These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 16, 2007.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Terrorist trials all over Europe.
From the Scotsman and the BBC
THIRTY men accused of planning to blow up Spain's High Court in an Islamist suicide bomb attack went on trial in Madrid yesterday.
The men were arrested in 2004, seven months after bombers killed 191 in attacks on Madrid commuter trains.
The group are on trial in the same court they allegedly aimed to destroy. They have denied the charges. Prosecutors say they planned to drive a truck packed with 500kg (1100lb) of explosives into Spain's High Court. The idea was to kill hundreds of staff and destroy evidence connected with anti-terrorist trials, including the March 2004 Madrid train bombings, prosecutors allege.
SIX men went on trial yesterday accused of recruiting people in Belgium for an Islamic militant group, including a female convert to Islam who carried out a suicide attack in Iraq.
Muriel Degauque, a 38-year-old convert to Islam from Charleroi, blew herself up near a US patrol on 9 November 2005. No-one else was killed by the blast.
The trial is taking place amid fears that militant groups are using Belgium as a base for launching attacks in other countries.
Prosecutors said Degauque had been a member of the group along with her second husband, Issam Goris, a Belgian of Moroccan origin.
He went to Iraq with her and is believed to have been shot dead by US troops as he tried to launch a suicide bomb attack himself.
UK - the Trial of 5 instructors continues. From The Telegraph
An off-duty policeman stumbled across the July 21 bombers training in the Lake District while fell running, a court heard yesterday.
A surveillance team was called in and photographed all four of the men who went on to launch a failed suicide attack in London on the camping trip where it is alleged they underwent training for jihad.
The four were being instructed by Mohammed Hamid, 50, who is pictured alongside them, and is accused of recruiting and grooming them for the failed terrorist attacks, Woolwich Crown Court heard.
Also at the camp were Musa Brown, 41, who is accused of providing terrorist training and Mohammed Al-Figari, 42, who is accused of receiving terrorist training.
The court heard that Hamid was with Ibrahim five months later in October 2004 when police tried to arrest them on Oxford Street, central London. Ibrahim was said to have run from police after a disturbance at an Islamic bookstall he ran with Hamid outside Debenhams department store.
He was only stopped when a member of the public tripped him up, but he failed to appear at court. Ibrahim, Hamid and a third man allegedly racially abused the officers called to the incident.
PC Anil Lund, from Marylebone police station, said: "They started to be quite abusive about my Hindu background and my colleague's Afro-Caribbean background." PC Lund said he had to call for assistance and as he dragged Hamid to the police van the accused told him: "I've got a bomb and I'm going to blow you all up."
Posted on 10/16/2007 1:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Samoan Muslim leader says his standing not affected by court case
The leader of the Muslim faith in Samoa, Mohammed La’ulu Daniel Stanley, says his position will not be affected despite being found guilty of two charges of carnal knowledge.
The police charged the religious leader after an incident between the defendant and a girl under 15 years of age.
But a panel of assessors found the 60-year old defendant not guilty of the other two counts of rape.
Mr Stanley says there is a difference between carnal knowledge and carnal interference.
But he says the technicalities of his case will be made known once he files an appeal during his sentencing next month.
As he was only following the example of Mohammed I don’t suppose the Muslims of Samoa will think less of him. However the rest of the population will be on notice.
Posted on 10/16/2007 3:04 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Scale of UK Zamzam Racket Raises Alarm
I have posted before about health warnings around counterfeit ZamZam water in the UK, especially during Ramadam. The Arab Press has more.
Allegations that poisonous Zamzam water is being smuggled into Britain are exercising the minds of UK Muslims. The containers, which sell for the equivalent of SR25 each, are purporting to come from Makkah on their labels.
Containers that have been analyzed by UK health and safety officials have been found to hold water that contains raised levels of arsenic and nitrates that, if consumed over extended periods of time, could prove fatal.
Saudi Arabia forbids the sale of Zamzam. The holy water is freely distributed at its source. Its bottling and distribution is strictly controlled and monitored by the government and commercial export is illegal. Each year, however, millions of foreign pilgrims carry containers home as private export.
However, some of the fake Zamzam has been analyzed and found to contain almost three times as much nitrate and twice as much arsenic as the World Health Organization believes is safe.
An analysis carried out by the London Borough of Hackney on a sample they took showed twice the level of arsenic and nitrate permitted by law.
Yunes Teinaz, who advises the Central London Mosque in Regent’s Park and who is an environmental health expert, was unable to say where the water originated.
However as the Regents Park Canal runs near his mosque and into Hackney and Tower Hamlets I could hazard a guess, and it is quite close to home.
Inspectors in the London Borough of Hackney seized a vanload of contaminated counterfeit cases of the water. Similar seizures have been carried out in Gloucester, Barnsley and Leicester. Hackney council expressed its concern that Muslims may be exploited and tricked into buying fake Zamzam water during Ramadan and that exploitation of people’s faith for profit was “abhorrent.”
The potential for fraud and the profit in sale of fake Zamzam to the unwary is huge. In a recent case quoted by Teinaz, an Islamic bookshop was selling an estimated 20,000 liters of Zamzam water a week.
Teinaz said he “was aware” of examples of vans transporting vast quantities of the fake water to mosques where their imams ordered their followers to buy the substance. Some of the water, according to customs officials, is smuggled into Britain in crates of vegetables and furniture.
Speaking to “Muslim Weekly”, Teinaz said traders had misled the authority at air and seaports for years telling them that Zamzam was for external use.
“I would like to urge those selling the water to fear Allah. They’re making money at the expense of their brothers and sisters’ health who will end up very ill by consuming the contaminated water,” he said. “It is very sad to see a Muslim cheating another Muslim.”
He also advised Muslims who encounter this fake water to report it without delay to their Local Authority Environmental Health or Trading Standards Department.
