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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
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Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
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edited by S.B. Kelly
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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
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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 Sunday, 6, 2011.
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Pattani, Thailand: Muslims attack Buddhist villagers, murder 5, wound 4

From the 'Bangkok Post'.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/219701/5-killed-4-wounded-in-pattani-shooting

'Five people were killed and four others wounded in a wild attack by a group of gunmen in a small Buddhist village in Pattani's Panare district on Thursday morning.

'The attack occurred about 6 am in Ban Yai on the Tha Kham-Nam Bo road in tambon Khok Krabue of Panare district.

'Police Colonel Wallop Chamnong-asa, the Panare police chief, said the gunmen struck shortly after the village protection unit ended its night security duty and its members returned home.

That suggests that the attack was pre-planned - CM.

'About 50 Buddhist villagers were on the road.  Some were heading to the temple for merit-making and some buying food from roadside vendors.  Government officials were heading to their offices and students to their school.

A peaceful village scene.  Now, enter the Destroyers, the Death Eaters, the cultists of the Religion of Blood and War - CM.

'A white pick-up truck with six armed men on board arrived.  Two men got out of the vehicle and opened fire indiscriminately at the people on the road, while the others also fired their weapons from inside the truck.

'As the villagers fled in terror, three people fell dead and four others were wounded.

'The gunmen then took off in the vehicle.  While passing in front of the office of the tambon administration organisation (TAO) they again opened fire at people on the road, killing two more people.

'The dead were identified as Pongsak Phet, 53, an education inspector of Pattani's Education Zone 1, Nipon Sermklin, 61, a retired irrigation official, Pikul Sennu (woman), 43, a village health volunteer, Noom Boonmak, 76, and Ms Laddawan Yodkaew, 60.

In other words: the  jihadis deliberately gunned down - murdered - two unarmed men aged 53 and 61, and three unarmed women, two of those women being little old ladies.  I despise Muslim jihadists.  They are nothing but cowardly, vicious thugs. - CM.

'Wounded were Purikorn Kor, 12, a boy student of Panare school, Sompien Ratsrichan, 54, a teacher of Ban Tha Kham School, Sim Tantapong, 79, mother of the TAO president, and Pongsak Yodkaew, 60.

'Purikorn and Pongsak, who were seriously wounded, were admitted to Pattani Hospital.

I will say a prayer for their recovery - CM.

'Others were admitted to Panare Hospital.

'An earlier report, quoting police, that the attack occurred at a teashop about 11 pm Wednesday, was incorrect.

'Also in Pattani, a man was killed in Yarang district on Thursday morning.

'Police Colonel Viroj Boonyarat, the Yarang police chief, said Abdulloh Kabo, 49, a villager of Ban Kadai, was hit in the head by an attacker who had also slashed his throat with a knife while he was returning home on a motorcycle from rubber tapping.

'On Wednesday night, seven telephone booths were set on fire and car tyres were set alight on three different locations in Muang district of Pattani, apparently to cause public disturbance.'

That last bit reminds me of the 'car-beques' in France and the burnings and vandalism in Muslim-occupied districts of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. - CM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on 02/06/2011 12:15 AM by Christina McIntosh
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Video of Luton yesterday

I have uploaded the two very short videos I took yesterday of Jean the Frenchman and Rabbi Nachum Shifren to you tube.

They are not good enough to embed but can be seen here and here.

Posted on 02/06/2011 4:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Hamas Deliberately Prevents The Transfer Of Goods From Israel Into Gaza But...

The following is from the Hebrew language edition of Haaretzand is by Avi Issacharoff. The translation of this excerpt is by IMRA and me:

After years of complaints by Hamas that Israel is preventing the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip causing distress of the population, it turns out that the organization has recently begun to prevent the entry of various goods from Israel. This, in order to maintain the broad scope of activities of the smuggling tunnels from Egypt, [is] an important source of income used by the Hamas government.

Hamas authorities have recently halted the entry of industrial diesel to Gaza from Israel. Israel in the past supplied more than 100,000 liters of diesel fuel a day to Gaza, to ensure its power station would continue to work. During the siege on the Gaza Strip, Hamas made sure to complain every time the fuel flow halted. This even when the Authority ordered Israel to stop the flow of diesel fuel into Gaza, because the Hamas government hasn’t paid for the diesel fuel. But now for more than a month Israel has not been asked to transfer industrial diesel to Gaza. It turns out that Hamas was able to establish a fuel supply line through tunnels under Rafah, between Gaza and Egypt and the power station receives all the fuel needed to run it.

But the story does not end with just diesel. It turns out that Hamas advised Palestinian traders who deal with Israel that they would not be able to import cigarettes, snacks, soft drinks and office furniture from Israel into Gaza. The purpose of the decision is to preserve the volume of smuggling [through the] tunnels under Rafah, and not to hurt them after the partial removal of the Israeli blockade on Gaza. Every trader who brings goods through the tunnels (and tunnels into Gaza) has to pay taxes to the Hamas government. A decrease in smuggling means damage to many families that earn their livings from them (tens of thousands of people) and a decline in revenues for Hamas, which receives payment for each tunnel operating as well as for the goods passing through the tunnels.

Sometime in the near future I’ll address the issue of the Rafah crossing point between (Arab) Gaza and (Arab) Egypt and why the (Arab) Egyptian authorities have always been adamant that it remain closed and that officially no trade be done with Gaza.

However, at the moment Hamas are ‘hoist with their own petard’. The following is from Ma'an News:

The Gaza Strip is facing a fuel crisis since political unrest in Egypt led to the closure of smuggling tunnels, fuel company officials warned [on] Thursday.

Deputy head of fuel companies in the Strip Mahmoud Al-Khazendar said gas [petrol] stations have completely run out of fuel.

Most gas [petrol] and diesel supplies enter the coastal enclave through underground tunnels from Egypt, but the trade has ground to a halt since protests to oust Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak erupted across the country.

Couldn’t happen to nicer people. Serves them right, sez I.

Posted on 02/06/2011 6:27 AM by John M. Joyce
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Why Not Study History Before "Getting On The Right Side Of History"?

"This is a good man [Harry Reid] who has always been on the right side of history," Obama said in a television interview Monday..."

And this phrase, part of the political floating world,  with the breathless reporting on the events in Egypt, presented as a Morality Play with the Egyptian rulers collectively playing the Devil, has in the last week turned up in every other story, and in follow-the-leader speeches too. By their unthinking use of the suddenly fashionable phrase shall ye know them.

"It is hardly the first time the Obama administration has seemed uncertain on its feet during the Egyptian crisis, as it struggles to stay on the right side of history and to avoid accelerating a revolution that could spin out of control."   -- David Sanger in the NY Times, Feb. 5, 2011 ("As Mubarak Digs In, U.S. Policy In Egypt Is Complicated")

"The "Arab Spring" is as important as the fall of communism two decades ago. Then America was on the right side of history; now, it's not so clear. But in the Middle East, it's still not too late to get on it. For the past three decades, political inertia has gotten the better of diplomatic creativity in the Middle East. Washington has backed a host of autocrats in the name of stability. Successively corrupt regimes have presided over nothing but overpopulation, economic stagnation, and literally cutthroat politics. Never has a set of dominoes so deserved to fall." -- Parag Khanna, in FP, "Getting On The Right Side of History" 

I could add, and so could you, another ten or hundred thousand examples. But why bother? We get the picture.

Marxism may not, in practice, have quite worked out, but there are other forms of historical determinism ready to take its place, and the phrase "getting on the right side of history" encapsulates that view, one which connects to all kinds of doubtful desiderata, including sullen acceptance of the notion that Diversity is Always And Everywhere Good For You, that Equality (especially in anything to do with intelligence and its cultivation) is,  every day, in every way, the highest of goals, the most important of duties. And Western man has this message, this updated coute-que-coute Couéism, coo-cooed to Western babies in the cradle by with-it parents dutifully following their politicized Dr. Spock, before those children, now a little older, go off to school for further  indoctrination by their teachers and their textbooks.

One could stand it, just, if only there were some sign that those who use that phrase "getting on the right side of history" had themselves studied history, and thought such study was important for others too. But instead, it's such people as Nicholas Kristof and Tom Friedman, of that dismal ill-schooled ilk, who dare to use the word "history" as they tell us that we must get with the program, get with what's happening baby, jump on the juggernaut before it passes you by, and get on, please do, now, before it's too late, just get on "the right side of history."

 

Posted on 02/06/2011 6:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
A Musical Interlude: Stay On The Right Side Of The Road (Ray Noble Orch., voc. Al Bowlly)

Listen here.

Posted on 02/06/2011 7:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff on yesterday's demonstration in Luton

From Gates of Vienna:

I am on my way home at the end of a day that will eventually find its place in the history books in the United Kingdom, and perhaps even in the rest of (free) Europe. What began two years ago with a small march protesting the Islamization of Luton has today culminated into a demonstration by nearly 6,000 people.

This demonstration, organized by the English Defence League and headed by its leader Tommy Robinson, brought together activists and protesters from all over the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Germany, France, and Austria. There were men and women from all walks of life, young, old, students, laborers, mothers, fathers, tattooed football hooligans drinking beer after beer and chanting “We will never surrender” and singing “God save the Queen”.

[...]

Most of all, there were those who came to voice their anger. And there was a lot of that anger. It was in the air, and could be felt very clearly.

Walking around the street where the protesters gathered, I looked into the faces of these lads, trying to find what the press keep describing as “hatred”. But I was unable to find any. The mood was a somber one, despite the high beer consumption, and the reason for that mood had a simple explanation: native Lutonians no longer recognize their own city. There are Muslim gangs running the streets, harassing women and girls. There is a city council which caters solely to the Muslim groups, giving in to their every demand, the latest one being — no surprise here — a mega-mosque to be built in the very near future. The Lutonians are no longer Lutonians, but strangers in their own city, the place where they were born and grew up.

And, perhaps most dangerous, they are no longer even heard by their elected officials. Instead, members of the EDL are branded as racists for saying they want England to remain English; for complaining about their children being served halal-slaughtered food in their schools; for not wanting shariah law to be established in Luton or anywhere else in England.

[...]

As the street filled with hundreds and hundreds of protesters waving their EDL flags and chanting their slogans, I made my way to the front of the demonstration. I was surprised to find these boys extremely friendly and charming when I asked them to make way for me. Some of them even recognized me and thanked me. Their kindness was unexpected and very welcome. However, I was even more surprised that, given the per-capita beer consumption, there were no outright drunks to be found. Yes, some may have been tipsy, but I did not feel threatened in any way. We were in agreement that we would rather have drunk Englishmen than Sharia imposed on England.

I'll drink to that. Tomorrow the Englishman will be sober. If Islam takes over, England will have no tomorrow.

Posted on 02/06/2011 8:12 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 6 February 2011
A Macaronic Musical Interlude: Bunga-Bunga Nights At Arcore

Watch, and listen to the macaronic mix made to accompany a video excerpt from Grease, here.

Posted on 02/06/2011 8:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Denmark - Religious tensions on rise in public housing

From The Copenhagen Post. The religion of peace strikes again.

In Vollsmose in Odense, Christian and Jewish residents need to go into hiding because they are being threatened with beatings and some have had their cars burned. In Gellerup in Aarhus, the local Christian church has been forced to hire security patrols to prevent vandalism, and in Copenhagen, Jewish kids applying to secondary schools near housing areas densely populated with Muslims have been advised by authorities to look elsewhere if they want to avoid trouble.

“We receive regular reports of religious crimes,” Niels-Erik Hansen, the head of the Advisory Centre for Racial Discrimination told Politiken newspaper. “If we don’t do something about it now, we could end up with Apartheid-like conditions, with certain residents unable to live in certain housing areas.” 

Posted on 02/06/2011 10:45 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 6 February 2011
The Virus of Hysteria

Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, by Paul A. Offit (Basic, 288 pp., $27.50)

From experience I know that it is best, when reviewing a book about the vaccine question, to declare a financial interest, or in my case, a lack of one. As far as I know I own no shares in vaccine companies, except perhaps through mutual funds whose holdings I haven’t examined closely. I don’t think, therefore, that my economic future depends to any great extent on the sale of vaccines. In view of what I am about to say, conspiracy theorists will have difficulty believing this, but it’s true.

The world’s children are, taken as a whole, the healthiest who have ever lived, in no small part thanks to immunization against the common infectious diseases of childhood that, not so long ago, caused misery, morbidity, and death. In my own case, I suffered mumps, measles, chicken pox, and whooping cough. I remember them all (and can still feel my painful swollen parotid glands in my mind’s soma). I came through unscathed, but my best friend, from whom I was inseparable, contracted polio in the months immediately before the introduction of immunization against it. He was paralyzed from the waist down.

No child today need experience these diseases. Surely this is an unequivocal example of progress, but strangely enough, many people are highly suspicious of the triumph of preventive medicine. It is as if they had lost all historical memory and could not imagine that things were ever any different. We are now so safe that all hazard appears anomalous to us, a deviation from nature’s normal course. It must be someone’s fault.

In his eloquent and bracing book, Paul Offit, an expert on child immunization, traces the intellectual—or perhaps I should say the emotional—history of the modern anti-vaccination movement and its consequences. If progress in preventive medicine has been remarkable, so in its own way has been the persistence of prescientific and even anti-scientific thought in modern society.

The author correctly draws attention to the similarities between the anti-vaccination movements in modern America and in Victorian England. The Victorians, however, had the excuse that they were facing a new and unprecedented situation, which the Americans do not. The Victorians knew nothing of bacteriology, virology, and immunology; their epidemiology was rudimentary. Moreover, smallpox vaccination was a crude procedure, sometimes genuinely dangerous; arm-to-arm vaccination, which was eventually abandoned, could spread syphilis.

Offit underestimates the range, both social and intellectual, of the Victorian anti-vaccination movement. While it might have started off as a popular agitation against Parliament’s decree of compulsory vaccination—which was in practice mainly directed at the poor—it quickly spread to the middle and upper classes. It produced an astonishing range of literature, including a mass-circulation magazine that ran for 70 years. Not all of its adherents by any means were willfully ignorant cranks (such as George Bernard Shaw). Converts to the cause included Charles Creighton, an eminent pathologist and the erudite historian of epidemics in Britain, as well as the first person to hold a chair in bacteriology in Britain, E. M. Crookshank. Vast and learned tomes were produced on the noxiousness of vaccination, and while some of the wilder claims—such as that vaccination had led to a recrudescence of leprosy in Europe—were absurd, attempts to prove vaccination’s dangers by statistical means helped spur the development of the science of epidemiology.

Still, the Victorian anti-vaccination movement discovered, and maybe even invented, a fundamental principle of modern pressure-group politics: always make lots of noise. It is noise that makes the world go round as much as money, with truth coming in a poor third; and noise is difficult to counteract. It’s true that the adventure novelist Henry Rider Haggard produced a good pro-vaccination novel, Doctor Therne, in 1898, after Parliament surrendered to pressure and repealed compulsory vaccination. But it seems that there is a quasi-law of politicking that the noise of opponents is always louder than that of proponents.

As with any medical procedure, things can go wrong with vaccination. But modern vaccine scares are generally not the consequence of genuine problems. They are the result of unproven scientific hypotheses given echo, and magnified and coarsened, by campaigners. The idea, for example, that the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine causes childhood autism gained currency when a British surgeon, Andrew Wakefield, claimed to have found evidence that the vaccine could damage the intestines of those to whom it was given—thus giving a portal to neurotoxic substances.

It was an error of judgment on the part of the medical journal The Lancet to have published this research in the first place. The experimental group was completely without a control group. Even odder, the principal author of the research, Wakefield, held a press conference to announce the findings even before they were published. The most likely explanation of his conduct is that he was a highly ambitious man, desperate for a scientific coup like that of Barry Marshall, who established the bacterial causation of peptic ulceration, which had escaped thousands of previous researchers. The difference, of course, was that Marshall’s research was valuable.

Nevertheless, the autism rumor soon swept the world. Many distressed parents thought they had found the explanation for the otherwise inexplicable condition of their child. Some people underwent a quasi-religious conversion, and made Wakefield’s cause their own. When it was established beyond reasonable doubt that he had feet of clay, they turned him into a martyr, someone condemned for his heresy rather than for his conduct.

Even some of those who did not worship at Wakefield’s shrine acted on the no-smoke-without-fire principle. They declined to have their children immunized, with the result that measles epidemics returned where they had been almost eliminated. In Britain, the refusal of Prime Minister Tony Blair to reveal whether he was having his own child immunized with the MMR vaccine led to a further fall in the immunization rate and suggested that at least a section of the population does not take its decisions on purely rational grounds. Whooping cough has returned in California, thanks to a reduction in vaccinations.

When scientific research refutes the rumor that started a scare, the scare does not die straightaway. The first response of adherents to the cause is to find a paranoid explanation for the research findings—for example, that the government is in league with the vaccine manufacturers and the doctors. Thus starts an endless Russian-doll regression of ad hominem arguments, and thus a pseudo-religious faith, which gives meaning to the lives of many, is upheld. Offit’s book is therefore not only an interesting scientific saga in itself, but a kind of cultural X-ray of our society.

First published at City Journal.

Posted on 02/06/2011 11:03 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Winter of Discontent

For the purposes of  sneering at Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Nomad in last week's Times Literary Supplement, Muslim revert Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad reverts to his more prosaic infidel name, Tim Winter. Winter, who has form, is Shaykh Zayed Lecturer of Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University. What Islam, that most eartbound of ideologies, has to do with divinity is a question I leave to Rebecca Bynum in her new book Allah is Dead. 

Winter's review, unfortunately not available online, drips with condescension. Here are some telling excerpts:

There is something formulaic about her pilgrimage from Muslim to atheist certainty, in a book in which everything seems crafted by a steady teleology to show "why I chose America".

[...]

[S]he effectively exchanges one fundamentalism for another. In Nomad, Islam is no longer the complex, decentred civilization known to Islamic Studies, but is a single essence, fully summarized by literalist interpretations of the Qur'an's most stringent verses.

Perhaps this is because those "literalist interpretations" made familiy members cut her clitoris off.  A nuanced, non-"essentialist" interpretation of that particular hadith would have been rather less painful. Winter ends with a characteristic veiled threat:

[G]estures such as the Swiss minaret ban (which Hirsi Ali supports) are likely to intensify Muslim disdain for Western hypocrisy and Islamophobia.

It was worth wading through Winter's dreck  just to see it power-hosed away this week by writer and journalist Clive James, whose letter to the TLS is online here:

If “there remains something formulaic about [Hirsi Ali's] pilgrimage from Muslim to atheist certainty”, wouldn’t that be because there was something even more formulaic about the determination of men in her religion – or in her local branch of that religion, if you wish – to mutilate their female children? Just such a dreadful thing happened to her, yet she wishes for her assailants nothing worse than a change of mind, while they, for her, wish death.

And why shouldn’t Ayaan Hirsi Ali, no matter how enslaved to the American Enterprise Unit, find the Archbishop of Canterbury one of the “accomplices of jihad” and “a cultural and moral relativist” (her phrase each time, and each time quoted scornfully by her reviewer), if the Archbishop is so keen to open a window, be it ever so small, for sharia to make its way into British law? You don’t have to be an atheist to decide that the Archbishop, one of the most learned men of his calling, is, on this issue, as dense as plutonium. When Ayaan Hirsi Ali hears about sharia getting within a hundred miles of any democratic legal system, she feels it like a knife, or a razor. Is that so hard to understand?

Apparently it is. At a time when British police have truly distinguished themselves by at last asking potential victims of honour crimes to report death threats, we have a piquant state of affairs in which Tim Winter, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Cambridge, thinks that the first thing we have to understand is the “twentieth-century Muslim debate on Islamic law and modernity”. But surely, while we wait for the results of that debate to come in, the first thing to understand is that the men of the Islamic minorities in the democratic countries should be prevailed upon to honour the law of the land before they concern themselves with the supposed honour of their families. They simply must be induced, if not by persuasion then by punishment, to stop cutting up and killing their women. Otherwise there will be little hope for Islam within democratic borders.

Nominally concerned with how Islam is being provoked by “this mobilization for a . . . Kulturkampf”, Winter seems reluctant to face just how provoking Islam itself can be. He was explicit enough when he condemned terrorism. “Targeting civilians,” he said, “is a negation of every possible school of Sunni Islam.” That left in the air the question about all the schools of Islam that weren’t Sunni, but at least he seemed aware that the matter could be decided on principle, in conformity with the law of any free country, and was not up for a protracted learned discussion within the religion. With regard to genital mutilation and honour crimes, he seems harder to pin down. The “debate on Islamic law and modernity” is all very well, but what we want is something better than the silence of the majority on the subject: we want a clear condemnation, and especially from the intellectuals. Notoriously, Tariq Ramadan, when pressed, was unable to give this. It’s Tim Winter’s turn, and I hope he won’t complain that he has been put on the spot. He was on the spot from the moment he picked up Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book. She outranks him. She might know less than he does, but what she does know, she has felt on her skin.

Posted on 02/06/2011 11:03 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Clive James On Shaikh Abdul Hakim Murad (Tim Winter)

Mary Jackson has dissected Shaikh Abdul Hakim Murad, Sheik Zayed Lecturer of Islamic studies at the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge,  here.

Clive James has a letter in the TLS about Tim Winter (as Shaikh Abdul Hakim Murad was known before his adult-onset Islam, and as he carefully calls himself still for Western audience), which also furthers understanding:


Islamic law

Sir, – In the issue for January 21 I was glad to find that by an accident of layout a poem of mine had been printed next to a photograph of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but the shine of the juxtaposition was rather dulled by Tim Winter’s review of her new book. Personally I can’t see why she thinks that all the religious Islamic men who behave murderously towards women would behave less murderously if they became atheists, but surely it isn’t hard to see why she would hope so. If “there remains something formulaic about her pilgrimage from Muslim to atheist certainty”, wouldn’t that be because there was something even more formulaic about the determination of men in her religion – or in her local branch of that religion, if you wish – to mutilate their female children? Just such a dreadful thing happened to her, yet she wishes for her assailants nothing worse than a change of mind, while they, for her, wish death.

And why shouldn’t Ayaan Hirsi Ali, no matter how enslaved to the American Enterprise Unit, find the Archbishop of Canterbury one of the “accomplices of jihad” and “a cultural and moral relativist” (her phrase each time, and each time quoted scornfully by her reviewer), if the Archbishop is so keen to open a window, be it ever so small, for sharia to make its way into British law? You don’t have to be an atheist to decide that the Archbishop, one of the most learned men of his calling, is, on this issue, as dense as plutonium. When Ayaan Hirsi Ali hears about sharia getting within a hundred miles of any democratic legal system, she feels it like a knife, or a razor. Is that so hard to understand?

Apparently it is. At a time when British police have truly distinguished themselves by at last asking potential victims of honour crimes to report death threats, we have a piquant state of affairs in which Tim Winter, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Cambridge, thinks that the first thing we have to understand is the “twentieth-century Muslim debate on Islamic law and modernity”. But surely, while we wait for the results of that debate to come in, the first thing to understand is that the men of the Islamic minorities in the democratic countries should be prevailed upon to honour the law of the land before they concern themselves with the supposed honour of their families. They simply must be induced, if not by persuasion then by punishment, to stop cutting up and killing their women. Otherwise there will be little hope for Islam within democratic borders.

Nominally concerned with how Islam is being provoked by “this mobilization for a . . . Kulturkampf”, Winter seems reluctant to face just how provoking Islam itself can be. He was explicit enough when he condemned terrorism. “Targeting civilians,” he said, “is a negation of every possible school of Sunni Islam.” That left in the air the question about all the schools of Islam that weren’t Sunni, but at least he seemed aware that the matter could be decided on principle, in conformity with the law of any free country, and was not up for a protracted learned discussion within the religion. With regard to genital mutilation and honour crimes, he seems harder to pin down. The “debate on Islamic law and modernity” is all very well, but what we want is something better than the silence of the majority on the subject: we want a clear condemnation, and especially from the intellectuals. Notoriously, Tariq Ramadan, when pressed, was unable to give this. It’s Tim Winter’s turn, and I hope he won’t complain that he has been put on the spot. He was on the spot from the moment he picked up Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book. She outranks him. She might know less than he does, but what she does know, she has felt on her skin.

CLIVE JAMES
13 Park Parade, Cambridge.

 

 

Posted on 02/06/2011 11:31 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Pseudsday Psunday

Apart from a few rotten apples, readily pushed out of the barrel by its leadership, the English Defence League stubbornly refuses to be "racist". This confuses and angers the Left, who cannot bear to see a working-class "grass roots" movement which does not dance to their tune.

So cross is the Left about the absence of real racism in the EDL that one of its spokesmen James Bloodworth, writing at the still-clueless-about-Islam blog Harry's Place, has come up with a fantastically convoluted explanation:

Characteristic of far-right groups in recent times has been the use of religion and culture as a proxy for race. Despite racism (and growing anti-Semitism) being a continuing problem in 21st-century Britain, we live within a post-racist national discourse – it is now overwhelmingly frowned upon to be openly racist or anti-Semitic in the public arena. Modern use of language will instead focus on asylum seekers, Muslims, or a world Zionist conspiracy as suitable proxies. In terms of discourse the EDL are racists attempting to operate within a post-racist narrative.

So if they said "Pakis out", would that be a post-post racist narrative?

Posted on 02/06/2011 11:33 AM by Mary Jackson
Sunday, 6 February 2011
West Bank Rulers Curtail Freedom Even More

Honestly, you couldn’t make this sort of stuff up – the dictatorial, Islamo-Fascist West Bank so-called Authority (the democratic credentials of which would not survive scrutiny by a eyeless corpse under a dark lantern) have banned all demonstrations unless it approves of them. What is it afraid of? Oh yes, of course, it’s afraid of freedom and democracy because then the West Bank and Gaza Arabs would have to be responsible for themselves instead of being able to blame their bad government on everybody else.

The following is from Ma'an News and you can find the article here:

The Palestinian Authority has banned "unlicensed gatherings" in order to preserve order in the West Bank, security spokesman Adnan Ad-Dmeiri announced Thursday.

The PA official said the ruling was in response to demonstrations in solidarity with uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

In a statement, Ad-Dmeiri said the PA affirmed the right of expression but that the demonstrations would create chaos.

The priority for Palestinians was to empower popular resistance against the occupation and to work for independence, he added.

On Wednesday PA security forces violently shut down a rally in Ramallah in support of the Egyptian people and detained at least two demonstrators.

Protesters said the event had been peaceful until police broke out batons and started pushing women at the front of the group back and away from the city center.

PA forces also shut down a rally outside the Egyptian embassy in Ramallah on Sunday, after calling in one of the organizers for questioning multiple times a day earlier, organizers of the rally said.

From this article at Ma’an comes a pricelessly funny statement about security from the same Adnan Dmeiri:

Organizers said a diverse crowd of around 2,000 attended the rally, and that it was the largest of four held in solidarity with Egyptians and Tunisians.

Palestinian Authority security services spokesman Adnan Dmeiri on Thursday banned rallies in support of Egypt and Tunisia. He said the decision was in the interests of maintaining stability in the West Bank, and that protests created chaos.

Well, chaos has never bothered them in the past so why start worrying about it now? Of course, how silly of me – it could just turn out to be the wrong sort of chaos.

Posted on 02/06/2011 11:45 AM by John M. Joyce
Sunday, 6 February 2011
That's one hell of a band He has in heaven

Gary Moore died this morning. This is The Messiah Will Come Again.

 

Posted on 02/06/2011 2:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 6 February 2011
French Citizens In Al-Qaeda Camps; Imams In France Exult Over The Return Of True Islam In Tunisia

14 Français s'entraînent dans les camps d'al-Qaida


Par Christophe Cornevin
06/02/2011 
Réactions (121
Entrainement de djihadistes en Afgahnistan, sur la base d'A-Faruq. (Crédits photo: AFP)
Entrainement de djihadistes en Afgahnistan, sur la base d'A-Faruq. (Crédits photo: AFP)

INFO LE FIGARO - Selon le contre-espionnage, une centaine d'Européens, dont quatorze Français, entraînés dans les camps djihadistes, pourraient passer à l'action. 

Al-Qaida radicalise ses menaces contre la France et n'a jamais tant recruté de «combattants», notamment européens, en vue de mener de prochaines frappes terroristes. Au lendemain du soulèvement en Tunisie et alors que les manifestations se multiplient en Égypte, le contre-espionnage français est plus que jamais en alerte maximale. Quatre notes «blanches» émanant de la Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI), que Le Figaro s'est procurées, en attestent.

Se fondant sur des «éléments recueillis présentement par les services français sur les différents acteurs terroristes de la zone pakistano-afghane», considérée comme «la première pourvoyeuse de menaces susceptible de viser le territoire européen», l'un des documents confidentiels révèle que «la région continue d'attirer les volontaires au combat armé, notamment européens. Ceux-ci sont passés, en moins de trois ans, de quelques cas isolés à plus d'une centaine d'individus.»

Selon cette note de la DCRI, «la présence de 14 Français a été signalée en 2010 dans cette zone». «Plusieurs de ces combattants ont désormais acquis une expérience et une légitimité qui leur permettent de rallier autour d'eux de nouveaux arrivants, préviennent les analystes français du contre-espionnage. Ayant vécu en Europe et nourrissant souvent des griefs personnels à l'encontre de leurs pays d'adoption, ces Européens sont susceptibles de s'impliquer dans des actions terroristes.» À en croire ces experts, celles-ci semblent presque inéluctables. En effet, écrivent-ils, «la volonté d'al-Qaida et, désormais, de certains groupes pakistanais, de conduire des attentats en Occident est avérée: depuis 2009, pas moins de quatre projets aux États-Unis et en Norvège, directement liés aux zones tribales pakistanaises ont échoué ou ont été déjoués».

Le péril islamiste est d'autant plus préoccupant que les services de renseignements ont intercepté un inquiétant message d'al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi). Diffusé le 28 janvier par son «organe médiatique» al-Andalous, il appelle les Tunisiens à «remplacer la religion altérée par la religion révélée et la charia» et soutient que ce sont « les croisés qui sont à l'origine de nos problèmes».

 

«Une cible privilégiée»

Par ailleurs, une des notes remarque que l'organisation terroriste annonce que l'«Amérique, la France et le Maghreb n'accepteront jamais un véritable changement qui ne sert pas leurs intérêts en Tunisie » et que ces régimes «préparent le lancement d'un nouveau laquais qui les satisfera». «Le communiqué vise spécifiquement la France, accusée “d'avoir soutenu le tyran Ben Ali”», insiste la DCRI. Établissant un parallèle avec la situation en Algérie, Aqmi prévient que les États-Unis et la France «joueront prochainement le même rôle, s'ils n'en sont pas empêchés par les frappes des moudjahidins (…)». «La France et ses ressortissants demeurent une cible privilégiée d'al-Qaida», martèle le contre-espionnage, qui rappelle enfin le message imputé à Ben Laden, qui fustigeait le 21 janvier dernier le non-retrait des troupes françaises en Afghanistan et menaçait de cibler «différents fronts, à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de la France ».

Divers quotidiens d'Alger, dont al-Watan, rapportaient ce dimanche que les services algériens de sécurité ont démantelé dans le sud-est du pays un réseau d'Aqmi qui projetait des attentats en Europe, notamment en France.

Dans un entretien au Figaro, le préfet Bernard Squarcini, directeur de la DCRI, révélait en juin dernier que deux attentats sont déjoués chaque année sur le sol français. «Nous pêchons à la fois de ­manière intense au chalut pour débusquer les filières djihadistes qui partent en Afghanistan, par exemple, mais aussi au ­harpon, en ciblant des individus fanatisés mais isolés, confiait-il. Notre mission est de les repérer et de les «purger» au plus vite, avant qu'ils ne commettent l'irréparable».

 


 

Des prêches plus radicaux dans les mosquées

«La chute du régime du président Ben Ali et la poursuite des manifestations en Égypte ont alimenté des prêches dans plusieurs salles de prières radicales, ces dernières semaines»: une des notes de la DCRI est sans appel. Le contre-espionnage, dont les antennes sont déployées dans «certaines mosquées radicales», signale que, le 21 janvier dernier, dans une salle de prière de Seine-et-Marne, «l'imam a critiqué la Tunisie qui s'est orientée vers la laïcité (…). Il a ajouté que “si les États-Unis aujourd'hui faisaient souffrir les musulmans, c'est parce que ces derniers se détournaient de la religion”. Il a conclu sur le fait que “les musulmans devaient, même aux États-Unis ou ailleurs, être toujours prêts pour combattre”.»

De même, le 28 janvier dernier, dans une mosquée en Alsace, «l'imam a fustigé avec une extrême virulence “ceux” qui protègent et reçoivent les criminels et en particulier les “collaborateurs des sionistes ” qui salissent l'islam.» Le même jour, précise la DCRI, un imam prêchant dans l'Essonne a exhorté ses fidèles: «Vous voyez, auparavant, nous avons prié pour la Tunisie. Les Tunisiens ont réussi à faire partir le pouvoir injuste qui régnait depuis des années. Aujourd'hui, c'est au tour de l'Égypte. Ces pays vont pouvoir être dirigés maintenant par de vrais musulmans. C'est eux qui vont prendre le pouvoir. Et bientôt, d'autres pays feront de même.»

Posted on 02/06/2011 2:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Looking At Egypt From An Economist’s Perspective

There was an interesting Op.Ed. in The Wall Street Journal by Hernando de Soto on the 3rd. instante mense but regrettably I cannot link to it because it’s behind a paywall.  (Mr. de Soto, author of "The Mystery of Capital" (Basic Books, 2000) and "The Other Path" (Harper and Row, 1989), is president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy based in Lima, Peru.)

However, here is Mr. de Soto’s article courtesy of the Institute he heads:

The headline that appeared on Al Jazeera on Jan. 14, a week before Egyptians took to the streets, affirmed that "[t]he real terror eating away at the Arab world is socio-economic marginalization."

The Egyptian government has long been concerned about the consequences of this marginalization. In 1997, with the financial support of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government hired my organization, the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. It wanted to get the numbers on how many Egyptians were marginalized and how much of the economy operated "extralegally"—that is, without the protections of property rights or access to normal business tools, such as credit, that allow businesses to expand and prosper. The objective was to remove the legal impediments holding back people and their businesses.

After years of fieldwork and analysis—involving over 120 Egyptian and Peruvian technicians with the participation of 300 local leaders and interviews with thousands of ordinary people—we presented a 1,000-page report and a 20-point action plan to the 11-member economic cabinet in 2004. The report was championed by Minister of Finance Muhammad Medhat Hassanein, and the cabinet approved its policy recommendations.

Egypt's major newspaper, Al Ahram, declared that the reforms "would open the doors of history for Egypt." Then, as a result of a cabinet shakeup, Mr. Hassanein was ousted. Hidden forces of the status quo blocked crucial elements of the reforms.

Today, when the streets are filled with so many Egyptians calling for change, it is worth noting some of the key facts uncovered by our investigation and reported in 2004:

• Egypt's underground economy was the nation's biggest employer. The legal private sector employed 6.8 million people and the public sector employed

5.9 million, while 9.6 million people worked in the extralegal sector.

• As far as real estate is concerned, 92% of Egyptians hold their property without normal legal title.

• We estimated the value of all these extralegal businesses and property, rural as well as urban, to be $248 billion—30 times greater than the market value of the companies registered on the Cairo Stock Exchange and 55 times greater than the value of foreign direct investment in Egypt since Napoleon invaded — including the financing of the Suez Canal and the Aswan Dam. (Those same extralegal assets would be worth more than $400 billion in today's dollars.)

The entrepreneurs who operate outside the legal system are held back. They do not have access to the business organizational forms (partnerships, joint stock companies, corporations, etc.) that would enable them to grow the way legal enterprises do. Because such enterprises are not tied to standard contractual and enforcement rules, outsiders cannot trust that their owners can be held to their promises or contracts. This makes it difficult or impossible to employ the best technicians and professional managers—and the owners of these businesses cannot issue bonds or IOUs to obtain credit.

Nor can such enterprises benefit from the economies of scale available to those who can operate in the entire Egyptian market. The owners of extralegal enterprises are limited to employing their kin to produce for confined circles of customers.

Without clear legal title to their assets and real estate, in short, these entrepreneurs own what I have called "dead capital"—property that cannot be leveraged as collateral for loans, to obtain investment capital, or as security for long-term contractual deals. And so the majority of these Egyptian enterprises remain small and relatively poor. The only thing that can emancipate them is legal reform. And only the political leadership of Egypt can pull this off. Too many technocrats have been trained not to expand the rule of law, but to defend it as they find it. Emancipating people from bad law and devising strategies to overcome the inertia of the status quo is a political job.

The key question to be asked is why most Egyptians choose to remain outside the legal economy? The answer is that, as in most developing countries, Egypt's legal institutions fail the majority of the people. Due to burdensome, discriminatory and just plain bad laws, it is impossible for most people to legalize their property and businesses, no matter how well intentioned they might be.

The examples are legion. To open a small bakery, our investigators found, would take more than 500 days. To get legal title to a vacant piece of land would take more than 10 years of dealing with red tape. To do business in

Egypt, an aspiring poor entrepreneur would have to deal with 56 government agencies and repetitive government inspections.

All this helps explain why so many ordinary Egyptians have been "smoldering" for decades. Despite hard work and savings, they can do little to improve their lives.

Bringing the majority of Egypt's people into an open legal system is what will break Egypt's economic apartheid. Empowering the poor begins with the legal system awarding clear property rights to the $400 billion-plus of assets that we found they had created. This would unlock an amount of capital hundreds of times greater than foreign direct investment and what Egypt receives in foreign aid.

Leaders and governments may change and more democracy might come to Egypt. But unless its existing legal institutions are reformed to allow economic growth from the bottom up, the aspirations for a better life that are motivating so many demonstrating in the streets will remain unfulfilled.

I think that that is rather an interesting analysis of one small part of the Egyptian problem. Mr. de Soto is a respected economist and on the facts that he presents his analysis certainly appears to be to some degree correct.

However, I don’t suppose that it ever crosses the minds of Mr. de Soto and his colleagues that at least one government would quite deliberately set out to ruin the prospects of economic success for its citizens so that it can further its own devious agenda of maintaining a state of poverty in order to promote the myth of victimhood. In this case the government in question is the Arab run pseudo-Authority on the West Bank. This so-called Authority has just rejected outright and for no good reason a package of economic incentives offered by Israel with the full backing of the Quartet.

The following is from Ma'an News and makes interesting reading after having read Mr. de Soto’s piece (above):

Israel proposed Friday to wean Hamas-run Gaza off its infrastructure network, as Netanyahu set out a series of steps intended to ease the economic lot of the Palestinians.

In a statement on the eve of a meeting in Munich of the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, Netanyahu said Israel would pursue its policy of enabling economic growth in the occupied Palestinian areas.

In addition, steps would be taken "intended to make Gaza independent of Israeli infrastructure by helping to develop their electricity plants, water and sewerage treatment," he said.

Blair, the former British prime minister, elaborating after meeting Netanyahu, said a permanent desalination plant for Gaza -- where mobile plants are in place -- had been approved in principle.

"There is also full approval for all the sanitation and water treatment plants necessary for Gaza, with the government of Israel agreeing to facilitate and support the entry of construction materials to enable projects to be completed on schedule," Blair said.

He added: "There are further measures to promote Gaza exports, especially in furniture and textiles as well as agriculture."

Netanyahu, meanwhile, proposed a start to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which holds sway in the West Bank, to develop a gas field it controls that is adjacent to an Israeli one.

"We need to develop both simultaneously," he said, recalling Israel's interest in finding alternatives to gas imports from Egypt, scene of a second week of anti-government unrest.

Revenues from the Israeli field would go to the Israeli government, and those from the Palestinian field to the Authority, he said.

"This is something that the Palestinian Authority expressed interest in," Netanyahu said. "I think this is good for stability, good for prosperity and good for peace."

(How could one doubt that the Authority would be interested in the revenues from their very own enormous hydrocarbon deposit? One can practically hear the upper echelons of the Authority yelling down the ‘phones to their Swiss bankers as one reads and salivating as they contemplate the riches that they will be able to siphon off from such a lucrative find.)

But he added that "I don't delude myself for a second that an economic peace is a substitute for political peace," as he called for direct peace talks that broke down last year in a row over Israeli settlements to resume.

Blair agreed: "None of this is a substitute for a credible political process; I hope one gets under way as soon as possible."

"But I have always maintained that it is a combination of measures that improve life on the ground and a strong political negotiation that will produce peace," he said.

Israelis counting on promising natural gas reserves under the Mediterranean Sea to cover its energy needs in the longer term.

I don’t think that it’s at all difficult to divine the distasteful motives of the Arabs of the West Bank Authority. If their people led prosperous lives there is a risk it might become difficult for them to maintain an active hatred of Israel (a passive hatred would always be there because of the teachings of Islam). It would also become impossible for them to maintain that they and their people live in poverty because of Israel. In fact a prosperous Arab population on the West Bank and in Gaza would give the lie to just about all the propaganda currently churned out by the Arabs.

But it doesn’t matter how much aid and money and development Israel offers to, and gives to, the Arabs of Gaza or the West Bank there never will be any economic improvement in those areas for the great mass of ordinary people because that is what Islam dictates and what the members of the Authority believe in – the sacrifice of generation after generation to a pointless and disgustingly racist end: the elimination of the Jews and the destruction of Israel, neither of which is ever going to happen, thank God.

Posted on 02/06/2011 2:52 PM by John M. Joyce
Sunday, 6 February 2011
American Folly Without End In Afghanistan

From The Washington Post:

U.S. initiative to arm Afghan villagers carries some risks

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 6, 2011

 

SHAHBUDDIN, AFGHANISTAN - Operating from a small U.S. Special Forces base on a snow-speckled field here is a newly-minted U.S. ally who either represents a brighter future or everything that is wrong with Afghanistan's troubled past.

The former Afghan insurgent is despised by the head of the provincial council, who calls him "a thief, a kidnapper and out of control." He is disparaged by police, who view him as a dangerous fighter and dissolute hash smoker.

But to the U.S. military, Noor ul Haq's past means less than his willingness to fight the Taliban. In these dangerous villages of northern Afghanistan's Baghlan province, Haq has been installed as a leader of the nascent Afghan Local Police, where he oversees dozens of ragtag gunmen backed by U.S. military muscle.

This U.S. experiment gives villagers AK-47s and a three-week training course and encourages them to protect their neighborhoods from the Taliban. The experiment, being replicated around the country, is the latest and most ambitious U.S. effort to build grass-roots opposition to the insurgency in rural areas where U.S. troops and Afghan security forces are spread thin.

Winning President Hamid Karzai's backing for the program was an early success for Gen. David H. Petraeus, who overcame Afghan suspicions that it would add new militias to a stew already brimming with warlords. The local police forces now include nearly 3,000 Afghans in least 14 sites across the country, but U.S. military officials expect them eventually to grow tenfold in size. U.S. commanders hope to establish as many as 50 to 70 sites before the fighting season resumes in the spring.

To partner with the local police, a U.S. army battalion from the 1st Infantry Division is arriving in Afghanistan in an unusual arrangement in which conventional troops will work under the command of U.S. Special Forces, who have been in charge so far. The elite Special Forces have training to instruct indigenous troops, but the Army battalion's greater numbers mean the program can spread to more areas.

In some parts of the country, particularly Uruzgan province, senior U.S. military officials said the village guards have performed well and repelled several Taliban attacks.

But some U.S. officials remain skeptical that the gunmen can be controlled or that they will be embraced by a wary Afghan government, which is nominally in charge of them. What is happening in Baghlan province points to some of the risks involved.

Noor ul Haq and his 70 fighters, from a force that is expected to ultimately triple in size, have been accused of robbing and beating villagers, breaking into homes at night and carrying out revenge arrests and even killings. While only recently approved to officially join the local police, they have worked with U.S. troops for months.

"In Baghlan, all the developments have been bad," said a U.S. official in Kabul familiar with the program. "They're supposed to be neighborhood watch with AK-47s. But these guys are setting up checkpoints, they're doing classic militiaman shake-down things."

By empowering Haq and his allies, the U.S. Special Forces have essentially chosen sides in a complex web of long-standing feuds and rivalries. These Pashtuns have enemies in their villages and the government, particularly among other ethnic groups, and their growing power risks provoking as much hostility as it alleviates.

"The people here have two options: One is to leave the area, the other is to fight," said Noor Alam, the head of the Khala Zaiee council, one of seven neighboring village councils that submitted a letter to the Baghlan governor this month calling for Haq's removal. "Just because they fought the Taliban, they should not be able to do whatever they want."

'Empty partnership'


Swaddled against the cold in scarves and mismatched camouflaged jackets, two local police leaders sat cross-legged on the floor of a mud hut that serves as headquarters. Rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s rested against the walls.

These men, Nazar Gul and Babrak, describe themselves as enemies of the Taliban. But some of these men are also suspicious of their comrades. Nazar Gul, who hails from the Stanekzai tribe, also makes clear that he does not want Haq to be their leader, in part because Haq comes from the rival Omar Khel tribe.

"If they are going to make him our leader, then we will leave the area," Gul said. "We will never accept Noor ul Haq."

The militiamen say they they chose to fight back a year ago because the Taliban were extorting money, trying to burn down the girls' school and imposing conservative Islamic rules. Gul's brother, then the militia leader, was killed in September, and the conflict has forced hundreds of families to flee the area.

The militiamen have been frustrated with the slow pace of transition into the local police program. They said they have received only one paltry payment so far, $130 a man, and no weapons. An Afghan official in Baghlan said the six-month probationary period for the program had yet to begin, at which point they'd earn salaries equivalent to half that of a regular policeman.

"This is an empty partnership," Babrak said. "We still haven't received any support from the government or from the international forces. We are not robbers or thieves. We are a part of the government, we are local police; they should support us."

Mounting accusations


As the partnership progresses, the allegations against Haq, a former security company employee, and his men have mounted. An Afghan intelligence official said he has received dozens of complaints about Haq. Coalition officials say he has been accused of more than 100 crimes. The provincial council chief, Mohammad Rasoul Mohseni, said Haq's men have collected thousands of pounds of rice by force from area farmers, beaten residents and held people in temporary detention.

A taxi driver named Lal Jan said his 9-year-old son, Sharwal, was stabbed and fatally shot by Haq's men, after they led the Special Forces to his house one evening last year. He said Sharwal had opened the door for the men and then was hauled out by a man who held his hand over the boy's mouth. Jan said he was detained by the Americans but soon released.

"The weapons are in the hands of one party now," Mohseni said. "If the people involved in this program aren't supported by the people, I predict their future will be more dangerous than with the Taliban."

The U.S. Special Forces captain who runs the local police program in the area declined to comment and would not permit Haq to leave the base for an in-person interview. Contacted by phone, Haq denied all the allegations against him.

"Those who told all these things to you, they have spoken from the tongue of the Taliban," he said. "All these people in the government are supporting the Taliban. The head of the provincial council himself is a Talib."

Haq said the boy was killed during a shootout with Special Forces after Jan, whom he called a Taliban commander, fired at them. He said the men guarding the cellphone tower were Taliban and he disarmed them.

"If the responsibility of the local police program is not in my hands, all the old violence will come back," he said.

A spokesman for the Special Forces described the accusations against Haq as "interpersonal stuff" between Afghans that the U.S. troops are "interested in but not involved in."

Posted on 02/06/2011 4:24 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
This Just In: Anderson Cooper Leaving Egypt

Anderson Cooper Leaves Egypt


Entertainment Tonight News - 1 hour ago


After being attacked in Egypt last week, journalist Anderson Cooper has decided to leave the embattled country. Cooper tweeted on Saturday, writing: "It is ...

Back from Egypt, Anderson Cooper on "Piers Morgan Tonight" - CNN (blog)
Anderson Cooper Decides to Leave Egypt - PopEater
Anderson Cooper Leaves Egypt - PerezHilton.com
Gather Celebs News Channel - Huffington Post
all 524 news articles »

Posted on 02/06/2011 4:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Why Are These People Allowed Into Our Country?

From IPT:

Each of the 11 students who disrupted Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech at the University of California, Irvine in February 2010 were charged with one count of misdemeanor conspiracy to disturb a meeting and one count of misdemeanor disturbance of a meeting on Friday.

The charges could mean anything from probation and community service to fines to six months in prison, if convicted.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas explained that this is an issue that extends beyond free speech. "These defendants meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting," Rackauckas said. "We cannot tolerate a pre-planned violation of the law, even if the crime takes place on a school campus and even if the defendants are college students."

The defendants are Mohamed Mohy-Eldeen Abdelgany, 23; Khalid Gahgat Akari, 19; Aslam Abbasi Akhtar, 23; Joseph Tamim Haider, 23; Taher Mutaz Herzallah, 21; Hakim Nasreddine Kebir, 20; Shaheen Waleed Nassar, 21; Mohammad Uns Qureashi, 19; Ali Mohammad Sayeed, 23; Osama Ahmen Shabaik, 22; and Asaad Mohamedidris Traina, 19. [why are these people here? How did they get here? Who let them in? On what theory? What will they do in this country, if allowed to stay? How can they possibly accept, or even grasp tne nature of, our political and legal institutions? How can they possibly offer loyalty to an Infidel nation-state, to the American Constitution? They can't. If they hold to their beliefs, then they will be a pemanent source of trouble, expense, disruption, and insecurity. Such people should not be admitted, should not be on our campuses, should not be hired, should not believe that they will be allowed without more to remain and attempt to burrow deep within, American society]

All 11 students are scheduled to be arraigned on March 11. Their attorney, Jacqueline Goodman, said they will plead not guilty.

The university disciplined the students, but the details have not been released. University spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said university officials believed they "thoroughly and fairly investigated and adjudicated the matter last year. Conduct violations were addressed fully, consistent with the guidelines of the student code of conduct. Since the university's resolution of this matter in the summer of 2010, our community has continued to build bridges of understanding and foundations for respectful and meaningful dialogue."

Posted on 02/06/2011 7:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Fitzgerald: A Tribute To Christiane Amanpour

I will be putting up, one by one,  articles previously posted elsewhere. I have deliberately retained their original title,  so that those googling can find the piece, which when posted here will in some cases have had typos corrected or otherwise be slightly improved.

The piece on Amanpour first appeared in January 2007:

 

Christiane Amanpour, despite her family background, has no real experience or knowledge of Islam. Herself secular, and married (in a mariage blanc) to James Rubin, she is confused about Islam. She knows Iranian Muslims who are nothing like the Iranian Muslims now in power, but she fails to recognize that those she knows were never the real thing. She doesn’t realize that they were unrepresentative, as unrepresentative of Islam as was, say, Maxim Litvinov of the Soviet regime -- even though he served that regime as Foreign Minister and as ambassador.

She is defensive about Islam without knowing about it, and without knowing how the primitive Muslim masses think. Yet that is what should count in Infidel calculations, and not the suave and often deceptive exceptions -- whether they are Chalabi and other westernized Shi'a exiles inveigling the Americans into removing Saddam Hussein, or plummy-voiced Prince Hassan, a real performance artist, capable of impressing the impressionable.

Amanpour has never studied Islam, never quite grasped the significance of its texts. After all, apparently her own parents were capable of ignoring large parts of them. Nor has she studied the history of Islamic conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims and destruction of non-Muslim cultures, although as someone of Iranian descent, she might well have bothered to do so. Her name gives her, for audiences, a false authenticity, and allows her to be endowed with an authority her level of knowledge does not actually entitle her to claim, or to have attributed to her.

Meanwhile, there is that CNN glory. There is that money. There is that celebritydom. There is that Washington wedding, attended by le tout Clinton administration, and that marriage of convenience, that mariage blanc.

Petro-dollars explain part of it. Stupidity another part. In the case of Amanpour, one wondered how she would come out. Would she realize, in the manner of so many Iranians in exile, that Islam and not merely the Islamic Republic of Iran, was the problem? Would she move from her older positions, like Oriana Fallaci, and see what Islam was all about? Or would she play her "Islamic" card for all it was worth to her -- in entree here and there (to the Hajj, for example)? She is a careerist hell-bent on furthering her career. And what better way to further her career at this point in history than in being a Muslim? Not a real one -- her faith is as sham as her marriage. Instead, she is almost a "Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only" Muslim, who does what she does out of a curious blend of monomaniacal careerism and ambition, together with filial piety. There is also in play for her all sorts of misremembered nostalgia for that jeunesse-doree life as a spoiled child in Teheran -- a child of the very class that benefited financially from the ancien regime, that corrupt, stupid, and unaware regime, that when confronted with Khomeini did not know where to put its feet and hands.

She used to be tolerable -- just. No longer.

Why does the press, why does television, who do political leaders simply refuse to even hint at the truth? Do they think this makes things better, makes us more able to conduct ourselves in what is a permanent war? When, to give one example, 60 Minutes some time ago had a segment devoted to Muslim mistreatment of women among the immigrants in France, the bland and blind though endlessly self-assured Amanpour never, not once, mentioned the word "Islam." When one of her interviewees explains the oppression of young girls -- mass rapes, burning to death, that sort of thing -- as being the result of "tradition," she lets that vague word stand unchallenged and unglossed.

What will it take? Must there be bombs in Jain temples, or at a Confucian altar, sufficiently publicized to make clear to all but the hopelessly stupid and those who are wedded to false symmetries and pat phrases (not just Amanpour, but Tom Friedman, with his platitudes and fake plongitudes, comes nautically to mind)? How much evidence had to be assembled before Copernicus could dare suggest that, after all, the earth really did travel around the sun? How much evidence needs to be accumulated about what is happening now, and what has been happening for 1350 years of Islam's aggression against all non-Muslims, for people to become their own little Copernicuses, and arrive at the unstoppable and ineluctable and unavoidable explanation of what is going on? How much evidence needs to be accumulated for even Christiane Amanpour to do so?

 

Posted on 02/06/2011 8:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Tripolitanian Tyrant With The Variously-Spelled Name Far Worse Than Mubarak

From The Australian:

Leaked cables reveal anger at regime may make Libya the next Arab domino to fall

Michael Sheridan, The Australian, February 07, 2011 1

 

THE violence and corruption of members of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's family have made Libya a gangster state with a worse record of governance than Egypt or Tunisia, according to leaked US diplomatic cables.

The documents reveal previously undisclosed details of how family greed, rivalry and extremism have complicated British and US efforts to normalise relations with Libya since it decided to abandon nuclear weapons and renounce terrorism. Gaddafi's children plunder the country's oil revenues, run a kleptocracy and operate a reign of terror that has created simmering hatred and resentment among the people, according to the cables released by WikiLeaks.

In the light of the upheavals in the Arab world, the diplomatic traffic also shows that far from being stable, Libya could be another corrupt authoritarian domino poised to fall.

One intriguing sequence of cables tells how Switzerland faced down threats after Swiss police arrested Hannibal Gaddafi, a younger son, and his wife for allegedly abusing two of their domestic staff.

Swiss police officers drew their guns and fought to disarm two of Hannibal's bodyguards, who were illegally carrying pistols and attacked them when they entered his suite at the five-star President Wilson hotel in Geneva. The police found Hannibal hiding in a bedroom with six bodyguards.

He was taken away in an armoured Mercedes.

Aisha, Gaddafi's fiery daughter, then flew into Geneva to raise the stakes. The Libyans threatened to withdraw billions of dollars from Swiss banks and cut off oil supplies - threats that were never carried out in full.

After petty reprisals against Swiss companies and citizens, the affair died down. Hannibal paid compensation to the employees - a Moroccan and a Tunisian - to settle the case and flew back to Libya with Aisha in a private jet.

The lesson of the 2008 case, for the Americans, was that there is a gap between average Libyans and "a hidebound regime that sees the state as an extension of the Gaddafi family empire".

Hannibal wields vast financial power in Libya, thanks to his influence over two dominant oil drilling and shipping firms. A cable calls this "another example of the kleptocratic nature of Colonel Gaddafi's regime".

Since seizing power in a 1969 coup, Gaddafi has claimed to run an egalitarian "state of the masses", using the oil and gas revenues that account for 95 per cent of Libya's economy. "The reality is that the Gaddafi family and its political loyalists own outright or have a considerable stake in most things worth owning, buying or selling in Libya," the US embassy told Washington.

Hannibal is a minor player compared with the two Gaddafi sons most often identified as potential successors.

Gaddafi, now aged 68, may have had a series of small strokes in 2007 that left him unable to turn his head and may have made his erratic behaviour even more capricious, the cables report.

The Libyan strongman refuses to fly more than eight hours at a time, is too scared to ride in a lift and will not stay above the first floor of a hotel with a maximum of 35 steps, evidently for health reasons. So the rivalry between his sons, Mutassim and Saif al-Islam, preoccupies foreign governments. Mutassim, the third son of Gaddafi's second wife, is the Libyan national security adviser and is identified with the "hard power" faction in the regime.

He is said to have demanded $US1.2 billion in cash or oil shipments for his personal use from the head of Libya's National Oil Corporation, a trusted regime figure named Shukri Ghanem.

The cable quotes friends of Ghanem saying Gaddafi's sons were "undisciplined thugs" whom "no one could cross".

"Gaddafi is focused on the appearance of reform," a cable said, but Ghanem believed there would be "no meaningful reform possible" in the leader's lifetime.

The cables describe how even the family's supposed reformer, Saif, the eldest son of the second wife, depends on some of the regime's most tainted figures. Saif won attention by making a suave debut on the Western social scene and running a broadcasting network that was slightly more liberal than the totalitarian norm until hardliners shut it down.

His adviser, Abdullah Senussi, however, is known to the US embassy as a former head of military intelligence who personally took a "very tough" line against releasing dissidents or improving human rights.

Saif has also played to the hardliners by delivering a speech in which he said: "We will not tolerate a foreign company to make a profit at the expense of a Libyan citizen."

In reality, the Gaddafi regime appears divided between compromisers and extremists united only in their enjoyment of power and money and their connections to Gaddafi's tribal clan from the city of Sirte.

Libya has been keen to co-operate with the West against the radical Islamists who threaten its regime.

It is also slowly fulfilling its pledge to dismantle all its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons facilities, although the cables chronicle endless obstructions and delays.

The cables portray the country as wholly corrupt, inefficient and so poor at governing that, despite billions in oil money, the city of Tripoli dumps more than 200,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the Mediterranean every day.

Resentment is also said to be festering there.

The West may be thinking again about placing its bets on the stability of the Gaddafi regime. [but it never has - the charge is false. Nor, unlike in Egypt, does the West provide any aid to Libya]

Posted on 02/06/2011 9:00 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Lee Kuan Yew On Muslim Integration In Singapore

From The Straits Times

January 31, 2011

The Straits Times on the claim by Lee Kuan Yew, published in his new book Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, that Muslim integration in Singapore is failing:

MM's [Minister Mentor's] remarks on integration draw flak

In the book, Mr Lee, when asked to assess the progress of multiracialism in Singapore, said: “I have to speak candidly to be of value, but I do not wish to offend the Muslim community.

“I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came, and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration - friends, intermarriages and so on, Indians with Chinese, Chinese with Indians - than Muslims. That’s the result of the surge from the Arab states.”

He added: “I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam.”

He also said: “I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate.”

Mr lee then went on to speak of how his own generation of politicians who worked with him had integrated well, including sitting down and eating together. He said: “But now, you go to schools with Malay and Chinese, there’s a halal and non-halal segment and so too, the universities. And they tend to sit separately so as not to be contaminated. All that becomes a social divide.”

He added that the result was a “veil” across peoples. Asked what Muslims in Singapore needed to do to integrate, he replied: “Be less strict on Islamic observances and say ‘Okay, I’ll eat with you.’”

Right-wing Malay rights group Perkasa slammed Mr Lee, saying he seemed to be adapting the same tactic as non-Muslim opposition leaders in Malaysia who raised sensitive issues without bothering about Muslim sensitivities.

Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali said: “Perkasa does not consider Lee Kuan Yew as being less able to respect other religions, but instead consider him a very senile old man.” 

...

A reader on the Jakarta Globe website wrote [on Lee's comments]: “Funny, if you say the same thing in Europe, you will be crucified. At least somebody who is calling a cat a cat.”

Source: The Straits Times, January 26, 2011

Posted on 02/06/2011 9:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Richard Falk, That U.N. Expert On "Palestine," On Iran And Khomeini 31 Years Ago

From Wikipedia:

"On February 16, 1979, two weeks after the return of Ruhollah Khomeini to Iran, Falk wrote an op-ed for the New York Times “Trusting Khomeini”. ....Arguing Khomeini was being judged unfairly, he concluded “the depiction of Khomeini as fanatical, reactionary and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false ... To suppose that Ayatollah Khomeini is dissembling seems almost beyond belief. ... Having created a new model of popular revolution based, for the most part, on nonviolent tactics, Iran may yet provide us with a desperately-needed model of humane governance for a third-world country.

Among the many examples of Khomeni's supporters' "nonviolent tactics" that had already taken place when Richard Falk wrote his Op/Ed was the setting on fire by Muslim fanatics in Abadan of the Rex Cinema in Abadan, the doors had been locked, and within whcih 450 people were burned alive.

Posted on 02/06/2011 9:28 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 6 February 2011
A Musical Interlude: Pyotr Leshchenko (The Wine Of Love)

Listen here.

Posted on 02/06/2011 10:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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