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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 Tuesday, 12, 2011.
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Alabama Born Jihadi Not Dead - Releases Rap Album

From Jihad News:

About four weeks ago, Somalia´s Defence Minister claimed he had obtained intelligence information indicating the American citizen and Al-Shabaab militant Omar Hammami aka “Abu Mansour al-Amriki” had been injured in battle with Somali troops in Mogadishu and later died of his wounds. Hammami´s death however was never officially confirmed by Al-Shabaab nor by any other Jihadi source.

A new audio release on a Somali Jihadi website now leads to the conclusion that Hammami might still be alive. Two English rap songs labeled as Nasheeds and recorded by Omar Hammami were released today, titled “Send Me A Cruise” and “Make Jihad With Me”. Both are allegedly part of a larger release of a full Nasheed collection.

In “Send Me A Cruise”, the American-born Jihadi Hammami raps about his wish for martyrdom:

Send me a cruise like Maa’lam Adam al Ansari
And send me a couple of tons like Zarqawi
And send me a drone like Abu Laith al Libi
And Special Forces like Saleh Ali Nabhani

Send me all four and send me much much more
I pray for that on my way to heavens door
Send me four and send me more, that what I implore
An amazing martyrdom I strive for and adore

Hammami glorifies the American way of hunting down terrorists, embraces the drone campaign and praised a martyr´s death.

There’s nothing as sweet as the taste of a tank shell
But it could be compared to being where the mortar fell
But all that could be seen as tasteless
Compared to smart bombs falling when they don’t miss
It was a beautiful day, when that predator paradise missile sent me on my way
A one way ticket with no stops or delays, no problems in the grave nor fear on that day
Or better yet send me a cruise, and send me on a cruise
Family rejoices at the news and follows me in what I do

I profess and strive against those who oppress and transgress
I obsess not depress for martyrdom success

In the second song released by Al-Shabaab today, Hammami tries to reach out to the Muslim youth, calling them to come to the lands where Jihad is fought to join militant groups.


Make Jihad With Me
Allahu Akbar Give Some More Bounty
Attack America Now!
Martyrdom or Victory
We take it Nairobi to Addis – Paradise Inside
Khilafah is here!

We are wiping Israel clear off the globe!

You finally made it here after the long wait
You enter the training camp and study the din
You officially join the Mujahidin
You attack the kuffar where they oppress and stand
And the allies too to free the Muslim land
And implement Sharia – that´s our goal
To spread Allah´s word to every home

With you or without you Islam will succeed
Take part in the reward – Make Jihad with me!

Hammami, who hails from the Alabama town of Daphne, has an American mother and a Syrian father. He converted to Islam and embraced the Salafi interpretation of the religion, becoming more and more fundamentalist in his believes and views on world politics.

In 2006 he left the US and traveled to Somalia were he joined up with Al-Shabaab and trained in one of their camps and became a commander of the Mujahiroun Unites, the foreign fighters of Al-Shabaab. Apart from a Al-Jazeera Hammami once gave sitting in front of the camera in the Somali bushland, wearing a military uniform and a scarf wrapped around his head, the American Jihadi also appeared in several propaganda tapes.

“From Somalia and Shishaan, from Iraq and Afghanistan, gonna meet up in the Holy Lands, establishing Allah’s Law on the land” – Hammami sung in one of the first Nasheeds he produced in Somalia, released in May 2010.

Today´s release of the English rap Nasheeds is not a doubtless proof Hammami is still alive. He could have been killed in March and recorded the songs earlier. This however, I would label as very unlikely, as Al-Shabaab would without a doubt announce Hammami´s martyrdom prior to releasing his old propaganda material.

Posted on 04/12/2011 6:26 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Protocols of the Elders of Zion on sale in Sydney Mosque during 'open day'

I can't find the original report in The Australian either (Christina can you help?) but the discovery has been taken up by J-wire, Jewish news from Australia and New Zealand and the Sydney Herald Sun.

Copies of the anti-Semitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion were on sale at Lakemba Mosque on Sunday. The Australian newspaper reported that copies of the hoax document were on sale in the bookshop of the mosque in western Sydney during an open day designed to dispel myths about Islam.

Volunteers at the store claimed they were not responsible for choosing the books, whose sales help fund the mosque. A spokesman for the mosque said he hoped that the staff would exert more control over what is stocked on the shelves. 


The bookstall on the ground floor of the Lakemba Mosque had in stock about 15 bright-pink paperback editions of The Protocols for sale for $8.  

On a large table in the middle of the room was a jumble sale of books ranging from early childhood education to cookbooks, including a couple of stacks of The Protocols among the piles of Islamic literature.

When asked by The Australian why the mosque was selling The Protocols, the bookshop volunteer hurriedly grabbed the books and said he would take them off the table. ``We’re not racist. I don’t want any trouble,’’ he said. ``I can’t read, I don’t read the books, I don’t know what’s in them. I don’t decide what books are chosen.’’

ABC News seemed to expect a lovely inter faith day with delicious Lebanese cooking.

Posted on 04/12/2011 2:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Utterly barley

I popped out for a cheese sandwich yesterday lunchtime, and although the sandwich shop was Italian, was served by an Arab lady in hijab." Do you want baaaaaa?" she asked in response to my request for a cheese sandwich. "No, cheese," I replied, wondering if she was promoting some obscure Arab delicacy. "With baaaaa?" she asked again, as puzzled as I was.

Then I realised that this was "butter" in Cockney/Estuary English but without the glottal stop - or glaaaaal stop, as she might call it.

Who says Muslims can't assimilate? The mind may be closed but the glottis is open.

Posted on 04/12/2011 5:36 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel

There is a little red book that I, Brian of London, posted about a few weeks ago. Well the entire thing is now available to read, download and distribute on line. A physical re-printing is in the works but for now I’m going to present the complete thing and give you the new introduction that has been written by the book’s co-author and driving force.

When the book was produced he chose to publish under a pseudonym but now David Littman publicly acknowledges that it was he that masterminded the printing of this little book. It has been re-formated for the web in accordance with his wishes, as a tribute to his life and work. I can’t even begin to say what this man has achieved but he started out rescuing hundreds of Jewish children from Morocco and carried on in more amazing ways. I’ll tell you a little secret: I attended the semi-secret ”Hero of Silence” Order award ceremony when he was officially decorated for the operation. Since then he has worked tirelessly as one of the very few sane voices at the UN in Geneva.

David Littman is a true hero, a legend in wicket keeping and a gentleman the likes of which they don’t make any more.