The UK has a highly developed and very active Trading Standards Office that checks and enforces the standards of a very wide range of goods and services. The Food Standards Authority is equally punctilious in the patrolling of quality and description of all food products in the UK.
Posted on 10/16/2007 3:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Ex-Enloe teacher protests rebuke after anti-Islam talk
The former Enloe High School teacher who invited to his class a speaker who denounced Islam as a religion of violence, making national headlines, lobbied Monday to get his job back.
Robert Escamilla, the teacher, met with Wake County school board members to appeal a decision by Superintendent Del Burns to transfer Escamilla from Enloe and issue a 12-page reprimand.
In February, Escamilla received permission from the school to invite Kamil Solomon, an Egyptian-born Christian who lives in Raleigh, to speak to about 300 Enloe students.
Solomon said he was persecuted for his religious beliefs by the Egyptian government. He also denounced Islam as a religion of violence and distributed pamphlets.
After complaints about Solomon's talk, school officials suspended Escamilla, a social studies teacher, with pay for 90 days. They later transferred him to Mary Phillips High School, an alternative school, and put a reprimand and negative performance review in his file.
"I think the school made the right decision," said Tariq Butt, an Enloe parent who had complained about the speaker.
"He's a great teacher," said Earl Quiller, 18, an Enloe senior who spoke to the board. "I don't know why they want to get rid of him." Quiller, one of the students who heard Solomon, said there was nothing offensive in the talk. He said Solomon urged the students to love Muslims.
But some parents and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim advocacy group, complained about Solomon's remarks. So did the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Burns, the superintendent, apologized to Muslims for Solomon's visit. And he issued new guidelines that require guest speakers to sign forms saying they will not denigrate any culture, race, gender, national origin or religion.
"How can you teach history without offending someone," said Paul Wormsbecher, an Enloe parent who attended the rally and whose son heard Solomon's talk last year. “He's being railroaded."
Strickland said that he had presented witnesses to the board to show that over the years Escamilla had invited speakers of other religions to discuss their beliefs.
Butt, the parent who complained, said he'll urge the school board to reject the appeal.
Posted on 10/16/2007 4:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Acknowledging The Armenian Genocide
Youssef Ibrahim writes in the New York Sun, (with thanks to Andy Bostom):
...Arab Christians of the Middle East, to cite one minority, have acted ever since the late 18th century as the cultural bridge upon which civilizing Western influences have crossed into the Arab Muslim world. Works of literature, politics, and the grand civic values of Western civilization were translated, adapted, and implemented largely by those minorities, which thrived until the early 1950s in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq.
Protecting what is left of those Christians and the even larger groups of other ethnicities is not charity work but is essential for preserving Western interests. Indeed, Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, in protesting Western pressure to own up to the massacres of Armenian Christians in 1915 threatened on Saturday to go after the Kurds in northern Iraq. Four years after the war in Iraq began, the fanatical Shiite majority government there has waged an ethnic cleansing war of its own, targeting both Sunni Muslims and Iraqi Christians. It has been savagely successful. Half of Iraq's entire Christian minorities of 2 million — who represent 5% of the 25 million Iraqis, are now out of the country altogether, refugees looking for a new home.
In Lebanon, the combination of Hezbollah and Syria have set their sight on cleansing that country of Maronite Christians and their other Western allies as a new civil war looms.
In the grand scheme of modern Middle East history, the entire concept behind the Arab and Muslim world's rejection of Israel is premised on Israel's identity as a "Jewish state." It is a rejection grounded within the notion of ethnic and religious cleansing. Now that Turkey has become an ascending democracy run by an Islamist party, it is imperative that Turkey signals its accord with the broader Western project of civil society and respect for minorities. That is why Turkey's friendship and its NATO affiliation should come second to its assumption of responsibility for past crimes against humanity. The future is a reflection and a continuation of the past.
Indeed, not only should Turkey issue its mea culpa to Armenian Christians, but move energetically to eliminate from its laws all discrimination against the Kurdish minority, their language, and full participation as Turks.
The American president, the State Department, and the Pentagon were short-sighted to oppose Congress on this Armenian issue just because we need Turkey as a transit point to Iraq. The whole idea of going to Iraq was to create long-term interests in stable, civil, multicultural societies across the greater Middle East.
Posted on 10/16/2007 7:51 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
In 1890, Philippa Garrett Fawcett was placed above the senior wrangler in Part II of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos. A wrangler is someone who passes this exam with first class honours. The senior wrangler is the highest-scoring student. At the time Phillipa Fawcett took her exam, women were not eligible for degrees; indeed they could not vote.
The following anonymous and rather uneven poem was written in 1890 to celebrate Fawcett's achievement:
Hail the triumph of the corset
Hail the fair Philippa Fawcett
Victress in the fray
Crown her queen of Hydrostatics
And the other Mathematics
Wreathe her brow with bay.
If you entertain objections
To such things as conic sections
Put them out of sight
Rather sing of the essential
Beauty of the Differential
Worthy of our approbation
She who works out an equation
By whatever ruse
Brighter than the Rose of Sharon
Are the beauties of the square on
Curve and angle let her con and
Few can equal, none can beat her
At eliminating theta
By the river Cam.
May she increase in knowledge daily
Till the great Professor Cayley
Owns himself surpassed
Till the great Professor Salmon
Votes his own achievements gammon
And admires aghast.
Second and third class degree earners are called, respectively, senior and junior optimes. The most junior of the junior optimes, he who scores the lowest mark eligible for a third class degree, is awarded the wooden spoon.
