Is the North Korean Satellite Launch a Game Changer?
Airbus Defense & Space and 38 North satellite imagery 2-4-16 Sohae Satellite Launch Station 2-5-16
North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Sunday carrying what it called an observational satellite. However, its neighbors and Washington denounced the satellite launch as a violation of previous accords conducted in defiance of U.N. sanctions and just weeks after a nuclear bomb test. But was the test a game changer in terms of missile technology and development of a possible nuclear warhead capability or merely the lofting into orbit of a satellite for observational, communications or other purposes. The answers, as usual, may be murky as regards what the Hermit Kingdom is up to in such dramatic demonstrations. Is it to buy bargaining leverage in negotiations with both South Korea and the Obama Administration, or is it something more concerning, perfecting an ICBM reaching US territory. We noted in an April 2015 NER/Iconoclastpost on North Korean ICBM developments the comments of Admiral Bill Gortney of the Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) at an April 7, 2015 Pentagon News Conference:
At the news conference, Adm. Gortney flatly stated, Pyongyang has “the ability to put a nuclear weapon on a KN-08 and shoot it at the homeland [the continental United States].” He expressed confidence that the U.S. could knock down such a missile if launched by North Korea or its ally, Iran.
He also admitted, however, that it is “very difficult” for the U.S. to counter the threat, because its intelligence is unable to follow the mobile ICBMs and give an efficient warning before they are launched.
U.S. Pacific Command said it had Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense batteries and the Sea-Based X-Band Radar in the region, which would work with Japanese and South Korean militaries to detect the launch.
The U.S. Strategic Command said it had detected a missile entering space and South Korea's military said the rocket had put an object into orbit, quashing earlier media reports indicating the rocket might have failed in flight.
"Everything we have seen is consistent with a successful repeat of the 2012 (launch)," said U.S. missile technology expert John Schilling, referring to a previous launch of what the North said was a communications satellite.
"But it's still too early to tell for sure," said Schilling, who is involved in the "38 North" monitoring project at Johns Hopkins University.
The rocket was launched at around 9:30am Seoul time (7.30 p.m. ET/0030 GMT) in a southward trajectory. Japan's Fuji Television Network showed a streak of light heading into the sky, taken from a camera at China's border with North Korea.
North Korea, which last month exploded a nuclear device, had notified U.N. agencies that it planned to launch a rocket carrying an Earth observation satellite, triggering opposition from governments that see it as a long-range missile test.
North Korean state television said it planned a "special announcement" at noon local time (0330 GMT).
The U.N. Security Council was likely to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the launch, at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea, diplomats said.
The United States was tracking the rocket launch and said it did not believe that it posed a threat to the United States or its allies, defense officials said.
The United States will work with the U.N. Security Council on "significant measures" to hold North Korea to account for its launch, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Calling the launch a flagrant violation of U.N. resolutions on the country's use of ballistic missile technology, Kerry reaffirmed the "ironclad" U.S. defense commitments to allies Japan and South Korea and called the launch a destabilizing and unacceptable challenge to peace and security.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye called the launch an unforgivable act of provocation.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the launch "absolutely unacceptable", especially after North Korea had tested a nuclear device last month.
"To launch a missile after conducting a nuclear test goes against the U.N. resolution. We will respond resolutely, coordinating closely with the international community," he told reporters.
Japan had said that it was ready to shoot down the rocket if it threatened the country, but did not take any action to do so, Japan's NHK reported."
The AP reported on the implications and consequences of the latest North Korean satellite launched by the multi-stage Unha-3 or space launch vehicle (SLV) :
After several repeated failures, North Korea successfully put a satellite into orbit aboard its three-stage Unha-3 rocket in December 2012. The North's space agency said Sunday it successfully put a new Earth observation satellite, the Kwangmyongsong 4, or Shining Star 4, into orbit less than 10 minutes after liftoff, and vowed more such launches. The United States and South Korea are still analyzing the launch.
South Korean defense officials say that a North Korean missile developed earlier than the Unha-3 rocket of 2012 has an estimated potential range of up to 10,000 kilometers (6,210 miles), which puts Hawaii and the northwest coast of the U.S. mainland within reach.
But critics say the North still has some technical barriers to surmount to achieve reliable nuclear weapons that can attack faraway targets. Among the important tasks facing North Korean scientists are thought to be building up a larger rocket that can fly farther and carry a heavier satellite or payload. This would be necessary if the North is going to develop a missile that can reach the entire U.S. mainland and be loaded with a warhead, which is several times heavier than the satellite the country launched in 2012.
The Unha-3 rocket from 2012 was about 30 meters (98 feet) tall and carried the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite, which weighed about 100 kilograms (220 pounds). The size of the satellite and rocket used in Sunday's launch wasn't immediately known.
Outside analysts say the successful flight of a rocket loaded with a satellite weighing about 1 ton (2,200 pounds) would mean the North likely could develop a nuclear-armed long-range missile.
The North has been upgrading its Sohae launch pad since its 2012 launch. Satellite imagery showed the country completed an expansion of its launch tower there in late 2014 to accommodate larger rockets."
It's almost certain that the North will be slapped with fresh U.N. sanctions for the launch.
But critics are skeptical over whether any new sanctions can stop North Korea from abandoning its nuclear and rocket programs because China, North's last major ally and biggest aid benefactor and a veto-wielding power in the U.N. Security Council, is unwilling to cooperate on any harsh punishment on the North.
Beijing fears too much pressure on the North could cause it to collapse, pushing swarms of refugees over the countries' border and establishing a unified Korea that hosts American troops on its doorstep.
The launch gives Kim, the North's young leader, a chance to burnish his image domestically ahead of a landmark ruling Workers' Party convention in May.
Because the North claims the launch as a success, it may think it has increased leverage in diplomatic negotiations and eventually propose talks with the United States and South Korea to try to win concessions, said professor Koh Yu-hwan at Seoul's Dongguk University."
There are several significant aspects of Sunday's satellite launch by a multistage space launch vehicle (SLV) the Unha -3.
First, The Unha-3 SLV, according to NK. news.org uses a liquid fuel booster stage which is vulnerable during launch. Further, it argues solid fuel ICBMs reduce the launch vulnerability exposure as they require minimal time for launch. Note this comment from John Schilling at 38N in Washington, DC: ‘North Korea would find it difficult to build an operational ICBM founded on the Unha-3 technology.” John Schilling, in 38 North, concludes that “The Unha-3, by comparison (to the KN-08 missile], looks like it was designed to launch satellites rather than warheads.”
Second ,this was the second successful launch of a multi stage vehicle; i.e., first stage liquid fuel booster and second and third solid fuel stages. That means that the North Korean have demonstrated the capability of potentially developing an ICBM and the domestic means of making solid propellant.
Third, couple this satellite launch with the January 6th nuclear test that some experts consider a boosted fission warhead, as former Reagan era defense official Dr. Stephen Bryen inferred in our NER January 2016 article.
Fourth, the fact that the trajectory of launch was in a southward direction, meaning a polar orbit, makes it problematic for the US Missile Defense Command as we have limited over the horizon radar detection capabilities and may lack anti- missile installations to detect and destroy objects on the Gulf of Mexico approaches .
Some experts like Ambassador. Hank Cooper, former Reagan era SDI development chief and Dr. Peter Pry of the Congressional EMP Commission believe that ultimately if North Korea could develop a low yield warhead it might be capable of detonating and causing an Electronic Magnetic Pulse (EMP) effect which could be devastating to the US. Cooper and ex-CIA Director Woolsey, also contend that if North Korea had a Fractal Orbiting Bomb System or FOBS with a nuke in a satellite that might be used to trigger an EMP. Other experts believe that North Korea doesn't presently have that technology, but is conducting both nuclear and missile tests to acquire data for further development and simulations.
Nonetheless, we reported in a November 2015 NER/Iconoclast post, Cooper urging the US BMD command to position Aegis BMD batteries in strategic locations on the US Gulf of Mexico Coast to deter possible FOBS threat from a southward polar orbit, as well as, from both ship and land based launched missile threats from rumored Iranian missile bases allegedly under construction in the Paraguana Peninsula of Venezuela. He reiterated those concerns in a February 2, 2016 High Frontier alert concerning this current North Korean satellite launch. There has been no confirmation of the alleged Iranian missile base in Venezeuela by either the US BMD or Southern Commands. The ship borne threats in the Gulf of Mexico are more concerning. Iran has tested the ship borne scenario as long ago as 2008 in the Caspian Sea and may have acquired the Russian Klub-Series of anti-ship and cruise missiles in a ship container technology. Russian cruise missile technology was displayed in strikes on Syrian targets from vessels nearly 900 miles distant in the Caspian Sea.
So why is North Korea continuing to scare its neighbors South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the US, by violating both nuclear development and missile testing UN Sanctions? The answer, according to Dr. Bryen may be that to wants to have prestige and negotiating leverage from having achieved SLV satellite launches, nuclear weapons testing and possible missile technologies breakthroughs. More likely he says North Korea is in the arms business and wants to sell the data and technology to customers. A prominent customer he suggests may be Iran. North Korea has allegedly sold solid fuel missiles, notably BM25's to Iran for placement in underground silos. The BM25 Mustang has a range of 3,500 kames (approximately 2,180) capable of covering targets in Europe. Iran is also interested in North Korea large booster rocket development.
While disquieting as Sunday's North Korea satellite test may be the reality is US Ballistic Missile Shield now has to confront the reality that the Hermit State may have the capability to build, deploy and launch ICBMs like the mobile KN-08 under development with the range to reach the US. At issue is how long it will take North Korea to perfect nuclear warhead technology to fit their ICBMs to sell to rogue customers like Iran. With this weekend's satellite launch and an object in a polar orbit, perhaps it is sending back imagery and GPS information back to Pyongyang for those purposes. Stay tuned for further developments.
BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom – Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) held their fist official UK event today. Around three hundred people walked, in complete silence through the beating rain, without a single confrontation, altercation or arrest.
The event was advertised as happening in Birmingham, but actually took place in neighbouring Solihull, around six miles from the city centre. It kicked off near Birmingham International railway station at 1pm, before moving on to the demo point at Starley Way.
Same EDL, same racists, less booze” touted the Midlands Anti-Fascist Network on their posters for the counter-demo. However, the isolated position and rigorous planning appeared to work, and the event felt far away from the heated days of the EDL and more like the picture we’ve seen of family-friendly PEGIDA events in Germany.
The ‘Birmingham Unites’ official counter event, organised by Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism, met in Victoria Square, in the city centre.
It was supported by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), LGBT+ Against Islamophobia, Unison union, Momentum (Jeremy Corbyn’s group in Labour), and the Birmingham Central Mosque – who are currently facing serious allegations of sexism.
Ex-Respect party leader and hard left activist and anti-racism campaigner Salma Yaqoob stated: “Birmingham is a diverse and multicultural city and we are proud of this. We stand against PEGIDA and their racist, Islamophobic and fascist views. Only twenty years ago, we had a genocide of Muslims in Europe, which began with a campaign of dehumanising the Islamic community through propaganda and hate. Today, PEGIDA and other far-right groups are attempting to bring division to our city but we shall stand united. In contrast to the hate propaganda of PEGIDA, we shall be celebrating the richness and strength in our unity through music, food, and speeches..."
Pegida Ireland’s inaugural demonstration, outside the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare, was planned for today. There is little to be found in the way of dissenting Irish opinion toward the recent Muslim migrations into Europe, where a large highly vocal set frequently march in various cities in support of Islamic causes, with many demonstrations in recent months favouring Muslim migration, and indeed a large anti-Pegida protest gathered on the same street an hour and a half before the planned Pegida event, which appears to have prevented the later rally from going ahead. Suspected Pegida supporters were subjected to sustained attempts of assault by a segment of the pro-Islam protest.
These full-blooded attacks appear to have been to some extent planned, given the large number of anti-Pegida rioters involved at several locations. Jim O’Connell, one of the protest attendees (a leading member of the People Before Profit party), stated before the demonstration that Pegida’s Irish presence must be “stamped out”. Subsequently Michael O’Brien, of a related leftist group (Anti-Austerity Alliance) said the protesters had come out to prevent Pegida establishing itself. Little wonder then that a significant number of protesters thought that bystanders are fair game for assault.
Predictably RTE, Ireland’s public service broadcaster, white-washed the incident. The news-slot (on the broadcaster’s ‘6.1 News’ and Nine News shows) only featured video of anti-Pegida protesters and their messages, which is an oddity given that there have been very many demonstrations in recent months favouring Muslim migration, a phenomenon not exclusive to Dublin either! It may be assumed that the newsroom editors did not wish to display messages that may be offensive to some sensibilities.
The opening headlines to the show initially described the riot as a clash between protesters: “And chaotic scenes at anti-Islam rally in Dublin City Centre as scuffles break out between rival protesters”, whilst placing greater importance on the opinions of the Arch-Bishop of Dublin concerning a gangland murder the day previously, at the beginning and very end of the news broadcast.
Only latterly would the viewer find out that the violent incident was as a result of one party wilfully attacking the other. In the introduction to the 6.1 News segment, the presenter states: “There were chaotic scenes in Dublin City Centre this afternoon as the far-right group Pegida attempted to hold a rally on O’Connell Street. Clashes involving Gardai [Irish police] broke out after opponents of the anti-Islamic group pursued men they believed to be members of Pegida”.
RTE’s ‘News Now’ channel described the incident as a clash between Gardai and anti-Pegida protestors. Such descriptions mischaracterise the nature of the riot and its intent. Efforts to conceal could well have been intentional due to the RTE’s longstanding pro-Migrant stance. RTE also failed to identify the groupings forming the anti-Pegida coalition. They constitute newly resurgent leftist groups (Socialist Workers Party/Anti-Austerity Alliance/People Before Profit), which supported prior riots in Dublin. Notably, the protest was replete with Palestinian flags and keffiyeh, and indeed anti-Israel demagogue Ronit Lentin is a leading figure involved with the organisation of the anti-Pegida protest.
Perhaps the first anti-Islamist protest occurred in Ireland last year, outside a Dublin Mosque noted for having links with the Muslim Brotherhood. A small group called "Anti-Islam Ireland" was intimidated by a much larger group of pro-migrant/Islam protesters. They were pressured to abandon their protest, and obtained police escort when leaving the site.
