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These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 4, 2009.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
New al-Qaeda 'body bombs' that can beat airport security are alarming terror experts

From The Sunday Times
International anti-terrorist officials are alarmed that al-Qaeda is trying new "body bomb" devices that would enable suicide bombers to breach airline security measures.
Anti-terrorism experts held an emergency meeting last month after an al-Qaeda militant passed through several airline security checks with a bomb hidden in his intestine. He later detonated the bomb with a cell phone signal, but failed in his attempt to assassinate a prominent Saudi prince.
"While not wanting to be alarmist, I admit this is alarming," said Richard Barrett, head of the United Nations' al-Qaeda and Taliban monitoring group.
"Even though its capability is reduced, it is clear that al-Qaeda remains determined enough and inventive enough to cause another terrorist spectacular."
The frightening episode occurred on August 28 last when, Abdullah al-Asiri, one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted men, offered to give himself up to Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, the head of Saudi Arabia's counter terrorism operations.
It was during the month of Ramadan, a time of repentance for Muslims and Aseiri was granted an audience with the prince at his private palace in Jeddah, by declaring that he would persuade other militants to surrender.
Asiri briefly called other militants to tell them that he was standing alongside Prince Nayef. It was all recorded by al-Qaeda who has turned the episode into an animated movie boasting of their exploits. During the conversation a bleep was heard between two identical phrases repeated by the bomber and the man he is speaking to. This keypad sound or text message may have activated a short fuse on the bomb, according to security experts.
Asiri then declared that more al-Qaeda figures wanted to surrender and asks the prince to take the cell phone. Some 14 seconds later the bomb went off.
The explosion blew Asiri to pieces and left his left arm embedded in the ceiling.
Princess Nayef No 1 to visitors, "Its a talking point, an avant gard feature inspired by Damien Hirst, and fully biodegradable". Kath and Kim reply, "Its nice, different and unusual".
Security experts believe the explosive and an electronic detonator was probably contained in a long thin animal gut casing to protect it from stomach acid.
By becoming coiled inside Asiri's large intestine, the bomb would have gained additional explosive force. The Saudis believe the bomb weighed 100 grams and was made with PETN plastic explosive, to avoid detection by airport and other metal detectors. This is the same explosive that was used by the shoe bomber Richard Reid who attempted to blow up an American Airlines flight between Paris and Miami in 2001.
Al-Qaeda later claimed responsibility for the attack boasting: "Al-Asiri managed to pass all the security checkpoints in Najran and Jeddah airports and was transported on board Mohammed bin Nayef's private plane." Al-Qaeda threatened more surprise attacks in the "near future", and security measures were already being taken to counter suicide bomber getting aboard aircraft.
"It would likely have a catastrophic result if employed on an aircraft," Mr Stewart (terrorism expert for Stratfor) said, "Richard Reid's shoe only contained about four ounces of explosives, an amount that could conceivably be smuggled inside a human."

Posted on 10/04/2009 2:00 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Army chief warns of 'terrifying prospect' of failure in Afghanistan

The head of the British Army, General Sir David Richards, has issued a wake-up call to the public by warning of the "terrifying prospect" of a defeat in Afghanistan.
In an unprecedented intervention, the chief of the general staff described the conflict as "this generation's war" and added that failure by Nato would have an "intoxicating effect" on militant Islam.
In his first interview as the head of the Army, Sir David told
The Sunday Telegraph that if Britain and Nato failed in Afghanistan the risks to the western world would be "enormous" and "unimaginable".
He said: "If al-Qaeda and the Taliban believe they have defeated us – what next? Would they stop at Afghanistan? Pakistan is clearly a tempting target not least because of the fact that it is a nuclear-weaponed state and that is a terrifying prospect. Even if only a few of those (nuclear) weapons fell into their hands, believe me they would use them. The recent airlines plot has reminded us that there are people out there who would happily blow all of us up."
That is the one and only argument that carries any weight with me in this war - the whole 'democracy to the masses' thing has never impressed, and while I felt hope every time a girls school reopened, legislation like
this dashed that little ray every time.
The general's intervention comes at a crucial time, with the US General in charge of operations in Afghanistan calling for more troops to be sent to the country to fight the Taliban.
At home, the Government has come under increasing pressure for the way it has handled the war, with critics saying the armed forces have been under-resourced.
Sir David has issued his unprecedented warning because he believed the public and even members of the government had not "woken up" to the "enormous risks" which would result if the war was lost.
He said: "Failure would have a catalytic effect on militant Islam around the world and in the region because the message would be that al-Qaeda and the Taliban have defeated the US and the British and Nato, the most powerful alliance in the world. So why wouldn't that have an intoxicating effect on militants everywhere? The geo-strategic implications would be immense."
Sir David, who succeeded Gen Sir Richard Dannatt as head of the Army, said that a failure by the public to back the war would ultimately "delete" troop morale – an effect which, he said, would be far more damaging than a lack of resources.
He said that more troops would result in fewer casualties and would allow British and Nato troops to deliver greater security more quickly.
Sir David said that sending extra troops would allow Nato to begin winning the psychological battle against the Taliban who, he said, were masters of propaganda and were "outstanding at psychological warfare".
He continued: "If you put in more troops we can achieve the objectives laid upon us more quickly and with less casualties. We can start winning the psychological battle which is broadly wrapped around the Taliban saying "the west and the Afghan government is doing very little for you" – we (the Taliban) will offer you an austere future but at least it will be secure".
On other military matters Sir David said that he would like better pay for soldiers and added that he believed that the review of compensation for wounded soldiers would lead to "improvements" in future payouts.

