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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 11, 2011.
Friday, 11 November 2011
MAC website down, HQ raided at midnight

The Muslims Against Crusades website is down this morning. On his own personal website, and on TV news this morning Anjem Choudary says that two properties were raided by the police shortly after midnight. One was an undisclosed residential address, the other the 'Centre for Islamic Services at 32B New Road, London E1'. This was known to be MAC's HQ and happens to be above the printworks owned by Anjem's wealthy older brother Yazdani Choudary, the recipient of millions of pounds of government money for 'training schemes and apprenticeships'. When trying to trade with the infidel Choudary major uses the friendly first name Danny or Dani. He seems to agree with his brother's work - I have observed them both at MAC events.  

I do hope the police include Master Printers in their continuing inspection this morning.

Posted on 11/11/2011 1:11 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 November 2011
NATO Actions In Libya To Be Investigated By I.C.C.

From FoxNews:

NATO Worried by Possible International Criminal Court Probe Over Libya

NATO officials are worried that their organization may be investigated by the International Criminal Court after its prosecutor said allegations of crimes committed by NATO in Libya would be examined "impartially and independently," according to diplomats accredited to NATO headquarters.

The diplomats said action to pre-empt a war crimes investigation would likely include an immediate internal legal review of all incidents in which NATO bombing or other actions caused civilian casualties.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The alliance has always maintained that its operations in Libya were carried out strictly in keeping with a U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized member states "to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack" in the North African country.

NATO leaders have repeatedly hailed the precision with which the mission was carried out, citing the small number of civilian deaths caused by the bombing as evidence of its success.

Still, in a briefing to the Security Council on Nov. 2, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said "there are allegations of crimes committed by NATO forces (and) these allegations will be examined impartially and independently."

Moreno-Ocampo did not elaborate further on the accusations against NATO forces, or who was making them. His office is currently focusing on crimes committed by members of the ousted Gadhafi regime and is waiting for a report by a U.N. Commission of Inquiry in Libya, due in March, before deciding whether to proceed with a formal investigation into alleged crimes by NATO.

NATO has said it was confident its actions were in compliance with international law. "In the event we receive a request for information, NATO is prepared to assist in any way it can," said an official who could not be identified under standing rules.

Officials from the alliance say that between March and October NATO warplanes flew 26,000 sorties, including more than 9,600 strike missions, destroying more than 1,000 tanks, vehicles, and guns, as well as buildings claimed to have housed "command and control" centers. These included facilities such as Moammar Gadhafi's heavily fortified compound in Tripoli, but also residential homes of his supporters -- targets which could be considered outside the UN mandate.

NATO is already involved in a civil suit in Belgium that accuses the alliance of killing 13 civilians in the bombing of a residential compound near Libya's capital, Tripoli. Attorneys for the plaintiffs say that, although NATO and other international organizations enjoy diplomatic immunity in criminal cases, they fall under Belgian jurisdiction in civil suits.

The immunity applies only to those holding diplomatic status.

The definition of war crimes, as described by international conventions on the laws of war, includes any destruction of civilian targets not justified by military necessity. It has been invoked in a number of trials dealing with a number of conflicts, including those in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

The possibility of an ICC probe is already causing friction within the alliance, officials said. At a meeting last week of NATO ambassadors and their counterparts from partner countries, the Russian ambassador, Dmitry Rogozin, noted a number of airstrikes could be considered potential war crimes. But envoys from some nations that participated in the bombing reacted angrily, describing the comment as "libel."

A French Rafale fighter-bomber is said to have bombed a convoy of vehicles fleeing Gadhafi's besieged hometown of Sirte last month, resulting in the capture and subsequent killing of the dictator by opposition forces.

The incident is particularly controversial because during the siege -- characterized by massive shelling of Sirte's downtown area by the former rebels -- NATO warplanes never struck the attackers. Instead, they attacked a fleeing convoy of civilian vehicles.

Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, the Canadian who commanded the NATO operation, explained that commanders ordered the strikes because they believed the convoy would try to link up with other pockets of pro-Gadhafi resistance in the west.

While Moreno-Ocampo has said allegations of NATO crimes would be examined, that does not necessarily mean he will open a formal investigation. Depending on the U.N. commission's findings, he could decide there is no need for further investigations or ask judges for authorization to open a formal probe. He could also determine that there are proceedings at the national level that would negate the need for a case to be brought before the ICC, a court of last resort.

"We are not talking about any specific incident. We are saying, 'Yes, if there are allegations of crimes we will review that,"' Moreno-Ocampo told The Associated Press.

Currently, nearly 120 states are parties to the ICC. All European NATO members and Canada have accepted its jurisdiction.

Since NATO is not a signatory to the ICC treaty, it would appear likely that any violations of the conventions on the laws of war would require direct dealings between the court and its member states, and not with NATO as an institution.

The operation's critics -- including Russia, China and the African Union -- have argued that NATO misused the limited U.N. resolution as a pretext to promote regime change in Libya. Its daily air raids were instrumental in enabling the ragtag rebel forces to advance on Tripoli and later capture the rest of the country.

The issue threatens to have far-reaching consequences for future U.N. interventions.

Russia and China have already vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have imposed sanctions on Syria for its violent crackdown on opposition demonstrators, arguing that NATO could again misuse a U.N. measure to justify months of air strikes.

"If there were to be evidence that NATO is also involved in activities illegal under international law, something should be done about that," said Nicolas Beger, director of the Amnesty International European Institutions office. "Nobody should be allowed to commit war crimes, and nobody should be able to get away with it."

He also said there needed to be an impartial probe into Gadhafi's death.

"If he was captured alive and then killed, that's a war crime. That's clear."

Posted on 11/11/2011 8:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
Today In Syria

From FoxNews:

Clashes Between Syrian Forces, Protesters Killing at Least 30 Civilians, 26 Soldiers

BEIRUT -- Syrian security forces fired on anti-government protests Friday, At least 30 civilians and 26 soldiers were killed in Syria ahead of Friday prayers, Reuters reports. The violence continued as an international human rights group accused the regime of crimes against humanity, activists said. 

Mass protests after Friday afternoon prayers, followed by swift and deadly crackdowns by security forces, have become a weekly cycle throughout Syria's eight-month-old uprising. The U.N. estimates some 3,500 people have been killed in the crackdown since mid-March, when the uprising began.

But in recent weeks, the violence has spiked dramatically amid increasing signs that some protesters are taking up arms to protect themselves. There also have been reports of intense battles between soldiers and army defectors, setting the stage for even more bloodshed.

The unrest in Syria could balloon into a regional disaster.[a disaster for the Camp of Islam, not for the West]  Damascus' web of allegiances extends to Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement and Iran's Shiite theocracy. And although Syria sees Israel as the enemy, the countries have held up a fragile truce for years.

On Friday, Human Rights Watch said Syrian forces have tortured and killed civilians in the rebellious province of Homs in an assault that indicates crimes against humanity. The group urged the Arab League to suspend Syria's membership during an emergency meeting Saturday.

The Arab League will meet at its headquarters in Cairo to discuss the regime's failure to abide by its agreement to stop the violence. Damascus agreed to the Arab League-brokered plan last week, but the violence only accelerated.

Homs, Syria's third-largest city in a province of the same name, has emerged as the epicenter of the uprising.

"Homs is a microcosm of the Syrian government's brutality," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The Arab League needs to tell President (Bashar) Assad that violating their agreement has consequences, and that it now supports Security Council action to end the carnage."

In a 63-page report released Friday, Human Rights Watch said security forces killed at least 587 civilians in Homs from mid-April to the end of August -- the highest number for any single province.

In the report, which focuses on that period, the rights group said former detainees reported torture including security forces' use of heated metal rods, electric shocks and stress positions. Witnesses also reported large-scale military operations during which security forces used heavy machine guns, including anti-aircraft guns mounted on armored vehicles.

The group also acknowledged that some protesters and army defectors took up arms to protect themselves -- a development that some fear plays directly into the regime's hands by giving it an excuse to use extreme violence against a mostly peaceful movement.

"Violence by protesters or defectors deserves further investigation," the report said. "However, these incidents by no means justify the disproportionate and systematic use of lethal force against demonstrators, which clearly exceeded any justifiable response to any threat presented by overwhelmingly unarmed crowds."

Although the crackdown has led to broad international isolation, Assad appears to have a firm grip on power. Sanctions are chipping away at the regime, but economy has not collapsed. There have been defections from the army, but most appear to be low-level conscripts.

The government has largely sealed off the country from foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting, making it difficult to confirm events on the ground. Part of the Arab League plan, accepted by Syria, was to allow reporters and observers into the country.

In the absence of firsthand reporting, key sources of information are amateur videos posted online and details gathered by witnesses and activist groups.

On Friday, the country's two main activist groups reported deaths in Homs and in several other areas. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordinating Committees, an activist coalition, reported protests in the Damascus suburbs, Daraa in the south and Idlib near the Turkish border.

Posted on 11/11/2011 9:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
Walter Russell Mead: That Libyan Intervention, And How It Helps Iran

The Big Bill From Libya

by Walter Russell Mead

Did Qaddafi die to save Assad and Ahmadinejad? It certainly looks like China and Russia regret allowing NATO to bomb Libya. Too much Western meddling in the Middle East has not made either of the two Security Council veto wielders happy. They will not repeat their mistake in Syria or Iran.

NATO intervened in Libya to stop a predicted but still hypothetical bloodbath and now can only wring its hands as a real slaughter continues in Syria. The Arab League  can’t endorse two western invasions of Arab countries in one year; the vote to oust Qaddafi was de facto a vote to let Assad stay in place.  The world protests the violence. Assad celebrates his  license to kill.

The humanitarian hawks in the White House didn’t intend to condemn thousands of Syrians to death, but that is what the intervention in Libya has done. The NATO intervention in Libya encouraged Syrians to hope that they, too would be rescued; but the actual consequence of the Libyan intervention was to make further interventions less likely. As in Hungary in 1956 and Iraq in 1991, America encouraged a revolt we were unwilling to sustain, leading many good people to their deaths by raising false hopes.  Roads to hell, good intentions: it is an old and familiar story.

Watching how NATO stretched what China and Russia thought was a narrowly worded resolution into the equivalent of a James Bond like 007 license to kill anything that moved across Libya both angered Russia and China and stiffened their resolve to stand by their friends.  The A-jad is benefiting as much as his Syrian ally.  The Libya campaign also appears to have muted the global response to Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA, in its latest report, used its strongest language by far in accusing Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

But, as the NYT reports, internationally coordinated options to target Iran’s nuclear program are limited. “Russia and China have made it clear they will not vote in the Security Council for any more sanctions, leaving any international effort divided from the start.” Additionally: “American allies like Japan and South Korea buy large amounts of oil from Iran, paying their bills through the central bank because most Iranian commercial banks are off limits.” There are no sanctions against Iran’s central bank for precisely this reason: companies in American-allied countries would not be able to do business in the States if they did business with a sanctioned Iranian institution.

Russia and China were never going to give the US a carte blanche on Iran at the Security Council, but over the years they have grudgingly allowed sanctions to tighten, and that stance supported the development of a coalition of other countries willing to take still more steps.  Now they have both reason to stiffen their opposition and global support from others in Africa and elsewhere who view NATO’s action in Libya as a threat.

The Great Loon has gone to his eternal reward, but a lot of good Syrians are dead and both Assad and A-jad are sleeping a little more easily.  The bloodbath in Syria is deeper than it would have been and war with Iran is more likely.

Foreign policy is hard; good intentions are not enough.  Nobody gets it perfectly right ever and statesmen almost always have to take big decisions without enough information.  But the Libyan intervention, successful as it was on its own terms, has not made things better in the Middle East as a whole.

Posted on 11/11/2011 10:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
Danger Signs At USCIRF

The following text and video message will be presented at today's Constitution Versus Shariah Conference being held at the Cornerstone Church in Madison, Tennessee near Nashville.

The Lights are Going out at USCIRF

I am Jerry Gordon, senior editor at the New English Review.

I’m alerting you to the likelihood that The US Commission on International Religious Freedom could have its light turned out on November 18th, because of one US Senator opposed to its re-authorization, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.  USCIRF has a budget of less than $3.0 million annually; Its re-authorization has already been approved by the US House.

How effective is USCIRF?  Take the case of freedom from Islamic slavery in the Sudan.

It was the efforts of the USCIRF that convinced the Bush Administration to negotiate a Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 that led to the independence of the new Republic of South Sudan in July, 2011.   That freed millions of Christians and Animists from Islamic slavery. 

There also have been allegations that the Saudis have lobbied Capitol Hill and the Obama White House attempting to kill the reauthorization of USCIRF. Did they somehow get through to Sen. Durbin?

Here’s what USCIRF Commissioner Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom suggests that you can do:

USCIRF hasn't flinched in taking a hard look at religious persecution and the lack of freedom in Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. What can Americans do? It is very urgent that they press their senators to reauthorize it. Reauthorizing means renewing its mandate. To preserve this official government voice for bedrock American freedoms of religion and liberty -- which serves both our values and our interests in today’s globalized world -- Americans should email or call their senators requesting the reauthorization of USCIRF. 

Watch the YouTube video of teh Alert to Action message.

Posted on 11/11/2011 10:56 AM by Jerry Gordon
Friday, 11 November 2011
Navy Seals Give Their Version

Osama bin Laden

Bitter Seals tell of killing 'Bert' Laden

Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama and members of the executive and his national security team watch live footage of the raid on al-Qa'ida terror leader Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. Picture: The White House

OSAMA BIN LADEN was killed within 90 seconds of the US Navy Seals landing in his compound and not after a protracted gun battle, according to the first account by the men who carried out the raid. The operation was so clinical that only 12 bullets were fired.

The Seals have spoken out because they were angered at the version given by politicians, which they see as portraying them as cold-blooded murderers on a “kill mission”. They were also shocked that President Barack Obama announced bin Laden's death on television the same evening, rendering useless much of the intelligence they had seized.

Chuck Pfarrer, a former commander of Seal Team 6, which conducted the operation, has interviewed many of those who took part for a book, Seal Target Geronimo, to be published in the US this week.

The Seals' own accounts differ from the White House version, which gave the impression that bin Laden was killed at the end of the operation rather than in its opening seconds. Pfarrer insists bin Laden would have been captured had he surrendered.

“There isn't a politician in the world who could resist trying to take credit for getting bin Laden but it devalued the 'intel' and gave time for every other al-Qa'ida leader to scurry to another bolthole,” said Pfarrer. “The men who did this and their valorous act deserve better. It's a pretty shabby way to treat these guys.”

The first hint of the mission came in January last year when the team's commanding officer was called to a meeting at the headquarters of joint special operations command. The meeting was held in a soundproof bunker three storeys below ground with his boss, Admiral William McRaven, and a CIA officer.

They told him a walled compound in Pakistan had been under surveillance for a couple of weeks. They were certain a high-value individual was inside and needed a plan to present to the president.

It had to be someone important. “So is this Bert or Ernie?” he asked. The Seals' nicknames for bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are a reference to two Muppets in Sesame Street, one tall and thin and the other short and fat. “We have a voice print,” said the CIA officer, “and we're 60 per cent or 70 per cent certain it's our guy.” McRaven added that a reconnaissance satellite had measured the target's shadow. “Over 6ft tall.”

When McRaven added they would use Ghost Hawk helicopters, the team leader had no doubt. “These are the most classified, sophisticated stealth helicopters ever developed,” said Pfarrer. “They are kept in locked hangars and fly so quiet we call it 'whisper mode'.”

Over the next couple of months a plan was hatched. A mock-up of the compound was built at Tall Pines, an army facility in a national forest somewhere in the eastern US.

Four reconnaissance satellites were placed in orbit over the compound, sending back video and communications intercepts. A tall figure seen walking up and down was named “the Pacer”.

Mr Obama gave the go-ahead and Seal Team 6, known as the Jedi, was deployed to Afghanistan. The White House cancelled plans to provide air cover using jet fighters, fearing this might endanger relations with Pakistan.

Sending in the Ghost Hawks without air cover was considered too risky so the Seals had to use older Stealth Hawks. A Prowler electronic warfare aircraft from the carrier USS Carl Vinson was used to jam Pakistan's radar and create decoy targets.

Operation Neptune's Spear was initially planned for April 30 but bad weather delayed it until May 1, a moonless night. The commandos flew on two Stealth Hawks, codenamed Razor 1 and 2, followed by two Chinooks five minutes behind, known as “Command Bird” and the “gun platform”.

On board, each Seal was clad in body armour and nightvision goggles and equipped with laser targets, radios and sawn-off M4 rifles. They were expecting up to 30 people in the main house, including Bin Laden and three of his wives, two sons, Khalid and Hamza, his courier, Abu Ahmed al- Kuwaiti, four bodyguards and a number of children. At 56 minutes past midnight the compound came into sight and the code “Palm Beach” signalled three minutes to landing.

Razor 1 hovered above the main house, a three-storey building where bin Laden lived on the top floor. Twelve Seals abseiled the two metres down onto the roof and then jumped to a third-floor patio, where they kicked in the windows and entered.

The first person the Seals encountered was a terrified woman, bin Laden's third wife, Khaira, who ran into the hall. Blinded by a searing white strobe light they shone at her, she stumbled back. A Seal grabbed her by the arm and threw her to the floor.

Bin Laden's bedroom was along a short hall. The door opened; he popped out and then slammed the door shut. “Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo,” radioed one Seal, meaning “eyes on target”.

At the same time lights came on from the floor below and bin Laden's son Khalid came running up the stairs towards the Seals. He was shot dead.

Two Seals kicked in bin Laden's door. The room, they later recalled, “smelt like old clothing, like a guest bedroom in a grandmother's house”. Inside was the al-Qa'ida leader and his youngest wife, Amal, who was screaming as he pushed her in front of him.

“No, no, don't do this!” she shouted as her husband reached across the king-size bed for his AK-47 assault rifle. The Seals reacted instantly, firing in the same second. One round thudded into the mattress. The other, aimed at bin Laden's head, grazed Amal in the calf. As his hand reached for the gun, they each fired again: one shot hit his breastbone, the other his skull, killing him instantly and blowing out the back of his head.

Meanwhile Razor 2 was heading for the guesthouse, a low, shoebox-like building, where bin Laden's courier, Kuwaiti, and his brother lived.

As the helicopter neared, a door opened and two figures appeared, one waving an AK-47. This was Kuwaiti. In the moonless night he could see nothing and lifted his rifle, spraying bullets wildly.

He did not see the Stealth Hawk. On board someone shouted, “Bust him!”, and a sniper fired two shots. Kuwaiti was killed, as was the person behind him, who turned out to be his wife. Also on board were a CIA agent, a Pakistani- American who would act as interpreter, and a sniffer dog called Karo, wearing dog body armour and goggles.

Within two minutes the Seals from Razor 2 had cleared the guesthouse and removed the women and children.

They then ran to the main house and entered from the ground floor, checking the rooms. One of bin Laden's bodyguards was waiting with his AK-47. The Seals shot him twice and he toppled over.

Five minutes into the operation the command Chinook landed outside the compound, disgorging the commanding officer and more men. They blasted through the compound wall and rushed in.

The commander made his way to the third floor, where bin Laden's body lay on the floor face up. Photographs were taken, and the commander called on his satellite phone to headquarters with the words: “Geronimo Echo KIA” - bin Laden enemy killed in action.

“This was the first time the White House knew he was dead and it was probably 20 minutes into the raid,” said Pfarrer.

A sample of bin Laden's DNA was taken and the body was bagged. They kept his rifle. It is now mounted on the wall of their team room at their headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia, alongside photographs of a dozen colleagues killed in action in the past 20 years.

At this point things started to go wrong. Razor 1 took off but the top secret “green unit” that controls the electronics failed. The aircraft went into a spin and crashed tail-first into the compound.

The Seals were alarmed, thinking it had been shot down, and several rushed to the wreckage. The crew climbed out, shaken but unharmed.

The commanding officer ordered them to destroy Razor 2, to remove the green unit, and to smash the avionics. They then laid explosive charges.

They loaded bin Laden's body onto the Chinook along with the cache of intelligence in plastic bin bags and headed toward the USS Carl Vinson. As they flew off they blew up Razor 2. The whole operation had taken 38 minutes.

The following morning White House officials announced that the helicopter had crashed as it arrived, forcing the Seals to abandon plans to enter from the roof. A photograph of the situation room showed a shocked Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, with her hand to her mouth.

Why did they get it so wrong?

What they were watching was live video but it was shot from 20,000ft by a drone circling overhead and relayed in real time to the White House and Leon Panetta, the CIA director, in Langley. The Seals were not wearing helmet cameras, and those watching in Washington had no idea what was happening inside the buildings.

“They don't understand our terminology, so when someone said the 'insertion helicopter' has crashed, they assumed it meant on entry,” said Pfarrer.

What infuriated the Seals, according to Pfarrer, was the description of the raid as a kill mission. “I've been a Seal for 30 years and I never heard the words 'kill mission',” he said. “It's a Beltway (Washington insider's) fantasy word. If it was a kill mission you don't need Seal Team 6; you need a box of hand grenades.”

The Sunday Times

Posted on 11/11/2011 12:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
UNESCO Files Complaint Because Of An Israeli Cartoon

From Haaretz.com04:01 11.11.11

UNESCO files complaint against Israeli delegation over Haaretz cartoon

A cartoon published in Haaretz causes a rift between Israel's ambassador to UNESCO and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

By Barak Ravid 

Israel's ambassador to UNESCO didn't know whether to laugh or cry when a senior official at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization called him in for a tongue-lashing on Wednesday. The reason? A cartoon published in Haaretz.

The November 4 cartoon, a riff on the government's anger at UNESCO's decision to accept Palestine as a full member, showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak sending an air force squadron to attack Iran, with Netanyahu ordering, "And on your way back, you're gonna hit the UNESCO office in Ramallah!"

When he met with Eric Falt, UNESCO's assistant director general for external relations and public information, Ambassador Nimrod Barkan was stunned to be handed a copy of this cartoon and an official letter of protest from UNESCO's director general, Irina Bokova. Falt told Barkan the cartoon constituted incitement.

"A cartoon like this endangers the lives of unarmed diplomats, and you have an obligation to protect them," Falt said, according to an Israeli source. "We understand that there is freedom of the press in Israel, but the government must prevent attacks on UNESCO."

Barkan pointed out that the government has no control over editorial cartoons printed in the papers. "Ask yourselves what you did to make a moderate paper with a deeply internationalist bent publish such a cartoon," he suggested. "Perhaps the problem is with you."

After Barkan reported the conversation to the Foreign Ministry, it cabled back: "What exactly does UNESCO want of us - to send our fine boys to protect UNESCO's staff, or to shut down the paper? It seems your work environment is getting more and more reminiscent of 'Animal Farm.'

Posted on 11/11/2011 11:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
Exxon Mobil Makes A Deal With Kurds; Iraqi Government Deeply Disturbed


Exxon oil deal with Kurds shakes Iraq

 Nov. 11, 2011

BAGHDAD, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Exxon Mobil's oil and gas exploration agreement with Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurds, who're at odds with Baghdad over the country's energy wealth, marks a significant, and tantalizing, departure by U.S. oilmen amid the current military withdrawal.

The breakaway move into Kurdistan, the first by any of the oil majors operating in Iraq under 20-year production contract signed in 2009, could cost Exxon Mobil its stake in the giant West Qurna Phase One mega-oil field in southern Iraq.

The field contains an estimated 8.7 billion barrels of oil and is a vital component in the government's plans to quadruple oil production from the current 2.9 million barrels per day -- an increase of 1 million bpd over the pre-2003 U.S. invasion level -- by 2017.

That's one of the most important contracts in Iraq and the American move could signal a possible major shakeup in the country's all-important energy industry on which all hopes of national reconstruction are pinned.

Given the political intrigues endemic in Baghdad and Erbil, the Kurdish capital, the parameters and possible consequences of the Exxon Mobil-KRG deal remains unclear.

But there are clear political elements involved. The U.S. withdrawal is expected to exacerbate a long-running dispute between the central government and the independence-minded Kurds over oil rights.

The federal government claims sole authority over the energy industry anywhere in Iraq.

The KRG, guided in part by American advisers, has signed controversial deals with some 40 small oil companies, mainly U.S. and European wildcatters unable to bid on the major contracts, since 2006 as it seeks to build an oil industry independent of Baghdad.

The Kurds say their enclave could contain as much as 45 billion barrels. Iraq's overall reserves are pegged at 143.1 billion barrels.

The central government deems all oil contracts signed with the KRG, which runs the Kurdish enclave that spans three of Iraq's northern provinces, without Baghdad's approval to be illegal.

"The Kurdistan region has a lot of untapped oil and every IOC would sign deals if they got a green light to do so from Baghdad," one industry source commented.

An oil law to regulate the industry and revenue-sharing has been hung up in Iraq's fractious Parliament since 2007, intensifying Kurdish frustrations.

The Middle East Economic Digest reports that Kurdistan's reserves are beginning to attract international oil companies, or IOCs, "which are becoming disillusioned with prospects in the rest of Iraq."

However, MEED said no deals "would be ratified or made public until a formal deal is signed between the government in Baghdad and the KRG regarding new oil discoveries."

So it seemed odd to find that the whistle-blowing on the Exxon Mobil agreement came from Michael Howard, a top adviser to the KRG.

"The KRG has for the last few months been in discussions with a number of major oil companies," he said. "This resulted in the recent signing by Exxon Mobil of contracts to explore in six blocks."

Abdul Mahdy al-Aneedi, head of the Oil Ministry's contracts and licensing directorate, said Baghdad had been aware of the talks and had warned Exxon Mobil any deal with the KRG could mean "termination of the West Qurna contract."

Only a month ago, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's top energy adviser, Thamer Ghadhban, said Exxon Mobil, along with BP and Italy's Eni, would invest $100 billion to upgrade West Qurna and two other southern superfields, Rumaila and Zubair.

Production at these fields has increased to around 2 million bpd, most of Iraq's current total. Under the 2009 contracts, production there should hit 6.8 million bpd by 2017.

Exxon Mobil, like other majors, had to accept a take-it-or-leave-it Iraqi offer of a $2 per barrel payment to secure the crucial 2009 contracts.

That's one of the lowest rates on the world and Baghdad has made clear that won't change.

This has embittered most of the big companies like BP, Royal-Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil.

Relations have been worsened by political in-fighting in Baghdad that has held up contracts and project work while the government presses for higher production.

U.S. companies had been expected to the big winners in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was toppled. But Americans were widely perceived by Iraqis as occupiers, and only one of the 11 fields up for auction went to an American major -- Exxon Mobil
Posted on 11/11/2011 8:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
The Guardian Wants To Make Sure Its Writers Know How To Be Less Obviously Antisemitic
From The Guardian:

The readers' editor on… averting accusations of antisemitism

Guardian reporters, writers and editors must be more vigilant about the language they use when writing about Jews or Israel

The Guardian has always had a strong commitment to reporting on the Middle East. That means a lot of news reporting, as well as comment and analysis, on the Israel-Palestine situation. It is one of the world's most contested conflicts, in which thousands of people have died or have been displaced. As a newspaper the Guardian has been critical of all sides, but it is seen as being especially critical of the Israeli government and its actions. And that has led to complaints that the Guardian, in print or online, is carrying material that either lapses into language resonant of antisemitism or is, by its nature, antisemitic.

It also leads to the much more rare allegation of Islamophobia. In this column I intend to address the former rather than the latter, because recently there has been a preponderance of such complaints.

This is not a fresh concern. It is a particularly sensitive issue for a core of the Guardian's Jewish readers because CP Scott held strong Zionist sympathies, as did WP Crozier, who came after him as editor. In the Guardian's archives is a letter of thanks from the first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, thanking Scott for his help in securing the Balfour declaration, the 1917 statement by the British government approving the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

A shift in attitudes came after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, as Daphna Baram outlines in her book Disenchantment: The Guardian and Israel, published in 2004. So, it's not new. But there has been an increase in complaints of antisemitism within the last few months.

As the web has widened the debate, so it has also enabled more opportunities for articles and comments to be questioned. Individuals and organisations monitoring the Guardian's coverage examine the language in articles – and the comments posted underneath them online – as closely as the facts.

For antisemitism can be subtle as well as obvious. Three times in the last nine months I have upheld complaints against language within articles that I agreed could be read as antisemitic. The words were replaced and the articles footnoted to reflect the fact. These included references to Israel/US "global domination" and the term "slavish" to describe the US relationship with Israel; and, in an article on a lost tribe of Mallorcan Jews, what I regarded as a gratuitous reference to "the island's wealthier families".

Two weeks ago a columnist used the term "the chosen" in an item on the release of Gilad Shalit, which brought more than 40 complaints to the Guardian, and an apology from the columnist the following week. "Chosenness", in Jewish theology, tends to refer to the sense in which Jews are "burdened" by religious responsibilities; it has never meant that the Jews are better than anyone else. Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read "chosen" as code for Jewish supremacism.

One reader wrote of the column: "The despicable antisemitic tone of this rant is beyond reason or decency."

An important feature of the Guardian online is that the comment threads are post-moderated: a team of moderators check almost half a million comments a month posted on the site for language that breaches the community guidelines across a whole range of issues – not just antisemitism. They are experienced in spotting the kind of language long associated with antisemitic tropes such as Jews having too much power and control, or being clannish and secretive, or the role of Jews in finance and the media.

Newspapers have to be aware that some examples involve coded references. They need to ask themselves, for example, if the word Zionist is being used as a synonym for Jew.

I have been careful to say that these examples may be read as antisemitic because I don't believe their appearance in the Guardian was the result of deliberate acts of antisemitism: they were inadvertent. But that does not lessen the injury to some readers or to our reputation. The Guardian should not be oppressed by criticism – some of the language used by our critics is abusive and intimidatory – or retreat into self-censorship. But reporters, writers and editors must be more vigilant to ensure our voice in the debate is not diminished because our reputation has been tarnished.

This article will be open for comments at 9am on Monday (UK time).

Comments in chronological order (Total 450 comments)

  • Bukharin

    7 November 2011 9:00AM

    @Chris Elliott

    I was one of forty who complained about that columnist's article. It was the first time I've written to complain to anyone about anything. I've read this paper since the age of twelve. This article broke the camel's back: to mix metaphors, the paper's been pushing against the red line, sailing close to the wind for while; that article leapt over the line.

    The piece above is welcome. No-one expects, and I certainly do not want, the Grauniad to act like the BBC, balancing narratives. For one thing that is over-simplistic and the Beeb often ends up with an extremist view on one side and a moderate on the other in an effort to fit the false dualist paradigm: life in the Mid East is more complicated than that. The Grauniad must avoid that.

    Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, being anti-Israel and criticism of the Israeli government or other authorities are four separate things, easily and often confused on CiF. As you say, the Grauniad ought to vigilant to prevent the first of these. But when there is a large prevalence of the second and third, even relative to the fourth, then a sense of constant attack and complete negativity is formed. Even for a long-standing admirer of this paper, it can be hard to take.

    To end on a good note, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a very good programme yesterday called The State of Israel. Contrary to the Beeb's reputation here in Israel (for being anti-Israeli), the programme was fair and balanced, managing within half an hour to give space and time to all the major strands of Israeli social and political identity and thought. People who read the I/P threads may be interested to listen.

  • TrueToo

    7 November 2011 9:01AM

    Newspapers have to be aware that some examples involve coded references. They need to ask themselves, for example, if the word Zionist is being used as a synonym for Jew.

    It evidently was in the article by Deborah Orr, since she conflated Zionism with her ignorant and prejudiced misconception of Judaism, and since many, if not most Zionists are irreligious:

    At the same time, however, there is something abject in [Hamas’] eagerness to accept a transfer that tacitly acknowledges what so many Zionists believe – that the lives of the chosen are of hugely greater consequence than those of their unfortunate neighbours.

    Anyway, thanks for clearing that up here:
    "Chosenness", in Jewish theology, tends to refer to the sense in which Jews are "burdened" by religious responsibilities; it has never meant that the Jews are better than anyone else. Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read "chosen" as code for Jewish supremacism.

    Taken together with the following from Orr

    All this, I fear, is simply an indication of how inured the world has become to the obscene idea that Israeli lives are more important than Palestinian lives

    it’s unsurprising that people regard her article as anti-Semitic.

    She also demonstrated total lack of understanding of the fact that Hamas obviously pushed for the extraordinary imbalance in the prisoner exchange. Did she really imagine that Netanyahu said to Hamas, “We don’t think a one-for-one prisoner exchange is fair since we value Jewish lives so much more so we’ll give you 1027 Palestinians for Gilad Shalit?”

    A number of comments to subsequent Guardian articles came from people who demonstrated the same absurd misconception. Perhaps they took their lead from Orr. Whatever the case, the Guardian was responsible for whipping up anti-Israeli feeling with her article. And her apology< was a prime example of a qualified one: I was wrong to use poorly chosen words to describe Israel, but that doesn't mean the country is above criticism [my emphasis] An apology means nothing if it is immediately diluted by mealy-mouthed justifications.

  • TamarB

    7 November 2011 9:01AM

    This piece misses the point. It is true that there is not much overt Jews-think-they-are-the-chosen-people-and-control-the-world type of language in Guardian CIF articles and that when it comes up in the comments it tends to be deleted fairly rapidly.

    However, crude antisemitic language is not the only form of antisemitism. What is far more insidious is the obsession that the Guardian has with Israel. Do a search to compare the number of articles on Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel over the past 8 years and you will find:

    Iraq 8,757 articles
    Afghanistan 4,449 articles
    Israel 4,269 articles

    And the articles about Israel are almost overwhelmingly hostile.

    During this period Britain has fought bitter and bloody wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq that have resulted in, at a conservative estimate, 919,967 deaths ( By contrast during this same period 5,130 people have died as a result of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (Btselem).

    You justify the Guardian obsession with Israel by writing

    “It is one of the world's most contested conflicts, in which thousands of people have died or have been displaced.”

    But surely the fact that nearly 180 times as many people have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of invasions by Britain and her allies, should be of FAR more importance to the Guardian, a British newspaper, than what is going on in Israel. Instead, we get have had almost the same number of articles about Afghanistan and only twice as many on Iraq.

    So why the obsession with Israel?

    It clearly is not because the Guardian cares passionately about occupied peoples trying to free themselves. Search for Tibet, Kurdistan and Chechnya and you get

    Chechnya 190 articles
    Tibet 273 articles
    Kurdistan 165 articles

    So how do you explain the Guardian’s hostility to and obsession with Israel?
    Is it because Israel is a Jewish country? In which case, why is this not a subtle form of anti-Semitism?

Posted on 11/11/2011 12:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
A New Documentary On The Nazis

From the Wall Street Journal:

Nov.11, 2011

A Nazi Story That Still Surprises

With every passing year, every new model of portentous drivel about the Nazi era rolled out by the film industry—"The Reader," about the travails of a concentration camp guard, comes to mind—the more indispensable the facts of history become. The clearer it is, too, how flimsy these film fantasies are as vehicles for drama, compared with that history. The latest reminder of this truth comes with a PBS documentary extraordinary in its detail and revelatory power. It's title, "Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals," may be informative, but it's far from adequate for a work that yields so many surprises, the greatest of which is its freshness. Moving in unexpected directions at every turn, Jonathan Silvers's film averts the burden of predictability—no small accomplishment for work on so familiar a theme.

The Nuremberg trials and their drama are familiar enough to the world, but not the face and the work of the 27-year-old American Army lawyer and investigator Benjamin Ferencz, charged with the task of collecting evidence for the Nuremberg prosecutions. The terrors of entering the just-liberated camps with their hellish scenes—the film provides striking footage, more extensive than the usual documentary clips, of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower doing just that, with Gen. Omar Bradley just behind him—caused him, he tells the filmmakers, to create a self-defense mechanism. The whole scene wasn't real, he told himself—it was "just a case," one of many to get through, in camp after camp. He would become chief prosecutor of a special German unit, the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile killing units operating on the Eastern front. He found the report of their daily accomplishments, which Germans meticulously recorded—a typical page of which is shown on screen, detailing how many Jewish children were killed, how many men and women had been murdered on a particular date. He counted. "When I got to over a million I stopped counting."

Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 9-11 p.m. EST on PBS, whose dates and times vary; check local listings.

The Contenders

Fridays, 8-9:30 p.m. EST on C-Span

The film offers barely a touch of atrocity footage. Its subject is justice, or as the principals in the first part of the film, the liberated survivors of the camps thought of it, revenge—this documentary's only strained, largely forgettable moments. Far more dramatic testimony—and a startling vision of justice—comes in an interview with the middle-aged son of Hans Frank, governor of occupied Poland, one of the Germans hanged for crimes against humanity. "My father was a murderer," Nicholas Frank declares, "one who sanctioned the acts of all the other criminals who got away." One memory from his childhood stands out—the time a drunken American soldier showed up at the Frank house and lined the family up outside, threatening to shoot them all. His younger brothers and sisters cried piteously, he recalls, "but I had the feeling the soldier was correct—I belonged to a criminal family."

Harry Dreifuss/PBS

Nazi war criminal Kurt Lishka in Germany in 1971.

Scene after scene brings the struggle for justice to life, in obscure cases as in the ones best known to history. A middle-aged journalist in Cologne, Germany, has discovered by chance, long years after the war, the name and location of the SS officer who had beaten his grandfather to death upon his arrival in Theresienstadt, a transit camp for Czech Jews and others destined for Auschwitz. The journalist had come upon a 1988 news article about a former member of the SS deported from Italy. He recounts his stubborn effort to get a German court to take action—a story this sophisticated professional tells with ease and eloquence, none of which can conceal the rage that had driven him. His grandfather had been murdered, the killer was in Germany, a democratic state now, and the appropriate prosecutor refused to take action—this could not be the end of the story. It was not.

Candice Bergen, the documentary's excellent narrator, doesn't come to the subject of this film as a stranger. She is the widow of Louis Malle, whose haunting "Au Revoir Les Enfants" (1987) was based on Malle's memory of the French Catholic boys' school he attended during the war. The school had sheltered Jewish students who were ultimately betrayed and dragged off to Auschwitz, where they were gassed upon arrival. The headmaster, Lucien Bunel—Père Jacques de Jésus—was arrested and sent to Mauthausen, one of the deadliest camps in the Nazi system. The Malle film's title quotes his last words to the assembled students as he is taken away.

The film Ms. Bergen narrates covers remarkably extensive territory—including a riveting commentary provided by Willam Gowan, a former U.S. Army counter-intelligence agent, on the so-called Rat Line through which Nazi war criminals of high and low rank escaped punishment by fleeing to Argentina, with help from sympathetic Vatican priests. Characteristically, the film enlarges on a familiar fact, taking it to a deeper level. The arrival of this considerable population of war criminals, an Argentinian journalist attests, had its poisonous effect on the nation as a whole. Most of them, he points out, were experts in exactly the kind of merciless repression and terrorization that the dictatorship in Argentina found useful.

Saybrook Productions/PBS

Asher Ben-Natan, who led efforts to capture Nazis.

Section after section of the narrative is made rich in the same way—by taking the familiar in this history to newer and deeper levels. This is true no less of the final part on the complicated efforts to deport war criminals living in America. Altogether a rare achievement and a spellbinding one.

Posted on 11/11/2011 7:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
A Musical Interlude: The Very Thought Of You (Al Bowlly)
Listen here.
Posted on 11/11/2011 8:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
Global Climate Disruption: The World's Rulers Not Up To The Task

From Deutsche Welle:

Energy | 10.11.2011

Time running out to curb global warming, watchdog warns

The International Energy Agency has warned that the world faces irreversible and dangerous climate change if governments fail to cut rising subsidies for fossil fuels and take steps to increase energy efficiency.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned world leaders this week that they could lose the chance to limit global warning if bold action isn't taken to lower emissions in the next five years.

Current clean energy technologies are insufficient to meet carbon reduction targets, so in the nearer term improving energy efficiency should be the top priority, the Paris-based agency said in a statement.

The agency's chief economist, Fatih Birol, said in London on Wednesday that governments must slash subsidies for fossil fuels and push harder to increase energy efficiency.

Presenting the agency's annual World Energy Outlook report, Birol pointed out that nations have been backsliding on their promises, with energy efficiency having worsened for the second year in a row.

If current trends continue, Birol said, international agreements to cap temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels will no longer be honored. That's the threshold beyond which some scientists have said serious climate disruption could be triggered.

A parched, dry field in Rajasthan in India

Scientists say temperature rises can cause extreme conditions such as drought"I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum (for safety). The door will be closed forever,“ Birol said.

The IEA report said that temperatures will rise by 3.5 degrees Celsius even if all countries follow through on the promises they have already made to curb emissions and invest in clean energy. But if the promises are violated, the report warned that in the long term global temperatures could soar to six degrees Celsius or more above preindustrial levels.

Despite the bleak picture, the IEA economist said he was skeptical that governments are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. Birol said there was a lack of political will among leaders to make drastic changes to their energy infrastructure.

The warnings come ahead of crucial United Nations climate talks starting in Durban, South Africa, later this month.

“We cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable use of energy," IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said in the report. "Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system.”

Governments that fail to introduce “stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low-carbon technologies” would the door close on their goal of limiting the temperature rise, she warned.

The IEA report said that worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide reached record levels in 2010. It estimated that global demand for energy will rise by a third between 2010 and 2035, with much of the demand fueled by rapidly growing Asian nations.

China alone will consume 70 percent more energy than the US by 2035, the report said. At the same time, the share of renewable energy will rise from 13 to just 18 percent.

High oil prices

The IEA, which represents the world's biggest oil consumers, also expects already high crude prices to rise drastically in the coming years.

The crucial factor is just how much investment pours into the politically turbulent nations of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the agency said.

Oil being pumped at a refineryThe IEA expects crude oil prices to jump in the next few years "If, between 2011 and 2015, investment in the MENA region runs one third lower than the $100 billion per year required, consumers could face a near-term rise in the oil price to $150 a barrel," the IEA said in a statement accompanying its World Energy Outlook 2011.

Referring to the crisis at Japan's Fukushima nuclear facility earlier this year, the IEA, which advises 28 industrialized nations, said it didn't expect the incident to have any significant long-term effect on the amount of nuclear energy produced.

Some countries have already changed their nuclear policies, either abandoning previous steps towards building new nuclear power plants, as in Italy, or accelerating or introducing timetables to phase out nuclear plants, as in Germany and Switzerland.

But the IEA said countries such as China, India, Russia and South Korea will continue to expand their use of atomic energy. It concluded global nuclear energy generation would increase 70 percent by 2035.

Posted on 11/11/2011 9:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
EDL and MfE paying their respects peacefully - 170 arrests to prevent a 'possible' breach of the peace.

I have just returned from central London where I witnessed disgraceful scenes worthy of a police state.

Following the banning of MAC this morning and their declaring that they would not be attending outside the Royal Albert Hall to disrupt the 2 minutes silence those members of March for England and the EDL decided that their respects could be paid at other venues in London. Many met in Whitehall for the service at the Cenotaph; a day’s holiday booked from work and a train ticket paid for was not to be wasted.  Instructions were clear – no colours, no flags, smart dress with poppy as far as possible , decorous behaviour befitting the occasion.

I decided to go first to St Paul’s Cathedral, which has an especial place in the affections of all native born Londoners like myself. I was hoping this poppy art installation was available to view by the general public (it wasn’t); I intended to have elevenses in the crypt café but it was shut due to the Occupy London tent city. I also wanted to see the Occupy group for myself.

Acting on a lucky impulse I decided not to stay at the Cathedral but instead made my way to the city church which is associated with my husband’s old regiment where veterans and serving soldiers were gathering.  Servicemen aged 19-90 were gathered, some with their wives; the numbers were more than doubled by city workers, office workers in business suits, builders in yellow protective clothing, like me drawn to pay our respects in company, and a public space. We heard the sound of the bugle and for 2 minutes the only sound was far off traffic and the gurgle of the fountain. The men and their families of the regiment filed into church and the rest of us went about our business.

As I passed the Cathedral a march was forming. This was going in roughly the same direction as I was and it passed me several times. I heard many people remark on the number of police required to keep a bunch of elderly hippies, some in wheelchairs, in order. Irritating as they were the only danger they presented in my opinion was from the plump women with the swinging joss sticks. They stopped at the Law Courts, where drums were beaten and ululations made and passed the edge of Trafalgar Square to pass down Whitehall. I contacted a friend of March for England who I hoped to meet during lunchtime. He told me that the police had kettled them in near the Cenotaph which at that timed sounded no more than a bit of an inconvienience.

The Occupy London march moved slowly past Horseguards Parade, some stopped to stroke the horses. They stopped outside Downing Street and banged the drums and ululated a bit more. They took not a blind bit of notice of either the Cenotaph or the group surrounded by police in and outside the Red Lion pub. At the bottom of Parliament Street they went to join the long standing ‘peace camp’ outside Parliament and I didn’t see where they went after that.

I met people I know from Dagenham and Essex who had been allowed to leave the kettle. They told me that as the crowd dispersed the police (presumably recognising them, as I said there were no colours as wasn’t an official presence) filtered EDL and MfE into the Red Lion pub on the corner of Derby Gate. Even if they were not intending to have a drink they were told they HAD to enter the pub. Some women, accompanied by their husbands were allowed to leave, and a few others slipped quietly out before the police lines became too thick. We watched from outside as more and more police came up, more and more vans arrived, and the dog vans were opened. I am told by people who I have found to be honest and reliable, one of whom is an independent observer engaged in academic research, that police officers rushed through from the back doors of the pub, while their colleagues held a thick dayglo line at the front.

An older man with a heart condition was pushed to the floor and dragged on his knees. A professional journalist from The Telegraph caught it on video here.  After a medic confirmed that his heart rate showed distress he was arrested, taken outside where he was de-arrested and told to make himself scarce. After telling me his story he did so.  Other men who required first aid for grazes and bruises were allowed to go.

We then watched as men and women were taken out of the pub in small groups, lined up in Parliament Street handcuffed while vans were brought to take them away. 170 patriots were arrested to ‘prevent a breach of the peace'. Where have I heard that before? My friends the Bromley 15 in July.

The BBC London news report I have just watched says that it is not clear and the police will not say what breach of the peace was anticipated. The Occupy London march took no notice of the people in the pub, and the people in the pub took not notice of them. There is a suggestion that the mention of some individuals visiting to St Pauls later caused alarm. I visited St Pauls before – did I pose a threat? Some silly comment on Facebook should not provoke such a response, after all MAC’s vile threats were tolerated as ‘free speech’ for years.  

I hear as I write 6.30 pm GMT that individuals are being released from Police Stations around London, without charge, Lewisham in South London being one. I post this as a preliminary – I will be adding pictures as I process them.

The behaviour of the police was inexplicable. 170 arrests of people causing no trouble is unprecedented in my lifetime. As the BBC reporter said (and this is the BBC – not the best friend of the EDL) police outnumbered the people kettled into the pub by 3:1.

I need time to think about this. But frankly the police orders were a disgrace. This I do know - the public are expected to remember headlines 170 EDL arrested on Armistice Day - and not notice that no charges were ever brought.

 Photographs E Weatherwax November 2011

Posted on 11/11/2011 12:49 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 11 November 2011
A Musical Interlude: The Clouds Will Soon Roll By (Elsie Carlisle)
Listen here.
Posted on 11/11/2011 1:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
MG Global Closes, Or, 1066 And All That
Posted on 11/11/2011 2:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
The Fly in the GOP Sweep in Virginia: David Ramadan’s “Victory� in the 87th District

David Ramadan, confirmed winner in Virginia's 8th Assembly District

The consensus of opinion is that President Obama lost big time in the wake of the alleged GOP Sweep of the Virginia legislature elections on Tuesday, November 8th.  Virginia Strassel writing in the Wall Street Journal reflected the euphoria and the significant dent in President Obama’s campaigning in the Commonwealth, Obama’s Virginia Defeat

Virginia Republicans added seven new seats to their majority in the House of Delegates, giving them two-thirds of that chamber's votes—the party's largest margin in history. The GOP also took over the Virginia Senate in results that were especially notable, given that Virginia Democrats this spring crafted an aggressive redistricting plan that had only one aim: providing a firewall against a Republican takeover of that chamber. Even that extreme gerrymander didn't work.

Every Republican incumbent—52 in the House, 15 in the Senate—won. The state GOP is looking at unified control over government for only the second time since the Civil War. This is after winning all three top statewide offices—including the election of Gov. Bob McDonnell—in 2009, and picking off three U.S. House Democrats in last year's midterms.

There is a fly in these GOP Virginia legislative electoral results, the squeaker victory by David Ramadan, an American Muslim acolyte of Grover Norquist.  Unlike the other GOP legislature victories in Virginia, Ramadan won in the Virginia 87th District over his Democratic opponent, Kondratick, by less than 51 votes.  That is less than 0.50 % of the total of 10, 875 votes cast. See our post on Ramadan’s victory and the Norquist GOP connections.

The Washington Post (WaPo) had a Local Politics blog post on Democrat contender Kondratick ‘for the House of Delegates seat ‘passing’ on an automatic vote recount, given the razor thin margin. ” Note this from the WaPo blog post, “Democrat Mike Kondratick passes on recount in Northern Virginia”.

A Northern Virginia House candidate who trailed his opponent by just 51 votes opted against recount and conceded the race Thursday.

“After a spirited race, the voters of the 87th District ultimately chose our opponent by a slim margin of 51 votes,” Democrat Mike Kondratick said in an e-mail to supporters in the newly created district, which covers parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties. “That result was confirmed in the final canvass yesterday.”

Kondratick, director of grass-roots advocacy for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, was entitled to a free recount in the race against Republican businessman David Ramadan.

A candidate who loses by a margin of 1 percent or less may request one at his own expense. If the margin is 0.51 percent or less, the local jurisdiction picks up the tab.

Kondratick, who lost by 0.47 percent, passed anyway.

“A recount isn’t in the best interests of the residents of the 87th district,” he said.

Richard Falknor of the BlueRidgeForum blog had this observation in an email exchange about Democrat Kondratick passing on an automatic vote recount;

I have no evidence supporting anything else than what Kondratick declared. It could have been as simple as the "canvass" revealing a likely hopeless outcome for the challenger.

Many Islamists contribute heavily to the Democratic Party. Did they suggest that the challenger back off?

Did the Democratic Party leadership not want to be seen as "spoilers" of even a Republican Islamist's election when it would make no difference to party control of one chamber of a state legislature?

Again, I don't know.

Some sources close to that election believe that the write-in voters should have understood that this General Assembly would be most unlikely to do anything to advance the pro-abortion agenda. They argue that the write-in voters should have looked at the larger picture and voted for Kondratick.

Of course we have another view. It might not be past Norquist reaching across the political divide and heavily influencing local Democratic leadership in the new election district and Kondratick to ‘cool it’ as it might tick off local Muslim supporters.  If that is the case it might prove that loyalty to fellow Muslims in Dar al Hijrah trumps domestic political allegiances.

Posted on 11/11/2011 2:32 PM by Jerry Gordon
Friday, 11 November 2011
Eric Holder: "Muslims Have the Same Desires We All Have"

From The Daily Caller:

Eric Holder’s stereotyping of Muslims irresponsible, say critics

Attorney General Eric Holder is stereotyping Muslims in America, and his willful ignorance about the religious roots of Islamic terrorism endangers Americans and marginalizes Muslim reformers, say experts on Islamist terror groups.

That assessment was prompted by Holder’s announcement during a Tuesday congressional hearing that American Muslims “have the same desires that we all have.”

His declaration came during an answer about the training manuals used by some FBI trainers, which have drawn furious criticism from Islamist lobby groups. Those manuals, Holder said, contain training lessons that “can really undermine, really undermine, the really substantial outreach efforts that we have made and really have a negative impact on our ability to communicate effectively, as we have in the past, with this community.”

“I almost hesitate to say ‘this community,’ because the reality is that we’re talking about Americans, Americans citizens, who have the same desires that we all have, who want their kids to be safe, who want the opportunities that this great country has to offer them,” Holder added.

Holder’s blanket statement about Muslims’ desires “is ethnocentric in the sense that he is imposing his own values upon people who may have, and often demonstrably do have, vastly different perspectives,” Robert Spencer, the author of several books on Islam, told The Daily Caller.

By ignoring evidence of Islamist groups in the Muslim community, Holder is “denying the [FBI’s] agents — and, derivatively, the public — the tools necessary to distinguish authentic Islamic moderates from the Islamists who pose as moderates,” Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, told TheDC in a separate interview. McCarthy successfully tried Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven other Islamist terrorists in 1995.

“Most rank-and-file Muslims in the United States are, in fact, patriotic Americans … [but] the only way we will ever empower real moderates is by drawing that distinction and marginalizing the sharia supremacists,” McCarthy said to The Daily Caller.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Holder criticized arguments that Islam’s tenets spur violence, and that adherence to Islamic rituals and dress are a marker of “possible extremism.”

Those claims are “flat-out wrong,” Holder said.

Islamist advocates in the United States, and their allies in the U.S. progressive movement, have fiercely attacked Spencer because he cites Islamic texts that repeatedly urge attacks on people who are not Muslims. Spencer has offered to debate Holder or his advisers in public.

The diversity and divisions of opinion among Muslim Americans is highlighted by the segment of American Muslims who have volunteered to commit terror attacks and by the many Muslims who vociferously oppose those attacks. It is also carefully documented in recent surveys.

“[A] significant minority (21%) of Muslim Americans say there is a great deal (6%) or a fair amount (15%) of support for extremism in the Muslim American community,” according to an Aug. 30 Pew Research Center report.

Forty-eight percent of self-identified Muslims in the United States believe the leaders of Muslim political groups have not done enough to speak out against extremism, while 20 percent of Muslim immigrants say they would rather remain distinct from society than integrate, said the report.

Roughly 11 percent of Muslims in the U.S. believe the Council on American-Islamic Relations “most represents [their] interests,” according to survey conducted for an Islamic group by Gallup and released in August. But FBI chief Robert Mueller has refused to meet the the leadership of the CAIR since the discovery that its leadership supported a Texas-based group that smuggled money to the Hamas terror group.

The Gallup survey also reported that only 60 percent of U.S. Muslims self-identify as Americans “very strongly” or “extremely strongly.” Among non-Muslim Americans, the score was roughly 90 percent, except for atheists, whose score was 78 percent.

The support among Muslims for terror attacks was underlined Monday afternoon when a Muslim was brought into a Texas courtroom to face terror charges.

Federal prosecutor Garrett Heenan, who is Holder’s subordinate, told the court that Barry Walter Bujol “had emailed [U.S.-born Al Qaeda Imam Anwar] al-Awlaki seeking guidance regarding jihad … [who] responded by emailing a terrorist manifesto entitled, ‘42 ways of supporting jihad,’” according to an Associated Press report.

In the ten years since the 9/11 terror attacks, 40 Islamic plots to attack people and targets in the United States have been foiled, according to a count by the Heritage Foundation.

In contrast, only two German-Americans citizens participated in a planned sabotage plot during World War II, along with six Germans who had worked in the United States, even though roughly 20 percent of the country had German ancestry. There were almost no examples of cooperation by Japanese-Americans with Imperial Japan’s forces. [not quite accurate on either score, but let it pass -- for now]

Since 2001, there have been few or no recorded terror plots in the United States that were prepared by religiously motivated Christians, Jews or Mormons, despite their larger populations living in the United States.

Some of Holder’s supporters in Islamic lobby groups also acknowledge significant differences within the Muslim community.

“There are good Muslims and bad Muslims, there are good FBI and bad FBI,” says a September 2011 statement by Mohamed Elibiary, a Texas-based Muslim who advises the Department of Homeland Security.

Elibiary was appointed to his advisory role despite his attendance at a 2004 Texas memorial service for Ruhollah Khomeini, the Iranian cleric who imposed a hard-line theocracy on Iran in 1979, and who directed attacks against U.S. Marines based in Lebanon in 1983.

Eilibiary’s comparison of Muslims’ diversity to FBI diversity was included in an appeal to like-minded Islamists for support in lobbying local FBI offices. The lobbying, he wrote, could sway the FBI’s counter-terrorism strategy, and also sideline “sell-out Muslims” like Arizona-based Zuhdi Jasser.

Jasser, a Muslim and a former U.S. Navy officer, argues that Islam can be reformed to accommodate Western ideas of free speech, personal freedom and church–state separation. Jasser, who founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, has also argued that White House foreign policy advisers are too solicitous of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist political groups.

However, Jasser largely been ignored by Holder’s Justice department, and by White House officials, who considered but ultimately rejected him for a seat on a diplomatic advisory board.

Elibiary’s role as a DHS advisor has been thrown into doubt since PJ Media reported Oct. 26 that he had offered sensitive information from a law-enforcement database to a media outlet. The offer was intended to bolster Elibiary’s claim that there was a “a pattern of Islamophobia” inside Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas Department of Public Safety, according to the report.

Elibiary did not respond to questions from TheDC. Holder’s office also declined to elaborate on his statements.

Read more:
Posted on 11/11/2011 2:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 11 November 2011
“Fire DNI Clapper� – if only we could

DNI Gen.James Clapper and President Obama

Ken Timmerman had a FrontPageMagazine article on the IAEA Report, “Connecting the Nuclear Dots on Iran.”  In his article he points out what we had discussed about the NIE 2007 estimate on Iran’s nuclear program. We commented in our IAEA review:

This IAEA report also makes it apparent that the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2007 on Iran’s nuclear program was dangerously misleading. The NIE of 2007 propounded the assessment that the Islamic Republic had briefly stopped its nuclear program in 2003, when in fact it never really ceased weapons development. 

Timmerman goes on to reveal another intelligence gaffe by controversial Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Lt. General James R. Clapper:

The IAEA report also shoots down – yet again – the National Intelligence Council’s fatally flawed 2007 National Intelligence on Iran, which stated at the outset that Iran had stopped nuclear weapons research in 2003. The IAEA found that the research continued, underground and unreported.

[. . .]

And yet, in a recent talk to intelligence community retirees and other guests, the Director of National Intelligence, Lt. Gen. James Clapper​, said his fingerprints were “all over” the 2007 NIE and that he stood by it one hundred percent.

Timmerman’s suggestion:

Here’s a novel thought: if our intelligence analysts, including those right at the top, fail to connect the dots, why don’t we just fire them?

Timmerman knows a thing or two about intelligence community denizens given his (2007) book, Shadow Warriors: the Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs and the Party of SurrenderNote this from our NER  interview with Timmerman:

Timmerman:  Look for example at the President’s top advisor for counter-terrorism, John Brennan, who is a former top CIA official. I believe it is extremely troubling when you examine Brennan’s role as a private contractor after he left CIA in a scheme to “sanitize” the passport files of the three main candidates in the 2008 Presidential election, including his soon to be boss, Barack Obama. The State Department investigation into what happened in the spring of 2008 remains so highly classified that all you and I can read of it are page after page of redacted text.

Back to Clapper. He is either incompetent or a ‘useful fool’, as Lenin would say. Witness what we wrote about his prior gaffes earlier this year in an Iconoclast blog post, DNI Clapper is Invincibly Ignorant on the Muslim Brotherhood: Fire Him:

Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee and Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC)  revealed the gross incompetence of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper about the Muslim Brotherhood. Rogers is a 25 year veteran of the FBI. Myrick is the well informed head of the House Anti-Terror caucus. Clapper’s comments about the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood being ‘largely secular’ showed the willful ignorance of both he and his staff. Clapper quickly backtracked after questions by Myrick and comments from FBI Director Mueller set the record straight during yesterday’s hearing on possible intelligence failures in the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and other failed Arab Muslim states in the Middle East. Clapper is another one of the Obama Administration’s intelligence cabal led by White House counterterrorism czar, the philo-Islamic John Brennan.

This is the latest intelligence gaffe by DNI Clapper. You may recall his demonstrable ignorance about 12 London terrorist arrests in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. Watch the exchange with Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, White House Counterterrorism Czar, John Brennan and DNI, James Clapper over home grown terrorism, the Christmas and Times Square bombers. They look like the proverbial three blind mice

Note our comment about what should be done with Clapper:

Our suggestion is that the House Select Intelligence Committee inform the Obama White House that Clapper is a clear and present danger to America’s security in the war against Islamic terrorism, whether domestic or foreign, and should be fired.

We agree about what any President should do with Clapper, Brennan and other “Shadow Warriors” in our intelligence establishment. Problem is that the Obama White House finds these 'useful fools' invaluable in their game of outreach to the Muslim Ummah. Only way to send them packing is to ‘fire’ their boss in 2012 by voting him out of office. In the meantime, it will be left for Israel to go it alone to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The US intelligence gurus are dead set against doing anything.

Posted on 11/11/2011 4:49 PM by Jerry Gordon
Friday, 11 November 2011
Trita Parsi, Apologist For The Islamic Republic Of Iran

From Contentions:

Iran Lobbyist Trita Parsi: Anti-Iran Calls “Must Be Punishable”

There are several longish posts to be written about the meltdown currently taking place on the anti-Israel and pro-Iran foreign policy left. In the span of a month they’ve had to explain why the oh-so-rational Iranians – who, on account of said rationality, were ostensibly amenable to engagement – tried to commit an act of war on U.S. soil. Then they had to explain why the oh-so-not-developing-nukes Iranians – who, on account of not developing nukes, did not have to be confronted – were declared by the IAEA to be developing nukes.

Their efforts on both of those specific issues were kind of magical – the clinical description would label them as “symptomatic outbursts” – but it’s also important to keep an eye on the general meltdown taking place. For instance here’s a tweet from Trita Parsi, president and founder of the National Iranian American Council:

When he could get away with it, Parsi advocated engagement with the Iranian regime because it was rational and stable. When that pretext became impossible to sustain, he advocated engagement with the Iranian regime because it was irrational and crumbling. It’s almost as if Parsi – who once founded and ran a group to “safeguard Iran’s and Iranian interests” – is willing to say anything to safeguard Iran’s and Iranian interests.

The Obama years, of course, have been quite good for Parsi and NIAC:

Mr. Parsi’s history suggests a continuing commitment to changing U.S. policy on Iran, and he has clearly become more influential in Washington since the change of administrations. Mr. Parsi has been called to the White House, lectured at the CIA and visited Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He boasted in internal e-mails that he learned of Mr. Obama’s speech to Iranians on the occasion of the Persian New Year in March several hours before it was posted on the Internet.

You can’t help but wonder if Parsi has floated his “let’s punish these anti-Iran lunatics” to his new friends at the White House.

Posted on 11/11/2011 7:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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