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

These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 18, 2013.
Monday, 18 February 2013
A Program of Integrated Frivolity

Recently I stayed a few weeks in a small town in Somerset, England called Yeovil, pronounced Yoville. The satellite navigation system in my car, however, was programmed wrong and pronounced it You-evil. To judge from the weekly local newspaper, it might have had a point.

Every week that newspaper devotes a page to short reports from the local courts, the small change of crime as it were (murder, arson and such like made the front page). One of the stories on that page took me back to the hospital in which I worked until my retirement, where I heard such a story, and often more than one such story, every day. The story was headlined ‘Threat to put cat’s head through door.’ I knew at once, without having to read further, that it was a love story – of a kind.

A man aged 36 ‘attacked his former partner, told her he would commit suicide in front of her and threatened to cut off the head of the family pet and post it through her parents’ letterbox.’ After the dissolution of their seven-year relationship – they were unmarried, of course – he began to send her messages on her telephone, first apologetic in nature, then threatening: for example, he said he would come to her place of work and make a scene if she did not speak to him. He threatened that, for the rest of his life (that is, if he did not commit suicide in front of her first), to break up any other relationship with a man she might subsequently have; he also threatened to ‘do over,’ that is beat up, her father.

The woman eventually went to where he was living to ‘discuss their separation,’ when he threw something at her and assaulted her, though only mildly. He invited her again about a week later and she went; this time he grabbed her by her hair, pulled her backwards and pushed her through the door into the street, where he got her on the ground, hit her on each side of her head and kicked her twice, her screams alerting a neighbor who intervened and called the police.

It surely says something about the state of law and order in Britain that a man should be prepared to behave like this in public. Everything in the story points to the supposition that he was jealous, possessive and violent, almost certainly throughout the seven-year relationship, except possibly for the very beginning when he would have been on his best behavior to draw her into his web. Probably he had behaved like this to other women. The apologetic messages that he sent initially after the break-up were typical of such men; they apologize the better to repeat their behavior which, if the truth be told, they enjoy. It is a case of reculer pour mieux sauter.

His lawyer in court said things in mitigation so patently ridiculous that they should have counted as an aggravation of the offenses rather than a mitigation of them. He was said to be deeply ashamed of his behavior, that he ‘struggled to cope’ with the break-up of his relationship, that he accepted that he behaved entirely ‘inappropriately,’ that what he wanted to do was ‘rebuild his relationship with his children,’ that he had told the police that he intended the woman whom he assaulted no harm, and that ‘he wanted to learn something from this incident.’

To take one point only in the above litany of obviously self-serving rubbish: to say that you intend no harm to a woman whom you pull by the hair, get on the ground, hit on the head and then kick, is either a patent lie or, if actually believed, implies such a failure of understanding of the consequences of human action that it makes the person who believes it a very dangerous one who ought to be kept separate from the rest of humanity for the rest of his life.

In fact, the lesson that this man was so eager to learn and that the magistrates taught him was that he might behave as he did with virtual impunity. They sentenced him to something called an Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme, to teach him not that his domestic abuse ought to be integrated, but that kicking women hurts them: something that the magistrates, by treating him as if he were ill and/or suffering from cognitive defect, must have believed that he had never known or suspected. (He never used violence, of course, in a rational way, rational that is according to the ends he wanted to achieve by it, which is to say to frighten, intimidate and confuse women.) Perhaps he had also to be taught that decapitating cats harms them.

The frivolity of all this hardly needs emphasizing; but of course frivolity without gaiety is the hallmark of our times. The woman in the story also behaved frivolously. It is probable (I say this from experience of such cases) that by the time she had her children by the man she already knew, or should have known, that he was a completely unsuitable person as the father of her children. It is possible that she hoped to reform him by having children by him, but this is itself a frivolous thought, one that could occur only to someone who did not really believe in the possibility of harmful consequences from which there could be no protection or escape. Even if, as a consequence of the break-up of her relationship with the father of her children, she had to give up her job to look after them, well, there was always someone – the state – who would provide. Therefore it was not necessary to think very carefully about having the children in the first place. By now, in any case, everyone ‘knows,’ and it is a truth universally acknowledged, that fathers are an optional extra for children.

Her foolishness in going to the man’s place of residence after the break-up not once but twice, when it was virtually certain that he had been violent to her many times before, is something to which I have found by experience that it is hazardous to allude, at least to an audience of middle-class intellectuals. Such an audience immediately supposes that I am blaming the woman for the man’s behavior, which is entirely, and I might say maliciously, to miss the point. It is absolutely no mitigation of the man’s behavior that the woman in the case was foolish; but to disguise this foolishness on the grounds that it might be considered ‘blaming the victim’ has two harmful aspects.

First it confuses the spheres of the legal and the moral. Foolishness is not a crime and is not punishable by law, but it is still foolishness. To suppose that the foolishness of the victim might be a mitigation of the crimes against her makes the overlap of the legal and the moral so great that it is an invitation to totalitarianism. The wisdom or foolishness of the victim had nothing to do with the man’s legal guilt.

Second, to obscure from the woman her own foolishness, on the grounds (for example) that she is suffering from some kind of syndrome and is therefore not responsible for her own actions, is to dehumanize her and to deny her the agency to behave any differently in the future. My experience of such women is that they are perfectly capable of acknowledging their own foolishness, and indeed do so with relief, after having been persuaded for so long that they are passive victims and nothing but passive victims. There are, of course, such victims in the world: but this woman was not one of them. Moreover it is a very short step from considering the woman in the case to be nothing but a victim to considering the man in the case also to be nothing but a victim – in need, in short, of an Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme.

First published in the Library of Law and Liberty.

Posted on 02/18/2013 5:26 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Monday, 18 February 2013
Sandhurst Betrays British Honor for Arab Oil Money

From the Daily Mail:

Britain’s top military academy, Sandhurst, has come under fire for renaming a sports hall commemorating a First World War battle after the King of Bahrain.

The Mons Hall – named after the 1914 battle where thousands died  – will have its name changed to  honour the Bahraini monarch who has given millions in funding to the Army’s officer training college.

The building will now be called King Hamad Hall and will reopen next month after being refurbished thanks to a £3 million donation from the king, who is the patron of the Sandhurst Foundation but is known for brutally repressing demonstrators at home.

Sandhurst has also accepted a  £15 million donation from the United Arab Emirates to build a new accommodation block, raising questions about the college’s links with authoritarian Gulf states accused of human rights abuses.

Critics say the Army is betraying the soldiers who gave their lives and that Bahrain and the UAE are trying to avert criticism of their regimes by buying silence with donations.

The 1914 Battle of Mons was the first major battle of the war. Against  overwhelming odds, the British Army inflicted 5,000 casualties on the Germans. At least 1,600 British troops were killed.

The Mons Hall is due to be reopened next month. King Hamad has been invited and a plaque will be unveiled with the inscription: ‘King Hamad Hall. This building, the former Mons Hall, was refurbished in 2013 with a generous gift from the Kingdom of Bahrain.’

Last night, MP Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘There’s something deeply ironic in renaming a hall that was in memory of soldiers who died in a tragic battle in the First World War in honour of a king who is routinely committing human rights abuses, including the shooting of demonstrators. I’m appalled.

'We should not be accepting money from such people. It’s simply wrong. They are in effect trying to buy our silence.’

And MP Andy Slaughter, Labour’s chairman of the Democracy In Bahrain all-party parliamentary group, said: ‘To change the name of something which commemorates a very tragic episode in British military history and an example of courage and heroism of British soldiers  simply because they’re getting a sum of money from a rather dubious source is appalling.

Criticism: The Mons Hall ¿ named after the 1914 battle where thousands died ¿ will have its name changed to honour the Bahraini monarch.

Criticism: The Mons Hall - named after the 1914 battle where thousands died - will have its name changed to honour the Bahraini monarch. Young officers are pictured on parade at Sandhurst

Visit: Prince Charles with King Hamad on his left and the Crown Prince of Dubai, far right, at Sandhurst

Visit: Prince Charles with King Hamad on his left and the Crown Prince of Dubai, far right, at Sandhurst

‘It reflects the appalling double standards the British Government and institutions have in relation to the Bahraini regime, which is guilty of all sorts of human rights abuses and fundamentally undemocratic.’

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Bahrain last week on the second anniversary of the Gulf state’s pro-democracy uprising and on Thursday a 16-year-old boy was shot dead.

It is thought that more than 50 people have been killed since the uprising began.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that Sandhurst has also accepted a £15 million donation from the UAE, despite repeated criticism of the regime’s human rights record.

The money was used to build a new accommodation block for officers, named the Zayhed Building, after the first UAE president. The Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was trained at Sandhurst, opened it in November.

Amnesty International says that about 90 political prisoners are currently detained in the UAE. A 2006 parliamentary report described the UAE as having a ‘serious democratic deficit’.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘All donations to Sandhurst are in compliance with the UK’s domestic and international legal obligations and our values as a nation.

‘Providing defence training and education to overseas cadets at the same high standards used by UK Armed Forces helps to save lives and raise awareness of human rights.’

Posted on 02/18/2013 6:10 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 18 February 2013
Former Egyptian Housing Minister Hassaballah El Kafrawi Displays A Mind On Islam
Watch, and listen to his crazed-conspiratorial certainties, here.
Posted on 02/18/2013 7:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Now In America, Iraqi Cleric Qays Bin Khalil Al-Kalbi Addresses Jews: "Allah Chose Hitler To Kill You, So Who Was Better - You Or Him?"

Watch here.

And ask yourself how this Muslim cleric from Iraq, Qays Bin Khalil Al-Kalbi, was ever allowed into the United States, and why no one responsible thought to question him about his genocidal beliefs, and why he is still here.

And then see if someone rin the government  -- say, a member of Congress -- will look into this, will see what can be done in this case and,  further, will introduce legislation to make sure such people are not allowed into this country, or f they happen to get in, allowed to remain.

Posted on 02/18/2013 8:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Russian Social History In Five Lines, Or, The Fall Of The House Of Chicherin

Chicherin is an old Russian noble family:

Posted on 02/18/2013 8:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
A Musical Interlude: Alexander Vertinsky (A Woman Of Refinement)
Listen here.
Posted on 02/18/2013 8:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
That Lebanese Vicar Of Bray, Walid Jumblatt, Supports Syrian Sunnis, But Still Doesn't Dare Challenge Hezbollah At Home

Druse leader -- hereditary, not elected -- Walid Jumblatt is always amusing to watch, as he twists and turns, now with this side and now with that. He wants to protect the Druse, and above all, wants to promote and protect Walid Jumblatt. In Lebanon Hezbollah now possesses the strongest military force. He can't come out against it; he isn't a Sunni fanatic, nor a Christian liberal. He's just Walid Jumblatt, Vicar of Bray, completely untrustworthy as an ally but completely trustworthy as a guide to the crazy-quilt of sectarian policies, and kaleidoscopic rearrangements, to be observed in Lebanon.

He's decided to take the side of the rebels in Syria. But as he is afraid of Hezbollah, and unwilling to join the March 14 group -- made up of Christians and Sunni Muslims -- call for Hezbollah's being disarmed. Jumblatt  puts his opposition to that Shi'a militia's intervention in Syria in the only possibly palatable way: that it would deflect Hezbollah from its true task, as a "resistance" fighter against the Israelis in south Lebanon though the Israelis, of course, are nowhere to be found in South Lebanon and will only enter it if Hezbollah's rockets and missiles -- about 65,000 of them -- need to be put out of action, either after or during or before they are used.

Here is the latest take by, and also on, Walid Jumblatt:

From The Daily Star (Lebanon):

Hezbollah should keep out of Syria: Jumblatt

BEIRUT: Hezbollah needs to cease its activities in Syria in order to preserve its record as a resistance movement in Lebanon, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said in his weekly statement to Al-Anbaa newspaper Monday.

“[Hezbollah’s] weapons need to be redirected so that they do not get lost in Qusayr or places other than Qusayr in order to ensure that the honorable sacrifices and struggles of the resistance in south Lebanon are not forgotten,” said Jumblatt, a staunch supporter of the Syrian uprising.

Security sources told The Daily Star Sunday that three Hezbollah fighters and 12 Syrian rebels were killed in the Syrian region of Qusayr across the border with Lebanon.

The fighting, the worst near the border with Lebanon since the uprising erupted in Syria nearly two years ago, raised further questions on whether Hezbollah, an ally of President Bashar Assad, is participating in the fighting there.

Hezbollah has denied involvement in the crisis in Lebanon’s neighbor.

Turning to the longstanding dispute in Lebanon over Hezbollah’s arsenal, Jumblatt said bickering over the contentious subject would not resolve the dispute.

“The constant debate over arms will not solve the problem,” said Jumblatt.

The March 14 coalition has repeatedly called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, arguing that the state alone should have a monopoly on the use of force, while the resistance group says its weapons are a must in order to defend the country against Israeli aggression.

Jumblatt said clear guidelines needed to be set over the use of Hezbollah’s arms, which, he added, required rival political parties to return to the National Dialogue table and reach a consensus on a national defense strategy.

“The sooner Lebanese rivals reach an agreement over a national defense strategy, which allows the state alone to be tasked with defending the country, the sooner Lebanon will be protected,” he added.

In September, President Michel Sleiman put forward a defense strategy for political parties to discuss. However, the all-parties came to a halt following the Oct. 19 assassination of a top security official. The opposition blamed Syria for the killing and also held the Lebanese government responsible.

Jumblatt, who returned Sunday from Saudi Arabia, also said officials in Riyadh had expressed their keenness on preserving Lebanon’s stability.

“I sensed during my trip to the kingdom and my meetings with Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan their keenness on Lebanon's stability,” he said.

The PSP chief also said that Saudi Arabia “firmly” supports the Syrian people in their uprising against Assad and their "rightful struggle for freedom and independence.”

Posted on 02/18/2013 10:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Downton Abbey Anachronisms

Perhaps you have added to your pleasure in watching Maggie Smith and Jim Carter -- and the others too who act in Downton Abbey -- by noting the mistakes that Julian Fellowes makes in his script when he has characters, in 1915, or 1920, use words and phrases that came a half-century later or that never came to England at all.

Two that stand out:

1) Shirley MacLaine, as Mrs. Levinson, the American heiress, who says "I'm an American. Have gun, will travel." That last is the title of a famous  series, starring Richard Boone as a Good Gun For Hire, that ran on American televisoion back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to the delight of young boys, after Fess Parker had run his course as Davy Crockett king of the wild frontier, and about the same time as Gunsmoke with Marshall Dillon, Chester, Miss Kitty, and Doc, on Saturday nights, while Sunday was when James Garner appeared as both Brett and Bart Maverick. "Have X, Will Travel" may have been, was used much earlier in the century, but the verison made known by Paladin on his calling card --" Have Gun, Will Travel" -- is not a phrase that  would have been in use c.1920. 

2) In the latest episode, that ran last night in Eastern North America,  Branson, having been noticed by, and noticing, the very good-looking new maid, Edna,  tells Mrs. Hughes that in such entanglements, and how to avoid them, he was on a "learning curve." "Learning curve"? In the early 1920s?

So in Season Four, which I suppose will take us up through the Jazz Age (with Rose charlestoning all over the place), and and perhaps right up to or beyond the Depression, someone is likely to talk about new plans to  make Downton Abbey a "cash cow." That's a phrase from Bruce Henderson, of BCG (the Boston Consulting Group), circa 1965-1970, and not earlier. And "cash cow" is,   to judge by the NPR segment about that venerable pile, Downton Abbey itself, that was televised  following the last episode, exactly what it has become, thanks to the series, for its inhabitants, the current easygoing Earl of Carnarvon and his reindeerishly-sweatered wiife, the Countess of Carnarvon.

Posted on 02/18/2013 10:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Lipstick Traces, Or, Please Parse With Furrowed Brow This "Partouze Chic"
You can read and see all about it here.
Posted on 02/18/2013 11:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
The Primitives Of Ennahda Parade, And The More Advanced Tunisians Are Beside Themselves

From The BBC:

Talks to create new government in Tunisia due to resume

demonstrations in Tunis
Supporters of the Ennahda ruling party during a demonstration in Tunis

Talks are due to resume on the creation of a new Tunisian government, despite opposition from the ruling party.

The country has been in political crisis since the killing of opposition politician Chokri Belaid on 6 February triggered mass protests.

This led to resignations from the coalition government.

PM Hamadi Jebali wants to form an administration of technocrats, but the idea is opposed by the leader of his Islamic Ennahda party.

Mr Jebali has threatened to resign if Ennahda blocks his solution to the political crisis sparked by the assassination of Mr Belaid.

Speaking at a march in Tunis on Saturday, Ennahda's leader Rached Ghannouchi said he rejected the formation of a government of technocrats.

He called on the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) to "complete the constitution as soon as possible and thus pave the way for free and fair elections."

However, on Friday, Mr Jebali spoke of "encouraging results" from talks with party leaders on the formation of a new government.

He stressed that it was important "to find a solution for the people and for the revolution."

Tunisian media on Sunday expressed deep concern over the ongoing uncertainty.

Posted on 02/18/2013 11:14 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Islamic Republic Of Iran Bans Buddhas As Dangerous "Cultural Invasion"

Iran : haro sur les Bouddhas

| 2 Commentaires
photo bouddha.jpg
On connaissait l'aversion des autorités de Téhéran pour les Barbies et autres produits «occidentaux» comme les poupées des Simpsons. C'est aujourd'hui une autre icône très prisée des jeunes Iraniens qui fait l'objet d'une offensive particulièrement ciblée : le Bouddha, et plus précisément sa reproduction sous forme de statuette. L'article, désormais banni des magasins, est perçu comme une «invasion culturelle», selon Saeed Jaberi Ansari, du Bureau de la protection du patrimoine iranien, cité par le quotidien indépendant Arman
Les mésaventures de Bouddha en Asie du Sud Ouest ne sont pas nouvelles. En Iran, tout le monde se souvient de la destruction des statues de Bamyian, dans l'Afghanistan voisin pendant l'hiver 2000-2001, alors que les Taliban sunnites tenaient le pays d'une main de fer. Les chiites d'Iran, qui composent la majeure partie de la population, sont pourtant connus pour leur idolâtrie des icônes religieuses (y compris celles qui ne font pas partie de leur religion, comme la Vierge Marie, symbole de la fécondité pour beaucoup de femmes). 
Mais pour de nombreux jeunes Iraniens, le Bouddha est tout simplement un symbole de paix, qu'ils aiment arborer en ces temps de course au nucléaire et de sanctions étrangères. Dans le Nord huppé de Téhéran, il est par ailleurs fréquent de croiser une statuette de Bouddha sur la table basse d'un salon ou le pare-brise d'une voiture, non pas par connotation religieuse, mais parce que c'est un «objet branché». Qui, en effet, dans les villas branchées de la capitale iranienne, n'a pas écouté, ou dansé sur une copie piratée des tubes du «Bouddha Bar» ? De quoi chatouiller la barbe des ultraconservateurs, également enclins à en faire un argument électoral avant la présidentielle du mois de juin auprès de leur base plus traditionnelle. 
Posted on 02/18/2013 11:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
You Call It Raison D'Etat, I Call It Madness

From The Jerusalem Post:

Israel supplying advanced weaponry to Turkey

Military deal, the fulfillment of an order that was halted after the Mavi Marmara incident, is first of its kind since 2010

February 18, 2013

A Turkish F-16. (photo credit: CC BY Ronnie Macdonald, Flickr)

A Turkish F-16. (photo credit: CC BY Ronnie Macdonald, Flickr)

Israel is providing advanced electronic warfare systems for aircraft to Turkey, a fulfillment of an earlier order that was put on hold in the wake of the infamous Mavi Marmara incident in 2010. It is the first instance of a military equipment exchange between Jerusalem and Ankara since then.

Turkey’s Today’s Zaman reported the sale, which will significantly beef up Anakara’s intelligence capabilities, on Sunday, and the aircraft upgrade was confirmed by senior Israeli sources Monday. A source said the deal was approved due to US pressure and Israel’s desire to restore its damaged relationship with Turkey, amid escalating tension between Ankara and Tehran Iran over the Syrian conflict, according to the Hebrew daily Haaretz.

The Syrian civil war has posed additional security challenges for Turkey. In October 2012, five Turkish civilians were killed by Syrian fire, sparking fears that Ankara would be dragged into the regional conflict. Turkey vowed to respond harshly, and it deployed extra jets to its border with Syria in the weeks after the incident.

Turkish soldiers patrol a military station at the border crossing with Syria in Akçakale, across from the Syrian rebel-controlled town of Tel Abyad in October. (photo credit: AP)

Turkish soldiers patrol a military station at the border crossing with Syria in Akçakale, across from the Syrian rebel-controlled town of Tel Abyad in October. (photo credit: AP)

The electronic systems are to be integrated into the Turkish Air Force’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) military aircraft that were purchased from the US in the early 2000s. The system enables the planes to protect themselves from electronic attacks that target its controls during flight, Today’s Zaman reported.

In 2002, Boeing won a $200 million contract to supply Turkey with the four AWACS aircraft — and a $25 million contract to integrate electronic warning systems into the four planes was then won by ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. Boeing supplied the planes to Turkey three years ago. Israel’s fulfillment of the order, however, was halted after it delivered two of the electronic systems in 2011, in the wake of the Mavi Marmara raid.

News about the weapons deal comes less than three months after media reports surfaced that Ankara and Jerusalem were engaging in secret back-channel reconciliation talks despite heightened tensions over Operation Pillar of Defense. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed that the two countries were trying to find ways to end their diplomatic impasse.

Relations between former close allies Turkey and Israel soured after nine pro-Palestinian activists — eight Turks and a Turkish-American — were killed aboard the Mavi Marmara vessel, which was part of an international flotilla trying to break the Gaza blockade, on May 31, 2010. Israeli naval commandos commandeered the vessel and were attacked by activists.

Turkey has demanded a formal apology, compensation for victims and the families of the dead, and for the Gaza blockade to be lifted.

Israel has resisted Turkish demands to apologize for the raid on the ship and to compensate those killed as a precondition for normalizing relations. Israel — stressing that its solders were attacked with clubs and poles by violent thugs aboard the vessel, and insisting that its blockade against Gaza, which is run by the terror group Hamas, is legal — has said it “regrets” the loss of life, rather than issuing a full apology, and has offered to pay into what it called a “humanitarian fund” through which casualties and relatives could be compensated.

Turkey disputes Israeli assertions that its soldiers acted in self-defense. The commando operation sparked worldwide condemnation and led to an easing of Israel’s blockade on the the Gaza Strip.

A UN report on the Mavi Marmara incident released in 2011 concluded that Israel had used unreasonable force in stopping the ship, but that the blockade on Gaza was legal.

Posted on 02/18/2013 12:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Ahmed Shafiq Hopes The Americans Begin To Understand The Ikhwan

From Aswat Masriya:

Egypt's government nearing end of the road, says ex-PM

 February 07, 2013

Potential presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq - Amr Dalsh/REUTERS

By Amena Bakr

ABU DHABI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - To his critics, Ahmed Shafik is a typical autocrat consigned to history's dustbin by the Arab Spring - a military man turned politician who ended his career amid corruption allegations and fled to the Gulf.

To his friends - and he has powerful ones in the oil-rich Arabian peninsula - the former air force pilot and prime minister is an authentic voice of opposition to the civilian politician who beat him narrowly in a presidential run-off vote.

Whatever the truth, Shafik is confident that with Egypt in turmoil seven months into its experiment with Islamist rule, its often-reviled political old guard will eventually be seen by Egyptians, and by Washington, in a more kindly light.

"Egyptians reject the current regime," said the silver-haired 71-year-old, the last prime minister of Hosni Mubarak, the president who was ousted in 2011 after three decades in power.

"They do not reject the regime from nothing, they reject it as a result of the actions that have taken place over the last seven months ... It has not been a success."


"There's is a new system for terrorizing the Egyptian people and this is an indication of anxiety within the upper levels of the regime and of the nearing of the end of the road."

He spoke to Reuters in a gated luxury hotel-managed villa in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, where he fled with his daughters and grandchildren in June 2012, two days after his opponent, Mohamed Mursi, was declared president.

Shafik says Egypt's first popularly elected president is driving the country deeper into political, economic and social turmoil and as a result will lose power.

In recent months, opposition groups have criticized Mursi's perceived drift towards authoritarianism, which they say fueled unrest this year in which at least 59 people were killed.

Shafik said the government's inexperience is to blame and - in a reflex from the Mubarak years - said "terrorism" was embedded in the now-dominant Islamist political groups. Mursi's roots are in the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement founded in Egypt in the 1928.

"The situation is not stable," Shafik said. "You can't bring a group from nothing to suddenly running a country of 90 million people with a lot of problems and a sensitive geographical location."


He said he did not intend to leave Egypt forever and would return "when the time is right", despite being on an official watch list over graft charges which he dismisses as politicised.

"I decided to leave because I couldn't guarantee what would happen ... When you have someone who is opposing you who is sane you would be reassured about his reaction, but when you have someone opposing you who is insane then you don't know how he'll react," he said.

Shafik speaks loudly and moves constantly. He also carries himself in a combative, stubborn manner, a trait reminiscent of his old boss, Mubarak, Egyptians close to the old guard say.

In a military career spanning four decades, Shafik served as a senior fighter pilot under Mubarak's command, and was credited for shooting down two Israeli aircrafts in the October 1973 war.

Shafik predicted Washington's view of Egypt's political Islamist rulers would become steadily less benign.

"The U.S. used to think that empowering Islamist political parties would bring an end to Islamist terrorism," he said.

"Only recently did they find out that Islamist terrorism is embedded within these parties," he said.

The United States, which was a staunch ally of Mubarak until he was overthrown in 2011, is now trying to build a dependable relationship with Mursi.

Posted on 02/18/2013 12:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
A Musical Interlude: You Call It Madness But I Call It Love (Russ Columbo)
Listen here.
Posted on 02/18/2013 12:31 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Islamist group claims kidnap of foreigners in Nigeria
(Reuters) - An Islamist group linked to al Qaeda claimed responsibility on Monday for kidnapping seven foreigners in an attack in a remote Nigerian town at the weekend, when raiders used explosives to blast their way into a housing compound in a hail of gunfire.

Gunmen killed a security guard and abducted a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese workers after storming the compound of Lebanese construction firm Setraco in Jama'are in Bauchi state late on Saturday.

"By Allah's grace (we) have the custody of seven persons, which include Lebanese and their European counterparts working with Setraco," read a statement from Ansaru, a group that has kidnapped other foreigners in Nigeria in the past. The kidnapping was "based on the transgression and atrocities done to the religion of Allah by the European countries in many places such as Afghanistan and Mali," the statement said.

Three foreigners were killed in two failed rescue attempts last year after being kidnapped in northern Nigeria and Ansaru, blamed for those kidnaps, warned this could happen again. "Any attempt or act (against us) by European nations or by the Nigerian Government will lead to (similar) happenings," said the group, which has not issued any specific demands.

Posted on 02/18/2013 2:54 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 18 February 2013
A Musical Interlude: The Vicar of Bray

A song I hadn't thought about for yonks before I read Hugh's post:

The Vicar of Bray must not be confused with the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Wakefield (now the Imam of Wakefield) or the Vicar of Dibley. And don't confuse butter with Utterly Butterly.

Posted on 02/18/2013 2:47 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 18 February 2013
The Usual Deeply Ignorant Mohammedan Tells Lies -- Again

Well, that's hardly a surprise. Mohammedans, after all, worship satan, the father of lies, and their faith, such as it is, is driven in everything by the demons from the pit of hell -- and that, despite what some new age, knit your own muesli, touchy-feely pastor might tell you, has been the standard Christian teaching about Mohammedanism since it was spewed from the devil's mouth onto this world. I'll explore that later in this post, but for now I want to draw your attention to a specific instance of the usual Mohammedan ignorance and lies.

That example of the customary Mohammedan lack of knowledge and its concomitant construction of a falsehood can be found here at MEMRI's site. If you watch the television clip that is behind that link you will notice that from about fifty-six seconds in to about one minute and four seconds in, you can plainly see that Ja'far Abd Al-Salam, the Secretary General of the Islamic Universities Association, either reveals his ignorance of western culture or lies through his teeth -- or both.

What he says, with my bold emphasis, is this:

Ja’far Abd Al-Salam: "The great pain of martyrdom leads to the great reward of Paradise. Brother, this culture does not exist in the West, because Westerners value human life very much."

Interviewer: "They focus on the material at the expense of the spiritual."

Ja’far Abd Al-Salam: "Maybe you have noticed that the thing that frightens the Jews, or Zionists, most of all is being killed. We do not have this kind of fear."

Now, that is nonsense and falsehood for two reasons. The first, obviously, is that our brave military and emergency services men and women do not fear dying in protection of our western civilisation, as is daily evidenced wherever they have contact with the repellent Mohammedan cowardly terrorist murderers. Israeli soldiers most certainly don't fear dying. That has driven Mohammedans, and specifically in this instance, Ja’far Abd Al-Salam to say such stupid things -- probably out of frustration and denial, or out of a simple wish that if it is said often enough then it might become true. No matter, the very saying of such stupidities indicates quite clearly the extreme mental breakdown that Mohammedans suffer from because of their beliefs.

The second is that there has always been a culture of self-sacrifice in the west -- our civilisation is founded on that culture and today, and throughout the ages, western, civilised people will willingly, and have willingly, put themselves in jeopardy in order to help others. In my articles since the beginning of the year that I have called 'Dies Gloriae' ('The Days of Glory')1 I have detailed, and will continue to detail, example after example, glorious instance after glorious instance, of people who have sacrificed themselves for others. Many, many of those people have sacrificed themselves in order to prevent the vile demons of the Mohammedan recidivist horde from advancing and that alone gives the lie to Ja’far Abd Al-Salam's vapid vapourisings.

So, Ja’far Abd Al-Salam's statement "...this culture does not exist in the West..." is patently and absurdly wrong. It is a lie. It is propaganda designed only to encourage the Mohammedan young to commit great evil, and for the great sin of tempting others into sin we Christians know that Ja’far Abd Al-Salam will probably join his master in the bottomless pit of hell (which means, blast it, that we have another Mohammedan soul whose salvation we must pray for).

In the west the culture of self-sacrifice exists alright, but it exists in our societies as a far greater, as a far grander and deeply loving, expression of humanity than Ja’far Abd Al-Salam, or indeed any Mohammedan, can ever hope to get his, or their, devil-warped minds around. Those of our people in the past who have been martyred, and those who will be martyred in the future, have voluntarily accepted their deaths not, as Mohammedans do, in order to kill other people or destroy some randomly selected object that has attracted their hatred, but in order to save others, in order to make the lives of others better, in order to ensure the continuing existence of what they believed in, and not, as I've already said, in order to destroy something, or someone, they hated.

That is the crucial and singular difference between the martyrs of the west and the murderers who follow the profane, debauched and corrupt tenets of Mohammedanism2. When Mohammedans use the word 'martyr' in connection with their devil-inspired murderers we must object, we must, quite deliberately, not accept that translation, that usage, and we must always substitute other words such as 'murderer', 'killer', or 'slayer', for a martyr is someone who sacrificed himself, herself, so that others could live; a martyr is not someone who committed suicide in order to kill, wound or maim other people -- that person is, plainly and simply, a murderer and must never be dignified with the title of 'martyr'.

'What's in word?' you may ask.

'Everything!' I would reply. Why else are you reading these words?

*** *** ***

I mentioned, at the beginning of this post, the standard Christian teaching about Mohammedanism. The Church has always taught that Mohammedanism is evil and satanic. From Christianity's first encounter with that demonic creed that came out of Araby many have written about it and its damnable and rancid teachings.

In AD746 Saint John of Damascus wrote 'The Fount of Knowledge' the second part of which is called 'Heresies in Epitome: How They Began and Whence They Drew Their Origin'. You can find Saint John's damning critique of Mohammedanism translated into English behind this link. In this book St. John refers often to the koran and, in St. John's opinion, its failure to stand up to even the most basic of scrutiny. 'The Fount of Knowledge' makes reference to many verses of the koran often with absolute disbelief that anyone could believe such crapulent outpourings.

Further, George Syncellus (we only know that he died sometime after AD810), who was a Byzantine chronicler and ecclesiastic and who retired to a monastery to write a chronicle of world history called Ekloge chronographias, or 'Extract of Chronography', was also of the opinion that Mohammedanism was perniciously evil. After Georges death his work was continued by his great friend Theophanes the Confessor (so successfully that the work is often referred to as 'Theophanes' Chronicle'). Theophanes the Confessor, who died somewhen around 822, writes about Mohammed thusly:

"At the beginning of his advent some misguided Jews thought he was the Messiah. ... But when they saw him eating camel meat, they realised that he was not the one they thought him to be, ... those wretched men taught him illicit things directed against us, Christians, and remained with him.

Whenever he came to Palestine he consorted with Jews and Christians and sought from them certain scriptural matters. He was also afflicted with epilepsy. When his wife became aware of this, she was greatly distressed, inasmuch as she, a noblewoman, had married a man such as he, who was not only poor, but also an epileptic. He tried deceitfully to placate her by saying, ‘I keep seeing a vision of a certain angel called Gabriel, and being unable to bear his sight, I faint and fall down.’"

Cyril Mango's translation of the part of 'The Chronicle' that deals with Mohammedanism can be found behind this link -- scroll down a little way when you get there.

Most damningly of all, however, Professor Hugh Goddard in his book 'A History of Christian-Muslim Relations' mentions both John of Damascus and Theophanes the Confessor and goes on to examine Nicetas of Byzantium who drafted replies to letters on behalf of Emperor Michael III (842-867). Goddard sums up Nicetas' opinions like this:

"In short, Muhammad was an ignorant charlatan who succeeded by imposture in seducing the ignorant barbarian Arabs into accepting a gross, blaspheming, idolatrous, demoniac religion, which is full of futile errors, intellectual enormities, doctrinal errors and moral aberrations."

Goddard points out that we can see in Nicetas' writings a knowledge of the whole of the koran, including an extensive knowledge of suras two to eighteen. Nicetas' writings expressed the standard Christian viewpoint about Mohammedanism that was endorsed by all the Patriarchs -- that it was a demonic belief system [the bold emphasis is mine]. That standard Christian teaching lasted in the West right up to the infamous Second Vatican Council.

(Incidentally, Professor Goddard is that reprehensible kind of academic who has sold out to the idea that Mohammedanism is just a religion like any other, or he has followed the money, for he is Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for the Study of Islam in the Contemporary World and I find it somewhat strangely apposite that his writings actually record and bolster the standard Christian beliefs about the filthy Mohammedan notions.)

Much that is highly suspect was promulgated at that strange Vatican Council. The problem with that Council was that in the period between the first and second sessions there was a change of pontiff from Pope John XXIII (doctrinally sound and spiritually impeccable) to Pope Paul VI (wooly and heavily influenced by the weird and completely false idea that in not a few cases socialism was merely secularised Christianity) who had been a member of the circle (the 'Badaliya' as it is strangely called) of the kindly and well-meaning but misguided and incompetent scholar of Mohammedanism, Louis Massignon, who, frankly, was more than tinged with oikophobia and was probably a little crazy (strangely, in quite a lovable way) as well.

Massignon was basically the sort of intellectual who when confronted by any belief really couldn't help himself but try to justify it or find something, anything, good about it. He, himself, was of such a good disposition that he was constitutionally incapable of seeing evil and his influence over the spiritually inclined, and in many ways innocent, Pope Paul VI in the matter of Mohammedanism and how it was addressed at the Second Vatican Council was nothing short of disastrous. In fact, that Pope's well meant meddling with Church teaching on this and other subjects, and the silly pronouncements of the intellectually challenged Bishops at the Council who agreed with him, have made Vatican Two a byword amongst all Christians for untrustworthy rulings and very strange, to say the least, decisions.

The weirdest of those decisions, as far as we are concerned here, must be the promulgation of two documents -- 'Nostra Aetate'3, specifically paragraph three, and 'Lumen Gentium'4, specifically paragraph sixteen. Together, they effectively undid the Western Church's fifteen hundred year old teachings about the hellish, evil nature of Mohammedanism without even examining the evidence (the Orthodox Churches have not, so far, followed that course). Of course, those self-same documents, and others, also introduced other basic errors into Christian teaching -- some of them even more serious than the roll-back on Mohammedanism -- that we have had to fight against for almost the last fifty years.

Basically, what Vatican Two actually did was it let the twin, and related, evils of socialism and relativism into the Church, and every branch and every denomination of the Church has had to fight ever since to put those crazed genies back in their bottles. Regrettably, the Melchite Catholic Patriarch at the time, Maximos IV, was pressing Pope Paul very hard to come to some accomodation that Mohammedans could feel good about so that Christians in the Arab and Mohammedan occupied lands could feel a little safer -- once again throw food to the crocodile in the vain hope that it will eat you last.



1) For the posts in the 'Dies Gloriae'* series click on the following links: (i) 'Dies Gloriae'*: From The Feast Of The Circumcision To The Epiphany (Dies Gloriae* I), (ii) 'Dies Gloriae'* II: From Saint Raymond To Saint Benedict Biscop, (iii) 'Dies Gloriae'* III: From Saint Gumesindus To Saint Macarius The Great, (iv) 'Dies Gloriae'* IV: From Saint Euthymius The Great To The Blessed Michaël Kozal, (v) 'Dies Gloriae'*, V: From Saint Angela Merici To Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac -- And Candlemas, (vi) 'Dies Gloriae'*, VI: From The Blessed Odoric Of Pordenone To The Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerick, (vii) 'Dies Gloriae'*, VII: From The Blessed Alojzije Stepinac To Saint Pamphilus, (viii) 'Dies Gloriae', VIII: From To Saint Faustinus and Companions To Saint Florentius,

* The Latin words, Dies Gloriae, in the titles mean 'Days of Glory' and come from Saint Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae: Volume 30, The Gospel of Grace: q. 114 a. 8 co. 109-114: "[...] Prov. IV[:VIII], ["]iustorum semita quasi lux splendens procedit, et crescit usque ad perfectum diem["], [St. Jerome's Vulgate Latin Bible] qui est dies gloriae." ("...Proverbs 4:18: "But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forwards, and increaseth even to perfect day.," [Douay-Rheims Bible] which is the days of glory.")

2) See

3) 'Nostra Aetate' ('In our Age') is the 'Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions' It was promulgated on October 28, 1965, by Pope Paul VI, following approval by the assembled bishops. English translation here.

4) 'Lumen Gentium' ('Light of the Nations'), is the 'Dogmatic Constitution on the Church' and is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. It was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964, following approval by the assembled bishops. English translation here.


Posted on 02/18/2013 4:16 PM by John M. Joyce
Monday, 18 February 2013
Yemen, Where "Everything Is Divided, And Nothing Has Changed"

Despotism or Anarchy? That's the choice for Muslim would-be matthew-arnolds, with no sweetness-and-light, no Hellenism or Hebraism.

In Yemen, one ruler was replaced by a less ruthless substitute, and the result was predictable: sectarian, tribal (ethnic), and economic rivalries, lead to movements for independence in the south, where Aden once stood, and in the north, adherents of the Sunni Islah fight against Shi'a of the group called Houthi, and a dozen groups contend  for turf. Let the Tyrant go, and for Arab Muslims, whose allegiance to the nation-state is often less than it is to either a smaller unit -- a tribe or family -- or to a larger unit, the Ummah or Community of Believers, their wonted fate is fissiparous, until another despot comes along and imposes, with an iron fist, his will. 

From The New York Times:

Yemen, Hailed as Model, Struggles for Stability

February 18, 2013

SANA, Yemen — The tents at the heart of this city’s Change Square are now almost empty of protesters, and the canvas flaps quietly in the breeze. Two years after the start of its democratic uprising, Yemen has a new president and is in the midst of a lumbering transition process that has been held up by the Obama administration as a model for resolving Syria’s bloody civil war.

In some ways, the transition here has achieved a relative calm, while Egypt and Syria are in violent upheaval. Yemen, having pulled back from the brink of war in 2011, is slowly embarking on a national dialogue aimed at reconciling its rancorous political factions, under the watchful eyes of Arab and Western monitors.

Yet many Yemenis now doubt that anything substantial has changed and fear that the much-hailed “Yemen model” is enshrining a fragile stability at a time when decisive action is needed.

Beyond the capital, the country is more rudderless than ever. The south is in the grip of a surging independence movement, and sectarian tensions are rising dangerously in the north. The economy is a shambles. All of the same troublesome political players — including the still-powerful former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh — remain, and the new president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has struggled to assert himself against them.

“I have never felt the anxiety I feel now,” said Sami Ghalib, a political analyst and former newspaper editor. “There was always geographical conflict, but now it is turning ideological. There are assassinations taking place everywhere. And at the helm, we have a leader who behaves like Saleh but doesn’t even have his political skills.”

Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Hadi is a virtual recluse who rarely speaks in public and has failed to offer a clear vision for addressing any of the crises afflicting the country. His fierce praise for the American drone-strike program, which is unpopular here, has further eroded his small base of public support. He is widely said to fear for his life and has appointed many family members and old allies to security positions.

Some progress has been made. A military campaign last year recaptured several southern towns from the jihadist militants who had controlled them for more than a year. But most of the fighters seem to have melted back into the population, and in the wake of the military’s withdrawal, large areas of the south remain a checkerboard of mysterious armed groups with no government presence.

Meanwhile, Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate has adopted a new tactic: a ruthless campaign of assassinations that has left 74 military and intelligence officers dead since the start of last year, according to Interior Ministry officials. Almost all of the killings have been carried out by masked gunmen on motorcycles — often with pistols equipped with silencers — and only a few suspects have been arrested.

Mr. Hadi’s supporters point out that he inherited a fearsome set of challenges. He took office a year ago under the terms of a phased transition plan brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, a Saudi-led regional body, with the support of the United States and other Western powers. He was the consensus candidate inside Yemen largely because he lacked an independent power base and was therefore inoffensive to the tribal and military chiefs who wield real influence. His primary task was to undermine those chiefs, whose corrupt systems of patronage constitute one of the main obstacles to any real change.

Some analysts and diplomats give Mr. Hadi credit for a slow, steady effort to disarm his rivals. “He understood that the only way to undermine Saleh was by initially allying himself with Ali Muhsin,” the powerful general who defected to the opposition during the 2011 protests, said a European diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity, under diplomatic protocol.

Mr. Hadi has removed a number of military commanders loyal to the former president. In December, he announced a broad restructuring of the military that reassigned both Mr. Saleh’s son, Ahmed Ali Saleh, and Gen. Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar — two of the most powerful military figures in Yemen. However, both men wield power mostly through networks of patronage and tribal influence. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Hadi, who lacks such networks, will follow through on his efforts to weaken them.

He must also contend with a southern independence movement that has grown so large over the past year that some Yemeni officials say they fear it will lead to war, if left unchecked. On Jan. 13, a rally in the southern coastal city of Aden drew tens of thousands of angry protesters. Although the movement’s leaders are divided, they all reject the Gulf Cooperation Council’s transition plan as a northern document, and almost all have refused to take part in the national dialogue.

Actual secession by the south — which was a separate country until 1990 — is unlikely in the absence of firmer leadership and foreign support. But the movement has grown more radical by the day, complicating efforts to restore governance.

In a paradox, Mr. Hadi is a southerner and was chosen in part on the premise that this would help him to placate the secessionists. Instead, he is widely hated in the south, in part because he is seen as a pillar of the northern political system after serving for 18 years as Mr. Saleh’s deputy.

“Hadi could still win back the south, or at least calm the situation there, if he made the right gestures,” said Abdel Ghani al-Iryani, an expert in Yemeni politics. “But he is not a bold political actor.”

Another rising threat is the growth of an increasingly violent and sectarian confrontation between two of Yemen’s largest political groups. One of those groups, known as the Houthi movement, is led by radical adherents of a variant of Shiite Islam and has been accused of receiving support from Iran. Its followers have clashed repeatedly with youths from Islah, Yemen’s main Sunni Islamist party and the local equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This conflict has taken on aspects of a proxy war between Saudi Arabia — which supports Islah — and Iran, with troubling Sunni-Shiite overtones. The Houthis have grown increasingly strident, holding vast public rallies modeled after those of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement. The two groups regularly malign each other in sectarian terms — a new occurrence in Yemen — and on several occasions, rallies have devolved into rock-throwing and even gun battles between members of the two camps.

“Everybody is worried about this,” said Najib Ghalib, the chairman of the Jazeera Studies Center in Sanaa. “Hadi needs to cool things down, but he hasn’t.”

Instead, Mr. Hadi is said to be placing his energy and hopes in the national dialogue, an unwieldy political conference that was mandated in the transition plan.

The dialogue, which has been repeatedly delayed, will bring together 565 representatives of Yemen’s various political groups, in numerous subcommittees and plenary sessions over a six-month period. The idea, diplomats say, is to undertake a group process that will itself be therapeutic, even if the dialogue yields few consensual decisions about Yemen’s political future.

Skeptics abound, in part because some of the most intransigent political groups, like the Houthis and the southern separatists, refuse to participate.

Mr. Hadi, like his predecessor, appears to have paid little attention to the economy, despite some dire indicators. The deficit for the coming year is $3.17 billion out of a total budget of $12.6 billion. Half of that deficit remains unfinanced, and the government paid $2.8 billion in subsidies alone in 2012, mainly to offset the cost of fuel for Yemen’s desperately poor population. Last year, Saudi Arabia donated $2 billion in fuel products, and “that saved us,” said one senior Finance Ministry official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “But can we count on that in the future?”

On a recent afternoon, a Yemeni political activist named Radhia al-Mutawakel watched as images of violent protesting in Egypt flared on a television screen.

“I envy the Egyptians,” Ms. Mutawakel said. “There, the independent activists at least have a voice. Here, we have none. There, they have a unified army. Here, everything is divided, and nothing has changed.”
Posted on 02/18/2013 8:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Iranians Against Movies That Portray Their Androlepts As "Stupid, Backward, And Simple-Minded"

From The Wall Street Journal:

February 18, 2013

Stung by ‘Argo,’ Iran Backs Conference Denouncing ‘Hollywoodism’

TEHRAN — As the trailer for “Argo,” an Oscar contender and a thorn in the side of the Iranian government, played in a conference room in a hotel here this month, Mehdi Tondro shook his head in disapproval.

A self-described “specialist in anti-Iranian and anti-Islamic films,” he fumed over scenes of angry Iranians storming the gates of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979.

We Iranians look stupid, backward and simple-minded in this movie,” Mr. Tondro said. “Hollywood is not a normal industry; it’s a conspiracy by capitalism and Zionism. We need to come up with an answer to this and other films.”

Around him sat 130 foreign guests who had been brought to Tehran by the government to debate exactly that question. It would prove harder than expected. Introduced by their Iranian hosts as “unsung heroes seeking truths,” a diverse group of people promoting “alternative thinking” had gathered to discuss what they said was the hidden agenda behind major American movies — an ideology they called “Hollywoodism.”

Leftist activists, Muslim converts and a former American senator were interviewed by a stream of Iranian state television camera crews, which introduced them as Western “professors, researchers and critics.”

Each participant had his own problems with Hollywood. E. Michael Jones, an American and the editor of Culture Wars, a conservative Christian magazine, said he was impressed by the way Iranians had managed to ban all exhibits of sexuality from their society. “There was a reason Iranians burned their cinemas during the revolution,” he said. “Their desexualization of their culture has been so efficient; I am truly impressed by that.

Others said they were there to build bridges. Mike Gravel, a former Democratic senator from Alaska, said Hollywood had brainwashed its audiences into thinking negatively about Iran. He said it was “fundamental” to discuss the American movie industry’s ways of portraying Iran in order to prevent “an insane war.”

But the Iranians had more straightforward complaints. “Hollywood gets away with everything,” said Nader Talebzadeh, an Iranian-American filmmaker who hosts a popular television show on state television called “Secret.” It has featured panel discussions on influential people not paying back huge loans, criticism of economic policies and an interview with Dennis J. Kucinich, the Ohio Democrat and former presidential contender — a first for Iranian television.

To Mr. Talebzadeh, it was clear that “Argo” was part of a larger plan by the American entertainment industry to remind a younger generation of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. “It’s the only example of aggression they have against Iran,” he said. “ ‘Argo’ just tears open the wounds in order to prepare the minds. This movie is no coincidence. Timing matters.”

Then Hassan Abbasi, an Iranian political strategist, took the stage. In Iran he is known as a provocative thinker, but outside the country he is mostly famous for his theory that the American cartoon figures Tom and Jerry are part of a Zionist conspiracy.

Mr. Abbasi said popular TV series like “The Simpsons,” “Lost” and “South Park” were part of a ploy to present famous Hollywood directors as new philosophers, pushing “a mix of ideologies,” which all accumulated in “Hollywoodism,” he said.

“They entertain us, but indoctrinate us at the same time,” said Mr. Abbasi, who drew applause from Iran’s minister of culture and Islamic guidance, Mohammad Hosseini. “Hollywoodism” revolved around sexual thoughts, he added.

On a screen, Mr. Abbasi showed an image of a book about sexual fantasies called “Who’s Been Sleeping in Your Head,“ by an American writer, Brett Kahr, and said that American movies caused sexual problems. “The images you see pollute your sexual fantasies,” he told the audience.

Then a group of teenage schoolgirls in black chadors took the stage to sing a song in English about their love of God. But their voices were drowned out by a male voice on a recording, because according to Shiite Islamic tenets, women’s singing voices are arousing.

“We want to show the world that Iran is open to debates, we want to break the Western cultural embargo against us,” said Mr. Talebzadeh, who was one of the organizers of the conference. He said he wished that Ben Affleck, the director of “Argo,” would come to Iran to see the country for himself. “Be sure he would change his mind — we are not what Hollywood says we are,” Mr. Talebzadeh said. “He is welcome.”

After lunch, the delegates again convened for a round-table debate on “Argo,” which Mr. Talebzadeh said was “anti-Iranian”; “Zero Dark Thirty,” which he called “outclassing Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda”; and “Unthinkable,” a 2010 film in which Samuel L. Jackson’s character tortures an Iranian agent who is trying to set off nuclear weapons in three American cities.

“This is a class-A anti-Iranian movie,” Mr. Talebzadeh said of “Unthinkable.” “It is just a neocon fantasy.” The other participants agreed.

“These movies are weapons of mass destruction against humanity,” said Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, a French lawyer who married the terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, in a prison ceremony in 2001. Franklin Lamb, an American lawyer known for his strongly pro-Palestinian views, said that lawsuits were the only way to rein in Hollywood. “Hit them where it hurts: their pockets,” he said, before allowing that he had not seen a movie in years.

A Muslim activist from Chicago, Abdul Alim Musa, urged the creation of satellite networks that adhere to Islamic values as the only way to counter the “cultural invasion” by Western movies.

“I used to be a big drug dealer,” Mr. Musa said, saying the police pushed him to sell narcotics. “Another way the government controls the people.”

Mr. Talebzadeh urged the participants to focus on solutions in other debates. “We have lots of work to do,” he said. “We must enlighten the U.S. audience, tell them the truth.”

Posted on 02/18/2013 9:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 18 February 2013
Ettinger: Smothering Sandstorms in the Middle East

Former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger capped a whirlwind tour and speaking engagements in Pensacola Sunday evening with a grand finale at First Pentecostal Church, Pensacola (FPCP).  An audience of more than 1,200 echoed Pastor Brian Kinsey who blessed Israel and Ettinger in a moving worship service.  Over the weekend, the Ambassador also spoke at B’nai Israel Synagogue and a private luncheon.

Ambassador Ettinger amazed the audiences at each event with his  broad knowledge of both the troubled Middle East and his personal knowledge of US Israel relations and American goodwill towards the Jewish State.  His years as Israeli US Embassy Congressional Liaison and regional  Consul General  in Houston, Texas  have  provided valued experience  on  communicating with supporters  of Israel in the American Heartland.

That was evident in his final talk at FPCP replete with reference to our Founding Fathers reverence for Hebraic traditions. Ettinger pointed out to the FPCP audience the Hebrew Biblical passages used on emblems for early universities in America such as Yale, Columbia and Dartmouth College. He spoke of one of Yale’s earliest Presidents, Baptist clergyman Ezra Stiles, who told entering Yale students that if you wanted to speak with Saint Peter when you entered through pearly gates, he spoke Hebrew.  Suffice to say that He went on to talk about more enduring contemporary examples of how Israel has paid back America’s friendship, especially with regard to common national security and economic interests. He received several rounds of applause during his talk at First Pentecostal.

Here are several examples drawn from his talks in Pensacola.

On how Israel’s Victory in the June 1967 War saved the Saudis.

Ettinger noted that a by-product of Israel’s stunning June 1967 War was the defeat of Egyptian strongman Nasser’s disastrous Yemen adventure.  According to Ettinger Nasser’s objective was to use Yemen as a springboard for invasion of pro-American ally, Saudi Kingdom.  That may have contributed to an important change by President Lyndon Johnson supporting military assistance to Israel to counter the Soviet presence in the Middle East.

How Israel’s mobilization in 1970 saved the Kingdom of Jordan from then Soviet Ally Syria.

While the US was bogged down in Vietnam, then Soviet Ally, Syria began an invasion of US ally, the Kingdom of Jordan.  President Nixon and National Security Advisor Kissinger called then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir requesting assistance. Within 24 hours regular and reserve IDF units had been mobilized and tanks positioned on the Syrian/Jordanian frontiers forcing the Syrians to back down. That was, according to Ettinger, to pay enormous dividends in the fateful days of the October 1973 War  by Syria and Egypt, when President Nixon, over the objections of Kissinger, ordered the critical aerial resupply of arms to the IDF. That  enabled in the ultimate crossing of the Suez Canal and the capitulation of  Egypt’s Third Army.

Dick Cheney’s belated thank you for the 1981 IAF bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor.

In 1991, then Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney in one of the early  news conferences during the First Gulf War issued a belated ‘thank you’ to Israel for its successful raid in June 1981on the late Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor. As Ettinger noted, Israel had been branded an ‘international pirate’ and subjected to both UN and US condemnation for its unilateral action. As Cheney was alleged to have commented, absent the IAF “raid on the sun”, the coalition forces might have been deterred by nuclear weapons enabling Iraq’s invasion of neighboring oil-rich Kuwait. Further, as Ettinger commented, following the successful US-led coalition liberation of Kuwait, among the first actions was the expulsion of several hundred thousand Palestinians given the late Yasser Arafat’s support of Saddam Hussein. The inference being that Arab solidarity with the Palestinian cause was an illusion.

Senator Inouye’s  prediction of the Arab winter and threat of Iran in 1990-the Smothering Sand Storms.

Ettinger told of his admiration for the late Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.   Inouye was in Ettinger’s words, “the most effective architect-ever of mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic cooperation.” Moreover, Inouye viewed the Congress as a co-equal branch of the US government and was not intimated by Executive branch diktats.  That was evident in Ettinger’s  Congressional liaison experience during a tense period of relations with the Bush 41 Presidency.  In 1990, the talk inside the Beltway was about the so-called Peace Dividend arising from the end of the former Soviet Union, the evil empire of the Reagan era.  Inouye, according to Ettinger, was not one to have blinders on about national security and American interests.  While the chief rogue nation threat posed by the former Soviet Union had ended, Inouye’s national security advisor drew attention to the rising threat of several rogue nations in the Middle East, notably the Iraqi and Iranian ‘sand storms’.  Inouye’s national security aide was an Oxford U graduate who had done a thesis on a little known British intelligence assessment made in the 1920’s pointing out the fractious and dangerous Arab countries in the map of the Modern Middle East. The assessment propounded the importance of supporting a Jewish population in Mandatory Palestine who had acquitted themselves as able soldiers during WWI.  

As recounted in an Ettinger Report  article in December 2012, Inouye showed his mettle in defense of US Israel national security cooperation:

Senator Inouye initiated a series of amendments, leveraging Israel’s unique capabilities, enhancing the win-win US-Israel cooperation in the face of mutual challenges in the Middle East and beyond (e.g., counter- terrorism, missile defense, military intelligence, battle tactics, industrial research and development).  

Inouye initiated a significant transfer of US military systems from pacified Europe to Israel, due to Israel’s geographic location, which is most critical to vital US economic and national security interests.  This enhanced the US-Israel posture of deterrence in the Middle East, reassuring pro-US Arab allies such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and deterring anti-US rogue regimes such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran.  Inouye was, also, responsible for expanding pre-positioned ammunition and medical supplies, in Israel, for American use during Middle East emergencies.

Inouye’s amendments were signed into law, in defiance of President Bush and Secretary Baker, who were on the verge of cutting off their noses to spite their faces, by holding the win-win bilateral cooperation initiatives hostage to their opposition to Israel’s settlements policy.

In 2001, Inouye briefed Dr Uzi Landau, then Israel’s Minister for Homeland Security, on Israel’s unique contributions to the national security of the US, Inouye: "The scope of intelligence received by the US, from Israel, exceeds the scope of intelligence received from all NATO countries combined." 

General Alexander Haig’s  comment on America’s ‘Aircraft Carrier’, Israel.

Ettinger noted the comments of the late Gen. Alexander Haig, former NATO Commander and later Secretary of State under President Reagan, who said: “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.  If Israel did not exist, the US would have to deploy a few more real aircraft carriers to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, costing $20BN annually, which has been spared by the Jewish State”.  

How Israel may have saved billions in retrofits of the F-16 produced by General Dynamics

Ettinger referred to the hitherto not well known close co-operation between the IAF and the US Air Force’s prime contractor for the F-16, General Dynamics.  Apparently there is a team of IAF specialists located at the Fort Worth, Texas production facilities of General Dynamics who receive instant updates 24/7 from IAF combat missions.  The IAF is the only air force currently engaged in combat using the F-16. This has, according to General Dynamics F-16 program managers, resulted in more than 600 production modifications of the F-16 saving both time and billions in retrofit expenditures. Ettinger’s comment: “Israel constitutes the most advanced, battle-tested, cost-effective, invaluable laboratory for US military systems.”

On the matter of Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel and the West.

During Ettinger’s discussion with Pensacola students he was asked about Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel and the West.  He quickly focused on what the Iranian nuclear development was really about- threatening US interests in the Gulf region.  He said that Israel is not the target, but rather the US assets and allies in the Gulf region.  To his mind, all that the allegedly tough sanctions have done is allow Iran to evade them through granting of waivers under US legislation while the Islamic Regime gets closer to achieving its objective.  The notion that Iran presents a significant military deterrent in the Gulf region is false. He believes that   Iran’s conventional military forces would not be capable of countering a pre-emptive attack by powerful US forces in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. Thus, dialogue with the Ayatollahs only permits Tehran to achieve its objective of regional and ultimate world Islamic terrorism hegemony.  He spoke of the frightening scenario of one day the White House receiving the equivalent of a 3:00AM phone call from the Supreme Ruler in Tehran advising the President that they had five nukes pre-positioned on ships offshore ready to launch against five US cities. What would our government do?  Ettinger noted that Iran already has supplied missiles to Venezuela and may have sleeper cells in the US and Latin America.  After all, he noted Iran’s revolutionary guards were caught using a Mexican drug cartel  in an attempt to hit the Saudi Ambassador in a posh Washington restaurant.

The demographic doomsday scenario for Israel is a myth

Saturday evening at BIS Ambassador Ettinger spoke  about new realities of Israel’s demographics.  He recounted demographic trends in Israel versus the West Bank, Gaza and the Muslim Ummah; Jewish fertility rising, while Arab fertility is falling. He viewed those trends as a reflection of optimism, especially among young secular Jewish families, the second generation of Russian, Ukrainian and Moldavian immigrants to  Israel. That contrasted with modernity and emigration among Arabs that have intensified family planning among women in Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East. The investigations and audits of Palestinian demographic statistics by a Joint team of American and Israeli researchers have, according to his presentation, led to an overstatement of more than 1 million Arabs in Judea, Samaria and even Gaza.  That implies that the current Jewish demographic surge in Israel flies in the face of perennial dooms day predictions by critics  of the late Israeli first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion. Those dire prediction are still propounded by the liberal press in Israel, the US, UK and EU.  Moreover, the new demographic findings imply that annexation of Judea and Samaria presents an obvious means of accommodating this remarkable demographic growth in Israel.  Couple this with the possibility over the next decade of 500,000 Jews making aliyah from Jewish communities in the EU and UK, plagued by virulent Islamic anti-Semitism, might  augur well for Israel's future economic growth.   Further those demographic trends in Israel could create an important reservoir of future military manpower to draw upon to protect the Jewish nation's national security.

Ambassador Ettinger’s 72 hours in Pensacola on Presidents Day Weekend bolstered the warm welcome he received upon his arrival.  As Pastor Kinsey of First Pentecostal Church told the multitude of 1200 who came to hear Ambassador Ettinger, “Israel is American only enduring democratic ally in the troubled Middle East.”


Posted on 02/18/2013 7:43 PM by Jerry Gordon
Monday, 18 February 2013
Remembering Baby Hadass Fogel, Murdered - With Her Brothers, and Her Parents - by Muslims Two Years Ago

As reported recently by Itamar Flaishman of Israel's ynet news.,7340,L-4346067,00.html

'Itamar Marks Two Years Since Fogel Family Massacre'

'In ceremony in memory of Fogel family - five members of which were stabbed to death in their home by terrorists (sic: by Arab Muslim Jew-haters - CM) family, ministers, officers speak: "Only revenge is to continue to build", minister says.

"Time does not heal the pain, and as the days go by, all I can feel is how deep the pain is", said Tzila Fogel, mother of Udi Fogel, who was murdered two years ago, when two Palestinian terrorists (that is, 'two local Arab Muslim terror jihad raiders high on Islamic Jew-hatred' - CM) and brutally stabbed Udi, his wife Ruth, and their three children Yoav (11), Elad (4) and Hadas (three months).

The Muslim thugs slit tiny Hadas' throat as she lay crying in her crib; slashed it so deeply that she was nearly decapitated. Such is the depth of sacralised Islamic Jew-hatred; that a teenaged Arab Muslim is hailed as a hero by his peers when he slits the throat of a helpless Jewish infant, ritually butchering her, as if she were a lamb or a kid that he were sacrificing to his vile allah. - CM

'Tzila spoke at a ceremony marking two years since the five family members were massacred in the settlement (that is, the Jewish village - CM) of Itamar.  The ceremony was held in the presence of cabinet ministers, IDF officers, and rabbis.

'Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman said, "In recent days, everyone's been talking about equal share of the burden, and here we have a family that carried the heaviest possible burden.  We must make sure that no-one is forced to bear that burden ever again".

'Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz also spoke at the ceremony, in which a new yeshiva dorm building in memory of the family was inaugurated, stressing that the only revenge for the Fogel family murder was to "continue to build and develop; we will continue to build and develop this place".

'IDF Central Command Chief Nitzan Alon spoke of the new building named after the family, adding that "I wish that in this seminary you will teach students the Torah, as well as civility"...

"Family members who survived the massacre, including Ruth and Udi's daughter Tamar, who had found her parents' and siblings' bodies, also attended the ceremony.

'A family relative told Ynet that "Tamar, Yishai and Roi are growing up to be positive individuals, who also deal with great pain".

'On March 11, 2011, terrorists infiltrated the Itamar settlement (that is: 'local Arab Muslims, pursuing genocidal Jihad against Jews, sneaked into the Jewish village of Itamar ' - CM) and murdered five members of the Fogel family in their home.  Three of Udi and Ruth's children, Tamar (who was not in the house at the time - CM), Roi and Yishai survived the massacre, since the terrorists fled without reaching all the rooms in the house.

'The two murderers, cousins Hakim and Amjad Awad, who live in the West Bank village of Awarta (or, rather, 'who live in the Muslim village of Awarta in Arab-occupied Samaria'; note that foolish ynet refers to Itamar, Jews living on ancestral Jewish and Israelite land, as a 'settlement' but calls the invading and occupying Muslims' settlement a 'village' - CM) were apprehended by the IDF, convicted in court, and sentenced to five consecutive life sentences each.

And these Arab Muslim young 'men' who slaughtered unarmed people, including three defenceless children, were protected and sheltered by their entire village, and many 'palestinian' Arab Muslims admire and lionize them and approve heartily of what they did.  

I will note that in the Comments, one writer said something with which I agree entirely - "That [the naming of a yeshiva hall] is not the correct way to remember.  Five people murdered.  Next day five new settlements'.

Yes.  A 'Gan Hadass' , 'Hadassah's Garden', should have been established, within a week after the murder of Hadass, in the hills of Judea or of Samaria, in ancestral eretz Israel.  Gan Yoav. Gan Roi. Gan Udi.  Gan Ruth.  And there are so many others that could be built, farms and towns, gardens and orchards and vineyards: one for Miriam Monsonego, say, and one for Rabbi Jonathan Sandler and his two little sons, Aryeh and Gavriel, murdered by the Muslim Mohammed Merah in France; and one for Rivkah Holzberger, and for Gavriel Holzberger, and for their unborn child, murdered by the jihadis in Mumbai; oh, and one for Ilan Halimi, tortured to death by Muslims in the suburbs of Paris; and one for Sebastien Selam, murdered by a Muslim in Paris, a Muslim who then exultantly declared, "I killed a Jew, I will go to Paradise, Allah made me do it".  if one built, in Samaria or Judea or Jerusalem, one house, or one farm, or one vineyard or olive grove, or one moshav or village, for every single Jew who in Israel or anywhere else - just in the past sixty-five years of the existence of the restored Jewish state of Israel  - has been deliberately butchered by allahu-akbaring Muslim Jew-haters, the whole of Judea and Samaria and the environs of Jerusalem would be filled with Jewish homes and gardens and farms and orchards from end to end. 

Muslims are, by their cult, required to hate and to make endless war upon all of us non-Muslims who dwell in what the Muslims are pleased to call dar al Harb, 'the region of war'.  But the Jews are on the front line, targeted with an especial virulence; they were so targeted in all the centuries before Israel was restored, and they are targeted now not only in Israel but everywhere else, in places as far away from Israel as India and France and Bulgaria and, in the past, Argentina, hated and slandered and attacked and murdered by Muslims, simply and solely because they are Jews.

In the face of that monstrous hatred and the occult cursing of the Mohammedans, let us today invoke life and blessing upon all the House of Israel, whether in eretz Israel or in the diaspora, and let us remember especially, over the next few weeks, the Fogel family, those who still live and those who were murdered.

Here is a lovely version of the Aaronic Blessing, sung in Hebrew.

And here is Ofra Haza, Yemeni Jewish, singing her 'Kaddish':

And here is one English version of the beautiful 'Kaddish' prayer, that I found in a modern English version of the Siddur, or Jewish prayerbook, many years ago, and wrote into the endpaper of my own - Anglican - prayerbook.

"Let us magnify and let us sanctify the great name of G-d

In the world which He created according to His will.

"May his kingdom come, and his salvation flourish

in your lifetime, and in your days, and in the lifetime of the family of Israel - 

quickly and speedily may they come, AMEN.

"May the greatness of His being be blessed from eternity to eternity.

"Let us bless and let us extol, let us tell aloud and let us raise aloft

let us set on high and let us honour, let us exalt and let us praise the Holy One,

blessed be He, though He is far beyond all blessings, songs and honours that can be spoken of in this world. AMEN.

"May great peace from Heaven, life and fulfilment, salvation and consolation, healing and redemption, forgiveness and atonement, relief and deliverance

be granted to us and to all the family of Israel. - AMEN.

"May He who makes peace in the highest bring this peace upon us and upon all Israel.


Posted on 02/18/2013 7:08 PM by Christina McIntosh

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