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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
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 Wednesday, 8, 2011.
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Islamic radicals are in schools, government report says

From The Telegraph

Schools have been employing Islamist radicals and encouraging extremism, a government report has claimed. Its new counter-radicalisation strategy, Prevent, warned that some people who are supportive of terrorist groups and ideologies have “sought and sometimes gained positions in schools or in groups which work closely with young people.”

It said that new standards to be enforced by Ofsted should enable schools to take action against staff who demonstrate unacceptable views.

The Prevent strategy quotes the example of Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 7 bombers, who was a learning mentor at Hillside Primary School in Leeds. Another example, not quoted, is that of Zahoor Iqbal, who was found guilty of helping a man planning to kidnap and execute a British soldier in Birmingham, and worked as an “achievement mentor” at Saltley School in the city.

The report says there has been no “systematic attempt to recruit or radicalise people in full time education in this country, either in the state or independent sector.”

But it warns that “at least three separate al-Qaeda-related operations in this country have involved people who, to varying extents, became involved in extremism while they were at school” – members of the fertiliser bomb plot, July 7 cell and the trans-Atlantic airlines plot. Eleven of the convictions for terrorism-related offences associated with al-Qaeda have been committed by people aged between 15 and 19.

The Prevent strategy also reports that a minority of independent faith schools have been “actively promoting views that are contrary to British values, such as intolerance of other cultures and gender inequality” and have “allowed extremist views to be expressed by staff, visitors or pupils.”

The document also says there have been concerns that madrassahs – after-school religious classes attached to mosques - are promoting a highly conservative version of Islam and spreading extremist views, particularly against non-Muslims.

“The government is considering ways to stop children coming into contact with extremist views in out-of-hours provision with partners such as Ofsted and the police,” the report says. 

The problem which they are not admitting publicly is that these views are mainstream standard koranic teaching.

Posted on 06/08/2011 2:25 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
I warned about this years ago.

Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail

Now they tell us. Ministers have finally admitted what I revealed in my book, Londonistan, back in 2006 and have written many times since then – that, incredible as it may seem, hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money that was supposed to be spent on countering Islamic extremism has gone to groups or individuals actually promoting Islamic extremism.

Paralysed by political correctness, the previous Labour government, the intelligence agencies, police, universities and other institutions decided to try to promote ‘moderate’ Muslim groups to tackle the extremists.

As a result of refusing to listen to the many warnings that such a policy would not work because of doubts about how ‘moderate’ these groups actually were, they got it terribly wrong.

  

Posted on 06/08/2011 2:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Theology professor and his nephew shot in Russia's Dagestan

From RIA Novosti

The rector of a theology institute in Russia's mainly-Muslim Dagestan republic was shot by unknown assailants near his home on Tuesday, local police said.Rector Maksud Ibnugadzharovich Sadikov was one of the founders of the first academic institutions in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region to offer both secular and religious teachings.

"According to preliminary information, Sadikov and the person accompanying him were shot by and unknown assailant by the entrance of his house, when they were getting out of a car," the source said. Local police later confirmed that the person accompanying Sadikov was his nephew (Zalimkhan Musaev).

Sadikov had been rector of the Institute of Theology and International Relations in Dagestani capital Makhachkala since 2003 and tried to promote education as the greatest weapon in the fight against religious extremism. He also headed a project to translate the Koran into Russian

Mr. Sadikov was a proponent of the idea that state support for Sufism could diminish the threat of terrorism in Russia. Sufism was once widespread in the North Caucasus but faded after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the arrival of proselytizers from Middle East who sought to spread Sunni Islam.

In an interview about his work in February, Mr. Sadikov said that no Sufi had committed a suicide bombing in Russia. . . Critics countered that the Sufi monopoly of formal religious education in the North Caucasus only served to further alienate fundamentalist Sunni believers by compelling them to worship at home.

The state’s support also made the university a target. In the February interview, Mr. Sadikov said that he was keenly aware of the dangers inherent in his project. “The radicals are saying, ‘You need to punish the impure Muslims,’ ” Mr. Sadikov said.

Posted on 06/08/2011 3:02 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Police tight-lipped on extremist link to Helsinki explosives offences

From YLE Finland

A group describing itself as a supporter of worldwide Islamic jihad has praised on an internet discussion forum two bomb scares that occurred in Helsinki this past weekend.

On Friday morning, police cordoned off an area in the Pasila district after a home-made device was discovered. Early Saturday, a petrol bomb was thrown into the yard of an unmanned service station in the Tapaninvainio area of the city.

The group said online that it hoped fresh attacks would succeed.

The Finnish Security Police (SUPO) says it is taking the matter seriously but does not wish to speculate at this stage.

The internet message on the incidents was signed by Abu Sulaiman al-Nasser, who is considered to be one of the most followed al-Qaeda bloggers internationally. The same name was attached to a recent online threat made against Finnish peacekeepers in Afghanistan.

Noted US terrorism researcher Evan Kohlmann, author of Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe, published the following translation of the message on his Twitter feed IntelTweet: "On Friday, a homemade bomb was found in the capital of Finland Helsinki... We ask Allah that the next bomb is successful." Kohlmann says the message was "another apparent terror threat to Finland, written in both Arabic and Finnish."

Inspector Kari Martikainen of the Pasila police department says he has no information to suggest the crimes were linked to extremists. He added the police will endeavour to ascertain what happened by means of surveillance camera pictures and public help.

Posted on 06/08/2011 3:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
O'Bamagh's Irish Stew

by Mary Jackson (June 2011)

As President Obama downed that pint of Guinness on his recent visit to Ireland, he may have thought he was going native. Faith and begorrah, no - Guinness is practically English. An eighteenth century Arthur Guinness “borrowed” and tweaked the recipe for London porter or stout, a dark, sweet style iron-rich beer, drunk by stout but far from sweet old battleaxes in Lancashire pubs. more>>>

Posted on 06/08/2011 4:50 AM by NER
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Plans to curb influence of sharia courts in UK to be unveiled

From The Telegraph

The plans come amid increasing concern about the use of sharia courts to adjudicate on family law and criminal matters. Baroness Cox, a cross bench peer, will publish legislation which campaigners hope will tackle the increasing use Islamic law to settle disputes in Muslim communities.

Lady Cox, who was made a working peer by Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister , is concerned about the discrimination suffered by Muslim women in decisions made by the courts. Last night she was unavailable to comment ahead of the publication of the Bill, which is said to contain “practical solutions” to the problems.

The new Private Members' Bill, which is being supported by secular groups and an Iranian and Kurdish women’s rights group, will require Government support to have any chance of becoming law.

Two years ago, a report from think-tank Civitas estimated there were 85 sharia courts operating in Britain, 17 times higher than previously thought. Lady Cox’s plans are thought to draw heavily on the Civitas report.  I like Baroness Cox. She has campaigned against FGM, on behalf of the Armenians and, with Lord Pearson, was resonsible for inviting Geert Wilders to the Houses of Parliament to show Fitna. She is a qualified nurse and a practising Christian.

Rulings under sharia are enforced through the 1996 Arbitration Act, which states that any form of agreement can be used as both parties agree to adhere its decision.

But Civitas found that their decisions are likely to be unfair to women and backed by intimidation. The report’s authors found that sharia rulings transgress human rights standards as applied by British courts. Last night David Green, a director at Civitas, told The Daily Telegraph that part of the problem was that women “did not have any legal voice in adjudications” by sharia courts. Allowing some parts of society to abide by sharia law “does not mean we should turn a blind eye to the mistreatment of one area of society”, he said.

In recent years judges have started to question whether decisions in sharia courts are in accordance with the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Act. In 2008 the House of Lords ruled in a child custody case that the sharia rules were “arbitrary and discriminatory”.

A 2003 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg also said it was “difficult to declare one's respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia”.

Posted on 06/08/2011 7:15 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
New police task force after latest Malmö blast

From The Swedish edition of The Local

An explosion damaged a convenience store in Malmö in southern Sweden early Tuesday morning, prompting police to form a special task force to look into a string of recent bombings in the city.

"It was a really serious explosion, not simply a firework," Malmö police spokesperson Göran Billberg told The Local.Police continue to investigate the blast, but have yet to make any arrests. The store's owner had no explanation as to why the shop was targeted, and it remains unclear whether or not any threats may have been directed against the man.

"We're talking to the owner and the employees as part of an overall survey of the situation," said Billberg."There is nothing that has come up yet to indicate this was the work of organised criminals. It was a really small convenience store. It's the first time a story like that has been targeted. . . We wanted to pool our resources and take things up to a county-wide level to see if there may be any connections to incidents elsewhere in Skåne," said Billberg. "We hope to go deeper in our analytic work to look at some of the different theories as to why the explosions are taking place."

Posted on 06/08/2011 7:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
German joke

German jokes only seem to work when they're half-English, like this one from The Times:

"Zwei Martinis, bitte."
"Dry?"
"Nein, zwei."

Posted on 06/08/2011 7:50 AM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
U-235 Or U-238, I Say It's Uranium And I Say The Hell With It

From AP:

June 8, 2011

Iran vows to triple uranium enrichment

In latest flagrant defiance of international sanctions, Iran announces advances at once-secret new nuclear site


 
  •  (CBS)

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran will soon install more advanced centrifuges at its new uranium enrichment site, the country's nuclear chief said Wednesday, underscoring Tehran's continued defiance in the face of international sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program.

Vice President Fereidoun Abbasi also announced that Iran plans to triple its output of the higher enriched uranium in 2011 and move the entire program to the new, secretly-built facility.

The uranium enrichment lies at the heart of Iran's dispute with the West, which is concerned that the activity masks efforts to make nuclear weapons — a charge Tehran denies, insisting the work is peaceful and only meant to generate electricity.

Ahmadinejad admits to rift with Iranian clerics
Quake-prone Iran sticks with nuclear plans
Syria promises to end nuclear secrecy

Abbasi, who also heads Iran's nuclear agency, said that Tehran would set up the more efficient centrifuges, suitable for higher-grade uranium enrichment, at the Fordo site near the holy city of Qom in central Iran.

Built next to a military complex to protect it in case of an attack, Fordo was long kept secret and was only acknowledged by Iran after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009.

At the time, the labs were still under construction inside former ammunition depots carved into a mountainside. The area is heavily protected by the powerful Revolutionary Guard.

Despite four rounds of U.N. sanctions over its refusal to halt the enrichment, Iran has threatened to expand the program tenfold and produce new centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster than the old ones.

This has added to the international concerns because these centrifuges would allow Tehran to accelerate the pace of its program and potentially enable Iran to amass more nuclear material in a shorter time that could be turned into the fissile core of missiles, should it choose to do so.

Centrifuges are machines that are used to enrich uranium. Low-enriched uranium — at around 3.5 percent — can be used to fuel a reactor to generate electricity, which Iran says is the intention of its program. But if uranium is further enriched to around 90 percent purity, it can be used to develop a nuclear warhead.

Iran has been producing uranium enriched up to 5 percent for years and began the higher enrichment — up to near 20 percent, considered a threshold between low and high enriched uranium — in February 2010, claiming it needs the higher enriched uranium to produce fuel for a Tehran reactor that makes medical radioisotopes needed for cancer patients.

According to Abbasi, the nuclear chief, the new centrifuges at Fordo would be more advanced than the decades old P-1 type once acquired on the black market and in use at Iran's main enrichment facility in Natanz.

"Soon, we will install 164-machine centrifuge cascades of the new generation (at Fordo)," Abbasi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying after a Cabinet meeting.

He also added that Iran would triple the output of its higher enrichment program this year and would move the entire program to Fordo from Natanz. The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, would monitor the transfer, he said.

Last month, the IAEA said in a report that Iran estimates it has produced a total of about 125 pounds, or 56.7 kilograms, of uranium enriched to 20 percent by May 21st.

When Iran first announced it activated the 164-machine centrifuge cascades for higher enrichment last year, IAEA said the move was contrary to U.N. resolutions demanding Iran suspend all enrichment.

Abbasi's announcement came a day after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the IAEA chief Yukiya Amano, claiming the director has discredited the world body by alleging that Iran may be working on a nuclear weapons program.

Ahmadinejad was reacting to Amano's earlier comments alleging that some aspects of Iran's nuclear activities could be linked to a weapons program, according to latest information obtained by the U.N. watchdog.

Posted on 06/08/2011 8:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
PFLP, Doing Assad's Bidding, Shoots At PLO

June 8, 2011

Israel: Pro-Syria fighters kill Palestinians

By Anissa Haddadi

 

Gunmen from a pro-Syrian Palestinian organization shot at people during a protest at a Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus on Monday, WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, reported on Tuesday.  A reported 14 people died in the attack.

According to WAFA and other reports, the fighters belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine of Palestine General Command (PFLP).  The gunmen allegedly clashed with mourners in the Yarmouk refugee camp, in Syria after funerals for Palestinian protesters who were killed on Sunday at the border between Syria and the Israeli-held Golan Heights.

Also, according to Reuters, the shootings took place on Monday after mourners accused the organization of sacrificing Palestinian lives by encouraging protesters to demonstrate at the Golan Heights.

Witnesses explained that following the burial of seven people who were killed in the border protest, by Israeli forces, mourners started to march towards the organisation's headquarters. While the protesters started to throw stones at the building, security guards allegedly came out and starting shooting at crowd.

On Tuesday, commentating on the incident, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank condemned what it called the "crime" by what it said were "armed groups" of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and confirmed that the Popular Front's fighters had fired live ammunition into crowds of young demonstrators at the camp.

This incident will further deepen divisions that are emerging in the camp between those who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and those who sympathize with the Syrian opposition as many says the protests were backed by the al-Assad regime.

On Tuesday, Syrian police and security officers visited and searched the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- General command while people hoped an investigation would be launched despite the protests against the regime, on which the security forces focus.

People that said they saw the attack claim the security guards responsible of the shootings were all Palestinians and many believe that the demonstration at the border was organized to serve the interests of President Assad to distract international attention from the on-going uprising in the country. Many also deplore the fact that the protest had nothing to do with seeking justice for Palestinian refugees and displaced Syrian residents of the Golan Heights.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, which is led by Ahmed Jibril, has been bitterly at odds with the mainstream Palestinian organizations for decades .

It was founded by George Habash after the occupation of the West Bank by Israel in 1967,  and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was first formed as a resistance movement.

Combining Arab nationalism with Marxist Leninist ideology, the PFLP sees the destruction of Israel as integral to its struggle to remove Western influence from the Middle East.

However the collapse of the Soviet Union undermined the PFLP and the group lost ground to the Islamic Hamas movement. Attempting to bolster its position after the supposed 1993 PLO-Israeli peace accord the PFLP decided to form a coalition groups with other Palestinian organisations that were also opposed to the deal.

Posted on 06/08/2011 8:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Bahrain Crown Prince In His Blah-Blahs Calls Bahrain "A Developing Democracy"

From the Bahrain News Agency:

Bahrain's Crown Prince details '' new phase of reform'' in Obama meeting
 
Manama, June 8 (BNA) -- Bahrain’s Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, met today with United States President Barack Obama, after which he released the following statement.


The Crown Prince said:

“I would like to thank President Obama for his insight today, his counsel and strong commitment of the United States to the Kingdom of Bahrain. President Obama’s support and understanding regarding Bahrain’s forthcoming National Dialogue were most welcome, as were his comments on the circumstances required to ensure its success.

“I fully share the President’s outlook concerning respect for universal rights and the continuance of Bahrain’s process of meaningful reform, which is a fundamental priority for the Kingdom.

“Reform is not a new concept to Bahrain and, as we have learnt, the process is not an easy one, especially in such a complex region. Nevertheless, Bahrain’s continued commitment to the programme of reform, initiated by King Hamad over a decade ago, remains steadfast.

“His Majesty has already made clear that a National Dialogue will start next month, that it will be serious and without pre-conditions. Most significantly, Bahrain’s leading political groups have both welcomed and are committed to joining this process; providing a critical indication, from all sides of the political spectrum, that Bahrain’s continued democratic development should be underpinned by stability and driven by consensus.

“This process will be far from easy and there are a great many challenges to overcome, not least of all meaningfully addressing the issues that have divided Bahrain’s communities and polarised society.

Bahrain is a developing democracy and has many issues to carefully balance as it treads a sustainable path of progress. [fashionable words of the day for those dealing with Barack Obama: sustainable, and its evil twin, unsustainable]. There is a very real danger in under-appreciating the challenges Bahrain faces and its progress in a regional context. There is no defined path to democratic reform, which, by its very nature, will mean whichever path is taken, it will always be imperfect to some. But as the arc of history for many a democracy has shown, the past, while often imperfect, provides a vital catalyst to shaping the future ahead.

“Bahrain is learning from this recent period, taking action to ensure issues are addressed and that the lessons of the recent past inform our future. Our direction of travel is being set and that direction is forwards, towards greater reform to the benefit of all.”

 

Posted on 06/08/2011 8:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
No Matter What Happens In Syria, Support For Iran And Hezbollah Go Down

Read -- and watch the anti-Nasrallah demonstration -- here.

Posted on 06/08/2011 9:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Theodore Dalrymple: Gustave de Molinari Lecture
Posted on 06/08/2011 10:24 AM by NER
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Tahawwur Rana, Who Laughed When He Heard About The Mumbai Attacks, Ran An Immigration Business

In a well-ordered society, such a man as Tahawwur Rana would never have been admitted into the country, much less be allowed to have an "immigration law business" (there should be no such businesses, period, for they exist merely to school people in ways to exploit and manipulate the system). In a well-ordered society, after being convicted of his involvement in the Mumbai plot, Tahawwur Rana would be sentenced to death.

 

Accused Mumbai Terror Plotter Rana ‘No Dupe’ in Aiding Headley, U.S. Says

Tahawwur Rana knew what he was doing when he helped plan the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks that killed about 160 people, including six Americans, a U.S. prosecutor told a federal jury in Chicago.

Rana, a Pakistani native and Canadian citizen, is accused of providing a cover story and phony identification for Washington-born David Coleman Headley, who last year pleaded guilty to charges he helped select targets for the three-day siege in India. Rana’s lawyers say Headley lied to their client.

“He’s not some fool,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Victoria Peters said of Rana in her closing argument today. “He knows exactly who David Headley is and what David Headley is about, and he fully approves.”

Rana, 50, who ran an immigration services business with offices in Chicago, New York and Toronto, is charged with three counts of providing material support to terrorists and could receive life in prison if he is convicted. Headley, who faced a possible death sentence before his plea, testified as the U.S. government’s lead witness against Rana.

In his closing, defense attorney Patrick Blegen portrayed Headley as a life-long manipulator and confidence man who trained to be a spy in Pakistan.

‘Nothing Is Simple’

“Nothing is simple when it comes to David Headley,” Blegen told the jury. “He thinks he can fool everyone. He can’t fool you.”

In her closing, Peters showed jurors e-mails between the two men and a business card that she said was printed with Rana’s approval and that identified Headley as an “immigration consultant” for a business called “immigrant law center” with offices in Chicago, New York and Toronto.

“Rana was not a dupe, he was not a fool,” Peters told the jurors, whose identities are being kept secret.

She also referred to a recording played for the jury of a conversation between the two men on Sept. 7, 2009, about the Mumbai attacks. Blegen said Headley lied to his client to control his knowledge and did so as late as the time of that conversation, which was recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In their talk, the men can be heard comparing how each learned of the Mumbai attacks, which contradicts government claims that Rana helped to plan them, Blegen said. Headley was arrested less than a month later, he said.

“He is not a knowing conspirator,” Blegen said of Rana.

‘Best Friend’

Born Daood Gilani, the son of an American woman and a Pakistani man, Headley, 50, told jurors he had known Rana since they attended a military academy in Pakistan as teenagers. He also said he considered the Chicago businessman his “best friend in the world.”

Rana allegedly allowed Headley to open a branch of his immigration services business in Mumbai. The assault there has been blamed on the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which the U.S. labeled a terrorist organization in 2001.

While in India, Headley conducted video surveillance of sites including the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Oberoi Hotel, a café, a train station and a Jewish community center, all of which were later attacked, according to his plea agreement.

Headley testified that he was working with Lashkar as well as with a Pakistani intelligence officer identified only as “Major Iqbal,” and another man, al-Qaeda affiliate Ilyas Kashmiri, who was reported killed in a U.S. missile attack on June 3.

Danish Newspaper

Peters said Headley schemed with Kashmiri to plan attacks on Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, the Copenhagen newspaper that printed inflammatory cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 2005.

Posing as an agent of Rana’s immigration services firm seeking to place an ad, Headley traveled to Denmark to learn the newspaper’s layout for an assault, Peters said. She asked the jury to consider why else Rana and Headley would patronize a newspaper that had insulted Muslims around the world.

“This is a simple case about awful things: two terror plots,” Peters said.

Blegen said the case hinged on whether his client knew about Headley’s actions.

“Ignorance is not knowledge,” the lawyer told the jury. “If somebody makes you ignorant, you do not have knowledge.”

The case is U.S. v. Kashmiri, 09-cr-00830, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Posted on 06/08/2011 12:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
How The Spread Of Islam Wipes Out All Other Identities, Or Tries To

Two comments that I posted on a thread four years ago, on the subject of "Islamic identity," which is to say, how Islam effaced so many non-Muslim and non-Arab peoples in the Middle East, peoples who in becoming islamized and then -- almost every where same in Iran -- largely arabized, lost their own history, their own languages, their own identity. The remnant of those who refused to give in-- the Copts, the Maronites, the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Yazidis, the Jews -- are now under assault, forced to live in conditions of peril, with some going into exile, others converting as so many did, over the past 1350 years, before them, still others -- the Jews of Israel who include several million who either fled Arab and Muslim lands, or are the children and grandchildren of those who fled --  and their descendants -- managing to hold onto their tiny state, against a permanent Jihad that waxes and wanes as a threat according to how powerful the Arab Muslim side feels itself to be.

 

Hugh | August 19, 2007 10:18 AM

"He [Mohammad Khatami]said in his statement to the Thirteenth Seminar of Baran Foundation that despite the fact that followers of different religions live in the Middle East, the region has assumed an Islamic identity in the course of history."
         -- from the article above

"[T] region has assumed an Islamic identity." Yes, in something like the same way, had the Nazis kept their conquest, much of Western Europe would have "assumed a German identity." After their lands were conquered by the Muslims, the more advanced and settled populations conquered by Muslims had three choices: immediate death, immediate conversion, or -- if they were People of the Book, the Ahl al-Kitab, that is Christians and Jews, they could remain alive, and even continued to practice, under great constraint, their own religions, but would be forced to submit to being treated as dhimmis, people whom the Muslims like to call the "protected people" but fail to explain that they were "protected" -- if every member of their communities observed the onerous requirements inflicted on them -- from the wrath, and even the license to kill, that the Muslims had issued to themselves as a way of dealing with non-Muslims who refused to submit.

Others were not to be permitted even that possibility, but offered only two alternatives: conversion or death. However, the sheer numbers involved (the Arab conquerors were not numerous compared to the far wealthier, settled, culturally much more advanced populations they conquered through military means) required them, in the end, to offer the same kind of treatment to the Zoroastrians of Sassanian Persia. But over time, the desire the onerousness, and the great expense, of dhimmi status, and the constant worry over whether or not a member of the particular religious community, would fulfill in all respects, or for some reason – defiance, inability out of poverty – would not fulfill in all respects, the demands upon him, as a dhimmi, thus putting into danger, by arousing Muslim wrath, the entire community, caused some, and then some more, and then more and more, to accept Islam. After all, wasn’t Islam in a sense “familiar”? Did it not include among its prophets such familiar names as “Moses” and “Jesus”? Were not some of its stories already familiar, because so many of those stories and even turns of phrase, were lifted from, appropriated from, the prior existing religions – albeit in much-distorted versions. Jesus is no longer divine, the Son of God, and he certainly was not crucified, but still…he is one of those many prophets who came before the One True One, the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad. And so, many did convert – not because Islam was so wonderful, as Mohammad Khatami implies, but because most people, most of the time, if they are in a very difficult situation, one that, intermittently, threatens them with death, will do what they must to get out of that situation.

Imagine, if you will, that Muslims conquered America. Imagine, if you will, that Christians and Jews (what happens to Hindus and Buddhists is another matter) were to be theoretically “allowed” to practice their religions. But they could not build new churches and synagogues. They could not repair old ones. They would not be allowed to drive cars or take planes or trains or busses or ships, but could only use horses (just as dhimmis, in an age where the horse was the only rapid means of transportation, were denied their use, but had to make do with donkeys, and to travel, at their fastest, at a donkey’s pace). Imagine, further, that every Christian and Jew in this country had to pay, to Muslim overlords, a “Jizyah” of, say, $100,000 per head per year. Or no, let’s make it $50,000. No, let’s make it $25,000. Every year, for every single person in your family. Just how many of us would, not right away of course, but possibly in a decade, or two, simply give up, simply accept Islam? You know the answer to this.

And then, let us say, your grandchildren or great-grandchildren are not only Muslims, but have done all the things that Muslims are encouraged to do. They take Arabic first names: no longer Michael or David or Kieran or Peter or Richard or Robert or Matthew or James, but “Mohammad” and “Ahmad” and “Jihad” and “Osama” and “Omar” and “Ayman” and “Wasfi” and “Ali” and Abdul” and “Abdullah” – and the same is true for the girls, now not “Sarah” and “Mary” and “Emily” but rather “Aisha” and “Zeinab” and “Hafsa.” And they also take, as so many non-Arabs have taken, Arab names. And they turn toward Mecca five times a day. And they regard as the Model of Conduct, uswa hasana, as the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil, Muhammad, and all his works and days – that is, they are taught to regard him, to regard the customs and manners, of seventh-century Arabs (for that is what Muhammad was, a seventh-century Arab), as worthy of emulation, through time and space. That is why, when Khomeini came to power, replacing the not-exactly-Kemalist-but-incompletely-Islamic Shah (who looks better and better, every day, despite the corruption of his court, and despite his own traces of absurd o’erweening pride), virtually the first law he imposed was to change the marriageable age of girls from 18 to nine, the age at which little Aisha married Muhammad, or when he “consummated” that marriage.

And as they are told, your descendants – perhaps not your grandchildren, perhaps it will take a bit longer for some, a bit shorter for other lines of descent, depending on the strength with which you insist on hewing to the old ways, or whether or not you live in some remote part of the country, in the mountains say (that is how the Maronites survived – in the high fastnesses of “Mount Lebanon”) – and are passed over. But it won’t be easy, not nearly as easy as it might have been in 800 A.D., or 1200 A.D., or 1500 A.D., because the technology exists to find people, and to destroy them.

It could not have been any different, except as to the sums involved, in the lands conquered by the Muslims. Slowly, inexorably, the non-Muslims converted. When I look at the pictures of Muslims in Iraq, at those faces reflecting minds that have endured centuries of Islamic inculcation, faces discouraged from thought, encouraged to submit to a Total System, with every free thinker killed or cowed, I see through the present, into some distant past, when the ancestors of those same Muslim Arabs were Christians and Jews, enduring conquest, and then the status of dhimmis, and at some fateful point, becoming Muslims, either because they simply could not stand it any longer, or to avoid a worse fate, for intermittently, Muslim rulers would – sometimes to celebrate the birth of a male child, or a military victory, or for no reason at all – require all the non-Muslims in a city (for example, Tabriz, under Shah Abbas II), to convert, overnight, to Islam, or face death. There are many such examples.

How do you think the Middle East and North Africa Islamized? How do you think Anatolia, or the Empire of Byzantium, with its Greeks and Armenians and Jews, became what it is today, a place where those Greeks and Armenians and Jews still exist, but now they are called “Turks” and are Muslims, and have no memory of what happened before, no awareness, no sense of what must have happened, given the small number of actual “Turks”who arrived, Seljuks and then Ottoman Turks, from out of Asia?

And what do Pakistanis or Bangladeshis think? Do they think , at all, about the circumstances which forced their own ancestors to convert to Islam? What unendurable circumstances, or what direct threats, or what examples of mass murder – 60 to 70 million Hindus were killed during the nearly three centuries of Muslim rule – caused some ancestors -- of Musharraf, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and Pinky Bhutto, and the late General Zia, and the poet Iqbal, and every Muslim on the subcontinent, to convert, from being Hindus, or Jains, or (in more recent times, and not frequently) Sikhs, or Buddhists, to becoming, Muslims.

And what of Mohammad Khatami himself? Why do you think Mohammad Khatami is a Muslim? What happened to his own ancestors, the Zoroastrians who – as the great historian of Zoroastrianism Mary Boyce has noted – were so cruelly treated by the Muslims. Why do you think some of the Zoroastrians fled Persia altogether, to pre-Islamic, and therefore Hindu, and therefore tolerant, India –to become the Parsis? When Boyce, in the mid-twentieth century, went to live among the handful – no more than a few hundred thousand at that point, and today far fewer – Zoroastrians who still lived in Iran, she noted the constant, daily cruelty which the Zoroastrians endured (just as Jews did, or Yazidis, or Assyrians, or many other non-Muslim groups). Dogs are treated with great respect in Zoroastrianism, but in Islam dogs are disliked, even murderously so, and Muhammad in a famous Hadith said he would not enter a house in which there was
a dog or a statue.” One wonders if, by the way, this caninophobia was a result of a desire, in early Islam, to distinguish Islam from Zoroastrianism, whether it was a hadith deliberately fabricated to reinforce Muslim hostility toward Christians (with their iconic representations) and at the same time Zoroastrians (with their dogs). Boyce reports on how very small Muslim children would delightedly torture the dogs,of the Zoroastrians, as even adult Zoroastrians had to look on, stoically enduring this, not daring to move a muscle.

Go ahead. Think about how, over the long centuries, Christians and Jews in the Middle East and North Africa became Muslims. Think about Zoroastrians in Persia were brought by the Arabs the “gift” of Islam, and how they were forced to unwrap that unrequested-gift, and what escaped from the box once the package was unopened. Think about those Pakistanis, look at them, and see the long-ago long-suffering Hindu who, at some point in the past – sometimes the very recent past (see Iqbal) – became a Muslim because, under Muslim rule, that made for many people only common sense, the sense of self-preservation. Little did they know that they were then condemning themselves, but even more those in their line of descent who would forget their own histories, become like little Arabs (arabization accompanying, or following upon, islamization), and embrace a Total System of Regulation, a Complete Explanation of the Universe, that would permanently stunt their mental and moral growth.

And here we are. In Iran, with Khatami. In Western Europe, with millions of people who think just like Khatami. And more being allowed in, or allowed to conduct subversive campaigns against the legal and political insetitutions of the lands within which they have been so negligently, so heedlessly, allowed to settle –to settle behind what Islam itself teaches Muslims to regard as enemy lines, the lines that delimit Dar al-Harb.

Hugh| August 19, 2007 10:43 AM

The business about Islam finding favor now that "socialism has failed" can be stated more accurately.

There are those in the West who are economically marginal, and also socially marginal. They have grievances against the "System." In some cases they might,in a different world, have put a Marxist cast on their grievances. They would have sought to promote, that is, a different economic system. Muslims, with their carefully-targetted campaigns of Da'wa, know exactly what to say, and what not to say, to different target audiences. To certain populations -- black prisoners, some but not all immigrants -- they hold out Islam as a vehicle for "Social Justice." It is nothing of the sort. Instead, Islam is a splendid vehicle for keeping people down and submissive, for they are taught obedience, slavish mental and political obedience, to the Ruler, as long as the ruler, no matter how much he may be skimming off the top (look at the Al-Saud, or any of the other ruling families in the rich Gulf states, or the military kleptocracies -- "stratokleptocracies" I keep calling them -- of Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Libya, and so on, or the hereditary monarchs, such as those of Morocco and Jordan, who help themselves to very large amounts, relative to the population, of what should be the national wealth.


The greatest disparities of wealth and of power exist in Muslim countries, despite all this business of everyone going to the mosque together. Look at the Saudi "royal
family, and what those tens of thousands of princes, princelings, and princelettes do, how they conduct their fabulously luxurious and decadent lives, and compare that to the rest of the Saudis. Do the same for the sheiklets. For that matter, look at the Family-and-Friends plan of Mubarak in Egypt, or of corrupt Saint Sadat before him. Look at the generals who rule Algeria. Look at the alternating rule in modern Pakistan, by zamindars and generals, generals and zamindars, and see how the anglophone jeuneese doree of Pakistan -- just look at the luxe enjoyed by those rich Pakistanis in London and Washington -- and then ask yourself about "social justice" in Islam.

But just as those black prisoners subject to Musliim indoctrination (while the authorities in Infidel lands look the other way), learn nothing about the incredible level of anti-black racism, that is a given among the Arabs, learn nothing about the Arab slave trade or the continuing legitimacy of slavery in Islam and the continued enslavement of blacks by Muslim Arabs wherever they have managed to evade close examination from the outside -- in Sudan, in Mauritania, and even, one suspects, deep inside one or two other Arab-ruled states, behind palace walls, where Westerners never penetrate.

And look at Iran today. What is the chief criticism of the Islamic Republic of Iran by Iranians? It is the corruption of everything. It is the seizure of wealth by the mullahs. It is precisely the lack of "social justice" -- a lack even more pronounced under the Islamic Republic than under the late Shah, just as the cruelties and injustices of life under the Czarist regime were as nothing compared to what happened after the Bolshevik Revolution.

Islam as the new and vibrant and appealing replacement for both "capitalism" and "socialism"? Utter nonsense. As much nonsense as the "universalist" claim made by apologists for Islam, who refuse to recognize what the clear-sighted (including the most clear-sighted of non-Arab Muslims) Infidels can perceive: that despite that "universalist" claim, Islam remains, and always will remain, what it has always been: a vehicle for Arab imperialism, cultural, linguistic, as well as political and, when possible, economic.

 

Posted on 06/08/2011 12:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Why PFLP Gunmen Killed "Palestinians" Hostile To The Assad Regime

For years every “Palestinian” terrorist group found haven in Damascus. It was a way for the Alawites to demonstrate for the benefit of Sunnis that they, the syncretistic Alawites (and protectors of Christians in Syria) were plus royaliste que le roi, seeing and raising, in anti-Israel fervor, any group of Sunni Arabs. And that helped to create the atmosphere,  so they felt, that would allow them to continue to control the Syrian military through Alawite monopoly of the corps of mid-level and senior officers, and thus, too, to control political power, and everything – especially wealth – that in such places as Syria is to be obtained only, or mainly, through possession of political power or close relations with those who do possess it.

The PFLP, which has been so steadfast in its support of Assad (but so has Hezbollah, and the head of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, , lives and works and plots against Israel in Damascus)  was founded by George Habash. Habash, an Arab Christian, had the same deep insecurity as did, several decades before, the Syrian Christian Michel Aflaq. Aflaq was a Christian in a Muslim sea. He founded the Ba’ath Party with another Syrian, a Shi’a Arab living in a Sunni sea, in order to offer himself, and other non-Muslim Arabs, a way not only to enroll themselves in the general Arab effort, but to persuade Muslim Arabs to emphasize pan-Arab sentiments rather than the alternative, pan-Islam sentiments that would leave the Christian Arabs isolated and subject to even greater insecurity and hostility. Habash is often described as a “Marxist” – a word that the late J. B. Kelly said had little real meaning among the Arabs, but was an all-purpose term often adopted by those who were secular, which meant that they desired “modernity,” wanted to slough off the Islam-haunted past, wanted to constrain – without openly admitting it – the power of Islam, wanted to find political space, as the modish locution goes, for non-Muslims as well as Muslims. It is doubtful that Habash knew about, or cared about, the Surplus Theory of Value. He was a Christian Arab among Muslim Arabs. Similarly, the “Marxists” in southern Yemen are simply Yemenis who, living in the former Aden, are more advanced than fellow Yemenis, and thus less chained to Islam, and call themselves “Marxists” as a way to semaphore this forward-looking desire to de-emphasize Islam, and tribal ways, and all that they consider the moeurs et coutumes, the manners and customs, of the primitives to their north, or to their east, in the Hadrami hinterland.

The word “Marxism” also implied hostility toward liberal democracies. For the most powerful historic enemies of Arabs and Islam have been the states of Western Europe – England and France, the “farangi” as Western Christians have, since the time of the Crusades, collectively been known to the Arabs – which are now liber,al democracies. And the most powerful of Infidel states, and the one with the greatest power to withstand the world-wide Jihad, is the United States, which is not only a liberal democracy but which sometimes appears to take, or mistake, its mission as being that of spreading that liberal democracy even on the sandiest and most unlikely or impossible of soils, that is unto the many lands of what may be collectively called, in triune fashion, stony, sandy, unhappy (and above all Islamic) Arabia.”Marxism” among Arabs is a way to signal opposition to the United States and to the West, seen – rightly – as the most dangerous ideological enemy to Islam, while Marxism, or “Marxism,” has a certain familiar aspect for those growing up in a Muslim sea, for Marxism itself offers another kind of Total Belief-System, where everything becomes an epiphenomenon of underlying economic relations and  this Marxism, in its Soviet and Chinese forms, in the past was as fanatical a faith as Islam.  

And so it is not surprising that, while Hamas (with its headquarters in Damascus) and Hezballah (which receives all kinds of Iranian military and financial aid through the good offices of the Syrian government) should loyally rally round Assad, it is the PFLP – the most “secular” of the “Palestinian” groups, that has fired on, and killed, more than a dozen “Palestinian” demonstrators. Hezballah and Hamas may publicly support that Syrian regime. Hamas, in the end, being Sunni Arab, may back out, and Khaled Meshaal have to move from Damascus to Gaza. Hezballah, being Shi'a, is stuck with support for Assad -- it can do no other. And some of those Syrian Sunnis may bring their rage against Hezballah to co-religionists in Lebanon, not that those co-religionists are not already wary of, and hostile to, Hezballah. But it is the "Marxist" PFLP -- the place where Christian "Palestinians" inclined to terrorism find a suitable vehicle and a place to work side-by-side with Muslim "Palestinians" -- thus giving them, so they fondly think, legitimacy and safety -- that has most violently taken the side of Assad and the Alawite Shabiha.

And when you think of the future fate of the members of the PFLP, I hope there is not a wet eye in your house.

Posted on 06/08/2011 1:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
While The West Spends Billions To Protect Muslims In LIbya, It Does Nothing To Protect Christians In Southern Sudan

From The New York Times:

Sudan: Foreigners Evacuated in Border City

Fighting continued on Tuesday between northern troops and soldiers aligned with the southern Sudanese in Kadugli, the capital of Southern Kordofan State, forcing about 400 foreigners to be evacuated, the United Nations said. At least six people were killed in the last two days, the United Nations said, adding that about 3,000 people had taken shelter at a nearby hospital on Monday night. Southern Kordofan is on the border between northern and southern Sudan, which is to declare its independence next month.

Posted on 06/08/2011 1:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Special Relationship My Eye

Obama prefers the Argies. From The Telegraph:

President Obama was effusive in his praise for the Special Relationship when he visited London recently, but his administration continues to slap Britain in the face over the highly sensitive Falklands issue. Washington signed on to a “draft declaration on the question of the Malvinas Islands” passed by unanimous consent by the General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS) at its meeting in San Salvador yesterday, an issue which had been heavily pushed by Argentina. In doing so, the United States sided not only with Buenos Aires, but also with a number of anti-American regimes including Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela and Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua.

The declaration calls for Argentina and Great Britain to enter into negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falklands, a position which London has long viewed as completely unacceptable. It also comes in the wake of increasing aggression by the Kirchner regime in the past 18 months, including threats to blockade British shipping in the South Atlantic.

They can sod off. Hugo Rifkind had the last word some time ago:

What I’d really like, before this all goes any farther, is for Argentina to explain where the hell it is coming from with all this “Malvinas” business. Because from up here, frankly, their claim on the Falkland Islands looks downright stupid. From down there, I can only imagine that it doesn’t. Only, I can’t figure out why this would be. And I’ve asked around, and nobody else seems to know, either.

Is it just because they’re next door? We’ve got France next door. You’ve got Brazil next door. Are these also problems worth whining about to the UN?

Or is it because, for a brief period about 200 years ago, you owned them? Oh guys, trust me, you don’t want to get us started on the stuff we briefly owned about 200 years ago. By that logic, we still own Canada. We almost own America.

Indeed, we made a decent stab at owning you. But we gave up on that sort of thing, quite famously, because the people who lived in all these places didn’t fancy it. A bit like the people on the Falkland Islands don’t fancy being owned by you.

“Aha!” you might say, in your weirdly accented Spanish. “But those people don’t count, for they are not indigenous.” Well, true. But neither is anybody. Certainly not you. I mean, if there was anybody in Stanley 7,000 years ago, then they weren’t light-skinned and called things like Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, were they? Honestly, where do you people get off calling us colonialists? Generally speaking, we gave our empire back. You moved to yours, and then basically killed everybody. Forgive me, but I just don’t see how this puts you in a morally superior position.

[...]

We didn’t make a fuss about Hong Kong. We blush when the Greeks go on about the Elgin Marbles, even if we don’t let on. Any day now, we’ll probably start apologising for railways and penicillin. But we’re OK with the Falkland Islands. They don’t make us feel guilty at all. Not even the teeniest bit. So please, Argentina, do explain. Why should we cry for you?

Posted on 06/08/2011 2:04 PM by Mary Jackson
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
English, Englishman, England

One word that I always use reluctantly is "British." I know that Great Britain, the United Kingdom, consists not of England alone but of England, and Scotland, and Wales, and Northern ireland. And I know further that to use the adjective "English" for people from Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland would be inaccurate, and that is a greater offense than any other offense  that might be given to those who live in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

I'd like to write "English." After all, Scotland was united with England in 1707, but Samuel Johnson did not write about the British but about the English and the Scots, for more than two unembarrassed centuries afterwards. And the toponym "England" has more sturdily withstood the ravages of time, even though England is now part of Great Britain. We study the rivalry of England, France, and Germany in the "scramble for Africa." We read of the battles and alliances, too, between England and France. We read about the Triple Entente of England, France, and Russia. But somewhere along the line, the toponym England, with all its  accompanying poetry (see John of Gaunt's speech) became, and not for Official Use Only, but also for people far from the madding crowds and the banana-peel corridors of power,  transmogrified into Great Britain -- ever-increasingly, and pari passu, perhaps, with the post-war decomposition of the  "British Empire" and its transmogrification into that etiolated substitute, the British Commonwealth.

I ran across, earlier today, a statement in favor of "English":

"I congratulate the members of the St. George's Society upon their wise insistence on the word 'English' as the name of this country's people, and in not giving way to a few short-sighted clamourers for the vague, unhistoric and pinchbeck title of 'British,' by which they would fain see it supplanted."

The author was Thomas Hardy. He knew about words.

Posted on 06/08/2011 2:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
American Government Kept Demanding That NATO Do More In Iraq, And Afghanistan; Now It Is Britain's Turn, Having Gotten Itself Into A Similar If Far Smaller Mess, To Make Idiotic Demands

Gaddafi's forces hit back in Libya as Britain tells Nato: you must do more

Government troops unleashed a barrage of rockets and mortars against rebels outside of Misrata, followed by an infantry assault.

Injured Libyan rebel fighter
An injured Libyan rebel fighter mourns for his fallen comrade killed by a Grad rocket belonging to forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi at a hospital in Misrata, Libya. Photograph: Zohra Bensemra/REUTERS

Muammar Gaddafi's forces have responded to Nato's intensified aerial bombardment of Tripoli by launching a heavy attack on rebel positions outside the liberated city of Misrata.

Government troops unleashed a barrage of Grad rockets and mortars against rebel positions to the east, west and south of Misrata early on Wednesday morning, and followed up with an infantry assault. By mid-afternoon, the Hikma hospital reported 10 rebel fighters dead and 26 wounded.

The attack came as Liam Fox, the defence secretary, expressed increasing frustration with the slow progress of the western-led military campaign, forcefully telling fellow Nato ministers at a meeting in Brussels they should contribute more.

The attack on Libya's third biggest city was the heaviest since loyalist forces were overwhelmed there in April, and came a day after Nato pounded military sites in Tripoli from the air. It was the heaviest 24 hours of bombing yet in the capital, with the alliance conducting 66 strike sorties.

The targets struck in and around the city included six command and control centres, two anti-aircraft guns, a radar system and a vehicle storage facility, according to Nato. The worst damage occurred at Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound, where several buildings were destroyed, sending giant plumes of smoke into the sky. Bombing continued on Wednesday morning, but with less intensity.

Gaddafi, who is in hiding in the capital and has rarely been seen or heard from in recent weeks, reacted with fury to the attack, insisting he would fight to end in an audio broadcast on state television. Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said 31 people – soldiers, guards, and civilians – had been killed in Tuesday's bombing raids, and described Nato as "the forces of evil". The casualty figure could not be independently verified.

In an attempt to show that Nato had struck non-military targets, government minders on Wednesday morning took journalists to see a "nature reserve", occasionally used by Gaddafi to entertain guests, which had been hit the previous evening.

The missiles had destroyed two trucks, one of them very large, a golf cart, a large tent and several containers, including one that had computer equipment and a paper shredder inside. Officials were unable to explain what the vehicles were doing on a nature reserve, or why there were windsocks nearby, which appeared to suggest the presence of an airfield.

The surge in the number of attacks on targets in Tripoli, which follows the incorporation of attack helicopters into Nato's mission on the weekend, is a clear attempt to end the military stalemate on the ground and hasten Gaddafi's exit. Nearly four months into the conflict, rebels control large parts of eastern Libya, a string of towns in the western mountains, near the border with Tunisia, as well as Misrata. Opposition fighters there said they had repelled Wednesday's attack by government forces.

"Our will is stronger than theirs," said Sadik Ibrahim Mohammed, an injured rebel fighter. "The Shebab [rebels] have the heart. The Gaddafi soldiers ran away."

But the various frontlines are all still some way from Tripoli, where the regime still has a tight grip on the population. The Libyan government says that the escalated aerial campaign against Gaddafi had gone far beyond the mandate of protecting civilians, a point some critics of the operation outside Libya agree with.

Fox told a meeting of Nato ministers: "I firmly believe that we must intensify our pressure on the regime and it is imperative our military commanders have the assets and capabilities they need to do the job all of us around this table have asked of them: to defeat those regime elements which continue to threaten civilians."

He added: "Let me be frank. Nato is not just about military hardware. It is also about values. And those values are not an optional extra." [the highest "value" for the advanced Western world is, in the Age of Jihad,self-preservation -- and the examples of winning hearts and minds in Iraq and Afghanistan, and saving Muslim peoples and polities from the failures that are the result of Islam itself (and thereby delaying the day when they must, as Ataturk once did, recognize Islam's role in those failures, and then do what they can to limit the political and social power of Islam, or jettison it altogether). And juste as  Bush and his loyalists were most responsible for the expensive, squandering (of men, money, materiel, morale, and attention) fiascoes in Iraq and Afghanistan, so in Libya the ones most responsible are the excitable Sarkozy (who actually listened with respect to Bernard-Henri Levy, and to his corrupt foreign minister, Alain Juppe) and the sentimentalist Cameron (who actually listened to his suspect Foreign Minister, William Hague, with his long history of ilack of sympathy for Israel that so often -- always -- goes hand in hand with a wilful ignorance about Islam)].

Posted on 06/08/2011 2:54 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
A Musical Interlude: Never Swat A Fly (Marjorie White, Frank Albertson)

Listen here.

Posted on 06/08/2011 3:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Tens Of Billions Wasted On Afghan Aid Projects That Fund Corruption
From The Christian Science Monitor:

Afghans concur with Congress that aid money is often misspent

 

A congressional report released Wednesday on the $18.8 billion that Congress appropriated for Afghan development says the aid often funds fruitless projects.

Newly trained soldiers of Afghan army perform a traditional dance as American soldiers look on during a send-off ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, June 8. Afghanistan is at risk of a deep financial crisis when foreign troops leave in 2014 if the United States is unable to overhaul its multibillion-dollar package of nation-building assistance, according to a congressional report that comes as President Barack Obama weighs the size and scope of the initial phase of a US troop drawdown.

By Tom A. Peter, June 8, 2011

Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghans have long been vexed by what they see as often-ineffective use of US aid money in Afghanistan. [they've been vexed -- how do they think we feel?]

So a report that suggests the US government reevaluate how it invests in Afghanistan – with an eye toward ensuring that development spending create lasting solutions rather than long-term problems – is finding a welcome audience here.

“They should have made this [suggestion] years ago, even at the start of the war,” says Nadir Khan Katawazai, a member of parliament from Paktika province. “Billions of dollars came to Afghanistan and except for some highways in the country and some other infrastructure projects we don’t see any other benefits from that aid.” [for god's sake, stop it, stop the aid, now', the entire country, save for those who are still building that bridge over the River Kwai, all want it to stop -- why can't Congress hear this?

The report released Wednesday by US Congress goes so far as to say that Afghanistan may face an economic meltdown when international forces leave in 2014 if the US continues its current aid policy.

“Foreign aid, when misspent, can fuel corruption, distort labor and goods markets, undermine the host government’s ability to exert control over resources, and contribute to insecurity,” said the report by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Although the US has invested nearly $60 billion dollars in Afghanistan since the start of the war, the report examined only the $18.8 billion appropriated by Congress to the State Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Those two agencies alone spend $320 million each month on development in Afghanistan.

The sheer volume of cash invested into the impoverished country has reshaped the economy. Now 97 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from spending related to the international military and development community.

This GDP assessment does not take into consideration the role of opium in the economy. As recently as 2007, opium production accounted for up to half the nation’s GDP, but it is now closer to a quarter.

As such, Afghanistan’s economy is anything but the picture of long-term stability.

Limited oversight of money

Despite the mass influx of aid money, there has been extremely limited oversight of how the money is spent once it’s doled out to contractors and development partners.

In Paktika, Mr. Katawazai says he’s seen US officials build a clinic against the wishes of the local people. More than a year after its completion, he says it still does not have doctors or medicine. Stories such as this about empty schools and hospitals are common throughout Afghanistan.

It has become common practice for groups who secure a development contract to hand it along to others, who then pass it on to someone else, with each person taking a commission along the way and leaving a fraction of the money originally intended to implement the project.

In Takhar province, Parliamentarian Maryam Kofi says that one of her female constituents once complained that a third party who was trying to sell an aid contract demanded sex in addition to his commission.

Despite these problems, Mrs. Kofi says that she hopes the US will not cut aid to Afghanistan as a result of the US Senate’s report. [this Afghan lady, who naturally wants as much Amreican money spent on Afghanistan -- "correctly" -- as possible, may hope that, but Americans should by now have a different idea]

“I am happy to hear that the US government is talking about the corruption in aid projects and they want to have more transparency,” she says. “Of course there is corruption at all levels among those who are involved in spending the money, but at least some of it reaches the people. That’s why I say it’s better to have it, rather than to stop it.” [so "some of it" does manage to "reach the people" and therefore Americans, economically suffering, should keep funding this Muslim people who, even if they are not members of the Taliban, cannot possibly wish us, Infidels, well? Does this make sense?]

Posted on 06/08/2011 3:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
TIME's Version Of The Facts (Arab War On Israel Division)

From CAMERA:

Time's Shoddy Coverage (cont)

Not only bureau chief Karl Vick's biased polemics mislead readers on the facts about Israel. Even short bits in the magazine's "Briefing" section can't (won't) get the story straight. A June 13, 2011 brief reads:

Egypt Opens the Door to Gaza

ISRAEL Since 2006 the Gaza Strip has been sealed off from the world--its borders tightly controlled by an Israeli government wary of Gaza's rulers, the Islamist outfit Hamas. But on May 29, Egypt loosened Israel's grip on Gaza by lifting the restrictions on Palestinians seeking to cross from Gaza to Egypt. Though only a small number have gained entry so far, Egypt's willingness to aid Gazans signals a diplomatic shift since the popular uprising that ousted its longtime dictator (and ally of Israel) Hosni Mubarak. Gaza's other borders remain shut, but a new "freedom flotilla" carrying humanitarian aid will set sail soon to test Israel's ongoing blockade.

Not exactly. Egypt didn't loosen "Israel's grip on Gaza" -- it loosened Egypt's grip on Gaza. Since 2007 Egypt has had full control of the border.

A February 2008 breach of that border saw Palestinians storm through the Egyptian-policed lines. The UK's Telegraph noted "Without an airport or a sea port, the border with Egypt is Gaza's only link to the outside world not directly controlled by Israel."

That "Islamist outfit" Time refers to is, of course, the terrorist regime that long used the Egypt-Gaza border as a massive smuggling route, bringing weaponry into the Strip to attack Israel -- despite the withdrawal of all Israelis in 2005.

As for the so-called freedom flotilla ostensibly planning another landing in Gaza, Time tips its biased hand here too, casting the project as focused on delivering "humanitarian aid." The previous, 2010 flotilla was a propaganda stunt with the largest vessel, the Mavi Marmara, and several others carrying no aid at all.

Posted on 06/08/2011 3:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
From The Annals Of American Idiocy (Outreach-To-'Moderate'-Muslims Department)

From foxnews.com:

Radical Muslim Cleric's Pentagon Lunch: Top DOD Lawyers, Executive Director of CAIR Invited

By Catherine Herridge & Pamela Browne & Cyd Upson & Gregory Johnson

June 07, 2011

 

The Pentagon's top lawyers and the executive director of controversial Muslim group Council of American Islamic Relations were invited to lunch with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on Feb. 5, 2002, as part of the Defense Department's outreach to moderate Muslims, according to new documents obtained exclusively by the Fox News Specials Unit.

For the first time, Fox News is making the document available online.

After the Fort Hood massacre in November 2009, a Defense Department employee came forward to tell FBI investigators that the cleric, the first American on the CIA's “kill-or-capture” list, was a guest speaker at the Pentagon five months after 9/11.

The internal Defense Department email, obtained by Fox through the Freedom of Information Act, shows that more than 70 people were copied on the luncheon invitation at one of the Pentagon's executive dining rooms. While most of the names were redacted by the defense department, citing the privacy exemption, the names that remain include Deputy General Counsel Charles Allen, former Deputy General Counsel Whit Cobb, former principal Deputy General Counsel Dan Dell'Orto, former General Counsel William Haynes, Deputy General Counsel Paul Koffsky and former deputy General Counsel Douglas Larsen.

Koffsky, Allen and Dell'Orto responded through a Defense Department spokesman who said they did not go to the lunch. In the case of Mr. Koffsky and Mr. Allen, the spokesman added "Nor do they have any recollection or specific information of who may have vouched for or recommended the cleric."

Cobb said that he did not attend the lunch. Separately, Fox News learned that Haynes believes he did not go either. There was no immediate response from Larsen, who could not be reached through a Washington, D.C., area listing. Cobb, Haynes, Dell'Orto are now attorneys in private practice.

According to the email, there was at least one civilian on the guest list. The email invitation reads: "Mr. Nihad Awad, President of the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations has also expressed interest in attending."

Fox News sent questions to Awad though a spokesman at CAIR, including whether he had provided positive recommendations for Awlaki to either the FBI or the Defense Department immediately after 9/11.

Fox News also asked whether Awad attended a fundraiser at UC Irvine on Sept. 9, 2001, for the defense of Jamil al-Amin who was later conficted of killing a sheriff's deputy in Atlanta Georgia. Documents show Awad provided a video message for the fundraising event and al-Awlaki went to the fundraiser. On Sept. 10 of that year, al-Awlaki, who has documented ties to three of the five Sept. 11 hijackers, flew back to Washington, landing on the morning of Sept. 11.

Fox News contacted CAIR multiple times over a 10 day period and there was no response after the initial contact when a spokesman asked for questions to be submitted.

Separately, the email invitation suggests that Awlaki was trying to pad his resume for the Defense Department employee who vetted him for the lunch. The email invitation reads: "(Awlaki) is currently working on his PhD in Human Resource Development at George Washington University, received a Master of Education Leadership from San Diego State University..."

But Fox News confirmed the cleric did not receive either degree. And while some embraced the cleric as a moderate in 2002, the FBI had interviewed him four times in the first eight days after 9/11 because of his contacts with the hijackers. His rap sheet also included arrests for soliciting prostitutes and loitering around a school.

Though pork is forbidden for Muslims, the proposed menu of sandwiches included smoked ham and bacon. The email reads:

"Assuming that sandwiches will be the easiest thing to get consensus on, here are the selections:

Smoked turkey

Roast Beef

Smoked Ham

East side West side (beef, turkey and bacon on marbled rye)

Vegetarian"

EXCLUSIVE: Click here to read the full email invitation.

Within days of the lunch, Awlaki left the U.S. Eight months later, after he had been out of the country for months, the cleric mysteriously returned. He was stopped and detained by Customs officers at JFK International Airport because of an outstanding warrant for his arrest, until an FBI agent ordered Awlaki's release, even though the warrant was still active.

That same month, October 2002, Awlaki appeared in a major FBI investigation with a government witness. Based on Fox NEWS' reporting, Republican Congressman Frank Wolfe wrote to the FBI and Justice Department over a year ago demanding more information about the cleric's mysterious return and his contact with the FBI in October 2002. The congressman said he still has not received a satisfactory answer.


 

Posted on 06/08/2011 6:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
The Needlepoint Of Netty Vanderpol

Listen here.

Posted on 06/08/2011 8:13 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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