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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 Monday, 28, 2009.
Monday, 28 September 2009
Sex, flies and videotape: the secret lives of Harun Yahya

Halil Arda writes in The Humanist:

Inspired by the high profile of its Christian American counterpart, Muslim creationism is becoming increasingly visible and confident. On scores of websites and in dozens of books with titles like The Evolution Deceit and The Dark Face of Darwinism, a new and well-funded version of evolution-denialism, carefully calibrated to exploit the current fashion for religiously inspired attacks on scientific orthodoxy and “militant” atheism, seems to have found its voice. In a recent interview with The Times Richard Dawkins himself recognises the impact of this new phenomenon: “There has been a sharp upturn in hostility to teaching evolution in the classroom and it’s mostly coming from Islamic students.”

The patron saint of this new movement, the ubiquitous “expert” cited and referenced by those eager to demonstrate the superiority of “Koranic science” over “the evolution lie”, is the larger-than-life figure of Harun Yahya.

Operating from Istanbul, Yahya is the founder of the Science Research Foundation, an impressive publishing empire that boasts more than 60 websites dedicated to his writings. It provides documentary films and audio recordings in fifteen languages, including Turkish, English, Russian, Amharic and Arabic, and claims to sell more than half a million books a year, including the infamous 850-page, fully illustrated Atlas of Creation, which was sent free in two volumes to dozens of universities, libraries and prominent scientists (including Richard Dawkins) across the world. In painstaking detail, with a mass of photos, graphs and statistics interspersed with verses from the Koran, the Atlas purports to prove that Darwin was utterly mistaken, that each plant and animal was created intact, and that no modification through natural selection ever took place.

Yahya has publicly offered a lucrative prize for anyone who can produce a “transitional fossil” – the lack of which he claims proves evolution to be false. When Dawkins publicly lampooned the research in the Atlas of Creation (he pointed out that one of the photos of a Caddis Fly was in fact a fishing fly, complete with metal hook, stolen from the internet, and labelled Yahya a charlatan on his website, Yahya used his considerable influence and battalion of lawyers to sue for libel and have Dawkins’s website banned in Turkey. This is just one of thousands of cases he has brought before the Turkish courts.

Despite the shoddiness of his science Yahya has found a ready audience among those looking for scientific justification for their rejection of the West. Over the past decades he has served as an adviser to several Turkish politicians, and received endorsements from across the Arab world including Saudi Arabia and Dubai, where his stalls feature prominently at book fairs. He has also proved a fascinating subject for the Western media, offering all-expenses-paid flights to Istanbul to any journalist wishing to interview him, and making himself available for radio interview whenever required. In recent years he has been interviewed by the Irish Times, by American National Public Radio, by Gordon Liddy on Radio America, by the American science magazine Seed and even by The Skeptic magazine. While coverage in the West tends to treat Yahya’s scientific claims with derision (though all are still posted on his website as evidence of his growing influence), he is treated far more seriously across the Muslim world. From daily newspapers in Egypt and Bosnia to influential satellite TV stations like al-Jazeera and (the Iran-funded) Press TV, to small Muslim broadcasters in the West like Radio Ummah and Radio Ramadan, Harun Yahya’s argument, with its appearance of scientific credibility, its crowd-pleasing critique of Western materialism and its promise of the imminent collapse of the “Darwinist Dictatorship”, is enthusiastically welcomed by a new audience hungry for compensatory narratives of Islamic superiority. As the American journalist Nathan Schneider argued, to judge Yahya’s message on its scientific content alone misses the point: “its power, for those who are not scientifically literate, lies in its vision of redemption.”

As well as being confidante to Islamist radicals, Yahya has received endorsements from conservative congressmen in the US for his strong stance against Islamic terrorism, is feted by extreme orthodox Sanhedrin Rabbis in Israel for his anti-atheism, and has ambitions to create a Turkish-Islamic union, a new Ottoman Empire girdling the world from Eastern Russia to Western Nigeria, which would unify the Islamic world under Turkish leadership.

But how many of those who enthusiastically swallow Yahya’s message are aware that he is a diagnosed schizophrenic who, in 2008, was convicted of running a criminal organisation? If his final appeal before Turkey’s Supreme Court fails, he faces up to three years in prison...

Continue reading here.

Posted on 09/28/2009 8:07 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 September 2009
What Is The Most Accurate Way To Define Jihad?

"They are all obligated to do jihad -- and what is jihad? It is violent war against the kaffir, which is us, the unbeliever."

This statement, by a participant in the "Stop The Islamization Of America" meeting held in Washington last week, deserves scrutiny. For it can mislead, and deflect attention away from, the most effective and consequently the most dangerous instruments of Jihad. In its most obvious and important sense -- the sense that the karen-armstrongs of this world prefer to deny -- Jihad is a struggle by Muslims, against non-Muslims, when those non-Muslims refuse to embrace or succumb to the dominance of Islam, and rule by Muslims.

It is true that in early Islam, in the days of Muhammad, the only way to conduct Jihad was through violence. And that continued to be true right up until the last half-century. In that last half-century, an accident of geology provided enormous wealth -- some twelve trillion dollars since 1973 alone has been transferred from the oil-consuming to the oil-producing states of OPEC, all but one predominantly or completely Muslim. Much of that money goes to armaments (trillions have been spent by the Arab states of the Gulf over the past forty years), to lavish construction, including Xanadus for tens of thousands of princes, princelings, princelettes, all over the western side of the Gulf. But a great deal has also gone, from Islamic rulers and instiutions and individuals, to furthering Islam. That has happened through bribery (black Africans persuaded to support the Arabs at the U.N., and in their own countries, either to embrace Islam themselves, or to allow free reign to Arab prosyletizers). It has happened through the building, all over the world, of tens of thousands of mosques and madrasas. It has happened through the financing of Da'wa campaigns in Western countries, where the economically and psychically marginal are targetted.  And, as both Muslim commentators and rulers (Houari Boumediene, Muammar Qaddafi), know, demographic conquest may allow Islam to ultimately capture the prize --Europe -- that over 1300 years has managed, save at the edges, to successfully resist the Jihad conducted through violent means.

No longer need Jihad be conducted through violence alone --whether that violence is traditional qitaal, or combat, or the kind that we in the West have no trouble recognizing as terrorism but that Muslims thsemselves justify as a legitimate weapon of those who do not possess the advanced military means of the non-Muslims, and so have, in their view, every right to use whatever means -- including homicide-bombers -- can be found, because the end, the promotion of Islam, justifies all means.

Posted on 09/28/2009 11:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 September 2009
A Bad Idea: Bokova Thinks She Needs To Tour Arab Nations To Dissipate Tensions

From Le Monde: 

La nouvelle directrice générale de l'Unesco, Irina Bokova, a annoncé, dimanche 27 septembre, qu'elle se rendra dès que possible dans le monde arabe, afin de "dissiper" les tensions accumulées au cours de la campagne. "La page est tournée" après des "élections transparentes, longues", aestimé la diplomate bulgare, au cours de l'émission TV5Monde-RFI-Le Monde, dimanche. Elue au 5e tour de scrutin, le 22 septembre, face au ministre égyptien de la culture, Farouk Hosni, la directrice de l'Unesco réfute toute idée de crise en son sein et de rupture de dialogue entre les pays du Nord et du Sud. "J'ai reçu déjà des félicitations de la part du ministre des affaires étrangères égyptien", a-t-elle précisé.

Piotr Smolar

Posted on 09/28/2009 12:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 September 2009
An Interview With Amin Maalouf: Tel qu'en lui-même enfin Tel Quel le change

Note that Maalouf can never come close to admitting that Islam explains the political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures of Muslim societies. He admits the failures, he recognizes the despair of many young Arabs, he notes the degringolade of their despotic and economically backward societies, he skits the issue when he notes how two countires -- Catholic Poland and Muslim Afghanistan -- both threw off the Soviet yoke, but while Poland rejoined the West, Afghanistan remained "alone" (he carefully ignores those  Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, that remained involved, so involved that they helped bring about the imposition of rule by the Taliban, the Uber-Muslims) but in the end does not really confront the issue of Islam and what it inculcates, does not even hint at what Islam does to the minds of men, and therefore does not explain the effects on states and societies suffused with Islam.

How could he, after all, unless Amin Maalouf  were to be as morally and mentally advanced as Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina? He just can't do it.He can't do it, even though he is keenly aware of ancestors who were Christians, even though he and his sisters were all the beneficiaries of an education at a Catholic school (as so many Muslms, or those who call themselves Muslms, have been), and even though, quite clearly, he is a secularist himself. But he just can't, "Lebanon's greatest living writer" just can't, declare openly what it is about Islam, what it is about its suppression of most forms of artistic expression, its collectivism, its discouragement of free and  skeptical inquiry, its hatred of bid'a and its inshallah-fatalism, its encouragement of obedience to authority, which comes ultimately from the collectivism of islam, where individuals are to be mere "slaves of Allah" and not thinking men or even thinking reeds. Amin Maalouf's inability to see Islam clearly, to relate it -- see Wafa Sultan, see Ayaan Hirsi Ali, see Ibn Warraq -- to the miseries of the Muslims, is quite something.

But the interview of him, in the Moroccan TelQuel -- not to be confused with the French literary magazine Tel Quel (Julia Kristeva, Helene Cixous, Tsvetan Todorov etcetera etceterum) -- remains of interest to the connoisseur of mental confusion.

Here's an excerpt: 

Dans votre dernier livre, Le Dérèglement du monde (Ed. Grasset), le monde arabe occupe une place centrale. En quoi contribue-t-il à ce dérèglement ?
La question comporte deux aspects. D’un côté, il y a une crise chronique dans le monde arabe : crise de légitimité, crise de raison d’être. On ne sait ni où on va, ni ce qu’on construit. Du coup,
particulièrement chez les jeunes, on n’a plus foi dans l’avenir. Ce déficit de légitimité tient à des facteurs différents : sur le plan politique, la démocratie y fait défaut plus qu’ailleurs, les élections y sont rarement libres, aucune institution, aucune personnalité ne peut se prévaloir d’une réelle crédibilité morale ; sur le plan économique, les pays arabes ne parviennent pas à moderniser leur économie : alors que d’autres développent industries de pointe, technologies nouvelles, économie de la connaissance… Les seuls atouts du monde arabe sont le pétrole et le gaz qui doivent plus à Dieu ou à la nature qu’à l’intervention de l’homme. Passionné d’histoire, je sais ce que les Arabes ont apporté à la culture universelle et notamment à la science, aux techniques d’agronomie, d’astronomie, de navigation, etc. Alors, quand je pense qu’aujourd’hui pour qu’un Arabe puisse produire et inventer, il lui faut aller dans un laboratoire d’Amérique du nord ou d’Europe, j’en suis profondément attristé. Le second aspect de la question, lié au premier, est qu’il existe une méfiance profonde, voire une détestation mutuelle entre le monde arabe et l’Occident. J’y suis d’autant plus sensible que j’ai un pied sur chaque rive. J’appartiens au monde arabe : je suis né et j’ai vécu au Liban la première moitié de ma vie, l’arabe est ma langue maternelle. Et j’appartiens autant à l’Occident : je vis en France depuis plus de 30 ans, je pratique le français et l’anglais, je suis en contact permanent avec la culture occidentale.

Certains vont jusqu’à dire que le monde arabe se déteste lui-même. Partagez-vous ce jugement ?
Absolument. Je pense que cette haine de soi est inséparable de la haine de l’Autre, car les Arabes ont le sentiment de ne pas être respectés, d’être étrangers dans le monde contemporain. Ils ressentent avec angoisse que leur culture est ignorée, regardée avec condescendance ou mépris par l’Occident. Si bien que l’image négative qui leur est ainsi renvoyée fait qu’ils détestent le miroir et qu’ils finissent par se détester eux-mêmes.

Le tableau que vous dressez est sombre. Comment voyez-vous
l’issue pour le monde arabe ?

Certainement, le tableau est sombre. Mais si le regard porté par l’Autre est si sévère, ceux qui portent la culture arabe en sont les premiers responsables. Le problème se situe d’abord dans les pays arabes : au manque de légitimité politique et économique dont je parlais, il faut ajouter le manque de légitimité culturelle. En matière d’éducation et de culture, les indicateurs de développement humain montrent qu’ils sont à la traîne avec les pays moins développés. Pourtant, la manne pétrolière a déversé sur un certain nombre d’entre eux des revenus considérables, qui auraient pu servir à bâtir de grandes universités, des centres de recherche, des laboratoires permettant à la jeunesse d’étudier à un haut niveau. On ne l’a pas fait. On a gaspillé cet argent en armements, pour construire des palais, des villes artificielles et autres gadgets. Conséquence : les personnes de valeur et qui veulent s’en sortir n’ont pas leur place et s’en vont vivre ailleurs. Cela tient aussi au manque de démocratie : dans un pays où un citoyen est un vrai citoyen, jouissant de tous ses droits, où il n’y a pas d’arbitraire, où l’état de la société favorise l’épanouissement de chacun, hommes ou femmes, on n’a pas pour idée fixe de quitter son pays. C’est loin d’être le cas pour les peuples arabes, le plus souvent soumis à l’arbitraire de régimes politiques plus prédateurs que protecteurs ; la corruption y est de règle, et le principal souci de leurs dirigeants est de conserver le pouvoir et d’assurer le bien-être de leurs proches.

Selon vous, le mal absolu dans notre univers globalisé est le repli identitaire. Diriez-vous qu’il prend une forme particulière dans les pays arabes ?

Le monde arabe et musulman en souffre plus que d’autres régions du monde. Un exemple me paraît significatif. Même si la situation des deux pays n’est pas comparable, on a vu se développer en Afghanistan et en Pologne, à la fin des années 1970, deux mouvements hostiles au bloc soviétique qui, tous deux, faisaient référence à la religion : l’islam dans le premier cas, et le catholicisme dans le second. L’un et l’autre ont fini par gagner. Sauf qu’après leur victoire, les Polonais savaient où aller, ils pouvaient se tourner vers l’Europe qui les a accueillis et ils ont pu ainsi relativiser la place de la religion dans l’espace politique. Les Afghans, eux, n’ont pas eu cette possibilité : ils se sont retrouvés seuls et en conçoivent toujours une immense amertume.
Il me semble symptomatique que dans une partie du monde, la référence à l’appartenance religieuse finit par être transcendée grâce à l’intégration à un ensemble démocratique et développé, alors que dans l’autre, en l’absence d’un modèle modernisateur auquel se rattacher, la surenchère religieuse et tribale fait de l’Afghanistan un pays complètement éclaté, en proie à une guerre sans fin. Il manque dans le monde arabe et plus largement musulman quelques expériences de sociétés qui seraient des modèles de référence.

La solution ne serait-elle pas dans l’édification d’unions ou d’associations régionales ?
Il y a eu un rêve unitaire dans le monde arabe. J’ai vécu cela : j’étais jeune lorsque Nasser a commencé son ascension. A un moment de son histoire, il a été sincèrement proche des aspirations des Arabes et du Tiers-monde… Mais ce rêve était difficile à réaliser avec des pays aussi différents que l’Irak, le Maroc, la Libye, l’Egypte, etc. Il ne se réalisera pas plus dans l’avenir... A l’origine de l’Union Européenne, les économies des pays concernés ont servi de ciment par le jeu des importations et exportations réciproques. Du coup, développer un marché commun, abolir les frontières avaient un sens et une logique économique. Dans le monde arabe, ce n’est pas le cas : l’essentiel de ce qui est importé vient d’ailleurs que des pays arabes et ce qui s’exporte va majoritairement vers les pays du Nord. Les Arabes n’ont donc pas cette motivation économique qui a été essentielle à l’intégration européenne. C’est pourquoi je pense qu’un ensemble arabe unitaire et intégré ne verra pas le jour. Caresser pareille chimère ne serait pas raisonnable. Pour certains pays, on peut envisager des formes d’association avec l’Europe…

Posted on 09/28/2009 12:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 September 2009
Don't Forget Yemen

Yemeni forces clash with Southern separatists

Mon Sep 28, 2009

SANAA, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Clashes broke out in south Yemen on Monday between security forces and southern separatists, while the leader of a northern revolt accused the central government of marginalising Shi'ite Muslims.

The United States and neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the world's leading oil exporter, fear the opposition to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule in the north and south could play into the hands of al Qaeda, which has staged a comeback with attacks on government and foreign targets over the past two years.

Witnesses said shelling and gunfire continued for over an hour in the town of Zinjabar in Abyan province on Monday around the house of a relative of Tareq al-Fadhli, a leading figure in an opposition grouping called the "Southern Movement".

It was the first report of violence in the south in over a month after several clashes earlier this year which resulted in deaths. Southerners say they have been marginalised politically and economically since unification in 1990.

Former leader of the south Yemeni republic Ali Salem al-Beidh, in exile in Germany, addressed a rally of southern separatists by telephone this month to declare solidarity with the northern rebels who have taken up arms against Sanaa.

In August the government of veteran ruler Saleh launched "Operation Scorched Earth" in a bid to crush the rebellion by Shi'ite Zaydi Muslims in North Yemen, who also complain of marginalisation and seek autonomy and an end to Saleh's rule.

Saleh said on Saturday the army was ready to fight Shi'ite rebels for years if necessary, calling on them to accept a ceasefire his government has proposed.

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, leader of the rebels, said in a response posted on the insurgents' website that the war was a result of discrimination and persecution.

"We suffer all forms of marginalisation on a religious level such as swapping out preachers and prayer callers for extremists who call people apostates ... and create sectarian struggles," he said, in reference to Saudi-influenced Sunni Islamists who have gained influence through Saleh's alliance with Riyadh.

He said the Zaydis bore the brunt of state repression, citing a list of 55 wanted people issued by the government that included Zaydi religious authority Sheikh Badreddine al-Houthi.

"Since we are victims of aggression we will defend ourselves," he said. "We demand our constitutional and legal rights as citizens and call on our Yemeni people to reject the authority's policy of turning the people against each other."

The international aid group Oxfam warned this week that Yemen could soon face a humanitarian crisis as a result of the escalation of fighting.

The rebels accuse Saudi Arabia, whose Wahhabi brand of Islam regards Shi'ites as heretics, of backing the government, while the government sees an Iranian hand behind the rebels.

Posted on 09/28/2009 1:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 September 2009
The Level Of Comment On, And Comprehension Of, Islam At TIME

From an article by Bobby Ghosh on Najibullah Zazi: 

1. Why did he do it?

Is Zazi your common or garden-variety jihadi, fuelled by the same inchoate hatreds that burn in Osama bin Laden's belly - or was he motivated by a narrower, Afghan-nationalist agenda?
The worst-case scenario is that he may have been associated with the Taliban - in which case, this may be the first time they have tried to attack U.S. interests outside Afghanistan and Pakistan. If the Taliban have joined al-Qaeda in taking the fight to the West, then counter-terrorism and law-enforcement authorities will need to greatly expand the scope of their operations, at home and abroad. "If he's Taliban, then it greatly expands the universe of people you want to put under surveillance," says Bill Rosenau, a counterterrorism expert at Rand Corp.
On the other hand, If Zazi is an al-Qaeda operative, it would challenge the belief that Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, on the run from American drones, no longer have the ability to strike on the U.S. mainland. (See pictures of Osama bin Laden.)

Posted on 09/28/2009 1:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 September 2009
Three Felonies A Day?

L. Gordon Crovitz writes in the WSJ:

...Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate calls his new book "Three Felonies a Day," referring to the number of crimes he estimates the average American now unwittingly commits because of vague laws. New technology adds its own complexity, making innocent activity potentially criminal.

Mr. Silverglate describes several cases in which prosecutors didn't understand or didn't want to understand technology. This problem is compounded by a trend that has accelerated since the 1980s for prosecutors to abandon the principle that there can't be a crime without criminal intent.


Mr. Silverglate, a liberal who wrote a previous book taking the conservative position against political correctness on campuses, is a persistent, principled critic of overbroad statutes. This is a common problem in securities laws, which Congress leaves intentionally vague, encouraging regulators and prosecutors to try people even when the law is unclear. He reminds us of the long prosecution of Silicon Valley investment banker Frank Quattrone, which after five years resulted in a reversal of his criminal conviction on vague charges of obstruction of justice.

These miscarriages are avoidable. Under the English common law we inherited, a crime requires intent. This protection is disappearing in the U.S. As Mr. Silverglate writes, "Since the New Deal era, Congress has delegated to various administrative agencies the task of writing the regulations," even as "Congress has demonstrated a growing dysfunction in crafting legislation that can in fact be understood." Prosecutors identify defendants to go after instead of finding a law that was broken and figuring out who did it. Expect more such prosecutions as Washington adds regulations.

Sometimes legislators know when they make false distinctions based on technology. An "anti-cyberbullying" proposal is making its way through Congress, prompted by the tragic case of a 13-year-old girl driven to suicide by the mother of a neighbor posing as a teenage boy and posting abusive messages on MySpace. The law would prohibit using the Internet to "coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person." Imagine a law that tried to apply this control of speech to letters, editorials or lobbying.

Mr. Silverglate, who will testify against the bill later this week, tells me he figures that "being emotionally distressed is just part of living in a free society." New technologies like the Web, he concludes, "scare legislators because they don't understand them and want to control them, even as they become a normal part of life."...

Posted on 09/28/2009 1:51 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 28 September 2009
The Mufti of Berlin - Arab-Nazi collaboration is a taboo topic in the West

From European Jewish Press
One widespread myth about the Mideast conflict is that the Arabs are paying the price for Germany's sins. The notion that the Palestinians are the "second victims" of the Holocaust contains two falsehoods: It suggests that without Auschwitz, there would be no justification for Israel, ignoring 3,000 years of Jewish history in the land. It also suggests Arab innocence in German crimes, ignoring especially the fascist past of Palestinian leader Haj Amin al Husseini, who was not only Grand Mufti of Jerusalem but also Waffen SS recruiter and Nazi propagandist in Berlin. When a German journalist recently tried to shed some light on this history, he encountered the wrath of the Arab collaborators' German apologists.
Karl Rössel's exhibition "The Third World in the Second World War" was supposed to premier on Sept. 1 in the "Werkstatt der Kulturen," a publicly funded multicultural center in Berlin's heavily Turkish and Arab neighborhood of Neukölln. Outraged by the exhibition's small section on Arab complicity in Nazi crimes, Philippa Ebéné, who runs the center, cancelled the event. Among the facts Ms. Ebéné didn't want the visitors of her center to learn is that the Palestinian wartime leader "was one of the worst and fanatical fascists and anti-Semites," as Mr. Rössel put it to me.
The mufti orchestrated the 1920/1921 anti-Jewish riots in Palestine and the 1929 Arab pogroms that destroyed the ancient Jewish community of Hebron. An early admirer of Hitler, Husseini received Nazi funding-as did Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood-for his 1936-1939 Palestinian revolt, during which his thugs killed hundreds of British soldiers, Jews and also Arabs who rejected his Islamo-Nazi agenda. After participating in a failed fascist coup in Iraq, he fled to Berlin in 1941 as Hitler's personal guest. In the service of the Third Reich, the mufti recruited thousands of Muslims to the Waffen SS. He intervened with the Nazis to prevent the escape to Palestine of thousands of European Jews, who were sent instead to the death camps. He also conspired with the Nazis to bring the Holocaust to Palestine. Rommel's defeat in El Alamein spoiled these plans. 
After canceling the exhibition, Ms. Ebéné clumsily tried to counter the impression that she had pre-emptively caved to Arab pressure. As a "non-white" person (her father is Cameroonian), she said, she didn't have to fear Arabs, an explanation that indirectly suggested that ordinary, "white," Germans might have reason to feel less safe speaking truth to Arabs.
Berlin's integration commissioner, Günter Piening, initially seemed to defend her. "We need, in a community like Neukölln, a differentiated presentation of the involvement of the Arabic world in the Second World War," Der Tagesspiegel quoted him as saying. He later said he was misquoted and following media criticism allowed a smaller version of the exhibit to be shown.
In the Mideast, Nazis were not only popular during but also after the war-scores of them found refuge in the Arab world, including Eichman's deputy, Alois Brunner, who escaped to Damascus. The German war criminals became trusted military and security advisers in the region, particularly of Nazi sympathizer Gamal Nasser, then Egypt's president. The mufti himself escaped to Egypt in 1946. Far from being shunned for his Nazi past, he was elected president of the National Palestinian Council. The mufti was at the forefront of pushing the Arabs to reject the 1948 United Nations partition plan and to wage a "war of destruction" against the fledgling Jewish state. His great admirer, Yasser Arafat, would later succeed him as Palestinian leader.
The other line of defense is that Arab collaboration with the Nazis supposedly wasn't ideological but pragmatic, following the old dictum that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." This "excuse" not only fails to consider what would have happened to the Jews and British in the Mideast had the Arabs' German friends won. My father-in-law, who spent much of the war in Egypt and Sudan, told me it was quite funny to see the sudden about turn in the attitude of Egyptians once it was clear that the Germans had been halted.  It also overlooks the mufti's and his followers' virulent anti-Semitism, which continues to poison the minds of many Muslims even today.
The mufti "invented a new form of Jew-hatred by recasting it in an Islamic mold," according to German scholar Matthias Küntzel. The mufti's fusion of European anti-Semtism-particularly the genocidal variety-with Koranic views of Jewish wickedness has become the hallmark of Islamists world-wide, from al Qaeda to Hamas and Hezbollah. During his time in Berlin, the mufti ran the Nazis' Arab-language propaganda radio program, which incited Muslims in the Mideast to "kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history and religion." Among the many listeners was also the man later known as Ayatollah Khomeini, who used to tune in to Radio Berlin every evening, according to Amir Taheri's biography of the Iranian leader.
Read it in full here.

Posted on 09/28/2009 1:39 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 28 September 2009
Vaz Deferens - a Quick Quiz

The banning of Geert Wilders from the UK by the then Home Secretary and always preposterous Jacqui [sic] Smith was a black day for Britain. Whether it was our darkest hour is difficult to say, for there have been so many. Yet the Wilders affair had its lighter side, not least this BBC interview with, among others, the oleaginous Keith Vaz. Watch interviewer Kirsty Wark's face from 2.05 onwards. To her credit, she gives him a moderately hard time. Even the Quilliam stooge, who doubtless speaks with forked tongue, comes off well.

Watch the video, then answer the question below it. 

Is there, can there be, anyone more repulsive than Keith Vaz?

Write on one side of the paper only.


Posted on 09/28/2009 2:01 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 28 September 2009
How Much Of A Swine And A Crook Is Keith Vaz?

Mary asked if there was anyone more repulsive than Keith Vaz. I sweetly suggested Jimmy Carter and an Israeli journalist named Levy, and left it at that.

But now that I have found at Wikipedia a little more about Keith Vaz (the son of Indian traders in Aden who were allowed the great privilege of settling in the U.K. rather than having to live in Aden, or rather the new enlarged state of Yemen, under Arab and not British rule.

Here's some of what I found: 

Political career

Vaz first stood for Parliament in 1983, when he contested the Conservative safe seat of Richmond and Barnes in the 1983 general election, which he failed to win.

For the 1987 election he was chosen to stand for the seat of Leicester East, which had 16,000 British Asian voters. He won the election, defeating the right-wing Conservative candidate Peter Bruinvels, and became a popular constituency MP, the first Asian MP since Shapurji Saklatvala lost his seat in 1929. From 1987 to 1992 he was a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

In March 1989, he led a protest in Leicester against Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses.[1] At this event, Vaz addressed 3,000 Muslim demonstrators, stating "today we celebrate one of the great days in the history of Islam and Great Britain".[2] In February 1990, he wrote in The Guardian newspaper urging Salman Rushdie not to publish the book in paperback because "there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech". That month, he caused outrage when he suggested that an IRA bomb detonated at Leicester Army Recruiting Office might have been planted by the British army.

Vaz became a frontbench spokesman on the Environment for the Official Opposition in 1992 and between 1993 and 1994 was a Member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. On Labour winning power in 1997, he became a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Government's Law Officers.

In 1999 he was promoted, becoming Minister for Europe in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and was tipped to become a Cabinet Minister. Vaz is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Flag Group [3]

Filkin inquiry

In February 2000 the Parliamentary standards watchdog Elizabeth Filkin began an investigation after allegations that Vaz had accepted several thousand pounds from a solicitor, Sarosh Zaiwalla, which he had failed to declare. The allegations were made by Andrew Milne, a former partner of Zaiwalla and were denied by both Vaz and Zaiwalla. Additional allegations were made that Vaz had accepted money from other businessmen.[4]

Vaz wrote to Filkin on 7 February 2000 to deny the allegations, and Filkin and Vaz went on to exchange letters until April 2000 in which Vaz responded to Filkin's queries. Geoffrey Bindman, who was acting as Vaz's solicitor, wrote to Filkin on 18 May to ask how much longer her inquiry was to take and Filkin produced a list of 48 questions she wanted answered on 29 June.

On 19 October Filkin wrote and asked for details about properties owned by Vaz, who replied that he owned three properties. However, evidence was later found by BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Vaz failed to disclose all his property interests to Filkin, and that documents showed that he owned four rather than three properties at the time. It was also discovered that he had transferred the ownership of a fifth property in London to his mother on 27 October, eight days after Filkin requested details of all his properties. Vaz said that the timing was a coincidence and the property was put on the market by Mrs Vaz 6 months after the transfer. Land Registry documents showed that Vaz had become the owner of the property on 5 August 1988, and the Electoral Register showed that it had been Vaz's address in 1988 and 1999. Between February 1992 and February 1996 the property was the address of Reza Shahbandeh, who Vaz denied all knowledge of when asked.[5]

On 2 November Geoffrey Bindman warned Filkin that her inquiry could be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Filkin sent a final list of questions for Vaz to answer on 27 November, following which Bindman wrote to Filkin on 4 December that Vaz would not answer any more of her questions, but would co-operate with the Standards and Privileges Committee. Filkin told the Standards and Privileges Committee on 20 December that she had been unable to reach a conclusion on eight of the 18 allegations she had investigated.

On 12 March 2001, the Filkin report cleared Vaz of nine of the 28 allegations of various financial wrongdoings, but Elizabeth Filkin accused Mr Vaz of blocking her investigation into eighteen of the allegations. He was censured for a single allegation - that he had failed to register two payments worth £4,500 in total from solicitor Sarosh Zaiwalla, whom he recommended for a peerage several years later. Mrs Filkin announced in the same month a new inquiry which would focus on whether or not a company connected to Vaz received a donation from a charitable foundation run by the Hinduja brothers.

Filkin was reported on 18 March as angered by the way in which Vaz had "spun" her report, saying that he had been representing the report as clearing him when in fact she failed to reach conclusions on several complaints because he obstructed the inquiry. Filkin declined to comment, saying she felt her position on Vaz was set out in her report.

Hinduja affair

In January 2001, immigration minister Barbara Roche revealed in a written Commons reply that Vaz, along with Peter Mandelson and other MPs, had contacted the Home Office about the Hinduja brothers. She said that Vaz had made inquiries about when a decision on their application for citizenship could be expected.[6]

On January 25, Vaz had become the focus of Opposition questions about the Hinduja affair and many parliamentary questions were tabled, demanding that he fully disclose his role. Vaz said via a Foreign Office spokesman that he would be "fully prepared" to answer questions put to him by Sir Anthony Hammond QC who had been asked by the Prime Minister to carry out an inquiry into the affair.

Vaz had known the Hinduja brothers for some time; he had been present when the charitable Hinduja Foundation was set up in 1993, and also delivered a speech in 1998 when the brothers invited Tony and Cherie Blair to a Diwali celebration.[7]

On 26 January 2001, Prime Minister Tony Blair was accused of prejudicing the independent inquiry into the Hinduja passport affair, after he declared that the Foreign Office minister Keith Vaz had not done "anything wrong". On the same day, Vaz told reporters that they would "regret" their behaviour once the facts of the case were revealed. "Some of you are going to look very foolish when this report comes out. Some of the stuff you said about Peter, and about others and me, you'll regret very much when the facts come out," he said. When asked why the passport application of one of the Hinduja brothers had been processed more quickly than normal, being processed and sanctioned in six months when the process can take up to two years, he replied, "It is not unusual."[8]

On 29 January, the government confirmed that the Hinduja Foundation had held a reception for Vaz in September 1999 to celebrate his appointment as the first Asian Minister in recent times. The party was not listed by Vaz in House of Commons register of Members' Interests and John Redwood, then head of the Conservative Parliamentary Campaigns Unit, questioned Vaz's judgement in accepting the hospitality.[9]

In March Vaz was ordered to fully co-operate with a new inquiry launched into his financial affairs by Elizabeth Filkin. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, Vaz's superior, also urged him to fully answer allegations about his links with the Hinduja brothers. Mr Vaz met Mrs Filkin on 20 March to discuss a complaint that the Hinduja Foundation had given the sum of £1,200 to Mapesbury Communications, a company run by his wife, in return for helping to organise a Hinduja-sponsored reception at the House of Commons. Vaz had previously denied receiving money from the Hindujas, but insisted that he made no personal gain from the transaction in question.[10][11]

In June 2001 Vaz said that he had made representations during the Hinduja brothers' applications for British citizenship while a backbench MP. Tony Blair also admitted that Vaz had "made representations" on behalf of other Asians.[12]

On 11 June 2001 Vaz was officially dismissed from his post as Europe Minister, to be replaced by Peter Hain. The Prime Minister's office said that Vaz had written to Tony Blair stating his wish to stand down for health reasons.[13]

In December 2001 Elizabeth Filkin cleared Vaz of failing to register payments to his wife's law firm by the Hinduja brothers, but said that he had colluded with his wife to conceal the payments. Filkin's report said that the payments had been given to his wife for legal advice on immigration issues and concluded that Vaz had gained no direct personal benefit, and that Commons rules did not require him to disclose payments made to his wife. She did, however, criticise him for his secrecy, saying, "It is clear to me there has been deliberate collusion over many months between Mr Vaz and his wife to conceal this fact and to prevent me from obtaining accurate information about his possible financial relationship with the Hinduja family". [14]

Suspension from House of Commons

In 2002 Vaz was suspended from the House of Commons for one month after a Committee on Standards and Privileges inquiry found that he had made false allegations against Eileen Eggington, a former policewoman. The committee concluded that "Mr Vaz recklessly made a damaging allegation against Miss Eggington to the Commissioner, which was not true, and which could have intimidated Miss Eggington or undermined her credibility".[15]

Eileen Eggington, a retired police officer who had served 34 years in the Metropolitan Police, including a period as deputy head of Special Branch, wanted to help a friend, Mary Grestny, who had worked as personal assistant to Vaz's wife. After leaving the job in May 2000, Grestny dictated a seven-page statement about Mrs Vaz to Eggington in March 2001, who sent it to Elizabeth Filkin. Grestny's statement included allegations that Mr and Mrs Vaz had employed an illegal immigrant as their nanny and that they had been receiving gifts from Asian businessmen such as Hinduja brothers. The allegations were denied by Mr Vaz and the Committee found no evidence to support them.[15]

In late 2001, Vaz complained to Leicestershire police that his mother had been upset by a telephone call from "a woman named Mrs Egginton", who claimed to be a police officer. The accusations led to Ms. Eggington being questioned by police.[16] Vaz also wrote a letter of complaint to Elizabeth Filkin, but when she tried to make inquiries Vaz accused her of interfering with a police inquiry and threatened to report her to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Eggington denied that she had ever telephoned Vaz's mother and offered her home and mobile telephone records as evidence. The Commons committee decided that she was telling the truth. They added: "Mr Vaz recklessly made a damaging allegation against Miss Eggington, which was not true and which could have intimidated Miss Eggington and undermined her credibility."

A letter to Elizabeth Filkin from Detective Superintendent Nick Gargan made it plain that the police did not believe Vaz's mother ever received the phone call and the person who came closest to being prosecuted was not Eggington but Vaz. Gargan said that the police had considered a range of possible offences, including wasteful employment of the police, and an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Leicestershire police eventually decided not to prosecute. "We cannot rule out a tactical motivation for Mr Vaz's contact with Leicestershire Constabulary but the evidence does not support further investigation of any attempt to pervert the course of justice." [15]

The complaints the committee upheld against Mr Vaz were:[17]

  • That he had given misleading information to the Standards and Privileges Committee and Elizabeth Filkin about his financial relationship to the Hinduja brothers.
  • That he had failed to register his paid employment at the Leicester Law Centre when he first entered Parliament in 1987.
  • That he had failed to register a donation from the Caparo group in 1993.

It was concluded that Vaz had "committed serious breaches of the Code of Conduct and showed contempt for the House" and it was recommended that he be suspended from the House of Commons for one month.[18]

Nadhmi Auchi

In 2001 the revelation that Vaz had assisted Anglo-Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi in his attempts to avoid extradition to France raised doubts about Vaz's suitability for high office and led to charges that rich businessmen had received privileged access to Labour government Ministers. Opposition MPs called for an investigation into what one dubbed "Hinduja Mark II".[19]

Anglo-Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi was wanted for questioning by French police for his alleged role in the notorious Elf Aquitaine fraud scandal which led to the arrest of a former French Foreign Minister. The warrant issued by French authorities in July 2000 Auchi of "complicity in the misuse of company assets and receiving embezzled company assets". It also covered Auchi's associate Nasir Abid and stated that if found guilty of the alleged offences both men could face 109 years in jail.[19]

Vaz was a director of the British arm of Auchi's corporation, General Mediterranean Holdings, whose previous directors had included Lords Steel and Lamont, and Jacques Santer. Vaz used his political influence on GMH's behalf; this included a party in the Park Lane Hilton to celebrate the 20th anniversary of GMH on 23 April 1999, where Lord Sainsbury presented Auchi with a painting of the House of Commons signed by Tony Blair, the Opposition leaders, and over 100 other leading British politicians. Lord Sainsbury later told The Observer that he did this "as a favour for Keith Vaz". In May 1999 Vaz resigned his post as a director after he was appointed a Minister. In a statement to The Observer, a GMH spokesman said that Vaz had been invited to become a GMH director in January 1999, yet company accounts showed Vaz as a director for the financial year ending December 1998.[19]

Labour confirmed in May 2001 that Auchi had called Vaz at home about the arrest warrant to ask him for advice. A spokesman said that Vaz "made some factual inquiries to the Home Office about the [extradition] procedure." This included advising Auchi to consult his local MP. The spokesman stressed that Vaz acted properly at all times and was often contacted by members of Britain's ethnic communities for help. In a Commons answer to Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker earlier the same month Vaz confirmed that "details of enquiries by Mr Auchi have been passed to the Home Office".[19]

Since 2003 he has been a Member of the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee. In this post, he was criticised for unparliamentary language after he called Alan Milburn a "prick."[20]

42 Day Rule Vote

Keith Vaz was again brought to public attention when the Daily Telegraph printed a hand written letter[21] suggesting that Vaz had, or was due to receive, some sort of reward for voting for the Government under the 42 Day Rule Vote in June 2008. In a letter to Vaz, written on 12 June], a day after the key vote, Geoff Hoon wrote:

“Dear Keith… Just a quick note to thank you for all your help during the period leading up to last Wednesday’s vote. I wanted you to know how much I appreciated all your help. I trust that it will be appropriately rewarded!... With thanks and best wishes, Geoff.”

Vaz was originally against the idea of holding suspects for 42 days without charge, but he changed his mind a few days before the key vote. Although Prime Minister Gordon Brown was accused of offering rebel backbenchers a series of deals in exchange of their votes, Brown denied that any such deals were made.

Black Socialist Society

Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) voted to resurrect the defunct Black Socialist Society (BSS) in 2006. As part of this, the party set up an Ethnic Minority Taskforce. Tony Blair appointed Vaz to chair this taskforce. When membership of the BSS exceeded 2,500 in early 2007, the society qualified for its own seat on the NEC.[22] Vaz was elected to this post on March 10 2007.[23]

Home Affairs Select Committee

Vaz was elected Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, replacing John Denham, on 26 July 2007. He was unusually nominated to the Committee by the Government, rather than by the quasi-independent Committee of Selection which, under the Standing Orders of the House, nominates members to select committees. The Leader of the House argued that this was because there was not sufficient time to go through the usual procedure before the impending summer recess. The Chairman of the Committee of Selection told the House that the Committee had been ready to meet earlier that week, but had been advised by the Government that there was no business for it to transact.

Conflict of interest

In September 2008 Vaz faced pressure to explain why he failed to declare an interest when he intervened in an official investigation into the business dealings of a close friend, solicitor Shahrokh Mireskandari, who has played a role in several racial discrimination cases against the Metropolitan Police, and who was representing Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur in his racial discrimination case against Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Ian Blair.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority began an investigation into Mireskandari's legal firm, Dean and Dean, in January 2008 after a number of complaints about its conduct. Vaz wrote a joint letter with fellow Labour MP Virendra Sharma to the authority's chief executive, Anthony Townsend, in February 2008 on official House of Commons stationery. He cited a complaint he had received from Mireskandari and alleged "discriminatory conduct" in its investigation into Dean and Dean. The Authority was forced to set up an independent working party to look into whether it had disproportionately targeted non-white lawyers for investigation.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Vince Cable said that Vaz should make a public statement to clear up his role in the affair. "It is quite unreasonable that an independent regulator should have been undermined in this way. I would hope that the chairman of the home affairs select committee will give a full public statement."[24]

28 day query

In July 2007 Vaz was appointed chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. The appointment caused an outcry at the time since select committee members are usually proposed by the committee of selection, but Vaz was the only nomination made by Commons leader Harriet Harman.

In September 2008 Vaz came under pressure when it was revealed that he had sought the private views of Prime Minister Gordon Brown in connection with the Committee's independent report into government plans to extend the detention of terror suspects beyond 28 days. The Guardian reported that emails suggested that Vaz had secretly contacted the Prime Minister about the committee's draft report and proposed a meeting because "we need to get his [Brown's] suggestions". An email was sent in November 2007 to Ian Austin, Gordon Brown's parliamentary private secretary, and copied to Fiona Gordon, at the time Brown's political adviser. Another leaked email showed that Vaz had also sent extracts of the committee's draft report to the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, for his comments; according to Parliament's standing orders, the chairman of the Select Committee cannot take evidence from a witness without at least two other committee members being present.

The disclosure caused concern both among committee members and civil liberties campaigners, as the Select Committee's reports are supposed to be compiled independently of government influence. Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, compared it to a judge deciding a case privately emailing one of the parties to seek their suggestions.

Vaz denied that he invited Brown to contribute, except as a witness to the committee.[25]

Parliamentary Expenses Scandal

Mr Vaz was implicated in the Parliamentary Expenses Scandal. As reported by the Daily Telegraph, Vaz claimed £75,000 in expenses for a second home just 12 miles from his main home[26]. His main home is declared to be in the North-west London suburb of Stanmore, and was purchased with his wife Maria for £1.15 million in 2005, and is around 40 minutes from Westminister by Tube, raising questions as to whether billing for a second home (a £545,000 Westminster flat) was essential for his work as an MP. He also flipped property: claiming for the Westminster flat's service charge and council tax (£2,073, and £1,022), then renting this flat out, switching his second home to a house in his Leicester East constituency, fitting it with around £16,000 of furniture and soft furnishings, as well as £600 month of un-receipted cleaning, service, and repair bills, then flipping back to the Westminster flat again, allowing mortgage interest to be claimed on the flat once more[26].

Posted on 09/28/2009 2:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 September 2009
Tudorbethan Twaddle

Whenever the BBC discuss Tudor times, for example this morning's Today programme on Hilary Mantel's new biography of Thomas Cromwell, they feel compelled to ram home the point with some Tudorbethan background music. Dowland or Susato, if they can get it, or a bad rendition of Greensleeves if they can't. Monty Python mocked this kind of thing many years ago, with Erizabeth L, who didn't know her Rs from her Ls: 

Posted on 09/28/2009 2:33 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 28 September 2009
Susato Dance interlude

Say what you like about Susato. Better still, shut up and listen: 

Posted on 09/28/2009 3:04 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 28 September 2009
C--hear, or, no end of a diphthong

From Carry On - Don't Lose Your Head, a rollicking rollercoaster of a film featuring Citizen Bidet, Citizen Camembert, Malabonce, the "late-night chopping" evenings in downtown Paris, the London Derrière and the Country Seat, and the wonderful lines, spoken in the grounds of Versailles, I forget who by: 

Gentleman: Shall we go into the arbor?

Woman, pretending to be a lady: Oh, sir, I didn’t realise we were so near the sea.

This little clip - watch those consonants - is a corker, and I never noticed it before today:


Posted on 09/28/2009 4:50 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 28 September 2009
Polanski - forgive and forget?

My Aunt Fanny.

Look at the grand jury account. Especially here, where he sodomized her.

Really look, and imagine it's you - or your daughter. But the little minx was asking for it, wasn't she?

Yes, the victim, whose mother sold her to Polanski when she was thirteen, now says leave him alone. So what? Lots of rape victims give in - it's the only way to come to terms with it. And yes, it was a long time ago. So what? And he's a famous film-maker? Again, so what? He drugged and raped a child. Thirteen is old by Muslim standards, but not by ours. The amoral French,  so "civilised" about tomcatting husbands, unsurprisingly sympathise with the "tortured artist". All the more reason he should get his long overdue comeuppance - and not in a good way.

Lock up the filthy - and overrated - old pervert, and throw away the key. And look the other way if something nasty happens in the showers. It's art, innit?

Posted on 09/28/2009 6:25 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 28 September 2009
A Musical Interlude: Am I Blue? (Annette Hanshaw)

Listen here.

Posted on 09/28/2009 8:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 September 2009
The Key Question About the Zazi Terrorism Case

Hugh reprinted the first and most egregious of the “Three Key Questions About the Zazi Terrorism Case” from Time magazine.

1. Why did he do it?

Is Zazi your common or garden-variety jihadi, fuelled by the same inchoate hatreds that burn in Osama bin Laden's belly - or was he motivated by a narrower, Afghan-nationalist agenda?

Osama bin Laden’s and other jihadis’ hatreds are the exact opposite of inchoate.  They were perfectly choate the very moment 1350 years ago when Mohammad, the original “garden-variety jihadi,” laid them down in the immutable form of the holy, holy Qur’an.  In the intervening centuries, the hatred has become neither more choate nor inchoate, the hatred is merely constant and eternal, static, like everything about Islam.  There has never been a more clearly enunciated, more virulent hatred in the history of mankind than the hatred of the devout Muslim for the infidel kufr.

As for being an Afghan nationalist, I would venture to predict that Zazi would be forthright if asked if he were an Afghan nationalist.  He is not.  He cares not at all about the artificial nation-states of mere mortal men.  He cares only about the ummah, the nation of Allah.

The worst-case scenario is that he may have been associated with the Taliban - in which case, this may be the first time they have tried to attack U.S. interests outside Afghanistan and Pakistan. If the Taliban have joined al-Qaeda in taking the fight to the West, then counter-terrorism and law-enforcement authorities will need to greatly expand the scope of their operations, at home and abroad. "If he's Taliban, then it greatly expands the universe of people you want to put under surveillance," says Bill Rosenau, a counterterrorism expert at Rand Corp.

On the other hand, If Zazi is an al-Qaeda operative, it would challenge the belief that Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, on the run from American drones, no longer have the ability to strike on the U.S. mainland.

This is gibberish.  If Zazi turns out to be from Islamic Jihad, does that only “somewhat expand the universe of people you want to put under surveillance?”  If he’s a member of Al Gama’a al-Islamyya, would that further reduce it?  If he’s a card-carrying, dues-paying member of Harakat ul-Mujahidin, can the investigators take the night off and go bowling?  Zazi is a devout Muslim, a jihadi.  The individual terrorist groups are merely local franchise operations.  Independently owned and operated, but they all report to the same Central Office in the Sky, they all share the same uniforms, same hours of operation, and same menu.  There is no significant difference between the goals of Osbat al-Ansar in Lebanon, Hizb ut-Tahrir in the UK,  Jaish-e-Mohammad in Pakistan, or Jemaah Islamiyya in Indonesia.  They may each be focused on “getting back” whatever local land is held by the not-Muslim-enough kufrs, but they share the goals of a global Islamic Caliphate, and the forced submission of non-Muslims everywhere.  Everywhere.

The Qur’an that motivates and guides them does not say, “Slay the kufrs in Southerneastern Thailand,” or “Slay the kufrs on the Arabian Peninsula.”  It commands them to slay the kufrs WHEREVER the Believer finds them.

2. Who were his associates?

The FBI has indicated that Zazi was not working alone, that he was in touch with collaborators in the U.S. and in Pakistan. […]  If they turn out to be mostly Afghans, that would strengthen suspicions the Taliban are no longer limiting themselves to the Pashtun lands.

Islamic jihadis come from every nation and from every tribe of Dar al-Islam.  This is just more irrelevant confabulating about how many jihadi groups could stand on the point of a needle.

3. Where was he recruited?

It's possible Zazi simply turned up in Peshawar and asked to be led to the nearest jihadi recruitment center. […]  If it turns out that it was Al Qaeda (or the Taliban) that reached out to Zazi and his associates - and not the other way around - then it would suggest the U.S. is vulnerable to attacks from within.

The vulnerability of the U.S. to attacks from within has absolutely nothing to do with whether Zazi or jihad groups were the first to make the initial communication to the other.  This brings back dim memories of locker-room sagacity over the significance of whether “he” calls “her” first, or vice versa.  Rank idiocy.

So, what IS the key question about the Zazi terrorism case?  Well, if communication between Zazi and his cohorts said that “the wedding cake is ready,” and if Zazi and his cohorts were videotaped purchasing large quantities of peroxide and other explosive-constituent chemicals from beauty parlors, and if Zazi’s laptop contained instructions on how to turn those chemicals into TATP, and if the stove in the hotel room at which Zazi stayed contains traces of explosive materials, then I’d have to say that the key question about the Zazi terrorism case is:

1.  Where are the explosive materials that Zazi prepared?

Posted on 09/28/2009 11:11 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden

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