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



















These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 9, 2011.
Monday, 9 May 2011
The Men Who Would be Libya's King

With the war in Libya showing no sign of abating, we shouldn’t be surprised to discover that, as Moammar Gadhafi’s dictatorial hold weakens, two exiled Libyans are claiming to be the crown prince of that former European creation: the short-lived monarchy once called the Kingdom of Libya.

Libya was a monarchy from 1951 to 1969, when then-Captain Gadhafi took power in a military coup. King Idris, the first and only king of Libya, had sided with the Allies during their campaign against the Italians in Libya during the Second World War. The Allies then gave him and his relatives the country after a short protectorate run by the British, declaring him “King of Libya.” But the origins of this monarchy are substantially different in form and style from those in Europe, because the Senussi royal family allows polygamy – a factor that complicates all claims of royal legitimacy through descent.

Under the Italians, Idris was thought of as the exiled religious leader of a Sufi sect called the Senussi and, as such, later became the de facto leader of Cyrenaica against the Fascists. He was a descendant of the Grand Senussi, a religious preacher of Algerian origin who settled among the Bedouin of Cyrenaica during the 19th century.

His goal was to bring the Bedouin back to the austere Islam of Mohammed’s time. He succeeded by establishing his schools and “lodges” in neutral oases and on the tribal borderlands where disputes over pasture and water raged. He and his disciples would mediate these disputes and be given money, food and land; this slowly emerged into a kind of tithing system.

Within 80 years, the Bedouin of Cyrenaica had been united by lineages of the followers of the Grand Senussi whose movement and descendants provided the tribes of Cyrenaica with their first national symbol. Then came Moammar Gadhafi, and the numerous relatives of the Senussi king fled to Europe.

Two relatives of the late Idris are now slugging it out in public in the hope they’ll be recognized as the legitimate heir to the throne. In the early 1990s, Idris el-Senussi, a Libyan expatriate in Britain, spent as much as £100,000 to lobby the British government to recognize him as the legitimate heir to the King of Libya. He managed to persuade 41 MPs to sign a motion that described him as “a great nephew of the late King Idris of Libya and heir presumptive of the Libyan throne.”

Actually, he’s the “second son of the sixth son of the younger brother of King Idris’s father,” according to Debrett’s Peerage, the authoritative British guide that decides who’s in and who’s out of royalty, anywhere. Once this was made public, Idris el-Senussi’s campaign to get the British government to endorse his royal pretensions fizzled, to the embarrassment of his supporters in the House of Commons. The fact that he’s a multimillionaire and a shadowy presence in world of Middle Eastern finance suggests we haven’t heard the last of him.

Most influential Libyan exiles support Mohammed el-Senussi as the “legitimate” king in exile. He’s the great nephew of King Idris and has publicly supported the rebellion in Libya. “The return of monarchy to Libya is not a priority,” he has said, “but the United Nations – which endorsed the Libyan constitution upon independence – must interfere and restore the constitution, to hold free elections and let the people decide what system they prefer.”

Mohammed el-Senussi will no doubt use this fact to further his claim to the throne. If not, he can still argue that he and his family deserve reparations. Either way, we can be sure that, whatever new Libya emerges, various members of the “Libyan royal family” will play their hand.

Clearly, this princely rivalry is not about Islam, constitutional monarchy or democracy. It’s about money – and there are billions of dollars at stake.

Originally published in the Globe and Mail

Posted on 05/09/2011 5:02 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Monday, 9 May 2011
The Alawite Steamroller In Syria Isn't Stopping

From Le Figaro:

Syrie : les manifestants saisis par le doute


Par Georges Malbrunot
09/05/2011 
Des opposants syriens ont défié le régime d'el-Assad en manifestant dans la ville assiégée de Banias.
Des opposants syriens ont défié le régime d'el-Assad en manifestant dans la ville assiégée de Banias. Crédits photo : STR/ASSOCIATED PRESS

INFOGRAPHIE - Face au rouleau compresseur de la répression, les protestataires se sentent abandonnés par l'étranger.

«Ne me citez plus», demande un intellectuel syrien vivant en France, après avoir reçu des menaces sur son téléphone portable. Pour faire taire les opposants, la police secrète de Damas n'hésite pas à intensifier ses manœuvres d'intimidation contre ses expatriés en Europe ou dans le Golfe. «On pousse nos parents restés en Syrie à dire à leurs enfants de rester tranquilles. Car de toute façon, le régime leur jure qu'il n'y a plus rien à faire et que pour les manifestants, la partie est perdue», raconte une Syrienne, également mise en garde. Sur le terrain, pendant ce temps, le pouvoir poursuit sa stratégie d'asphyxie militaire des villes qui osent encore se rebeller contre le président Bachar el-Assad, tout en arrêtant à tour de bras des centaines de personnes. «Des arrestations inacceptables», a protesté lundi le Quai d'Orsay.


Cliquez sur l'aperçu pour agrandir l'infographie.

Après Deraa, berceau de la contestation, les chars sont déployés depuis dimanche sur la corniche et dans les quartiers sud de Baniyas, ville côtière de 50.000 habitants. Les perquisitions, maison par maison, s'y multiplient durant la nuit. Dimanche, les leaders de la révolte, cheikh Anas al-Ayrout et Bassam Sahiouni, ont été arrêtés, et lundi des centaines de femmes sont descendues dans les rues pour réclamer la libération de leurs proches.

Comme Deraa, il y a quinze jours, Baniyas est désormais isolée du reste de la Syrie. L'eau, l'électricité et les communications téléphoniques sont coupées. Après leur interpellation, de nombreux jeunes ont été entravés, puis contraints de marcher jusqu'aux villages alaouites voisins pour y être insultés par des membres de la minorité au pouvoir à Damas depuis quarante ans. Objectif de ces humiliations: «fomenter une guerre confessionnelle», selon un expert français de la Syrie. «Le régime espère que les jeunes vont finir par prendre les armes, et à ce moment-là, ajoute-t-il, il pourra les discréditer et passer encore plus fortement à l'action.» Même si la ficelle est un peu grosse, la peur d'une dérive à l'irakienne amène de nombreux Syriens, issus de la minorité chrétienne mais aussi des laïcs sunnites, à s'interroger.

Abandonnés par l'étranger

Face au rouleau compresseur de la répression, le découragement guette également les «révolutionnaires». «On le constate sur Facebook, le ton n'est pas encore défaitiste, mais il est alarmiste», reconnaît Hala Kodmani, une journaliste indépendante de retour de Damas.

Certes, vendredi encore, des milliers de Syriens ont de nouveau bravé les interdits pour manifester en plusieurs points du pays. Mais les «révolutionnaires» ont du mal à faire sortir la population un autre jour que celui de la prière hebdomadaire. Le déploiement militaire massif finit par décourager les plus téméraires. Et là où le pouvoir jure que l'armée s'est retirée, il ne s'agit en fait que d'un simple redéploiement des chars, à la périphérie de Deraa par exemple. Pour sortir de la «ville martyre» en voiture, il faut une autorisation spéciale du gouverneur. «De quel retrait s'agit-il?», proteste un observateur.

Après bientôt deux mois de manifestations qui ont fait plus de 620 morts, «la révolte est à un moment charnière», reconnaissent plusieurs Syriens interrogés. «Aujourd'hui, les jeunes se sentent abandonnés par la communauté internationale», déplore l'un d'entre eux. «Les manifestants ne réclament pas une intervention armée de l'Otan comme en Libye, mais au moins un soutien moral à leur combat qui permettrait de tenir bon. Mais à part la France, qui a réclamé que Bachar el-Assad soit visé par des sanctions? Quel autre pays dénonce avec vigueur la sauvagerie de ce régime?», s'indigne cet expatrié.

La semaine dernière, l'Union européenne a voté des sanctions limitées à treize responsables syriens, mais en a écarté le président. «C'était pourtant très important que Bachar soit, lui aussi, frappé par ces mesures», insiste un diplomate français. Aujourd'hui, «le régime a compris que la communauté internationale n'avait pas la volonté de le renverser, il a les mains libres pour faire le ménage chez lui» , regrette-t-il.

 

Posted on 05/09/2011 4:17 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 9 May 2011
Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Amb. Michael Oren: Israel “The Ultimate Ally�

Transition Ceremony Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day

Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, 2010

Tonight, a few minutes after dark, a torch lighting transition ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl marks the celebration of Israel’s birth 63 years ago- Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Independence Day). 

In honor of the occasion, we’d like to share with you an excerpt from an article,“The Ultimate Ally,” that appears in the May/June 2011 edition of Foreign Policy written by Israeli Ambassador to Washington, the Hon. Michael B. Oren. It is a long, but carefully crafted riposte to the arguments of so-called ‘realists’ in Washington foreign policy wonk circles that aims to prove them wrong and in Oren’s words, justify, “why America needs Israel now.”

Oren is an American who made aliyah to Israel to Israel. He was born in upstate New York and grew up in New Jersey. His father was an American officer who participated in the D-Day landings, which influenced his own development as a soldier scholar after his emigration to Israel. He holds both undergraduate and Masters degrees from Columbia University and earned a Princeton PhD in Near East Studies. He was trained as a paratrooper in an elite IDF unit who served with distinction in combat during the First Lebanon War in 1982-1986. As a reserve officer in the IDF he was a spokesperson during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and media spokesperson during Operation Cast lead in 2008-2009. He is author of Six Days of War June 1967: The Making of the Modern Middle East  and Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East: 1776 to the Present

Oren has rejected invitations from the leftist Jewish group J Street because he does not believe it has his government’s best interests at heart, despite the latter’s slogan of being “pro Peace – Pro Israel”. J Street, has been characterized by Lori Lowenthal Marcus of Z Street  as being in reality an advocate for creation of an instant Palestinian State. Oren has also been the object of attacks here in the US by Muslim Brotherhood Fronts. Amb. Oren's speech at U.C. Irvine on Feb. 8, 2010 was disrupted by activists from the U.C. Riverside and U.C. Irvine Muslim Student Association chapters. 11 of them have been indicted by the Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas for conspiracy to deny Oren’s Free Speech following a grand jury investigation. The U.C. Irvine MSA chapter was suspended from student activity support, but somehow managed to evade that and is now about to launch the latest iteration of Israel Apartheid Week at the Orange County, California Campus from May 9-13thironically featuring a roster of anti-Israel Jewish speakers.

Foreign Policyhas to be commended for publishing this article by Amb. Oren, despite the platform it provides to prominent anti-Israel advocates like Stephen Walt of Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Here is an excerpt from Ambassador Oren’s Foreign Policy article:

What is the definition of an American ally? On an ideological level, an ally is a country that shares America's values, reflects its founding spirit, and resonates with its people's beliefs. Tactically, an ally stands with the United States through multiple conflicts and promotes its global vision. From its location at one strategic crossroads, an ally enhances American intelligence and defense capabilities, and provides ports and training for U.S. forces. Its army is formidable and unequivocally loyal to its democratic government. An ally helps secure America's borders and assists in saving American lives on and off the battlefield. And an ally stimulates the U.S. economy through trade, technological innovation, and job creation.

Few countries fit this description, but Israelis certainly one of them. Israel alliance has been upheld by successive American administrations and consistently endorsed by lawmakers and military leaders. It should be unimpeachable. But for some it is not.

Rather than viewing Israel as a vital American asset, an increasingly vocal group of foreign-policy analysts insists that support for the Jewish state, including more than $3 billion in annual military aid, is a liability. Advocates of this "realist" school claim that the United States derives little strategic benefit from its association with Israel. The alliance, they assert, arises mainly from lobbyists who place Israel's interests before America's, rather than from a clearheaded assessment of national needs. Realists regard the relationship one-dimensionally -- America gives Israel aid and arms -- and view it as the primary sourceof Muslim anger at the United States. American and Israeli policies toward the peace process, the realists say, are irreconcilable and incompatible with relations between true allies.