It seems an irony that the protesters, so ready to attack those they disagree with, are the same people who claim their opponents are intolerant Islamophobes. They are largely of the same grouping as those who have routinely behaved in an intimidating and violent fashion during the recent water charge protests, most notably perhaps when effectively imprisoning the deputy prime minister (Tanaiste), but cry foul when they are brought to book, claiming their civil rights are being curtailed! Heretofore, violent protest was a relatively uncommon phenomenon in the Republic of Ireland.
Whether one agrees with the credo of Pegida or not, and/or has well-founded reservations about the character of its leadership, such violent intolerance, especially to peripheral viewpoints, marks a grave attempt to curtail a basic civil right, as well as silence debate and discussion, on a substantive issue confronting all Europeans.
Almost every day pundits inform us about the voting intentions and habits of various groups in elections in the United States. Almost by decimal points they have identified the intentions of blacks, Jews, evangelicals, Presbyterians, seniors, gays, and others. Now, a new survey in January 2016 by the Pew Research Center has informed about the electoral intentions of Muslims in the U.S. as well as about attitudes by Americans towards Muslims.
The Pew survey, by chance, provides a useful opportunity to comment on the assertions made on February 3, 2016 by President Barack Obama in his first visit to a mosque in the United States. In his speech at the 47 year-old Islamic Society of Baltimore Mosque, the President after praising Muslim achievements in various activities in American life, exhorted his immediate audience but in essence the American people as a whole to do the right thing, and endorse religious pluralism.
Without mentioning the names of any current presidential candidates, and really referring only to their remarks about Muslims, Obama declared “We have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion.” No one can object to this as a general, non-political prescription pertinent to all religious faiths and beliefs, nor to Obama’s admonition to condemn hateful inexcusable rhetoric and not be bystanders to bigotry.
Yet, even if Obama did not seem to imply that Islam is immune from criticism, or that Islamic extremists have little to do with violence and terrorism, he might have clarified the difference between objective appraisal and criticism of certain aspects of Islam and what has been termed “Islamophobia.”
This distinction is important in view of the findings of the Pew survey that shows a division in the American public on attitudes, whether caution or bluntness, about Islam and Muslim behavior. Half of Americans think the next president should be careful not to criticize Islam as a whole when speaking of Islamic extremists, while 40 per cent think the president should speak bluntly about Islamic extremists even if the statements are critical of Islam as a whole.
The two main political parties, as well as various American groups and segments of the population, differ on the issue. Blunt talk about Muslims is preferred by two-thirds of Republican, by those who lean toward the Republican Party, and by 70 per cent of conservatives, while 70 per cent of Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic, and 80 per cent of liberals, say the next president should speak carefully. Among the American population, black Protestants, secular individuals, post-graduates, and those under 30, believe the president should be careful. About 60 per cent of white evangelicals call for bluntness, and Catholics and mainline Protestants are evenly divided.
In his Baltimore speech, Obama assured his Muslim audience “You fit in here (America). Right here,” and declared that only a small fraction of Muslims are propagating a perverted form of Islam. The figures, that can support or disapprove his argument, show that 77 Muslims have been charged in the U.S. with links to terrorist groups and 22 have been convicted.
The Pew study shows that the opinion of many Americans on whether Muslims are indeed part of the American fabric differs from that of Obama. About half of the public believes that at least “some” U.S. Muslims are anti-American, including 14 per cent who think that about half the U.S. Muslim population is anti-American. There is a partisan division on these issues. More than half of Democrats think that “just a few” U.S. Muslims are anti-American, while a third of Republicans think that at least half of Muslims are anti-American.
An earlier Pew study in December 2015 found that 46 per cent of Americans think that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence, and a similar number is “very concerned” about the rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S. About 14 per cent think that some religious teachings encourage violence, and that Islam in particular does this. This perception differs sharply from Obama’s declaration that “in this (Baltimore) mosque and across the country and around the world Muslim leaders are roundly and repeatedly and consistently condemning terrorism.”
In view of these perceptions it is not surprising to learn, in a survey of 2,000 registered Muslim voters in six large states, of the intentions of the 73 per cent of Muslims who say they plan to vote in the current 2016 presidential primaries. In the 2012 election more than 75 per cent of Muslims voted for Obama. In 2016, about 67 per cent plan to vote Democratic, 15 per cent to vote Republican, 2 per cent Liberal, and 5 per cent for other groups.
In general Muslims have indicated their present personal preferences though these may change: 52 per cent for Hillary Clinton, 22 per cent for Bernie Saunders, 7 per cent for Donald Trump (because of his business background and his properties in Middle East countries), and 2 per cent for Ted Cruz.
This preference for Democrats may relate to the fact that, after Islamist massacres in Paris and elsewhere, Democratic politicians including President Obama, with rare exceptions do not refer to the events as the actions of “Islamist terrorists,” but blandly as “violent extremism.” It neglects the reality that, as Ayaan Hirst Ali has remarked, the U.S. has “to engage with the ideology of Islamist extremism.”
Another finding of the survey is the great difference between Muslims and the rest of the U.S. population on what they consider the most important issues. Among Muslims they rank as follows: Islamophobia 30 per cent, the economy 24 per cent, health care 14 per cent, and foreign policy 6 per cent. This priority, so different from the agenda in the presidential primary debates, in which foreign policy has been prominent, is understandable in view of the Muslim disquiet about some political rhetorical excesses that candidates have made about Muslims. Nevertheless, the priority given to “Islamophobia” implies that criticism of Muslim beliefs, say regarding sharia law and its customs, is to be equated to animosity or discrimination against Muslims.
The presidential candidates should take note of the findings of the Pew survey. Muslim voting may only be about one per cent of the total vote, but they may be important, and perhaps, decisive in swing states such as evenly divided Florida with its 29 electoral votes, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Pegida and fellow anti-Muslim groups called the rallies following last month's signing of an agreement to create a "Fortress Europe" coalition against a backdrop of Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II.
Police in Calais have dispersed a rowdy anti-migrant protest with tear gas after clashes with protesters and detained several far-right demonstrators. Around 150 militants from the anti-Islam, anti-immigration group PEDIGA gathered Saturday at the northern French city chanting slogans like: "We must not let Calais die!" The protesters Saturday had ignored a ruling by the local prefect to ban such demonstrations. One of them, former soldier Christian Piquemal, said he was "shocked by the behavior of police forces."
Another rally in the southern city of Montpellier drew barely 200 people by mid-afternoon.
Czech Republic at half past 4
The main anti-migrant rally Saturday, part of Europe-wide protests in cooperation with Germany's anti-Islam, anti-immigrant group PEGIDA, is taking place in front of Prague Castle, the presidency seat. Czech President Milos Zeman is known for his anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Martin Konvicka, a leader of the anti-Muslim movement, is calling the influx of refugees an "invasion" that poses a "huge threat for us all."
Two other anti-migrant groups are rallying in Prague and another in the second-largest Czech city of Brno. Two demonstrations in favor of immigration are also going on in Prague.
Riot police have clashed with demonstrators in Amsterdam as supporters of the anti-Islam, anti-migrant group PEGIDA tried to hold their first protest in the Dutch capital as part of a series of demonstrations in Europe. A square near Amsterdam city hall that had been earmarked for the PEGIDA demonstration had to be shut down shortly before the gathering as police and explosives experts examined what police called a "suspect package." Only about 200 PEGIDA supporters were present, outnumbered by police and left-wing demonstrators who shouted, "Refugees are welcome, fascists are not!"
Several thousand Pegida supporters turned up in Dresden under clear blue skies in the early afternoon to march along the banks of the River Elbe, which flows through the city, to protest against mass immigration and the "islamisation" of Europe. Police, who deployed around 1,000 officers for the occasion, said Thursday they expected some 15,000 marchers to show up.
An AFP reporter said several thousand had answered the rallying call an hour after the event began at 1400 GMT.
Many held aloft banners criticising German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in the firing line for her liberal stance towards refugees, now increasingly coming in for criticism after Germany took in more than a million migrants last year.
Around 2,000 people -- less than the 10,000 expected by police -- meanwhile joined an anti-Pegida rally at which participants urged tolerance towards migrants. Anti-Pegida marchers chanted slogans including "no place for Nazis" and "we don't need xenophobia, demagoguery or Pegida."
Violent clashes broke out in Dublin city centre today where an estimated 1,000 demonstrators turned out on O’Connell Street to protest the launch of the anti-Islam group Pegida in Ireland.
As small groups of Pegida supporters approached the GPO from surrounding streets to hold their rally, violent clashes quickly broke out.
One group of approaching Pegida supporters was chased back down Talbot Street by a splinter group, some wearing masks and chanting, “Fascist scum, off our streets.” There were particularly violent clashes between over 100 protestors and police as they gathered outside a pub, in which pro-Pegida protestors. were believed to be gathered.
RTE has confirmed one of its cameramen were injured in the scuffles, and that a formal complaint will be made over the incident.
Peter O’Loughlin, a member of Identity Ireland and supporter of Pegida, told Independent.ie that he was assaulted on the Luas as made he way to the city centre rally. Yesterday evening, he said he was in hospital receiving treatment for a head injury after being hit with a blunt object.
A security guard at a shop on Talbot Street described how a group of 15-20 men chased a man into the shop and began beating him.
Riot police arrived quickly on the scene and pushed the men back up to O’Connell Street as they moved a small number of Pegida members out of the shops and pubs where they had sought refuge during the clashes.
I was not at the silent walk in Solihull Birmingham today. Friends who were there tell me that the day went well, that the speeches were impressive, in particular one from a Pakistani heritage apostate from Islam and to expect videos and a write up later. I'll link to these when they are live. These photographs were taken by a friend.
Up to 200 supporters of the controversial Pegida organisation joined a march to a remote Birmingham business park today...Police were out in force for the event, as well as a counter demonstration by the Unite Against Fascism group.
There were no reports of serious disorder or injuries. A 39-year-old man from East London was arrested at the counter demonstation for a public order related matter. Another protest against the group under the Birmingham Unites banner was held in Victoria Square in Birmingham city centre.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for the people of Birmingham to stay away from march. The Labour leader has called on communities to drink tea with a stranger today, rather than take part in the march near Birmingham, despite the group claiming it is standing against 'radical Islam'. Mr Corbyn stood beside Birmingham MP Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill) with a sign saying “we choose hope” yesterday. The slogan comes from the campaign led by anti-fascist campaigners Hope not Hate.
Opponents of Pegida were also urged to post photos online of themselves drinking tea with other communities.
I can imagine what some of the people in the photograph above are hoping, praying working towards - that Islam will reign supreme through all the land. But what of the others? Do they hope that if they feed the tiger they will be eaten last? Do they hope for a plum role as collaborators? Or a meagre existence as dhimmmis? What do they hope for? and what do they really, if they are honest, expect?
Other demonstrations took place in Warsaw, Bratislava and in Graz in southern Austria.
Canada’s planned defence review is an opportunity for our nation to take a giant stride
The defence review that the federal government has promised by the end of 2016 will be the first in more than 20 years. Given the amounts of money and numbers of people and strategic and industrial questions involved, and the infrequency of such searching examinations, it will be a very important initiative and is to the new regime’s credit that it is doing this. The previous government talked a good game and always spoke as an upholder of Canada’s military, but it was so inflexibly attached to the twin (and virtuous) constraints of a balanced budget and an HST incapable of being raised, that it fell far short in commitment of resources. The (Justin) Trudeau government inherits an annual defence budget of $19.1 billion, or about one per cent of GDP, which is half the NATO target and informal commitment level, albeit a target only the United States and Poland meet. Though the history of the Canadian military in action is a distinguished one, the history of military policy and strategic thinking by Canada’s federal government has been sluggish since Louis St. Laurent’s time, except, up to a point, for Brian Mulroney.
In 2010 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Canadian Navy, but in fact, it did not really begin for some time. Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s Liberals adopted the idea of a Canadian navy, with a Canadian system for training officers and seamen and a domestic shipbuilding industry, as a compromise. Robert Borden’s Conservatives considered a Canadian navy imperial heresy and preferred instead simply to make a financial contribution to the Royal Navy, which would commission the construction of new battleships in British yards by British shipbuilders and man them with British sailors. The first such battleship was named HMS Canada, but was eventually sold to Chile, and the British did not remit the proceeds.
On the other hand, Henri Bourassa’s Quebec Nationalists, who had worked with Borden’s Conservatives to defeat Laurier in 1911 (their shared opposition to Liberals being almost the only thing they could agree on), opposed any contribution to any navy as likely to increase the chances of Canada becoming entangled in a European war that was no earthly concern of Canada’s. French Canada has never had any significant maternal attachments to France in the way English-speaking Canada has had to Britain. Although French-Canadians have always been militant about defending this country, and largely saved it from joining the American Revolution and from being annexed in the War of 1812, they have generally been rather isolationist and are more resistant to this day than English-speaking Canadians to supporting alliance initiatives overseas. The one exception to this was the Korean War. The Union Nationale government of Maurice Duplessis and the Roman Catholic Church leadership whipped the population up to such paroxysms of anti-Communism, Quebec was eager to send a larger contingent than Canada did to Korea. The archbishop of Quebec, the subsequent Cardinal Maurice Roy,had served in the chaplains’ corps in the Second World War, attaining the rank of colonel and receiving the Order of the British Empire for bravery in combat. He eventually became the chaplain general of the Canadian army.
Despite its deemphasis, defence remains a large budgetary item, and as I have written here and elsewhere ad nauseam, this is the most effective form of stimulative public spending, if it is done with that objective in mind, as the new government has pledged to do. Most procurement is in high-tech, high-growth economic areas, encouraging the most sophisticated segment of the work force. Construction is mainly of ships, aircraft and land vehicles, all relatively complicated manufacturing which ramifies throughout heavy industry: steel, aluminum, rubber, glass, and into top-end manufacturing of smaller items — controls and instruments, radar, optics, and engineered products of all kinds. The traditional multiplier effects on economic growth are very gratifying. Like the United States but on a smaller scale, the Canadian armed forces are incomparable engines of adult education and virtually all those who enlist in them get an incentive and ability to raise their academic qualifications as well as their technical skills that they would not enjoy anywhere else.
Without lapsing into the cant of the pretended veteran, there is also little doubt that service in the armed forces often promotes traits invaluable to almost all who have served in them, whether in or near combat or not. This was the secret of the so-called Greatest Generation of the United States: Franklin D. Roosevelt saved the youth of America from unemployment with his infrastructure and conservation workfare programs, then had brilliant commanding officers, Generals Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, and Arnold, and Admiral Nimitz, lead them to victory in the most just of all wars, and then posthumously propelled them into lifetimes of achievement with the GI Bill of Rights that educated and financed the launch of the civilian careers of the 15 million returning veterans (in a population of 135 million people). There is no prospect now of a general war, but increased recruitment in the armed forces is a much better and prouder visa to a better life than the welfare system, and not greatly more expensive.
The most important aspect of the military strength of a country is the influence such strength confers on it in the alliances and councils of the world. The fact that Canada was not invited to the recent meeting of the United States and its principal allies in the action against the Islamic State (ISIL) was not disconcerting to me because, in the interest of giving a new government the benefit of any doubt, I assume that the Trudeau government’s reduction of Canada’s contribution on that front is due to its doubts that the current alliance is altogether coherent. The West, led by the United States, is making common cause with Iran and Russia, a dubious proposition on its face, in Sunni Iraq, around Baghdad, but in Syria is attacking the Iranian and Russian-sponsored Assad regime, while joining Iran and Russia in attacking ISIL, and even as those countries assault the Western entry in the Syrian civil war, the so-called moderate faction. The Kurds appear to be doing most of the heavy lifting and ISIL seems gradually to be losing ground, and probably has not more than 50,000 fighters in its demented crusade for a Caliphate for Sunni Muslims from Turkey to Iraq and through the Arabian Peninsula and across North Africa. It is possibly the most insane political endeavour that has attracted Great Power attention since the Cargo Cult of the Melanesian Pacific Islands wanted to buy President Lyndon Johnson in the mid-sixties and mystically replicate the American consumer society and economy. (Though just as other-worldly as the Islamic State, this was naturally a good deal less troublesome.)
If Canada raised the HST marginally on elective spending, it could double its military strength
The anti-ISIL cause is a good one, but the diplomatic effort is a farce. The answer isn’t the Liberal addiction to dropping blankets on refugees when they were in opposition, and the withdrawal of our six aging CF-18’s and three non-combat airplanes since their election is militarily irrelevant. But in addition to the economic benefits, Canada could move militarily, as it has economically, to a G7 status. Canada has one of the world’s 10 greatest National Products, among 198 countries (including Palestine, Taiwan, and the Vatican), but its military strength is much less formidable. The failure to meet more than half the official target as a percentage of GDP of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the most successful alliance in history, of which Canada was a co-founder, is on a par with the perennial failure of any country to pay any attention to its undertakings to reduce carbon emissions. But in the case of the military, we are failing in our ability to have a force that would enable us to have any weight in revitalizing the Western Alliance. NATO degenerated from “An attack upon one is an attack upon all” to “a coalition of the willing” to an incoherent talking shop and Tower of Babel. Apart from the United States, which has the muscle, but has elevated as commander in chief first a trigger-happy cowboy and then a pacifist and appeaser, nobody has any weight in NATO, except, in extremities, Britain and France because of their nuclear deterrents.
If Canada raised the HST marginally on elective spending, it could double its military strength, raise its position in the aerospace industry, be taken seriously by, and help to revive, NATO, and render immensely more assistance than its generous nature has been able to give in natural catastrophes such as tsunamis and earthquakes that strike unpredictably but inevitably. We should start with an aircraft or at least helicopter carrier; this is how a country shows its flag in the world. Thailand, Spain, and Brazil have one, and India and Italy have two, as Canada once did, and plenty are on offer. Pierre Trudeau scrapped our last aircraft carrier, the Bonaventure, in almost as serious an error as John Diefenbaker’s cancellation of the Arrow interceptor. It would also give us a powerful shot in the arm economically. While we’re at it, we can spruce up our military uniforms, which haven’t entirely recovered from the amiable champion of intergalactic life, Pearson Defense minister Paul Hellyer’s, stab at monochromatic unification of the armed forces 50 years ago. I am usually deluged with messages mocking me as a couturier wannabe when I write this, but I urge readers inclined to that response to put “Chinese women’s military parade” into their search engines and see what pride and ambition can be engendered in well-trained and crisply uniformed forces.
The defence review is an opportunity for Canada to take another giant stride, the greatest since the defeat of the Quebec separatists and the successful Mulroney-Chrétien-Martin assault on the federal budget deficit, to gain Canada the status it has otherwise earned as one of the world’s important powers.
What happened next, Agnes wishes no girl would ever experience.
"They grabbed my legs and arms," she said. "They excised me. Blood was coming out."
Her genitals had been mutilated.
Agnes, now 14, underwent the procedure in Cote D'Ivoire. But the practice is by no means limited to that one country, or even to just a few.
At least 200 million women and girls in 30 countries now live with female genital mutilation, according to a new UNICEF report published in time for Saturday's International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, as the practice is often abbreviated.
The report says 70 million more victims than previously thought have undergone the "violent practice."
The exact number remains unknown.
"In every case FGM violates the rights of girls and women," said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Geeta Rao Gupta. "We must all accelerate efforts -- governments, health professionals, community leaders, parents and families -- to eliminate the practice."
Under 5 years old
Although female genital mutilation is carried out in many countries, the report says that more than half of those who have undergone it live in just three countries -- Indonesia, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Data shows the highest rates of genital mutilation among women between the ages of 15 to 49 are in Somalia, Guinea, and Djibouti.
In most countries, the majority of girls subjected to the practice are younger than 5. About one fourth of all cases worldwide were girls under the age of 14.
"We start at three months," said Josephine Akissi Coulibaly, a former excisionist in Cote D'Ivoire. "They are small and we do it. Sometimes they're 18 years old. Sometimes they are mothers even. Often they bleed."
While female genital mutilation is illegal in many countries, numerous communities consider the practice part of their cultural traditions and continue performing it.
"When you try to convince an excisionist, she won't listen because it's her livelihood," said Molao Bomisso, National Director of OIS Afrique, a UNICEF partner. "But we keep insisting and insisting."
FMG is often performed in conditions that lack proper hygiene, supplies and medications. As a result, the girls and women suffer infections, painful scarring, long-term disabilities and in some cases death.
Labour has been accused of turning a blind eye to years of "systemic misogyny" against Muslim women who are seeking to become councillors.
The Muslim Women's Network UK said in a letter to Jeremy Corbyn that it is an "open secret" that Muslim men have barred aspiring female candidates from getting into office. It said that the party has been "complicit at the highest levels". The organisation said that women seeking office were subject to repeated smears including claims that they were having affairs and criticism that they were too "western".
The letter suggested that Muslim men within Labour had been allowed to operate under the "patriarchal 'biradari' system"...in which votes are delivered in blocks.
"These men have a cultural mindset, which they've brought from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh," Shaista Gohir, from Muslim Women's Network UK said...
"How do men who do not want Muslim women to be empowered or have a voice remain in power unless the Labour Party allows it? It appears that over decades senior Labour politicians have deliberately turned a blind eye to the treatment of Muslim women because votes have been more important to them than women's rights."
Optician Fozia Parveen claims her efforts to become a Labour councillor in Birmingham in 2008 were scuppered by men within the party. She said: "At the time, I was aware of a smear campaign against me. They said that I was having an affair with one of the existing councillors. I was quite taken aback. People were turning up at my family home trying to intimidate my mum." Ms Parveen said Muslim men told her mother to stop her from pursuing becoming a councillor. She added: "It would be members of the local Labour Party. I didn't see them myself but my mum did say it was them."
Shazia Bashir was the first choice for Labour in a seat in Peterborough in 2007. She claims that when her father said he would not support her, Muslim men from within the local Labour Party made her step aside. They deny the claim. "Because I didn't have my father's consent and support, I had to step down. I was pressured into stepping down," said Ms Bashir, who was 31 and married with two children at the time.
Newsnight was told similar stories by other women who wished to remain anonymous.
One said: "They spread this slander about me... It's the way they get to you."
Another said she had been told by Labour members "Islam and feminism aren't compatible".
An advocate for gay rights was told: "This is un-Islamic. Leave that for white people." And many spoke of being criticised for being too Westernised.
Today Mr Corbyn is due to address Labour’s local government conference.
Jean Khote, a Labour councillor, said that the leadership was kept in the dark as talented female candidates were turned down in areas with high Muslim populations. She said those responsible would claim “there weren’t adequate candidates among the women”.
A Labour spokesman said: "The Labour Party's selection procedures include strong positive action procedures such as all-women shortlists and rules to ensure women are selected in winnable council seats. We have the best record of any party in selecting women and BAME candidates . . ."
All these women mentioned wear hijab. If they were in power would they have stopped the abuse of underage English girls? Or would they have regarded them as merely possessions of their menfolk's right hands? An ancient custom and sanctified by the Koran?
In September 2015 the photo of a 3 year-old Syrian child lying dead on a Turkish beach next to his mother and 5 year-old brother who had all drowned, as had over 2,000 others, was a poignant picture. Everyone recognizes the need for humanitarian assistance to a reasonable degree for those trying to escape from the horrors of the brutality of the war in Syria and the barbarous Islamist terrorism.
While recognizing the moral problem involved, the countries of Europe are confronted with the pragmatic problem of responding in the context of 4.6 million Middle East refugees seeking asylum and 13.5 million people needing assistance inside Syria. The numbers will grow as the civil war in Syria continues and ISIS, the Islamic State, still exists.
There are three factors involved. The first is the unwelcome straightforward issue of the number of would be migrants, genuine refugees, from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, and Eritrea, who can realistically be accepted by European countries and, to a lesser extent, by the United States. A second is whether those migrants, mostly Muslim, can be satisfactorily integrated into western democratic societies. Already in 2015 more than 1 million people came to Europe by sea, and another 34,000 by land. A third problem is the fear that some of them may be Islamists or jihadists prepared to cause harm, rather than genuine refugees.
By coincidence, these factors were discussed on successive days, February 3 and February 4, 2016. On the first day, the President of Finland Sauli Niinisto said that migration into European by people, almost all Muslims, was a serious threat to Western values, culture and identity. It is now clear that a considerable number of those seeking asylum are not genuine refugees fleeing war. Tougher laws are needed to prevent migrants from entering Europe simply because they are in search of a better life. The West should try to some extent to help those in distress or who are being persecuted but not those people who are not really in need.
On February 4, 2016 a conference in London attended by representatives of 60 countries was held to raise funds to assist in the humanitarian crisis and to provide jobs and schools for refugees. Held one day after peace talks in Geneva on Syria had failed and been suspended, the London Conference agreed to raise more than $10 billion, the largest amount raised in one day in response to a humanitarian crisis. The sum of $6 billion was raised for 2016, and almost $5 billion for future years. Germany is to provide $2.5 billion, the UK $1.75 billion, the European Union 2.6 billion euros, and the U.S. $925 million.
This aid, however, does not resolve the European underlying dilemma and disagreements about admitting migrants, and the numbers of them, a dilemma that also faces the United States. The heated debate among the Republican presidential candidates continues on the various related issues: amnesty for illegal immigrants, temporary visas, green cards, the banning of all Muslims from entering the country, and the need to secure the US border. Already, 30 governors have declared their states would not accept any of the 10,000 Syrians that President Barack Obama had suggested could enter the country, while some of the presidential candidates have suggested admitting only Christian Syrians.
The debate is even more heated among the European countries, facing the largest migration crisis since World War II. Many European citizens regard immigration as the major political concern and one that for two reasons calls for strict limitation on numbers that should be admitted. One is that it is simply not feasible for European societies now encountering economic difficulties, to manage to incorporate a large influx of foreigners that would be a burden on resources. The other is the reasonable expectation that the nature of their society would be changed for the worse.
That concern has a number of practical dimensions. The countries of the European Union, more concerned with their own interests than with collective EU solidarity, have difficulty in agreeing on a solution on admitting migrants. In September 2015 European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared that the 160,000 asylum seekers would be divided according to quotas based on country size, and economic output among the 28 countries of the EU. Germany, which has taken disproportionate numbers, was to take 17,000, and France 12,000, but the UK opted out of this quota proposal. The UK did not join the earlier plan in 2015 to relocate 40,000 migrants from Greece and Italy more evenly. Instead it built walls around the entrance of the Channel Tunnel to prevent migrants camped in Calais from entering it to get to Britain.
One fear has been that refugee camps in European countries may become breeding grounds for jihadists. That has come true according to new reports about young people in the Traiskirchen migrant camp in Austria that holds 1500 individuals. Those young people have apparently become radicalized because of the difficulty and their unwillingness to become integrated into Austrian society.
Austria, with a population of 9 million, received 90,000 asylum claims, but many of the claims were by economic, not political, migrants. The Austrian government deported 12,500, and argued that the European Union should stop giving aid to those Middle East countries that refuse to take back nationals whose asylum claims were rejected.
All the European countries recognize that the influx of migrants has caused difficulties in their social, economic, and political system. They face increasing burdens on social welfare programs. Those countries where unemployment is nearly 11 per cent have cut benefits.
Politically, many of the countries have witnessed the rise of far right and nationalist political parties who call for limits on immigration, especially by those of Muslim culture and religion, who they argue are difficult to integrate into the existing system or even worse may be hostile to it as has been shown by the Islamist violence in Malmo, Sweden.
Among these parties are the French National Front, Dutch Party of Freedom, Ukip in the UK, the Italian Lega Nord, the Swedish Democrats, Pergida and Alternative for Germany in Germany, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Danish People’s Party, the Progressive party in Norway, the Finns in Finland, the Golden Dawn in Greece, the Flemish Interest in Belgium, the PVV in The Netherlands, Jobik and Fidesz in Hungary. They change the landscape in European politics.
Some of these parties are virulent in their opposition to immigration and their fear of the challenge to Western values. Nevertheless, two factors are relevant. It is not racist to suggest that for practical reasons reasonable limits be put on those attempting to immigrate. Considering the millions desiring to leave not only from the Middle East but also from Africa, Europe faces the possibility of an enormous increase in scale and an uncontrollable pressure. That pressure becomes even more potent since the native population of Europe is aging and declining.
More important is the perceived threat of Muslim migrants to western values and the possibility of social, cultural, and religious conflicts, and especially Islamist terrorism, they may bring. The question is not one of discrimination, but of real differences: educational levels, cultural behavior, religious and political views.
The Finnish President on February 3, 2016 asked the question, “We have to ask ourselves whether we aim to protect European values and people …or inflexibly stick to the letter of our international obligation with no regard for the consequences.” If Western democracies are to survive the answer is obvious.
