A 17-year-old boy has been found guilty of grooming and sexually exploiting teenage girls on Teesside. Ateeq Latif, from Middlesbrough, was found guilty a day after the jury at Teesside Crown Court found taxi driver Shakil Munir, 32, guilty of charges involving girls aged 13 and 14. A third man, Sakib Ahmed, 19, pleaded guilty to exploiting five victims. The men, all from Middlesbrough, were "loosely connected", the court heard.
Judge John Walford lifted orders banning Ahmed's guilty pleas and Latif's identity being reported
Latif, of Abingdon Road, and Ahmed, of Cambridge Road, will be sentenced alongside Munir, of Tollesby Road, at a later date. Latif was found guilty of two counts of arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence. His victims were both aged 14. . . Ahmed admitted five counts of sexual activity with a child before the six-week trial of the other defendants. Munir was found guilty of four counts of sexual activity with a child and one of child abduction.
Fear cast a shadow over the case as two girls said they were frightened of Ahmed. One of the girls was taken into care amid concerns for her welfare. She only felt able to tell police what happened to her when she was out of Teesside, where she wouldn’t be leaned on, frightened or called a “grass”.
And there were reports that girls were put under pressure at school not to talk to police or give evidence, the court was told. In the trial, 10 female witnesses were accused of lying, said prosecutor Christopher Knox.
One hundred years ago next summer, the First World War began, and with it a cycle of unprecedented international violence that did not truly end until the end of the Second World War in 1945. More than 100-million people died unnaturally, often in the most horrible circumstances, during the two World Wars. About another 100-million were wounded or afflicted with war and persecution-related illnesses, and whole countries were devastated and reduced to rubble and ashes. The process that began with the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian crown prince at Sarajevo nearly a century ago also culminated in the only offensive military use to date of the atomic bomb, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945.
There naturally have been a number of gripping historical studies of the origins of World War I to coincide with its centenary. One of the most interesting is The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went To War In 1914 by Christopher Clark. He recounts how the leaders of the great European powers metaphorically somnambulated into that horrible war with no idea of what they were doing. The German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian Empires were engaged in acts of dynastic one-upmanship, derring-do, and reaction; and the British and French democracies, though less irresponsible, slid into the war option rather light-heartedly.
In 1909, Sir Wilfrid Laurier considered the need for a Canadian Navy, as a compromise between Robert Borden’s desire for a straight contribution of cash to Great Britain for the building of Royal Navy ships in British yards; and the Quebec nationalist view expressed by Henri Bourassa, that any contribution of any kind was just enmeshing Canada in Europe’s quarrels and intermittent bloodshed. During that same year, to support the argument that Canada should assure its Maritime defences, Stephen Leacock wrote a paper called “The Monroe Doctrine” — its title taken from the 19th-century U.S. policy that sought to keep Europe out of American affairs and vice versa. In it, Leacock argued against the idea “that the Monroe Doctrine is something which protects Canada from outside aggression … at a cost uncomplainingly borne on our behalf by the people of the United States.”
He remarked that the growth of the power of the United States had altered the Monroe Doctrine. In the eight and a half decades since its promulgation in 1823, it had expanded from “[President James] Monroe’s creed of America for the Americans” to include also “as much else of the world’s surface as can be attained at a profitable figure … The only person who fails to grasp the situation is the Canadian patriot-politician sitting upon a snow pile and meandering about the protection afforded him by President Monroe.”
With these comments, Leacock was warning against the concept of total dependence on the United States for the protection of Canada. But as it turned out, Leacock erred when he dismissed the idea that the “United States would declare to [any] European power that [Canada was] outside of the legitimate field of belligerent attack.” That is exactly what Franklin D. Roosevelt did declare, to Canada’s considerable relief, at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1938, and Leacock lived to see it.
As Leacock predicted, Canadian sovereignty was considerably mortgaged to the United States. This was a sensible measure, however, and one necessitated by the scale of the Nazi and Japanese threat. It also must be said that the United States did not abuse the relationship, and that Canada fully pulled its weight as an ally, in World Wars and most of the Cold War.
For a Canadian reader, The Sleepwalkers shows us how much Canada has raised its influence in the world, relatively and absolutely, in the past century — unlike the European powers, which have declined (with the possible exception of Germany if it wished); while the United States has risen as a Great Power everywhere in the world, but is going away again.
As America recedes, its disposition to provide for the defence of Canada may be assumed to recede with it. And as Canada rises, its duty to see to its own security rises proportionately. This new reality breathes new relevance into Leacock’s 1909 admonition that “the worn out fiction of the protection of Monroe [is] unworthy of a people as lofty in their own estimation as the people of this Dominion.”
There is at present no imminent danger of war between the major powers, but there is a reawakening of the propensity of major countries to interact abrasively at the fringes of what they regard as their rightful spheres. When the agitation in the Ukraine over association with the European Union is examined seriously, it is a contest for influence between Germany and Russia. China’s attempt to impose an air defence zone in the East China Sea is an attempt to belittle Japan, and cow the other nearby states, including South Korea and Taiwan. In all of these circumstances, Canada must pay more attention to national defence. The Harper government has promised it but has been largely sidetracked by economic distractions.
The correlation of international forces does not conform to economic convenience. At the end of the Second World War, Canada had the world’s third most effective navy (after the Japanese, French, Italian, German, and Soviet navies had been largely sunk). By contrast, in a little over 10 years, if present trends continue, Canada will have no serviceable destroyers, a patrol frigate group that is over 30 years old, and completely inadequate Arctic patrol vessels. And the supporting industry and technology will have been squandered as thoroughly as the corresponding aerospace industry was by the Arrow/Orenda shut-down in 1959.
We should be ready, at the very least, to assist allied countries in defence of the collective interest, and not just leave it to the Americans. We are sleepwalking, and that is very hazardous, in national defence, as elsewhere.
Is Rumored Saudi –Israeli Collaboration on a Super Stuxnet Iranian Disinformation?
Source: FARS News Agency
There is lots of chatter in the media and on the internet speculating on a possible Israeli Saudi entente to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program with a Super Stuxnet malworm. That speculation was triggered by an Iranian FARS agency report on November 30, 2013 concerning a supposed alliance of convenience between the Jewish nation and the Wahhabist Saudi Kingdom, “Riyadh, Tel Aviv Cooperating to Sabotage Iran’s N. Program.”. The report focused on possible of development a coordinated sabotage effort aimed at delaying and ultimately destroying Shiite Iran’s achievement of nuclear breakout. Some seasoned observers considered this part of an elaborate Iranian disinformation campaign in the wake of the November 24th P5+1 deal struck with Iran in Geneva.
Here is what FARS reported that gave rise to the speculations:
“Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency Tamir Bardo sent their representatives to a meeting in Vienna on November 24 to increase the two sides' cooperation in intelligence and sabotage operations against Iran’s nuclear program,” an informed source close to the Saudi secret service told FNA on Saturday.
“One of the proposals raised in the meeting was the production of a malware worse than the Stuxnet (a comprehensive US-Israeli program designed to disrupt Iran's nuclear technology) to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program,” the source who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of his information added.
Bandar himself had also earlier met Bardo in Jordan’s Aqaba port city, a meeting which elicited outrage from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz who had already advised the Saudi spy chief to run indirect and clandestine consultations with the Israeli regime on strategic issues in the Middle East. In the wake of the secret talks, Prince Salman ordered the prosecution of the spymaster.
In addition to the Iranian disinformation campaign directed at exposing a possible Israeli -Saudi entente aimed at conducting cyber warfare against Iran’s nuclear program there were other defensive moves by the US played out in Washington, Jerusalem and Bahrain this week.
President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry began an intense public relations campaign this past week. That began Wednesday evening with a final Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony in the White House. That event featured a Holocaust survivor lighting the final blaze of candles for the eighth evening of the Jewish holiday. This provided an opportunity for President Obama to make a pitch to the American Jewish community that the interim deal would grant time for negotiations to perfect a permanent one blocking Iran from achieving a nuclear breakout threatening Israel’ s existence. On Thursday in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Kerry briefed Israeli PM Netanyahu on the P5+1 interim deal that the latter had roundly criticized as an “historical mistake”. According to the Washington Post, Kerry was suggesting that Netanyahu provide some ‘breathing room’ to permit the Geneva deal to proceed to a definitive final agreement forestalling Iran’s nuclear weapons development. Netanyahu’s objections were that the current negotiations track would not lead to dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, let alone prevent it from achieving a nuclear capability. Kerry was trying to prevent Netanyahu from emboldening bi- partisan Congressional allies in Washington from rushing to judgment and passing strengthened sanctions. As this weekend began, another voice in Administration’s PR campaign for the P5+1 interim deal with Iran was heard. Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, in his remarks, today, at the Manama Dialogue with the Gulf Cooperating Council States suggested that a military option was a complement to the current diplomatic track with a nuclear Iran. Further, that arms and other support would still flow to America’s querulous allies in the Gulf. That may have sent a message to Netanyahu in Jerusalem that Israeli consideration of a unilateral action against Iran’s nuclear program was unwarranted.
Serious questions have arisen about unresolved arrangements and issues in the P5+1 deal. Jonathan Schanzer of the Washington, DC Foundation for Defense of Democracies noted some glaring examples in a CNN report, “US and Iran See Nuclear Deal Differently”.
On the Arak heavy water reactor:
According to the White House Fact Sheet, this means that "Iran has committed to no further advances of its activities at Arak and to halt progress on its plutonium track."
[. . .]
According toReuters, however, Iran could "build components off-site to install later." According to the Iranian Eghtesad Online website, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told the Majles that while "no new nuclear fuel will be produced and no new installations will be installed… that "building and construction will continue because currently we are at this stage in Arak."