By definition, realists seek a foreign policy immune to public sentiment and special interest groups. In this rarefied view, the preferences of the majority of the American peopleare immaterial or, worse, self-defeating. This would certainly be the case with the U.S.-Israel alliance, which remains outstandingly popular among Americans. Indeed, a Gallup survey this Februaryshowed that two out of three Americans sympathize with Israel. Overall, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the wars in Iraqand Afghanistan-- and in spite of Israel's responses to the second intifadaand rocket attacks from Lebanonin 2006 and Gaza in 2008 -- support for Israel in the United States has risen, not declined.

The surveys prove that most Americans do not accept the argument that U.S. support for Israel provokes Islamic radicals or do not especially care even if it does. In fact, a CNN survey taken later that week showed that eight out of 10 Americans still regarded Israel as an allied or friendly state.

 (Read More)

 

Posted on 05/09/2011 1:58 AM by jerryGordon
Monday, 9 May 2011
Jonathan Kay of Canada's National Post: Geert Wilders’ problem with Islam

Hon. Geert Wilders, National Post photo

Hon. Geert Wilders, Leader of the Freedom Party in The Netherlands was interviewed by Jonathan Kay, of Canada's National in Toronto on Sunday near the start of his "A Warning to America" tour. Wilders spoke in London, Ontario on Sunday. He will speak in Toronto this evening and in Ottawa on Tuesday before his arrival in Nashville on Wednesday for a series of events and interviews culminating in his major public speech at the Cornerstone Church in Madison on Thursday evening. This National Post interview, "Geert Wilders' problem with Islam"  is one of the more thoughtful presentations of Wilders' views that reflect of our own here at the New English Review. His responses in this National Post  interview mirror our basic question about Islam: "Is islam a religion or is it a totalitarian doctrine seeking world domination with a thin veneer of religious practices".

Wilders answers this question in the affirmative in the course of which he explains the basis for his views. We shall hear more from Wilders as he continues the remainder of his American tour culminating in his momentous visit to Nashville - a city caught at the center of controversies over the threat of Islamization in the buckle of the bible belt.

Here  are excerpts from the National Post interview:

“The word ‘Islamism’ suggests that there is a moderate Islam and a non-moderate Islam,” he told me during an interview in Toronto on Sunday. “And I believe that this is a distinction that doesn’t exist. It’s like the Prime Minister of Turkey [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, said ‘There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam, and that’s it.’ This is the Islam of the Koran.”

“Now, you can certainly make a distinction among the people,” he adds. “There are moderate Muslims — who are the majority in our Western societies — and non-moderate Muslims.”

“But Islam itself has only one form. The totalitarian ideology contained in the Koran has no room for moderation. If you really look at what the Koran says, in fact, you could argue that ‘moderate’ Muslims are not Muslims at all. It tells us that if you do not act on even one verse, then you are an apostate.”

[. . .}

Mr. Wilders forthrightly describes the Muslim Prophet as a dictator, a pedophile and a warmonger. “If you study the life of Mohammed,” Mr.Wilders told me, “you can see that he was a worse terrorist than Osama bin Laden ever was.”

[. . .]

Yet the real Geert Wilders speaks softly and thoughtfully. It turns out that he’s travelled to dozens of Muslim nations. He knows more about the Islamic faith and what it means to ordinary people than do most of Islam’s most ardent Western defenders.

Nor do I believe that Mr. Wilders is a bigot — a least, not in the sense that the word usually is understood.

“I don’t hate Muslims. I hate their book and their ideology,” is what he told Britain’s Guardian newspaper in 2008. Mr. Wilders sees Islam as akin to communism or fascism, a cage that traps its suffering adherents in a hateful, phobic frame of mind.

Mr. Wilders describes Muslim as victims of bad ideas, in other words. In this way, his attitude is entirely different from classic anti-Semites and racists, who treat Jews and blacks as debased on the level of biology.

Of course, in the modern, politically correct Western tradition, hatred expressed toward a religion typically is held on the same level of human-rights opprobrium as hatred expressed toward a race or an ethnicity. But Islam is not really a religion at all, as Mr. Wilders sees it, but rather a retrograde political ideology with religious trappings.

He notes that while other religions draw a distinction between God and Ceasar, between the secular and the spiritual, Islam demands submission in every aspect of human existence, both through the wording of the Koran itself and the Shariah law that has developed in its shadow. The faith also supplies a justification for aggressive war; vilifies non-believers; and pronounces death upon its enemies. In short, Mr. Wilders argues, it has all the ingredients of what students of 20th century history would recognize as a fully formed totalitarian ideology.

“I see Islam as 95% ideology, 5% religion — the 5% being the temples and the imams,” he tells me. “If you would strip the Koran of all the negative, hateful, anti-Semitic material, you would wind up with a tiny [booklet].”

             [. . .]

His insistence on the proper distinction between faith and ideology is an idea that deserves to be taken seriously. For it invites the question: If we permit the excoriation of totalitarian cults created by modern dictators, why do we stigmatize (and even criminalize) the excoriation of arguably similar notions when they happen to be attributed to a 7th-century Bedouin with supernatural visions?

It’s a good question. And as far as I know, Geert Wilders is the only Western politician taking it seriously.

 

Posted on 05/09/2011 2:32 AM by Jerry Gordon
Monday, 9 May 2011
French court acquits man who defiled Koran of stoking discrimination

In French here, and what seems to me to be a straight translation in Monsters and Critics, so far the only English language site to take the story here.

Strasbourg - A French court on Monday acquitted a blogger of a charge of provoking discrimination related to burning a copy of the Koran in an internet broadcast and urinating on the book. The court in the north-eastern city of Strasbourg found that Ernesto Rojas Abbate had been acting within the boundaries of freedom of expression when he used the Koran as a prop in a simulation of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York.

Filming himself with a webcam on October 2, Abbate made a paper plane with pages from the Koran and launched it at two glasses representing the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. He then burnt the plane and the book and urinated on them, to 'quench the flames.'

The Mosque of Strasbourg and a local anti-racism organization had pressed charges against the 30-year-old from the town of Bischheim close to Strasbourg. But the court ruled the video was aimed at terrorist acts and not the wider Muslim community, which 'could not be assimilated with the terrorist acts.'

Posted on 05/09/2011 5:52 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 9 May 2011
Warning sounded over polygamous Muslim marriages

Ireland doesn't want to go down the road we did in effectively recognising these sorts of relationships which are anathema to our way. From the Irish Post.

The government has been told that it may be risking causing offence to Muslims living in Ireland who wish to engage in polygamous marriages.

Senior department officials at the Department of Social Protection said procedures where children born to second or concurrent wives were recorded as illegitimate could cause offence. In a special briefing note prepared for the minister, Joan Burton, the officials warned that Muslim men here may believe that Irish procedures were ‘‘disrespectful’’ to their religion.

The move follows concerns by the High Court over the acceptance of certain marriages as valid when celebrated in certain countries under so-called ‘native law and custom’. The High Court’s concern follows a case brought by a Lebanese man last year, in which he sought to obtain recognition for a second concurrent marriage, both of which he had entered into while living in Lebanon. In its judgment, the High Court ruled that marriages entered into in certain countries were not valid as they could be polygamous.

The officials said that men and women in such marriages could be offended by labelling their children as being born out of wedlock. ‘‘In the case of registration of births, such births will have to be treated as non-marital births and the relevant procedures for registration of such births will have to be followed, including recording of civil status as ‘single’," according to the memo. This has potential to cause offence to couples concerned. They may well view the procedures as being disrespectful of their status, as they may understandably believe themselves to be validly married in accordance with their culture and religious beliefs," it read.

Tough! The Irish courts and government must stand firm.

Posted on 05/09/2011 6:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 9 May 2011
John Walker: great pop lives forever

I have remarked here before that there is no such thing a co-incidence, but an hour before I read the news of the death of John Maus, better known as John Walker of the Walker brothers, I was listening to some of Scott Walker's solo work.

Neil McCormick in the Telegraph explains the contrast in the voices and careers of the two men.

I was looking for something to show their two voices, and found this, which I had never seen before. The German TV programme of the 1960s, Beat Club, is a treasure trove of great performances of some of my favorite bands. This is The Walker brothers performing the Wilson Picket song Land of 1000 Dances. Gary Walker is drumming but the backing orchestra means that Scott and John are dancing as well as singing together, rather than playing guitar.

Posted on 05/09/2011 11:22 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 9 May 2011
Poetry and the Common Language

If there is one principle which is nearly axiomatic among our contemporaries who regard themselves as poets and critics of poetry, it is that poetry should be written in the language of the everyday. This opinion can be traced back to Wordsworth’s famous assertion that poetry ought to be composed in “the real language of nature” or “the real language of men”—further evidence that we have not yet left behind the Romantic era and its presuppositions. Yet even among the New Critics, who were in general so suspicious of the Romantic project, this standard of sound poetic practice is affirmed; so we find F. R. Leavis praising Eliot’s verse because “its staple idiom and movement derive immediately from modern speech.” Our contemporaries, especially among those referred to as the New Formalists, echo this belief; thus Dana Gioia tells us that he strives to keep his language “contemporary,” and critic Robert McPhillips notes that New Formalism is marked by its “colloquial diction.”

Undoubtedly, the overwhelming majority of material that is published under the label of poetry in our times evinces, by its practice, the conviction that poetic language is nothing other than the common language of the times. And it is precisely because this conviction is now so universal that it seems appropriate to note that no falser belief about the craft of poetry could possibly be made. Moreover, if that belief were not false, then the obvious consequence of a strict adherence to this dictum in our time would be the total preclusion, for ourselves and our near progeny, of achieving anything worthwhile in the art of poetry.

The notion of a pure language or a “language of nature”—a language unspoiled by the encroachments of civil life—is a chimera. The language used in any time and place comes saturated with a variety of cultural influences. What would have been one of the key cultural influences shaping the ordinary English usage of literate persons during the lifetime of Sidney or Tennyson? Obviously, other poetry. Educated people in those times read poetry with relative frequency, and undoubtedly, their habits of speech reflected their habits of reading. The language in use at the Inn-yard or in the drawing room was a language that was already poeticized to some extent. And of course, the cultural force that most determines the prevalent forms of linguistic usage among any people is education, and for the duration of Western history, prior to the conclusion of the nineteenth century, the form of education administered to students was a humanistic and literary education, an education that consisted primarily of the reading of poets and orators. So however fully or hesitantly a poet of these eras might draw upon the quotidian usage of his times, he could not thereby avail himself of anything other than a language already artificial—that is, already shaped by art—and thus a resource perfectly suitable to his ends.

There is a highly revealing passage on this matter in The Art of English Poesy of George Puttenham, one of the more popular manuals of poetic style from the Elizabethan period. Regarding the poet’s choice of linguistic idiom, Puttenham writes:

“This part in our maker or poet must be headily looked unto, that it be natural, pure and the most usual of all his country, and for the same purpose rather that which is spoken in the king’s court, or in the good towns and cities within the land, than in the marches and frontiers, or in port towns, where strangers haunt for traffic’s sake, or yet in universities, where scholars use much peevish affectation of words out of primitive languages . . . But he shall follow generally the better brought-up sort, such as the Greeks call charientes, men civil and graciously behaviored and bred.”

The passage begins with an apparent espousal of a “natural” language, and would appear in that respect almost to anticipate Wordsworth’s position. But this assertion quickly becomes qualified in a highly important way; it is the “pure” language of the “king’s court,” of the “better brought-up sort,” that is to be preferred, according to Puttenham. And what is distinctive about the language spoken among the “better brought-up sort?” Obviously, it is the language of educated persons, of persons who have read poetry. So whatever else Puttenham can mean by “natural,” he clearly cannot mean “the opposite of artificial” or “untouched by artistry,” since the language of persons educated in the humanist tradition is language already shaped by art. And in fact, elsewhere in his treatise he defines poetry as “a pleasant manner of utterance, varying from the ordinary” (emphasis mine), which is to say, stylized or shaped by art.

Everyone knows that poetry possesses no cultural priority in our age; indeed, that is arguably the most important intellectual difference between our times and the earlier generations of Western peoples. Nor do I suppose it is necessary to remind the reader that schooling in our country, and in the West generally, is so ineffectual and pointless that it does nothing whatsoever to improve the linguistic abilities of students. The extraordinary constriction of contemporary English in terms of vocabulary and grammatical complexity is more than enough evidence of this fact.

And as for the cultural influences which do shape the ordinary usage of our contemporaries, what are they? Among other things, cinema, rap music, the jargon of business management, the rhetoric of mass politics. Very little attention to the sort of conversations that we hear everyday will convince us of the influence of these things on contemporary language. So a critic who still insists, in our day and age, that a poet must compose merely in “the language of everyday life” is implicitly demanding that the poet write in the language of cinema, rap music, the jargon of business management, and the rhetoric of mass politics. He is asking the poet to fashion masterpieces out of the cacophonous barbarism of rock lyrics and convention speeches. But that cannot be done, and so he might as well come out and state that the poet should forfeit any hope of excellence, since his insistence amounts to just such a prohibition.

Consider the matter in this way: suppose the pages of Herrick and Gray and Arnold were laid out before you, and you were asked to describe what it was you saw. What would you say they found there? How would you describe the art on display? It seems perfectly certain to me that, whatever else you might place in your definition, you would undoubtedly note that what you were looking at was a stylized language, a language that was far more technically wrought than other forms of language you had encountered, a language in which the effects of tone, and voice, and diction, and metaphor, and trope were vastly more frequent, concentrated, and deliberate than in common speech. In brief, what you would say is something like, “here is a language that is different from all other forms of language.”

Yet perhaps it is not altogether precise to say that poetic language differs from common speech, so much as it perfects common speech. But as a matter of definition, there is always something present in the extraordinary example that is not present in the ordinary. Dance, for example, incorporates the typical physiological motions of mundane life—standing, walking, turning—but it so transforms these motions, and adds so much to them, that no one could fail to recognize that dance is something more than the motions of everyday life; not even the dullest minded person would criticize the performance of a glissade by complaining that it looked nothing like a person crossing the street. Similarly, the meter and synechdoche and chreia which are the techniques of the poet’s artistry have no real analogy in common speech, and so it just makes no sense to say that what the poet is doing essentially is working in the language of everyday life. To be sure, that language will make its way into his work—how could it not—but his goals are not to reproduce that language with any sort of fidelity. His purposes obviously encompass something much more, and where the intentions of the artist lie, there lies also the essence of his art. The poet uses a language that is maximally enhanced with nearly every form of linguistic ingenuity imaginable, and that is why Coleridge rightly objected to Wordsworth’s theory that, if consistently adhered to, it would eliminate at least two-thirds of the beauties from poetry.

A poet must simply decide whether any of the forms of language used in his times are conducive to his aims as an artist, and his primary criterion will be whether or not any of those forms afford him a language that has already been suitably crafted. As I noted, a person with poetic ambitions living in our day and age would be deluded to believe that there is any such public language available to him or her. But whether the poet borrows heavily or slightly from his age’s dialect, whether he tends towards a more formal or a more colloquial style, the decision he is making is always an artistic decision. It is always a choice between styles, and never a choice between style and nature.

We do not stand in need of a return to nature; we need a return to art, for as Burke aptly noted, art is man’s nature.

Consequently, every attempt to represent innovation in poetry as a “return to nature” ought to be suspect; all such revolutions historically have represented a change in idiom, and not some exchange of art for pure naturalness. Coleridge, again, in his critique of Wordsworth’s theoretical enterprise argues quite persuasively that the latter mistook his rejection of neoclassical style as a rejection of style per se. Similarly, in his work Missing Measures, the critic Timothy Steele demonstrates how the early moderns confounded their distaste with the Victorians’ metrics with a distaste for metrical form as such. The notion that the artist can ever get outside of his art must always involve him in such hopeless contradictions. So what is required of the poet in these brutal times is just what has been required of any of his predecessors: the pursuit of excellence in style and craft.

This is a general prescription; in specificity, such a return to art would include a study of the great English prose stylists—from Bacon to Sir Thomas Browne to Burke—without which no familiarity with the range of artistic effects in our language is possible; it would include a return to the more dynamic meters, in particular the anapest, which enable the poet to raise his language above the quotidian with the least violence to syntax; and above all things, it would include a revival of the ancient art of rhetoric, the art of creating impressions linguistically. These are some of the specific remedies that are in order, but more generally if those among us who have appropriated the title of poet knew anything of the art to which they make pretense, their goals would be diametrically opposite to the ones which presently direct their enterprise.

Originally published in The University Bookman.

Posted on 05/09/2011 1:41 PM by Mark Anthony Signorelli
Monday, 9 May 2011
Can't The American Government Force War Profiteer Peter Galbraith To Disgorge What He Arranged For Himself While In Iraq?

See, for background, John And Kitty Would Not Be Very Proud.

 

From Reuters:

DNO: Iraq spat with ex-U.S. diplomat costs up to $92 mln

Apr 30, 2011
by Walter Gibbs

OSLO, April 30 (Reuters) - Norwegian oil company DNO (DNO.OL: Quote) said it had resolved a long dispute over former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith's middle-man role in a 2004 Iraqi oil deal by paying damages and legal costs as high as $92 million.

That compares to the $55 to $75 million in damages DNO estimated last October it would have to pay Galbraith and a Yemeni firm in an arbitration over money from an oil field in Iraqi Kurdistan that the former diplomat helped line up for DNO.

The company did not name the recipients in a note appended to its 2010 annual report disclosing that the high-profile case was finally settled.

It identified them last October, however, when it made the preliminary payout estimate.

"Peter Galbraith and the company owned by the family of (Yemeni businessman) Shaher Abdulhak are the claimants here," DNO chief executive Helge Eide said then.

Asked on Saturday if any of the claimants had changed, DNO spokesman Tom Bratlie said, "No, it's the same claimants."

Galbraith, a former U.S. Senate staffer who championed Kurdish rights and later held U.S. and United Nations diplomatic posts, has denied a conflict of interest, saying he was a private citizen when he helped DNO gain Kurdish oil licenses.

Last November Galbraith, a son of renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, was elected to the Vermont State Senate. He could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

In its annual report released on Friday DNO said it had set aside about $65 million in 2010 to cover liability and legal costs in the case and an additional $27 million in 2009.

"The arbitration case has now been settled outside of the arbitration process, with no additional material effect to the financial statements for 2010 or future accounts," it said.

Bratlie declined to discuss the dispute beyond saying it dated back several years to when the Kurdish regional government barred "third parties" from continuing to own stakes in DNO licenses obtained after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.

One such regional license -- which Iraq's central government seeks to revise -- covers the Tawke field, where DNO now produces about 50,000 barrels of crude a day.

Bratlie said the arbitration winners have now been paid their damages. He said settlement terms kept him from specifying how much each got or what share of the total went to lawyers.

Posted on 05/09/2011 5:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 9 May 2011
Pakistani PM, After Tens Of Billions In American Aid Of All Kinds: "We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend"

Pak-China friendship anchor of peace, stability: Gilani

* PM says relationship between countries unique example of abiding friendship, mutual respect based on immeasurable trust

ISLAMABAD: The friendship between Pakistan and China is an anchor of peace and stability and both countries will further strengthen their relations to promote regional prosperity, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Sunday.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Pak-China diplomatic relations at the Pakistan-China Friendship Centre, he said that a sincere friendship and deep affection marked the relationship between the people of the two countries.

We are proud to have China as our best and most trusted friend, and China will always find Pakistan standing by its side at all times,” Gilani added.

The prime minister said that the relationship between Pakistan and China was a unique example of abiding friendship, immense mutual respect and close partnership based on immeasurable trust.

When we speak of this friendship as being taller than the Himalayas and deeper than the oceans it truly captures the essence of our relationship,” he said.

Prime Minister Gilani said that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit last year was a demonstration of the unique relationship. “The visit further strengthened the existing cooperation between the two countries.”


He expressed confidence that the relationship between the two countries would strengthen in the days to come.

“President Asif Ali Zardari has visited China six times, and each visit has been beneficial and rewarding in one way or the other,” he said. “I am eagerly looking forward to my forthcoming visit to China later this month. We have and continue to greatly benefit from the support of the Chinese leadership. China’s unique development experience is a model for developing countries like ours to learn from,” Gilani added.

The prime minister said that China’s success in various fields was a matter of great pride for the people and the government of Pakistan. “Today China is the world’s second largest economy. It has achieved this success through hard work, ingenuity, and above all through the wisdom and vision of its leadership,” he said.

Gilani said that Pakistan was fortunate to learn from the experience of a successful friend and a great neighbour. “We are grateful to China for its commitment to share its development experience with us,” he added.

Gilani said successive generations of leaders in Pakistan and China had nurtured the Pak-China relationship with a common vision.

He recalled that Premier Zhou En Lai had once said, “Our relationship began with the advent of mankind”.

The experience of our friendship in the last 60 years is a proof to this statement. The Silk Route of yester years has been replaced by the Karakoram Highway, which was built with the joint efforts and sacrifices of our people. It stands out as a testimony of our commitment to stand by each other,” Gilani said. app

Posted on 05/09/2011 5:01 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 9 May 2011
A Musical Interlude: That's What I Like About You (Boswell Sisters)

Listen here.

Posted on 05/09/2011 7:48 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 9 May 2011
Obama Administration Was Ready To Repel Any Pakistanis Who Might Get In The Way

From The New York Times:

U.S. Braced for Fights With Pakistanis in Bin Laden Raid

This article is by Eric Schmitt, Thom Shanker and David E. Sanger.

WASHINGTON — President Obama insisted that the assault force hunting down Osama bin Laden last week be large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops, senior administration and military officials said Monday.

In revealing additional details about planning for the mission, senior officials also said that two teams of specialists were on standby: One to bury Bin Laden if he was killed, and a second composed of lawyers, interrogators and translators in case he was captured alive. That team was set to meet aboard a Navy ship, mostly likely the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea.

Mr. Obama’s decision to increase the size of the force sent into Pakistan shows that he was willing to risk a military confrontation with a close ally in order to capture or kill the leader of Al Qaeda.

Such a fight would have set off an even larger breach with the Pakistanis than has taken place since officials in Islamabad learned that helicopters filled with members of a Navy Seals team had flown undetected into one of their cities, and burst into a compound where Bin Laden was hiding.

One senior Obama administration official, pressed on the rules of engagement for one of the riskiest clandestine operations attempted by the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command in many years, said: “Their instructions were to avoid any confrontation if at all possible. But if they had to return fire to get out, they were authorized to do it.”

The planning also illustrates how little the administration trusted the Pakistanis as they set up their operation. They also rejected a proposal to bring the Pakistanis in on the mission.

Under the original plan, two assault helicopters were going to stay on the Afghanistan side of the border waiting for a call if they were needed. But the aircraft would have been about 90 minutes away from the Bin Laden compound.

About 10 days before the raid, Mr. Obama reviewed the plans and pressed his commanders as to whether they were bringing along enough forces to fight their way out if the Pakistanis arrived on the scene and attempted to interfere with the operation.

That resulted in the decision to send two more helicopters carrying additional troops. These followed the two lead Black Hawk helicopters that carried the actual assault team. While there was no confrontation with the Pakistanis, one of those backup helicopters was ultimately brought in to the scene of the raid when a Black Hawk was damaged while making a hard landing

Some people may have assumed we could talk our way out a jam, but given our difficult relationship with Pakistan right now, the president did not want to leave anything to chance,” said one senior administration official, who like others would not be quoted by name describing details of the secret mission. “He wanted extra forces if they were necessary.”

With tensions between the United States and Pakistan escalating since the raid, American officials on Monday sought to tamp down the divisions and pointed to some encouraging developments.

A United States official said that American investigators will soon be allowed to interview Bin Laden’s three widows now being held by Pakistani authorities, a demand that Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, made on television talk shows on Sunday.

American officials say the widows, as well as a review of the trove of documents and other data the Seals team collected from the raid, could reveal important details, not only about Bin Laden’s life and activities since fleeing into Pakistan from Afghanistan in 2001, but also information about Qaeda plots, personnel and planning.

“We believe that it is very important to maintain the cooperative relationship with Pakistan precisely because it’s in our national security interest to do so,” said the White House spokesman, Jay Carney.

In an effort to help mend the latest rupture in relations, the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, will meet soon with his counterpart, Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or I.S.I., “to discuss the way forward in the common fight against Al Qaeda,” an American official said.

On Sunday, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the Pakistani Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. “Mullen just wanted to check in with him,” said a senior military official. “The conversation was civil, but sober, given the pressure that the general is under right now.”

In describing the mission, the officials said that American surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft were watching and listening to how Pakistan’s police forces and military responded to the raid. That determined how long the commandos could safely remain on the ground going through the compound collecting computer hard drives, thumb drives and documents.

American forces were under strict orders to avoid engaging with any Pakistani forces that responded to the commotion at the Bin Laden compound, senior administration officials said.

If a confrontation appeared imminent, there were contingency plans for senior American officials, including Admiral Mullen, to call their Pakistani counterparts to avert an armed clash.

But when he reviewed the plans, Mr. Obama voiced concern that this was not enough to protect the troops on the mission, administration officials said.

In planning for the possible capture of Bin Laden, officials decided they would bring him aboard a Navy ship to preclude battles over jurisdiction.

The plan, officials said, was to do an initial interrogation for any information that might prevent a pending attack or identify the location of other Qaeda leaders.

“There was a heck of a lot of planning that went into this for almost any and all contingencies, including capture,” one senior administration official said.

In the end, the team organized to handle his death was called into duty. They did a quick forensics study of the body, washed it, and buried it at sea.

But the officials acknowledged that the mission always was weighted toward killing, given the possibility that Bin Laden would be armed or wearing an explosive vest.

Posted on 05/09/2011 8:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 9 May 2011
Gilani Threatens U.S. With "Retaliation" If It Happens Again

From The Washington Times:

Pakistan leader decries unilateral operations

Tensions with U.S. exacerbated by bin Laden raid

By Kara Rowland

Pakistan's prime minister said Monday his nation "reserves the right to retaliate" if the U.S. attempts another raid like last week's attack on Osama bin Laden's compound, even as the White House said it won't apologize for killing the terrorist leader on Pakistani soil.

In a speech to the nation's parliament, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also described accusations that members of the Pakistani government helped conceal the al Qaeda founder's hide-out in a military town as "absurd." Instead, Mr. Gilani said the fact bin Laden was hiding in plain sight for at least five years was the result of an intelligence failure on the part of both governments.

Still, he praised the killing of bin Laden as just - even as the U.S. kept Pakistani officials completely in the dark about the daring Navy SEAL operation in Abbottabad.

"It is disingenuous for anyone to blame Pakistan or state institutions of Pakistan, including the [state intelligence agency] and the armed forces, for being in cahoots with al Qaeda," Mr. Gilani told lawmakers in Islamabad. "Elimination of Osama bin Laden, who launched waves after waves of terrorists attacks against innocent Pakistanis, is indeed justice done."

He issued a stark warning against future unilateral operations, which he said would risk "serious consequences."

"Pakistan reserves the right to retaliate with full force," Mr. Gilani said. "No one should underestimate the resolve and capability of our nation and armed forces to defend our sacred homeland."

Tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan have been exacerbated by the May 1 SEALs raid, with American officials raising questions about possible complicity on the part of the Pakistani government, and the Pakistanis in turn criticizing the covert operation as a violation of sovereignty. The U.S. has said it did not give the Pakistani government a heads-up about the raid for fear of a leak.

Both countries are conducting investigations into what kind of support system bin Laden had in Pakistan. Thus far, Mr. Gilani's government has refused to grant the U.S. access to bin Laden's wives and others who were apprehended at the compound.

Many lawmakers have called on President Obama to cut off foreign aid to Pakistan, but the situation is complicated by the reality that Pakistan remains a critical link in the supply chain for U.S. forces fighting in neighboring Afghanistan. [there are other ways to supply troops in Afghanistan, and the best solution is to get out of Afghanistan] Pakistan also possess nuclear weapons that many experts say need to be better secured - especially given the nation's political volatility and ongoing feud with neighboring India. [they won't be better secured if we keep giving Pakistan more money which has allowed it, in the last several years, to double the size of its nuclear arsenal]

On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted the U.S.-Pakistani relationship remains solid - albeit complicated.

"This relationship is too important to walk away from," he told reporters. "But we also do not apologize for the actions that we took, that this president took. Our cooperation has been highly productive in the past, even when it hasn't been the result of agreement on every issue."

Mr. Gilani's comments undoubtedly escalated what has become an increasingly public rift, and one that widened further when a private Pakistani TV network published what it claimed to be the name of the CIA's current station chief in Islamabad. The Associated Press later reported the name was misspelled, but the leak was seen nonetheless as retaliation against the U.S. government.

Asked about the possible outing of the CIA chief, Mr. Carney refused to comment.

In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News' "60 Minutes" program, Mr. Obama said he doesn't yet know "who or what that support network was" for bin Laden in Pakistan, but the U.S. is determined to find out.

"These are questions that we're not going to be able to answer three or four days after the event," he said. "It's going to take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site."

Posted on 05/09/2011 8:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 9 May 2011
Pakistan suspected of retaliating after US raid

Good friend and strong ally alert.  By Sebastian Abbot for AP:

ISLAMABAD – Suspicion rose Monday that Pakistan's intelligence service leaked the name of the CIA chief in Islamabad to local media in anger over the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — the second outing of an American covert operative here in six months.

Well, third, counting the CIA operative who was arrested and held for the crime of defending himself from two robbers or jihadis.

The U.S. said it has no plans to pull the spy chief, but the incident is likely to exacerbate an already troubled relationship between the two countries a week after Navy SEALs in helicopters swooped down on bin Laden's compound without first telling the Pakistanis. The CIA and Pakistan's spy agency have long viewed each other with suspicion, which the death of the terror leader has laid bare.

[...]

U.S. officials have said they didn't tell Pakistanis in advance because they were worried someone might tip off bin Laden. American forces also used helicopters with radar-evading technology so the Pakistanis couldn't track them.

[...]

U.S. officials have said they see no evidence that anyone in the upper echelons of Pakistan's military and intelligence establishment was complicit in hiding bin Laden in Abbottabad, an army town only 35 miles from the capital. But suspicions remain, and members of Congress have threatened to cut off U.S. aid if evidence is found.

President Barack Obama said the U.S. believes bin Laden must have had a support network inside Pakistan.

"But we don't know who or what that support network was," Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes." "We don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that's something that we have to investigate, and more importantly, the Pakistani government has to investigate."

[...]

Civilian and military leaders must placate a domestic population that is upset at the U.S. for violating the country's sovereignty and outraged at the country's army and intelligence agency for allowing it to happen. But they must also worry about preserving their relationship with the U.S., which provides billions of dollars in military and civilian aid for cooperation on the war in Afghanistan.

"Gilani's statement and the leak of the name of the name of the supposed CIA station chief appear to be in keeping with Islamabad's need to maintain relations with the United States [i.e. keep the inflow of money coming] and at the same time try and counter growing U.S. pressure [i.e. counter the counter-jihad] in the wake of the Osama bin Laden killing," said Kamran Bokhari, an analyst with STRATFOR, a private security think tank in Austin, Texas.

Even before the discovery of bin Laden, many U.S. officials accused Pakistan of playing a double game by taking American aid, promising its support and then failing to target key Islamist militants wanted by the U.S., including Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar.

But the U.S. is in a difficult position because it is reliant on Pakistan's help [no, it is not] to go after Taliban militants on its territory and ships a large percentage of its non-lethal goods to its forces in Afghanistan through the country. Pakistan also allows the CIA drones to carry out missile strikes on militant targets in the border regions. [They allow them, while publicly demanding an end to them.]  Pushing Pakistan too hard could jeopardize the relationship with the critical, if fickle, ally.

On Friday, the private TV channel ARY broadcast what it said was the current CIA station chief's name. The Nation, a right-wing newspaper, picked up the story Saturday.

Although the name was misspelled, the publication of any alleged identity of the U.S. spy agency's top official in this country could be push-back from Pakistan's powerful military and spy agency in retaliation for the American raid.

The Associated Press is not publishing the station chief's name because he is undercover and his identity is classified. A spokesman for Pakistani intelligence declined to comment.

ARY's news director, Mazhar Abbas, said the television station's reporter gleaned the name from a source. He defended the broadcast, saying it was "based on fact" and rejected suggestions the name was leaked to the television channel by an official with a motive.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of discussing CIA personnel issues, told the AP that there are no plans to remove the station chief from Pakistan.

Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief with responsibility for Pakistan's militant-populated tribal areas, said very few people know the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad. But he said that releasing it would not necessarily jeopardize the American's safety.

"Normally people in intelligence have cover names," Munir said. "Only if there is a photograph to identify him could it put his life in danger."

In December, the CIA pulled its then-station chief out of Pakistan after a name alleged to be his surfaced in public and his safety was deemed at risk. That name hit the local presses after it was mentioned by a lawyer who planned a lawsuit on behalf of victims of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal belt.

Suspicions have lingered that that outing was orchestrated by Pakistan's spy agency to avenge an American lawsuit that named its chief over the 2008 terror attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai. The Pakistani agency denied leaking the CIA operative's name.

The ISI was also (indirectly, at least) responsible for the Camp Chapman bombing in 2009 that killed 7 CIA agents and two others.

There must be analysts within the CIA who notice the pattern of behavior in Pakistan, and who can discern where their loyalty and interests truly lie.

Posted on 05/09/2011 9:31 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
Monday, 9 May 2011
Sixth anniversary of attempted grenade attack on President George W. Bush

From Wikipedia:

Vladimir Arutyunian (born March 12, 1978, Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, USSR) is an ethnic Armenian born in Georgia known for his 10 May 2005 attempt to assassinate United States President George W. Bush and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili which failed when the hand grenade he threw at the two failed to detonate. He was later arrested and sentenced to life in prison.

Assassination attempt

On 10 May 2005, Arutyunian stood for hours in the hot sun wearing a heavy leather coat and muttering and cursing to himself as he waited for United States President George W. Bush and Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili to speak. When President Bush began speaking, he threw a Soviet-made RGD-5 hand grenade, wrapped in a red tartan (plaid) handkerchief, toward the podium where President Bush stood as he addressed a crowd in Freedom Square in downtown Tbilisi. The grenade landed 18.6 metres (61 ft) from the podium, near which Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, his wife Sandra E. Roelofs, Laura Bush, and other officials were seated.

The grenade failed to detonate. Although original reports indicated that the grenade was not live, it was later revealed that it was. After Arutyunian threw the grenade, it hit a girl, cushioning its impact and preventing it from detonating. Furthermore, the red handkerchief was wrapped around the grenade, preventing detonation. A Georgian security officer quickly removed the grenade, and Arutyunian disappeared.

[...]

Arrest

Acting on a tip from a hotline, police raided Arutyunian's home where he lived alone with his mother on 20 July 2005. During an ensuing gunfight, Arutyunian killed the head of the Interior Ministry's counterintelligence department, Zurab Kvlividze. He then fled into the woods in the village of Vashlijvari on the outskirts of Tbilisi. After being wounded in the leg, he was captured by Georgian Special Forces.

Photos of Arutyunian in prison show him as a man with a long beard and moustache.  His lawyer, Gela Nikolaishvili, is quoted by Russian media as saying, “During his time in the prison, he [Arutyunian] changed religion by converting to Islam, grew beard and learnt the Arabic language.”  I wonder if the release of that information might have been postponed until after the trial was complete.  Regardless of when his conversion occurred, note the attraction that Islam holds for the homicidal maniacs of the world.  Hare Krishna may attract young, lost, idealistic pacifists, but Islam has dibs on the bombers, shooters, and stabbers. 

Posted on 05/09/2011 10:03 PM by Artemis Gordon Glidden

Most Recent Posts at The Iconoclast
Search The Iconoclast
Enter text, Go to search:
The Iconoclast Posts by Author
The Iconoclast Archives
sun mon tue wed thu fri sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31     

Subscribe
Via: email  RSS