A wheelchair passenger who boarded a commercial plane in Somalia’s capital may have been a suicide bomber responsible for Tuesday’s explosion that ripped a hole in the side of the aircraft as it took off. Investigators suspect the man was able to use the wheelchair to bypass rigorous security screening at Mogadishu's international airport and then detonated a bomb that damaged the fuselage but failed to down the Daallo Airlines flight, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“An individual got onto the plane in a wheelchair and is suspected of being the suicide bomber,” a Western diplomat briefed on the investigation told the New York-based newspaper Thursday.
The strength of the explosion ejected the alleged suicide bomber from the plane’s cabin and his body tumbled near the district of Bal’ad, about 20 miles from the capital, where it was recovered by authorities. The Djibouti-bound Airbus A321 was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday, just minutes after jetting off from Aden Abdulle International Airport in Mogadishu.
Hussien Mohamed, a freelance journalist in Mogadishu, spoke with eyewitnesses who watched in horror from the ground in Bal'ad as the incident unfolded in the sky above them. “First, they heard a heavy explosion before they saw a body fall from the plane,” Mohamed said in an interview Thursday.
Somali officials said the passenger who fell from the plane has been identified as Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh, 55, from Somaliland. But they did not confirm if the man was the alleged suicide bomber. The crew and the 74 other passengers on board survived, though two people, Abdirashid Abdi Islamil and Ismail Ali Osoble, were wounded.
“Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arte indicated that as soon as the investigation is concluded, he promised the government will step up airport security against any potential threat,” a spokesperson from Somlia's Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement Thursday.
Investigators suspect al-Shabab, a Somalia-based terrorist group, was behind the explosion, U.S. government sources told Reuters Wednesday. Al-Shabab has increased efforts in recent months to regain control of lost territories in Somalia, while seeking to topple the country’s Western-backed government. The al Qaeda affiliate emerged in 2006 from the now-defunct Islamic Courts Union that controlled Mogadishu. Al-Shabab launched its own insurgency on major Somali cities by 2009, controlling Mogadishu and southern Somalia until it was driven out by domestic and international forces around 2012. Many rural areas of Somalia are still controlled by al-Shabab and the Sunni Militant group regularly targets civilians, hotels and restaurants in the capital.
What happens if you express a negative view of Islam? Ask Tommy Robinson
Comments closed already at The Telegraph, although I am surprised they allowed them even for a few hours.
A few weeks back, Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defence League, sent me his self-published memoirs, called Enemy of the State. The book has been largely ignored by most of the established media, although has caused a bit of a stir among counter-Jihadist groups across Europe. I’d recommend people read it, although perhaps not for the reasons Tommy would like you to.
Analysts will find a lot to chew over in the stories about the EDL, and probably less in his views on religion and society.
But by far the most interesting parts of the book relate to his upbringing and his experience of the police. Though this is probably not his audience, for academics and civil liberties campaigners this book provides a wealth of almost accidental insight.
First, it’s notable just how much of his views about Islam are a result of his upbringing in Luton, and the troubles between Muslim and white youth. . .
When his second cousin, who was a heroin addict, was groomed and sexually assaulted by a gang of Pakistani men, it cemented his view – which hasn’t changed since – that in the end Muslims will always stick together against non-Muslims. "Islam trumps everything," he writes.
Although my reading is that these troubles were with young men in gangs of Asian youths, Tommy sees it all linking back to religion. Ever since then, he’s been reading (and tweeting) stories which all support this thinking. To him, the Paris terrorist murders and recent Cologne sex attacks have been like a souped up, international version of what went on in his home town.
More interesting still are his accounts of the police, with whom he has had more experiences that most people.Tommy is convinced that from the moment he got involved with the EDL he was subjected to a non-stop campaign by the police to use every power they had to harass, disrupt, and, ultimately, recruit him. Prima facie it looks that way. He has been arrested and acquitted an incredible number of times; bail hearings were set at intentionally awkward times; bail conditions were sometimes highly dubious. He even claims that prison guards kept putting him on Muslim majority wings so he’d get beaten up. Perhaps most worrying of all is that, as I read it, most of this was probably all within the law – a series of quite clever, if very aggressive, policing tactics. It’s hard to make out whether or not there is a legal case to answer here, since the numerous claims he makes are difficult to investigate fully. A civil liberties specialist might look into it: but because it’s Tommy Robinson, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
And the reason I wouldn't hold my breath is because Tommy is a pariah. That’s really the background noise for the entire book, although Robinson doesn’t raise it explicitly: that life as a political activist on the fringes of polite opinion really is no fun at all. . . Step too far outside mainstream opinion and life as an activist gets very hard indeed – especially if you're not media-trained and you're working-class.
How far people feel free – legally and socially – to voice controversial opinions is important even for those who detest Robinson’s politics. A society where people with views outside the mainstream have to go through all this is not a healthy one in the long term. In a strange sort of way, how we treat people we disagree with is an indication of how free society really is. I think we still have some work to do.
In recent years the government of France has tried to play a role in Middle Eastern affairs, and in the struggle against Islamist terrorism. It has been particularly eager to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestinians. In December 2014 France proposed an international conference to discuss the issue within a two year framework.
On Friday January 29, 2016 French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, qualifying the 2014 proposal, outlined the French position in two parts. One part was that France would organize an international conference, including the European countries, the U.S., and Arab countries, to agree on a two state solution, Israel and Palestine. The other part, considerably more controversial, was that France would “ live up to our responsibilities” by recognizing Palestine as an independent state if the conference was unsuccessful.
No one can doubt the good intentions of Fabius or the French hopes for a peaceful conclusion of the century old conflict. However, both parts of his proposal are arguable in view of the reality in the area. Palestinian authorities are divided into factions, some of which are determined not to allow the State of Israel to exist. Although the Palestinian Authority exists its ability to make decision is challenged, and therefore it is unclear who is supposed to be the representative body at any peace conference.
Two issues are involved. One is that Hamas, the terrorist ruling group in the Gaza Strip, may insist on its own state, separate from that in the West Bank. The other is that the various Palestinian leaders will not or cannot control Palestinian violence, or even their incitement to violence.
That violence never stops. On Wednesday February 3, 2016 two female Israeli Border Police officers were attacked by three Palestinians in Jerusalem near the Old City, outside the Damascus Gate. One of them, a 19 year-old woman, who had recently joined the Border Police, died. The attackers, who came from the Jenin area and who were armed with a rifle, knives, and an explosive device, were shot and killed by Israeli police.
Immediately, the mainstream media provided a misleading and anti-Israeli account of the attacks. In this CBS News was prominent. Its disgraceful headline was “Three Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on.” After protests were made about this prejudiced presentation, CBS changed it to “Israeli police kill three alleged (sic) Palestinian attackers.” It then changed the headline again, this time to a more correct one, to “Palestinians attack 2 Israeli officers before being killed.”
This was an unhappy coincidence between the French proposal and initiative and the brutal Palestinian attack on two young women. Unfortunately, the Palestinian response to the proposal is not likely to limit the terrorist attacks or plans. A few day after the Fabius proposal, another two members of the military wing of Hamas were killed on February 2, 2016 while rebuilding one of the tunnels in the Gaza Strip, used as a launching pad for attacks against Israeli civilians. The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismael Haniyeh, said the reconstruction of the tunnels, and the digging of rocks must continue. The Hamas spokesperson, Hussam Badrun, called the February 3 attack a “severe blow to the security apparatus of Israel and as a turning point in Al-Quds Intifada.”
In their turn, the Fatah leaders have praised the acts of terrorists as “heroic,” and honored them.
European countries have already started on the path of recognition of “Palestine.” The European Parliament in December 2014 adopted a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state. So far, Sweden in October 2014 is the only EU country to grant official recognition of the phantom state. However, the UN General Assembly on November 29, 2012 decided by a vote of 138-9-41 that Palestine was a non-member Observer State. All these actions in upgrading the UN status have bypassed the supposed negotiations on the issue. Nevertheless, neither the European decisions nor those of the UN have issued the birth certificate of Palestine.
The EU also in November 2015 issued guidelines that produce made in Israeli settlements must not be labeled “Made in Israel.” This is tantamount to participating in the BDS movement.
There are therefore serious problems with the French initiative, helpful though it intended to be. There are at least two factors. M. Fabius must first ensure that Palestinians are truly interested in negotiations and not dedicated to the elimination of Israel. The second is agreement on the basis of negotiations. President Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues have insisted on conditions, such as Israeli full construction freeze in settlements, and the release of Palestinian prisoners. In contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prepared to enter into negotiations without preconditions and without dictated conditions.
It cannot be encouraging for Fabius, who has proposed the recognition of Palestine even if the negotiations fail, to listen to the ongoing utterances of Palestinian leaders. The adviser to PA Chairman Abbas and member of the Fatah Central Committee , Sultan Abu Al-Einein in January 2016 praised the Palestinian terror wave in which Palestinians have murdered 28 Israelis and wounded 287. He bowed “before every drop of blood that has dripped from our children and women…those seeking knives today will seek rifles and weapons tomorrow.”
Once again this Palestinian leader uses the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood. He falsely claimed that the terror wave began because of what was happening in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the deliberate falsehood that Israel was seeking to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque.
A more general problem, especially for France in spite of the efforts of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, is the disturbing fact of the increasing number of anti-Israel and antisemitic views of citizens in European countries. A number of recent studies show that more than 40 per cent of the population in the European Union held that Israelis were behaving like Nazis, a view that is akin to anti-Semitic attitudes. As we know the line between criticism of Israel and antisemitism has often been blurred.
If an international conference is well and impartially organized by France the issues are well known. A two state solution with various swaps of land, to which some political leaders of Israel have agreed, is acceptable to most mainstream, if not all, Israelis. The Palestinians, which ever group is in power, must end all violence, accept the legitimacy of the State of Israel, stop denouncing Israel in international forums and end the BDS campaign, must give up the concept of the “Right of Return” in so far as it applies to Israeli territory, and accept the provisions that Israel has made for its security in border controls and fences.
Fabius might also insist that Palestinian gross violations of human rights cease. Even the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights exposed that torture, whippings, hanging a person from his hands, verbal abuse, and sleep deprivation is being carried out in detention centers.
One encouraging event is that a large vulture that had flown from an Israeli game reserve and landed in a Lebanese village and had been detained in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for Israel was released after UN intervention. The vulture, part of an Israeli conservation project had tags on its wings, “Tel Aviv University, Israel.”
Laurent Fabius must tread carefully in the hunt not for the vulture but for the dove of peace.
Britain says Russia trying to carve out mini-state for Assad in Syria
Once again, Russia is playing the adult in the room. How else will non-Sunnis in Syria be protected? This is something no one in the Presidential field is addressing. Reuters:
Britain said on Tuesday Russia could be trying to carve out an Alawite mini-state in Syria for its ally President Bashar al-Assad by bombing his opponents instead of fighting Islamic State militants.
Russia and Britain have been trading barbs after British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told Reuters he believed President Vladimir Putin was worsening the Syrian civil war by bombing opponents of Islamic State.
Hammond dismissed Russian criticism that he was spreading "dangerous disinformation", saying there was a limit to how long Russia could pose as a promoter of the peace process while bombing Assad's opponents, who the West hopes can shape Syria once the president is gone.
The West won't be able to shape Syria by kicking Assad out. See Iraq, Libya and Egypt.
The preposterous nonsense known as homoeopathy has long exasperated doctors: but at whom, exactly, is their exasperation directed? At the homoeopaths themselves, or at the credulous and foolish public that persists in its patronage of such quackery on quite a large scale? According to a recent commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, about 2 percent of Americans patronized homoeopaths last year.
The absurdity of homoeopathic theory – that diseases are cured by substances that produce similar symptoms to themselves, that those substances are more powerful the more dilute they became and so forth — was recognized by doctors very early on. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a famous polemic against it, as did Sir James Young Simpson, the discoverer of the anaesthetic properties of chloroform. But homoeopathy had one great advantage over its orthodox rival at the time of its development, the beginning of the nineteenth century, namely that at least it did no harm. This was an immense advantage, for the remedies used by orthodox medicine of the time were often worse than the diseases for whose cure they were employed.
The article in the Journal draws attention to the anomaly, as it sees it, of the lack of regulatory oversight of homoeopathic remedies sold over the counter. But one may ask why there should be such oversight of products that are sometimes so dilute that the chances are they do not contain a single molecule of the allegedly therapeutic substance. What harm can be done by such substances?
There are two possible answers to this. The first is that it is in principle wrong to deceive the public about the properties of what it buys. Therapeutic claims for homoeopathic remedies are inherently bogus and therefore ought to be prohibited, for falsehood is harmful in itself. And the second reason is that people who use such supposed remedies might continue to suffer from curable diseases for which, because of their resort to homoeopathy, they do not seek proper curative treatment.
Let us take the second argument first. As far as I am aware, no study has ever shown that people who resort to homoeopathy actually do suffer unnecessarily from curable diseases as a consequence, and research by a friend of mine showed why: he found that alternative medicine is usually not so much alternative as additional. When people who believe in homoeopathy have serious conditions, they therefore do not deprive themselves of orthodox medicine. In other words, the potential of homoeopathy to harm the public health on these grounds is very slight.
The first argument, that deception, whether it be conscious or not, should be prohibited, is to treat the public as minors incapable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood and therefore in need of state protection. In fact the promotion and sale of many goods relies both on the suggestion of falsehood and the suppression of truth, at least to some degree; and since homoeopathic remedies are harmless rather than poisonous, there is very little to protect the public from if it chooses to accept falsehood.
There is another great advantage of homoeopathic remedies not mentioned in the article in the Journal. Doctors are nowadays not permitted deliberately to prescribe placebos, and so, if they wish to take advantage on behalf of their patients of the placebo effect, have to prescribe pharmacologically active drugs with real side-effects. If they prescribed homoeopathic remedies instead, this problem would be avoided. The impressive flim-flam of homoeopathic labeling would impress the credulous and eliminate the risk of serious side-effects.
The advantage would be bought at the cost of a little deception, of course. Whether the end would justify the means I leave to philosophers to decide.
“‘Thomas Jefferson’s opponents tried to stir things up by suggesting he was a Muslim. So I was not the first,’ Obama said, sparking laughter. ‘No, it’s true. Look it up. I’m in good company.'” — From USA Today on Barack Obama’s visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, February 3, 2016
Barack Obama paid a visit — his first — to an American mosque yesterday. He did so in the same feelgood spirit with which he held his first “Annual Iftar Dinner” in 2010. That dinner prompted a post which, considerably modified and enlarged, is reprinted below.
“The first Muslim ambassador to the United States, from Tunisia, was hosted by President Jefferson, who arranged a sunset dinner for his guest because it was Ramadan — making it the first known iftar at the White House, more than 200 years ago.” — Barack Obama, speaking on August 14, 2010, at the “Annual Iftar Dinner” at the White House
Really? Is that what happened? Was there a “first known Iftar at the White House” given by none other than President Thomas Jefferson for the “first Muslim ambassador to the United States”? That’s what Barack Obama and his dutiful speechwriters told the Muslims in attendance at what was billed as the “Annual Iftar Dinner,” knowing full well that the remarks would be published for all Americans to see. Apparently Obama, and those who helped write this speech for him, and others still who vetted it, found nothing wrong with attempting, as part of the administration’s policy of both trying to win Muslim hearts and Muslim mind and to convince Americans that Islam has always been part of America’s history, to misrepresent that history. For the dinner Jefferson gave was not intended to be an Iftar dinner, and his guest that evening was not “the first Muslim ambassador…. from Tunisia,” but in using such words, Obama was engaged in a little nunc pro tunc backdating, so that the Iftar dinner that he gave in 2010 could be presented as part of a supposed tradition of such presidential Iftar dinners, going all the way back to the time of Jefferson.
But before explaining what that “first Iftar dinner” really was, let’s go back to an earlier but even more egregious example of Obama’s rewriting: the speech he delivered in Cairo on June 4, 2009. In that speech, he described Islam and America sharing basic principles:
“I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
And then for his Muslim guests he segued into a flattering lesson in History. First he described Western Civ. which, he said, owed so much of its development to Islam:
“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities — (applause) — it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.” (Applause.)
And Islam played — according to Obama — a significant role in American history, too:
I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, “The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims.” And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, they’ve excelled in our sports arenas, they’ve won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library. (Applause.)
We could go through those paragraphs accompanied by such keen students of history as Gibbon, John Quincy Adams,, Jacob Burckhardt, and Winston Churchill, all of whom had occasion to study and comment upon Islam, their remarks rebutting proleptically Obama’s vaporings with their much more informed and sober take on the faith — but that is for another occasion. We can note, however, that when Obama in his Cairo speech talks about “the light of learning” being held aloft at places like Al-Azhar, he misstates: some Greek texts were translated into Arabic and thereby “kept alive” instead of being lost to history, but the translators were mostly Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews, not Muslims, and the work of translation went on not at Al-Azhar but at the courts of Cordoba and Baghdad. The word “algebra” is certainly Arab, but algebra itself was a product of Sanskrit mathematicians. The printing press was not a Musim invention and its use was accepted in the Muslim East only long after it had been in use in Western Christendom. Indeed, in Islam itself the very notion of innovation, or “bida,” is frowned upon, and not only, as some Muslim apologists have claimed, in theological matters. And so on.
“I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco.I also know that Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco.”
The picture Obama paints by implication, of Muslims being deeply involved in the grand sweep of American history practically from the time of the Framers (at least he didn’t make the mistake of the State Department flunkie who claimed Muslims accompanied Columbus on his voyages) is simply false. The first mosque in North America was a one-room affair in 1929; the second mosque was not built until 1934. The first Muslim to be elected to Congress was Keith Ellison, less than a decade ago. The Muslim appearance in America is very late. As for Morocco being the first country to recognize the United States in a treaty, Morocco also soon violated that very treaty and became the first country to go to war with the young Republic. That is something Obama’s advisers may not have told him.
When Obama quotes that single phrase from John Adams, made at the signing of the Treaty of Tripoli, a treaty designed to free American ships and seaman from the ever-present threat from the marauding Muslim corsairs in the Mediterranean that attacked Christian shipping at will (and when America became independent, it could no longer count on the Royal Navy to protect its ships) he wants us to think that our second president was approving of Islam. But that is to misinterpret his statement, clearly meant to be taken to have this meaning: we in the United States, have a priori nothing against Islam. Rhetoric designed to diplomatically please. But based on his subsequent experiences with the North African Muslims, including his experiences with them after various treaties were made and then broken, Adams came to a different and negative view of Islam, a view that was shared by all those Americans who, whether diplomats or seized seamen, had any direct dealings with Muslims. America’s first encounter with Muslims was that with the Barbary Pirates, from Morocco to Algiers to Tunis to Tripoli, and their behavior rendered Adams’s initial “the United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims” null and void. And it was not John Adams himself, but his son John Quincy Adams (our most learned President), who studied Islam in depth, and it was he to whom Obama ought to have turned to find out more about Islam. For he would have found, among other piercing and accurate remarks by J. Q. Adams, the following:
The precept of the koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.
Isn’t it amazing that not a single American official — and not just Obama — has ever alluded to the study of Islam that one of our most illustrious presidents produced?
Again, Obama, with a jumble of Jefferson, Ellison, and Holy Koran:
“And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers — Thomas Jefferson — kept in his personal library.”
When Obama notes that Thomas Jefferson had a copy of the Qur’an in his “personal” library, he is subtly implying that Jefferson approved of its contents. Keith Ellison did much the same when he ostentatiously used that very copy of the Qur’an for his own swearing-in as the first Muslim Congressman. But Jefferson, a curious and cultivated man, with a large library, had a copy of the Qur’an for the same reason you or I might possess a copy, that is simply to find out what was in it. And we might note in passing that it was not the “Holy Koran” that Jefferson possessed and Ellison borrowed, but an English translation by George Sales of the “Koran.” According to Muslims, the epithet “Holy” can only be attached to a Koran written and read in the original Arabic. White House, for the next time, take note.
There is not a single American statesman or traveler or diplomat in the days of the early Republic who had a good word for Islam once he had studied it, or had had dealings with Muslims or had travelled to their countries. Look high, look low, consult whatever records you want in the National Archives or the Library of Congress, and you will not find any such testimony. And the very idea that an American President would someday praise Islam to the skies in Obama’s fulsome manner would have astounded them all.
”And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance”
Also sprach Obama. But Islam is based on an uncompromising division of humanity into Muslims and Non-Muslims, Believers and Unbelievers, and Unbelievers, at best, can be allowed to live in a Muslim polity — be “tolerated” — only if they accept a position of permanent and humiliating inferiority. It would be fascinating if Obama could name even one example of Islam demonstrating through words and deeds “the possibilities of religious tolerance.”
But let’s return to Obama’s assertion about Jefferson’s “Iftar Dinner,” or rather, to that dinner that Barack Obama would have us all believe was the first “Iftar Dinner” at the White House, way back in 1805.
Here is the background to that meal in 1805 which not Jefferson, but Obama, calls an “Iftar Dinner”:
“In the Mediterranean, American ships, now deprived of the protection formerly offered by the Royal Navy, suffered constant depredations by Muslim corsairs, who were not so much pirates acting alone but were officially encouraged to prey on Christian shipping, and at times even recorded the areas of the Mediterranean where they planned to go in search of Christian prey. Under Jefferson, America took a more aggressive line:’
“Soon after the Revolutionary War and the consequent loss of the British navy’s protection, American merchant vessels had become prey for Barbary corsairs. Jefferson was outraged by the demands of ransom for civilians captured from American vessels and the Barbary states’ expectation of annual tribute.
“The crisis with Tunis erupted when the USS Constitution captured Tunisian vessels attempting to run the American blockade of Tripoli. The bey of Tunis threatened war and sent Mellimelli [Sidi Soliman Mellimelli] to the United States to negotiate full restitution for the captured vessels and to barter for tribute.”
Mellimelli was not, pace Obama, “the first Muslim ambassador to the United States”—there was no official exchange of ambassadors – but a temporary envoy with a single limited task: to get an agreement that would set free the Tunisian vessels and come to an agreement about future payment – if any — of tribute by, or to Tripoli. At the end of six months that envoy was to return home.
The Muslim envoy made some unexpected personal demands in Washington:
“Jefferson balked at paying tribute but accepted the expectation that the host government would cover all expenses for such an emissary. He arranged for Mellimelli and his 11 attendants to be housed at a Washington hotel, and rationalized that the sale of the four horses and other fine gifts sent by the bey of Tunis would cover costs. Mellimelli’s request for “concubines” as a part of his accommodations was left to Secretary of State James Madison. Jefferson assured one senator that obtaining peace with the Barbary powers was important enough to “pass unnoticed the irregular conduct of their ministers.”
Some readers will no doubt be reminded by this request for “concubines” of how the State Department has supplied female companions to much more recent Arab visitors, including the late King Hussein of Jordan.
Mellimelli proved to be the exotic cynosure of all eyes, with his American hosts not really understanding some of his reactions, as his “surprise” at the “social freedom women enjoyed in America” and his belief that only Moses, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed were acceptable “prophets” to follow, for they lacked the understanding of Islam that would have explained such reactions:
“Despite whispers regarding his conduct, Mellimelli received invitations to numerous dinners and balls, and according to one Washington hostess was “the lion of the season.” At the president’s New Year’s Day levee the Tunisian envoy provided “its most brilliant and splendid spectacle,” and added to his melodramatic image at a later dinner party hosted by the secretary of state. Upon learning that the Madisons were unhappy at being childless, Mellimelli flung his “magical” cloak around Dolley Madison and murmured an incantation that promised she would bear a male child. His conjuring, however, did not work.
Differences in culture and customs stirred interest on both sides. Mellimelli’s generous use of scented rose oil was noted by many of those who met him, and guards had to be posted outside his lodgings to turn away the curious. For his part, the Tunisian was surprised at the social freedom women enjoyed in America and was especially intrigued by several delegations of Native Americans from the western territories then visiting Washington. Mellimelli inquired which prophet the Indians followed: Moses, Jesus Christ or Mohammed. When he was told none of them, that they worshiped “the Great Spirit” alone, he was reported to have pronounced them “vile hereticks.”
So that’s it. Sidi Soliman Mellimelli installed himself for six months at a Washington hotel, for which the American government apparently picked up the tab including, very likely, that for the requested “concubines.” He cut a dashing figure:
“The curious were not to be disappointed by the appearance of the first Muslim envoy to the United States – a large figure with a full dark beard dressed in robes of richly embroidered fabrics and a turban of fine white muslin.”
“Over the next six months, this exotic representative from a distant and unfamiliar culture would add spice to the Washington social season but also test the diplomatic abilities of President Jefferson.”
During the time Mellimelli was here, Ramadan occurred. And as it happens, during that Ramadan observed by Mellimelli, President Jefferson invited Sidi Soliman Mellimelli for dinner at the White House. The dinner was not meant to be an “Iftar dinner” but just a dinner, albeit at the White House; it was originally set for three thirty in the afternoon (our founding fathers dined early in the pre-Edison days of their existence). Mellimelli said he could not come at that appointed hour of three thirty p.m. but only after sundown.
Jefferson, a courteous man, simply moved the dinner forward by a few hours. He didn’t change the menu, he didn’t change anything else, he did not see himself as offering an “Iftar Dinner” and there are no records to hint that he did. Barack Obama, 200 years later, is trying to rewrite American history, with some nunc-pro-tunc backdating, in order to flatter or please his Muslim guests. But he is misrepresenting American history to Americans, including schoolchildren who are now being subject to all kinds of Islamic propaganda, in newly-mandated textbooks, that so favorably depict Islam, and present it as so integral a part of American life.
Now there is a kind of coda to this dismal tale, and it is provided by the New York Times, which likes to put on airs and think of itself as “the newspaper of record,” whatever that means. The Times carried a front-page story on August 14, 2010, written by one Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and no doubt gone over by many vigilant editors. This story contains a predictably glowing account of Barack Obama’s remarks a few days before at the “Annual Iftar Dinner.” Here is the paragraph that caught my eye:
“In hosting the iftar, Mr. Obama was following a White House tradition that, while sporadic, dates to Thomas Jefferson, who held a sunset dinner for the first Muslim ambassador to the United States. President George W. Bush hosted iftars annually.”
Question for Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and for her editors at The New York Times: You report that there is a “White House tradition that, while sporadic, dates to Thomas Jefferson.” I claim that you are wrong. I claim that there is no White House Tradition of Iftar Dinners. I claim that Thomas Jefferson, in moving forward by a few hours a dinner that changed in no other respect, for Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, did not think he thi not providing what he thought of as an “Iftar Dinner” but simply a dinner, at a time his guest requested. And to describe as a “White House tradition” wou first of the “Annual Iftar Dinners” that, the New York Times tells us, has since Jefferson’s non-existent “Iftar Dinner,” have been observed “sporadically.”
When, then, was the next in this long, but “sporadic” series of iftar dinners? I can find no record of any, for roughly the next two hundred years, until we come to the fall of the year 2001, that is, just after the deadliest attack on American civilians ever recorded, an attack carried out by a novemdectet of Muslims acting according to their orthodox understanding of the very same texts — Qur’an, Hadith, Sira — that all Muslims rely on for authority. It was President George Bush who decided that, to win Muslim “trust” or to end Muslim “mistrust” — I forget which — so that we could, non-Muslim and Muslim, collaborate on defeating those “violent extremists” who had “hijacked a great religion,” started this sporadic ball unsporadically rolling. And he did what he set out to, by golly, he did. He hosted an Iftar Dinner with all the fixins. It was held just the month after the attacks on the World Trade Center, on the Pentagon, on a plane’s doomed pilots and passengers over a field in Pennsylvania.
And thus it is that, ever since 2001, we have had iftar dinner after iftar dinner. But it was not Jefferson or any other of our learned Presidents, who started this “tradition” that has been observed only “sporadically” — unless we were to count as an “iftar dinner” what was merely seen, by Jefferson, as a dinner given at a time convenient for his exotic guest.
George Bush, that profound student of history and of ideas, kept telling us, in those first few months after 9/11/2001, that as far as he was concerned, by gum, Islam was a religion of “peace and tolerance.” He and Obama agree on that. And just to prove it, by golly, he’d put on an Iftar Dinner with all the fixins. And that’s just what he did. And that’s how the long “tradition” that Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and her many vetting editors at the newspaper of comical record, The New York Times, referred to, began. It’s all of nine years old, having survived and thrived through the differently-disastrous presidencies of Bush and of Obama.
I have a request for The New York Times. It’s a most modest one. All I ask is that the editors of The New York Times apologize for that paper’s misapplication of the adjective “sporadic” in the front-page story by Sheryl Stolberg on the “Annual Iftar” dinner.
Put up, or shut up, dear newspaper of record. Tell us when that “tradition” of “Iftar Dinners” truly began. Cite those Presidents who held dinners that they considered to be “Iftar Dinners.” Give us chapter, give us verse. And if, as I believe, that hollow and recent and transparently determined-to-win-Muslim-hearts-and-minds “tradition” began only in 2001, then tell us. And since your story was on the front page, do what the lawyers do when they have to make legal announcements, and put your retraction, eat your humble pie, right on the same front page.
A failure to do so will be further, and for some the final confirmation, of the sorry record of The New York Times in its coverage of Islam. Most readers with some sense of what Islam is all about are now ready to take any coverage of the matter in The New York Times with a grain – a Pinch – of salt.
Clio, Muse of History, is a stern mistress. Subscribers to stories that live and die between editions may forget or forgive, but Mnemosyne does neither. If I were the “newspaper of record,” I’d want to propitiate not the gods, but the most vigilant and meticulous of muses. If I were Pinch Sulzberger, I’d be mortally embarrassed, and determined to make amends. But then, I have standards.
Which brings us up to today, and the glad news that. President Obama will be paying his first visit to a mosque on American soil. There will be some sort of feelgood exchange, and perhaps even a reference to the “long tradition” of Iftar dinners, or to the great contribution Muslims have made since the very beginning to our American story. No one will have the bad taste to bring up what is actually to be found in the Qur’an and Hadith. Someone may quote 2:256 and 5:32 (but not 5:33). John Quincy Adams will be passed over in silence. I can’t wait. Can you?
President addresses Baltimore Mosque with Terrorist Connections caught practicing Gender Apartheid
President Obama at the Islamic Center of Baltimore in Catonsville, Maryland, February 3, 2016
President Obama went to Baltimore today for a friendly gathering at the Islamic Center of Baltimore Mosque in Catonsville, Maryland . He was there to convey a message that Muslims are as American as apple pie. Problem is that he chose a Mosque deep into political Islam, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate , the Islamic Society of North America , supporting suicide bombers and professing hate for US ally Israel. All despite the FBI file sent to the White House confirming this information. No matter. It was a photo op moment to show support for embattled American Muslims given statements from Republican hopeful, Donald Trump that he would stop immigration of Muslims.
The scene was replete with introduction by a hijab swathed college student on track for a medical career. The President in his remarks pointed out another hijab wearing fencing marvel that may be carrying the US flag at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero this summer. The President spoke of the kind comments of founding Fathers John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson who purportedly included Mohammedans in the ambit of freedom of worship in America guaranteed by our First Amendment.
Problem is that he forgot to mention the real reason Thomas Jefferson had a copy of a Qur’an in his library at Monticello . A Qur’an, upon which , the first elected US Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) swore a private oath of office on January 4, 2007. I know I passed by his office with a clutch of TV cameramen recording this for posterity. Ellison was at the ISB gathering, as was the second elected Muslim Congressmen, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). Doubtless, as this was the President’s alleged first visit to an American Mosque, there may have been notables at the Mosque in Catonsville from CAIR and ISNA. But not too worry this was kumbaya day at the ISB.
Watch the You Tube video of the President’s expansive, yet, cautionary message of support for American Muslims:
American Muslims that he pointed out in his remarks assembled Ford automobiles in Michigan, built the first continuous Mosque in Cedar Rapids,, Iowa, served honorably in the US military and some were buried in the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery. Yes, there were those small pockets of extremists in the Muslim Ummah like ISIS or ISIL as he likes to call it with its self-declared Caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Barbarically beheading Christians, enslaving minority Yazidi women and children, destroying ancient cultures in the name of Allah, their God. Then there are the extremist Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan killing women, homosexuals and Christian infidels. Oh, we forgot the Mahdist Shia in Tehran who the President makes deals with to prevent a nuclear war, he thinks. Last year, they only executed 1,000 for crimes of gender, homosexuality and heterodox beliefs.
As to the reason why Jefferson had a Qur’an in his library, just recall their encounter in London with the Tripolitanian Ambassador in their roles as US Commissioners trying to understand why the Bey of Tripoli enslaved American sailors he seized along with their ships in the Mediterranean. Note this Notable and Quotable in the Wall Street Journal:
From a March 28, 1786, letter written by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were American diplomats at the time, to U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay reporting on their conversation in London with the ambassador from Tripoli regarding piracy by the Barbary States:
We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.
The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet; that it was written in their Koran; that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Mussulman [Muslim] who was slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
Clearly, Adams and Jefferson knew something that President Obama doesn’t choose to admit in public. That Islam is not the religion of peace and tolerance that its religious theocrats make it out to be. Subsequently, as the Third President of the US, Jefferson would conduct a covert war that freed American hostages with a few Marines at the fabled ‘walls of Tripoli’ from the likes of the Sharia-mad Bey.
Leo Hohmann at WND, cited an Investigative Project Report by Steve Emerson giving details on why the FBI thought the ISB was a poor choice for the President for this encounter, “Obama.” Hohman cites Emerson saying:
IPT founder and executive director Steve Emerson told WND his organization was told by FBI sources that Obama was presented the evidence against the Islamic Society of Baltimore.
According to Emerson’s investigation, federal law enforcement officials told him they were asked about whether the Baltimore mosque had engaged in radical politics or was connected in any way to terrorism in the past.
“They prepared memos for the president’s aides that specifically laid out the sordid history and nexus to terrorism of the Islamic Society of Baltimore,” Emerson told WND.
So what did the president do?
“As he has done so many times in the past, he decided to ignore this evidence and still continue his plans to confer legitimacy on a mosque that has a history of having officials connected to Islamic terrorism and to this day still has officials making outrageously pro-terrorist statements that would seem to conflict with the president’s policies,” Emerson said.
The mosque is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America or ISNA, which has its own sordid history.
ISNA was started by members of the international Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s. The Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is banned in many countries as an extremist organization.
“One can only conclude that the selection of this mosque by the president was made as part of his consistent policy to not even utter the term ‘radical Islam’ and the simultaneous policy of inviting only radical Islamist groups and leaders to the White House that FBI documents clearly show were derived from the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas,” Emerson told WND.
But there was another problem with the choice of the ISB, the occurrence of gender apartheid prior to this auspicious occasion.
We have interviewed colleagues of Asra Nomani, Dr. M. Zhudi Jasser and Canadian leader of MRM, Raheel Raza who recently returned from a successful trip to Israel on The Lisa Benson Show. We hope to bring back Raza and introduce Ms. Nomani to discuss what the MRM is advocating and doing. Note what Nomani and Okoye wrote:
:At the Islamic Society of Baltimore this past Sunday, the air was filled with the scent of Sherwin-Williams paint that workers were rolling onto the walls of the run-down balcony section where women and girls are usually segregated, unable to see the imam unless they peek over the balcony’s edge. A sign outside the door to the balcony said, “STOP Please. No Shoes. No Strollers. No Diaper Change. Beyond this point.”
Asra slipped into the mosque’s main hall to join the “halaqa,” or study circle. There, the study circle leader, teaching a half dozen men gathered around him, talked about the virtues of the first Muslim community in Medina, saying that a society isn’t “civilized” just because it’s technological.
Then, a young man, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned “Who Do You Love?” piped up, “So that means the West isn’t civilized.”
“That’s right,” the study circle leader said.
Another man railed against the West and its “atheists.”
Asra took a deep breath, listening to the sound of the crew white-washing the mosque for the president’s visit. “That’s a very unfair conclusion,” she said. “You are sitting in the West and railing against the West as not being civilized? It is not fair to make the assumption that the West ‘isn’t civilized.’”
The men tried to backtrack. They spoke with more nuance, before the study leader digressed again into the idea that those who aren’t Muslim act out of “self-interest,” while Muslims act out of an “order from God to do righteousness,” a point that Asra also politely refuted as motivated by “self-interest” and as an unfair representation of the many good people who aren’t Muslim.
As women and girls, we should be supported by policies that allow us to be part of such conversations. The president can support this urgent cause by speaking out against gender segregation in American mosques. In the spirit of the civil rights moment when whites stood with blacks, we hope men and women will refuse the privilege that “interfaith” events give them, and, in act of solidarity, stand outside with us on Johnnycake Road and the other pathways leading to the mosques in our world, advocating for equal rights for all.
So, the President did what he wanted to do with the ISB visit; show solidarity with the plight of American Muslims, sidelined by GOP hopeful Donald Trump. He chose to avoid the advice of the FBI busily tracking down and arresting ISIS inspired lone wolves out to kill Americans on the streets here in the US that he Mosque leaders consorted with terrorist networks. . That would upset the President’s alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood seeking their active participation in countering violent extremism and conducted a less than strenuous war against the Islamic State inspiring tens of thousands from across the Ummah to join and practice the pure Islam in the self declared Caliphate.
Migrant Crisis in Sweden and Europe: the views of Kent Ekeroth Sweden Democrat MP
Kent Ekeroth, a Jewish Deputy of the Sweden Democrats in the national parliament, the Riksdag, was a guest on the Sunday, January 31, 2016, Lisa Benson Show. Benson, Richard Cutting, Advisory Board Member and this writer participated in the discussion with Ekeroth. The topics discussed during the segment covered various aspects of the current migrant crisis in Sweden and Europe caused by the flood of one million asylees and migrants in 2015 who penetrated the broken Schengen borderless system. LISTEN to the podcast.
Kent Ekeroth, Sweden Democrats, MP, the Riksdag
New Year’s Eve, the sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany by 1,000 North African and Arab looking migrants was evidence of threats to native European women and their communities. We posted on the graphic violence perpetrated daily in Germany and the rising call for the resignation of German Chancellor n Angela Merkel. Then there was the disturbing Europol report that 10,000 migrant children have gone missing, presumed to victims of sex trafficking and slavery.
In Sweden, 200 men went on a rampage attacking Moroccan migrants at the central Stockholm rail station provoked by the murder of a 23 year old woman at a reception center. The Swedish Interior Minister ordered the expulsion of 80,000 migrants, virtually half of the 160,000 that poured into the country in 2015. The 23 year old woman victim was killed trying to stop an altercation involving a 15 year old Somali migrant. One of the more than 35,000 unaccompanied minors who entered Sweden, four fifth of them young men.
A Politico Magazine article on “Europe’s Man Problem”, noted this about migrant demographics in Sweden:
According to Swedish government statistics, as of the end of November, 71 percent of all applicants for asylum to Sweden in 2015 were male. More than 21 percent of all migrants to Sweden were classified as unaccompanied minors, representing more than half of all minor migrants to the country. For accompanied minors, the sex ratio was about 1.16 boys for every one girl. But for unaccompanied minors, the ratio was 11.3 boys for every one girl. In other words, the Swedish case confirms IOM’s statistic that more than 90 percent of unaccompanied minors are male.
Sweden’s current ruling left Social Democrats and the center right Alliance Party condoned the opening of mass Muslim immigration over several decades. Muslims in Sweden account for 700,000 of the country’s 9.8 million population. Jews, in contrast account for less than 20,000 of Sweden’s population. Ekeroth mother is Jewish who emigrated from Poland. Ekeroth had served as an intern at the Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv in 2006. He visited Israel in 2014 as part of a delegation of foreign Jewish parliamentarians.
Ekeroth’s debates with Margot Wallstrom, Foreign Minister of the ruling Social Democrats occurred over her accusations that Israel should be investigated for alleged “extrajudicial killings”. He considers Swedish Foreign Minister Wallstrom both “gullible and antagonistic.”
On January 19, 2016, Itamar Marcus, executive director of Palestine Media Watch (PMW) followed up Ekeroth’s actions with a presentation to members of the Alliance and other parties in the Riksdag. At the conclusion of the presentation, Marcus proposed a resolution be introduced by concerned MPs to end Swedish funding of Palestinian Authority education and media programs demonizing Jews and hatred of Israelis.
Watch this PMW video of the Swedish Parliamentarians presentation on Palestinian incitement of violence and anti-Semitic hatred:
In 2014, Ekeroth and the Sweden Democrats brought a bill before the Riksdag attempting to overturn the budget for the hundreds of millions of kroner in Palestinian Authority funding that was opposed by the remaining seven parties. Center right Liberal or Alliance parties and the current left Social Democrats, Ekeroth said, funded hundreds of millions of kroner for the Palestinian Authority that had engaged in incitement to violence and demonization of Israeli Jews. The Sweden Democrats introduced the bill in 2014 during the budget debates to stop all PA funding.
When we asked him following the Lisa Benson Show, what his reaction was to the resolution proposed by PMW during the January 19, 2016 presentation, he replied:
I held the debate with [Foreign Minister] Wallstrom. Then other parties met with PMW from the Alliance-parties. What's funny though is that when they were in government and had the power they did nothing to stop the funding the PA.
On the position of the Sweden Democrats in the Riksdag, Ekeroth said that the party platform includes reduction of personal and business taxes, preservation of the existing welfare system, but zero tolerance for mass Muslim immigration and asylum. He considers as legitimate refugees, not unlike his immigrant mother, those fleeing a conflict or persecution. Migrants, however, are those traveling to take advantage of benefits “provided by a naïve system” like that in Sweden and many EU countries. Once admitted, he said, the asylees can bring in others through family reunification or workforce immigration. During the period 2015 to early 2016, more than 200,000 so-called asylees and migrants entered Sweden. Regarding the smorgasbord of benefits available to migrants, Ekeroth noted that in 2005, the seven other parties in the Riksdag endorsed expansion of benefits to include free health, free schools and even assistance in starting a business.
When asked about the recent Interior Minister’s expulsion order, he doubts that the police can round up more than 4,000 a year. The rest may leave for other EU countries or go into hiding.
Regarding the attack by 200 Swedes against Moroccans at the Stockholm central railway station, he doesn’t condone violence. However, he said it was a reflection the police and state haven’t protected Swedish citizens from violence and petty crime. On the question of sexual assaults by migrants, he indicated they have been grossly over represented since 1975. He pointed towards Swedish crime statistics for 2015 that indicated over 41% of those convicted were non-citizens. Further, he said if you included the sizable Swedish Muslim population the proportion would be well over 50%.
When asked about how Swedish youth reacted to these developments, he suggested that while the Sweden Democrats are the second largest party in the Riksdag, they tend to be less politically involved. Sweden men are more sympathetic to the programs of the Swedish Democrats; while female voters aged 18 to 24 in surveys are not as inclined as they are more prone to social pressures. He credits that to the treatment of the Sweden Democrats by the media that by turns calls the party "far right wing," “racist,” “anti-Immigrant,” and dismisses the party as “stupid peasants”. Ekeroth said the state TV and media are overwhelmingly pro-immigrants. Surveys in Sweden he cited showed that 75% of working journalists are left wingers. He said that some alternate media has been created, including one developed by the Sweden Democrats. But overall the media situation is biased.
When the matter of Sweden’s small Jewish community arose, Ekeroth has tried to convince them that mass immigration was problematic. He said their opinion reflected their support for Muslim mass immigration. In effect, he said, the Jewish community told him that “they don’t want to awaken the bear that sleeps.”
In light of the current migrant crisis, he said who would have thought 20 years ago that today the Eastern European countries of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia would be the saviors of Europe. The dialogue continues with Kent Ekeroth. He returns to The Lisa Benson Show for a reprise on Sunday, February 7, 2016.
Tabitha Korol writes in INN (with thanks to Moshe Dann):
Yogurt is “probiotic,” meaning “for life.” The “good” bacteria help the digestive tract and, because yogurt is made from milk, it’s a good source of calcium. The founder of Chobani yogurt is Hamdi Ulukaya, a Turkish Muslim whose net worth exceeds five billion dollars. He was named “one of the forty most successful entrepreneurs under 40” in 2009, and “Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2013. Unfortunately, the Chobani brand is not without serious side effects.
Hamdi Ulukaya is a member of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrials (TUSKON), an organization of 40,000 employers (which also includes Godiva Chocolate) with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. So in addition to his dairy product activities, he is deeply committed to civilizational jihad, a “pre-violent” form of jihad, through the Gulen Movement, a transnational religious and social effort led by the somewhat reclusive Turkish Islamic scholar and preacher, Fethullah Gulen, who currently resides in Pennsylvania.
Gulen has been depicted as a Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., but he runs a $25 billion international network and was furtively responsible for changing Turkey from a secular to a strongly Islamized state, now governed by Erdogan. Along with the AKP party that turned Turkey away from the West toward Russia, Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria, Gulen’s sect portrays itself as a supporter of tolerance and education, although it actually works to slowly and methodically guide, control, and ultimately become the Islamic regime.
Gulen helps to set Turkey’s political agenda, financial institutions, banks, industry, associations, and foundations, and an international network of thousands of schools, universities, and student residences, with the intent of total transformation. His imams have fired or pensioned off original officials and his graduates are deeply entrenched in Turkish government posts and in the 200,000-man police force, including the supervisory level and the director of intelligence at the Turkish Directorate of Security.
Having no more than a fifth grade education, Gulen developed the persona of an intellect and prophet, meeting with representatives of many faiths, including Pope John Paul II, and holding conferences in the US and Europe. Under his leadership, Turkey now has 85,000 active mosques (highest per capita in the world) and 90,000 imams (more than doctors or teachers). He concentrates his indoctrination on students in eighth through twelfth grades, and controls 75 percent of Turkey’s preparatory schools, thousands of secondary schools, colleges and dormitories, and private universities in 110 countries. Aware of Gulen’s radicalization activities, Russia and Uzbekistan have banned his schools and the Netherlands has cut funding, pending further investigation.
Gulen hires Turkish immigrants without education or leadership background to teach mostly underprivileged students in US charter schools at a cost of $150 million per year to taxpayers. Notwithstanding claims of a non-sectarian education that stresses math and science and boasts high achievement, reports indicate that there is no mission statement, curriculum, standards or library, and the students are supervised according to strict Islamic law, with an emphasis on jihad.
How does Hamdi Ulukaya fit into all of this? He brings in Muslim migrants (aka civilizational jihadists), many from Syria, as despairing refugees from the Middle East and North Africa who need unconditional acceptance in America. Idaho has received more than 11,000 migrants since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and they continue to come despite protests from local residents. The world’s largest yogurt factory now employs 600 people, 30 percent of them refugees from the United Nations camps in the Middle East and Africa, and pressures corporate America to also provide jobs, services, and cash. Willing respondents included Google, Goldman Sachs, MasterCard, Ikea, UPS, LinkedIn, and Western Union. He has also taken his case to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, international leaders who believe they know what is best for the rest of us.
Ulukaya recently began a new project, The Tent, which he describes as being “more important than aid.” He explained, “This is a global commitment to invest in building our global capacity for meaningful, humanitarian change?” What is the underlying meaning of the words, "global," and "meaningful humanitarian change?" That they will Islamize the globe to capacity? That they intend to change humanity worldwide, and enforce Sharia law on all infidels?
Ann Corcoran, author of the blog Refugee Resettlement Watch, says The Tent initiative will funnel money and technology into refugee work, leaving Americans and veterans jobless, and that many of the UPS jobs could well be filled by American workers. WND’s Leo Hohmann reported that the Obama administration is increasing our acceptance of the number of Muslim migrants, from 70,000 annually over the past ten years to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017, which includes the 10,000 Syrians in 2016 and “many more” in 2017. And if that were not enough, Obama has also lowered the screening standards, allowing more than 1,500 jihadists who participated in terrorist activity to enter the US.
As a reminder, milk must first be denatured when a culture of bacteria is introduced, and the ensuing process, fermentation, results in permanent change: yogurt. And so it is with America. Our country is currently being denatured with the culture of Islam, through the incoming hordes, and the ensuing process, Islamization, also results in permanent change – the deadly disintegration of our civilization.
Now is the time to contact and enlighten the naïve, altruistic corporations as well as the supermarkets that sell Chobani, It is up to all of us to inform them that the Muslim Brotherhood reinforces 40,000 corporations that are importing jihadists who will bring us the same fears, riots, rapes, deadly attacks and Sharia law now experienced in Europe. Another such group is Global Impact, an alliance of more than 130 international relief and development “non-profit” organizations, including HIAS and Catholic Charities. Stop supporting the businesses that seek our destruction.
A North Carolina man killed his neighbor and stole the man's money so he could buy an assault rifle to carry out an Islamic State-inspired shooting at a concert or club, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.
The federal indictment also accuses Justin Nojan Sullivan of offering an undercover FBI employee money to kill his parents, who he believed would interfere with his plans for an attack.
The 19-year-old suspect, who was arrested in June, "planned to carry out his attack in the following few days at a concert, bar or club where he believed that as many as 1,000 people could be killed using the assault rifle and silencer," the indictment said.
The indictment charges Sullivan with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State and trying to use social media to have his parents killed. He also faces firearms charges.
A grand jury in Burke County also indicted Sullivan on Monday on a murder charge in the death of 74-year-old John Bailey Clark, who lived a few doors down from him, said District Attorney David Learner.
A lawyer representing him on the murder charge, Victoria Jayne, said "it's far too early" to discuss how she expects the case to go. A defense attorney in the federal case declined to comment.
Sullivan, who lived with his parents in Morganton, a foothills town of about 17,000, converted to Islam and was watching videos of Islamic State beheadings by the fall of 2014, the indictment said. Authorities said he pledged his allegiance to the terror group.
In December 2014, he used a .22-caliber rifle stolen from his father's gun cabinet to shoot Clark in the head, according to the federal indictment. A news release said forensic testing shows the rifle was used to kill Clark.
Sullivan hid the rifle, a black ski mask, muddy clothes and a lock-picking kit in his parents' crawlspace, investigators wrote in the indictment, adding that he later told FBI agents that $689 in his possession had come from Clark. He believed the money was enough to buy a rifle and ammunition for the attack, the indictment said.
By the following June, investigators said, he was planning an attack in the U.S. He began having social media conversations with an undercover FBI employee whom he wanted to recruit, saying an attack in the U.S. was the best way to support the Islamic State because travel was risky.
He said during one of the conversations that he planned to buy "an AR-15 assault rifle" at a gun show, and he attempted to buy hollow point ammunition from a gun dealer, the indictment said. He researched how to make silencers and asked the undercover operative to make one for each of them.
"Our attacks need to be as big as possible," Sullivan is quoted as telling the person.
The FBI then sent a silencer to his home, where investigators say his mother opened the package.
"When Sullivan's parents questioned him about the silencer, Sullivan, believing that his parents would interfere with his plans to carry out an attack, offered to compensate the UCE to kill them," authorities wrote, referring to the undercover FBI employee.
Federal authorities have said they began investigating Sullivan after his father called 911 in April saying his son was destroying religious items in their home. He was arrested at the family's home without incident on June 19, and later told investigators that he planned to carry out an attack in the coming days when his parents were expected to be out of town, investigators have said.
Sanders and Trump, Coming on Strong in New Hampshire
Bernie Sanders was the big winner in Iowa, as he had, as he called it, a “virtual tie” with Hillary Clinton, and the Vermont senator has set himself a fine launch into the neighboring state of New Hampshire, where he should trounce Mrs. Clinton next week. The Republican night was toe-curlingly excruciating. Donald Trump did well, apart from the expectations of the refreshingly inaccurate polls in the last two weeks that he would win; it had been forecast until two weeks ago that the margin would be wider in favor of Ted Cruz than it was, 3 points and about 6,000 votes. Trump was courteous in his speech and entirely positive, and reasonably graciously managed to avoid any mention of the winner, and of the other candidates, apart from Mike Huckabee, whom he commended as he dropped out of the race. Cruz was fluent but began with a gratuitous reference to the Almighty and rattled on so loquaciously that the networks deserted him in mid-speech and went to Mrs. Clinton, who seized the moment but was prudent enough not to claim victory. Mrs. Clinton spoke well and was on message, but platitudinous even by the standards of early election-year result-night addresses, with her alert but worryingly slack-jawed husband behind her.
Bernie Sanders was quite good, and deserves great credit for being the only candidate to hint at the corrupt slime-pit of the American criminal-justice system that has turned the United States into a carceral prosecutocracy, in which indictments are effectively issued by sensational journalists of the Nancy Grace school of media lynching and undue lack of process. He also implied that he would just write off a trillion dollars of student loans, which, as the basic arithmetic indicates, would be a burdensome straw on the camel’s back in a country that under the Obama economic miracle has doubled 233 years of accumulated American national debt in seven years, much of the increase in dubious bond sales to the central bank, a 100 percent subsidiary of the U.S. Treasury. Altruistic though his student-loan cancellation is, it is also a straight attempt to buy votes with the public’s money; suspension of interest and phased reductions would be more seemly and affordable.
He also bit down hard on, and swallowed whole, the requirement for government-enforced reduction of carbon emissions, dismissing the substantial doubts about global warming as if they were the paid and orchestrated dissent of the oil industry (though he did not explicitly say that). What an irony it would be if the United States — which the international (including the American) Left falsely accused of conducting two wars against Iraq in pursuit of oil, though it did not gain one barrel of oil from either war – were now to discourage fossil-fuel consumption at immense cost to the public just as it narrowed toward zero its half-century of foreign-oil dependence. I am sure that, in its heart, the nation longs for someone endowed with some international strategic insight. I refuse to accept that I was the only television viewer afflicted by nostalgia for Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry Truman, and even George H. W. Bush, presidents and presidential candidates who knew how to link the national interest to world affairs, and did so in office very effectively. Among the candidates, Bernie Sanders is almost uniquely lacking in that quality. Not all international involvements are insane and not even Rand Paul suggests that they are.
Of the caucus-night speeches I heard, the grand prize for counter-effectiveness goes to Marco Rubio, who had a good night, coming just one point behind Donald Trump in third place for the Republicans. I cannot believe that the country really wanted 20 minutes from the third-place candidate on his view of God, his gratitude to his parents (a rather commonplace sentiment, for obvious reasons), and his repeated encomia, with minor variations, to “the greatest country in human history.” The stature of the United States in the family of nations and on the canvas of history was not in dispute in this campaign and endless repetitions of the bumptious Fourth of July, small-town, Rotarian-meeting truisms are grueling for a national (and international) audience. Rubio is bucking to be the stop-Trump candidate, and seemed to strengthen his hand eight days before New Hampshire, where polls have had him running ahead of Cruz but well behind Trump. I suspect that the Trump lead in New Hampshire will lose some momentum as a result of his loss to Cruz, and I doubt if Cruz will gain much strength in New Hampshire, a state he has largely ignored. If Rubio had sounded more like a president, which at his best he is capable of doing, he might have put some blue water between himself and the other non-outsider candidates, Kasich, Bush, and Christie.
Now that the candidate-selection process has begun in earnest, the issue becomes, for the Republicans, who is the alternative to Donald Trump, and for the Democrats, do we really want to try the Clinton brand, which has been out there for a whole generation, once again without coming down a generation? This is (wronged) wife of Bill, not son or daughter of Bill, and Mrs. Clinton looks and sounds vigorous, but she isn’t running for the first time for president. Bernie Sanders will almost certainly take her to the woodshed in New Hampshire, but the Democratic party simply cannot elevate a 75-year-old Vermont socialist who makes sense half the time but otherwise sounds and looks like an escapee from a rustic home for politicians too attenuated by pink cabin fever.
On the Republican side, it is hard to see Donald Trump’s big lead in New Hampshire evaporating, although the polls in Iowa were almost all wildly off the mark. It is also hard to see the Iowa result giving Ted Cruz a huge boost in that state, and Cruz will not cut it generally by attributing his 28 percent poll-leading total to “courageous conservatives.” Everyone understands, and up to a point indulges, electoral hyperbole. But as most of the candidates seem to recognize, especially the outsiders (Trump, Sanders, Carson, and Cruz himself), after 20 years of corruption, belligerence from George W. Bush (when he should have been less impetuous), appeasement from Obama (when he should have been more forceful), fiscal incontinence from both, and a sclerotic and often contemptible bipartisan inter-branch leadership group, this is no time for Rubionic boosterism or the inanities of the theory that a vote for me and the nation jumps from P. T. Barnum’s nation of suckers to a Tocquevillean paradise.
In the jaded and jaundiced circumstances of a debt-ridden, floundering America with a middle class straining with stagnant real income and maxed-out credit cards, and the less advantaged scores of millions so anxious they come out in February in Iowa to vote for Cruz, Trump, and Sanders, this is no time for “our best days are ahead of us.” It is a time for a Lincoln who understands the problem, an FDR or Reagan who seems to know where to start and can uplift the people and at least knows how to lead America across the Francis Scott Key Bridge. In the absence of a great orator like those three, where Rubio stands out as fluent, but forgettable — like (Bill) Clinton and Obama — the country may turn to a person of substantive accomplishment. Sanders is too flaky to be elected, though it is hard not to like him. Hillary is carrying more baggage than the pack donkey in her party’s emblem.
Trump might make it if he becomes less unserious when precise policy suggestions are required; he is very intelligent and politically intuitive and should not be underestimated. Cruz is very intelligent and can speak well, but in the end he will scare even the majority of Republicans with his gun-loving, televangelical hard edge, a nasty elitist masquerading as a populist in his pick-up truck with a bazooka in the rear window. Rubio should have propelled himself forward from Iowa, but his reaction to his comparative success was a failure. He had less right to congratulate himself on his third-place finish than Bill Buckley had to give his magnificent “victory speech” when he ran third in the mayoral election in New York in 1965. (“Your achievement, in winning thirteen percent of the vote in the most liberal city in the world, will not go unnoticed in Albany, in Washington, or in Moscow,” he told his supporters. Nelson Rockefeller, Lyndon Johnson, and Leonid Brezhnev seemed to be unimpressed, but it was a great speech.) Rubio had his third-place moment on Monday night and bloviated, thanked God, his parents, and his wife, and sounded like an H. L. Mencken parody dismembering a candidate for alderman in fin-de-siècle (white) Baltimore. He was less a president than an irritating voice box repeating the same ghastly canned rubbish every time a coin of any denomination bearing the likeness of a great president is inserted in it.
Incredibly, the New York Times, which endorsed McGovern in 1972, expected Reagan to be defeated in 1984, and is utterly unqualified to opine knowledgeably or fair-mindedly on internecine Republican affairs, may have got it right in endorsing John Kasich. He has staked everything on New Hampshire and is running fairly strongly there, and is supported by the Sununu machine. He has been a successful governor in a large and difficult state (Ohio), and was a very respected nine-term congressman, who served for a time as ranking Republican on the armed-forces and budget committees. There is something in New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s snide reference to senators as people who talk, while governors actually have a serious administrative job, and he and Kasich and Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker have all been good governors. Christie had his chance when opportunity knocked and he passed. That caller doesn’t knock twice. Fort Lee killed him as president. And if he rose in the polls, the country would want to know why he apparently failed Mitt Romney’s ethics test as a vice-presidential candidate. Personally, as a foreigner, but someone with some experience of these things, I would never trust a prosecutor in the system Bernie Sanders rightly derides as draconian (a flattering upgrade on the facts), and especially one from a state where, as the old saying goes, “You know there’s a recession in New Jersey when the Mafia is laying off judges.” (The shared pride of Christie and Cruz at having been “tough prosecutors” should warn off any sensible voters about their fitness for the greatest office within the gift of any people on earth. At least Thomas E. Dewey convicted real criminals, and even he lost twice, to better candidates.)
Starting next Wednesday, the Republicans who don’t want Donald Trump will have to choose an alternative. Kasich, somewhat homely though he is, is qualified and reasonable and, all in all, probably the best of the alternatives, and would make it a good race. If Trump wins easily in New Hampshire and the opposition to him remains fragmented, he will win, and any recognizable Republican should win in November. As I have written here before, I am relaxed about a Trump victory and think he would be a good president, especially with a little stylistic fine tuning. But there is a large body of opinion that is unconvinced and it deserves a strong representative. John Kasich is the best alternative on offer and would make it a good race for the nomination, and would assure the country of a good Republican candidate either way.
Of the 61 married minors who sought asylum in Norway in 2015, at least ten were under the country's sexual age of consent of 16, broadcaster NRK reported based on figures from the Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI) and the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir).
At least ten of the girls were under the age of 16, while 49 girls and two boys who are married were 16 or 17 when they arrived in Norway. At least two of the girls under the age of 18 were expecting their second child.
The youngest married asylum seeker was just 11 years old when she arrived in Norway.
A 14-year-old pregnant girl crossed the Storskog border station in November with her 23-year-old husband and their 18-month-old child. Today, the two live separately and the 23-year-old is under police investigation.
“We are looking very seriously at children under 18 who are in danger of being subjected to sexual abuse, violence and forced actions. We are committed to helping these children and to preventing forced situations. These could be criminal cases,” Bufdir director Mari Trommald told NRK.
Most of the married minors came from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.
The phenomenon of the “islamochristian” deserves wider attention, and the word wider use. An “islamochristian” is, in its strictest sense, a Christian Arab who identifies with and works to advance the Islamic agenda, out of fear or out of a belief that his “Arabness” requires loyalty to Islam. Islamization by the Arab Muslim conquerors of Mesopotamia, Syria, and North Africa was a vehicle for Arab imperialism. This imperialism, the most successful in human history, convinced those who accepted Islam to also forget their own pre-Islamic or non-Islamic pasts. It caused them, in many cases, to forget their own languages and to adopt Arabic — and in using Arabic, and in adopting Arabic names, within a few generations they had convinced themselves that they were Arabs.
Some held out. The Copts in Egypt today are simply the remnants of a population that was entirely Coptic, and that has suffered steady and slow asphyxiation. How many of Egypt’s Arabs are in fact Copts who fail to realize this, much less have any sympathy or interest in how their Coptic ancestors, out of intolerable pressure, assumed the identity of Arabs?
In Lebanon, the mountains provided a refuge for the Maronites, by far the most successful group to withstand the Muslims. And most Maronites are quick to make the important distinction that, while they are “users of Arabic,” that does not make them “Arabs.” When they claim that they predate the Arab invasion (which of course they do) and are the descendants of the previous inhabitants of Lebanon, the Phoenicians, they are greeted with ridicule. But why? Where did the Phoenicians go? Did they just disappear? It is far more plausible to believe that the Maronites and the others in Lebanon are, most of them (for how many real “Arabs” actually came from the Arabian peninsula to conquer far more numerous populations of non-Arabs?) the descendants of those Phoenicians. The Maronites recognize this; the Muslims do not, because for them the superior people, the people to whom the Qur’an was “given” and “in their language,” are the Arabs. The sense of Arab supremacy comes not only from the fact that the Qur’an was written in Arabic (with bits of Aramaic still floating in it), but because the Sunna, the other great guide for Muslims, consists of, and is derived from, the hadith and the sira, and reflects the life of people in 7th century Arabia.
Thus one sees the forcibly-converted descendants of Hindus, the Muslims of India and Pakistan, full of supposed “descendants of the Prophet” who are identified by the name “Sayeed.” It is as if, in the middle of a former British colony, say Uganda, black Africans gave themselves such names as Anthony Chenevix-ffrench or Charles Hardcastle, and dressed like remote Englishmen at Agincourt, or Ascot, and insisted, to one and all, that they were indeed lineal descendants of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen, or Hereward the Wake, or Ethelred the Unready.
Yet when those whose ancestors were forcibly converted to Islam (and force can be not military force, but the incessant and relentless pressure of dhimmitude, which will over time cause many to give up and embrace the belief-system of the oppressor) and adopted the names, and mimicked the dress and the manners and customs of Muslims — which are essentially those of a distant time and place (Arabia, more than a thousand years ago) — we do not smile or think it absurd. A few Muslim “intellectuals” in East Asia occasionally suggest that local customs and ways, even local expressions of music and art, ought not to be sacrificed to the Sunna of Islam, but to no avail.
And so strong is the power of Islam among the Arabs, so ingrained is their desire to ward off Muslim displeasure, that unless they do not feel themselves to be Arabs but a self-contained community (Copts, Maronites) that has managed to survive, they are very likely to reflect the Muslim views and promote the Muslim agenda.
Nowhere can this be seen better than among the “Palestinian” Arabs. Michel Sabbagh is only one example. The Sabbagh who gave $6.5 million to support John Esposito’s pro-Muslim empire at Georgetown was a “Christian.” (Note to James V. Schall: can you convince Georgetown’s administration to sever its now-embarrassing tie to Esposito? At some point he, and Georgetown, have to part ways, for the sake of Georgetown’s reputation and continued support from alumni.) The gun-running icon-stealing Archbishop Hilarion Cappucci was, in name, a Melkite Greek Catholic; he was, in his essence, a PLO supporter.
Islamochristian promoters of the Jihad — beginning with the Jihad against Israel — include a few “Palestinian” Presybterians who have carefully burrowed within, and risen within, the bureaucracy of the Presbyterian Church in America (no names here, but you can easily find them out), and Naim Ateek, who comes to delude audiences of Christians about the “Palestinian struggle” even as the Christian population of the “Palestinian” territories has plummeted, since Israel relinquished control, from 20% to 2% — out of fear of Muslim “Palestinians.”
Nor, of course, do Michel Sabbagh and his ilk pay much attention to the situation of Christians in the Sudan, or Indonesia, or Pakistan. Why would they? It would get in the way of their promotion of the Islamic attempt not only to reduce Israel to the dimensions that will allow them to go in for the final kill, but to seize control of the Holy Land. What, after all, do you think would happen to that Holy Land if Israel were to disappear? Do you think the Christian sites would be as scrupulously preserved? As available to pilgrims? Would Christians walk around Jerusalem if it were under the rule of Muslims with quite the same feelings of security that they do now?
The above is, in full, an article I wrote and published here at Jihad Watch in 2005. Since I wrote it, the Christian communities of Iraq (Chaldeans, Assyrians) and Syria (Melkites, Orthodox, Roman Catholics) have been decimated; the Coptic community in Egypt been under continuous assault, and not only during the hyper-Islamic regime of Morsi; and Christians and churches have been attacked in Pakistan, the Philippines, and Indonesia by Muslims. And Muslim terrorists attack Infidel Christians in Dar al-Harb itself, in Paris and London and Amsterdam and Madrid and Moscow, as they have in New York, Washington, Boston, Fort Hood, and San Bernardino.
Given the past decade of Christian victims of Muslim despoliation and delirium — and with the list above I was just getting started — one might have assumed that the “islamochristian” was no longer to be found. But just the other day, Gregory III Laham, the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem and All the East, surfaced to solemnly declare: “We, the Arab Christians, always defend Islam and our Muslim brothers – no one defends Islam like the Arab Christians do.” Robert Spencer took the good Gregory to task, pointing out that this classic encapsulation of the dhimmi phenomenon had never won the Melkites any special favors, and that they had suffered just as much from Muslim aggression when they parroted this kind of nonsense as they would have had the good Gregory tried verbally to smite the Muslims hip and thigh. Perhaps, Spencer suggested, the time for dhimmitude had long passed, it never having panned out, and it was time for assorted patriarchs of the East to try a different and truer tack — what, after all, did the Melkites at this point have to lose? How much worse could their situation be under the Muslim thumb than it already is? Perhaps, if he could break with the past, and come to his senses, the Melkite bishop might recognize his first duty: to warn his own flock, and to warn other Christians too, about Islam.
A second Christian who has had nothing but good things to say about Islam is one Craig Considine. He’s a mere lean lecturer in sociology, not so grand as Gregory, but even more obtuse. Not being an ethnic Arab, he doesn’t fit the strictest definition of the “islamochristian,” but as a declared Christian (Roman Catholic) working full-time to defend and promote Islam — and to accuse Israel, unsurprisingly, of every possible crime — he deserves a place in the pantheon here. Craig Considine’s studies — he’s been burning the midnight oil for years — have revealed to him that “Christians and Muslims share a similar ‘jihad.’ This ‘jihad’ is one of non-violence, the love of humanity, the perfection of the soul, and the search for knowledge.”
This will come as a surprise to any Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus who, at many different times and in many different places, have been on the receiving end of that Muslim “non-violence, love of humanity, perfection of the soul, and search for knowledge.” It came as a surprise to me. It no doubt comes as a surprise to you. And as I can add nothing to Robert Spencer’s dismemberment of Considine, readers are directed to this death on the installment plan here and here and here and here.
The ability of people to deny an unpleasant reality can be impressive. Look at Patriarch Gregory. Look at Craig Considine. Be suitably impressed.
The trials of 13 suspected jihadists who were arrested after massive police raids across Austria in 2014 will begin on Tuesday in Graz Criminal Court, under tight security.
The first defendant to appear in court on Tuesday is charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation, as well as heading up a criminal gang. Eight other suspects will be tried for belonging to a terrorist organisation and making false statements during police questioning.
The man who has been identified as the main suspect, a Vienna-based radical Islamist preacher, will appear in court on February 22nd charged with various terrorist offences, including murder.
All 13 suspects were arrested during police raids in Vienna, Graz and Linz which involved some 900 police officers. The raids followed a two-year investigation into several people suspected of recruiting young people to fight in Syria. Journalists have had to apply for accreditation to cover the trials and film and audio recording is prohibited in the courthouse.
A woman who took her toddler son to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) has been jailed for six years.
Tareena Shakil posed the little boy for pictures wearing an IS-branded balaclava in what a judge described as one of the most "abhorrent" features of the case, after she secretly ran away to the self-declared caliphate in October 2014. After a two-week Birmingham Crown Court trial which finished on Friday, the British 26-year-old was convicted of membership and encouraging acts of terror in Twitter posts made before she travelled.
Sentencing the bright former college student, Judge Melbourne Inman said: "You embraced Isis, you sent messages on the day of your arrival in Syria that you were not coming back and by October 28 you were sending a message to your brother-in-law that it was part of your faith to kill the murtadeen (apostates) and on December 9 you told your father you wanted to die a martyr."
The Recorder of Birmingham added: "You were well aware that the future which you had subjected your son to was very likely to be indoctrination and thereafter life as a terrorist fighter."
The judge told Shakil it was clear she had been "radicalised" following online conversations with prominent members of the terrorist group, including Fabio Pocas.
"Exactly what occurred in Raqqa is far from clear," he added. "You told lie after lie to the police and in court between February and November 2015, including that you were kidnapped, were not responsible for any tweets and any incriminating photographs were staged against your will. You pleaded not guilty and told more lies to the jury which they have understandably rejected."
The judge described Shakil's decision to involve her young son, 14 months old at the time of travel, as a serious aggravating factor.
"Most alarming , however, is the fact that you took your son and how he was used," he said. "The most abhorrent photographs, however, were those taken of your son wearing a balaclava with an Isis logo and specifically the photograph of your son, no more than a toddler, standing next to an AK47 under a title which, translated from the Arabic, means 'father of the British jihad'."
Shakil had also encouraged other women to join her in Raqqa. The judge said: "Your role as a woman in Isis was different to that of a man but you embraced it and were willing to support those in Raqqa and potentially those outside to come and play their role in providing fighters of the future and were willing shamelessly to allow your son to be photographed in terms that could only be taken as a fighter of the future."
Jailing her for four years for membership and two years to run consecutively for encouraging acts of terror, the judge said he had had to consider the total length of her sentence.
An order of the court made under Section 47 of the Counter Terrorism Act means that, as a convicted terrorist, Shakil must notify police of her personal details, including her home address, for 15 years after her release.