These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 30, 2010.
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Britons training in Pakistan for UK terror attacks
At least 20 Britons are undergoing terrorist training in Pakistan to launch Mumbai-style shootings and suicide attacks in Britain, intelligence sources have told The Daily Telegraph. The young Muslims, who all hold British passports, are said to have travelled into the lawless tribal areas of Pakistan to join training camps run by al-Qaeda and their associated militant groups. They are being trained to use firearms as well as explosives so that they can launch random shooting sprees in the UK, Western intelligence sources said.
"We believe there are 15 to 20 Britons in the camps," said an intelligence source in Islamabad, speaking on condition of anonymity.The disclosure comes after the CIA launched drone strikes on Pakistan training camps in North and South Waziristan in an attempt to disrupt an al-Qaeda plot to launch an attack targeting Britain, France and Germany. "This is an ongoing operation with a constantly changing dynamic," one security source said. "There are local, national and international links, including Pakistan."
Intelligence agencies in Britain and the US were in the early stages of establishing the full details of the plot but MI5 had traced it from Pakistan back to Britain, sources told The Daily Telegraph. A US intelligence source said the threat was "credible, but not specific" and could have included other European countries such as Spain and Italy, or even the US.
Some of the intelligence is understood to have originated with the capture of a German national in Kabul, Afghanistan in July. Ahmed Sidiqi, 36, is said to have talked of training with explosives and weapons and of plans to launch attacks in Germany and Europe. Sidiqi attended the Masjid Taiba mosque, formerly known as the Al-Quds mosque, in Hamburg, which was also attended by the leaders of the September 11 attacks.
A would-be terrorist was seriously injured when a homemade bomb attached to his bicycle handlebars exploded on Jakarta's outskirts. The device, packed with nails and ball bearings, exploded near a market in the satellite city of Bekasi on Thursday morning.The 38-year-old - identified by local media only as Ahmad - was rushed to hospital with face, neck and torso injuries. No one else was hurt in the blast.
The man was reportedly carrying a suicide note saying he was seeking revenge against the enemies of Islam.
"This is revenge against you, the allies of Satan, who have killed, executed and detained mujahidin (holy warriors)," read the note, shown on Indonesian television. "We are ready to die for this noble religion. This martyr's bomb is for all you infidels. We will chase you, even if you run to heaven. Your death is certain. Mujahidin still lives in Indonesia."
Police sources told local media they believe the man had been targeting a traffic police post but had botched the attack.
Needless to say, I didn't vote for Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North. Like many on the Left, he has a blind spot about Islam. Here he is on that contradiction in terms, the Islamic Human Rights Commission:
I like the way it works, I like the sense of values surrounding it, and I've found them extremely helpful in bringing cases to my attention of individual abuses of human rights that they're concerned about. But also general issues concerning the rights of people in the Middle East. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I've found them generally extremely helpful, extremely positive, and help to challenge the notion that human rights is somehow or other something based on Romano-Christian law and based on Europe rather than the rest of the world.
I like the concept that Islamic Human Rights Commission represents all that's best in Islam concerning the rights of individuals to free expression, to peaceful assembly, and the rights of individuals within a society.
I like the concept too. It's the reality I have a problem with. As for the "sense of values surrounding it", where there's no sense there's no feeling. Corbyn implies, although he does not state, that "the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan" is all the fault of us "Romano-Christians" and that stoning, flogging, killing of gays and apostates and oppression of women and non-Muslims are nothing to do with Islam.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission promotes Sharia, and there is nothing Romano-Christian about that.
She said "At least three seats where we lost, where we didn't gain the seat, based on electoral fraud. Now, could we have planned for that in the campaign? Absolutely not. I think it would be wrong to start identifying them . . . It is predominantly within the Asian community. I have to look back and say we didn't do well in those communities, but was there something over and above that we could have done? Well, actually not, if there is going to be voter fraud."
It's fair to say that for some years in Westminster the subject of electoral fraud and its prevalence in certain parts of the Asian community has been the great unspoken subject. Abuse of postal ballots and the electoral roll is regularly deplored, but politicians have always been wary of making such a blunt statement: that the problem too often can be traced to areas with significant British Asian populations. In private politicians of all three parties are happy to deplore the importing of what one minister described to me as "the politics of the sub-continent" but they seldom dare say it out loud for fear of being shouted down. To hear it in such unequivocal terms from a minister is striking, all the more so when the minister in question is herself of Asian extraction. You could say it needed to come from someone who is of the Asian community to give it force.
But was it wise? I've only seen the extract, but she has made a specific allegation yet refused to back it up with names or evidence. Surely, if Lady Warsi is going to drop a bombshell like that, she should tell the whole story or at least pass her evidence to the Electoral Commission and the police. This is an issue that deserves to be debated in public, but to do so requires specifics. Otherwise it's a sweeping generalisation that makes it too easy for Labour to cry 'smear'.
I can give you an example, only it was a popular and well respected independent who lost her seat. Val Rush - Gascoigne Ward - London Borough of Barking
MP for Dagenham - EDL more dangerous than the BNP due to their potential to be a British Tea Party.
Now this is very odd. A Telegraph blogger commenting on a left wing publication again, this time Daniel Hannan on an interview with John Cruddas Labour MP for Dagenham interviewed by the Guardian. And as Hannan says, for the first seven minutes he is quite sensible. He shows how he has retained his seat and the loyalty of his constituency workers for so long. Local accent, charm, humour, he knows how much a season ticket at West Ham costs (not mentioned he also sponsors Dagenham and Redbridge FC ) and he seems down to earth. Then right at the end, he says, and I'll quote Daniel Hannan first
John Cruddas, the conscience of Old Labour, comes across as a decent enough sort until right at the end, when he says something utterly extraordinary: "What worries me more [than the BNP] is the English Defence League because they are tied into key elements of what could be a prospective Tea Party". What? What?
What he actually says is even more startling. After describing the massive de-industrialisation of Dagenham, and the extraordinary rate of demographic change, and that the BNP are a symptom of the Globalisation which ripped through the microclimate of Dagenham, he says
"But what worries me more is the English Defence League, because they are tied in, through certain key individuals, er, er, key elements of what could be a er, prospective Tea Party, certain forms of Evangelical Churches, some big funders and its worrying, well it worrys me, and its lived out on the streets, its day to day, out there on the streets, and its anchored in sport and working class culture, and I think its very, very, worrying".
The Evangelical Churches in Dagenham are black African Churches, like the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry that now occupies the old Princess Bowling Alley (bowling moved to a splendid new alley in the Warner entertainment village next to the cinema about a mile away). Proof that the EDL is not racist, which is what makes them impossible to easily dismiss.
As Daniel Hannan says, the Tea Party is mainstream, moderate and reasonable. To quote him
More moderate, certainly, than Mr Cruddas's palaeo-socialism which, to his credit, even he admits will never win an election.
I think we have the establishment worried. Watch them try to crack down.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the most intelligent, charming, worldly people in such places as the U.N. and its various succursales in Geneva, Paris, Rome, and in the E.U. parliaments of vowelsin Brussels and Strasbourg, are to be found not among the official representatives and assorted apparatchiks on site, and certainly not among the visiting dumb diplomats who wander in off the street or the even bigger shots who are Leaders or, in American fashion, Taking a Leadership Role, but among, rather, the corps of translators and simultaneous interpreters. Those translators and interpreters keep that knowledge politely to themselves. But we don't have to.
Today is International Translation Day (no doubt because it is the Feast Day of St. Jerome, patron saint of the scholarly, and with his docile lion couchant, potentially the patron saint of zookeepers as well). So today would be a good day for those of us who are not translators and interpreters, but stand astonied at the linguistic feats that are performed every day by the best of them, feats too often taken for granted by employers and clients who have no idea what it takes, to wish those translators and interpreters wel. And wishing them well should mean -- if it is to have any meaning that means something, that is if we mean it -- that they deserve, in this Century of Sauve Qui Peut, a big fat pay raise from those insufficiently-grateful employers.
And since it's the Feast Day of St. Jerome, why not -- in honor of those interpreters attached to those international organizations, those translators who stitch together an often-precarious existence from the piecework distributed to them by publishers -- a feast, furnished forth by those international organizations and those publishing houses. Yes, bring on the bouffetance, In tutte le salse, quick, schnell, skorym shagom! And as to the wine -- well, don't be stingy, baby.
(...)Muslims comprise only one and a half percent of the American population, but be prepared for the latest exercise in Muslim propaganda and toy promotion - "The Ninety-Nine". This began life as a series of printed comic "super-hero" characters, each one representing one of the Ninety-Nine names of Allah.
The Ninety-Nine featured in printed monthly comic books, originally produced by Teshkeel Comics in Kuwait. This company had deals to publish Arabic versions of Marvel, DC and Archie comics. Now, the Ninety-Nine is on sale in North America, distributed by Diamond.
The Ninety-Nine is the brainchild of a Kuwaiti psychologist and entrepreneur, Dr Naif Al-Mutawa. He described how his desire to create the comic-book series emerged after hearing anti-Western hate from an imam at a mosque he attended:
"Many imams today are still preaching in the rhetoric of the seventh century without regard to contemporary reality. But unlike Jesus and Mohammad, they preach not of future rewards for living a just life as Allah promised. Instead, they offer their rewards to those who devote themselves to the genocide of those who they have anointed our enemies. They prefer not to leave Judgment Day to Allah, instead they substitute themselves as a sort of lower trial court...
...It is finally time that all of us became more accountable for that which our children will be hearing; tiny differences setting us apart rather than celebrating those positive things that bind all good people together."
I am sure Dr. Al-Mutawa is well-intentioned, and his comic books are - of themselves - not designed to promote archaic intolerance. Some of the superhero characters are female, and these do not always wear hijabs (headscarves). In Muslim countries and Muslim homes in America, this is perfectly acceptable, and can not be seen as a bad thing.
