These are all the Blogs posted on Wednesday, 4, 2013.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
US Plays Dangerous Islamist Roulette in Syria
Zahran Alloush, leader of proposed Syrian Islamic Front Hassan al-Laqqis, Assassinated Hezbollah military leader
Source: AFP/Getty Image Source: IBT
Below the fold in today’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) was a mind numbing article about the Obama Administration caving in to support an Islamic Front opposition group in another desperate move In the volatile Middle East, “U.S., Allies Reach Out to Syria's Islamist Rebels”. The motivation is to unite Saudi and Emirate funding to support a fundamentalist militia, Jaysh al-Islam (Islamic Front) as a Plan B against the two principal Al Qaeda affiliates, the Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). These Al Qaeda affiliates have effectively vanquished the so-called secular opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the country’s North and East adjoining Iraq. The al Qaeda affiliates have been bolstered by foreign fighters from Iraq, Chechnya in Southern Russia and an increasing number of Jihadis from EU countries.
These seemingly desperate efforts are directed at presenting a unified opposition Syrian National Council (SNC)at an UN-sponsored round of alleged peace discussions in Geneva in late January 2014. The SNC is backed by the London 11, the nations in a loose coalition opposing the Assad regime. Assad is backed by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah with support from Russia. The Assad military, supplied by Russian weapons and endless flow of arms from Iran, has scored some successes despite acknowledging the Chemical Weapons disaster in the Damascus suburbs in August 2013. The Assad regime has advanced in certain areas, while the Al Qaeda affiliates have taken control of swaths of the embattled country now in its 33 month of civil war with over 120,000 dead. The objective of the al Qaeda Affiliates is to create mini-Caliphates ruled under Sharia. The fundamentalist Islamic Front is headed by Syrian Zahran Alloush, whose resume indicates that there may be little difference between his form of fundamentalism and that of the Al Qaeda affiliates. The WSJ report noted this about his background:
The leader of Jaysh al-Islam, Zahran Alloush, is a Syrian educated in Saudi Arabia whose father is a preacher in the Saudi holy city of Medina. Mr. Alloush pledged allegiance late last month to the Islamic Front.
On his purported Twitter feed and in interviews posted on YouTube, he has called for Syria to be ruled by an Islamic council rather than a democratically elected body. He also has spoken in YouTube videos approvingly of the torture of Shiite opponents fighting for Mr. Assad.
His rebel faction—with an efficient media arm that prominently features Mr. Alloush, usually in closely trimmed beard and tight fitting camouflage—denied it has taken funds from Saudi or any other Gulf state. However, Mr. Alloush has in tweets thanked private donors from the Gulf.
Jaysh al-Islam is based in part in Ghouta, the Damascus suburb hit in August by the worst chemical attack of the civil war. At times, it coordinates with the al Qaeda-allied opposition forces on the battlefield, including in fighting this month to try to break regime sieges of Damascus suburbs.
Note what the WSJ article suggests is the underlying rationale for the US abandoning the secular opposition acceding to Saudi requests for formation of the Islamic Front to combat the Al Qaeda Affiliates:
Fractures among Syria's opposition forces have bedeviled the U.S. effort.
Western diplomats said they are pressing the Islamists to rein in their criticism of moderate leader Gen. Salim Idris and the Syrian National Council, the opposition's political umbrella group, arguing that tensions between the opposition factions risk undermining the Geneva peace conference.
Gen. Idris and Ahmad Jarba, head of the Istanbul-based SNC, have struggled to maintain discipline among their forces on the ground in Syria, Western diplomats said. And the umbrella group has no say over the activities of the Islamist militias.
A senior opposition official close to Gen. Idris said the general has welcomed the formation of the Islamic Front as a way to unify the opposition and exclude more extremist factions.
The official … said the two major battalions in the Front will be the key to forming a spearhead for any future campaign to drive al Qaeda-linked ISIS out of northern and eastern Syria.
"It cannot be done without their buy-in. It's definitely understood by our Gulf partners. The question is do Western policy makers, specifically Washington, realize that the only way to fight back against al Qaeda is to work with these groups," the opposition official said.
The only ethnic group that has shown pluck and strength in clearing out the Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria has been the Kurds in the country’s Northeast. The Kurds have achieved virtual autonomy in their ancestral homeland, Rojava , abutting both Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurds have control over the commercial breadbasket of Syria and its oil reserves. Not unlike their Kurdish cousins in adjacent Iraq, the Kurds in Syria have discussed the possibility of having oil flow through Turkish pipelines to the Mediterranean.
The Obama Administration’s only gesture of support to quiet things down in Syria has been to assist in the challenge to destroy the Syrian chemical warfare stockpiles cleared by the Hague-based Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Neighboring Lebanon is now embroiled in a new controversy. There are reports that Israel may have been behind the assassination of a Hezbollah military leader, Hassan al-Laqqis, who masterminded the transfers of strategic weapons that were the subject of a series of dramatic air attacks inside Syria by the IAF.
Tensions have risen dramatically regarding Syria without any substantive resolution of objectives by SNC and the London 11 including the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates. The US and Saudi Arabia partnering in establishment of an Islamic Front composed of fundamentalist fighters adds a degree of risk that the Geneva talks with the Assad Regime may break down or be cancelled. That raises the likely prospect that internecine bloodshed will continue in Syria. The US is now caught up in a dangerous form of Islamist roulette by siding with fundamentalist opposition in Syria to fight against al Qaeda Affiliates both groups supporting Sharia. This could result in the disintegration of Syria into a failed state divided into warring ethno religious enclaves. Thus fueling massive refugee outflows, causing more problems for adjacent countries like Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Israel.
from the website of the Australian Coptic Movement Association (a site well worth visiting and bookmarking, especially if you are Australian) an excellent and telling article by a Copt who has escaped the hell-on-earth that is Islamified Egypt, and now lives in relative peace and safety - for now - in a country town in Australia. It formed one of the many essays in an anthology entitled "Free the Copts", which was recently published by Australia's Coptic community. In Australia, with the help and encouragement of clear-sighted persons such as Rev Dr Mark Durie, the Copts have found their feet - and, increasingly, their voices. I sincerely hope that our politicians will listen to people like Dr Moheb Ghaly, and heed their witness and their warnings.
Sarah, at AUSCMA, gives Dr Ghaly's potted biography as follows:
"Dr Moheb Ghaly is a specialist general surgeion who has been practising for 27 years in Taree, Australia. (Taree being a middle-sized country town, on the New South Wales central coast - CM). In 2012, he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to medicine and the community. He is a proud Australian and Coptic Christian".
"What is In a Name?"
"Martha is a Christian: she will alwasy remain so".
"Of course, it came as little surprise ot me that, because of this simple but clear testimony Martha, a medical student, was failed.
"Notable Copts, there are many - for instance, esteemed Emeritus Professor Dr Emil A Tanagho, a urologist, and Professor Sir Magdy Yacoub, a cardiothoracic surgeon, knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1991.
"But what do these two Copts have in common?
"Both were denied the opportunity to work in Egypt - on religious grounds - and both left for the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively, where they have achieved international recognition for their work.
"Perhaps one exception to this is the Egyptian urologist and Egyptologist Wassim Al-Sissy. Unlike many doctors who have left Egypt, he advocates for Copts in situ.
"There are, of course, many other renowned Copts in various fields. For example, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the famous Egyptian politician and diplomat, was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations during the 1990s.
An ambiguous figure, this one; famous he may have been, but he had not freed himself from dhimmi attitudes, alas. - CM
"And, closer to home, Nick Kaldas, APM, holds the position of Deputy-Commissioner of the NSW Police."
I stand corrected; in commentary to a news article I discussed earlier at this site, I had wondered whether Mr Kaldas was of Greek ancestry; now I find that he is of Coptic background. A forgiveable error, in that there is a very strong Greek influence - both pre-Christian and Christian - within Coptic culture. Greeks and Copts, of course, both have in common the fact that they have endured the horror of dhimmitude; the Greeks, however, managed to throw off the yoke, whereas Copts still remain in thrall, hopelessly outnumbered by the Muslim Ummah that has taken over their country and reduced them to a persecuted minority in their own native land. - CM
"What is common in these cases, and also in my own, is the flourishing that happens upon leaving Egypt. The act of leaving triggers the flourishing.
"It seems a great shame that to flourish one has to leave Egypt (which is, of course, the native and ancestral homeland of the Copts - CM) and seek a better life in the West.
That is: one must somehow claw one's way out of the predator pit that is dhimmitude, de jure or de facto, and escape into the Lands of the Non-Muslims. - CM
"But this opportunity is reserved for those who are fortunate enough and have the means to leave in the first place.
"The fate that befalls those who are not given this choice cannot be overstated, particularly with the current political climate in Egypt.
"In remembering my own experiences, I am struck by the systematic institutional discrimination that blights Egypt - and how that led to my journey as a doctor, starting in England and ending in Australia.
"I was born in Cairo in 1950, and lived there until I was 25 years of age.
"I graduated from medicine in 1974, and worked in Egypt for two years, before leaving for England to work and continue my training.
"I obtained the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), four years later.
"After returning to Egypt in 1979, knowing the Egyptian Army would be looking for me, I completed the compulsory army service and arrived in Australia with my wife, Mona, in February 1981.
"Discrimination occurred in the Egyptian education system.
"First, there were more opportunities for Muslim students to enrol in their own university, Al-Azhar University, where Christians were forbidden.
"During my studies at Ein Shams University in Cairo, I witnessed discrimination against Christians (that is: Muslim discrimination against Christians - CM), especially in oral and clinical exams.
"I recall a student by the name of Boulos Boulos, who was told by the professor conducting the oral examination, "I usually fail one Boulos. And you, well, you are two!". He ushered him out of the room without examining him, and then failed him.
"This is just one example of the blatant institutional (sic: Muslim institutional - CM) discrimination resulting from the name "Boulos", or "Paul" in English, which is a Christian name.
"Later, when I was working in England, and preparing for the final examination, I bumped into the same Dr Boulos Boulos, while he was lecturing at the Royal Free Hospital in London. I was reminded of the discrimination he faced in his own country many years earlier, and compared it with his achievements in this new country.
"I also recall the story of a student named Martha.
"When an examiner (that is, a Muslim examiner - CM) mockingly asked her, "Martha, is that name Christian or Muslim?", she replied, "Martha is Christian; she will always remain so."
"After I reviewed the examination results on the board, I noticed that Martha had passed all her subjects with high grades - but failed the subject involving the oral examiner who mocked her religion.
"So moved was I by her brave testimony, that we named our first child Martha.
"It is a common custom for Coptic Christians to be identified by their name or a cross tattooed on the wrist.
"Because I lack a tattoo and my name is neutral, neither Muslim nor Christian, a lecturer infamous for failing Christians did not know how to categorise me.
"I recall, in an oral examination, this examiner asking me to show him the structures on the front of the wrist - and, naturally, he insisted I show him my right wrist. Looking for the cross tattoo, while I presented the structures of the wrist, and finding nothing, I assume he resolved that I was Muslim. And that is why I passed and received a distinction. This shows that institutional discrimination can be overt or subtle.
"Although this institutional discrimination occurred in the 1960s, today there is not even a question of name origins. It is visual; female Christian students are unveiled.
"Recently, I read in a newsletter about the charity, 'Coptic Orphans'. This charity described a Christian girl too terrified to attend school - even fully veiled. She has to brave the bullying at her school and is mistreated - because she is Christian.
Islam: the religion of self-righteous bullies. - CM
"In the 1970s and 1980s Christians left Egypt to improve their standard of living and to avoid more discrimination; now they are leaving because they fear for their safety and are terrified of losing their lives.
"We hear of kidnappings, killings, and attacks on properties and Coptic Churches all over the country. Neither justice nor security exists.
It is my own opinion that a Muslim genocide of the Copts, analogous to that which Muslims in Turkey unloosed upon the Armenian and other Christians between the late 1890s and 1916, is already underway, and gathering force. - CM
"I have returned to Egypt twice, primarily to do some volunteer work and to accompany my daughters so they could experience their cultural background.
"During these trips I saw extreme poverty, lack of infrastructure - and even worse institutional discrimination against Christians in the hospital setting, than in the past. Copts study and work hard, but are not offered jobs, because of their religion.
Australia should not accept, on any pretext, any Muslim from Egypt, into Australia, from this day forward: not as tourists, not as students, not as businessmen, and certainly not as immigrants or 'asylum seekers'. The only people from Egypt that Australia should be accepting - and for whom we could, in fact, be preferentially making room, since they are as endangered, today, as were the Jews of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, or the Armenian Christians in 1900, are those identifiable as Coptic Christians. - CM
"My experience suggests that mainstream Australians are unaware of the suffering of minority religious groups around the world, such as the Copts in Egypt. Take Taree, Australia. It is a predominantly secular community, in my experience, and only a few people show interest in overseas religious conflicts. So human rights issues for Egypt's Copts are not at the forefront.
"Although the media coverage of the Arab Spring (the so-called Arab Spring - CM) sparked some interest, even then it was clear most people were quite unaware of the complexity, context, and consequences of the situation. The Australian public was also unaware of the concern and scepticism that the Copts expressed in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"Many Copts understand the events of recent years must be viewed in the context of centuries of violence, martyrdom, and persecution against Coptic Christians.
That is: "centuries of Muslim attacks upon, mass murder, oppression, exploitation and persecution of Coptic Christians". Bat Yeor gives a good overview in her historical essay, "A Christian Minority: The Copts in Egypt".
"Reverend Dr Mark Durie describes this in his book "The Third Choice", which explains the Islamic concept of dhimmitude, and what it means for non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians".
Dr Ghaly's mention of this book - which distils and then extends upon Bat Yeor's pioneering labours - shows that Dr Durie is reaching not only ordinary Aussies, but also people within Australia who have lived as de facto dhimmis before they came here, or are descended from dhimmis. This is very, very important: for all of us. It is essential that people like Dr Ghaly be able to clearly name the source and the agents of the misery they endured. - CM
"Without grasping this concept, mainstream Australia will be inflicted with the same short-sightedness as the mainstream media.
Worse than that: mainstream Australia will be greatly in danger of not recognising the mortal threat represented by the expanding Muslim Fifth Column now established in our midst; and we will be in danger of being 'groomed' for dhimmi status, ourselves. If we do nothing, and allow the Ummah or Mohammedan Mob within Australia to grow, and grow, and grow, then one day non-Muslim Australians - of all colours, and of all non-Islamic faiths, or none - will find themselves under the Muslim boot, being mercilessly exploited and bullied and killed, as now happens to the indigenous Christian Copts of Egypt, who have been reduced to a terrorised remnant in their own country. - CM
"The discrimination against Martha in the late 1960s because of her name is a mild example, by today's standards, of the daily suffering experienced by Coptic Christians living in Egypt.
"Working and living in a small Australian country town gives me an opportunity to represent Copts positively and to educate the public about the human rights of Egypt's Christians.
Keep on reading and rereading "The Third Choice", Dr Ghaly. Then read the companion booklet, "Liberty to the Captives". As well as educating Australians about Muslim persecution of Christians in Egypt, Dr Ghaly, I encourage you to take step further: try to warn non-Muslim Australians that they had better put a stop to all further Islamisation of Australia, lest they end up like the Copts of Egypt. - CM
"I am proud to be Egyptian - but even prouder to be Australian.
"I share the feelings of many Copts in the diaspora, who fear for the fate of Egypt's Copts in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"The Australian Coptic Movement Association's efforts and commitment to Coptic Christians in Egypt is commendable."
I encourage all Australian non-Muslims who read this article by Dr Ghaly, to check the Australian Coptic Movement Association website regularly, and - if possible - to participate in such rallies and consciousness-raising events as they may organise from time to time. The more support and encouragement they receive, the bolder they will become, as the habits of centuries of dhimmitude - especially with the help of people like Dr Durie - are shucked off. - CM
Kudos to Mr Higgins and the editor of The Australian for using the M-word, without qualifiers, in a headline. - CM
'Islamic activist group Hizb ut Tahrir ('activist group'? - now that's a newie on me, by way of a euphemism for 'bunch of sinister jihad-inciting-and-plotting gang bosses' - CM) described the arrests yesterday of two Muslims (congratulations, Ean Higgins and The Australian, once again, for calling them what they are - Muslims. Just Muslims. Bog-standard Muslims, engaging - as per Quranic instructions - in Jihad fi sabil allah - CM) alleged to have tried to join the struggle (interesting choice of words: does Mr Ean Higgins know that 'jihad' in Arabic equates to 'struggle' in English or 'kampf' in German? - CM) in Syria, or to have arranged for others to do so, as a bid to "intimidate and silence" the Muslim community.
Personally, I'd have preferred for these and all the other aspiring 'soldiers of allah' to be wafted on their way out of the country...but with their Aussie citizenship quietly and inexorably cancelled, or else a sentence of Outlaw and Exile For Life brought down upon them, as soon as it was known that they were in Syria, in the dar al Islam, back where they belong, and where they ought to be required to remain. - CM
'Hizb ut Tahrir, an international organisation ('organisation' is a good word, but 'crime syndicate' would do as well: see the following article from Russia Today on the manner in which Hizb ut Tahrir raises money for jihad:
dedicated to the creation of a global caliphate to rule all Muslims around the world (no: this caliphate they dream of would not just apply to Muslims: they are after nothing less than a planetary Sunni Muslim sharia-compliant despotism within which all non-Muslims on earth would be reduced to near-slave dhimmis, humiliated, degraded, exploited, treated with contempt, and periodically mass-murdered - CM) said the federal government was hypocritical in criticising such activities at the same time it had troops fighting in Afghanistan.
Fine. We Infidels will be only too happy to take our men out of Muslim Afghanistan, so long as all soldiers of allah, and their camp followers, all the Fifth Columnists of the Ummah, or Mohammedan Mob, the Allah Gang, the de facto Empire of Islam, will reciprocally remove themselves from all majority non-Muslim lands, worldwide, and confine themselves henceforward to those portions of the earth already ruled, and ruined, by Islam. - CM
"Why are the acts of Australian troops in conflicts abroad characterised as an ultimate sacrifice to be celebrated but the sacrifice of Muslims in wanting to assist the oppressed characterised as criminal, problematic conduct to be condemned?" it said in a statement from its Australian media office.
'Oppressed'. When Muslims use this word, one must remember that in Muslimspeak - which is even more perverse than the Newspeak of George Orwell's '1984' - words like 'justice', 'truth', 'oppressed', 'persecuted', etc, do not mean what they mean for us Infidels. At this point, to clarifywhat Hizb ut Tahrir and other Mohammedan whiners really mean when they use the word 'oppression' and claim that Muslims are 'oppressed', I shall link to a classic piece published in 2005 by Australia-resident Bengali ex-Muslim Abul Kasem, entitled, "When Is Islam Oppressed?"
Mr Kasem begins his article by quoting the ipsissima verba of a sinister jihad-inciting Muslim 'cleric' or jihad gang boss, Abdul Nacer Benbrika: "I am telling you that my religion doesn't tolerate other religion. It doesn't tolerate. The only one law which needs to be spread, it can be here or anywhere else, has to be Islam".
A little later on, he explains, in tones dripping with sarcasm: "Islam is grossly offended by any un-Islamic moves of the infidels / not-so-good Muslims". And after quoting Quran 5: 33, which prescribes harsh punishment for "waging war against Allah (i.e. the unbelievers who reject Islam) and His messenger", he explains that "the words 'waging war' in the above verse has very little to do with real combat (like Iraq, Afghanistan). Any action, activity, remark, gesture, word/s, sound, utterance, look, manner, habit, conduct, style and so on, which are not in conformity with Islamic precepts are considered as blasphemous or 'waging war". Thus, even the slightest criticism of Islam, Muhammad, Quran or Sharia, verbally or in writing, might be treated as gross violations of Islamic tenets...
"Below, I have listed a few innocuous activities, manners, social customs, traditions, and the daily way of life, which the Kafirs blithely take for granted, but which are extremely un-Islamic. According to Islamic morals, customs and laws these offensive activities/ practices might be construed as oppressive to Islam, and, therefore, they are legitimate targets for eradication, or they must be replaced by Islamic practices or Islamic purification.
"Here is how Islam is oppressed by the unbelievers.
"The infidels do not submit to Allah despite repeated warnings to them. This is the highest form of rebelliion by the Kafirs and an extreme type of oppression to Islam..".
Read it all, if you have not read it before. Then, whenever some Hizb ut Tahrir or other Muslim whinger starts squawking about how awfully Muslims are being 'oppressed', you will have an entirely different perspective. - CM
'Hizb ut Tahrir has run an active media and public forum campaign urging Australian Muslims (that is: Muslims currently resident in Australia - CM) to be cautious of cooperating with Australian authorities, or taking on mainstream Australian values.
Of course. No Muslim is supposed to genuinely and permanently befriend or ally themselves with non-Muslims. Hizb ut Tahrir is merely reminding their fellow Muslims of the pivotal Muslim principle of al wala wa al baraa, loyalty (to the Ummah only) and enmity (toward all non-Muslims qua non-Muslims). - CM
'At a convention in western Sydney last month, it said ASIO and federal and state police were engaged in a harassment and persecution campaign against activist (hmmm - jihad-minded? sharia-pushing? - CM) and traditionalist Muslims, in a bid to suppress dissident views inconvenient to the government, and promote an "acceptable" and "watered down" version of Islam.
And that, my friends, gives the game away, and how. Because it tells us that real Islam, Islam pur et dur, involves enmity and aggression toward non-Muslims. Speaking as an Australian, I would like to see Hizb ut Tahrir banned, like, yesterday; and all its front groups shut down, and all non-citizen members and 'activists' turfed out, and investigation undertaken into how on earth any known Hizb ut Tahrir members and 'activists' managed to obtain Australian citizenship in the first place...and consideration given to the stripping of citizenship from those who openly flaunt their membership in and loyalty to a transnational - indeed, criminal (see the Russia Today news story I linked above, about Hizb ut Tahrir criminal activity) organisation and openly express total contempt for the non-Muslim polity within which they currently reside.
Their use of the term 'persecution' to describe actions taken in self-defence by Australian government and law enforcement should be taken, moreover, as a threat. Quran 2: 214, supposedly recited after Mohammed's banditti had - violating previous custom of no war during the sacred months - attacked a Quraysh caravan at Nakhla, concludes with the words "persecution is worse than slaughter". The 'persecution' was alleged or perceived Quraysh opposition to Muslims; the 'slaughter' was the Muslim killing of said Quraysh. That is: when Muslims cry 'persecution' one must be wary, because it is very probable that they are ginning themselves up to attack those whom they are labellilng as 'persecutors'.
Opposition to Muslims = persecution; just as opposition to Muslims = oppression. Anyone who resists and tries to defend themselves against Jihad - against the Muslim campaign to impose Muslim dominance and the sharia of Islam, world-wide, upon all human beings - is viewed as causing the jihad. See the following classic essay on Islamspeak, for more:
'It issued yesterday's statement after the announcement of the arrests of Amin Mohamad, alleged to have tried to travel to Syria to fight against the Assad regime, and Hamdi Alqudsi, who allegedly organised travel and arranged overseas contacts for seven Australians (sic: 'seven Australian-passport-holding Muslims - CM) to fight in Syria.
'The men were allegedly sent to fight with the terrorist group (that is, the jihad gang - CM) Jabhat al Nusra, also known as the Al-Nusra Front, and affiliates of al-Qaida.
'In its statement, Hizb ut Tahrir said Attorney-General George Brandis, in linking these arrests to Australia's national security, had engaged in "ridiculous and irresponsible fear-mongering".
How dare the Filthy Unbelievers notice the hostile intentions and actions of Muslims toward non-Muslims and toward other-sect / deemed-heretical Muslims! How dare the Filthy Unbelievers criticise anything done by any kind of Muslim!! Actually, as far as I can tell, Attorney-General George Brandis is still a long, long way from grasping the full meaning and menace of Islam, Islam, Islam. He wasn't fear-monging; he was, if anything, gravely understating the nature of the threat that the Mohammedan Fifth Column, some half a million strong and counting, entrenched within towns and cities across Australia, now represents toward all non-Muslim Australians. - CM
"On the one hand the government has criminalised support for forces opposing Assad, yet on the other is itself, through its foreign ministery, undertaking various political manoeuvres in support of the secular elements of the opposition", Hizb ut Tahrir said.
True enough. Strictly speaking, Infidel Australia does not have a dog in this fight, which boils down to a Sunni Muslim attempt to overthrow deemed-heretical Shiite-aligned Alawites: any so-called 'secular elements' are negligible in both power and numbers and are probably not as 'secular' as they appear in any case. The only people Australia should care about, in Syria, and the only people I want us to help and to whom we can and should offer asylum (it could probably be done via the Russian embassy and perhaps the French), are the desperately-imperilled and defenceless indigenous Syrian Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic. If nothing is done to help them, they will be slaughtered wholesale...and chief among the ululating butchers will be Jabhat al-Nusra, whom Hizb ut Tahrir are so zealously supporting. - CM
"The truth is that government poiicy on this issue is not about violence or national security.
Wrong. It is: though they're going about it the wrong way. In fact, Australia and other infidels would have been safest if the semi-Muslim Alawites remained in power in Syria..just. Any kind of full-strength-Islam regime, anywhere in the world, is bad for Infidels. - CM
"It is about seeking to legitimise and push the political alternative for Syria the government deems acceptable and de-legitimising and criminalising that which it deems problematic".
How dare we Aussie kuffar criticise, condemn and refuse to provide support for people - such as the allahu-akbaring mohammedthugs of the Jabhat al Nusra and all the other jihad gangs currently operating in Syria - who cut off heads (including, sometimes, the heads of their own fellow-fighters, if they mistake them for the Enemy - ooops!), slit open bodies and munch on still-warm guts, kidnap priests and hold them to ransom, kidnap and rape nuns, kidnap and rape Christian girls (and then murder them), burn churches, and sack and pillage ancient Christian villages!! How dare we regard such wholly-sharia-compliant and Quranically-encouraged jihad ultraviolence as criminal and 'problematic'!! - CM
"it is about promoting and working for a secular lackey as the alternative to Assad".
As opposed to, say, promoting and working for the institutionalised sadism of a Sunni Muslim sharia despotism? Because that's what Hizb ut Tahrir wants and is actively working towards achieving - not only for Syria, but for the whole wide world, including Australia. - CM
A psychiatrist concluded that one of the men on trial accused of killing soldier Lee Rigby does not have a mental disorder, a court has heard. The expert who assessed Michael Adebolajo said he was polite and co-operative and had mental capacity, the jury was told.
The statement read on behalf of the consultant forensic psychiatrist who assessed Mr Adebolajo at Kings College Hospital on three occasions said the defendant had been keen to talk about the incident that led to his arrest.
Mr Adebolajo stressed that he had not been taking any illicit substances and had not been feeling unwell in the run-up to the events of 22 May.
Mr Adebolajo told the psychiatrist that he was concerned about the impact the events in Woolwich would have on his family, but during their second meeting he said that he would present a risk to the military who behaved in a provocative manner.
In their final meeting on 31 May, Mr Adebolajo said he had no concerns about his medical care and that he was aware he would be transferred to police custody and interviewed.
What was given short shrift in the rush to obtain the interim P5+1 deal in Geneva was the fate of three imprisoned Americans by the Islamic Regime. We noted:
Miller in his remarks to the audience of fellow Pensacolians made it clear that he viewed the P5+1 agreement, and reports of Administration’s secret negotiations with Iran as a fantasy. He stood firmly in support of Israel, America’s ally, who he said was in the gunsight of the Iranian nuclear threat. An Iran governed by radical Twelver Shiite Islamists denying liberty to their own people whose ideology brims with hatred towards Jews and Christians seeking their destruction in an apocalyptic event. An Iran that has currently imprisoned two American citizens, one a former FBI agent and a Jew , [a Marine veteran] and a Christian pastor arrested when he was endeavoring to build an orphanage in Iran. A pastor was only briefly mentioned in negotiations by the US delegation in Geneva.
Our colleague at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington, DC, Shoshana Bryen and her husband Stephen, a former Reagan era Deputy Defense Secretary, co-authored a highly revelatory article about this issue on the website of the Gatestone Institute, Iran Deal: Was the West Skinned? Their bottom line:
The Administration's position is that the nuclear deal is separate from any other conversation with Iran including the fate of the Americans imprisoned there: retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently housed in a "violent offenders" prison.
We get, essentially, nothing. But it is worse than that. Whatever the P5+1 believe it achieved pales in comparison to what the deal cost.
The Bryens further note how lop sided the Iran deal is:
The nuclear-related agreement signed between the P5+1 and the Iranian government is, on its face, one-sided. In essence, according to Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), they get: billions in sanctions relief, 3,000 new centrifuges, a plutonium reactor and enough enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb. We get, essentially, nothing: no centrifuges dismantled; no uranium shipped out of the country; no facilities closed; no delay at the Arak plutonium plant; and no stop to missile testing, terrorism or human rights abuses. But it is, actually, worse than that.
The administration's position is that the nuclear deal is separate from any other conversation with Iran, including the fate of Americans imprisoned there. Asked whether retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini were discussed in Geneva, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, "The P5+1 talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues, but we have raised – repeatedly raised [these cases] in our bilateral discussions with Iran."
They note that the Administration gave away valued poker chips in negotiations: the release of Iranians involved with their nuclear program and no invasive inspections of the key nuclear weapons development sites like Parchin:
American hikers Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were targets of opportunity, captured and imprisoned as spies by Iran in July 2009. Shourd was released in 2010, Bauer and Fattal in September 2011. As part of an arrangement or not, in 2012, the United States released Iranian prisoners Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, Nosratollah Tajik, and Amir Hossein Seirafi. Unlike the Americans, however, the released Iranians were clearly working for the Islamic Republic's military establishment. Gholikhan had been convicted on three counts of weapons trafficking. Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan, was caught attempting to buy night-vision goggles from U.S. agents. Seirafi was convicted of attempting to purchase specialized vacuum pumps that could be used in the Iranian nuclear program.
It appears the price for the three hikers was three purchasers of illegal weapons for the Iranian government. The lopsided deal was made considerably odder by the later release of Mojtaba Atarodi, a top Iranian scientist.
The then-secret U.S.-Iranian nuclear talks began in March 2013, after the three-for-three. In April, according to Kerry Picket at Breitbart News, the U.S. released Atarodi, arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran's military-nuclear programs. The Atarodi case is very problematic, beginning with why such an Iranian scientist was allowed in the U.S. In cases involving theft of technology, charges are generally public and there is a trial. Atarodi's arraignment was secret and the U.S. attorney refused to provide any public information. It appears Atarodi was to have to have been released to house arrest with electronic monitoring, due to concerns about his health, but the deal fell through and he was kept in a federal detention facility in California. There is no public information on what he was attempting to acquire, but previous cases involving Iran have included very high speed cameras, very high frequency oscilloscopes, and nuclear trigger Krytrons. Atarodi would have been considered a high-value prisoner.
Meanwhile, the three Americans -- Levinson, Hekmati, and Abedini -- remained in jail in Iran. A balanced deal would have seen these three released. Levinson has been an Iranian prisoner since 2007. Hekmati was sentenced to death as a CIA spy, but while the Iranians set aside the death sentence and decided to have a new trial, it has not taken place. Abedini was sentenced to 8 years in prison for "anti-Iranian activities," which appears to mean having practiced his Christian faith while in Iran. He is currently housed in a "violent offenders" prison.
The fact that the U.S. negotiators failed to have any of them – let alone all of them – released in exchange for Atarodi could be seen as a harbinger of the unbalanced deal to come. And it came with the Western decision to omit any discussion of the military facility at Parchin.
The IAEA has been demanding to inspect the Parchin facility near Tehran since 2005, believing the site was used to test explosive triggers for a nuclear device. Satellite photography of Parchin shows the construction of a special explosives containment building that would serve precisely that purpose. Satellite imagery from August 2013 indicates major alterations in the Parchin site, including paving that would diminish "the ability of IAEA inspectors to collect environmental samples and other evidence that it could use to determine whether nuclear weapons-related activities once took place there," according to the Institute for Science and International Security.
That would seem to make it essential even to the strictly nuclear-related conversation the State Department claims it was having with Iran. But Parchin was not part of the discussion and not part of the deal. In its "Fact Sheet" the White House alludes to Parchin, saying "a number of issues" involving Iran's compliance with Security Council resolutions need to be resolved, including "questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran's nuclear program, including Iran's activities at Parchin."
The Joint Plan of Action, however, says nothing about Parchin or about Marivan near the Iraq border, where large-scale explosive testing is also reported to have taken place. There are probably dozens of other facilities in Iran where work on nuclear weapons is going on. None of the military facilities is part of the deal.
Anything the P5+1 believes it has achieved pales in comparison to what the deal cost. The West gave permission for Iran to continue uranium enrichment; permitted continued secrecy for a military-related facility that the international community had demanded to inspect; and acquiesced to continued imprisonment for three Americans caught in the Iranian prison system, while Iranians who were part of the nuclear program went free. And those are only the debits on nuclear-related issues. If Iran's human rights nightmare, support for the mass slaughter taking place in Syria, and support for terrorism around the world are factored in, the American pre-payment was a very bad deal for the West.
When the Congress reconvenes from the Thanksgivukkah recess. The first order of business should be passage of pending amendments to Defense Appropriations bills strengthening sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The second matter to be taken up should be the passage of a Joint Concurrent Resolution directing the President to demand Iran return immediately the three imprisoned Americans --Messrs. Levinson and Hekmati, and Pastor Abedini.
Alas, the question has to be repeated over and over again. Will the politically ignorant American academics in our midst, so eager to attack Israel, ever accept the principle that truth is transmitted by academic freedom? Will those academics at colleges throughout the United States, usually uninformed about the realities and complexities of the Middle East, ever learn enough to resist the relentless pressure of Palestinian groups or "Palestinian civil society" and their fallacious Palestinian narrative of victimhood?
It is disgraceful that American academic organizations, supposedly dedicated to and essentially based on free exchange of ideas, call for punishing Israeli universities, and therefore the individual scholars working there, simply because of their nationality. Boycott of an institution affects everyone connected with it. Moreover, it is outrageous that the political horizon of these groups, purportedly concerned with non-political issues, is limited to criticism of only one country -- Israel -- and not to any of the other 192 member states in the world. Political behavior by those others -- dictatorships, autocracies, theocracies, countries based on gender discrimination and abuse of women -- do not appear in the biased, and possibly anti-Semitic, gyroscope of the slanted politically correct views of academic attackers of Israel.
This year, members of two academic organizations, the Association for American Asian Studies, (AAS) and the American Studies Association, (ASA) have both called for a boycott of Israeli universities. By doing so both have contravened the purposes for which they were established, though the zealots in them do not appear to have recognized this.
The constitution of the AAS clearly states its main objectives: forming a scholarly, nonpolitical association of all persons interested in Asian studies; and facilitating contact and exchange of information between scholars and scholarly organizations in North America interested in Asian studies and those in other countries.
It says nothing about expertise in the complexities of Middle East history and politics being a requirement for membership of the AAS. Nevertheless in April 2013, the general membership unanimously voted for a resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli universities, the first scholarly association in the U.S. to do so. Apparently the AAS, unaware of the existence and problems in China, Japan, and South Korea, believes that Israel is the major power in Asia. The AAS resolved that it will honor the "call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions."
The former president of AAS, Rajini Srikanth, a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, spoke of the "discriminatory practices of Israeli institutions." Apparently those practices in 2013 included winning Nobel Prizes. The 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went jointly to Arieh Warshel who had studied at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and at the Weizmann Institute of Science at Rehovat, and to Michael Levitt who is visiting professor at Weizmann. The Nobel Prize for Physics went to François Englert, a professor at Tel Aviv University.
Not to be outdone in this competition of arrogant ignorance, a group of the American Studies Association, named the Academic and Community Activism Caucus, in November 2013 proposed a resolution, in the same language as the AAS, that the whole ASA "honor the call of Palestinian society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions." Twice therefore we have the bizarre case of individuals, presumably paid to teach American studies, honoring instructions from unknown foreign Palestinians. Is there an Arab lobby at work within the ASA and the AAS?
The constitution of the ASA was chartered in 1951. Its object is "the promotion of the study of American culture ...through the strengthening of relations among persons in this country and abroad devoted to such studies, and the broadening of knowledge among the general public about American culture in all of its diversity and complexity."
These are desirable objectives, but there is a double problem. The first is that the ASA Caucus is preventing, not strengthening, relations with foreign countries, though it is only Israel that is affected. The other is that, in spite of the claim of "viewing America as a whole" a disproportionate number of the panels on the ASA agenda concentrate on issues of American imperialism and colonialism, and the "diversity" called for in the constitution is largely limited to critical comments on mainstream American behavior and life.
At the ASA meeting a petition in favor of the boycott of Israel received 850 signatures; one opposing the boycott was signed by about 50. Two sessions of these people in American studies were devoted to a "Town Hall Meeting on Palestine," and to "Open Discussion on Palestine."
The boycott resolution was endorsed by the current president and by the president-elect. The current president is Curtis Marez, an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the UC San Diego. His main focus seems to be on U.S. Latinos. Mr. Marez's only published book is Drug Wars: the Political Economy of Narcotics, issued in 2004. It is unclear what expertise he now has enabling him to endorse a statement that Israeli universities are involved in complicity of occupation.
The forthcoming president is Lisa Duggan, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. Her stated interests are mainly in the history of gender and sexuality and in gay and lesbian studies. She has published in 2003 one book under her own name, The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Does she know that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and that gay rights are protected in Israel as they are not in the other Middle East countries? When will these people honoring "Palestinian civil society" recognize that academic boycotts against Israel are flawed, that they impose a test of national or religious, essentially Jewish, identification or opinions that as the American Association of University Professors has suggested have nothing to do with eligibility for participation in the academic community. Moreover, the boycotters fail to recognize that Israeli academics do not necessarily agree with the political decisions of their government, and that they may share with the boycotters some of their views about the Palestinians.
It is time for the AAS, the ASA, and all academic and professional bodies, to recognize that academic freedom is precious. Institutions and individuals within them should be judged on the basis of their ideas and work, not on their nationality or religion. If they truly care for "Palestinian civil society" the critics should be building bridges, not boycotts. They ought to remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "don't use solutions that don't solve."
Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.
Later today David Cameron is expected to announce efforts to restrain Muslim hate preachers and jihadist recruiting. I have no reason to believe that these will be any more effective than the governments previous cosmetic attempts to convince the public that "something is being done". But Muslim whinge group Run and tell tales to Mummy, Tell MAMA isn't happy. From the Independent.
A group that monitors attacks on Muslims said it was preparing for an upsurge of violence as a result of the moves being announced today by David Cameron.
Under the Prime Minister’s proposals, Islamist radicals face being expelled from mosques, Muslim community groups and universities in a fight-back against fundamentalism. The courts would be given new civil powers – similar to Asbos – to ban suspected extremists from preaching or indoctrinating others.
At the same time internet companies have been asked to block terrorist material from overseas being accessed in this country.
The measures were proposed by the Prime Minister’s extremism task force – which included ministers, community groups, the police and the security services – set up after the killing of Lee Rigby.
Last night Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Tell Mama, which records anti-Muslim incidents, said he feared Mr Cameron’s announcements would reinforce negative perceptions of Muslims.
Mr Mughal said he had asked extra staff to be on standby because of an anticipated surge in hate attacks. He added that the new rules should cover all forms of extremism, including the activities of the far right. “There has to be parity and not a feeling that Muslims are being singled out,” he said.
Chris Allen, an expert on Islamophobia at Birmingham University, said: “The more the lens is turned on the Muslim community, the more society begins to think, ‘There’s no smoke without fire’.” (or the sword)
Speaking in China, Mr Cameron defended the proposals. “In light of the dreadful events in Woolwich, I thought it was very important to have a proper look through all of the UK’s institutions to make sure we really are doing everything we can to drive out radicalisation,” he said. “This is not just about violent extremism, this is about extremism that leads to radicalisation and particularly Islamist extremism.”
Mr Cameron said there were “just too many people” who had been radicalised at Islamic centres or who had been in contact with extremist preachers, who had “not been sufficiently challenged”.
The report includes a definition of Islamist extremism as a distinct ideology which, it says, should not be confused with traditional religious practice. It describes it as an ideology which is based on a “distorted interpretation of Islam, which betrays Islam’s peaceful principles”.
What did I say in my first paragraph? Read the comments under the article, in particular that of Lion Singh. Some people have been dealing with Islam up close and personal for a long time, and are not fooled by Cameron's apologetics.
COUNTER-terrorism officers have c?harged a figurehead of last year's Muslim riots and infamous Sharia "whipping" case over an attempted ATM ram-raid in Sydney's north. Wassim Fayad, 46, one of two head spokesmen during the riots, was arrested at 7.30am last Friday at Auburn and charged over the failed ram-raid involving at least two other men at North Ryde on May 15.
The investigation, kept under wraps until now, has been continuing for several months, running at the same time as another case with the Joint-Counter Terrorism Team examining a syndicate sending young Australian Muslims to fight in the Syrian civil war. Police also have been investigating Fayad's activities to see whether he has any connection with the Syrian syndicate.
While the ATM attack would normally be left with local authorities, counter terror police are understood to have led the investigation because of their interest in how the alleged assailants had planned to spend the proceeds of the crime.
The new charge, laid by the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command, is over the aggravated break and enter on a shopping centre at Waterloo Rd, North Ryde.
The incident involved a four-wheel drive and a van driven into the shopping centre about 4am. Police will allege the four-wheel drive was used to ram two ATMs before Fayad and at least two others allegedly tried to access the cash inside. They left empty-handed.
Fayad was also charged last week by the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad with being an accessory after the fact in an unrelated attempt to murder case - he appeared in court on both charges. That accessory charge was laid following an investigation into the attempted murder of a man outside the Aarows sex club at Rydalmere, on May 1, two weeks before the alleged ATM attack.
NSW Police confirmed officers with the Joint Counter-Terror team laid the charges in relation to the attempted robbery. Police are continuing to probe links between the men and others who have been radicalised in the community.
Prisoner accused of intimidating jail inmates to convert to Islam
I thought at first he was in an Irish prison. But no, he is in an English prison but the only newspaper interested is in Ireland. Most Irish people have relatives living or working in the United Kingdom. They see what has happened here; they do not want anything similar happening in Ireland. From the Irish Independent.
A Muslim jailed for his involvement in the killing of a woman at a christening party has been accused of bullying and intimidating jail inmates to convert to Islam, it was revealed today. Jude Odigie, 24, was a teenager when he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced at the Old Bailey in February 2007 to detention "for public protection" and ordered to serve a minimum period of seven years, three months, eight days.
He was part of a gang which invaded a christening party at a community centre in Peckham, south London, and stole mobile phones and handbags. A shot was fired by another member of the gang and hit a woman, who was holding a baby, in the head. The baby was unharmed but the woman, Zainab Kalokoh, 33, died later in hospital.
Odigie was held at various prisons until he was moved in June 2012 to Lowdham Grange, a Category B training prison for men operated by Serco Ltd in the East Midlands.
His cell was searched on October 12 2012 and a tin opener was found which came apart, with one handle sharpened to a point. A plastic handle was also found wrapped in bootlaces into which the sharpened point could fit to make a weapon, the High Court heard.He was then moved to Full Sutton high security prison.
He launched a High Court challenge and asked deputy judge Philip Mott QC to quash the transfer decision and return him to Lowdham Grange on the basis the move was procedurally unfair and an abuse of power.
Today, Judge Mott said Odigie's application for judicial review "fails on all grounds".
The judge said a gist of the accusations against him "does set out a consistent pattern of information pointing to pressure being put on other prisoners to convert to Islam, and the use of threats to those who do not comply".
The cell search was "prompted by intelligence, and proved to be absolutely justified . . . The discovery of a home-made weapon in his cell appeared to substantiate this intelligence." He ruled: "In my judgement the undisputed facts and background were sufficient to justify action being taken without waiting for the result of the adjudication. The finding of the weapon was a serious matter. The background of perceived threats and bullying clearly had to be borne in mind also, but was not needed to justify taking action.
The name Jude suggests Christian origins. I wonder if he was a Muslim at the time he was convicted, or whether he converted inside.
Terrorism Monitoring Group Uncovers New Threats Against 'pig' Wilders
Geert Wilders, leader of Freedom Party (PVV)
Source: NL Times
We recently posted on Wilders' ninth anniversary of the Royal Dutch Protection Service putting him the equivalent of 24/7 protection because of threats on life from jihadists that followed in the wake of the murder of Dutch film maker, Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam. Wilders responded to these continuing threats to his life wityh his own controversial film Fitna, and his virgorous exercise of free speech as an outspoken crtiic of Islam and mass Mulsim immigration in The Netherlands the EU and here in North America.
Researchers from the Israeli/American Security and Intelligence Company (ITRR) intercepted a new threat on an internet forum for Jihadists, directed toward PVV-leader Geert Wilders. The message is a call to murder Wilders in an attack with explosives.The writer of the message calls Wilders a “pig” and a “coward.” The message was posted in a response to Wilders’ recent call to add a text to the flag of Saudi Arabia, that reads: ‘The Islam is a lie, Mohammed is a criminal, the Koran is poison.’
Wilders is a frequent subject of threats on internet forums and through email and social media. Just last Friday he tweeted: ‘after nine years sick souls on the internet still give me the creeps.’
Since the assassination of Theo van Gogh, early November 2004, the PVV-leader has lived under police protection. On the party’s website Wilders “celebrated” that fact: ‘since that ominous day, nine years ago, I’ve been forced to live under police protection. I have lived in barracks, jails, and safe houses. The threats continue and have robbed me of my privacy and freedom.’
We understand that Wilders may be returning to America in early 2014. We will endeavor to keep you posted on those developments.
Peggy Noonan nails Obama and his administration at the WSJ blog (with thanks to Richard Rubenstein):
The president’s problem right now is that people think he’s smart. They think he’s in command, aware of pitfalls and complexities. That’s his reputation: He’s risen far on his brains. They think he is sophisticated.
That is his problem in the health insurance debacle.
* * *
People have seen their prices go up, their choices narrow. They have lost coverage. They have lost the comfort of keeping the doctor who knows them and knows they tend to downplay problems and not complain of pain, and so doing more tests might be in order, or tend to be hypochondriacal and probably don’t need an echocardiogram, or at least not a third one this year.
At the very least people have been inconvenienced; at the most they’ve been made more anxious in an already anxious world. In a month, at the worst they may be on a gurney in an ER not knowing the answer to the question “Do you have insurance?” and hoping they can get into an exam room before somebody runs the number on the little green plastic card they keep in the back of their wallet.
Everyone understands in their own rough way that ObamaCare is a big mess. And that it’s not the website, it’s the law itself. They have seen systems crash. In the past 20 years they’ve seen their own computers crash. They know systems and computers get fixed.
But they understand a conceptual botch when they see one. They understand this new program was so big and complex and had so many moving parts and was built on so many assumptions that may or may not hold true, and that deals with so many people with so many policies—and they know they themselves have not read their own policies, for who would when the policies, like the law that now controls the policies, are written in a way that is deliberately obscure so as to give maximum flexibility to administrators in offices far away. And that’s just your policy. What about 200 million other policies? The government can’t handle that. The government can barely put up road signs.
The new law seems like just another part of the ongoing shakedown operation that is the relationship of the individual and the federal government, circa 2013.
But back to the president, and his problem with being known as intelligent—Columbia, Harvard Law, lecturer on constitutional issues at the University of Chicago Law School.
The program he created in 2009-10, ran on in 2012, and whose implantation he delayed until one year after that election—in retrospect, that delay seems meaningful, doesn’t it?—has turned out to be wildly misleading as to its basic facts.
Millions are finding you can’t keep your plan, your premium, your deductible, your doctor. And millions more will discover this when the business mandate kicks in.
All of this—the fraudulent nature of the program—came as a rolling shock to people the past two months.
It’s a shock for most people that it’s a shambles. A fellow very friendly to the administration, a longtime supporter, cornered me at a holiday party recently to ask, with true perplexity: “How could any president put his entire reputation on the line with a program and not be on the phone every day pushing people and making sure it will work? Do you know of any president who wouldn’t do that?” I couldn’t think of one, and it’s the same question I’d been asking myself. The questioner had been the manager of a great institution, a high stakes 24/7 operation with a lot of moving parts. He knew Murphy’s law—if it can go wrong, it will. Managers—presidents—have to obsess, have to put the fear of God, as Mr. Obama says, into those below them in the line of authority. They don’t have to get down in the weeds every day but they have to know there are weeds, and that things get caught in them.
It’s a leader’s job to be skeptical of grand schemes. Sorry, that’s a conservative leader’s job. It is a liberal leader’s job to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful.
And this president wasn’t. I think part of the reason he wasn’t careful is because he sort of lives in words. That’s been his whole professional life—books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it’s been said and publicized it must be real. He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it. It’s all been pretty abstract for him, not concrete. He never had to stock a store, run a sale and see lots of people come but the expenses turn out to be larger than you’d expected and the profits smaller, and you have to figure out what went wrong and do better next time.
People say Mr. Obama never had to run anything, but it may be more important that he never worked for the guy who had to run something, and things got fouled up along the way and he had to turn it around. He never had to meet a payroll, never knew that stress. He probably never had to buy insurance! And you know, his policies were probably gold-plated—at the law firm, through his wife’s considerable hospital job, in the Illinois Legislature, in the U.S. Senate. Those guys know how to take care of themselves! Maybe he felt guilty. Maybe that’s to his credit, knowing he was lucky. Too bad he didn’t know what he didn’t know, like how every part has to work for a complicated machine to work.
Here I will say something harsh, and it’s connected to the thing about words but also images.
From what I have seen the administration is full of young people who’ve seen the movie but not read the book. They act bright, they know the reference, they’re credentialed. But they’ve only seen the movie about, say, the Cuban missile crisis, and then they get into a foreign-policy question and they’re seeing movies in their heads. They haven’t read the histories, the texts, which carry more information, more texture, data and subtlety, and different points of view. They’ve only seen the movie—the Cubans had the missiles and Jack said “Not another war” and Bobby said “Pearl Harbor in reverse” and dreadful old Curtis LeMay chomped his cigar and said “We can fry a million of ‘em by this afternoon, Mr. President.” Grrr, grrr, good guys beat bad guys.
It’s as if history isn’t real to them. They run around tweeting, all of them, even those in substantial positions. “Darfur government inadequate. Genocide unacceptable.” They share their feelings – that happens to be one of the things they seem to think is real, what they feel. “Unjust treatment of women—scourge that hurts my heart.” This is the dialogue to the movies in their heads.
There’s a sense that they’re all freelancing, not really part of anything coherent.
For four years I have been told, by those who’ve worked in the administration and those who’ve visited it as volunteers or contractors, that the Obama White House isn’torganized. It’s just full of chatter. Meetings don’t begin on time, there’s no agenda, the list of those invited seems to expand and contract at somebody’s whim. There is a tendency to speak of how a problem will look and how its appearance should be handled, as opposed to what the problem is and should be done about it. People speak airily, without point. They scroll down, see a call that has to be returned, pop out and then in again.
It does not sound like a professional operation. And this is both typical of White Houses and yet on some level extreme. People have always had meetings to arrange meetings, but the lack of focus, the lack of point, the sense that they are operating within accepted levels of incoherence—this all sounds, actually, peculiar.
And when you apply this to the ObamaCare debacle, suddenly it seems to make sense. The White House is so unformed and chaotic that they probably didn’t ignore the problem, they probably held a million meetings on it. People probably said things like, “We’re experiencing some technological challenges but we’re sure we’ll be up by October,” and other people said, “Yes, it’s important we launch strong,” and others said, “The Republicans will have a field day if we’re not.” And then everyone went to their next meeting. And no one did anything. And the president went off and made speeches.
Because the doing isn’t that important, the talking is.
* * *
The president is interested in Ronald Reagan, and in the past has seemed mildly preoccupied with him, but he misunderstands him. Mr. Obama shows every sign of thinking Reagan led only through words. But Reagan led through actions, as every leader must. The words explained, argued for and advanced those actions; they gave people a sense of who it was who was acting. But Obama’s generation of the left could never see or come to terms with the fact that it was, say, the decision to fire the air traffic controllers, or the decision to take the hit and bleed out inflation, that made Reagan’s presidency successful and meaningful. With an effective presidency, everything is in the doing. The words are part of the doing and at some points can be crucial to it; at some interesting points they even are the doing, such as looking at the Soviets and declaring that we knew what their system was and wouldn’t accept any but an honest interpretation of it, and yes, that constituted a change of attitude and approach. That took words. But it’s never all words, it can’t be. It’s making the right decision and carrying it through—executing it.
Mr. Obama learned only half of Reagan’s lesson.
And here’s something odd. The first President Bush, George H.W., learned half the lesson too, but the other half. Bush managed, executed and decided his way through the peaceful fall of the Soviet Empire and the reunification of Germany. But he couldn’t, for reasons characterological and having to do with his own highly refined sense of the demands of diplomacy, explain to people exactly what he was doing, why he was doing it and how. And so a feat of great historical weight and magnitude, deserving of a Nobel Prize for peace and utterly ignored by that silly committee, is half forgotten. Whereas Mr. Obama won that prize—for words.
But let’s go back to the first paragraph, and the original point of this piece.
Mr. Obama’s problem now is that people think he is smart.
They think, as they look at his health-care vows, that either he didn’t know how bad his program was, what dislocations it would cause, what a disturbance it would be to the vast middle class of America . . .
Or he knew, and deliberately misled everyone.
If they thought he wasn’t very bright, they might give him some leeway on that question. But they think he’s really smart.
So they think he knew.
And deliberately misled.
They think he knowingly quelled people’s fears when he knew they had every reason to be afraid.
Which makes him just another dishonest pol, just another guy hiding in the deliberately obscure paragraph on page 1,037 of the omnibus comprehensive reform bill.
He has taken himself down, lowered his own stature.
Commentators like to decry low-information voters—the stupid are picking our leaders. I think the real problem is low-information leaders. They have so little experience of life and have so much faith in magic—in media, in words—that they don’t understand people will get angry at you when you mislead them, and never see you the same way again.