These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 4, 2010.
Saturday, 4 December 2010
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Due Soldi (from "Likvidatsiya")
Actress Polina Agureeva either sings or lip-synchs the words to "Due Soldi" (one of the Russian comments maintains that the song is actually sung by Wilma De Angelis) in the Soviet movie "Likvidatsiya" (Liquidation). .
Watch, and listen, here .
Posted on 12/04/2010 1:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Jihad in Southern Thailand: Muslim gunmen kill five people
Jihad continues against Buddhists and deemed-insufficiently-Islamic Muslims.
From AFP, as reproduced in Australia's ABC.
'Five people shot dead'
'Suspected Islamic militants shot dead five people in attacks across Thailand's restive south, including one Muslim man gunned down by a gang apparently dressed as soldiers'.
(And Mohammed said - 'War is deceit'. - CM).
'The 36-year-old deputy village headman was killed after three gunmen dressed in clothing resembling military uniforms broke into his house in Narathiwat on Friday evening, according to police.
(Observe that this assassination took place on Friday evening. Before or after Muslim evening 'prayers'? - CM).
'In the same province a 43-year-old Buddhist man, who worked with the local irrigation office, was also shot and killed at his home.
(Question. Why does the AFP reporter describe the assassination of a Muslim first, and place the assassination of an inoffensive Buddhist public servant second? - CM).
'A 55 year old Muslim government worker also died on his way back from afternoon prayers in a drive-by shooting in Pattani province.
(He was on his way back from his Muslim prayers. But he worked for the non-Muslim government. This killing and others like it seem to be intended to frighten all Muslims in the region into dissociating themselves from all things non-Muslim - as the Qur'an commands. - CM).
'Another shooting in Pattani killed a 22 year old security volunteer who was driving a motorcycle. His wife, who was a passenger on the vehicle, was seriously injured.
(Were this couple Muslim or Buddhist? Why are we not told, when the reporter seems to know the religion of all the other victims of this particular wave of jihadist assassinations? - CM).
'In Yala province, a 41-year-old Muslim man was shot dead while returning from working at a rubber plantation on Friday afternoon.
'A separate gun attack at a village tea-shop in the province, left a 38 year old Muslim man seriously injured.
'Suspected Islamic insurgents have waged a violent separatist battle (sic: a violent jihad - CM) in the region since early 2004, targeting Muslims and Buddhists, civilians and security personnel. ('targeting Muslims and Buddhists'? - Somehow I suspect that Buddhists comprise the majority of victims overall, even if in this particular wave of murders most of those killed were Muslims whom one must presume were perceived as being insufficiently detached from the non-Islamic order - CM).
'Non-governmental organisation Deep South Watch, which provides information on the conflict, said over 4, 400 people have died (sic: but they did not just 'die', they were murdered - CM) in more than 10 000 attacks since the violence broke out in January 2004. Over 7000 have been injured.
'Activists say that while the militants are fighting against the rule of mainly Buddhist Thailand's central government, many Muslims who are considered "traitors" to Islam, for cooperating with Thai authorities, have been killed".
Hassan al-Banna, founding theorist of the Ikhwan or Muslim Brotherhood, summed up Islam's driving will to power, thus - "Islam is to dominate, and not be dominated". That is: Muslims learn that their vocation, as Muslims, is to rule; to impose and enforce Islamic rule, and sharia law, world-wide. This means that Muslims - as individuals or as a group - tend to chafe against and persistently seek to overthrow or destroy any non-Muslim entity that has authority over Muslims or that is - oh so annoyingly - independent of Muslims. A Muslim who works for a non-Muslim boss is supposed to resent this state of affairs no matter how well the boss may treat him; a Muslim minority within a non-Muslim polity is supposed to resent its situation no matter how well it may be treated by that non-Muslim polity; and the existence of a free non-Muslim society next door cannot be permanently endured. That is how Buddhist Thailand ended up ruling over Muslims in the first place: for these southern regions were once a Malay Muslim sultanate that launched a war of aggression against its non-Muslim neighbour, Thailand...and lost.
Posted on 12/04/2010 1:06 PM by Christina McIntosh
Saturday, 4 December 2010
The Muslim Brotherhood Appeals to the Underclass
The folloiwng comes via GMBDR:
MEMRI has translated an excerpt from an interview with Mohammed Ghanem, identified as a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK, in which Mr. Ghanem criticizes the Egyptian ruling government. According to the MEMRI translation:
Following is an excerpt from an interview with Mohammed Ghanem, representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK, which aired on Press TV (Iran) on November 15, 2010:
Mohammad Ghanem: "To understand the political system in Egypt, you must recognize that the regime in Egypt is a dictatorship. Parliamentary elections are a show, and I would see no difference... The outcome of the elections... Mr. Mubarak has been there 30 years. He holds 85% of the power of the regime, and the 15% within the Authority [Assembly] of the People are appointed by him."
