These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 2, 2012.
Monday, 2 July 2012
Strike Hard, Strike Sure
by Esmerelda Weatherwax (July 2012)
To the east and south, London is surrounded by the sites of former RAF stations, some still in civilian use, a very few (eg Northolt) still part of RAF military use, that defended the city and took part in the Battle of Britain. This is well known and much admired. Go north up England’s east coast from Suffolk through Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland and you find the airfields that served Bomber Command. The controversy over whether bombing Germany so fiercely was right, whether the right targets were chosen, Dresden in particular, caused the deaths of 55,573 British and Commonwealth airmen to be neglected, in comparison to their colleagues in Fighter Command. The men of Bomber Command were never awarded a campaign medal. The men of Europe and the Commonwealth may well have been properly honoured in their home countries, as were the men of the USAF who flew from England and Scotland but, notwithstanding the memorial in Lincoln Cathedral, there was no national memorial until this weekend. more>>>
Three British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan by a local policeman following an argument, the Ministry of Defence has said. As relations with local forces continue to deteriorate the deaths mean that a quarter of all British fatalities this year have been caused by Afghans soldiers with seven murdered at the hands of allies.
The soldiers, two from the Welsh Guards and one from the Royal Corps of Signals, are understood to have become involved in an argument with one of the Afghan policemen. The officer opened fire, probably with an AK47 machine gun, and hit three of the soldiers. It is unclear if they were wearing body armour at check point Kamparack Pul in Nahr-e-Saraj in Helmand. A fourth British soldier was wounded but is thought to be stable.
The Afghan policeman was then shot and wounded. He is now in custody. The deaths bring the total number of British fatalities in Afghanistan to 422.
The killer was a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police, whose members have a reputation for having better training and greater discipline than the notorious national police.
A police source in Helmand said shooting had erupted after an unknown argument. He said: "There was an argument between the foreigners and the Afghans. There was a lot of shouting and then suddenly there was shooting."
Commanders are now calling for a change in policy by adopting an American approach to security when working alongside Afghans. The shootings will also be a severe set back in the training and mentoring programme of Afghan security forces. British troops are now “embedded” with Afghans across the local army and police, some in small numbers.
But following an incident in Kabul earlier this year the Americans have adopted a policy that at all times during meetings or operations at least one soldier is stood back with his weapon “cocked and locked”. However, this has raised issues of trust with local troops.
“The concern is going to be where is the whole mentoring and training programme going to go with ‘green on blues’ happening with this regularity?” said one officer. “Look at what happened when the French had green on blue with four dead, they announced within hours that they were leaving Afghanistan.”
Small items of news often tell us more about the zeitgeist than the greatest events of the day. The British Medical Journal for June 9 reported that a Spanish gynecologist in Majorca had been ordered by a court to pay $520,000 in child support for a child who was born after his attempt to abort it at the mother’s request failed. In addition, the gynecologist was ordered to pay the mother $190,000 to compensate her for the distress and disruption she suffered from the continued pregnancy and the birth of the child (though she is reported now to be very happy with him, and is pleased that he was born).
No doubt the failed abortion was the result of woeful medical negligence or incompetence, or both; and it is also likely that the mother was truly distressed when she discovered that she was still with child when she thought that an abortion had been successfully carried out. She had wanted to hide the fact that she was pregnant from her parents and was not able to do so; and apparently she had to give up her job because she was pregnant. But there is nevertheless still something deeply perverse about the judgement. No one to whom I have mentioned it has failed immediately to be disturbed by it.
The judge said that the birth “implied an unchangeable modification of the family structure, personal autonomy, and personal development” of the mother. This is strangely bureaucratic language to have used, langue de bois in fact, that makes of human life nothing but a curriculum vitae for a transcendental Department of Human Resources. Everything that happens is but an effect upon one’s personal development.
Future economic historians, if there are any, will be interested in the judge’s assumption, upon which he based his calculations of the amount the gynecologist should pay, that the mother would have to support the child until he was 25 years old: an understandable or realistic assumption, perhaps, in view of the fact that 50 percent of 25 year olds in Spain are now unemployed.
What is perhaps most significant about the way in which the whole affair was reported, however, was the complete absence from the equation of the father of the child. He didn’t come into it at all.
On the judge’s ruling, the failed abortionist was not only more responsible, but infinitely more responsible, for the child’s maintenance than his father, since the latter was not held to be responsible for it at all. He was, as literary theorists might put it, written out of the narrative altogether, as if the child had been born of virgin birth. Fathers do not count.
Of course, every child now has an inalienable right to be told the truth about its background. When the boy is old enough, surely he will have to be told that his comfortable upbringing is thanks to payments from the gynecologist who failed to abort him as his mother originally wished. Then, if he does not enjoy his life, he will be able to sue his mother for wrongfully having brought him into the world. After all, for every woe there must be an equal and opposite legal remedy.
DAKAR, Senegal — Islamists who have taken control of one of Africa’s most historic cities, Timbuktu, smashed the wooden door of an old mosque on Monday, continuing a campaign of destruction of religious monuments that has drawn condemnation from the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.
Two carloads of bearded men wearing turbans pulled up early Monday morning at the Sidi Yahya mosque, one of three centuries-old mosques in the city, according to several witnesses reached by telephone. Armed with axes, the men took about 40 minutes to destroy the mosque’s wooden door, the witnesses said.
“I asked them why they were doing it,” said Cissé Baba, a high official at another of Timbuktu’s mosques who saw the destruction. “They said, ‘People believe that if that door is opened, the world will end’ ”— an un-Islamic superstition, the men explained, that had to be disproved.
“The door was on the ground,” Mr. Baba said. “It has been there for more than a century. The entire city of Timbuktu is shocked.”
Over the weekend, the Islamists of Ansar Dine — the group that has controlled Timbuktu and much of northern Mali since a coup d’état and a successful revolt against the central authority in March — destroyed at least a half-dozen above-ground mausoleums of religious leaders venerated in Timbuktu as saints. French television stations showed video of men, some armed, resolutely hacking the structures with pickaxes.
“There were about 40 of them,” said Abdoulaye Idnan, a teacher who saw the destruction. “Before they started they said, ‘Allahu akbar,’ and then they started,” he said. “People didn’t react because they are well armed. It was total silence. There were people who were crying, but what could they do?”
Ansar Dine, which means defenders of the faith, preaches a strict form of Islam that advocates a total ban on alcohol, the flogging of adulterers and the imposition of Shariah, or Islamic law, on a part of Mali that has traditionally practiced religious tolerance. The group has embarked on a campaign to stamp out what it sees as examples of decadent Western influence, and now it is going after the monuments that have symbolized Timbuktu’s eminence as a center of broad-minded Islamic teaching for centuries.
“It’s very simple: It doesn’t correspond to the rules of Islam,” said a spokesman for Ansar Dine in Timbuktu, Sanda Ould Boumana, explaining the destruction of the monuments. “This is behavior that has nothing to do with Islam.”
Asked if the destruction would continue, he said: “Of course. What doesn’t correspond to Islam, we are going to correct.”
Commenting on the censure that has come from international organizations, Mr. Boumana said: “They are not credible with us. Why doesn’t the international community interest itself in the women who are hungry here? In Timbuktu, it’s not just the dead. There are living people here. When one is Muslim, one must respect the rules of Islam. It’s about Shariah.”
An expert on Islam said Ansar Dine’s campaign of destruction corresponded to the tenets of extremist practices. “It’s not surprising at all,” said Benjamin Soares, a Mali expert at the African Studies Center in the Netherlands. “They are operating on a script, the Salafi playbook. This is something that many Muslims did in the past in other places. For them, it’s un-Islamic.”
A warning of sorts about the destruction was delivered last Friday, Mr. Idnan said, and as a result there were a number of witnesses when it began early Saturday morning.
“Friday, they told the imams it was formally forbidden to go to the cemeteries to venerate the dead, so people knew,” Mr. Idnan said.
For others in Timbuktu, this new campaign is another example of the domination of Islamist extremists, including Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an ally of Ansar Dine, and the impotence of the Malian state and what remains of its army, still in turmoil after the March coup.
Early on Saturday, “the town woke up around its cemeteries,” said Cissé Agaly, who once ran one of the hotels that used to welcome a steady stream of tourists to the old city. “We saw the Islamists, busy destroying the mausoleums with pickaxes.”
“I am completely disillusioned,” Mr. Agaly said. “This has nothing to do with Islam. These are people without convictions. They are egoists. This is an attack on the city of Timbuktu.”
Ruling from Murfreesboro Chancery Court Stops Mosque Opening
Imam Bahloul, Islamic Center of Murfreesboro
Source: Daily News Journal
This morning, Rutherford County Court Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III issued a response to the Writ of Mandamus filed by Plaintiffs on June 6th and heard on June 13th. Those legal actions were triggered by Corlew’s June 1st ruling that inadequate notice was provided the county’s citizens before the hearing of May 24, 2010 of the Regional Planning Commission approved the mega-mosque for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM). The June 1st ruling by Chancellor Corlew followed hearings on this issue in April 2012. Effectively, the ruling today prevented the County from issuing a certificate of occupancy for the first phase of the expanded ICM of over 12,500 square feet until all appeals by the plaintiffs under the Tennessee Open Meetings Act are concluded. That may well prevent the new mosque located at 2700 Veals Road from being opened at this time prior to the onset of the Islamic religious period of Ramadan that begins on July 20th. Chancellor Corlew had directed the County to re-open hearings on the mosque approval based on notifications that met the standards of the Open Meetings Act.
“Is this court going to put some teeth in the law or is this going to be the first ruling in the small town of Rutherford County where the courts give recognition and honor to Sharia law,” plaintiffs’ attorney Joe Brandon asked the chancellor in his presentation this morning.
Brandon called the chancellor’s ruling a “huge victory” and said he expects him to issue an order requiring the county end construction of the mosque, which is nearly complete.
The chancellor told county attorneys he would not reverse his previous ruling that voided a vote by the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission when it approved the ICM’s site plan in May 2010. Corlew ruled that the county failed to provide adequate public notice for the meeting by advertising it in a small ad in the Murfreesboro Post. The notice was not placed on the county’s website or on its cable TV channel.
Corlew noted that he gave the county specific instructions that would allow the ICM to go back through the approval process.
But County Attorney Jim Cope said afterward that the county can’t advertise for another meeting because the ICM hasn’t filed another application. He noted that ICM officials said they weren’t going to file another application on a “matter of principle.”
“We can’t make somebody re-apply and hold a hearing,” Cope said.
While the devil is in the details of Chancellor Corlew’s ruling to be issued this evening, at issue is what legal action will several parties at interest in the conflict on Mosque expansion in Middle Tennessee take? We note the references by the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) monitoring of the Chancery Court proceedings, at a recent press conference held at the ICM site by US Attorney for Nashville Jerry Martin. The press conference concerned an indictment of a Texas man who allegedly made bombing threats against the ICM. Martin said at the press conference:
The Department of Justice, the FBI and our law enforcement partners’ intent to protect the rights afforded under the Constitution to all individuals, including the most basic right to exercise freedom of religious beliefs. The controversy and criminal activity surrounding the construction of this particular place of worship has impeded the ability of people to exercise that most basic right,” Martin said.
“We will continue to monitor the progress of construction and legal proceedings at the local level to insure these citizens are able to enjoy all basic liberties guaranteed under the Constitution.”
The Regional County Planning Commission had voted 6 to 1 to appeal Chancellor Corlew’s June 1st ruling. In our blog post on that and plaintiff’s motions we noted that the Commission “deemed [Corlew’s ruling as] discriminatory under Tennessee and Federal Law. The Regional Planning Commission did not indicate whether they might reopen the approval process as suggested in Corlew’s June 1st order.”
Further we noted the comments of lead plaintiff Kevin Fisher:
I have no doubt whatsoever that the rights of the local citizens to be notified will be upheld,” Fisher said. “What I find tragic is that we have a county government so arrogant, so corrupted by power, they are willing to trample on the rights of law abiding citizens in the name of political correctness. Political correctness has no place in this debate. This issue was judged solely on the merits of the facts alone, not hype and angry rhetoric. That’s an honorable standard to set, and only in America is this even possible. To now challenge this standard is offensive to all of us who long for a day when one's race, creed, color or religion plays no part in discussions, and where the only issue of relevance is merit.
It would appear that Fisher, plaintiffs’ counsel Brandon and many opponents of the approval process for the expanded ICM at the Veals Road site may be encouraged by today’s Chancery Court ruling.
Renowned Forensic Psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Welner and I had the opportunity to confer about such matters at the Annual Meeting of Louisiana District Attorneys Association in Florida today. He was a guest lecturer at the professional prosecutors gathering. He asked me why the Murfreesboro mosque matter was important and what likely next steps might be with today’s ruling in mind. I told him that the Muslim Brotherhood has made this cause célèbre in a state where Muslims represents less than one percent of Tennessee 6.3 million population. The media, federal, state and local government have acquiesced to demands by Muslim Brotherhood advocacy groups n the grounds of First Amendment rights of freedom of worship.
Given the USDOJ, County and ICM contention that the Chancery Court actions are discriminatory under Tennessee and Federal laws granting exemptions from local zoning approval, I told Welner it is likely that during the appeals we will once again witness the US Attorney for Nashville Martin and the ADL filing amicus briefs, as they did during the original 2010-2011 hearing. Let us see what develops in this continuing contretemps over mosque expansion in the American heartland propelled by the influence campaign of the Muslim Brotherhood in our midst.
Eric Allen Bell's Fox News Interview on Islam in Mufreesboro
Michael Moore, the religious affairs writers at The Huffington Post and the Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom are 'shocked, shocked' that California documentarian Eric Allen Bell has become a turncoat to liberal views on Islam and Mosque expansion in America. Bell had been their champion. He was an item during the first Murfreesboro hearing with his attack videos of plaintiffs and opponents of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. He was a valued defender of the freedom of worship of Muslims and rights to build the mosque with minimal interference from local zoning approval laws. He got to know Islamic Center of Murfreesboro Imam Osama Bahloul and many of the ICM board members, as well as local Muslim families. What the local Muslim Brotherhood leaders didn’t reckon with was that Bell would delve into Qur’anic doctrine and suddenly realize that Muslim weren’t the problem, but Islam was. He came to the inevitable conclusion that hatred and rejection of Western values and veneration of the violent exemplar, the Prophet Mohammed, made Islam a dangerous religion with its core totalitarian doctrine. Bell now opposes the real purpose of the Islam Center of Murfreesboro for what it is, a center for da'wa - the call to Islam and furtherance of the grand Jihad in the American heartland.
Bell has done a turnabout, aided in large measure by support from the David Horowitz Freedom Center and articles on the Murfreesboro mosque in its publication, Front Page Magazine. Bell is back in Murfreesboro this July to do some more investigations into what lies behind the bread crumb trail funding the ICM and other mosques in Middle Tennessee. Some of these investigations may finally identify where the Muslim community derives funding for its activities and where it is applied. It might just trip up the rampant Muslim Brotherhood influence campaign in the Volunteer State and expose it for it is.
This morning, Bell appeared on Fox and Friends in a brief in a telling interview, about his “mistake about the mosque in Murfreesboro” and his delving into Islam. Consider this Bell’s mea culpa and emergence as a member of the Counter-Jihad media movement. He appears to be catching a wave of national attention with this Fox and Friends interview. Doubtless, today’s Rutherford County Chancery Court ruling possibly stopping the opening of the new mosque with 12,500 square at the Veals Road site in Murfreesboro just prior to Ramadan is one of those exquisite coincidences.