On Iran’s rights to continue nuclear enrichment:
U.S. officials claim the Geneva deal does not recognize Iran's right to enrich uranium. Iranian officials claim it does. According to Zarif, "Iran enjoys that right and it is important to recognize that right. This recognition is there [in the agreement]." Similarly, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araghchi tweeted in Farsi, "Our enrichment program has been formally recognized."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also boasted that the "nuclear rights of the people of Iran and their right to enrichment was acknowledged by global powers." Rouhani later declared that "enrichment, which is one part of our nuclear right, will continue, it is continuing today and it will continue tomorrow and our enrichment will never stop and this is our red line."
On the reality of Sanctions relief under the P5+1 deal:
According to the White House Fact Sheet, Iran will receive approximately $7 billion in sanctions relief over six months. However, according to Araghchi, the Geneva deal will provide Iran with access to $15 billion over that time. Iranian officials have further reportedly claimed that the United States has unfrozen $8 billion in Iranian assets thus far. The math on the deal remains somewhat fuzzy in Washington.
President Obama stated that the "broader architecture of sanctions will remain in place and we will continue to enforce them vigorously." Rouhani, however, claimed that "cracks in the sanctions organization have begun…and as time passes, the space between these cracks will increase." And in other remarks, the ever-smiling Rouhani boasted that "we broke the structure of sanctions."
The lack of transparency and appeasement at Geneva has aroused concerns in Washington, in Jerusalem and Riyadh. Thus giving rise to the speculations about an Israeli- Saudi Entente tilting towards covert sabotage of Iran’s nuclear program. There are several cautionary notes. The first is the rumored accusations by the Administration that Israel may have leaked information about the Stuxnet malworm joint development program with the US begun during the Bush Administration. Israel has contended it was the other way around.
The FARS report was clearly meant to widen the divide between the Administration and the Saudis. The Saudis are angry over the Administration failures to actively support the Sunni Islamist opposition in the Syrian civil war.
There is also the sense that broad spectrum use of Malworms like Stuxnet may incur “collateral damage”. Eugene Kaspersky, principal at the Russian anti-virus Kaspersky Institute, recently commented at an Australian conference that, “Stuxnet - the famous worm widely credited with crippling the Iranian nuclear weapons program for several years - also infected the internal network of a Russian nuclear plant. Unspecified malware has even reached the International Space Station”.
Israel and Saudi Arabia consider Iran an enemy to destroy. Progress in the Iranian nuclear program is not acceptable to both governments and represents a dangerous threat.
The creation of cyber weapons is no less dangerous than the Iranian nuclear program. The diffusion of such malware could cause serious damage to a critical infrastructure with unpredictable results, not to exclude the possibility of directly affecting civilian populations.
It is absolutely necessary that there be development of a legal framework for using a cyber weapon with rules of engagement. A cyber weapon could have effects similar to a nuclear bomb.
The quixotic nature of the rumored Saudi - Israeli Entente endeavoring to disable if not stop ran’s quest for nuclear hegemony is problematic. Walter Russell Mead in a Wall Street Journal op ed, “A Riyadh-Jerusalem Entente”, elaborates on the dynamics of this suggested entente. He notes in conclusion:
The two temporary allies could settle a few other scores. They could work jointly against Hezbollah and Hamas, perhaps with Egyptian help returning Fatah to power in Gaza. From Syria to Iran, the Kurds might suddenly find they've got more money and that their relations with their Sunni Arab neighbors might improve.
Those who think the Israelis and Saudis will have to accept whatever treatment the Americans dish out may be right. But if access to Saudi facilities changes the calculations about what Israeli strikes against Iran can accomplish, the two countries have some careful thinking to do. It would be an error for American policy makers to assume that allies who feel jilted will sit quietly.
The rumored momentary alliance between Zionists and Sunni Supremacist exemplifies the "enemy of my enemy" doctrine rising to the fore. It is only a temporary pact of convenience, at best. In Islamic doctrine it would likely be equivalent to the Treaty of Hudaibaya. Israel is the convincing dominant techno-military power in the region. It is able to undertake a possible sabotage program while the Saudis have the money and the pathways to perfect a meaningful threat. If a victory occurs, courtesy of the alleged Saudi-Israeli entente, a big if, then the Islamic fundamentalists will still retreat to their primal doctrine of hatred toward its Jewish saviors. Saviors who lie frustratingly beyond the control of Wahhabist religious political doctrine. A doctrine of totalitarianism that like Fascism and Communism will crumble and ultimately fail. In this instance it will fail because regional Sunni tribal loyalties coupled with Islamic doctrine will inevitably trump civil polity and modernization.
Harry Nilsson was a great rock vocalist and songwriter. I would have linked the brilliant and beautiful "Without You," but it doesn't seem to be on YouTube. Tragically, he blew his voice in a screaming contest with John Lennon.
Wilders’ Open Letter to Pope Francis’ Criticizes Church Myopia on Islamic Antisemitism
His Holiness Pope FrancisSheikh Ahmad Al-Tayeb of Al Azhar Institute Grand Mufti of Egypt
Gates of Vienna published an open letter from Hon. Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) in The Netherlands to His Holiness Pope Francis, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Wilders thanked the new Pope for his ecumenism and mea culpa regarding past Christian antisemitism referred to in the body of his Papal Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. However, Wilders criticized His Holiness’ myopia as regards antisemitism and derogation of Christians in Qur’anic doctrine. Pope Francis’ exhortation is primarily directed at excoriating “unfettered Capitalism and love of money.” That may reflect the social justice advocacy of His Holiness and exposure to both the Peronism of his native Argentina and neo-Marxist liberation theological prevalent in Latin America. Pope Francis is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and was Jesuit Archbishop there before being chosen by the College of Cardinals to succeed the retiring Pope Benedict XVI. His Holiness has recently announced reorganization of the Roman Curia.
Wilders’ letter to His Holiness Pope Francis drew attention to the apparent myopia of his Holiness’ exhortation espousing the view that Qur’anic doctrine eschews hatred and violence. Wilders comments referred to specific antisemitic and anti-Christian Qur’anic doctrine cited by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayeb, of the Al Azhar Institute (Al Azhar) in Cairo, Spiritual leader of the Sunni Muslim Ummah and Grand Mufti of Egypt. Andrew Bostom, author of Sharia versus Freedom: The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism and other works, frequently refers to Al Azhar as the Sunni equivalent of the Vatican. Wilders' letter to His Holiness was triggered by both Ahmad Al-Tayeb’s comments on antisemitism in an October 25, 2013 MEMRI TV interview and the recent publication of His Holiness’ Papal Exhortation.
Watch the MEMRI TV interview with Sheikh Al-Tayeb where he justifies antisemitism based on the Qur’an.
The following open letter to Pope Francis was written today by Geert Wilders, the leader of the PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid, Party for Freedom) in the Netherlands.
Open letter to his Holiness Pope Francis
In your recent exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (Paragraphs 247-248) you draw the world’s attention to the indebtedness of Christianity to the Jews and their faith. The exhortation also contains a sharp condemnation of the terrible persecutions which the Jews have endured from Christians in the past.
Your words are words which might inspire many.
Unfortunately, they are in sharp contrast to the expressions of hatred which were voiced last October by the spiritual leader of Sunni Islam, Ahmad Al-Tayeb, and the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar Institute in Cairo.
During an interview, aired on Egyptian television on October 25, Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayeb reaffirmed the relevance of Koranic verse 5:82, which states that of all people the Christians are closest to the Muslims, while the Jews are strongest in enmity towards them. This verse has inspired centuries of Islamic hatred of Jews.
Al-Tayeb’s invocation of Koranic Jew-hatred is in line with fourteen centuries of Islamic teaching. Grand Imam Al-Tayeb’s predecessor at Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, even wrote a book, entitled The Children of Israel in the Koran and the Sunna, in defense of Jew-hatred based on Koranic teachings.
The current suffering of Christians from Islamic persecution in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, and so many other countries, clearly indicates what Christians have to endure from the followers of the Koran. What atheists and Jews, who are considered the worst enemies, have to endure from Islam is even worse.
In your exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (paragraphs 252-253) you state that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”
The Koran is full of bellicose and hate-mongering verses against non-Muslims. Your Holiness will be able to find them if he reads the Koran, but I will name just a few:
“And slay them wherever you come upon them, […] Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s.”
“If they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”
“This is the recompense of those who fight against Allah and His Messenger, […]: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land.”
“Make ready for them whatever force and strings of horses you can, to terrify thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”
“When the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush.”
“Fight those who believe not in Allah.”
“The Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them.”
“O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you; and let them find in you harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing.”
“When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks.”
I hope that the Holy Father will help us defend the West’s Judeo-Christian and humanistic civilization, to which even atheists and agnostics owe their freedom and democracy.
Nothing will be gained by a refusal to face reality.
We must speak the truth about Islam — the largest threat to mankind in this present age.
Member of the Dutch Parliament
Leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV)
Former Pope Benedict XVI, and current Pope Francis have openly expressed their ecumenism toward Jews and Judaism, while acknowledging Christianity’s indebtedness to Jewish ethical values. This ecumenical message has been coupled to frank, mea culpa-based contrition for the tragic legacy of Christian Antisemitism. The disparity between their attitudes and their two contemporary Sunni Muslim equivalents, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi and Ahmad Al-Tayeb — the latter having emphatically and triumphantly re-asserted the modern relevance of canonical Islam’s conspiratorial Jew-hatred — could not be more striking.
Both Tantawi’s and his successor Ahmad Al-Tayeb’s career trajectories to the pinnacle of Sunni Islamic religious education, despite their own public endorsements of virulent, if “sacralized” Islamic Jew-hatred, reflect the profound moral pathology at the very heart and soul of mainstream, institutional Islam.
