It is dispiriting that the temperature of the Obama Administration towards Israel appears to be lukewarm, if not cold. By contrast, it is heartening that the relationship between France and Israel is warm and growing stronger, not only politically but also in economic relationships.
The three-day visit of French President Francois Hollande to Israel in November 2013 was largely focused on discussion with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concerning the Iranian nuclear issue. Most attention and analysis of the visit understandingly addressed this issue. But equally important, and perhaps more important in the long run, were economic contracts and developments resulting from the visit. Not surprisingly, since the president was accompanied by a large group of business leaders, important, though less publicized, economic agreements were made. President Hollande showed he was determined to have French publicly-owned companies invest in Israel.
French private companies have invested in Israeli enterprises for some time. The new feature is that French state-sponsored firms will join economic associations and partnerships with those enterprises. One of the most important of these developments is the strategic cooperation agreement signed on November 17, 2013 between the National Society of French Railroads (SNCF) and Israel Railways (ISR). The SNCF is the French national, state-owned rail company, with 180,000 employees, operating the nation's national rail services, including the high-speed TYGV network. ISR is a government-based rail company employing 1900 workers concerned with carriage and passenger transport in Israel.
Seventy years after the events in France during World War II, differences still exist about the actions of the SNCF in transporting 76,000 Jews in 80 convoys on the journey to the Nazi concentration and extermination camps in the Holocaust. The SNCF in recent years has officially expressed remorse over the wartime actions but argued that it was coerced into operating those convoys. Critics have argued that SNCF should still be accountable for its role in those actions and should pay reparations to the victims who were transported, along with their descendants. In reply, the SNCF claims immunity from legal action because of the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 that limits legal suits against a foreign sovereign nation or its agencies. As a partial solution, the SNCF reached an agreement with Yad Vashem in Jerusalem to pursue further research into this hotly controversial issue of the deportations.
The agreement was signed by Guillaume Pepy, chairman of SNCF, and Boaz Zafrir, the CEO of ISR on November 17, during Hollande's visit. Since the year 2000 cooperation has existed between the two parties, and it will now be strengthened and extended in many areas. SNCF will provide experience to transform Israel Railways into a modern and service-oriented national railway operator. The agreement includes the establishment of a training program for ISR engine drivers and the development and modernization of Israeli railway stations. As a result ISR hopes to carry 70 million passengers in 2020, compared to 12 million in 2000 and 40 million in 2012.
Other contracts were made on transport and energy issues. After considerable discussion, the Israeli trade union in 2012 agreed to a decision that Israel should outsource maintenance and services on its railroads, provided that no more than 30% of the current rolling stock be outsourced. After international bidding, a contract was given to France's Alstom SA, the large multinational company employing 85,000 people in power generation and transport concerns. Alstom will maintain the outdated carriages of the Israel Railways, in all 144 rail cars, which is 30 per cent of the total.
Alstom has already served Israel in providing maintenance for the rolling stock that it supplied to the cars used in the Jerusalem light rail franchise. Alstom employees will perform the maintenance work with services initially at the rail depots in Haifa and Lod.
French firms are now beginning to invest large sums in Israel in some industries such as solar energy, not only because of the sunshine in the country, but also because it can be a model for building in the desert. A major relationship is with EDF-EN Israel (Énergies Nouvelles) which is about 85% state owned, which has 2,000 employees and which is part of the French energy giant Électricité de France with 160,000 workers. Its investments include more than 250 million euros in 11 Negev solar-energy projects that will have a total production capacity of 160 megawatts, a major party of Israel's renewable energies. Two of them have already been completely built. Four other large projects will be built during the next two years. A major focus is the Zmorot Solar Park project which will be the largest solar project in Israel, and one of the largest in the world. The EDC has been working with the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) for some time, and will now team with it to build a power station at Ashkelon concerned with natural gas and coal.
Other new developments include French investment in the Israeli firm, Beit Shemesh-based Atlantium Technologies, that is focused on water disinfection. French firms are involved with Israeli companies working on cyberspace security and well as in other fields of energy. French entrepreneurs have recognized Israel as an important player in the fields of new technologies.
The visit of President Hollande and his entourage to Israel has had important consequences with signs of greater cooperation between the two countries, especially in the areas of new technologies in which Israel has been prominent. France is now paying greater attention to Israel and is appreciating the mutual benefits gained from that cooperation. Perhaps President Hollande can persuade other members of the European Union to follow his example.
Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.
Note that the BBC does not name the aptly named Lynn Small, nor quote the MP and her employer Staffordshire County Council on the matter. However the local paper the Daventry Express is not so sensitive to her feelings. And according to the Telegraph comments here she has been accused of bullying her teachers on more than one occasion.
A head teacher has apologised for sending parents a letter saying a "racial discrimination" note would be added to their child's education record if they did not go on a religious trip. Pupils from Littleton Green Community School, Cannock, were expected to go to Staffordshire University to "learn about different cultures".
Parents were warned: "Refusal to allow your child to attend this trip will result in a Racial Discrimination note being attached to your child's education record, which will remain on this file throughout their school career." Note the use of 'jolly child-friendly" comic sans font, in a letter from a professional to other adults!
However, following criticism from parents that the letter amounted to a threat - and the subsequent intervention of the local education authority - Mrs Small has retracted her comments regarding the markers.
In a statement, she said: "While keen for all children to benefit from the workshop, I realise my letter was badly worded and it was certainly not my intention to upset any families. I contacted parents to apologise, which they have accepted. I have made it clear that no notes will be made on records and parents are of course free to choose whether their child participates in the trip."
Staffordshire County Council, which was only contacted after the letter was sent, said while the issue was a school matter it had "strongly advised" the headteacher to clarify to parents their right to withdraw their children from religious activities if they chose, and that no notes would be made on pupils' records should they not attend.
The local MP for South Staffordshire Gavin Williamson, who was contacted by several concerned parents, branded the school's initial approach "unfair", "heavy-handed and slightly bonkers".
A Staffordshire County Council spokesman said: "This is a school matter and the county council was only contacted once the letter had been sent. We believe it is important for children to find out about more about different cultures, however parents also have a right to withdraw their children from religious activities if they choose to. Clearly it is not appropriate for comments about racial discrimination to be made in these circumstances. We strongly advised the school to contact parents immediately to explain this and to confirm no notes will be made on any of the pupil's records if their parents choose not to attend the visit and this has now been done."
In its most recent inspection earlier this year the school, which has been in special measures since February 2012 and has 340 pupils, was rated as requiring improvement . . . Ofsted inspectors said Littleton Green, which has mainly white British pupils, was getting better.
Update below. I have been given sight of the apology letter. Mrs Small has obviously taken some small criticism on board - she is now using a sensible font in which to address parents.
Jailed hate preacher Abu Qatada has urged his followers to continue the jihad in Syria in his first edict published in years. Writing from his prison cell in Jordan, Qatada, who was deported from Britain in July, said his fellow extremists should stay committed to the 'conquest' of Jerusalem.
The edict has been published on several Islamist websites from where it has been downloaded at least 12,000 times, the Sunday Times reports. (from behind their paywall, which is why I’m taking the story from the Mail)
Qatada claims that he had been prevented from praising his jihadist brothers while living in England because of the restrictions placed on him at the time. He apologised for not having been able to send a message of support to Jihadists fighting the Assad regime.
While there are reports that Israel may be checking out logistics in Saudi Arabia for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, the Hon. Geert Wilders cautions them and us that they best not countenance the Wahhabist agenda of the temporary ally. In a Gates of Vienna (Gov) post, Wilders argues that what Saudi Arabia needs to do is exchange its flag emblazoed with the Shahada, the profession of faith, for one of truth and liberation. What prompted this was the ninth anniversary of threatsagainst his life by Muslim extremists following the murderous attack by a Dutch Moroccan that the the life of Theo van Gogh , Dutch fim maker in broad daylight on the streets of Amsterdam. All because Van Gogh, with the assistance of Hirsi Ali had made a short film called Submission, about women under Islam. Those threats sent against Wilders life sent the Royal Dutch Protection Service to his door to put him into 24/7 protective custody wherever he goes. Having witnessed the diligence of the RDPS during a New York event at Columbia University we organized for him in 2009, I know first hand what that entails and the seriousness of the Islamist threats to Wilders life.
:Geert Wilders is the leader of the PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid, Party for Freedom) in The Netherlands. In recognition of an important anniversary this month, Mr. Wilders has undertaken an ambitious project, which he explains below.
Nine years ago this month, in November 2004, policemen wearing bullet proof vests and carrying machine guns picked me up at my home and drove me to a safe place. This happened two days after the filmmaker and Islam-critic Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamic assassin in broad daylight on an Amsterdam street. The police brought me to safety because Islamic criminals had threatened to kill me, too. Because I, too, spoke the truth about Islam, the biggest threat to our freedom and our civilization.
Since that ominous date, nine years ago, I have been forced to live under constant police protection. I have lived in army barracks, prisons and safe houses. The threats continue to this day and have deprived me of my privacy and my freedom.
But I will continue to speak. The flag of Saudi Arabia proudly proclaims the Shahada or the Islamic declaration of faith: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
In remembrance of the past nine years, in remembrance of the thousands of victims who were murdered in that period by Islamic assassins, in London, in Moscow, in Mumbai, in Nairobi, and in countless other places, and in remembrance of the millions of people — women, apostates, non-Muslims — who daily suffer discrimination and humiliation from the evil ideology of Islam and oppressive Islamic Sharia law, I offer the Islamic world a new flag — a flag with a declaration of truth and liberation: “Islam is a lie, Muhammad a criminal, the Koran is poison.”
Only when the Islamic world comes to realize this truth, will it be able to free itself from evil, making the world a better and safer place for all human beings.
Only when the free world comes to realize that Islam is predominantly a totalitarian ideology rather than a religion, will it be able to defend its liberties and values.
Mark Dubowitz of Foundation for Orde Kitrie of Foundation for
Defense of DemocraciesDefense of Democracies
Yesterday, when we posted on the P5+1 deal we indicated that we were wating for Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) to provide an independent assessment of the sanctions relief. Today's Wall Street Journal has an op ed by both Dubowitz and FDD Senior fellow Orde Kittrie that mirrors the opinion of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu , Yuval Steintiz and the other members of the security cabinet in Jerusalem, "A Bad Agreement Likely to Get Worse." Read it. Then wonder what went through the collective minds of President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the team of State Department officials who were beavering away in secret for a year holding back channel discussions with the Iranians even before President Rouhani was elected last June.
Here are some telling excerpts:
Even with improvements, the interim agreement fails to bring Iran into compliance with its key international legal obligations as spelled out in United Nations Security Council resolutions. The agreement comes closest on compliance with the resolutions' requirement that Iran "suspend" work on "all heavy water-related projects" including "construction" of the Arak reactor. While the Geneva agreement commits Iran to refrain from the most significant activities at Arak, it does not preclude Iran from general construction work at the site. Iran will easily be able to restart or threaten to restart the more dangerous work at Arak when the six-month interim period ends.
On Iran's other legal obligations, the gap is much greater. The Security Council resolutions require Iran to verifiably "suspend . . . all enrichment-related activities." Yet the Geneva agreement fails to commit Iran to suspend enrichment of uranium to 3.5%. The preamble language even appears to position Iran to begin negotiations for a final deal with its domestic-enrichment program already pocketed as a concession.
The U.N. resolutions require Iran to "provide such access and cooperation as the IAEA requests" to resolve the International Atomic Energy Agency's concerns about Iran's research into nuclear-weapons design. Multiple IAEA reports, including from March 2011 and November 2011, have provided extensive descriptions of Iranian research involving activities related to the development of a nuclear explosive and noted that some of the research "may still be ongoing." Yet the interim agreement does almost nothing to gain such access and cooperation or to require Iran to come clean or provide access and cooperation to ensure that such research is not continuing.
Remarkably, not even the agreement's "elements of the final step of a comprehensive solution" make clear reference to Iran revealing its past nuclear-weapons research. Thus, Iran's affirmation, in the interim agreement preamble, that "under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons" is, with respect to weapons-design research, all trust and next to no verify.
[. . .]
In the absence of verifiable Iranian commitments not to proceed with nuclear-weapon and ballistic-missile research, there is nothing to stop Iran from having a designed bomb and ballistic missile ready to go. Once Iran completes a dash to weapons-grade uranium, it can insert the warhead and quickly have a deliverable nuclear weapon.
Thus, even if Iran faithfully implements each of its commitments under the interim agreement, it could find itself, in May 2014, a mere month further away than it is now from having weapons-grade uranium—but six months closer to having the rest of a deliverable nuclear weapon.
[. . .]
In exchange for these nuclear concessions, the Geneva deal provides significant relief to the Iranian government, which has been under severe pressure from financial sanctions. These sanctions cut Iran's currency and oil sales in half, and the sanctions restricted the regime's access to much of its estimated $80 billion to $100 billion in total foreign exchange reserves.
The Obama administration estimates that its sanctions-relief deal provides Iran with about $7 billion over six months in repatriated oil earnings, gold, petrochemical and auto sanctions, and some tuition assistance for Iranian students. Since Iran only has unrestricted access to an estimated $20 billion in overseas foreign-exchange reserves, even this $7 billion will increase Iran's unrestricted foreign reserves by over 30%. The interim agreement thus gives a rapid cash infusion to a regime that faced escalating sanctions and a potential full-blown balance-of-payments and currency crisis.
The Geneva deal, however, promises Iran potential sanctions relief of much more than $7 billion. Members of Congress, the Israeli government and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have valued the potential sanctions relief over a six-month period at up to $20 billion. These calculations factor in how Iran could fully exploit the loopholes opened by the Geneva deal, and how an environment of sanctions relief and de-escalating sanctions could change the market psychology from fear to greed.
How could Iran do that? The impact of the Geneva deal on oil sanctions alone is instructive. First, despite administration promises not to touch the "core sanctions," the interim agreement does exactly that by suspending for six months a 2011 U.S. law that requires countries buying crude oil from Iran to significantly reduce those purchases. The deal also suspends the core European Union and U.S. insurance and transportation sanctions for these Iranian oil sales that have been a major barrier. This could be worth over $2 billion to Iran that it otherwise would have lost over the six-month period. In addition, sanctions relief on Iran's auto sector reverses the free-fall of an industry that, before sanctions, accounted for 10% of Iran's GDP and is the second-largest employer after the energy sector.
When it comes to sanctions, official loosening prompts more unofficial loosening as the market reads the trend lines. Ultimately, Iran may find that the Geneva deal gave it more than loopholes to exploit and cash to earn. The agreement has given Tehran a new environment of changing expectations for the trajectory of the Iranian economy and a major reprieve from a more severe economic crisis.
The Obama Administration's astounding stupidity and trust in concluding this deal with the islamic Regime in Tehran has left the barn door open to achieve "nuclear break out," continue testing of nuclear warheads and triggers and the means of delivering them to Israel and other US allies in the Middle East, and as we have written recently, even here in the Western hemisphere. A defense think tank senior researcher commented to this writer that this very bad deal may be a bizarro wink and a nod by the Obama Administration to undertake an attack on Iran's key nuclear facilities should the Islamic Regime violate compliance with the Geneva. That perhaps explains questionable blog reports that Israelis may already have inspected possible logistical sites in Saudi Arabai in preparation for just such an eventuality.
In an interview to be published in the forthcoming edition of the December New English Review, we asked Shoshan Breyen of the Jewish Policy Center about an analysis by former Israeli Military Intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, a lead pilot on the Osirak Reactor "Raid on the Sun" in June 1981, about the risks of Israel undertaking an atatck on Iran's nuclear program have been taken into account. Here is the exchange:
Gordon: Shoshana, Israeli Major General Amos Yadlin published an article concerning the ability of Israel to survive if it launched an attack on Iran. What is the significance of General Yadlin's report regarding the ability of Israel to survive retaliation if it launches an attack?
Bryen: Amos Yadlin was the lead pilot on the Osirak Reactor raid in Iraq in 1981. Yadlin has been the leading voice to say that Israel has capabilities that it can exercise even in Iran. The question for Israel would be at what price so what is it you are taking out to protect your people and what price will you pay for that? This article was really about the manageability of the consequences. He went through various scenarios for Iranian retaliation against Israel including the possibility that Iran wouldn't retaliate at all depending on what it is that Israel hits, the circumstances of the hit and where they perceive the United States to be. Whether the U.S. was an active partner or a tacit partner or whether Israel did it in opposition to U.S. which is a distinct possibility. There are other things that people normally calculate as possible retaliation such as a Hezbollah Missile attack against Israel. Hezbollah has thousands of missiles in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a proxy for the Iranians. Would it or wouldn't it? Yadlin thinks that whatever the Hezbollah could do is manageable. Iranian missiles themselves are not accurate enough to destroy the state of Israel so any scenario that he covers he believes that the consequences are manageable which is a way of saying don't talk yourself out of this. There are a great many people who would like Israel to talk itself out of protecting itself by taking out Iranian nuclear capabilities. Yadlin would say don't do that.
Bates: Shoshana, the consequences might be manageable. What about the attack itself? These nuclear facilities are very deep underground. They would require bunker busters that to my understanding the Israelis have to get from the United States. Do they have enough bunker busting capability to knock out a sufficient percentage of the nuclear weapons program to make it worth their while or will they just have to go back in a couple of months and do it again?
Bryen: That is the assumption that Israel will take airplanes and use that Saudi corridor to do it and it's not necessarily clear that that's the way it will be done. First of all, Israel has bunker buster bombs. It has the ones it built itself. It does not have U.S. bunker busters but I would point out that the war against Iran has already started. It started with cyber warfare. It started with the untimely deaths of Iranian nuclear scientists. There are people who believe that there are agents inside Iran now who are able to attack facilities. So if you are looking for an Osirak strike, if you are looking for the airplane that flies across Saudi Arabia and drops a single bomb or a series of bombs it may not happen that way. There are many other options for setting back the program and no you won't destroy it. The best you can do is take out crucial pieces and set it back for a period of time.
Bates: But does that then cause the Iranian people to rally behind their government?
Bryen: I think it's difficult to imagine the Iranian people rallying behind a government that is as cruel to them as this government is. The Iranians do not like their government. More likely it seems to me that you could imagine the Iranians saying O.K., this is our moment to rise up. There are people who would see weakness in the Iranian government and want to take their shot at ruling. Again, don't talk yourself out of it by assuming that the worst possible things will happen as a result. The best possible things may happen. I would also point out that the Israelis calculated on Osirak that Iraq would be set back 18 months to two years. In fact however, the Iraqis never restarted their nuclear program. The French refused to replace the reactor.
Members of Congress may have understood that the "deal of the century" with a nuclear Iran is dangerous. Democrat Sens. Schumer and Menedez expressed "disappointment" in the Geneva pact, as reflected in this Roll Call report,.Schumer announced that they would push forward with stronger sanctions legislation despite White House requests to delay such moves. That sends a mesasage that key members of the Senate majority don't trust the White House to look after our national security interest and that of ally, Israel An ally that understands the consequences of undertaking a unilateral action to set back the clock of nuclear Iran. An ally that refuses to be fed to the Churchillian 'crocodile' appeasers, including the Administration, who consented to this bad agreement with Iran in Geneva.
A breathless report, complete with multiple glossily-seductive images of doe-eyed nubile hijabettes done up to the nines, so sweeeet that they make your teeth ache just looking at them (though you will observe there is no discussion or images of niqabettes or burqa babes...that would be just a little too confronting, and might disrupt the soothing nonsense being poured over us like warm syrup over baklava, or icing sugar on turkish delight) that was fed to us by Australia's ABC last month, but which I only just now came across.
Take your sea-sickness pills and fasten your barf-bags before we proceed; you'll need it.
Katie Arnott of ABC's "Newsline', reporting or rather, propagandising.
"Melbourne's "Faith, Fashion, Fusion" Exhibition Celebrates Style of Australia's Muslim Women".
'A new generation of Muslim women say while dressing modestly (sic: wearing the Sharia badge - CM) is an integral part of their life, that doesn't mean they can't be stylish at the same time.
Does Katie Arnott understand that in Muslimspeak, 'dressing modestly' = 'dressing Islamically', and that this necessarily implies that each and every woman who is not dressed Islamically is 'uncovered meat', exposed awrah (Arabic for 'c**t'), a slut and a whore...even if she is a nun, or a soccer mom in jeans and T-shirt with her uncovered hair tied back in a pony-tail? - CM
'A unique style of Muslim fashion is flourishing in Australia, where women increasingly choose to combine global trends with their faith.
Their faith. Their belief system. Their ideology. The very same ideology that, in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Aceh sees the 'virtue police' out on the streets with sticks, attacking any woman who does not conform to whatever has been decreed is the proper degree of covered-up-ness that satisfies the current interpretation of the Sharia. The ideology that led Aqsa Parvez' father, in Canada, to strangle her as punishment for her refusal to wear the headscarf. - CM
'Muslim women's style and identity are explored in a new exhibition called "Faith, Fashion, Fusion" at Melbourne's Immigration Museum.
'Curator Tasneem Chopra says it's about challenging perceptions of Muslim fashion.
We know what we see happening in every country where the Sharia is being imposed in ever greater exactness. We know of the acid, the hurled mud, the flung rocks, the threats that women and girls in many places endure if they dare to take off the Slave Rag. No glossy exhibition will cause us to forget those things - CM.
"If people can come out of this exhibition and learn something they didn't know, have a stereotype challenged, turned on its head, that's what it's all about."
'Australian Muslims come from more than 70 different ethnicities - each with their own language and dress code.
But they all learn by heart the same Quran, Sira and Hadith. And there is no brand of Islam, no school of the Sharia, that says that a woman can choose not to wear hijab; any more than there is any school of sharia that forbids the beating of wives deemed potentially rebellious, or that forbids the killing of apostates and blasphemers. - CM
'But Ms Chopra says things are changing.
"Over a third of the Muslim community here are born here, and over half the [Muslim] population are under 25", she said.
That is not an encouraging statistic for anyone who knows what is happening to other countries, elsewhere in the world, with large, growing Muslim populations in which there are many young men attaining military age. - CM
"it's youthful, it has a very strong Australian identity".
Really? I am not so sure. If they have such a strong Australian identity, why are young Muslim men, whether born or for much of their life raised in Australia, trotting off to Syria to wage Jihad on behalf of the Sunni - or the Shiite - divisions of the Ummah? - CM
"And I think that does inform the fashion because what you're seeing is a lot of existing or contemporary fashion trends being appropriated to comply with I guess you might say Islamic standards of modesty".
Modesty, modesty, modesty. Cover up that hair, those ears, that neck. Cover up those arms, those legs. But it won't stop there, it can't. I am already seeing Muslim women with their faces completely masked, in my local shopping centre and on the bus in to town. - CM
'Sociologist Susan Carland says there's no reason why Muslim women can't combine faith and fashion.
"The only I suppose adjective that I wouldn't use to describe the way a Muslim woman dresses when she's outside the house is 'sexy'", she said.
Well? What's the big deal? Plenty of non-Muslim women don't ordinarily go for 'sexy' , either, when they set off down the street to work, or to shop, or to pick up the kids from school. - CM
"Everything else - you know, stylish, attractive, beautiful, pretty, feminine - all of those sort of things, different, progressive, whatever - there's no problem with any of that".
You can put icing flowers on a cake full of strychnine. It doesn't make it any less deadly.- CM
'The change has seen a new generation of Muslim women in Australia making their mark in stylish, edgy and distinctive fashion.
Anything to sucker the easily-hypnotized dozy bints...Anything to distract our gaze from child brides bleeding to death in Yemen and Afghanistan, forced marriages of Muslim girls in the UK and elsewhere, women being caned in Sudan, women being stoned to death, women being beaten and honor-murdered, women being raped and then clapped into prison as punishment for zina, Christian girls being kidnapped and raped in Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Northern Nigeria...all of it perfeclty compliant with the sharia of Islam, Islam, Islam. - CM
'Dr Nasya Bahfren, senior lecturer in the Journalism and Media Centre at the University of New South Wales (hmmm - acquiring skills in kafir methods of marketing, all the better to promote the Ummah? - CM), says what's emerging is a distinctly Australian Muslim style.
Just wait. Just wait a little longer, till the sharia pushers become a little more confident, and the pressure is applied, and the khutbas are preached, and the slide from the Slave Hood to the full sensory-deprivation Slave Sack and Slave Mask begins.. And then we will see the monotonously-identical black ghosts scuttling in our streets, as they scuttle in tthe streets of Britain and France, ever more and more of them, and covered-up ever younger and younger. - CM
"What's happening with Muslim women and their clothing choices in Australia - I think it's a microcosm of what's actually happening with the Muslim community in Australia.", she said. "it is consolidating (that, I am afraid, is not a comforting concept, for me, nor should it be, for any Australian infidel of whatever faith or ethnicity - CM), and becoming an Australian Muslim community - as opposed to a community that was, say, Indonesian Muslim, or Turkish Muslim, or Lebanese Muslim."
'Sociologist Susan Carland says the Australian Muslim women's look has a clear Western flavour.
Window-dressing. - CM
'She says while modesty (translation: 'the visible declaration of membership in the Ummah and submission to the Sharia of Islam' - CM) remains the cornerstone, there's been a noticeable change in Muslim fashion in Australia over the last decade.
"I look back and 10 years ago there were very few options", she said. '
"What we did have was kind of ugly and also just very much suited to a different place.
"What would be stylish and appropriate in one country - it just didn't transfer well to here, for whatever reason".
Islam - with, inter alia, its declaration of war on freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, music, pet dogs, wine, pork, statues, representational visual arts, doesn't belong in Australia, full stop. - CM
'Dr Bahfen says Muslim women are bringing their interpretation of modesty to Australian fashion choices.
'Modesty, modesty, modesty. Come on, milady, tell me: am I modest, with my trousers, my shirt rolled up to the elbows, my visible neck and ears and hair? Or am I not? And if I am not, what am I? What do you call me, when I am not within earshot? What might you call me, if you felt you could get away with it? I remember Paul Sheehan's article about the Islamifying of certain suburbs of Sydney. I think I shall link it again, here, and quote the salient paragraph, about the experience of one perfectly ordinary and decent Australian woman, in that suburb, with behijabbed Muslim women, and their men.
"A friend of mine, Jenny D, used to live in Lakemba. She began receiving insults from people in the street, usually Muslim women wearing headscarves, and sometimes Muslim men. If she wore a short skirt, she could expect abuse or comment. She left Lakemba...". Now, back to our sweetly-smiling Muslimah...- CM
"One of the things I really like doing is going to a particular store and "hijabifying" the outfit", she said.
Ah yes, Islamifying, Islamoforming, just like Muslims have done wth, for example, the Orthodox basilica and the campanile, transforming them into the mosque and minaret. - CM
"I've gone up to someone on a tram and said, I really like your dress, where did you get it, and she'll tell me, and I'll go and get the dress and mix it up. So I'll wear it with jeans or leggings, or I'll ad something to it to make it work in terms of covering parts of my body that I think need to be covered".
Islamifying. And of course the silly reporter doesn't think to ask exactly which bits require to be covered, and who decrees this, and on what basis. Nor does the reporter inquire about the concomitant 'framing' of the non-Muslim woman, whose ideas about what needs to be covered, in public, are somewhat less strict. - CM
'Designer Gerthe Imelda's philosophy is to make women feel beautiful and present the hijab as anything but a symbol of oppression.
PR. I remember Chahdortt Djavann, Iranian-French critic of Islam, and her words on the veil, or hijab: "The veil has never been innocent or innocuous. It has always signified the submission of women to men, and the denial of legal rights to women in Islamic countries." "It [hijab, the veil] constitutes a constant call to order by Islamic law" (the very same Islamic law that mandates the killing of apostates and 'blasphemers', the beating of recalcitrant wives, and the reduction of Christians and Jews to terrorised, exploited and degraded dhimmi near-slaves). "The veil is the symbol, the flag and the keystone of the Islamic system". CM
'She says she finds inspiration in Australia's diversity (a diversity that would steadily diminish, if Muslims gained the upper hand, and were able to impose and enforce the sharia - CM), as well as in vintage stores and markets.
"I love the mix of everything", she said...
"From Indonesia everything is full of colours (I didn't see much in the way of colour being worn by the most zealously Muslim women, such as those dreadful females who, in large screaming mobs, recently protested against the holding of the Miss World finals in their country, such that it had to be moved from Jakarta - deemed too dangerous - to majority-Hindu Bali; those pious Muslimahs were swathed in boringly uniform Arab-style robes and hoods, in dull, flat tones - CM) I love colours and I don't think I could live without colours.
Not much colour or variety in evidence in women's public costume in the most ferociously-Islamic countries, in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan...and that is the end-point of the sharia road that begins with the dutiful donning of the Slave Hood, to cover that wickedly-seductive head hair, those ears, that neck. - CM
'Shanaaz Jacobs-Copeland (a convert to Islam? or the child of a foolish male Infidel who married a Muslimah, and was required to convert? - CM) designs hijab-friendly evening wear, and says Muslim women and girls don't need to expose everything to be beautiful.
The vast majority of non-Muslim women and girls don't 'expose everything' either. I am sick to death of this stupid trope that Muslim women are 'modest' while non-Muslim women 'expose everything'. - CM
"Young girls now they are so impressionable by going through Vogue magazines - formals are coming up - special occasions, weddings (ah yes, weddings:their own or their sisters' or their cousins'?- and freely-chosen, or forced? - there have been forced marriages of muslimahs in Australia, polygynous 'marriages', underage 'marriages', just like everywhere else in the west that the ummah has settled itself - that mention of 'weddings' is not so innocent as it sounds, not when we are dealing with Muslims - CM) and they want to look the part and feel gorgeous and glamorous", she said.
But not 'sexy', according to our sociologist, Susan Carland, above...- CM
"So I think with all these Muslim designers they've come up with amazing designs and we're stepping into a new dimension".
'Tasneem Chopra says the spread of social media is also allowing young Muslims around the world to influence each other's fashion choices.
Hmmm. And what happens when the young men 'get religion' and start putting on the pressure to dress ever more Islamically? Or when a few girls - influenced, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali was, in her teen years, by a plausible and charming Muslim Brotherhood female engaging in a spot of Islamic revivalism - don the full burqa? - CM
"What really has literally changed ...my dress inspiration on its head is social media", she said.
"This morning I got up and I looked at my Instagram and saw somebody - I think maybe she was in Poland (Poland? Poland!! - CM) she had a particular style of hijab, and I just copied that and put it on."
'Susan Carland says the online world ahs also opened up new markets for Australian designers to sell their designs.
Ah, here's the money hook, as well. The lure of the Muslim market. "Muslim fashion is good for Australila's bottom line". - CM
"I find I'm starting to order so much on-line I'm having to hide the packages from the family", she said.
The article didn't say Ms Carland was a Muslim. But perhaps she is? - CM
"I say, "Oh, what's the delivery man doing here again, it must be for next door", so I think I need to rein in the onine shopping a bit, to be honest".
And how many dozy bints, clicking through the colourful pictures, or - in Melbourne - having been bedazzled by the Exhibition, will now be foolishly deciding that Muslim female fashion is for them, too? Rushing off to order a colourful Slave Hood, because it will frame their face so prettily?
Final thought: why is the ABC publishing this long review of - or advertisement for - an exhibition devoted to those amazing, stylish, thoroughly-apparently-modern fashion-conscious and oh-so-exquisite Muslimahs in full hijab, when I do not think I have ever seen them run gushing articles featuring interviews with and pictures of beautiful and elegant Amishwomen, Mennonite women, Orthodox Jewish girls, or Catholic and Orthodox nuns. Nor have we had any articles and exhibitions depicting the manner in which Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist immigrant women from traditionally-devout families are negotiating their fashion choices in Australia. Funny, that. - CM
"Woman accuses firm of sacking her for wanting to wear Muslim headscarf"
'A Wollongong woman (that is: a Muslim woman currently resident in Wollongong, NSW - CM) has accused a local accountancy firm of sacking her for wanting to wear the Muslim headscarf.
Wanting to wear the Muslim headscarf is not like wanting to wear a Christian cross, Hindu bindi mark, Yin-Yang tao symbol, Buddhist robe or Jewish kippah (if male) or Star of David. It is not an innocent demand. It is not - though it may be presented that way, in order to confuse us - about 'modesty', as we Infidels understand it, nor about personal choice (for there is always the possibility that a Muslim female wears it because of subtle and not-so-subtle threats), nor about individual, personal religious devotion. At bottom it is a public declaration of war upon the surrounding non-Muslim society.
The Muslim female slave rag in all its forms - whether it be the faux-demure Slave Hood that merely covers every strand of evil lust-provoking female head hair, ears and neck, prettily and deceptively mimicking the Christian nun's wimple, or whether it be the uglier passive-aggressive Ringwraith-style costume complete with Slave Mask (burqa or niqab/ yashmak) - is the functional equivalent of the black flag of Jihad. The demand to wear it about in public and in one's place of (non-Muslim) employment could be compared to a person's demanding to go about flaunting, unquestioned, the KKK hood and robe, or the Nazi Swastika or the SS deathshead (perhaps even full Brownshirt, Gestapo or Nazi uniform), or the colours of a violently criminal bikie gang. It functions as the wearer's declaration of allegiance/ submission to a system that intends to supplant and destroy all other systems of belief and law. It is an implicit threat to every free non-Muslim female that the wearer encounters.
is an article in which one N Maruani summarises what iranian-French critic of Islam, Chahdortt Djavenn, has written about the Muslim 'veil'.
I quote: "She (Djavann) writes that the veil cannot be presented as a personal choice, disregarding centuries of Islamic history..
'Djavann explains further: The veil has never been innocent or innocuous. It has always signified the submission of women to men and the denial of legal rights to women in Islamic countries."...
'Addressing the growing phenomenon of veiled women in Europe (and, as I see myself day by day, in Australia, and as others are also seeing, everywhere else that there are Muslim colonies now established - CM) Djavann points out its centrality to Islamist (sic: orthodox Muslim - CM) propaganda. "The political, ideological and psychological impact of the veil goes far beyond its appearance...If this weren't the case, why would the Islamists (that is, the thoroughly-Islamic sharia-pushers - CM) make it their main focus?...It constitutes a constant call to order by Islamic law." ('Islamic law'. That is: the Sharia, and all that that entails and implies, for females both Muslim and non-Muslim, and for all non-Muslims. - CM)
'Djavann stresses that Islam can exist without the veil (as a temporary expedient...CM), but the Islamist system cannot, because "the veil is the symbol, the flag and the keystone of the Islamic system".
Those passage I have bolded are crucial for every non-Muslim citizen - and, then, every non-Muslim lawmaker - in every non-Islamic country to understand. Djavann is stating nothing but the simple truth. There is more to the article than that; I encourage people to click on the link and read the rest; but this is what matters for Infidels. We need to know what this garment, even in its most seemingly-innocent form, signifies. It does not signify the same thing as the Amishwoman's lace cap or the scarf of the Jewish frum girl. It masks hostility, aggression, contempt. It is gang uniform; a de facto declaration of war. Now, back to the ABC, which currently understands none of this. - CM
'Mariam El Hassan, 23, had worked at the firm for five years.
'Her lawyer says she asked the firm if she could start wearing the headscarf to work for religious reasons, but permission was denied.
'Michelle Walsh from Turner Freeman Lawyers says Ms El Hassan was told not to come in to work when she said she wanted to wear the headscarf.
"She'd had a day off to celebrate Eid and she was to come in to work", Ms Walsh said.
"However, she received a telephone call from the receptionist saying, you're not allowed to come in like that, you need to seek permission, and she then had the text message exchange iwth her employer, where it was conveyed to her that she could not come in to work wearing the hijab."
I observe that the employer's side of this story is not given, or was not enquired into. Given that they gave her the day off to celebrate Eid - Eid being not, at least not yet, on the schedule of official public holidays in Australia - it can surely be argued that they were willing to (however naively) accommodate some aspects of her belief system. - CM
'The matter is expected to go before Fair Work Australia for conciliation next month".
Watch this space...It should be interesting to see what comes out in the wash. - CM
Nevertheless the Jews and Arabs were duly invited – Jews representing all sections of opinion, and Arabs representing Palestine and its neighbours, Egypt, Iraq and so on – and the Conference was opened with much solemnity in St. James’s Palace on February 7, 1939. The dignity of the occasion was somewhat marred by the fact that Mr. Chamberlain’s address of welcome had to be given twice, once to the Jews and once to the Arabs, since the latter would not sit with the former, and even used different entrances to the Palace so as to avoid embarrassing contacts.
The atmosphere of utter futility which dominated the Conference was, of course, part of the general atmosphere of the time. Those were the days of the Berchtesgaden and Godesberg ‘conferences’. The atmosphere was not peculiar to England; the French were as assiduous in their attendance on Hitler. I remember Leon Blum telling me at that time: ‘There is a wild hunger for physical safety which paralyses the power of thought. People are ready to buy the illusion of security at any price, hoping against hope that something will happen to save their countries from invasion.’ My conversations with Halifax, Chamberlain and Malcolm MacDonald were vitiated from the outset by this frightful mood of frustration and panic. They were determined to placate the Arabs just as they were placating Hitler. That, of course, did not prevent me from carrying on until the last moment – and after.
It was astounding to meet this bland surprise and indifference in high places. When the great burning of the synagogues took place, after the assassination of vom Rath in Paris, I said to Anthony Eden: ‘The fire from the synagogues may easily spread from there to Westminster Abbey and the other great English cathedrals. If a government is allowed to destroy a whole community which has committed no crime save that of being a minority and having its own religion, if such a government, in the heart of Europe, is not even rebuked, it means the beginning of anarchy and the destruction of the basis of civilization. The powers which stand looking on without taking any measures to prevent the crime will one day be visited by severe punishment.
I need scarcely add that my words fell on deaf ears. British society was falling over itself to attend the elegant parties given by Ribbentrop in the German Embassy; it was a sign of social distinction to receive an invitation, and the Jewish blood which stained the hands of the hosts was ignored though it cried out to heaven. I believe that the Duke of Devonshire never accepted any of von Ribbentrop’s invitations.
Trial and Error The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann pp 493-591.
The result is a generation where most people under the age of 35 cannot communicate in Arabic. The language gap, largely a result of past Arab-Kurdish ...
Islam is, has always been, and always will be, a vehicle for Arab supremacism. It makes universalist claims, but in the end, it is the Arabs who are the best among the "best of peoples." It is in Arabic that the Qur'an must be read and memorized in madrasas. "Hafiz" is a title given to someone who memorizes -- but only in Arabic -- the entire Qur'an. It is to Arabia that Muslims are to turn, and bow down, five times a day. It is to an Arab of the seventh century, Muhammad, that Muslims look to as their exemplar, and it his manners and customs, the manners and customs of seventh-century Arabia, that are held up as fitting to be applied today. Little Sayeeds in Pakistan proclaim their descent from the Quraish, the tribe of the Prophet. And in the arabization that followed, in so many places, islamization, an important role was played by the imposition of Arabic, the language of Islam but also the language of the conqueror.
The Arabs have everywhere tried, mostly with success, to stamp out the indigenous languages of those peoples they conquered. They have done so, and are still doing so, in North Africa, with the Berbers -- whose culture and language were given some protection by the French presence. And in Syria and Iraq, the Arabs have tried to limit, and often to prevent, the use of Kurdish.
But the Kurds are not having it. They are unlearning Arabic, they are freeing themselves from Arab imperialism. But can they do so successfully without, in the end, recognizing the need to dilute or minimize or end the influence of, the hold of, Islam on Kurdish minds, for Islam, and not just the Arabic language, is the most important instrument of Arab supremacism.
And don't forget how quickly the President of Duke, Richard Brodhead, and many noisily indignant faculty members at Duke, readily repeated the girl's accusations, accepted them, belittled the defense claims, and then, when the whole farce ended -- and ended, too, was the career of the local prosecutor who thought he could make his career through that prosecution -- not one of them ever bothered, after the fact, to express contrition, not one of them even managed to display an embarrassed blush.. Why this "never apologize, never explain"? Cat got their tongues? An epidemic of ereuthophobia?
Iranian Foreign Minister and Secretary of State in Geneva PM Netanyhau Jerusalem Nov. 24, 2013
Source: AP/ Abir Sultan Pool
Late last night when first news came of an interim nuclear deal by the P5+1 in Geneva I watched skeptically Secretary of State Kerry’s briefing, see here. I was in the midst of an email exchange with Cliff May, President of Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies seeking an update on the impact of the proposed sanctions relief and whether David Albright, former IAEA nuclear inspector and head of the Institute for Science and International Security was crunching the numbers. Mark Dubowitz, executive director of FDD and proponent of tougher sanctions was winging his way back from Israel. Reuel Gerecht of FDD was scheduled to be on a Sunday news program opinion about the deal reached in Geneva.
For the full text of the P5+1 Iran interim agreement, see here.
President Obama told the media in a video that the P5+1 deal would “block” Iran from effectively achieving ‘nuclear breakout’. According to ABC News he said:"Simply put, they cut off Iran's most likely paths to a bomb."
Meanwhile President Rouhani of Iran in a news conference said:
"No matter what interpretations are given, Iran's right to enrichment has been recognized. Saying "trust is a two-way street," Rouhani insisted that talks on a comprehensive agreement should start immediately.
Israel PM Netanyahu slammed the deal for being an “historic mistake” and the Jewish nation was not bound by this agreement and would seek to his own security. He noted:
Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step towards obtaining the world's most dangerous weapon.
Meanwhile Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates are “wary”. The Jerusalem Postreported this comment from a Saudi Shura council member:
"I am afraid Iran will give up something on [its nuclear program] to get something else from the big powers in terms of regional politics. And I'm worrying about giving Iran more space or a freer hand in the region," said Abdullah al-Askar, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Saudi Arabia's appointed Shoura Council, a quasi-parliament that advises the government on policy.
"The government of Iran, month after month, has proven that it has an ugly agenda in the region, and in this regard no one in the region will sleep and assume things are going smoothly," Askar said.
An AP report indicated that the Administration had orchestrated back channels discussions with Iran over a year ago, but did not disclose these discussions to France and Israel, the latter was only told about them in September 2013.
According to a Guardian brief the interim agreement signed by the P5+1 and Iran would:
Halting uranium enrichment above 5%
This would keep Iran's enrichment level well below the threshold needed for weapons-grade material, which is more than 90% enrichment. Uranium enriched to 5% is adequate to make fuel for Iran's lone energy-producing reactor in Bushehr on the Persian Gulf coast. For Iran, the ability to keep its enrichment program is critical. Iran's leaders insist they maintain self-sufficiency over the entire nuclear cycle from mining uranium to making nuclear fuel.
'Neutralize' Iran's stockpile of 20% enriched uranium
This level of enrichment is within several steps of reaching weapons grade. Eliminating the stockpile eases Western concerns that Iran could move quickly towards a nuclear weapon. Iran can either convert the 20% uranium into reactor-ready fuel, which effectively blocks it from further enrichment, or it can dilute the material to levels below 5% enrichment. Iranian officials have said the country has a sufficient stockpile of 20% enriched uranium for long-term operation of its research reactor, which runs at the higher-level uranium and produces isotopes for medical treatments and other uses. Allowing Iran to use the stockpile for domestic purposes is an important political takeaway for Tehran. Iranian leaders had balked at demands to ship the stockpile out of the country.
No new centrifuges
This effectively freezes Iran's enrichment capacity for the next six months. Centrifuges are used to turn concentrated uranium into nuclear fuel. But Iran is allowed to keep its two main enrichment facilities in operation. Iran's government would have faced a huge backlash from hardliners at home if either of the labs had been forced to shut down.
Suspend work at the Arak reactor
The planned Arak reactor in central Iran is a "heavy water" plant, which means it uses a molecular variant of water as a coolant and can run on non-enriched uranium. It also produces a higher degree of plutonium byproduct, which could be extracted and potentially used in weapons production. Iran's agreement not to build a plutonium reprocessing facility deals directly with the weapons program concerns. It could also clear the way for future agreements to resume work on the reactor.
Pledge to address UN concerns, including the Parchin military site
The specific mention of the Parchin military base near Tehran touches on a longstanding impasse between Iran and the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. UN inspectors want to revisit the site to investigate suspicions of past explosive tests that could have applications in nuclear bomb designs. Iran denies the claim. Iran has said further inspections are possible, but also wanted to impose restrictions on public disclosures by the agency. The deal could open the way for greater Parchin inspections.
David Albright of ISIS in an email to Reuters basically said the deal “complicates” Iran’s achieving nuclear breakout pointing to the following:
"The short-term deal accomplishes a great deal," nuclear proliferation expert David Albright of the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said.
For example, he said, it would eliminate Iran's stock of uranium gas refined to a fissile purity of 20 percent, a source of profound concern for the West as it represents a relatively short technical step away from bomb-grade material.
Under the agreement, Iran must halt this higher-grade enrichment and also dilute or convert its existing reserve of such uranium to a form that is not suitable for further enrichment, according to a U.S. fact sheet.
Once this is done, the breakout time - how long it would take Iran to produce sufficient highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for one atomic bomb - would lengthen from at least 1-1.6 months to at least 1.9-2.2 months if the Iranians used all their installed centrifuges, Albright said in an e-mail.
"This may seem a small increase. But with the IAEA daily checking the camera film at Nathans and Frodo, this increase in breakout times would be significant," he said, referring to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
[. . .]
Albright said "very tough" issues remained to be negotiated to achieve a long-term comprehensive agreement that would ensure Iran that does not build nuclear weapons. "Iran and the United States remain far apart. What will be the exact limits on the size and scope of Iran's centrifuge program?"
But the Reuters report noted other experts differed:
Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a think-tank in London, said the deal "significantly sets back" Iran's ability to produce a nuclear weapon without being detected and stopped.
"Just a few weeks ago analysts were projecting that by next summer Iran might be able to produce a weapon's worth of uranium within a week or so," Fitzpatrick said.
"Now it will be months. Yes, enrichment will continue - that was inevitable - but it will be more tightly inspected."
Still, verification will be "full of landmines", warned Mark Hobbs of the Carnegie Endowment think-tank. "This will require a level of cooperation and information-sharing between the IAEA, the powers and Iran which is probably unprecedented concerning one country's nuclear program."
"It is not quite a freeze, but in the most important respects it is," Shoshana Joshi, an Iran expert at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, said.
As a quid pro quo Secretary of State Kerry in his briefing suggested that Iran might get “$1.5 billion in revenue from trade in gold and precious metals and the suspension of some sanctions on its automotive sector, and see its petrochemical exports revive”. The agreement doesn’t impact delivery of so-called humanitarian relief.
On the matter of sanctions relief, Eli Lake of The Daily Beast had these comments:
Obama appeared to try to pre-empt this point on Saturday when he stressed that the sanctions relief offered to Iran in this interim deal would not corrode core sanctions that have isolated Iran’s banks and oil industry from the international economy. He also pledged to vigorously enforce the existing sanctions on Iran. The Daily Beast reported earlier this month however that the Treasury Department has only designated ten new violators of sanctions on Iran since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in June.
On the matter of whether Congress would push for strengthened sanctions in light of the interim agreement with Iran reached yesterday, Lake noted the comments of veteran Jewish lobbyist Morris Amitay:
The pro-Israel lobby and some hawkish members of the Republican Party pressed for more sanctions in this period. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) did get five other Republicans to co-sponsor an amendment to a bill authorizing defense policy and spending priorities, but no further action has been taken on Capitol Hill. Morris Amitay, a former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was skeptical that congressional critics of the administration’s Iran policy would be able to muster enough votes to oppose a deal. “When you have the State Department, the president and the mainstream media putting it out that unless you cut a deal it will be war; there is only so much you can do.” On Saturday Obama struck a conciliatory tone on this point when he said that the interim deal would not have been possible without the sanctions Democrats and Republicans had supported.
When the dust settles from the announcement of this keystone foreign deal clinched in Geneva by the Obama Administration and the rest of the P5+1 we’ll see if it meets the correct version of the Reagan doctrine: “verify then trust.” As to Israel and the wary Arabs in the Gulf region, save the Sultan of Oman, they had best prepare for eventualities should this first steps agreement come a cropper. Remember President Rouhani was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator back in 2003 when the Islamic Republic had less than 164 centrifuges, now it has more than 19,000 subject to monitoring by the IAEA. Further, enrichment at even the 5.0 percent level can lead to bomb making. What is that careworn expression: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Sometimes I feel a little sorry for people in high public office. First they are photographed everywhere they go, then the picture editors choose the photos that show them at their worst. Mrs Clinton, for example, is always shown is if she were playing Lady Macbeth. Of course, there is an explanation for this other than the malice of picture editors, but being charitable I prefer not to think it.
In France, President Hollande is always photographed looking bemused, not very intelligent and completely out of his depth. He has the air of a man who has wandered from his natural environment, say a provincial branch of a bank he is deputy manager, into the midst of a world war raging all about him. He not only lacks charisma (which is not necessarily a bad thing when one considers the damage sometimes wrought by charismatic persons), but has a kind of negative charisma. When one looks into his face, one wants to go to sleep. He manages to be both boring and wrong-headed at the same time; obstinacy is his substitute for strength.
Poor man! Everything is going wrong for him. He is the object of universal ridicule and contempt. He is booed and hissed in public, he has the lowest rate of approval of any French president of the Fifth Republic (even his supporters think nothing of him), the economic situation in France is deteriorating, he made a complete fool of himself over Syria, and so it goes on. In his election campaign he made much of his desire to be 'a normal president' by contrast with his opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy, whose main ambition in life seemed to be to appear in as many newspapers, magazines and TV programmes as possible. Recently an article in the Journal du dimanche called him Normal the First.
It goes without saying that 'normal' men do not become President of the French Republic. It is true that Mr Hollande reached the Elysée only by accident, thanks to the public exposure of Mr Strauss-Kahn's goatish disposition; but normal men do not devote their entire lives to politicking, as he had done. Unfortunately, his abnormality lay not in the sphere of ability, but in that of ambition: he is the most characteristic of modern types, the ambitious mediocrity.
There is nothing wrong with being mediocre. Most of us are mediocre in most things. Allied with ambition and ruthlessness, however, it becomes a curse. You have only to look at the British political class to understand that.
The Rob Ford controversy is following a traditional pattern, but is now set to produce some surprises. It seemed to begin as the mayor’s critics, and not everyone has to like his full-figured, Archie Bunker-style, leaped with joy at suggestions that the mayor might be a crack cocaine-user (like, on an occasional basis, a very large number of other people). Then, as happens when a mob composed of the ideological left and the vast mass of those who enjoy (no matter how tawdry or parochial the details) watching the mighty fall begin to see a catastrophic career failure in progress, the frenzy took hold. Everything is then invoked as proof of ignobility, unfitness for a place of public trust, and moral turpitude.
Thus, I heard on one radio station while in my car, a commentator virtually raving about “fiscal irresponsibility.” I assumed that some new enormity had been unearthed, that the mayor was hurling money out of the windows, presumably in the direction of cronies. Eventually, it turned out to be a matter of asking one of his aides to do a few innocuous personal favours for him. This is what go-fors do, in the public and private sector, and what would be irresponsible, fiscally and otherwise, would be the holder of a high office having to do everything, no matter how mundane, himself. To judge from reports, this mayor doesn’t even avail himself of a chauffeur, which in my observations is a first for a Toronto mayor going back to Allan Lamport. Was it fiscally irresponsible for John Sewell or David Miller to have a chauffeur? I would have thought not, though they had other shortcomings.
There were endless gratuitous reflections on every aspect of the mayor’s taste, and the usual outpourings of alarm that Rob Ford was a negative or even a degrading influence on the young people of Toronto. It is not the role of the mayor of Toronto to be a pied piper of the young toward a virtuous life, instead, he ought to ensure public security and sanitation and zone the city and assist in improving public transit. Not since New York’s Fiorello H. La Guardia read the comic pages over the radio to the children of that city during a newspaper strike has there been such a connection between the chief occupant of city hall and the contentment, not to say mental hygiene, of the mayor’s voters’ children.
In such cases, the rules and practices are bent or ignored to add to the momentum of the mighty push to evict the targeted individual from his position. Thus did the chief of Toronto’s generally very good police force announce that he could not comment on the evidence of the mayor’s possible wrongdoing, but that the reflections of the rabidly hostile and muck-inventing, raking and throwing Toronto Star were accurate and he, the chief, Bill Blair, was “as a citizen, disappointed in the mayor.” He is paid and sworn to uphold public security. “As a citizen,” in a press conference he called as chief of police, he can keep such reflections to himself. Nor should the opinions or fabrications of the Toronto Star and its febrile and compulsively abrasive editor and publisher be given the imprimatur of the police department, as if the chief were the Prince of Wales selling the fact that he bought his handkerchiefs at Harrods.
And it is not clear by what perversion of justice a judge is selectively making scraps of “evidence” public, while redacted chunks of a 500-page police report that does not seem to contain anything that justifies a charge, are receiving attention like film of death camps at the Nuremberg Trials. We seem to have reached the turning: those who should not have become so vocal do not seem able to put up or shut up, and the mayor, who is not, for many people, a style-setter, appears to be competent to continue in the task which he was elected to perform. Those who disapprove of him, but are wary of the heavy numbers of his supporters, take refuge in the suggestion that he take a break to deal with his “substance” or addiction “issues.” The capable and normally politically astute Employment minister, Jason Kenney, an Alberta MP who has no discernible dog in this hunt, suggested the mayor “step aside.”
I don’t see why he should. He should be more careful, including in the avoidance of inflammatory malapropisms. But nothing has come to light that disqualifies him from fulfilling the mandate his electors gave him, and I do not believe that the City Council has any legal capacity to redefine the powers of the mayor, unless the provincial legislature assigns the authority over municipal government to the Toronto Star, shelter for rabid editorial writers. No sane person could imagine that the City Council is a teeming hotbed of Tocquevillian champions of disinterested local government, and no one has conferred any power of usurpation of legally attributed powers on those who fester in the council.
What the more learned political commentators note, (such as Senator Mike Duffy in his blog), is that the entire political community is wary of Ford Nation, that the Greater Toronto Area is picking up a number of federal constituencies upon the next expansion of the House of Commons to 338 legislators, and that Toronto’s contiguous built-up area, almost from Niagara Falls to Oshawa, will have nearly 70 of them. About half of those are largely inhabited by people who are not scandalized by obesity, occasional cocaine use, occasional drunkenness, or the odd whirl at the wheel of a car when a breathalyzer, if applied, could be problematical. They are, however, scandalized by rank hypocrisy from mouthy journalists and gimcrack municipal politicians, and by the confected and inflated sanctimony of prigs and twits.
The greatest wound democratic government has suffered in 50 years was self-inflicted, and it was the popularization, for a time the glorification, of the criminalization of policy differences in the infamous Watergate affair. Not as dangerous, because it does not involve so great an office as the presidency of the United States, but just as reprehensible, is the mighty, heaving effort in the Ford case to criminalize stylistic differences. Such concerns are one of the reasons we have elections, and cannot be plausibly invoked to gut elections of their meaning. At the time of the last election, I agreed with most of the positions Rob Ford espoused, but was disconcerted by his inelegantly phrased defence of a colleague, that he “has other fish to fry than feathering his own nest.” When I was asked about the mayor ten days ago by the world’s most famous mayor (and Britain’s most popular politician), London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, I defended Mayor Ford, while mentioning that comment of his, and Boris responded that he must have been referring to the well-known feathered Australian porcupine fish.
Perhaps. But Mayor Ford’s detractors should realize that instead of hounding him from office, they have probably, by their bestial self-righteous excess and implicit mockery of a large echelon of the population that identifies with the mayor, made him more popular than ever. They have mocked human foibles a great many voters share, without shame, if not proudly. And they have made Rob Ford the most famous Canadian in the world. I found on my recent trip that Australians and Britons found Rob Ford a refreshing change from their general impression of Canadians as monochromatic aspirant Dudley Do-Rights. The law of unintended consequences asserts itself again, and it will be interesting to see whom it strikes.
If marijuana had been discovered in the rainforest, it would have been studied and numerous beneficial drugs would have been developed from it by now. How and why it became classified as a" schedule A" harmful drug in the US is not really clear, but unfortunately this has deprived us of a very beneficial medicinal plant, which was created by God after all.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When it comes to sick pets many owners will go to great lengths to help them feel better.
Now, some have started to take matters into their own hands and have turned to a remedy that isn’t even legal in some states, CBS 2′s Maurice Dubois reported Friday.
Rowyn Capers’ dog, “Luna,” was suffering from late-stage lymphoma and was put on an intense schedule of chemotherapy. The treatments came with devastating side effects.
“Her lymph nodes were like golf balls and she was coughing constantly and she couldn’t breath and I just thought it’s time to say goodbye,” Capers said.
Capers gave Luna medical marijuana to help ease her suffering.
“The first time I dosed her I was so scared. We were looking at her all night,” Capers said, “The more I increased her cannabis dose the less side effects that she had. The vomiting stopped, the diarrhea stopped.”
The cannabis came in the form of a concentrated oil in a capsule. Capers said the results have been remarkable.
“When you see them enjoying life and feeling better and not being sick you know you’ve hit something,” she said.
Certified animal behaviorist Darlene Arden is a strong advocate for the use of medical marijuana on pets. She called cannabis a “legitimate medication.”
“I think we can now see marijuana for exactly what it is and what it can do. Not a street drug but a legitimate medication to be used under proper supervision,” she said.
The ASPCA disagrees.
Well they would, wouldn't they? There haven't been any studies and why haven't there been any studies??
“We don’t have enough data to know how it can be used effectively and we currently have a lot of really good modalities to treat pain using multiple different drugs and therapies,” Dr. Amy Greenbaum said.
However, some dog owners feel that cannabis may be a safer option.
“I don’t want to bash the drugs, but you take some of these pain medications for the dogs and you hear, ‘we’ll have to check the blood level and make sure their liver is OK,’” Mary Lynn Mathre said.
When Mathre’s 13-year-old golden retriever was diagnosed with cancer she administered a daily dose of cannabis to all of her pets.
“Normally for the dogs for the cancer it seems that butter made from the remnants of the cannabis plant, the leaves from the plant, and put it on a cracker and every evening they get their cannabis cracker,” she said.
Mathre said that the cannabis helped with the cancer and was also effective in treating a hot spot on another dog’s leg.
“There was no hair on a circle that it would lick and lick,” Mathre explained.
Al Byrne said he tried it on his dogs as well and was impressed with the results.
“I’ve seen all three of our dogs, they range in age from 13 to 3, remarkably improve,” he said. “I would say the energy is up. Certainly their coat and their shine in their eyes is there.”
Until there is a formal study on the effectiveness of medical marijuana on pets, experts advise caution.
“The one thing more heartbreaking than watching your pet suffer would be to know that maybe you gave your pet something that made them worse or killed them, and that’s just not a risk that I would be willing to take,” Dr. Greenbaum said.
The cannabis given to pets is treated and administered in a way that does not make them high, Dubois reported.
Hon. Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) in The Netherlands
Source: Getty Images
Hon. Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) is up in the Dutch polls because of his aggressive Euro skeptic views attacking the Brussels bureaucrats of the EU. The groundlings in The Netherlands have cottoned to Wilders argument, tired of bailing out the Euro Zone crisis, the equivalent of confiscatory tax burden national economic growth, and imposing anti-democratic Constitutions on the country’s basic laws. We have posted on his developing alliance with a refurbished National Front in France led by Marie Le Pen in France. Their alliance hopes to include other like-minded Euro skeptic parties in the UK and elsewhere in the EU. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published in the Thursday European edition, he laid out the prospects for a new “Glorious revolution” of “National Patriotism”, “The Resurgence of European Patriotism”.
Here are some of his arguments on “How to ruin the day of bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels”.
It's about national pride and democracy, not war:
Here is a tip if you want to ruin the day of the bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels. Just mention next year's European elections and they will become extremely nervous and agitated. They will fume with anger and warn you about rising populism, a threat to democracy.
Next May's European elections, in which almost 400 million people in the 28 EU member states will be allowed to cast their votes, will in all likelihood produce a landslide against the Eurocrats. What will manifest itself; however, is not a rise of populism, but a victory for democracy.
For decades, Brussels has been able to do what it pleases. That period is over. People have finally come to realize that so-called Europhiles aim to destroy Europe's nations, the homes of national democracies. And people are not going to let it happen. They are no longer buying the lie that patriotism is dangerous, that it is a vice and not a virtue. They are reasserting their national pride and identity.
Robert Schuman, who was one of the EU's founding fathers 60 years ago, used to say that the aim of European integration was "to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible." But the idea that Germany, France, Britain and other nations in the past went to war because they were sovereign nations is simply ridiculous. They went to war because they had fallen for totalitarian ideologies. Democracies do not go to war against each other; they trade with one another.
Praise for President Reagan and Europe’s “New Patriotism”
My hero is not Robert Schuman, but the American visionary Ronald Reagan, who in his farewell address advocated a resurgence of national pride, which he called the "new patriotism." As Reagan had it, this meant "a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions."
The euro crisis of the past five years has worked as a catalyst. Europe's citizens, from Finland to Portugal and from Ireland to Greece, have noticed that Brussels has been unable to solve the economic crisis. It imposed austerity solutions that resulted in higher taxes and only made matters worse.
The EU did not bring Europe peace; NATO did. The EU did not bring economic prosperity; free trade did. Switzerland is the most competitive economy in the world and Norway is the most prosperous country. Neither of them is in the EU. Both belong to the European Free Trade Association, or EFTA.
The EU did not bring Europeans more democracy and freedom, either. On the contrary: The EU is a prison of nations. It undermines our national democracies. It resembles a EUSSR.
The gathering forces leading the " Glorious Revolution" and democratic rebellion against the EU:
In referendums in 2005, the Dutch and the French electorates rejected the European Constitution, which aimed to turn the EU into a genuine state. But Brussels refused to take no for an answer. It went ahead with its plans for a constitutional treaty, notwithstanding the people's opposition. Brussels thinks it knows better than the people. Next May, it will realize that people who have been cheated do not forget.
This has nothing to do with populism; it is all about democracy. Democracy on a supranational level is simply impossible. In order to have democracy, there needs to be a nation. The European Union cannot be compared to the United States. America is a nation, but Europe is not. Europe is a continent of many different nations with their own identities, traditions and languages. Robbing them of their national democracies does not create a European democracy—it destroys democracy in Europe.
For months my party, the Party for Freedom, has been leading in the Dutch polls. We are a young party. We want the Netherlands to leave the EU, join EFTA and, like Switzerland, negotiate bilateral trade agreements with the EU and the rest of the world. We are going to win next May's European elections.
In other countries, too, the EU has never been as unpopular as it is today. Trust in the EU has fallen to its lowest level ever. Six out of 10 Europeans tend not to trust the EU, according to the EU's own polling. They are going to vote accordingly. The old order of the complacent elite in Brussels is crumbling.
In Britain, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) wants to lead Britain out of the EU. It is polling at almost 20%. In France, the National Front, under its new leader Marine Le Pen, wants to return sovereignty to Paris from Brussels and has, in turn, become the most popular party in the polls.
Europe is on the verge of a glorious revolution—non-violent and democratic. Next May, all over Europe voters will rebel at the ballot box. They will reject the supranational experiment of the European Union. They will cast their votes for a restoration of national sovereignty.
Home-made knives were found hidden under prison prayer mats after an inmate was stabbed in a jail war. Officers discovered 13 razor-sharp weapons following a brawl between Muslim gangs.
A young man was knifed in the back in what is believed to have been revenge for another stabbing at Swaleside Prison in Kent.
A source said: “There is a battle for power going on between Muslim gangs at the prison. “There could easily have been serious injuries or deaths and the level of violence is terrifying.”
The category B jail on the Isle of Sheppe holds 1,112 inmates, including a large population of Muslim prisoners. Staff have to hold two sets of Friday Prayers - at the chapel and an overflow in the Multi Faith Room where the attack took place.
An internal document says: “In the Multi-faith Room, an alarm bell was activated and staff responded. “A prisoner had been stabbed in the back with an improvised weapon. Additionally, he sustained wounds to his arm and defensive wounds to his hands. Prisoners were searched leaving the service and 13 weapons were found.”
The weapons found included razor blades fixed to toothbrushes.
Turkey's Islamist Premier Recep ErdoganEgyptian Army Chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Source: Reuters
In an abrupt, but long simmering, move, Egypt’s foreign minister announced it was reducing diplomatic ties and expelling the Turkish Ambassador. Turkey’s Premier Recep Erdogan has been highly critical of Egypt’s interim government ousting of former President Morsi, a regional Muslim Brotherhood ally. Ties between the two major regional Middle East countries, once allies, have been frayed since the July 3, 2013 takeover fomented by Tammarud (Rebellion) movement and Egyptian defense minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that led to formation of an interim government under Adly Mansour. Mansour will not seek the Presidency in new elections, while according to a recent report in Al-Ahram, Gen. al-Sisi does not rule out a possible run.
Egypt downgraded diplomatic relations Saturday with Turkey and expelled its ambassador from Cairo, a sharp escalation in tensions between the two countries that mounted after a military coup ousted the country's Islamist president this summer.
In a quick reaction, Turkey reciprocated by declaring the Egyptian ambassador "persona non grata" and downgrading relations with Egypt to the same level. Egypt's ambassador hadn't been in the country since August over the turmoil.
Saturday's decisions, which fall short of closing diplomatic missions in the two countries, are a dramatic reversal of the warming relations between the two countries over the past year.
Egypt's interim government vehemently has protested remarks by Turkish leaders criticizing the popularly backed military coup that toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. The decision Saturday followed another critical comment by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in the Black Sea coastal city of Trabzon, Erdogan appeared unfazed by the diplomatic snub. He said there would be no shift in his position toward Egypt's new rulers.
"I will never have respect for those who come to power through coups," Erdogan said Saturday.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry said it considered the Turkish envoy "persona non grata" and asked him to leave the country. The ministry said it will scale back its diplomatic relations with Turkey to the level of charge d'affaires.
"This (Turkish) leadership has persisted in its unacceptable and unjustified positions by trying to turn the international community against Egyptian interests and ... by making statements that can only be described as an offense to the popular will," the Foreign Ministry statement said.
A Turkish ministry statement said Egypt's interim government, "which came to power in exceptional circumstances," was responsible for the deteriorating relations.
Dr. Harold Rhode , a former Pentagon Turkish and Islam expert in the Office of Secretary of Defense, in an interview to be published in the December New English Review , noted Erdogan’s backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the region:
Erdogan is a fundamentalist. He is basically an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere. He supported Morsi in Egypt; he supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. It is not surprising to me. It just fits in to hand in glove. He loathes Ataturkism which was the idea of separating religion from state.
Remember he is a fundamentalist and as a fundamentalist, he has natural allies with the Muslim Brotherhood, with Hamas and Morsi. Therefore the idea of reconciling with Israel is an existential problem. It can't be done.
According to a report in the Sun Sentinel, 24 Year Old Pakistani born Umair Tayyab Sheik of Cooper City, Florida pled guilty in a Miami Federal Courtt to Child Pornography charges for “coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct to make child pornography.” He could be sentenced up to 15 years at a Federal Sentencing hearing in Miami scheduled for February 11, 2014. Sheik Tayyab was the youth group director for a local Mosque.
The Sun Sentinel headline masked the fact that Sheik was a Muslim, “South Florida religious youth group leader admits he made child porn video of student”.
The article provided come of the background:
FBI agents began investigating Sheikh in September 2012 when they realized that someone was sharing inappropriate sexual images of young children online from a computer at the home Sheikh shared with his parents.
Sheikh, a U.S. citizen who was born in Pakistan, was getting married in Pakistan when officials searched his computer at the Cooper City residence. He was arrested Jan. 5 when his flight landed in Miami.
Sheikh admitted he had child pornography on his computer as well as on a laptop and phone he had brought overseas with him, agents said. He told them he preferred videos of girls between the ages of 12 and 15 and admitted that he had pornographic images and videos of young children, court records show.
Sheikh also admitted that his laptop contained a video he made of a 14-year-old male student masturbating, records show. The name of the mosque where Sheikh led the youth group was not included in court records.
"The video depicts Sheikh undressing … [the boy] … and forcing him to masturbate. The victim … is visibly upset and embarrassed in the video. The victim … stated that Sheikh had convinced his parents to allow Sheikh to continue religious classes with him over the summer break. Sheikh convinced the parents that their son would best be able to lean the Koran if he stayed at Sheikh's home on weekends during summer vacation," according to the plea agreement Sheikh signed.
Prosecutors said they will recommend that Sheikh serve 15 years in federal prison followed by 20 years of supervised release. He also must register as a sex offender. Sheikh, who has been imprisoned since his arrest, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11 by U.S. District Judge Robert Scola in federal court in Miami.
Pedophilia in Pakistan, Sheik’s country of origin, is rampant. WikiIslam noted this 2010 report:
According to the recent statistics given by SAHIL, a non-government organization, Punjab is on the top of the list for child molestation with 62 percent of such cases, 154 in Lahore and the rest in other cities of Punjab.
In total, 68 percent girls and 32 percent boys have been the victims of pedophilia. The number increased by 9.4 percent as compared to 2008. Statistics show that around 81 percent of the cases were registered with the police. The study shows that 2,012 children were reportedly abused in 2009 and most of them were abused by acquaintances.
The report says that children from the 11 to 15 age-group are amongst the most vulnerable, followed by the age-group 6 to 10. Out of a total 2,012 victims, 6 percent of the children were murdered after being sexually assaulted. However, 0.5 percent cases were of those children who were murdered during an “attempt” of sexual assault.
According to the study, “it is difficult to collect actual data regarding child molestation as the abusers threaten children not to share such experiences, even with parents”.
Omar Khadr, Edmonton, Saskatchewan courtroom. September 23, 2013
Source: Sketch by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amanda McRoberts
Canadian Omar Khadr, who as a teen age Jihadi mortally wounded an American Special Forces Medic in a grenade attack at the battle of Khost in 2002 in Afghanistan, lost an appeals round on Friday in a decision by the US Court of Military Commission Review. Khadr, scion of an Al Qaeda terrorist Canadian family, was convicted in October 2010 by a GITMO tribunal in a controversial deal that resulted in his being transferred to Canada to serve an eight year term in a Federal Canadian high security prison in Edmonton, Saskatchewan. We had followed the Khadr saga in a series of New English Reviewarticles. Khadr, captured as a 15 year old at the battle of Khost, is now 27 years old. Both his Canadian and US counsels have filed appeals seeking to overturn the GITMO tribunal sentence and in the interim transfer him to a Canadian facility for youthful offenders. Federal Canadian authorities considers him a dangerous terrorist and want to keep him where he is to serve out the balance of the agreed upon sentence. We wrote about the controversial circumstances of Khadr’s return to Canada in an October 2012 Front Page Magazine article, “A Canadian terrorist’s Homecoming”.
The Ottawa Citizen has an article on the US Court of Military Commission Review decision yesterday that may have stymied Khadr’s US counsel efforts to overturn the 2010 conviction, “Omar Khadr war-crimes appeal in U.S. hits 'troubling' legal snag”.The Canadian Press report by journalist Colin Perkel noted the spanner thrown into the Khadr appeal process by the US military appeals court decision:
An American military court has thrown a wrench into an attempt by former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr to appeal his war-crimes convictions, The Canadian Press has learned.
In an order his lawyer called unprecedented, the Court of Military Commission Review has told both sides to file arguments only on whether the court has the authority to hear the appeal.
"It's terribly unfair to Khadr," Sam Morison, Khadr's American lawyer, who works for the U.S. Defense Department, said in an interview Friday.
"The court's supposed to be neutral. That's what's most troubling."
[. . .]
The military court's new tack, however, could see the case drag on interminably if it decides it has no authority to hear the appeal regardless of its merits.
If that happens, Khadr, 27, would first have to ask a civilian court to order the military court to hear the case, and then, if successful, would have to start from scratch to argue the merits.
The process could take years.
Khadr’s Pentagon appointed lawyer commented:
"The practical effect of the court's order is thus to indefinitely postpone meaningful judicial review of the merits of appellant's appeal, thereby ensuring that he will remain in prison unless and until his full term expires," Morison argues in an objection to the court's directive.
"If the government cannot defend the charges it brought against the appellant today, then there is no good reason to believe that it will articulate a winning argument years from now."
The wording of the direction "creates an appearance that the court has prejudged the outcome of this appeal," Morison argues.
The Canadian Press articled noted how Khadr’s appeal filed on November 8, 2013 was upended by a decision in another GITMO detainee matter. Khadr’s appeal sought to overturn his October 2010 GITMO tribunal decision on the grounds that as a 15 year old Jihadi it violated both US and international law. The Ottawa Citizen article noted:
Just days earlier, another former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks — an Australian charged with providing material support for terrorism — appealed his conviction.
In that case, a panel of the military appeal court directed both sides to file all their arguments — on jurisdiction and merits — at the same time.
However, the U.S. government on Friday moved to stay Hicks's appeal pending the outcome of its fight to have another ruling that quashed a military commission conviction overturned.
Alternatively, the government asked the Hicks panel to issue an order like the one just issued in Khadr's case.
While Khadr appears to have given up his right to contest his conviction under terms of his plea deal, Morison argues military commission authorities didn't follow the appropriate appeal-waiver law.
The various defense arguments are similar to those made by two associates of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. In both cases, a civilian court quashed their military convictions.
In a June 2012 Iconoclast post on a Sun TV interview of Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of the Forensic Panel in Manhattan, by Ezra Levant in Toronto, we noted:
Dr. Welner . . . served as prosecution expert witness in a number of high profile American cases. Welner spent over 500 hours in preparation for his testimony at the Guantanamo tribunal including extensive video interviews with Khadr, his jailers and others. His assessment was that Khadr was a jihadist warrior and not a likely candidate for rehabilitation.
Sunni religious leaders say they have decided to close down the sect's mosques in Baghdad indefinitely to protest attacks targeting clerics and worshippers, highlighting Iraq's deepening sectarian rift.
Sheik Mustafa al-Bayati, member of the Iraqi Doctrine Council where senior Sunni scholars sit to issue religious edicts, says the decision was taken on Thursday and came into effect on Saturday.
Sectarian violence has spiked in Iraq over the past seven months. The bloodiest attacks have targeted Shiites but Sunnis have also been killed in apparent reprisals.
On Friday, bombs targeted two Sunni mosques in Baghdad, killing four. And last week, gunmen killed a cleric as he was leaving a mosque in western Baghdad, police said.
It's unclear how far Sunnis have complied with the closure.
Even though most of the violence in Iraq has been visited on the Shi'a Arabs (and the Kurds) by Sunni Arabs, it is the Shi'a Arabs who control the government, and thus both political power and the distribution of spoils. The Shi'a Arabs will not yield or share such power with the Sunnis, and the Sunnis will never acquiesce in their new, lowly status. And the Kurds, having tasted autonomy when the Americans enforced a no-fly zone over Kurdish-populated areas of Iraq in the 1990s, and having come to enjoy it, are going their own way.
Here are Sunni Arabs in Baghdad, a city they once controlled, but from which many Sunnis have been driven out in the past ten years, closing their own mosques in protest at being on the receiving end, themselves, of attack.
News of this closure will not be received well by Sunnis outside Iraq.
The spirit of compromise is not o be found in Qur'an, Hadith, or Sira. It is unsurprising, therefore, that it should not be exhibited by either Shi'a or Sunnis in their sectarian war, a war that, from the viewpoint of non-Muslims, should continue forever.
The greatest threat facing the world today is Islamic terrorism. If this is not always be appreciated by the White House it is fully comprehended by French President François Hollande. He has demonstrated this by his action in Mali in January 2013 when he sent French troops to oppose the Islamic forces that had tried to seize control of the north of Mali. He has displayed an equally robust policy against threats of terrorism in Libya, Syria, and now Iran.
In a speech in Paris on November 13, 2013 French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius remarked cuttingly, if politely, "The United States gives the impression of no longer wanting to get drawn into crises that do not correspond to its new version of its national interest." Fabius informed the French Policy Planning Staff that it was French policy to try and steer the course of history to the extent of its capabilities.
President Hollande illustrated that policy in November 2013 by his opposition at the first round of talks between six major powers and Iran to the undue eagerness of President Obama and the other leaders to reach a diplomatic solution about Iran's uranium enrichment program. The proposed compromise formula was to include relief from the economic sanctions on Iran that have adversely affected Iran's economy, especially its oil exports and the increase in inflation.
France has insisted that Iran's nuclear program is a menace not only to Israel, but also to the Middle East region and to the whole world. Therefore Iran must stop continuing to work on the plutonium reactor at Arak, and downgrade its stockpile of highly-enriched uranium. Economic sanctions against Iran must be maintained until this menace is removed.
Between France and Israel there have been deep and historic ties as well as some episodes varying in harmony and warmth. Speaking on arrival at Israel's Ben-Gurion airport at the beginning of his three day visit to the area on November 17, 2013 Hollande said, "I will always remain a friend of Israel."
France formally recognized the State of Israel and January 12, 1949, and supported its admission into the United Nations. France was Israel's main supplier of weapons until 1962 when French troops withdrew from Algeria. It is relevant today that the main Israeli negotiator in this arms policy was Shimon Peres, always a Francophile and currently President of Israel. France sent Mirages, an advanced aircraft at the time, aircraft that became the model for the Israeli Kfir fighter aircraft. Recognizing the threat posed by President Gamel Abdel Nasser, who nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, France allied in a joint attack with Israel and Britain on Egypt, that led to the Israeli capture of the Sinai Peninsula.
The entente was not so cordial in 1967. Charles de Gaulle as president of France had welcomed Prime Minister David Ben Gurion four times, and had once referred to Israel as France's friend and ally. But in pique over Israeli's not following his advice which was not to start hostilities, de Gaulle in his press conference on November 27, 1967 referred to Jews as "an elite people, self-assured and domineering." De Gaulle ended French governmental support of Israel's nuclear program. He imposed a ban on French supply of weapons of an "offensive nature" to the Middle East, a ban that in reality applied only to Israel.
Since de Gaulle, French presidents have varied in policy towards Israel. On his visit to Jerusalem in March 1982 François Mitterrand, the first president in office to visit Israel, spoke of French solidarity and friendship with Israel. He also called for the establishment of a Palestinian state though one that would recognize Israel's right to exist. Similarly, President Nicholas Sarkozy in his visit in 2008 expressed warm sentiments, though he later made an uncomplimentary remark about Netanyahu.
The three-day visit of François Hollande is a important step in affirming a warm relationship in spite of some political differences. He was accompanied by a very large party, including 40 business leaders, among whom were the heads of Alstom Transport company, and Bonygues Construction company, and a fleet of journalists as well as political figures. At the formal dinner hosted by Netanyahu an Israeli chanteuse sang the songs of Edith Piaf.
France has long had political and economic relations with Arab countries, especially the Gulf countries and including most recently a 1 billion euro defense contract with Saudi Arabia which is also investing heavily in sectors of French industry and agriculture. Politically, it has been concerned with Arab affairs: it has tried to protect the Maronites in Lebanon; France initiated in June 2003 the European Union dialogue with Tehran; it supported Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war; France voted in November 202 for Palestine to be accepted as a non-member observer state at the United Nations.
Hollande's visit in November to Ramallah as well as Jerusalem was a demonstration of a policy of "equilibrium." Hollande uttered a few words in both Hebrew and Arabic. He visited Yad Vashem and laid stones on the graves of Theodor Herzl, Yitzhak Rabin, and the victims who were murdered in the Jewish school in Toulouse in March 2012 by an Islamist terrorist. Ten miles away at Ramallah, he visited the grave of Yasser Arafat who died in a hospital near Paris on November 11, 2004.
Hollande has called for a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, which would include the establishment of a Palestinian state, Israeli stoppage of settlement building in the disputed territories, and the sharing of Jerusalem in peace and security. This French policy is understandable in the context of France's domestic and international concerns. It has had a long history of relations with Lebanon, Syria, and the Maghreb countries, especially Algeria. It also has both the largest Jewish population in Europe, and a large and increasing Muslim population, which some estimate to be about 8 million.
Even recognizing that political differences still exist between France and Israel, especially on the issue of settlements, the ties are strong and the countries are bound by common anxiety to the overriding issue, Islamic terrorism, and the threat of an Iran, infatuated with power in more senses than one. François Hollande recognizes this and, adapting the immortal words of Margaret Thatcher to George H.W. Bush in August 1990, understands that "this is no time for France to go wobbly."
Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.
President John F. Kennedy's motorcade through Dallas, Texas November 22, 1963
Fifty years after the murder of President John F. Kennedy, the event is scarcely less saddening than it was in its immediate aftermath. It must rank with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as the most graphically shocking and horrifying moment in modern American history.
The United States had endured a presidential assassination three times before — but not in the electronic age. In the cases of Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield in 1881, and William McKinley in 1901, the assassinations were vividly sketched and described, and the country was profoundly shocked in every case. But the endless televised reruns of the motorcade in Dallas, the solicitude of Jacqueline Kennedy, and then the horror within the presidential car and on the roadside when it was clear that a terrible wound had been sustained, is a ghastly and indelible recollection to everyone, in a way that a drawing, however skillfully executed, cannot be.
Unlike Lincoln, President Kennedy was not a gigantic statesman who had saved the Union, emancipated the slaves, and seen the country through a horrible war in which more Americans died than in all other American wars in history combined. JFK was only 46, and was not three years into his presidency. Lincoln, by contrast, announced that he was “an old man” in his famous leave-taking at Springfield in 1861 as he went to his inauguration, “not knowing when or whether ever I may return,” though he was only 52. It was a century earlier, and Lincoln had led a hard life. He was departing his home to assume the headship of a country that was already in the deepest crisis in its history, with states seceding preemptively each week.
The greatest contrast with previous analogous tragedies in American history was that JFK was glamorous; he was a star. Abraham Lincoln, for all his greatness, and partly because of it, was not glamorous, nor was his harridanly and somewhat maladjusted wife. John F. Kennedy was a fair and tousle-haired, intelligently ingenuous, stylish scion of a wealthy family. It was an altogether different appeal from that of the craggy product of the log cabin and the rail-splitting youth and itinerant frontier lawyer, Abraham Lincoln. For her part, Jacqueline Kennedy was only 34 when her husband was murdered, and was an elegant, trilingual, stylishly dressed and refined woman.
Garfield had been a university head in his twenties (Western Reserve), a distinguished combat citizen general in the Civil War, and was the only person ever to make the jump directly from congressman to president (though he had already been elected senator but not installed). But he was not glamorous, and glamor was not in 1880 what it was in the 1960s.
William McKinley had had a good war as a middle officer, and the war with Spain was a walkover. He was a journeyman senator and a solid plough-horse, but he, too, was in no sense glamorous.
Of presidents who died in office, the closest in some respects to President Kennedy was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was a great star; at least lived in the era of films, newsreels, and glossy magazines; and who captured and held the imagination of the nation and the world in a way that Kennedy consciously tried to replicate, down to the smiling countenance and the identification by his three initials. But FDR, though only 63 when he died, passed on from a stroke in his great office in his fourth term, was 17 years older than JFK, and cannot be claimed to have died entirely prematurely.
The deaths of FDR and JFK provoked the two greatest outbreaks of public grief in the nation’s history, apart from the death of Lincoln. Two million people stood silently beside the track at all hours of the day and night, as the funeral train bore the casket of President Roosevelt back from Warm Springs, Georgia to Washington, and on to his ancestral home at Hyde Park, New York.
As president, Kennedy followed and concluded what must in hindsight be considered the golden age of the U.S. presidency, through the distinguished incumbencies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The record of those leaders, taking the country out of the Great Depression and to victory in World War II, and through the worst phase of the Cold War, founding NATO and creating the Marshall Plan, defending Korea, and proposing Atoms for Peace and Open Skies, and delivering a peaceful and prosperous America beginning to desegregate, were probably the greatest sustained period of presidential accomplishment in the history of the office.
John F. Kennedy moved it forward a whole generation (his three predecessors were born between 1882 and 1890). But apart from the appearance of vigor (which disguised severe medical problems and excessive medication, not to dwell upon apparent satyriasis), his record in office was thin and composed more of promise than fact. JFK came late to the correct conclusion on civil rights and taxes, but couldn’t move them legislatively, and it was his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, who got those measures adopted.
He probably deserves the benefit of the doubt that he would not have made such a terrible mess of Vietnam as his successor did; would have avoided it, or if he had intervened directly, would have followed the advice of Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, and other serious military experts and cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail. But as it is, the chief responsibility for turning Laos into a superhighway of North Vietnamese infiltration of the South resides with Kennedy for the Laos Neutrality Agreement — which Richard Nixon, who may well have been the real winner of the 1960 election (and has received minimal credit for not contesting it and consequently immobilizing the country) called “Communism on the installment plan.”
Kennedy did sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but most of the preparatory work was done by Eisenhower. His great triumph is commonly held to be the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and he does deserve much credit for distrusting blasé military and intelligence assurances of an easy invasion option, when there were in fact short-range nuclear warheads and two Soviet divisions already in-country. But before the crisis, there were NATO missiles in Greece and Turkey, and no Soviet missiles in Cuba, and no guarantee by the U.S. of non-invasion of Cuba. At the end of the crisis, there were no missiles in Greece and Turkey (contrary to the wishes of those countries), or Cuba, and the U.S. had undertaken not to invade Cuba. It was prudent management, but as Charles de Gaulle and Richard Nixon pointed out, it was no American strategic victory.
John F. Kennedy was probably an above-average president, and might have been a very talented two-term president, but that is rank conjecture. All the bunk about Camelot (a musical he didn’t even enjoy) has burnished a rather humdrum record. But he will always remain an admired and lamented man, whose life and death were an evanescent source of encouragement, and a permanent tragedy.