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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 Saturday, 27, 2010.
Saturday, 27 November 2010
More Evidence of the Somali Émigré Terrorism Threat: “Black Friday” Bombing Suspect Caught in FBI Sting
Somali emigre Portland FBI sting suspect
Mohamed Osman Mohamud
A 19 year old Oregon State University student and émigré' Somali Muslim naturalized US citizen, Mohamed Osman Mohamud,  was arrested yesterday as he was dialing a cell number to detonate a van filled with explosives at a Portland, Oregon Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Fortunately, the bomb was a dud; otherwise mass casualties could have resulted.  He was caught in an FBI sting that had found and 'turned' his email links to Pakistani Islamic extremists. The AP story notes some of the details:
 Undercover agents in a sting operation stopped a Somali-born teenager from blowing up a van full of explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, federal authorities said.
The bomb was a dud supplied by the agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested at 5:40 p.m. Friday just after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would set off the blast but instead brought federal agents and police swooping down on him.
Yelling "Allahu Akbar!" - Arabic for "God is great!" - Mohamud tried to kick agents and police after he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors.
"The threat was very real," said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. "Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale,"
The FBI affidavit that outlined the investigation alleges that Mohamud planned the attack for months, at one point mailing bomb components to FBI operatives, whom he believed were assembling the device.
It said Mohamud was warned several times about the seriousness of his plan, that women and children could be killed, and that he could back out, but he told agents: "Since I was 15 I thought about all this;" and "It's gonna be a fireworks show ... a spectacular show."
Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen living in Corvallis, was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and is scheduled for a court appearance Monday. Few details were available about him late Friday.
Authorities allowed the plot to proceed in order to build up enough evidence to charge the suspect with attempt.

This arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud in Portland confirms the threat of radicalized Somali émigré home grown terrorists. They are a result of a liberal humanitarian refugee program controlled by the UN and funded at US taxpayer expense.   We have written about the problem in the NER,
here and here.

It also validates something more ominous we predicted; a possible Mumbai type event on Black Friday, a major exposure of hapless victims at the start of the annual Christmas shopping season.

In an NER article in July 2009,
"Foot Soldiers of Islam", we noted this possibility:

Such attacks could be perpetrated by homegrown Jihadis like those naturalized American Somali youths, alleged to have 'disappeared' to join Al Shabaab militia groups in Somalia. Those returnees could constitute cadres to train fellow American Somali youths. They could orchestrate swarming attacks against public facilities in this country using so-called low tech means: cheap weapons and pickup trucks. These possible swarming attacks could be 'mini- 9/11 events.' Deadly scenarios might include simultaneous attacks against exposed queues of customers at so-called 'big box stores' especially on high sales days like Black Friday, the start of the Christmas holiday retailing season. Currently, we don't have local counter terrorism forces trained in weapons and tactics to combat Mumbai-type swarming attacks in high risk communities in this country.

Given the arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud in Portland last night, the Black Friday scenario we predicted gains credibility. With a new GOP majority in the US House of Representatives, we believe time is overdue to seriously address the defects in our refugee laws that brought Mohamud and others like him to this country at considerable taxpayer expense to commit violent Jihad against us.
Posted on 11/27/2010 6:51 AM by Jerry Gordon
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Australia: Turkish Muslim claims to be 'offended and insulted' by artist's 'say no to the burqa' mural

 On 24 September 2010 here at NER I drew attention to the case of Italo-Australian glass artist Sergio Redegalli who had painted, on the wall of his studio in inner-city Newtown, Sydney, a picture of a woman in burqa and niqab, with the caption "Say No to Burqas".  He was at once subjected to a storm of criticism.   People accused him of being 'racist', anti-woman, and anti-Islam.  The local government body, Marrickville Council, demanded that he remove the mural.  He refused.  The mural was vandalised.  He repainted it.  The story even got as far as the Indian and the French national press.

Now, after two months during which the non-Muslim allies, defenders and enablers of Islam have failed to bring about the removal of the mural (since it is painted on private property) and the silencing of Mr Redegalli the Muslims themselves are stepping forward to take a swipe at him.  Cue a Turkish female who professes herself to be  - predictably - 'offended and insulted'.

From the Sydney Morning Herald, Josephine Tovey reporting.

www.smh.com.au/nsw/complaint-lodged-over-burqa-mural-20101125-18967.html

'Complaint lodged over burqa mural'.

'It has become a lightning rod in the public debate about the right of Muslim women to wear the burqa, attracting protests, the censure of a mayor, and messages of support from talkback radio.

'But now the Newtown mural of a woman in a full-face Muslim covering with a strike symbol over her face (? shouldn't that be, 'a strike symbol over where her face would be if she weren't veiled'? - CM) and the words "Say No to the Burqa" is the subject of an anti-discrimination complaint.

'Cigdem Aydemir (observe the Turkish name - CM), a Muslim, artist (hm: what does she paint?  Images of living beings?  If she does, she's in breach of sharia - CM) and high-school art teacher (???? - CM)  said she felt "completely offended and insulted" when she saw the mural pop up in her neighbourhood.  

'The work of a local artist, Sergio Redegalli, the piece adorns a wall of his studio facing the street and the busy rail line.

'My sister-in-law wears a burqa...my mother wears a veil", she said.  (And what does that suggest about sister-in-law's family, and about Ms Aydemir's own family? Generally speaking, the more heavily covered the women, the more jihad-minded the men - so Tawfiq Hamid has observed. - CM).

"I wore a veil for 10 years of my life.  I think everyone has the right to wear whatever they want on their body and that kind of diversity needs to be protected".

(This - note the sly use of the buzzwords 'right' and 'diversity' - is disingenuous.  Throughout the Islamic world and in most Mohammedan colonies in countries such as France, the wearing of assorted versions of the Muslim female Slave Rag is not even remotely a free personal choice; it is very often done on pain of violent coercion up to and including beating, acid throwing, rape and even death.  Furthermore, wherever Muslim women wear the Slave Rag, women who do not - whether Muslim or non-Muslim - are automatically framed as 'uncovered meat', whores, loose women.  In an article from 2002, in the very same Sydney Morning Herald that is sympathetically reporting Ms Aydemir's feelings of having been 'offended and insulted' by a mural criticising the burqa, Australian journalist Paul Sheehan reported that a female friend of his left the Sydney suburb of Lakemba - then swiftly Islamifying - because not only Muslim men but veiled or head-scarved Muslim women regularly verbally abused and insulted her whenever she walked down the street in normal western female dress with hair uncovered. - CM)

'Aydemir went to the police and then the council to try to make the complaint, but as the mural was painted on private property neither could intervene.  She lodged her concerns with the Anti-Discrimination Board, who this week notified Redegalli.

'He said he had painted it to open debate about the burqa, but now felt his right to freedom of expression was on the line.

"There's a problem about the right to free expression, the loss of the ability to say something without instantly being branded a racist", Redegalli said.  He cited a number of reasons for his opposition to the garment, including concerns about security and the rise of Islamic extremism in Australia.

"There's thousands that can say we don't actually feel comfortable about this - that's not being taken seriously", he said.

'But Aydemir said: "It's Islamophobic; it's feeding the racist and sexist attitudes we have in our society".

(Nonsense, milady.  What's irrational or wrong about fearing and criticising the belief system proudly held by those who blew up the buses and trains in London, the trains in Madrid, the Twin Towers in the USA, the Metro in Moscow, the Sari nightclub in Bali, and those who mass-murdered defenceless civilians in Mumbai, in Beslan, and in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq?  And the reflexive accusations of 'racism' and 'sexism' are nonsense, too.  Islam is not a race; and anyone who cares about a woman's health and safety would never stuff her into a sensory-deprivation device that hampers her ability to drive or walk safely in public and usually condemns her to severe Vitamin D deficiency and all the ills produced thereby.  - CM).

'The image has drawn fire from locals, and has been defaced at least 20 times.

(And every time it is defaced, so I am reliably informed, Mr Redegalli gets out his paints and his brushes and stubbornly repaints it.  I think I see Oriana Fallaci leaning over the parapets of heaven looking down at her antipodean cousin, waving the Italian and the Australian flags,  and shouting 'Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie, oy, oy, oy! '- CM).

'The former Marrickville mayor, Sam Iskander, said in September the mural "goes against the values which the Marrickville community has believed in and practised for generations".

('Generations'?  I wouldn't be so sure about that.  The populations of inner-city Newtown and Marrickville used to include large contingents of Lebanese Christians who came to Australia fleeing Muslim persecution [at one end of King Street, Newtown, there is a large Lebanese Maronite Catholic church dedicated to St Michael], Greeks - with their own deeply ingrained memories of what it was like to live under Turkish Muslim despotism [at the other end of King Street, Newtown, there is a lovely and lively Greek Orthodox Church, dedicated to 'Constantine and Helen'], and Italians, old-fashioned Italians who like the Greeks would have had old, dark stories of  the depredations of 'li Turchi!'   Not to mention fiercely-Catholic Irish immigrants.  Somehow I doubt that if you had dropped a woman in burqa and niqab into those suburbs in, say, 1900 or 1920 or 1950, she would have been greeted with anything other than a good solid dose of well-founded suspicion.

I recommend reading the comments attached to the Sydney Morning Herald report - all 111 of them.  Many of those contributing are not in the least fooled by Ms Aydemir's well-rehearsed pantomime of victimhood. - CM).

Posted on 11/27/2010 12:24 AM by Christina McIntosh
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Skoochno Na Etom Svete, Gospoda!

The most boring day in modern history, as calculated by a presumptuous computer  computer dancing to the tune of some implacable algorithm, is April 11, 1954.

Here is the story from The Telegraph: 

Computer identifies the most boring day in history

Yesterday may have been a cold and otherwise unremarkable Wednesday in November.

But it had nothing on on April 11, 1954, according to a Cambridge scientist.

Computer programmer William Tunstall-Pedoe has calculated that to be the most objectively dull day since 1900.

On that day a general election was held in Belgium, a Turkish academic was born and an Oldham Athletic footballer called Jack Shufflebotham died. Apart from that nothing much happened.

Mr Tunstall-Pedoe's computer programme, called True Knowledge, came to its lofty decision after being fed some 300 million facts about "people, places, business and events" that made the news.

Using complex algorithms, such as how much one piece of information was linked to others, True Knowledge determined that particular 1950s Sunday to be outstanding in its obscurity.

Cambridge University-educated Mr Tunstall-Pedoe said: "Nobody significant died that day, no major events apparently occurred and, although a typical day in the 20th century has many notable people being born, for some reason that day had only one who might make that claim - Abdullah Atalar, a Turkish academic.

"The irony is, though, that - having done the calculation - the day is interesting for being exceptionally boring. Unless, that is, you are Abdullah Atalar.

Plans for the coup d'etat in Yanaon, then a small French colony in India, are also believed to have been hatched that on the evening of April 11 1954 but nothing actually happened that night.

Mr Tunstall-Pedoe emphasised that True Knowlegde was not designed solely to search for boring days.

"It's just a sideline," he said.

Its true calling was to provide a more intelligent way of searching the internet.

Professor Abdullah Atalar now researches atomic force microscopy and digital integrated circuit design at Bilkent University.

*What was the most boring day in history to you?

_____________________________________________________

At the end of his story "Nevskiy Prospekt" Gogol, having described the glittering boulevard and its flaneurs and surface enchantments, addresses the reader: "Skoochno na etom svete, gospoda!" It's boring in this world, gentlemen!"

Now, apparently, we can assign ranks of boredom to each date.

But tell me, isn't this the most uncertainty-principled of undertakings, in the jerry-seinfeld-to-jason-alexander understanding of that Heisenbergian notion? Isn't any date selected as the most boring now no longer the most boring just because it has won the title of Most Boring Day In History? And doesn't the same unboringness apply to the next-most-boring-day-in-history, and so one, so that no sooner is the title passed than  it is passed on -- automatically -- to another recipient, with each in turn fleetingly crowned and reigning only for the time it takes for the world to find that particular day as interesting as all get-out? 

Those computers can whirr all they want. But with the thoughts we'll be thinking, they'll never be another Lincoln 00 even if they have a brain.

Posted on 11/27/2010 8:17 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Two cautionary tales: what Muslim men do when a woman damages their pride

This month, in Australia, there were two news reports that featured Muslim men, after their non-Muslim girlfriend broke off their relationship, reacting with extreme violence.

A casual observer would see no difference between what these men did and the acts of non-Muslim men who kill, or try to kill, either their ex or their own child, after a relationship is broken off.  But if one has read, for example, the recent 'Spengler' article (flagged here at NER in October) on the wider meaning of the fact that the Quran permits wife-beating

www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/LE25Ak01.html

one knows that there is a difference between a western man, who even as he stalks, attacks and kills must know at some level that he is breaking the Law of his society, that he will be punished for the vengeful violence he employs against his woman or his child, and a Muslim man, whose culture entitles him to use violence, who when he beats or kills knows that he has the permission - even the approval - of his family and his social group; who knows that sharia says he may beat a rebellious woman or kill a woman who 'dishonours' him, and that sharia permits him to kill his own child without incurring punishment.

Given that, let us contemplate these two cases, both horrifying, together with one additional piece of information: that in 1994 in Australian journalist Geraldine Brook's book on Muslim women, 'Nine Parts of Desire', she mentions a British study of family violence, recently completed, that had found that women married to Muslim men were eight times more likely to be killed by their spouses than any other women in Britain.  

From a newspaper on Queensland's Gold Coast resort strip:

www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2010/11/15/270971_crime-and-court-news.html

'Woman's tongue cut out in torture case'.

'A charge of torture has been laid against a South Australian man who allegedly cut off a woman's tongue with a knife and sliced each side of her mouth open.

'Mohammed Tasleem Tahir, 21, today faced the Southport Magistrates Court charged with torture, acts intended to maim and disfigure, and grievous bodily harm, over the weekend attack in Surfers Paradise.

'Police will allege 20-year-old Catherine Cameron was rushed to hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning with a 4 cm slash to the right side of her  mouth and a 2 cm slash to the left with exposed her mouth cavity.

'She also allegedly had her tongue cut in half and her fractured eye socket will require a metal plate to be inserted.

'Court documents allege the woman had come to the Gold Coast six months ago, leaving behind her de facto partner, Mr Tahir, in South Australia.  She told police she changed her name and phone number to start afresh but was allegedly confronted by Mr Tahir at her Surfers Paradise unit around 1.30 am who wanted to 'repair' the relationship.

'The documents allege Mr Tahir held her in a head lock and bashed her repeatedly with an empty Bundaberg Rum bottle before pulling out a knife.  He allegedly held it to her throat before placing it in her mouth and cutting her lips and tongue.  Police will allege he then took her into the bedroom and attempted to strangle her on her bed, only stopping when she went limp and pretended to be unconscious.

'Worried neighbours called triple-zero after hearing sounds of a violent struggle and police allegedly found Mr Tahir in the apartment living room and located a bloodied rum bottle...

'Mr Tahir will face court that day via videolink from prison'.

I am not surprised, after reading this account, that she had fled across three states to try to get away from him.

The second story is from Melbourne, Victoria.  A young non-Muslim woman formed a relationship with a Turkish Muslim man (whether born in Australia to immigrant parents, or immigrating as a child, is not clear); they had a daughter and were engaged to be married, but then the engagement ended; it seems likely the girl broke it off.  The man, Ramazan Acar, abducted and violently murdered their toddler daughter.  It is worth remembering that under Australian law when a de facto relationship of this kind breaks down, the mother would normally gain primary custody of the child; whereas under sharia a Muslim man always has custody of any children he fathers.

From the Herald Sun, an account of the first hearing of the case:

www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/girl-2-found-dead-near-track-in-greenvale/story-e6frf7kx-1225955291400

'Meadow Heights man Ramazan Acar charged over murder of daughter'.

'A man charged with killing his two-year-old daughter has been ordered to undergo psychiatric assessments.

'Ramazan Acar, 24, faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court this morning over the murder of his daughter Yazmina D'Argent, who was found dead in grassland in Melbourne's north yesterday.  HIs case was adjourned until March 3 next year...

'The court ordered the Meadow Heights man to be assessed by a psychiatric nurse before his next hearing.

'In an out of sessions hearing last night, a court heard Mr Acar allegedly threatened to kill his daughter several times after he picked her up from  his ex-partner.  Yazmina was allegedly driven across Melbourne by Mr Acar before being dumped in Greenvale.  Mr Acar was charged with the toddler's murder last night.

'Sen-Det. Constable Scott Jones, of the homicide squad, told the out-of-sessions hearing Mr Acar arrived at his former partner's address in Hallam, in far southeastern Melbourne, at 6.10 pm on Wednesday and a short time later took Yazmina with him.

'Police will allege Yazmina's mother made several calls to Mr Acar, who threatened to kill the girl as he drove across Melbourne to Campbellfield.

"Ultimately the accused has attended an address in the Campbellfield area where he removed the child from the car and a number of stab wounds resulted in the child's death", Sen-Det. Jones told the hearing.  "Mr Acar has then allegedly driven from where he dumped his daughter to another address where he burns the car and flees the scene in a second car."

'Sen-Det. Jones told the hearing a post-mortem examination found that Yazmina had died of multiple stab wounds...

'Sources told the Herald Sun Mr Acar had allegedly been under surveillance at some point after Yazmina was taken from the house.  Homicide squad detectives were last night trying to solve the tragic riddle of what happened in the period after Yazmina was taken, which happened 55 km from were her body was found.  They were led to grassland beside a fence near the Greenvale Reservoir at 1.35 am where they made the awful discovery.

'Mr Acar was arrested two hours later at Epping by heavily-armed officers from the special operations group...It is believed he was being tailed by police when the Toyota was set alight in Merri Concourse, Campbellfield, at 10.30 pm on Wednesday....".

And a report that fills in a little more background detail on the case, such as the non-Muslim name of the mother - 

www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/tears-flow-for-stabbed-toddler-yazmina-acar/story-e6frf7l6-1225956933222

'Tears flow for stabbed toddler Yazmina Acar'.

'Yazmina Acar should have been celebrating her third birthday tomorrow.  Instead, family will be preparing her funeral.

'Their grief will be compounded by the fact that the bubbly toddler's father, Ramazan Acar, is behind bars, charged with her stabbing murder...

'Sources told the Herald Sun Mr Acar of Meadow Heights was waiting at ex-fiance Rachelle D'Argent's house in Hallam on Wednesday night, and told her he wanted to take their daughter to the milk bar to buy lollies.

'Ms D'Argent, 24, agreed, but became worried when they didn't return, and phoned police.

'Yazmina's body was found in grassland at Greenvale, in Melbourne's north, early on Thursday morning...

'Grandfather George D'Argent said the toddler, nicknamed Mini or Mina, was loved by those around her..."We're still coming to grips with what happened.  We're still trying to make (sense) of exactly why it happened"... 

(Mr D'Argent may not be able to make sense of the murder, but those of us who have read Nonie Darwish and other critics and analysts of Muslim 'culture' know that in that 'culture' "a man's honour lies between a woman's legs."  A man's 'honor' depends on his being able to maintain total control over  'his' females and offspring.  If they rebel, he has the right to kill them.  IF Mr D'Argent's daughter initiated the breaking of the relationship - and if so, one wonders what it was that led her to make that decision -  this would, since she thus took herself and the child out of Mr Acar's control, be perceived by Mr Acar as damaging his 'honour', such that he could only regain it by violent punishment of the rebel/s.  He killed the little girl first; but Ms D'Argent would likely also have been attacked.  It is also possible that at some level, conscious or unconscious, Ramazan Acar might have chosen to murder his daughter rather than risk her growing up to be a non-Muslim, under the influence of her non-Muslim mother and grandparents. - CM)

'Mr Acar, 23, regularly detailed his feelings and movements on his Facebook page during the day and night, declaring his love for Yazmina.  The posts - made via mobile phone - are expected to be examined as part of the homicide squad investigation.  At one stage he wrote "I lv (love) u Mimi", in an apparent reference to his daughter.  In another post, he says he is at a cemetery, next to his grandmother's grave.  At one stage he says: "Tha truth iz im in love".

(He took his helpless little two-year-old daughter and stabbed her multiple times.  Rather a strange way to show 'love'.  - CM).

'Ms D'Argent and Mr Acar were childhood sweethearts before breaking off their engagement several months ago.

'Mr Acar was ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment during a hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court yesterday...

'An out-of-sessions hearing on Thursday night heard Mr Acar drove to an address in Campbellfield where he is alleged to have stabbed his daughter several times.  He is accused of dumping her body at Greenvale before returning to Campbellfield, where he set his car on fire."

Advice to non-Muslim women in western countries, contemplating romance with a Muslim man: DON'T - CM.

Posted on 11/27/2010 5:27 AM by Christina McIntosh
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Imitating The American Policy For Dealing With Islam, German Walls Himself In

German DIY enthusiast walls himself into own cellar

A German DIY enthusiast trapped himself in his own cellar after walling himself in.

German DIY enthusiast walls himself into own cellar
It is unclear why he did not demolish the wall he had already built but police suspect he was too proud of his creation to destroy it

The 64-year-old intended to seal off his cellar to save on heating bills, but was on the wrong side of his wall when the last cemented brick was slotted into place at his home in Gumperda, near Leipzig. He then had to tunnel through a brick wall to escape via a neighbour's house.

"Whoops, you might say," said police spokesman. He was trapped in his man-made dungeon for two days before deciding to use a jackhammer on the wall leading to his neighbour's home.

But the German man had been feuding with his neighbours for months, and as he emerged through the hole, he was met by police who are now considering charging him with disturbance of the peace. As the hammer bit through the last bits of concrete and plaster the pensioner emerged through the hole into the arms of waiting police who are now considering disturbance of the peace.

Posted on 11/27/2010 9:06 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: They All Fall In Love (Gertrude Lawrence)

Watch, and listen, here.

Posted on 11/27/2010 9:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
The Goves of Academe 2

Before I use a thunderously bad pun in a post title, I like to check whether anyone has stolen my thunder and got there first. So I googled Goves of Academe, and was pipped to the post by myself. There you go. Anyway, back to our muttons. Charles Moore writes on Michael Gove's education plan, arguing that there is no authorised version of how children should be taught. From The Telegraph:

The Bible I am quoting is the King James Bible, often called the Authorised Version. This week marked the formal opening of its 400th anniversary celebrations.

It has often been said - by Winston Churchill and T S Eliot among others - that the King James Bible is the greatest work in the English language, and it is true. Guests who appear on Desert Island Discs automatically get the Bible and Shakespeare to go with them. Our best version of the Bible appeared at the same time as Shakespeare. (It was published in 1611, the year when The Tempest was first performed.) Time and chance found a moment when our language was young yet mature, sprightly yet stately, earthy yet sublime.

But what was the purpose of this enterprise? It was not to produce lovely language for its own sake. It was educational. The Translators dedicated their work to King James I, explaining that it was essential that "God's holy truth... be yet more and more known unto the people" (who, until then, had had no one, permitted, English version). They praised James for "cherishing the teachers" of this truth. They saw what they were doing as a work of national salvation, in both a religious and political sense. The fact that the version is known by the name of an earthly King tells you a lot about its aims.

So the point of this Bible was not only that everyone might study it in private, but also that it was "appointed to be read in churches", often to those who could not read. It was taught in schools. It was the classic text, the words - the Word, indeed - which people needed to know.

This persisted until the 1960s, and, to a remarkable degree, it worked. Contrary to the claims of the modernists, you did not have to be clever to profit from the King James Version. Bertie Wooster, the most famous fathead in fiction, won the scripture prize at school, and large parts of the Bible sprang to his lips at apposite comic moments. In my own village school, where most of the pupils were the children of gypsum miners and labourers, we read and heard always and only the King James Version (and the collects from The Book of Common Prayer). No doubt we frequently did not understand it, but only a fool would claim fully to understand the Bible in any version. We benefited from something that was seriously beautiful and beautifully serious.

All this changed, as it was bound to do. The 1960s saw the production of the New English Bible, which was intended to be relevant. Today, nobody reads it at all: it is - to adapt a King James phrase - perished as though it had never been. It failed, but it succeeded in dethroning the King James Version. Now there are many Bibles, but no known one - a Babel of Bibles, in fact.

This process explains what has happened to education. In the beginning was the Word; and so long as the Word was known and respected, there was broad agreement about what should be taught. Even after the state entered education in the 19th century and began gradually to supplant the Church as the main provider, there was a cultural consensus, religiously underpinned, about what mattered and what didn't.

In living memory, that agreement has disappeared. You might have thought that, as society cast aside shared doctrine, government would have become more reluctant to lay down the law about what schools should teach and how they should work. The opposite has happened. It has become more dogmatic. Labour destroyed thousands of good schools by imposing comprehensives. The Conservatives mired schools in bureaucracy by imposing and then expanding a national curriculum. New Labour was so obsessed with schools as an engine of its favourite social policies that it took the word "education" out of the title of the relevant department. The one article of religious faith that remained was the politicians' delusion that they could build the New Jerusalem.

To avoid these trends, my wife and I put our own children into private education. But even there, if I had to single out one trend in the past 15 years, it would be the huge increase in government control, intrusion, exams, paperwork - a sort of creeping nationalisation. Anyway, the vast majority of parents cannot afford to go private, so, for nearly 90 per cent of the school population, government decides what is good for you, with results that are generally mediocre and often disastrous.

Which is why I find Mr Gove's approach very hopeful. I do not know his private religious opinions, but he seems to have an exceptionally strong Protestant sense of the nobility of education. He sees it as the way by which everyone, regardless of wealth and background, can learn what matters, developing the informed freedom of conscience that is the mark of human dignity. Such learning will probably be good for the wallet, but it will certainly be good for the soul. It follows that being a good teacher is of cosmic importance and being a bad one is a crime. It follows, in turn, that better teachers should be recruited, and bad ones should be sacked. You can tell how rotten things are by the outcry from the trade unions at the very idea.

So inside Mr Gove's capacious head, two beliefs are held in tension. One is a confident conviction about what is worth learning. The other is the knowledge that, in modern times, there can be no holy writ handed down by government, no authorised version. The paradox, then, is that schools must be forced to be free.

Posted on 11/27/2010 9:07 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Victory In Iraq (2006) Or, More Than Four Years Later, It's Not Too Late

Originally posted at JW on June 15, 2006: 

Concede victory

Listen, some people like to concede defeat. I don't. I prefer, in Iraq, to concede victory. We won in Iraq; we've inadvertently created a situation which will inevitably lead to demoralization and division within the Camp of Islam. If only we have the good sense to recognize it and stop trying to prevent the result that is devoutly to be wished.

It was all inevitable -- the day the regime was deposed. It was inevitable whether or not Turkey had allowed in a fourth division to invade from the north. It was inevitable whether the number of troops that went to Iraq remained the same, or doubled, or tripled. General Batiste's criticism of Rumsfeld's numbers is wrong and irrelevant -- irrelevant because the number of troops could not have changed what became inevitable, and from our point of view highly desirable, after the removal of Saddam and his regime. Forget about the Iraqis, for god's sake, stop talking and stop thinking about "what's good for the Iraqis." Stop being influenced by the handful of plausible, nice, heartwarming "Iraqis" you have had contact with in Iraq -- many of those "Iraqis" serving as the staff (cooks, waiters, cleaners) in the Green Zone, or as translators, are the completely atypical Christians. Many, almost all, of the trustworthiest fighters are Kurds. For Infidels, the permanent instability within Iraq, and the worry that has created in both Iran and Saudi Arabia (and other Arab states) is a welcome, and to the Bush Administration still uncomprehended, unappreciated, development. But there it is: Saddam Hussein is out and from that all further blessings flow.

Now we have only to withdraw and watch how the removal of Saddam Hussein plays itself out. Some deplore the idea of civil war. Why? Wasn't the Iran-Iraq War a good thing from the viewpoint of Infidels? Wasn't the Egypt-Saudi Arabia proxy war in the Yemen? The hostilities over Polisario between Morocco and Algeria? The dislike of Khaddafy for Egypt, and the expulsion from Libya of all those Egyptians? The brief Syrian incursion into Jordan? The Saudi mischief-making, that worries the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council still, and that helps explain why Oman has British military advisors and some troops, and why Kuwait and Qatar allow American troops (Saudi Arabia being, along with Iran and formerly Iraq, one of the three big local bullies)?

Good God, we've won. We won a while ago.

Others may concede defeat.

I don't.

In Iraq, I think we should concede victory. Bush, for god's sake, if you would only see things correctly, you would realize that for all your grotesque misperceptions and sentimentality about how all people "want freedom" and essentially are brothers under a very thin skin, you have nonetheless had a victory. But only if you recognize it and act quickly upon that recognition -- no more unnecessary squandering of resources to undo that victory allowed. An accident, a series of errors, one goddam unintended consequence after another. But there it is: the Shi'a have the power, the Sunnis will never accept it, the Kurds are drilling for oil and appropriating, as they have every right to do so, the oil of Kirkuk and Kirkuk itself.

Concede Victory, and get out.

It is depressing that so many support Bush because they claim he is better than any "dhimmi Democrat." Could it be simply that the times require someone more intelligent, more able to take in a large amount of material, more able to concentrate? It has been nearly five years since the 9/11/2001 attacks. How much of that time has Bush spent on learning what one must learn, now, about Islam, and about the history of Jihad-conquest, and the treatment of non-Muslims under Muslim rule? Does anyone think Bush spends his time, at night, or at the ranch, studying, studying, studying?

Think of all the meetings. Think of all the photo opportunities. Think of all the silly things a President has to do. Think of all the many things he must somehow keep track of -- Social Security, Katrina, the ice in the Arctic, the level of army re-upping, the Leave No Child behind business, and hundreds of other things.

Then look at Bush. Look at how he led his heedless life before he became President. Do you have the feeling he had studied history? Do you have the feeling that he is now well-versed in what he should be well-versed in? Do you think he can think -- beyond, that is, a certain not-adequate-to-the-task level? What do you think of his aides -- the ones that so impress him? Do they impress you? Do they strike you as able to have mastered the matter of Islam, and the instruments of Jihad? How much of Bat Ye'or do you think Condoleeza Rice has read? What do you think she thinks of when she hears the word "Hadith" or the phrase "uswa hasana"? Do you think the idea of Jihad through Da'wa and demographic conquest of Western Europe is a subject of constant attention at the White House -- or a subject that never comes up? Do you think the Pentagon has an office devoted entirely to propaganda intended to raise the level of awareness among non-Arab Muslims about Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism?

You don't? Of course not. Bush remains both ignorant of the sources, the scope, and the full menace of the Jihad, and he certainly has not allowed the American government to conduct the kind of all-out propaganda, including making use of clever defectors from Islam, that is called for. He lacks imagination. He lacks broad cultivation. He is not able to articulate cleverly the problem -- referring to Islam synecdochically, for example, by using the word "Jihad" and claiming to be fighting "only those few Muslims" who "believe in Jihad to spread Islam until it covers the globe." (What will Muslims do then? Deny it? Own up to it?) He apparently thinks what counts is the level of economic development, the end to poverty, the GDP, the GNP. He's an economic determinist. And so are those who applaud the war in Iraq (not to mention his sentimentalism and heedlessness about immigration) -- David Brooks, My Weekly Standard, the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal. They can't quite grasp Islam. It doesn't fit what they know about the world.

As for the complete dismissal of every single Democrat, that too is foolish. It may be that those who want to get off oil want to do so for only one reason (and that reason is a perfectly sensible one): to save the environment. So what? The effect in diminishing Arab and Muslim revenues will be the same. And it may be that some Democrats wish to leave Iraq for the wrong reasons, but so what? If we leave, the right result -- those sectarian and ethnic divisions -- will start to work their magic. And it will be magic as far as we, the Infidels, are concerned, even if the result does not please even those very nice, very plausible, Shi'a Muslims whose interests diverge from ours, for they do not want to be forced to see Islam for what it is, they do not want to divide and demoralize the world of Islam, they do not want the Infidels to begin to halt and reverse Muslim migration, they do not want to have their views discounted because they are Muslims. Such people as Chalabi and Allawi in Iraq, or Fouad Ajami here, may be very nice. Ajami, after all, has two sons at West Point. And he is wonderful on Edward Said, and a truthteller on Israel. But that is no longer enough. Now the interests of the Infidels, and of even the nicest Muslims, diverge, and we must work to save ourselves, not to redo the Middle East for that handful of entertaining, soft-spoken, funny, altogether delightful Muslims. A different world now. This chase has a beast in view.

Concede victory, and get out. We won.

Posted on 11/27/2010 9:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
You're a brick, Fritz

Perhaps the German DIY enthusiast - does that have the same connotations in America as it does here? - has been watching re-runs of Colditz. From Newsbiscuit:

Sky Television was subject to criticism today after a series of prison breakouts were apparently inspired by the broadcast of repeats of award-winning prisoner of war drama Colditz on the Yesterday channel.

'I thought something was a bit wrong when there was a sudden interest in the prison allotment,' explained Winson Green Prison Governor James Shanley after a break out of twenty prisoners on Monday night. 'For weeks there'd been dozens of inmates just wandering around with their hands in their pockets, not getting much done in terms of actual gardening except piling it high with more and more top soil. Of course the other thing we missed was a ruddy great tunnel from the back of the showers running to outside the newsagents across the street, but you don't expect to see that sort of thing so much in this day and age, do you?'

The nationwide spike in ingenious improvised break outs has been blamed on the 'softly-softly' approach of the former administration. 'Give them the perk of watching Sky TV in their cells and this is the thanks you get,' complained Home Secretary Theresa May, 'we're on the verge of a prison officers strike, thanks to experienced professionals taking umbrage at being called 'Fritz' or 'the Goons' by car thieves from Solihull. I can tell you now we will be reviewing policies, and where necessary appointing new Kommandants. I mean governors'.

While the crisis has so far been contained, with most of the escapees recaptured after being found speaking English in bad German accents and disguised as Nazi officers in the middle of Birmingham City Centre, the prison service is doing all it can to ensure there are no repeats of the latest spree of escapes.

'It's been terrible for morale for staff and the remaining inmates, which is vital in maintaining a modern progressive correctional facility,' confessed the governor of London's Wormwood Scrubs, 'but I'm confident we can make up lost ground with the motorcycle mechanics workshops we're currently running and everything will be right as rain ahead of the annual staff and inmate viewing of Christmas favourite 'the Great Escape.' '

Posted on 11/27/2010 9:20 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Noam Chomsky to become new X-Factor judge

Colourless ideas will be green with fury. It's true and it's nontrivial. From Newsbiscuit:

Professor of linguistics and political campaigner Noam Chomsky has been confirmed as the new judge on TV talent show The X Factor. 'Cheryl Cole was still recovering from malaria and we needed someone who could fill the intellectual void,' said programme creator Simon Cowell, 'Professor Chomsky is perfect and the audience just loves him.'

In his first outing as judge, Chomsky quickly made his mark. 'Your act is part of a propaganda state promoting a culture-ideology of comforting illusion', he told one hopeful young girl, before adding, 'I'm saying yes.'

Chomsky then set about a teenage boy-band, describing them as 'yet another example of pre-packaged ideological oppression whose lyrics systematically fail to demonstrate even a basic understanding of what happened to East Timor in 1975,' he paused for effect, 'But, I'm giving you a second chance...You're through to the next round.'

Not satisfied with attacking the acts, Professor Chomsky then turned his critique on The X Factor audience. 'You are all complicit in a hegemonic construct designed primarily to keep you from questioning what is really going on in the world,' he told them, 'You must learn to think critically and reject the pernicious cult of celebrity.' It was at this point that the audience went wild, whooping, cheering and chanting his name. 'We love you Chomsky!' they screamed as the 81 year-old professor sat at the table with his head in his hands.

The appointment of Chomsky has proved so successful that Simon Cowell is now believed to asking many more public intellectuals to become X Factor judges including Amartya Sen, Umberto Eco and Sinitta.

As the show continues each judge will get to manage their own favourite acts. 'There is a lot of talent out there,' said Chomsky, 'but I have my eye on an anarcho-syndicalist Peruvian flute band who are really going places.'

However, some rivalry has already emerged between Professor Chomsky and fellow judge Louis Walsh. 'I have the utmost respect for Chomsky,' said Walsh, 'but his greatest work was done more than forty years ago. In that respect he's not much better than Geri Halliwell.'

Posted on 11/27/2010 9:29 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 27 November 2010
MUSLIMS AND JEWS: IS MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE POSSIBLE?
On October 25, 2010, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) hosted an interfaith forum on "Judaism and Islam in America Today: Assimilation and Authenticity." The participants in the panel were Chancellor Arnold Eisen of the Seminary, Sherman Jackson, professor of Islam at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Ingrid Mattson, past president of the Islamic Society of North America and professor at the Hartford Seminary served as moderator. In addition to the public forum which drew approximately 300 people, there were smaller workshops the next day restricted to invited participants.  In an article in the Huffington Post on October 24, 2010, "Why A Jewish Seminary Must Find Common Ground With Islam," Chancellor Eisen explained why he had initiated the dialogue:
 
"I believe, as a religious Jew, that there is no more urgent issue for individuals and communities of faith at this moment than to find our way to genuine cooperation, tolerance and mutual respect."
 
Having received my rabbinic ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary and having been one of the scholars upon whom the Seminary bestowed the degree of Doctor of Hebrew Letters, honoris causa, at the Seminary's centennial convocation, I was appalled by the Chancellor's ignorance of Islam. The Chancellor is recognized one of the world's foremost experts on American Judaism, but that hardly qualifies him as an authority on Islam. Undoubtedly, he received what he regarded as reliable advice concerning sponsoring the event. Nevertheless, there are too many questions about the real views of both of Professors Jackson and Mattson, and, above all, the Islamic Society of North America, for the Chancellor to have proceeded.[i]
 
For some time, I have had a very different view than the Chancellor concerning dialogue with Muslim thinkers. Having been involved in such dialogue for decades, especially in the nineteen-eighties and nineteen-nineties, I have come to the conclusion that it is a fruitless waste of time. [ii] Implicit in all attempts at dialogue is the hope, if not the conviction, that moderate Muslims can be found with whom dialogue is possible. I have no doubt that there are such Muslims, but I know of no reliable way of finding them. The reason why it is difficult, if not impossible, to find genuinely moderate Muslims is one very important Arabic word, taqiyya, the practice of precautionary dissimulation utilized by both followers of Sunni and Shi'a Islam. I would like to suggest that those interested in dialogue with "moderate Muslims" read Raymond Ibrahim's important analysis of taqiyya before proceeding. [iii]
 
I have recently received several communications from rabbis expressing a mixture of satisfaction and skepticism that Islamic groups in their communities have condemned Islamic extremism. For my part, I am neither interested nor do I trust Islamic condemnations of extremists, not because all such condemnations are insincere, but because there is no way of knowing who is being truthful and who is dissimulating, or to put it more directly, lying. Nor am I afflicted with a deficit of trust. I was instructed to be wary by Islamic tradition itself. I would certainly not trust the word of the leaders of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), who participated in the JTS forum, because they are trying (successfully) to get an honorable place in American society and politics. Because of the possibility that they may be practicing taqiyya, other Americans have no way of knowing their real objectives. 
 
This is especially important for institutions like JTS. As a Seminary alumnus and a member of the Rabbinical Assembly for 58 years, I would hope that Chancellor Eisen and indeed all rabbis read Andrew Bostom's magisterial book, The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism. Naturally, those Islamic leaders who express an interest in dialogue will say things that Jews want to hear and some of the would-be interlocutors have an honest interest in such dialogue, but none of us have any real clue as to who among them is practicing taqiyya. I had an example of that recently at the University of Bridgeport, where I am president emeritus. When Faisal Shazad, the would-be Times Square bomber, applied for admission, he seemed like an excellent prospect. He came from a good family. His father was an Air Vice Marshall in the Pakistani Air Force. Everything about him seemed right. He earned a BA and an MBA with us, got a good job, married, had two children, bought a house. He was the kind of alumnus we wanted-until he was arrested and proudly confessed his intention to blow up an SUV in Times Square where, if he succeeded, it would get the most media attention and kill the most people. On October 5, 2010, Shazad was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
 
But our blind apologists will say, Shazad is an exception, and add something about hijacking a peaceful religion. Most Muslims aren't like that, they claim, especially in America. True, but I wonder whether some "moderate" Muslims might get informal clearance before they issue their condemnations from the Mafia-like extremists who can kill them almost at will.
 
For my own part, both as a scholar and as the CEO of my university, I have dealt with Muslim leaders in Tunis, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Karachi, and at international conferences world-wide. I have also approved the appointment of Muslim scholars and administrators and have dealt with Muslim students. at my university. I began my study of Islam at Harvard in the academic year 1952-53. As an academically trained historian of religion, I long ago learned to keep my academic back-side covered and reluctantly came to the conclusion in Jihad and Genocide that the extremists would kill every last Jew, if they could. To repeat, because of taqiyya, we really can't identify all the extremists, but we do know that, whoever they are, they want to kill every one of us if they can. Blind apologists should not make it easy for them.    
 
Indeed, the situation may be as Bassam Tibi, a world-class Muslim scholar and a professor at both Göttingen and Cornell, has asserted: about half of the world's Muslim population may hope for the future supremacy of Islam but only between 3 and 5 percent are willing to resort to violence and, if necessary, suicide. In view of the fact that there are at least 1,300,000,000 Muslims in the world, In cold numbers, if 5 percent are willing to resort to violence, that is 65 million.
 
Richard L. Rubenstein
 


[i] See, for example, Alan Jacobs, "Jewish Theological Seminary Hosts Islamic Triumphalists," Middle East Forum, November 14, 2010, http://www.meforum.org/2781/jewish-theological-seminary-islamic-triumphalists.
[ii] See,Steve Lipman, "No Islamic Mea Culpas," The Jewish Week, October 5, 2010, http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new_york/no_islamic_mea_culpas .
[iii] Raymond Ibrahim, "How Taqiyya Alters Islams Rules of War," The Middle East Quarterly," Winter 2010, pp. 3-13, http://www.meforum.org/2538/taqiyya-islam-rules-of-war
Posted on 11/27/2010 9:32 AM by Richard L. Rubenstein
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Most contrived joke in a long time

According to Hugh, there are no bad puns. But this one is so bad it's good. If you laugh, it will be through chlenched* teeth:

"He has a terrible peanut elegy"

*Geddit?

Posted on 11/27/2010 9:42 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Farage against the dying of the light

I loathe the EU and all its works. So, according to the Daily Express, do 99% of the British people. That's why the Eurocrats don't like the idea of democracy.

Nigel Farage on the Irish bailout and the Euro crisis:

Posted on 11/27/2010 10:49 AM by Mary Jackson
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Why Wait For 2011 To Leave Iraq?

Iraqi leader: No need for U.S. troops after 2011

BAGHDAD (AP) - Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that an agreement requiring U.S. troops to leave by the end of 2011 will stand because Iraqi forces are capable of taking care of the country's security.

The comments are his first on the subject since being tasked with forming a new government after nearly nine months of political deadlock, and some of his strongest to date on what is expected to be a key issue facing the next government.

"The security agreement with what it included of dates and commitments will remain valid, and I do not feel the need for the presence of any other international forces to help Iraqis control the security situation," al-Maliki told reporters during his first news conference since getting the formal request on Thursday to form the new government.

Under an agreement between Iraq and the U.S., all American troops are to leave the country by the end of 2011. The U.S. currently has a little less than 50,000 troops in Iraq, down from a one-time high of 170,000.

American officials have said they will abide by the agreement although they would consider any request by the new Iraqi government to stay longer.

Earlier this month, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. government is open to discussing changes to the agreement. But he said the "initiative clearly needs to come from the Iraqis."

Allowing American troops to stay longer could help reinforce Iraq's developing security forces. But it would be a dangerous gamble for the Iraqi and U.S. governments. President Obama was elected in large part due to his promise to end the Iraq war. Any Iraqi political leader who asked the Americans to stay would risk looking weak to an electorate tired of American troops on their soil.

Al-Maliki was asked Thursday to form the next government after the months-long stalemate that followed the inconclusive March 7 election. Al-Maliki's State of Law coalition got 89 seats to 91 for the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc led by secular Shiite Ayad Allawi.

Neither got the 163-seat majority, and after months of negotiating, Allawi was never able to get enough partners to govern.

Al-Maliki has 30 days to form his Cabinet, which must then be approved by the parliament. Al-Maliki said Saturday that he expects to announce the government between Dec. 10 and Dec. 15.

He also disagreed with a contention by Allawi that democracy is dead in Iraq, but said Iraqiya should be included in the next government.

"We do not wish any to be absent from the formation," he said. "The participation of Iraqiya is very important."

One sign of the Iraqi security forces' burgeoning capability came Saturday when Iraq's interior minister said they have arrested at least 12 insurgents behind a deadly church siege.

Interior Minister Jawad Bolani told The Associated Press that the arrests - the first in connection with the October siege at the Our Lady of Salvation church - occurred in recent days.

He said the insurgents were behind a wide range of operations in Iraq leading up to the siege and described their arrest as a coup for security forces.

"It is a painful blow to al-Qaeda," Bolani said.

Insurgents took about 120 people hostage during the Oct. 31 church attack. The siege ended hours later with 68 people dead in an attack that shocked many of Iraq's already-hardened citizens.

The assailants raided the church, located in one of Baghdad's more affluent neighborhoods, during Sunday evening Mass. Dozens of cowering parishioners and two priests were killed - one execution-style on the church floor - before Iraqi security forces stormed the building.

al-Qaeda later claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed in an Internet message to continue a campaign of bloodshed against Iraq's dwindling Christian minority.

According to Bolani, security forces also seized money and explosives during the arrests.

Bolani gave no details as to where and how the arrests took place, but an intelligence official responsible for monitoring al-Qaeda cells in Iraq, said security forces acted on a tip to make the first arrest.

From there, the security forces eventually managed to round up the entire group, the official said. He put the number of people arrested at 17.

The intelligence official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Al-Maliki said he had beefed up security at churches across the country and called on Iraq's Christians to stay. After the church siege, some countries invited Iraqi Christians to apply for asylum, irritating many Iraqis who see them as part of the fabric of their country.

"I do not think that it is right for the Christians in the world to encourage Iraqi Christians to leave Iraq," al-Maliki said.

Comment: 

Al-Maliki wants the Christians to stay, not because he believes in three abrahamic faiths and the brotherhood-of-man-fatherhood-of-God Bomboggery business, but because the Christians in Iraq  constitute a very large part of the professional classes -- doctors, engineers, etc. -- and their leaving Iraq harms the country. Al-Maliki does not, cannot possibly see or feel, the intolerable conditions in which non-Muslims live in Iraq as they do, as they must, in most of the Muslim-ruled lands, save where the local despots--Assads in Syria,  Saddam Hussein in Iraq -- had their own reasons for minimizing violence against the Christians, or where for economic reasons a more entrepreneurial class of non-Muslims must not be driven out, so that limits are placed on their oppression (as with the Chinese and Hindus in Malaysia). 

Posted on 11/27/2010 11:25 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff Speech in Copenhagen at IFPS:

A tip of the hat to Baron Bodissey at the Gates of Vienna blog, who sent us this stirring address by Austrian Free Speech advocate, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, whom we had interviewed for the NER  just prior to her show trial in Vienna that began on November 23rd.  Among others who will speak at the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen at this International Free Press Society event  will be René Stadtkewitz
(Germany) and Jimmie Åkesson (Sweden). Geert wilders had to cancel his appearance a few days ago. Rabbi Jon Hausman has traveled from the US  to attend this important gathering of  EU anti-Jihadists.  We have called Elisabeth, the "Mother Courage of the 21st Century".  Her young daughter Ella, husband, parents and thousands of international admirers hold her in great esteem. Having lived in Muslim countries and witnessed first hand Shariah and Islamic anti-Semitism, she has bared witness to the threats to Free Speech for  all of us by daring to crticise Islam.  As we are wont to say in Hebrew:  Kol hakavod , Hazak v Amataz.  (All honors. Be strong and of good courage).

_______________________________________________________________________________________

The Time That is Given Us

The International Free Press Society sponsored a conference today in Copenhagen. Below is the speech that was given during the event by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (photo © Snaphanen).

ESW Copenhagen Nov. 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I stand here before you in the city of Copenhagen in the year 2010. This is widely considered to be an enlightened country in the heart of an enlightened continent.

Our basic freedoms have long been guaranteed - first by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as passed by the United Nations in 1948, and then buttressed by the Council of Europe in 1950 through the European Convention of Human Rights, which was later affirmed by the European Union. Our individual countries have additionally codified the same basic rights in their own constitutions.

These rights include the freedom of individual conscience, the right to assemble peaceably, and the right to practice our religion freely, or to have no religion at all. And, perhaps most importantly of all, they include the right to voice our opinions freely and to publish them without hindrance.

Yet freedom of speech is under attack today here in Denmark, as it is in my own country Austria, and indeed all across Europe. Today, in 21st century Western Europe, our right to free speech is being shut down quietly and systematically with an effectiveness that the commissars in the old Soviet Union could only dream of.

A milestone in this ominous totalitarian trend will be reached tomorrow, 28 November 2010, when the member states of the European Union are required to implement an innocuous-sounding legal provision known as the "Framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia", or, more fully, the "Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law." According to the final article of the Framework Decision, "Member States shall take the necessary measures to comply with the provisions of this Framework Decision by 28 November 2010."

Why does this matter to the cause of free speech in Europe?

If you read the full text of the Framework Decision (which may be found in the legislative section of the EU's website), you will learn that "Each Member State shall take the measures necessary... to ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable." Such "intentional conduct" includes "conduct which is a pretext for directing acts against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin."

Based on what has recently happened to Geert Wilders and me - and earlier to Gregorius Nekschot, Jussi Halla-aho, and numerous others - we can all guess who will be punished under this provision of the Framework Decision: those who criticize Islam.

Even worse, a complaint made by a member state does not have to be "dependent on a report or an accusation made by a victim of the conduct", nor does the alleged offender have to be "physically present in its territory".

In other words, if the dhimmi Austrian government objects to a cartoon published by Kurt Westergaard here in Denmark, Mr. Westergaard may be extradited by the Austrian Ministry of Justice to answer to hate speech charges in Austria. The European Arrest Warrant guarantees that the Danish government cannot legally interfere with such an extradition, and the 800-strong "European Gendarmerie Force" would be available to fetch Mr. Westergaard out of his bed and bring him to Vienna - with impunity.

As of tomorrow, the above scenario becomes a real possibility. It is not a paranoid fantasy. These legal provisions are detailed in the EU's public documents, and they will enjoy the full force of law in all EU member states as of midnight tonight.

The death throes of free speech in Europe begin tomorrow morning.

As most of you already know, nearly a year ago I was made aware that "hate speech" charges might be filed against me - I had "denigrated religious teachings" by giving one of my public lectures on Islam.

The possibility of my prosecution was not communicated to me directly, but through articles in the press.

It was not until last month that a court date was set for my case. Once again, I had to discover this fact in the press - in NEWS, the same left-wing newspaper that brought the original complaint against me. I was not officially notified of my hearing date until several days later.

The evidence used against me this past week was a transcript of a tape of my lecture, provided to the court by the same socialist newspaper. It included words that were not spoken by me, and words that were not spoken in public, which therefore were not a violation of the law.

But my case is not really about the law. It is a political trial, and like the trials of Geert Wilders and Jussi Halla-aho, it is intended to silence someone who speaks out against the barbaric nature of sharia law.

Above all else, it is intended to discourage anyone who might consider following in my footsteps. The oligarchs who rule Europe are determined to prevent any frank discussion among their citizens of Islam and its legal doctrines.

These are the methods of a totalitarian state.

They are more successful than those of the Nazis and the Fascists and the Communists because they are accomplished quietly and peacefully, with no need for concentration camps or gulags or mass graves or the shot in the back of the neck in the middle of the night.

They are surgical strikes executed via our legal systems, and they are quite effective. Between the summary punishment carried out against Theo Van Gogh and the Framework Decision applied though our courts, there is no room left for us to maneuver.

We are systematically being silenced.

I admire the provisions of the First Amendment that all Americans enjoy as their birthright. Its free speech provisions will make the imposition of sharia that much more difficult in the United States.

But here in Europe we are not so well-protected. Our constitutions and the rules imposed upon us by the EU allow certain exceptions to the right to speak freely, and those little rips in the fabric of our rights are enough to tear the entire structure to pieces.

We desperately need our own version of the First Amendment. We need leaders who are wise and courageous enough to compose and implement legal instruments that affirm the same fundamental rights that are guaranteed to all citizens by the United States Constitution.

We do not yet have any leaders of this caliber. But they are beginning to appear on the scene, and one day they will be the real leaders of our individual European nations, replacing the internationalist totalitarian usurpers who oppress us today.

Our nations will be governed by their own people, by those who truly represent them. Their leaders will be true patriots, people like Jimmie Åkesson and Kent Ekeroth in Sweden, or Oskar Freysinger in Switzerland, or Geert Wilders and Martin Bosma in the Netherlands, or Filip Dewinter and Frank Vanhecke in Flanders.

We are going to reclaim our continent and our nations. We will take our countries back from those thieves who sneaked them away from us while were lulled into somnolence by our wealth and our pleasant diversions.

This will not be an easy task. Our path will be strewn with obstacles and great dangers. But we must travel it nonetheless, because if we do not, European civilization - the heart of Western Civilization - will be destroyed.

What were formerly our nations will become regions with indistinct boundaries, populated mainly by people of foreign cultures and administered by corrupt totalitarian bureaucrats. The natives - the original inhabitants, our children, the descendants of those who created the greatest civilization the world has ever known - will be reduced to curators and costumed actors in a quaint theme park.

Call it "Euro World". Authentic cuisine, ethnic dancers, and fireworks at ten o'clock.

This is what we will face if we give up our cherished freedoms. If lose our freedom of speech, then we are lost forever.

I am not a victim. I intend to stand up for what is right. I will defend what needs to be defended. Above everything else, I will exercise my God-given right to speak freely about what is happening. Freedom of speech is the single most important freedom we possess.

I am doing this for my daughter, and for her children, for those who will have to live in the world we are now preparing for them. I am doing what our grandparents should perhaps have done during the 1930s, when their own freedoms were under threat.

This is our time. This cup will not pass from us.

I am reminded of a passage in J.R.R. Tolkien's famous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.

It is an exchange between Frodo the hobbit and Gandalf the wizard, and it concerns the perilous quest on which Frodo and his friends have been sent.

Frodo says: "I wish it need not have happened in my time."

Gandalf responds: "So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

It is time for us to decide what to do with the time that is given us.

If I were to speak these same words tomorrow morning, I might be subject to arrest. I could be charged under the provisions of the Framework Decision, and extradited to the country that charged me using a European Arrest Warrant, escorted by the European Gendarmerie.

This is not an imaginary scenario; it is a very real possibility.

It is true that only a few people are likely to undergo such an ordeal. But it only takes a few people.

How many people have to endure what Mr. Wilders and I are enduring before everyone else gets the message?

How many examples have to be set before the rest of the European population understands the new rules, and is cowed into submission?

And we must remember to whom they will be submitting in the end. They will be submitting to our successors in Europe. They will be submitting to our replacements.

We must remember that the word for submission in Arabic is Islam.

When there are enough Muslims living in Europe - and it doesn't have to be a majority of the population, just somewhere around fifteen or twenty percent - we will be living under Islamic law, and not the laws that presently govern us.

We will no longer enjoy what constitutional rights remain to us now. Our rights will be completely prescribed and delimited by sharia. Women will become the virtual chattel of men. Christians and Jews will be driven out or forced to convert to Islam. Atheists and homosexuals will be killed.

The European Union would consider these words to be "hate speech". Under the Framework Decision, they would be classified as "racism and xenophobia", and I could be prosecuted for saying them.

But they are in fact the simple truth.

Anyone can verify them by studying history. Anyone who chooses can read the Koran and the hadith and the Sunna of the Prophet.

Widely available official treatises on Islamic law confirm that my description is not "hate speech", but a plain and accurate reading of the tenets of Islamic law.

It has become obvious that to tell the truth about Islam is now considered "incitement to religious hatred".

It is now clear that non-Muslims who reveal the tenets of sharia law to the public are "denigrating religious teachings".

If we meekly accept these rules, then we are acquiescing in the imposition of sharia law in our own nations. And I, for one, will not sit silently while this happens.

I don't want my daughter to live under sharia.

Our time is short. If you and I do not envision an Islamic future for ourselves, then we must speak out now.

If we wish to preserve the right to speak and publish freely, then we must exercise it now.

I wish this need not have happened in my time. But it has.

We must make full use of the time that remains to us.

Thank you.

Posted on 11/27/2010 11:21 AM by Jerry Gordon
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Qaddafy, Gaddafi, Khaddafy, I Say It's Spinach And I Say The Hell With It

How the Libyan works his missionary magic, from The Observer: 

Muammar Gaddafi's 'cultural' tours to Libya for Italian models revealed in diary

Italian girls hired by a hostess agency encouraged to convert to Islam by the Libyan leader

    gaddafi-gadafy-qaddafi-culture-tour
    Young Italian women were paid €3,000 to go on tours of Libya that culminated in visits to Gaddafi's tented compound in the desert.

    The travel diary of a Roman model has provided a compelling insight into bizarre "cultural visits" arranged by the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, for scores of attractive young women from Italy.

    Maria M, aged 28, declined to give her full name, but allowed the Observer to examine her account of a lavish trip to the Libyan desert in October after she was recruited by the Rome-based agency Hostessweb. In her diary Maria tells of an eccentric week-long tour for which she and 19 other young women were reportedly each paid €3,000.

    Six such "cultural" visits to Libya by agency recruits have been organised since Gaddafi visited Rome in 2009. The next is scheduled for next month. On one visit Gaddafi tried to marry off one of his guests to his nephew.

    But there also appears to have been a religious motive. "He asked if any of us were interested in converting [to Islam]. We all looked at each other and then, incredibly, two girls rose up, something I never thought they would do," wrote Maria, adding that she believed bonuses had been offered to the "converts".

    Gaddafi developed a taste for preaching to Italian women during his 2009 visits, and again in August this year, when Hostessweb, which recruits models and hostesses, laid on busloads of women to hear him talk about Islamic culture and faith. "This is all about social and cultural integration," said Alessandro Londero, one of the organisers of the trips. "Here in Rome we have sent dozens of girls to attend Arabic courses at the Libyan cultural institute."

    On Maria's arrival in Tripoli in October, the 20 hostesses were given their €3,000 and then taken on a week-long tour by Gaddafi aides of Libya's Roman ruins and its modern hospitals, souks and the women's police academy. The tour then moved to the leader's tent in the desert.

    "They put us in government cars headed for Gaddafi's tent," wrote Maria. "About 30km from Sirte there is movement and lights in the middle of nowhere and we are stopped by men armed to the teeth at three successive checkpoints before we see two enormous tents, a couple of camper vans serving as toilets, a massive and noisy generator and hundreds of camels."

    After they had waited for hours, Gaddafi appeared, "straight from hunting, dressed extremely casually in a wrinkled shell suit and old trainers with messed-up hair. He gives us a huge smile, we clap and he swaps the 'papal' throne laid on for him for a plastic chair."

    After looking at photos of their trip, Gaddafi turns to proselytism. "He tells us most of Europe will turn Muslim thanks to the entry of Turkey into the EU... that we must embrace Muhammad's faith because Christ predicted that a prophet would come after him to take his place."

    Then, with Libyan TV filming, Gaddafi converted the two girls who stepped forward. "That brings the converts to seven or eight," said Londero. "Sometimes they kneel before him while it is broadcast on TV."

    Maria said some girls were not convinced by their colleagues' religious zeal. "There was talk of cash prizes, jobs, houses," she wrote. One woman who converted on a trip in March confirmed she had been rewarded. "It is a present for those who choose Islam, a form of help, although Gaddafi's willingness to guide us is the biggest present," said Rea Beko, 27, an Albanian from an Orthodox Christian family who lives in Rome.

    Londero said the list to sign up to meet Gaddafi "now seems to be longer than the waiting list to visit the pope," but warned he would be screening out Israelis, anyone who says they want to convert, or appears interested only in a large cheque. Future trips, he said, could involve women from other countries. "I would not rule out an event in the UK like those Gaddafi has held in Rome."

Posted on 11/27/2010 8:19 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
International Crisis Group Predicts The Obvious For Afghanistan, But Fails To Recognize That Obvious As, For The West, A Good Outcome
The West's war in Afghanistan is failing: Crisis Group

KABUL - A leading international think tank Sunday issued a damning review of the US-led war in Afghanistan and said NATO plans to end its combat mission by 2014 would lead to the Kabul government's collapse.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) said the coalition's strategy to break the Taliban, build popular support among civilians, woo disenchanted rebels and boost Afghan security forces was failing.

More than 140,000 US-led troops are waging a counter-insurgency campaign mostly in the south and east of the country amid dwindling support for the war back home as the fighting returns a record number of coalition casualties.

"There is little evidence that the operations have disrupted the insurgency's momentum.... The Taliban are more active than ever and they still enjoy sanctuary and support in Pakistan," said the ICG report.

The Taliban and other militants tied to Al-Qaeda are believed to hold rear bases in the tribal areas across the border in Pakistan, with rumours rife that they operate with the tacit consent of some Pakistani intelligence officials.

Coalition forces have lost 662 troops this year, according to an AFP tally based on that tracked by the independent icasualties.org website, the highest annual toll since the US-led invasion in late 2001. Last year 521 NATO soldiers died.

The number of Afghans civilians killed in the conflict rose by a third in the first six months of 2010 to 1,271, with the vast majority of deaths caused by insurgent attacks, according to UN figures.

But the think tank's report, entitled: "Afghanistan: Exit vs Engagement", said the planned drawdown of international troops, agreed at a landmark NATO summit in Lisbon last week, was not the answer.

The Afghan security forces "have proven a poor match for the Taliban," it said.

"Without outside support, (President Hamid Karzai's) government would collapse, the Taliban would control much of the country and internal conflict would worsen, increasing the prospects of a return to the destructive civil war of the 1990s," the report said.

The think tank also slammed a peace strategy being pursued with the Taliban, whose leadership have so far shunned repeated overtures by Karzai to come to the negotiating table.

The ICG said the idea of bringing the Taliban onboard served to inflame rivalries between various Afghan groups and increased insecurity for ordinary people.

"The current rush to cement deals with the insurgents will not help Afghans nor will it address the very real regional and global security concerns posed by the breakdown of the Afghan state," said Samina Ahmed, Crisis Group's South Asia Project Director.

Billions of dollars are being spent by the Afghan government's Western allies on development in a bid to safeguard the country's future, but the ICG said the money is simply plying corruption networks and fuelling competing power centres among Afghan elites.

The report also criticised US diplomacy for alternating between rebuking and embracing Karzai, who it said was increasingly distancing himself from his Western allies as he juggles various power factions to stay in power.

Instead, the ICG said the allies should focus on strengthening Afghanistan's political and judicial institutions and work to overcome the "pervasive atmosphere of impunity".

"Parliament is ignored. The courts are manipulated. The army and police are little more than pawns in an elaborate game of chess between multiple regional powerbrokers," said the ICG.

The focus of the US-led campaign is moving towards boosting Afghanistan's army and police force in order to hand responsibility for security to the national forces by the end of 2014.

There are currently about 80,000 police officers and US and NATO forces hope to bring that number up to 134,000 by October next year, alongside the 170,000 personnel planned for the army by the same date.

But the ICG said the police were "corrupt, brutal and predatory", the army was being manipulated by various strongmen, while both forces suffered from a lack of training and low retention among the ranks.

The Pentagon admitted in a report last week that progress had been "uneven" in the war in Afghanistan, but in public top US officials and military leaders have said the US military has gained the initiative on the battlefield.

After the Lisbon summit US President Barack Obama said: "We are achieving our objective of breaking Taliban momentum."

Posted on 11/27/2010 8:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
A Musical Interlude: Would You Like To Take A Walk? (Chester Gaylord)

Listen here.

Posted on 11/27/2010 8:56 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
That Arcades Project (Bis)

Travel down Memory Lane with, among others, Walter Benjamin and Joseph Cornell, right here.

Posted on 11/27/2010 9:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Stuxnet, Yet Again, Or, Somewhere Someone Must Be Very Pleased

From FoxNews.com

Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

By Ed Barnes

In the 20th century, this would have been a job for James Bond.

The mission: Infiltrate the highly advanced, securely guarded enemy headquarters where scientists in the clutches of an evil master are secretly building a weapon that can destroy the world. Then render that weapon harmless and escape undetected.

But in the 21st century, Bond doesn't get the call. Instead, the job is handled by a suave and very sophisticated secret computer worm, a jumble of code called Stuxnet, which in the last year has not only crippled Iran's nuclear program but has caused a major rethinking of computer security around the globe.

Intelligence agencies, computer security companies and the nuclear industry have been trying to analyze the worm since it was discovered in June by a Belarus-based company that was doing business in Iran. And what they've all found, says Sean McGurk, the Homeland Security Department's acting director of national cyber security and communications integration, is a "game changer."

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was "like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield," says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Others have called it the first "weaponized" computer virus.

Simply put, Stuxnet is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran's nuclear enrichment program.

The target was seemingly impenetrable; for security reasons, it lay several stories underground and was not connected to the World Wide Web. And that meant Stuxnet had to act as sort of a computer cruise missile: As it made its passage through a set of unconnected computers, it had to grow and adapt to security measures and other changes until it reached one that could bring it into the nuclear facility.


When it ultimately found its target, it would have to secretly manipulate it until it was so compromised it ceased normal functions.

And finally, after the job was done, the worm would have to destroy itself without leaving a trace.

That is what we are learning happened at Iran's nuclear facilities -- both at Natanz, which houses the centrifuge arrays used for processing uranium into nuclear fuel, and, to a lesser extent, at Bushehr, Iran's nuclear power plant.

At Natanz, for almost 17 months, Stuxnet quietly worked its way into the system and targeted a specific component -- the frequency converters made by the German equipment manufacturer Siemens that regulated the speed of the spinning centrifuges used to create nuclear fuel. The worm then took control of the speed at which the centrifuges spun, making them turn so fast in a quick burst that they would be damaged but not destroyed. And at the same time, the worm masked that change in speed from being discovered at the centrifuges' control panel.

At Bushehr, meanwhile, a second secret set of codes, which Langner called "digital warheads," targeted the Russian-built power plant's massive steam turbine.


Here's how it worked, according to experts who have examined the worm:

--The nuclear facility in Iran runs an "air gap" security system, meaning it has no connections to the Web, making it secure from outside penetration. Stuxnet was designed and sent into the area around Iran's Natanz nuclear power plant -- just how may never be known -- to infect a number of computers on the assumption that someone working in the plant would take work home on a flash drive, acquire the worm and then bring it back to the plant.

--Once the worm was inside the plant, the next step was to get the computer system there to trust it and allow it into the system. That was accomplished because the worm contained a "digital certificate" stolen from JMicron, a large company in an industrial park in Taiwan. (When the worm was later discovered it quickly replaced the original digital certificate with another certificate, also stolen from another company, Realtek, a few doors down in the same industrial park in Taiwan
.)

--Once allowed entry, the worm contained four "Zero Day" elements in its first target, the Windows 7 operating system that controlled the overall operation of the plant. Zero Day elements are rare and extremely valuable vulnerabilities in a computer system that can be exploited only once. Two of the vulnerabilities were known, but the other two had never been discovered. Experts say no hacker would waste Zero Days in that manner.

--After penetrating the Windows 7 operating system, the code then targeted the "frequency converters" that ran the centrifuges. To do that it used specifications from the manufacturers of the converters. One was Vacon, a Finnish Company, and the other Fararo Paya, an Iranian company. What surprises experts at this step is that the Iranian company was so secret that not even the IAEA knew about it.

--The worm also knew that the complex control system that ran the centrifuges was built by Siemens, the German manufacturer, and -- remarkably -- how that system worked as well and how to mask its activities from it.

--Masking itself from the plant's security and other systems, the worm then ordered the centrifuges to rotate extremely fast, and then to slow down precipitously. This damaged the converter, the centrifuges and the bearings, and it corrupted the uranium in the tubes. It also left Iranian nuclear engineers wondering what was wrong, as computer checks showed no malfunctions in the operating system.

Estimates are that this went on for more than a year, leaving the Iranian program in chaos. And as it did, the worm grew and adapted throughout the system. As new worms entered the system, they would meet and adapt and become increasingly sophisticated.

During this time the worms reported back to two servers that had to be run by intelligence agencies, one in Denmark and one in Malaysia. The servers monitored the worms and were shut down once the worm had infiltrated Natanz. Efforts to find those servers since then have yielded no results.

This went on until June of last year, when a Belarusan company working on the Iranian power plant in Beshehr discovered it in one of its machines. It quickly put out a notice on a Web network monitored by computer security experts around the world. Ordinarily these experts would immediately begin tracing the worm and dissecting it, looking for clues about its origin and other details.

But that didn't happen, because within minutes all the alert sites came under attack and were inoperative for 24 hours.

"I had to use e-mail to send notices but I couldn't reach everyone. Whoever made the worm had a full day to eliminate all traces of the worm that might lead us them," Eric Byers, a computer security expert who has examined the Stuxnet. "No hacker could have done that."


Experts, including inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, say that, despite Iran's claims to the contrary, the worm was successful in its goal: causing confusion among Iran's nuclear engineers and disabling their nuclear program.

Because of the secrecy surrounding the Iranian program, no one can be certain of the full extent of the damage. But sources inside Iran and elsewhere say that the Iranian centrifuge program has been operating far below its capacity and that the uranium enrichment program had "stagnated" during the time the worm penetrated the underground facility. Only 4,000 of the 9,000 centrifuges Iran was known to have were put into use. Some suspect that is because of the critical need to replace ones that were damaged.

And the limited number of those in use dwindled to an estimated 3,700 as problems engulfed their operation. IAEA inspectors say the sabotage better explains the slowness of the program, which they had earlier attributed to poor equipment manufacturing and management problems. As Iranians struggled with the setbacks, they began searching for signs of sabotage. From inside Iran there have been unconfirmed reports that the head of the plant was fired shortly after the worm wended its way into the system and began creating technical problems, and that some scientists who were suspected of espionage disappeared or were executed. And counter intelligence agents began monitoring all communications between scientists at the site, creating a climate of fear and paranoia.

Iran has adamantly stated that its nuclear program has not been hit by the bug. But in doing so it has backhandedly confirmed that its nuclear facilities were compromised. When Hamid Alipour, head of the nation's Information Technology Company, announced in September that 30,000 Iranian computers had been hit by the worm but the nuclear facilities were safe, he added that among those hit were the personal computers of the scientists at the nuclear facilities. Experts say that Natanz and Bushehr could not have escaped the worm if it was in their engineers' computers.

"We brought it into our lab to study it and even with precautions it spread everywhere at incredible speed," Byres said.

"The worm was designed not to destroy the plants but to make them ineffective. By changing the rotation speeds, the bearings quickly wear out and the equipment has to be replaced and repaired. The speed changes also impact the quality of the uranium processed in the centrifuges creating technical problems that make the plant ineffective," he explained.

In other words the worm was designed to allow the Iranian program to continue but never succeed, and never to know why.

One additional impact that can be attributed to the worm, according to David Albright of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is that "the lives of the scientists working in the facility have become a living hell because of counter-intelligence agents brought into the plant" to battle the breach. Ironically, even after its discovery, the worm has succeeded in slowing down Iran's reputed effort to build an atomic weapon. And Langer says that the efforts by the Iranians to cleanse Stuxnet from their system "will probably take another year to complete," and during that time the plant will not be able to function anywhere normally.

 

 

 

Posted on 11/27/2010 10:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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