These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 10, 2009.
Friday, 10 April 2009
Friends and Allies
WASHINGTON - U.S. officials have found no links between Somali pirates and Al Qaeda. "The pirates involved in the most recent incident are negotiating, and have expressed their interest in battling the rival pirate clans involved in last year's attack on the Sirius Star. We welcome their assistance," said Pentagon spokesman Frank N. Stein. The Sirius Star is a Saudi oil tanker that was held for ransom in the same vicinity as this weeks' incident involving the Maersk Alabama.
"The terrorists involved in [the previous Sirius Star] incident are extremists. They are Darodi, they are sons of dogs, they are Shi'a, not real Muslims" explained Mohammad Abu Jihad, a spokesman for the rival Hawiye clan involved in this weeks' incident.
Stein spoke approvingly of the Hawiye leadership, saying that they were "strong allies" in the "global anti-extremist endeavor", who offered "a viable alternative to the general state of lawlessness and chaos" currently prevalent in Somalia. Hawiye leaders promise to bring stability to Somalia in the form of sharia, a peaceful implementation of Islamic law.
State Department officials were quick to offer assistance, in the form of financial support and military equipment to the Hawiye. Several hundred of the latest Harpoon anti-ship missiles were due to arrive in Mogadishu as early as Monday, followed later in the week by shipments of Nike Ajax surface-to-air missiles and rocket-propelled grenades. The U.S. has pledged $1.3B in direct financial aid, and the European Union has offered to match those funds. The Russian and Chinese governments were also in negotiations to provide financial and military aid to the humanitarian branches of the Somali pirate organizations.
"Now that we're here, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, it would be irresponsible to leave, given the current levels of violence," Stein said. "Over 36 people, 12 of them children, hacked each other to death in Kismaayo last week alone." In response, Secretary of State Clinton is scheduled to visit Israel next week to pressure the extreme-right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu to begin dismantling the apartheid wall that Israel built in defiance of several U.N. resolutions.
Back in the Indian Ocean, the USS Bainbridge offered food, fuel, and weapons to the pirates who were left floating in their disabled boat. Stein said the Bainbridge's primary mission was to stand by to protect the pirates against a feared possible backlash against Muslims in the region.
Yes, the preceding was a joke. I made it up. It's not real. Our foreign policy could never be as nutty as this in real life. Offering money and weapons to Muslim groups and governments who have directly attacked us, calling them our friends and allies, and blaming Israel for their actions...I mean, come on, it was too obvious, right?
Posted on 04/10/2009 12:38 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Friday, 10 April 2009
Huge Bomb Lab Found in Mosque
(IsraelNN.com) Hamas terrorists in Kalkilya built a large supply of bombs and stored them in a local mosque without raising suspicion from local Palestinian Authority armed forces who represent the rival Fatah faction. However, the terrorists were out of luck on Wednesday, Passover eve, when a simple electric shortage gave away their plans.
The shortage caused a small fire in the mosque, bringing PA forces to the building, where they found bombs ready for use and large cannisters of bomb-making materials. The mosque was closed down, and PA sappers removed the explosives.
The bombs were then turned over to the IDF, which sent experts to detonate the weapons in a controlled explosion.
A captain in the PA forces told Israeli journalists that the mosque had been used to both produce and store the bombs. “It was a huge weapons lab,” he said.
Four people have been arrested in connection to the incident, he said, two of them members of Hamas and two “everyday citizens.”
Posted on 04/10/2009 2:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 10 April 2009
Scramble to find the Easter bomb factory
From The Times
A desperate search was under way last night for the terrorist bomb factory from which a suspected al-Qaeda cell planned to launch a devastating attack in Manchester.
Hours after Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer resigned in disgrace, police operations were concentrating on a rundown block of flats east of Liverpool city centre.
The block was cordoned off and large quantities of material were seized for examination. People were evacuated from the area around the flats, which had been rented out by a private landlord to foreign students.
Ten of the 12 men arrested on Wednesday were Pakistani nationals who entered Britain on student visas.
All were from the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, the heartland of al-Qaeda and mujahidin activity. They appear to have exploited a visa regime described by a minister last week as “the major loophole in Britain’s border controls”.
Security sources are alarmed that terrorists may have exploited weaknesses in the vetting of student visa applicants to plant sleeper cells here. Simple - no more students from Pakistan.
