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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, 20, 2010.
Monday, 20 December 2010
Did somebody mention Oglethorpe?

Yes, it was Hugh.


With this in mind as my Christmas visits and errands for the elderly relatives took me this way I decided to make time to stop and take some photographs, as the sky was clear and the afternoon warming up to all of  -2°, up from -9° first thing. I know that is not cold compared to Wisconsin, Minnesota or Winnipeg but it is nippy by the standards of southern England.

This is All Saints Church Cranham where James Oglethorpe is buried. After he left Georgia and returned to England he married Elizabeth Wright of Cranham Hall. They lived there until they died, and entertained the likes of Goldsmith Pope, Boswell and Johnson. The current church is Victorian, around 1870 but it was built on the original mediaeval foundations. The Oglethorpe vault is intact under the chancel and their memorial tablet was replaced in the correct position over it. I have never managed to visit the inside of the church. It is slightly off the beaten track and has always been locked.

The current building of Cranham Hall was built in 1800 to replace the earlier Manor house and is in very private (don't even think of parking here!) hands.


Posted on 12/20/2010 12:13 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 20 December 2010
Kosovo's Prime Minister Accused Of Being Head Of Group Smuggling Weapons, Drugs, and Human Organs

Kosovo PM is head of human organ and arms ring, Council of Europe reports

Two-year inquiry accuses Albanian 'mafia-like' crime network of killing Serb prisoners for their kidneys

Hashim Thaci, prime minister of Kosovo
Hashim Thaci, prime minister of Kosovo. Photograph: Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty Images

Kosovo's prime minister is the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.

Hashim Thaçi is identified as the boss of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the runup to the 1998-99 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country's government since.

The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted "violent control" over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi's inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.

Legal proceedings began in a Pristina district court today into a case of alleged organ trafficking discovered by police in 2008. That case – in which organs are said to have been taken from impoverished victims at a clinic known as Medicus – is said by the report to be linked to Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) organ harvesting in 2000. It comes at a crucial period for Kosovo, which on Sunday held its first elections since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008. Thaçi claimed victory in the election and has been seeking to form a coalition with opposition parties.

Dick Marty, the human rights investigator behind the inquiry, will present his report to European diplomats from all 47 member states at a meeting in Paris on Thursday. His report suggests Thaçi's links with organised crime date back more than a decade, when those loyal to his Drenica group came to dominate the KLA, and seized control of "most of the illicit criminal enterprises" in which Kosovans were involved south of the border, in Albania.

During the Kosovo conflict Slobodan Miloševic's troops responded to attacks by the KLA by orchestrating a horrific campaign against ethnic Albanians in the territory. As many as 10,000 are estimated to have died at the hands of Serbian troops.

While deploring Serb atrocities, Marty said the international community chose to ignore suspected war crimes by the KLA, "placing a premium instead on achieving some degree of short-term stability". He concludes that during the Kosovo war and for almost a year after, Thaçi and four other members of the Drenica group named in the report carried out "assassinations, detentions, beatings and interrogations". This same hardline KLA faction has held considerable power in Kosovo's government over the last decade, with the support of western powers keen to ensure stability in the fledgling state.

The report paints a picture in which ex-KLA commanders have played a crucial role in the region's criminal activity. It says: "In confidential reports spanning more than a decade, agencies dedicated to combating drug smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaçi and other members of his Drenica group as having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics."

Marty says: "Thaçi and these other Drenica group members are consistently named as 'key players' in intelligence reports on Kosovo's mafia-like structures of organised crime. I have examined these diverse, voluminous reports with consternation and a sense of moral outrage."

His inquiry was commissioned after the former chief prosecutor for war crimes at the Hague, Carla Del Ponte, said she had been prevented from investigating senior KLA officials. Her most shocking claim, which she said required further investigation, was that the KLA smuggled captive Serbs across the border into Albania, where their organs were harvested.

The report, which states that it is not a criminal investigation and unable to pronounce judgments of guilt or innocence, gives some credence to Del Ponte's claims.

It finds the KLA did hold mostly Serb captives in a secret network of six detention facilities in northern Albania, and that Thaçi's Drenica group "bear the greatest responsibility" for prisons and the fate of those held in them.

They include a "handful" of prisoners said to have been transferred to a makeshift prison just north of Tirana, where they were killed for their kidneys.

The report states: "As and when the transplant surgeons were confirmed to be in position and ready to operate, the captives were brought out of the 'safe house' individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.''

The same Kosovan and foreign individuals involved in the macabre killings are linked to the Medicus case, the report finds.

Marty is critical of the western powers which have provided a supervisory role in Kosovo's emergence as a state, for failing to hold senior figures, including Thaçi, to account. His report criticises "faltering political will on the part of the international community to effectively prosecute the former leaders of the KLA".

It concludes: "The signs of collusion between the criminal class and the highest political and institutional office holders are too numerous and too serious to be ignored.

"It is a fundamental right of Kosovo's citizens to know the truth, the whole truth, and also an indispensable condition for reconciliation between the communities and the country's prosperous future."

If as expected the report is formally adopted by the committee this week, the findings will go before the parliamentary assembly next year.

The Kosovo government tonight dismissed the allegations, claiming they were the produce of "despicable and bizarre actions by people with no moral credibility".

"Today, the Guardian published an article that referred to a report from a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Dick Marty, which follows up on past reports published over the last 12 years aiming at maligning the war record of the Kosovo Liberation Army and its leaders," it said in a statement.

"The allegations have been investigated several times by local and international judiciary, and in each case, it was concluded that such statements have were not based on facts and were construed to damage the image of Kosovo and the war of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

"It is clear that someone wants to place obstacles in the way of prime minister, Hashim Thaçi, after the general election, in which the people of Kosovo placed their clear and significant trust in him to deliver the development programme and governance of our country.

"Such despicable and bizarre actions by people with no moral credibility, serve the ends of only those specific circles that do not wish well to Kosovo and its people."

Posted on 12/20/2010 12:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
The EU Piles On, Without Of Course Thinking Of The Consequences, In The Ivory Coast

EU 'to ban' Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo

Supporters of Laurent Gbagbo at a rally on 19/12/10 These Gbagbo supporters say France is to trying to interfere in its former colony

The European Union is set to impose a travel ban on Ivory Coast's incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo over disputed elections, a diplomat has told the BBC.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy had given Mr Gbagbo a deadline of Sunday to step down.

Mr Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara both say they won last month's election and have each named cabinet ministers amid a stand-off in the main city Abidjan.

The UN, the West and African leaders all say Mr Ouattara was the victor.

There are fears that the dispute could reignite civil war in the world's largest cocoa producer.

About 50 people have been killed in recent days, according to UN human rights chief Navi Pillay.

She said she had received reports of hundreds of people being snatched from their homes by people in military uniforms. Some were later found dead.

'Ready to die'

The diplomat told the BBC that an agreement had been taken in principle to ban Mr Gbagbo, and 18 of his allies, from the EU.

Ivory Coast

  • World's largest cocoa producer
  • 1990s: Slipped into internal strife after death of President Felix Houphouet-Boigny
  • 2002: New Forces rebels seize north
  • 2007: Power-sharing government installed with ex-rebel leader as prime minister
  • 2010: First presidential elections in 10 years
  • Laurent Gbagbo: President since 2000, southerner, backed by security forces
  • Alassane Ouattara: Former prime minister, northerner, backed by ex-rebels, UN, West and African Union [born in Burkina Faso, and Muslim, like more and more of those who in recent decades have entered, and remained, in  the northern Ivory Coast]

The diplomat said the travel ban had to be officially adopted by EU leaders within the next 24-48 hours but said this was a formality as all member states backed it.

A separate decision may be taken to freeze any of Mr Gbagbo's assets in the EU. A US official last week said he and his family had "multiple homes in multiple countries".

Over the weekend, Mr Gbagbo demanded that the 10,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission be withdrawn from the country, accusing the UN of bias in favour of Mr Ouattara.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon immediately rejected the demand.

One of Mr Gbagbo's closest allies, youth leader Charles Ble Goude, on Sunday told a rally in Abidjan: "This battle that we began in 2002 - we are ready to die for it."

Mr Goude, who is on a UN sanctions list after his Young Patriots group were accused of killing, raping and assaulting opposition supporters, has been named Mr Gbagbo's youth minister.

Some of his supporters accuse former colonial power France of meddling in Ivory Coast's politics. It has a military base there and retains strong economic ties to the country.

UN troops are protecting the luxury Abidjan hotel where Mr Ouattara has been based since the disputed election.

Mr Ouattara, a former IMF economist from the north of the country, was initially declared the winner by the electoral commission.

But the Constitutional Council then annulled the vote in many rebel-held areas of the north, after Mr Gbagbo's allies complained of fraud.

The Council then said Mr Gbagbo had won, with 51% of the vote.

But the UN mission in Ivory Coast, Unoci, which was involved in organising the election, said Mr Ouattara was the victor.

The election was intended to reunify Ivory Coast, which has been split into two parts since a 2002 civil war.

Posted on 12/20/2010 7:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
A Man At The Market Gives Me His Views On The Ivory Coast

At a market - a supermarket, not an open-air market --  I go to, the man at the fish counter and I sometimes discuss Islam in  West Africa. He's from Nigeria, a member of the Yoruba tribe, and a Christian (Yorubas swing both ways). He always likes to see me, to see someone who is interested to hear about  Nigeria, and who shares alarm about the things that concern him.  He always has a story for me, one that is part of the spectacle that amazes and disturbs him, c of Americans failing to understand his part of Africa, and above all, failing to understand the violence, aggression, and permanent  danger, of Islam. and its carriers.

Naturally we got to talking yesterday about the Ivory Coast. He said he did not know about either Gbagbo or Ouattara, whether they were, as so many of those African rulers called Big Men are or in office turn out to be, crooks with courtiers. It might even be, he said, that Ouattara was, as an individual, superior to Gbagbo.He did not know. He did know, however, that the charge that Muslims from the north had been coming across the border, into Ivory Coast, for decades, was true. He said that all such borders are completely porous, and that the Ivory Coast had been a great economic success story, and naturally people from Burkina Faso and perhaps other countries to the north of Ivory Coast would want to come. Unfortunately, these people had been colonized mentally by Arab imperialism, whose vehicle is Islam, and they carried Islam with them. It might, he said, be a relaxed form -- for now. It might, he said, be something that Western powers, all of which have rallied around Ouattara without thinking about two things. First, they might think about the charge, which this man believed, that in the northern part of the country, Musilms indeed would have intimidated Christians who might have wanted to vote for Gbagbo. The second, so he said, was that in his view, and that of his fellow West Africans,  that the charge that Muslim foreigners, non-Ivorians, had been coming into the north in larger and larger numbers, changing not only the demography of the country, but managing to change elections too by getting on the electoral rolls without being citizens. The north, after all, was now a separate place, where the writ of the government in Abidjan did not run..

And he had one more charge to make. He accused the colonial powers -- France and England -- of having always preferred Muslims to rule in the countries of West Africa. They found the Muslims better able to assure order and dociility which is what, he said, the colonialists wanted. They didn't care, years ago, about any great contest between Islam and Christianity, and even though the Europeans brought missionaries, the French, he said, and the British, and both favored Muslim rulers. He said that in Nigeria, at independence, the British essentially handed power over to the Muslims, made sure they would dominate. And in the Ivory Coast, he said that while Gbagbo had lived in France, had been and perhyaps still was a "sociallist" (whatever that word may have meant in a period that included such socialist sun-kings as Mitterrand), even had friends among those French "socialists," now under Sarkozy the French were presuming to order the Ivorians about, and, along with the Americans and the rest of the West, were far too mesemerized by the idea that Ouattara had "won" the election without asking themselves just what was going on in the Ivory Coast, and about the demographic changes that, in the West itself, might someday threaten, in the very same way, those whose countries were being taken over, not as in the Ivory Coast by immigrants who flowed in uncontrolled, but by Muslims who have been allowed in, heedlessly, and who proceed to out-breed the natives. He thought that now that France had ordered the Ivorians out, this would madden Gbabgo's supporters, and elsewhere in Africa, the bullying behavior of the West would not be looked on with favor. He wondered why the West could not understand it had to stand up for, and ally itself clearly with, the Christians of black Africa. He said there was little comprehension in the West of the forces of islam, and how they operate, either in Nigeria, or elsewhere, and the word "democracy" -- interpreted merely as the results of head-counting without any understanding of the context (who votes, and how, and when, and why) -- was being used to change the balance of forces and to dishearten Christians in the Ivory Coast, and inevitably, elsewhee in West Africa.

We have two kinds of colonialism, he said. There is the colonialism of the Arabs, that works through Islam. And then there are the modern coloniialists, who though they are now threatened, in their own countries, by Muslims, do not help us, the Christians,and still take the side of Muslims in many parts of Africa. This makes no sense. He could not understand it.

Then a line started to form, people clearly out for shrimp and salmon, already worrying over their choices, and which was wild caught and which farm-raised in miserable pens in southeast Asia, and I didn't want to get him in any trouble, so he quickly wrapped my Prince Edward Island mussels, and the conversation ended, and I left him to attend to others, and I moved on to the fortunate aisles, and picked up a few free-range tomatoes, and a box of linguine, and -- yes, I almost forgot -- the olive oil without which life is not worth living. I had, you see, just run out.

Posted on 12/20/2010 7:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
YouTube As Censor Of Palestine Media Watch

As of now, of the six posts to which links are given below, the first three are no longer available at YouTube, the last three are. What it will take to get the first three back on-line I do not know, but Google has some explaining to do. It is not "hate speech" to reproduce,  without any tampering or editorializing, speeches given by others. Or was there some misunderstanding, some belief that to ban these speeches by Muslim Arabs was to prevent their dangerous message from being acted on by fellow-hysterics? I don't know.

But here are the six links. If you do not know, or had forgotten, the exact quality of what goes on in the "Palestinian" media, and is almost never reported in the Western press, see the last three links. And if you have friends whom you are trying to get to see, however imperfectly, the light, send those last three links to them, and ask them to watch.  You can send a message suitable for the holidays with it, something like "Stop being a total ass on this subject and face reality."  Avail yourself of what is available.

The links:

1. "Hamas TV teaches kids to kill Jews" formerly at
Removed for violating our Terms of Use on 10/02/2009.

2. "Jews are a virus like Aids" formerly at
Removed for violating our Terms of Use on 01/18/2010.

3. "Farewell video before suicide attack of Hamas suicide bomber Adham Ahmad Hujyla Abu Jandal" formerly at
Removed for violating our Terms of Use on 06/10/2010.

4. "Hamas suicide farewell video: Jews monkeys and pigs; Maidens reward for killing Jews" formerly at
Removed for violating our Terms of Use on 08/14/2010.   AVAILABLE

5. "PA cleric: Kill Jews, Allah will make Muslims masters over Jews" formerly at
Removed for violating our Terms of Use on 12/12/2010. AVAILABLE

6. "Hamas suicide terrorist farewell video: Palestinians drink the blood of Jews" formerly at
Removed for violating our Terms of Use on 12/15/2010. AVAILABLE

Posted on 12/20/2010 8:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
How Could Anyone In His Right Mind Not Be On The Side Of Israel?


The Israelis, or a majority of them, know their true situation. It is their government, from which so many Israelis are now so obviously disaffected, that refuses to know. But that government is wrong. Soberly recognizing the permanent meaning, and menace, of Islam, and acting and planning accordingly, and helping or insisting that other countries, including the United States, recognize the real nature of the threat that Israel faces, is not a counsel of despair. Nor is helping those other countries, including the United States, to understand that the Jihad against Israel is a Lesser Jihad, one of many whose sum is the worldwide Jihad, a "struggle" by Muslims, using various instruments that go beyond, and are more effective, than terrorism, to remove all obstacles to the spread and then to the dominance of Islam.

Everywhere Islam must triumph. Everywhere, eventually, Muslims must rule. It may take a century, or two. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it never comes to be. What matters is the fact of the promptings, that will not go away unless the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira either disappear, or are modified, or interpreted away, or are received as texts from which one may pick and choose. Until then, the immutable and uncreated Qur'an remains, the literal Word of God, outside of history.

Israel is not its only, not even its main, target. But for decades it has been the most-publicized target of Jihad, for the existence of an Infidel nation-state, smack in the middle of Dar al-Islam, and run by the despised Jews, is simply something that sends many Muslims into a fury. Some conceal that fury for the benefit of Western donors and diplomats, but that fury will always remain.

The Israelis -- or most of them -- now understand this. It is Haim Ramon, and Ehud Olmert, and the Livni lady, and David Landau of Ha'aretz, and the permanently preening leftists who do not understand it, for they all learn what they need to know about Israel from their "Palestinian" friends -- the ones whom it is de rigueur for a certain kind of Israeli leftist to possess, and to prefer to those difficult Jewish fellow citizens who seem to compromise. Their rigidity is so unlike the flexibility and openness of those very nice "Palestinian friends," doing their own version of Edward Said courting, say, this or that Jewish professor at Columbia, or the musician Daniel Barenboim.

Yes, Israel appeared to be the sole victim (for those who never let their gaze wander over to the subcontinent, to India) until recently, when the OPEC trillions and Muslim millions in Europe made much larger goals, once scarcely conceivable, now entirely conceivable. Before that, the reconquest of Israel was the one goal that got all the attention. That the Arabs seemed exercised only by Israel (with its implied corollary that if Israel were to be thrown to the wolves, all manner of things would be well) was merely an optical illusion.

If it is any consolation to Israel, it now can share that attention with Infidel peoples and polities everywhere.

Indeed, how could anyone in his right mind not be on the side of Israel?

How can those diplomats at the U.N., the ones from the quasi-civilized countries, stand to vote as they are told to? Why does not one of them simply resign, on the spot, in a fit of moral fury?

How can those who presume to make policy in the capitols of the Western world, including Washington, London and, especially Berlin, and in all the rest of Europe, presume to preach to Israel as to what that tiny country, under permanent siege, has a "right" to do, as to what constitutes a "proportional" response, as to what Israel simply "must" give up, after it has already, for the past half century, again and again given up in every negotiation and every treaty, all of which have been, and all of which will be, breached by the Muslims who take as their model the Treaty of Hudaibiyya?

No one has the moral right to lecture or hector Israel about anything. No one has the moral right to pressure it about anything, to belabor it about anything, to dare to condemn it for anything, as it fights, and will have permanently to fight, for its life.

Posted on 12/20/2010 9:30 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
British soldier took a shot to the head to save 10-year-old girl

From The Mirror

A BRITISH soldier took a shot to the head rather than risk killing a 10-year-old girl being used as a human shield, it emerged last night.

Lance Corporal Craig Murfitt, 25, was serving in Helmand with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment on a patrol when they were called to back up infantry colleagues pinned down by insurgent fire. He then spotted a Taliban fighter in the distance – holding a 10-year-old girl as a human shield.

LCpl Murfitt said: “I spotted three men with a child on a compound roof, about 300 yards in front of the vehicles. Suddenly two of the men moved off, leaving one man with the child. It was a girl, no more than 10. “The man picked up a rifle and moved behind the child, taking aim at me. I knew I could take him down but, being a dad myself, I didn’t want to run the risk of killing a child. So I waited, hoping the girl would drop down and give me a clear shot.” Instead, the sniper fired, hitting LCpl Murfitt in the head. It was only his helmet that saved him, leaving him dazed but uninjured. The child fled at the sound of the shot - leaving his colleagues the chance to open fire.

LCpl Murfitt, from Barnstaple, Devon, said: “I felt the dent in my helmet and said, ‘I’ve been shot in the head but I’m fine’. I tried to stand up but I had disco legs and just had to sit down again. As I sat back and started to take in what happened I heard gunfire as my colleagues engaged the insurgent.”

An Army spokesman said: “The actions of this soldier, who took a bullet to save the life of a small child, have shown the difference between British courage and Taliban evil.”

Posted on 12/20/2010 10:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 20 December 2010
Albanian Interior Minister Lulzim Basha Accused Of Connection To "Yellow House"

From SE Europe News:

Albania's Basha denies involvement in "Yellow House" investigations


TIRANA, Albania -- Interior Minister Lulzim Basha insisted on Sunday (December 19th) that he played no part in investigations led by UNMIK into the so-called "Yellow House" in northern Albania. Basha's name was mentioned by the former UNMIK official in charge of missing persons, Jose Pablo Baraybar, who said Basha served as a translator in 2004.

"These are only lies. I have never been to a "yellow house", Basha said, adding that he was employed by UNMIK only to establish the new Justice Ministry in Kosovo. In an interview Sunday, Baraybar described a visit that a UNMIK crew made to Albania in 2004. "I have heard the Interior Minister [Basha] rule [this] out. But I know that he knows. He was with me, he had the file," said Baraybar.

Fresh reports surfaced last week alleging the "yellow house" as the centre of criminal activities related to the smuggling of human organ victims.

Posted on 12/20/2010 12:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
An Albanian Revisits Albania

A few weeks ago I  struck up a conversation with a woman who works in a medical office. She had an accent, and I tried to guess -- I always try - where she was from. I was stumped, and she told me: Albania. We got to talking some more, I felt her out on the subject of Islam, and discovered she was an atheist, but her parents had, before Communism, been Christians. I asked her if she'd been back to Albania recently. Yes, she said, to her city, the second-largest city in Albania. I forgot to write down its name, but I've looked up cities in Albania, and apparently it is Dorres.

Any changes of note, I asked, for she had left Albania more than a decade ago. Yes, she said. "It was amazing. There were all kinds of mosques that had never been there before. And lots of women with Muslim head-coverings. I had never seen anything like it before."

Was I right? Was it Dorres? Or was it Shkoder? Or perhaps some other city. I don't know.

But I do know that something is going on in Albania that is not good either for the Christians in Albania, or for the Western world.

We are all so used to thinking the Balkan question has been solved, and that Richard Holbrooke, who just died, a man who saw the world with his can-do naivete and personal thrusting ambition, as a place full of "problems" that were susceptible of "solution," had solved the little matter between Bosnians and Serbs and Croatians, and Kosovars and Serbs, and Serbia, Croatia and Albania. Nothing of the kind was achieved. What was achieved was a temporary, not permanet, cessation of violence. And in the Western world, a narrative that blamed Serbs and Serbia for everything became established. It is time to disestablish them, and to look afresh at historic Serbian fears of Islam, borne  of centuries of experience with Ottoman overlords, and to note what Arabs and Arab money are now doing in Albania, Kosovo, and elsewhere in the region. For like Israel, and like Spain, the Balkans stand high, as once being subject to Muslim rulers, on the To-Do List of Muslims who take Islam and its duties most to heart.

Posted on 12/20/2010 12:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
The Morality Tale, With Laurent Gbagbo As The Arch-Villain, Receives Its Final Edit

EU May Ban Ivory Coast’s President Gbagbo, 18 Others

December 20, 2010


By Franz Wild and Pauline Bax

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union will decide this week whether to impose an asset freeze and a visa ban on Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, his wife, and 17 other officials, an EU spokeswoman said.

“There is an agreement on the expert level on the list for the visa ban,” Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said today by phone from Brussels.

The international community has sought to isolate Gbagbo after he refused to accept defeat in the Nov. 28 run-off election in the world’s largest cocoa grower. While the Independent Electoral Commission said challenger Alassane Ouattara won the vote, the Constitutional Council declared Gbagbo the victor, after rejecting vote tallies from some northern regions.

More than 50 people were killed and at least 200 injured in three days of protests, mainly in Abidjan, the biggest city, and Yamoussoukro, the capital, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement yesterday. A group of pro-Ouattara parties said in a statement today that at least 45 people have been killed and about 650 are being held by police.

The UN is investigating reports of a mass grave outside of Abidjan, Young-jin Choi, head of the UN mission in Ivory Coast, told reporters today.

Police Custody

The UN “has received reports from hundreds of victims and members of their families about the abduction of individuals from their homes, especially at night, by unidentified armed individuals in military uniform accompanied by elements of the defence and security forces or militia groups,” Pillay said in a statement yesterday.

The UN has rejected a call from Gbagbo for it to withdraw its roughly 8,000 peacekeepers from the West African country. France should also pull out its 900 troops because the former colonial power and the UN are biased toward Ouattara, Gbagbo spokeswoman Jacqueline Oble said on Dec. 18.

Six members of Ivory Coast’s security forces on Dec. 17 attacked the UN base in Abidjan, according to the UN. “Armed young men” have approached the homes of UN staff members and told them to leave, Choi said today.

“Any attack on UN forces will be an attack on the international community and those responsible for these actions will be held accountable,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday.

With the African Union, the U.S., and the Economic Community of West African States urging Gbabgo to step down, the UN Security Council is scheduled today to discuss the situation in Ivory Coast.

Posted on 12/20/2010 1:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
Our good friends and strong allies in the war on drugs, organized crime, and organ harvesting

This photo from the White House shows then-President Bush shaking hands with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu (center) and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi during a meeting in the White House in 2008.

Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci, Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu, President George W. Bush

Posted on 12/20/2010 1:30 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Monday, 20 December 2010
A Musical Interlude: Anything Goes (Cole Porter)

Listen here.

Posted on 12/20/2010 2:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
Britain: 12 Muslim men of military age arrested on suspicion of preparing jihad raids

From ABC Australia's Europe correspondent Philip Williams, 'and wires'.

"12 Arrested in UK Anti-Terrorism Swoop'.

'British police have arrested 12 men in what has been described as a major anti-terrorism operation.

'Houses in three cities are now being searched.

'The suspects are all aged between 17 and 28 (that should be, "the suspects are all Muslim men aged between 17 and 28" - CM) and were arrested in coordinated raids in Cardiff, Stoke-on-Trent, and London.

'Police say they have been detained on suspicion of the commission, preparation, or instigation of an act of terrorism. (That is: they were preparing to carry out violent jihad raids - CM).

'Police are not giving details, but Assistant Commissioner John Yates said the arrests were timely.  "With the current threat level at severe and with the information we had, I believe that today's arrests were absolutely necessary in order to keep the public safe", he said.  "This operation has used significant resources from the country's counter-terrorism network". 

("Significant resources".  Just how much 'resources' - how much money, men and time - are being used up by the necessity of continually, expensively monitoring large numbers of Muslims who just keep on producing mass-murderous jihad plots? - CM).

'The BBC said in an unsourced report that the arrests were linked to an investigation into Al Qaeda-inspired attacks within Britain.

(Observe.  It is not until the eighth sentence of the report, and obliquely, that we discover that these 'men' are what we suspected - Muslims.  The ABC's Philip Williams needs to realize that the Muslim religion, the belief-system of these young men of military age, is not incidental to this story. It is not a minor detail.  It is the salient fact, the thing he needs to communicate to the public.  He needs to realize that if these twelve men were not Muslim - if, for example, they had left Islam and become atheists, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Christians, like Canon Patrick Sookhdeo - they would not  now be in detention on suspicion of having plotted to commit mass murder of non-Muslims on British soil; they would not be subscribers to a program of out-and-out assault upon the non-Muslim citizens and institutions of Britain.  - CM). 

'The inquiry was led by the M15 domestic security agency and the suspected plot was in its early stages, the BBC said.

'Police would not comment on the report.

'British police and security services have investigated dozens of suspected plots and arrested hundreds of suspects since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

'Jonathan Evans, head of the M15 security service, said in a rare speech last year that his biggest task was tackling Al Qaeda-inspired militants.  He highlighted a growing threat from militants in Yemen and Somalia.

(But these arrests were not made in Yemen or Somalia; they were made in Cardiff, London and Stoke-on-Trent and I am prepared to bet good money that at least some of those arrested will turn out to be Muslims who were born and brought up in Britain, within the 'Muslim community' there, holding a British citizenship-by-birth for which they have no regard at all except as a temporary convenience.  And such British-born Muslims, given the composition of the Mohammedan colonies in Britain, are more likely to be of Pakistani, that is, South Asian ethnic extraction, than anything else. It is also perfectly possible that one at least of those arrested could be an ethnically-British convert to Islam - such converts have featured in plots, or in attempted attacks, before now.  The primary threat is not in faraway Yemen or Somalia, or Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan, but on British soil itself, within the mosques there - see 'Undercover Mosque' - and in those suburbs, those neighbourhoods now dominated by Muslims, into which non-Muslim Britons - whether Jewish, Anglo-Saxon, black or East Asian - venture at their peril.  - CM).

'Four suicide bombers killed 52 people on three trains and a bus in London in July 2005'.

(There were neither Yemenis nor Somalis among those four Muslim murder-'martyrs' of July 2005.  They had been born and brought up in Britain. Three were from Beeston in Leeds, one from Luton.  Three were from Pakistani Muslim migrant families.  Shahzan Tanweer's father ran a fish and chip shop; he was a keen cricketer.  Mohammed Siddique Khan was a teacher's aide.  Hasib Hussain had made trouble in school and been sent off home to Pakistan to be straightened out...oh dear.  And one - Germaine Lindsay, a British citizen of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity - was a convert to Islam - CM).


Posted on 12/20/2010 1:58 PM by Christina McIntosh
Monday, 20 December 2010
The Relics Of A Truly Cross Man


Qur'an etched in Saddam Hussein's blood poses dilemma for Iraq leaders

As country debates whether to destroy everything connected to former dictator, Shia-led regime remains sensitive about relics

Baghdad Mosque Houses Saddam's Blood Koran
Iraqi Imams view the 605-page qur'an written using 24 litres of former dictator Saddam Hussein's own blood donated over a number of years. Photograph: Scott Peterson/Getty Images

It was etched in the blood of a dictator in a ghoulish bid for piety. Over the course of two painstaking years in the late 1990s, Saddam Hussein had sat regularly with a nurse and an Islamic calligrapher; the former drawing 27 litres of his blood and the latter using it as a macabre ink to transcribe a Qur'an. But since the fall of Baghdad, almost eight years ago, it has stayed largely out of sight - locked away behind three vaulted doors. It is the one part of the ousted tyrant's legacy that Iraq has simply not known what to do with.

The vault in the vast mosque in Baghdad has remained locked for the past three years, keeping the 114 chapters of the Muslim holy book out of sight - and mind - while those who run Iraq have painstakingly processed the other cultural remnants of 30 years of Saddam and the Ba'ath party.

"What is in here is priceless, worth absolutely millions of dollars," said Sheikh Ahmed al-Samarrai, head of Iraq's Sunni Endowment fund, standing near the towering minarets of the west Baghdad mosque that Saddam named "the Mother of All Battles". Behind him is the infamous Blood Qur'an, written in Saddam's own blood.

Even to get to this point - the last step before entering the forbidden vault - has been a tortuous process.

On one flank had been the government, doing all it could to prevent access. The Shia-led regime is highly sensitive to the re-emergence of any symbols that might lionise the remnants of the Ba'athist rank and file, which still orchestrates bombings and assassinations every few days.

And then there are the Sunnis themselves, who are fearful of government retribution if they open the doors and of divine disapproval if they treat this particularly gruesome volume of the Qur'an with the reverence of a holy book.

"It was wrong to do what he did, to write it in blood," says Sheikh Samarrai. "It is haraam [forbidden]."

Despite this, Sammarie says he acted as the document's protector during the mayhem that followed the US-led invasion in 2003, hiding pages in his house and moving others among the homes of his relatives.

"I knew this would be much sought after and we made the decision to protect it. But to see this now is not easy. There are three keys and none of them are held in the one place. I have one, the police chief in the area has another and there is a third in another part of Baghdad. There has to be a decision of a committee to let you in."

Other relics have been much easier for the government to deal with, such as the Saddam statue that was toppled by US marines in April 2003, and copper busts of Ba'athist leaders that were erected all over the country. Their removal was straightforward, like lancing boils, say the men who run the country now.

As Iraq slowly assembles its fourth government since the fall of Baghdad in 2003, attention is now turning to the more difficult issues - what to do with the landmarks and relics that are unique to the Saddam regime but which have also become synonymous with Iraq. Some, like the crossed swords that bookend Saddam's former military parade ground in central Baghdad, are as identifiable to the capital as the Hagia Sophia Mosque is to Istanbul, or the Old City to Damascus.

Several prominent politicians, such as Ahmed Chalabi, one of the key opposition figures to Saddam, are adamant that anything connected to the executed dictator must go.

"The best talent in Iraq was ordered to produce monuments which are designed to suppress the people," says Chalabi, who headed the National Deba'athification Commission in the early years after Saddam's removal. "This is very destructive for the psyche of the Iraqi population. This is a clear reminder of the consequences of totalitarianism and idealising a person that embodies evil. They have brought nothing to Iraq. They are not worth celebrating. They have nothing aesthetic to offer. I am for removing them."

Other men who also played a key role, first in Saddam's removal, then his trial and execution, are more sanguine.

"He was there and he ruled and he impacted on the world," said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the former national security adviser who escorted Saddam to the gallows. "But he was a part of our history. He was a bad part of our history, but he made a huge difference, whether we like it or not. We need not bury the legacy of that period. We need to remember it, all what is bad and what is good and learn lessons. And the most important lesson is that dictatorship should not return to Iraq."

In 2005, the government formed a committee to oversee the removal of symbols linked to Saddam.

Ali al-Moussawi, a spokesman for the prime minister, Nour al-Maliki, underscored the dilemna. "Not everything built during this regime we should remove," he said from his office, which overlooks the crossed swords. "There were some sculptures however that were solely about dictatorship and control over Iraq. Some spoke to dictators and battles and they should be removed. They have ethnic and sectarian meanings.

"The statues of Saddam have no place on the streets. It is not his privilege to keep them there. If they remain in the community they will provoke the people."

But Moussawi was more open to compromise over the Blood Qur'an: "We should keep this as a document for the brutality of Saddam, because he should not have done this.

"It says a lot about him. It should never be put in a museum though, because no Iraqi wants to see it. Maybe in the future it could be sent to a private museum, like memorabilia from the Hitler and Stalin regimes."

In time, the legacy of Saddam Hussein and his 30 years of brutality is likely to become part of a more detached debate in Iraq's national consciousness, much like the discussions that took place in Germany in the late 1940s after the ousting of the Nazis.

For now, though, the soul searching is being left to those who made the disputed works, and those entrusted as their temporary caretakers.

Abbas Shakir Joody al-Baghdadi was the calligrapher commissioned to work on the Qur'an. He sat with Saddam for two years after receiving a phone call from the tyrant himself.

Saddam, at that point, had decided to re-embrace with his religion after his elder son, Uday, had survived an assassination attempt.

The result of Baghdadi's work was an exquisitely crafted book that would take its place in any art exhibition - if it wasn't for the fact that it was written in blood.

"I don't like to talk about this now," says Baghdadi, speaking by telephone from the US state of Virginia, where he now lives. "It was painful part of my life that I want to forget about."

Back at the mosque, Sheikh Samarrai is nervous. He fears the wrath that will descend on him - from the government definitely, and possibly from a much higher power - if he swings open the final door.

"Even if I let you in, you would need to stand 10 feet away from the pages and they are all behind glass cases," he said. Then he makes his decision. "It is just not worth it for anyone. They will stir up too much trouble."

Some things in Iraq will take many more years to confront.

Saddam's legacy

The Crossed Swords

Built in the mid-80s as a symbol of victory in the war with Iran, even though the war still had two years to run and ended in a stalemate. They bookend what is now the Green Zone.

Saddam's Palaces

There are at least 300 scattered all over the country. Some have been taken over by government ministries, others remain derelict. Yet more are looming eyesores, especially in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit, where up to five could eventually be destroyed.

Al-Hurriya Archway

On the eastern side of one of Baghdad's main bridges – an archway built by a famous architect, Jawad Salem, to commemorate the ousting of Iraq's royal family in 1959. It became synonymous with Saddam and the Ba'athists.

Statue of Saddam

Dozens once peppered the country, but the large green version in al-Firdous Square came to signify the end of Saddam when torn down by US marines in April 2003. The bust, right, is kept in the office of former national security adviser Mowafak al-Rubaie who led Saddam to the gallows.

Posted on 12/20/2010 3:32 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
Mountain Home named preferred site for Saudi squadron

The Saudis, having no room in their own empty deserts, have decided that Idaho will be the next training site for their jet fighter pilots.  From Mountain Home News:

The Idaho congressional delegation received notification Friday that Mountain Home Air Force Base has been chosen as the preferred site to host a training mission for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Placing a training base in the United States is part of a $60 billion arms package the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is purchasing from the U.S., which includes 84 new F-15SA fighter jets and upgrades to the Saudi's current inventory of F-15C fighters.

"This is a process that has been in place for quite some time," said Mountain Home Mayor Tom Rist.

"As city officials we will work closely with Air Force" to address all the concerns that would be associated with any beddown of the Saudi Squadron, he said.

"This is something that is extremely important to the United States government and Mountain Home has always been fiercely loyal to the Air Force and the U.S. government."

Therefore, arming and training Saudis is a matter of patriotism for Americans.  Q.E.D.

"We plan on working closely with everyone to bring this to fruition," he said.

Col. Pete Lee, vice commander of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base described the announcement as "a great opportunity," for the base, the local community and the region.

Although the details of the mission will be finalized in the Memorandum of Agreement between the two nations, under the U.S.' Strategic Basing process, the RSAF training squadron will likely be composed of 12 aircraft with 50 pilots and 100-200 maintenance personnel, some of whom will bring their families.

Holloman AFB in New Mexico, Hill AFB in Utah and Nellis AFB in Nevada are the other U.S. bases that have been under consideration for the Saudi squadron, but the Air Force has selected Mountain Home as its preferred alternative. Public meetings will be held by the Air Force on the mission and to receive feedback, but the dates for the meetings have not yet been scheduled.

Although the final deal may not be finalized for several months, the Air Force is proceeding with its formal basing process now to identify the best site and Lee said a final decision could be made within 6-12 months.

The Saudis are expected to arrive at Mountain Home in late-2013, with the bulk arriving in 2014, when the actual training mission will begin. The initial deal is expected to be for five years, but a commitment beyond that point is possible, the Air Force has indicated.

Initially, the RSAF would rely on contracted maintenance personnel until their own crews are adequately trained to support the unit's aircraft, but how many contract personnel that would involve is not immediately known. The kingdom current relies on contract personnel within its own nation and part of the proposal to base a unit in the United States is an effort to be self-sufficient with its own maintenance needs. As a result, Col. Lee said, there may be more maintenance personnel with the Saudi arrangement that there are with the Singapore crews.

The Saudis plan to be "self-sufficient" by paying the filthy kuffar to do the dirty work of maintenance, just as they made their economy "self-sufficient" by paying the filthy kuffar to do the dirty work of extracting and refining petroleum.

Construction on needed facilities, which have been preliminarily estimated at $30-50 million on base, could begin as early as some time next year. The exact economic impact would be determined as part of the Environmental Impact Statement that would be prepared prior to the final basing decision and beddown of any units. The Saudi government would bear all costs for basing the squadron. There will be not U.S. taxpayer dollars spent.

They will be using nothing but facilities and services that are paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars: runways, air traffic controllers, refueling equipment, on-base hospitals, security, cafeterias, classrooms, and most of all, the world's best military trainers whose education was paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars.


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia screens those sent for training to the United States "to make sure the nation is well represented," and the U.S. Department of States also conducts screenings before issuing any visas to pilots or crews.

Somehow I find the news that KSA will be responsible for screening those sent to the U.S. for military training to be less than reassuring.


Lee said the deal would allow both nations to learn about each other in a more comprehensive manner, adding that such understanding and cross training would help "enhance the stability in the region."

"I look forward to this. There is so much about their culture we don't know," Lee said, and being able to learn from each other would be beneficial to both nations.

I think there are other ways that we can learn about their culture that don't involve training them how to kill our own soldiers and those of our true allies.

There is no truth to the rumor that the new state-of-the-art facilities will be named after Maj. Nidal Hasan (ret.).

Posted on 12/20/2010 3:57 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Monday, 20 December 2010
NER Christmas Appeal (December 20)

Some words to the wise, in their generation, and in their regeneration.

No hysterical warnings -- as others routineliy send out to their "list of contributors"  with oppressive regularity, insisting that yet another round of fund-raising, a month or two after the last one,  has been necessary in order to "save the world from Lefties" or prevent the government from being taken over by a conspiracy run by the Council on Foreign Relations, or the ghost of Saul Alinsky, or by George Soros or Paul Krugman.. Nor, if you paid attention to such things, would you find any similarity between NER and those "non-profit"  organzations run as private fiefdoms by bosses who manage to pocket small  fortunes, even as they insist  their organization, run by the self-evidently selfless, needs still more..

NER is nothing like that. You can derive  profit and pleasure from some, from many, of  the nearly 20,000 posts that have been put up here. The enterprise is financially modest in its goals. So modest, in fact, that because we are singularly awkward and un-adept at fundraising -- haven't a clue as to how to do it, in fact -- we have for a very long time been running on empty. This is not right, this is not just.  Nor does anyone associated with this site have hidden resources, despite appearances. Some postings may seem, to the unvigilant, merely whimsical, the insouciant products of those who are merely at play, but that is a misunderstanding of the function of such postings. As to NER's need for support, small or, ideally, big, many hints have gone out,  many oblique appeals made. Those hints and appeals haven't, alas, been picked up on nearly enough. I will share a hard-won realization: the life of a luftmensch is not all that it may once have been cracked up to be in story and song. The vie de Bohème is no longer bearable.

This year as last, both Charles Dickens and Alistair Sim have graciously volunteered to participate in our fundraising appeal. You can see them from Sunday to next Friday, at NER, nightly repeating their performance.  If you listen closely to them, to Dickens' words as spoken by Alistair Sim, and heed the moral those words convey, you won't have been lead astray.

Posted on 12/20/2010 9:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
Not For Peace, But For The Golan And A Truce Treaty

From The Jerusalem Post:

WikiLeaks: 'Syria would drop Iran for peace with Israel'

IDF intelligence official Baidatz: Assad would be willing to pull away from Teheran’s orbit, according to State Dept. cable last year.

  Syria would end its alliance with Iran in exchange for peace with Israel and greater US involvement in the process, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of Military Intelligence’s Research Directorate, told a top American official last year, according to a US diplomatic cable published on Monday by WikiLeaks.

The cable documented a meeting between Baidatz and other top Israeli officials with US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Ambassador Alexander Vershbow in November 2009.


Posted on 12/20/2010 9:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
Cantique De Noel (Georges Thill)

Listen here.

Posted on 12/20/2010 9:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 20 December 2010
More Money To Be Squandered In Iraq And Afghanistan

US House approves billions for wars without debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed legislation that authorizes the Defense Department to spend nearly $160 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this budget year without major restrictions on the conduct of operations.

The 341–48 vote on the defense authorization bill came after House and Senate Democrats agreed to strip several provisions, including one that would have allowed gays to serve openly in the military and another that would have authorized abortions at overseas military facilities.

The provision that would have overturned the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was approved as a standalone bill in the House earlier this week and awaits a vote in the Senate.

The spending bill covers the 2011 budget year, which began Oct. 1. The Senate was expected to approve the measure as one of its final acts before adjourning this year.

Congress considers the defense authorization bill to be its primary chance to sway Pentagon policy. While it does not transfer money into Defense Department coffers, it does serve as a blueprint for the defense appropriations bill by authorizing spending levels.

This year's bill agreed to $725 billion in defense programs, including $158.7 billion for overseas combat.

The bill would continue restrictions on the Defense Department's ability to close the Guantanamo Bay Cuba prison, including prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the U.S.

This year's bill is mostly noteworthy for its broad bipartisan support during wartime. On Thursday, a White House review of war progress in Afghanistan suggested that tough combat would continue for years and that troop withdrawals in 2011 would probably be small.

Unlike during the height of the Iraq War when anti–war Democrats tried to use the legislation to force troops home, the House passed the defense bill Friday with almost no debate on Afghanistan.

Other provisions in the bill include:

— Up to $75 million to train and equip Yemeni counterterrorism forces;

— $205 million for a program with Israel to develop its "Iron Dome" defense system;

$11.6 billion for the development of the Afghan security forces, and $1.5 billion for Iraqi security forces.

Posted on 12/20/2010 10:09 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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