These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 25, 2009.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Terrorists planned third blast to herd guests to slaughter
From The Age
TERRORISTS attempted to detonate a third bomb before two massive blasts ripped through two Jakarta hotels last week, but it malfunctioned, police say.
The discovery has prompted speculation the terrorists intended to kill more victims by exploding the first bomb on the 18th floor of the JW Marriott hotel, which would have caused guests to run downstairs into the ground floor public areas where a suicide bomber could have been waiting.
One suicide bomber detonated a massive blast in a breakfast gathering of top business people in a private lounge of the Marriott.
Two minutes later, another bomber detonated a blast that ripped through a restaurant in the nearby Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
At least nine people were killed, including three Australians. More than 50 others were injured.
The head the national police public relations division, Yoga Ana, told journalists the bomb found in room 1808 of the Marriott was active when police found it shortly after the blasts.
It had been set to explode before the first suicide bomb at 7.43am. Islamist terrorists have often exploded one bomb, closely followed by another, to maximise casualties, including in the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 88 Australians.
While suspicions of the organiser of the attacks have centred on a Noordin Top, a militant who uses a twisted brand of Islam to justify his actions, Indonesia's top organisation for Muslim scholars has declared publicly that the Jakarta bombings were terror acts and not a jihad or holy war.
The declaration by the Indonesian Ulema Council comes amid calls for the media to stop giving a forum to the firebrand preacher Abu Bakar Bashir, whose outrageous claims this week included that the bombings were the work of the CIA.
THREE arrests were made at Palma’s main mosque in Calle Joan Mestre after police followed a North African suspect into the building. The Police say that he failed to stop for a roadside vehicle check and fled into the Mosque, so they followed him. I assume he left his motorbike outside, although nothing would surprise me.
He was arrested together with the president of the Moslem Defence League and the mosque caretaker, both of whom had reportedly tried to prevent the police from entering the premises, saying that the sanctuary of a mosque should be respected in the same way as that of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues.
On hearing of the incident, some 150 angry local Moslems protested outside the police station, saying that relations between the Islamic community and the security forces were now at an all-time low due to their holy site not being respected. Like I said yesterday there is a tendency in Muslim communities to close ranks to protect the wrongdoer.
Federal Judge Sanctions “Lawfare” against cops in Six flying Imams Case: Pass the First Responder Protection against Terrorism Act, now!!
Minneapolis Federal Judge Ann Montgomery setback anti-Jihad efforts in America yesterday with her ruling in the Six flying Imams case.As reported by Minnesota Public Radio,“Judge says imams booted from flight can sue police,” Federal District Court Judge Montgomery ruled that the Six Flying Imams involved in a famous publicity stunt in 2006 on a US Airways flight at Minneapolis Airport that caused police to eject them can now sue the officers involved.Congress unanimously passed the John/Jane Doe indemnification act in 2007 that absolved the airline passengers who raised complaints that gave rise to the incident. However, Judge Montgomery’s ruling excludes application of that Federal law to police officers involved.CAIR, one of the Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America is crowing about this as a ‘victory’. We consider it an appalling lapse in the judicial mindset that will abet “Lawfare’ and intimidation of all first responders, including police officers.
Note what the Minnesota Public radio report says about Judge Montgomery’s ruling:
In a pretrial motion, lawyers for an FBI agent and airport police argued that a recent law that gave private citizens more immunity for reporting suspicious actions at airports should also cover law enforcement officers.
U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery ruled that there was no indication that Congress intended to do that.
"When a law enforcement officer exercises the power of the Sovereign over its citizens, she or he has a responsibility to operate within the bounds of the Constitution and cannot raise the specter of 9/11 as an absolute exception to that responsibility...no reasonable officer could have believed they could arrest Plaintiffs without probable cause."
Fred Goetz, the imams' attorney, said the ruling is an important one.
"It's an important ruling for the plaintiffs, of course, because that means we can present the constitutional claims to a jury, which is obviously important to them," he said. "But it's also a case of national importance. Judge Montgomery was the first judge in this country to consider the scope of immunity under this new statute."
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office, which represents the FBI agent, said the office declined comment.
Patrick Hogan of the Metropolitan Airports Commission said the MAC is disappointed in the judge's decision.
"We had hoped that the officers as individuals could be removed from the case; they were simply acting on behalf of the Metropolitan Airports Commission and doing their job the best that they could," he said. "We're going to continue to review the rest of the ruling and see what ramifications it might have but there's still a long way to go before this case is over."
It is precisely for this reason, that we drafted the First Responder Terrorism Protection Act proposed in an NER article in July, 2008, “An Act To Protect First Responders Fighting Terrorism.”, and that Rep. Sue Myrick (R-9thNC) had introduced in the House of Representatives.Here’s what we said about the necessity of enacting such legislation:
So what is the solution to this Muslim Brotherhood (MB) intimidation bulldozer directed at our first responder community in America? It is a federal law to cut off the threats of civil complaints and lawsuits by MB fronts aimed at counterterrorism agents.
ACT! for America has been designated as the lead group in the Victory Coalition to draft a proposed House bill with the short title; "Protecting American First Responders Fighting Terrorism Act of 2008."
This proposal arose from an encounter with local police in Fairfax County, Virginia who reached out to Act! for America for assistance when CAIR intervened in a police matter. The case involved a local Muslim doctor detained on a traffic infraction that lead to the filing of drug charges and a complaint filed by the national counsel of CAIR. That matter was chronicled by Patrick Poole in an article in Pajamas Media. Poole noted in conclusion:
As a regular consultant to police agencies on counterterrorism issues, I can attest to the immense pressure that police and other first responders are constantly under without having to deal with bogus claims of religious discrimination and self-serving demands to institute CAIR’s own “diversity and sensitivity” training programs. If the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division wishes to look into these matters, as CAIR has demanded in Abbasi’s case, perhaps it should begin by examining the hostile work environment for police officers created by CAIR’s constant, yet continually baseless, grievance-mongering.
Poole is correct in this observation, because at federal, state and local levels, CAIR and other MB front organizations have fostered workplace harassment by filing frivolous civil complaints. These have hobbled first responders from protecting Americans against the threat of radical Muslim groups. Through threats of civil litigation these MB groups have shut down counterterrorism training programs for first responders at both the federal and local levels. In its place, the MB front groups have created 'diversity' programs and negotiated the delivery of them under threat of litigation to often confused and unwary first responders.
Act! for America and the Victory Coalition believe that a national measure is urgently required to stop the harassment of first responders in carrying out their lawful responsibilities in protecting fellow citizens against acts of terrorism.
That is the background and purpose of the proposed national legislation.
The bill is modeled after H.R. 1640 introduced in March 2007 to address the problems associated with protecting airline passengers, as in the 'six flying imams' case, who reported suspicious behavior on airline flights. The measure known as the “John Doe” law became an amendment to a Transportation bill that was resoundingly passed by the House. In August, 2007, the ‘six flying Imams’ filed a motion in Federal Court in Minneapolis dismissing the airline passengers from their suit, leaving US Airways as the defendant. Subsequently, ‘the six flying imams’ filed motions in Federal Magistrates Court in Minneapolis and were granted rights of limited discovery in its case against US Airways. The plaintiffs recently requested as part of a limited grant of discovery a backlog of 10 years of alleged complaints from US Airways, which objected on grounds of the post-9/11 security requirements.
The essence of the proposed measure for protection of first responders is contained in Section 2 below. The proposal: (1) provides for a shield for first responders against civil liability complaints by MB front groups, identified by the US Department of Justice as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial with ties to and providing financial support to designated foreign terrorist organizations under US CODE: Title 8,1189; (2) defines workplace harassment and identifies applicable federal, state and local first responder agencies.
The proposed bill, after appropriate revision, should garner the widest possible support from the first responder benevolent, fraternal and union groups across America. This should not go unnoticed by responsible Members of Congress. We would hope that a version of "Protecting American First Responders Fighting Terrorism Act of 2008" might be afforded a serious hearing by both Senate and House Homeland Security Committees and be enacted. This may help protect all Americans from Islamic terrorism.
Judge Montgomery’s ruling in the Six flying Imams case should command the attention of Congress to pass the Act to Protect First Responders from Terrorism and void the pending trial scheduled for August 30th.As citizens we need to communicate with Members of Congress the necessity to pass this legislation to stifle the rampant abuse of our legal system and intimidation of our law enforcement community by Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR.Our constitution is under threat from ‘creeping Sharia’ via manipulation of our legal system. Let’s put a stop to ‘Lawfare’ and protect those on the front line of protecting us against radical Islamic terrorism.
I could have called this a 14 year old girl interlude but don't want to attract the wrong type.
Listening to Leanne Rimes at the age of 14 earlier reminded me of Helen Shapiro, a local girl to me, who had several hits of which my favourite was Walking Back to Happiness in 1961 when she was 14. Three years later she covered the Peggy Lee song Fever which wasn't such a big hit but which I think is one of her best records of that period. This is her singing Walking Back to Happiness live on a TV set designed to look like a classroom. I remember those desks. Her chart sucess didn't last long but she had a steady and productive career until retirement.
Some say that her chart popularity decined with the advent of more rock orientated singers and bands in the mid 60s. I'm not so sure - I didn't see Lulu as her rival, just something different.
Lulu is Scottish, real name Marie Macdonald McLoughlin Lawrie, described by her manager as 'A lulu of a kid'. She and her band the Luvvers had their first hit in 1965 when she was aged 15 with a cover of the Isley Brother's Shout. She went solo and a bit mainstream pop for a few years, Eurovision etc before teaming up with David Bowie for a version of The Man Who Sold the World and she is still performing including festivals Glastonbury and T in the Park.
I mention Lulu and Helen Shapiro's long careers and what seems to the onlooker to be relatively happy personal lives because the best young voice I recall belonged to Lena Zavaroni. Now admittedly she really was a child, while Helen Shapiro and Lulu were teenagers not far short of the then school leaving age. Had they not had singing careers in a few months they could (thought this is not to say they definitely would) have been working in a factory or shop.
Lena Zavaroni suffered poor health and anorexia and died tragically young. I wouldn't wish that on any child.
That got you reading, didn't it? I was referring to Nabokov's "poor little genitals" and Hugh's contention that what a man does with them is irrelevant to the quality of his thoughts. Just as irrelevant, obviously, is whether the genitals are male or female and what colour they are. In his treatment of Henry Gates, Sergeant Crowley showed a colour-blind professionalism, and for this he was criticised by the President., whose skin is half-white, and whose thoughts are half-baked.
I notice that Sergeant Crowley felt the need to justify his impartiality by referring to the time when he gave black basketball star mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. On that occasion, as on this, he was simply doing his job. Suppose, however, that the player had been white, and that Crowley had no example of saving a black man to "make up for" the black man he arrested. Suppose none of his friends are black.
I would say "So what?" So would most New English Review readers, and any right-thinking people who believe that colour is simply irrelevant. But, as reader and contributor Tina Trent points out in the comments to my post, it would be a lot worse for him:
Imagine what would be happening if this particular officer had not previously engaged in a tremendous amount of proactive "anti-racism" activity, if he merely went about his job in a fair manner but didn't possess a paper trail documenting his good anti-racist intentions. For he has the paper trail and is still being castigated and disbelieved and hated in many circles. Above all else, this gives the lie to the effect of the diversity/anti-racism industry -- it is never enough. You can never "do" enough once you accept its terms, that white society is inherently oppressive and must be endlessly "interrogated" and policed. I hope the police officer does not yield to pressure to become one of those professional apologists for other, less enlightened whites -- a path that some understandably take, in a game hopelessly stacked against them, simply to avoid being targeted for more abuse.
Tina Trent knows great deal about crime and policing; her blog is packed with common sense and facts. Her thoughts on this matter, unlike Obama's, are well worth reading. Meanwhile, any white police officer, doctor, or other professional who wants to avoid the stigma of "racism", should make sure he gets himself some black friends, just so he can say some of his best friends are black. Even if he lives in Norfok, where there is scarcely a black face to be seen.
Here's an idea: blacks could hire themselves out as friends to deprived white people seeking to protect themselves against lawsuits. So could other favoured victim groups. A gay, black woman could make a fortune as a diversity escort.
The last survivor of the first world war trenches has died aged 111.
Harry Patch, knicknamed the ‘Last Tommy’, died peacefully at his care home in Wells, Somerset, at 9am this morning.
His death comes one week after that of fellow veteran Henry Allingham, then the world’s oldest man, at 113.
Patch, who fought at the Battle of Passchendale in 1917, was the last veteran of the great war left in Britain. He once said: “Millions of men came to fight in this war and I find it incredible that I am the only one left.”
His care home Fletcher House today confirmed his death saying he slipped away peacefully in his sleep.
Chief Executive of Somerset Care, Andrew Larpent, said Mr Patch had been unwell for some time.
He added: “His friends and his family have been here and he just quietly slipped away at 9am this morning. It was how he would have wanted it, without having to be moved to hospitals but here, peacefully with his friends and carers.” My cousin and her husband met him briefly at a Western Front Association event a few years ago and said he was a very nice man, quiet and unassuming. He ended his biography
"Well if they have written the obituary, all I can say is that I hope to live long enough that theywill have to update it, and more than once! Then I can fade away. Isn't that what old soldiers are meant to do?" It now seems even more of a privilege to have seen him, Henry Allingham who died only a few days ago, and Bill Stone at the last Voices of a Generation in November last year.
There is just one man left now, Claude Choules former Royal Navy, in Australia.
This is my photograph of his portrait which hangs in the Bishop's Palace in Wells.
Steve of Pub Philosopher found the words I was looking for here.
I heard someone on the wireless last week use [the] construction, ‘He could not help but turn,’ and I was irritated in an unfocused way. Should it not be, ‘He could not help turning’ or ‘He could not but turn’?
The Oxford English Dictionary reminded its good readers that the Collect for the 15th Sunday after Trinity includes the words: ‘The frailty of man without thee cannot but fall.’ Since the days of Hall Caine, we’d be tempted to make it ‘cannot help but fall’. The OED also obligingly mentioned the parallel Latin construction non possum non. It is just this element of double negativity that sets users’ heads whirling and tempts them into nonsense. The liberal-minded Oxford Dictionary of American Usage opines that cannot help but ‘should no longer be stigmatised on either side of the Atlantic’, but it goes on to mock someone who said: ‘I cannot help from refraining myself to comment on Ms Gabor’s flagrant disrespect of the law.’ I suppose the speaker meant either, ‘I cannot refrain from commenting’, or ‘I cannot restrain myself from commenting’.
Certainly cannot help but has become naturalised more completely in the United States. A decade ago, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms listed it with the two other constructions on an equal footing, without comment. A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, published by Oxford, judges that cannot but be and cannot help being both ‘strike modern readers as stilted or perhaps even alien’, whereas cannot help but be is becoming ‘an accepted idiom’. Well, blow me! I’m stilted and alien. It doesn’t make me a bad person.
I cannot but agree that Dot is right. Nevertheless, although I would not write or say "He could not help but...", I didn't at first see anything wrong with it. In contrast, "may have" instead of "might have" has me frothing at the mouth. Not seeing a mistake is one step away from making it. It's a slippery wedge or the thin end of a slope - I'm all but convinced of that.
I'm posting this clip from YouTube about making the perfect omelette with the sole purpose (should it be about fish?) of testing whether I can embed a YouTube clip properly, rather than by cutting and pasting. Artemis says you do it like this:
On the third attempt - my fault for not following instructions to the letter - it worked. You have to get it eggsactly white, though, or the yoke's on you.
Update: Putting an omelette in the oven? That's a new one on me. And do Americans call oven gloves "pot holders"?
While Hizb ut-Tahrir, a pro-jihadist group which met openly near Chicago last weekend, is surprisingly candid about its desire to re-establish an Islamic Caliphate, literature available at its conference shows the group also views Christians and Jews as untrustworthy enemies of God.
More than a dozen issues of a Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) newsletter called The Shield were obtained from the conference by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. The publication repeatedly condemns interfaith "outreach initiatives" and shows HT believes in the death penalty for Muslims who leave the faith.
HT pushes a radical ideology that is similar to Al Qaeda, although the organization claims it does not carry out terrorist attacks. It has glorified jihadism and excoriated the terrorist organization Hamas as being too soft on Israel. In a leaflet posted on its website July 1, HT argued that if the Caliphate were in existence, all of "Palestine" would be rid of "the usurpation of the Jewish occupiers" and brought "to the fold of the Islamic state."
Turkish authorities meanwhile, arrested more than 200 HT members Friday, although it is unclear what prompted it. The group is banned in Turkey.
Last week, U.S-based HT members gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Oak Lawn, Ill. for a conference called "The Fall of Capitalism and the Rise of Islam." In addition to speakers' calls to fight "to establish Allah's (swt) word supreme on this earth ... or we die in the attempt," HT literature was available for the audience.
"Interfaith Deceit" blared a front-page headline about such programs in the April 2009 issue of The Shield.
"Just what is the meaning of 'interfaith'?" the newsletter asked in a front-page commentary. "It means to exchange, to come to a mutual agreement with one another, to reciprocate, share, join, belong equally with each other in common, to trust, accept, etc. In other words, it is an attempt to get Muslims to compromise their Deen (Way of Life)."
If Muslims used such interactions to speak about the superiority of Islam and persuade non-Muslims to convert, then dialogue with nonbelievers would be acceptable:
"Are Muslims telling the disbelievers that riba -- mortgages, car loans, credit cards, bank savings, accounts, stocks, etc. -- are forbidden by God? Do Muslims say to non-Muslims that alcohol, homosexuality, fornication, gambling, church bingo, raffles, etc. are wrong? Have they told them that their system of rule is against Allah's rule, and that Islam alone will solve all of the problems, political, economical [sic] educational and societal? Or are they (Muslims) suggesting to non-Muslims that Islam and democracy can co-exist and work together to correct the ills in the society?"
Answer: If Muslims are trying to conduct a dialogue in which non-Muslims are treated as equals, this is unacceptable. Judaism and Christianity, it says, "started hundreds of years after Abraham and Jesus, and are great distortion of what they actually taught." In this context, Allah warns Muslims that if they were "to follow the common run of those on earth, they will lead you away from the Way of Allah. They follow nothing but conjecture. They do nothing but lie." If Muslims were to "listen to a faction among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews], they will render you apostates after you have believed."
"Never will the Jews or Christians be satisfied with you unless you follow their Creed," the newsletter adds. "Sadly, we see Christians finding satisfaction in what their Muslim counterparts agreed to in their common exchange. It is not a believer's duty to please or try to satisfy the disbelievers."
The July 2006 issue of "The Shield" obtained at the July 19 conference in Illinois was entitled "Interfaith Dialogue: Is it acceptable?" The answer is a resounding "no." Christians and Jews are "kuffar" (non-Muslims or infidels) and therefore: "To make it seem as if we are 'brothers in faith' with the kuffar is to commit a haraam (sin) and betray the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad." Muslims "are not to sit and talk about common things between Islam and the corrupted teachings of Christianity and Judaism."
The same publication contains an article titled "Muslims Who Love Allah's Enemies" consists of Quranic verses like this: "O Believers, do not take the Jews nor the Christians as your friends, they are one another's friends only. If anyone of you takes them as friends, surely he shall be counted among them. Indeed, Allah deprives the wrongdoers of His Guidance."
Another Quranic verse from that article about unbelievers and the Muslims who associate with them:
"Have you not seen those who have taken as friends a people who are under Allah's wrath. They are neither of you or of them, and they swear to a falsehood knowingly. Allah has prepared a severe torment for them. Evil are the deeds they are doing. They have made their oaths a covering under which they debar others from the Way of Allah. For this they shall have a disgraceful torment. Neither shall their riches avail them anything to protect them from Allah nor their children. They are the fellows of Hell in which they shall live forever.
The Day Allah raises them up, they shall swear to Him as they swear to you, thinking that their oaths will avail them something. Know it well that they are liars," the Quranic verse continues. "Satan has over-powered them and has caused them to forget God's remembrance. They are of Satan's party. Know it well that those of Satan's party are indeed the real losers. Surely the most abject of the creatures are those who resist Allah and His Messenger."
Another publication was an Arabic-language paper from 1996 called "The American Campaign to Suppress Islam," a paper which outlines a purported conspiracy against Muslims by capitalists who control the United States. Page 20 of the booklet contains a dire warning for Muslims who think that freedom of religion applies to them.
Muslims "have no option after embracing Islam to disbelieve in it and to renounce it. The rule regarding the Muslim who becomes apostate is to require his repentance. If he insists on his disbelief, the capital punishment is applied on him."...
The front page of today's Times screams about a new opinion poll. Apparently there is now "[h]uge public support for change in law to allow the right to die":
Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of people want doctors to be allowed to help terminally ill patients to end their lives. Support is particularly strong among those aged 55 to 64.
Six out of ten people also want friends and relatives to be able to help their dying loved ones to commit suicide without fear of prosecution.
Ludwig Minelli, founder of Swiss death clinic Dignitas, must have €€€ signs in his eyes. Am I out of step, then, in my opposition to Dignitas and my suspicions about assisted suicide? Not necessarily. From The Times article:
The poll found only 13 per cent of the public supported a blanket right to assisted suicide regardless of the individual’s health. Eighty-five per cent said that it should only be legal “in specific circumstances”.
[...] A spokesman for the Care not Killing Alliance dismissed the findings. “Knee-jerk approval of assisted suicide from the worried well is not surprising in this poll, carefully timed immediately to follow the media storm around recent high-profile celebrity suicides,” he said. “It needs to be seen within the context of the House of Lords’ recent rejection of [a legal change] and the continuing strong opposition to any change in the law from senior lawyers, leading doctors, the BMA and disabled people’s groups, all of whom have a good understanding of the dangers to public safety that would accompany any change.”
Indeed. Hard cases make bad law, and bad opinion polls, and the case of the frail Sir Edward Downes and his terminally ill wife is a hard case.
In Pajamas Media today, I develop some thoughts posted here on why assisted suicide pacts, in particular, should be opposed. Unlike John Derbyshire, I believe that this slope is slippery. Click on the syringe for more - it won't kill you, as it's only a picture:
I have probably done Dignitas to death, as it were, but one final thought on suicide pacts: what kind of man is selfish enough to want his healthy wife to die with him? If he had anything about him he would insist that she put that nonsense out of her head right away. John Diamond, the writer who died of cancer nearly ten years ago, wanted his wife Nigella Lawson to enjoy life to the full:
One of the mad emailers' obsessions is - I quote - who's going to be banging Nigella after I've stopped. It really doesn't worry me. As far as I'm concerned, as long as I'm slightly tepid in the grave I'd hope she'd get round to it as soon as possible - metaphorically and literally.
The teenager and I were in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens this week and took the opportunity to visit the memorial to the 52 innocent people murdered in London on 7th July 2005 which was unveiled on the anniversary 2 weeks ago.
I blogged about the news reports at the time. The memorial is 52 columns, grouped according to the number who died at every site. They are made individually of British steel and called stelae from the Greek.
Some descriptions sounded a bit bleak, 52 upended girders arranged in a mathematical pattern. The bereaved families were involved at every stage, including visiting the steel works where each column was cast, and they all spoke of how comforting the design which I thought boded well.
One relative said “I like the way the rods of steel come up from the ground. They have a feeling of strength about them.” And he is right.
The memorial is even better than I expected. The weeping angels and stern women representing virtue beloved of the late 19th and early 20th century are not our 21st century taste.
The teenager saw it first through the trees, grey columns seen through brown tree trunks.
As we got closer my first impression was of the war graves of Northern France and Belgium, serried ranks of white, going on and on, each one a life.
But once I walked in between the columns they became a far older piece of our history.
The standing stones.
Not Stonehenge, which is a thing apart but something like the monolith at Rudstone or the Hurlers on Bodmin Moor, which were said to be boys turned to stone for playing hurley on the Sabbath.
As you move around you can see that each column is individual, with a surface texture almost like woven silk. They cast shadows across the grass and across each other, and then the light catches the metal very subtly.
I hope I have caught some of this in the photos. The children belonged to another family. They were not treating the memorial as a playground but as a place where they were welcome and their presence emphasised the continuance of life.
From ABC News Australia thanks to Dumbledore's Army
Three prisoners, among them one of Belgium's most dangerous criminals, have escaped aboard a hijacked helicopter in an audacious jailbreak in broad daylight. The three escapees - bank robber Ashraf Sekkaki, Mohammed Johry and Abdel Had Kahjary Mulloul - are all repeat offenders, prosecutors in Bruges told Belga.
Sekkaki, 26, has been described as one of Belgium's most dangerous criminals.
Two accomplices rented a helicopter, took the pilot hostage and forced him to land in the courtyard of the jail, located in the northern city of Bruges, a Justice Ministry spokesperson told Belga news agency.
When the helicopter took off with the three convicts, one of the accomplices stayed behind, possibly because of limited space aboard the helicopter, the spokesperson said.
"This accomplice is in any case guilty of hostage taking," the spokesperson added.
The escaped convicts and the accomplice were dropped off near a major road and the helicopter was abandoned at Aalter, on the outskirts of Bruges.
The convicts then seized a vehicle from a nearby petrol pump, later switching cars and taking a female driver hostage before dropping her off at Melle in Flanders. Very similar to this plan.
As it happens, Hugh Fitzgerald is on vacation in the western wilds of these United States, otherwise, I am certain he would have something to say about this. Mark Steyn writes (h/t: Powerline):
As to the differences between the professor's and the cops' version of events, I confess I've been wary of taking Henry Louis Gates at his word ever since, almost two decades back, the literary scholar compared the lyrics of the rap group 2 Live Crew to those of the Bard of Avon. "It's like Shakespeare's 'My love is like a red, red rose,'" he declared, authoritatively, to a court in Fort Lauderdale.
As it happens, "My luv's like a red, red rose" was written by Robbie Burns, a couple of centuries after Shakespeare. Oh, well. 16th century English playwright, 18th century Scottish poet: What's the diff? Evidently being within the same quarter-millennium and right general patch of the North-East Atlantic is close enough for a professor of English and Afro-American Studies appearing as an expert witness in a court case. Certainly no journalist reporting Gates' testimony was boorish enough to point out the misattribution...