Does it matter that a Phillipa was not eligible for a degree, while a Philip, wrangler or spooner, was? Of course it matters; this was a grave injustice, and was rightly remedied. Does it matter that the senior wrangler is far more likely to be a Philip than a Philippa? No, not a bit of it. You don't need to be as clever as Philippa Fawcett to know that statistical rarity does not denote discrimination. If Fawcett were alive today, she would, I am sure, have sharp words for the fainting feminists who hounded Larry Summers out of Harvard. They certainly deserve the wooden spoon.
Posted on 10/16/2007 7:45 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
In my post on Philippa Fawcett, I explain that a wrangler is somebody who passes Part II of the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos with first class honours. The senior wrangler is the best of these. Second and third class honours are awarded to senior and junior optimes respectively, and the lowest-scoring candidate is awarded the wooden spoon. Not for those with self-esteem issues.
How quaint this language will sound in ten years' time. These classifications are no longer “fit for purpose” and must be discarded in favour of some kind of balanced scorecard. From The Telegraph:
The 200-year-old system of first, second and third-class degrees would be replaced with a two-page sheet of paper giving a comprehensive list of students' achievements.
Some students would receive the new-style Higher Education Achievement Report (Hear) next year as part of a trial programme but all students would receive them by 2011, says the influential review led by Professor Bob Burgess, the vice-chancellor of Leicester University.
Documents would initially be distributed alongside existing degree grades but may replace them altogether in the future. In his report, Prof Burgess says the degree grade system will "decline in importance until it should no longer be considered necessary".
Under the new plans, degree achievements will be summarised on two sheets of A4 paper.
The Hear will contain facts about a student's degree course, including dates, programme requirements, modules taken and an explanation of how courses were assessed.
Crucially, it will break down marks for each unit and list the wider skills students have mastered.
It may also include how they performed in timed exams, oral performance and course work. This is intended to help employers judge more accurately the strengths of graduates.
Leaving aside any academic considerations – what, for example, is “oral performance”? – this will not help employers at all. When I recruit for our firm, I take notice of the class of degree obtained and the university attended. I know, and other recruiters know, that a first from the “University” of Luton is worth less than a lower second from Oxford or Edinburgh. While I may ask the candidate about their degree course, I do not want to know how well they scored in this or that “module” or their “competencies” in a communications project, the latter being no guarantee that they can string a sentence together. University and degree class tell you something about a candidate’s ability and suitability, but by no means everything. Employers know this, and there is no need to patronise them or the students by blurring differences in achievement, so that all – and therefore none – win prizes.
In 1890 Philippa Fawcett could not graduate, but she knew she had been placed above the senior wrangler. Now she – and the wooden-spoon-winner - would get a Certificate of Modular Competencies and Performance Criteria Management Issues. Is this progress? The Telegraph leader says not:
Farewell, Archbishop Tutu. RIP, Lord Hurd.
If the recommendations of a new review are adopted, students will no longer graduate with a "Desmond" (2:2) or a "Douglas" (Third). Instead, they will get a pass or fail, alongside a detailed breakdown of their marks.
This, we cannot help but feel, is a mistake. "72 for 'Atlantic Encounters in the Age of Columbus', but only 65 for 'Thomas Hobbes and the English Revolution'?" might be more accurate, but hardly trips off the tongue.
Nicknames for degrees display student wit at its best and cruelest – another tag for a Third is a "Vorderman", in honour of the television brainbox who graduated with one.
They are also endlessly adaptable – a "Geoff" (Geoff Hurst – First) turns into a "Damien" as time and fashions move on.
Our first impression is that this proposal is, to coin a phrase, a bit of a Ming.
Posted on 10/16/2007 8:59 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Strategy And Alliances
"Democrats have tried desperately to derail the Iraq war -- by voting for "immediate" troop withdrawals, and playing games with the Pentagon's budget during a time of war."
-- from a reader, who apparently thinks the war in Iraq is not a squandering of men, money, and matériel, and thinks it is in the interests of Infidels to hold Iraq together
The Democrats may have tried "desperately" to "derail the Iraq war" but they haven't tried intelligently, which is a different thing.
What would be the "intelligent" way not to "derail" this war but rather, to slightly vary the metaphor, to stop this runaway train that a vote nearly five years ago permitted the engineer, a naif named Bush aided by other people equally ignorant of Islam and of Iraq, to pull out the throttle of old Engine 99 and start the train in motion that has become a runaway train, that apparently no one can stop?
There are two ways. The first is not to timidly attempt to use the power of the purse, but to openly declare that the continuation of this war, which is opposed by three-quarters of the population in every opinion poll, and was certainly opposed by those who voted in the 2006 election, is simply an unconstitutional violation of the Separation of Powers. It is not the President, who is Commander in Chief, to declare war, and it is not the President who should have the power to continue a war when it has lost the support of three-quarters of the population (at least, for some of the Bush loyalists also think the war folly, but are more consumed with scoring points against "leftists" and "traitors").
The most convincing summary of the War Powers and the Separation of Powers is by the Library of Congress expert in this area, Louis Fisher, in testimony he gave to Congress in January 2007. It should have been made much of at the time. It is a comprehensive summary, and includes what might be called the legislative intent of the Framers, for Madison, Jefferson, and others are quoted on their view of the War Powers, and who is to possess them, for what purposes. But apparently not everyone attended that hearing, or their aides failed to pass on to them Louis Fisher's detailed report, and no one -- not a single Democratic candidate, for example -- discussed Fisher's analysis. More inattention, more laziness.
And along with that, there is the timidity of the Democrats, their retreat in the face of being threatened as "disloyal" or "appeasers." But the war in Iraq is a war of appeasement. It is a war based on the notion that Islam itself is no threat, Islam itself can be "appeased" by Western actions, Islam itself only needs a dose of old-fashioned American "democracy" -- brought to "ordinary moms and dads" in the Middle East, by the long-suffering American troops, now virtually alone (a few thousand British troops, and a handful of others from small countries, each offering its Pentagon-extracted mite, to allow the Administration to keep talking, crazily, about some "Coalition") and just as the participation of various countries has helped bring down their otherwise very helpful governments, as with the regime of Aznar (and Gustavo de Aristegui) in Spain, and soon, possibly, the government of Howard in Australia will also fall because it insists on keeping troops in Iraq, and that government, full of people who appear to have a good sense of the menace of Islam, yet has tied its fortunes to the Iraq venture, when Australia too, an important ally, should not be clinging to Bush clinging to Tarbaby Iraq, but should pull back, see that the Iraq venture is pure stubborn folly, and the attainment (impossible in any case) of stated American goals in Iraq would not weaken, but strengthen, the Camp of Islam.
But the Democrats do not attack Bush's conduct of the "war on terror" in the right way. They do not say it is not intelligent enough, not ruthless enough, not farseeing enough, not based on a desire to exploit pre-existing fissures within the enemy camp. They do not use the word "Jihad." They do not refer to the ideology of Islam. They do not use the word "dhimmi." None of the Democratic candidates appear to think they need change the mixture as before, none of them have said that in the last six years it has become necessary to study Islam and the "threat of Jihad" and therefore the need to conduct an "intelligent war of self-defense, world-wide, against all those who are enrolled in the army of Jihad." (Yes, leave it thus: "enrolled in the army of Jihad." That will do the trick.)
No, the resolution about the Armenian genocide was not some kind of clever trick, designed to deliberately cut off supply routes from Turkey. In fact, everyone in Washington was surprised by the behavior of Turkey in March 2003, when it prevented the Americans from entering Iraq with a fourth division from the north. Bush was surprised, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were surprised. No one understood the nature of Turkey as an "ally," everyone thought Turkey would remain just as stoutly allied, under Erdogan, as it once was, during the Cold War, when Turkey was happy to take part, and be lavishly rewarded for taking part, in a war that could be seen as against not so much against Communism as against Turkey's historic enemy, Russia. Everyone thought that Turkey could remain unaffected by Islam. But Islam came back, or never really went away, and it is back in Turkey with a vengeance. Those who served as agents of Turkey just a few years ago --Richard Perle for example, who introduced Erdogan at an A.E.I. event a few years ago, thus helping to legitimate him -- knew all about the Russians and Communism, but were old dogs who could not learn new tricks, and never studied Islam comme il faut, never studied the insecure position of Kemalism, and merely assumed that the Turkey they knew, from the kind of Turks they met in the Turkish Defense Ministry in Ankara, represented the "real" Turkey, nor did they realize that even behind that "real" Turkey there was something else, something that still lay in wait for those secularist Turks who assumed they could continue to control things: Islam.
As Youssef Ibrahim writes in today's New York Sun, this episode shows us what Turkey is all about. It shows us that the replacement theology of Ataturk (for Muhammad) and of "the Turks" as the best of peoples (replacing the Arabs in Islam), offered a veneer, but that veneer is now peeling off, and the hysterical reaction of the Turkish people and state to this resolution shows just how thin is that "alliance" and of what little use Turkey is now, or can be as a member of NATO, if the new main enemy of NATO -- Islam's Jihad, and all of the instruments of that Jihad (Money Weapon, Da'wa, demographic conquest) are intelligently recognized, and the ways to render them less potent and dangerous are to be discussed at NATO meetings -- preferably without Turkey as a member, for it can only inhibit real discussion and planning, and the time for such discussion and planning is now.
Posted on 10/16/2007 8:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
The unexamined life, according to Socrates, is not worth living. Who am I to argue? On the other hand, there are those who think too much:
How can we speak, when speech is worn down in our mouths? What words are ours, we who lack even an experience of ourselves? Besides, we have nothing to say - what is there to say, for us? - of what can we speak when we live outside time, and even our pasts do not sink into history?
Er...not sure. I'll get back to you when I have more time.
Time! We only know the incessant, the interminable. What need have we for this instant, or for that? In truth, there is only the return - we live for it - by which what fails to happen happens again. Or is it that we fail it, the event, by being too unprepared, too indifferent? Perhaps it is tired of waiting for us to act, or is our tiredness, our placidity, a sign of its approach?
There are no philosophers amongst us; we do not think, unless thinking is what happens in that same return, which breaks over us each time like the first day. Sweet evasion: is there a kind of thinking that does not ask for a thinker? An evasive thought that is evasion in each of us, our failure to be ourselves? We have always failed; we do not mind. But what would it mean to succeed?
Nope. You've lost me.
Loss. Think of a melancholy so deep you forget your name. Who am I?, you ask. 'Who?', the answer comes: your question returned. In your place, echoing, the empty space of the question: 'Who?', 'Who?', 'Who?' ... the question mocks itself and laughs at the one who asks it.
What? What? What?
Who are you? A way in which failure thickens and lives itself. Who are you?
Dunno. I want to escape.
You can't escape writing by writing. Or if you escape, the path of that escape is legible, and any reader can follow you.
Writing sacrifices writing by way of writing. Futility: writing cannot unwrite itself.
Can you be more precise?
Precision: to write what is essential, to uncover the Word, to let it speak. But what if the Word is the undoing of words? What if it turns all words from themselves? In the beginning was the Word; but in the beginning, too, was what drew it back to the non-Word that allows nothing to begin.
Perhaps there is a kind of speech different to that which adds noise to the world. That subtracts silence from that noise, as you would draw with your finger on a condensated window.
To speak by subtraction - to let silence sound and speak thereby ... is there a kind of writing that unwrites the written? A white writing, a writing blanched; or is it the other way round: a black page slipped beneath black ink?
That's a bit of a grey area.