Posted on 10/04/2009 2:51 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Screens do furnish a room

Roger Kindle - sorry - Kimball:

Well, despite boasting all of the accoutrements of a a traditional prep school, Cushing [Academy] has decdied to embrace the Brave New World of educational trendiness and dispense with its library and the contents thereof.

This was one of those eye-rubbing announcements that sparks a double response: incredulity, first, followed closely by outrage and contempt. The October issue of The New Criterion has a note on the subject.

Thomas Parkman Cushing, who originally endowed the school, was careful to stipulate that it be provided, in addition to other accoutrements befitting an educational establishment, with a “suitable library.” James Tracy, the current headmaster, finds the whole idea of a library, and the objects they traditionally contain, positively quaint. Speaking to The Boston Globe, he actually said, apparently without embarrassment, “When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books.”

Where, I wonder, were Cushing’s Trustees when their school was being vandalized? Were they happy to sit back and watch was the intellectual center of the institution was eviscerated? How’s that for leadership?

The Globe reports that Cushing is “one of the first schools in the country to abandon its books.” Is this embrace of the new illiteracy a trend, for heaven’s sake?

The story seems straight out of the pages of some third-rate satire: “In pursuit of a ‘bookless campus,’” The New Criterion reports,

Cushing is disburdening itself of its library’s 20,000 books and spending $500,000 to establish a “learning center” — the name, the Globe reports, is tentative, but whatever they settle on you can be sure the scare quotes will be appropriate. Of course, once you dump a library’s books, you have a lot of extra space to fill, so Cushing . . . will be spending $42,000 for some large flat-screen monitors to display data from the Internet as well as $20,000 for “laptop-friendly” study carrels. In place of the reference desk, the Globe reports, Cushing is building “a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.”

Therein lies the real scandal. Don't they know that nobody but nobody drinks cappuccino after 11 am?

Posted on 10/04/2009 3:44 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 October 2009
'Boney' Blair and 'Cherie Antoinette'

Boris wades in on the new Emperor of Europe. From the Daily Mail:

Boris Johnson put himself at the head of a Tory Euro revolt yesterday by demanding a referendum on whether Tony Blair should be the ‘big magnifico’ President of Europe.

The London Mayor threw down the gauntlet to David Cameron after the Conservative leader declined to give a cast-iron pledge to call a referendum on the EU Lisbon Treaty if it is ratified by the rest of Europe before the next Election.

Mr Johnson demanded a referendum not just on the Lisbon Treaty, but on whether the UK should pull out of Europe altogether.

‘A referendum would send out a clear message that we do not want a badly thought-out treaty imposed on us without the chance to vote on it,’ Mr Johnson told The Mail on Sunday.

Cameron has promised a referendum if the treaty is not in force, but must clarifiy his position if the Czechs and Poles are dozy enough to ratify it before the Tories win power at the next election. What has he got to lose? He would have the public on his side, and Labour would be pushed further out into the wilderness.

Cherie Blair is expected to begin house-hunting in Brussels within weeks after Irish voters paved the way for her husband to become Europe’s most powerful man, the EU President.

The referendum result has removed the largest barrier to creating the role that Tony Blair is expected to win this year, giving his wife unprecedented influence as EU First Lady.

But there are concerns in Brussels that Mrs Blair – whose time at No10 included gaffes over property deals and freebies – could prove a liability for Tony. 

 

A British EU civil servant said: ‘She could create a role like Michelle Obama’s, or be a distraction. The last thing anyone wants is a 21st Century Marie Antoinette.’

The move will mean a multi-million-pound taxpayer-funded windfall for the Blairs.

His £270,000-a-year salary – more than President Obama’s – and £40,500-a-year housing allowance will allow Mrs Blair to expand their property portfolio from their £3.65million home in London and £5.75million mansion in Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire.

With London two hours away by Eurostar, Mrs Blair can also continue her UK legal work and use her new base to increase EU cases.

Son Leo, nine, would qualify for EU payments for schooling in Belgium.

And Mrs Blair will have a massive platform for promoting her Cherie Blair Foundation For Women, a charity helping women entrepreneurs in countries with poor equality records.

Research by The Mail on Sunday has found that if Mr Blair serves the maximum five years – two consecutive two-and-a-half year terms –  he will net a package worth £3.65million. His salary will be taxed at a special rate for Eurocrats, averaging 25 per cent.

On arrival, the Blairs will have all travel and removal costs reimbursed and receive a £45,000 ‘installation allowance’. It has not been revealed what this is supposed to pay for.

After that, the £40,500-a-year ‘residence allowance’ kicks in, allowing the Blairs to rent a home from among the finest chateaux.

Or the payments would help buy a four or five-bedroom Brussels townhouse at around the £1million mark. Mr Blair, dubbed ‘Boney’ Blair after the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, also has a £15,663-a-year ‘personal entertainment allowance’ and chauffeur-driven limousine.

Revolting.

Posted on 10/04/2009 3:54 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Muslim threats to Christians on rise in Pakistan

Anjum Herald Gill writes in the Washington Times:

LAHORE, Pakistan | Christians in Pakistan are feeling increasingly insecure after several violent attacks by Muslim extremists in the past two months.

In one case, eight Christians were burned to death by a Muslim mob after reports that the Muslim holy book, the Koran, had been desecrated.

Growing Talibanization of the country and a blasphemy law in place for two decades make non-Muslims, especially Christians, easy targets for discrimination and attacks, Christian and human rights activists say.

"The attacks on Christians seem to be symptomatic of a well-organized campaign launched by extremist elements against the Christian community all over central Punjab since early this year," Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairwoman Asma Jehangir said at a press conference last month.

The situation has become so serious that Pope Benedict XVI and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari discussed it during a meeting Thursday at the papal summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo, near Rome, the Associated Press reported.

The Vatican said the two stressed "the need to overcome all forms of discrimination based on religious affiliation, with the aim of promoting respect for the rights of all."

Most of the attacks on Christians' houses and churches followed claims of desecration of the Koran. Subsequent investigations generally proved the claims to be false.

Pakistani Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian himself, said that no Christian would even think of desecrating the Koran. Some elements wanted to create an atmosphere of disharmony, but the government would not allow anybody to play with the lives and properties of the Christians, he said.

On June 30, a mob attacked Christians' houses in the village of Bahmani Wala in Kasur district of Punjab province, destroying more than 50 houses after looting.

On July 30, eight people were burned alive in the village of Gojra, also in Punjab, after a purported incident of desecration of the Koran in the nearby village of Korian Wala. Churches were attacked and copies of the Bible and hymn books were burned in both villages. In Korian Wala alone, more than 50 houses of Christians were ransacked.

On Sept. 11, a church in a village in Punjab's Sialkot district was burned after claims that a 20-year-old Christian youth had desecrated the Koran. On Sept. 15, a day after his arrest, Robert Masih was found dead in his jail cell. Police reported it as a suicide, but Mr. Masih's family claims he was killed. Joseph Francis, who runs an organization providing legal assistance to Christians, said he saw marks of torture on Mr. Masih's body.

Christians account for about 4 percent of the 170 million population of Pakistan, which was carved out of India as a state for Muslims at the time of independence from Britain in 1947.

Since then, successive civilian and military rulers have progressively strengthened the Islamic character of the country by introducing Shariah law. A controversial blasphemy law introduced in 1986 also has widened the gap between the minority Christians and majority Muslims.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom listed Pakistan as a "country of particular concern" in 2006, citing forced conversions of Christians to Islam and a rise in hate crimes against religious minorities.

All the recent attacks targeting Christians, activist groups claimed, were provoked by hate speeches made by Muslim clerics on loudspeakers from mosques.

"The rising intolerance and violence against Christians is a result of the Talibanization and promulgation of Shariah law in the country," said Kanwal Feroze, a well-known journalist. "It is not a matter of blasphemy law, but shows a mind-set of the common man." ...

Posted on 10/04/2009 6:16 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Israel, Iran and Middle East Realities

- an international round table discussion
by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates
(October 2009)


Just as President Obama was approaching a denouement over possible Middle East peace efforts and grappling with a truculent Islamic Republic of Iran with its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems, the fifth in a series of international panel discussions sponsored by Northwest Florida talk radio station 1330AM WEBY and the New English Review (NER) aired in late September.  Subsequently, there were stunning revelations about a “hidden” nuclear enrichment facility buried in a mountain above the city of Qom and missile tests by the Islamic Republic of Iran. These pre-occupied the agenda of a series of multi-lateral and bi-lateral meetings in Geneva involving representatives of the UN Security Council and the Obama Administration. The outcome of those meetings in early October is , at best, unclear. Of particular concern are the positions of both China and Russia regarding possible new sanctions and proposals for third party enrichment of uranium to be used in Iranian nuclear facilities. Strong US Congressional support exists for implementation of a possible quarantine of gasoline and diesel fuel deliveries to Iran from foreign offshore refiners and additional financial sanctions. Moreover, there is increasing debate as to whether a military option involving an attack on Iranian nuclear and missile facilities could have a lasting deterrent effect. Further, there is international concern about the effects of a possible unilateral Israeli attack, should the US not pursue such an option. more>>>
Posted on 10/04/2009 9:39 AM by NER
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Nobel Predictions
In early October 2008 I posted, unchanged, what I had posted the year before. I will now re-post the 2008 post, which itself re-posts the 2007 post. Let's see if one of the three candidates for a Nobel (two in Medicine, one in Literature) wins this year. If not, I'll keep re-posting.
 
Friday, 3 October 2008
Nobel Predictions

A previous posting from a year ago is re-posted below.  The veiled predictions of future winners it contains remain the same. But calendrical considerations forced me to accelerate the day of re-posting; the Nobel Prizes this year will begin to be announced -- that in Medicine first --  this coming week.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

A Musical Interlude: With a Nobel Twist

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcMDaq-Nkdo

It's the Ambrose Orchestra, with Sam Browne doing the vocal, brought to us not on the old Victrola, but live from the Mayfair Hotel.  

For that "Nobel twist," you must wait a year or two for more. I'll remind you then of this posting, on October 10, 2007. And for another hint at a future prizewinner, think of three syllables consisting of my first, and Darwin's second. And for another category, take out your notebooks and be careful about possible misspellings.

There. That's three.

Posted on 10/04/2009 10:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Attack in "Nuristan" Formerly "Kafiristan"

KABUL – Militant fighters streaming from an Afghan village and a mosque attacked a pair of remote outposts near the Pakistani border, killing eight U.S. soldiers and as many as seven Afghan forces in one of the fiercest battles of the eight-year war.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack for coalition forces since a similar raid in July 2008 killed nine American soldiers in the same mountainous region known as an al-Qaida haven. The U.S. has already said it plans to pull its soldiers from the isolated area to focus on Afghan population centers.

Fighting began around dawn Saturday and lasted several hours, punctuated by American airstrikes. Jamaludin Badar, governor of Nuristan province, said the two outposts were on a hill — one near the top and one at the foot of the slope — flanked by the village on one side and the mosque on the other.

Thanks to del who writes: 

I counted 4 mentions of "Nuristan" in the article above by Lori Hinnant of AP and Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez and Noor Khanof.

"Nuristan" was the name (land of light/enlightenment...as if islam brings light) imposed after the genocidally successful late 19th century jihad by muslim-pashtun-afgahnistan crushed what had been "Kafiristan" (land of the pagans/kafirs) , inhabited by the pagan Kalash...Some were carried off as slaves, others killed, others forced to become muslim; many non-Kalash were also brought in from Kunar and other areas of Afghanistan in order to forestall future resistance.

Library of Congress map of Kafiristan:

hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g7633n.ct001139

A link to contemporary reality:

http://easterncampaign.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/why-nuristan-matters/

A previous Jihadwatch post with information in the comments:

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2007/03/jihadists-cut-off-afghans-noses-ears.html

Use of "Nuristan" is part of the jihad-of-language-and-thought.

Posted on 10/04/2009 10:45 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Jack Straw ‘too close’ to pro-Hamas faction

From The Times
A SECRET MI5 report on Islamic extremism in Blackburn has raised “potential concerns” about some radical Muslim factions known to Jack Straw, the local MP and justice secretary.
A senior security figure who has seen the report said it underlined concern among cabinet colleagues that Straw could be “too close” to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), a prominent Muslim umbrella group. The government formally severed links with the group after a blazing row over extremism earlier this year.
“Jack’s a bit too close to the MCB — he sometimes appears to suggest they are the only game in town. There is a concern that proximity to them may colour [his] judgment,” the insider said.
The secret report on Islamist extremists in Blackburn was produced in August last year by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), based at MI5’s London headquarters.
". . .  the JTAC document does raise some potential concerns over some individuals who are key figures in the town. It’s a small pond and by definition they are figures Jack would know or know of,” he said.
It is not the first time that fears have been raised over the influence of Islamists in Blackburn, where the majority of the electorate is Muslim.
Condoleezza Rice, then US secretary of state, was said to have been shocked to discover the influence of Muslims in Straw’s constituency when she visited him there in 2006.
In March Hazel Blears announced that the government was formally suspending links with the MCB after Daud Abdullah, its deputy general secretary, signed a public declaration calling for military action against Israel after the war in Gaza. Blears, then communities secretary, believed the declaration also appeared to advocate attacks on the Royal Navy if it tried to stop arms intended for Hamas being smuggled into Gaza.
Despite the ministerial “blacklisting” of the MCB, Straw remains close to several of the group’s key figures in Blackburn. Critics claim that through a network of mosques they are able to deliver “blocks” of hundreds of votes among Muslim Labour voters. One long-standing supporter of Straw is Ahmed Sidat, who has previously served for four years as the Blackburn representative of the MCB’s central working committee. He is also chairman of the Cumberland Street mosque, Lancashire’s oldest.
The MI5 Blackburn report is believed to summarise raw intelligence indicating that some Islamic charitable groups may be channelling funds to Kashmiri militants and the Taliban. It is also understood to refer to Junade Feroze, who is serving 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to a plot to bomb the Ministry of Sound nightclub, in London, and Bluewater shopping centre, in Kent, as part of the so-called fertiliser bomb plot in 2004. At the time of the arrest, Straw said he knew Feroze’s father, Mohammed, had expressed concerns about his son.
The report was circulated in Whitehall as ministers, including Straw, were drawing up the government’s new counterterrorism policy. One insider said there had been heated disputes between Straw and Blears over how far the new policy should go in asking Muslim groups to sign up to western values by condemning suicide attacks in Gaza.
Although there is no suggestion that Straw supports suicide bombings, colleagues said they believed his line showed he might have aligned himself a little too closely with the MCB on the issue. That stance is said to have angered other ministers, who were keen to challenge those who defend terrorism and violent extremism abroad as well as in Britain.
A spokesman for Straw said: “Jack’s view is that suicide bombings are indefensible in Gaza, just as they are indefensible anywhere, and should be condemned by all. He has good relations with the MCB and is unapologetic about that. He fights against Islamophobia and always will. ”
A friend of Straw also said there was no suggestion that Straw had ever supported terrorism. “Jack’s a veteran politician who can decide who is and who is not a problem.” Jack is a slimy careerist on the make who knows which side his bread is buttered.
An earlier JTAC report on Islamic radicals in Luton led security officials to warn Margaret Moran, the Labour MP for Luton South, to be wary when dealing with some individuals in the town. A senior official said it was likely that Straw would have been warned in the same way.

Posted on 10/04/2009 11:59 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Syed Qutb And The Seductions Of Shaytan In Decadent America

From Harry's Place

Razig On Syed Qutb, thje Sock-Hop (or was it a Square Dance?), the American Girl, and the Implied Whisperings of Shaytan: : 

 

What’s wrong with Syed Qutb? I’ve heard this said many times by different people. Some see him as a hero, others the inspiration behind terrorist movements like al-Qaeda. There are even those, like Inayat Bunglawala, who see him as nothing more than a little controversial. In this article I will be taking a brief look at Qutb’s life and ideas, and why he is still admired by militant Islamist movements today.

Early Career

Syed Qutb was born in 1906 in Musha in the Asyut province of Upper Egypt. In his early twenties he moved to Cairo and worked as a teacher for the Ministry of Public Instruction. During this period he was also interested in literature and became known as a literary critic. It is noted that Qutb was liberal in the early part of his life, at one point he even advocated nudism:

He worked as a teacher and on occasions became culturally confused, as for instance when he started to advocate the concept of nudism
(Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World by Nazih Ayubi, Pg 137, Routledge, 1991)

America

In 1939 he started working for the Ministry of Education and in 1948 he travelled to the United States to study education. Qutb was initially an admirer of Western culture and its secular politics, but after a period of trying to integrate with American society he became disillusioned. He wrote:

It is astonishing to realize, despite its advanced education and its perfectionism, how primitive the American really is in its views on life…Its behavior reminds us of the era of the ‘caveman’. He is primitive in the way he lusts after power, ignoring ideals and manners and principles…It is difficult to differentiate between a church and any other place that is set up for entertainment, or what they call in their language, fun,

In his book ‘The America that I saw’ Qutb wrote about an incident when he entered a church and the pastor was playing the gramophone and women and men were dancing together. For Qutb it was unimaginable for this to be happening in a place of worship. He mentions another incident where he was approached in the street by a prostitute. His darker skin colour also made him a victim of racism in America; Qutb began to believe that it was Western culture that produced such people. He was also upset about the United States’ overwhelming support for the state of Israel. Qutb believed Jews to be the root of all evil. He decided not to stay on in the United States and once he finished his studies he returned to Cairo.

The Muslim Brotherhood

Returning to Egypt, Qutb was determined not to let Egyptian society become like American society. In Cairo he joined Hasan al-Banna’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement and became chief editor of their literature. In 1952 the Egyptian monarchy was overthrown by a group of army generals calling themselves the Free Officers. Qutb initially supported the Free Officers, who were led by Muhammad Nagib and later Gamal Abdal Nasser:

Indeed Qutb’s support for the revolution was so strong that he sent an open letter to Muhammad Nagib asking the latter to establish a just dictatorship

(Political Islam: Religion and Politics in the Arab World by Nazih Ayubi, Pg 138, Routledge, 1991)

When it became clear that Nasser wasn’t going to establish the kind of political system the MB wanted they turned against him and in 1954 tried to assassinate him. In retaliation Nasser imprisoned many members; Qutb was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour. In prison he was tortured and witnessed members of the MB being tortured in front of him. It is believed these incidents encouraged him to become a jihadist ideologue.

Ignorance (Jahiliyya)

It is generally acknowledged that Qutb was inspired by Mawdudi. He borrowed and expanded Mawdudi’s concept of Jahiliyya, a pre-Islamic term for ignorance. Mawdudi had used this term to describe the state of Muslims in the Indian Sub-Continent. Qutb claimed the entire world had reverted to an age of neo-paganism, ignorance and Barbarism:

The entire world is steeped in Jahiliyya… this Jahiliyya has transferred the reigns of sovereignty to the hands of man and assigned the overlordship of men to some persons…
(Milestones by Syed Qutb, Trans –S. Badrul, Karachi, International Islamic Publishers, 1981, P49)

The concept of Jahiliyya was taken one step further by Qutb. He believed Nasser had become like the modern day Pharaoh, who thought he was god, whilst his officials had become like pagan worshippers – worshipping Nasser and not god. Hence Nasser and his officials were deemed no longer to be Muslims, despite professing to be so, and therefore they could justifiably be killed. This takfiri logic is the same justification used by militant Islamist groups today like al-Qaeda: any Muslim not working for Islamist goals is a bad Muslim who has not understood his religion properly and is a legitimate target.

Qutb believed the way to rid the world of Jahiliyya was through offensive Jihad:

Jihad is an inherent necessity in Islam, emancipating human beings from the shackles of false and fabricated masters…
(Sayid Qutb. Jihad in the cause of Allah- In Milestones, 2nd Ed, Translated by S. Badrul Hasan, M.A, Karachi, Pakistan, International Islamic Publishers Ltd, 1988, Pg 107-42)

Qutb also believed only he and his colleagues were proper Muslims:

Since the Ummah is not “genuinely” Islamic, there is no Ummah save that formed by the true believers, that is Qutb and his circle
(Sivan. Radical Islam, esp., chapter 1, quotes pp.14-15)

Women

In an article he wrote about American women, Qutb stated:

…the American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs — and she shows all this and does not hide it.
(David Von Drehle,
A Lesson In Hate Smithsonian Magazine)

Coming from a small village to the big city of Cairo was a complete culture shock for Qutb. His dislike of the way women went around unveiled perhaps explains why he was always a bachelor; Qutb never married because he could not find a woman pure enough for himself, one that had not been contaminated by Jahiliyya.

Conclusion

Like the other leaders of Islamist movements (Banna and Mawdudi) Qutb was not an Islamic scholar. He was, however, an academic with a good understanding of the prevalent ideologies of his time. Qutb recognized the appeal of Marxist thought amongst the poor and displaced Arabs in the Middle East and he set out to design a thought system that would supersede it. Qutb believed that a revolutionary vanguard needed to be created that would not be contaminated by Jahiliyya. This movement would then overthrow the corrupt regimes and establish in their place his political Islamist system. All regimes in Muslim majority countries were jahil and therefore could justifiably be fought.

Qutb was executed in 1966 on charges of treason but his ideas live on and today continue to inspire militant Islamists. Ayman al-Zawahiri was directly inspired by Qutb, Taqiuddin al-Nabhani exchanged ideas with him and Osama Bin Laden studied under his brother Muhammad Qutb in Jeddah University. Militant Islamists still look up to Qutb today and claim to be fighting the same battle that he was; fighting jahiliyya using the same method advocated by Qutb; aggressive Jihad.

Posted on 10/04/2009 2:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 October 2009
The Gates of Vienna

Victor Davis Hanson reviews, The Enemy at the Gate: Hapsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe by Andrew Wheatcroft at First Things:

...Wheatcroft’s coda in our politically correct age comes off as something of an attempt to suggest that the abject savagery at the core of his book [the battle of Vienna] need not mean that there were lasting religious hatreds or justified animosities in subsequent years, much less now in the present.

In a chapter called “Myth Displacing History,” Wheatcroft argues that eventually the two tottering empires, Hapsburg and Ottoman, learned from centuries of interaction that they had much in common, and by 1914 ended up on the same side in a murderous war against Western Europeans and Russians. Muslim soldiers of the Austrian-Hungarian arm­ies, Wheatcroft also reminds us, were among the empire’s most decorated in the First World War. He ends by suggesting that what had once been a murderous rivalry, between 1500 and 1700, finally ended up in a mutually profitable relation and eventual alliance—so that those who, in our own terrorized age, evoke the gates of Vienna are not merely chauvinistic and prejudiced but ahistorical as well: “I have tried to present dispassionately what happened centuries ago. There was, in that time, unimaginable cruelty, savagery, and implacable hatred among all the combatants. Yet in the nineteenth century the bitter attitudes that suffused those struggles diminished, and a new kind of relationship developed, which I have also described. The old feelings and attitudes were (and are) still present, but they were (and are) definitely in abeyance.”

Perhaps. Yet from a close reading of Wheatcroft’s first 200 pages, one receives the impression that the Ottomans—in religious belief, practice toward conquered nations, and treatment of their own people—were not quite the equivalents of the Hapsburg Austrians and Hungarians whom they wished to conquer.

By 1914 many Europeans may have indeed found the Turks convenient and familiar allies, but, for the vast expanse of Hapsburg history in the East, millions lived in deadly fear of what Ottoman armies intended for and could do to them—and quite understandably canonized saviors like Prince Eugene and John Sobieski.

Posted on 10/04/2009 2:48 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 4 October 2009
At First I Read The Headline Wrong -- How Disappointing To Read It Right
Posted on 10/04/2009 2:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 October 2009
A Musical Interlude: I've Got A Feelin' I'm Falling (Smith Ballew)

Listen here.

Posted on 10/04/2009 3:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 October 2009
The Nearly Insane Mohammed El Baradei

Head of UN nuclear watchdog sees Iran cooperation

TEHRAN, Iran – The visiting head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog set Oct. 25 as the date for his inspectors to check Iran's newly revealed uranium enrichment site and struck an upbeat note Sunday, saying Tehran's confrontation with the West is shifting gears to more cooperation and transparency.

Though the United Nations has no "concrete proof" of an ongoing nuclear weapons program, the chief of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, said he has "concerns about Iran's future intentions."

The inspection of the site and the outcome of more nuclear talks later this month with the United States and its allies will be crucial in determining the direction of the six-year standoff over Iran's nuclear activities.

"I see that we are at a critical moment. I see that we are shifting gears from confrontation into transparency and cooperation," ElBaradei said at a news conference in Tehran with Iran's top nuclear official.

His visit followed a week of intense diplomatic activity surrounding Iran's nuclear program, set off by the revelation that Tehran had been secretly constructing a new uranium enrichment plant just north of the holy city of Qom. On Thursday, Iran and six world powers put nuclear talks back on track at a landmark session near Geneva that included the highest-level bilateral contact with the U.S. in years.

President Barack Obama's national security adviser said Sunday that Washington was also pleased with the level of cooperation from Iran.

"The fact that Iran came to the table and seemingly showed some degree of cooperation, I think, is a good thing," James Jones said on CNN's "State of the Union" program.

"But this is not going to be an open-ended process. ... We, the world community, want to be satisfied within a short period of time," Jones added. "So it's not going to be extended discussions that we're going to have before we draw our conclusions to what their real intent is. But for now, I think things are moving in the right direction."

France's foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, also talked of a "wind of medium optimism." He said "something happened" at Thursday's talks in Switzerland and "we no longer want to talk of sanctions."

ElBaradei was in Iran to set up the U.N. inspection of the enrichment facility near Qom.

The site sparked serious concern, in part because its location next to a military base and partly inside a mountain adds to suspicions that Iran's nuclear program could have a military dimension. Obama, who accuses Iran of seeking to keep the site hidden for years before notifying the IAEA about it, has said Tehran's actions "raised grave doubts" about its promise to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only.

Iran, which insists its nuclear work is only for nonmilitary purposes like energy production and medical research, says the site's location near a military base is intended to protect it from potential aerial bombing.

"It is important for us to send our inspectors to do a comprehensive verification of that facility, to assure ourselves that it is a facility that is built for peaceful purposes," ElBaradei said, seated beside Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's nuclear agency. "We agreed that our inspectors would come here on the 25th of October to do the inspection and to go to Qom and I hope and I trust that Iran will be as transparent with our inspectors team as possible."

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said that the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are studying options for more sanctions if Iran does not fully open its nuclear program to international inspections.

"But right now we are in a period of intense negotiations," said Ambassador Susan Rice, speaking on NBC TV's "Meet the Press." "It's not an infinite period. It's a very finite period," she said, while refusing to set a deadline.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told ElBaradei that Iran's cooperation with the agency has left no ambiguity over Tehran's nuclear activities.

"Outstanding issues were resolved due to good cooperation between Iran and the agency," state TV quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. "Today, there are no ambiguous issues left."

But the IAEA says there are still issues that Iran needs to clarify, including alleged studies by Iran on high explosives and a missile delivery system for a nuclear warhead.

"As I have said many times and I continue to say today, the agency has no complete proof that there is an ongoing weapons program in Iran," ElBaradei said. "There are allegations that Iran has conducted weaponization studies. However these allegations we are still looking into and we are looking to Iran to help us clarify," he added.

Iranian officials have challenged Obama's accusations that they sought to keep the new enrichment site hidden, saying a Sept. 21 letter informing the IAEA about the facility was sent a year earlier than required.

"We disagree with the interpretation of Iran. ... Iran should have informed the IAEA the day it decided to construct the facility," ElBaradei said.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's Additional Protocol requires notification before construction starts. The Additional Protocol, which Iran says it stopped implementing in response to U.N. sanctions, also allows intrusive inspections.

"It is important to us that Iran reapplies the Additional Protocol," ElBaradei said.

ElBaradei also discussed a plan to allow Russia to take some of Iran's processed uranium and enrich it to higher levels to fuel a research reactor in Tehran.

He said that there would be a meeting Oct. 19 in Vienna with Iran, the U.S., France and Russia to discuss the details of that agreement.

___

Posted on 10/04/2009 3:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Support Vaclav Klaus

Stop the Lisbon Treaty now:

The Lisbon treaty is an undemocratic constitution that makes every nation state in Europe a province in EU.

With Lisbon we give up or sovereignty and independence, that europeans fought so hard for.

When Ireland was forced to vote again (until they vote the way the EU elite wants) it came out with a yes vote. The only thing that now stands in the way of the Lisbon treaty is one man; the Czech president Vaclav Klaus.

He has so far shown an admirable courage and conviction in refusing to sign this treaty and after Irelands “yes”-vote the pressure will increase even more on him.

Therefore we should show Mr. Klaus our full support by letting him know that we are behind him and that we hope that he will refuse to sign this treaty. If he holds out until the Conservaties in Britain wins the next election and they holds a referendum on Lisbon (which Cameron said they will), the Lisbon treaty will fall once and for all, since the British people will most likely vote no.

Therefore we must encourage and show Vaclav Klaus that millions and millions of Europeans do not want this treaty and that we put our hope that Vaclav Klaus does not sign this treaty!

Call his office, send letters and emails! Do it TODAY! There is no time to wait!

When he sees what support he has, it will be easier for him to endure!

Send emails to these adresses (or other you might find!):
[email protected] (Chancellor of the Office of the President)
[email protected] (press department)
[email protected] (electronic registry)

Posted on 10/04/2009 4:49 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 October 2009
I'm Louvrin' it...

Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Kunst. From Samizdata:

Starbucks was bad enough but McDonald's is worse
- An anonymous art historian at the Louvre in Paris, reacting to the news that a McDonald's will soon open at the famous museum. Come to think of it, when I visited the Louvre earlier this year, I discovered an exhibition devoted to "The Da Vinci Code". Might I suggest that this is much, much worse.
Posted on 10/04/2009 5:04 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 October 2009
After this, anyone who likes the EU is a weirdo

Natalie Solent at Samizdata draws a useful parallel between Communism and Eurocracy (my emphasis):

She's a communist. A real one."

Some thirty years ago I, then a bookish sixth former, attended a week long "Introduction to Philosophy" course at London University. One of the tutors was a commie. She was quite pleasant, introduced us to philosophy more than adequately, but truly, really was an actual no-kidding self-declared communist. First I had ever met.

I and some of the other kids from various different schools on this course found this even more interesting than Logical Positivism and we all tried to get into debate with her about it. Got nowhere, of course. A woman who had been defending the party line in all its various manifestations for decades was more than capable of disposing of the arguments of a bunch of seventeen year olds.

All of us but one - there was one boy who did, just about, make an impression. The tutor had some particular link with East Germany and this boy simply repeated, politely but insistently, several very basic statements about that state. "Nobody is allowed to leave." "They have a wall and and barbed wire to stop people escaping." "If you try to escape they shoot you." And when he said this he sounded honestly astonished that anyone could be - could allow themselves to have become - the sort of person who would sincerely defend East German communism. It was not just wrong but weird. I mean, what? The wall, the shooting people, and she says she likes that?

I am moved to write about a communist I met thirty years ago because the second referendum in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty will be held tomorrow. The European Union is not remotely as bad as Communism. But there are some very basic things wrong with it and this referendum has brought them out. The European Union will not accept a vote against it. It will not allow a vote at all, if it can get away with it. If people do vote against something the EU wants it makes them vote again and again, knowing that the donors and volunteers for the opposing side will be exhausted eventually, as will the voters, whereas its side has bottomless coffers and power to keep on pushing till it gets its way. The European Union lies to get what it wants. The Lisbon treaty is the rejected Constitution under another name. The Lisbon Treaty is deliberately written in confusing language so as to hide what it means. That is what con-men do. The Lisbon Treaty is a con.

Posted on 10/04/2009 6:15 PM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 4 October 2009
The Insane Mohammed El Baradei

He has come unhinged, or has been unmasked.  "El Baradei says nuclear Israel number one threat to Mideast", from Xinhua:

TEHRAN, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday that "Israel is number one threat to Middle East" with its nuclear arms, the official IRNA news agency reported.

At a joint press conference with Iran's Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran, ElBaradei brought Israel under spotlight and said that the Tel Aviv regime has refused to allow inspections into its nuclear installations for 30years, the report said.

"Israel is the number one threat to the Middle East given the nuclear arms it possesses," ElBaradei was quoted as saying.

Israel is widely assumed to have nuclear capabilities, although it refuses to confirm or deny the allegation.

"This (possession of nuclear arms) was the cause for some proper measures to gain access to its (Israel's) power plants ... and the U.S. president has done some positive measures for the inspections to happen," said ElBaradei.

ElBaradei arrived in Iran Saturday for talks with Iranian officials over Tehran's nuclear program.

Leaders of the United States, France and Britain have condemned Iran's alleged deception to the international community involving covert activities in its new underground nuclear site.

Last month, Iran confirmed that it is building a new nuclear fuel enrichment plant near its northwestern city of Qom. In reaction, the IAEA asked Tehran to provide detailed information and access to the new nuclear facility as soon as possible.

On Sunday, ElBaradei said the UN nuclear watchdog would inspect Iran's new uranium plant near Qom on Oct. 25.
 

Posted on 10/04/2009 11:25 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Sunday, 4 October 2009
An instructive comparison

Following the prescient comments of Dumbledoresarmy, here are two articles from Xinhua about the two earthquakes that occurred on the same day, and the differing reactions of the filthy kufrs in Somoa and the True Believers in Indonesia.  First up, filthy kufrs:

"More organizations in Fiji extend help to Tonga, Samoa"

More organizations in Fiji were providing help to neighboring Samoa and Tonga in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in their island homes.

Fiji Red Cross donated 10,000 Fiji dollars (about 5,000 U.S. dollars) to Samoa and 3,000 Fiji dollars to their Tongan counterparts to assist them with their immediate relief efforts as Samoa prepares for mass burials.

Fiji Red Cross extended its sympathies and condolences to the victims' families.

And next, True Believers of the Religion of Peace:

"Quake survivors loot food aid in Indonesia's Padang Pariaman regency"

Earthquake survivors in Indonesia's Padang Pariaman regency looted food aid from the regent office, claiming that they have not received yet any help, the private TV station MetroTV reported on Sunday.

Footage showed that the looters were loading their cars and trucks with supplies that would be disbursed to one of the hardest hit region in the West Sumatra province by 7.6 Richter scale-earthquake on Wednesday.

Posted on 10/04/2009 11:51 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden

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