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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 Wednesday, 29, 2012.
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
The new head of Unite Against Fascism is Azad Ali of the Islamic Forum of Europe

From Andrew Gilligan and Harry's Place. The UAF held their annual conference over the weekend.

Azad is the community affairs co-ordinator of the extremist Islamic Forum of Europe, which controls the East London Mosque and which is dedicated, in its own words, to changing the "very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam.” Through “hisbah” (the enforcement of Islamic law) and “jihad,” it aims to create a “global” Islamic dictatorship, the caliphate, and its “primary work” in this "is in Europe, because it is this continent, despite all the furore about its achievements, which has a moral and spiritual vacuum."

The IFE has already made some progress towards its goal, exercising strong influence over Tower Hamlets Council through its close ally, the elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman.

Just to recap:

  • Azad Ali opposes democracy “if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia”
  • Azad Ali sued the Daily Mail for suggesting that comments on his blog showed that he was “a hardline Islamic extremist who supports the killing of British and American soldiers in Iraq by fellow Muslims as justified”. He lost.
  • Azad Ali used to attend talks by the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda in Europe: Abu Qatada.
  • Azad Ali wants Ismail Haniyeh – leader of the genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation, Hamas – to be the Caliph of the next Caliphate.
  • Azad Ali admired the Al Qaeda and recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki and had this to say about him on the Islamic Forum of Europe’s blog: “I really do love him for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing.”
  • Azad Ali’s show on the Islam Channel was sanctioned by OFCOM for its failure to maintain due impartiality in its coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict, including in relation to comments on Mahmoud Abbas. That’s because he’s a Hamas supporter.
  • When an undercover reporter for Dispatches exposed Azad Ali’s political views, he threatened them on his radio show, saying: “We’ve got a picture of you and a lot more than you thought we had. We’ve tracked you down to different places. And if people are gonna turn what I’ve just said into a threat, that’s their fault, innit?”

This is just a fraction of the evidence against Azad Ali. . .

I ( Lucy Lips at Harry's Place) mention, for completeness, that Unite Against Fascism has re-elected as its Assistant Secretary, the SWP full timer Martin Smith. Smith was the principal promoter and defender of the racist and promoter of Holocaust Denial, Gilad Atzmon. He was convicted of assault in 2010, following the disorder outside the BBC during a demonstration to protest the presence of the British National Party’s Nick Griffin on Question Time.

Here is a list of UAF’s founding signatoriesTime some of them repudiated their connection.

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:12 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Jail Krekar for five years: Norway prosecutor

From the Norwegian edition of The Local

A Norwegian prosecutor called Tuesday for Mullah Krekar, the founder of radical Iraqi Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam, to be sentenced to five years in prison for issuing death threats against a former government minister, media reported.

The 55-year-old mullah, whose real name is Najmeddine Faraj Ahmad and who has lived in Norway since 1991, has pleaded not guilty to threatening the life of Erna Solberg, an ex-minister who signed his expulsion order in 2003 because he was considered a threat to national security.

"Norway will pay a heavy price for my death," he said during a meeting with international media in June 2010. "If for example Erna Solberg deports me and I die as a result, she will suffer the same fate," he said in Arabic, adding: "I don't know who will kill her: Al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, my family, my children. I don't know... But she will pay the price."

According to prosecutor Marit Bakkevig, the comments were an attempt to get Norwegian authorities to reverse the expulsion order. Krekar is also accused of threatening other Kurds living in Norway who had burned pages of the Koran, as well as calling for attacks on US soldiers in Iraq on several occasions.

The mullah has admitted to making the statements but has claimed his words merely referred to Islamic principles. His lawyer Brynjar Meling said he would call for his client's acquittal in court on Wednesday.

Apparently, although Krekar wants to stay in Norway he also has aspirations to teach Arabic in Somalia. Except that the Somalians don't want him either. From the Foreigner, Norwegian news in English language.

As the court case against accused Mullah Krekar enters its second week, Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali clearly stated what will happen to him should he enter the country, reports say. Speaking on his first-ever visit to Norway this week, Prime Minister Ali said, “We have enough problems in Somalia already, we don’t need people like him. He will meet his death in Somalia.”

The Mullah, (real name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad) who recently intimated he wished to relocate to Somalia to teach Arabic, is currently on trial for making death threats against Conservative Party (H) leader Erna Solberg, amongst others, and several Kurds. He claimed he has nothing against Mrs Solberg and denied he is guilty.

“I will travel [to Somalia] with freedom, pride, and dignity, not because I will be jailed for something,” Krekar said.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) officials are investigating threats made on Facebook against two of the Kurds in the Krekar case. According to NRK, the Facebook group is originally meant to back a peaceful demonstration against burning the Koran on 02 March.

Describing the two persons as “pests” and “pigs”, extreme Islamists encourage the Kurds are tortured. The home address of one of them, and the name and picture to the other has been published. Under the picture, a group member called them ‘Kuffars’, the plural form of the Arabic word ‘Kafir’, meaning ‘non-believers’, writing, “I believe killing him with fire is permissible in this case. This is a warning to all Kuffars.”

Posted on 02/29/2012 4:50 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Paris - Father tries to set 23-year-old daughter alight

From the French edition of The Local

A man was being held by police on Monday after allegedly trying to set fire to his grown-up daughter in central Paris. Le Parisien newspaper reported that the man sprayed teargas in the young woman's face and then covered her in petrol on Saturday evening.

The father was apparently annoyed that the woman planned to go out with a group of friends that evening and considered her "too emancipated". The newspaper quoted a source describing him as a "Muslim fundamentalist."

The woman told police her father had been harassing her for several weeks. "She explained he was unhappy that she had a Jewish boyfriend," said the source.

Police caught up with the man on Sunday and are questioning him in connection with attempted murder. The newspaper reported that the man had only recently reconnected with his daughter, after abandoning her as a child.

He had recently taken her to his native country of Tunisia where he had tried to arrange a marriage for her. She had resisted, while promising to behave in accordance with his wishes back in Paris.

Posted on 02/29/2012 5:00 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Schanzer: Saudi Arabia Arming Syrian Opposition-“the world may pay a price, too �

Free Syria Army fighters
Source:  Foreign Policy

Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President of Research at the Washington, DC based Foundation for Defense of Democracies raises the curtain on the dangers of the Kingdom stoking further instability in the Middle East in this Foreign Policy article, “Saudi Arabia is Arming the Syrian Opposition.”  In our Iconoclast  post, “The Third Way for Syria: a vibrant secular democracy for its people,” we noted what Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Feisal said when he walked out of the failed Friends if Syria meeting in Tunis last Friday:

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal walked out of the Tunis meeting saying: “Is it justice to offer aid and leave the Syrians to the killing machine?” The Saudis support arming the opposition which is problematic.

In a New English Review international round table discussion on the Arab Spring and Nuclear Iran to be published later today, we raised the question of Muslim Brotherhood leadership in the Syrian National Council in the person of Syrian American Dr. Louay Safi and the concern over arming the Syrian opposition.  Schanzer’s response was:

Well it says some dangerous things about what we don't know about the opposition in Syria, which I think again underscores the question of whether we should be providing weaponry to the opposition.  We have learned these lessons in the past. Specifically, what happens when you start to fund an insurgency where you don't know who the actors and what their ideologies are? That is what we learned in Afghanistan.

That theme is dealt with cogently in Schanzer’s FP article.

Note these excerpts:

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah scolded Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week for failing to coordinate with Arab states before vetoing a United Nations resolution demanding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down. Emboldened by the lack of international action, Assad's forces are now slaughtering civilians in the streets at an even greater rate. Referring to the bloodshed, the king ominously warned Medvedev that Saudi Arabia "will never abandon its religious and moral obligations towards what's happening."

The last time the Saudis decided they had a moral obligation to scuttle Russian policies, they gave birth to a generation of jihadi fighters in Afghanistan who are still wreaking havoc three decades later.

According to news reports confirmed by a member of the Syrian opposition, Riyadh currently sendsweapons on an ad hoc basis to the Syrian opposition by way of Sunni tribal allies in Iraq and Lebanon. But in light of recent developments, more weapons are almost certainly on their way. After his delegation withdrewin frustration from last week's Friends of Syria meeting in Tunisia, Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said that humanitarian aid to Syria was "not enough" and that arming the Syrian rebels was an "excellent idea." Soon afterward, an unnamed official commented in the state-controlled Saudi press that Riyadh sought to provide the Syrian opposition with the "means to achieve stability and peace and to allow it the right to choose its own representatives." Meanwhile, Saudi clerics are now openly calling for jihad in Syria and scorning those who wait for Western intervention. One prominent unsanctioned cleric, Aidh al-Qarni, openly calls for Assad's death.

Other Sunni Gulf states, principally Qatar, may be contributing weapons. On Monday, Feb. 27, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said, "We should do whatever necessary to help [the Syrian opposition], including giving them weapons to defend themselves." The positions of other regional actors are less clear. But whether or not they supply weapons to the Free Syrian Army -- the armed opposition composed of defectors and local militia -- all these Sunni states now want the Assad regime to crumble because it is an ally and proxy of their sworn Shiite enemy, Iran, which destabilizes the region with terrorism and nuclear threats.

Schanzer notes the debacle of Saudi -backed Jihad in Afghanistan that the US acquiesced to during the secret war in the 1980’s that spawned Al-Qaeda.

They fueled a generation of zealous Islamist fighters who later caused bigger problems elsewhere. These Islamists were instrumental to the Saudis after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Inspired by the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam and armed with Saudi funds and weapons, Arab mujahideen poured into Afghanistan. (An estimated 175,000 to 250,000 Arabs and Afghans fought there at any given time during the war, according to terrorism analyst Peter Bergen.) After a decade of guerrilla war during which the Soviets sustained heavy losses, the Red Army withdrew, and their puppet government in Kabul fell soon thereafter.

There are untoward consequences to Syria, the region and the world from Saudi arming the opposition in the face of Obama Administration’s lack of an effective countering strategy. Schanzer concludes:

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration continues to express deep misgivings about sending weapons, claiming that the Syrian opposition is too much of a black box. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently expressed concerns that the weapons could flow to terrorist groups such as al Qaeda or Hamas. But the Saudis have run out of patience. They now unabashedly advocate for arming the Free Syrian Army.

This is not an empty threat. The Saudis know how to procure and move weapons, and they have no shortage of cash. If Riyadh wants to arm the opposition, armed it shall be. And those who receive the weapons will likely be at least amenable to the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam that has spawned dangerous Islamist movements worldwide.

Of course, a Saudi-led insurgency would not be in the cards if the Obama administration were not so opposed to empowering the opposition. But the longer Obama waits and the deeper the humanitarian crisis worsens, the more likely it becomes that other actors will tip the balance in Syria. Using history as a guide, none would be more dangerous than Saudi Arabia.

The Iranians and Russians may yet pay a price for propping up Assad in Syria. But if the Saudis have their way, the world may pay a price too.

Posted on 02/29/2012 5:30 AM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Syrian Salafist Opposition Leader al-Zouabi: “I am al Qaeda�

John Rosenthal in a Stonegate Institute article, “Syria: The Salafist Who Launched the Rebellion”zeroes in on Sheikh Louay al-Zouabi, the Syrian Salafist whose fatwa sparked the initial rebellion in Daraa.   Rosenthal uses al-Zouabi’s remarks  in interviews with French publications Libération,  Le Nouvel Observateur,  and the Beirut Daily Star to emphasize the presence of al Qaeda cadres and support from the Islamist alliance in the region. That alliance includes Qatar and, possibly Saudi Arabia.  See our Iconoclast post on Jon Schanzer’s Foreign Policy article about Saudi Arabia arming Syrian opposition). Al-Zouabi’s comments raises concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood allies in the leadership of the Syrian National Council and the agenda for Syria should the brutal Assad regime be toppled. This is why Syrians minorities back the emerging Syrian Democratic Alliance that we discussed in our Iconoclast post, “A Third Way for Syria: a vibrant secular democracy for its people.”

Rosenthal  offers us al-Zouabi’s  Al Qaeda ‘credentials’.  Note these excerpts:

Earlier this month, the French daily Libération published an interview with Sheikh Louay al-Zouabi, a self-avowed Salafist imam from Daraa, Syria, who claims to have issued a fatwa that sparked the uprising against the rule of Bashar al-Assad.

A radical fundamentalist current in Islam, Salafism advocates the emulation of the Salaf: the earliest generations of Muhammad's companions and followers. It is the same form of Islam as that embraced by al-Qaeda, to whose ideas al-Zouabi has elsewhere unabashedly said he adheres.

Asked how the "intifada" in Daraa began, al-Zouabi told:

[It began] with the arrest and torture of a dozen children – the oldest was twelve years old – who had written "The people want to overthrow the government" on the walls. The fathers of the children then wanted to negotiate their release with the security forces. They were told: "If you come back, you are going to be arrested and we are going to make your wives kiss our feet." A female lawyer who wanted to defend the children was put in prison and they shaved her head, which is more unacceptable than killing her. It was this that brought people out onto the streets on March 20.

According to al-Zouabi, security forces fired on the protestors, killing six. It was in response to these events, he says, that he issued his fatwa calling for the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad.

In a separate interview last November with the French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur, al-Zouabi admitted to having fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia: two of the historical hotspots of jihad. An article in the English-language Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star notes, moreover, that he "lived in Sudan at the same time as former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden." Bin Laden moved operations from Afghanistan to Sudan after the end of the anti-Soviet jihad, before returning to Afghanistan in 1996.

In conversation with The Daily Star, al-Zouabi not only admitted to "sharing many of al-Qaeda's beliefs," but stated outright, "I am Al-Qaeda except that I am willing to talk [to Christians] and I oppose the killing of innocents." Al-Zouabi says that he opposed the 9/11 attacks, but supported the "resistance" against U.S. forces in Iraq.

        [. . .]

In his recent interview with Libération, al-Zouabi called for international military support for the anti-Assad forces. "The peaceful movement is finished," he said,

We have the human capacity to fight, but what we lack are arms, materiel, logistical capabilities. And I want to communicate an essential idea to the West: once the revolution has won, we will respect international agreements and we want to have very good relations with the international community.

"And if the West wants to verify what I represent militarily," al-Zouabi vowed, "I'm prepared to carry out military operations in pre-arranged places."

The Obama administration has recently warned of al-Qaeda "infiltration" of Syrian opposition groups, which "may not be aware" of the presence of the extremists among them. But Sheikh Louay al-Zouabi's nonchalant "I am al-Qaeda" and his account of the origins of the anti-Assad rebellion suggest a very different scenario: that al-Qaeda has been at the forefront of the rebellion from the start

Now we understand why Daraa has been the gateway in Syria  for arming Sunni Salafist, Muslim Brotherhood opposition an infiltrating Al-Qaeda cadres.  Despite this, Sheik al-Zouabi said in a Beirut Daily Star article published today, that concerned minorities in Syria have nothing to fear and there is no Sunni fundamentalist agenda. Note this:

The country’s other sects – the Christians, Druze, Ismaelis – generally have stayed on the sidelines as the uprising has intensified and grown bloodier, nervously pondering a future that some fear may echo the sectarian strife that plagued Iraq from 2003.

But Sheikh Louay al-Zouabi, the secretary-general of the Syrian Salafist group, El-Mu’mineen Yousharikoun (The Believers Participate), insists that minorities having nothing to fear in a post-Assad Syria and that all should be allowed to play a role in the new Syria.

“Our main goal is to share in ruling the country in all freedom and fairness to all Syrians,” he said. “We don’t wish to oppress anyone and we do not want to be oppressed by anyone.”

Somehow, we find this unconvincing given al-Zouabi’s track record of al-Qaeda involvement and support for Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Posted on 02/29/2012 7:12 AM by Jerry Gordon
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
To Judge By Appearances

by Theodore Dalrymple (March 2012)

When I was young I wanted to be a bohemian when I grew up. I cannot quite recall how and why I formed this ambition. I suppose bohemianism seemed to be both a way of asserting my individuality (it did not occur to me that bohemians were just as much a herd as an other) and of doing God’s glorious work, which was annoying the grown-ups. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 12:58 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
A Funeral In My Brain

by David Wemyss (March 2012)

One of the things I’ve been doing in my essays for the New English Review is trying to re-imagine human kindliness as something more like what the expression meant in the nineteen fifties. I certainly wouldn’t romanticize that decade - in many ways it was a time when people weren’t all that nice to one another - but it was at least a time when kindliness was likely to be seen as the characteristic of an individual person, not a social policy, whereas nowadays it seems to be the other way round. Human sympathy is hopelessly tangled up with managerial formalism. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:03 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: The Conclusion

by Emmet Scott (March 2012)

The entire Mediterranean world was utterly transformed in the seventh century. Everywhere, from Palestine in the East to Spain in the West, the Roman style of life disappeared. Cities were destroyed or abandoned and life rapidly became more rural. The Roman system of agriculture, which had sustained the great cities of the classical age, broke down. The dykes, irrigation ditches and terraces which had for centuries produced vast food surpluses to feed Rome and the other metropolises of the Empire, fell into disrepair. Topsoil was washed away and a layer of silt, now known as the Younger Fill, began to cover many of the towns and villages. As the scattered farming settlements and cities of the Empire were deserted, new settlements, especially in southern Europe, began to appear on defended hill-tops. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:11 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
All's Fair in Politics and Celebrity

by Theodore Dalrymple (March 2012)

If, as the French historian, Pierre Nora, recently put it in a newspaper article, the whole of human history is a crime against humanity, how is one to assess the significance of a single criminal act? And yet the human mind is so framed that it is inclined to see in such a single act all the deceit, evil and delight in cruelty of which Man is capable. One death, said Stalin, is a tragedy; a million is a statistic. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:16 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
A Future for Britain Free from Islamization: An Interview with British Freedom Party Chairman, Paul Weston

by Jerry Gordon (March 2012)

The United Kingdom, or as Daily Mail pundit, Melanie Phillips calls it, Londonistan, has been mired in massive demographic change and concomitant Islamization brought on by its recent "open door" immigration policy. This was graphically evident in the July 7, 2005 London underground and bus system attack by four British Muslim suicide bombers who took the lives of more than 52 innocent victims and injured over 700. It was also reflected in the condoning of the more than 85 Shariah courts by the UK legal system and controversial Church of England head, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Deeply disturbing has been the de facto creation of what former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali called "no-go areas" where native Britons are not welcome, especially if they happen to be homosexual or Jewish. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:22 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Warning to America

A speech by Paul Weston
delivered on Feb 15, 2012 to a private group in Nashville, TN. on behalf of the British Freedom Party.

What I really want to talk about tonight is to warn America not to go down the same Islamic road that Europe finds itself on, particularly so Britain, which is almost on the point of no return – or perhaps no peaceful return. Samuel Huntingdon was not necessarily writing about Britain when he penned his prescient book “The Clash of Civilisations”, but one particular theme he raised very much applies to my poor old country where he refers to the dying of civilisations and the lack of concern amongst their native people, due to what he terms the “Illusion of Permanency.”  more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:36 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
The Attack Within by Elwyn Jones - the parallels with Hitler and Islam, and 1939 and 2012

by Esmerelda Weatherwax (March 2012)

It is frequently mentioned that Adolf Hitler admired Islam. The remark usually produced in evidence is from the book of his ‘table talk’, when over dinner his acolytes in the inner party hung on his every word.  That evening he said something to the effect that Charles Martel’s victory at Tours in 732 which stopped Islam’s advance into Western Europe was a tragedy. In his opinion had the Teutonic races received Islam with its war ethos at the very beginning they would have been the Masters of the Universe long since. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:44 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
A Most Glorious Attic

by Janet Tassel (March 2012)

Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza
By Adina Hoffman & Peter Cole
Jewish Encounters/Schocken, 284 pp.

In the days of Queen Victoria, there roamed the earth a certain type of Englishwoman: Intrepid, adventurous, utterly undaunted, these ladies bustled fearlessly and eagerly to the most uncomfortable and often dangerous corners of the world, took and developed their own photographs, spoke a multitude of languages, rode camels, climbed mountains, and then came home to write books about their exploits. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:49 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Philippe Karsenty, The Cours De Cassation, And The Al-Dura Mise-En-Scene

Contrary to the recommendation of the advocate general, advising the court to reject the appeal filed by Charles Enderlin and France 2, the Court of Cassation [France’s highest court] nullified the acquittal pronounced by the Appellate Court of Paris on May 21, 2008.

The nullification, which is disciplinary and based on a legal technicality, does not prejudge the outcome: the Court of Cassation deems that the Appellate Court of Paris could not order France 2 to show the raw footage containing images that were not broadcast by France 2. However, the legal criteria of my good faith – quality of the investigation, absence of personal animosity, legitimacy of aim and purpose, prudent and measured expression – were not challenged.

Charles Enderlin, France 2, and I will find ourselves in court again at an undetermined date to plead our cases in the al-Dura affair. The case will be heard again in the Appellate Court of Paris, by a different panel of judges convened to reexamine the facts.

I serenely anticipate the hearing that will allow me to present once more to the court and concerned media the demonstration that France 2 broadcast a staged scene as news on September 30, 2000.

In more than eleven years of controversy, we have brought dozens of pieces of evidence and scientific expertise showing that the scene was staged, whereas France 2, Charles Enderlin, and their cameraman have never been able to prove the veracity of their reportage. Further, it has been revealed through a succession of court cases  that France 2, Charles Enderlin, his cameraman, and the father of young Mohammed have lied on several occasions to cover their media fraud.

I have presented the al-Dura affair in many journalism schools and festivals, in prestigious European and American universities, before the Senate and the House of Lords; no one has ever succeeded in refuting the evidence of a staged scene.

I call upon open-minded people to pursue the search for the truth. This is a combat for the honor of the journalistic profession, for justice, for democracy and against disinformation; a combat against the murderous anti-Semitism conveyed by this reportage. I ask those who in good faith believed the narration imposed by this reportage to simply examine the facts without prejudgment.

It is the uncompromising establishment of the truth that will contribute to the sorely needed peace, tolerance, and friendship among people and nations.

Philippe Karsenty, February 29, 2012.

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
The Age of the Grand Hotel

In History and Culture

by Sam Bluefarb
(March 2012)

Many years ago, on our way home from Israel, my wife and I decided to return to California by way of a week’s stopover in Spain. After a few days in Madrid, we flew north to San Sebastian, Basque country, not far from the Pamplona of Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926) and Death in the Afternoon (1932). more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 1:54 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
American Drones In The Philippines
 Southeast Asia
     Feb 29, 2012

US drones circle over the Philippines
By Jacob Zenn

A United States-supported airstrike that destroyed with causalities an Abu Sayyaf hideout on the remote island of Jolo in the southern Philippines represented the first known use of the unmanned aerial assault craft in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) counter-insurgency operations against terrorism-linked rebel groups.

The drone attack early this month reportedly killed 15 Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah operatives, including three most-wanted terrorist leaders - Zulkifli bin Hir (alias Marwan), Gumbahali Jumdail (alias Doc Abu), and Mumanda Ali (alias Muawayah) - and raised the level of US-Philippine military cooperation.

Marwan was the most wanted foreign terrorist in the Philippines, with the US State Department offering a US$5 million reward for information leading to his capture. A Malaysian national, he was


formerly a member of the Indonesia-based JI's central command, known as the markaziyah, and a founder of the Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia, an organization comprised mostly of former Soviet-era Afghan mujahideen who advocated for the overthrow of then Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohammed's government and the creation of an Islamic State.

In 2002, Marwan fled from Malaysia to Indonesia, where he reportedly conspired in the October 12, 2002, bombings on the resort island of Bali with the help of his older brother, Rahmat, who reportedly provided him with radios and cash used in carrying out the attack.

In August 2003, Marwan fled to the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where he received the protection of Abu Sayyaf and the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Since then, he was based in southern Mindanao training Abu Sayyaf members in explosives, according to news reports.

Muawayah was a Singaporean military officer of Indian descent who also allegedly participated in the 2002 Bali bombing and had a $50,000 reward for his arrest offered by the US. Like Umar Patek, the JI operative who was captured in Pakistan half a year before Osama Bin Laden's assassination, Marwan and Muawayah are known to have maintained contacts with Al Qaeda cells operating in Asia and the Middle East while they trained local fighters in the jungles of southern Mindanao.

Doc Abu, a member of Mindanao's Tausug ethnic group, was one of Abu Sayyaf's most senior figures and had outstanding warrants for his arrest for 21 counts of kidnapping, including in Sipadan, Malaysia in 2000 and at the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan, Philippines in 2001. His alias, Doc Abu, was derived from the time he spent as a medic for the rebel Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) until it signed a 1996 peace pact with the government. After 1996, he joined Abu Sayyaf and emerged as one of its commanders.

The trio's precise location was uncovered when local villagers reported their presence to the Philippine military. The villagers may have been part of a known AFP program in Mindanao where locals are hired to work undercover to track down Abu Sayyaf and JI militants. Aware that Jumdail has previously portrayed himself as a doctor when hiding out in local villages, they traveled to the village where Doc Abu was staying and pretended to seek medical treatment. The villagers then left a sensor at his hideout that was used to pinpoint the coordinates for the aerial attack.

Tracking Doc Abu, Marwan, and Muawayah was also made possible by months of AFP intelligence gathering, which in a separate air strike on October 2011 killed Marwan's aide, Madarang Sali, and three other Abu Sayyaf fighters. Marwan and Muawayah managed to escape the earlier assault, which is believed to have been launched by a Filipino manned assault craft.
Help from above
The aerial strike was significant not only because it killed three top JI and Abu Sayyaf leaders but also because it underscored the effectiveness of the AFP's adoption of drones in its battle against Mindanao-based terror groups. The AFP has traditionally relied on ground operations against terror groups, exercises that retired Lt Gen Benjamin Dolorfino recently referred to as "counter-productive" because they "cause locals to have negative perceptions of the military".

As history has shown, ground operations carry the risk of ambush and massive displacement of civilian populations. Most recently, on October 18, 2011, 100 MILF fighters reinforced Abu Sayyaf operatives in a battle where 13 AFP special force troops were killed. In contrast to previous years, where the AFP's counter-insurgency operations have often alienated local villagers, advocates of the drone strike on Doc Abu, Marwan, and Muawayah note that it was facilitated through the assistance and cooperation of local villagers.

The airstrike, which was reported to have been US-led and launched by a drone that tracked the sensor planted at the Abu Sayyaf hideout, has however raised political hackles in Manila. One Philippine representative, Luz Ilagan, has called for the abrogation of the US Visiting Forces Agreement and an end to US military intervention in national affairs in the wake the attack. That agreement bans the US, the Philippines' former colonial ruler, from establishing permanent military bases in the country.

Ilagan has since called for a probe into what she referred to as the "extensive and intensive intrusion of the US military in AFP operations". She also said, "If these reports are true, then US troops are participating in and conducting operations beyond what is allowed in the Visiting Forces Agreement and directly transgressing our sovereignty. More importantly, their participation in these operations is a potential magnet for the Philippines' participation in a brewing US-instigated regional conflict."

Underscoring the still strong nationalist sentiment against US troops being stationed on Philippine soil, Ilagan's opposition to US involvement in the fight against Abu Sayyaf comes despite the fact that she is a former victim of the group's terror tactics. She was wounded in the November 2007 bombing of the National Assembly in Quezon City, which killed one of Ilagan's staff members, her driver and a fellow congressional representative.

The Philippines National Police claimed that Abu Sayyaf was responsible for the bombing, though that interpretation has since been contested.

Certain congressional representatives believe that the country's security forces exploit the Abu Sayyaf for their own purposes - in this case to boost military ties with the US in a wider bid to counterbalance China - at the expense of national sovereignty. Despite Ilagan's and other nationalist group protests, the US has already announced plans to increase its fleet of unmanned drones by 30% in the Philippines.

As in Somalia and other conflict zones, drones will reportedly be deployed to help the US and AFP locate kidnapping victims, such as Warren Rodwell, an Australian national who has been held by Abu Sayyaf since December 2011, thus extending the unmanned vehicle's use beyond targeted assassinations towards search and rescue-type missions.

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Woodstock and the Invention of the Human

by David P. Gontar (March 2012)

There is in the British Museum an old and sere manuscript, long abandoned, just now coming to the attention of scholars. (Alexander) It may hold the key to the formation of the modern self. A mere sheaf of paper bearing no title, it is one of a group of anonymous Tudor plays classified impersonally as "Egerton 1994." (Jimenez) It is, in fact, an English renaissance drama set in the era immediately preceding the events depicted in Shakespeare's King Richard II. Scholars dub it either "Thomas of Woodstock" or "Richard II, Part One." We will refer to it simply as "Woodstock." more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:02 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Swedish Conditions, Or, Something is Rotten in the State of Sweden

(with apologies to William Shakespeare who got it wrong in Hamlet; Act I Scene 4)

by Lars Hedegaard, translated by Norman Berdichevsky (March 2012)

A preface by the translator, Dr. Norman Berdichevsky, author of An Introduction to Danish Culture.

Americans generally have an idyllic picture of the Scandinavian countries especially with regard to democratic institutions, human rights and civil liberties. Nevertheless, the debilitating effects of massive Muslim immigration and political correctness in Sweden have become increasingly apparent and raised considerable unease in nearby Denmark. An important consideration to bear in mind is that while Denmark is a member of NATO, Sweden has a long tradition of neutrality (that included close economic cooperation with Nazi Germany during the first few years of World War II). Sweden has distanced itself not only from the sentiments of Scandinavian cooperation, Western civilization, Judeo-Christian tradition respect for women and the fundamental rights of free speech and expression but is openly pandering to Islamist isolationist resistance to integration within Swedish society. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:12 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Israel and the US Face the Realities of the Arab Spring and Nuclear Iran

by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates (March 2012)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meets President Obama in Washington on March 5th for discussions. There is yet another emerging impasse on which option to pursue with a truculent nuclear Iran and concerns about the rise of an Islamist alliance in Syria should the brutal Assad regime be toppled. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:19 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: The Lone Ranger (Theme Song)
Watch, and listen, here.
Posted on 02/29/2012 2:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Debts & Democracy: Hungary Builds an EU Autocracy

by Thomas Ország-Land (March 2012)

Heavily indebted Hungary is heading for the rocks, endangering the fragile economies of fellow EU member countries. Bankruptcy may still be averted by an emergency injection of billions of Euros. But that could ensure the indefinite rule of a populist, authoritarian Hungarian leader who has already laid the legal infrastructure to  turn his nascent, post-Soviet democracy into a repressive state reminiscent of the Communist and Fascist models.

VIKTOR Orbán, the ultra-Conservative, populist Hungarian prime minister, astonished the world financial markets on assuming power in April 2010 by declaring that his post-Communist predecessors had cooked the books and brought the national economy to the edge of collapse. His claim was quickly exposed as an inept negotiating ploy to obtain easy cash from lending institutions eager to contain the mounting debt crisis of the European Union (EU) of which Hungary is a member. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:26 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
In A Promised Land

by Geoffrey Clarfield (March 2012)

When I was twenty six years old I went to Jerusalem to learn Hebrew. I arrived at Ben Gurion airport on the humid coastal plain, where a taxi from the Jewish Agency had been designated to collect me and a number of other potential immigrants to the Jewish State. An elderly volunteer of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI) greeted us. He checked the list of arrivals and then made sure we were all in the cab for the trip up to the capital city. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:32 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
A Vindication of Natural Society

by David Hamilton (March 2012)

We are not merely natural but we are natural in the sense that our lives are held together by emotional relationships rather than ideologies and the numinous things in life like art and religion and a need for countryside as well as beautiful landscapes. We are natural in the sense that we form emotional relationships, families and communities and need our countryside as solace or relief. A varied and open countryside is beneficial to the physical and mental health of the population. We have a duty to pass on the environment we have inherited to our children, as they, in turn, will have a duty to pass it on to their children. more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:37 PM by NER
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Which Is The Ross We Have To Bear?

A  former drug dealer, one Rick Ross,  sues a rapper, another Rick Ross, for exploiting his good name:

'Freeway' Rick Ross Trial Date Set, Calls Rapper Rick Ross a 'Complete Idiot' 

by Theo Bark

Feb. 29,.2912

Former Los Angeles drug kingpin "Freeway" Rick Ross continues to seek justice in his case against rapper Rick Ross, whom he claims is unlawfully profiting from his name and reputation.

After the lawsuit was initially thrown out in 2010, the case was reopened in California and Ross now has a trial date set for early May in Los Angeles. The infamous drug dealer-turned-community advocate sat down with The BoomBox to discuss the trial, calling his rapper namesake a "clown" and a "complete idiot," and revealing that, while he once had "a little respect" for Rick Ross, upon reading his deposition, he has "zero respect for him now."

What's the news with the trial?

We've been doing depositions everyday for the last month, just about. I heard some really interesting testimony, probably the most interesting was the rapper, he showed me how big a clown he is. I had a little respect for him, but after I saw his deposition, I have zero respect for him now. I think he's a complete idiot. It's a disgrace for me to have someone like this with my name. He doesn't know what the name stands for, or how I got my name. He thinks that this name belongs to some big mafia guy who don't care about nothing but himself and really, he's just a pig.

If you have an opportunity to set him straight, what would you say?

That's he's totally lost. The way he's going now, he's going to destroy it all for himself and find his career in the dump and not know why. A lot of people don't really understand how I've been able to stay relevant for 30 years. It's because I love people, and when you love people, they love you back. You can't go around spitting in people's faces, thinking that no one is going to pull your card.

Does it surprise you that so many rappers still associate with him?

Well, most of them are just like he is. That's why they can go and cut up a $400,000 car and we got kids in the streets that's hungry. I couldn't live like that. I sold drugs because I thought that was my only option. I know what it's like not to have food in the refrigerator. These guys come from good backgrounds, they're lying that they were illiterate. You can go check my school record, I was illiterate. I'm not bragging about that though, but that's what it really is. To have somebody who went to college and whose moms had a good job then turn around and claim poverty and illiteracy, it's totally ludicrous.

Yeah, that's what rap is now, a generation of kids trying to act like they're more hard up than they are -- from the rappers to the fans.

Exactly. All the stuff that they rap about is like, "I'm going to take your girl." Can you imagine, a guy coming up to me and telling me he's going to take my girl? And then, if my girl went with him, how would I feel about her? These guys rap like that and people still support them. They're not rapping about "What's going on, brother?" "Keep on pushing." Their message and my message are totally different. When I sold drugs, even when I sold drugs, I told people not to use them. I knew that when I sold drugs I was taking a life and death chance.

So what's next then, now that you have a trial date?

We're still going to be doing depositions for the next couple weeks. The judge ruled that she's going to make this a public trial. As soon as she makes the final ruling, I'll be releasing William Roberts' [aka Rick Ross] deposition publicly. I can't wait, so everyone can see what a clown he is. The way he clowned me. He shook all the white people's hand in the room and totally disrespected me in the room. When they get to see some of the things he says on camera ... I couldn't believe some of the things he said on camera. Let the world see it.
Posted on 02/29/2012 2:38 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
A Bishop and Three Pawns

by G. Murphy Donovan (March 2012)

"Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you." 
- Langston Hughes

The American presidential debates this year have often resembled circular firing squads, aided and abetted by a generous Republican establishment. John McCain and Elliot Abrams have redefined bipartisanship; both seem to be doing opposition research for the Democratic National Committee. Each has provided some swell one-liners for an Obama Gatling gun should any Republicans survive. Yes, the entire elephant herd may be gone by the time the general election rolls around. So in the interests of common sense and economy, the 2012 election should be cancelled so America can get on with the quest for some pot in every pan. Do the math! more>>>

Posted on 02/29/2012 2:45 PM by NER
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