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

These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 24, 2011.
Monday, 24 October 2011
Afghanistan to back Pakistan if wars with U.S.: Karzai

This was published under the tagline "Afghan leader's stunning admission".  Anyone who is stunned by this simple application of the Islamic mandate for all Muslims everywhere to come to the aid of any Muslim state anywhere that is invaded by non-Muslims, has no right being in a position to make political decisions or to report on Islamic stories.  This is Islam 101. Islam For Dummies. Reader's Digest Condensed version of Islamic ideology.

By Augustine Anthony for Reuters:

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Afghanistan would support Pakistan in case of military conflict between Pakistan and the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview to a private Pakistani TV channel broadcast on Saturday.
The remarks were in sharp contrast to recent tension between the two neighbors over cross-border raids, and Afghan accusations that Pakistan was involved in killing the chief Afghan peace envoy, former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, by a suicide bomber on September 20.
"God forbid, If ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan," he said in the interview to Geo television.
"If Pakistan is attacked and if the people of Pakistan needs Afghanistan's help, Afghanistan will be there with you."
Such a situation is extremely unlikely, however. Despite months of tension and tough talk between Washington and Islamabad, the two allies appear to be working to ease tension.
In a two-day visit to Islamabad, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued stern warnings and asked for more cooperation in winding down the war in Afghanistan, but ruled out "boots on the ground" in North Waziristan, where Washington has been pushing Pakistan to tackle the Haqqani network.
The Haqqani are a group of militants Washington has blamed for a series of attacks in Afghanistan, using sanctuaries in the Pakistani tribal region along the Afghan border.
Pakistan is seen as a critical to the U.S. drive to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
Pressure on Islamabad has been mounting since U.S. special forces found and killed Osama bin Laden in May in a Pakistani garrison town, where he apparently had been living for years.
The secret bin Laden raid was the biggest blow to U.S.-Pakistan relations since Islamabad joined the U.S. "war on terror" after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Karzai said tensions between the United States and Pakistan did not have any impact in his country's attitude toward Pakistan.
The TV channel, Geo, did not say when the interview was conducted.
Afghans have long been suspicious of Pakistan's intentions in their country and question its promise to help bring peace. Karzai repeated that concern in his remarks.
"Please brother, stop using all methods that hurt us and that are now hurting you.
"Let's engage from a different platform, a platform in which the two brothers only progress toward a better future in peace and harmony," he said.
Following the death of Rabbani, Karzai said he would cease attempting to reach out to the Afghan Taliban and instead negotiate directly with Pakistan, saying its military and intelligence services could influence the militants to make peace.

The Afghans' hatred of the Pakistanis, and fear of their meddling, is not theatrics.  It is deeply heartfelt and honest.  But they are fellow Muslims and fellow Pashtun, and this simple fact far, far outweighs the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the kuffar in "rebuilding" the infrastructure that never before existed in the first place.  They are fellow Muslims, and they are ready and willing to fight and kill their supposed "good friends" and "strong allies" at the drop of a turban.  We can no longer feign surprise.  If we  stay there for another century and give them every single penny in our treasury, we can hope for no better.

Posted on 10/24/2011 3:05 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Monday, 24 October 2011
Australia: Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott Attends Copts' Rally But Also Exposes His Ignorance of Islam

As I learned from the Melbourne 'Age' report on the protest rally held by Australian Copts in Sydney's Belmore Park on Sunday 23 October and also from the full text of Mr Abbott's speech as posted on his own website.

To do them credit, eight Australian politicians (six from Federal Parliament and two from the Parliament of NSW)  - the Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott Member for Warringah, the Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, Member for McMahon, the Shadow Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, Member for Cook, Federal MP former Immigration Minister the Hon Philip Ruddock Member for Berowra, Federal MP Craig Kelly the Member for Hughes, Senator for NSW Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and two State Politicians, the Rev Fred Nile and David Clarke, Parliamentary Secretary and  Member of the NSW Legislative Council (the Upper House of the NSW Parliament)- attended the protest.  

The ABC report I posted earlier did not see fit to mention any of their names;  nor will you see the full list of attendees in the 'Age' report.  I obtained the names from the opening paragraph of Mr Abbott's speech.

And so, to The Age, which relies on our friend AP, Associated Press.

'Protest in Sydney over Egypt Violence'.

'Violence targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt (that should be, 'Muslim violence against Coptic Christians in Egypt' - CM) is an "outrage", federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

'Mr Abbott's comments came after sectarian clashes in Cairo have reportedly killed 25 people, mostly Christian Copts, and injured about 300.

'Sectarian clashes'.  This weaselly and deliberately misleading phrase conjures up images of armed mobs of Christians and Muslims battling it out on even terms.  But AP knows very well, or should know, that what this really was, was a massacre, carried out by well-armed Egyptian Muslim soldiers and police, and armed Muslim vigilantes, against vastly outnumbered, unarmed and largely peaceful Coptic Christians who fled in terror as armoured vehicles that mowed them down. - CM

"It is an outrage what has happened to your community, it is an outrage which should cry out to heaven for rectification", Mr Abbott told a crowd of over a thousand Coptic Christians in Sydney on Sunday.

Hmmm.  The ABC and AP seem to be somewhat in disagreement over the number of people present. AP merely says 'over a thousand'. The ABC put the numbers at 3000. 

The report then skips to the very end of Mr Abbott's speech, where he exposes a lamentable ignorance of the nature and history of Islam.

"May the people of Egypt come to see the tragedy the other week not just as a crime against Christians but as a crime against Islam too - no true religion can contemplate this kind of horror".

'A crime against Islam'.  My dear Mr Abbott, when Muslim mobs prevent Copts from building churches, and when Muslim mobs attack Copts in order to destroy newly-built churches or to prevent the repairing of old ones, they are enforcing the Rules for Dhimmis that are codified in the legendary 'Pact of Omar', template of the myriad rules which Muslim jurists, theologians and despots devised for the suppression, degradation and humiliation of subjugated non-Muslim peoples living within the lands of Islam.   The Pact of Omar says that Christians and Jews cannot build new places of worship, nor are they to be allowed to repair old ones.  And since no-one, Muslim or non-Muslim, is supposed to criticise Islam and Muslims, the subjugated peoples - dhimmis  - were also not permitted either to resist or to deplore the abuses that Muslims thought fit to inflict upon them; the massacre in Cairo was - in effect - jihad unloosed upon Copts who were perceived as having failed to be sufficiently submissive.  Historically, any actual or perceived - or fabricated, or rumoured - breach by any dhimmi of the conditions imposed by the dhimma was punished by extreme violence (usually, in the form of collective punishment of the entire dhimmi community) inflicted on them by the Muslim state and/ or the Muslim mob.  What took place in Cairo was entirely in conformity with the doctrine and practice of classical mainstream Islam.

"No true religion can contemplate this kind of horror".  My dear Mr Abbott, Islam can and does contemplate it.  I urge you, and every other Australian politician who attended that rally on Sunday,  to make a start on your education by perusing Surahs 8 and 9 of the Quran.  Pay particular attention to Quran 9: 29.  Surah 48: 29, which states matter-of-factly that Muslims are 'ruthless to the unbelievers, but merciful to one another" is another verse to think about, in the light of the massacre of Copts by Muslims on the streets of Cairo.

 If Mr Abbott intends to become PM of Australia, I would urge him to read, at the very least, Mark Durie's "The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom", and also the excellent anthology edited by Robin Claydon "Islam, Human Rights, and Public Policy", and to consult some of the essays - especially those by Mark Durie, Patrick Sookhdeo, and Bat Yeor - in Robert Spencer's anthology "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance".   I think he might find Bat Yeor's essay "A Christian Minority: The Copts in Egypt" to be particularly instructive. - CM

Now, back to AP and the Melbourne 'Age'.

'Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, who also attended the protest in Sydney's CBD, extended the government's condolences to the Coptic community.

"We stand with you...we share your grief, we share your upset, we share your concerns", Mr Bowen said.

"All members of the Egyptian community, be they Coptic or non-Coptic, should be able to look to the government of Egypt and the army of Egypt in times of trouble for protection".

Mr Bowen, too, has a great deal to learn about Islam, and about the nature of states and societies suffused with Islam. - CM

'The federal government previously said it would consider visa extensions for Egyptians affected by the violence, which is the worst the country has seen since a popular uprising early this year".


I would support visa extensions for Coptic Christians only.  Not , however, for Egyptian Muslims. 

In that part of Mr Abbott's speech which AP and the 'Age' did not reproduce, he mentioned another very practical and humane measure that could be adopted, one which - during its time in office - the Howard government had instituted to help the Copts.  And which after the change of government must, one must assume, have been abandoned.   I quote - "when he was the immigration minister, Philip Ruddock implemented a programme of protection for Copts who needed to come to this country.  We've done it in the past, we can do it again in the future".