Posted on 10/16/2007 12:08 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Counting The Cost
Karlsruhe, Germany - A Jordanian has been indicted in Germany over a plot to set up a school for terrorists in Sudan, prosecutors said Tuesday. Thaer A, aged 33, who was picked up by Swedish police in March and extradited to Germany the following month, is the second member of the alleged ring of five men to face trial. --from this news article
What are the German police, the Swedish police, the Danish police, the Norwegian police, the Belgian police, the Dutch police, the French police, the Italian police, the Spanish police, the British police, and their equivalents of the FBI, and the CIA, or MI5 and MI6, all doing these days? What are the courts doing? What are the prosecutors and taxpayer-funded lawyers doing? What are all those extra security details, at airports and train stations and bus stations and in front of government buildings, and near embassies of the United States and Israel and Australia, and in front of churches and synagogues, and Christian and Jewish schools, and symbolic structures expressive of the nation-state's Infidel history (as at St. Denis, where the French kings are buried)? What? And how much does it now cost the Infidel nation-states of Europe? And how much will it cost, if the Muslim immigrants continue to come and those already here are permitted to remain, even if they do not, and cannot possibly, offer their unfeigned allegiance to Infidels, and to the political and legal institutions of the Infidel nation-state?
A fantastic error, a gigantic life-threatening mistake, was made over the past few decades by the elites who, out of inattention, or smug self-assurance that "everyone was the same" or even a kind of masochistic desire to muddy their own waters, to dilute their own culture because, in their own view, it was "not all that great" and besides, weren't those from the Third World -- and Muslims came, initially, from the Third world but have been busily signing up recruits for the Army of Islam among disaffected, psychically and economically marginalized members of the Western world, every chance they get -- morally superior, and could not be turned down?
And now that more and more recognize that mistake, will they see that there exist remedies, or will they, fearful of behaving in any way that might be construed as "discrimination," are fearful of protecting themselves, their children, their posterity, their art, their science, their freedoms that are all part of a civilizational legacy that its current possessors clearly do not deserve -- but may deserve if they attempt at the very least to preserve it, and to preserve the conditions of mental and moral freedom, impossible wherever Islam dominates -- to add to its store, if not by themselves, then by others.
Posted on 10/16/2007 12:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
I cannot deny that you are an expert in Islam, but your knowledge in US constitution is very shallow. --from a reader
What is it you dislike? That I know something about the American Constitution? That I am impressed with the testimony of Louis Fisher? That I don't accept the notion that a war, once begun, cannot be stopped if the President will not stop it, that I refuse to accept the notion that Congress is helpless to do anything even if nearly three-quarters of those polled want the American military presence in Iraq ended forthwith? That I am impressed with Louis Fisher's account of what the Framers intended, both by his analysis of the structure and contents of the relevant parts of the Constitution, and by his adducing the evidence of "legislative intent" (the Constitution being considered the supreme law of the land), as demonstrated in the writings of such people as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson? Jefferson and Madison seem to me authorities on what the Constitution meant to the Framers.
But then, I'm easily satisfied.
Posted on 10/16/2007 1:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
On Louis Fisher
"As to Louis Fisher, he is no expert in the US Constitution. Louis Fisher is a Budget Specialist."
-- from a reader
Louis Fisher may be a “budget specialist" – I have no idea why you call him that – but he is, most importantly, a specialist in the Congressional Research Service attached to the Library of Congress for the past 37 years. He focuses on the issue of constitutional law and public policy as these relate to the question of Separation of Powers. He is the author of many books and many articles, and among those books may be noted, in particular, "Constitutional Conflicts Between Congress and the President” (4th ed. 2007) and “Presidential War Power” (2nd 2004). Merely a “budget specialist”? Read his testimony. Or read the books of his that I have mentioned.
Posted on 10/16/2007 1:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Kurdistan and Turkey
"Hugh has insisted all along that America could read the riot act to the Turks and that the Turks would then dutifully acquiesce in the creation of a Kurdish state. And let us not forget that this over-estimation of American power was postulated to take place under the following conditions...
1) in the midst of an American withdrawal from Iraq
The convoluted logic here is that just as our influence and credibility in the region would be waning rapidly, we'd be able to call the shots to Turkey and compel them to betray their own national interests
2) the Turks would agree to Kurdish irredentism and the re-making of territorial borders"
-- from a reader
On November 17, 2005 a post of mine included the following:
“Americans, in turn, are the only ones who can force an independent Kurdistan not to make territorial claims on the parts of Anatolia where the Kurds dominate. The Turkish government will have to listen if the American government insists that it do nothing to squash an independent Kurdistan. Will it necessarily obey? No. But it will have to factor into its calculations what it means if it permanently alienates the United States -- no favored-nation, no resupply of military equipment, no nothing. And Russia is so very close, and now the Russians control the supply of energy to Turkey.”
At the time, the very same reader who responds above, responded then, with a posting that showed that back in November 2005 he understood quite well – he apparently had misunderstood my previous postings on the subject –that I did not think the Turkish government would, without more, simply “acquiesce” to American demands. What I have been always argued is that it should not be beyond the wit of the American government to extract a promise from the Kurds to drop any territorial demands on Turkey, and cease to protect, if they now do, any Kurdish groups attacking Turkey. In turn, the Americans would take that guarantee made to the United States, the essential supporter of Kurdistan, without which it cannot have either independence or even greater autonomy, go to the Turkish government with that guarantee, and obtain Turkish acceptance, begrudging acceptance based on an intelligent understanding of the best way to limit Kurdish unsettlement in eastern Anatolia, nothing like the roll-over-and-play-dead acquiescence of Turkey as the reader claims I have suggested would be possible.
Here, for example, is what that reader above, when at long last he began to understand what I was saying, put up on November 17, 2005:
“Quite a measured and cogent response Hugh. Congratulations.
Particularly impressive because it lacked a reiteration of the original promulgation that the Turks would "aquiesce" to an independent Iraqi Kurdish polity.
And there have been many postings, repeating with variants and further details, exactly how I thought the American government could circle the Kurd-Turk-Arab-Persian square, or if you prefer a different geometry, perform what the American government apparently thinks is impossible, is equivalent to squaring the circle. Want of imagination, want of diplomatic finesse, fear of offending Turkey by proposing such an agreement, even though it can be presented as a way to diminish the legitimacy of any cries for “self-determination” on the part of Kurds in Anatolia (if they want to live in a state that embodies Kurdish national interests, they would no be free to move to that newly-independent Kurdistan; those who remain should be satisfied with being citizens of Turkey, given whatever autonomy is consonant with Turkish territorial integrity). But the reader above was hot under the collar, obviously, and quick off the mark with his bizarre presentation of my views. He doesn’t always pay attention. He doesn’t want to. It gets, sometimes, in his way, especially if he is interested in scoring points, and not thinking clearly about what is being suggested if it seems too complicated.
Posted on 10/16/2007 1:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Bush Administration Continues To Legitimize America's Internal Enemies
Debbie Schlussel writes in the New York Post:
October 16, 2007 -- JULIE Myers, the head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), is set to deliver tonight's keynote address in Dearborn, Mich., to a group that honors lax judges - including ones who interfere with enforcement of our immigration laws. What's worse, the head of the group - the Michigan American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee - is a suspected former terrorist who repeatedly violated U.S. immigration laws, then used political ties to avoid deportation.
The venue: a place known to local cops and federal agents as "The Hezbollah Social Club." Yes, Dearborn, Mich.'s Bint Jebail Cultural Center is named after the village in south Lebanon that sheltered the terror group's chief, Hassan Nasrallah, during last year's Hezbollah-Israel war. Rockets are shot from Bint Jebail into Israel even today.
The Dearborn center has hosted many pro-Hezbollah rallies featuring fiery anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-American speeches. (At one rally I attended last year, Haj Mohammed Turfe, the center's founding chairman, won raucous applause for saying he looked forward to Armageddon because "only a few thousand Jews will survive.") Federal agents tell me it has also been the site of gatherings of Hezbollah agents and money launderers.
But it's the man who's hosting Myers that has ICE agents aghast. The head of the Michigan ADC is Imad Hamad - who, while living in California, allegedly recruited, organized and fund-raised for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). More, federal officials fought for almost two decades to deport him.
Immigration officials believed they had solid evidence that Hamad had stayed in America long after his visa expired, engaged in marriage fraud to stay here and concealed his PFLP ties on various immigration documents. Surveillance videos showed him engaged in various activities for PFLP. But Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) got the Clinton administration to end the fight to deport Hamad, and instead grant him citizenship
Hamad's recent behavior has also been interesting. He openly supports Hezbollah, Hamas and other anti-Israel terror groups. And federal official are investigating his close ties to LIFE For Relief and Development, a Muslim charity raided by both the FBI (in America) and U.S. troops (in Iraq). The charity gave millions to a group the FBI identified as Hamas' Jordanian operation; law-enforcement sources also tell me it's suspected of funding al Qaeda insurgents in Iraq.
It sends the wrong message to those who are trying to come to America the right way and abiding by our immigration laws.
Then's there is the event's purpose. The stated point of the ADC's "Judges Night" is to honor judges who go out of their way for the "civil liberties" of Arab defendants. One recent honoree had stopped ICE agents from deporting over 100 Muslim illegal aliens who'd allegedly been caught paying off an immigration official. Another honoree refused to allow ICE agents to testify in court on the terrorism aspects of a case of a man they stopped at Detroit Metro Airport carrying a fake bank check for $12 million.
That our nation's top immigration enforcer would attend an event hosted by a multiple immigration-law violator and terrorism supporter - an event that honors judges who make it harder for ICE agents to do their job - is a travesty.
Posted on 10/16/2007 2:05 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Can Such A Religion Make The World Safe For Democracy?
Samuel Zwemer (d. 1952), an American scholar of Islam, and former editor of Moslem World, wrote the following in 1920 (in "Moslem World," Vol. 10, pp. 154-155):
“Its [Islam's] intolerance and persecuting spirit have been revealed within the past few years, the blood of a million martyrs testifying to the failure of Islam, its absolute failure to understand the words that open every chapter save one of their Sacred Volume: ‘God the Merciful and Compassionate’. A few years ago one of the leading Moslems of Baghdad wrote an article for a French journal entitled, The Final Word of Islam to Europe : ‘For us in the world there are only believers and unbelievers; love, charity, fraternity toward believers; contempt, disgust, hatred, and war against unbelievers. Amongst the unbelievers the most hateful and criminal are those who, while recognizing God, attribute to Him earthly relationship, give Him a son, a mother. Learn then, European observers, that a Christian of no matter what position, from the simple fact he is a Christian is in our eyes a blind man fallen from all human dignity.’…Can a religion which inculcates such principles make the world safe for democracy?"
Posted on 10/16/2007 2:15 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Why The Iran-Iraq War Was A Good Thing
The invasion of Iraq made sense if indeed there was a legitimate and not a concocted fear that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons. Was that fear legitimate, or was it concocted? I used to think it was legitimate. I assumed that the way Saddam Hussein behaved -- with Iran, not the United States, in mind (for it was Iran that truly worried him, Iran's Islamic regime that he wanted to constrain) -- was enough to fool the American government. Now I'm not sure.