Lest we forget, today is the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. I had been out until 3:00 AM the evening before with friends and I shall never forget my reaction when a friend woke me at 3:00 PM and said, "Wake up! The Japs have bombed Pearl Harbor!" We didn't know until years later that the Japanese had come close to destroying the entire Pacific Fleet. America was sleepwalking then. Are we sleepwalking now?
The agreement which The European Union signed with Morocco on fisheries exploitation in their occupied territory provoked the fury of the specialists in the Legal Forum for Israel.
Recently, the head of the International action division in the legal Forum for Israel, Adv. and Ambassador (Ret.) Alan Baker and Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, member of the international action division, approached Dame Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Ministers of the European Union.
According to them, the consent of the EU to exploit fishing resources in the sea in front of the area occupied by Morocco in Western Sahara raises serious questions about the conduct of the Union. The letter claims that “there is a blatant contradiction between the principles according to which the EU operates in the areas of Judea and Samaria, as opposed to their policy in the areas occupied by Morocco in Western Sahara.”
In a position paper written by Prof. Kontorovich, which was attached to the letter, it is made clear that: “The EU approved the expanding of the fishing area of Morocco to the sea area off the coast of Western Sahara in an agreement with Morocco. The area in question is occupied by Morocco who invaded Western Sahara in 1975. The approval was granted although no country in the world has approved of the occupation. The Security Council even demanded that Morocco withdraw from the area and this occupation is considered to be illegal.”
“Despite this situation, in the said agreement the EU recognizes Morocco’s right to exploit the natural resources in this area, and even defines the fishing authorization “in all areas which are ruled by Morocco “, with the understanding that this also includes the occupied territories.”
Prof. Kontorovich concludes that “the agreement is an example of the double- standard of the EU. While supposedly basing its’ conclusions on the principles of international law, the EU determines that Israeli presence in the territories of Judea and Samaria is illegitimate. Therefore the EU imposed sanctions and restrictions on trade and cooperation with Israeli institutions in Jewish settlements, while at the same time, despite the said principles, it encourages Morocco and cooperates with it in exploitation of the territory Morocco occupies.”
Rescuing the Bottom Billion From the Pope’s Peronist Economics
It is not difficult both to dislike and to criticize consumerism. It is often as vacuous as it is unattractive. Last week, for example, my wife took me to something called an ‘outlet village,’ an expanse of shops built in faux Eighteenth Century style that sold designer products at allegedly low prices (though, wanting nothing in particular, they seemed high enough to me). There was actually a queue to obtain entry into Prada whose products are hardly those of first or primary necessity. However deep our economic crisis, this was no queue for rations in wartime; and though I am far from an egalitarian I felt uneasy that there were so many people wanting and even eager to pay hundreds or perhaps thousands for what seemed to me to be aesthetically cheap and vulgar gewgaws while so many people await their heating bill with extreme anxiety and trepidation.
If I am honest, however, what really appalled me about the ‘outlet village,’ which, incidentally, proclaimed itself a ‘community,’ was the appalling taste of the moneyed masses. Though they shopped all day for clothes – you couldn’t buy so much as a newspaper, let alone a book, in the ‘community’ – I didn’t see a single smartly dressed person among them, let alone an elegantly dressed one. On the contrary, they were to a man and woman attired in expensive slum- casual garments whose brands alone distinguished them from what the poor would wear. As consumers, then, they weren’t even very good at what they did, namely consume. They wore brand names as if they were medals awarded in the war to distinguish themselves as individuals from others in some way. If the justification for disparities in wealth is that the wealthy beautify the world, these people failed utterly to justify their prosperity. Purchasing power without power of discrimination is (at any rate for me) dispiriting to behold; but I am under no illusion that if income and assets were more equally distributed in society things would be any better from the aesthetic point of view, irrespective of the economic or social effects of redistribution.
Appalled or even disgusted as I was by what I thought was this vast outdoor exhibition of mass vacuity and spiritual emptiness, to say nothing of absence of taste, I kept enough control of my gut reaction not to suppose that it would be a very good guide to or motive for economic or social policy. It is very easy when appalled by one’s fellow human beings to want impose virtue (or taste) upon them, but this is a temptation that should be resisted. Deeper reflection is necessary; intemperance and impatience usually end in something worse than they were designed to amend.
I was therefore not completely out of sympathy with some of the premises of the Pope’s latest apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, the Joy of the Gospel; but it seems to me that he has yielded in it to the temptation to mistake an initial apprehension of what is wrong as an understanding of economics.
His apprehension of certain trends in modern societies was one which many people share, so many in fact that it was almost banal or at any rate commonplace (precisely as was my reaction to the ‘outlet village’ and those who shopped there). We – by ‘we’ I mean all who are likely to read this – are aware that a life of consumption of ever more material goods is profoundly unsatisfying and in the end self-defeating. We all know that an egotistical individualism is deeply unattractive and not even satisfying to the many millions of whom it is the leading characteristic. Even the improved means of communication that the Pope extols in his exhortation may not only conduce to self-preoccupation but serve to isolate people further. A million monologues is not a conversation.
He writes, inter alia, that ‘Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed on the powerless.’ This is demagoguery of the purest kind, the kind that ruined the Pope’s native Argentina seventy years ago and from whose effects it still has not fully recovered.
‘As a consequence,’ continues the pope, ‘masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.’
If we put the two sentences together, a certain conclusion is inescapable: if only the powerful stopped cannibalizing the powerless, the latter would have work, possibility and the means of escape. To change slightly the framework of reference, four legs good, two legs bad.
The Pope is loose and inaccurate in his thinking. The trickle-down theory of wealth may or may not be correct, but those who hold it do not express, and never have expressed, ‘a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power…’ On the contrary, according to the theory it is not the rich whose goodness benefits the poor, but the system that allowed them to become rich, even if the rich should turn out to be hard-hearted skinflints. A system of redistribution, by contrast, really does require the goodness of at least the superior echelons of the system, faith in which is genuinely rather crude and naïve.
Most egregiously, the Pope quotes from St John Chrysostom:
Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods that we hold, but theirs.
This could only be true if an economy were a zero-sum game, if my wealth were your poverty and vice versa. But if the world has learnt anything since the death of St John Chrysostom one thousand six hundred years ago, it is that an economy such as ours is and ought to be dynamic rather than static. I am not poor because Bill Gates is rich; as it happens in enriching himself he enriched me, though the ratio of his wealth to mine is probably greater than the ratio of my wealth to the poorest person in my society. I do not care; it does no harm to me unless I let it do me harm by dwelling upon it. In the meantime, I have enough to eat and much else besides.
This is not to say that all is for the best in this the best of all possible worlds, far from it. The world is full of dishonesty, corruption, cruelty, indifference and injustice. But Peronist demagoguery dressed up as apostolic exhortation will not improve matters, quite the reverse.
To Whitehall for a demonstration in support of the Marine sergeant known as Marine A who was due to be sentenced today.
At a Court Martial in October Marine A was convicted of murder for the killing of a Taliban fighter in circumstances which were not within the Geneva Convention. The Taliban, of course, fight not according to the Geneva Convention but to tenets laid down in the Koran. As Mohammed himself said “I have become victorious through terror”.
This article from the Telegraph last week sets out some background to the sort of things the Royal Marines have been facing in Afghanistan. He is the first serviceman to be so convicted since 1945.
While the physical risk was undoubtedly enormous, the psychological threat was just as fearsome. The Taliban have never been averse to hanging the body parts of dead soldiers in the branches of trees – to taunt, to provoke, to goad. Often it was legs and almost always they were booby-trapped. There was also the knowledge that capture was a guarantee of torture – probably skinning followed by beheading.
These were professional men doing a professional job, but that did not stop them feeling outrage and fury. Marine A had witnessed three men killed in his time at the patrol base and seen many horrific injuries. He described in court how limbs were left hanging from low-lying branches: “Close friends we lived with had been killed and parts of their bodies displayed as a kind of trophy for the world to see.”
You can see from the comments, and another article here, the level of support and sympathy there is among the public for Marine A. He has been named in advance of sentencing today. However neither the EDL at today’s rally, nor this article will repeat his name. That the authorities have seen fit to expose his wife and child to the danger of revenge attacks by Taliban sympathisers in this country is no reason for me to further the damage.
We mustered in the area opposite Downing Street in Whitehall which is set aside for demonstrations. It is always a problem with demonstrations in the area around Parliament as to what day to hold them. If at the weekend, when more people could attend, the MP and ministers are (or should be) out of London in their constituencies. If on a weekday then less people can attend (shift workers, the retired; some will use holiday entitlement). Today there were around 50 to 60 men and women.
Many trade vans tooted their hooters and the drivers or the passenger gave thumbs up in approval as they passed. In contrast one scrawny young man pedaled past on his push bike making a rude finger gesture while shouting 'w*nkers!!!!' He wobbled dangerously but didn't fall off.
Speeches could be heard and the point was made.
We started with a minutes silence to reflect on the fallen of all conflicts.
The first speaker outlined a petition which is being passed around the country. It states that the way the Taliban fight and conduct themselves puts them outside the protection of the Geneva Convention . It seeks the release of Marine A with a full pardon.
He called upon the Queen, grandmother of an officer who has seen recent service in Afghanistan, to intervene for mercy on behalf of a man who has served her, his Queen, and his country well for 15 years. He spoke of the injustice that although Marine A has been convicted by a military court, he will serve his sentence in a civilian prison not a military prison. Military prisons are known for their discipline, but civil prisons have a large proportion of Islamic offenders who are fighting a battle within for supremacy and domination. Marine A could be in serious danger.
