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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
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The Impact of Islam
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
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Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
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Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
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Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
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The New Vichy Syndrome:
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Jihad and Genocide
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These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 18, 2011.
Friday, 18 November 2011
Straws in the Wind in Australasia: Straw No 1, Australia Considers Selling Uranium to India

From Australia's ABC, just this last week.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-15/pm-proposes-lifting-uranium-ban/3666362

'PM Changes Mind on Uranium Sales to India'

'Prime Minister Julia Gillard is backing a push to reverse Labor's long-standing ban on exporting yellowcake uranium to India.

'In an opinion piece in Fairfax newspapers published this morning [that is, the morning of November 15 2011 - CM] Ms Gillard argues the move would strengthen Australia's relations with India, which is not a signatory to nuclear non-proliferation treaties.

In Australia's immediate neighbourhood, there are three very large Powers.  Two of them are rather uncomfortable neighbours to have: majority-Muslim and rapidly-sharia-izing Indonesia, whose jihad gangsters killed 88 Australian tourists in the Bali bombing of 2002; and the ugly and increasingly aggressive despotism that is post-Maoist China.  The third Power is a good deal less threatening, and more culturally compatible in many ways than either China or Indonesia: India, majority-Hindu but also quite strongly secularised, which (despite plenty of flaws ) is socially and politically freer than either China or Indonesia.  India is a sister Commonwealth country to Australia, sharing a long history together from the days of the British Raj.  And India like Australia is in uncomfortable proximity both to the Ummah and to China.  Strengthening Australian relations with India makes good geopolitical sense...so long as both Australia and India can lose their current appeasing attitude towards the Muslims in their midst. - CM

"We must, of course, expect of India the same standards we do of all countries for uranium export - strict adherence to International Atomic Energy Agency arrangements, and strong bilateral and transparency measures which will provide assurances our uranium will be used only for peaceful purposes", she writes.

'[We] must be prepared to confront difficult questions about maximising prosperity and the strength of our relationships in our region of the world."

Indeed. - CM

'Pressure has been mounting to change the policy, with Resources Minister Martin Ferguson and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd both support[ing] selling uranium to India...".

Watch this space, ladies and gentlemen. - CM

Posted on 11/18/2011 5:09 AM by Christina McIntosh
Friday, 18 November 2011
Islamic Minister asks government to remove idolatrous SAARC monuments

The Maldives is a small country but it is highly and vigorously Islamic. What happens there is in minature, what could happen elsewhere. Earlier this month the Maldives hosted the summit meeting of the SAARCS countries (that's the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, with China coming along because the Chinese are into everything these days) and in honour of this important occasion each member state gave the host country a statue. This has not gone down well.

From the Minivan News

Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari has requested government authorities remove SAARC monuments that contradict Islam, placed in different areas around Addu City. Speaking to Minivan News today, Press Secretary for the President Mohamed Zuhair said that the government will respect Dr Bari’s decision.

‘’All concerned authorities will respect the word of Dr Bari,” Zuhair said, but added that it was “very difficult for the government to return a monument gifted to the government, especially when it is handed to us by another Islamic country,’’ he said.‘’If you think of it diplomatically, it is very difficult.’’

Zuhair said the Islamic Minister’s request will be forwarded to the President, who will decide whether or not to remove the monuments as soon as he comes back to office after his post-SAARC vacation.

Former President of Adhaalath Party and current State Islamic Minister, Sheikh Hussein Rasheed, today told Minivan News that he was not informed of the decision of the Islamic Minister.

He said that the monuments “do not contradict the religion of Islam. . . ’They were all given to us by member countries of SAARC, and represent their countries. The Pakistan monument showed how Pakistan became an Islamic country from its Buddhist origins,’’ he said. ‘’Although the monument does not contradict Islam, it should not be kept there if Maldivian citizens do not want it to be there.’’

The Pakistani monument was toppled during the SAARC Summit and subsequently set ablaze, and eventually stolen outright. The Sri Lankan monument, a statue of lion, was reported yesterday to have been coated in crude oil.

Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom’s political party, the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM), this week hailed the vandals of the Pakistani monument to be “national heroes”, and vowed to fight for their release from police custody in court.

The Columbo Page of Sri Lanka reports thus; The lion statue designed and gifted to Maldives by Sri Lanka to mark the 17th SAARC Summit in Addu City has been vandalized . . . The lion statue, representing the national symbol of Sri Lanka, has been doused with crude oil Tuesday night by protesters who claim the importing 'idols' to the country is illegal.

A Council Member of the PPM has filed a case with police against the Maldives Customs Department for allowing 'idols' to be imported to the Maldives for the SAARC Summit. The Council Member has said that the statutes are illegal and against Islam, and police have no authority to stop the vandals

I don't know what India and Nepal, mainly Hindu countries donated, or what completely and fundamentalist Islamic Afghanistan gave and what the reaction to them is. I am impressed that the Pakistanis have not completely forgotten their Buddhist heritage either.

Posted on 11/18/2011 3:09 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 18 November 2011
Straws in the Wind in Australasia: Straw No. 2, A Contingent of US Marines to be Stationed in Northern Australia

Not only is Australia making friendly moves towards India, it is reaffirming its longstanding alliance with the United States.

From Australia's ABC.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-16/gillard2c-obama-announce-darwin-troop-deployment/3675596

'Gillard, Obama detail US troop deployment'.

'Up to 2,500 US Marines will be stationed in Australia by 2017 under a new agreement announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US President Barack Obama.

'Ms Gillard confirmed the deployment during a joint press conference with Mr Obama only hours after he touched down in Canberra on his whirlwind visit.

'She says 200 to 250 Marines will be stationed in Darwin for training from next year, with numbers building up to 2,500 over the next five years.