Moderator: "He is the president, of course. Presidents wield power. This would be his sixth term. He has submitted himself to elections, so is it a dictatorship?"
Mohammad Ghanem: "It's a dictatorship regime because he holds all the power. It is only a one-man show. Now, he has developed even that system to be a family and a business. It is a dynasty, and the whole economy of the country is run according to the interests of Mr. Mubarak, his family, and his loyals."
Moderator: "So what is the impact of that - if that is indeed true - for the average, ordinary Egyptian? What does this mean life is like for them?"
Mohammad Ghanem: "Poverty, ignorance, illness, no services. The people felt denial. They felt that they have been neglected, because there is one percent - maximum between one and two percent - who own the country, who run the economy, and run the interests for their own." [...]
The identification of Mr. Ghanem as a Muslim Brotherhood representative is supported by UK corporate records which list a Mohamed Ghanem as a director of World Media Services, known to have been affiliated with the Al-Markaz al-I'lami lil-Ikhwan al-Muslimin (Information Centre of the Muslim Brotherhood), London. Al-Da'awa, a Muslim Brotherhood magazine formerly edited by UK-based Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Kamal Helbawy, was published by World Media Services, which is known to have shared premises with the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), one of the UK Muslim Brotherhood organizations.
Here is what Mubarak thinks of the Brotherhood and Hamas:
WikiLeaks has disclosed a February 2009 cable from Margaret Scobey, the U.S. ambassador in Cairo, in which she reports the views of Egyptian President Mubarak on Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.According to the cable:
Although Aboul Gheit was never enthusiastic about the Annapolis Peace process, resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the primary strategic political goal for the Egyptians. They are proud of their role as intermediary, well aware that they are perhaps the only player that can talk with us, the Israelis, and all Palestinian factions. Mubarak hates Hamas, and considers them the same as Egypt's own Muslim Brotherhood, which he sees as his own most dangerous political threat.
The Hamas charter states that it is " is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine" and an Israeli TV station has reported that in 2008, Muslim Brotherhood "representatives" traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. An earlier media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations. Last June, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the "international Muslim Brotherhood" has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons.
Politically, the Brotherhood tries to tap into the discontent among the large poor populaiton in Egypt and elsewhere by promising them a more just Islamic society. Among the many reasons this is a pipe dream, not least on the economic front, is explained by Samir Yousif in this month's NER.
Posted on 12/04/2010 7:05 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 4 December 2010
No Surprise: Purge Of Sunnis (Ba'athists) In Intelligence And Security Services In Iraq
Iraq's Security and Intelligence Gutted in Political Purges, New Cables Show
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fired hundreds of intelligence and security officials to replace them with less capable political loyalists, say U.S. State Department cables from early 2010. A cable sent just days before Iraq's national campaign season began on February 12 predicted "serious harm to the intelligence institutions by drumming out experienced and proficient officers in certain services in the name of de-Ba'athification, regardless if it a cover for political gamesmanship." The Iraqis were fired under the guise of Iraq's "de-Baathification" policy, which forbids anyone associated with Saddam Hussein's Baath party from participating in politics.
The firings, and their successive replacement with inexperienced or Iran-trained loyalists, came as the planned U.S. withdrawal shifted greater responsibility for Iraq's security to the same national institutions Maliki was purging. Though violence in Iraq has greatly improved since the war's worst years, it remains a serious problem, with many residents still
the continued ethnic violence and terrorist attacks.
The Baghdad cables are
part of a cache of 183 U.S. State Department communications from the Middle East and North Africa recently published online by Lebanon's Al Akhbar newspaper
. It's unclear how Al Akhbar got the cables, which they say are "exclusive," and whether they posted them with the permission of Wikileaks, which has tightly controlled who publishes which of its cables and when.
In the week before Iraq's election began, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad warned that Maliki and his office "directed the removal" of security and intelligence officials, including "some of the highest quality personnel" and "some of the most experienced intelligence officers," over dubious allegations of ties to the long-defunct Baath party. Maliki, the cables say, then replaced those officials with "political officers" from Maliki's Da'Wa party who "lack intelligence or related backgrounds." They cite "troubling" concerns that Maliki's changes were designed "to eliminate internal opposition in the run-up to the elections."