However, no matter how edifying the comic books may be for Muslim families, it is bizarre to see the President of the United States endorsing such religiously-inspired products, because they upheld the "teachings and tolerance of Islam." The POTUS should normally be upholding the Establishment Clause of the Bill of Rights, and not be promoting a particular faith, but this president seems to think his desire to create good feelings in Muslims over-rides his need to abide by the First Amendment. The endorsement of Naif Al-Mutawa and The Ninety-Nine can be watched below:
A comic book is something that a child (or adult) elects to read. Pages must be turned, text must be read to make sense of the pictures. Animated cartoons do not require such deliberate behaviour on the part of the viewer. They are there, they move, they have a soundtrack with music, the characters speak, and no-one has to turn the pages.
However, there is now a new development, which will take what is essentially a religious notion and promote it on mainstream Kids' TV. Hasbro is a toy manufacturer associated with manufacturing dolls and toys related to media products - Star Wars characters, My Little Pony. Hasbro has recently linked up with the Discovery Channel to create a new network that will be premiering soon, operating as a TV network and web platform. Brian Goldner, Hasbro's President and CEO, said:
"We believe the time is right for Hasbro to take the next step into television through our partnership with Discovery Communications. David Zaslav and his talented team have the experience, track record and ambition necessary to make this joint venture a long-term success as we build this network. We look forward to creating fun, stimulating and educational content that will allow us to deliver all-new brand experiences to the young and 'young at heart' - anywhere and anytime they want."
The new media outlet, called The Hub, will officially start airing on October 11, with veteran broadcaster Margaret Loesch running the schedule. And on the schedule of The Hub network will be an animated series called "The 99", which will bring to life the Islamic cartoon superheroes. This is the first time that I am aware of where a religious cartoon series has been broadcast and aimed at the general viewing public.
South Park is hardly a children's cartoon show, but its incitement of rage from the Islamic world has set a precedent in broadcasting. In July 2001, the 68th show depicted Mohammed the prophet as a super-hero, joining forces with Buddha, Moses and others to fight evil, in an episode entitled "Super Best Friends." When this episode was broadcast, there was no uproar. Subsequent depictions of Mohammed in South Park have led to deliberate censorship by Comedy Central, and angry reactions from Muslims. Most recently , when Mohammed was depicted, hidden inside a bear suit, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were subjected to death threats.
In such a climate, where adults in America and the West cannot be allowed to see Islam's main character in cartoon form, it seems to be in decidedly poor taste to have superhero avatars of Allah depicted for children. It seems like indoctrination, an indoctrination made more blatant by Obama's totally inappropriate promotion of The Ninety-Nine.
Even in Islamic terms, to depict attributes of Allah in human form is a form of blasphemy. Purists of Islam would affirm that any images of any human being are forbidden, quoting Hadiths such as the following by Bukhari:
Volume 5, Book 58, Number 213:
Um Habiba and Um Salama mentioned a church they had seen in Ethiopia and in the church there were pictures. When they told the Prophet of this, he said, "Those people are such that if a pious man amongst them died, they build a place of worship over his grave and paint these pictures in it. Those people will be Allah's worst creatures on the Day of Resurrection."
Even depictions of animals were forbidden by the prophet, according to Bukhari's accounts:
Volume 8, Book 73, Number 130:
The Prophet entered upon me while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he got hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. The Prophet said, "Such people as paint these pictures will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection."
Similar prohibitions are found in the Sahih Hadith anthology of Muslim, here and here. Mohammed had said: "All the painters who make pictures would be in the fire of Hell. The soul will be breathed in every picture prepared by him and it shall punish him in the Hell."
The scholar Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 - 1328), whose ideas inspired the intolerant Saudi Arabian ideology of Wahhabism, was jailed for describing Allah in terms of anthropomorphism, stating that he had a "foot", "hand", "face" and so on.
In Kuwait, the Ninety-Nine has been seen as educational and instructional, and has not been criticised. But it does seem strange that Islam - dressed up in the form of cartoon superhero characters - should be presented on the screen.
Are we going to see ass-kicking Christian superhero nuns, called Faith, Hope and Charity, whooping sinner's butts and sending Satan into Hell? It is doubtful.
This disparity is one of the worst things affecting society at present. Christianity and Judaism do not get featured in mainstream media, but Islam is not only depicted in all strands of the media, it is being promoted by a president who seems to have forgotten what he swore to uphold when he entered office.
If Obama can promote Islam, he should also publicly promote Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and every other faith. The fact that he does not is a very worrying development in politics. The separation of church (and mosque, synagogue, gudwara and ashram) and state has been a guiding factor of American political life since the time of Jefferson. To promote one faith above another is shameful. The president's official endorsement of The Ninety-Nine has legitimized it and given it enough impetus to be broadcast to the masses.
There are some Christian movie-makers and animators, whose work goes out on cable or on DVD. Would these people's work be endorsed by the president? Would their handiwork be broadcast in Kuwait?
Everyone is equal under the law. The separation of Church and State was a principle designed to ensure that peoples of all faiths were similarly treated as equals under the law. There is too much bias in America and the West, where Islam can be promoted, but it can never be criticized. This breaks the contract that was established more than two hundred years ago - in the First Amendment - to protect everyone's religious rights.
The doctrines and considerations of the Founding Fathers were written down after great debates and lengthy consultation. They have lasted for so long because they have proved the worth of their meaning and purpose. After only two years, one individual seems to think he can dispense with two hundred years of historical precedent. Such political hubris is usually followed by electoral nemesis.
Since at least 1997 the Labour party has shamelessly courted the Muslim vote. How will it fare under its new leader, Ed Milliband?
No matter how little he cares about religion, no matter how much he mouths multicultural pieties, no matter how much he increases the already over-generous benefits that Muslims receive in disproportionate numbers, no matter how many concessions he makes to Muslim prisoners, and no matter how stupidly or maliciously he attacks Israel, Milliband may well lose the Muslim vote. He is Jewish.
Should Milliband be on the receiving end of some perfectly Islamic Jew-hatred, it is to be hoped that he will learn something. Hoped, but not expected.
Aujourd' today is international day of translation (no doubt because c' is the day of treat of the street Jerome, saint of owner of the scientist, and with his setting flexible lion, potentially the saint of owner of the zookeepers as well). So much aujourd' today be one beautiful day for those of us who are not translators and interpreters, but hold you astonied with the linguistic exploits who are days laborer carried out by the best of them, with the exploits too often taken for granted by employers and with the customers who n' have any idea this qu' he takes, to wish these translators and interpreters wel. And the wish of them good should mean -- s' it is d' to have n' import which significance which means something, c' is if we want to say it -- qu' they deserve, in this century of Safe Which Can, a great gross pay rise of these insufficient-grateful employers.
I n'aven't seen qu'anything d'like a flexible lion. N'have you?
And this prompts me to repost something I put up at NER eight months ago about another patron saint of language somewhat less sedate than sedent St. Jerome, a wayward wit who minded his P's and his Q's: Raymond Queneau.
Raymond Queneau (February 21, 1903 - October 25, 1976) was a French poet and novelist.
Innate inside Le Havre, Normandy, Queneau was the merely toddler of Auguste Queneau & Joséphine Mignot. He received his number 1 baccalauréat around 1919 for Latwithin & Greek, and another in 1920 for philosophy, then deliberate at a Sorbonne (1921-1923) where he was the fair student of each letters & maths, graduating by using certificates inside philosophy & psychological science. Inside 1924 he met and briefly joined a Surrealists, but obtained that their approach of allowing a unconscious produce did non lawsuit him, & he broke sustaining André Breton in 1929. Queneau performed armed forces service as a zouave within Algeria and Morocco during the years 1925-1926. He married Janine Kahn within 1928, with whom he experienced one boy Jean-Marie inside 1934, and remained by having her until her dying within 1972. Queneau was drafted within 1939 but demobilized in 1940, and through the remainder of World War II, he and his personal accept a painter Elie Lascaux in Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat.
Queneau spent tremendously of his life working for French publisher Gallimard, where he began as a reader around 1938, rose to be general secretary, & sooner or later became director of l'Encyclopédie first state la Pléiade inside 1956. When you took a select few of this period, he likewise taught at l'École nouvelle diamond state Neuilly. He entered a Collège de 'Pataphysique in 1950, where he became Satrap, & was elected to the Académie Goncourt in 1951, l'Académie de l'Humour around 1952, and a jury of the Cannes Film Festival 1955-1957. In the period of this period, Queneau as well acted as a translator, notably for Amos Tutuola's The Palm Wine Drinkard ('fifty'Ivrogne dans la brousse) inside 1953.
As an creator, Queneau come to general attention around France by using a publication around 1959 of his novel Zazie dans le métro, and using a film adaptation by Louis Malle in 1960 at the height of the Nouvelle Vague movement in French film. Zazie' explores conversational language when opposed to 'standard' written French; the distinction which is possibly extra marked around French than within a bit of more languages. A foremost word of a book, the alarmingly hanker "Doukipudonktan" occurs as phonetic transcription of "D'où qu'ils puent donc tant ?" "Why do they stink so much?".
Potentially prior to a instauration of the Oulipo in 1960, Queneau was attracted to mathematics as a source of inspiration. He became the member of la Société mathématique de France within 1948. Elements of a text, including on the face of it trivial details like the total of chapters, were items that experienced to exist as predetermined, mayhap potentially estimated. Mayhap non amazingly, his final function, Les fondements delaware la littérature d'après David Hilbert (1976), attempts to choose a foundations of literature by quasi-mathematical derivations from either certain textual axioms.
Queneau is buried by having his parents in the old memorial park of Juvisy-sur-Orge, in Essone outside Paris.
Bibliography Novels Le Chiendent or even The bark-tree (1933) Gueule first state capital of south dakota (1934). Les Derniers jours or even The last days (1936) Odile (1937) Les Enfants du Limon (1938) Un Rude hiver (1939) or A Hard Winter (1948) Les temporary mêlés (1941) Pierrot mon ami or even Pierrot (1942) Si tu t'imagines (1942) Loin delaware Rueil or even The skin of dreams (1944) In passing (1944) In eastern time toujours trop bon avec les femmes or even We always treat women too well (1947) Saint-Glinglin (1948) Le Journal intime diamond state Sally Mara (1950) Le Dimanche diamond state la vie or even The Sunday of life (1952) Zazie dans lupus erythematosus métro or even Zazie in the metro (1959) Les Fleurs bleues or even Between blue and blue (1965) 'Le Vol 500'Icare or even The flight of Icarus (1968)
Poetry Chêne et chien (1937) Les Ziaux (1943) 50'Instant deadly (1946) Midget cosmogonie portative (1950) Cent Mille Milliards first state Poèmes or even Hundred Thousand Billion Poems (1961) Le chien à la mandoline (1965) Battre la campagne or even Beating the bushes (1967) Courir les rues or even Pounding the pavements (1967) Fendre les flots (1969) Morale élémentaire (1975)
Essays and articles Bâtons, chiffres et lettres (1950) Pour Une Bibliothèque Idéale (1956) Entretiens avec Georges Charbonnier (1962) Bords (1963) Une Histoire modèle (1966) Le Voyage nut Grèce (1973) Traité des vertus démocratiques (1993)
Other Un Cadavre (1930) with Jacques Baron, Georges Bataille, J.-A. Boiffard, Robert Desnos, Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour, Max Morise, Jacques Prévert, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, and Roger Vitrac. Exercises delaware Style or even Exercises in style (1947) Les fondements first state la littérature d'après David Hilbert (1976) Contes et propos (1981) Journal 1939-1940 (1986) Journaux 1914-1965' (1996)
American citizenship makes traveling easier - that had to be the only reason this man obtained it. From AP:
MADRID - Spanish police have arrested a U.S. citizen of Algerian origin who is suspected of financing al-Qaida's North African affiliate, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.
Mohamed Omar Debhi, 43, was arrested Tuesday in the town of Esplugues de Llobregat, a Barcelona suburb. His arrest is not connected to terrorism alerts this week in France and Britain and is just a coincidence, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity in line with ministry rules.
Debhi is suspected of laundering money and sending some of it to an associate in Algeria, Toufik Mizi, to be passed on to cells of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, a ministry statement said. Mizi is wanted in Spain after eluding a police raid in 2008.
The ministry said Debhi used bank transfers or human couriers to send Mizi amounts in excess of euro60,000 ($80,000), although it did not specify how much was sent altogether.
The statement said Debhi was "linked to crimes of financing terrorism in the Sahel for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb," referring to the vast stretch of sub-Saharan territory where the terror organization has kidnapped several Europeans and other Westerners in recent years.
Some of the money Debhi sent to Algeria was transferred under the guise of business transactions that turned out to be bogus, the ministry said. He is also suspected of tax fraud and forgery in Spain.
Police who investigated Debhi have seized three PCs, hard drives and banking and other documents, the statement said. It did not specify if any intelligence had been obtained from the confiscated material.
Authorities also seized a luxury car and a boat moored in Badalona, a town just north of Barcelona, the statement said.
Mizi used to live in Spain but fled after a series of police raids in June 2008 that targeted a cell suspected of recruiting Islamic terrorists and providing logistical support for members of al-Qaida's North African affiliate. Eight people were arrested in those raids, which were carried out in Pamplona, Barcelona and the eastern city of Castellon.
The Interior Ministry official said Debhi at one point lived in Texas in a town with the postal code 77450. That corresponds to the town of Katy, near Houston. The ministry had no immediate information on when Debhi obtained U.S. citizenship, the official said.
Ataturk's rate of rotation in his grave is increasing
As if the systematic dismantling of his reforms that allowed Turkey to temporarily rise out of the morass of Islamic malaise wasn't enough, now there comes word that his yacht was used for prostitution. From Arab News:
ANKARA: Turkey's government has seized the one-time state yacht of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, following media reports that a vice ring had used the vessel to throw sex parties with prostitutes.
Eight women and two underage girls, all of whom were believed to be prostitutes, were taken for health checks after authorities in the Mediterranean city of Antalya confiscated the 136-meter Savarona, state-run Anatolian news agency reported.
Eight people, including two women, remain in custody, it said.
The Savarona had been leased to a businessman by the Finance Ministry.
"I gave the necessary instructions for the cancellation of the ship's lease," Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek told Anatolian, adding the Culture Ministry should now take ownership of the vessel.
"If the company does not agree on the cancellation of the ship's license, we will take the case to court and make the effort to have it annulled by a court ruling."
Anatolian said leaders of the sex-ring charged clients between $3,000 and $10,000 for a night with the prostitutes, who came from Russia and Ukraine.
The fact that they're kufirs probably explains why this article doesn't mention criminal charges, only that the yacht would no longer be leased to the unnamed businessman.
Ataturk, a war hero who founded Turkey from the ashes of the defeated Ottoman Empire, is Turkey's most respected figure. Statues and portraits of the warrior statesman are ubiquitous, and insults to his memory are punishable with a jail sentence.
"The prostitution scandal on the ship is a major impertinence to the memory of Ataturk," Sevigen said.
Would it be too conspiratorial to wonder whether Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Erdogan, and other religiously-motivated politicians purposely allowed the yacht to be used by the unnamed businessman for prostitution, and then publicized the scandal, in order to sully the memory of Ataturk, to rub his face in the dirt a little?
The fallout continues in response to my Big Peace article filed on Monday concerning a known Hamas operative and unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism finance trial in U.S. history who was given a VIP tour of the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and the FBI training center at Quantico as part of a six-week FBI Citizen Academy arranged by the FBI Chicago Field Office.
Now a Homeland Security official (requesting anonymity for fear of retaliation by superiors) has contacted Big Peace saying that "the plugs had to be pulled on our system" in order to allow Kifah Mustapha to enter the NCTC and that "the NCTC has Kifah Mustapha on the highest watch list we have. There's no way from a systems point-of-view that this could be an accidental oversight, unless they didn't bother checking at all as they are required to do."
The DHS official added, "It's as if we haven't learned anything from twenty years of reaching out to the wrong people in the Muslim community."
My report on Monday was prompted by a WLS ABC7-Chicago story over the weekend by news anchor Ben Bradley describing his participation in the FBI's Citizen Academy with Kifah Mustapha. As I noted then, curiously absent from Bradley's story was any mention of his Hamas travel partner's terror-tied background. Even more curious, ABC7 had aired an investigative report back in March about Mustapha, along with several subsequent reports about his de-certification by the Illinois State Police as a Muslim chaplain after failing a background check. Mustapha is currently suing the State Police claiming discrimination with the help of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), identified by FBI Special Agent Lara Burns during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial as a Hamas front group.
What makes Bradley's silence about Kifah Mustapha's activities in support of Hamas all the more odd is that one of his own ABC7 colleagues, Chuck Goudie, published an editorial three weeks before Bradley's story aired contrasting the Illinois State Police's de-certification of Mustapha and the FBI's open embrace of the Hamas operative.
Mustapha's terrorist support activities are laid out in court documents filed by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation case:
- Kifah Mustapha was personally named unindicted co-conspirator (#31) in the case, identifying him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee that federal prosecutors say was formed to raise money for Hamas and was "committed to the globalization of Islam and violent jihad."
- Holy Land Foundation records confiscated by the FBI indicate that he was a longtime employee of the group and was paid more than $154,000 between 1996 and 2000 when the group's financial support for Hamas was at its peak.
- FBI Agent Lara Burns testified during the trial that Mustapha was a member of the notorious Al-Sakhra Band sponsored by the Holy Land Foundation and the Islamic Association for Palestine (another Hamas front group that was the parent group to CAIR) that regularly featured songs about murdering Jews and glorifying Hamas. The leader of the singing group, Mufid Abdelqader, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- In a deposition in a civil case filed against the Holy Land Foundation and other Islamic groups by the parents of a Chicago teenager murdered by Hamas at a bus stop in Israel (the groups were found liable in a $156 million judgment), Mustapha admitted that he was the registered agent for the Holy Land Foundation's Illinois office. His Chicago-area office was specifically named by the U.S. Treasury when the group was listed as a specially designated global terrorist group in December 2001.
- The Bridgeview Foundation, the mosque where Mustapha is presently an imam, was identified by the Chicago Tribune in 2004 as a national hot-spot for Hamas fundraising and terrorist support.
The stark contradiction of the NCTC placing an individual on a terror watch list (as represented by the Homeland Security official we spoke with yesterday) based on evidence collected by the FBI and presented by federal prosecutors in a terrorism financing trial, and then being granted access to that same top-secret NCTC facility by the same FBI, is is painfully obvious.
But it should be noted that this is not the first time that Kifah Mustapha has been granted access to secure areas accessible only to Homeland Security personnel.
In June 2006, Mustapha was part of a group led by CAIR-Chicago officials that was given a behind-the-scenes tour of Chicago's O'Hare Airport, one of the busiest airports in the nation. A report of the tour is still available on the CAIR-Chicago website, as are pictures featuring Mustapha at the secure area event hobnobbing with TSA officials.
As the Homeland Security official we spoke with noted, the U.S. Government has a very poor historical record in the "Annals of Outreach":
- As I reported here at Big Peace earlier this month, the Congressional Muslim Staff Association invited Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Aulaqi to lead prayers on Capitol Hill after 9/11. Video of Al-Aulaqi preaching to congressional staffers was included in the 2002 documentary, "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet". Al-Aulaqi was spiritual advisor to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, and has been the inspiration for the Ft. Hood massacre, the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber, and the attempted Times Square bombing. He is currently subject to a kill or capture order signed by President Obama.
- In 1991, the first Muslim cleric to offer opening prayers in Congress, Siraj Wahhaj, was later named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1995 "Day of Terror" trial of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman. The Blind Sheikh was sentenced to life in prison. Wahhaj served as a character witness for the defense during the trial. After NYC Mayor Bloomberg was told of Wahhaj's past after meeting with the imam last year, Bloomberg later apologized for taking the meeting.
- The most prominent Muslim leader during the 1990s and immediately following 9/11 was Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was appointed a "goodwill ambassador" to the Middle East by the U.S. State Deparment and was the point man for establishing the Muslim chaplain program for the Defense Department. Alamoudi was the most frequent Muslim visitor in the White House during the Clinton Administration, and was courted by then-presidential candidate George W. Bush in the 2000 election. Alamoudi also bankrolled, along with large contributions from well-heeled donors in the Middle East, the establishment of the Islamic Institute by GOP activist Grover Norquist and Alamoudi acolyte Khaled Saffuri. But Alamoudi is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after his conviction in an international plot led by Libyan intelligence to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah in 2003. The U.S. Treasury Department later identified Alamoudi as a top Al-Qaeda fundraiser in America, saying that "the September 2003 arrest of Alamoudi was a severe blow to al Qaida, as Alamoudi had a close relationship with al Qaida and had raised money for al Qaida in the United States."
- Helping Alamoudi hand-pick and train the Muslim chaplain corps for the Defense Department was Taha Jaber Al-Awani, chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America. However, his organization, the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, was raided by the FBI in 2002. Al-Awani was later named by federal prosecutors as "Unindicted Co-Conspirator #5? in the terrorism trial of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian.
- Muzammil Siddiqi met with President Bush just days after 9/11, which prompted the media to ask questions about his service as a translator for the Blind Sheikh just two months before the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, where the Blind Sheikh exhorted Siddiqui's congregation to violent jihad, and statements Siddiqi made prior to 9/11 warning of the "wrath of God" falling on the U.S. One former Secret Service agent, noting Siddiqui's close association with Alamoudi, toldFox News, "the intelligence community has known for sometime the association of Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, and Mr. Alamoudi and their association with terrorist organizations."
- Earlier this year, a military contractor was suspended and an Army criminal investigation opened after Louay Safi was invited to speak on Islam to troops departing for Afghanistan at Ft. Hood less than a month after Army Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers. Safi was on base at Ft. Hood during the massacre. As noted by my colleague Andy McCarthy, Safi had been caught on federal wiretaps talking with Sami Al-Arian about President Clinton's designation of Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization and its impact on Al-Arian's U.S. operations. Safi was also named in a federal affidavit by U.S. Customs Special Agent David Kane in applying for a federal warrant as part of the Operation Greenquest terror finance investigation, during which Safi's office was raided by the FBI. Rowan Scarborough has also reported on statements made by Safi encouraging violence against unbelievers and advocating for armed jihad.
With the VIP tour given to Kifah Mustapha, however, the U.S. government may have reached a new low.
We're Not Family, We're Not Excited, We Don't Want Innovative Programs -- We Want Something Better
I friend passed on to mea letter he recently received from a school -- hereinafter known as "X," that he had attended. It was the Passing of the Guard -- the new principal was announcing, with cloying and formulaic praise, the departure of the director of alumni affairs. My friend and informant wanted me to read the letter, and let him know if I thought he should make a large donation to the school.
I started to read the letter addressed to "Members of the X family." It was "with mixed emotions" that he announced the departure of Mr. Y who, "with unwavering expertise and dedication," had given years to the school. Mr. Y was someone who "richly deserves" to "spend more time with his family and enjoy other pursuits." Mr. Y and his wife "look foward to an exciting new chapter of their lives."
Among Mr. Y's virtues was the fact that he "demonstrated an uncommon talent" for "hiring team members" who "believe in X's mission." Mr. Y worked "tirelessly" and also developed "innovative" programs to "better serve" our allumni, and tp "forge meaningful and substantial bonds" among the alumni. He's shown "superb management skills," raised lots of money, "spearheaded a drive" to do this and then that, made "inestimable contributions" to the life of the "X community" both on and (surprise!) "off camps." His "boundless" knowledge of the alumni, his "tireless travels" both "across the nation and the world" have been "pivotal to the growth," the growth, growth, growth, of the endowment, or the school, or the school-which-is-its-endowment.
And then followed some stuff and guff bout a "national search," which would occur once the school's lords and masters had properly defined the "type of leader we need as we build our strong AA&D [Alumni Affairs and Development -- this means fundraising] program to meet" -- well, now you try to guess what the school needs to meet?
Yes, you're right -- "to meet the exciting challenges that lie ahead."
"Please join me in thanking and congratulating" a man who..."has become a dear friend."
What? Just a "dear friend"? Not a "dear personal friend"?
I'm disturbed by this. If Mr. Y, for all he's done for school X, is not a "close personal friend" or a "dear personal friend" of Principal Z, but after all those years of toil, is only a "dear friend," then something is amiss.
I don't think I'll be able recommend to my friend that he donate this year. And I might urge him not to remember X -- as that school keeps hinting, and not at all demurely, would be welcome -- in his will.
Tariq Ramadan is a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Oxford's St Antony's College and a Senior Research Fellow at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. He is also the president of the European Muslim Network headquartered in Brussels, and the author of some 20 books. Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2009 and Time magazine calls Ramadan "One of the most important innovators for the twenty-first century." The full title of his Oxford chair is "the His Highness Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chair in Contemporary Islamic Studies," reflecting the source of the endowment (Qatar) which has opened the doors to so much else, but Ramadan is identified by the carefully shortened version, "Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University," on the book's cover. more>>>
In 1573, the painter Paolo Caliari (a native of Verona, and so more familiarly known as Paolo Veronese) was summoned before the Venetian office of the Inquisition. He had recently completed a depiction of the Last Supper in one of the city's basilicas, and the Inquisitors wanted to know why he had filled his picture with such seemingly irreverent figures as dwarves, dogs, and a servant with a bloody nose. Particularly suspicious were a number of figures who appeared German or Swiss, and thus were presumed to represent Protestants. Veronese addressed his interlocutors with great confidence, asserting that it was his privilege and duty as an artist to paint according to the precedence of artistic tradition - he invoked the particular authority of Michelangelo, who painted nudes on the walls of the Sistine Chapel - and the lights of his own talent. Eventually, he appeased the Inquisitors by simply changing the title of his work. more>>>
Stuyvesant Boys, the 1960 Graduation and the 50th Reunion
by Norman Berdichevsky (October 2010)
Stuyvesant High School in Lower Manhattan celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004 and is regarded as one of the finest secondary schools in the United States with an outstanding reputation for the academic and professional achievements of those who have been its students. A 1957 survey found that Stuyvesant High School alumni accounted for more Ph.D.s earned in the United States than any other high school. Among its alumni are the current Attorney General Eric Holder (1969), Democratic strategist, David Axelrod (1972), Dick Morris (1964), author and former close advisor to President Bill Clinton, and myself (1960). more>>>
I wake up early in the morning, still suffering from jet lag. I hear the hoopoe bird and the roosters calling from the distance as the light slowly comes through the windows, a typical morning in highland southern Africa. African mornings are a dawn chorus of birds, domestic animals and in the rural areas, the sounds of mothers making tea for the family before they go to town or out onto their farms. more>>>
Fragile Middle East: An Interview with Israeli Consul General Ofer Bavly
by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates (October 2010)
The fragile Middle East Peace talks orchestrated by the Obama Administration between the Netanyahu government and the Palestinian Authority were at a critical stage when we held an interview with Israeli Consul for Florida and Puerto Rico, Ofer Bavly. We had interviewed his articulate Deputy, Paul Hirschson about the Iranian Nuclear Threat in the May 2010 edition of the New English Review. That threat was graphically in evidence at the Fall UN General Assembly annual meetings in New York with dramatic statements by Iran's President Ahmadinejad, resolute in opposing world concerns about achieving nuclear weapon supremacy in the region. Ahmadinejad rocked the proceedings with his bizarre speech accusing the US of orchestrating 9/11 in defense of Israel. more>>>
For three days in September, anti-Hindu violence wracked the Deganga area in North 24 Parganas, only 40 kilometers from the West Bengal capital of Kolkata. Though the violence has subsided, Hindu residents fear renewed attacks, which could have been the attackers' intention all along. West Bengal BJP member Tathagata Roy visited the area twice since the violence began and noted, "What struck me about the pogrom (not riot, because no Hindu hit a Muslim) is that no Hindu was physically hurt, and no Hindu woman was molested, a regular feature in all Muslim attacks. But destruction of property and threats were both rampant." From that Roy concludes that "this was a well-thought-out, well-executed pogrom whose objective was to terrorize the Hindus no end without committing any major crime beyond arson. The ultimate intention can only be to cleanse the area of Hindus with a view to totally Islamize the area." more>>>
Anyone who is not a complete fool, and we in the West now have more than our fair share of those, should be able to see that we are at war. Islam, at least as recently as 11 September 2001, has declared war on what is commonly referred to as da Vess. Many, far too many, in the West would seem to prefer being killed to running the risk of ever offending anyone who is Muslim.more>>>
The film "An Education" is a coming of age story adapted from a memoir by well-known Guardian journalist, Lyn Barber, from her teenage life in 1961.(1) It is her recollection of being wooed and feted as a 16 year-old girl by an older man in his mid 30s. She was a talented young girl with a lust for life. It is a "journey" film but her journey was along the wrong course and back on track again: a coming of age film. The film was released in October 2009 and critically acclaimed with eight BAFTA nominations, a nomination for a Golden Globe and numerous glowing reviews. more>>>