But if one had known that the American government entered Iraq not only to find and seize or destroy every WMD or disrupt every project that might conceivably lead to the manufacture of WMD (I hate such abbreviations and the ease of alluding to certain things that they make possible, but in this case I will yield), but for any other reason, one would rightly have withheld support. And when that other reason turned out to be big and naive and ignorant plans to bring "democracy" to "ordinary moms and dads" in Iraq, and to do so naively by holding a purple-thumbed election that would ratify, for non-Muslims and Shi'a Muslims (the Sunnis in and out of Iraq were enraged), one had every right to object. Of course, as it turns out, the removal of the regime of Saddam Hussein, no matter what the incidental details -- whether 150,000 men invaded, or three times that number -- made inevitable the transfer of power from Sunnis to Shi'a, and if only those who make policy could begin to identify Islam, or the Camp of Islam, as the enemy that needs to be weakened, and further understand why both sectarian and ethnic fissures that already existed in Iraq, and neither needed, nor have received, any encouragement from the Americans, will if the Americans would only get out of the way do a great deal to use up Muslim resources, men, money, and matériel, and ideally be a source for constant instability and Sunni-Shi'a hostility in such places as Saudi Arabia (the Eastern Province), Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon, Pakistan, and in the communities of Muslims that have been created, alas, in the Western countries.
Again I repeat: was the Iran-Iraq War, that lasted for eight years, a good thing or a bad thing for Infidels? It was a very good thing.
Posted on 10/16/2007 2:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Our Secretary Of State
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice does not understand Islam. At this point she apparently still must watch football games (we are always told that she is a fan of football -- it's designed to soften, to popularize, her image, one presumes), or practice the piano, or do those other things that the "multi-talented" "scholar of Russia" who "knows Russian" (her Russian is halting, as her one disastrous attempt to conduct an interview in Russian proved to Russian television viewers), and her specialty was not "Russia" but the Russian military, which made her, just like Paul Wolfowitz, someone untrained in, and unaware of, the influence of history, of culture, of their own particular culture and history, on people who, strange to say, do not all want to become little Americans and wouldn't know how to do so if one presented them with the possibility.
She has been foolish on Iraq, suggesting that the Sunnis and Shi'a will just have to "get over it" because -- well, because that is the only way the Bush Administration's grand plans for Iraq could ever conceivably be successful. But Sunnis and Shi'a will not "get over it." And what's more, the Muslim Arabs will not "get over it" when it comes to their absolute refusal to consider Israel as a permanent presence. An Infidel nation-state in the middle of Dar al-Islam? Impossible. If there is a chance to destroy Israel militarily, it will be acted on, and the likelihood of the Muslim Arabs thinking that such a chance will arise again will be much greater if that so-called "Palestinian" state comes into being, with all the control over invasion routes, and West Bank aquifers (why not just cause a famine in Israel by polluting or destroying or diverting those aquifers?), and with the demands that will soon be made, perhaps even within a year of any signing, for more more more -- and the West, and America, having pressured Israel so much, having thrown it to the wolves but convinced itself, as Rice has, that it is not a throwing to the wolves, but the very "best deal" that can be made -- the "best deal" for Israel is never again to be suckered into, pressured into, any conceivable "deal" with Muslims who are firmly fixed on the basic principle of Muslim treaty-making with Infidel states, the principle that such treaties are to be broken, and such breaking of them is not merely allowed but encouraged by the example of Muhammad in the first Muslim "peace treaty" -- that of 628 A.D., which he made with the Meccans at Al-Hudaibiyyah. That treaty stands for all time as the model of Muslim treaty-making with Infidels, including those who now live and attempt to stay alive in the Infidel nation-state of Israel.
Does Rice know this? Of course not. She has never read, and not a single person who advises her has read, the texts of Islam on such treaty-making. But why can't they simply get hold of the most standard and obvious works? Why can't they get a copy -- Fouad Ajami, the Majid Khadduri Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, should be able to get his hands on a copy, and the Library of Congress is said to be well-stocked as well -- of Majid Khadduri's "War and Peace in Islam" where, if they look, they will find set out the Islamic doctrine as to treaty-making.
But she doesn't have time. And besides, it would raise so many disturbing questions. It would imply that all that effort, over so many years, by assorted dennis-rosses and richard-haasses and henry-kissingers and bill-clintons and william-rogers and tutti quanti, to use shuttle diplomacy, and negotiations, and handshakes on the goddam lawn, and smiles for the photographers, all of them ending, always, with some kind of further Israeli concession, and a further legitimizing, before the world's public, of the Arab Muslim Jihad (not least by legitimizing the very idea of a "Palestinian" people with its own history and own claims, when that people are merely local Muslim Arabs, identical in language, religion, and every other way to those on the other side of the Jordan, and to many other Arabs as well, for the "national" identity of Muslim Arabs is not important in the way national identity is to people in the Western world).
She's not able to learn beyond what she learned long ago. She seems intelligent by comparison with her boss. She's elegantly turned out. She's self-assured, because people defer to her, and those who don't defer to her are usually unwilling to demonstrate that they find her pretensions ridiculous. However, the nuclear-arms expert, David Kay, who had many dealings with her, described her as the "worst national security adviser" in the history of the country. And given that among the rivals for that crown are Brzezinski and Scowcroft, that is saying something.
Posted on 10/16/2007 2:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Yet Again: Darura
Here's a previous piece on the only thing that will prevent a future Arab attack on Israel. Not a "Palestinian" state, which will merely offer headaches, and worse than headaches, for Israel, the United States, and the entire Middle East (even if the entire Middle East is full of people who will want that "Palestinian" state as a first step to removing the Infidel presence on holy Muslim soil). It is called "Darura" and that is a word that Condoleezza Rice, and Ehud Olmert (the worst Israeli leader in its brief history) should study, should ponder. But they won't. At this point, it's too much trouble. At this point Olmert will do anything to prevent himself from being indicted and winning temporary favor; at this point Rice, and Bush, will do anything to have what looks to the foolish (and there are many foolish) to be a "victory for peace" (it is rather an assurance of a future war) in the Middle East. They deserve each other. A marriage made in heaven. And who cares if the security of Israel is thereby permanently imperilled?
Posted on 10/16/2007 2:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
We Shall Overcome, Or, The Writing On The Wall
Here is Rice on the Sunnis and Shi'a in Iraq, and how they will simply have to "overcome" their 1300-year quarrel, because, you see, otherwise American policy in Iraq would not make sense. A posting from January 2007:
The Secretary of State recently stated that the Middle East will have to “overcome” the tendency to see things in Sunni-Shi’a terms. There are two things wrong with the statement of Condoleeza Rice.
The first is the o'erweening, history-ignoring idea that Sunni-Shi'a rivalries and hostilities can "be overcome." The Sunni-Shi'a split long ago transcended the initial quarrel over succession. Now there are differences in the organization of the Shi'a and Sunni variants of Islam: in organization (the power of the Shi'a ayatollahs and other Shi'a clergy has nothing similar in Sunni Islam); in ritual (the Shi'a Ashoura, with its emphasis on self-flagellation); and practice (the Shi'a shrines and visits to those shrines, so offensive to austere Sunnis, especially to the most austere of all, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia).
The belief that somehow deeply-held beliefs and attitudes can be "overcome" seems to approach all this as if it were a question of civil rights in the South. One of the silliest and most harmful aspects of American governments is the belief that many things are susceptible of change, or of change that will come quickly. "Let's have self-determination now" or "Let's end poverty the way Jeffery Sachs says we can" or "Let's just get right in there and reform Islam." A blend of naivete, ignorance, and arrogance, which yields a most unappetizing brew.
The second thing wrong with Rice's statement is that apparently she cannot conceive of why this Sunni-Shi'a split is a good thing for Infidels. She cannot conceive of why chaos and confusion and endless hostility between the two main branches or sects of Islam is something to be exploited, not to be deplored. It appears that American governments want always to take the side of this or that plausible group of Muslims. First, it was the Shi'a in exile who managed to woo and win so many in the American government with their tales of WMD (Chalabi and his group), and others who confidently predicted that once the Americans "liberated" Iraq they would be greeted, those Americans, with an outpouring of joy and presumably permanent gratitude that "would make the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession." It would cost, according to Wolfowitz and others, nothing like what it cost to maintain those sanctions -- possibly a few tens of billions of dollars. And then it would be over. A "cakewalk," wrote Kenneth Adelman (sometime purveyor of Shakespeare to corporations so that the tycoons and tycoonettes can apply "Shakespeare to the business world).
Many have in this farce, on all sides, in the government, and in the press, been weighted and found wanting.
Meanwhile, there's something just over here, freshly scribbled on this wall, that I'd like to show our rulers and our pundits:
"Mene, mene, tekel upharsin."
Do you think they'll be able to make it out?
Yet Rice is not the worst. She is far superior to others who preceded her. If she invites comparison with two former and still nattering-away National Security Advisers, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, Condoleeza Rice only gains by the comparison. But that should not be the point of comparison. She, and all others in the government, should be spending their days and nights studying Islam, studying not only the texts -- Qur'an, Hadith, Sira -- but how those texts are naturally received by, not all, but almost all, Muslims, and figure out on what side the textual authority lies. They should learn about taqiyya. They should learn about the history of Islamic conquest and about the subjugation of non-Muslims -- which is not only a matter of history, but can be seen today in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia (where the non-Muslims are to found only among the expatriate wage-slaves). They must learn what is so misleading about the phrase "moderate Muslim" -- misleading and unhelpful. They must learn to detect the plausible from the true, to discover the smyler with the knyf under his cloke, as Chaucer emblemized the figure of Treachery he found in Boccaccio, well in advance.
They must learn to understand it all, and to understand not only the texts and the history, but the other attitudes that naturally arise in Islam: aggression, violence, inability to compromise, susceptibility to the most primitive conspiracy theories, blaming of non-Muslims for all the ills that should rightly be attributed to Islam but of course cannot be, and so on.
These are the things she, and so many others, including all of the would-be Presidents now eagerly seeking our support, must learn. Now, not in five or ten years. Now.
Posted on 10/16/2007 2:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
A Musical Interlude, Because Islam Is Boring The Hell Out Of Me
Posted on 10/16/2007 4:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Hobson, Jobson, Elliot, Dowson, Or, You Can Learn A Lot From Dictionaries
Dictionaries can tell you a lot, or affect you, in all kinds of odd ways. I have held in my hands a very special Webster's 2nd in which the wings of a certain butterfly on a certain page had been shaded in, or rather colored in, by the dictionary's celebrated owner, and the thrill of seeing that one hand-colored entry, in a vast work otherwise without a mark to be remarked -- I looked at every page -- remains vivid.
Today I was idling through my new copy of Hobson-Jobson (the previous one, also a Wordworth Edition reprint, had been given to someone who at the time needed it more than I did), very likely subliminally prompted by the bizarre and comical performance of Okkidental Dalrymple, when I discovered, on p. 812, this late example of the use of the word "sarai":
1850.--"He [the reader] will find that, if we omit only three names in the long line of the Delhi Emperors, the comfort and happiness of the people were never contemplated by them; and with the exception of a few sarais and bridges,--and these only on roads traversed by the imperial camps-- he will see nothing in which purely selfish considerations did not prevail."--Sir H. M. Elliot, Original Preface to Historians of India, Elliot, I. xxiii.
That told me something about Okkidental Dalrymple's Mughal emperors. And that one passage made me want to find, and read, Elliot and Dowson's Historians of India, all eight volumes. A book, I suspect, that Okkidental Dalrymple has never read with the proper attention.
Posted on 10/16/2007 10:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald