These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 25, 2010.
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Your Black Muslim Bakery update for Feb. 2010
First, Sgt. Derwin Longmire was placed back on the streets with a badge and a gun, and now a trial of 4 defendents from the Your Black Muslim Bakery for assault and torture have resulted in zero (0, goose-egg, nada, zippo) convictions; three of the four are now released, at least temporarily.
Have I ever mentioned what a bang-up job the Oakland PD is doing, and what fine, delicious, wholesome products Your Muslim Bakery produces? Mmmm, mmm! I just want to welcome our Your Black Muslim overlords back, and suggest there may be a role for a certain blogger to play in the area of positive public relations for the bakery. In fact, he may well be more useful alive than lying on a sidewalk in a pool of his own blood. Just a suggestion! Bygones!
From the Chauncy Bailey Project:
OAKLAND — A jury Monday deadlocked on assault charges against three men who once were members of Your Black Muslim Bakery and acquitted a fourth, ending a two-week trial with no convictions.
Jurors told Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner that they could not reach verdicts against Dahood Bey and Basheer Muhammad, who were accused of leading an attack Dec. 21, 2008, against a man who rented a room from Bey. Bey also was charged with torture.
Ajuwon Muhammad, the third defendant, was acquitted on a robbery charge; jurors said they could not agree on an assault charge against him. The fourth defendant, Jibrial Muhammad, Ajuwon’s brother, was acquitted of assault, the only charge he faced.
Ajuwon Muhammad was returned to jail because of a probation violation. Bey and Basheer Muhammad remain free on bail. The three are scheduled to appear in court March 1, when a second trial could be scheduled.
The defendants were charged with beating a man on Bey’s orders Dec. 31, 2008, at a house in East Oakland. The victim testified that as many as 12 men took part in the assault. He suffered four broken ribs, a badly swollen eye and other injuries.
Defense lawyers repeatedly had challenged the credibility of the victim, saying he had started a fight with Bey and Basheer Muhammad, lost it and invented a story out of ego and a hope that he could qualify for victim compensation funds to pay his medical bills.
They pointed out that he had once knocked out a Pittsburg police officer with a single punch and had hit a pregnant woman in a dispute over a parking place.
Michael Cordoza, Bey’s lawyer, told the jury in his closing argument that there was a lack of evidence in the case. Joseph Penrod, a public defender who represented Basheer Muhammad, called the victim a “very cunning” man adept at manipulating people. Moriarty argued that Bey was the captain of a paramilitary organization modeled on the Nation of Islam’s Fruit of Islam. Bey ordered the attack because the victim had disrespected one of his men who lived in the house and threatened to kill him, the prosecutor said.
Bey was a spiritually adopted son of late bakery founder Yusuf Bey. Basheer Muhammad was one of Yusuf Bey’s lieutenants.
The victim, whom Moriarity asked not be identified because he fears for his life, testified that he is a member of the Nation of Islam. Dahood Bey is the leader of a separate, local Black Muslim sect, as was Yusuf Bey.
Intra-Islamic violence includes not only Sunni-on-Shi'a, but also Nation of Islam versus other Black Muslim sects. This has been true since the 1960's, when Malcolm X was murdered by Nation of Islam members. Also, at least two leaders of Your Black Muslim Bakery became murder victims, possibly due to power struggles within Your Black Muslim Bakery: Waajid Aliawaad Bey in 2004, and Antar Bey in 2005.
At least the victim in this case was no angel himself, and evokes little sympathy. We'll have to wait and see how some of the upcoming murder trials go, and whether any of the other unsolved murder cases linked to Your Black Muslim Bakery are ever even brought to trial.
Bey IV is jailed without bail on three murder charges, including on charges of ordering the 2007 killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in 2007. In a separate case, he also is charged with kidnapping and torture. His murder trial is scheduled to begin in May.
Posted on 02/25/2010 1:36 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 25 February 2010
US refuses to endorse British sovereignty in Falklands oil dispute
From The Times.
I know Barack Omaba does not regard the historic relationship between our two countries as anything special so this should come as no surprise.
Washington refused to endorse British claims to sovereignty over the Falkland Islands yesterday as the diplomatic row over oil drilling in the South Atlantic intensified in London, Buenos Aires and at the UN.
Despite Britain’s close alliance with the US, the Obama Administration is determined not to be drawn into the issue. It has also declined to back Britain’s claim that oil exploration near the islands is sanctioned by international law, saying that the dispute is strictly a bilateral issue.
Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Britain’s Ambassador to the UN, said: “As British ministers have made clear, the UK has no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands . . . We are also clear that the Falkland Islands Government is entitled to develop a hydrocarbons industry within its waters, and we support this legitimate business in Falklands’ territory.”
Senior US officials insisted that Washington’s position on the Falklands was one of longstanding neutrality. This is in stark contrast to the public backing and vital intelligence offered by President Reagan to Margaret Thatcher once she had made the decision to recover the islands by force in 1982.
“We are aware not only of the current situation but also of the history, but our position remains one of neutrality,” a State Department spokesman told The Times. “The US recognises de facto UK administration of the islands but takes no position on the sovereignty claims of either party.”
Kevin Casas-Zamora, a Brookings Institution analyst and former vice-president of Costa Rica, said that President Reagan’s support for Britain in 1982 “irked a lot of people in Latin America”. The Obama Administration “is trying to split the difference as much as it can because it knows that coming round to the British position would again create a lot of ill will in the region”, he said.
And POTUS wouldn't want to upset his mate Hugo would he? But if we have to defend the British sovereign territory that is the Falklands again that will reduce, if not completely curtail, what we can do in Afghanistan. Perhaps that might not be such a bad thing.
Posted on 02/25/2010 5:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Iraqi-born man escapes jail sentence for spitting on war veteran's medals
Serwan Abdullah, 23, spat at Timothy House in an unprovoked attack after a memorial ceremony in Portsmouth, Hants, last November. Abdullah has previous convictions for assault, theft and shoplifting and failed to turn up for his trial last month, where his solicitor said he was “proud” of what he had done.
But despite being condemned by the magistrate yesterday for committing a “particularly abhorrent” offence, Abdullah, who is on incapacity benefit for depression, was given a community order.
Mr House, 44, an aircraft engineer from Southsea, was wearing the medals in tribute to his late grandfather Sam Steadman, who served as a paratrooper during World War II and died in 1991, when he was attacked by the Iraqi.
The victim reacted angrily yesterday to the sentence and said that as a foreign-born criminal with previous offences, Abdullah should be deported.
Abdullah had pleaded not guilty at Portsmouth Magistrates Court and claimed he acted in self defence after Mr House had first spat at him in what he described as a “racist attack”. Police sources said that that the assault on Mr House was unprovoked and added that Abdullah had made no formal complaint of being the victim of a hate crime.
Mr House said: “It is rubbish to say I or any of the group I was with said anything racist. It was a totally unprovoked attack.”
He added: “I can remember the day vividly. We were having a few drinks with some Falklands’ veterans and then I heard some shouting. I turned round and next thing I know this guy was jumping up and down in my face, screaming something and then spat on the medals.”
“It was a total lack of respect, there was no need for it and I cannot see what sort of deterrent that sentence is going to provide,”
Posted on 02/25/2010 5:46 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Dad 'knifed' girl 68 times
From The Mirror
A dad killed his Muslim daughter because she was becoming "too Western", a court heard yesterday. Buesra Orkan, 15, died from 68 stab wounds when her Turkish father snapped after he found out that she had a boyfriend, last June.
Kebab stall owner Mehmet Orkan, 45, denied it was an honour killing and claimed that he thought his daughter was a burglar.The German prosecutor in Schweinfurt, Bavaria, said: "What, you stabbed her 68 times and didn't recognise her?" The trial continues.
Posted on 02/25/2010 6:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Islamic preacher who called Jews ‘filth’ to speak at London university
A London university has been condemned for inviting an Islamic preacher with anti-Semitic and homophobic views to give a lecture to students. Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick is due to speak at King's College's Strand campus at six tonight.
Peter Tatchell, of pressure group Outrage, accused university bosses of cowardice and “complicity with fundamentalism” by giving the preacher a public platform.
Sheikh Quick has denounced the “filth” of Jews and once gave a televised lecture in which he said the Islamic position on homosexuality is “death”. He added: “Muslims are going to have to take a stand [against homosexuals] and it's not enough to call names.” He is due to give a talk on the environment in an event organised by the University of London Union Islamic Society for its Green Week campaign.
Mr Tatchell said: “King's College would not host a white supremacist who advocated racism or death to black people… King's College has an equal opportunities policy that prohibits the promotion of hatred against minorities, but it is not enforcing it. The university is not a safe place for Jewish and gay students when it facilitates a vicious homophobe and anti-Semite like Sheikh Abdullah Quick.” He claimed that the university's attitude represented “collusion with the gateways to terrorism”.
A King's College spokeswoman said Sheikh Quick's talk would be on “environmental problems, Islamic solutions”, adding: “He has already spoken at other universities without controversy and there is no indication that the topic of his talk will be controversial.
“The Dean of King's College London, who oversees multi-faith relations, and the president of the students' union will attend the event. If they deem any comments from Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick to be offensive to minorities, the talk will be stopped.”
Sheikh Quick is also due to visit the University of East London at the weekend.
That is in Barking and Stratford. I should be extremely proud of something called the University of East London but instead it is a disappointment.
Posted on 02/25/2010 6:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Son Of Hamas Founder Spent Ten Years As Agent For Shin Bet
The son of a leading Hamas figure, who famously converted to Christianity, served for over a decade as the Shin Bet security service's most valuable source in the militant organization's leadership, Haaretz has learned.
Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a Hamas founder and one of its leaders in the West Bank. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of terrorist cells, and to the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures.
The exclusive story will appear in this Friday's Haaretz Magazine, and Yousef's memoir, "Son of Hamas" (written with Ron Brackin) will be released next week in the United States. Yousef, 32, became a devout Christian 10 years ago and now lives in California after fleeing the West Bank in 2007 and going public with his conversion.
Yousef was considered the Shin Bet's most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname "the Green Prince" - using the color of the Islamist group's flag, and "prince" because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement's founders.
During the second intifada, intelligence Yousef supplied led to the arrests of a number of high-ranking Palestinian figures responsible for planning deadly suicide bombings. These included Ibrahim Hamid (a Hamas military commander in the West Bank, Marwan Barghouti (founder of the Fatah-linked Tanzim militia) and Abdullah Barghouti (a Hamas bomb-maker with no close relation to the Fatah figure). Yousef was also responsible for thwarting Israel's plan to assassinate his father.
"I wish I were in Gaza now," Yousef said by phone from California, "I would put on an army uniform and join Israel's special forces in order to liberate Gilad Shalit. If I were there, I could help. We wasted so many years with investigations and arrests to capture the very terrorists that they now want to release in return for Shalit. That must not be done."
The story of Yousef's spiritual transformation appeared in Haaretz Magazine in August 2008. Only now, however, is Yousef exposing the secret he kept since 1996, when he was first held by Shin Bet agents seeking to enlist him in infiltrating the upper echelon of Hamas.
Their efforts proved successful, and Yousef was released from prison in 1997. His former handler, who no longer serves with the security service, says Yousef collaborated with Israel because he wanted to save lives.
"So many people owe him their life and don't even know it," said the handler, named in Yousef's book as Captain Loai. "People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize. He certainly deserves it."
Loai makes no secret of his admiration for his former source. "The amazing thing is that none of his actions were done for money," he says. "He did things he believed in. He wanted to save lives. His grasp of intelligence matters was just as good as ours - the ideas, the insights. One insight of his was worth 1,000 hours of thought by top experts."
Loai recalled one time when the Shin Bet received information that a suicide bomber was going to be picked up at Manara Square in Ramallah and be given an explosives belt.
"We didn't know his name or what he looked like - only that he was in his 20s and would be wearing a red shirt," he said. "We sent the Green Prince to the square and with his acute sense, he located the target within minutes. He saw who picked him up, followed the car and made it possible for us to arrest the suicide bomber and the man who was supposed to give him the belt. So another attack was thwarted, though no one knows about it. No one opens Champagne bottles or bursts into song and dance. This was an almost daily thing for the Prince. He displayed courage, had sharp antennae and an ability to cope with danger. We knew he was one of those who in any situation - rain, snow, summer - give their all."
With his memoir, Yousef hopes to send a message of peace to Israelis. Still, he admits he is pessimistic over the prospect of Israel signing a peace agreement with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, let alone Hamas.
"Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis," he said. "Palestinians! They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does."
Posted on 02/25/2010 9:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Mosab Hassan Yousef: “A man of rare courage” , Apostate from Islam and A Hamas Prince spy for Israel
Read this New York Daily News article on the exploits of apostate Mosab Hassan Yousef, son a Hamas leader, who became a Christian convert and spy for Israel. His efforts saved countless lives from sucide bombings by misguided Palestinian Muslim martyrs.
Note this excerpt from the Daily News piece:
He was Israel's most valuable spy inside Hamas - and certainly the most unlikely.
For more than a decade, Mosab Hassan Yousef disrupted dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts by the militant group, saving hundreds of lives.
Infiltrating the upper echelons of Hamas came relatively easy for Yousef: He is the son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef.
"So many people owe him their life and don't even know it," an Israeli security agent told the Israeli daily Haaretz on Wednesday.
"People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize. He certainly deserves it."
Melanie Philips echoes these sentiments in The Spectator, today in an article about Yousef entitled, “A Man of Rare Courage. ” Note what Philips says:
Not surprisingly, Yousef has trenchant views about Israel releasing the very terrorists he helped put in jail, indeed, in this he shows rather more backbone than many Israelis:
‘I wish I were in Gaza now,’ Yousef said by phone from California, ‘I would put on an army uniform and join Israel's special forces in order to liberate Gilad Shalit. If I were there, I could help. We wasted so many years with investigations and arrests to capture the very terrorists that they now want to release in return for Shalit. That must not be done.’
And on Hamas, Yousef says this:
‘Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis. That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a cease-fire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis,’ he said. ‘Palestinians! They do not hesitate to massacre people in a mosque or to throw people from the 15th or 17th floor of a building, as they did during the coup in Gaza. The Israelis would never do such things. I tell you with certainty that the Israelis care about the Palestinians far more than the Hamas or Fatah leadership does.’
All those foolish Brits and others who want Hamas brought in from the diplomatic cold, take note.
Israel should surely make this man a roving ambassador, to fight for the truth and justice in the Middle East to which he has so remarkably dedicated – and for which he has endangered -- his life.
My colleagues at Former Muslims United (FMU) might consider inviting Yousef to join FMU given that he is in California.. He is a hero to all apostates from Islam. He has demonstrated his fearless courage for fighting against Islam and supporting Israel.
Posted on 02/25/2010 10:20 AM by Jerry Gordon
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Barry Rubin On The Idiots Running Amok
When It Comes to Analyzing the Middle East, We Live in an Age of Idiocy
Prof. Barry Rubin - 2/25/2010
After more than 30 years of watching people write dumb things about the Middle East, I believe that in the last month I've seen more nonsense than at any previous time. The problem arises from ignorance, lack of understanding of the region by those presented as experts; plus arrogance, treating the region and the lives of people as a game (Hey, let's try this and see what happens!), fostered by the failure of such control mechanisms as a balanced debate and editing that rejects simplistic bias or stupidity; as well as a simple lack of logic.
To put it another way, I am reading material that simultaneously has no connection with the real world, is full of internal contradictions, and often seems deliberately tailored to misrepresent events in order to prove a false thesis. Fortunately, this stuff has not done actual damage in the real world--much of it has not been implemented in policy--yet but may in future.
--The former director of for Gulf and South Asia affairs at President Bill Clinton's National Security Council writes that al-Qaida will go away if a Palestinian state is created. (This article is so astonishingly bad in reshaping the facts and leaving out anything that proves the contrary point I kept thinking it was a forgery meant to discredit him. Alas, in these days people actually do write in this intellectually dishonest style all too often.)
--The most famous American columnist writing on the Middle East says the United States is responsible for radicalization in Saudi Arabia and Europe is to blame for Iran's Islamist revolution;
--The New York Times publishes an op-ed by a U.S. Air Force analyst arguing that Iran getting nuclear weapons will be good for the U.S. position in the Middle East.
--France's foreign minister in an interview explains that Israel's allegedly killing a Hamas terrorist in Dubai proves there must be a Palestinian state as fast as possible, regardless of whether Israel agrees, a bilateral peace treaty is made, or even that state's boundaries are defined. Charmingly, he adds that he might be wrong, which suggests that if such a policy resulted in total disaster and a massive number of deaths he'd just give a Gallic shrug of the shoulders and say, "Tant pis." (Too bad.)
--Numerous people who should know better, ranging from the president's advisor on terrorism to the former senior director for transnational threats at the National Security Council, say Hizballah is now moderate even though it has not changed in any real way.
--A prestigious foreign policy blog carries an article from a professor at a Washington, DC, university calling for an end to any restrictions on imports by the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip despite its openly declared intention of commiting genocide, repression of its own people, and clear goal of returning to war as soon as possible because this will supposedly strengthen the hand of the Palestinian Authority government which Hamas is trying to overthrow.
What are the main themes being constantly purveyed? Blame America, blame Israel, blame the West, say that radicals are moderates, insist that making concessions and holding dialogues with ideologically-directed extremists will work, blocking serious discussion of the Islamist threat, refusing to recognize the unalterably aggressive intentions of the Iran-Syria bloc, arguing that radical states and movements will act in a "rational" manner by following Western conceptions of what is in their true interest rather than their own world view.
What themes are there no room for in the prestigious foreign affairs journals and newspapers, with rare exceptions?
--The strategic disaster for Western influence that would ensue if Iran got nuclear weapons even if it never fires them.
--Revolutionary Islamism doesn't exist mainly to get revenge on the West but to seize state power and transform their own societies.
--The fact that the Palestinian Authority neither desires nor is capable of making a comprehensive peace with Israel no matter what the West does.
--The specific things that Israel wants in a peace agreement and why it needs them.
--That Syria, for very solid interests of its own, will never break its alliance with Iran.
--The situation of Arab governments which want the United States to be tough against Iran, Syria, and the Islamists, and are rapidly losing faith that it will protect them.
--The steering of Turkey toward as much of an Islamist state as possible plus as close an alignment with Iran and Syria as posible by the regime there which pretends to be moderate but clearly is engaged in transforming the country..
--Most bad ideas, crises, radical movements, and conflicts in the Middle East are locally generated and not just reflections of wrong Western policies or misdeeds.
--The West can do only a very limited amount to solve the problems of the Middle East. Coming up with some clever gimmick, flattery, apology, concession, appeasement, or higher level of understanding isn't going to do it.
Should I link to each of the above-mentioned articles and refute them point by point? I'm not sure. On one hand, that would be intellectually and emotionally satisfying, but would it be worthwhile?
I don't like spending time and space talking about how someone else is so silly, how we are deluged with far more people speaking stupidity from power than speaking truth to it. I can't help but feel that it is better to use the chance to explain what's really going on and perhaps develop some accurate or useful ideas. But it is necessary to talk about some of the insanity just to give a sense of its all-encompassing scope.
Only events will teach these people anything, like the completely ignorant New York Times writer who had no experience in the Middle East whatsoever, became an apologist for the Iranian regime, and then was forced by the stolen election and subsequent repression to rethink his position.
Posted on 02/25/2010 9:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Algerian national police chief killed
ALGIERS (Reuters) – The chief of Algeria's national police was shot dead on Thursday at his headquarters by another police official who was acting in a moment of insanity, the Interior Ministry said.
"The death of Ali Tounsi ... took place during a working session, in the course of which a police official, apparently gripped by an attack of madness, used his weapon and fatally wounded Colonel Tounsi," Algeria's official APS news agency quoted a ministry statement as saying.
There sure are a lot of Muslims suffering from "attacks of madness". If only we could see some sort of pattern developing.
Earlier, a security source told Reuters that Tounsi, who had been national police chief for more than a decade, was shot inside his office by a senior police official with whom he was having an argument.
"This guy was unhappy, he took out his pistol and he fired it," the source said. "Police officers nearby fired back."
The Interior Ministry statement said that after shooting the police chief, the attacker shot himself and was now in serious condition in hospital. It made no mention of police firing back.
A Reuters photographer outside national police headquarters, in the center of the capital, said an unusually large number of police were there, including elite armed-response officers.
No doubt they were there to diagnose and treat any passersby who showed similar signs of mental illness.
Posted on 02/25/2010 11:33 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Khaddafy Declares Jihad Against Switzerland For Its Ban On Minarets (In Italian)
Gheddafi: «Guerra santa contro
la Svizzera per il no alle moschee»
«Miscredente» e «apostata» per aver l’approvato il referendum costruire minareti nel paese elvetico
MILANO - Il colonnello libico Muammar Gheddafi ha invitato alla Jihad (la guerra santa, ndr) contro la Svizzera, da lui definita «miscredente» e «apostata», dopo l’approvazione del divieto di costruire minareti nel paese elvetico.
IL DISCORSO - «È contro la Svizzera miscredente e apostata che distrugge le case di Allah che la jihad deve essere proclamata con ogni mezzo», ha dichiarato il colonnello Gheddafi in un discorso a Bengasi, nell’est della Libia, in occasione della Festa del «Mouloud», che commemora la nascita del profeta Maometto. Per il numero uno libico, «la jihad contro la Svizzera, contro il sionismo, contro l’aggressione estera (...), non è terrorismo». «Qualunque musulmano nel mondo che tratta con la Svizzera è un infedele ed è contro l’islam, contro Maometto, contro Dio, contro il Corano», ha aggiunto il leader di Tripoli davanti a migliaia di persone. Boicottate la Svizzera: boicottate i suoi prodotti, boicottate i loro aerei, le loro navi, le loro ambasciate, boicottate questa razza miscredente, apostata, che aggredisce la case di Allah», ha insistito Gheddafi, parlando in veste di capo del Commando popolare islamico internazionale, ente da lui creato nel 1991.
LA CRISI - Sulle dichiarazioni del leader libico, un portavoce del ministero svizzero degli Affari esteri non ha voluto rilasciare commenti. Le relazioni tra Tripoli e Berna sono tesissime dopo l’arresto a luglio 2008 a Ginevra del figlio di Gheddafi, Hannibal, arrestato a Ginevra con l’accusa di aver maltrattato i suoi domestici. L'episodio ha scatenato una serie di ritorsioni a catena. La Svizzera lo scorso autunno ha inserito nella lista nera di Schengen i nomi di 188 alti dirigenti libici, tra cui anche quello del colonnello Muammar Gheddafi, inasprendo la crisi. Poco dopo le autorità libiche hanno arrestato due imprenditori svizzeri, di cui uno, Max Goeldi, è ancora detenuto in Libia. L’intervento «delirante» di Gheddafi avviene mentre proseguono le trattative tra i due paesi per la sua liberazione. Il 29 novembre scorso gli svizzeri hanno votato a larga maggioranza (57,5%) per vietare la costruzione di nuovi minareti, in un referendum promosso dalla destra populista.
DIRITTO DI USARE SCHENGEN
- Intanto la Svizzera si è difesa giovedì dall’accusa di aver usato l’accordo di Schengen a fini politici, per risolvere la sua controversia con la Libia. «Noi siamo membri dello spazio Schengen e come ogni altro membro noi abbiamo il diritto di applicare queste disposizioni», ha detto il ministro della Giustizia svizzero Eveline Widemer-Schlumpf al termine di una riunione a Bruxelles con il ministri degli Interni dei Ventisette membri dell’Unione Europea. Widemer-Schlumpf si è in particolare difesa dalle accuse lanciate dal ministro dell’Interno italiano Roberto Maroni, il quale poco prima aveva detto ai giornalisti che non si può usare questo strumento di cooperazione internazionale «per risolvere controversie bilaterali come quella tra Berna e Tripoli».
Posted on 02/25/2010 2:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 25 February 2010
A Musical Interlude: Just One More Chance (Gus Arnheim Orch.)
Posted on 02/25/2010 3:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 25 February 2010
Jay Bergman: Russian history expert publishes new book on Sakharov –“Meeting the Demands of Reason”
Professor Jay Bergman of Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), a friend of long standing ,has published a fascinating new book, Meeting the Demands of Reason, about the life and ideas of the fabled Russian human rights advocate, Andrei Sakharov. Bergman is a long suffering conservative scholar and Israel supporter. He is currently president of the Connecticut affiliate of the National Association of Scholars, an organization committed to academic freedom and reasoned discourse on American universities, and a member of the Connecticut Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He is a tenured member of a faculty at CCSU riddled with leftists, Islam apologists and anti-Israel and anti-war advocates. Jay was the only member of the history department at CCSU to vote in 2003 against a department resolution recommending that the university award an honorary degree to Noam Chomsky; to its eternal shame, it did so a few months later.
Bergman, as he recounts in this Connecticut Jewish Ledger interview about his book on Sakharov, was motivated to write Sakharov’s biography in part because of relatives who were Communists ideologues in the 20’s and 30’s. Bergman also has family and relatives who have made aliyah to Israel. He is a graduate of Brandeis University, and received his doctorate in Russian history from Yale University.
What follows is the Jewish Ledger interview with Bergman.
NEW BRITAIN - Soviet nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov died 20 years ago in December. He is probably better known, along with Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky, as the most outspoken human-rights activist and dissident in the Soviet Union before the fall of Communism.
On the 20th anniversary of Sakharov's death, Central Connecticut State University history professor Jay Bergman published Meeting the Demands of Reason: The Life and Thought of Andrei Sakharov" (Cornell University Press). Bergman, a specialist in Russian history, spent 11 years researching and writing the book, mining the Sakharov Archives at Brandeis University before the collection was moved to Harvard University.
Bergman became interested in the subject while studying with the "superb" Marshall Shatz at Brandeis, a pioneer scholar of Soviet dissidents. But there's a personal connection to the subject matter as well: Growing up in New York, "several of my relatives were 'deep red' Communists in the '20s and '30s, which was not uncommon among Jews," Bergman says. "I was intrigued by how and what they thought, and what they chose not to discuss."
"Meeting the Demands of Reason" is an Alternate Selection of the History Book Club.
Bergman spoke with the Ledger about Sakharov's evolution as a dissident and influence on human rights today.
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: There are books that describe Sakharov's life and activities vividly, but didn't analyze his ideas. I was interested in the larger phenomenon of Soviet dissidence, and in the dissidents themselves, mostly because of their opposition to the Soviet State. I wanted to understand on what grounds they came to oppose the state, and what effect they had on the collapse of the Soviet Union. I wrote a number of articles on the topic and then wanted to narrow down the subject matter and write a book on Sakharov. He and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn were the two most prominent members of the dissident movement. The story of Sakharov and the Soviet dissidence is important because they indirectly contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Q: What was Sakharov's relationship to the Jewish community? Do you see any similarity between the Jewish and non-Jewish dissidents?
A: Sakharov was not Jewish, but his second wife, Elena Bonner, is Jewish. Through her he met Jewish refuseniks - Soviet Jews who wished to leave the Soviet Union, in many cases to emigrate to Israel - and championed their cause. The most famous refusnik, Anatolii (now Natan) Sharansky, considers Sakharov his intellectual and ethical inspiration. Indeed, one of the human rights Sakharov championed especially energetically was the right of all people, not just the refuseniks or the Soviet people, to choose their country of residence. Bonner was an equal partner both in their marriage and politically. Though he was not her puppet - as Soviet propaganda continually claimed - he took her views seriously. In turn, she suffered many of the same indignities and hardships that he did.
I really don't see much difference politically between Jewish and non-Jewish dissidents, though there was a profound difference between the dissidents and the refuseniks: the former wanted to reform the Soviet Union while the latter wanted to leave it. Despite the longstanding and deep-rooted antisemitism in the Soviet Union, or maybe because of it, the dissidents did not consider their particular religion or ethnicity something that should preclude their working together on behalf of shared objectives. In the Soviet Union, Jews were legally an ethnic group. And non-Jewish as well as Jewish dissidents decried antisemitism in the Soviet Union and considered the refusal of the Soviet government to allow Soviet Jews to emigrate emblematic of the government's more general violation of human rights.
Q: How did Sakharov the physicist become Sakharov the human-rights activist? What is most compelling to you about him?
A: Sakharov the physicist became Sakharov the human rights activist through a slow accumulation of experiences and observations, from which he was able to extrapolate the conclusion that the evils and inadequacies of the Soviet system he experienced and observed were emblematic of a much larger systemic failure that could only be ameliorated by the Soviet government undertaking major reforms, the most obvious and important of which was granting the Soviet people human rights.
It's interesting to me that, having been raised and educated in a country whose political system denied its people human rights, Sakharov was able nevertheless, as I write in the last paragraph of the conclusion of my book, "to comprehend the concept of human rights, to grasp their centrality in a just society, and champion them tirelessly and eloquently under circumstances that cowed lesser men into silence."
I was surprised to learn that Sakharov and the other physicists who were put to work constructing thermonuclear weapons (i.e. hydrogen bombs) for the state were allowed to discuss sensitive political issues and even manifestly anti-Soviet works such as George Orwell's "1984." They could do this because they were isolated from the Soviet people in an installation bounded by barbed wire and defended by guards with guns and police dogs. I knew that scientists considered essential to the objectives of the Soviet leaders enjoyed a vocational autonomy that no other category of Soviet citizens was allowed. But I didn't know that they had that much of it.
Q: What is Sakharov's legacy, both in the Former Soviet Union and among human-rights activists throughout the world?
A: Sakharov's legacy consists mostly in the strength of character that enabled him to persevere in his struggle for human rights when lesser men would long ago have retreated to the pursuit of personal and purely professional interests. In the last sentence of the book I write that Sakharov's story is one of the few in history from which one can draw inspiration as well as enlightenment.
I wish I could say that Sakharov's influence on Russia, its politics, and its people continues today, 20 years after his death. But the creeping authoritarianism under Putin, which shows no signs of stopping, serves to corroborate what I wrote at the end of my book, namely, that, at the beginning of the 21st century, "Russia is not ready for Sakharov." But I also wrote that "perhaps one day it will be." National culture, which in my view is hugely important in the kind of political habits and institutions countries develop, is not immutable. Cultures, and therefore countries, can change, albeit slowly and incrementally. For that reason I remain hopeful that the humane values Sakharov fought for with great courage, intelligence, and perseverance will one day come to pass not only in Russia but in the other countries in the world where these values are absent.
Posted on 02/25/2010 3:49 PM by Jerry Gordon