Gordon Brown said that the police and intelligence services had thwarted “a very big plot”. He added that he would be raising his concerns with President Zardari of Pakistan. The suspects were allegedly seen filming in central Manchester and intelligence services had intercepted “chatter” suggesting that an attack could occur as early as this weekend.
Posted on 04/10/2009 2:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 10 April 2009
The Crossword At NER
Hello! I’m the Customer Liaison Officer for Lexcentrics Ltd., the Company that supplies the Crossword for the NER. My name is John Messner and I know that part of the fun of doing a puzzle is being able to exchange comments about it and interrogate the people who made it. This especially applies in the online world of the electronic magazine where it’s much easier and quicker to offer comments and criticisms and get responses to them than it is in the paper world.
If there’s anything you want to ask about the Crossword and it’s clues then just post a comment here and I’ll endeavour to find out the answer from our compilers and let you know. We use two teams of compilers for the NER Crossword, as you may have noticed. One is our famed Lysikrates team and the other is our not so well known Team Lexigraphy.
Before either team made their first Crossword for the NER they were told that the readership here was smart, intelligent, widely read and knew how to use search engines and that they were to challenge the readers but shouldn’t be so obscure as to make the Crossword almost impossible. Although the clues for the Crossword were to be basically definition clues both teams were told that they were allowed to be slightly cryptic in some of the clues in order to provide some additional challenge and fun.
Do you think that we’ve got it right? Do, please, post your comments and let us know what you think. In the meantime have a good Easter and enjoy April's Crossword.
Posted on 04/10/2009 7:38 AM by NER
Friday, 10 April 2009
Rod Liddell to Church of England: Don't be So Wimpy
Liddell mistakes the leaders, in particular the Arch Druid of Canterbury, for the Church of England as a whole, but he makes some good points. From The Spectator:
The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali [...] intends to work for the benefit of Christian people who suffer religious persecution in foreign lands — in other, less elegant words, he is going to be socking it to the mozzies. It is remarkable that he should be forced to leave his current position in order to fight for the human rights of persecuted Christians; you might have assumed that being a Church of England bishop was a pretty good platform from which to undertake such work. As it is, he will not have the full force of the Church of England behind him; he will be, so far as Lambeth Palace is concerned, an ex-parrot.
We do not hear very much from the Church of England about the plight of Christians, and particularly Anglicans, in hostile foreign environments. Under the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the church does not like to make too much of a fuss about murdered priests in the Sudan, the constant fears of samizdat believers in Riyadh, the continued state persecution in Turkey, the perpetual discrimination in Indonesia and Malaysia and Bangladesh. Or about the Punjabi Christian dragged before a court in Pakistan accused of having sent a blasphemous message on his mobile phone, the Muslim hordes screaming for the death sentence outside the court. The thousands of Christians in Bauchi, Nigeria, watching their homes burned to the ground and their leaders attacked by, again, Muslim mobs. The beatings and murders in liberated — yea, praise the lord! — Afghanistan. We don’t hear much about that stuff from anyone, be it the BBC, our politicians or most notably the Church of England.
You might expect the C of E to feel at least a little bit uncomfortable that Anglicans were being strung up or burned alive in the middle east and elsewhere. But it does not seem to be an enormous issue for the prelates. The problem being that it would bring Rowan, and the church, into conflict with the very Islamists with whom they are thoroughly enjoying their important ‘inter-faith dialogues’, by which they seem to set so much store. These inter-faith dialogues have never, ever, to my knowledge, touched upon Islamic persecution of Christians: all the traffic is in the other direction, and the Church of England thinks it is all going swimmingly.
The C of E is very pleased and proud of its inter-faith dialogues — largely, I suppose, because when conducting them it always adopts a strategy of total capitulation, much as it does before any and every assault upon its ideology, be it from Islam or from the decadent depredations of modern Britain.
There may be another reason for Nazir-Ali’s Lenten undertaking, then. It may be that he is sick to the back teeth of the leadership of the Church of England. He has not said that he is, but he is a polite and affable chap apparently. But he has had this to say recently; he has lamented a ‘gradual loss of identity and cohesiveness in (British) society’ which he feels is down to the abandonment of biblical values. He thinks that we reside in a ‘values vacuum’. He has also complained that British people suffer from a ‘historical amnesia’ — by which he means that we prostrate ourselves to apologise for slavery while forgetting that we also ended slavery, while the Africans cheerfully continued with it.
Bishop Nazir-Ali was in the news a little while ago for having expressed — with delicacy and tact — a faint misgiving about Rowan Williams’s suggestion that Muslim sharia law courts should be accepted within our society, or within certain sectors of our society. Nazir-Ali said that this might cause a few problems vis à vis the law of the land — he worried particularly about what this would mean for religious freedom and the position of apostates. Islam is not terribly keen on apostates, unless they are Christian apostates converting to Islam. As ever, the British public was entirely on the side of Nazir-Ali and even some Muslim leaders found Williams’s statements either patronising or simply unnecessary. But within the church, by and large, Rowan Williams was commended.
Williams was, one supposes, attempting to align himself with the now discredited creed of multiculturalism; that each belief system is equivalent, regardless of the misery or injustice it might impose upon those who fall within its ambit. Such as, for example, women, homosexuals, people who do not wish to accede to arranged marriages, female victims of domestic abuse, people who no longer wish to be regarded as Muslim, and so on. It was a fantastically stupid thing to have suggested, even if you were not the leader of the Christian Church in Great Britain. As the leader, you might think it antithetical.
Posted on 04/10/2009 7:39 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 10 April 2009
Kalkilya, Or, Why Wasp-Waists Are, For Israel, Always To Be In Fashion
Kalkily, where one more mosque's bomb-factory has been unearthed, is on the "West Bank." That is the bizarre name given to what is clearly not a "bank" or littoral, but an ear-shaped territory, consisting of part of Judea and Samaria, land that was assigned by the League of Nations to the Mandate for Palestine, the sole purpose of which mandate was the creation of the Jewish National Home. But during the first war for Israel's survival, the 1948-49 war, Ben Gurion decided to halt the war before taking, by force of arms, that part of Israel which the Jordanians, the Arab Legion (armed and trained by the British) had seized, and which they still held on to when the war came to an end.
Kalkilya is especially important. It stands at what, within the Armistice Lines of 1948 -- not borders but Armistice Lines, for the Arabs refused the Israeli offer, that was held open from 1948 to 1967, to make those Armistice Lines the borders)-- was once Israel's narrow waist. How far is it from Kalkilya to the sea? It's eight miles. At that former waist, the country of Israel was before the Six-Day War eight miles wide. Many in the Western world think nothing of driving eight miles to pick up some milk, or the newspaper, one in which Israel is berated for its "right-wing" government and "expansionist" refusal to yield up the "West Bank" to the "Palestinians" (as the local Arabs were so carefully renamed after the Six-Day War), so that, you see, Kalkilya can be run of, by, and for Muslim Arabs who will do -- no doubt about it -- what they did before and what they devoutly wish to do again.
For Israel, apparently, wasp waists are always to be in fashion.
Posted on 04/10/2009 7:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 10 April 2009
Commenting on the case of Taj Hargey, the "progressive Muslim" who recently sued for libel, a reader of Harry's Place writes:
Let’s face it, the term ‘Muslim freethinker’ is the ultimate oxymoron - right up there with ‘carnivorous vegetarian’
Let's face it, "right up there" is a cliché, right up there with "let's face it".
Posted on 04/10/2009 7:46 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 10 April 2009
A Musical Interlude: Time Waits For No One (Helen Forrest)
Posted on 04/10/2009 8:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 10 April 2009
Easter Saturday etc
The Spectator's Dot Wordsworth has obviously been thinking along the same lines as NER's John Joyce:
What do you call today, the day before Easter? It is increasingly called Easter Saturday. That is what the BBC calls it in its programme guides. Robin Hood and Casualty await us as an alternative to the Easter Vigil. But Easter Monday is the Monday after Easter, and Easter Tuesday the day after that, and so on. The OED refers to these as ‘obvious combinations’, and after Easter Tuesday puts ‘etc’, noting that ‘in ordinary language Easter is often applied to the entire week commencing with Easter Sunday’. Certainly the week beginning on Easter day is Easter week, yet I do not feel in my heart that anyone would now call the Saturday after Easter Easter Saturday. If they did, they would be open to misunderstanding.
The OED allows the term Easter-eve for the day before Easter day. I would call today Holy Saturday. After all, Good Friday is sufficiently established to protect it from the indifference of the ungodly. Even the Radio Times recognises the day. It doesn’t have to be a ‘good day’ in the sense of a ‘nice day’ (as we are now bidden to have). ‘Cheare up, my soule,’ Francis Quarles pleads in one of his Emblems, ‘calle home thy spir’ts, and beare/ One bad Good-Friday; full-mouthed Easter’s neare.’
As for the other days running up to Easter, they are losing any distinguishing names. The whole week is called Holy Week by the churchgoing. There is more confusion because Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) has been redesignated Passion Sunday (previously the name for the Sunday before) by Catholics, who nevertheless can’t help still calling it Palm Sunday. As a consequence no one can understand anyone else who refers to Passion Sunday or Passion Week.
Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, just about hangs on to its title, with the help of the Queen, who still gives out Maundy money on that day. Maundy, of course (as one says to excuse explanations), comes from mandatum, in the phrase from St John’s Gospel Mandatum novum do vobis — ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another.’
In six weeks’ time it will be Whitsun. I think Whit Week is more familiar in the North, where it once marked holidays. The spring bank holiday is on 25 May this year, a week before Whit Monday. Our language is becoming detached from our calendar.
A Jewish friend wished me a happy Easter Friday, and was soon corrected. It isn't Easter, and it certainly isn't happy, even if you bat for the other side.
Posted on 04/10/2009 8:24 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 10 April 2009
Five American Soldiers Killed In Suicide Bombing, And Iraqis Insist Americans Must Stay Longer
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Five U.S. soldiers were killed Friday in a suicide bombing in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the U.S. military said.
A suicide truck bomber breached the outer security barrier of Iraqi National Police headquarters in southern Mosul, and detonated his explosives, killing eight people and wounding 60 others, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said. A U.S. soldier was also among the wounded, the U.S. military said.
The ministry said those killed include five Americans, two Iraqi policemen and an Iraqi soldier. At least two individuals suspected of being involved in the attack were detained, the U.S. military said.
Despite a number of military operations in this volatile city during the past year, Mosul remains one of the most violent places in Iraq. Last year the U.S. military said Mosul was the last urban stronghold of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Mosul is the provincial capital of Nineveh and is about 260 miles, or 420 kilometers, north of Baghdad.
U.S. and Iraqi military forces plan to pull out of Mosul to allow Iraqi police to control security in the city. But police are not quite ready yet, according to an Iraqi general.
"We need to bring the police to the required level. The deadline is the end of July, and it's not enough time to prepare the police," said Gen. Hassan Karim, commander of Nineveh operations for the Iraqi army. "(That) means we'll need U.S. forces to stay in Mosul."
Posted on 04/10/2009 8:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 10 April 2009
Mary is right (I wouldn’t buy her a drink when we meet next if she had said otherwise) to distinguish those of us at the pew face of the Church of England from many of our leaders, chief of whom is the Arch Druid.
Our Churches together in Our Town walk of witness this morning was one of the best attended I can remember. Members of the congregations of my own Parish Church and our three daughter churches, two other Anglican churches, two Catholic Churches, the Methodists, the Baptists, and two Evangelical free Churches met in our churchyard and, maybe 400 of us, including me and the teenager, walked behind a 9’ cross, individual churches own crosses and banners , down the High Street, round the roundabout, left at the lights and onto the open green behind the shopping precinct.
The police stopped the traffic for us, for which, I must emphasis, they were not paid. Event policing is charged for at so much per officer; had they not volunteered the walk may not have been able to take place. And as we walked the people we passed waved, and some joined us and others called words of encouragement. The drivers of cars we stopped hooted, not with anger at the delay but, from their expressions, approval and support.
And I know that this is not isolated, but would have been repeated in towns and cities up and down the country.
Once the green a interdenominational service took place. And as I stood, not on a green hill, but a grassy knoll, listening to the reading from the Gospel of Luke I was aware of life going on around us. The clank from the bottle bank, the sound of the tree surgeons van, laden with tree going past. The cawing of birds in the trees and the wind in the branches.
We ended with the processional hymn
Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world adore his sacred name.
Now I am home I am engaging in that other ancient Easter custom of the English, decorating. Nothing drastic just repairing some damaged wallpaper, not redecorating the entire room, not yet.
And that goes back to the Christian roots, which they now deny or have forgotten of the labour and trade union movement in the early 19th century.
In the cloth mills, especially the wool and cotton mills of Yorkshire and Lancashire it was the custom to clean and paint the walls every Easter. Three or four days when manufacture was suspended, mild weather could be anticipated and a longer period of daylight.
That 14 month period for painting the factory floor was enshrined in statute in the early Factory Acts, by men and women whose Christian faith, Methodists were particularly active in this field, led them to campaign for better working conditions.
Posted on 04/10/2009 9:00 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 10 April 2009
Accused Of Beating 2-Year-Old Niece To Death, Defendant "Insulted" By Hijab-Less Mug Shot
The police booking photo of alleged child killer Nour Hadid released Tuesday is an "insult against our religion," says Hadid's husband, Alaeddin.
Orland Park police detectives say the 26-year-old Muslim woman was treated as any other suspect in a murder probe would be, and they did not intend to humiliate her when they photographed her Sunday without her headscarf and wearing only a skimpy top.
Nour Hadid is accused of beating her 2-year-old niece Bhia Hadid to death over four days at her home on the 9000 block of West 140th Street. The child had 55 separate bruises and was beaten "from head to toe," according to prosecutors, who say Hadid confessed.
But Alaeddin Hadid - who insists his wife is innocent - said Orland Park police are "really going to be in big trouble" for releasing the woman's booking photo to the news media after she was charged with first-degree murder.
The Hadids are Muslims and Nour "never leaves the home without covering up," said Alaeddin, who's vowed to sue.
By custom, some practicing Muslim women wear the hijab, or headscarf, and cover their arms and legs when in public.
In the mug shot, a bare-headed and obviously emotional Nour appears to be protecting her modesty with her hands.
"It is against our religion; we do not do this in our culture," Alaeddin said.
"People have been calling me about this all day."
Bhia Hadid's funeral took place Thursday.
Orland Park police Cmdr. Chuck Doll said the mug shot was taken "for identification purposes" before Hadid made her confession. Her headscarf was handed back to her after the photo was taken, Doll said.
"A matron was with her at all times while she was in our custody," Doll said. A matron is a law enforcement official who works with women held in custody. "She was wearing a tank top, and she had the headscarf when she was interviewed."
The headscarf later was taken from her after she made suicide threats, he said.
A sobbing Hadid appeared without the headscarf at the Bridgeview courthouse Tuesday and is being held without bail at the Cermak Medical Center at the Cook County Jail, where she remains on suicide watch.
Police have said her husband's possible involvement in Bhia's death still is under investigation.
Nour Hadid's attorney, Frank Celani, said he hopes to speak with her today about the mug shot.
Respecting the accused
Islamic advocacy groups seem wary of taking up Hadid's cause.
Spokesmen for the Council on Islamic American Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation all declined to comment Thursday.
But Dr. Mohammed Sahloul, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Chicago, said that while police should follow the usual procedures with all defendants, "they should respect the modesty of the accused."
Sahloul, who made it clear he was not aware of the Hadid case and was speaking in general terms about the hijab, pointed out that Muslim women are allowed to wear hijabs in photos for their state IDs.
"If it's for the purposes of identification and they cover in public, then that's going to be more effective in identifying them anyway," he said.
Former chairman Kareem Irfan said, "It's particularly humiliating because she appears to be in her underwear.
"I don't condone what she's alleged to have done.
"But if it was a nun accused of these crimes, would they treat her the same way?"
Posted on 04/10/2009 9:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 10 April 2009
Appeasement at Sea: USS Bainbridge Fails to Rescue Capt. Phillips
Yesterday, I posted on the heritage of the USS Bainbridge and the connection to current ludicrous appeasing standoff in the Indian Ocean with captured American skipper of the Maersk Alabama, Capt. Richard Phillips and his Somali Pirate hijackers. I noted:
We hope that Capt. Phillips of the Maersk Alabama does not share the same fate as Commodore Bainbridge during the Barbary Wars, becoming a hostage of the Somali pirates. Further, we trust that the Maersk shipping line does not pay the estimated $10 million ransom for Capt. Phillips. The USS Bainbridge has the ability to rescue him under gunpoint, if necessary, capturing the Somali pirate hijackers and incarcerating them for possible prosecution under international Maritime Law rules, as confused as the latter are.
Now comes this AP report about Capt. Phillip jumping overboard trying to swim towards the USS Bainbridge and rescue, only to be recaptured by his Somali hijackers. Note these wire service comments:
Around midnight local time, Phillips jumped off the lifeboat and began swimming, but was recaptured by the pirates, according to Defense Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about unfolding operations.
Sailors aboard the USS Bainbridge, which is patrolling nearby, was able to see Phillips moving around and talking after his return to the lifeboat, and the Defense Department officials think he is unharmed.
Negotiations are taking place between the pirates and the captain of the Bainbridge, who is getting direction from FBI hostage negotiators, the officials said. The captors are also communicating with other pirate vessels by satellite phone, officials said.
According to the New York Times, the negotiations are being handled via a translator on board the Bainbrudge in consultation with FBI hostage negoatiors on shore.
The CNN comments of the Commander of the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain don't give much comfort about our rules of engagement with these international criminals.
Meanwhile Vice Admiral William Gortney, the commander of the US 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, told CNN that negotiations between officers on the Bainbridge backed by FBI experts and the pirates were continuing.
"We have the USS Bainbridge on station currently negotiating with the pirates to get our American citizen back," Gortney told CNN.
Gortney said a key concern was that the pirates were in touch with clan members on the mainland and could try to draw reinforcements to the standoff.
"They are communicating. With communication possibly comes coordination, cooperation with each other," Gortney said.
Somali pirates have attacked numerous ships in the area in recent months, but this was the first attempted hijacking of a US-crewed vessel -- an act Gortney said represented a new stage in the piracy crisis.
"We always thought that one of the potential game changers out there was the US flag -- with US citizens onboard. And we're there and that's where we are right now," he said.
Meanwhile CENTCOM chief Gen. David Petreaus is dispatching additional US vessels to the scene. The Somali pirates are steaming with captured vessels and enslaved crews to the scene in the Indian Ocean 300 miles from the pirate coast of Somalia, Puntland. The crew of the USS Bainbridge must be fit to be tied over the lack of immediate action on the scene to secure the safety of courageous Capt. Phillips.
President Obama is monitoring these developments from the White House assisted by US Attorney General, Eric Holder and the FBI hostage negotiations team on shore.
The failure of our government to let the local Naval commander on the scene undertake rescue of Captain Phillips is a product of a 'new world view' on display this week in the wrap up of President Obama's trip to Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. It's all about feckless engagement of the Muslim world, while Somalis, among the 'toughest foot soldiers in Islam' engage in piracy on the high seas against this country endangering the lives of US citizens and property.
Now the US is witness to a second 'Barbary Pirates War', two centuries after Commodore Bainbridge was captured and thrown into a dungeon in Tripoli, only to be released by a detachment of US Marines and Mercenaries in the first American covert action against radical Islamist piracy.
Unlike President Jefferson, President Obama seeks appeasement instead of action at the scene in the Indian Ocean to save an American life, brave Captain Phillips. Obama as Commander in Chief has the power to order that rescue. Will he?
Posted on 04/10/2009 10:18 AM by Jerry Gordon
Friday, 10 April 2009
What Need One?
From The Wall Street Journal:
'More than 250,000 people from Pakistan were allowed into the U.K. in 2007 for reasons including business, visits and emigration from Pakistan. In 2007, 10,600 people from Pakistan were granted student visas. A Home Office spokesman said the visa applications require fingerprinting and scrutiny of ties to terrorism."
Posted on 04/10/2009 10:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 10 April 2009
Funding Both Sides of the War
Quin Hillyer writes in the American Spectator:
It was treated as big news on Tuesday when Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau indicted Chinese executive Li Fang Wei and his company for using New York banks to finance the sale of tons of restricted, weapons-related material to Iran. But the truth is that some of these same banks and other major financial institutions, including those bailed out by American taxpayers, for years have deliberately been supporting "Shariah-compliant" financial policies that almost assuredly end up being used to support illicit Middle Eastern, terrorist interests with close ties to Iran.
That's all the more reason why more and more American states are wisely divesting from companies that do business in Iran, Sudan, and perhaps Syria and other nations or entities that support terrorism. To date, 13 states, either legislatively or administratively, have divested pension funds, investment funds, or other holdings from businesses dealing with Iran or other terror-related nations. Any day now -- perhaps even today -- Indiana will become the 14th, with its "divest terror" measure already having passed both the House and a Senate committee unanimously. At least five other states are considering similar moves.
This nationwide effort is being spearheaded by "Divest Terror," a project of the Center for Security Policy. Also under CSP auspices is "Shariah Finance Watch," which like "Divest Terror" is led by New Orleans native Christopher Holton, formerly head of the Blanchard and Company Economic Research Unit.
"Unfortunately we've been funding both sides of this war," Holton said. "On the one hand we're providing corporate life support to the ayatollahs by investing in foreign companies that do business with countries that U.S. companies are forbidden from doing business with. We need to stop. That's the Divest Terror side.
"On the Shariah Finance side we are allowing the enemy threat doctrine into our culture, society and legal system through our financial back door at the same time we are sending money through 'zakat' payments to Islamic charities that have been proven time and time again to support terrorist groups.
"On the Divest Terror side we think companies should have to make a choice between getting access to U.S. capital markets and doing business with the ayatollahs. On the Shariah Finance side, we believe that Shariah is seditious and should be outlawed in the United States, because it calls for the replacement of our Constitution with Islamic law: Shariah."
To understand all this, one must understand both Shariah and "zakat." The anodyne Wikipedia definition of Shariah is "the body of Islamic law" which not only involves public laws but also "deals with many aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business, contracts, family, sexuality, hygiene, and social issues." As summed up concisely by National Review's Andrew McCarthy, who as a federal prosecutor secured the conviction of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others for planning the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, Shariah "establishes a state religion, rejects the freedom of citizens to govern themselves irrespective of a religious code, proscribes freedom of conscience, proscribes economic freedom, destroys the principle of equality under the law, subjugates non-Muslims in the humiliation of dhimmitude, and calls for the execution of homosexuals and apostates." It is Shariah, for instance, that (most analysts agree) requires such things as "honor killings" of women for "loose morals," along with a denial of free speech for non-Muslims.
"Zakat," meanwhile, is in concept rather benign: It basically amounts to a requirement to donate a percentage of income for charitable purposes. At its simplest, Shariah-compliant finance is corporate activity that provides a zakat for charities approved by Islamic authorities. It would seem, therefore, to be merely an example of cultural sensitivity for American banks and other companies to have Shariah-compliant divisions. Who can object to giving money to charities?
The Center for Security Policy, that's who. And for good reason. To determine which charities qualify for zakat, companies must run their donations through various Islamic councils -- which, according to CSP, have more and more ties to radical and terrorist organizations the more one digs. The CS notes that Amana Funds, for instance, which is an investment outfit often cited by Muslims as a model, cites as one of its authorities the Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi -- whose ties to terrorist groups are so well established that he has been banned from entering both the U.S. and the U.K. Qaradawi has written extensively in support, for example, of "martyrdom" operations against the U.S. and Israel.
Then there is the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions whose chairman is Mufti Taqi Usmani. CSP calls Usmani a "complete jihadist," and backs it up with substantial citations.
Among the Shariah-compliant finance banks are Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Dow Jones and Morgan Stanley. Also Shariah-compliant is the now highly controversial AIG. If dollars are fungible -- which they are -- then American tax dollars are certainly going to support at least some charities that in turn support terrorists, including (almost certainly) Iran's puppet, Hezbollah.
All of this gets very complicated, of course. And it must be said that there surely are plenty of Islamic charities that do wonderful work. But that doesn't mean American tax money should be supporting Islamic charities effectively chosen by outfits whose own bona fides as purely peaceful councils are anything but certain.
Meanwhile, the Divest Terror movement -- much like the popular lefty 1980s movement to divest from companies doing business in apartheid-marred South Africa -- makes perfect sense, because it is relatively easy to tell whether a business does or does not do business in or with Iran and other state sponsors of terrorism. State ought to be eager to join the movement, and other big investors such as university endowments should be rushing to join the parade...
Posted on 04/10/2009 12:39 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 10 April 2009
Obama Requests Additional $83.4 Billion For Wars
Yep, the withdrawal process is dragging right along as predicted. No doubt we will still be in Iraq at the end of Obama's term. I like Artemis's suggestion: "We should adopt the rhetoric that has been foisted on us, for the opposite goal, for the past 7 long, bloody years:
'This is going to be a difficult process. There certainly will be stumbles along the way. But we must not waver, we must not allow temporary setbacks to deter us. We cannot admit defeat in our ultimate goal of withdrawing from Iraq as fast as humanly possible. A small number of extremists in Iraq do not want us to withdraw. They must not be allowed to succeed, because the vast majority of Iraqis want to see our successful withdrawal.'"
WASHINGTON, April 9 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama asked the U.S. Congress for an additional $83.4 billion to fund the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan on Thursday, saying the security situation along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier was urgent.
"The Taliban is resurgent and al Qaeda threatens America from its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border," Obama said in a letter to Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, that was released by the White House.
Obama said 95 percent of the $83.4 billion in supplemental funds he was requesting would go to support U.S. military operations in Iraq and the U.S. effort to disrupt and defeat al Qaeda.
And this differs from the Bush Administration's policy how?
Posted on 04/10/2009 12:54 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 10 April 2009
In Weal and Sometime Woe, O's Advice To O
“The United States has been enriched by Muslim-Americans,” the president said. “Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country. . . . I know,” he said, “because I am one of them.” Thus Obama in Istanbul.
And this great O doth lead to th’other, that is to Othello, who unlike Obama was not an American, but did “have Muslims” in his family and must surely “have lived in a Muslim-majority country” in his youth. For Othello was a Moor, that is a North African of indeterminate but dusky hue, albeit one who must necessarily have been a Christian convert, for he could not otherwise have been a military leader of Christian (Venetian) forces against the Ottoman Turks.
Obama just today requested another $84 billion to fund the expensive follies, the attempts to bring stability, and prosperity, and unity (in differing, and ever-diminishing, hoped-for amounts) to Iraq, to Afghanistan, even to Pakistan.
Perhaps this O could be reminded of that O’s desire to say "farewell" to "triumphal pomp" and the "big wars."
Perhaps this O could be reminded of that O’s proud memory of how, summarily and violently, he dealt with the Muslim enemy, as in Aleppo once, where --when a a malignant and a turban’d Turk dared to beat a Venetian, and traduced the state -- then he, that mighty O, Othello the Moor of Venice, took by the throat that circumcised Muslim dog and smote him, thus.
So that's the lesson. Farewell to the big wars. But be ready to smite the enemy. Thus. And thus.
And only: thus.
Posted on 04/10/2009 2:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 10 April 2009
Power, Lists & Power Lists
Theodore Dalrymple writes in Frontpage:
It is one of the ironies of modern liberalism that diversity should so often come to mean uniformity, and tolerance so often to mean intolerance: that is to say, think and act like me, or else.
There was a good example of this last week in an article in the venerable British Sunday newspaper, The Observer, by Aaron Hicklin, an American journalist of whom I had previously not heard. He is the editor of a magazine for homosexuals called Out, and his article consisted largely of a justification for his magazine having revealed that the actress Jodie Foster is a lesbian, something that previously she had neither affirmed or denied, preferring, apparently, to preserve her privacy.
I print what he wrote in extenso, so that you get the flavour of the argument (it is significant that the argument has flavour, not logic):
Until I arrived at Out magazine three years ago, I never saw myself as the kind of editor who would stoop to outing celebrities. It seemed so 1990s, so bullying and judgmental, so very Peter Tatchell [a militant British homsexual] to be naming and shaming. But then we launched the Power 50, a league table of America’s most powerful gays and lesbians and a few glaring omissions leapt out. How could such a list be complete without Hollywood powerhouse Jodie Foster? There was just one problem. She had never publicly acknowledged her sexuality… She was a member of a glass closet who was not willing to take the final step. So we took it for her.
Am I alone in finding this deeply repellent in both its triviality and its nastiness? It is hardly surprising that the author decided to obtrude outrageously on Miss Foster’s privacy, since his initial objection to doing so appeared to be more a matter of fashion (not even of true aesthetics) than of moral principle. Would anyone say of a Ku-Klux-Klan lynching that it was so 1920s, or of vicious anti-semitism that it was so 1930s? Ascribing a decade to a form of behaviour is not a proper way to assess its moral worth.
What was the moral reasoning that led the author to change his mind? He decided, unilaterally, to create a list; he decided that the list would be less accurate if he failed to include details of the private life of another person, which she had indicated by her discretion that she did not want to be made public; and so (one can hardly put it ‘therefore’) he decided to make it public. This is not so much moral reasoning, as an almost psychopathic lack of moral reasoning...
Keep reading here.
Posted on 04/10/2009 2:51 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Friday, 10 April 2009
A Musical Interlude: The Touch Of Your Lips (Al Bowlly)
Posted on 04/10/2009 5:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 10 April 2009
A Cinematic Interlude: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Rupprecht)
Posted on 04/10/2009 7:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald