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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 Thursday, 22, 2007.
Thursday, 22 November 2007
From Scots college to jihad - first man in UK convicted over terrorist propaganda
A PAKISTANI man who travelled to Britain to study at a Scottish university yesterday became the first person in the UK to be convicted of spreading terrorist propaganda.
A court heard Abdul Rahman, 25, acted as a recruiting sergeant who tried to persuade British Muslims to join in a "holy war".
He arrived in the UK in September 2004 on a student visa - ostensibly to study biotechnology at Abertay University in Dundee - but left the city after only one day. Rahman later claimed he was "unable to settle in this culture".
Moving to Manchester, he joined a radical cell who believed in fighting a holy war and viewed people who did not believe in their particular brand of Islam as "legitimate targets", the court was told.
"He joined up with a group of young men, some of them fellow Pakistan nationals, some of them radical British Muslims," Parmjit Cheema, prosecuting, told the court.
"What this group, particularly this defendant, were involved in, we say was scouting, recruiting and encouraging others to join their philosophy of extreme jihad or holy war."
The group saw the fighting in Afghanistan as an unjust assault on Muslims and believed in the need to recruit fighters and resources for the conflict.
"In essence, they were a group, or cell of young men all espousing the radical jihad philosophy that states non-believers in Islam are legitimate targets," Ms Cheema said.
At the Crown Court Manchester yesterday, Rahman pleaded guilty to possessing articles for the purpose of terrorism; dissemination of terrorist propaganda; and aiding or abetting the breach of a control order.
While in Manchester, Rahman became friends with Aslam Awan, 25, another Pakistani-born man who came to the UK on a student visa.
Awan went to fight in Afghanistan and sent back a letter to Rahman, which was described as a call to arms. Awan is now excluded from entering the UK. The letter talked about the "fragrance of blood" from the battlefield. Describing a firefight with coalition forces in Afghanistan, Awan said: "The second time was a very big job ... in which our three friends were martyred."
Awan's letter was to be passed to others to "spread the word" for their cause and recruit more people to fight in Afghanistan.
"We have to do this work even with our last drop of blood. Please do migrate and encourage others to migrate too. Please invite everybody towards this cause," it said
A 177-page manual, entitled "Organisation and Conduct of Guerrilla Warfare" and another, "How can I train myself for Jihad", was found along with information on jobs and careers in the British security services.
POLICE yesterday released a video showing two training trips to the Lake District that were led by Abdul Rahman and a close associate, Muhammed Iqbal.
A commentary on the video - which was filmed by the group - describes them as "commandos from special services, the Mujahidins" and says they are "heading very fast towards the enemies... sights are up". 
Posted on 11/22/2007 2:41 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Waterloo, you were defeated, you lost the war.
Al Jazeera magazine is claiming Napoleon Bonaparte as an admirer of Islam, possibly even a convert, and crediting him with introducing Sharia law into the Napoleonic code which is the second legal system of the world. The other being English Common Law.
Regardless of whether he was a fair leader or not, one of the most impressive aspects regarding Napoléon Bonaparte was his admiration of Islam.
Bonaparte first learnt about Islam in 1789, when he proposed a military expedition to seize Egypt -- then a province of the Ottoman Empire -- in order to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain's access to India.
It has been reported that while in Egypt, Bonaparte took part in several religious ceremonies and held meetings with Muslim clerics. 
Many quotes suggest that Bonaparte was a serious admirer of Islam: 
"Moses has revealed the existence of God to his nation. Jesus Christ to the Roman world, Muhammad (PBUH) to the old continent,”
"I hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of Qur'an which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness,” Napoléon Bonaparte as quoted in Christian Cherfils, ‘Bonaparte et Islam,’ Pedone Ed., Paris, France, 1914, pp. 105, 125.
If it is true, and I do have some doubts, there is only one answer. Trafalgar. Waterloo. That’s actually two answers. Vitoria. The Battle of the Nile. Retreat from Moscow. 
Posted on 11/22/2007 3:14 AM by ESmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Malarkey

Some readers may have noticed that I like the word "malarkey". I may not be the only contributor to this site who likes the word, but so far I am the only contributor to have used it. If you search the site for "malarkey", you will find six posts containing the word, here, here, here, here , here and here, all by me. In contrast "flimflam" and "flapdoodle" have been used several times by other contributors, but only once by me in a post praising the word "malarkey". What have flimflam and flapdoodle got that malarkey hasn't?

In all my years of saying malarkey, I've never thought to look up its origin. It sounds vaguely Irish: imagine a loquacious and convivial Irishman - is there another kind of Irishman? - larking around and prattling on, as they do.

Michael Quinion has the answer, and it's rather disappointing:

It’s still known in the US and to a lesser extent in the UK and elsewhere, but where this odd-looking word comes from is decidedly uncertain. What we do know is that it began to appear in the US in the early 1920s in various spellings, such as malaky, malachy, and mullarkey. Its first known user was the cartoonist T A Dorgan, in 1922, but it only began to appear widely at the end of the decade. By 1930, Variety could pun on it: “The song is ended but the Malarkey lingers on.”

Various theories have been advanced. Eric Partridge pointed to the modern Greek word malakia but he formed a group of one. His later editor, Paul Beale, noted the London expression Madame Misharty, the personification of sales talk, exaggerated claims, and wild predictions, a name that was supposedly that of a fortune teller. But this is stretching a possible linguistic link to breaking point and, in any case, we know it started life in North America. Others point to the family name Malarkey, though who the eponymous member of the tribe might have been whose Irish-derived gift of the gab could have given rise to the name remains unknown. Jonathon Green likewise suggests a Irish origin in mullachan, a strongly-built boy or ruffian, though this, too, seems a stretch of meaning.

We’ll just have to settle for the unsatisfactory “origin unknown”.

Bugger, or should that be embuggerance, a word that embiggens our soul?

Posted on 11/22/2007 5:35 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 22 November 2007
We Need Special Courts For Jihad Cases

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery said in a 41-page opinion late Tuesday that the imams, who say they were discriminated against when they were removed from a flight last year, have a plausible claim that their constitutional rights may have been violated. --from this news item

This shows again the need for special courts, with jurisdiction over all cases about Jihad, for they cannot be understood without a solid grounding in the texts and tenets and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, and that takes a bit of study, far more study than the average judge will put in, and certainly more than those selected for juries.

These should be based on the Patent and Tax Courts, in which a panel of judges, who have received a solid grounding in Patent Law, or Tax Law, and have specialized in those matters so that they can understand the issues in order to better decide.

If ordinary judges are not up to the task, juries are even less so. For all it takes, on a jury in a terrorism case, is for one person to have been threatened. Or for one juror to be a Muslim (how could all Muslims be systematically challenged and kept off of such juries, without a Constitutional objection being raised and, alas, likely to be upheld because the real nature of Islam will not be discussed, and not brought to the attention of the Supreme Court in any brief) or a sympathizer with Islam, or someone determined to "settle scores" with (the Bush Administration, Amerikka, The System, Whitey, "Zionists" --you name it, or you may find Your Name Here).

No, we can't have another of these farces, as with the Holy Land Foundation, where the meticulously gathered evidence was overwhelming, convincing beyond any reasonable doubt to any reasonable person who also understood, grasped the nature of, Jihad and of Islam. And that latter requirement is the Big Problem that our system, and all Infidel systems of justice, will have to learn to deal with.

Special courts, with panels of specially-educated judges, are a part of the answer.

Posted on 11/22/2007 6:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 22 November 2007
The Annapolis Fiasco

Bret Stephens writes in the WSJ:

...Among the principles sharply in dispute is whether Israel is a Jewish state. "We will not agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state," says Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, adding that "there is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined." Counters Mr. Olmert: "We won't have an argument with anyone in the world over the fact that Israel is a state of the Jewish people. Whoever does not accept this cannot hold any negotiations with me."

One would have thought the question of Israel's Jewishness was settled 60 years ago by a U.N. partition plan that speaks of a "Jewish state" some 30 times. (One would have thought, too, that Mr. Erekat would be mindful of his government's membership in the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference.) But the question hasn't been settled because Palestinians will not concede the "right" of their "refugees"--currently numbering in the millions--to return to their ancestral homes and farms in present-day Israel.

 

Despite nearly 20 years of trying, there is simply no finessing these differences. If Israel is not a Jewish state, it may as well be called Palestine. If the existential issues of 1948 cannot be resolved, there is little point in addressing the territorial issues of 1967, which are themselves almost impossible to address. Matters are not helped by the unusual political weakness of the key participants. In the last year, Mr. Abbas has lost half his kingdom. He will swiftly lose what remains of it the moment "Palestine" comes into being and the Israeli army isn't around to suppress Hamas as an effective fighting force.

Mr. Olmert's governing coalition depends on two parties--the ultraorthodox Shas and ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu--which are opposed to any substantive concessions. The prime minister faces potential criminal indictments in multiple probes connected to his previous tenure as minister of trade and industry. A forthcoming official inquiry on last year's war in Lebanon will reportedly hold him accountable for the deaths of 33 soldiers. Ariel Sharon is still in a coma, but it's his successor who's really on life support.

Why, then, hold a conference at all? The short answer is that Condoleezza Rice demands one, and she has spent countless hours over eight mostly fruitless trips to the region this year trying to arrange it. But this hardly addresses the deeper mystery of why this administration has gotten itself caught in the Venus flytrap of the Arab-Israeli conflict, after vowing not to do so, and why it has done so with a degree of ineptitude that recalls the dimmer moments of the Carter administration. Maybe it's a matter of bureaucratic inertia. Or maybe it's about being seen to try. Or maybe it's the kind of fourth-quarter, fourth down Hail Mary pass that appeals to a secretary of state with a mania for football and a thin record of accomplishment. Then again, maybe it doesn't really matter.

But look on the bright side: Annapolis may yet serve us well as an object lesson in how diplomacy--the competent kind--just isn't done.

Posted on 11/22/2007 6:30 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 November 2007
The Sunni Resistence

More evidence on why the Iraq insurgency should be renamed and understood as the Sunni resistence. The longer we focus on an almost mythical al-Qaeda in Iraq, the more easily we can be manipulated by both the Sunnis and Shi'a for their own purposes. We need to be able to understand and manipulate these forces for our own purposes and so far this is not happening. The Sunni tribal leaders are extracting money and weapons from us by agreeing to fight al-Qaeda, but they are preparing to fight the Shi'a.

New Duranty: Foreign Fighters in Iraq Are Tied to Allies of U.S.

BAGHDAD — Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to serve as suicide bombers or to facilitate other attacks, according to senior American military officials.

The data come largely from a trove of documents and computers discovered in September, when American forces raided a tent camp in the desert near Sinjar, close to the Syrian border. The raid’s target was an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for smuggling the vast majority of foreign fighters into Iraq.

The most significant discovery was a collection of biographical sketches that listed hometowns and other details for more than 700 fighters brought into Iraq since August 2006.

The records also underscore how the insurgency in Iraq remains both overwhelmingly Iraqi and Sunni. American officials now estimate that the flow of foreign fighters was 80 to 110 per month during the first half of this year and about 60 per month during the summer. The numbers fell sharply in October to no more than 40, partly as a result of the Sinjar raid, the American officials say...

American military and diplomatic officials who discussed the flow of fighters from Saudi Arabia were careful to draw a distinction between the Saudi government and the charities and individuals who they said encouraged young Saudi men to fight in Iraq. After United States officials put pressure on Saudi leaders in the summer, the Saudi government took some steps that have begun to curb the flow of fighters, the officials said.

Yet the senior American military officials said they also believed that Saudi citizens provided the majority of financing for Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. “They don’t want to see the Shias come to dominate in Iraq,” one American official said...

Posted on 11/22/2007 6:39 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Turkey's Parallel Policies – One for Peace, One Against

MEMRI: Two conferences took place last week in Turkey. The first, a summit held November 13, 2007 in Ankara, was dedicated to advancing the peace process, with the participation of Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

The second, held November 15-17 in Istanbul and titled The Al-Quds International Forum Meeting, was dedicated to support for jihadist organizations' quest for Jerusalem, and was hosted by Turkey's Waqf for Volunteering Organizations (TGTV), whose leaders include AKP officials, current and former MPs, and government ministers and which has been linked in international intelligence reports to other Islamist organizations suspected of transferring funds to Al-Qaeda.

Full story here.

Posted on 11/22/2007 7:59 AM by Andrew Bostom
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Truculence

"Adams himself and his son [John Quincy Adams, expert on, inter alia, Islam], truculent as they were..."-- from the comments by Robert Spencer on the words of John Adams here

There's a lot to be said for truculence. This country should be as truculent as all get-out at the U.N. and most other gatherings of the so-called "international community." Gatherings of like-minded, or nearly like-minded, Western states -- such as those of NATO -- are a different matter. And within this country, and those other countries that possess citizens and not subjects or slaves -- truculence, an unwillingness to go along or to accept things as they so often are (the calamitous decline of public education, the calamitous rise in preposterous private fortunes, the calamitous heedlessness or confusion about so much until it may be too late) is a quality to be encouraged. Some people, not to be confused with political cranks and simpletons, of whom one or two are thrown up at every election cycle, have no trouble being permanently truculent.

Posted on 11/22/2007 9:27 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 22 November 2007
A Musical Interlude: Let's Misbehave
Posted on 11/22/2007 10:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Interlude, schminterlude

Click on the Test Card for a short but interesting documentary about the interlude of interludes.

I wonder how old that girl is now.

Posted on 11/22/2007 11:19 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Proclamation: A National Thanksgiving

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and

Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me " to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness: "

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

- Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October,

A. D. 1789. G.ø WASHINGTON. (hat tip: VFR)

Posted on 11/22/2007 11:31 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Paradise regained for Islam

The Times reports, misleadingly in places, on a surprising development:

Milton, Stephen Hawking and Haruki Murakami are to be translated into Arabic as part of a ground-breaking programme to spread foreign learning and literature across the Middle East.

Where once Arabic scholars led the world in seeking out knowledge from other cultures...

Oh, here we go. That old chestnut. No they didn't. Not ever.

Where once Arabic scholars led the world in seeking out knowledge from other cultures, the paucity of leading works rendered into Arabic since the Middle Ages has left gaping holes on the region’s bookshelves.

The United Nations estimates that the entire number of books translated into Arabic in the past 1,000 years is the same as that translated into Spanish every year.

Now Paradise Regained, A Briefer History of Time and Murakami’s baffling, sexually frank fantasy novel Kafka on the Shore are among 100 translations announced yesterday in Abu Dhabi in the first step towards redressing that balance.

My emphasis. Presumably Paradise Lost and a Brief History of Time have already been translated. Unless they're deliberately skipping longer books and going straight to shorter ones, as they did when they tweaked the Bible to make it into the Koran. Is there to be an Arabic One Minute Manager that takes thirty seconds to read?

Karim Nagy, the chief executive of project Kalima (or “word” in Arabic), said: “We can start putting Arabic readers in touch with great works of world literature and academia and begin filling the gaps in the Arabic library.”

At present many of the greatest works of literature and science are available in Arab countries only in their original languages, making them inaccessible to most readers.

In 2002 a highly critical UN Development Programme report, compiled by Arabs, bracketed this cultural void alongside absent democracy and poor levels of female empowerment as a primary reason why the Arab world was developing slower than comparable regions.

Kalima, seeded by a generous grant from the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, will fund the translation, publication and distribution throughout the Arab world of classic and contemporary writing.

The project has been hailed as one of the boldest and most significant cultural initiatives to come out of the Arab world in years: one also that will help the West repay a big historical debt to the region.

“In past centuries, Arabic learning was a source of great riches for the Western intellectual tradition. It is a cause for celebration that this major translation initiative is able to offer riches in return,” Ian McEwan, the British novelist, said.

If Ian McEwan, that renowned expert on Islam says we owe a "big historical debt", who are we to argue? But argue we must. "In past centuries", used here, means something like "Once upon a time", the phrase used to begin a fairy tale. The past glories are largely mythical, but even if they were true, they would still be well in the past. If the historical debt is so big, how come there's so little to be gained by translating Arabic books into English? God wot rot.

Posted on 11/22/2007 11:44 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 22 November 2007
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: The Singing Detective
Posted on 11/22/2007 12:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 22 November 2007
No Security

Theodore Dalrymple writes at City Journal:

For millions of its inhabitants, Britain is a failing state. It assumes responsibility for education and health care without regard for results; and it fails in its most basic duty, to ensure that its inhabitants can go about their business with reasonable security.

A recent incident—the assault of a 96-year-old man—has brought home to the British public just how little it can rely on the state for protection. The assailant, 44, was frustrated that the elderly man was in his way as he tried to board a train. Shouting “You bastard!,” he punched the man in the face, blinding him in one eye. The attack occurred in full view of many other passengers, and a closed-circuit television camera captured it as well.

Police subsequently apprehended the man, who claimed that the 96-year-old had attacked him first. It would be difficult to imagine a more brutally unfeeling and egotistical crime or more cynical self-justification. It is extremely unlikely that the guilty man is a model of kindness in his other human relations.

The judge in the case, however, said that sending the man to jail would “do nothing to protect the public,” and therefore sentenced him to just three years’ probation. How he came to the opinion that requiring the perpetrator to have a brief chat once a week with a probation officer would achieve this objective is a complete mystery. As the judge himself conceded, “a significant prison sentence would well be justified,” and the charge was such that he had the power to sentence the guilty man to life imprisonment.

The very next day, fittingly enough, the government released figures revealing how probation endangers the public. Over the previous year, serious offenders who had been released from prison early and placed on probation committed at least 83 murders and rapes, a significant portion of the national total. Given the extremely low arrest rate for reported crimes of violence in Britain—and bearing in mind that one-half of all crimes are not even reported—the real figures for violence committed by serious offenders placed on probation after early release from prison must be significantly higher.

The train assault case was also a perfect illustration that, in the absence of proper sentencing, surveillance by CCTV cameras is perfectly useless and merely a form of official voyeurism. If a man can attack and seriously injure a 96-year-old without excuse in front of many eyewitnesses and a CCTV camera, yet receive what amounts to no punishment at all—he was even seen smirking as he left the court—who can blame the public if it concludes that the British state lacks legitimacy?

Posted on 11/22/2007 2:42 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Radiation Detection Devices Still Not Working
WaPo: A $1.2 billion plan by the Department of Homeland Security to buy a new kind of radiation-detection machine for the nation's borders has been put on hold again, a blow to one of the Bush administration's top security goals.

At the same time, federal authorities are investigating whether Homeland Security officials urged an analyst to destroy information about the performance of the machines during testing, according to interviews and a document.

For more than a year, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and others have told Congress that the costly next-generation machines would sharply improve the screening of trucks, cars and cargo containers for radiological material. In announcing contracts in July 2006 to buy as many as 1,400 of the devices, Chertoff said they were ready to be deployed in the field for research. He recently called their acquisition a "vital priority."

But in the face of growing questions by government auditors, Congress and border officials about the machines' performance, Chertoff has decided that they don't operate well enough and need more work. It could be another year before they are ready, officials said...

Posted on 11/22/2007 3:38 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 November 2007
You Could Look It Up

"I don't know what 'pour decourager les autres' means..."
-- from a reader

Merely a twist or possibly two, a double-lutz, performed on the thin ice of that overused French phrase "pour encourager les autres." I call it thus because there is more than the exchange of one word for its semantic opposite. The original use of the verb was not straightforward, and the deliberately chosen opposite, while more so, is not quite so. One kind of meaning is drained to be replaced by another, seemingly but not really merely its opposite, which becomes more than literal, because one retains the memory of the underlying, prompting, original.

The phrase comes from Voltaire in his otherwise sunny-side-up "Candide," as a way to mordantly describe the reason behind the English execution of Admiral Byng in 1756. Voltaire wrote that "dans ce pays-ci [Great Britain], il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres."
Very freely tranlated that means "in that country, it has been found useful from time to time to execute an admiral in order to 'encourage' the others."

There are quick ways to look things up. Reference books, for example. And we'll always have Google.

Posted on 11/22/2007 4:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Cannistraro, Apologist: Then and Now

Steve Emerson writes at IPT:

In an interesting, and rather telling, footnote to the Nada Prouty plea deal, Ms. Prouty finds herself with a curious defender:

Vince Cannistraro, an ex-CIA counterterror chief, said Prouty was worried for her sister Elfat, who married accused Hezbollah fund-raiser Talal Khalil Chahine.

Prouty had worked as a waitress in Chahine's Detroit cafes before joining the FBI, and he helped vouch for her sham marriage in a 1992 letter to immigration authorities. In pleading guilty, she admitted searching bureau files for his name, her sister's and her own in 2000.

"It looks more like she was concerned about her brother-in-law being involved in Hezbollah and was legitimately worried about her sister," Cannistraro said.

Cannistraro has a history of defending despicable behavior, harmful to America's national security. Famously, Cannistraro was a long-time apologist for now-convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami al-Arian, even going so far as writing a letter on Al-Arian's behalf after the University finally terminated him for repeatedly lying about his ties to the terrorist group:

Dear President Judy Genshaft,

I was surprised by your decision to terminate al-Arian's employment at the University. You have essentially caved in to the hysteria that is being promoted by some irresponsible media, including the Fox program, O'Reilly Factor. That was one of the worse pieces of "yellow journalism" I have ever seen. There is no connection between anything al-Arian is or was connected to that has any bearing whatsoever on the events of 9/11. I am a professional in the field of counterterrorism, having served both as Director of Intelligence Programs in the Reagan Administration and as CIA's Chief of Counterterrorism Operations. Your action is both a blow to academic freedom and, dare I say it, a cowardly act that reflects poorly on both the University and your own lack of convictions.

Regretfully,

Vincent M. Cannistraro McLean, VA

Think about that for a second. Just how scary is it that the former top CIA Counterterrorism official publicly went on the record to protect the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)? At the time of Al-Arian's firing, the evidence of his ties to PIJ, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, was overwhelming.

Amongst other damning evidence, Al-Arian personally brought Ramadan Abdullah Shallah to direct his "think tank," the World & Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE), signing Shallah's immigration paperwork. Shallah is currently the Secretary General of PIJ, located in Damascus. The FBI is offering a $5 million reward for "for information leading directly to (Shallah's) apprehension or conviction."

After then-PIJ Secretary General Fathi Shikaki was killed in Malta, Shallah left Tampa and WISE to succeed Shikaki in PIJ's top role. After Shallah's departure, worried over negative news coverage, Al-Arian and WISE issued an incredibly disingenuous press release stating that Shallah (referring to him as "Dr. Abdullah") had left to "write a book on Islamic banking, as well as to tend to his sick father who passed away." These are obviously incredibly blatant and suspicious lies that a former CIA Counterterrorism Chief should have been able to easily uncover.

Of course, now we know that Cannistraro is unconcerned when individuals with connections to terrorists lie, even when they are in positions of public trust involving national security. Indeed, Cannistraro is so unconcerned in general with the security of our nation, in fact, that he agreed to serve as a defense witness in the terrorism case of infamous Egyptian "Blind Cleric" Omar Abdul Rahman, but was thankfully disqualified by the judge - now Attorney General Mukasey.

According to a letter written by Rahman's defense team (lead by the now-convicted and disbarred Lynne Stewart) in support of his testimony, Cannistraro's "expert opinion" was that Sheikh Rahman "has never been viewed as a threat to the institutions or the U.S. government within U.S. boundaries and further, any such focus would be contrary to and dilute Dr. Abdel Rahman's Egyptian agenda." Abdul Rahman, spiritual leader of the terrorist cell that attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, is serving a life sentence for his part in a plotting terrorist attacks in New York City.

During the trial, Al-Arian's own defense attorney was forced to concede that Al-Arian "was affiliated with the cultural, charitable arm of the PIJ, and he lied to the media about it…" Al-Arian pled guilty to "conspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist."

Just as Cannistraro was not worried about Al-Arian's actions, he is not bothered by Prouty's. Cannistraro's track record clearly demonstrates that if he's not disturbed by apparent illicit and suspicious behavior, the rest of the counterterrorism community, and the American people, should be disturbed.

Posted on 11/22/2007 8:00 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Iraq And Islam Dominate Australian Presidential Race

New Duranty: SYDNEY, Nov. 22 — The center-right coalition of Prime Minister John Howard, who has been in power for 11 years and is one of the most stalwart supporters of President Bush in the Iraq war, faces a stiff challenge in Australia’s general elections on Saturday, polls indicate.

The most substantial difference between Mr. Howard and Kevin Rudd, the leader of a resurgent opposition Labor Party has been over Australia’s participation in the war. Mr. Rudd, who served as a diplomat in Beijing, has promised to discuss a timetable to withdraw the approximately 500 Australian troops who are serving in Iraq while remaining committed to the Anzus military pact, which ties Australia to New Zealand and the United States.

It has been a hard-fought race, but Australia has yet to lose a single combat casualty in Iraq, and the conflict has played a relatively minor role in the campaign.

The personalities of the leaders and the political gaffes of the parties they lead have frequently drowned out discussions of policy, which analysts say were muted anyway by a lack of substantial difference between the two main competing parties.

The final days of the campaign have been dominated by a scandal in which the husband of a candidate for Mr. Howard’s Liberal Party was photographed distributing leaflets that represented themselves to be from an Islamic group — a fictitious one, as it turned out — thanking the opposition Labor Party for “support to forgive our Muslim brothers who have been unjustly sentenced to death for the Bali bombings,” in 2002, in which 88 Australians were killed, and welcoming the party’s support for a plan to build a mosque.

Mr. Howard says the leaflets were not sanctioned by the party and that the candidate in question, Karen Chijoff, knew nothing of her husband’s plans...

Posted on 11/22/2007 8:08 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 November 2007
Commonwealth Suspends Pakistan

Those who are clammering for democracy should be careful. The results of allowing full democracy in Muslim countries at this time will likely not be what they are hoping for.

AP: KAMPALA, Uganda: The Commonwealth has suspended Pakistan until democracy is restored after military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf failed to meet a deadline to lift emergency rule and step down as army chief.

A committee of foreign ministers of the 53-member organization "has suspended Pakistan from councils of the Commonwealth pending restoration of democracy and rule of law in the country," secretary general Don McKinnon told journalists.

He said the group was disappointed because there had been some progress — and cited the release of detainees — but said it was concerned about the arrests of journalists and lawyers and said the Commonwealth's conditions had not been fulfilled.

"The state of emergency had not been lifted. The constitution and the independence of the judiciary not restored and fundamental rights and the rule of law remain curtailed," McKinnon said, reading a statement on behalf of the ministers.

On Thursday, a Pakistani Supreme Court stacked with judges loyal to Musharraf cleared the way for him to rule as a civilian president, deciding against a final challenge blocking ratification of his election last month.

Pakistan was last kicked out of the organization in 1999 after Musharraf seized power in a coup. It took the country five years to be reinstated.

McKinnon said that the Commonwealth may review the suspension after January parliamentary elections in Pakistan and a group of Commonwealth foreign affairs ministers may visit the country next year.

Suspending a member of the 53-member group, based upon Britain and its former colonies, was done "with a heavy heart" because every Commonwealth member "is a valued member" said Michael Frendo, Malta's foreign minister who chaired the committee's meeting...

Posted on 11/22/2007 8:14 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 22 November 2007
A Musical Interlude: If I Had A Talking Picture Of You
Posted on 11/22/2007 8:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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