The purges and political replacements targeted the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior (which oversees intelligence), the Iraqi Joint Headquarters Intelligence Directorate, and the Iraqi National Intelligence and Investigation Agency. Those agencies handle much of Iraq's internal security and the ongoing battle against still-present sectarian and terrorist groups, both roles that are increasingly important as the U.S. reduces its troop presence. "The politically linked command changes are corrosive to Iraqi Security Force command and control integrity and unit readiness," a February 2010 cable from Baghdad warned. Maliki, they say, was likely "trying to hedge post-election fall-out by seeding security forces and intelligence services with allies."
Replacement officials are described as having dubious qualifications and making negligible contributions to Iraqi security. "Many lived in Iran during the previous regime where they may have received some intelligence training," one cable notes. Some are thought to have forged their education credentials. "Their contributions to intelligence work within [Iraqi intelligence] appear limited thus far." They are described as loyal to Maliki and his political party.
De-Baathification abuses have not been limited to government ministries. In January, hundreds of Iraqi politicians -- mostly members of Sunni political parties competing with Maliki's party -- were
from running for office for their alleged ties to the Baath party. A U.S. embassy cable from February details a meeting with two of the banned politicians. One, the mayor of a town north of Baghdad, said Iraqi officials told him that accusations against him would be dropped if he agreed not to run for reelection. The second man, a Parliamentary candidate, waved an old photo of him with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to prove he was not a Baathist. According to the cable, he "received numerous phone calls from a foreign source telling him to pay up to $100,000 to get himself reinstated."
In nationwide elections in March, Maliki's party managed to win 89 of 325 seats in Parliament, two less than challenger Ayyad Allawi's party. But neither party was able to organize a ruling majority coalition, deadlocking Iraq's government for seven difficult months. In November, a U.S.-brokered compromise kept Maliki as Prime Minister.
Posted on 12/04/2010 7:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Rally in London. Free Asia Bibi
I set out for the Free Asia Bibi rally intending to participate at the beginning, in front of the Pakistani Embassy in Knightsbridge. This was organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association. However the 'planned engineering works', planned but not widely publicised, that have blighted weekends in London for the last three years mean that I was so late I had to meet the delegation at its second site, Downing Street.
I have posted about Asia Bibi at this site several times but to recap for readers who come late to her case she is a Pakistani Christian woman, the mother of 5 children. She brought water to the fields where she was working with her Muslim neighbours and, as a good and neighbourly Christian would, offered it to her neighbours. They refused it, and attacked her for polluting their water with her Christian touch. They then threatened her that she should adopt Islam. She replied by asking what Mohamed had ever done for them, compared with the sacrifice Christ made for her, in his dying that she might be saved. This was interpreted as blasphemy against their Prophet Mohammed and she has been imprisoned, tried and sentenced to death. The president of Pakistan is considering granting her a pardon, an appeal is underway, but hard line imams have threatened that if she is not executed others will kill her (and possibly the president) because Allah's law must reign supreme.
I am told that the protest outside the Embassy was small but lively and that the vigour of their prayers and hymn singing attracted the interest of local residents.
There were messages of support from churches and clergy of all denominations and other religions including the Hindu Human Rights group and the British Sikh council. I was sorry to miss the Revd. Alan Craig, leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance, former councillor for London Borough of Newham (until it became a one party state under Labour at the last election) and opponent of the Mega mosque. I understand he spoke powerfully and convincingly in support of Mrs Bibi. A petition calling for her release and the repeal of Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws was handed in to the embassy.
The rally then made its way to Whitehall and the participants were allocated a place opposite the entrance to Downing Street. I met up with colleagues from the EDL forum who consider that the position of non Muslims in pakistan is a matter of concern to us all. We assisted members of the BPCA in handing out flyers to the public. While were did that senior members of the BPCA committee and a pastor used a loud hailer to explain her plight and encourage passers-by to sign the electronic petition. There were chants of "Free, free, free, Asia Bibi" and "repeal the blasphemy laws"
It then became clear that the very large police presence and the barricading along the centre of Whitehall was not for our rally, nor the very small delegation dressed as Superheros and Santa Claus from Fathers4Justice who had been escorted next to us. It was for a rather large and loud Climate Change demonstration which drowned out the intended speeches and song. On the good side it meant that a lot of flyers were given out both to the marchers and to the journalists and their photographers covering it. Hopefully some of them will be interested enough to find out more.
It was said to me that the world's press focused intently on one American Pastor who merely threatened to burn a copy of the Koran, while the impending death of a hard working mother merits relatively little attention.
I was glad of the opportunity to meet more members of the BPCA and to talk to them at greater length. The position of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan is not a happy one.
Their website is here. The electronic petition calling for her release is here. Please sign it and continue to keep Mrs Bibi and other like her in your thoughts and prayers.
I am told that thanks are due to two particular police officers for their assistance during the rally. I extend my thanks to Mrs Chowdhry who provided the delicious home made samosas.
Posted on 12/04/2010 3:40 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Amish: From Now On, We Support Israel
Hillel Fendel writes in Israel News:
Close to 50 members of Amish Christian communities in the U.S.and Switzerland visited Israel last week for one reason: To apologize to the Jewish People.
The Ministry of Tourism announced that Bishop Ben Girod, of the Amish community in Idaho, led the delegation in submitting an official apology for having rejected Israel and the Jews.
In addition to touring various sites in Israel, the visitors met with Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Naomi Tzur, Yad Vashem's Shaya Ben-Yehuda, and Holocaust survivor Eliezer Ayalon. Many of the Amish looked almost hareidi, with their white shirts, black vests, and beards - though no mustaches.
The Amish are famous for shunning modern technology, yet they waived this restriction by boarding cars and an airplane in order to arrive in Israel for their apology. Both in the U.S. and Europe, the Amish have had a history of anti-Semitism, believing that Jews have been "replaced" by Christians and even that Hitler was G-d's agent in punishing the Jews for their rejection of Jesus.
"We are here to say we are sorry," Girod told Israel's Channel 2 News during the group's visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. "We no longer want to reject you or look at you as not being G-d's people. You were G-d's people long before we were." Another Amish member said, "Our people have had some bad attitudes toward the Jewish people and have rejected the Jewish people to a certain extent, and we have come to restore that and apologize."
A declaration of apology and commitment, beautifully printed on parchment, was presented to Rabbi Rabinovitch on behalf of the entire Amish community. In the declaration, the Amish ask Israel's forgiveness "for our collective sin of pride and selfishness by ignoring the plight of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel."
The document states that the Amish will, from now on, speak out strongly in support of the Jews and the Jewish state.
Posted on 12/04/2010 4:13 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Why Should We Be Kind To The Washington Post?
Earlier today The Washington Post carried a headline to a story by Glenn Kessler.
Iranian official's speech highlights obstinence, isolation
A few hours later, I found the headline had been quietly changed:
Iranian official's speech highlights obstinacy, isolation.
No explanation, no embarrassment, no nothing. Just a silent correction.
But I had seen -- and saved -- the first version. I was sure they would have to correct it later, silently, without discussing their initial error or wanting anyone to notice.
So naturally I thought I'd bring it to your attention. And preserve it, too, for posterity, which for many reasons will not be kind to The Washington Post.
Posted on 12/04/2010 5:11 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 4 December 2010
The Intelligence Officer's Bookshelf
This is the recommended reading list from the C.I.A. for its intelligence officers and analysts:
- Ethics of Spying: A Reader for the Intelligence Professional, Volume 2, editor Jan Goldman
- Historical Dictionary of Terrorism by Sean K. Anderson with Stephen Sloan
- The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future by Bruce Riedel
- Cash On Delivery: CIA Special Operations during the Secret War in Laos by Thomas Leo Briggs
- Cold War Radio: The Dangerous History of American Broadcasting in Europe, 1950-1989 by Richard H. Cummings
- Covert Action in the Cold War: US Policy, Intelligence, and CIA Operations by James Callanan
- Hezekiah and the Assyrian Spies: Reconstruction of the Neo-Assyrian Intelligence Services and its Significance for 2 Kings 18-19 by Peter Dubovsky
- Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution by John Nagy
- Mind-Sets and Missiles: A First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis by Kenneth Michael Absher
- Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II by Ben Macintyre
- The Spy Who Loved Us: The Vietnam War and Pham Xuan An's Dangerous Game by Thomas A. Bass
- Targeting the Third Reich: Air Intelligence and the Allied Bombing Campaigns by Robert S. Ehlers, Jr.
Intelligence Services Abroad
- The KGB's Poison Factory: From Lenin to Litvinenko by Boris Volodarsky
- Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union's Cold War Against the Catholic Church by John Koehler
- The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal, and Murder by Alan S. Cowell
Life in the World of Intelligence
- The Cloak and Dagger Cook: A CIA Memoir by Kay Shaw Nelson
Here is a brief selection from the review of "Historical Dictionary of Terrorism":
The dictionary itself has 700 pages with more than 2,000 entries, presented alphabetically. Topics include key actors and organizations- mostly in the Middle East, but including the IRA, and groups in Mexico, South Africa, Japan, and the United States. In addition there are entries on principal laws, a great variety of cases and plots, techniques-data mining and terrorist weapons like ricin-and assassinations.
And here is a brief selection from the review of "The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future":
From the outset Riedel makes it clear that the war on terror is really a war on al Qaeda. He explains that in order to defeat this enemy we must understand its reasons for being, what it hopes to achieve, and its strategy. For background, he reviews why al Qaeda undertook the 9/11 attacks and stresses the importance of understanding that Bin Laden's objective was to provoke the United States into a war in Afghanistan, where it could be bled to death-the same strategy that defeated the Soviets. To achieve this goal, Riedel stresses al Qaeda's need for a safe haven in Pakistan.
The war on terror is not "really a war on Al Qaeda". The war on terror is actually a defensive war against Islamic jihad that began over thirteen hundred years ago when Mohammad waged war to conquer the Arabian peninsula and drive all other religions from it. That jihad has picked up pace recently only due to the increased wealth that the petroleum industry has provided to the ummah, and due to the relaxed immigration policies of the West.
Having achieved the above goals, Reidel explains, al Qaeda intends to create "franchises" throughout the Muslim world that can continue to attack America's allies. In addition, he argues, al Qaeda works to acquire a nuclear weapon and to accomplish its ultimate objectives "to drive the United States from the Muslim world, destroy Israel, and create a jihadist Caliphate" similar to the Ottoman Empire. An Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty is not an option, Riedel emphasizes, because for Islamists peace can only come when Israel is physically eliminated.
Note the emphasis on Israel. Islam does not teach that "peace can come only when Israel is physically eliminated", it teaches that peace can come only when every person in every nation submits to Allah, either by converting to Islam, paying the jizya tax, or being killed by devout Muslims. I agree that an Israeli-"Palestinian" peace treaty is not an option, but I disagree that Israel is the key to world peace, even in the eyes of Muslims.
Also, Al Qaeda is not creating "franchises" in other nations. Al Qaeda is simply one of many jihadi groups, each of which is motivated by the core beliefs of Islam as documented in the Qur'an and the sunnah; Al Qaeda cooperates with other jihadi groups in carrying out their shared objectives. Al Qaeda is not the parent organization; if anything, Al Qaeda is the child organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. (Again, that is not an accurate description of their relationship. They are each waging jihad according to their understanding of the Qur'an and the ahadith).
In the final chapter, "How to Defeat Al Qaeda," Riedel presents recommendations for action by US decision makers and intelligence organizations. First, the "hunt for al Qaeda lacks a sheriff," he notes, the DNI "does not know who is in charge-clearly he is not." Given a leader, he recommends shutting down the al Qaeda propaganda apparatus, the sanctuaries in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Asia, and the franchises. Whatever approaches are adopted, he underlines, they must avoid "alienating succeeding generations of Iraqis and other Muslims." He ends with suggestions for accomplishing this.
Do we really have to avoid alienating generations of Iraqis and other Muslims? The teachings of the Islamic prophet Mohammed already teach Muslims to remain alienated from non-Muslims. Why is it then our goal to avoid alienating them? Their alienation has nothing to do with our foreign policy (other than the extent we refuse to submit to Allah, and refuse to allow Muslims to force other nations to submit to Allah), and nothing to do with the existence or behavior of Israel (except as noted above).
If an intelligence officer were to read the books on this list, would they have the knowledge required to understand what motivates our nation's enemies, enemies who are attacking us on a weekly basis (and attacking non-Muslims around the world on a daily basis)?
Where is a book by Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, Bat Ye'or, Andrew Bostom, Mark Steyn, Richard Rubenstein, or F.A. Hayek? From where would the intelligence officer gain the knowledge of what motivates jihad attacks? In the lead-up to the second World War, leaders such as Winston Churchill had the foresight to study Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf". In the Barbary Wars, Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had the desire to study the Qur'an, in order to understand the motivation of the jihadis who were attacking our ships (and taking slaves from raids in Europe). I assume during the Cold War that C.I.A. agents were familiar with the writings of Karl Marx and other communist writers, and that they studied communist ideology and the history of communism. It seems prudent to try to understand those who are fighting against you.
I believe that history has much to teach us, and I'm sure that each of the books on the C.I.A.'s list has much to recommend it. But there is a glaring hole in the above list.
Posted on 12/04/2010 11:20 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden