who support or engage in foreign conflicts.
Translation:' from Muslims who take Islam to heart.' - CM
'Senator Brandis says the threat posed by Australian travellers (sic: by Australian-passport-holding muslims who travel - CM) to Syria and other conflict zones ('conflict zones' = 'jihad hot-spots' - CM) is "significant" and will likely have long-term implications for national security.
Not if we get a clue and start figuring out how to rejig our laws so that such Muslims can be 1/ stripped of the Australian citizenship that is for them merely a temporary and tactical convenience and 2/ prevented, at all costs, from re-entering Australia..or, for that matter, from entering any other part of the Lands of the Non-Muslims. - CM
'Deputy Commissioner Drennan said while he understood the desire for the Australians from within the Syrian community (what 'Syrian community'? - Sunni Muslims from Syria want to crush the Alawites and instal a Sunni Muslim sharia despotism; the Shiite Muslims from Syria - some of whom doubtless are in with the viciously-antisemitic Hezbollah who hate Infidels just as much as the Sunnis do, are siding with the Alawites in order to stick it to the even-more-hated Sunnis; meanwhile, the Syrian Christians who are lucky enough to have found relative safety in Australia are not taking up arms - they are merely worried sick, and praying desperately that a jihad genocide of the indigenous Christian minority in Syria may somehow be averted - CM) to act, joining the rebels was a criminal offence in Australia, irrespective of whether people were linking up with terrorist organisations.
" Jahbut al-Nusra has been proscribed by the Australian Government as a terrorist organisation", he said.
Good. It's a start. Now, let's also ban Hizb ut Tahrir, Tablighi Jamaat, the Ikhwan, Fethullah Gulen, and any number of other sinister Mohammedan entities. - CM
"Al Qaeda and its affiliates are also terrorist organisations.
"Travelling offshore to be involved in armed conflicts('armed conflicts' - it's Jihad, sir; come on, we all know what they're doing, say it; they're going off to take part in bloodthirsty jihad against 1/ deemed-heretical other-sect Muslims, and 2/ defenceless minority Christians - CM) and facilitating travel for others to do this are criminal offences. The law in this area is quite clear.
"I realize the situation in Syria is an important issue for many people in our communities. There is no justification for violence.
"The fighting, killing of people, or people being killed shouldn't be glorified or justified for any reason.
"There are a number of alternative and lawful ways people in Australia can help through the United Nations agencies or nongovernmental organisations such as Red Cross, Save the Children, or World Food Program, who are providing assistance in and around Syria".
Oh yes, there are things we can do. I commend to charity-minded non-Muslims here present the Christian organisation, The Barnabas Fund, who have been working with the indigenous minority Christians in Syria (and in Iraq, and elsewhere in the vicinity) for twenty years now, have local contacts within the church, and are finding ways of getting food and medicine in to the most severely endangered - in fact, mortally imperilled - people of all, namely, those Syrian Christians, some of whom are in fact from Iraq, from which they have been driven out by genocidal Jihad. I would donate to Barnabas rather than to any of the UN bodies mentioned by our well-meaning Mr Drennan, since only money given to Barnabas stands a chance of actually getting to the neediest people of all - the Christians. And apart from that, I suggest that Australian non-Muslims, and citizens of other majority non-Muslim lands, start telling our governments that if we are going to take in any refugees from Syria, then we must not take in even one Muslim (after all - taking in Somali and Lebanese Muslim 'refugees' has proven to be a social disaster); all our 'Syria' refugee places should be reserved for the Christians, since unlike all other parties in the murderous mess in Syria they are utterly defenceless and in danger of being subjected to genocide. - CM
'NSW Police Deputy Commissioner, Catherine Burn, said she was confident the arrest will make it harder for people to travel to Syria to take up the fight.
"I think the critical aspect of this investigation is that we have identified who we believe is the principal person involved in the facilitation network of sending people over to Syria to engage in conflict", she said.
'To engage in conflict". To wage murderous Jihad. - CM
'That has taken some months to identify and I think that that will have put a significant dent into this particular network that is operating".
Other networks will be created. Are you listening in on the chatter around the Sunni mosques in Sydney? - CM
'Four Australians have been killed in fighting in Syria.
Four 'Australians'?? No: 'four Muslims holding Australian passports'. And I do not mourn them, because that is four immediately-dangerous jihad-minded Mohammedan males who will not now be lurking, like ticking time bombs, in the midst of Aussie suburbia. - CM
'At least four Australians (four Muslims holding the temporary and tactical convenience of a passport and citizenship papers issued by an Infidel country whose infidel laws and customs they have been taught to hate and treat with contempt - CM) are known to have been killed in the fighting, and intelligence agencies are thought to be tracking about 100 Australians (100 Aussie-passport-holding Muslims - CM) active in the Syrian conflict.
'The conflict (like other hotspots of jihad in the dar al Islam or on its edges, now and in the past - CM) is a magnet for idealistic young Muslim men, looking to prove their commitment to their faith.
Wow, Auntie! For once, you're actually telling it straight. These guys are...devout, orthodox, bog-standard Muslims, setting out to wage jihad fi sabil allah, to fight in 'allah's cause'. They are obeying the jihad imperative which is hard-wired into Islam, into the religion of blood and war. - CM
'The Government is concerned that some individuals will be further radicalised (will become even more fervently infidel-hating, more zealously bloodthirsty - CM) by their experiences overseas and could use their training to conduct terrorist operations (that is, to wage jihad against Australian non-Muslims - CM) upon returning to Australia.
Then for god's sake, let's change the law so that we can strip these bloodthirsty jihadis, these Mohammedan Mobsters, of their citizenship, cancel their passports, and stop them from getting back in!! How hard is it to see this obvious commonsense course of action! They are not Australian. Their primary and sole loyalty is to the de facto Empire of Islam. They are using us. Let's stop allowing ourselves to be used. Dont. let. them. back. in. If they are let back in, then whoever authorises that act of supine submission should be held at least partly responsible for whatever acts of mass-murderous bloodshed - at a school, a sportsground, a Jewish synagogue, a Christian church, a shopping centre, a bus, a train, a public gathering - these murderous mohammedans carry out - sooner or later - on Australian soil. If they are not let back in, the probability of such an attack being carried out decreases perceptibly. If they are let back in, it increases. So: let's stop playing Muslim roulette. - CM
'In a report to Parliament last year, ASIO went as far as to warn that Australians fighting in Syria may return to "engage in terrorism", and it is thought that some of the Australians who have been killed have been fighting with Jahbat-al-Nusra, a grou with direct links to Al Qaeda.
If we don't want to see Australian schoolkids beheaded or Australian shoppers butchered as those in Westgate in Nairobi were butchered, then we must refuse to let these blooded and bloodthirsty jihadis back into Australia, from Syria. - CM
"Australians who are currently training or fighting overseas may also return to Australia to engage in terrorism (to wage murderous jihad against Australian Infidels, whom they hate and desire to kill or subjugate, just as much as they desire to hate and kill the Alawite and Shiite heretics and Christians infidels in Syria - CM), use their knowledge of Australia to help others plan an attack, or engage in terrorism overseas", the report said.
'However, Deputy Commissioner Drennan was quick to "reassure the Australian community that this is not about a terrorist attack here in Australia".
Yet. If we are stupid enough to let these blooded jihadis back in (supposing they don't meet a sticky end in Syria, which would save us a whole lot of trouble), then it will be about a terrorist attack here, in time. And there is something else to think about: those 100 jihad-minded Mohammedans busy wallowing in the bloodbath in Syria acquired their jihad-mindedness right here in Australia. Their existence tells me that there are imams and sheikhs in Australia busy preaching Jihad, and Muslims in their 'congregations' simply lapping it up. - CM
'Most of the about 400 Australians (that is: Australian-passport-holding Muslims - CM) currently involved in the Syrian conflict are thought to be working with the forces opposing the Assad regime.
'Although some are actively engaged in the fighting, others are (supposedly - CM) working as volunteers for humanitarian agencies and other Islamic groups.
In other words: some are doing the fighting and others are engaged in logistical support for the fighters. That doesn't mean that these folks are any less dangerous, that they are any less likely to be filled with murderous hatred and contempt toward the Alawites, the Shiites, the Christians...Should these people return to Australia, they are the people who will do nothing to stop, and quite possibly much to enable, any jihad attack upon Australian infidels, whom they doubtless despise just as much as they despise Syrian infidels. - CM
A specialist abattoir in northern Norway has slaughtered the country's first ever halal reindeer meat, with a view to selling it to top-end restaurants as far afield as Dubai.
Harry Dyrstad last week slaughtered 100 animals according to halal rules, inviting members of the Islamic Council to accompany his mobile slaughterhouse out to the herds surrounding his small meat-processing plant in Steinkjer, north of Trondheim.
"We had the idea one and a half years ago," Dyrstad told The Local. "We spoke to someone who had some contacts in Dubai, and he said that if you want to sell reindeer meat, it has to be halal, so we had to try."
Dyrstad also aims to cure some of the meat as a halal alternative to ham, which he hopes to sell to muslims in Norway. "We got some information that we could produce some ham from the reindeer, so the children can have ham on their bread," he said.
Mehtab Afsar, General Secretary of the Islamic Council of Norway and one of those who oversaw the slaughter, said he was looking forward to tasting reindeer for the first time. "This is a brand new halal product that Muslims have not had access to before. I am told that this is a very good meat, but I've never tasted it myself," he told the Adresseavisen newspaper.
Soldier Lee Rigby's killers drove around his Woolwich barracks for up to an hour looking for soldiers to kill before they targeted him, the Old Bailey heard.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, drove up and down Artillery Place, in south east London, several times before allegedly running over Mr Rigby on May 22. At one stage, Adebolajo even bought a parking ticket while they waited, the jury was told.
Earlier he had been seen smiling as he walked into a petrol station near his home.
The jury was also shown CCTV footage of Adebolajo buying a pack of kitchen knives and sharpener from Argos in Lewisham.
When I was a very young doctor I had an enormously fat patient – in those days it was rare to be so fat – who was admitted to the hospital for a long time to try to get her to lose weight more or less by starving her. I still remember her semi-liquid form flowing over the sides of the bed. I tried to be nice and understating.
“I suppose you eat for comfort,” I said to her.
“No, dear,” she replied. “I just like the taste.”
I did no know then that she was (if I may be permitted what in the circumstances is a slightly ridiculous metaphor) the canary in the mine, and that only 40 years later many human mastodons would bestride the world, at least in America and Britain.
With this epidemic has grown a new surgical speciality: bariatric surgery, that is to say surgery to correct obesity. A paper in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports on the results of two types of such surgery to treat obesity, gastric bypass and laparoscopic gastric band. (How long before a rock group calls itself the Laparoscopic Gastric Band?) The authors conglomerated the results from 10 hospitals so that the results should reflect average practice, not just the very best practice.
Gastric bypass proved to have better results all round than gastric banding, except that there were a small number of deaths immediately after surgery. But the results were distinctly variable even for the same procedure; for example, at three years after operation those who had had a gastric bypass varied between having lost 59.2 per cent of their baseline weight and having gained 0.9 per cent. Those who underwent the gastric banding varied between having lost 56.1 per cent of their original weight and having gained 12.6 per cent. On average, however, the two groups had lost 31.5 per cent and 15.9 per cent respectively of their original weights after their operations.
Most of the weight loss was within the first year after the procedures; one sub-group among the patients began to regain weight after six months, and all began to regain weight after two years. The weight they gained after two years, however, was slight by comparison with what they had lost.
Gross obesity is strongly associated with Type II diabetes. The operations ameliorated the diabetes of those who suffered from it in 67.5 percent of those who had at the time of gastric bypass and 28.6 percent of those who had it at the time of gastric banding. Gastric bypass also improved the lipid profile of 61.9 percent of patients with dyslipidamia and 27.1 percent of those who underwent gastric banding. The question that this study did not answer, however, was whether these improvements resulted in a reduced death rate of those who underwent surgery compared with those who did not. For it is always dangerous to suppose that the reduction in the risk factors for something (such as death from heart attacks or strokes) actually results in a reduction of that something itself. What stands to reason in medicine turns out often not to be so reasonable after all.
I happened to read this paper while I was in France. No one can possibly say that the French do not enjoy their food but it is perfectly obvious that the proportion of grossly obese people in the population of France is very much smaller than that in America or Britain. This was an aspect of the question of obesity that the paper did not mention. There is no possibility that surgery will improve the deplorable dietary choices of so many Americans and British.