"It is a new agreement to expand the existing collaboration between the Australian Defence Force and the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force", she said.

'What this means in very practical detail is from mid-2012 Australia will welcome a company-sized rotation of 200-500 Marines in the Northern Territory for around six months at a time.

"Over a number of years we intend to build on this in a staged way".

'The US air force will also be given more access to Australian bombing ranges and training facilities in remote areas of the Northern Territory.

'The announcement by the two leaders comes as Australia and the US mark the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS alliance, the central security agreement between the two countries.

'Stepping Up'

'Ms Gillard says the new troop deployment will make the alliance stronger.

"Our alliance has been a bedrock of stability in our region, so building on the alliance through this new initiative is about stability", she said.

"It will mean that we are better postured to better respond together, along with other partners in the Asia-Pacific, to any regional contingency, including the provision of humanitarian assistance and dealing with natural disasters."

'Mr Obama says the deployment is part of preparing the ANZUS alliance for the future.

"As it has been for six decades, our alliance is going to be indispensable to our shared future, the security we need and the prosperity we seek not only in this region but around the world," he said.

'The President says it represents a signal of US intent to re-engage with the Asia-Pacific region.

"We are two Pacific nations and with my visit to the region I am making it clear that the United States is stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific", he said.

I do hope, however, that the next President after Obama will see about ending whatever jizya (oops -  'aid') the US gives to rapidly sharia-izing Indonesia; and the jizya it pays to Pakistan; and the futile 'nation-building' project in Afghanistan. Those are 'commitments' that ought not to be stepped up.  - CM

'The move is widely seen as an attempt to balance against the rising influence of China in the region.

I observe, interestingly, that the ABC makes no mention of another very worrying 'rising influence' in the region; the drift toward stricter practice and imposition of sharia in majority Muslim Indonesia, which is a lot closer to Australia than is China. - CM

'The announcement was immediately questioned by the Chinese government, with foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin saying it may not be appropriate for the United States and Australia to contribute to a military build up in the region, adding "this is up for discussion".

China, of course, reserves the right to build up its military as much as it likes, and has been doing so very obviously and threateningly for some time..- CM

'Mr Liu said China sought peaceful development at a time when the world economy is sluggish.

Ah yes, another Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere..? - CM

'When questioned about China's future in the Asia-Pacific, Mr Obama said he "welcomed a rising, peaceful China" but warned it must play by the rules of the road".

"What they've [China] been able to achieve in terms of lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty has been nothing short of remarkable", he said.

I doubt we'll catch Mr Obama reading Jung Chang's 'Wild Swans', or her scathing biography of Chairman Mao and the ruin that he wrought upon China - moral, social, ecological and demographic - anytime soon..That biography made creepy reading, for a great deal about Mao's character and modus operandi reminded me of the figure of Mohammed as represented in the Islamic texts - .CM'

"The main message that I've said not only publicly but also privately to China is that with their rise comes increased responsibility".

Fine words that will have gone in one ear and out the other. - CM

'The Federal Coalition has welcomed the move, with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott saying it is in Australia's best interests...

That it is.  I see this move as something in keeping with the history between Australia and the USA, and quite distinct from the particular personalities or political agendas of the two countries' current leaders.  It is a move that makes good sense in the light of the Big Picture...the world-wide onslaught of the Third Jihad, and the need for all free majority non-Muslim lands to fortify themselves against it.  Sending a message to China's secular despots is merely the icing on the cake.  - CM

Posted on 11/18/2011 5:40 AM by Christina McIntosh
Friday, 18 November 2011
Despotic China, and Muslim Indonesia, Do Not Like the Idea of US Troops In Northern Australia; Australia Tells Them They Can Lump It

From the ABC.  You will notice that the third large regional power, India, is perfectly unconcerned, and that Singapore, and the Philippines, and Thailand, seem also not to feel threatened in the slightest.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-17/china-indonesia-wary-of-us-troops-in-darwin/3675866

'China, Indonesia Wary of US Troops in Darwin'

'China and Indonesia have questioned the wisdom of Australia hosting US Marines in the Northern Territory, with claims the move risks creating a "circle of tension and mistrust".

Projection. They attribute to Australia and to the US the same base intentions that they themselves - driven by totalitarian ideologies (Maoist Communism and Islam) that dream of global conquest  - have manifested and sought to enact. - CM

'Up to 2,500 US Marines will be stationed in Darwin by 2017 under a new agreement announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US President Barack Obama in Canberra yesterday.

'The announcement is widely seen as an attempt to balance the rising influence of China in the region.

And it could also function - though nobody is saying this out loud - to counter the advance of the Global Jihad in South-East Asia. - CM

'China has been quick to question whether it is appropriate to have US soldiers stationed on Australian soil.

'Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said China would never enter such military alliances.

You're you and we are us. We will keep our own counsel, mate, thank you very much.  Some of us do not forget your support for the cruellest regime on earth, North Korea; nor are we unaware of what you have been up to, in your relationship with the Islamic mass-murderers of what is now North Sudan, and your running interference for Islamic Iran. - CM

"We believe that there should be real actions to further strengthen cooperation with the two sides", he said.

"As for using the form of a military alliance, China has its own concepts of friendly cooperation with all countries".

Indeed it does.  Shall we mention Sudan, again? - CM

'He also said that his country was actively promoting peaceful international development (does this include running interference for Iran's nuke project, in the UN security council? - CM) and called on other nations to adopt the same attitude.

'Mr Liu said the global economy was in a rocky state and questioned whether now was a smart time for Australia to make the new agreement with the United States.

Yes indeed, times are hard, and America our friend is struggling. But here's something from a Book that quite a few Australians and many Americans still read and seek to live by, a Book that has shaped our common culture (and if you were wise, Mr Liu, your government would cease from cruelly persecuting the many, many Chinese who are now also reading and attempting to live by the words in that Good Book): "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity".  That's the Bible: Proverbs 17: 17.   And here's something else, from the same book, Chapter 18: 24 - "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother".  - CM

"It may not be appropriate to strengthen and extend this military alliance", he said.

"Whether it suits the common interests of countries around the region and the whole international community remains under question".

I don't hear anyone else complaining about it, except you and the Muslims of Indonesia. - CM

'Mr Liu said he hoped the United States will match its actions with its words in terms of promises that it is not trying to rein in China.

That depends on what China intends toward its neighbours. - CM.

...

'Mr Obama...said he would welcome consultation with China.

"The notion that we fear China is mistaken.  The notion that we are looking to exclude China is mistaken", he said.

Having heard from the secular despots of China, we now hear from the Muslims of Indonesia. - CM

'Indonesia has also expressed concern about the decision to station US Marines in Australia.

'Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa warned it could provoke a negative reaction.

Any sign of Infidels fortifying themselves against potential Jihad from a Muslim entity next door, will be seen by Muslims as a threat and a 'provocation'. It's just the old 'resisting Jihad causes Jihad' canard. - CM

"What I would hate to see is if such developments were to provoke a reaction and counter-reactiion precisely to create that vicious circle of tensions and mistrust or distrust", he said...

Well, I don't know about PM Gillard, or FM Rudd, and I doubt Mr Obama distrusts you as much as he ought, but given what I know about Islam I certainly distrust you, Mr Muslim Indonesian, and I am very happy to have US Marines stationed on my back doorstep that faces over the very narrow strip of water which separates us from you.

And now for a few more details.  As given in the ABC's AM program, Ashley Hall and staff reporting.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-17/indonesian-foreign-minister-hopes-for-positive-result/3676902

'Indonesia voices concerns over Marines deal'.

'Indonesia's foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, says he hopes plans to station thousands (thousands? 2500 is the largest number I've seen - CM) of US Marines on his country's southern doorstep do not lead to a tension and mistrust in the region.

They're not on his 'southern doorstep'. They are on Australia's back verandah - facing toward an Indonesia where jihad terror networks are proliferating, where churches are burning or being bombed, where non-Muslim minorities are under steadily escalating pressure from sharia-pushers, an Indonesia whose government looked the other way when the Lashkar Jihad massacred, force-'converted' and ethnically cleansed thousands of Christians in the Moluccas; the Indonesia that invaded East Timor and occupied it and presided over the deaths of some 200 000 Catholic and animist East Timorese, before it was forced to relinquish its ill-gotten ill-held gains.  Mistrust of such an entity is simply cold commonsense.  - CM

'Yesterday US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced plans to station up to 2,500 Marines in the Northern Territory by 2017.

'Mr Obama is scheduled to travel to Bali later today to meet with leaders from ASEAN and East Asian countries.

'Mr Natalegawa is hopeful the talks will be positive.

'But he has warned the decision to increase the US troop presence in Australia may not be seen favourably in the region.

'What I would hate to see iis that if such developments were to provoke reaction and counter reaction...a vicious circle of tensions and mistrust or distrust", he said.

Was that a threat?  It sure sounded like one.  - CM

"And that's why it's very important when decisions of this kind are taken, there is transparency of what the scenario being envisaged is...and that there is no misunderstanding as a result."

You want clarity?  Here is how it would be stated, if all the non-Muslim countries in the region understood what Islam is all about. "Any and all attempts by any Muslim entity or state to wage cross-border jihad against free non-Muslim lands in the vicinity will be defeated by all means necessary".  - CM

'Mr Natalegawa will ask the 18-member East Asia Summit to agree to a set of principles for strategic conduct in the region to help prevent misunderstanding and hostility.

A bit hard to prevent hostility in the case of the Muslim countries; their ideology inculcates hostility, contempt and aggression toward anything that is not-Islam. - CM

'Director of the Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University, Andrew Macintryre, says the parties involved have a responsibility to contain the situation.

"The United States, China, Australia, Indonesia and everyone else in the region recognise we've got a huge interest in making sure the situation does not escalate dramatically over the coming years", he said.

How well do you understand the ideology of Jihad, Mr Macintyre? Have you read C Snouck Hurgronje? - CM

"And so there will be interest in finding ways to progressively reassure each other about strategic intentions and strategic capabilities.  but that's going to require a lot of careful diplomacy over the coming years."

'Mr Macintyre says the increase of American Marines on Australian soil won't drastically change Australian-Indonesian relations.  "It won't fundamentally change it", he said.

"Indonesia like everyone is concerned by developments in China.  Indonesia under this president and with this foreign minister (neither of whom will remain in position forever - CM) had a serious commitment to promoting regional peace and stability.

"So they will be uneasy about conspicuous moves to build up military capability in the region.  On the other hand, they'll understand exactly where this is coming from".

"The most likely scenario is China over the next several years feeling challenged by the reaction of the United States and its allies and partners and taking further measures to strengthen its own capabilities.

Ah yes, aggressive despotisms always feel threatened if anyone makes visible preparations against potential aggression from said despotisms.  And if no such preparations were made, those despotisms would cease to be aggressive? - CM

"That's the inherent danger of situations of this sort and the challenge for all of us is to make sure that doesn't escalate out of control".

Meanwhile, quite properly, Australia's Foreign Minister is digging in his toes.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-18/rudd-defiant-in-troops-row-with-china/3678526

'Rudd defiant in troops row with China'

'Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd says Australia will not back down from closer military ties with the US in the face of reservations from China.

'US President Barack Obama used his visit to Australia this week to announce plans to station thousands more US troops in northern Australia, backing that up with an uncompromising speech in which he said the US was committed to remaining a Pacific power and put China on notice over its human rights record.

'The Chinese government has questioned the appropriateness of the troops deal, saying Beijing would never enter into such an alliance.

'But Mr Rudd told 7.30 [that is, the 7.30 Report - CM] Australia would not be changing its position.

"Let's just be very blunt about it, we are not going to have our national security policy dictated by any other external power.  That's a sovereign matter for Australia", he said.

'We don't seek to dictate to the Chinese what their national security policy should be.  Therefore this must be advanced on the basis of mutual respect".

'He dismissed suggestions the arrangement with the US could make Australia a potential target if tensions flared in the South China Sea.

"It is simply imprudent and wrong to speculate publicly on what might or might not happen given strategic contingencies in the future" he said.

'The US-Australia military alliance is likely to be a key talking-point at the ASEAN summit in Bali from today, with Mr Obama expected to hold talks with Chinese premier Wen Jiabao on the sideline of the meeting".

If you click on the link to this third story, you will find that there are Comments, elicited by the Moderator's question - 'Can Australia maintain its relationship with China while increasing military ties with te US?".  There was a lot of discussion.  Most people seem alarmingly clueless  but one or two remarks are  of interest, for example, one 'cp' at the end of a long paragraph observes that "Darwin is a staging post, a battlement, if you like.." and then adds that "Australia's bilateral relations with Indonesia are faltering, and there is a return [or, more correctly, a turn - CM] to India".

Posted on 11/18/2011 6:18 AM by Christina McIntosh
Friday, 18 November 2011
A Musical Interlude; Black Coffee (Carroll Gibbons And His Boyfriends; voc. Marjorie Stedeford)
Listen here.
Posted on 11/18/2011 9:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
Ghosts Of Jack Benny And John Buchan Chagrinned, Or, Islam Makes Strange Bedfellows

From BBC News:

November 17, 2011

Loya jirga: Afghan elders reject 'pimp's number 39'

Members of the loya jirga stand up as the national anthem plays in Kabul November 16, 2011

Delegates have been discussing Afghan-US strategy - as well as the number 39

Officials at a meeting of elders in Kabul changed a committee's number after delegates rejected 39 because of an Afghan belief that the number is associated with pimps.

Delegates at the gathering, or loya jirga, convened by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, divided into 40 groups to consider Afghan-US relations.

Elders refused to take part in group 39 until its number was changed to 41.

The number is held as a mark of great shame across Afghanistan.

Correspondents say some believe the taboo started because a pimp had 39 on his vehicle number plate. But others say it dates from an old way of calculating numbers called "Abjad".

Many delegates at the loya jirga voiced their fervent opposition to being part of committee 39, one attendee told the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul.

''One delegate said: 'I don't want to return to my area and be called a pimp. I don't care if it is true or not, but people out there believe in it. Look no one wants to have a vehicle with number plate 39. And yet, you want me to be in 39?''' the member said.

But there were some who saw the outcry as an unnecessary diversion from more important matters.

"It is sad to see delegates raise such issues at such an important meeting. We have more important things to deal with," one delegate from northern Afghanistan said.

"But when I raised it, everyone else told me to shut up. Everyone said, they didn't want to be called [a pimp] or their children and family members harassed in streets, schools and neighbourhoods. So than a committee 41 was established,'' the delegate continued.

Officials at the loya jirga said they never expected this to be a sticking point at the gathering, which is considering reconciliation with the Taliban as well as future Afghan-US relations.

''We needed 40 committees and we created 40. But a special solution was found for a 'special problem','' the official said.

In June, vehicle licensing officials in Afghanistan said that new registration plates with the number 39 were stacking up because of the Afghan aversion to the number.


Posted on 11/18/2011 9:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
Yvan Rioufol Reminds French Centrists That The Main Crisis In France Is Not Economic

From lefigaro.fr:

Bloc-notes: la droite doit aussi répondre à la crise oubliée de la nation

| 65 Commentaires
L'installation de Marine Le Pen dans le tiercé de 2012, avec Nicolas Sarkozy et François Hollande, rappelle l'autre crise qui la porte : celle de la cohésion nationale. Le vivre ensemble, bousculé par l'immigration de peuplement, a un avenir incertain. Or le sujet est sous-évalué par les politiques qui peinent de surcroît à admettre leurs responsabilités dans la crise économique qui frappe l'État dépensier. Rien n'est plus urgent, à côté du désendettement public, que de renforcer le sentiment d'appartenance des citoyens à la France héritière de 1 500 ans d'histoire et à la civilisation européenne, berceau des émancipations. Des décennies de désinvoltures sont à corriger.

L'irruption des réalités dans le confort politique est un tsunami qui va tout emporter. Les remplacements, en Grèce puis en Italie, des dirigeants par des technocrates et des comptables sont les premiers épisodes d'une révolution systémique poussée par l'entêtement des faits. Dans cette valdingue des utopies, la droite française en sortira amochée. Comme le rappelle Philippe Némo (La France aveuglée par le socialisme, François Bourin Éditeur) : "Elle ne se rend pas compte qu'elle est plus à gauche que les gauches des grands pays européens et anglo-saxons." C'est cette gauche-là qui est, depuis 1981, l'inspiratrice des trente calamiteuses.