A young woman read a statement from a serving soldier whose identity has been kept private. He wrote of the inhuman tactics of the Taliban and how they use in their favour the British rules of engagement that means that often men under fire are sitting ducks who cannot fire back. Civilians are not aware of the treatment meted out to any soldier captured by the Taliban. A soldier should feel that the army will look after them but frequently they feel that they are as expendable as a round of ammunition.
Then a former serviceman, who served in an earlier theatre, spoke of the pressures on fighting men generally and the vital need for comradeship and support from above.
By this time it was expected that there would be news of the sentence passed but there was no news on any news channels to which people had access. As the demo dispersed, Ed Milliband, leader of the Labour party and Her Majesties Opposition walked past with two acolytes. He didn’t look left, he didn’t look right, his nose remained in the air and he never even glanced as an invitation was called to him to talk to some British citizens concerned about their country.
On arriving home I hear that Marine A was sentenced to life imprisonment with an order that he serve at least 10 years before he can be considered for parole.
Before sentence, the military court in Bulford heard Marine A was described as a “quality act” by superiors and was in line for promotion to company sergeant major and beyond before the killing ended his career. Writing in mitigation, Lt Col Simon Chapman, his commanding officer, told the court Marine A was “a caring and devoted family man” who had a bright future with the marines.
However he said “regrettably none of this talent and ability will ever be realised by Marine A as a Royal Marine. . . His momentary and fatal lapse of judgement on the battlefield two years ago not only served to end an enemy combatant’s life prematurely, but it has also altered his own life, and that of his family, immeasurably. He had so much to behold –a proud career and a promising future. Sadly this is no longer the case. But, fundamentally, he is not a bad man. In fact in almost every respect he is a normal citizen tainted only by the impact of war. However his good work has been undone and his reputation and standing are lost. His career is over – he has no future as a Royal Marine.”
A consultant psychiatrist report concluded Marine A had suffered fatigue, poor sleep, grief from the recent death of his father and “the feeling, though unspoken, of paranoia that he was there to be shot at every time he went out.” The marines had come to feel “hatred” for the Taliban, who would pose as harmless farmers, while plotting to kill as many British troops as possible.
Thus far the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has weathered the storm that has swept across the Middle East since the beginning of the year. But the relative calm in Amman is an illusion. The unspoken truth is that the Palestinians, the country's largest ethnic group, have developed a profound hatred of the regime and view the Hashemites as occupiers of eastern Palestine—intruders rather than legitimate rulers. This, in turn, makes a regime change in Jordan more likely than ever. Such a change, however, would not only be confined to the toppling of yet another Arab despot but would also open the door to the only viable peace solution—and one that has effectively existed for quite some time: a Palestinian state in Jordan...
Listen to him speak in Israel on Dec. 4, 2013 below:
Secretary of State John Kerry was back in Israel today with a three-part task. One was to reassure the Israeli government that the weak nuclear deal the administration cut with Iran is not threat to the Jewish state’s security. The second was, as I wrote on Wednesday, to present the Israelis with a detailed plan about the future of the West Bank after a peace deal with the Palestinians is achieved. The third was to convince the Palestinian Authority to play along and to accept the scheme that theoretically guarantees Israel’s security by the stationing of U.S. or other foreign troops along the Jordan River.
Kerry may be still riding the rush he got from succeeding in persuading the Iranians to sign a deal that he has tried to represent as a diplomatic triumph, but he’s likely to strike out on all three counts in the Middle East–and for reasons that are not unrelated to his diplomatic coup. The Israelis now have even less reason to trust Kerry and the U.S. than they did before. And having watched how the Iranians were, despite the enormous economic and military leverage the U.S. had over them, able to hold out and retain all of their nuclear infrastructure and stockpile, there is absolutely no reason for the Palestinians not to be just as patient with Kerry, confident that they need never give up their demands for territory, Jerusalem, lack of security guarantees for Israel, and even right of return for refugees. Though he can pretend that he has made the world safer with his Iran deal and contend that the peace negotiations he has promoted will also solve the region’s problems, the parties involved no longer believe a word he says.
Leaving aside the obvious shortcomings of the Iran deal from the point of view of those who believe that it does nothing to prevent the Islamist regime from gaining a nuke in the long term, there is tremendous irony in Kerry arriving in Israel to ask the Netanyahu government for more concessions on the heels of the Geneva signing. For years the Israelis had been told that if they were more accommodating to the Palestinians, it would convince the West to do its best on the Iranian nuclear threat. Though the logic of such linkage was faulty, it was at least a coherent argument. But after having trashed years of American pronouncements (including President Obama’s campaign promise to force the Iranians to give up their nuclear program) by legitimizing Iran’s nuclear program and right to enrich uranium, Kerry has effectively destroyed that argument. Having embarked on what appears to be a misguided attempt to achieve détente with a hate-spewing, terrorist-sponsoring nuclear scofflaw state, the U.S. assurances about having Israel’s back ring hollow. While there is no alternative to the U.S. alliance, the Netanyahu government knows that it is on its own with respect to security issues in a way that it may not have felt in decades. As much as Israel has always been dubious about putting its safety in the hands of anyone, this is hardly the moment to be selling it on the notion that it can rely on Washington.
By the same token, the Palestinians have also been paying attention to the Iran talks. And the evidence for this came almost as soon as Kerry arrived when it was reported that the Palestinians rejected the security measures that the U.S. envisions out of hand. Palestinian sources told the Times of Israel that the plan, which was predicated on the notion of a complete Israeli withdrawal from strategic areas of the West Bank along the 1967 lines and a new partition of Jerusalem, was unacceptable because it would prolong “the occupation.” That should alert the Americans to the fact that the Palestinians have little interest in peace talks since in this context “occupation” seems to be referring to pre-1967 Israel and not to West Bank settlements. Nor, as I wrote earlier this week, are the Palestinians budging from their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state, something that would signal the end of the conflict rather than merely a pause in it.
If the Palestinians’ genuine goal is a two-state solution and peace, their rejectionist attitude is as crazy as their previous three refusals of statehood. But even if we were to believe despite abundant proof to the contrary that they do want a two-state solution, with Kerry on the other side of the table, why should the Palestinians be any less tough in these talks than the Iranians were in theirs?
Kerry’s ego may have been stroked by the Iranian deal, but his already shaky credibility is shot. There is no reason for Israel to believe American assurances and even less reason for the Palestinians not to think that they have more to gain from saying no than yes. But the consequences of this diplomatic farce are more far-reaching than the souring of relations between Israel and the United States. By setting the Middle East up for certain diplomatic failure, Kerry has set the stage for a third intifada and threatened the Israelis with it himself. He may think he can blame Israel with the violence that may come after the negotiations blow up but, like the almost inevitable Iranian betrayal of the nuclear talks, what follows will be largely on his head.
Three members of a self-styled "Muslim Patrol" vigilante group have been jailed for harassing, intimidating and assaulting people on the streets of east London while claiming they were enforcing sharia law.
A judge at the Old Bailey had heard that Jordan Horner, 19, Ricardo MacFarlane, 26, and a 23-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons, had terrorised a couple for walking through Bethnal Green holding hands, told a woman in Stepney that she would be punished in "hellfire" because of the way she was dressed, and attacked a group of men who were drinking in Shoreditch.
Horner – who has previously said he wants to bring sharia law to Britain – was jailed for a total of 17 months after pleading guilty to two charges of assault and two charges of using threatening words and behaviour.
MacFarlane was sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to affray, while the 23-year-old received a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to affray.
The judge said that her sentencing powers were restricted because the prosecution had chosen not to prefer religiously aggravated offences. The CPS are corrupt and not fit for purpose.
The court had been told that Horner and the 23-year-old man drove alongside Joshua Bilton and Anna Reddiford in Bethnal Green and yelled at them through a megaphone. Horner shouted: "Let go of each other's hands. This is a Muslim area!" The couple initially believed it was a joke but the group repeated the warning until they let go of each other's hands.
Two weeks later, on 6 January this year, Horner and MacFarlane attacked a group of men drinking in the streets of Shoreditch. They said that they were there to "enforce Sharia law" in "Allah's land", and shouted: "Kill the non-believers".
A week later, Horner and the 23-year-old confronted another couple, Clare Coyle and Robert Gray, walking in the street in Stepney. The 23-year-old accused Coyle of dressing inappropriately in a Muslim area and that she would be punished in "hellfire". Horner filmed the incident on his mobile phone and called Clare Coyle a "slag". She told him: "This is Great Britain. I can dress how I wish."
In the video, which was later uploaded to YouTube, the group can be heard shouting: "You need to control this area and forbid people from exposing themselves outside the mosque. Remove yourselves now. Muslim Patrol. Move away from the mosque. Don't come back. We don't respect those who disrespect God."
Was Hassan Lakkis, the Hezbollah “Q”, on Mossad’s Kill List?
Source: Foreign Policy
When we posted on the turmoil in Syria, we noted the assassination of a senior Hezbollah military leader, Hassan Lakkis. Was Lakkis taken out by Mossad, much like another Hezbollah terrorist mastermind, the late Imad Maghniyah was in a headrest bomb secretly placed in his Mitsubishi Pajero SUV that took his life on February 12, 2008 when he entered the vehicle after a celebration of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus. In a fascinating Foreign Policy article, “Israel’s Kill List”, Ronen Bergman, military and intelligence columnist for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth and author of The Secret War with Iranprovides background on the role of Lakkis as Hezbollah’s technical terroist mastermind equivalent to “Q” the fictional technical wizard in the James Bond novels and films and Mossad’s program for targeted assassination program. In the course of which Bergman provides insights in Lakkis’ role in establishment of Hezbollah terrorist cells in the US and Canada. We interviewed Bergman about Israeli decision making regarding timing for a possible military option taking out key Iranian nuclear facilities in the February 2012, New English, Review, “Is The Clock Ticking on Nuclear Iran?”
Bergman quotes Mossad officials remarking about Lakkis’ assassination:
"There'll be a summit conference in the sky," smiled an Israeli intelligence official Wednesday morning when he learned of the assassination of Hassan Lakkis, the Hezbollah commander in charge of weapons development and advanced technological warfare, in a Beirut suburb around midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 3. The killing of Lakkis is yet another in the latest in a long series of assassinations of leading figures in what Israeli intelligence calls the "Radical Front," which comprises two countries -- Syria and Iran -- and three organizations: Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas.
He notes the leaders of the terrorism Radical front on Mossad’s kill list including the latest assassination, Lakkis:
Israeli intelligence drew up a list of these men. The list was headed by two men: Imad Maghniyah, Hezbollah's supreme military commander, and Gen. Muhammad Suleiman, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's head of secret special projects, including the building of a nuclear reactor, and the person in charge of Syria's ties with Iran and Hezbollah. As Meir Dagan, the former Mossad chief, told me: "Gen. Muhammad Suleiman was in charge of Assad's shady businesses, including the connection with Hezbollah and Iran and all sensitive projects. He was a figure Assad was leaning upon. And these days, he misses him."
After them came Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, head of missile development for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the export of missiles to Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad; Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas official in charge of tactical ties with Iran; and Hassan Lakkis (also spelled in FBI documents as Haj Hassan Hilu Laqis), who was identified by Aman in the early 1990s as Hezbollah's weapons development expert. In an article about Lakkis' death, Lebanon's Daily Star called him a "key figure in Hezbollah['s] drone program." The Israeli intelligence source continued the analogy with the Bond movies and called him "Hezbollah's Q."
While Mossad had tracked Lakkis from the 1990’s, what was chilling was his role in establishing Hezbollah terror cells in Canada and the US. Bergman notes;
Lakkis was also wanted in Canada and the United States for running Hezbollah cells in those countries in the early 1990s. He had dispatched "elements with criminal tendencies there, and they were therefore happy to send them to North America so that they would not carry on such activities close to the organizations members" in Lebanon, according to a classified Aman paper. These Lebanese criminals settled in Vancouver, North Carolina, and Michigan, where they worked in the wholesale counterfeiting of visas, driver's licenses, and credit cards, raking in huge profits. Lakkis permitted them to skim off a fat commission, as long as most of the cash was used for the procurement of sophisticated equipment that Hezbollah was finding it difficult to acquire elsewhere, such as GPS and night-vision equipment and various kinds of flak jackets.
In the wake of information conveyed by Israeli intelligence, the FBI and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service mounted a number of operations against these cells, and their members either fled or were arrested and sentenced to long jail terms for offenses including illicit acquisition of weapons and conspiring to attack Jewish targets. Lakkis himself learned about the raids in time and canceled a planned visit to the United States. In the last telephone calls recorded by the FBI before the crackdown, Lakkis was heard rebuking the cell members for not doing enough for Hezbollah and enjoying the good life in America while the organization's members in Lebanon were being hammered by Israel.
Bergman notes how Mossad took out Lakkis and the other targets on the Radical Front Kill List:
Maghniyah was killed by a bomb in his car in Damascus in February 2008; Suleiman was shot dead by a sniper on a beach in Syria in August of the same year; Mabhouh was strangled and poisoned in a Dubai hotel room in January 2010; Moghaddam was blown sky high along with 16 of his personnel in an explosion at a missile depot near Tehran on Nov. 12, 2011. And on Tuesday night, two unidentified masked men cut Lakkis down in the parking garage of his apartment building in a suburb of Beirut.
He quotes an Israeli intelligence official saying: "Now they're all together." Then he recited words from the Jewish religious blessing that's meant to be said on hearing that someone has died: "Blessed be the Judge of the Truth."
The question remains, who else in the Radical Front is on Israel’s kill list? Stay tuned.
This is not a return to Diana West’s book. However, Andy McCarthy, a man for whom I have very great respect and whom I like very much, has written a review of it in The New Criterion that, because of its revisionist presentation of a number of historical events, is among the most discouraging political documents I have read in many years. Mr. McCarthy, a former prosecutor and distinguished and perceptive writer of the sensible Right, has frequently inspired me by his writing, and when I met him, at a difficult time in my own former travails, by his conversation also. I confidently turned to his review of Ms. West’s America Betrayed, which readers of this column will find it hard to forget after the robust knockabout the book received here and in her reply to me. The rigor of the review and its application to the book are matters I will address in a letter to The New Criterion, which the editor of that publication graciously invited, as I am mentioned, quite unexceptionably, in the review.
What seriously depresses me are three positions taken in the review. First is Andy McCarthy’s view that the scandalous, cowardly refusal of the mainstream elite of American culture and politics to recognize that America’s Islamist enemies are enemies can be traced to Soviet infiltration of the U.S. government in World War II. It is a fact that alarms and disgusts all of us in this debate, including Ms. West and her more vocal (than I am) critics, but I do not agree about the source of the problem. Second is Andy’s qualified accommodation, as worthy of reasonable consideration, of the claims by Ms. West that Lend-Lease was at least in significant part a mistaken reinforcement of Stalinist totalitarianism to the ultimate detriment of the West; that the Normandy invasion served Stalin’s purposes and enhanced his penetration of Western Europe; that Franklin D. Roosevelt was more or less ambivalent about the comparative virtues of Stalinist Communism and Western democracy (though he acknowledges that FDR disapproved of the barbarism of Stalin’s rule); that the Yalta agreement “gave” Stalin half of Europe; and that the Roosevelt and Truman administrations were so significantly influenced in a pro-Soviet direction by Soviet agents and such arch-sympathizers that the distinction between an agent and a sympathizer was academic in the United States. And third, I am distressed by Andy McCarthy’s partial defense of Joseph R. McCarthy and his conclusion that the smear of McCarthy enabled Communism and anti-American reflexes to flourish in the United States through all the intervening years and are responsible for the inadequate general response to the Islamist threat that, I repeat, all the participants in this very heated and prolonged exchange revile in almost equally emphatic strictures.
The unanimity on this last point underlines the source of my concern. A relatively united Right, which included Diana West and other participants in this discussion, exercised a great influence in assisting President Reagan and his followers and collaborators in mobilizing opinion to support his arms buildup, his development of anti-missile defenses, his stiffening of the backbone of the Western alliance, and the consensus he helped create for a rollback of the Soviet intrusions in Central America, the invasion of Afghanistan, and the imposition of martial law in Poland. That unity of the influential Right was vitally important to the course corrections that lifted the United States and the West out of the inanities and shabby compromises of the Carter era, and led the world to the collapse of the Soviet Union and of international Communism, and to the triumph of democracy and market economics in most of the world. The New Criterion itself played an important and distinguished role in the intellectual phase of that struggle. Diana West, Andy McCarthy, and most of those who have supported and opposed Ms. West in this controversy all played their parts, and there is credit for all of them in the result: the greatest and most bloodless strategic victory in the history of the nation-state.
A schism as profound as this controversy has now become will splinter the Right and render it incapable of united action, and perpetuate the precise condition that Andy decries and mistakenly lays at the door of Soviet wartime infiltration, both directly and through sympathizers. The process of fragmenting the Right, in this now notorious instance, began with Ms. West’s frequently, though not entirely, outrageous book, but for a writer of the stature of Andy McCarthy to take the positions mentioned above, and for The New Criterion to lend the exposition of those opinions the mantle of its earned prestige, is, and to say the least, very worrisome.
To address substantively the sources of my concern cited above: The United States government under Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized that the United States had to become engaged in the world or the anti-democratic forces would subdue or exterminate democracy everywhere in the world except the Americas (and there wasn’t much among what FDR generously called “our sister republics” to the south), and if the U.S. were not engaged in Europe and the Far East, everything would be at risk, every generation. He spoke German well (he always spoke German with Dr. Einstein) and saw from the start, even before Churchill, that it would be impossible to coexist with Hitler. He doubted that France could hold Germany and, when France fell, saw that only war between Germany and the USSR would prevent the complete and durable German domination of all of Central and Western continental Europe. He warned Stalin that if he made his pact with Hitler, Hitler would turn on him after he had disposed of France; he warned Stalin of the imminent German attack, and told Stalin when the Japanese withdrew their forces to the south from the Soviet-Manchurian border, so Stalin could reinforce Moscow and Leningrad with forces from the Far East for their final defense at the end of 1941.
Roosevelt had no liking for Stalin or his regime, condemned it in the Russo-Finnish War, and repeatedly, publicly and privately, stated his distaste for it. But he knew that the Anglo-Americans were not going to provide the 400 divisions that would have been necessary to land amphibiously in the West to dislodge Hitler, and that there was no substitute for Stalin as a source of manpower (i.e., battle deaths and casualties) to do so. He and Churchill agreed as soon as Hitler attacked Stalin that the USSR had to be assisted, and it is nonsense to state that they gave him more than was necessary. There was always a danger of another separate peace between Germany and the USSR, and discussions were initiated between them in Stockholm between the Russian victory at Stalingrad and the Tehran Conference. But Roosevelt wanted Stalin on board for the purpose of assisting in the defeat of Germany and Japan (if atomic weapons didn’t work), not for anything else. He declined to advance a cent of promised post-war assistance ($6.5 billion) until Stalin honored his commitments to a free, liberated Eastern Europe; rejected any Soviet presence on the Italian occupation authority; and objected to a demarcation of occupation zones in Germany because he believed that the Germans would surrender in the West and fight to the last cartridge in the East after the West crossed the Rhine (which happened), and that the West should capture Berlin. (He was outvoted on the demarcation of zones in Germany by Churchill and Stalin at the European Advisory Commission. Stalin was afraid the West would occupy Berlin, and Churchill, because the British had only 14 divisions on the Western Front, feared that he would end up with a postage-stamp-sized zone.) Truman stopped all Lend-Lease aid to the USSR as soon as the European war ended. Eisenhower never attached one jot of credence to the nonsense about invading up the Adriatic (Operation Armpit, it was called), which would have given Stalin all Germany and probably France while the Americans, British, Canadians, and French bumbled about in the Alps.
Roosevelt thought that the U.S. would stay about where it was ideologically, or move slightly to the left through such measures as his G.I. Bill of Rights, but that Communism was such nonsense it would eventually gravitate toward social democracy; this does not justify any of these alarmist Ahas about his views of “convergence.” Yalta did not give Stalin anything, which is why he violated every clause of it. There is not one scintilla of acceptable historical evidence that the supposed 500 Soviet agents, “many of them operating at the very highest levels of the federal government,” existed in such numbers or influenced American foreign policy in these most important matters at all, or that any actual policymaker from Roosevelt down thought of anything except the national interest of the United States and the desirability of the reign of democracy within countries and of international law among them.
Joseph R. McCarthy may have made a point about a loyalty issue, which was followed up satisfactorily by Richard Nixon in the Eisenhower administration. But Andy cannot just gloss over as a mere mistake his denunciation on the floor of the Senate at great length of General Marshall, as the author of the treasonable surrender of much of Europe and all of China to the Communists. Marshall did as much as almost anyone to contain Communism by his conduct in war and as secretary of state, originator of the Marshall Plan, and co-founder of NATO. The founder of this publication [National Review], Bill Buckley, a dear friend, because of his many virtues and charms, got away with a lot in his shabby defense of McCarthy with Brent Bozell, which he later effectively recanted. I don’t accuse Diana West of McCarthyism, but Stanton Evans’s whitewash of him is not the pristine triumph of revisionist scholarship Andy presents.
I put it to all of them that the reason for the enfeeblement of America today is not World War II: The United States and its allies wiped the floor with the Nazis and Japanese and then the Communists. It is, rather, the destruction of the Nixon administration and the scuttling of the anti-Communist effort in Indochina in a false avalanche of misplaced sanctimony by the self-hating Left that has done this damage. The public has never forgiven the mainstream media for what they did, and those media have never ceased to congratulate themselves for it and to deluge themselves with professional commendations and awards. After the halcyon interlude of the unique Ronald Reagan, the bloodless assassins of Nixon have gradually worked, as a sequel, toward a policy of supine appeasement of America’s enemies, including militant Islam. If Diana West and Andy McCarthy and their facilitators split the intellectual Right with a revival of the Yalta Myth and its accompanying defamations, they will push the governance of America into the lap of the soft left-center, the sodden, hopeless lumpenbourgeoisie that will sink and take the country with them into the arms of an unkind Morpheus, nodding before CNN and eating Twinkies. As the last pre-revolutionary prime minister of Russia said: “It is time to pray.” (Although it didn’t do much good then and probably wouldn’t in this hypothesis either.)
An Islamist fanatic admitted trying to decapitate Drummer Lee Rigby because “the most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular”, a jury has heard. 'The most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular, this is what I believe, this is how we kill our animals in Islam. He may be my enemy but he is a man - so I struck at the neck and attempted to remove his head.' That's halal slaughter, not humane at all, but utterly Islamic.
Michael Adebolajo, 28, told police he was not sure “how I struck the first blow” . . . He said soldiers were a “most fair target” but revealed 25-year-old Mr Rigby died because he was simply the first soldier they spotted and it was as if “Allah had chosen him”. He said he thought Fusilier Rigby was the 'non-Muslim version of myself and my brother Ismail [ie Adebowale]', adding: 'To be killed on the battlefield is not something we shy away from and in fact this is something that Allah loves.'
The comments came during a fourth interview with police ten days after Fusilier Rigby was allegedly run over with a car and then hacked to death close to his Woolwich barracks in south east London. It was the first time the jury in the Old Bailey murder trial had heard Adebolajo admit to killing Mr Rigby, as footage of the interview was played in court.
He said he had previously thought how it would be possible to kill someone by driving in to them and when he crossed the road in front of him “it was almost as if I was not in control of myself. I accelerated, I hit him”.
He said he did not wish to give Mr Rigby much pain and could see he was still alive.
He could not remember how he made the first blow but said: “I had concluded many, many years ago that the most humane way to kill any creature is to cut the jugular,” adding: “So I struck at the neck and attempted to remove the head.”
He said in the war between Muslims and the British people soldier was “the most fair target because he joins the army with kind of an understanding that your life is at risk."
After the interview was played, David Gottlieb, for Abebolajo, asked detective constable Dhuval Bhatt why officers had held an urgent interview with the 28-year-old in the wake of the killing. He told the court: "It was believed that there were others out there who may be planning attacks."
Jurors were also told that extremist material belonging to Adebolajo was found when they searched his father's house. This included one book called Extreme Islam, in which the following passages had been highlighted: 'Allah does not like any drop more than the drop of blood shed in his way', 'Martyrdom means transfusion of blood into society' and, 'That is why Islam is always in need of martyrs. The revival of courage and zeal is essential for the revival of a nation'.
Another book included a chapter entitled: 'The virtues of killing a non-believer for the sake of Allah'.
Works by Anwar al-Awlaki, described as a Muslim scholar, were among the material, and a copy of the magazine Inspire, which the court heard is reportedly published by Al Qaeda.
Secretary Kerry in Jerusalem to Brief Netanyahu on Iran Nuclear and Palestinian Security
Secretary of State Kerry with Israeli PM Netanyahu, Jerusalem
December 5, 2013 Source AP Photo
Ever the optimistic diplomat for the floundering Obama Administration, John Kerry, the seemingly indefatigable US Secretary of State, is in Jerusalem today for meetings with Israeli PM Netanyahu and later with PA President Abbas. Kerry has been on a whirl-a gig following the announcement of the P5+1 deal with Iran’s nuclear program on November 24th in Geneva. His globe girdling schedule has included a stop back in Washington to brief the Administration, media and key Senate Leaders on the P5+1 Iran nuclear deal negotiations. That was followed by a sudden trip by Vice President Biden to Japan and China over the latter’s sudden assertion of its sphere of influence with the announcement of an air defense zone covering disputed Islands in the South China Sea disputed in a flyover by USAF B-52’s. This appears to be more of the tilt towards the Pacific Rim startegy fostered by the West Wing in the Obama White House given its apparent failures in the Middle East in Syria and Egypt.
This week, Kerry jetted off to attend NATO Security meetings in Brussels and made hurry up side trip to Moldava to bolster support for EU integration with former Soviet era eastern European countries, most notably the Ukraine. A Ukraine with leaders facing massive opposition to a move nixing EU integration deal while tilting towards Putin asserting Russian hegemony in the region with former Soviet era satellite republics.
Israel’s PM Netanyahu has made it abundantly clear that he is very skeptical about the P5+1 deal denying Israel's primary national security concerns, dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. A program that was on the verge of achieving nuclear breakout having enough fissile material for creation of one or more nuclear weapons. The interim six months P5+1 deal has only marginally delayed by a few weeks achievement of nuclear breakout, while enabling Iran to continue nuclear enrichment, evading start up of plutonium production at the heavy water plant under construction at Arak and development of nuclear triggers at the secret Military research center at Parchin. It is alleged that PM Netanyahu may be seeking to link both the Iran nuclear and Palestinian final status discussions, while Kerry would like to keep them on separate tracks. Good luck.
On the final status agreement discussions with the PA Kerry has brought along with him US Marine General John Allen, his special deputy for security in the faltering final status peace discussions with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Gen. Allen was ISAF Commander in Afghanistan and, according to press reports, has been busy liaising with IDF and Israeli security officials about security arrangements for proposed final status agreements. See his bio, here.
These peace discussions are at the mid-point of a timetable announced on July 30, 2013 in Washington seeking to conclude an agreement by April 2014. PA President Abbas has basically abandoned interest in the talks broadly hinting US presence is biased towards Israel. Further, seeing no progress to date he might opt for seeking UN recognition of a Palestinian State in the fall of 2014. Such a Palestinian statelet, would, in his view, be based on the 1949 Armistice line with ‘minor land swaps’ that would divide Israel’s capital of Jerusalem and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria, the West Bank. That would suborn language in UN Security Council Res. 242, adopted in November 1967, giving Israel the right to conclude “secure and defensible borders”. Gen. Allen’s presence would appear to be evidence of the Administration ultimately foisting an agreement on both parties, Israel and the PA, given the apparent stalemate in final status discussions.
In an email exchange with Professor Yisrael Medad in Israel, I suggested that perhaps Gen. Allen might cover rumored security arrangements by a multi-national force, led by the US, providing security on the Judean hills overlooking the key approaches from the Jordan River Valley. The more nettlesome aspects would be use of any proposed international force to police the modified 1949 Armistice line, the alleged pre-1967 June War boundaries. That would divide the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, and possible jeopardize protection for the more than 350,000 Israelis in towns in Judea and Samaria. Communities that the international media refers to as West Bank 'settlements'. PM Netanyahu has gone on record rejecting those proposals.
These ruminations about security arrangements and imposition of a US deal on Israel and the PA were raised in both AP and Ha’aretz stories about today’s stop by Kerry and Gen. Allen in both Jerusalem and Ramallah. The AP report on today’s meetings noted:
The U.S. diplomatic officials said Kerry and his security adviser, retired Gen. John Allen, have been working on security issues in hopes of breaking the deadlock. They believe the absence of any concrete plans so far is a main reason for the lack of progress.
The American officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Kerry has not yet presented his proposals.
The Ha'aretz daily said that Allen would present his ideas at a meeting with Netanyahu on Thursday. After that meeting, Kerry is scheduled to head to the West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It said the American thinking is that if Israeli security concerns can be met, other issues, such as borders, will then fall into place.
One U.S. official said Allen "has been working closely on the ground with his Israeli counterparts." The official said the Americans realize that security is "paramount" as Israel contemplates taking "calculated risks for peace."
The officials refused to provide details on Allen's work, including whether it might include stationing international forces along the West Bank border with Jordan. Netanyahu has insisted that Israel maintain a security presence in the West Bank as part of any final deal.
Yuval Diskin, former director of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, featured in the controversial film, The Gatekeepers, was quoted by The Times of Israel that failure to achieve a two state solution “dwarfed’ the existential Iranian nuclear threat. Speaking at a conference on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the discredited faux Geneva Initiative, allegedly based on prior permanent status discussions, Diskin said:
“The alternative to the vision of a two-state solution is one state,” Diskin said. “In a situation like this, the vision of a democratic Jewish state will disappear. This is perhaps the last opportunity to reach a two state solution. The Geneva Initiative provides the basis for an agreement.
“We cannot live in a single state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River and we cannot relate to the conflict as shrapnel in the buttocks, as one of our ministers did,” he added, alluding to widely publicized comments made by Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) in June.
“The question will be who the shrapnel is and who is the buttocks,” he quipped.
”The implications of a lack of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are more existential than the Iranian nuclear [program],” he said, noting that the current state of affairs in the West Bank was like a powder keg.
“It does not seem as if the current government is trying to change the trend regarding the settlement enterprise,” he said, in a jab at Netanyahu. “Our friends in the world are giving up on the prospect of a two-states-for-two-nations solution. There is tremendous frustration in the West Bank. The Palestinians feel that their state is being stolen from them. Soon the Palestinian masses will feel that there is no future, only a bad past.
“We must take into account the relationship between the Palestinians and their Arab-Israeli brethren,” he continued. “The concentration of fumes is so high that a little spark could lead to a big explosion.”
The Netanyahu government immediately dismissed these comments of Diskin, implying perhaps they were motivated by his being passed over for Mossad director. An official with the Netanyahu government was quoted by The Times of Israel saying:
Anyone who thinks the Palestinian threat is larger than the threat of a nuclear weapon in the hands of Iran, which has made it its goal to destroy the State of Israel, is cut off from reality and lacks any strategic perspective.
The criticism by the marginalized Israeli left of the Netanyahu government, seeking to assure the country’s national security interests vis a vis final status negotiations with the PA, neglects the dissimilitude, corruption and total lack of integrity of the PA leadership under President Mahmoud Abbas. The left in Israel live in a virtual dream world denying the overarching Islamist threat facing Israel on virtually all of its borders. Diskin is reflecting the disingenuous approach of Israel’s left frantically promoting final status agreements that would suborn the national security interests let alone the existence of the Jewish nation. We trust that Secretary Kerry and Gen. Allen do not take seriously these views as indicative of the majority of Israel’s polity. They are most decidedly not ther case as reflected in Israeli polls. Most Americans polled support Israel, the only democratic ally and capable military force in the troubled Middle East. That support is reflected in serious questioning of the interim P5+1 Geneva agreement and strong bi-partisan support in Congress for strengthened sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program in pending Defense Appropriations amendments.
Peggy Noonan nails Obama and his administration at the WSJ blog (with thanks to Richard Rubenstein):
The president’s problem right now is that people think he’s smart. They think he’s in command, aware of pitfalls and complexities. That’s his reputation: He’s risen far on his brains. They think he is sophisticated.
That is his problem in the health insurance debacle.
* * *
People have seen their prices go up, their choices narrow. They have lost coverage. They have lost the comfort of keeping the doctor who knows them and knows they tend to downplay problems and not complain of pain, and so doing more tests might be in order, or tend to be hypochondriacal and probably don’t need an echocardiogram, or at least not a third one this year.
At the very least people have been inconvenienced; at the most they’ve been made more anxious in an already anxious world. In a month, at the worst they may be on a gurney in an ER not knowing the answer to the question “Do you have insurance?” and hoping they can get into an exam room before somebody runs the number on the little green plastic card they keep in the back of their wallet.
Everyone understands in their own rough way that ObamaCare is a big mess. And that it’s not the website, it’s the law itself. They have seen systems crash. In the past 20 years they’ve seen their own computers crash. They know systems and computers get fixed.
But they understand a conceptual botch when they see one. They understand this new program was so big and complex and had so many moving parts and was built on so many assumptions that may or may not hold true, and that deals with so many people with so many policies—and they know they themselves have not read their own policies, for who would when the policies, like the law that now controls the policies, are written in a way that is deliberately obscure so as to give maximum flexibility to administrators in offices far away. And that’s just your policy. What about 200 million other policies? The government can’t handle that. The government can barely put up road signs.
The new law seems like just another part of the ongoing shakedown operation that is the relationship of the individual and the federal government, circa 2013.
But back to the president, and his problem with being known as intelligent—Columbia, Harvard Law, lecturer on constitutional issues at the University of Chicago Law School.
The program he created in 2009-10, ran on in 2012, and whose implantation he delayed until one year after that election—in retrospect, that delay seems meaningful, doesn’t it?—has turned out to be wildly misleading as to its basic facts.
Millions are finding you can’t keep your plan, your premium, your deductible, your doctor. And millions more will discover this when the business mandate kicks in.
All of this—the fraudulent nature of the program—came as a rolling shock to people the past two months.
It’s a shock for most people that it’s a shambles. A fellow very friendly to the administration, a longtime supporter, cornered me at a holiday party recently to ask, with true perplexity: “How could any president put his entire reputation on the line with a program and not be on the phone every day pushing people and making sure it will work? Do you know of any president who wouldn’t do that?” I couldn’t think of one, and it’s the same question I’d been asking myself. The questioner had been the manager of a great institution, a high stakes 24/7 operation with a lot of moving parts. He knew Murphy’s law—if it can go wrong, it will. Managers—presidents—have to obsess, have to put the fear of God, as Mr. Obama says, into those below them in the line of authority. They don’t have to get down in the weeds every day but they have to know there are weeds, and that things get caught in them.
It’s a leader’s job to be skeptical of grand schemes. Sorry, that’s a conservative leader’s job. It is a liberal leader’s job to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful.
And this president wasn’t. I think part of the reason he wasn’t careful is because he sort of lives in words. That’s been his whole professional life—books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it’s been said and publicized it must be real. He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it. It’s all been pretty abstract for him, not concrete. He never had to stock a store, run a sale and see lots of people come but the expenses turn out to be larger than you’d expected and the profits smaller, and you have to figure out what went wrong and do better next time.
People say Mr. Obama never had to run anything, but it may be more important that he never worked for the guy who had to run something, and things got fouled up along the way and he had to turn it around. He never had to meet a payroll, never knew that stress. He probably never had to buy insurance! And you know, his policies were probably gold-plated—at the law firm, through his wife’s considerable hospital job, in the Illinois Legislature, in the U.S. Senate. Those guys know how to take care of themselves! Maybe he felt guilty. Maybe that’s to his credit, knowing he was lucky. Too bad he didn’t know what he didn’t know, like how every part has to work for a complicated machine to work.
Here I will say something harsh, and it’s connected to the thing about words but also images.
From what I have seen the administration is full of young people who’ve seen the movie but not read the book. They act bright, they know the reference, they’re credentialed. But they’ve only seen the movie about, say, the Cuban missile crisis, and then they get into a foreign-policy question and they’re seeing movies in their heads. They haven’t read the histories, the texts, which carry more information, more texture, data and subtlety, and different points of view. They’ve only seen the movie—the Cubans had the missiles and Jack said “Not another war” and Bobby said “Pearl Harbor in reverse” and dreadful old Curtis LeMay chomped his cigar and said “We can fry a million of ‘em by this afternoon, Mr. President.” Grrr, grrr, good guys beat bad guys.
It’s as if history isn’t real to them. They run around tweeting, all of them, even those in substantial positions. “Darfur government inadequate. Genocide unacceptable.” They share their feelings – that happens to be one of the things they seem to think is real, what they feel. “Unjust treatment of women—scourge that hurts my heart.” This is the dialogue to the movies in their heads.
There’s a sense that they’re all freelancing, not really part of anything coherent.
For four years I have been told, by those who’ve worked in the administration and those who’ve visited it as volunteers or contractors, that the Obama White House isn’torganized. It’s just full of chatter. Meetings don’t begin on time, there’s no agenda, the list of those invited seems to expand and contract at somebody’s whim. There is a tendency to speak of how a problem will look and how its appearance should be handled, as opposed to what the problem is and should be done about it. People speak airily, without point. They scroll down, see a call that has to be returned, pop out and then in again.
It does not sound like a professional operation. And this is both typical of White Houses and yet on some level extreme. People have always had meetings to arrange meetings, but the lack of focus, the lack of point, the sense that they are operating within accepted levels of incoherence—this all sounds, actually, peculiar.
And when you apply this to the ObamaCare debacle, suddenly it seems to make sense. The White House is so unformed and chaotic that they probably didn’t ignore the problem, they probably held a million meetings on it. People probably said things like, “We’re experiencing some technological challenges but we’re sure we’ll be up by October,” and other people said, “Yes, it’s important we launch strong,” and others said, “The Republicans will have a field day if we’re not.” And then everyone went to their next meeting. And no one did anything. And the president went off and made speeches.
Because the doing isn’t that important, the talking is.
* * *
The president is interested in Ronald Reagan, and in the past has seemed mildly preoccupied with him, but he misunderstands him. Mr. Obama shows every sign of thinking Reagan led only through words. But Reagan led through actions, as every leader must. The words explained, argued for and advanced those actions; they gave people a sense of who it was who was acting. But Obama’s generation of the left could never see or come to terms with the fact that it was, say, the decision to fire the air traffic controllers, or the decision to take the hit and bleed out inflation, that made Reagan’s presidency successful and meaningful. With an effective presidency, everything is in the doing. The words are part of the doing and at some points can be crucial to it; at some interesting points they even are the doing, such as looking at the Soviets and declaring that we knew what their system was and wouldn’t accept any but an honest interpretation of it, and yes, that constituted a change of attitude and approach. That took words. But it’s never all words, it can’t be. It’s making the right decision and carrying it through—executing it.
Mr. Obama learned only half of Reagan’s lesson.
And here’s something odd. The first President Bush, George H.W., learned half the lesson too, but the other half. Bush managed, executed and decided his way through the peaceful fall of the Soviet Empire and the reunification of Germany. But he couldn’t, for reasons characterological and having to do with his own highly refined sense of the demands of diplomacy, explain to people exactly what he was doing, why he was doing it and how. And so a feat of great historical weight and magnitude, deserving of a Nobel Prize for peace and utterly ignored by that silly committee, is half forgotten. Whereas Mr. Obama won that prize—for words.
But let’s go back to the first paragraph, and the original point of this piece.
Mr. Obama’s problem now is that people think he is smart.
They think, as they look at his health-care vows, that either he didn’t know how bad his program was, what dislocations it would cause, what a disturbance it would be to the vast middle class of America . . .
Or he knew, and deliberately misled everyone.
If they thought he wasn’t very bright, they might give him some leeway on that question. But they think he’s really smart.
So they think he knew.
And deliberately misled.
They think he knowingly quelled people’s fears when he knew they had every reason to be afraid.
Which makes him just another dishonest pol, just another guy hiding in the deliberately obscure paragraph on page 1,037 of the omnibus comprehensive reform bill.
He has taken himself down, lowered his own stature.
Commentators like to decry low-information voters—the stupid are picking our leaders. I think the real problem is low-information leaders. They have so little experience of life and have so much faith in magic—in media, in words—that they don’t understand people will get angry at you when you mislead them, and never see you the same way again.
Terrorism Monitoring Group Uncovers New Threats Against 'pig' Wilders
Geert Wilders, leader of Freedom Party (PVV)
Source: NL Times
We recently posted on Wilders' ninth anniversary of the Royal Dutch Protection Service putting him the equivalent of 24/7 protection because of threats on life from jihadists that followed in the wake of the murder of Dutch film maker, Theo van Gogh on the streets of Amsterdam. Wilders responded to these continuing threats to his life wityh his own controversial film Fitna, and his virgorous exercise of free speech as an outspoken crtiic of Islam and mass Mulsim immigration in The Netherlands the EU and here in North America.
Researchers from the Israeli/American Security and Intelligence Company (ITRR) intercepted a new threat on an internet forum for Jihadists, directed toward PVV-leader Geert Wilders. The message is a call to murder Wilders in an attack with explosives.The writer of the message calls Wilders a “pig” and a “coward.” The message was posted in a response to Wilders’ recent call to add a text to the flag of Saudi Arabia, that reads: ‘The Islam is a lie, Mohammed is a criminal, the Koran is poison.’
Wilders is a frequent subject of threats on internet forums and through email and social media. Just last Friday he tweeted: ‘after nine years sick souls on the internet still give me the creeps.’
Since the assassination of Theo van Gogh, early November 2004, the PVV-leader has lived under police protection. On the party’s website Wilders “celebrated” that fact: ‘since that ominous day, nine years ago, I’ve been forced to live under police protection. I have lived in barracks, jails, and safe houses. The threats continue and have robbed me of my privacy and freedom.’
We understand that Wilders may be returning to America in early 2014. We will endeavor to keep you posted on those developments.
Prisoner accused of intimidating jail inmates to convert to Islam
I thought at first he was in an Irish prison. But no, he is in an English prison but the only newspaper interested is in Ireland. Most Irish people have relatives living or working in the United Kingdom. They see what has happened here; they do not want anything similar happening in Ireland. From the Irish Independent.
A Muslim jailed for his involvement in the killing of a woman at a christening party has been accused of bullying and intimidating jail inmates to convert to Islam, it was revealed today. Jude Odigie, 24, was a teenager when he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced at the Old Bailey in February 2007 to detention "for public protection" and ordered to serve a minimum period of seven years, three months, eight days.
He was part of a gang which invaded a christening party at a community centre in Peckham, south London, and stole mobile phones and handbags. A shot was fired by another member of the gang and hit a woman, who was holding a baby, in the head. The baby was unharmed but the woman, Zainab Kalokoh, 33, died later in hospital.
Odigie was held at various prisons until he was moved in June 2012 to Lowdham Grange, a Category B training prison for men operated by Serco Ltd in the East Midlands.
His cell was searched on October 12 2012 and a tin opener was found which came apart, with one handle sharpened to a point. A plastic handle was also found wrapped in bootlaces into which the sharpened point could fit to make a weapon, the High Court heard.He was then moved to Full Sutton high security prison.
He launched a High Court challenge and asked deputy judge Philip Mott QC to quash the transfer decision and return him to Lowdham Grange on the basis the move was procedurally unfair and an abuse of power.
Today, Judge Mott said Odigie's application for judicial review "fails on all grounds".
The judge said a gist of the accusations against him "does set out a consistent pattern of information pointing to pressure being put on other prisoners to convert to Islam, and the use of threats to those who do not comply".
The cell search was "prompted by intelligence, and proved to be absolutely justified . . . The discovery of a home-made weapon in his cell appeared to substantiate this intelligence." He ruled: "In my judgement the undisputed facts and background were sufficient to justify action being taken without waiting for the result of the adjudication. The finding of the weapon was a serious matter. The background of perceived threats and bullying clearly had to be borne in mind also, but was not needed to justify taking action.
The name Jude suggests Christian origins. I wonder if he was a Muslim at the time he was convicted, or whether he converted inside.
COUNTER-terrorism officers have c?harged a figurehead of last year's Muslim riots and infamous Sharia "whipping" case over an attempted ATM ram-raid in Sydney's north. Wassim Fayad, 46, one of two head spokesmen during the riots, was arrested at 7.30am last Friday at Auburn and charged over the failed ram-raid involving at least two other men at North Ryde on May 15.
The investigation, kept under wraps until now, has been continuing for several months, running at the same time as another case with the Joint-Counter Terrorism Team examining a syndicate sending young Australian Muslims to fight in the Syrian civil war. Police also have been investigating Fayad's activities to see whether he has any connection with the Syrian syndicate.
While the ATM attack would normally be left with local authorities, counter terror police are understood to have led the investigation because of their interest in how the alleged assailants had planned to spend the proceeds of the crime.
The new charge, laid by the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command, is over the aggravated break and enter on a shopping centre at Waterloo Rd, North Ryde.
The incident involved a four-wheel drive and a van driven into the shopping centre about 4am. Police will allege the four-wheel drive was used to ram two ATMs before Fayad and at least two others allegedly tried to access the cash inside. They left empty-handed.
Fayad was also charged last week by the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad with being an accessory after the fact in an unrelated attempt to murder case - he appeared in court on both charges. That accessory charge was laid following an investigation into the attempted murder of a man outside the Aarows sex club at Rydalmere, on May 1, two weeks before the alleged ATM attack.
NSW Police confirmed officers with the Joint Counter-Terror team laid the charges in relation to the attempted robbery. Police are continuing to probe links between the men and others who have been radicalised in the community.
Later today David Cameron is expected to announce efforts to restrain Muslim hate preachers and jihadist recruiting. I have no reason to believe that these will be any more effective than the governments previous cosmetic attempts to convince the public that "something is being done". But Muslim whinge group Run and tell tales to Mummy, Tell MAMA isn't happy. From the Independent.
A group that monitors attacks on Muslims said it was preparing for an upsurge of violence as a result of the moves being announced today by David Cameron.
Under the Prime Minister’s proposals, Islamist radicals face being expelled from mosques, Muslim community groups and universities in a fight-back against fundamentalism. The courts would be given new civil powers – similar to Asbos – to ban suspected extremists from preaching or indoctrinating others.
At the same time internet companies have been asked to block terrorist material from overseas being accessed in this country.
The measures were proposed by the Prime Minister’s extremism task force – which included ministers, community groups, the police and the security services – set up after the killing of Lee Rigby.
Last night Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Tell Mama, which records anti-Muslim incidents, said he feared Mr Cameron’s announcements would reinforce negative perceptions of Muslims.
Mr Mughal said he had asked extra staff to be on standby because of an anticipated surge in hate attacks. He added that the new rules should cover all forms of extremism, including the activities of the far right. “There has to be parity and not a feeling that Muslims are being singled out,” he said.
Chris Allen, an expert on Islamophobia at Birmingham University, said: “The more the lens is turned on the Muslim community, the more society begins to think, ‘There’s no smoke without fire’.” (or the sword)
Speaking in China, Mr Cameron defended the proposals. “In light of the dreadful events in Woolwich, I thought it was very important to have a proper look through all of the UK’s institutions to make sure we really are doing everything we can to drive out radicalisation,” he said. “This is not just about violent extremism, this is about extremism that leads to radicalisation and particularly Islamist extremism.”
Mr Cameron said there were “just too many people” who had been radicalised at Islamic centres or who had been in contact with extremist preachers, who had “not been sufficiently challenged”.
The report includes a definition of Islamist extremism as a distinct ideology which, it says, should not be confused with traditional religious practice. It describes it as an ideology which is based on a “distorted interpretation of Islam, which betrays Islam’s peaceful principles”.
What did I say in my first paragraph? Read the comments under the article, in particular that of Lion Singh. Some people have been dealing with Islam up close and personal for a long time, and are not fooled by Cameron's apologetics.