Five alleged Islamic terrorists arrested in Paris this week were planning to assassinate the city's leading Muslim cleric, it emerged today. All of the men, who are French passport holders, are believed to have returned from fighting British and American troops alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The murder plot against Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the French capital's main mosque, was only foiled at the eleventh hour thanks to a tip-off. Secret intelligence officers were able to move in on two Frenchmen of Algerian descent as they arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport on Monday night from Egypt. Armed police arrested three other men from similar backgrounds in flats in the Paris suburbs on Tuesday morning.
'These were five major arrests,' said Bernard Squarcini, director of France's Internal Intelligence agency, the DCRI. 'All were linked to a major inquiry into jihadists returning from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and threatening to assassinate the rector of the Paris Mosque, Dalil Boubaker.'
Security has also been stepped up around leading public figures in France, including Carla Bruni, who is seen as an assassination target.
Intelligence chief Mr Squarcini said the five men were seen as important figures in the current 'global threat' against France.
Ignorant Themselves, About Israel, The Middle East, And Islam, Many Western Journalists Rely On Israelis With Their Own Axe To Grind
Remarks from former Israeli government press official Danny Seaman here.
Wouldn't it be something if those posted by their newspapers and press organizations to Israel actually had prepared themselves for the task?
They might read about the demographic and cadastral history of the area under the Ottomans, and found out what Western travellers and diplomats reported in the 19th century from the Holy Land.
They could find out what the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations was all about.
They could find out more about the history of Israel -- "Palestine" in Western Christendom -- and the various foreign conquerors, and what happened to the land, and the indigenous people, under those conquerors.
Above all, they could come to understand the war being waged on the Jews of Israel as a classic Jihad, if they only knew a bit about Islam, and about the attitude toward Infidels, and of course toward Infidel nation-states, especially those that exist on land that the Muslim Arabs (the most fanatical of all Muslims, because their ethnic identity reinforces, rather than works against, their Muslim identity) regard as having once been in Muslim possession.
They could do some, or all of this.
But they don't.
Instead, they ask their Israeli colleagues -- you know, the ones at Ha'aretz, the ones who themselves misunderstand their own reality, and are almost as ignorant of their own history as are the visiting journalists -- what to think, and take their cue, disastrously, from them.
ISLAMABAD - The Pakistani government on Wednesday condemned the US backing for a permanent seat for arch-rival India on the UN Security Council as "incomprehensible".
A federal cabinet resolution "expressed its serious concern and strong disappointment on the decision of the United States to support a permanent seat for India on the UN Security Council," a foreign ministry statement said.
"It is incomprehensible that the US has sought to support India, whose credentials with respect to observing UN charter principles and international law are at best chequered," the resolution said.
Addressing the Indian parliament earlier this week, visiting US President Barack Obama received rapturous applause when he said he looked forward to welcoming India as a permanent member of a reformed UN Security Council.
Islamabad and Washington are allies in the war against terrorism, but their relationship is strained, while nuclear-armed Pakistan and India are entrenched rivals.
They have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
The resolution passed by the cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, accused India of "disregard of Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir and gross and systematic violations of the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people".
A string of decades-old Security Council resolutions call for a referendum to allow the Kashmiri people to choose between India and Pakistan, but have never been implemented.
Obama on Monday backed India's quest for a permanent Security Council seat, inviting the world's largest democracy to take its "rightful" place at the summit of global power.
Obama also said that the United States could not "impose" a solution on India and Pakistan's dispute over Kashmir -- the trigger for two wars between the South Asian rivals.
India has an estimated 500,000 troops in Kashmir, which is split into Indian- and Pakistani-administered parts. There has been a separatist insurgency in the Indian zone for 20 years.