Une même légèreté a conduit les élites à se désintéresser des déficits cumulés et du mal-être de gens, qui se disent parfois étrangers dans leur propre pays. (La suite ici)
Posted on 11/18/2011 2:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
Libya's UN Ambassador Accuses Qatar

From news24:

Qatar accused of arming Libyan Islamists

2011-11-18 18:36

Tangier - Libya's United Nations envoy Mohammed Abdel Rahman Shalgam accused Qatar on Friday of providing weapons and money to Libyan Islamists and told the fellow Arab state to stop meddling in Tripoli's domestic affairs.

"There are facts on the ground, they [Qatar] give money to some parties, the Islamist parties. They give money and weapons and they try to meddle in issues that do not concern them and we reject that," Shalgam told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in the Moroccan city Tangier.

"The Qatari state is still providing assistance to some [Libyan] parties and they are giving them money and we reject this totally," he added.

"Qatar was among countries which have provided us with the greatest military, financial and political support [in ousting slain leader Muammar Gaddafi].

"We thank them... We don't want them to spoil this great feat through meaningless acts of meddling," he said.

Qatar, the world's top exporter of liquefied gas exporter and home to the influential Al Jazeera satellite channel, played a key role in an international alliance that helped rebels topple Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi in August.

Qatar, however, denies interference in other states' affairs, saying it uses resources and influence for the benefit of all Arabs.

Shalgam said he has discussed the allegations of interference with Qatari authorities including its ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and its prime minister.

"We have had frank conversations with them... I've warned them as a brother... I tell them, 'You have helped us to a great extent'...The Tunisian people provided us with the greatest help of all and they did not interfere in our domestic affairs."

Posted on 11/18/2011 3:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
Libya's UN Ambassador Accuses Qatar

From news24:

Qatar accused of arming Libyan Islamists

2011-11-18 18:36

Tangier - Libya's United Nations envoy Mohammed Abdel Rahman Shalgam accused Qatar on Friday of providing weapons and money to Libyan Islamists and told the fellow Arab state to stop meddling in Tripoli's domestic affairs.

"There are facts on the ground, they [Qatar] give money to some parties, the Islamist parties. They give money and weapons and they try to meddle in issues that do not concern them and we reject that," Shalgam told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in the Moroccan city Tangier.

"The Qatari state is still providing assistance to some [Libyan] parties and they are giving them money and we reject this totally," he added.

"Qatar was among countries which have provided us with the greatest military, financial and political support [in ousting slain leader Muammar Gaddafi].

"We thank them... We don't want them to spoil this great feat through meaningless acts of meddling," he said.

Qatar, the world's top exporter of liquefied gas exporter and home to the influential Al Jazeera satellite channel, played a key role in an international alliance that helped rebels topple Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi in August.

Qatar, however, denies interference in other states' affairs, saying it uses resources and influence for the benefit of all Arabs.

Shalgam said he has discussed the allegations of interference with Qatari authorities including its ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and its prime minister.

"We have had frank conversations with them... I've warned them as a brother... I tell them, 'You have helped us to a great extent'...The Tunisian people provided us with the greatest help of all and they did not interfere in our domestic affairs."

Posted on 11/18/2011 3:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
Iraqi Government Trying To Do Iran's Bidding And Close Ashraf

In doubtful English, the National Resistance of Iran claims that the Iranians, not Iraqis, have been sent in to close their Camp Ashraf down:

Despicable defeat of spectacle of the Intelligence and Qods Force agents of the clerical regime despite extensive support of the Government of Iraq and Iraqi Army’s Fifth Division

Ashraf Occupation- No. 164

NCRI - Despite three weeks of preparation and lots fanfare for a “massive demonstration” for the expulsion of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran from Iraq, the spectacle by the agents of the mullah’s Ministry of Intelligence and the Qods Force in Iraq that enjoyed the full support of the Government of Iraq and the Fifth Division of the Iraqi Army, turned into an unprecedented defeat.
 
The Arab language Television of the clerical regime (Alalam) that was supposed to broadcast this show live in its entirety, due to the fact that it turned into a defeated farce, was compelled to broadcast a few sporadic shots.

The forces of the Iraqi’s 5th division and the head of the operations in Diayala Province, who were present on the scene today, were the perpetrators of the April 8 bloodbath. They were present at the scene during the April 8 massacre.
 
The hired agents of the clerical regime’s embassy in Baghdad and the Qods Force were brought into the scene with known tactics that have been used by Khamenei, Qadafi ,and Bashar Assad in order to Whitewash Maleki’s blood-drenched hands in Ashraf and call for a new bloodbath.
 
The Iraqi suppressive forces and the equipments of the combat engineering units of the Iraqi Army’s Fifth Division were utilized from several days ago to prepare the scene of the show in the barren land in the eastern flank of Ashraf and the logistical needs of the machineries.

Prior to this the official forms of the Government of Iraq were distributed extensively for hiring and receiving of mercenaries. The Iranian Resistance exposed the official forms yesterday. For supporting the illegal deadline for the closure of Ashraf, the ““Coordination Committee for Demonstrations in front of the New Iraq Camp” handed out 10,000 Dinars to every participant in the regime’s show. The Committee handed out 25,000 Dinars to every van driver and 50,000 Dinars to every bus driver.
 
In the government forms, in order to receive the hired agents, for each region a coordinator, the number of people that he had to bring to the spectacle and all the vehicles and the plate numbers were predefined.  The person in charge of the committee and one of the coordinators had to fill out and to sign the form for the person to receive the money. On each form the official logo of the “society for Justice for the victims of the terrorist organization (meaning Mojahedin)” is printed!

But despite all the costly preparations, participants in the show ranged from 300 to 400 people dispersed in small groups, half of whom where children.
 
This ranks among the most disastrous failed showings during the three years since the siege of Ashraf started and is reflective of the distaste of the Iraqi public for Khamenei and Maleki’s suppressive shows in Iraq.
The spectacle started at about 10AM and ended before 12PM. In the final declaration read by the hired hands of the Iranian regime’s embassy in Baghdad, full support was expressed for Maleki’s measures to close Ashraf by the end of the year and it was stressed that Ashraf residents should be returned to Iran or another country “otherwise we agree with the government’s decision to demolish this large base and disperse its usurpers in various provinces…  In case they do not abide by the order of the council of ministers of Iraq, we will be forced to rain down rocks on them using catapults.”

The organizer of this ceremony was Rafe Issa, a known agent of the terrorist Qods Force and a hired agent of the Iranian embassy in Baghdad. Also participating in this propaganda show of the Iranian mullahs were Hassan Sobhani, Ali Qashqai, Mehdi Khoshhal, and Abbas Sadeghnejad who are all members of the mullahs intelligence network in Germany and were called on to participate as “former members of the PMOI” in order to express gratitude to Maleki’s government for the massacre of the PMOI.
 
Today’s spectacle reveals the evil and murderous intentions of the Iraqi government for the forcible relocation, dispersing and suppression of Ashraf residents in various locations in Iraq. Maleki’s two month obstruction of the UNHCR’s work in Ashraf, alongside his intensification of pressures and suppressive actions such as preventing the repatriation of a deceased Ashraf woman’s body and prevention of entry of fuel and daily basic needs of the camp such as even coal and timber during the cold winter months are all part of the same evil and shameful intentions.

Secretariat of National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 18, 2011

Posted on 11/18/2011 4:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
The New York Times Passes On UNESCO's Transparent Special Pleading

From The New York Times:

Cutting Off Unesco, U.S. May Endanger Programs in Iraq and Afghanistan

Nov. 17, 2911

PARIS — Some important programs affecting American interests in Iraq are at risk because of Washington’s cutoff of money to Unesco, officials of the organization say. Unesco programs in Afghanistan will also be affected, but to a lesser degree.

The programs include projects to train the Iraqi judiciary and news media, to analyze Iraq’s fresh water resources better and to provide literacy training to Afghans, the officials said. Some of the officials declined to allow their names to be used, but all of them wanted to illustrate the impact of the American cutoff of financing on the organization, which they regard as self-defeating, and to promote efforts in Congress to restore the money. [what transparent special pleading, and what utter crap to boot, for America doesn't need UNESCO to fund programs it believes are truly in its national interest]

Late last month, Unesco — the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — voted to approve full membership in the group for the Palestinians. That vote activated longstanding American legislation mandating the immediate cutoff of all financing for any United Nations organization that accepts the Palestinians as a full member.

The impact on the organization was immediate. The United States pays 22 percent of the budget of all United Nations agencies, and normally pays late, at the end of the calendar year. So the vote meant that the American contribution of about $80 million (including currency conversion costs) toward Unesco’s general budget of $643 million for 2011 was stopped, as well as equivalent contributions for following years. American extra-budgetary financing of $2 million and $3 million a year for specific projects supported by Washington, particularly those in Iraq, was also halted.

Unesco has important projects in Afghanistan, as well, including education, literacy training and special literacy training for the Afghan police. But in general those programs are paid for by Japan or other countries, not by Washington. They will be affected by the American cutoff, however, since the regular budget pays for Unesco offices and management staff.

George Papagiannis, an American, was until a month ago in charge of the Unesco office for Iraq, based in Baghdad. “The ramifications are serious,” he said in a telephone interview. “The larger issue is how a law has undermined our capacity to deliver in a place very critical to American interests. We’ve invested gazillions of dollars in Iraq, and we can’t put a price on the lives of the Americans and Iraqis who died, and we promised to help build a new Iraq, something fresh and new in the Middle East, and then we hamstring ourselves.”

Unesco, as a United Nations agency, “has a positive image, certainly in Iraq,” said Mr. Papagiannis, who now works at Unesco headquarters. The United States, by contrast, was “an invading force in Iraq, with some negative connotations, even if it gave Iraqis something they hankered for. Unesco doesn’t come with that negative imagery.”

In one odd and awkward example, the State Department signed a $1 million, multiyear contract on Sept. 23 for a project to promote the transparency of Iraq’s judiciary through legal and media training. But because the money had not been sent before the vote on Palestinian membership, American lawyers are studying whether the law supersedes the contract.

Casey Walther, a Unesco official currently working in Iraq on issues concerning clean water, said that access to water for drinking and agriculture was a vital part of Iraq’s future stability and thus important to Washington’s long-term interests as it pulls out its military forces. But the continuity of these programs is dependent on American money, he said. “That funding is now not coming through, so I’m in a very awkward situation with Iraqis.” As a Unesco official, he said, “I had access to, and credibility with, Iraqis and now that’s in peril. And to be frank, I don’t know if I can replace that funding or get around it.”

Among affected programs in Iraq are work with the Iraqi National Water Council, in particular to perform a groundwater survey using NASA satellites and American technology, to create a database of Iraq’s underground water supplies. Financing of $800,000 to $1 million was to come from the State Department to the Army Corps of Engineers, with a contribution from the Iraqi government of about $500,000 and about $7 million from the European Union for projects resulting from the study. But everything has been put on hold, officials said.

A similar study was planned for the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, which has about one million refugees, but that has also been shelved for now, Unesco officials said.

Other projects in Iraq include literacy training and education, largely supported by Qatar but managed by Unesco, which will be harmed by overall budget cuts, the officials said.

Already, Unesco’s director-general, Irina Bokova, whose candidacy Washington strongly supported two years ago, has instituted a freeze on all new spending, as well as a hiring freeze, travel restrictions and a cancellation at year’s end of the contracts of most outside consultants. She is seeking savings for future years, including cuts in staffing and offices, but it is difficult to achieve savings of much more than $35 million a year, officials said.

She has said that she hopes the budget cutoff will be temporary, and that Congress will annul the law or pass a waiver to it, allowing the president to judge whether a cutoff is in the interests of the United States. But Congressional action to reinforce the law seems more likely than action to soften or alter it, American officials say.

In Afghanistan, Unesco is involved in several major literacy efforts, including a $35 million program meant to reach 600,000 people in 18 of the 34 provinces, 60 percent of them women. [yes, and so what?]
Posted on 11/18/2011 4:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
One More Ridiculous Attempt To Get Back American Funding For UNESCO

The article from the New York Times that  I just posted belowg is self-evidently absurd. But nothing nowadays is too absurd for the New York Tiimes. It claims, and the reporter, Steven Erlanger, purports to believe, and certaiinly wants readers to believe, that if American funding for UNESCO is not restored, then all sorts of wonderful programs in Iraq (and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan) will suffer. But why? Why can't those programs, if they really are so wonderful, be paid for by America outside of UNESCO? Or better still, since the worth of these programs is most doubtful, and we've already spent two trillion dollars trying to make Iraq, over the past eight years, a better place, surely Iraq itself, a state that possesses the second largest oil reserves in the world, and oil is now at about $100 a barrel, and Iraq is now taking in at least a hundred billion dollars a year in oil revenues without any Iraqi having to lift a finger, can't Iraq itself pay for those programs? Are  American dollars contributed to UNESCO, really the only way to ensure that  certain programs on "justice" -- presumably not Shari'a justice -- for the benighted Iraqis can operate? Really?

Erlanger, Sulzberger, the entire staff of the New York Times, not to mention the members of the State Department, or the entire Iraqi government, can't think of any way other than  having the Americans re-instate their contribution to UNESCO, to keep those programs -- which no one has shown are necessary, much less indispensable to any furthering of the American national interest -- going?

How stupid must UNESCO, and Steven Erlanger, and The New York Times, think we are.

We aren't. Or at least I'm not. And you aren't. That's two.

Posted on 11/18/2011 4:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
Che Raffinatezza! (Secunda Puntata)

George Clooney Jokes: 'It Sucks' Playing a Dad

La Primera Puntata of "Che Raffinatezza!" is here.


Posted on 11/18/2011 8:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
A Musical Interlude: Parlami D'Amore Mariù (Vittorio De Sica)

Listen here.

And here is a longer version, not the shorter version sung in the movie, and accompanied by photographs of Vittorio De Sica.

A well-fed ill-bred boy can buy himself a villa, in Laglio, or even two. But If all he can say, at the end of the day, is  "it sucks" and "my girlfriend can kick my ass" then what good does it do?

Posted on 11/18/2011 8:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
Muslims In New York Behaving Outrageously In Pretending To Be Outraged
Image: Muslims pray in New York square
Emmanuel Dunand  /  AFP - Getty Images
Muslims protesting NYPD policies perform Friday prayers on New York City's Foley Square.
By
11/18/2011

Hundreds of Muslims prayed in a lower Manhattan park and marched to New York Police headquarters Friday to protest a decade of police infiltrating mosques and spying on Muslim neighborhoods.

Bundled in winter clothes, men and women knelt as the call to prayer echoed off the cold stone of government buildings.

"Being Muslim does not negate our nationality," Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid told the crowd of about 500 gathered in Foley Square, not far from City Hall and local courthouses. "We are unapologetically Muslim and uncompromisingly American." [how can one be "uncompromisingly American,"  which necessarily requires, at a minimum,  loyalty to the Constitution, when that Constitution is flatly contradicted, in both letter and spirit, by the Shari'a, the Holy Law of Islam? What do Muslims keep taking us for? Fools, incapable of reading Qur'an, Hadith, Sira? Incapable of seeing how Muslims regard non-Muslims and how, when they can, they behave as they believe they are entitled to, or even required to, toward them?]

The demonstration was smaller and more subdued than the Occupy Wall Street protests that led to clashes with police and made headlines worldwide. Police wore windbreakers, not riot gear, and protesters called for improved relations with police.

"We want for you to respect us," Abdur-Rashid said, "and we will respect you."

It was the first organized opposition to the NYPD's intelligence tactics since an Associated Press investigation revealed widespread spying programs that documented every aspect of Muslim life in New York. Police infiltrated mosques and student groups. Plainclothes officers catalogued Middle Eastern restaurants and their clientele. Analysts built databases on Arab cab drivers and monitored Muslims who changed their names.

"Had this been happening to any other religious group, all of America would be outraged," said Daoud Ibraheem, 73, a retired graphic artist from Brooklyn.

Following the prayer service, the Muslims — joined by about 50 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators — crowded the sidewalk for the short walk to the large police headquarters building known as One Police Plaza. They stayed only briefly, chanting for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's ouster, before returning to Foley Square.

Protesters carried signs that said "NYPD Watches Us. Who Watches NYPD?" A dozen or so uniformed police officers monitored the demonstration and followed the march, but there were no clashes between protesters and police

At an unrelated news conference Friday, Kelly told reporters that he "categorically denied" the idea that the NYPD was spying.

'Tactics and operations'
Kelly and his intelligence chief, David Cohen, have transformed the NYPD into one of the nation's most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. It operates far outside the city borders and its manpower and budget give it capabilities that even the federal government does not have. NYPD analysts were among the first to study the thorny question of how people are radicalized.

Kelly said his officers only follow leads and do not simply trawl neighborhoods.

"We do what we believe necessary to protect this city, pursuant to the law," Kelly said. "We have a battery of very experienced, well-trained lawyers that advise us on all of our tactics and operations."

Mary Altaffer  /  AP
Hundreds of Muslims gathered in lower Manhattan to protest against a decade of police spying on communities.

Outside the department, however, there is little oversight of the Intelligence Division and it's roughly $60 million budget. The City Council is not told about all the department's secret operations and city auditors have not scrutinized the unit since it was transformed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Some of its tactics, such as monitoring name changes, would not be allowed by the FBI because of civil liberties concerns.

Many of the NYPD programs were built with the help of the CIA as part of an unusually close collaboration that is now the subject of an internal CIA investigation.

"America is supposed to be a country that protects your freedoms," said Yusuf Ali Muhammed, a protester from the Bronx who wore an embroidered skullcap and a white Middle Eastern robe. "But America has become a hypocritical government, a government that thinks it can do anything it wants with nobody objecting."

'We're peaceful people'
Abdur-Rashid, of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem, said it was no secret that police have been watching mosques for years. But monitoring everything from Islamic schools to restaurants, as shown in NYPD documents, was unacceptable, he said.

"We're peaceful people," said Dalia Nazzal, 18, a freshman at the City University of New York, a target of police infiltration. "We don't deserve to be under surveillance."

Mohamed Mahmoud, 40, the owner of a Brooklyn printing shop, said he knew several people who had been approached by NYPD officers trying to recruit them as informants. Documents obtained by the AP also show that police monitored even those Muslims who decried terrorism and partnered with the government to prevent violence.

"They think that all Muslims are criminals, and it's not right," Mahmoud said.

Posted on 11/18/2011 9:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 18 November 2011
Tarek Mehanna: "A Budding Scholar Who Cited Classical Texts"

From the Boston Globe:

Witness testifies he warned Tarek Mehanna he was under investigation

11/18/2011

Daniel Maldonado told jurors in the federal terrorism trial of Tarek Mehanna today that he had warned Mehanna that he was under investigation and told Mehanna he should watch his words on the Internet.

Maldonado said that he had been questioned by Egyptian authorities in the months after he arrived in that country in November 2005 and that they wanted to know about Mehanna.

“They had your name, they asked where you work. They asked what my relationship was to you,” Maldonado, an American citizen serving a prison sentence for undergoing terrorism training in Somalia, told Mehanna in an Internet chat.

But Mehanna told Maldonado not to worry, that he understood why his name was mentioned, but that, “The problem is not with me, so to say.”

“Well, they are interested in you, because they want to know a lot about you,” Maldonado replied.

“Brother, between me and you, I swear, there is nothing,” Mehanna said.

In a seperate email, Mehanna said, “You know me, and you know I’m not that kind of person.”

The back-and-forth was discovered on Mehanna’s computer and was shown to jurors today in Mehanna’s high-profile terrorism trial in US District Court in Boston.

A resident of Sudbury who holds a doctorate from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Mehanna is charged with conspiring to support terrorists, conspiring to kill in a foreign country, and lying to federal investigators.

Prosecutors say he traveled to Yemen with an associate, Ahmad Abousamra, seeking terrorism training. They failed to find a camp, but prosecutors said Mehanna returned with a determination to support Al Qaeda. He started to translate and distribute materials on the Internet promoting the terrorist organization’s ideology.

Mehanna has argued through his lawyers that he never worked with any terrorist organization, and says he traveled to Yemen solely to further his studies, because of the accessible schooling there. He was a budding scholar who cited classical texts, his lawyers said.

Mehanna does not deny distributing materials on the Internet, but says through his lawyers that he was expressing his own views, protected by his First Amendment right to free speech – no matter how controversial they were.

On Thursday, Maldonado, a New Hampshire native who lived in Massachusetts for a while, told jurors he met Mehanna a few years after he converted to Islam in 1999, and that he looked to Mehanna for guidance in his new religion. He said they often spoke of jihad, of wanting to defend Muslims overseas even if that meant fighting American troops, and he said he was under the understanding that Mehanna went to Yemen in 2004 to find a training camp.

But under the cross-examination of defense attorney Janice Bassil, Maldonado acknowledged that he had only begun telling authorities Mehanna went to Yemen in search of a terrorism camp in May 2011, long after he had already told a grand jury he knew nothing of the trip. By the time he had made the disclosure, four years after his arrest, he had been interviewed more than 20 times.

Maldonado acknowledged today that he did not know Mehanna went to Yemen until he returned, and that Mehanna told him nothing about the trip after that.

Bassil questioned whether Maldonado was shaping his testimony for prosecutors, so that he could honor a plea agreement he reached in 2007 that called for a 10-year prison sentence, rather than the life term he faced.

Bassil pointed out the hardships Maldonado faced after his arrest and the death of his wife from malaria in 2006, and he acknowledged that he longed to one day be with his three children. The children have been placed in the custody of his mother.

Maldonado once wrote that he pleaded guilty and was cooperating with authorities only to please “Uncle Sam.”

“Your only plan is to get out as fast as you can to be with your kids,” Bassil said, and Maldonado agreed.

Earlier today, jurors heard recordings of conversations Maldonado had with Mehanna after Maldonado first arrived in Somalia to support the militant movement, in December 2006.

“Come, come,” Maldonado had urged, telling Mehanna he was making “peanut butter and jelly,” a code for jihad.

Mehanna wanted to know about logistics. And he asked about customs in the country: could he pray five times a day without being bothered, could he find a wife, and did they have bookstores there?

Maldonado told him to take precautions: bring his associates, but travel separately. Dress like a tourist, and bring money.

“Don’t talk as if it’s shady,” Mehanna said.

“It’s nothing shady, don’t worry about it,” Maldonado replied.

He was arrested a month later.

Posted on 11/18/2011 10:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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