These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 23, 2009.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Honour Killing Fear After Lover's Acid Attack
I have been wondering about the motives for this attack ever since the London and Danish press first reported it. The fact that it was not quickly ascribed to racist motives, and descriptions of the assailants issued, plus the use of acid, made my increasingly cynical mind follow reports.
The London Evening Standard on 2nd July.
A man is critically ill in hospital after acid was thrown in his face by a masked gang in east London today.
The 24-year-old, who was left with burns to his face and chest, was also stabbed twice in the back and left in the street in what police believe was a targeted assault.
Surgeons were today trying to save the sight of the victim, a Danish national who was staying in Leytonstone where the attack happened. The acid was said to be so corrosive it burned through his clothes.
The Copenhagen Post on 3rd July
British police report that a Danish man was the victim of a serious assault in which he was stabbed and doused in acid.
A police spokesman told Berlingske Tidende newspaper that the victim is a Dane of Asian background, but they have not been able to question him further as he is still receiving medical treatment.
The Waltham Forest Guardian on 14th July.
A MAN is still fighting for his life, two weeks after a vicious street attack. The 24-year-old remains in a critical condition in hospital after being doused with acid and stabbed twice in the back. He is in a coma and could lose his sight if he survives.
An 18-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the attack and has been bailed to return in September. No other arrests have yet been made, although the attack is believed to have been carried out by a group. (a trio perhaps)
The gang were reportedly wearing masks and gloves to protect themselves from being burned.
Police are keeping an open mind about motive.
Sky News today
Police have told a young, married British Muslim woman she is at risk of being murdered in an "honour crime" for having an illicit love affair.
Her alleged lover is critically ill in hospital after a gang poured sulphuric acid down his throat and stabbed him.
The man, a 24-year-old Danish Asian, is now blind, his tongue has been destroyed and he suffered 90% burns.
Both live in the Asian community of East London, where their relationship is said to have angered her family for bringing dishonour on them.
Scotland Yard has given her an Osman warning, a formal alert that she is in grave danger of being killed. Officers are assessing how best to protect her. Arresting the culprits, putting them on trial and (once convicted) sentencing them to life imprisonment would do the trick. And following the thinking of the Maldive Judge in my previous story who supports flogging, to deter any others.
Community leader Imtiaz Qadir, of the Active Change Foundation, said: "Honour crime happens a lot in our community, especially the Pakistani community, but we do try to educate the people.
"It's a cultural thing that's come from back home. The elderly people have found it hard to adjust to society in England."
The man was on life support in hospital in Essex where his condition is thought to have worsened slightly. Police have arrested seven young men since the attack. Five have been freed on bail and two are still being questioned.
I hope he lives, but that is a nasty way to die.
Posted on 07/23/2009 2:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 July 2009
North London - Islamic activists set about trying to convince shoppers that "Jesus was a Muslim".
From The Hornsey and Crouch End Journal
RELIGIOUS tensions were raised in the centre of Wood Green at the weekend as Islamic activists set about trying to convince shoppers that "Jesus was a Muslim".
Police stepped in to calm the situation as bystanders were confronted with up to 70 activists aiming to give them a taste of a Britain under Shari'ah Islamic law.
The activists, who have held similar "roadshows" in south, east and west London, set up outside fashion chain H&M in Wood Green High Road on Saturday afternoon, but tensions were soon strained.
One onlooker said: "They unfurled this huge banner proclaiming that Jesus was a Muslim, which understandably raised some people's heckles. These people were slagging off Britain and trying to convert people to Islam. They were quite confrontational".
A website publicising the roadshow, originally scheduled for July 4, said Wood Green had been chosen because of the "perpetual malaise" the community suffered - crime, fuel poverty and a high rate of mental health problems. (many of which are caused by islamic immigrants, but I am not supposed to say that.)
The activists intended to show how Shari'ah law would combat "gang crime, poverty and promiscuity" in the borough.
A Haringey police spokeswoman said the force had not been informed about the roadshow beforehand, and attended at 3pm to "ensure that there was no breach of the peace". No arrests were made.
Inspector Eric Monk, of Haringey's Community Engagement Team, said: "This is a diverse borough and I doubt that this activity will have any significant impact on the strong, positive inter-faith relationships that exist in Haringey.
Oh I think it will. It is quite obvious that the other faiths on Haringey are aware of what sharia law and islamisation would mean and don't like the sound of it one little bit. I hazard a guess that the African Christians who live locally would be the most vocal.
Ed West who blogs at the Telegraph lives in Haringey; I wonder if he will have something to say?
Posted on 07/23/2009 3:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Sisters in Islam slams whipping of women
Dr Hamidah Marican Executive Director of Sisters In Islam writes in today's MySinchew on the wrongfulness of whipping as a punishment.
You will recall that Islamic authoritarians in Malaysia have called for this woman's organisation to be banned and the women 're-educated in Islam'.
Posted on 07/23/2009 3:59 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 July 2009
150 women face adultery flogging on Maldives
From The Independent and the Minivan News
Almost 150 women living in the Maldives face a public flogging for indulging in extra-marital sex after being convicted by the Muslim country's conservative courts. Around 50 men also face the punishment.
Earlier this month, an 18-year-old woman fainted after she was flogged 100 times having been found guilty of having sex with two different men. The woman, who was pregnant at the time of sentencing, had her punishment deferred until after the birth of her child and the court said the teenager's pregnancy was proof of her guilt. In contrast, the accused men were acquitted, with one of them escaping punishment simply because he denied the charge.
Amnesty International's Maldives specialist, Abbas Faiz, called flogging "a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment which is banned by international human rights law.
In the Maldives, an island nation made up of more than 1200 atolls, the issue of flogging has become a political battleground following the whipping of the teenager earlier this month outside a government building in the capital, Male. Reports said that the women required hospital treatment after she was flogged in front of a jeering crowd of men.
Since the case was publicised there have been a number of demonstrations in support of flogging, some calling for the deportation of a British journalist, Maryam Omidi, who published reports of the incident in the local Minivan News. "It's hard to tell whether this is indicative of a wider feeling, because people are afraid to speak out," Omidi said. "But I had people calling me up to offer their support."
Miss Omidi wrote
An 18-year-old woman was flogged in public outside the Justice Building and sentenced to a year of house arrest today for having pre-marital sex.
The woman received 100 lashes after confessing to having pre-marital sex with two men on separate occasions earlier this year.
She was taken to hospital after the lashing; although an official at Criminal Court said she had tripped on a step and hurt her leg, Judge Abdulla Mohamed, chief judge of the Criminal Court, said she fainted.
Abdulla said the courts could not prosecute the two men as Rahma was unable to provide any details about the first man and the second man denied his involvement.
Speaking to Minivan News MP for Galolhu Eva Abdulla said, “It seems a bit disproportionate considering there always has to be two people involved."
She further pointed to other forms of corporal punishment in Sharia law, which were not practiced in the Maldives.
“We don’t cut off the hands of all those who steal and we don’t implement the death sentence so why do we continue with these very inhumane practices, especially when the statistics show that the victims are women,” she said.
But, Judge Abdulla said more women were sentenced than men because while men were able to deny the crime, pregnancy often implicated women.
“A man after making this problem will go and maybe the woman will have relations with more than one man and won’t know who was responsible or the man denies it,” he said.
Without a confession, pre-marital sex cases are very difficult to prosecute, he said, as they required the testimony of four witnesses.
On why floggings were public, Abdulla said the method was prescribed in the Qur’an and its purpose was to act as a deterrent.
“Because the public should know this lady or man have done these things and they will stay away from these things,” he said.
Speaking to Minivan News today, documentary filmmaker Ali Rasheed, said he hoped both the HRCM and the gender department in the health ministry would condemn the act.
While both Rasheed and Eva said they were “shocked” to hear about the lashing, Abdulla said public floggings were common in the Maldives, and the last one was carried out on 30 June.
Posted on 07/23/2009 2:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Ofwat we speak
Ofwat, the Water Services Regulatory Authority (pronounced "Off-Wot") is in the news today. Something dull about dividends, but that is off the point and not of the essence. Readers outside the UK may wonder whence the "Of" and why it's pronounced "off". I assume it is by analogy with Ofgas, the Office of Gas Supply. Ofgas has been part of Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) since it merged with Offer (Office of Electricity Regulation), in an offer it couldn't refuse.
In a jocular analogy, the Access Regulator, Labour's attempt to force universities to discriminate against posh schools, was termed OffToff.
So far, the world's oldest profession has escaped Labour's clutches, but I'll wager the Government has a cunning plan to regulate it through some kind of man-go quango called OffTwot.
Posted on 07/23/2009 7:57 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Sergeant James Crowley Quietly, But Firmly, Holds His Ground
Cambridge police Sergeant James Crowley declined today to criticize President Obama for saying Wednesday night that police "acted stupidly" in the arrest last week of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., but he did say it was "regrettable" that anyone would speak without knowing the "whole story" of the confrontation a week ago at Gates's home near Harvard Square
Speaking at length
Sergeant James Crowley
this morning on the Dennis & Callahan show on WEEI radio in Boston, Crowley maintained that "I know what I did was right." When the hosts asserted, however, that "professor Gates and the President of the United States owe you an apology," Crowley refused to bite.
"The president has a lot of other daunting tasks ahead of him," Crowley said. "I wish for the good of the whole country that he is successful in efforts to do the many things that he has to."
The radio show hosts persisted: "Well, hopefully on those other tasks he actually gets his facts straight, because clearly he didn't know what he was talking about when he addressed your little issue."
Crowley said: "I think it is regrettable that anybody on either side of this issue would make comments - and you know I saw some of them of them, but I think its regrettable that anybody, either somebody who supports me or somebody who thinks I acted inappropriately -- without knowing the whole story, without talking to those who were there who have firsthand knowledge of the events and who saw themselves the way in which professor Gates acted and what led to his arrest."
Posted on 07/23/2009 10:11 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
That Awful Mess On Ware Street (Quer Pasticciaccio Brutto Nella Via Ware)
When the academic entrepreneur Henry Louis Gates behaved outrageously the other day no one could have foreseen that it would provide yet another example of Obama making a quite unnecessary pronouncement, on the basis of information admittedly insufficient (apparently he thinks it enough to declare that he hasn’t read the record, and doesn’t know the full story, and that allows him to go ahead and, before an international audience, come down hard on Sergeant Crowley, and Officer Figueroa, and all the other members of the Cambridge Police Force, and on the side of “my friend Skip Gates,” because, you see, “Skip Gates” is 1) my friend and 2) knows just as I do what It Means To Be Black In America.
So apparently Obama did not know exactly why Sergeant Crowley arrived. He was unfamiliar with the official Police Report about the incident. He did not know that there were six or seven squad cars full of police, and what’s more, there were at least seven civilian passersby, who saw Gates in his hysterical explosion of resentment or rather, ressentiment, that apparently his charmed life, which some in the fields of African studies, at least, say is quite unmerited – a life in which he has had no difficulty in being hired, and promoted, and promoted again, on the basis of all kinds of activities that appear to have little to do with real scholarship, and again and again his grand claims (such as that about a newly-discovered “masterpiece” that turned out to be completely hollow) and schemes (that Internet company that was going to create something special for what Gates likes to call “the Black Diaspora,” and by means of which he hoped to make a fortune), and all the other balls he juggles in his tireless self-advancement and self-promotion that has not gone unnoticed. and some might say quite unmerited – life of rising high, on little effort but a great deal of entrepreneurial self-promotion – has done little or perhaps nothing to dampen.