Pakistan's unhappiness unsurprises. But will the Obama Administration come to understand that Pakistan's reason for being is to be a Muslim state, a state of the "pure," and has no reason for being other than to promote and protect Islam? Will he come to realize that it is impossible for the Muslims of Pakistan to be allies of the United States, or to give up the Jihad against India, which begins with, but is hardly limited to, the Indian-held parts of Kashmir?
And could Obama ever allow himself to understand that the war of Muslim Arabs (and other Muslims who naturally follow their lead) on Israel is, like Pakistan's war on infidel India, without end, and will go on forever, but can be contained, as can Pakistan's war, if the intended victims of Jihad -- mighty India, tiny but mightily intelligent and ingenious Israel -- remain overwhelmingly stronger than their enemies. Containment of the enemy worked for America during the Cold War. It can work for India in the subcontinent, and for Israel in its tiny strip of territory, defensible -- just -- if only the Israelis cease to be pressured into giving up still more than the great deal -- 95% of what they won in the Six-Day War -- that they have alreadygiven up, receiving nothing of lasting value in return and in the case of Gaza, increasing the mortal threat to their own security.
In the post 9/11 years, as critics of Islam hold it responsible for the violence and terrorism by Muslims globally, and for many of the ills in the Muslim world, adept apologists for Islam have skilfully succeeded in discrediting such critics of Islam as Islamophobes. An Islamophobe is not simply a critic of Islam, but a hater of Muslims, an evil human being, a racist, even a fascist. Average non-Muslims, particularly those on the left, have consumed that label and attack against the Islam-critics voraciously.
Are the critics of Islam truly so? Are they truly as evil as portrayed by Islamists and their useful idiots? Do they really hate Muslims?
Sujit Das has used an unusual device to tell you what he thinks - he has conducted a self-interview in an attempt to unravel what goes on inside the mind of anyone labelled as an Islamophobe. Here is a couple of extracts from the article:
Q: Sujit, readers often complain that you show too much hatred for the Muslims in your articles.
A: Absolutely not. I don't hate the Muslims. Muslims are the first victims of Islam. Every Muslim is an abductee from the civilization in which he once belonged and put into a mental slavery. Same diagnosis is applicable to the Arabs also. Though they did not have to adopt foreign customs and language, which made the transition to Islam less disruptive, they too were cut off from their original Pagan culture.
I hate the ideology which enslaves the Muslims and make them terrorists. My stanch enemy is Islam and Islam only. I want to expose this doctrine of hate and murder and want to see its destruction before my death. My intention is not only to confront Islamic Jihad but at the same time to rescue the Muslims from the evil grip of Islam. I want to see the Muslims returning back within the fold of Humanity by rejecting Islam.
Islam is not a divine religion. It is a 'mind control device'. Muhammad was not a prophet of God. He was a vulgar imposter.
Q: And, what about the Holy Qur'an?
A: Well, the Holy Qur'an was actually the Holy terrorist manual of Muhammad. No God had written this book. Today from Osama Bin Laden to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, practically every Muslim terrorist can justify their destructive acts by citing Qur'anic verses in support of their action. Qur'an is the mother of all terrorist manuals. Present day Muslim terrorist manuals are just an annexure to Qur'an.
Q: It means, we cannot call Islam as the religion of Allah.
A: Yes, Islam is not the religion of Allah. It is the religion of Muhammad. Every Muslim actually worships Muhammad without realizing it. All their prayers go to Muhammad. Islam means 'submission' submission to Allah. But actually it is submission to Muhammad. Islam is truly Muhammadanism. Every Muslim is a slave to Muhammad.
A popular Persian saying goes like this, BaKhuda Diwana Bashad Ba Muhammad Hoshiyar. It means, 'take liberties with Allah, but be careful with Muhammad'. This again proves my point. Belief in Allah alone, counts for nothing. Therefore, in Islam, Muhammad is the central figure and Allah is just a decorative convenience a scarecrow.
Q: Was Muhammad sincere in his claim to the title of Prophet?
A: Narcissists are pathological liars. This means that either they are unaware of their lies, or feel completely justified and at ease in lying to others. Later they believe their own lies.
When Muhammad claimed the title of Prophet, he lied. No God had given him any revelation. He was a fake. But he felt completely justified when he had lied to others. At any cost he wanted to achieve the rank of a Prophet. He was megalomaniac. Later he believed in his own lies with 'sincerity' and became of Prophet. This is self-delusion. The process of Qur'anic revelation to Muhammad was a classic case of paranoid delusion.
Gertz in Washington Times: Army Failed to Pass on Force Threat Info from FBI before Fort Hood Massacre
Maj. Nidal Hasan
Bill Gertz, Pentagon and Intelligence columnist for the Washington Times had a disquieting report about the evident failure of the Army to pass on FBI suspicious activity reports about Jihadi threats to forces stationed at Fort Hood, . The result was the massacre of 13 killed and over 43 others injured by lone gunman and self-professed jihadist, Maj. Nidal Hassan on November 5th, 2009. Reading through the bureaucratese, the Army failed to protect its own forces as Stephen Coughlin, the former lone Pentagon expert in the law of Jihad Warfare indicated in an Iconoclast post shortly after the terrorist occurrence.
"Our current protection procedures fall short of synchronizing policy, establishing priorities and allocating resources to achieve the desired end state," Army Maj. Gen. Robert M. Radin, leader of the Army Internal Review Team, said in the report. "We must efficiently and effectively transform how we look at protecting the force."
According to the report, Maj. Hassan fired on soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009, killing 13 people and wounding 43 others, 34 by gunshot and nine by other unspecified means. Previous news reports tallied 31 wounded and noted that he shouted "Allah akbar" ("God is great") during the shooting.
"While the response to the incident was prompt and effective, the tragedy raised questions about the DoD's preparedness to prevent or defend against internal threats," the report said.
The report said that Pentagon policies and procedures for identifying "indicators of violence" in personnel "are outdated, incomplete and fail to include key indicators of potentially violent behaviors."
To fix the problem, the report recommends programs to educate troops on indicators "that signal when individuals may commit violent acts or become radicalized."
The report also said the Army has revised its regulations on identifying internal and external threats to troops to include "additional observable indicators for espionage, terrorism and extremism."
The statement is the closest the Army has come to referring to Fort Hood as a terrorist attack. The Army continues to refer to the attack as a "tragedy."
Note the admittance to lack of information sharing and force indoctrination about Jihad doctrine, a matter that Stephen Coughlin endeavored to brief Joint Chiefs, Senior military personnel, combat and base commanders:
The Army report said information sharing on threats between the services and other federal agencies like the FBI was inadequate.
To fix the problem the Pentagon is increasing the number of investigators and counterintelligence officials within the FBI's 104 Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the country.
"There is no formal guidance standardizing how to share [force protection] threat information across the services or combatant commands," the report said.
Additionally, because the Pentagon does not have direct access to threat reporting on suspicious activities, it has adopted the FBI's Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) eGuardian.
The report also called for better screening of troops before and after they deploy on missions "to include behavioral indicators that a person may commit violent acts or become radicalized."
However, the Army report was immediately criticized by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, head of the Senate Homeland Security Committee who had issued subpoenas to gather information on why the Fort Hood Massacre occurred. Gertz's quotes from a press release issued yesterday by Sen. Lieberman:
Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, issued a statement on reports by the Army and other services made public on Tuesday, saying the reports "fall short of explaining why 13 Americans were killed over a year ago - namely that we are threatened by violent Islamist extremism and that an Army major who made public statements supportive of this murderous ideology was not stopped by his superiors."
"It is disappointing that these final reports fail to mention violent Islamist extremism and do not offer explicit policies or procedures to make sure that service members who become radicalized to violent Islamist extremism are identified, reported, and discharged," Mr. Lieberman said in a statement.
Mr. Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said his panel is conducting an independent probe of the attack and will soon issue its own report. He said the report will include calls for the Pentagon "to deal directly and effectively with the deadly threat that violent Islamist extremism poses to our service members."
"As the recent terrorist plots to blow up planes with cargo bombs and murder civilians in subways show, this vicious ideology continues to threaten our security," he said.
Iconoclast posts following the Fort Hood Massacre delved into these systemic failures by the Army, Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism agencies to recognize the Islamic doctrine that motivated Maj Hassan's Jihadi terrorist attack. We concluded a post on a briefing on Maj. Hasan's Unified Armed Forces Medical School Power Point presentation to colleagues at Walter Reed Hospital analyzed by Stephen Coughlin with this comment:
As Coughlin has amply demonstrated, the threat of Jihad derogated by official myopia resurged with the shots fired by Major Hasan at Fort Hood on November 5th.
Senator Lieberman's Homeland Security Committee investigations should confirm Coughlin's warnings about Jihad as the principal threat that faces our military both at home and in Iraq and Afghanistan. More in our command echelons need to recognize this threat. Pity [. . .] Our national security is the poorer for his departure.
A Disgusting Proposal Suitable For An Unembarrassed Plutocracy
U.S. Debt Proposal Would Cut Social Security, Taxes, Medicare
By Heidi Przybyla and Brian Faler - Nov 10, 2010
A presidential commission's leaders proposed a $3.8 trillion deficit-cutting plan that would cut Social Security and Medicare, reduce income-tax rates and eliminate tax breaks including the mortgage-interest deduction.[cut the mortgage-interest deduction, perhaps, for homes beyond one, or for homes that cost millions, but why not continue to promote widespread home ownership? ]
The co-chairmen of the panel appointed by President Barack Obama suggested reducing Social Security spending by raising the retirement age to 68 in about 2050 and 69 in about 2075. The plan also would slow the rate at which benefits grow. The savings would come between 2012 and 2020.
"This country's out of money and we better start thinking," said co-chairman Erskine Bowles. [how about ceasing to waste trillions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to make Muslim states prosperous and unified? how about ending all the foreign aid to worthless or ungrateful recipients, and limiting such aid only to firm friends who are of immediate and obvious help in the war of self-defense against a world-wide Jihad?] Without "tough choices," he said, "we're on the most predictable path toward an economic crisis that I can imagine."
Bowles, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff, and Republican former Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming announced the proposal in Washington today, stressing that it was intended as a starting point for discussion.
None of the proposals would take effect next year to avoid disrupting the economic recovery. Bowles said income-tax rates would be reduced to three levels: 8 percent, 14 percent and 23 percent.[in other words, the undertaxed very rich would be even more undertaxed, in the slow descent into an idiotized land, with maldistribution of wealth equal to that of any banana republic]
Wiping out all tax breaks, including the home mortgage deduction, while lowering rates would save $100 billion a year, Bowles said. Members of the panel could decide to keep some tax breaks by offering offsetting cuts, he said.
Bowles said about three-fourths of the savings would come from spending cuts with the remainder from tax increases.
'Harpooned Every Whale'
"We have harpooned every whale in the ocean and some of the minnows," Simpson said. "No one has done this before."
The proposal would attempt to slow health-care costs by paying doctors participating in Medicare less, and it calls for "comprehensive" legislation to reduce medical malpractice costs.
Discretionary spending cuts in the plan include reducing congressional and White House budgets by 15 percent, freezing federal salaries and cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent. The discretionary reductions of $1.4 trillion would be split equally between defense and domestic programs, Bowles said.
"The cuts really will happen on both sides of that firewall," he said.
The plan would cut the deficit to 2.2 percent of gross domestic product by 2015, from the current 9 percent, exceeding Obama's goal. It would also reduce debt to 60 percent of GDP by 2024.
"This is Al's and my proposal, nobody else's," Bowles said. "The president hasn't seen this proposal." Some members of Obama's financial team have seen the plan and they liked some things and not others, he said.
The bomb found on the cargo plane at East Midlands Airport last month was timed to detonate over the eastern seaboard of the United States, Scotland Yard have said. The device, which was removed from a UPS aircraft by Leicestershire police officers shortly after 3.30am on October 29, was timed to go off some seven hours later, police said.
The bomb, disguised as an ink cartridge, was found following a tip-off from Saudi intelligence. A Scotland Yard spokesman said the cargo plane arrived at East Midlands Airport from Cologne at 2.13am BST and left at 4.20am BST "after the suspect package had been removed".
"Forensic examination has indicated that if the device had activated it would have been at 10.30am BST," he said. "If the device had not been removed from the aircraft the activation could have occurred over the eastern seaboard of the US."
Today is the Feast of Saint Justus, the fourth Archbishop of Canterbury. He received the pallium from Pope Boniface in AD624 and the letter which Pope Boniface addressed to him is preserved in the Venerable Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum.
Apart from being a mild-mannered and quiet man - as you would expect a Saint to be - he was also committed to rebuilding the Church in England and with that in mind he consecrated Paulinus (St. Paulinus) Bishop of the North thereby effectively reviving the See of York which had been destroyed by the pagan Saxons as Paulinus established his Cathedral at York. By AD634 - a scant seven years after the death of St. Justus - he had schemed sufficiently to get the pallium as Archbishop of York from Pope Gregory III.
Thus the stage was set for over a thousand years of bickering and conflict between the two Metropolitan Primates of Canterbury and York. If Justus had known what Paulinus aspired to would he have consecrated him Bishop? That is one of history's great 'what ifs?'
Much of our certain knowledge of events like those lives of Sts. Justus and Paulinus one we owe to that great Doctor of the Church the Venerable Father Bede. Arguable the greatest scholar of his time his output was prolific - not just The Ecclesiastical History of the English People but also the Historia Abbatum, the Letter to Egbert, a Martyrologium, the chronological treatises De temporibus liber, De natura rerum and De temporum ratione, a large number of exegetical writings including a commentary upon the Pentateuch as a whole as well as on selected portions, commentaries on the Books of Kings, Esdras, Tobias, the Canticles, etc, and in the New Testament he interpreted St. Mark, St. Luke, the Acts, the Canonical Epistles, and the Apocalypse, and there are also grammatical treatises such as De arte metrica and De orthographia. He also wrote at least one book of hymns and copious amounts of poetry.
In his peaceful Monastery at Jarrow on the Wear this remarkable man just wrote and wrote and wrote. In an Age when the Church was busy expanding its frontiers he recorded as much as he could and commented upon much more. He died in AD735 (just over one hundred years after the death of the illiterate pseudo-prophet Mohammed).
Sts. Justus and Paulinus moulded an important but small part of the future of England - they existed at the beginning of English history and influenced it to this very day for today Canterbury is the Primate of All England whereas York is merely the Primate of England. The Venerable Father Bede, 'Doctor Ecclesiae' (Leo XIII, 13:xi:1899), also existed at the beginning of English history but equally as importantly he existed at the beginning of English Culture - he was the beginning of English Culture.
Through his own genius and having contact with the classics, he is remarkable for the relative purity of his language, as also for his lucidity and sobriety, most especially in matters of historical, musical and scientific criticism. In all these respects he presents a marked contrast to the turgid and overblown superstitious style of St. Aldhelm and other later writers.
So this Wednesday raise your glass to St. Justus and remember the remarkable men and Saints who started the story of England. The Venerable Father Bede's Feast day is the 25th. May, but I'll remind of that you nearer the time.
Bede concluded his great History with these words:
And I pray thee, loving Jesus, that as Thou hast graciously given me
to drink in with delight the words of Thy knowledge,
so Thou wouldst mercifully grant me to attain one day to Thee,
the fountain of all wisdom and to appear forever before Thy face.
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is increasingly emphasizing the idea that the United States will have forces in Afghanistan until at least the end of 2014, a change in tone aimed at persuading the Afghans and the Taliban that there will be no significant American troop withdrawals next summer.
In a move away from President Obama's deadline of July 2011 for the start of an American drawdown from Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all cited 2014 this week as the key date for handing over the defense of Afghanistan to the Afghans themselves. Implicit in their message, delivered at a security and diplomatic conference in Australia, was that the United States would be fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan for at least four more years.
Administration officials said the three had made loosely coordinated comments at the conference, in Melbourne, to try to convince Afghans that the United States was not walking away next summer and to warn the Taliban that aggressive operations against them would continue. Although Mr. Obama and administration officials have repeatedly said that July 2011 would be only the start of troop withdrawals, the Taliban have successfully promoted the deadline among the Afghan populace as a large-scale exit of the 100,000 United States troops now in the country.
"There's not really any change, but what we're trying to do is to get past that July 2011 obsession so that people can see what the president's strategy really entails," a senior administration official said Wednesday.
In Australia, Mr. Gates said the Taliban would be "very surprised come August, September, October and November, when most American forces are still there, and still coming after them."
The message shift is effectively a victory for the military, which has long said the July 2011 deadline undermined its mission by making Afghans reluctant to work with troops perceived to be leaving shortly. "They say you'll leave in 2011 and the Taliban will chop their heads off," Cpl. Lisa Gardner, a Marine based in Helmand Province, told a reporter this past spring. This summer Gen. James T. Conway, then the Marine Corps's commandant, went so far as to say that the deadline "was probably giving our enemy sustenance."
Last year the White House insisted on the July deadline to inject a sense of urgency into the Afghans to get their security in order - military officials acknowledge that it has partly worked - but also to quiet critics in the Democratic Party upset about Mr. Obama's escalation of the war and his decision to order 30,000 more troops to the country.
On Wednesday, the White House insisted that there had been no change in tone. "The old message was, we're looking to July 2011 to begin a transition," a White House official said. "Now we're telling people what happens beyond 2011, and I don't think that represents a shift. We're bringing some clarity to the policy of our future in Afghanistan."
Like most people involved in the issue, the official asked for anonymity because a review of Mr. Obama's strategy in Afghanistan is under way and people involved in it are reluctant to speak openly to reporters.
Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, was adamant on Wednesday night that the White House had not shifted. "The president has been crystal clear that we will begin drawing down troops in July of 2011," he said. "There is absolutely no change to that policy."
The 2014 date will be a focus at a NATO summit meeting that Mr. Obama is to attend next week in Lisbon, Portugal, where the alliance is to be presented with a transition plan, drawn up by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, that calls for a gradual four-year shifting of security responsibility to the Afghans. Administration officials said that the document had no timetable for specific numbers of troop withdrawals and instead set forth the conditions that had to be met in crucial provinces before NATO forces could hand off security to the Afghans.
Administration officials emphasized that the 2014 date was first set by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who mentioned it in his inaugural address last year and again at a conference in Kabul this past summer.
The officials acknowledged that the 2014 date was based on the presumption that the American military would be successful enough in fighting the Taliban that significant withdrawals would be under way by then. Recently, commanders in some parts of Afghanistan have reported a tactical shift in momentum away from the Taliban, but officials in Washington, though encouraged, have been skeptical or reluctant to say this will translate into strategic success.
Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who was last in Afghanistan in September, said the 2014 date made sense, because the Afghan Army and the police were scheduled to increase their numbers to 350,000, their goal, by 2013.
"It is far enough away to allow lots to happen, yet it is still close enough to debunk the myth of an indefinite foreign occupation of the country," Mr. O'Hanlon said.
But Mr. Gates has said that the United States will nonetheless be in Afghanistan for many more years to come.