Indeed we - and I read that 'we' as 'we the free non-Muslim people and government of Australia' - can and should do this.  Did you hear that part of the speech, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen?  I think there would be widespread support amongst all decent Australians, many of whom are becoming aware of the plight of the Copts, for such a measure.  The Copts of Egypt today are more in need of a safe place to which they can flee, now, than they were ten years ago, or twenty, or fifty.  They are, I firmly believe, facing imminent genocide. - CM

Posted on 10/24/2011 2:28 AM by Christina McIntosh
Monday, 24 October 2011
Early sign in Tunisia of strong Islamist vote

Democracy marches on in Dar al-Islam.  From AP:

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisian electoral officials are counting votes in landmark elections that saw more than 90 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Early results from individual voting stations carried by local radio stations Monday put the Islamist Ennahda Party in the lead in many constituencies.

Official results are not expected until later Monday or Tuesday. Secretary General Boubker Bethabet of the election commission said more than 90 percent of the 4.1 million registered voters participated.

Radio Mosaique FM posted results from polling stations around the country with many showing a commanding lead for Ennahda.

Tunisians voted Sunday to elect a constituent assembly in the first elections emerging from the uprisings around the Middle East known as the Arab Spring.

Posted on 10/24/2011 3:34 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Monday, 24 October 2011
The Muhammad al-Dura Hoax and Other Myths Revived

On September 30, 2000, a day after Yasser Arafat launched his war of terror, euphemized as the al-Aqsa intifada, state-owned France 2 Television broadcast a news report, filmed by a Palestinian cameraman, of the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old Palestinian identified as Muhammad al-Dura. The dramatic voice-over commentary by the station's long-time Jerusalem correspondent, Charles Enderlin, described how the boy and his father Jamal were pinned down by Israeli gunfire at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip. The father pleaded frantically with the soldiers to stop shooting, to no avail. "A last burst of gunfire," intoned Enderlin, "the boy is dead, his father critically wounded."


Despite a mountain of evidence disputing the charge of his intentional killing by Israeli soldiers in 2000, 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura, seen cowering with his father, became the poster child of the "Second Intifada." As seen in this billboard, his image soon attained iconic status in the Arab world and helped refuel myths of bloodthirsty Jews.

The bloodless images of Jamal and Muhammad al-Dura were instantly seared into the public mind. Distributed free of charge to international media, repeated endlessly like a raucous war cry, the Dura video provoked anti-Jewish violence in Israel and, on a scale not seen since the Holocaust, throughout Europe.[1] The recently-created al-Jazeera television—founded in 1996—was significantly boosted by exploiting the Dura death scene.

Recognized almost immediately as a staged scene by astute observers, denounced by others as an unfounded accusation against Israeli soldiers, the Dura video has been analyzed, investigated, dissected, exposed, taken to court, attacked, defended, exploited, and debated for almost ten years.[2] As it turned out, the Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu Rahma, who has won countless prizes for the video, captured less than one minute of the dramatic scene that lasted, according to his sworn testimony, for forty-five minutes. Forty-five minutes of uninterrupted gunfire "from the Israeli position" left the man and boy miraculously intact as far as one can gather from looking at the video. Contrary to what the world has been led to believe, there is no raw footage of the scene. And, contrary to what might be expected, this and other equally embarrassing revelations have left the Dura myth, to all intents and purposes, intact.

Reinventing a Lie

In his latest attempt to silence critics of the controversial broadcast, Enderlin recently published a book-length defense of the original allegations, Un Enfant est mort (A Child is Dead), followed by the dateline Netzarim, 30 septembre 2000.[3] Systematically presented in France as an internationally acclaimed expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the France 2 correspondent is virtually unknown in the rest of the world, except perhaps for his role as producer of the "Death of Muhammad al-Dura."

Enderlin likes to scold critics of the broadcast by saying they have never set foot in Gaza and know nothing about war reporting. In spring 2011, riled by complaints in "communitarian" (i.e., Jewish) media about the failure of national media and, more particularly, the state-owned France 2 TV channel, to cover the blood-curdling slaughter of five members of the Fogel family in the Itamar settlement on March 12, 2011, the professional journalist treated critics to a lecture on his blog on how a newscast is composed. "I wish I could report all important events," he wrote, "the horrible Itamar crime, the tragic death of Palestinian adolescents killed last year by an Israeli strike on Gaza (… for which Benjamin Netanyahu apologized), rockets that fall regularly in the south of Israel." A news director, explained Enderlin with a touch of exasperation, must allocate limited air time to a flow of incoming news. Priorities are set according to "well-established criteria." With thousands dead from earthquake and tsunami in Japan, "the world's third largest economy," there was no room to cover "what happened in Itamar." The next day, he added, a short item was squeezed in on the consequences of the murder (i.e., anticipated settler violence). Until the culprits were arrested, opined the seasoned journalist, the attack could not be qualified as a terrorist assault.[4]

No such doubts about the identity of the culprits had tempered Enderlin's enthusiasm for the Dura video, aired within a few hours after its filming. No "well-established criteria" had weakened the conviction of his dramatic voice-over commentary: The boy was killed and the father wounded by gunfire from the Israeli position. Today, readily admitting that the Dura scene was exploited by, among others, the killers who beheaded Daniel Pearl,[5] the France 2 correspondent asserts his right to unrestricted liberty: "If a journalist were expected to anticipate the subsequent use of his report by extremists, it would amount to unacceptable self-censorship."[6] Does the Dura broadcast respect any well-established journalistic criteria? Reliable sources, corroboration, fact-checking, general credibility, coherence? Does the video actually correspond to the incident as it was reported? Was the original report modified by subsequent input? Does the journalist honestly address questions raised by serious investigators about the veracity of the report? The answer is no, no, and again, no.

Though fed into the news stream, the Dura report was not produced as news. What was it, then? Sloppy journalism? Crafty Palestinian propaganda? Perhaps a new form of street theater: a staged killing to represent the very real "murder" of Palestinian children, year in year out, at the hands of merciless Israeli soldiers? Or, more gently, a staged representation of the real killing of Palestinian children caught in the crossfire of an endless conflict? These and similar hypotheses fly in the face of the testimony of the sole eyewitnesses—Talal Abu Rahma and Jamal al-Dura—and the France 2 correspondent who brought the incident to the world's attention.

Careful study of the literature shows that no credible defense of the Dura scene as a legitimate news item has ever been formulated. Arguing the case that they brought before the French courts as plaintiffs against media watchdog Philippe Karsenty and other defendants, Enderlin and the France 2 hierarchy were unable to furnish any new material evidence to prove the video's authenticity.[7] Likewise, in his recently published Un Enfant est mort, the author rehashes the original narrative, twisting and tweaking here and there to cover with new inventions some of the glaring anomalies exposed by his detractors.

Here is an example of the method and its madness: What became of the spent shells left at the feet of the victims, which would furnish irrefutable proof of the source of the alleged forty-five minutes of uninterrupted gunfire? The France 2 cameraman Abu Rahma, who has repeated in countless interviews the enveloping narrative that gave substance to his brief non-graphic video, was no match for Esther Schapira of the German broadcast network ARD, who caught him in a convoluted explanation of the disappearance of the spent shells.[8] First, he told her that the Palestinian general Osama al-Ali had the bullets, to which she argued that she had footage of the general denying that he had the bullet casings. Abu Rahma stumbled, then admitted that France 2 had them, breaking into an irrepressible smile of pure deception.

Now Enderlin sets the record straight: "If Esther Schapira had bothered to ask, she would have learned that the Palestinian general Osama al-Ali went to the site early in the morning after the death of Muhammad al-Dura to examine the barrel and, so doing, he put the stone back on top of it, as it was in the France 2 video. He also gathered all the spent shells and asked our cameraman not to tell anyone."[9]

Is this the work of a responsible French-Israeli journalist and his loyal Palestinian cameraman? Is no one shocked or embarrassed by this confession? Did the dozens of French journalists who signed a petition in defense of Enderlin, victim, in their eyes, of conspiracy theory whackos backed by a communitarian lobby, read this passage? Did the journalists who served Enderlin a microphone on a silver platter in so-called interviews to promote this book ever read that passage? Or would they argue: "In case you don't know it, journalists have a right to protect their sources." Their colleague, Enderlin, demeans every individual, newspaper, magazine, or online media that has dared to cast doubt on the authenticity of the Dura incident.[10]

Blood Libels and Genocidal Intents

Muhammad al-Dura, alleged victim of merciless Israeli soldiers, was reportedly twelve years old; more of a youth than a child. What is the connection between the world-shaking news of his death and the eerie journalistic silence that veiled the murder of a 3-month-old Jewish infant, Hadas Fogel, on Sabbath eve? The baby's throat was slit so far she was nearly decapitated. Two of her brothers were slaughtered like animals in their beds. Their mother and father, who tried to protect the children, were stabbed to death. The bloodied, stabbed, slashed corpses lay in pools of blood.[11] The Dura video, by contrast, displays no signs of violence, bodily harm, or untimely death. The sensation of violence is induced by the voice-over commentary, by the grimaces and gestures of the alleged victims, and guttural cries from unseen observers within range of the microphone attached to Abu Rahma's camera.

One might ask with feigned innocence why the picture of a man and boy bearing absolutely no signs of physical assault would stir the collective soul of humanity to its utmost depths while the vicious bloody slaughter of three young children and their parents—coupled with the heartbreaking portraits of family members when they were still alive and full of light—seems to provoke an embarrassed shrug.

Stripped of its context and significance, the slaughter of the Fogel family was apparently handled by newsrooms as a onetime crime whereas the Dura incident, enhanced by a crudely fabricated narrative that escaped critical examination, was raised to the highest media power. Is there a connection between the unfounded certainty about the identity of Dura's killers and the artificial doubts about the murderers of the Fogel family? Yes, if there is a connection between blood libel and genocide.

The twenty-first-century blood libel branding Israelis as child-killers, like the earlier version that accuses Jews of killing non-Jewish children for ritual purposes, is intractable to factual evidence. Deconstruction of the Dura myth encounters a cascade of problems: Only a tiny minority of the general public has the slightest knowledge of the case. That tiny minority of informed, convinced, discerning observers can at best enlarge its circle by small increments, leaving essentially the whole world still believing that a Palestinian child was deliberately shot by Israeli soldiers. Those who are convinced by the mass of concrete evidence to the contrary, rarely figure among the population that will commit genocidal acts based on or reinforced by the blood libel.

Though scriptural and historic Islamic anti-Jewish bigotry would suffice without the Dura incitement to fill certain hearts with murderous rage, the Dura blood libel, indelibly engraved in the public mind, interferes with the perception of a rising genocidal wave. Blood libel incites and excuses genocidal attacks on Jews whether they are the slaughter of the Fogels, shahid operations (misnamed "suicide bombings"), rocket attacks from Gaza, or the promise to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. One way of disguising genocidal attacks is to treat them like common crimes. Was the Fogel massacre soft-pedaled because of an overabundant news flow or was it kept out of view precisely because it reveals genocidal intentions?

A similar mechanism operated in France to cover the true nature of two atrocious murders of Jews. The Sébastien Selam murder[12] was literally attributed to one third jealousy, one third insanity, and one third anti-Semitism. The twenty-seven defendants in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Ilan Halimi[13] were tried behind closed doors in the court of first resort and again in appeals court. Attempts to expose the true nature of these killings have been decried as Jewish hypersensitivity, tribalism, self-interested exploitation of suffering, manipulation of the judicial system by pressure groups, and shameful resort to primitive vengeance.[14]

These and other acts of gratuitous, unmitigated cruelty were committed in a context of explicit genocidal intentions that are willfully ignored or denied. By contrast, the alleged killing of Muhammad al-Dura is readily accepted though framed by a ludicrous narrative. Cameraman Abu Rahma and the surviving victim, Jamal al-Dura, insist that Israeli soldiers deliberately shot at the defenseless civilians for forty-five minutes until they had critically injured the man and killed the boy. Insisting adamantly that the gunfire came solely from the Israeli position, they claim the soldiers could clearly see the target. One can imagine that television viewers believed they were watching the scene from the same vantage point as the soldiers, who saw it in a close-up, as it appears in the video, looking more like a poster than a news clip.

Soldiers do not need forty-five minutes to hit a sitting target at close range. Obviously embarrassed by this detail, commentators seeking to show that critics of the Dura story are wrong-headed often replace the forty-five minutes of uninterrupted gunfire with a more credible crossfire. Blithely contradicting the two eyewitnesses, they create a more palatable version of the incident for Western consumption while tacitly admitting that the Dura report is for some reason excluded from factual analysis.[15]

Whether one prefers forty-five minutes of relentless gunfire aimed at the man and boy, or forty-five seconds of crossfire, Jamal al-Dura's wounds combined with his grief at losing his son are given as evidence of the veracity of his testimony. The wounded man wrapped in bloodied bandages was filmed on his hospital bed the day after the incident. He has dramatically described the wounds, bullet by bullet. His scars were displayed on several occasions, most recently in a film made by Abu Rahma for screening at a semiprivate press conference organized by then-news director of France 2, Arlette Chabot, in 2004 when two mainstream journalists, Denis Jeambar and Daniel Leconte, came close to exposing the Dura broadcast as a staged scene.[16] Those wounds are now at the center of a libel suit brought by Dura against journalist Clément Weil-Raynal and the Israeli surgeon he interviewed, Yehuda David, as well as Serge Benatar, editorial director of the Actualité Juive weekly, who published the interview.[17]

David has testified under oath that the scars exhibited by Jamal al-Dura were not inflicted by gunfire in September 2000; they were inflicted by knives and an ax wielded by fellow Palestinians who attacked Jamal in 1992. David did reparative surgery, successfully restoring the patient's use of his right hand. On April 29, 2011, Weil-Raynal and David were found guilty of public defamation of Dura.[18] The text of the decision is incoherent, illogical, and peppered with contradictions. The defendants have appealed.

In the meantime, Metula News Agency—one of the major sources of investigation and analysis of, in their words, the "Netzarim Controversy"—reexamined a passage in the video.[19] As he describes how a bullet pierced his right hand, Jamal waves a report from the Jordanian hospital where he was treated several days after the alleged shooting. A zoom on the document shows that Jamal was treated for a gunshot wound to the left hand. In fact, a close look at the Dura "death scene" reveals that Jamal's right hand was deformed in the first image, shows no signs of additional damage at the end of the brief video, and looks exactly the same today as it did before it was allegedly pierced by an Israeli bullet.

Charles Enderlin asks, rhetorically, how Palestinians could be so clever as to stage the Dura scene in the middle of a fierce gun battle. But raw footage shot at Netzarim Junction shows that "fierce gun battles" were also staged that day. While men and youths attacked the Israeli outpost with rocks, firebombs, and burning tires, fake battle scenes were filmed in another part of the junction, out of range of the Israel Defence Forces outpost.[20]

Many staged scenes and Israeli atrocity hoaxes have been launched and eagerly consumed by the Western media in the past decade. Abu Rahma and Enderlin relayed the Gaza blackout hoax in 2008. The term "fauxtography" was coined for the method used in the 2006 Lebanon war. The Dura scene is particularly resistant to demystification. The emotional investment elicited by the incident extends far beyond the core population of anti-Zionist anti-Semites. This is due, some would argue, to the dramatic construction that draws the viewer into identification with the father, said to be desperately trying to protect his son. Then, in a brief lapse of time, less than one minute, the helpless father is said to be critically wounded, and his child is dead. Viewers feel that they should have jumped in and saved the child.

The vast majority of articles devoted to the Dura affair begin, notably, with a visual memory of the scene (e.g. "the boy dies in his father's arms") induced by testimony from the two eyewitnesses but contradicted by the concrete reality of the video.

A recent incident in the Libyan capital of Tripoli shows how journalists can, if they so desire, exercise healthy skepticism when invited to cover staged scenes. Reporters were shown damage allegedly wreaked by a coalition strike on the home of a prosperous, well-dressed gentleman. Furniture and personal belongings were topsy-turvy, but there was no sign of an explosion, breakage, or soot. The alleged victim argued that his home was not a military target: "The children were doing their homework." A reporter, displaying missile fragments in the garden, points out the absence of signs of an explosion on the site. The crater, which was apparently dug for the occasion, does not correspond to the munitions displayed as evidence. Other television reports on mass funerals or wounded civilians taken to hospital were accompanied by levelheaded warnings: "None of this can be verified. We have no way of checking this information. The wounded were perhaps used by Qaddafi's forces as human shields; they may be soldiers disguised as civilians."

All of that lucidity should also be retroactively transposed to Israel's 2009 Cast Lead operation in Gaza. The same manipulations were practiced by Hamas without evoking the appropriate skepticism. (Richard Goldstone has just admitted that his report was based on faulty information, to which Jeffrey Goldberg commented: "Well, I'm glad he's cleared that up. Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to retract a blood libel, once it has been broadcast across the world.")[21] Obviously, and regrettably, staged news, parroted agency dispatches, falsified documentaries, and sloppy journalism are common fare. When, however, Western media serve as facilitators for hostile forces engaged in geopolitical operations aimed at radically transforming the international balance of power, they cannot be shrugged off as the petty misdemeanors of mass communications. Israelis in particular and Jews in general are the target of the Dura blood libel, but it does not stop there. Other "lethal narratives" are funneled into the news stream with exquisite ease.

Myths and Double Standards

Viewers have been presented, since December 2010, with what the world media has termed the "Arab Spring." Though the footage in this case is not staged, it is subject to highly selective editing and transformed by way of narrative into a spontaneous uprising of freedom-loving democrats throwing off tyrannical rulers in certain Arab-Muslim countries. Western governments are expected to align themselves with the popular uprising at the speed of television coverage: Anchormen and women, who identify with the crowd in this or that liberation square, set the pace, and Western leaders appear to follow suit. European heads of state scramble to outrun President Obama with imperious demands for immediate compliance. The targeted autocrat is told to abdicate. His misdeeds are splashed across the screen; his foreign investments are frozen; his crony capitalism is denounced; his wife is vilified, and his opponents are portrayed as Internet savvy, cosmopolitan, secular, charming, young professionals who would fit in with one's dinner party guests tomorrow evening.

This young Facebook-Twitter image is pasted over the somewhat grimy reality actually captured by television cameras. Soothing words flow from the mouths of journalists determined to deny the reality of Star of David graffiti, women in hijab (Islamic head covering), men with Islamic beards, shouts of Allahu Akbar (Allah is great), row upon row of prostrate men praying in the "secular revolution" square, man-in-the-square interviewees promising to destroy Israel, Muslim Brotherhood figures waiting in the wings, confusion, connivance, danger, violence, and sexual assault.

Spring blossomed with the "Jasmine Revolution" in Tunisia. In the space of three days, commentary went from, "What Islamists? There are none!" to "The dictator ben Ali had excluded many groups, including the Islamists, from the political arena" to "Of course, the Islamists, like other parties, will assume their rightful place in the democratic process." Step by step, country by country, in what was supposed to be an entirely positive, virtually unstoppable momentum, the conflicts become more violent, culminating at this writing in the Libyan adventure—armed intervention by a hastily concocted, essentially untenable coalition that includes, or included, the Arab League. Western journalists and reporters, like gawkers at a country fair, run from one show to the next, rarely looking back to report on retrograde forces gobbling up freedom-lovers or newly-liberated nations spilling out refugees. Over 20,000 have landed in Lampedusa since January 2011,[22] and thousands more are on the way. Jews are harassed in Tunisia; Copts are persecuted in Egypt; Shari'a is poised to replace the arbitrary rule of the dictator with an implacable tyranny.

The question is not, "How could we have known it would turn sour?" Nor can one conclude that, come what may, democracies should always act to defend a popular uprising even at the risk of paving the way for a new autocracy. The question is rather: What will become of democratic countries if they abdicate their international relations and defense to a consortium of the United Nations and international opinion?

The power balance in the Middle East is undergoing a radical transformation that touches Western vital interests, not the least of which is the security of Israel. Old-fashioned national sovereignty is nearly as unpopular as the Oriental potentates pushed out of their palaces and into a black hole. Democratically-elected leaders committed to defending the welfare and security of their citizens are now expected to prove their integrity precisely by ignoring that responsibility. A crowd with slogans and banners is instantly awarded the title of "humanity," and everything done to satisfy their demands is "humanitarian." Of course, the citizens of democracies should be inclined to welcome liberation movements against tyrannical rulers, but it is absurd to actively support movements that may well shift the international balance of power toward greater tyranny.


And what does all this have to do with the Dura hoax? The answer is: far too much for comfort. As suggested above, the staged Dura death scene was conceived by forces hostile to Israel and Jews and made credible by the Western media that relayed it. Though the video and its narrative are crude, the prestige of Enderlin and the French television network have protected it from the profound reexamination that could eventually remove its sting. Similarly, the restructuring of the Middle East, which could ultimately deliver free individuals, groups, and nations into the hands of our enemies, is prettied up by the Western media that, hand in hand with official discourse, makes one believe this change harbors no danger. Citizens of the free democracies are enticed into trusting the United Nations, which has in fact lost its integrity, instead of counting on their democratically-elected governments and national sovereignty.

Finally, who is that international community with its international opinion enthroned like bloodthirsty spectators of gladiatorial combats, empowered to give the thumbs up or thumbs down? Is it not the dumbstruck viewer convinced that this Palestinian child, a "target of gunfire from the Israeli position," could escape death if only he would come to the child's rescue?

In a parallel inversion, jihad conquest justifies itself as a defense against aggression by infidels who refuse to accept the dominion of Allah and comply with Shari'a law. The Palestinian child is not a real victim of real bullets; he is the symbol of that "aggressive" refusal to submit to Islam. The murderous rage unleashed against Jews in response to that symbolic aggression reveals its genocidal intent. The fury is now aimed at Christians in Muslim lands, at Americans and Europeans on their own soil. Panic strikes the embattled citizens of our lands—not at the thought of this merciless jihad, but panic at any attempt to discern it, describe it, defend against it.

Israel is not the victim of a double standard; it is the target of no standard at all. The reasons for this are profound and cannot be limited to anti-Semitism. The fear and trembling provoked by the crudely fabricated Dura scene is the misdirected terror instilled by genocidal forces bearing down on citizens of free democracies. These citizens are the helpless child cringing in fear. No matter how honestly that force designates itself, how clearly it shows its face, how vast the territory it covers, how frankly it expresses its intentions, the frightened child seeks comfort in accusing himself of his imminent destruction.

[1] "The Muhammad Al-Dura Blood Libel: A Case Analysis," interview with Richard Landes, Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, Jerusalem, Nov. 2, 2008.
[2] See Philippe Karsenty, "We Need to Expose the Muhammad al-Dura Hoax," Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2008, pp. 57-65.
[3] Charles Enderlin, Un enfant est mort/ Netzarim, 30 September 2000 (Paris: Don Quichotte Editions, 2010).
[4] Victor Perez, "Charles Enderlin nous prend pour des simplets," Victor Perez Blogspot, Mar. 25, 2011.
[5] Joel J. Sprayregen, "The New York Times and the al-Dura Hoax," The American Thinker, July 17, 2008.
[6] Enderlin, Un enfant est mort, p. 99.
[7] Karsenty, "We Need to Expose the Muhammad al-Dura Hoax."
[8] Esther Schapira, dir., Drei Kugeln und ein totes Kind, Mar. 18, 2002, ARD Network (Germany).
[9] Enderlin, Un enfant est mort, p. 52.
[10] Ibid., pp. 112, 117, 125, 135, 153.
[11] The Guardian (London), Mar. 14, 2011.
[12] The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 21, 2010.
[13] The New York Sun, Feb. 22, 2006.
[14] New English Review (Nashville, Tenn.), July 13, 2009; Le Monde (Paris), July 21, 2009.
[15] Larry Derfner, "Rattling the Cage: Al-Dura and the Conspiracy Freaks," May, 28, 2008; Gideon Levy, "Mohammed al-Dura Lives on," Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv), Oct. 7, 2007.
[16] Andrea Levin, "The New York Times Buries al Dura Story," CAMERA, Feb. 7, 2005; Charles Enderlin v. Philippe Karsenty, Court of Appeals, Paris, May 28, 2008; Le Figaro (Paris), Jan. 25, 2005; RCJ FM radio (Paris), Feb. 1, 2005.
[17], May 9, 2011; Véronique Chemla, May 31, 2011.
[18], May 9, 2011; Véronique Chemla, May 31, 2011.
[19] Metula (Israel) News Agency, Mar. 23, 2011.
[20] Richard Landes, dir., Pallywood (documentary), accessed May 31, 2011.
[21] Jeffrey Goldberg, "Judge Richard Goldstone: Never Mind," The Atlantic, Apr. 2, 2011.
[22] The Irish Times (Dublin), Apr. 4, 2011.

Originally published in Middle East Quarterly.

Posted on 10/24/2011 6:11 AM by Nidra Poller
Monday, 24 October 2011
Stakelbeck: Was October 23rd the Turning Point for the New Caliphate?

Erick Stakelbeck, Terrorism analyst for CBN nails it on the realities of the Arab Spring, now turning into a Sharia-driven Arab Winter. He notes in a brief analysis the constellation of events that have occured within the past two days that he believes points towards the emergence of a new Caliphate in the Ummah, especially Arab Muslim heartland, Tunisia, Libya and Syria. He refers to the analysis of Prof. Barry Rubin (that we posted) concerning the emergence of heavy Muslim Brotherhood influence in the Syrian National Council opposition to the brutal regime of Bashar Assad in Syria. His analysis is amplified by an excellent post, The Tyrant is Dead, Long Live the Tyrant, by Sultan Knish aka Daniel Greenfield on the Libyan declaration of liberation from the tyranny of the late dictator Gaddafi, only to be replaced by a new tyranny, rule under Sharia. Stacklebeck goes on to discuss the hegemonic rise of Iran in the Gulf region and Pakistan's obdurance in the face of the failed Obama Administration policies there and in South Asia. His bottom line: "Islam uber alles."

Here is Stackelbeck's analysis of the events in the  Ummah:

Was October 23rd a Turning Point for the New Caliphate?

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 might very well be remembered as a major turning point in the march for a reformed Islamic Caliphate. Here's why:

1) We learned that Islamists would be the likely winners in the Tunisian elections, in the first free vote of the so-called Arab Spring. Given that Tunisia is widely viewed as the most moderate Arab state, the election result--combined with the reemergence of formerly exiled Islamist leader Rachid Ghannouchi as a major power player--sends a distressing signal about the possibility for "democracy" in Tunisia. Of course, the mob attack on a synagogue in Tunis a few months back should have been the first sign of trouble.

2) We learned that the newly "liberated" Libya, trumpeted as a foreign policy triumph by the Obama administration, will enshrine strict Islamic law as the basis for governance, including such gems as a ban on interest and the legalization of polygamy. Ah, those freedom lovin' Libyan rebels. I wrote last Thursday that the most likely beneficiaries of a post-Gaddafi LIbya would be Al Qaeda/related Salafi groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran.The interim government's full-throated embrace of sharia doesn't exactly make me alter my thinking.

3) Barry Rubin, one of the world's top analysts on the Middle East and downright prophetic from the start when it came to predicting the Islamist trajectory of the Arab Spring, revealed that the Obama administration is actively embracing Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist elements inside Syria. Barry actually wrote about this on October 22nd but hey, since I didn't read it until the 23rd, I'm counting it. By the way, I believe Bashar al-Assad will hang on to power longer than most expect in Syria. In fact, I simply cannot see any scenario under which Iran--increasingly bold and ambitious--allows its most important client to fall by the wayside. There's actually another, more important reason that I believe Assad is likely to hang on a while longer. It has to do with Isaiah 17. More on that in another blog later this week.

4) Iranian despot Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and the mullahs in Tehran are licking their chops following President Obama's
announcement that all U.S. troops will be pulled out of Iraq by year's end. Ahmadenijad said he expects "a change will occur" in the Iran/Iraq relationship and that the two nations have "special relations." Expect Iran to seek to dominate its heavily Shia neighbor as it continues its strong push to lead a renewed Caliphate.

5) This one isn't Arab Spring related, but is definitely significant in the grander scheme of things. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, our man in Kabul, declared that in the event of a war between Pakistan and the United States, Afghanistan would back its neighbor. "If fighting starts between Pakistan and the U.S., we are beside Pakistan," Karzai said in an interview with Pakistani television station GEO. "If Pakistan is attacked and the people of Pakistan need Afghanistan's help, Afghanistan will be there with you." This despite continued tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan over a host of issues. At the end of the day, it's still Islam uber alles.

In fact, "Islam uber alles" could be quite a catchy slogan for the Arab Spring--and a fitting one. Yet the Obama administration is apparently going to use the Arab Spring--soon to be remembered as the "Islamist Winter"--in the 2012 campaign as a sign of its foreign policy prowess. Good luck, fellas. By the way, we didn't even mention Egypt, where the Brotherhood might soon score its biggest victory yet. Ain't Middle East democracy grand?

Posted on 10/24/2011 9:49 AM by Jerry Gordon
Monday, 24 October 2011
Preposterous And Portentous And Insufferable As Ever, BHL Exsufflicates



A Moral Tipping Point

Bernard-Henri Lévy on the unsettling implications of Gaddafi’s gory end.




Those Images of his corpse. That face, still alive but bloodied, hounded, and taunted. That bare head—suddenly and oddly bare! We were used to seeing him in turbans, and there was something poignant in the denuding that renders this criminal strangely pitiable.

You can say that the man was a monster. You can replay again and again the scenes that for eight months have haunted the friends of free Libya—the images of mass executions, torture, the hangings of April 7, the prisoners who were sort of buried alive until released from their prisons by the revolution—these and so many other victims of the dictatorship. You can point out that Gaddafi had a hundred chances to negotiate, to stop it all, to save himself, and that, if he elected not to do so, if he preferred to bleed his people to the very end, he chose his fate knowingly. You can observe that the West is not necessarily in the best position to teach the rest of the world lessons about revolutionary mercy. After all, don’t the Europeans still have on their consciences the massacres of September 1792 in France? What about the women whose heads were shaved after the liberation of Paris? Mussolini hung by his feet and abused? The Ceausescus slaughtered like old cattle?

I don’t buy it. I may be an incurable romantic, or what amounts to the same thing, an unreconstructed opponent of the absolute evil that I believe the death penalty to be. There is, in the spectacle of Gaddafi’s lynching, something revolting. Worse, I fear that it will pollute the essential morality of an insurrection that had been, up to that point, almost exemplary. And anyone who knows something about revolutionary history knows that this could be the tipping point at which a democratic uprising begins to degenerate into its opposite.


Muammar Gaddafi's body in Misrata, Libya, on October 20, 2011., Michael Christopher Brown for Newsweek

I said as much by telephone to some of my friends in the National Transitional Council. I said it to Mustafa el-Sagizli, the leader of the fighters in Cyrenaica, who called me to share his joy after the liberation of Sirte. And then, later on Thursday, to the commander of the regiment that included the unruly elements that struck and killed Gaddafi. He was happy. He said (and he was right) that the disappearance of the tyrant opens a new page in the history of his country. Through a friend, a shipowner in Misrata who was translating into English for me, this commander gave me the scoop on the capture: “He treated us like rats, but he was the rat, down in his sewer pipe, and it was my fighters who found him, pulled him out of his hole, and subdued him.” To him, too, I said that this was indeed a great day, a new dawn for Libya, but that the nobility of the conqueror is measured in how he treats the vanquished. “Do you know the difference between Caesar and Saladin?” I asked him. “Caesar, conqueror of the Gauls, lost the moral benefit of his victory by humiliating Vercingétorix, showing him off like a trophy before having him strangled. The glory of Saladin, by contrast, owes much to the magnanimity that he showed the Crusaders after he had defeated them and had them at his mercy.”

The commander seemed to understand. And the officials of the NTC whom I was able to reach sounded perfectly aware that the fate of the Libyan Spring may hang on these images. El-Sagizli, in particular, the prince of the Libyan resistance fighters and the organizer of the Benghazi resistance from the first days of March, clearly shared my concern. He is among those who insisted on a formal investigation, the very existence of which proves that the Libyan authorities are not rushing to cover up this act.

Two outcomes are possible.

Either this collective crime will be, like the beheading of the last king of France in Albert Camus’s account, the founding act of the coming era, which would be a terrible sign. Or it will be the swan song of a barbarous age, the end of the Libyan night, the death rattle of Gaddafi’s system, which, before expiring, must turn against its founder and inject him with his own venom, making way for a new era that will fulfill the promises of the Arab Spring.

As I write, the latter is my ardent wish. More than that, it is my conviction.

Posted on 10/24/2011 12:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 24 October 2011
Qatar's Foreign Wage Slaves Hit New High

Qatar, which the West continues to treat as an ally and not as the most cunning of enemies, and fails to understand that Qatar supports the most fanatical Muslims in Libya, and runs interference for Iran in the Gulf, is a place where the 300,000 Qataris do almost nothing for themselves. They have five times that number of people working as ill-treated wage slaves. If any native Qataris pretend to work they do so on the Saudi model, that is they show up for 2-3 hours  a day, when they feel like it, and bark orders at foreign underlings. That's it. Qatar has no economy. It has the wealth that an accident of geology (mostly natural gas) supplies; no Qatari effort has been responsible for any of that wealth. The only people who work are foreign wage-slaves, mistreated as always in the Arab Gulf sheiklets, and the waddling emir and his good-looking wife (which, bien entendu, transforms her a "fighter for women's rights" in the accounts in the Western press) have all kinds of big plans for Qatar. But they make the same mistake that so many fabulously rich people, and not only Muslims, make: Money can buy everything, except civilisation.

Qatar's foreign workers overwhelm labour market

According to a report issued by the Permanent Population Committee, Qatar's economic boom has led to the recruitment of 1,271,000 foreigners

  • By Habib Toumi,
  • October 24, 2011

Manama: Foreign workers represent 94.2 per cent of the total economically active population in Qatar in 2010, statistics indicate

According to a report issued by the Permanent Population Committee (PPC), Qatar's economic boom has led to the recruitment of 1,271,000 foreigners and technology has not reduced the number of foreign workers recruited for selected jobs.

The "Qatar Population Status 2011, two years after the launch of the population policy" said that among the specific jobs are civil engineers, technicians, cleaning workers and accountants.

Women labour force amounts to 12.3% of the overall labour force while semi- skilled and unskilled workers make up around 75% of the total foreign workers. Around 11% of the total non-Qatari labour force are domestic workers, Qatari daily Gulf Times said on Monday.

The report said that around two thirds of Qatar's population of 15 years and above were single.

Doha has the highest population density in the country with 47per cent of inhabitants living there. The density is 3,394 persons per sq km, while Al Shamal has the lowest rate at 1 per cent - less than nine persons per sq km.

The number of students increased as well as opportunities for males and females within the Qatari education system. The number of students enrolled in public, independent and private schools rose from 65,675 males and 65,381 females in 2004 to 92,117 males and 88,225 females in 2010.

Spending on public health care amounted to 7.2 per cent of the total budget of 2010-2011. Consequently, life expectancy increased to 78.2 years in 2010 and infant mortality rate declined to 6.7 per thousand in the same year.

Women's economic activity improved significantly and around 36.6 per cent of the total labour force in 2010 was Qatari women. [this makes no sense; what it surely means is that 36.6 percent of the labour force of QATARIS (who make up less than 6 percent of those who do work in Qatar) are women, that is about 2 percent. of the total labour force. ]  

Posted on 10/24/2011 1:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 24 October 2011
The Latest Comforting If Confusing Phrase: A "Moderate Islamist Party"

From the New York Times, where the phrase "moderate Islamist Party" is used in the headline, and twice in the text.

Moderate Islamist Party Claims Victory in Tunisia

TUNIS — A moderate Islamic party appeared to emerge as the big winner in Tunisia on Monday as preliminary results leaked out in the voting for an assembly to draft a constitution and shape a new government in this small North African country, where a revolution in January inspired uprisings across the Arab world.

The party, Ennahda, won at least 30 percent of the votes cast on Sunday, and party officials told a news conference the party had come out ahead in nearly every voting district. Ali Laredi, a top official of the party, said it expected to receive possibly more than 50 percent when the final results are tallied.

Calling his party “the most modernist” Islamic political movement in the Arab world — meaning the most committed to principles of democracy and pluralism — Mr. Laredi predicted that it would now “lead the way” for others around the region.

Ennahda officials were already beginning discussions to form a unity government with the four or five other more liberal parties that were expected to get representation in the constituent assembly, which is to draft the constitution.

Millions of Tunisians cast votes on Sunday in the election, which was widely watched as the possible pioneer for votes in Egypt and Libya, where longtime autocrats were felled by uprisings energized by the Tunisia revolution.

There had been some expectation that Ennahda would to win at least a plurality of seats in the assembly. The party’s leaders had vowed to create another kind of new model for the Arab world, one reconciling Islamic principles with Western-style democracy.

Final results were expected to be computed within days. In the meantime, those still struggling through the postrevolutionary uncertainty of places like Libya and Egypt watched Tunisia “with a kind of envy,” said Samer Soliman, a professor at the American University in Cairo and an Egyptian political activist.

Libyans and Egyptians acknowledge that Tunisia was not only the first but also the easiest of the Arab revolutions, because of its relatively small, homogenous, educated population and because of the willingness of the Tunisian military to relinquish power. The success of Tunisia offers inspiration, but perhaps few answers, for Egyptians or Libyans who hope to follow in its footsteps. [the secret of whatever advancement Tunisia has made has been the French language, possessed by the secular elite, and helping to make the West accessible to them]

Libya’s interim leaders on Sunday proclaimed their revolution a success and laid out an ambitious timetable for the election of their own constituent assembly. But they have yet to solve the problem of unifying the loosely organized brigades of anti-Qaddafi fighters under the control of an interim authority to govern Libya until then, much less lay the groundwork for elections.

And with Egypt a little more than a month away from a vote for a new Parliament, its interim military rulers have so far balked at adopting many of the election procedures that enabled Tunisia’s election to proceed smoothly. Among them are inking voters’ fingers to ensure people vote only once, transparent ballot boxes, a single election day rather than staggered polls, and weeks of voter education before the balloting. Also, in Egypt, the interim military rulers have not agreed to relinquish any of the army’s power over either the next Parliament or a planned constitutional panel.

For Tunisians, though, the scenes at the polls on Sunday — a turnout far above expectations, orderly lines stretching around blocks, satisfied smiles at blue-inked fingers — already seemed to wipe away 10 months of anxiety and protests over the future of the revolution that ousted Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. For the first time in their history, many Tunisians said, they expected an honest count of their ballots to determine the country’s future.

“Today is the day of independence,” said Amin Ganhouba, 30, a technician. “Today we got our freedom, and our dignity, from the simple act of voting.”

In a statement issued after the polls closed on Sunday, President Obama congratulated Tunisians for “the first democratic elections to take place in the country that changed the course of history and began the Arab Spring.”

Many people expressed faith that the act of voting itself would change Tunisia for the better, no matter who won. Some argued that democracy would make public officials more accountable. “The people in power know that we are keeping a watchful eye,” said Kamel Abdel, 45, a high school philosophy teacher voting in the crowded slum of Tadamon.

Others predicted an almost magical transformation. “There is going to be social justice, freedom, democracy, and they are going to tackle the unemployment issue,” Mohamed Fezai, a jobless 30-year-old college graduate, declared confidently. [just like those Iraqis who expected, and were angry when their expectations were not met, that the Americans would turn Baghdad into New York]

At least one woman celebrated a vote she cast at random. Beaming with pride, Fatima Toumi, 52, an illiterate homemaker, said that she had done her civic duty, but did not know which party’s box she had checked. “Whoever I pick doesn’t matter,” she said. “I hope it will improve the situation of Tunisia’s youth.”

About 25 percent of Tunisians are illiterate, a lower rate than many countries in the area, and several voters said they expressed their choice by marking the box next to the logo of the party they favored: a star and bird for the Islamic party, or an olive tree for a liberal rival.

Some people declined to vote. Sitting in a cafe in Sousse, Mr. Ben Ali’s home town, Saber Kaddour, 44, a coffee wholesaler, argued that voters were too caught up in politics to think about the issues. “Everything is disguised, and people think they understand what is going on, but they don’t,” he said. He predicted chaos after the results were announced, with the losing party taking to the streets in protest.

“But that is not democracy,” the cafe’s owner, Nedra Elkhechime, replied earnestly. “Even if you lose, you have to accept it.”

In interviews this week along Tunisia’s affluent coast and in its impoverished interior, most voters said their biggest concerns were the economy, jobs, and finding candidates with integrity.

In Tadamon, the poor neighborhood, several voters said they were repulsed by a party that tried to tell them it would lower the price of bread and other staples, or the tycoon whose newly founded party brought a rap singer to a rally in a ploy for votes. But some said they appreciated that Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party, gave away sheep for poor people to sacrifice for the feast at the end of Ramadan. Nasreddin Mnai, a 22-year-old student, called it evidence that “they are going to help the poor people.”

Ennahda had a long history of opposition to the dictatorship before Mr. Ben Ali’s persecution eviscerated it in the 1990s, and its leaders have said that they hope to establish a durable, pluralistic democracy that will protect the rights of individuals and minorities regardless of who is in power. They often cite the model of Turkey, a secular democracy now governed by a party with an Islamic identity.

At stops across the country in the final days of the campaign, Ennahda’s founder, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, stepped up his religious appeals. “When you go into the polls, God’s presence will be there with you,” he said at a rally in the impoverished city of Kasserine. “God wants you to vote for the party that will protect your faith.”

But at every stop, Mr. Ghannouchi and others from Ennahda repeated their commitment to women’s rights, including equality in education and employment and the freedom to adopt or reject Islamic dress, like women’s head scarves.

Ennahda supporters, though, were divided over how much regulation of personal morality the party should seek to impose. Some agreed that women ought to be able to reject the veil, and that Tunisians should be able to buy alcohol — widely available here now — despite an Islamic prohibition.

“We don’t want the Islamists to attack the secularists, or vice versa,” said Belhsan Menzi, 31, an Ennahda supporter waiting to vote in Tadamon.

But his friend Lotfi Nasri, 35, said he expected Ennahda to make sure Tunisians complied with Islamic moral codes, including rules about alcohol and head scarves. If Ennahda wins power, he said, Tunisia “will be more of an Islamic country.”

Others said they expected it to do more to restrict profanity or blasphemy in the popular culture.

The uprising that unseated Mr. Ben Ali began when a fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in the impoverished inland town of Sidi Bouzid to protest his lack of opportunity and the disrespect of the police.

On Sunday, his mother, Manoubia Bouazizi, 53, told Reuters that the elections were “a moment of victory for my son, who died defending dignity and liberty.”

Posted on 10/24/2011 2:50 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 24 October 2011
A Musical Interlude: La Gelosia Non È Più Di Moda (Trio Lescano)

Listen here.

Posted on 10/24/2011 2:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 24 October 2011
In The New Libya, Polygamy To Be Legalized

A Libyan girl-woman, obviously raised in the West, was on the BBC this morning defending the decision to re-introduce polygamy. Apparently, her fanatical devotion to Islam outweights any conceivable distaste at the idea of polygamy, and what it says about the status of women -- or perhaps, in the West, that LIbyan Muslim, nicely hijabbed, remained proudly indifferent to, or even contemptuous of, the legal equality that women in the non-Musilm world enjoy.

When asked by a BBC interviewer what her thoughts were on the re-introdruction of polygamy, she said that it was a good thing, because now all the war widows would be able to be taken on as second, third, fourth wives by men. She was not asked, by the BBC interviewer, if perhaps that was the original reason for Muslims to embrace polygamy -- it sanctioned their seizing of the widows of those Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and others -- whom they killed as they conquered, and keeping them not only as concubines, but as wives. It might have been a moment to make a point, but the opportunity was missed, the BBC interviewer said nothing. He had nothing to say on the subject of polygamy, when a defense of it was allowed to be given at length.

That's generally what one sees and hears. Muslims defend the most primitive and barbaric of social arrangments, in the family law and the criminal law (hudud) of the Shari'a, and no one, in the Western media, dares to take issue, to criticize, to undercut the reasons so self-assuredly presented, no matter how absurd, primitive, or cruel the practice being defended by be. Perhaps other interviewers, other personnel, capable of making such a case, should replace those currently being employed by the BBC. Why keep on either the Lord Haw-Haws of Bush House, or those who simply are too dumb to know what to say in reply, when an assault on civilizational values is made openly and proudly, by the carriers of Islam? 

'New' Libya to be ruled by Islamic law, polygamy permitted: NTC

'New' Libya to be ruled by Islamic law, polygamy permitted:  NTC

Islamic sharia law will prevail in liberated Libya and any existing laws that contradict it will be abolished, National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said on Monday.

As an Islamic country, we have adopted sharia as the principal law,” Abdel Jalil said at a ceremony in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Libya’s transitional government on Sunday declared national liberation.

Jalil cited as an example the law on marriage. Under deposed leader Moammer Gaddafi, who was killed on Thursday in unclear circumstances, polygamy was banned. “As an example is the law on divorce and marriage ... This law is contrary to sharia and it has been scrapped," Jalil said.

Posted on 10/24/2011 3:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 24 October 2011
Breaking: Hutton Hotel Cancels Nashville Conference

The Preserving Freedom Conference scheduled for Nov. 11 in Nashville has been informed by the Hutton Hotel that they will not be hosting the conference after all. Robert Spencer, Wafa Sultan, Mark Durie, William Murray, Father Keith Roderick and Pamela Geller are all scheduled to speak. Evidently, the hotel was concerned about the possibility of protests and the security problems that might cause - "health and safety of the guests and employees" seems to be a catch all for this type of situation.

Loews did the same thing to us in May of '09, but luckily the good people at the Hampton Inn in Green Hills stepped up to the plate and the conference went on. We had only two days' notice to make all the arrangements. I'm sure the resourceful organizers will find an alternative, but this is getting to be a distressing pattern.

Posted on 10/24/2011 3:51 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 24 October 2011
U.S. downplays concerns as Libya’s post-Gadhafi rulers call for Islamic law

Just in time for Hallow'een, more goulish reports emanating from the savage horror that is Dar al-Islam.  By Laura Rozen for The Envoy:

A cell phone photo of Moammar Gadhafi in Sirte Oct. 20, 2011. (Philippe Desmazes/Global Post)

The Obama administration and European allies congratulated the Libyan people as Libya's interim rulers declared formal victory in their nine-month struggle against the recently killed strongman Moammer Gadhafi on Sunday.

Still, underneath the surface festivities, it seems that some forces aligned with Libya's interim leaders may be mimicking brutal aspects of the unmourned Gadhafi's repressive style, even as they seek to distance themselves from his legacy.

Investigators with the international human rights advocacy group Human Rights Watch reported Monday that they had discovered the dead bodies of 53 Gadhafi supporters apparently executed with their hands tied behind their backs at an abandoned hotel in Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte.

Meanwhile, Global Post reported that its analysis of video images of Gadhafi taken before his execution last Thursday apparently shows him being sodomized by a member of Libyan National Transition Council forces wielding a weapon.

Congratulations, Libyan people, on your noble victory!  Glad we could assist you in making all this possible.

The allegation came as the bodies of Gadhafi and his son Mo'tassim were put on public display in a cold storage facility for two days in the Libyan city of Misrata.

Putting the dead bodies on public display as a war trophy is yet another war crime, if anyone is paying any attention.  So, is anyone paying any attention?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton--who on a visit earlier last week to Libya expressed the wish that Gadhafi be captured or killed--said on the Sunday talk shows that it would be appropriate for Libyan authorities to pursue an investigation of Gadhafi's death.

Libya's interim rulers took up the suggestion on Monday, saying they would proceed with such an investigation, the New York Times reported.

"In response to international calls, we have started to put in place a commission tasked with investigating the circumstances of Muammar Qaddafi's death in the clash with his circle as he was being captured," Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, chairman of the National Transition Council, told journalists in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi Monday, the Times' Adam Nossiter and Rick Gladstone reported.

But past such pledges--to investigate, for instance, how the Libyan rebels' military commander Abdel Fattah Younes was assassinated in July,  apparently at the hands of one Islamist militant rebel faction--have so far gone nowhere.

In the meantime, Western officials got another stiff reminder Sunday that Libya's victorious rebels plan to steer the country toward greater public observance of Islam.  Libya's interim leader Abdul-Jalil pledged at Sunday's festivities commemorating the successful struggle to topple Gadhafi that Islamic Sharia law would be the basis of the new government.

"We are an Islamic country," Abdul-Jalil told crowds celebrating in Benghazi Sunday, the Times reported. "We take the Islamic religion as the core of our new government. The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion."

Abdul-Jalil promised that "Islamic banks would be established in the new Libya," the Times' Nossiter and Kareem Fahim reported. "He also talked of lifting restrictions on the number of women Libyan men can marry."

His comments "reflected not only the chairman's personal religious conservatism and the country's, but also the rising influence of Islamists among the former rebels," Nossiter and Fahim wrote. "The Islamists, who include some influential militia commanders, have warned that they will not permit their secular counterparts in a new government to sideline them."

"Any law that violates sharia is null and void legally," Abdul-Jalil said, according to Agence France Press's Simon Martelli, who added that the NTC leader specifically referenced plans to void Gadhafi's former ban on polygamy. "The law of divorce and marriage . . . . This law is contrary to sharia and it is stopped."

Abdul-Jalil's pronouncements are already provoking sharp rebukes from feminists and teir progressive-minded sympathizers  in LIbya. "It's shocking and insulting to state, after thousands of Libyans have paid for freedom with their lives, that the priority of the new leadership is to allow men to marry in secret," a Libyan feminist who gave only her first name Rim told the AFP's Martelli. "We did not slay Goliath so that we now live under the Inquisition."

The specter of Islamist rule is provoking "feelings of pain and bitterness among women who sacrificed so many martyrs," Adelrahman al-Shatr, a Libyan opposition politician, told the AFP. "By abolishing the marriage law, women lose the right to keep the family home if they divorce. It is a disaster for Libyan women."

Former American officials who have worked in the North African nation tend to downplay concerns that Libya's post-Gadhafi rulers plan to institute extreme, Taliban-style restrictions on expression, women's dress code and behavior, stressing that there's a broad range of interpretations of Islamic law. They also contend that Libya which under Gadhafi had made cultural strides toward secular modernity, is not fertile recruiting ground for Islamist extremism.

The preceding paragraph is enraging for several reasons.  These quite reasonable concerns should not be downplayed.

But Abdul-Jalil's pronouncements Sunday indicate a continuing struggle for influence between Islamist militant and more secular factions of Libya's anti-Gadhafi forces.

And documents found in Gadhafi's seized intelligence ministry in August support previous reporting that showed the CIA was long concerned about al-Qaida links to factions of anti-Gadhafi militants, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Indeed, Abdel Hakim Belhaj, a top anti-Gadhafi rebel who has become a leading figure in the post-Gadhafi leadership in Tripoli, told reporters in September that he was arrested in Thailand in 2004, tortured under interrogation by the CIA, before he was rendered back to Gadhafi's Libya. (Belhaj strongly denied any allegiance to al-Qaida or Osama bin Laden.) U.S. officials have also acknowledged concerns about the possibility that Gadhafi's huge stockpile of surface-to-air missiles and other weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, including al Qaida's north African affiliate, al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which has been active in Libya.

In the short term, however, the United States, like much of the rest of the world, is focusing mainly on Libya's achievement in toppling a long-ruling dictator--with the assistance of NATO air-power. "On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Libya on today's historic declaration of liberation," President Obama said in a statement Sunday.  "After four decades of brutal dictatorship and eight months of deadly conflict, the Libyan people can now celebrate their freedom and the beginning of a new era of promise." Libya's transition authorities must now turn "their attention to the political transition ahead," he urged.

Gadhaffi was the instigator for the Pan Am 103 bombing, a mass murderer in my book.  But look again at the face in the picture above, the man who was just anally raped, and who is about to be shot in the head.  This is not justice.  This is beyond bestial.  Hyenas treat their prey with more compassion.  This is Heart of Darkness territory.  I want no part of this, not in our lands, and not in their lands with our assistance.

Posted on 10/24/2011 7:47 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Monday, 24 October 2011
Rachid Gannouchi, Head Of "Moderate Islamist Party" Ennahda, On Israel
Martin Kramer notes at his blog:
Now that Rashid Ghannouchi's Nahda party is raking in the voters in the Tunisian elections, I'm reminded of a quote from him that I brought back in May: "I bring glad tidings that the Arab region will get rid of the germ of Israel. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Hamas movement, once said that Israel would disappear before 2027. That date may be too far off; Israel may disappear before that." Very moderate.
أبشرك بأن المنطقة العربية ستتخلص من جرثومة إسرائيل، لقد قال الشيخ أحمد ياسين زعيم حركة «Ø­Ù…اس» إن إسرائيل ستزول قبل عام 2027ØŒ وأقول إن هذا التاريخ قد يكون بعيدا، وربما تزول إسرائيل قبل ذلك
Posted on 10/24/2011 10:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 24 October 2011
Professor Muller Rethinks His Former "Skepticism"

From The Wall Street Journal:

OCTOBER 21, 2011

The Case Against Global-Warming Skepticism

There were good reasons for doubt, until now.

Are you a global warming skeptic? There are plenty of good reasons why you might be.

As many as 757 stations in the United States recorded net surface-temperature cooling over the past century. Many are concentrated in the southeast, where some people attribute tornadoes and hurricanes to warming.

The temperature-station quality is largely awful. The most important stations in the U.S. are included in the Department of Energy's Historical Climatology Network. A careful survey of these stations by a team led by meteorologist Anthony Watts showed that 70% of these stations have such poor siting that, by the U.S. government's own measure, they result in temperature uncertainties of between two and five degrees Celsius or more. We do not know how much worse are the stations in the developing world.

Using data from all these poor stations, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates an average global 0.64ºC temperature rise in the past 50 years, "most" of which the IPCC says is due to humans. Yet the margin of error for the stations is at least three times larger than the estimated warming.

We know that cities show anomalous warming, caused by energy use and building materials; asphalt, for instance, absorbs more sunlight than do trees. Tokyo's temperature rose about 2ºC in the last 50 years. Could that rise, and increases in other urban areas, have been unreasonably included in the global estimates? That warming may be real, but it has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect and can't be addressed by carbon dioxide reduction.

Moreover, the three major temperature analysis groups (the U.S.'s NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.K.'s Met Office and Climatic Research Unit) analyze only a small fraction of the available data, primarily from stations that have long records. There's a logic to that practice, but it could lead to selection bias. For instance, older stations were often built outside of cities but today are surrounded by buildings. These groups today use data from about 2,000 stations, down from roughly 6,000 in 1970, raising even more questions about their selections.

On top of that, stations have moved, instruments have changed and local environments have evolved. Analysis groups try to compensate for all this by homogenizing the data, though there are plenty of arguments to be had over how best to homogenize long-running data taken from around the world in varying conditions. These adjustments often result in corrections of several tenths of one degree Celsius, significant fractions of the warming attributed to humans.

And that's just the surface-temperature record. What about the rest? The number of named hurricanes has been on the rise for years, but that's in part a result of better detection technologies (satellites and buoys) that find storms in remote regions. The number of hurricanes hitting the U.S., even more intense Category 4 and 5 storms, has been gradually decreasing since 1850. The number of detected tornadoes has been increasing, possibly because radar technology has improved, but the number that touch down and cause damage has been decreasing. Meanwhile, the short-term variability in U.S. surface temperatures has been decreasing since 1800, suggesting a more stable climate.

Without good answers to all these complaints, global-warming skepticism seems sensible. But now let me explain why you should not be a skeptic, at least not any longer.

Over the last two years, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project has looked deeply at all the issues raised above. I chaired our group, which just submitted four detailed papers on our results to peer-reviewed journals. We have now posted these papers online at to solicit even more scrutiny.

Our work covers only land temperature—not the oceans—but that's where warming appears to be the greatest. Robert Rohde, our chief scientist, obtained more than 1.6 billion measurements from more than 39,000 temperature stations around the world. Many of the records were short in duration, and to use them Mr. Rohde and a team of esteemed scientists and statisticians developed a new analytical approach that let us incorporate fragments of records. By using data from virtually all the available stations, we avoided data-selection bias. Rather than try to correct for the discontinuities in the records, we simply sliced the records where the data cut off, thereby creating two records from one.

We discovered that about one-third of the world's temperature stations have recorded cooling temperatures, and about two-thirds have recorded warming. The two-to-one ratio reflects global warming. The changes at the locations that showed warming were typically between 1-2ºC, much greater than the IPCC's average of 0.64ºC.

To study urban-heating bias in temperature records, we used satellite determinations that subdivided the world into urban and rural areas. We then conducted a temperature analysis based solely on "very rural" locations, distant from urban ones. The result showed a temperature increase similar to that found by other groups. Only 0.5% of the globe is urbanized, so it makes sense that even a 2ºC rise in urban regions would contribute negligibly to the global average.

What about poor station quality? Again, our statistical methods allowed us to analyze the U.S. temperature record separately for stations with good or acceptable rankings, and those with poor rankings (the U.S. is the only place in the world that ranks its temperature stations). Remarkably, the poorly ranked stations showed no greater temperature increases than the better ones. The mostly likely explanation is that while low-quality stations may give incorrect absolute temperatures, they still accurately track temperature changes.

When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn't know what we'd find. Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been very careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that. They managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections.

Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.

Mr. Muller is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of "Physics for Future Presidents" (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008).

Posted on 10/24/2011 10:35 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 24 October 2011
But If Islam Is So Wonderful, Why Then Are We Afraid Of Any Dose Stronger Than A "Moderate" One?
Libya seeks to calm Sharia fears

The head of Libya's transitional government tried to reassure Western powers which helped topple Muammar Gaddafi that the country's new leaders were moderate Muslim after a speech that emphasised the Islamisation of Libya.


[could we have a definition of a "moderate" Muslim? Isn't it a Muslim who doesn't take the Qur'an and Sunnah completely to heart? But if there is nothing wrong with Islam -- as our rulers keep telling us -- then why are they, just as much as we, so  afraid of those who take the Qur'an and Sunnah completely to heart? This obvious question has to keep being asked, on talk shows, in the columns of newspapers, at dinner parties, until the point is made -- Islam is a dangerous ideology, murderously hostile to Infidels, and crushing, in a hundred ways, to those who relish individual freedom. Why not say it? What are supposed to be afraid of? The reactions of Muslims? Is that it? If we tell them that we understand perfectly what Islam is all about, they will be mad? They will be hostile? So what? They are already hostile. Islam inculcates hostility, even murderous hostility, toward Infidels and everything connected to or identified with, or springing from, Infidels]

Just as in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, Islamists have emerged from yet another Arab Spring uprising as the most powerful group in the country. How far they will go will be decided at the ballot box - in Tunisia this week, in Egypt in November and in Libya within eight months.

National Transitional Council leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil said on Sunday that Islamic Sharia law would be the main source of legislation, that laws contradicting its tenets would be nullified, and that polygamy would be legalised.

"I would like to assure the international community that we as Libyans are moderate Muslims," said Mr Abdul-Jalil, who added that he was dismayed by the focus abroad on his comments on polygamy.

A US State Department spokeswoman said America was encouraged that he had clarified his earlier statement.

The stir created by Mr Abdul-Jalil's address in Benghazi, the eastern Libyan city where the anti-Gaddafi uprising was born in mid-February, came as international pressure mounted on him to investigate the circumstances of Gaddafi's death.

Abdul-Jalil ordered an inquiry to establish whether the deposed Libyan leader was killed after being captured alive last Thursday by fighters in his home town of Sirte, or whether he died in the crossfire as the government has suggested.

Meanwhile, the bodies of Gaddafi, his son Muatassim and his former defence minister Abu Bakr Younis were moved from a commercial freezer in a warehouse area of Misrata in anticipation of burial, a security guard said.

Local military spokesman Ibrahim Beitalmal has said the burial is likely to take place later.

He said the three men would be interred in unmarked graves in a secret location to avoid vandalism. Asked about the removal of the bodies from the freezer, he said he was unaware of the process of burial getting under way.

Posted on 10/24/2011 10:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:
The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31      

Via: email  RSS