Let the record show that Gates was belligerent and behaved outrageously from the arrival of the first police officer, Sergeant Crowley, when all Gates had to do was to calm down, stop being hysterical, stop yelling and screaming at the top of his lungs, and then nothing further would have happened. It is absolutely clear from the substance, and tone, of the Police Report. Sergeant Crowley (and behind him, Officer Figueroa) arrested Gates for disorderly conduct only because from the get-go Gates simply refused to behave sensibly, instead indulging in thin-skinned fury, and he continued to do so, along the obvious pre-fabricated line, screaming about "racism" when there was no conceivable hint of it (please note, in the photograph of an open-mouthed enraged Gates, the black policeman to his lower right), and ignored, once, then again, and then again, the warning from Sergeant Crowley that Gates would be in trouble, and he finally was. To the argument presented that Gates was, after all, only breaking in to his own house, one has to reply that when someone berates the police, for example when they come because there has been a call about a domestic quarrel, and continues uninterruptedly despite repeated warnings, that person who refuses to calm down after repeatedly being implored to do so, can be, and many who behave that way routinely are, arrested.
Upon the arrival of the police, Gates in fact was quick to claim special privileges of two types. The first was that he was a black man, and so anything the police did not to his liking -- such as wishing to check his identity and not merely accept his word that he was the legal resident of 17 Ware Street – must surely be an example of white racism. and not merely taking his word for it that he was the legal resident of 17 Ware Street -- was an example of white racism. Judging by the alacrity with which Gates, one of the most spoiled people in America, with a title, and duties, and a salary, and a life, that almost everyone would envy, and those who know the fields in which Gates is purported to be a "scholar" and to have made "scholarly contributions" do not, I'm afraid, share the opinion of Henry Louis Gates that Henry Louis Gates apparently has, or at least pretends to have, and also manages to convince others of his greatness as a "scholar." There's the same old list: the Yale B.A., with a summa in English (but who was the thesis advisor, and who were the readers, and who administered the senior exam? )-- but what does it mean when a quarter of the class is being given a summa, and it's in 1973, and then, there is the steady apparently unresistible rise to becoming not only that appetizing thing, a Harvard professor, of Afro-American studies, bien entendu, and what's more, the director of the W. E. B. DuBois Institute devoted to the same studies, at prestigious Harvad, and you can forever bask in the false glow of that hollow prestige, for the rest of your tenured life.
Sergeant Crowley was closest to the scene of what appeared, quite reasonably, to be a break-in in progress. You can find his detailed account of what happened here. Similar behavior by others, including those who may have requested that the police come to their houses, and who are, like Gates, guilty of no crime but behave with bizarre and unstoppable belligerence, are routinely arrested for disorderly conduct. Why should Gates, after repeated calm warnings by Sergeant Crowley, not be treated the same? He was, after those many warnings, finally arrested, and taken to the station house. So what? Was this done because he was a Black Man in America, as he and possibly the careless Barack Obama appear to think, or because he would not stop, not even for a minute, being belligerent and yelling? What do all the policemen who were present say? What about all the non-police passersby, at least seven, including the neighbor, William B. Carter, who took the famous picture. To judge by Carter’s statement (in The Boston Globe for July 23), Gates was clearly the one who was behaving outrageously: “I know he [Gates] s tired, and upset, but someone of his stature and education should be a little more understanding.”
Gates is not exactly unknown to people who lived near him at his previous residence, on Francis Avenue (after his wife divorced him, two or three years ago, Gates had to make a knight’s move out of that house to Ware Street, exactly one short block, that is a one-minute walk, to Gates’ lavishly appointed offices at the Barker Center, where he directs his fiefdom, that W. E. B. DuBois Center, dispensing grants, promoting careers, inviting lecturers to come to talk at Harvard and thus to put another little gold star on their ever-swelling resumes, to plan television programs, to have his secretary see if he can fit yet another foreign trip into his busy schedule, to wheel and to deal, but not to sit quietly, for months on end, in a carrel at Widener, or at his office in the Barker Center, doing real research. Those days are apparently gone forever, for Henry Louis Gates, and for some in the same fields, who regard Gates as an intolerable prima donna and academic operator, those days are something Henry Louis Gates, for all his talk of “scholarship” (and for all the comical references in the press, by those who simply repeat what everyone else is saying, to that “noted scholar”or, still worse, “noted Harvard scholar” Henry Louis Gates).
Years ago a professor (bien entendu, a black professor, an Afro-American professor) in one of the hard sciences, who taught at M.I.T., fed up with the antics of both Gates and his-then colleague Cornel West, who is much cruder and less appealing than Gates, wrote about the two and dared to describe them as clownish figures, as the “Amos and Andy” of local academic life. Did I forget to mention that the M.I.T. professor who wrote the article was black? Did I forget to mention that he was Afro-American? Oh good, I'm glad I didn’t forget. . Because if that professor who taught at M.I.T. , who wrote that scathing piece about West and Gates, in which he called them the "Amos and Andy" of academic life, had been white (had “happened to be white” the way some people talk about a friend who “just happens to be black”), then of course what he wrote would have been simply intolerable, would have been cause for consigning him forever to the outer darkness, n’est-ce pas? Identity politics, identity academic politics, identity everything. That’s the world we live in. Don't tell me what you know or what you think. Tell me, please, your race, religion, ethnic background, and what you like to do, as Nabokov once wrote, with your "poor little genitals." Then, and only then, will I be able to decide if you even have a right to express a thought or an opinion about this, or about that.
There's a lot one could say about the preening Henry Louis Gates. He’s at Harvard, all right. He’s even the head of the W.E.B. DuBois Center at Harvard. So what? Plenty of people get hired, get promoted, get their fiefdoms, all over academic life, people of doubtful worth and achievement, but once they are given their titles and their posts, the outside world doesn’t dare to question them, and inside their fields, many who know better, and are in private scathing about such people, do not wish to unnecessarily endanger their own positions, their access to grants, their everything, and so they shut up, and a conspiracy of silence continues, broken only by the odd lone brave individual, or the far-less-brave people who, outside of academic life, cannot be denied those grants or those favors, and can more readily speak or write the truth.
What the hell was Barack Obama, one wonders, thinking when he decided, on the basis of imperfect knowledge, of no real knowledge at all, of what went on the other day a block from Harvard Yard, or about the background and reputation of Sergeant Crowley, or for that matter, about the background and real reputation, among those who are the only people capable of making informed judgments about the quality of Gates’s scholarly contributions to African history, and to Afro-American studies?
He knows nothing about Gates. Gates is merely someone he has met, someone he thinks of as in his set, because Obama is also deeply impressed with diplomas and degrees and posts in the right places, rather than in what lies behind, or does not lie behind, the "prestige" of those hallowed and often hollow if well-ivied and richly-endowed names..
Though quoted ad nauseaum, in every third article by the cheesiest journalists in England, I think an exception should be made, especially since what is being discussed are the lower-order fields of politics and academic politics. So here it is, one more time: Whereof we do not know, thereof we should not speak.
President Obama should listen to Ludwig.And listen to him not only about that Awful Mess on Ware Street, but about other, more deeply menacing matters. Why the hell did he give an opinion about something he knew very little about? Because he can. And because he thinks he, Barack Obama, is a thoughtful man, so that mere knowledge is not always necessary. But this practice, so evident in his statements about Islam, can no longer be overlooked or be tolerated.
Posted on 07/23/2009 12:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
USAF chief visits Israel: "may the Schwartz be with you."
USAF Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz was on a visit to Israel this past week. It was sort of a ‘home to home’ visit as IAF Chief of Staff Gen. Nashultan had a paid a visit to Schwartz last month in Washington. Schwartz is the USAF’s first Jewish chief. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, Class of 1973, he has over 4,200 flying hours as a command pilot. We know Schwartz well from his several assignments in the USAF Special Ops command at Hurlburt Field based in Northwest Florida.
The Jerusalem Post report on Schwartz's visit to Israel, “America's first Jewish Air Force commander makes Israel visit” noted the aerial tour of the country and consultation:
According to defense officials, Schwartz and Nehushtan discussed a wide-range of issues. Schwartz's visit came on the heels of a similar visit Nehushtan made to the US last month.
During his four-day visit, Schwartz met with Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and flew in an IAF Zufit reconnaissance plane. Nehushtan also gave Schwartz a helicopter tour of Israel's borders and explained to him the different threats the country faces in the north and south.
Schwartz presumably discussed possible purchase by Israel of the Joint strike fighter, the F-35, now that the US Senate has spiked further production of the F-22 stealth fighter bomber, The Raptor, that Japan, Israel and Australia were seeking to buy to keep the Georgia Lockheed Martin Production line operating. President Obama had urged the Congress to not procure further copies of the F-22, as it was designed to counter Soviet era threats and allegedly because the F-35 Joint strike fighter replacement was cheaper. The Senate voted to stop F-22 procurement on July 22nd, causing ripple effects, including the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the US aero space industry. The IDF had filed a letter with the Pentagon to purchase the F-35 last month after discussions about Israel using its own avionics and ECM capabilities were allegedly granted by the Pentagon. Note this comment from the IAF procurement chief in a Defense Industry Daily report, “Israeli Plans to Buy F-35s Hitting Obstacles, Moving Forward “:
In an exclusive June 2006 interview, Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief procurement officer Brigadier-General Ze’ev Snir told Israel’s Globes publication that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was a key part of their IAF recapitalization plans, and that Israel intends to buy over 100 of the fighters to replace their F-16s over time. A 100-plane deal would have cost at least $5 billion under Israel’s original estimates, and would involve the F-35A conventional take-off Air Force version. Snir added that:
“The IAF would be happy to equip itself with 24 F-22s but the problem at this time is the US refusal to sell the plane, and its $200 million price tag.”
Unfortunately, Israel’s September 2008 request for its first 75 F-35s would end up costing them an estimated $15 billion – or about $200 million per plane. All in return for a fighter with poorer air-to-air performance than the F-22, and less stealth. The necessary contract must deal with that sticker shock, and with issues like the incorporation of Israeli technologies, before it can be signed.
According to the Jerusalem Post report Schwartz is to be followed by visits from his Commander in Chief’s National security advisers:
Schwartz's trip to Israel kicks off a round of visits expected next week by senior Obama administration officials, including National Security Adviser James Jones, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and White House official Dennis Ross.
Defense officials said that the talks with the officials would focus on a wide-range of topics including the recent political tension between Jerusalem and Washington over settlement construction but also in order to coordinate positions ahead of the dialogue the US plans to hold with Teheran.
Schwartz may have been briefed on Israel’s military option and the Iran nuclear project crisis. His Commander and Chief, President Obama, US Secretary of Defense Gates and General James Jones, NSC head in the White house have expressed reservations about Israel undertaking a unilateral attack on Iran’s nuclear and missile development facilities. Gates has argued that a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program would not set back the timetable, but rather sanctions might increase the cost of the undertaking by the Islamic Republic. Early this month Vice President Biden had effectively stated on an ABC “This Week” interview that the US would not stand in the way of Israel’s decision to attack Iran’s nuclear bomb making facilities. President Obama immediately shut down that talk with a comment that there was “no green light given” for such an option. In Bangkok, yesterday, Secretary of State Clinton suggested in remarks at the ASEAN regional meetings that the US might create a defensive shield to protect the Middle East, an implied message that a nuclear Iran might be tolerated.
For the IDF, whom General Schwartz was visiting this past week in Israel, these pronouncements are small comfort given the existential threats posed by Iranian nuclear weapons development . The timetable for Iran to test a device might occur as early as six months as German Intelligence has reported or upwards of 40 months based on Mossad Chief Meir Dagan’s estimates. Schwartz would be in the chain of command that might give the order to provide the IAF with IFF codes to enable Israel’s front line attack aircrafts, F-16is and F-15b’s, to over fly Iraqi and Turkish airspace for a possible Iran mission. Perhaps those arrangements were discussed, perhaps not. But Schwartz’s visit to Israel prefigures what his Commander in Chief has in mind. Israel cannot afford to dither over what form a military option might take. It has a number of options, as we have written in posts, at its disposal: IAF front line aircraft, land based Jericho Missiles, Dolphin submarines equipped with tube launched nuclear tipped cruise missiles, cyber warfare tools. Gen. Schwartz could provide some reality to the Obama national security team after his discussions with his IAF counterparts to counter the fantasy of engagement with Iran and use of faltering sanctions, save one. That is using recently House-passed legislation blocking deliveries of gasoline and diesel fuel from off shore refineries that supply upwards of 40% of Iran’s needs.
What did Mel Brooks say in his 1987 Sci-fi comedy film, Spaceballs: “May the Schwartz be with you!”
Posted on 07/23/2009 4:52 PM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 23 July 2009
More On Sergeant Crowley
From an article about Sergeant Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department:
So what does Crowley think about Gates' claim that he's a racist?
"It almost doesn't even warrant a comment it's so ridiculous. My friends, my family, my colleagues, those people (whose) opinions mean the most to me, they know who I am. They know what I am and what I am not."
"It's an unfortunate thing that the professor or other people have even mentioned that."
'APOLOGY WON'T COME FROM ME'
Crowley, 42, said he won't apologize. And his union has expressed "full and unqualified" support for him.
"The apology wont come from me. I've done nothing wrong," he told WBZ.
REGGIE LEWIS CONNECTION
Fellow officers, black and white, say he is well-liked and respected on the force. Crowley was a campus police officer at Brandeis University in July 1993 when he administered CPR trying to save the life of former Boston Celtics player Reggie Lewis.
Lewis, who was black, collapsed and died during an off-season workout.
Gates' supporters maintain his arrest was a case of racial profiling.
Crowley said he wouldn't do anything different if he had the chance to do things over.
"If a similar call came in tomorrow, I wouldn't shy away from responding and I would do what I have to do."
Posted on 07/23/2009 12:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
From Officer Figuaroa's Account
On July 16, 2009 at approximately 12:44 PM, I Officer Figuaroa #509 responded to an ECC broadcast for a possible break at __ Ware St. When I arrived, I stepped into the residence and Sgt. Crowley had already entered and was speaking to a black male.
As I stepped in, I heard Sgt. Crowley ask for the gentleman’s information which he stated “NO I WILL NOT!” The gentleman was shouting out to the Sgt. that the Sgt. was a racist and yelled that “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN America!” As the Sgt. was trying to calm the gentleman, the gentleman shouted “You don’t know who your messing with!”
I stepped out to the gather the information from the reporting person, WHALEN, LUCIA. Ms. Whalen stated to me that she saw a man wedging his shoulder into the front door as to pry the door open. As I returned to the residence, a group of onlookers were now on scene. The Sgt., along with the gentleman, were now on the porch of __ Ware Street and again he was shouting, now to the onlookers (about seven), “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN AMERICA!” The gentleman refused to listen to as to why the Cambridge Police were there. While on the porch, the gentleman refused to be cooperative and continued shouting that the Sgt. is racist police officer.
Posted on 07/23/2009 12:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Hatch and match
Careful brides saved the bottom tier of the wedding cake for the christening. Careless brides did it the other way round. Married? I didn't even know she was pregnant. Not pregnant? There's posh for you.
Shotgun wedding jokes, which for some reason sound more effective in a Welsh accent, are a thing of the past now that anything goes. Rightly so, for the most part. But surely the Church of England should uphold the ideal, while welcoming and forgiving those who fall short of it. The Times reports on its latest attempt to get with the programme:
The tragic single mother is a staple of English literature. Seduced, impregnated and abandoned, she wanders in penury, shunned by society and the Church. Corrupted paragons abound in the 19th-century novel, from Thomas Hardy’s innocent Fanny Robbin, to Elizabeth Gaskell’s guilt-racked Ruth.
But the Church of England is to atone for its historical antipathy towards single mothers. A new all-in-one liturgy, published today, will allow clergy to perform baptisms and marriages at the same time, in a “hatch and match” service. The new liturgy is being promoted by the Bishop of Wakefield, who has been moved by Thomas Hardy’s description of the single mother’s plight. The new service is designed to welcome unmarried mothers into the Church.
Life as a single mother is not an easy one. Money is tight, even if the poorhouse no longer beckons. A one-stop service will be cheaper. Today’s single mothers are rather less likely to die in shamed poverty, shunned by parents and clergy, than characters like Ruth or Fanny. Hardy’s most famous female character, Tess, was cast out of society and the arms of Angel by her sexual relations with Alex D’Urbeville. She would be seen as quaintly abstemious by today’s young women.
The new liturgy cleverly allows the Church to entice women back into the spiritual and marital fold without judgment. Ruth, Fanny and Tess would have been pathetically grateful for the Church’s open-armed embrace. The world has turned. Single mothers used to be desperate for the Church’s approval. Now, it seems, the Church is desperate for theirs.
Nobody is suggesting that the Church go back to the dark days of Tess - a wronged but irritatingly passive fictional "fallen woman". These days the Church would welcome her with open arms. So why is the Bishop of Wakefield - not to be confused with its vicar - fixing a nineteenth century wrong that's no longer broke?
Why, in any case, would a bride and groom want to tie the knot holding a mewling and puking infant? Wouldn't it get in the way? And and promising to have and to hold and to fight against sin, the world and the devil all in one go is a tall order. As for anointing with chrism, don't go there - "I can't believe it's not butter."
Posted on 07/23/2009 3:59 PM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 23 July 2009
A Musical Interlude: There Ought To Be A Moonlight Savings Time (Annette Hanshaw)
Posted on 07/23/2009 12:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
An Intrepid M.I.T. Professor On Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West
The following article, by an M.I.T. professor, first appeared in 1998:
What's going on at the Boston Magazine, in the national media, and at Harvard with Mr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. must concern everyone who has serious interest in the integrity of African-American scholarship. The recent Boston Magazine article, " Head Negro In Charge: Why Harvard's Skip Gates May Be the Most Important Black Man in America," April 1998, reveals distressing issues beyond its title.
The title of Boston Magazine's article, "Head Negro In Charge," is actually superb, but the subtitle declaring Mr. Gates to be possibly "the most important black man in America" is foolishness. Yet, the article itself --- notwithstanding its errors of fact, stereotypes, and fantasies --- is insightful (but disturbing) in its portrayal of Mr. Gates. I am reminded of the Trinity --- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost --- where the true believer is discouraged from distinguishing one from the others; the title from the subtitle from the article.
The title may have emerged from Mr. Gates himself who has been cited within the Cambridge academic community for using this phrase, among both blacks and whites. Having lifted the title from him, Boston Magazine perhaps has been both too pleased with its own increased visibility and too contrite by the title's derision to apologize. Curiously, Mr. Gates has experience in devising appropriately self-referential titles, as with his earlier work of literary criticism, the Signifying Monkey. What is most striking to me about the Boston Magazine title is how appropriately it too is self-referential and perceptively depicts the contents of the article, though aided and abetted by a grossly exaggerated subtitle.
For several years now, major media, including the New Yorker, Newsweek, The Boston Globe (most frequently and most trivially), and the New York Times, have been trying to sell the idea of Mr. Gates's importance, with Harvard's complicity and Mr. Gates's own billboard advertising. Never mind that blacks in and out of academia see Colin Powell, Bill Cosby, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, David Satcher, Tiger Woods, Frank Raines, Arnold Rampersad, John Hope Franklin, and the two Jordans (Michael and Vernon) --- to name a few --- as more influential by a long shot. Furthermore, Mr. Gates is careless with the truth, even in small matters, as with his claim to be the first black American to earn a doctorate from Cambridge University. Having earned a Cambridge doctorate in engineering, I was on the MIT faculty while Mr. Gates was still a sophomore at Yale. I have informed Mr. Gates of this fact, yet he persists in this claim. The media have been trying to peddle these and other asinine goods such as the head coach of the so-called Harvard Dream Team, not only on the Lower East Side but uptown as well. It won't work; at least, not along this part of the Charles.
Anyone who sees the Boston Magazine article as beneficial to either Mr. Gates or the black community is shortsighted. Mr. Gates's caricatures of black life and culture, punctuated by his constant uses of stereotypical and derogatory language, reinforce the article's title in many of its historical interpretations. The reader is being told that gratuitous profanity is a substitute for critical analysis, that celebrity replaces scholarship, and that name-dropping is preferable to the difficult task of intellectual creativity.
From Mr. Du Bois to Mr. Gates, it appears that Harvard's Afro-American tradition has gone from innovative and cogent analysis to public posturing and Jive Talkin' 101. In the words of the great patriot, and no doubt, Harvard Af-Am icon, Don King, "Only in America." The article's image of Mr. Gates throughout is that of a modernized and updated Stepin Fetchit --- shameless, grinning and bowing, shuffling around the globe, incidentally becoming "an accomplished literary archaeologist." This mocking image comes full force in the article when the author describes Mr. Gates's own childhood fantasy --- one which he seems to be constantly evolving in adult life and which I quote with editorial suggestion for effect:
"One of his [Mr. Gates's] favorite Amos and Andy episodes is 'The Punjab of Java Pour,' in which Andy [Mr. Cornel West] dresses up as a turbaned Oriental potentate with Kingfish [Mr. Gates] as his servant, so they can enjoy a vacation [of academic tenure] at a luxury hotel [Harvard University] for free."
Now we have a much clearer understanding of Harvardian Afro-American studies!
This is the stuff of People Magazine and TV Guide, Court TV and Geraldo, but not evidence of substantive scholarship. Harvard knows better. So the question is why? Why is Harvard arbitraging in this spurious currency, trying to unload this counterfeit onto the black community and the world? Why is it hosting media spectacles, featuring the New Yorker's Tina Brown, to anoint a serious academic program? The rock goddess Tina Turner would have been a better choice. She could have mesmerized the crowd with her fille de joie "Private Dancer" and invited Mr. Gates to join her on stage. What meshugaas!
Cut the buffoonery, Skip, and get to work --- scholarly work, that is.
James H. Williams, Jr.; PhD Cantab
SEPTE Professor of Engineering
Charles F. Hopewell Faculty Fellow
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
April 21, 1998
Posted on 07/23/2009 1:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Crowley Teaches A Course On "Racial Profiling"
Posted on 07/23/2009 3:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Keith Ellison,TiZA and Taxpayer's Money
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
WASHINGTON - Days after his return from an unannounced pilgrimage to the Islamic holy site of Mecca, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison talked about it as a transformational personal experience, saying "I didn't want to turn it into a politics thing."
Nearly eight months later, the Minneapolis DFLer faces a House Ethics Committee review of his decision to keep the trip's costs under wraps -- even though it was paid for by a local Islamic nonprofit and typically would be reported as a gift to a public official.
Asked about the trip Tuesday, Ellison said that he is "not privy to the internal workings of the organization" that covered his costs, and that he complied with all House Ethics panel disclosure requirements. "Why should I waive a right that's accorded me under the rules?" he said.
Tax records show the group that paid Ellison's expenses, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, received nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money in 2006 and 2007 from a rental arrangement for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), an Inver Grove Heights charter school.
The man who accompanied Ellison to Mecca, Asad Zaman, is executive director of the TiZA school, a political contributor of Ellison's and was president of the Muslim American Society until August, when the Mecca trip was planned.
TiZA has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union and probed by state officials for allegedly promoting Islam, which would violate the church and state separation required of public schools -- including charter schools.
The school received state funding to pay rent to the Muslim American Society Property Holding Corp., a nonprofit spinoff of the Muslim American Society that owned the building. The corporation then turned over $879,000 to the Muslim society as a grant.
Those close connections have opened Ellison to questions about the nature of the trip. Ellison on Tuesday called it "a private trip," adding that he had told the ethics committee of the trip beforehand and received its approval. A spokesman for the school says no public money was used for the trip, or Hajj, which Ellison took as a once-in-a-lifetime fulfillment of his religious duty as a practicing Muslim. The 16-day pilgrimage is considered one of the most solemn acts in Islam, one that is supposed to be undertaken free of debts and unmet family obligations.
Ellison has justified withholding the cost by citing the religious nature of his journey to Saudi Arabia, saying it had nothing to do with his duties as a congressman.
Such trips generally must be reported under congressional gift rules that call for full financial disclosure. IRS rules, moreover, bar nonprofit religious groups from furthering individuals' "private interests."
Ellison, however, reported the trip under more permissive House rules for outside business activities -- Boy Scout trips, for example -- that are unrelated to congressional duties, but which are not purely for private benefit. Those rules do not require cost accounting.
A public figure who has faced some hostility as the first Muslim member of Congress, Ellison has been reluctant to reveal details of the trip, which is estimated to have cost several thousand dollars.
The Muslim American Society's grants -- for $550,000 in 2007, and $329,000 in 2006 -- represented the proceeds of rent paid by the state of Minnesota for TiZA.
The financial connection to the school rent money is spelled out in the holding company's tax filings for 2006 and 2007: "Receives rent from government agency and donates to MAS of MN [Muslim American Society of Minnesota]."
Zaman did not respond to several inquiries seeking comment on the Mecca trip. In the ACLU's lawsuit, which alleges that the property holding company effectively transferred government charter school funds to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, the ACLU quotes Zaman as saying that "Islam makes no distinction between public and private life."
Twin Cities public relations executive Blois Olson, who is serving as a spokesman for the school, said there is no connection between the TiZA rent money and Ellison's trip, which took place in late November and early December of 2008.
Olson said the Muslim American Society of Minnesota stopped getting the rent funds for the school in early 2007, more than a year before the trip.
At that time, the school property was transferred to the Minnesota Education Trust, Olson said, a separate nonprofit that now acts as TiZA's leaseholder. As part of that transfer, Olson said, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota Holding Corp. turned over $315,000 in rent proceeds to the trust.
The rest of the lease aid, Olson said, went to retire a private $1.3 million loan on the school property.
As a religious organization, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota is not required to make its finances public.
Olson said the Muslim group funded Ellison's trip because it wanted to improve communications "between Muslim-Americans and the broader Muslim world."
The connection between the school and Ellison's trip has propelled him squarely into at debate in the Minnesota Legislature about leasing organizations like the Muslim American Society Property Holding Corp. and how they use their public rent funds.
Rep. Mindy Greiling, DFL-Roseville, who chairs the K-12 Education Finance Division Committee, said the state funds were intended to help charter schools rent space.
She said she is troubled by the large grants to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whether or not the money can be tied directly to Ellison's trip.
"It calls into question the sensibility of the people who lead the school," Greiling said. "And to send Keith Ellison off to Mecca just compounds it."
State officials say the arrangement illustrates long-standing concerns about the relationship between charter schools and the affiliated groups who hold their leases.
Chas Anderson, deputy commissioner for the state education department, said that state law does not regulate how lease dollars are spent by such property-holding corporations.
"While this type of relationship is legal, it is nonetheless concerning," she said of the TiZA payments.
TiZA, which also has a campus in Blaine, received an estimated $4.7 million in state aid this year, including more than $520,000 in annual lease aid. The school also got more than $873,000 in federal charter school grants last year.
Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the Minnesota ACLU, said the flow of any public funds to a sectarian group that funded a public official's trip to a religious site heightens the questions Samuelson's group has raised about the separation of church and state.
"The group that paid for it [the trip] gets a large part of its money from the public trough," Samuelson said.
Posted on 07/23/2009 3:32 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 23 July 2009
More on "Bashir al Ameriki" AKA Bryant Neal Vinas, Al Qaeda operative
Here’s more in this AP report, “Documents: US al-Qaida recruit trained as bomber,” on American Al Qaeda Jihadi, Byrant Neal Vinas, AKA “Bashir Al Ameriki”.
Vinas, a Latino convert to extremist Islam was a native of Patchogue on Long Island North Shore. Captured by Pakistani authorities in the City of Peshawar in 2008, he was turned over to US counterterrorism agents and following his interrogation was arraigned on terrorism charges in January. He is the second Latino American convert caught as an al Qaeda operative, Jose Padilla convicted on terror bombing charges was the first. Other prominent American Islamic converts involved with Al Qaeda include John Lindh Walker, captured in the opening stages of the War in Afghanistan in 2001 who hailed from Marin County California and Southern Californian Adam Gadahn, “Azzam al Ameriki” who runs Al Qaeda’s video production studio. We also have posted on several American- born Jihadis converts who have joined the Taliban-like Al Qaeda affiliate, al Shabaab in Somalia.
Vinas, according to unsealed Brooklyn Federal court hearing records, has revealed more about himself and al Qaeda targets in the West. Yesterday we learned about Vinas turning over to al Qaeda information on New York’s subway system that could have been used for a highly destructive mass casualty attack. Today, we learn that he was trained as a suicide bomber, a Shahid or martyr in Islam. But we also have revealed that he may have given the US intelligence that resulted in the killing of an Al Qaeda chief in a Predator attack, last year. There are also allegations that he knew of an Al Qaeda plot to attack a Belgian metro system, denied by a prime suspect now in Belgian authorities’ custody.
Here is what this fascinating AP report notes on Vinas:
Bryant Neal Vinas took courses in plastic explosives and bomb theory, according to a statement he gave to investigators as part of a terrorism case in Belgium. The statement, provided to the AP on Thursday, was to be released after a hearing Friday, officials said.
Since the 26-year-old New York man's arrest in Pakistan in November 2008, Vinas has become one of the most valuable informants in the war on terrorism, giving investigators a fascinating and rare look into al-Qaida's day-to-day operations in a lawless region bordering Afghanistan.
He provided insights on many key members of Al-Qaida and how the organization recruited and indoctrinated people. Vinas also revealed the group gave lessons on assassination, poison, kidnapping, forgery and advanced bomb making, according to the statement.
While he has been in custody in New York, the U.S. has made a series of successful unmanned Predator drone strikes on suspected al-Qaida locations in the difficult-to-penetrate border region, raising questions about whether Vinas provided the information that led to any of the deadly attacks.
One of those strikes took place in northwest Pakistan on Nov. 19, about the time of Vinas' capture. The strike killed al-Qaida member Abdullah Azzam al-Saudi, who was reportedly a recruiter for the terrorist organization.
Vinas told authorities that he knew of an Abdullah Azzam, a law enforcement official told the AP, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.
Vinas' attorney Len Kamdang declined comment Thursday.
Vinas, who grew up in the New York City suburbs on Long Island, was charged in court papers unsealed Wednesday with giving al-Qaida "expert advice and assistance" about New York's transit system and with a rocket attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan last year.
He pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to conspiring to murder U.S. nationals, supporting and receiving training from a foreign terrorist organization in a sealed courtroom in Brooklyn, according to a transcript of the hearing unsealed Thursday.
Vinas admitted to traveling to Pakistan in 2007 "with the intention of meeting and joining a jihadist group to fight American soldiers in Afghanistan," the transcript read.
The question remains what is the full extent of American born converts and naturalized American Somalis who have gone to Afghanistan and Somalia. Further, unlike Padilla, Walker and now Vinas, how many have returned as trained al Qaeda operatives in terrorist cells waiting to attack us here at home.
Posted on 07/23/2009 8:52 PM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Dutch returns severed head of Ghana chief
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The descendants of an African chief who was hanged and decapitated by a Dutch general 171 years ago reluctantly accepted the return of his severed head Thursday, still angry even as the Dutch tried to right a historic wrong.
The head of King Badu Bonsu II was discovered last year in a jar of formaldehyde gathering dust in the anatomical collection of the Leiden University Medical Center. The Dutch government, embarrassed by its discovery, agreed to Ghanaian demands that the relic be returned.
On Thursday, members of the king's Ahanta tribe, dressed in dark robes and wearing red sashes, took part in the hand-over ceremony, honoring his spirit by toasting with Dutch gin and then sprinkling the drink over the floor at the Dutch Foreign Ministry.
Luckily they didn't pull the other one, by dropping trou' and defecating on the rug, "according to ancient Ghanan tradition."
But descendants of the chief said they were not consoled.
"I am hurt, angry. My grandfather has been killed," said Joseph Jones Amoah, the great, great grandson of the chief.
The chief's head was stored elsewhere at the ministry and was not displayed during the ceremony. It is expected to be flown with the tribe members back to Ghana on Friday.
Tribal elders said after the hand-over that they were also angry because they had been sent by their current chief only to identify the head, not retrieve it. Taking it back without first reporting to the chief would be a breach of protocol, they said. ["Cor! We wanted TWO all-expenses-paid trips to Europe!"]
"We, the Ahanta, are not happy at all," said Nana Etsin Kofi II.
The head was taken by Maj. Gen. Jan Verveer in 1838 in retaliation for Bonsu's killing of two Dutch emissaries, whose heads were displayed as trophies on Bonsu's throne, said Arthur Japin, a Dutch author who discovered the king's head when he was working on a historical novel.
Bonsu also killed the acting governor Hendrikus Jacobus Tonneboeijer.
The elders demanded the Dutch government provide aid to their tribe to appease the slain chief.
Nana Kwekwe Darko III, who tipped the gin onto the floor according to tradition, dabbed tears from his eyes afterward and said he wanted the Dutch to build schools and hospitals for his people.
It was unclear what would become of it once it reaches Ghana.
Posted on 07/23/2009 5:04 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 23 July 2009
A Musical Interlude: Mean To Me (Ambrose Orch.)
Posted on 07/23/2009 10:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 July 2009
"No, you're the strict Muslim fundamentalist"
From the Local in Sweden:
Three children of a father accused of abusing and imprisoning his family spoke out on Thursday as the trial of the 58-year-old kicked off in Uppsala in eastern Sweden.
Despite the fact that the children are born in Sweden, two of them needed interpreters in court. They testified about abuse, fear and never having attended school.
The father warned of the dangers of Swedish society, telling his children they would be raped and lobotomized and that all Swedes were racists.
“If all the children in Sweden were lobotomized, why are they so happy?” recalled one of the daughters, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.
Between September 2003 and March 2004, the children were confined to the family's apartment, never leaving the dwelling once, according to public prosecutor Johan Strömbäck.
Three of the children have sought compensation totaling 148,000 kronor ($20,000) for deprivation of liberty (frihetsberövande), including missing out on their education.
During a morning court hearing, three of the man's four children testified about their experience while confined by their dominating father, who is a native of Iran.
Both brothers needed the assistance of an interpreter, but their 22-year-old sister testified in clear Swedish.
She said that she had to fight to learn the language, despite the fact that she was born in Sweden, just like her brothers.
She explained that she clearly remembered how smug her father was when he learned that children who were not residing in Sweden were exempt from compulsory school attendance.
“He has deprived us of our rights as Swedish citizens,” the daughter said.
“I’ve never attended school, either in Iran or in Sweden. Not one single minute.”
When the 58-year-old man took the stand in the afternoon, he denied all the accusations against him, claiming his wife and children were lying.
He said his children had made up their stories out of fear of their mother.
“She’s taken over the whole family and controls their lives, not me,” he said.
He claimed that his wife was a “fundamentalist” and wanted to send the children to schools in Iran run by mullahs.
The father also refuted accusations that he had beaten his children.
“I’m against violence, it’s the mother who is violent,” he said.
“She does what she wants in the name of Islam.”
He said his children did in fact attend school in Iran and that there are diplomas to prove it at the country’s education ministry.
However, the 58-year-old was unable to produce any diplomas in court.
According to him, the children’s mother forbid them from attending school in Sweden.
“They want to make me look like a monster,” he said.
Anyone who has "debated" a Muslim will recognize the effortless prevarication, the projection of one's own beliefs onto others, and the resort to victimhood.
The strict control of a father over his wife (or wives) and children comes directly from the teachings of the holy, holy Qur'an. He is basically given control over every facet of their life, and death.
Islam breeds a particular, easily recognizable, mental pathology.
Posted on 07/23/2009 11:09 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden