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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky



















These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 5, 2011.
Monday, 5 December 2011
Iranian Missile Test Site Explosion May Disable Solid Fuel ICBM Program - a Threat Played Down by the Obama Administration

Source: Goggle Earth - Iranian Missile Test Site

The New York Times report in today’s edition about the missile test site explosions, “Explosion Seen as Big Setback to Iran’s Missile Program” underlines what we had written about Iran’s progress on silo-hardened solid fuel ICBMs, especially the 2,000 KM Shelj-2i and 3,500 KM MB-25 obtained from the North Koreans – see The Iranian Missile Threat. The report by Timesmen Messrs. David Sanger and William Broad notes:

The huge explosion that destroyed a major missile-testing site near Tehran three weeks ago was a major setback for Iran’s most advanced long-range missile program, according to American and Israeli intelligence officials and missile technology experts.

In interviews, current and former officials said surveillance photos showed that the Iranian base was a central testing center for advanced solid-fuel missiles, an assessment backed by outside experts who have examined satellite photos showing that the base was almost completely leveled in the blast. Such missiles can be launched almost instantly, making them useful to Iran as a potential deterrent against pre-emptive attacks by Israel or the United States, and they are also better suited than older liquid-fuel designs for carrying warheads long distances.

While Messrs. Sanger and Broad don’t discuss it, Israeli missile expert Uzi Rubin in our NER article on The Iranian Missile Threat noted that  the alumina powder used for mix of solid fuel propellant was delivered by the Chinese, who, along with the Russians on the UN Security Council objected to revelations about technology transfer. Along with Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam the head of Iran’s missile test program and 17 other Iranians killed in the ‘accident’ there have been reports that a number of North Koreans present at the test facility were killed as well. That is analogous to the IAF 2007 raid on the Syrian nuclear bomb factory when there was documented evidence of North Korean technicians present at the destroyed site. 

The implication of the ‘accident’ is that the NIE May 2009 estimate of Iran’s ICBM capabilities was wrong, as Rubin and other experts cited in our report on The Iranian Missile Threat. That report was used to justify that the Administration’s Missile Defense Shield program that only covered southeastern Europe. Strategically it means that the range of these solid fuel rockets, especially the MB-25 variant being developed by Iran, threatened targets in EU from the UK through Central and Eastern Europe, as well as, Russia.

As to the NYTimes author’s speculation that the missile test site could have been possibly taken out by a weapon launched from a UAV drone with long endurance loitering capabilities, if proven correct, that might also be evidence that the threat of the Iranian solid propellant ICBM program had crossed red lines to those involved in that "attack." Perhaps, the new variant of Stuxnet, Duqu, might have been able to destabilize the production programs for the solid propellant triggering the "accident."  If the latter is the case, then that would be a remarkable achievement.

This does put a crimp in Iran's delivery means. The liquid fuel Shahab III missiles require too much set up time, detectable by over the horizon radar, while the solid fuel missiles can be launched from underground silos without much warning time. The explosions at the Iranian missile test site also call into question the May NIE 2009 assessment that Iran wouldn’t have ICBMs until mid-decade. This is akin to the 2007 NIE assessment about Iran's stop and re-start of their nuclear program.

Taking out the solid fuel propellant used for the Shejil-2 BM-25 solid fuel missiles would put a real crimp in their missile development program and the deployment of the land-based ICBMs in protected silos around Tabriz to deliver both conventional and nuclear warheads.

                      

Sheljil-2 Solid Fuel Missile                                      NK BM-25 Solid Fuel Missile

Here is what we wrote in the August NER on this aspect of the Iranian Missile Threat:

How dangerous is the Iranian missile threat beyond the Middle East? Note what Rubin says regarding the range and capabilities of Iran’s long range missiles; the solid-fuel Shejil-2  and the BM-25 that the New York Times reported may have been sold to the Iranians by the North Koreans:

I just want to make it more tangible to the audience by pointing out that at 2,200 kilometers [the estimated range of the Shejil-2], it will take a missile from Tabriz, where the silos are, almost to Belgrade in Serbia. If the range is 2,400 kilometers, that threatens the suburbs of Warsaw, Poland, from Tabriz; 2,600 kilometers will take you all the way from Tabriz to Riga, Latvia. Just to put things in perspective, Moscow is less than 2,000 kilometers from Iran. So the few variations, 200 kilometers here and 200 kilometers there make a tremendous difference.

I’m convinced that the Iranians have the BM- 25 missile, which was finally revealed by North Korea in October of last year.  It was paraded, and the missile that was depicted is an improvement of an old Soviet design. The range could be at least 3,500 kilometers. It can go all the way from Tabriz to London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and other major cities in Western Europe.

Rubin cites the graphic threat to targets in Europe within range of the missile silos of Tabriz using conventional warheads; reminiscent of the V-2 terror rocket attacks on Great Britain and Allied Europe during WWII.

If you make enough of them, then just think about the shower of 10 or 12 one-ton warheads falling on a city like Paris in the middle of a business day although they are not equipped with nuclear warheads yet.  Even with conventional warheads, think about 10 or 12 one-ton charges exploding in a busy city in daytime. The number of casualties would be frightening and wreak enough destruction without nuclear warheads.

Rubin goes on to estimate the inventory of the large and growing Iranian long range missile threat.

I think it is a viable threat. The numbers now are large and growing. From the WikiLeaks we learned that former Israeli Chief of Staff, General Ashkenazi, disclosed to Members of Congress about two years ago that the Iranians had at that time 300 Shahab-3 missiles already stockpiled. So with that rate of production, who knows how many they have now? It seems that we are talking about hundreds if not thousands of powerful missiles. I think the threat to Europe is real and frightening.

Then there as this on technology transfer and the disinformation campaign of the Obama Administration:

Notwithstanding, Iran’s own impressive missile technology developments, it still follows an aggressive strategy of overt and clandestine technology transfer. We have seen evidence of that in supplies of Russian rocket engines, purchase of North Korean Taepodong liquid fueled and modified BM-25 solid fuel rockets with increased ranges and payloads capable of hitting targets in The Middle East and Europe. We have also witnessed from UN inspector reports evidence of Chinese supply of aluminum powder for solid fuel propellants. Timmerman’s NewsMax.com article also points out objections to these UN disclosures by two members of the Security Council: Russia and China. However, they are not alone; the US under the Obama Administration may be facilitating technology transfer for Iran’s ballistic missile program by issuing visas to Iranian engineers and scientists to attend scientific programs here in the US. There are suspicions that this may be part of a conscientious program of disinformation by the Islamic regime, while acquiring useful leading edge technology developments. Senior State Department Arms Control officials and CIA missile intelligence analysts (see the May 2009 NIE assessment) have issued negative assessments of Iran’s missile development progress. These assessments indicated that the Iranian ICBMs wouldn’t be developed until the period from 2015 to 2020. Moreover these critics suggested that Iran’s missiles could only reach targets as far West as Southeastern Europe. Implicit in those assessments is denial of the informed opinions of experts like Uzi Rubin, Michael Elleman of the UK–based International Institute for Strategic Studies and Russia’s Yuri Solomonov of the Thermal Engineering Institute. Fred Fleitz, a 25 year veteran analyst at the CIA, DIA, State department and U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee staff member noted the danger of denial of the Iran nuclear threat in a Wall Street Journal op-ed,

It is unacceptable that Iran is on the brink of testing a nuclear weapon while our intelligence analysts continue to deny that an Iranian nuclear weapons programs program exists. One can’t underestimate the dangers posed to our country by a US intelligence community that is unable to provide timely and objective analysis of such major threats to US national security-or to make appropriate adjustments when it is proven wrong.

In response to a question on this issue from Livne, Rubin said:

I’d say they’re still dependent on talent from abroad. However, the dependence shifted from complete technologies, complete factories to components and materials. Wikileaks revealed from U.S. diplomatic correspondence attempts of the United States to block purchase of crucial materials in China, one of them, quite surprisingly was carbon fiber used for making advanced rocket motors.

There was a reference not long ago about a shipment of tungsten copper bars caught in a Persian Gulf port destined for Iran; material used for making the control system for ballistic missiles. In the report that the British foreign secretary was alluding to, there was another mention of an instance of a shipment of material that was caught in Italy on its way to Iran that you pour into a rocket motor for either heavy rockets or ballistic missiles.

About six years ago a report of five intelligence agencies of Western European countries revealed that there were at least one hundred cases of Iranian attempts to acquire strategic missile technologies and materials in Europe. 

[. . .]

There is, continued inadvertent US support to this technology transfer, although the US has imposed sanctions on Iran. 

 I believe the US government may still allow Iranian students to attend US technological institutions and acquire knowledge that facilitates technology transfer.  

Even more amazing, the US government allows Iranian scientists to come and present technical papers on missiles at conferences here. I have some copies of that material obtained in 2007, when Iranian scientists spoke of missile technology at a conference in Cincinnati. My friends in America have no explanation why that occurred or continues.

Posted on 12/05/2011 6:03 AM by Jerry Gordon
Monday, 5 December 2011
Turkey's EU Membership now a Dead Issue

NYTImes:

ISTANBUL — As economic contagion tarnishes the European Union, a newly assertive Turkey is increasingly looking east instead of west, and asking a vexing question: Should Turkey reject Europe before Europe rejects Turkey?...

Posted on 12/05/2011 6:41 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 5 December 2011
Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink, Gaza STRIP
We all know that the Gaza Strip today, under the strict oversight of Hamas is a Sharia compliant fun land of happy free women hiding under burkahs and veils.

But can you imagine a time, not so long ago, when evil, oppressive Israeli military forces commanded that British gentleman’s magazines must be able to shoot nude pictorials on the beaches! The indignity, the offence, the affront to feminist sensibilities. How could those evil Zionist pigs get away with freedoms like that?

For what it’s worth, here is the “writing” that accompanied these magnificent shots of the beautiful Gaza beaches (you were looking at the scenery right?). The feature was imaginatively named “Gaza Strip”. Oh they were really good the guys who came up with this stuff!

There are hundreds of girls like Karen, so entrancingly, inescapably, yearningly British, they stir memories of home and Empire, arousing protective instincts in the British male, wherever he ï¬�nds them.

Well I tell you one thing, if you found Karen trying to do this on a beach in Gaza today, she’d need a hell of a lot of protecting!

We chose Gaza for no other reason than shooting a pictorial in the winter months is a cold, dark and thankless task anywhere on this side of the Mediterranean.

I’ll bet Gaza doesn’t pop to the top of their “where shall we shoot naked pictures of a Page 3 girl this winter?” editorial meeting this year!

Girls like Karen are the fantasy food of a million newspaper readers every morning as they stumble beneath those same leaden skies from home to work and back again and whose daily cheer lies in the picture on the third page of their newspaper.

Honestly, who writes this stuff and more honestly, who reads it? I’m only reposting it here because I don’t have the time to photoshop all the pictures into a form I can use here!

A million readers can’t be wrong and it was they who voted 36-24-36 Karen to the heady pinnacle of the Sun’s ‘Page Three’ girl of the year, a position most logically topped with Penthouse Petdom.

What’s this obsession with statistics? Is this like knowing the 0-60 time of a car? Some weird redux of beauty down to a string of numbers? I digress, back to the gripping story:

The world is full of girls who would like to make a living by revealing nothing more about themselves than their bodies. Breeding and genetic inheritance are all. Chauvinists that we are, we salute them all. Long may they continue their strip.

Obviously, however, they better not strip in the Gaza Strip anymore or Sharia police will catch them.

Posted on 12/05/2011 6:53 AM by Brian of London
Monday, 5 December 2011
In A Muslim Country, The Primitive Masses Will Always Want Islam

From The Daily Mail:

The only force that can save Egypt from a violent return to the Dark Age is their military

By Thomas Fleming

 5th December 2011

The Egyptian fat is really in the fire these days.

In a large turnout (about 62% of registered voters), the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party received about 40% of the vote (official results are not yet in), while the even more radical Salafists (Al Nour Salafi Movement), affiliated with the Saudi brand of Islamism, got approximately 20%, and a more moderate Islamist party 6%.  The score then is Islamists 66%, secular liberals 15%.

The usual pundits are saying that the secularist liberals are not surprised, but in radio interviews some of these liberals have expressed shock and dismay. 

 
Protest: Egypt's first democratic elections has not yet succeeded in ending the unrest there

Protest: Egypt's first democratic elections has not yet succeeded in ending the unrest there

The CNN/AP/ABC/CBS/NBC pundits who are now saying there is no surprise in any of this were the same journalists who celebrated the demonstrators as secular liberals wanted to turn Egypt into a Western democracy.

They brought out an endless parade of liberal women studying to be engineers and physicians, all chirping merrily about democracy and human rights. All those women students who were screaming death to Mubarak had better be scrounging around in the attic, looking for headscarves. 

Until a short time ago, the Muslim Brotherhood was usually described as the Islamist party that had to be kept out of power, but now they are suddenly the "moderates." The Muslim Brotherhood is moderate, when compared with Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas which do not shrink from terrorism and armed revolt, but the goal of the MB is the same, to make the principles of Islam "the sole reference point for ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community, and the state." 

 
Desperate: Egyptian liberals worry that the country is caught between military and religious rule

Desperate: Egyptian liberals worry that the country is caught between military and religious rule

The Brotherhood's declaration of principles calls for making Shari'ah law the basis for controlling the state and society and for uniting Islamic countries and liberating them from the West.

In 1997 the leader of the movement said he thought it was time for Christians and Jews to pay the jizya, the tax levied on non-believers in pre-modern Muslim states. The pundits describe it as a mere poll tax, but the jizya was a tangible symbol of oppression, and it was matched with prohibitions on owning weapons or testifying against Muslims in court. 

Under pressure, the Muslim Brotherhood backed off, but that is a question of tactics, not principle.

What this boils down to is a single important fact: The members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, however educated and middle class they may be, belong to an organization run by open and avowed enemies of Europe and the US. Even if the stories of their connections with violent and terrorist groups are exaggerated, the Brothers are gradualist democratic Islamists who prefer to work within a system to undermine the system. 

 
Freedom: Three women show off the inked fingers which show they have just cast their vote

Freedom: Three women show off the inked fingers which show they have just cast their vote

They are very much like democratic socialists who have the same ultimate goals as hard-boiled Communists but plan to impose Marxism through the ballot box. 

This is eerily reminiscent of the Cold War, when our State Department was always touting the "moderates" in the Kremlin and promoting more "democratic" socialists who were supposed to oppose more "radical" Marxists.  Naturally this always meant we ended up opposing, overthrowing, or even murdering our allies. Hosni Mubarak will be lucky if he escapes the fate of the Diems, whom John F. Kennedy betrayed. 

What makes the election results even more alarming is that they concern only elections for 30% of parliamentary seats for mostly urban areas, where liberals and secularists have their greatest support. The Salafists, for example, have very little presence in Cairo.  In the Spring parliamentary elections, the rural areas will be voting, and there the outcome may well be even more Islamist.

 
Victory? The Muslim Brotherhood have claimed as much as 40 per cent of the electorate behind its Freedom and Justice Party

Victory? The Muslim Brotherhood have claimed as much as 40 per cent of the electorate behind its Freedom and Justice Party

During the demonstrations, the secularists were all over the Western media. The Muslim Brotherhood, we were assured, was prepared to play a secondary part. If the secularists really believed this lie, then they are merely useful idiots for an Islamic revolution that will roll over them exactly as the Bolsheviks rolled over Kerensky and the social democrats in Russia. 

There is a long line of foolish liberals who back revolutions against authority and then are astonished when the revolutions get out of control. Lafayette was lucky to get out of France with his neck before the Jacobins got him, but many others were not so lucky, including the poet André Chénier and the scientist Lavoisier.

Liberals and cowardly lefties never seem to learn.  They kissed up to Stalin all they could, and when they were lured into fighting with the Reds in Spain, he had them eliminated.  Now it is the turn for the Egyptian progressives who sowed the wind and now must reap the whirlwind.

The progressive liberals who hated Mubarak and detest military rule can now take this bit of cold comfort: The only force that can save them and all of Egypt from a violent return to the Dark Age is the Egyptian military.

Posted on 12/05/2011 9:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 5 December 2011
About Seven Years Late, The Realization Dawns Even At Fox: That Iraq Was A Waste

From FoxNews:

Our Hollow 'Victory' In Iraq

By Michael Goodwin

America’s commitment to Iraq has come to an end -- not with a bang or even a whimper, but with a retreat greased by Joe Biden’s blather and bull. If you pray, now would be a good time.

The vice president spent three days in Iraq last week, attending a farewell ceremony and trying to put a smiley face on the withdrawal of the last 15,000 American troops.

As usual, his comments had a just-back-from-Mars quality, especially his claim that “oil’s the glue that’s going to hold this country together.” This from the guy whose answer to the relentless violence in 2006 was a call to partition Iraq into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions. [actually fighting over who will get oil revenues will help drive people in Iraq apart]

Instead, President George W. Bush opted for a troop surge, a bold move that helped turn the tide and make Iraq governable.
So Biden was wrong in 2006, and there is every reason to believe the Obama administration is wrong now to think Iran won’t fill the vacuum our departure creates. Biden’s words on Iran only add to the concern.

“There is no possibility of them having the capacity without the world reaction,’’ he told NBC News. “Not just the United States, [but] the world reacting if all of a sudden Iran was to move across its border and invade any of the countries in the region.’’

Ah, yes, world reaction, the comfort food of dizzy Utopians. It’s a particularly false hope now because Iran has been helping to kill American soldiers for years. Last June alone, 13 were killed by Iranian-trained and -armed Iraqi militia, military officials say.
There was no “world reaction” and the United States responds by leaving.

Finally, Biden used the “V” word in a backhanded way.

“It’s not an American victory,” he said. “It will be an Iraqi victory that we should be proud of.”

So that’s it. The war cost nearly 4,500 American deaths, 32,000 injuries and $800 billion [no: the real cost is about $2 trillion dollars, with another $1 trillion for Afghanistan], and we leave without victory, but with a dreamy hope it will all work out somehow.


Posted on 12/05/2011 9:02 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 5 December 2011
Corrupt Karzai Wants To Scare The West Into Keeping The Money Coming

Afghanistan is a Muslim country. The Taliban will always be preferrred by those who share their faith, as against Infidels, save in those parts of the country where the ethnic identity - Tadjik, Uzbek, Hazara -- works against the Pashtun Taliban.

And in any case, the more aid the West pours in, the more corrupt the Karzai (or another other Afghan) administration. And the more corrupt the administration, the more disaffection leads to support for the Taliban.

If, on the other hand, no Western aid comes in, there will be no way to be corrupt. True, the Taliban will be a threat, but so what? They will be a threat to other Afghans, who either will or will not fight back. It is likely that the Uzbeks and Tadjiks and Hazara will do so. Let them -- they don't need an "Afghan army" created and paid for by the West to fight the Taliban. Their current weaponry, already upgraded at fantastic expense for the Americans, will do nicely.

And should the Taliban somehow threaten the West -- but how? how can the Taliban now threaten the West, which will with drones and satellites be monitoring Afghanistan -- then the occasional punitive raid from outside can keep them permanently off balance. And hundreds of billions of dollars will be saved.

From CNN:

Bonn, Germany (CNN) -- The Taliban could make a comeback and take over Afghanistan again, the country's President Hamid Karzai warned Monday at an international conference on Afghanistan's future.

"If we lose this fight, we are threatened with a return to a situation like that before Sept 11, 2001," Karzai said.

There has been progress in Afghanistan since the overthrow of the Taliban in the wake of the hijacked plane attacks on the United States, he said.

But, he warned, "Our shared goal of a stable, self-reliant Afghanistan is far from being achieved."

Karzai is chairing a meeting in Bonn, Germany, which hosted a similar summit 10 years ago, after the fall of the Taliban government of Afghanistan.

He asked NATO to remain committed to Afghanistan after the pullout of foreign combat troops in 2014.

"Your continued solidarity, your commitment and support will be crucial so that we can consolidate our gains and continue to address the challenges that remain," he said.

"We will need your steadfast support for at least another decade," Karzai said. "We will need training for our own troops. We will need equipment for the army and police and help to set up state institutions."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed that the United States was "prepared to stand with the Afghan people for the long haul."

She warned that the international community has "much to lose if the country again becomes a source of terrorism and instability."

Clinton expressed concern that Pakistan had not sent a representative to Bonn, saying it was "imperative" that all of Afghanistan's neighbors support the reconciliation process with the Taliban and other insurgents.

"We could, of course, have benefited from Pakistan's contribution to this conference," she said.

She said the entire international community had responsibilities to shore up Afghanistan, including the Afghans themselves, who have "more work to do to strengthen their democratic institutions."

She acknowledged that this is a difficult time to be asking for more money for Afghanistan, saying: "Many countries here in this hall understand that the international community faces new fiscal constraints."

But she announced the United States will join other partners in resuming financial disbursements to the Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund, after suspending them when the IMF halted its own programs over concerns about it. The fund is administered by the World Bank.

Iran, meanwhile, used the conference to speak out against troops from the United States and other Western nations keeping any kind of long-term military presence in Afghanistan.

"Certain Western countries seek to extend their military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 by maintaining their military bases there. We deem such an approach to be contradictory to efforts to sustain stability and security in Afghanistan," Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.

"We believe that any international or regional initiative to restore peace and security in Afghanistan could only be successful if they discard the presence of foreign military forces and especially ... the founding of foreign military bases in Afghanistan."

The original Bonn conference in 2001 consisted of U.N. representatives facilitating the meeting of a group of Afghan exiles and leaders.

But this time, members of 85 delegations from various countries and 15 international organizations are joining Afghans in the discussions.

Their goal is to take stock of accomplishments and assess continued challenges in Afghanistan over the past decade, as well as to plot a partnership with the Kabul government amid plans to withdraw all foreign combat troops from the country by 2014.

In recent years, Afghanistan's economy has grown, albeit it at a slow rate.

Despite reported corruption, Afghanistan has moved away from the repressive extremist rule of the Taliban and toward a more democratic political system, in which Afghans vote for their leaders.

And the status of women -- strictly controlled under the Taliban -- has improved with a constitutional commitment guaranteeing equality, and 3 million girls are now in school.

Posted on 12/05/2011 9:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 5 December 2011
Advent Pub sign 5
The Old Star Inn in Bridlington.
Posted on 12/05/2011 11:33 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 5 December 2011
How? Why?

I was Christmas shopping today. There I was in the ladies lavatory attached to the multistory car park above the small under cover shopping centre (I think in the US you call it a mall) wondering how and why a 2pence piece came to be residing at the bottom of the pan.

Was some poor soul so entranced with Santa's grotto and the wide selction of £ shops in this pleasant but unremarkable town on the north bank of the Thames that, thinking she might as well be in Rome, she hurled coins into the fountain to ensure that one day she would return? Was she making an offering to the water sprites? The nymphs of fine plumbing and sanitation?

Prosaically I expect it fell out of her pocket, although the knicker pocket was obsolete even when I was small.

Once I was back into the December fray I was pleased to note that The Iman's Daughter by Hannah Shah was in the most prominent position in WH Smith's display of biography. Just behind were The Storyteller, the biography of Roald Dahl and Dannii My Story by Dannii Minogue. Way, way, behind, but not quite in the bargain bin, were Gypsy Bride, Borstal Girl and I Shot Daddy.

Posted on 12/05/2011 12:18 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 5 December 2011
For Hamas, Will The Next Stop Be Cairo? Doha? Tehran?

 From Haaretz:

05.12.11

Iran threatening to cut Hamas funds, arms supply if it flees Syria

Palestinian sources tell Haaretz that Hamas is abandoning its headquarters in Syria and looking at other Arab states as alternative location for its political command center.

By Avi Issacharoff and Amos Harel 

Iran had applied intense pressure to Hamas in an effort to persuade it not to leave Damascus, threatening even to cut off funds to the organization if it did so, Palestinian sources have told Haaretz.

The Iranian pressure also included an unprecedented ultimatum - namely, an explicit threat to stop supplying Hamas with arms and suspend the training of its military activists.

Ahmadinejad and Meshal - AP

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal.

According to the sources, Hamas is abandoning its headquarters in Syria and looking at other Arab states as an alternative location for its political command center. Hamas' move comes despite intense Iranian pressure on the organization to refrain from relocating.

A Syrian opposition spokesman said recently that once Assad is toppled, his successors will have no intention of preserving the strategic alliance between Damascus, Tehran and Hezbollah.

According to the Palestinian sources, only "second and third-ranking" Hamas activists are leaving Damascus, while senior members of the organization's political wing, headed by Khaled Meshal, are remaining in the Syrian capital.

Senior Hamas political figures even met this past weekend with representatives of the Palestinian factions that are not members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sources add.

The Hamas activists on the move, the sources say, are those responsible for the activities and funding of the organization's military wing, as well as some members of the political leadership. Most have left together with their families to a number of destinations, including Gaza, Sudan, Qatar and Lebanon.

The Palestinian sources have defined the relocation activities as a hasty abandonment of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who until recently was Hamas' strongest ally in the Arab world.

Efforts on the part of the Syrian and Iranian regimes to ascertain whether Hamas is indeed fleeing Damascus have been met with denials from the organization's leadership.

"Hamas has not made any new decision, and there has certainly not been a decision to leave Syria," a member of Hamas' political bureau, Salah Al-Arouri, told Haaretz, adding that if a family or two had left Syria, they had probably done so for personal reasons.

"The organization's top officials are here in Damascus; our relations with the state and Syrian people are excellent," Al-Arouri said. "We respect all Syrians whomever they are. We have no intention of interfering in Syria's internal affairs."

Nevertheless, in recent days, a number of Hamas officials, particularly among the leadership in Gaza, have called explicitly for the organization to distance itself from Damascus in light of the ongoing violence and bloodshed in Syria and the severe harm suffered by the country's civilians.

Haaretz has learned that Hamas has made a decision to abandon Damascus without letting the Syrian authorities know. The decision was made by the organization's senior leadership in the wake of the harsh criticism voiced against top Hamas officials in Gaza and abroad because of their ties with the Syrian regime.

This criticism, coupled with the ongoing violent suppression of the demonstrations in Syria and the reported killing there of more than 4,000 people, intensified the dilemma facing the Hamas leadership - to continue to stand by its Syrian patron, or to abandon the Syrian capital and thus make it clear that Hamas, considered a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, is distancing itself from Assad.

The Arab League's decision to suspend Syria from membership of the organization and impose economic sanctions on Damascus tipped the scales, with Hamas finally deciding to covertly evacuate all its activists from Syria and leave behind only the organization's highest-ranking officials so as to preserve a low profile of activity there. Among the Hamas officials who are still coming and going from Damascus are Mousa Abu Marzouq (Meshal's deputy ), Izzat al-Rishq, Al-Arouri and Meshal himself.

Meanwhile, Syrian television yesterday aired pictures from a military exercise conducted on Saturday in the eastern part of the country. During the military drill, Syrian armed forces launched a Scud B missile, with a range of some 300 kilometers. The broadcast also included pictures of the firing of rockets with ranges of 150-200 kilometers.

It appears the Syrians were looking to show the international community that Assad still has the ability to set the Middle East alight if he so chooses, particularly if the international community intervenes militarily.

Posted on 12/05/2011 1:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 5 December 2011
What "Regional War"? What "Merely Temporary Setback"?

News reports say that the Obama Administration has been trying to dissuade Israel from attacking Iran, because of a fear of a "regional war" that would follow. And besides, they claim that such an attack

What "regional war" would follow? Would Iran, having been dealt a severe blow, try to counterattack and thus risk a nuclear strike by Israel? Who would join in this war? Syria, with its government teeter-tottering and just trying to stay alive, and remembering that the last time the Syrians tried to fight the Israelis, in an air battle, 82 Syrian planes were downed with no Israeli losses. Would Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, all Sunni countries, be sorry to see Iran's nuclear project disappear?

And then there is another argument. This is the argument that the Iranian nuclear project would only be "set back" by a "year or two." On what basis is this said? How can this be known? And if this is what the Administration thinks, then it is saying that this business of "all options are on the table" is not true, that the only "option" that is likely to work -- an attack through military means -- is not on the table as far as the American government is concerned because it would "set back" the nuclear project "only by a year or two." It's an assertion that is absurd. How does the American government know what kind of damage might be wrought, and how long it might take the Islamic Republic of Iran to renew its project? And would it renew that project quite so eagerly or quickly if the Israelis make clear that the attack is not a one-time affair, but can and will be repeated, if necessary? Is there some kind of rule which says you are given one, and only one, chance, to destroy a nuclear project, and from then on the other side can start again,with no fear of attack?

Isn't it much more likely that after a brief period of rallying-round in Iran, the regime, shown up, will be perceived as weak, and its domestic enemies take heart, and re-new their attacks on the regime? And the reverse is also true: that if the regime's nuclear project is not stopped, then the Islamic Republic of Iran will become unshakably popular among the primitive Iranian masses, and the advanced people in Iran will have no chance to overturn their cruel and fanatical and corrupt masters.

It is not as if the American government has always performed brilliantly in the Miiddle East.. or with Muslims elsewhere.  It has just finished wasting two trillion dollars in Iraq, and another trillion dollars in Afghanistan, to promote prosperity and unity within Muslim lands that are held back by Islam itself, and to win Muslim hearts and minds that are made permanently hostile by the doctrines and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam itself. Meanwhile, it is Israel that stopped Saddam Hussein's nuclear project, and that of Syria. And it is clear that Israel is at least a main contributor to the recent events that have been described as setbacks to the nuclear project. It is not Israel that has wasted trillions of dollars on a misunderstanding of Islam. It is not Israel that invades countries and remains there for seven or ten years; Israel's method is the lightning strike.

Instead of lecturing Israel and, in tne most unseemly and callous fashion, presuming to tell that country, with its unique history, and its unique problems that it faces for its survival, the Obama Administration ought to compare its track record in protecting the West from Islam, and that of Israel in protectin g the West, as it intelligently and relentlessly works to protect itself.

Posted on 12/05/2011 3:52 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 5 December 2011
Tariq Aziz, The Iraqi Christian Who Tried Just A Little Too Hard To Fit In, To Be Executed

From CNN News:

Iraqi leader under Saddam Hussein to be executed, official in Baghdad says

By the CNN Wire Staff
December 5, 2011
Tariq Aziz salutes the Iraqi national anthem during a 2001 event.
Tariq Aziz salutes the Iraqi national anthem during a 2001 event.

Baghdad (CNN) -- Tariq Aziz, who served as Iraq's top diplomat under Saddam Hussein, will be executed next year, after U.S. forces have pulled out of the country, an adviser to Iraq's prime minister told CNN on Monday.

"It will definitely take place, and it will take place after the Americans leave Iraq," said the adviser, Saad Yousif al-Muttalibi, about Aziz, who served as foreign minister.

A lawyer for Aziz said he was surprised. "I did not expect the government would be that stupid, by doing this they will drag this country to the edge of the abyss," said Badi Arif in a telephone interview.

"What about the national reconciliation that this government has been calling for? The government's position will be even weaker if they carry out the execution after the American troops leave the country and this will lead to more conflict among Iraqi factions."

A new law is under consideration that would require death sentences be ratified by the president within 15 days of their being handed down, al-Muttalibi said.

Al-Muttalibbi added that all of Iraqi society, including members of the three main sectarian groups -- Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds -- favor the law.

Aziz was captured by U.S. forces in April 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Hussein. He appeared frail when he testified in Hussein's 2006 trial on war crimes charges, for which the ousted dictator was hanged later that year.

Aziz was sentenced to death in October 2010 by the Iraqi High Tribunal for his role in eliminating religious parties during Hussein's regime.

His family was shocked by the verdict, his daughter told CNN at the time.

"My father served his country for more than 22 years. He delivered himself to the U.S. Army (after the fall of Hussein) because he wasn't afraid. He didn't do anything wrong. He served his country," Aziz's daughter, Zainab Aziz, said. "He has been wronged."

Arif said last year that there was a political motive behind the death sentence.

"Mr. Aziz used to always tell me, 'They'll find a way to kill me, and there is no way for me to escape this,'" Arif told CNN. "But from a legal perspective, this sentence is wrong; this is illegal and this is unexpected."

Aziz served as deputy prime minister from 1981 to 2003, also holding the post of foreign minister for part of that time.

After the verdict was announced, Amnesty International urged Iraq not to carry out the sentences, even as it acknowledged the brutality of Hussein's regime.

"Saddam Hussein's rule was synonymous with executions, torture and other gross human rights violations, and it is right that those who committed crimes are brought to justice," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa in 2010.

"However, it is vital that the death penalty, which is the ultimate denial of human rights, should never be used, whatever the gravity of the crime," he said in a written statement.

The Vatican also opposed the death sentence, spokesman Federico Lombardi told CNN.

"This is not the most adequate way to promote reconciliation and reconstruction of justice and peace in a country that has suffered so much," he said.

Posted on 12/05/2011 8:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 5 December 2011
Australia Has Decided to Sell Uranium to Secular, Rational, Majority-Non-Muslim India; Fanatically Muslim, Hindu-Hating Pakistan Demands That It, Too, Should Get Some

To which petulant and threatening demand the simple answer should be: "We don't trust you and we can't trust you.  NO."

A story that appeared in Australia's ABC yesterday, Jeremy Thompson reporting.

'Pakistan Wants Equal Access to Australian Uranium'.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-05/pakistan-wants-australian-uranium/3712842

So they can turn it into nuclear bombs with which to attack their neighbour, India, and everybody else in the neighbourhood - including us  - who isn't Muslim? Nope, no can do. - CM

'Pakistan has repeated its calls for access to Australian uranium in the wake of the ALP conference decision to approve the sale of the material to its neighbour and nuclear rival, India.

That sentence should read: "Nuclear-armed, chaotic, fanatically-Muslim Pakistan has repeated its calls for access to Australian uranium  in the wake of the ALP conference decision to approve the sale of the material to its neighbour, secular democratic India upon which it (Pakistan) has repeatedly made war in the course of the past sixty four years". - CM

'Pakistan's high commissioner to Australia, Abdul Malik Abdullah, says if Australia is willing to export uranium to India then it should sell it to Pakistan as well.

There is no rule that says that certain kinds of dangerous materials should be possessed by dangerous, aggressive Mohammedan entities as well as by their peaceful, law-abiding non-Muslim neighbours.  If I manufacture explosives, I will sell them to a respectable farmer or engineer but not to the dodgy bloke with narrowed, blazing eyes who mutters to himself all the time and has been heard uttering murderous threats against his neighbours.. - CM

'He said Australia's long-held policy of not selling uranium to countries which had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty had placed it on "the high moral ground".

As opposed to Pakistan, which in the wake of that little affaire of Mr A Q Khan, occupies no moral grounds whatsoever. - CM

"Now if after the ALP's decision, if the Australian Government is going to change the policy, all we would like to have is an equitable and non-discriminatory decision", he said.

Discriminating between Muslims and non-Muslims, when one is deciding to whom to sell - or not sell - certain kinds of potentially very dangerous materials, is entirely rational and sensible. it makes sense for Australia to assist India - the region's largest democratic non-Muslim polity - to become more prosperous and powerful; it does not make sense to sell anything to Muslim Pakistan that might make it more powerful and allow it to harm its neighbours more than it already has done. - CM

"If Australia is going to lift the ban on a country which has not signed a non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, it is hoped it is also applied to Pakistan the same way".

Pakistan and India are not the same.  Pakistan is suffused with a violent cult - Islam - that impels its followers to seek Total World Domination; India is not.  Therefore, Pakistan and India must and can be treated differently by any decent and intelligent non-Muslim country. - CM

'So far there has been no response from the government.

'At the weekend, the ALP national conference voted in favour of allowing uranium exports to India, a move which Prime Minister Julia Gillard said would boost trade and enhance Australia's relationship with India.

"We are at the right time in the history of the world to seize a new era of opportunity in this, the Asian century", she said.

"We need to make sure that across our regions we have the strongest possible relationships we can, including with the world's largest democracy, India.

That is, with the world's largest democratic non-Muslim nation. - CM

'The move was fiercely opposed by Labor's Left faction, which says it is dangerous because India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

'But this morning Defence Minister Stephen Smith said he had no qualms about the deal.

'He said over the years the international community has come to accept that India, which has fought a series of wars with its nuclear-armed neighbour Pakistan (that is, "India, which has had to defend itself repeatedly against unprovoked attacks launched upon it by its nuclear-armed Muslim neighbour, Pakistan" - CM), will not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

'But he said the ground rules changed "when India entered into the India-United States civil nuclear agreement."

'That agreement was approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency.  It was approved by the nuclear suppliers group", he told ABC News Breakfast.

"That effectively put India under the international nuclear regulators for the first occasion and India gave a series of undertakings including a moratorium on future nuclear testing".

'Mr Smith insisted the safeguards are now just as strong as if India had signed the Treaty.

"That effectively gives you the same protections that you get if a country signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which, of course, has been the stumbling block for many years as far as India is concerned".

'He said he was a "strong supporter" of the Treaty, but it was better to have India under the observation of the IAEA than nothing at all.

"For the first time we have India under that regulation, and that is the essential...point which those that don't agree with or accept this decision either refuse to accept, refuse to acknowledge it, or don't understand."...

"The Government will now move to negotiate a bilateral agreement with India on safeguards.'

'

Posted on 12/05/2011 8:01 PM by Christina McIntosh
Monday, 5 December 2011
A Musical Interlude: Keep Your Undershirt On (Ben Pollack Orch., voc. Scrappy Lambert)
Listen here.
Posted on 12/05/2011 8:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 5 December 2011
Muslim Indonesia Continues to Do to West Papuan Christians and Animists What It Used to Do to East Timorese Christians and Animists

Another disturbing report leaks out from West Papua, on the island of New Guinea, where the overwhelmingly non-Muslim inhabitants would like to be free of Muslim colonial rule, and have made this known. 

As reported by the ABC's Brigid Andersen.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-05/claims-west-papuan-village-torched-in-latest-unrest/3713792

'Papuan Village Torched in Unrest'.

Let's put that in the active voice, shall we?  'Indonesian Muslims Burn Christian Papuan Village'. - CM

'Reports claim Indonesian anti-terrorist police have torched a remote village (that is, a remote Christian village - CM)  in the Papuan Highlands amid clashes with guerilla rebels in the region.

'Anti-terrorist'.  One must remember that in Islamspeak, 'terrorism' and 'aggression' boil down to 'anything said or done by non-Muslims to resist the imposition of Islam and/ or of Muslim rule over them'. - CM

'Activists say civilians have fled into the jungle in response to the unrest ('unrest'? - would not 'attack' be the right word here? - CM) and there are now grave fears for their safety.

Media is strictly controlled in the region, making reports hard to verify, but it is claimed that Indonesia's Gegana Brimob police unit attacked the village of Wandenggoback in the Papuan Highlands, in response to the shooting deaths of two police officers on December 3.

Question: given that we know that the Egyptian Army and authorities lied outright about supposed injury and killing of Egyptian Muslim soldiers by Coptic protesters - lies that were used to justify a massacre of unarmed Copts - should we believe what the Muslim-dominated Indonesian government, army or police present as the pretext for a full-scale assault upon a Christian village in Papua? - CM

'The two Indonesia police were reportedly killed earlier n the day during an offensive launched by the militant Free Papua Movement (OPM), and the anti-terrorist brigade responded by setting fire to schools, a church and houses in the village.

And will the UN condemn Indonesia for its manifestly disproportionate response, and for the use of collective punishment - burning a village church - in a style reminiscent of the Nazis in Occupied France?  - CM

'Reverend Benny Giay from the Papuan Christian Church in the province's capital, Jayapura, says he has spoken to school teachers and young people who are among those who fled Wandenggoback.

"The police mobile brigade burned the church, schools and houses of the people and people have fled to the bush.  They've become local refugees", he said.

"It is in response, according to the military and the government sources here, to the two police who were shot".

'He says there are concerns for the safety of the villagers who have fled and are now hiding out in the rugged highlands.

"Some have run to a neighbouring district.  Some we think they are in the bush and we are worried that they may get sick and even die out of starvation", he said.

"What we are worrying about is that [the Brimob] have been doing this, they've been terrorising people, people are fleeing the villages, and people are dying in the bush of starvation".

The burning of village churches and schools, the razing of non-Muslim villages, the driving of people - non-Muslims -  into inhospitable landscapes where they die of starvation...I am reminded of the campaign that the Muslim North Sudanese conducted, for fifty years, against the non-Muslim South Sudanese. - CM

"We are worried that this will continue to be the military's [tactic] to kill Papuans off".

Given the size of the death toll inflicted on the East Timorese, during the period of Indonesian Muslim rule, I would hazard the guess that the same thing is being done in Papua, and for the same - Islamic - reasons. - CM

'Mr Giay says Indonesian authorities have blamed OPM guerrillas for the death of the two police officers, but he says that claim needs to be investigated.

"We are saying as a church to make sure, if the government allows human rights NGOs to go there and do an investigation so we can find out who made the shootings which killed two policemen", he said.

'On December 1 West Papuans marked 50 years since the province declared independence from Indonesia.  Rallies were held in many areas and the province's banned morning star flag was raised.

Note: fifty years takes us to 1961, at a time when Indonesia did not in fact rule over West Papua. - CM

'Nick Chesterfield, editor of West Papua Media, says they are getting reports from villages around Wandenggoback of a security crackdown in response to the independence ceremonies.

"The reports that we're getting at the moment are that Indonesian security forces have been rampaging in areas near Nulia and that people are fleeing to the hills in the area", he said.

"The district of Pagalome is now quote 'empty of humans as all have fled'.

This sounds as though it is a lot more than just one village that has been razed. - CM

"We've got a lot of difficulty getting strong verification up there because it's been reported to us that troops are controlling all the roads out and any places that you can get a phone signal".

'Mr Chesterfield says as many as several thousand civilians could now be hiding out in the jungle.

Like I said: this seems to involve a lot more than just one village. - CM

"There have been instances in the past where up to 10,000 people have hidden out in the mountains for up to three months", he said.

The Papuan Christians' only ally is their country's fearsomely rugged, heavily-forested terrain, which I suspect they know rather better than their Muslim occupiers and oppressors. - CM

'But he says there is little food and shelter for those who have fled.

"There's not much cover in the highlands.  Where people will be fleeing is to the mountain peaks", he said.

"This is the monsoon time, so the nights are a little warmer, but the conditions are atrocious.  People have no ability to grow food up in the mountains, they have fled with whatever they can carry so there are grave fears."

'Indonesia's anti-terrorist police receive training and funding from the Australian government.

Which training and funding, if we had any moral sense and sense of self-preservation whatsoever, would instantly cease.  Terrorism, one must remember, in the eyes of Muslims, is any attempt by non-Muslims to resist Muslim attack, or to free themselves from Muslim domination.  Muslim attacks upon non-Muslims are not 'terrorism', nor are Muslim attacks upon deemed-insufficiently-Islamic Muslims. - CM

'The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is seeking to verify the reports from Wandenggobak.

Dear DFAT: if you think you can trust anything that the Indonesian Muslims will tell you, about what is happening in West Papua, then you are fools. - CM

"The Australian Government deplores violence in all its forms.  The Australian Embassy in Jakarta follows closely developments in Indonesia's Papua provinces and is seeking to verify reports of incidents around Wandenggobak in the Papuan highlands", the Department said in a statement.

I'd suggest finding out whether there are satellite pictures of the area, similar to those that have been used to track down evidence of mass human rights abuses in the Sudan.  Such would be more reliable evidence than anything that smiling, smooth-talking - or defensively prickly and angrily strutting - Indonesian Muslim diplomats and army and police chiefs will hand out. - CM

"Australia continues to urge Indonesia to investigate thoroughly any allegations of human rights abuses and to hold perpetrators to account and welcomes President Yudhoyono's commitment on November 19 to take legal action against any security forces personnel who commit human rights abuses."

Waste of time.   Muslim 'commitments' and promises to Infidels are written on toilet paper in disappearing ink.  All Australian DFAT employees need to read S K Malik's "The Quranic Concept of War", and Majid Khadduri's "War and Peace in the Law of Islam", and Raymond Ibrahim's articles on Islamic deception - for example, "How Taqiyya Alters Islam's Rules Of War".  CM

"The Australian Government does not train or fund Indonesia's security forces to counter separatism".

'Separatism'.  In this case, the wholly natural and justifiable desire of a regional majority of non-Muslims, cruelly oppressed by a foreign Muslim state, to rid themselves of that Muslim yoke.  The 'separatism' of the West Papuans is like the separatism of the East Timorese, the separatism of the South Sudanese, the separatism of the Biafrans (which was, tragically,  crushed by Muslim forces, with near-genocidal violence), and - going a little further back in history - the separatism of the Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs, seeking liberation from the Ottoman Muslims who had tormented them for centuries. 

I would observe, in addition, that no non-Muslim state has any business training or funding any element within the armed forces of a Muslim state, assisting them to become stronger and more 'efficient'. Because such strength and efficiency will sooner or later be deployed in the interests of Islam and the Ummah, only, and to the detriment of non-Muslims. - CM

'West Ppaua has seen several instances of unrest in the past few months, with Indonesian military and police blamed for killing three activists in August and arresting hundreds more.

'Blamed for'. Blind Freddy can see they did it.  Let's rewrite. "With the Indonesian military and police killing at least three Papuan non-Muslim independence-seekers in August, and arresting hundreds more". - CM

'Shots were fired, and a number of West Papuans were also arrested during independence ceremonies on December 1.'

Observe the use of the passive voice, so common in any account of Muslim attacks upon non-Muslims within regions ruled or dominated by Muslims.  I think I shall reword that sentence, too, to see how it sounds if we put it in the active voice, making it clear exactly who did the shooting, and the arrests.  "Indonesians and military fired at protesters, and arrested many West Papuans during independence ceremonies on December 1". - CM

Posted on 12/05/2011 8:39 PM by Christina McIntosh

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