I will include Anwar Sadat’s letter to Hitler, after the link to the complete book which follows the brand new introduction that David has just released for this re-publication. It is is his wish that this book and interesting extracts from it, be published far and wide in the digital age. I’m kicking this off here but the call is going out to other bloggers, take it, read it and repost anything you find interesting:

Preface to the Fourth Edition

This fourth edition of Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel is now available on the internet. It will allow a worldwide public to read what was discussed at the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research at Al Azhar (1968) and preached by ulema in mosques 40 years ago on Jews, Judaism and Israel – throughout the Arab-Middle East, and taught in schools.

In January 1971, while browsing in the library of St. Anthony’s College, Oxford University, awaiting a friend, I came across the 1970 English edition of the Proceedings of this Al Azhar Conference, published by the ‘Cairo General Organization for Government Printing Offices’.

Only a few months earlier, I had met professor Yehoshafat Harkabi in Tel Aviv, author of a seminal work, Arab Attitudes to Israel (1971; Hebrew edition, 1968), who informed me of the contents of the Arab edition which he showed me, particularly the lecture by Kamal Ahmad Own on “The Jews are the Enemies of Human Life as is Evident from their Holy Book”.

On discovering the English translation by chance, the article by the ‘Vice-principle of Tanta Institute’ caught my eye, as well as a fascinating trove of vivid ‘explanations’ on Jihad and other theological subjects. I immediately informed Professor Harkabi and suggested that it might be a good idea to publish extracts from the 935 page edition (no official copyright was indicated) which I would prepare, and our joint introduction. It could be published by Editions de l’Avenir in Geneva and would be widely distributed by the Centre d’Information et de la Documentation sur le Moyen Orient (CID) in Geneva, recently founded, with friends, by my wife and I, whose publications we directed then. I met Professor Bernard Lewis in London, who encouraged me on the project, suggesting less than 100 pages and a brief introduction.

In September 1971 the verbatim first edition was printed in English – followed by a French edition – with our joint introduction under a pseudonym, “D.F. Green”: ‘D’ for my first name, David; ‘F’ for Fati, the abbreviated first name of Harkabi, who predicted that it would become a landmark publication in its own field ; he proved to be right. Before his untimely death in 1994, he gave me his consent to reveal our joint names, behind the pseudonym, “D.F. Green”. I preferred Muslim Theologians… as the title, but Fati preferred not to ruffle religious feathers.

Between September 1971 and September 1976, three editions were published in English, two in French and one in German, a total of over 70,000 copies – available in bookstores via the main Swiss distributor, Payot. It was also widely circulated (c. 10,000 copies) by the CID in Switzerland (and the United Nations), in several European countries and the USA, and much appreciated by Israel’s Foreign Ministry Information Office which bought many thousands of copies, especially the 3rd English edition. However, after President Anwar El Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977, they stopped using our ‘sensitive’ booklet, which also contained several revealing texts by Sadat on Jews and Israel (see pp. 87-91), starting with his 1953 “Letter to Hitler” (allegedly still alive), published in the Cairo weekly Al Musawwar.

On reading D.F. Green’s introduction 40 years later, one notes that there has not been an iota of change in the Arab-Muslim world on this subject in their media, especially on certain TV government programs, sermons in mosques, in schools, (widely documented by MEMRI, Palestine Media Watch and other bodies), and with rare condemnation or shame. One paragraph says it all then and now:

“Arab spokesmen contend that they differentiate meticulously between Zionism and Judaism and that they are against Zionism and not against Judaism. There cannot be a more trenchant disproof of this allegation than the arguments used at the Fourth Conference of the Academy of Islamic Research, at least as regards it participants. The odium of Zionism is described as emanating from the perversity of Judaism. Zionism and Jews are treated synonymously.”

And we concluded our introduction, dated ‘London, August 1971’ with a vain hope:

May this booklet be a small contribution towards the cause of peace in the Near East. This is by no means a cynical pretention (..). It is to be hoped that this small publication may serve as a general exhortation against the dangers lurking in the ideologization (or worse, in the theologization) of a political conflict. When such books published under government auspices cease to appear, a step toward reconciliation will have been made.

David G. Littman
Switzerland, April 2011

The full book can be found here: Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel 4th Edition and that site (Scribd) contains instructions on how to embed the whole book on your site if you wish.

Posted on 04/12/2011 6:15 AM by Brian of London
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Kabul Bank Collapse The Result Of Karzai Government Corruption

New York Times

Updated: Mar. 29, 2011

Kabul Bank, one of the biggest private financial institutions that sprang up after the fall of the Taliban, stands at the very center of Afghanistan’s political and economic elite. It is tiny by international standards, when depositors began pulling money out in a panic in late August 2010, the country's embryonic financial system appeared to be threatened. 

The panic began when government officials demanded the resignation of the bank's president and chairman after learning of $300 million in losses — far more than the bank's capital — much of it in investments in Dubai real estate. Afghan and American officials say the two men presided over the bank in a reckless and freewheeling manner, doling out millions to allies of President Hamid Karzai and pouring money into risky investments that crashed.

In January 2011, estimates of the losses were raised to as much as $900 million. Banking specialists, businessmen and government officials said they feared that word of Kabul Bank’s troubles could prompt a run on solvent banks, destroying the country’s nascent banking system and shaking the confidence of Western donors already questioning the level of their commitment to Afghanistan.

The scandal has severe political and security implications. A damning internal report by Afghanistan’s own Central Bank depicted the Afghan political elite as using Kabul Bank as its private piggy bank. The report both raised questions about why the authorities did not act sooner and suggested that the answers lay in the political connections of the bank’s officers and shareholders — the recipients of most of the loans.

The report also suggests that Kabul Bank’s long-term finances are in much more dire shape than previously understood, a condition that explains why the Central Bank has been discussing putting the bank into receivership. The International Monetary Fund is pressing for receivership as a condition of renewing its program with Afghanistan. Without the I.M.F.’s blessing, some major donors are required by their own laws to withhold aid from the country.

Whether the Afghan government will approve the dissolution of the bank is not yet clear, but whatever its future, as the Central Bank outlines in its report, there will be high costs for the Afghan government, which will have to make good on the nonperforming loans in order to keep depositors whole.

The bank’s troubles — and the corruption associated with them — have posed a direct challenge to the country’s fledgling financial system, which was built under American guidance after the collapse of the Taliban government in 2001. Kabul Bank, which counts a brother of President Karzai among its politically connected shareholders, illustrates the intertwining of political and economic interests in Afghanistan. Afghan and American regulators said the bank’s political connections had shielded it from scrutiny until recently

Posted on 04/12/2011 8:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
And Karzai Denounces The West For Causing The Bank's Collapse

From The New York Times:

Karzai Blames Western Firms for Kabul Bank’s Troubles

Massoud Hossaini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Hamid Karzai said Western firms should be prosecuted for misleading his government about Kabul Bank.


April 11, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan — As a delegation of Afghan officials traveled to Washington to present their plan to international financial authorities to dismantle Afghanistan’s largest private bank, President Hamid Karzai on Monday denounced Western accounting firms and advisers for corruption and failing to detect the bank’s troubles.


At a news conference, Mr. Karzai, while reassuring the public that their deposits in Kabul Bank were safe, said that foreign firms should be prosecuted along with those shareholders who took illegal loans and did not repay them.

“International organizations and foreign entities, who have been recruited and paid hundreds of millions of dollars of Afghanistan’s money to improve Afghanistan’s banking system, perform strong audits, and improve and build capacity for us, have not done their job,” Mr. Karzai said.

“They provided the Central Bank with inaccurate information, they deceived Afghanistan’s government and its economic and financial regulatory bodies,” he said.

Three firms were mentioned specifically: Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Deloitte and Bearing Point. An affiliate of the first performed an audit on the bank three months before its troubles began to come to light and pronounced its finances sound. Deloitte and BearingPoint had a contract from the United States Agency for International Development to advise the Central Bank and help build the capacity of the banking system.

Afghan officials are expected to present a plan to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank this week that would, in essence, put Kabul Bank into receivership, separating its viable parts from the nonviable parts and allowing the Central Bank to recoup some losses by selling off assets from borrowers who have not paid back their loans. In the meantime, they would look for a buyer for the working parts of the institution, like its distribution network for government salaries.

The government has been under intense pressure from the I.M.F. to put Kabul Bank into receivership, prosecute wrongdoers and strengthen the enforcement of banking regulations. The fund suspended Afghanistan’s program last fall, which halted the flow of about $70 million from international donors. The resolution of the Kabul bank crisis is expected to result in a renewal of the program.

While Mr. Karzai’s comments appeared aimed in part at preparing the Afghan public for the expected announcement of the bank’s dismantling, the speech also sounded a theme that has become increasingly frequent in his public comments — that Western interests, and particularly American interests, had harmed Afghanistan. At one point in the news conference, Mr. Karzai noted that “the most prestigious American audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers” had given the bank and by extension, the Afghan government, a clean bill of health just before its troubles burst into public view.

There are suspicions by Western officials that auditors of the local affiliate of the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Network that performed one of the audits on Kabul Bank were bribed to whitewash the bank's financial situation. However, those offering any such payoffs would likely have been among the bank's shareholders, all of whom are Afghans, said Western officials. “When are the Afghans going to take responsibility?” said a frustrated Western official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. “There’s been a reluctance to accept blame by everyone in the Afghan government,” the official said.

Western officials often express their frustration in private but rarely in public, where the prevailing view appears to be that “we have to live with the Afghan government we’ve got,” as one American official said. [no, the West, if it comes to its senses, should leave, leave Karzai and his family to fend for themselves,  and let Muslims in Afghanistan sink or swim on their own; monitoring from on high, and striking as the occasion warrants, any build-up by Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups that might need to be kept continuously off-balance. For the rest of Afghanistan, let it sink back into its natural state]

However, a European diplomat warned that Mr. Karzai’s bashing was a “dangerous game” because, especially in Europe, there is little support for the war in Afghanistan and taxpayers could quickly turn against it. “The appetite of the taxpayers and the governments are going to be very little, especially since this appetite is not getting good news from the theater,” the diplomat said.

It was at least the fourth time in the last couple of months that Mr. Karzai had disparaged the Western countries that keep Afghanistan afloat by spending billions of dollars on the country and risking soldiers’ lives to fight the insurgency.

Among Mr. Karzai’s most striking recent statements was one during an emotional public appearance after civilians were apparently killed in Kunar Province, when Mr. Karzai appeared to say that NATO troops should cease military operations in Afghanistan. He later clarified his remarks to say he only meant in operations where there were civilian casualties.

In a speech in early February, he compared NATO’s civilian Provincial Reconstruction Teams to plumbers that should leave when they finished making their repairs. Privately, his government has asked the United Nations to reduce its number of offices and narrow its mission.

Mr. Karzai also said Monday that the Afghan government was studying the options for a strategic partnership agreement with the United States and that in three months he would convene a jirga — a meeting of elders — to discuss the terms Afghans wanted for the agreement.

Posted on 04/12/2011 8:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Z Street Files Amicus Brief in Appeal of AIG Sharia Compliant Finance Federal Court Decision

In our recent NER interview with Lori Lowenthal Marcus of Z Street-the  Zionist antidote to Soros-backed J Street- she noted that the group was about to file an amicus brief in support of an appeal led by David Yerushalmi, Esq. and the Thomas More Law Center of a decision rendered in mid-January by the US Eastern Michigan District Court. That decision by federal Judge Lawrence Zatkoff rejected  the complaint brought on behalf of a former Marine Kevin Murray who served in the Iraq War in the Matter of  Murray vs. Geithner, et. al. That original lower court compliant noted that approximately $100 million of US taxpayer TARP  funds used for the bail out of AIG  was devoted to the global Shariah compliant insurance program violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by promoting a religion. We noted the comments of Richard Thompson head of the Thomas More Law Center and David Yerushalmi when they filed an immediate appeal to the Sixth Circuit. The appeal is estimated to take about a year to reach a ruling.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, commented: “Judge Zatkoff’s ruling allows for oil–rich Muslim countries to plant the flag of Islam on American soil.  His ruling ignored the uncontested opinions of several Sharia experts and AIG’s own website, which trumpeted Sharia-compliant financing as promoting the law of the Prophet Mohammed and as an ‘ethical product,’ and a ‘new way of life.’ His ruling ignored AIG’s use of a foreign Islamic advisory board to control investing in accordance with Islamic law.”

Continued Thompson: “This astonishing decision allows the federal government as well as AIG and other Wall Street bankers to explicitly promote Sharia law ─ the 1200 year old body of Islamic canon law based on the Koran, which demands the destruction of Western Civilization and the United States.  This is the same law championed by Osama bin Laden and the Taliban; it is the same law that prompted the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks; and it is the same law that is responsible for the murder of thousands of Christians throughout the world.  The Law Center will do everything it can to stop Sharia law from rearing its ugly head in America.”

The federal lawsuit was filed in 2008 against Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.  It challenges that portion of the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008” (EESA) that appropriated $70 billion in taxpayer money to fund and financially support the federal government’s majority ownership interest in AIG, which is considered the market leader in SCF.  According to the lawsuit, “The use of these taxpayer funds to approve, promote, endorse, support, and fund these Sharia-based Islamic religious activities violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”  

Last week, Z Street filed its amicus brief.  Marcus noted their concerns that motivated the amicus filing:

The US government invested billions of dollars to bail out the crippled insurance giant AIG, making it (i.e. us, the US taxpayers) a majority owner of AIG.  AIG is the market leader in sharia-compliant (i.e. compliant with Islamic law) financing.  A lawsuit was brought in Michigan, claiming that the acquisition of AIG violates the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution, as shariah-complaint entities engage in promotion of shariah.

The district court decided that the extent of the US promotion of Islamic shariah, by virtue of ownership of AIG, which may include support for terrorism, is insufficiently large to outweigh the importance of bailing out AIG. We argue in our brief to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution cannot be ignored, and we offer a way to accommodate both interests. Stealth shariah requires vigilance and can never be accommodated because it starts out as "de minimus."

Z STREET is a nonprofit organization focusing on Zionism and on the understanding of, and appropriate responses to, terrorism, particularly Islamist terrorism - which is devoted to attacking western civilization generally and the State of Israel in particular.

The text of the Z Street  amicus filing in the AIG Shariah complaint finance matter can be found here. Perhaps the appeal of Judge  Zatkoff’s decision to the Sixth Circuit in the AIG Shariah finance matter mounted by  lawyer David Yerushalmi , Esq.  and the legal team from the Thomas More Law Center coupled with  the Z Street amicus filing may result in more thoughtful consideration of a dangerous precedent; US government funding of  Shariah compliance in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First amendment.

Posted on 04/12/2011 9:10 AM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Pakistan, False Ally And True Enemy For Half A Century, Demands Americans Stop Using Their Most Effective Weapons Against The Taliban

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Pakistan demands drawdown of US drones, CIA agents

The disclosure comes after the head of Pakistani intelligence abruptly cut short a trip to Washington this week after meeting with CIA director Leon Panetta yesterday.

Members of Waziristan Students Federation chant slogan during a rally to condemn US drone attacks in Waziristan tribal regions, on March 19, in Peshawar, Pakistan.

By Ariel Zirulnick, April 12, 2011

Pakistan officials are demanding a drastic reduction in the number of US agents working covertly in the country, as well as a complete halt to drone attacks targeting militants in the country's northwest, The New York Times reports.

Such a reduction would be a major blow to America's ability to monitor and thwart the activity of militant groups, particularly those who use the northwestern part of the country as a launch pad for attacks on US troops in Afghanistan.

The demand is a direct result of the Raymond Davis debacle, which exacerbated tensions between the US and Pakistan and underscored a lack of trust between the two countries' intelligence agencies.

In January, Mr. Davis, a CIA contractor working secretly in the country under the guise of being a low-level US embassy employee in Lahore, shot and killed two young Pakistani men who he said were trying to rob him. It was believed he was in the country attempting to penetrate the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

US insistence on his diplomatic immunity and Pakistani insistence on trying him in a local court put an enormous strain on relations between the two countries, already weakened by disagreements about drone attacks.

"That public realization that the US does act independently of the Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency had plunged relations between the CIA and the ISI to a new low," the Christian Science Monitor reported after Davis's release.

The disclosure of Pakistan's demands came after the head of Pakistani intelligence, Gen. Ahmad Suja Pasha, traveled to Washington on Monday to meet with CIA Director Leon Panetta, according to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn. General Pasha intended to address a number of issues putting strains on US-Pakistani relations, particularly the perception among Pakistani officials that they are not trusted by their American counterparts. [what could be the reason? Could it be the nuclear program begun by the thieving metallurgist A. Q. Khan, that diverted American funds? Could it be the fact that A. Q. Khan is the national hero of Pakistan, and Aafia Siddiqui, now in prison in the United States for her Al-Qaeda ties, is the national heroine? Could it be the fantastic abuse directed at the United States, and the conspiracy theories, and the lying, and the nonsense, that anyone in Pakistan can read and see for himself? Could it be the Pakistani government that allows the perseuction, and killing, of Christians and Hindus? Could it be Pakistan's support for Taglighi-Jamaat, a group that wishes to islamize the West? Pakistan's support for terrorist attacks on Mumbia, Delhi, and other places deep inside India? Could it be the doubling of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal over the past few years, when America was supplying Pakistan with tens of billions of dollars not to increase that arsenal, but to improve the lot of Pakistanis and supposedly help the Pakistani army fight the Taliban? Could any of that caused the Americans --hopeful and terminally gullible as so many of them seem, when it comes to Muslim lands and peoples, seem to be -- to finally realize how meretricious, sinister, and dangerous Pakistan is?]

The Times of India and Hindustan Times both reported that Pasha was supposed to stay in the US longer, but cut his visit short for undisclosed reasons and returned to Pakistan following the meeting. However, CIA spokesman George Little told The New York Times that the meetings were "productive" and that US and Pakistan intelligence "remain on solid footing."

Officially, the two intelligence agencies are supposed to be cooperating on covert operations in the country, but the US has increasingly been working unilaterally and withholding information from Pakistan's intelligence agency, Inter-services Intelligence. That move has offended ISI and breached an unofficial understanding between the agencies, according to The Dawn.

“In normal circumstances, the names of people like Raymond Davis are passed on through normal diplomatic channels and their diplomatic credentials and status are verified through our own channels," a Pakistani official told Dawn. “But in this case, and in hundreds of other similar cases, the whole procedure was set aside and we were bypassed."

According to a Pakistani official quoted in the Times, 335 CIA agents and Special Operations forces will be told to leave. It's unclear what percentage of the total number of agents in the country there could be, because the US does not disclose the full number operating in Pakistan. Pakistan is demanding the removal of all like Davis, whose work in the country is unknown to ISI.

Pakistani officials are also increasingly incensed by US drone attacks, which are unpopular among the Pakistani public. Officials complain that the US has stopped sharing intelligence on how it chooses targets and that it has extended the strikes beyond North Waziristan, the militant stronghold that Pakistan has permitted strikes on, The New York Times reported.

Military leaders in Pakistan says the drone campaign has exceeded its original scope and needs to be pulled back, according to Dawn. A lack of information sharing with the ISI has led to civilian casualties that could have been avoided.

"Islamabad wanted the intelligence to be shared with it before any strike to eliminate any possibility of collateral damage. 'We want the intelligence to be carefully verified,' the official said." [and, of course, to allow the Pakistani I.S.I. to make sure that those who need to be warned can escape from American attacks --and that locals working for the Americans can be ferreted out]

Posted on 04/12/2011 8:27 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Batting back the burkhad bint

Kenza Drider, dozy bint of the week, protests the burkha ban thus:

"I never thought I'd see the day when France, my France, the country I was born in and I love, the country of liberté, égalité, fraternité, would do something that so obviously violates people's freedom."

Almost on cue, and in The Guardian of all places, Andrew Brown retorts:

It may assert brotherhood, but only as a superior way of being to sisterhood. It shouts in favour of inequality; and though it can be defended as a demand for liberty, it is only the liberty to demand submission.

Posted on 04/12/2011 8:34 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Ungrateful And Amnesiac Iraq Sloughs Off The Americans
From The New York Times:
April 11, 2011

Iraq Steps Back Onto the Regional Stage

BAGHDAD — On Monday morning, the Iraqi foreign minister stood in a marble rotunda of Saddam Hussein’s old Republican Palace, once the heart of the American occupation, and noted that this was where the United States held sway when it “was trying to help us run our country.”

How did that go? “Badly,” he said.

Soon the palace will be the setting for an Arab League summit meeting — a showpiece for a country, once a regional pariah, that is now trying to assert itself on the stage of Middle East affairs at a time when its neighbors are in turmoil.

“It will be very important because of the recent changes and historical developments in other Arab countries,” said Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. “We are ready, Baghdad is ready, to receive all the Arab presidents.”

The palace, where a Turkish company has been working round the clock since August to dismantle the American fortifications and restore it to the standards of a great Arab capital, speaks to Iraq’s yearning to shed the burdens of war and occupation and achieve a degree of national self-confidence.

The unveiling of the palace’s improvements on Monday, in a tour given by the Foreign Ministry, was also another symbol of the waning influence of the United States here, just as crucial decisions about the future relationship between the two countries, both diplomatically and militarily, hang in the balance.

The sandbags the Americans left at the palace are gone, but a sign reading “U.S. Embassy Motor Pool” still hangs on a wall outside a rear entrance. There was little structural damage to fix.

“They didn’t bomb it because they knew they were going to stay here,” said Almanhal H. Alsafi, the chief protocol officer for the Foreign Ministry.

These are supposed to be the last months for American troops in Iraq. President Obama said so in January during his State of the Union address. He said it again in his speech on Libya last month, saying America’s military was “leaving Iraq to its people.” But like much else that has taken place here over the last eight years, nothing is that simple.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited last week and broached a subject that has been discussed in the alleys of Sadr City, on the ethnic fault line of the north where Arabs and Kurds compete for land and oil, and in background conversations between reporters and diplomats — but rarely in public by American officials: that some troops might be here after this year because Iraq needs them to protect its borders and airspace. [The Americans apparently want to keep American troops in Iraq in order, among other goals, to prevent Kurds and Arabs from fighting. Why?]

On Saturday, the anniversary of the fall of Baghdad in 2003, the streets were filled with angry protesters denouncing America’s continued military presence and warning of more violence if troops stayed beyond this year. Each day, the Iraqi press is filled with speculation and rumors about whether the Americans will stay or go.

But there have been no serious discussions between the two governments about extending the time frame.

“There has been no request from the Iraqi side, nor have there been any discussions from the Iraqi side,” James F. Jeffrey, the American ambassador to Iraq, said recently.

The State Department has worked up plans to double its size here in preparation for the scheduled military withdrawal. It intends to expand from about 8,000 civilians to more than 16,000, many of them private contractors, but Congress has not yet approved the money to pay for it.

Iraq is asserting itself in the negotiations over the State Department’s role. It has asked for two consulates in the United States beyond its embassy in Washington — it already has one in Detroit and plans another in California — in exchange for allowing the United States to establish temporary branch offices in the northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul.

For all of America’s spent blood and treasure here, there are remarkably few visible remnants of it. The United States is glimpsed only in quick flashes of an armored convoy, or by the worn edges of a few American novels in the booksellers market on Mutanabbi Street. The number of American media outlets with offices here has dwindled to a handful.

Out of America’s war, Turkey and Iran have forged new relationships here, diplomatically and politically. [yes, the war in Itraq, and its hearts-and-minds aftermath, has been very good for the Turkish, Kuwaiti, and Qatari economies, which have been the recipients of some of the two trillion dollars the Americans have squandered in the Iraq effort]. A Turkish executive whose company refurbished the palace accompanied Mr. Zebari on the tour of the building. At the Rashid Hotel, also getting an extensive face-lift for the summit meeting scheduled for May 10 and 11, and a stop on the Foreign Ministry’s tour on Monday, it was a British executive of the main renovation company who stood next to Mr. Zebari. Chinese state television recently set up a bureau in Baghdad.

Few American businesses are here to partake in Iraq’s potential spoils, mainly because of security concerns. While violence has dropped sharply, the diplomats and the few American executives here still travel in armored vehicles and wear flak vests.

Last week a group of American finance executives, including some from Citibank hoping to open a branch office, ate omelets at an American-style diner called DoJos in the heavily protected Green Zone. One man said he had made good money holding Iraqi government debt from the time of the sectarian civil war, but it was his first time in Baghdad and he was staying for less than 48 hours. The group was being carted around in armored vehicles and was guarded by burly security men with earpieces.

Many of the former Westernized exiles who came back to Iraq in 2003 have parted with the Americans since. Tamara Daghistani, a former exile who briefed the Americans in Kuwait before the invasion about Iraqi culture, among them the first American administrator, Jay Garner, now chastises the Americans who “don’t leave the Green Zone.”

If you’re here to help, then get out and do it,” she said. [I'm sure that wasn't the tone when she used to "brief the Americans in Kuwait...about Iraqi culture"]

Meanwhile, at the palace, a beaming Mr. Zebari called the great hall where he says Arab leaders will gather “a symbol of Iraq’s sovereignty.” [which Arab leaders? Bashar al-Assad? The waddling emirs of the Gulf and Saudi Arabia? The military rulers of Algeria and Yemen and Egypt, still calling the shots no matter what Mubarak or Saleh may stay stay or go? And what will the Arab League do? Will Iraq, its 600,000 man army armed and trained by the Americans, join its fellow Arabs in denouncing Israel? Of course it will. What an achievement for American foreign policy]

“There were some people who said we were not ready, from Parliament and others, who said we couldn’t have this event here,” he said. “We want to show them, no, we are ready for it.”

When asked about the future relationship with the United States, he said that was a discussion for another day.

“It’s still a big debate going on,” he said.

Posted on 04/12/2011 8:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
The Burqa Ban Is Not An End, But The Tiniest Of Beginnings

For more on the demonstration in London against the ban, and to read the many comments-- more than 800 -- on the story that presumably reflect public opinion, read here. 

Posted on 04/12/2011 9:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
That's the woman!

Identity parade (police lineup) for offenders against the burkha ban:

Posted on 04/12/2011 9:23 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
A Musical Interlude: A Porter's Love Song To A Chambermaid (Fats Waller)

Listen here.

Posted on 04/12/2011 9:27 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
General Petraeus, Winning Hearts And Minds, Goes Native

General Petraeus goes native when, quick to see and express the Muslim point of view, and endorsing it,  he denounces Terry Jones's exercise of free speech because it makes his own task -- an impossible, wrong-headed, ill-conceived) task  (to win friends for American Infidels in a society suffused with Islam, an ideology whose immutable texts inculcate hostility, even murderous hatred, of Infidels) --  more difficult. 

He goes native, apparently, upon occasion, however briefly, in his dress, no doubt to ingratiate himself with local Afghans. But he should have established long ago the right relationship, one that requires him never to have to ingratiate himself, but to command assent from local Muslims who owe everything to the Americans, and had better not be allowed to think, as Karzai has been allowed, that they can manipulate, hector, inveigle those Americans into providing ever-greater amounts of support, while attacking the American hand that keeps feeding them.

From Troop Scoop:

RC-East, Bagram Media Center


COMISAF visits Laghman Province


LAGHMAN PROVINCE – During his visit to FOB Mehtar Lam, Petraeus received a province overview briefing from the Laghman PRT, Kansas ADT, and TF Ironman, for a better insight on projects and activities conducted in Laghman Prov. The general also held a coin presentation ceremony to recognize outstanding performers of Team Laghman. Following the coin presentation, the team traveled to the governor’s compound for a meeting with Azizi to discuss development in the prov.

It’s key to have governors who use a systematic approach to development,” said Petraeus, while discussing the development of sustainable Afghan systems. Azizi explained to Petraeus that he was very grateful for the PRT, ADT and TF’s partnership in building a better Laghman, and that they've all exceeded his expectations.

We want to raise your expectations and continue our progress,” said Petraeus in response to Azizi.  Laghman Prov. was one stop for Petraeus during his tour of eastern Afghanistan, designed to gain a better understanding of the potential in the region.

Gen. Petraeus speaks with Gov. Azizi about development of a sustainable Afghan system.

Gen. Petraeus and Gov. Azizi speak with students from the Mastoori Girls School, near the governor’s compound. 

Gen. Petraeus walks with Gov. Azizi to the governor’s residence for lunch.

Posted on 04/12/2011 9:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
A Literary Interlude: I So Liked Spring (Charlotte Mew)

I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here;-
The thrushes too-
Because it was these you so liked to hear-
I so liked you.

This year's a different thing,-
I'll not think of you.
But I'll like the Spring because it is simply spring
As the thrushes do.

Posted on 04/12/2011 10:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Charles Murray: The State of White America

Murray's lecture at AEI elucidates trends since 1960 -  very interesting.

Posted on 04/12/2011 12:17 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Yvan Rioufol: The Latest Bloc-Notes On France, Islam, And The Tsunami Of Muslims, (In French)
La pression migratoire et la pression islamiste obligent la France à des actes immédiats et à des résultats. Ce lundi matin, sur Europe 1, Franco Frattini, ministre italien des affaires étrangères, a annoncé pour l'Europe "un tsunami humain (qui) arrive du sud" et qui pourrait faire venir des "centaines de milliers de personnes". Dans le même temps les Frères musulmans de Jordanie ont dénoncé l'interdiction en France du port de la burqa, interdiction qui devient effective à partir de ce jour, en y voyant "l'amorce d'une bataille dangereuse". Samedi, la manifestation des intégristes en soutien au voile intégral, annulée in extremis par la préfecture de police de Paris, n'a pas empêché l'islamiste britannique, Anjem Choudary, de demander sur l'internet aux musulmans de France de "s'assurer qu'aucun compromis ne soit cédé sur notre religion. Les femmes ne doivent jamais se plier aux lois humaines. La souveraineté n'appartient qu'à Allah seul (...) Nous devons montrer que nous n'accepterons jamais cette attaque de notre religion et nous devons œuvrer à établir la charia", etc. Malheureusement, bien peu de responsables musulmans ont pris soin de dénoncer cet appel au jihad, mis à part le courageux imam de Drancy, Hassan Chalgoumi, avec qui j'ai eu le plaisir de débattre ce matin sur LCI. Il vit sous protection policière, à cause des menaces des fondamentalistes.

"Un grand tsunami de musulmans arrive aujourd'hui sur l'Europe", prévient d'ailleurs Choudary, en usant du même terme que Frattini. Je veux bien admettre que ses menaces  restent celles d'une minorité d'illuminés, d'autant qu'elles sont en contradiction totale avec les aspirations à la liberté et à la démocratie qui mobilisent toujours, apparemment, les révolutions arabes. Mais l'Europe angélique et ouverte est néanmoins en train de dévoiler sa vulnérabilité, en se montrant incapable  de répondre à des vagues de migrants fuyant une Tunisie...en voie de démocratisation. La France se trouve confrontée tout à la fois à l'urgente nécessité de protéger sa souveraineté et donc ses frontières- ce que lui refuse l'espace Schengen conçu sur la libre circulation des personnes- et à l'obligation de ne pas reculer dans l'application effective d'une loi anti-burqa qui risque d'attiser les provocations islamistes. Bref, l'immigration et l'islam radical, que la bien-pensance refuse d'aborder, forcent la France à des réponses lisibles. La majorité, débarrassée des "égo-centristes" à la Jean-Louis Borloo, qui voudraient faire passer la capitulation pour un humanisme, sera-t-elle à la hauteur ?

Le PS a ses vapeurs, quand il entend Claude Guéant évoquer le nombre de musulmans en France. Ce parti empesé ne pratique plus que le small talk mondain, qui évite l'impair de parler religion ou politique. Son programme pour 2012, présenté mardi, fait comprendre son incapacité à se remettre en question : les principales propositions, fruits d'une "refondation intellectuelle", auraient pu être écrites il y a trente ans (taxation des riches, emplois jeunes, embauche de fonctionnaires, encadrement des loyers, etc.). À ne pas vouloir répondre aux mutations de la société, nées des écroulements de l'État providence et de la société multiculturelle, le progressisme devient immobile.

Selon le PS, donc, Guéant a franchi "un cap dans l'indignité", pour avoir déclaré, lundi: "En 1905, il y avait très peu de musulmans en France, aujourd'hui il y en a entre 5 et 6 millions. L'accroissement du nombre de fidèles de cette religion et un certain nombre de comportements posent problème". SOS Racisme, qui a entendu des "propos qui stigmatisent la population arabo-musulmane", a porté plainte, puis le Mrap. Mais ces organisations racialisent elles-mêmes une réflexion banale. Oui, il y a davantage de musulmans et ils sont les premiers à le faire savoir. Oui, des pratiques cultuelles heurtent la laïcité. Pourquoi le taire ?

Le désir de restreindre la liberté d'expression fait injure à l'esprit français. (La suite ici)


Je dois faire un aveu: Stéphane Hessel, l'onctueux pape du bien-pensisme, me tape sur les nerfs. L'incroyable succès de son bréviaire ("Indignez vous !", 22 pages, déjà vendu à plus d'un million d'exemplaires) confirme un fort courant d'opinion pour les discours de culpabilisation de la France. En l'occurrence, elle est accusée, par l'icône, d'expulser les clandestins, de réformer les retraites ou de confier les médias "entre les mains des nantis". Hessel, faux modeste qui invite à la dévotion devant son passé de résistant et de corédacteur de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l'homme de 1948, est la caricature du Camp du Bien et de son confort intellectuel, avatar du romantisme tel que Marcel Aymé en décrit les caractéristiques dans son "Confort intellectuel", livre qui ne me quitte pas: "Le flou, le mou, le ténébreux, le narcissisme, les infinis faciles". Dans Le Monde de ce mercredi, Edgar Morin et Michel Rocard sont parmi les signataires qui réclament, pour lui, le Prix Nobel de la Paix. "Stéphane Hessel a toujours choisi le bon camp, il a toujours été dans le courant qui allait dans le sens de la paix", font valoir ses apôtres. Or la réalité n'est pas celle-ci.

L'argumentaire principal développé par Hessel dans son tout petit livre (1) concerne la Palestine. Il écrit: "Il faut absolument lire le rapport Richard Goldstone de septembre 2009 sur Gaza, dans lequel ce juge sud-africain, juif, qui se dit même sioniste, accuse l'armée israélienne d'avoir commis des < actes assimilables à des crimes de guerre et peut-être, dans certaines circonstances, à des crimes contre l'humanité > pendant son opération Plomb durci qui a duré trois semaines". Partant de là, "l'homme de paix" n'en finit pas de louer le patriotisme des Gazaouis et d'excuser le Hamas qui "n'a pas pu éviter que des rockets soient envoyées sur les villes israéliennes". La belle âme poursuit: "Je pense bien évidemment que le terrorisme est inacceptable mais lorsque l'on est occupé avec des moyens militaires infiniment supérieurs aux vôtres, la réaction populaire ne peut pas être que non-violente". C'est à partir du rapport Goldstone qu'Hessel se laisse aller au dénigrement unilatéral des démocraties occidentales.

Le problème est que le juge Goldstone vient de reconnaître avoir été abusé. L'information est d'ailleurs passée (curieusement?) plutôt inaperçue. Elle rend inopérantes les critiques "éthiques" portées par Hessel contre Israël, et ses valorisations de la "résistance" islamiste. Voilà que Goldstone écrit dans le Washington Post du 1 er avril : "Nous en savons bien plus aujourd'hui sur ce qui s'est passé durant la guerre de Gaza (...) Si j'avais su alors ce que je sais maintenant, le rapport Goldstone aurait été un document différent". S'il dit n'avoir aucun doute que les "crimes" commis par le Hamas étaient "intentionnels", il estime qu'il n'en est pas de même pour l'Etat juif : "Il n'y a pas eu de politique ciblant intentionnellement les civils". Sa sainteté Hessel reconnaîtra-t-elle l'injustice de ses accusations, qui se révèlent donc infondées ? Ce serait bien le moins pour un donneur de leçons de morale. Mais ce mot veut-il encore dire quelque chose quand un "grand résistant" en vient à soutenir, à travers le Hamas, le totalitarisme à l'état pur ?

Posted on 04/12/2011 12:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
American Government Finally Condemns Assad Regime

From Haaretz:

U.S.: Syria must stop 'outrageous' repression of anti-government protests

White House statement says President Assad and the Syrian government should 'respect the universal rights of the Syrian people.'

By Natasha Mozgovaya 

Syria must stop its violent repression of ongoing anti-government protests, the White House said on Tuesday, saying it was "deeply concerned" by reports of Syrian forces wounding protesters and as well as denying them medical care.

Activists said earlier Tuesday that Syrian security forces attacked areas surrounding the southern town of Banias, days after an ambush on a military patrol there left at least nine people dead.

Damascus-based human rights lawyer Haitham al-Maleh told the German Press Agency DPA that an unknown number of people had died of their injuries in the nearby village of Beit Jnad, just outside of Banias.

International and Arab reactions to the violence in Syria had been relatively subdued, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested America would not be getting involved.

She said late last month that Assad is a different leader than Libya's Muammar Gadhafi, and that many members of Congress who have visited the country believe he's a reformer.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the White House said it was "deeply concerned by reports that Syrians who have been wounded by their government are being denied access to medical care."

"The escalating repression by the Syrian government is outrageous," the statement read, adding that the "United States strongly condemns the continued efforts to suppress peaceful protesters."

"President Assad and the Syrian government must respect the universal rights of the Syrian people, who are rightly demanding the basic freedoms that they have been denied," the White House added. {what "Syrian people"? what "universal values"?]

At least two people were reportedly wounded Tuesday when Syrian security forces raided the al-Baida village near Banias, according to residents.

"The army banned youth from Banias from entering the village to help the families there," a resident of Banias told the German Press Agency DPA.

The resident, who wish to remain anonymous, said that security forces took over al-Baida at dawn, barring anyone from entering the village.

The security crackdown comes after Sunday's attack on a military patrol in Banias that killed at least nine people, including two policemen, according to state news agency SANA.

The Syrian army has since cordoned off the Mediterranean town of Banias and its surrounding villages, with military checkpoints set up throughout the area.

Parts of Banias were without electricity for the last two days, and landline phones were disrupted, activists said.

At least 250 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured in Syria since anti-government protests began in the country last month, according to al-Maleh.

Countrywide protests calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down have been met with a violent government crackdown, notably in the southern city of Daraa.

There have been numerous reports of protesters killed, but such reports are difficult to verify since foreign journalists and human rights groups are mostly barred from entering Syria.

Posted on 04/12/2011 1:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
I Just Had The World's Most Delicious Meal

Tired of juggling work and family, on the one hand, and subversively interrogating categories of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation in my own life, on the other, I decided to take a break. I decided I deserved something really good to eat: a peanut-butter-and-bacon sandwich. I didn't go all the way, as I used to in the old heedless days before anyone knew what HDL and LDL meant, or Triglycerides either. And the bacon was bacon from which, after cooking,  I carefully removed all visible fat. And the peanut butter was special Maranatha Organic. And the bread was billed as seven-grain. But this was like putting Lipitor on a pig. I was still consuming -- no doubt about it -- a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. And it was wonderful. Close your eyes. Think of the crunch of the bacon. Think of the peanut butter. Think of the seven-grain bread.

World's most delicious meal. Mitterrand's celebrated last supper of ortolans couldn't hold a candle.

Posted on 04/12/2011 2:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
A Cinematic Interlude: How To Eat (Robert Benchley)

Watch here.

Posted on 04/12/2011 3:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Fort Sumter

Posted on 04/12/2011 3:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Leo Rennert's March Scorecard


Posted on 04/12/2011 3:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
What Obama Set Himself Up, Let Himself In, For

Daughter of Prominent Bahraini Activist Challenges Obama

"What was it you meant [during your campaign], Mr. President? YES WE CAN…support dictators?" - asks Zainab Alkhawaja.

Zainab Alkhawaja, the daughter of a prominent Bahraini human rights activist, has written a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama calling upon him to stand up for freedom and speak up on behalf of her father, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. He, along with other relatives, was arrested Saturday by security forces.


Zainab, who has been sharing her story on her blog and via Twitter, where she is known as “AngryArabiya,” has also started a hunger strike to draw attention to her cause.

Contacted by phone, Zainab read for us some passages from her letter to Obama.

Mr. President,… when you were sworn in as President of the United States, I had high hopes.  I thought, ‘Here is a person who would never have become president if it were not for the African-American fight for civil liberties. He will understand our fight for freedom.

courtesy - Zainab Alkhawaja
Zainab Alkhawaja

What was it you meant, Mr. President? YES WE CAN…support dictators? YES WE CAN…help oppress pro-democracy protesters? YES WE CAN…turn a blind eye to a people suffering?”

Zinaib also recounted for us in her own words the events surrounding the arrest of her father and other relatives Saturday.

“I have a one-year-old daughter. When I heard that they were going to come for my father, I took her out and left her with some friends. Just in case something would happen, I didn’t want her to be part of this, I didn’t want her to get scared.

At about 2 a.m., they did arrive. The first thing that we heard, knowing that they had arrived, was the banging with a sledgehammer on the building door. They were breaking it. Then we heard them running up to the apartment, and in about 30 seconds, they broke the door to the apartment as well.

Five minutes before they had arrived, my father was telling all of us to be calm and to be patient, and if they do come, he did not want to see anyone crying or shouting. He said he would go with them voluntarily, and he said, “Let’s keep our dignity and respect.”  And just as he was going to speak with them, and I expected he was going to say, “Calm down, I will come with you, please don’t hurt my family,” just as he opened his mouth to speak, the man started saying, “Down on the ground” in very broken Arabic - he was not an Arab - and then he held my father from his neck, from his throat. And he started pulling him away. He pulled him on the stairs, he was dragging him on the stairs while other security forces were hitting him and kicking him and punching him.

Abdulhadi Alkhawaja
courtesy - Zainab Alkhawaja
Abdulhadi Alkhawaja

They were all wearing black uniforms and they were all masked and they were all armed. And they were beating him. And I heard him gasping for air and saying, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

And that’s when I decided that was enough. I wasn’t just going to stand and watch this happen. I ran down the stairs and I was telling them, “Please don’t hurt him, don’t beat him, he’s willing to go with you voluntarily, why are you hitting him?”

One of them started saying, “Beat her up too and arrest her, we’ll take her as well.”

But instead of that, one of the masked men, he grabbed me from my shirt and he started dragging me up the stairs… I saw my father fallen on the stairs as they were dragging him, but he wasn’t moving at all.

And then I saw them take my husband and my two brothers-in-law. They were taking them away like they were two prisoners of war, with their heads forced down. And I saw drops of blood on the stairs. And I knew that my father had been really hurt. Even though my father was unconscious, they were still beating him and kicking him and cursing him and saying that they were going to kill him.

We have no idea where they are. We haven’t even gotten a phone call from them saying that they’re okay.  

And that’s why the last thing that I could think of doing is to just go on hunger strike. I don’t like the feeling of being helpless, of sitting here wondering how they are torturing my father, my husband, my brother-in-law and my uncle. This is my way of trying to do something, of trying to help them, of trying to get the world to realize what’s happening here and what’s happening to my people, what’s happening to my family.”

After sharing her story, Zinaib ended with another passage to her letter to President Obama.

“I ask of you to look into your beautiful daughters' eyes tonight and think to yourself what you are personally willing to sacrifice in order to make sure they can sleep safe at night, that they can grow up with hope rather than fear and heartache, that they can have their father and grandfather's embrace to run to when they are hurt or in need of support. Last night my one-year-old daughter went knocking on our bedroom door calling for her father, the first word she ever learnt. It tore my heart to pieces. How do you explain to a one-year-old that her father is imprisoned? I need to look into my daughter's eyes tomorrow, next week, in the years to come, and tell her I did all that I could to protect her family and future.

For my daughter's sake, for her future, for my father's life, for the life of my husband, to unite my family again, I will begin my hunger strike,"
writes Zinaib.

Bahraini officials have rejected claims of a targeted campaign against opposition activists, insisting authorities are only doing what was necessary to ensure law and order.

Critics suspect many countries have been reluctant to take a firm stance on Bahrain because of the emirate’s strategic importance as a Western ally in the oil-producing Persian Gulf region. Bahrain is also home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

Posted on 04/12/2011 4:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Listen to Ann Barnhardt on Radio Jihad 6:00PM EDST
Tonight on Radio Jihad  hosts Alan Kornman and Vitro0 esposito ( no relation to John Esposito)  will be interviewing Ann Barnhardt who burned the Qur'an on You Tube.
This is sure to be an interesting show tonight on Blog Talk Radio 6-7:30 pm (EST).  The program will be archived for thsoe of you who will miss it.
Here is a link to part 2 of her video.

Call in number to speak with the hosts.

(347) 857-1380


Be There or Be Nowhere  6-7:30 tonight


Posted on 04/12/2011 4:10 PM by Jerry Gordon
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Islam Disrupts The West In A Thousand Ways

The other day everyItalian newspaper, from right to left, had as its headline the clash between Italy and France over the North African migrants -- some 27,000 -- that have appeared at Lampedusa in the last two months: :"Scontro Italia-Francia."

And the clashes are not only over how to handle the horrific problem of Muslim migrants flooding into Europe -- and if they can get to one country, they can get to any of those within Schengenland.

It is also about foreign policy. The NATO allies are divided over how aggressive to be in Libya, and now Great Britain and France want NATO to do more:

From today's Wall Street Journal:


NATO Allies Show Friction Ahead of Meetings

France and the U.K. called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to be more aggressive against Libyan government forces attacking the besieged city of Misrata, but NATO officials said they were doing a good job protecting civilians in the country's third largest city.

The signs of friction within the alliance came on the eve of an international meeting of the so-called Libya contact group, which brings together Western and regional governments, in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday. Ministers from NATO countries are scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday in Berlin.

Posted on 04/12/2011 4:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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