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





















Thursday, 31 January 2008
A Musical Interlude: Out Of Nowhere (Ranny Weeks Orch. & voc.)
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Posted on 01/31/2008 8:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
A Cinematic Interlude: Dr. Strangelove (The Phone Conversation)
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Posted on 01/31/2008 6:39 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Uranium Bill
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New Duranty: Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.

Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.

Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.

The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.

Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.,,,

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Posted on 01/31/2008 3:48 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Composing Citizenship Tests
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In composing your own examination to be given to those who wish to become citizens, don't be quite as difficult in your choice of questions as I was in "Going Dutch." The Netherlands is a smaller country, and it has to be much more parsimonious in sharing the benefits of citizenship. But don't be inhibited, either, by the grim awareness of how little many Americans know about their own history (see "Jaywalking" on Jay Leno, for more). You don't have to apply the same low no-child-left-behind-least-common-denominator standards currently observed here.

Ask about the First Amendment, and what those individual guarantees mean. Ask about the Revolutionary War, and the contents of "Common Sense" and then, later, of Paine's "The Rights of Man" and, if you wish, about the Bill of Rights. But knowledge of the Suffolk Resolves and the Virginia Remonstrances would be too much to expect. The Mexican War, yes, even the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. But not details about John Fremont or Santa Ana or even Sam Houston.

Make sure there is a cultural component. Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau.

Will this make things more difficult? Yes, and they should. And will it be possible for those who Prepare us for Life -- that is Mr. Kaplan, Mr. Princeton, Mr. BAR-BRI, Mr. Becker, and others in the same business -- to have a whole new line, with tapes and review courses, in "American History and Civilizaton" for what will be called the NAT Exam ("I've got to spend the summer studying for my NATs")? Yes. But so what? The government has a right to ensure that immigrants have learned a sufficient amount of English so as to be able to answer viva-voce questions (every naturalization exam should include that, and not a simple one) and that they take seriously the need to learn something about the history and culture of the United States, the Thidwick-the-Big-Hearted-Moose of countries, that has a perfect right to establish whatever minimum requirements it wishes, for the great privilege of being allowed to be a citizen, to be allowed to board, in a world where, let's face it, there are all kinds of menaces and threats, and America looks to many to be a better, safer, bet than most of the world. And if it is, it is due to the stability and intelligence of its political and legal institutions, beginning but not ending with the Constitution, and only those who can forthrightly be loyal to the principles of that Constitution should be considered for citizenship. And adherence to an ideology that flatly contradicts the most important rights guaranteed in that Constitution should disqualify anyone from being granted citizenship. No sentimentality, please, about how "everyone wants the same thing" or "worships the same god" or suchlike.

Composing such a test should be fun. Ask people to come on over and offer the kind of provisions that they think would make sense, and then discuss them, one by one. Make it a party. Have it in classes, as a Teaching Moment about what makes America America. Be sure to focus on the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and then the rights recognized, and the rights not recognized, in the Islamic version of both, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights.

It will be a salutary lesson for many young Americans, who haven't given this any thought. Now they will.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 2:40 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Are you an infomaniac?
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From The Times, with thanks to Alan:

What is it like to live in an “experience economy”? When people murmur knowingly about “maturialism”, what are they talking about? Are you suffering from infomania, or planning to be a protirer? Assaulted by a battery of buzzwords, it’s easy to feel left out. Social trends forecaster James Harkin has gathered 75 21st-century neologisms for his new book.

Maturialism

Get your motor runnin’. Head out on the highway. Lookin’ for adventure. If you recognise Steppenwolf’s lyrics, the chances are that you are middle-aged. But with the children having left home and the money to spend, there seems no reason why you can’t go wild.

The average age of the owner of a Harley-Davidson motorbike has accelerated from 38 to 46 in the past decade. “Born-again bikers” have become emblems of a spectacular inversion of social norms...

Infomania

In the time that I spent researching this short section, I have checked my e-mail about 50 times, played with Google 20 times, checked a newspaper search engine five times, taken three telephone calls and replied to a text from a friend who is on holiday abroad. I am, dear reader, suffering from an acute case of infomania....

The new puritans

The new puritans are well-to-do professionals who invest time and money researching the provenance and pedigree of what they consume. They would prefer to live in the country, but since to do so would be financially impractical and socially ruinous, they make do as best they can.

[...]

Slacktivism

Want to feel good with the minimum of effort? Why not sit at home and sign petitions on the internet? Slacktivism, the phrase itself a rather lazy haemorrhaging of the two words “slacker” and “activism”, is the counter-intuitive idea that armchair warriors can somehow change the world.

I like the word "slacktivism" and I'm a bit of an infomaniac.  But obviously I'm far too interesting and individual to belong to any style-tribe. Hang on, there's more:

The experience economy

Which would you prefer – to own a Ferrari or to walk the Machu Picchu trail in southern Peru? More and more of us, it seems, would prefer to take the walk. The elusive route to contentment, according to one of the most influential business theories of the past decade, lies not in material possessions but in experiences such as scuba-diving and exotic holidays....

According to the theory, memories last longer than material goods. They are also unique. The Joneses next door might have the same Ferrari as I do, but they are unlikely to have taken a year off to steer a converted shopping trolley around rural China.

Hmm. I've been pigeon-holed. But I'm not like the others. I only go abroad to confirm that England is, or should be, Top Nation, that foreigners are funny and that abroad is bloody.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 2:03 PM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
No compulsion, but it's involuntary
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While it often seems that Britain bends over backwards to accommodate Islam, in order not to provoke - what was the term again? - "anti-Islamic" activity, this is not enough. And it never will be. From The Press Association, with thanks, once again, to Islamophobia Watch:

Anti-Muslim prejudice is dealt with less seriously than other forms of discrimination, a university study found.

The research conducted at Bristol University examined 30 years of Government legislation and legal rulings to distinguish the difference between prejudice towards race, ethnicity and religion.

In the study, Dr Nasar Meer, research associate in the Department of Sociology at Bristol, found that Muslims are let down by race legislation because being a Muslim is recognised as a lifestyle choice or a "voluntary identity".

Dr Meer says other religious identities - such as Sikh and Jew - have had race law applied in their favour in a way not extended to Muslim communities.

He said many Muslims view their faith as an "involuntary identity" as they are born into the religion.

He said: "We explored what legislation exists to help protect people with what we call an involuntary identity. People with an involuntary identity shouldn't be disadvantaged by others' views."

Involuntary? Like gagging or sneezing? No, but it's involuntary in the sense that you don't sign up for it, and in the sense that the punishment for apostasy is death. Being born into a religion doesn't make it "involuntary" unless you can't leave it. What Dr Meer is saying - and I can't help thinking of Daisy Ashford's "rather mere man" in The Young Visiters - is that the UK should acknowledge and support Islamic apostasy law.

In any case, I thought there was no compulsion in religion. Ooops, that's what they say to fool infidels and I've given the game away.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 1:45 PM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
The Numbers Game
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"There are over 50 million muslims in Europe"
-- from a reader

No. There are right now fewer than 20 million Muslims in Western Europe, possibly only 15 million, out of a total E. U. population of about 450 million. Yet that is not cause for complacency. Look at how aggressive Muslims have been in the Netherlands, in Great Britain, in France, in Denmark (Muslim leaders in Denmark not only protesting the cartoons, but actively touring the world, whipping up Muslims outside Denmark to engage in economic and diplomatic boycotts of Denmark, and issuing death threats against "the Danes"), in Germany, in Italy (with Adel Smith, a convert and "leader" of Italian Muslims demanding that the crucifix be removed everywhere, a move which enraged even determined atheists and anti-clericals such as Oriana Fallaci, who understood the significance of such a demand), and indeed everywhere.

And what a nightmarish expense and difficulty it is already to guard airports, train and metro and bus stations, government buildings, churches and synagogues, even the art-work that might be vandalized in museums, and to provide protection even for members of Parliament such as Geert Wilders, or for heads of parties (as in Norway) or for apostates (Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to leave the Netherlands). "If they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when the wood is dry" it says in Luke. Well, "if they do this when they constitute a mere 3%, or possibly 5%, of the total population in the Infidel nation-states, then what will happen when they become, if they are allowed to become, 10%, or 20%? Long before Muslims are a majority they will have created the conditions that will render non-Muslims helpless to defend their own civilizational legacy.

Look at the how expensive, time-consuming, mind-consuming are all the endless legal battles waged, the time used up by lawyers, courts, to satisfy, or not, the demands of Muslims, those who claim that there has been :discrimination" at a municipal pool, where burga-wearing was banned, or at schools (the "guerre des foulards" in France), or as witnesses (protesting the insistence of a judge that niqabbed faces be revealed by those giving testimony in court), and so on -- and those cases, those attempts to change the legal and political rules, the social arrangements, the everything of Infidel lands will never, can never, stop. But they can be controlled and contained, and that requires dealing with the demographic conquest that cannot continue to be merely observed, noted, and bewailed, but observed, noted, and fought.

Most likely a total of 15 million, in the member states of the E.U. And some are counted as "Muslims" who may in fact have fallen away. That means Muslims constitute about 3%. Let's make it 5%, just for the hell of it. But among them are many who are not yet -- and do not ever have to be made -- citizens. There are plural wives. There is fiddling of the system in every way. There is criminality. All of this could be made grounds for expulsion. Here's an idea: a law that says that anyone who is a naturalized citizen, but within a certain period (say ten years) is convicted of a crime beyond the level of a misdemeanor, "can be subject" to being stripped of citizenship and deported. There will be discretion in enforcement, and it could be selectively enforced against those who, because of what is in their mental baggage, pose a permanent threat.

Changes in immigration policy have to be instituted quickly, all over Western Europe. The absurdly capacious definition of "refugee" must be re-dimensioned, for it is silly to describe a Muslim from a Muslim country as a "refugee." Sunnis from Iraq who have left Baghdad, for example, under Shi'a pressure, have all of the Sunni parts of Iraq to settle in. The same with the Shi'a. Or, for that matter, there are 22 Arab states, and it is absurd for Infidel lands to believe that they -- and that includes the United States -- have an "obligation" to allow in more Muslims, when we have evidence aplenty, from what is happening in Western Europe, of what that means for the peace, tranquility, and continued stability of our own legal and political institutions, and our physical security.

It is not beyond the wit of Western man to construct a system whereby illegal Muslim immigrants are interdicted, and quickly returned to sender, and the police in Western Europe should be spending much more not only to interdict those boatloads, but also to locate, and seize all of the assets of the smugglers, so that the crime will not pay. And anyone found to be easing the entry of Muslim illegals, of hiding them in the Muslim communities, should be subject to similar punishments and, above all, seizure of assets (jail terms too often simply provide a "captive audience" of Infidels subject to campaigns of Da'wa).

Save for the remains of the Ottoman day that one finds in the Balkans, and a distinct group of Muslims in Bulgaria, there are very few Muslims in Europe-extra-E.U. -- that is, in Central and Eastern Europe. There are some in Switzerland, a country that, however, makes the acquiring of citizenship difficult. (The greed of some Swiss for Arab oil money has played a role in delaying recognition, just as the temporary need for manodopera in Germany and France thirty years ago, led to the negligent admission of Turkish and North African workers who were seen, quite incorrectly, only as gastarbeiter. The Pakistanis who came to Great Britain were allowed in mainly out of some sentimental business permitting entry to "members of the Commonwealth" and also played a role in admitting Muslims (Hindus are another matter) booted out of Uganda by Idi Amin, and made unwelcome in other black African nations. For some reason no one thought they should go to Pakistan, oh no. It was Great Britain's "responsibility" to take them in. And it did. It's always and everywhere the "responsibility" of the Western world to take in Muslim "refugees" from the very lords of misrule who rule unchallenged, in large part, because of the habit of submission to the ruler that Islam, locating political legitimacy not in the expressed will of the people but in the will expressed by Allah in the Qur'an (and further glossed by the Sunnah), is responsible for. But do those "refugees" from Muslim countries leave the ultimate, if not proximate, cause, of the political, economic, social, moral and intellectual failures of the places they leave behind, when they come as "refugees" to Great Britain or the United States? Do they, that is, come as refugees from the Nazis came, or refugees from the Communists came, hating Nazism, hating Communism? No, they do not. They come, for the most part, with Islam in their mental baggage, and do not have to declare it upon entry, nor any time later on. They remain true to what, if they analyzed things correctly, caused their own countries of origin to be so unpleasant, and the absence of which, as a dominant force, in the Western world, helps explain the difference, and Western superiority, as Gogol might put it, "in all respects."

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Posted on 01/31/2008 1:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
A barrage against Israel
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Of all hatreds, anti-Semitism is the least rational. Jews are the most talented, most peaceful and most moral people on earth. Any country with Jews is lucky to have them. Countries without Jews don't seem to prosper, and if it is by choice, they don't deserve to.

Sweeping generalisations over - well nearly over. Unless you are evil or stupid enough to hate Jews, then it doesn't make sense to be anti-Israel. Those who are anti-Israel are anti-Semitic, or ignorant or both. And what a lot of them there are. In the UK, most Israel bashers are ignorant rather than anti-Semitic, but those who have kept them ignorant and fed them lies should not be forgiven: they know exactly what they do. Robin Shepherd in The Times:

Yesterday's publication of the Winograd report into Israel's prosecution of the 2006 campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon provides a new opportunity for commentators to demonstrate their capacity for sober, balanced analysis. They will note the criticisms directed against Ehud Olmert, Israel's Prime Minister, while lauding the report as a display of democratic accountability unthinkable in any other country in the Middle East. Never failing to see the bigger picture, they will carefully weigh the options faced by a democracy under fire from some of the dangerous people on the planet.

Forget it. Most commentators, of course, will do nothing of the sort. Such is the obsessive desire to beat the Jewish state with any stick available, we should prepare for yet more moral inversion and wilful distortion. To get a sense of the sheer irrationality of the anti-Israeli polemicists, it is worth looking at recents events in Gaza.

Apologists for extremism had long argued that occupation rather than ideology was the “root cause” of terrorism. Terrorism would therefore cease once occupation ended. That argument has now been conclusively defeated. Since Israel withdrew, Palestinian militants have fired more than 4,000 rockets from Gaza at Israeli civilian targets.

Now, there is not a state in the world that could ignore this kind of barrage. So what were the options? One was reoccupation. Another was to carpet-bomb the areas from which the rockets are being fired. Many states would have done both. Israel has done neither.

What has Israel actually done? First, it has built a barrier around Gaza to limit the ability of suicide bombers to kill civilians. Secondly, it makes incursions to target the terrorist infrastructure. Thirdly, it has restricted imports into Gaza to stop bomb-making equipment from getting to the terrorists in aid and food packages. Fourthly, it has applied economic sanctions against the Hamas regime. Israel, in other words, has chosen the strategy least likely to cause heavy loss of life while still exercising its right to self-defence.

The condition of the residents of Gaza is dire. But ultimate blame for this surely rests with Hamas, other militants and the culture of violence in Palestinian society that sustains them. In the absence of all this there would, of course, be no security barrier, no military incursions, no trade restrictions and no sanctions.

In the topsy-turvy world of British and European commentary, however, reasoned argument is cast aside. The frenzied, rhetorical onslaught against the Jewish state is at best intellectually lazy. At worst it forms part of a hateful agenda that shames those who indulge in it.

Robin Shepherd, a senior fellow at Chatham House, is writing a book on European attitudes to Israel. I imagine it will be worth looking out for.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 1:23 PM by Mary Jackson
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Royal Coke
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How the U.S. and France let the smuggling prince get away to help the war on terror

By Doug Ireland

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 12:00 am

A book to be released this week in Paris lifts the veil on a sordid tale that even John Grisham would have had trouble inventing, about a Saudi prince-diplomat who smuggles two tons of cocaine into Europe on a jetliner owned by the Saudi royal family — and gets away with it. Coming right when Bob Woodward’s report of the Bush-Bandar deal to lower gas prices for electoral purposes has once again put the spotlight on the Saudis, this history of a different sort of carburant doesn’t just reveal another seamy underside of the despotic kingdom — it raises embarrassing new post-9/11 questions for the Bush administration, and exposes the hypocrisy of Jacques Chirac’s government in facilitating the prince’s getaway.

Prince Nayef bin Fawwaz al-Shaalan is a wealthy, U.S.-educated, high-ranking Saudi diplomat who speaks eight languages, has played a key role in OPEC negotiations, and owns significant oil interests in Colombia and Venezuela, countries he often visited on official diplomatic missions. (He has privileged personal relations with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.)

Prince Nayef and his twin brother, Prince Saud, are both sons-in-law of the Saudi Vice Minister of Defense — who, as a brother of King Fahd, is in the direct line of royal succession. Prince Nayef’s older brother, Prince Nawaf, is married to a daughter of Crown Prince Abdullah, who is the veritable head of the Saudi government.

On May 16, 1999, a Boeing 727 frequently used for official Saudi government missions (and belonging to Skyways International, a company owned by the Saudi royal family) landed at Le Bourget airport near Paris after a flight from Venezuela. Onboard were 14 passengers, a majority of them Saudi princes and princesses, including Prince Nayef and Prince Saud. In the baggage compartment: an impressive number of fiberglass suitcases containing a total of two tons of pure cocaine, which had been loaded on the plane without problem in Caracas under the cover of diplomatic immunity.

When the plane landed in France, it was immediately met by a raft of official Saudi vehicles and two rented vans, and a troop of courtiers including Saudi Embassy employees. Under the personal supervision of Prince Nayef and his bodyguards, the coke-filled suitcases were loaded into the two rented vans. Diplomatic immunity once again ensured no customs inspection of the luggage. And the cortege of vehicles, led by Prince Nayef in a black Mercedes, left Le Bourget without problem. En route to Paris, the two vans with the coke quietly peeled off from the convoy and headed for a rented house in the Paris suburb of Noissy-le-Sec, where the pricey cargo was to be stocked for a few days until it was redistributed for sale in France and other European countries.

The coke smuggling and the deliberately bungled investigation that let Prince Nayef escape prosecution are dissected in Le Coke Saudienne: au coeur d’une affaire d’Etat (Editions Flammarion), by Fabrice Monti, a former official of the French Ministry of the Interior who was attached to the national drug police, headquartered in the celebrated Quai des Orfevres in Paris. The book — which includes 63 pages of photocopied government documents confirming its principal allegations — demonstrates how the well-traveled prince went shopping for a coke deal through a sexpot Miami real estate agent named Doris, who had deep family and business connections to the Medellín cartel.

Through Doris, Prince Nayef was introduced to Oscar Eduardo Campuzano Zapata, known as “El Flaco” (The Thin Man), a top lieutenant of the late Medellín drug baron Pablo Escobar. The prince-diplomat met with Zapata and his cohorts in a series of locations, from the luxurious Spanish resort of Marbella to the Saudi kingdom itself. The deal was finalized when Prince Nayef took the Medellín gangsters on a trip into the Saudi desert, far from prying eyes and microphones.


“El Principe,” as he was known to his Medellín partners, had a grand, long-simmering plan: He initially proposed an extensive series of coke shipments of five to 10 tons each. The previous year, Prince Nayef had founded the Kranz Bank in Switzerland — which he owned — to launder the drug money (two of the bank’s directors helped unload the coke shipment from the prince’s plane in Paris). But Zapata and his gangsters were wary of the royal first-time coke smuggler, and so the first shipment of two tons was agreed on as a trial run, to test the prince’s good faith and the security of his plan. Unfortunately for the prince, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency had intercepted a fax to the Medellín gangsters containing enough imprecise hints about the Paris shipment so that — when it was passed to the French drug police — it allowed the Quai des Orfevres to localize the safe house where the coke was stored, and raid it. But not before half the nose candy had already been redistributed. So the prince, instead of realizing the $30 million profit he’d been promised, would end up getting only a third of it for his efficient smuggling.

The book recounts the four-year investigation that allowed Prince Nayef to be identified as the organizer of the coke deal. The DEA nabbed, and turned into informers through plea bargains on other drug charges, Zapata and many of the other Medellín principals (their eventual prison terms were astonishingly light). The DEA fed its findings to the French, who were discretely building their case from the bottom up, hoping to lure the prince onto European soil where he could be arrested.

But after 9/11, the cooperation between the U.S. and French police soured — and the French drug police were appalled when the DEA and a Miami federal prosecutor publicly announced in 2002 an indictment of Prince Nayef, who was thus warned that he was under suspicion. (The principal dossier against the prince later mysteriously vanished from the DEA’s files.) The book details a “police war” between the American DEA and the Quai des Orfevres.

The DEA’s strangely precipitous move in indicting the prince before they had him in hand inflamed the Saudi government — which immediately put enormous pressure on the French to reveal to it the evidence against the prince and stifle his prosecution. The Saudis had a powerful weapon. They threatened to pull the plug on a contract (referred to by its acronym, SBGDP-MIKSA) worth a colossal 7 billion euros that had been under negotiation between the Saudis and France for a decade, whereby the French multinational Thales (formerly Thomson) would construct an elaborate radar-based security system to protect the kingdom’s frontiers. And the French attempt to collar Prince Nayef suddenly lost steam.

The stench of cynicism wreathes the actions of both conservative Western governments. For the Bush administration, Saudi cooperation in the war on terrorism (a major electoral issue) was more important than bagging the smuggling prince — which could well have jeopardized U.S.–Saudi relations, given Nayef’s high-level position in the royal family. Moreover, the book suggests that the real motivation of the already wealthy prince — a non-drinker and non-smoker who is said to be a strict observer of the Koran — in turning smuggler was to assure a secret source of funding for Wahabiite fundamentalism (just as the sanctimonious Taliban trafficked heroin to support their jihads). Any revelation of this new chapter in Saudi financing of Islamist radicalism would have further sundered the image of Bush’s friends the Saudis with the American electorate. For Chirac’s Elysee Palace, the huge contract with the Saudis was worth thousands of jobs to a France suffering severe rising unemployment (a major electoral issue).

Prince Nayef, says the book, actually was able to accompany King Fahd on a trip to Europe in July 2002 without being bothered by either the French or the Americans. He is today safe from prosecution in Saudi Arabia, free to enjoy his wealth.

And less than two weeks ago, the man who, as French Minister of the Interior, orchestrated the French stifling of the hunt for Prince Nayef — Nicolas Sarkozy, now Minister of Finance — was received practically as a head of government in Washington by Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, who both accorded him long private meetings. More proof that, among hypocrites, all may be forgiven.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 1:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
66 Suitcases
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Here is a previous post about "our staunch ally" Saudi Arabia, which mentions another famous above-the-law case, that of the Saudi prince who used his private plane, and his diplomatic immunity, to smuggle into France 66 suitcases with cocaine (or was it heroin?). Apparently hs share, as an Al-Saud princeling, of the vast sums that the Al-Saud help themselves to, year after year, from the nation's oil revenues, was not enough:

Saudi Arabia is not and never has been, and never could be, a "close ally" or an "ally" or a "friend" or anything at all except a mortal enemy, of the United States, as the most powerful of Infidel countries. Occasionally the Saudis find that their interests, and those of the Americans, may overlap -- the Saudis wanted the Red Army defeated in Afghanistan, because it was an army of Infidels suppressing Muslims, and the Americans wanted the Red Army defeated in Afghanistan because it wanted the Soviet Union defeated everywhere it chose to project its military power. The Americans wanted to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait because they feared the aggressive nature of his regime and his pretense of becoming King of the Arabs; the Saudis wanted to push Saddam Hussei out of Kuwait because they feared his designs on Saudi Arabia and the appeal of any rhetorical attacks by his regime on the corrupt Al-Saud.

Saudi Arabia has spent nearly $100 billion over the past three decades on the Jihad to spread Islam. That money has paid for mosques, both buildings and maintenance, and madrasas, and propaganda disseminated in those mosques and madrasas that preach hatred and violence toward all Infidels; that money has paid for a vast army of Western hirelings, deployed in the capitals of the West to present Saudi Arabia as, precisely, a "close ally," with the real Saudi Arabia, the one described by J. B. Kelly in his essay "Of Valuable Oil and Worthless Policies," hidden from view -- as for decades it was hidden from American view by incessant Aramco propaganda. That money has also been used to buy influence to prevent any sensible energy plan that might diminish reliance on oil from being adopted by the government.

Saudi Arabia (and Kuwait and the Emirates as well) needs to be read the riot act. Its rulers should be told they can no longer send money to this country to spread hatred through the kind of propaganda disseminated in the mosques it pays for -- or at least, not without severe consequences. They can no longer be allowed to send money to pay for campaigns of Da'wa, targetted at the most vulnerable citizens in this country (if Muslims want to conduct missionary work, local Muslims will have to do it, not as part of a geopolitical campaign by Saudi or other rich Arabs). Any monies that come from Saudi Arabia should be carefully monitored, and those who receive those monies publicized -- so that all those influence-peddlers, those writers of Op/Ed articles and deliverers of lectures about "our friends the Saudis" and "America's real interests in the Middle East" -- given by those who cash their Saudi-generated checks even as they mutter darkly about "the Israeli lobby" -- and of course those who pay, directly or indirectly, for such groups as the "Council on the National Interest" -- which "National Interest" seems to be defined in one way only. Any such monies will be monitored, and the sums given public attention, or if a way can be found to do it, seized. There is no sense in regarding Saudi Arabia as anything other than an enemy, the chief provider of the Money Weapon for the world-wide Jihad. pay for these mosques, madrasas, or to such groups as do their bidding in lobbying the government. There is nothing that the Saudis can do to us. But the Al-Saud depend on us, in the end, for their own family's security. They depend on the West for petroleum engineers, and doctors, and every sort of expert to run their country. They depend on the West for medical care, education or at least the receipt of plausible-sounding degrees (a different thing), for the children of the ruling family's princes and princelings and even, here and there, possibly a princelette or two, and also for the children of the courtiers and middlemen and fixers who have made money from their connections to the Al-Saud, all essentially creatures of the oil bonanza, that is to say, of unstoppable torrents of money, where once there were only seasonal rivulets from wadis, that are the result only of an accident of geology.

Saudi Arabia depends entirely on the Western world for that medical care, that access to education, that fun-fair-cum-brothel-cum-gambling-den that Monte Carlo, and Las Vegas, and Marbella, and London, and even McLean, Virginia, and Aspen, Colorado (see that conduit for BAE bribes, Prince Bandar). The Al-Saud think they are above the law, and the British government, in choosing not to follow through on the BAE investigation’s results, has shown that at least they are above British law. Now we shall see if the scandal of the 66 suitcases, stuffed with heroin (or was it cocaine?) and brought into France, on a plane owned by a Saudi prince who now claims diplomatic immunity, will be dropped, which means that the Al-Saud would also be above French law.

And the final question remains: will the Al-Saud continue to get away with murder, that is to say with funding those who are hostile to, and who wish to undermine in every way, our own legal and political institutions because these institutions flatly contradict both the letter and spirit of Islam?

When will Saudi Arabia be re-dimensioned? When it will be seen as the primitive kingdom, ruled by Johnny-jump-ups who happen to have driven out the Hashemites, and to have defeated the Shammar tribe, and rule because they stand by the mutawwa, stand by the worst Wahhabis who, in turn, provide them, despite their enormous corruption and theft of national wealth, with the legitimacy that so far has allowed them not only to stay in power, but also not merely to dare to bully, but also to hire Western hirelings who help mislead the American public as to the supposed power of Saudi Arabia.

Cut it down to size, but begin by calling in Adel Jubeir and telling him not only that the “ally” business is long over, but the Saudi Arabian rulers, and Saudi “stability,” are dispensable as far as the American government and people are concerned. After all, in the end, if the oil wells of al-Hasa were to fall to those who are even worse, even more open, about their Islam-inculcated hatred of Infidels, we can – and would – seize those oil wells. And if the Saudis reply, as they will, with some blague about how they have “mined” the oilfields, don’t believe it. And if they further allude to all the money they can pull out of the American market, then they can be told that a great deal of Saudi wealth, especially of individuals, can be located and seized; that the corrupt behavior of Saudi princes can be easily tracked, filmed, and put on the Internet which would not make the lives of those princes any easier at home, and that there is a great deal more that can be done –unless they stop funding campaigns of Da’wa, not only here but elsewhere.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 1:07 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Former IAP President Indicted For Naturalization Fraud
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 IPT (hat tip: Jihad Watch):

Former IAP President Yasser Bushnaq is shown here at the "Beirut Meeting" in January 2001. The State Department said the meeting included "members of several terrorist organizations" including Hizballah and Hamas. To Bushnaq's right in this photograph is Ahmed Yousef, now a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, and Abdurrahman Alamoudi, former head of the American Muslim Council serving a 23-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to illegal dealings with Libya and aiding a plot to assassinate the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Yaser Bushnaq, a former president of the Islamic Association for Palestine has been indicted in Virginia for naturalization fraud.

In applying to become a U.S. citizen in 2000, Bushnaq is accused of failing to disclose his affiliations with a series of organizations that the indictment links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The indictment clearly defines the IAP as "an overt arm of the covert organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood."

In addition, it alleges that when Bushnaq applied to become a citizen he failed to disclose:

  • He was the IAP's president from 1989-1991.
  • That he worked under the pseudonym Yaser Saleh.
  • He was a board of trustees member for the Al Aqsa Education Fund, "an organization that sought to raise funds for Hamas."
  • He was an authorized signatory for the Marzook Legal Fund, established in 1996 to support Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook after his arrest by U.S. authorities.

The indictment claims he also failed to disclose a 1996 trip to Iran, which had been subject to U.S. sanctions as a state sponsor of terrorism the year before. And, the indictment alleges, Bushnaq did not tell immigration officials he spent most of 1998 living and working in Saudi Arabia. That extended absence from the United States "would have disqualified the defendant from obtaining naturalization because he no longer would have been a valid legal permanent resident."

A grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Bushnaq Sept. 12 but it was not unsealed until Tuesday. Bushnaq remains at large and his whereabouts may be unknown. In a motion dated January 10, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg wrote that unsealing the indictment would not jeopardize any ongoing investigation.

Bushnaq is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), which, along with the IAP, is listed as part of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee operating in America. The committee was created to advance the Hamas cause in the U.S. Its members gathered in Philadelphia in the fall of 1993 to discuss ways to "derail" the Oslo Peace Accords, which the group feared would marginalize the Islamist Hamas.

Intercepted telephone calls show Bushnaq was invited to the Philadelphia meeting but did not attend. The HLF case is expected to be retried later this year after jurors deadlocked on most of the counts involved. Evidence presented at the trial showed the IAP and HLF had a close working relationship.

Bushnaq's Hamas support has been known for more than a decade. A 1996 Dallas Morning News story described the 1989 IAP conference this way:

But audience members at the December 1989 conference of the Islamic Association for Palestine shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") when the masked Hamas spokesman talked about an ocean of blood.

In a videotape of the conference, Yaser Bushnaq, a Dallas resident who was then president of the Islamic Association for Palestine, welcomed participants. A Hamas banner draped a table, from which one speaker after another praised Hamas. The conference was named after Abdullah Azzam, considered a Hamas martyr...

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Posted on 01/31/2008 9:50 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Left Behind
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I've just found out by poking around the on-line Italian press that apparently Mahmoud Darwish does not have to be invited to the next Torino Book Fair. For he already was an honored guest, it seems, at the one in 2007. How silly of me, not to have guessed. And how silly of me, not to have understood that, indeed, "Palestinian" writers were also invited to the 2008 Fiera del Libro, along with Israeli writers, but it is they who refused to attend, they who did not wish to be in the same room with, or possibly the same city with (and certainly not permanently sharing the same Middle East with), Israeli writers, including those who, like Grossman and Oz and Yehoshua, are political naifs falling all over themselves to criticize their own state, and to make sure they retain those "Palestinian friends" that, for a certain kind of left-wing Israeli, are as de rigueur as would be, for a certain kind of American academic, a subscription to the New York Review of Books, or for a certain kind of voter, living in Berkeley or Cambridge, or Ann Arbor, an indispensable Obama bumper-sticker on the car and possibly a sign on the lawn, sending dagger-looks at that neighbor, a supporter of Hillary, who is feeling, at this point, a bit chagrinned at being "left behind"  or even treated as a reactionary who has failed to get with the program, of Obama and Change. And thus,  even if Hillary  Clinton does win the nomination, and even if she does become President, among many of very people whose opinions she cares about most, and whose support she took most for granted, hearts and minds have been lost, and are not to be re-won, not so much because of what she and he have said and done, but rather, because the whirligig of political fashion has turned.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 9:44 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
What Is In The Royal Danish Library
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In addition to the Muhammad cartoons, what else might be in the Royal Danish Library?

An immaculate copy of Flora Danica, with all the plates.

Early Icelandic epics.

Manuscripts by Hans Christian Andersen, including letters to the Melchior family.

And many, not as valuable on the market as those Andersen first editions and copies of Flora Danica, but invaluable for their testimony, such as these:

Mentze E. 5 Years. The Occupation of Denmark in Pictures. Sweden. 1946.

Michelsen K. They Died For Us. In Memory of Allied airmen who lost their lives in Denmark during the Second World War. The Scandinavian Pub. Co. 1946 Covers the British Graves and memorials for fallen British airmen over Denmark in WWII.

Flender H. Rescue in Denmark. How occupied Denmark rose as a nation to save the Danish Jews from Nazi extermination.

Petrow R. The Bitter Years. The Invasion and Occupation of Denmark and Norway. April 1940- May 1945.

And about that "They Died For Us" book -- can you imagine anyone in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or any other Muslim country, ever putting out a book dedicated to the memory of American, British, NATO or "Coalition" forces, with expressions of heartfelt gratitude for being rescued from the Taliban, or from Saddam Hussein, or any other lords of Muslim misrule?

No? Why not?

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Posted on 01/31/2008 8:44 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Bosnian Drivers License Scam In Spokane
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Spokane Washington (hat tip: Refugee Resettlement Watch). Ann Corcoran notes: "In the aftermath of Bill Clinton’s war in Bosnia, the United States admitted over 100,000 Bosnian Muslims as refugees.  They got taxpayer funded airfare, a rent subsidy, food stamps, health care, and a caseworker to find them a job.   Here’s how they repay the charity."

The FBI has cracked a Spokane-based ring that it says paid bribes to a state contractor and used foreign-language interpreters to help Bosnian immigrants cheat on tests to obtain commercial driver licenses fraudulently from the state of Washington.

An estimated 100 individuals – most or all of them Bosnian immigrants – each paid $2,500 to the Spokane “commercial driving school” over the past three years to get commercial, or CDL, licenses that were then recognized by other states under reciprocal agreements.

Commercial driver licenses allow the holder to drive 18-wheel semi-trucks, including those that transport hazardous and toxic materials, and school buses.

Two Spokane men, Brano Milovanovic, 48, who operates “CDL Consulting,” and Suad Grebic, 19, were arrested Thursday in Spokane by FBI agents assigned to the Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force. Search warrants also were served and agents recovered evidence, authorities said.

Although no specific acts of terrorism are alleged, the task force was involved in the yearlong investigation because it involved foreign nationals living in the United States who fraudulently obtained commercial driver licenses, allowing them to legally transport hazardous and toxic materials...

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Posted on 01/31/2008 8:25 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
What Was Going On Here?
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More From the Sunday Times on the Sibel Edmonds whistle-blower story.

AN investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI employee has claimed.

The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.

The firm, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was a front for Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent. Her public outing two years later in 2003 by White House officials became a cause célèbre.

The claims that a State Department official blew the investigation into a nuclear smuggling ring have been made by Sibel Edmonds, 38, a former Turkish language translator in the FBI’s Washington field office.

Plame, then 38, was the glamorous wife of a former US ambassador, Joe Wilson. Despite recently giving birth to twins, she travelled widely for her work, often claiming to be an oil consultant. In fact she was a career CIA agent who was part of a small team investigating the same procurement network that the State Department official is alleged to have aided.

Brewster Jennings was one of a number of covert enterprises set up to infiltrate the nuclear ring. It is is believed to have been based in Boston and consisted of little more than a name, a telephone number and a post office box address.

Plame listed the company as her employer on her 1999 tax forms and used its name when she made a $1,000 contribution to Al Gore’s presidential primary campaign.

The FBI was also running an inquiry into the nuclear network. When Edmonds joined the agency after the 9/11 attacks she was given the job of reviewing the evidence.

The FBI was monitoring Turkish diplomatic and political figures based in Washington who were allegedly working with the Israelis and using “moles” in military and academic institutions to acquire nuclear secrets.

The creation of this nuclear ring had been assisted, Edmonds says, by the senior official in the State Department who she heard in one conversation arranging to pick up a $15,000 bribe.

One group of Turkish agents who had come to America on the pretext of researching alternative energy sources was introduced to Brewster Jennings through the Washington-based American Turkish Council (ATC), a lobby group that aids commercial ties between the countries. Edmonds says the Turks believed Brewster Jennings to be energy consultants and were planning to hire them.

But she said: “He [the State Department official] found out about the arrangement . . . and he contacted one of the foreign targets and said . . . you need to stay away from Brewster Jennings because they are a cover for the government.

“The target . . . immediately followed up by calling several people to warn them about Brewster Jennings.

“At least one of them was at the ATC. This person also called an ISI person to warn them.” If the ISI was made aware of the CIA front company, then this would almost certainly have damaged the investigation into the activities of Khan. Plame’s cover would also have been compromised, although Edmonds never heard her name mentioned on the intercepts. Shortly afterwards, Plame was moved to a different operation.

The State Department official said on Friday: “It is impossible to find a strong enough way to deny these allegations which are both false and malicious.” ...

Phillip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, said: “It’s pretty clear Plame was targeting the Turks. If indeed that [State Department] official was working with the Turks to violate US law on nuclear exports, it would have been in his interest to alert them to the fact that this woman’s company was affiliated to the CIA. I don’t know if that’s treason legally but many people would consider it to be.” ...

Annie Jacobsen asks why the US media is staying away from this story at Pajamas Media. I wonder if it is really plausible that Turkey and Pakistan would be working so closely together. This story deserves more investigation.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 7:38 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Muslim schools to conduct own inspections
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Private Muslim schools have been given the power to police themselves, despite widespread fears over religious segregation, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
In a controversial move, they have won the right to appoint their own Ofsted-style inspectors. A new independent watchdog has been set up to be more "sensitive' toward Islamic education.
The decision comes despite concerns some private Muslim schools are already failing to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.
Barry Sheerman, the chairman of the Commons schools select committee, told MPs last month local councils were finding it "difficult to know what is going on in some faith schools - particularly Muslim schools".
But religious leaders defended the move, saying the curriculum and religious traditions in faith schools demand specialist knowledge.
Under present legislation, most state and private schools are inspected by Ofsted, the Government's standards watchdog. The Association of Muslim Schools and the Christian Schools' Trust applied to the Government to set up a separate inspectorate for a small number of private faith schools.
The Association of Muslim Schools and the Christian Schools' Trust applied to the Government to set up a separate inspectorate for a small number of private faith schools.
The Daily Telegraph has learned the Department for Children, Schools and Families [DCSF] approved plans for the Bridge Schools' Inspectorate last week, giving it the power to inspect about 60 private Muslim schools and 50 Christian schools.
Ofsted will still regularly vet the new inspectorate, but the move has been criticised.
Michael Gove, the shadow children's secretary, said the Tories supported faith schools for parents who want them. "It's important, however, to ensure that we build a society which is cohesive and make a success of diverse Britain."
This is a very bad idea. I know plenty of good Church of England and Catholic Schools which are all within their LA system; I have had no direct contact with them but I know that there are Jewish Schools working well in the same way. I am very suspicious as to why schools, be they Christian or Islamic should want to opt out of mainstream inspection.
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Posted on 01/31/2008 3:09 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Mosques expose nominated for award
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Channel 4's controversial Dispatches programme Undercover Mosque has been nominated for a Royal Television Society award.
The documentary featured a reporter infiltrating mosques across Britain to expose extremist preachers.
It was at the centre of a row last year after West Midlands Police complained to Ofcom that the film-makers distorted the words of the imams involved.
The media regulator rejected the claim and found no evidence that audiences were misled.
The Dispatches programme is nominated in the best current affairs category of the Royal Television Society Journalism Awards, to be announced on February 20.
Recently-launched Al Jazeera English is a contender for News Channel of the Year, along with BBC News 24 and Sky News.
The Doha-based channel also has two nominations for Young Journalist of the Year in the form of Hamish Macdonald and Haru Mutasa. 
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Posted on 01/31/2008 2:58 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Above The Law
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LONDON - Britain's head of overseas intelligence warned that Saudi Arabia likely would stop sharing vital information on terrorism if prosecutors pursued an investigation into alleged corruption in an arms deal, lawmakers disclosed Tuesday.

Ministers were told the inquiry into the BAE Systems PLC arms deal with Saudi Arabia could lead to a withdrawal of Saudi assistance on counterterrorism, according to the annual report of the Intelligence and Security committee. The committee scrutinizes the work of Britain's intelligence and security agencies….

"All relevant agencies were clear about the crucial importance of U.K.-Saudi co-operation in the fight against terrorism and the damage to U.K. interests -- and, potentially, U.K. lives -- if that co-operation were withdrawn," Goldsmith said….

The head of MI6, John Scarlett, told the committee that antagonizing Saudi Arabia risked losing vital intelligence.

"There were threats made to the existence of the co-operation (and) there was reason to take those threats seriously," he said. "Saudi Arabia is an absolutely key country ... they have turned themselves into a very important and powerful player in the world counterterrorism campaign."… -- from this news article

What "assistance on counterterrorism"? Every mosque, every madrasah, every Wahhabi preacher who replaces an Ahmadi one in the mosques of West Africa, or even in Europe (the Ahmadis, being milder, are good at converting people to Islam, but they are not good at keeping the Wahhabis from then taking over those mosques, and those converts, and turning them into the full-fledged, dangerous thing) that has been supported by the nearly $100 billion the Saudis have been allowed to spend in the Lands of the Infidels on spreading Islam also, of course, increases the number, and power, of Muslims.

And inevitably, many of those Muslims will wish to participate, directly or indirectly, in Jihad. The instrument of that Jihad need not necessarily be qitaal, or combat. Jihad can be pursued by other means than combat, or for that matter "terrorism" (what we have no trouble calling "terrorism" -- deliberate attacks on civilians to spread terror -- Muslims consider to be just another form of qitaal). Saudi Arabia does not offer assistance "in counterterrorism." It makes more likely, more possible, terror against Infidels, everywhere it spreads its unmerited money.

Perhaps MI6 operative has members so naive, or so malignant (like that Alistair Crooke fellow, the supporter and promoter of Hamas, who by now is quite possibly doing well as a "consultant" on the Middle East, and I'll leave it to you to guess who is paying his salary, and thereby earning his affection which, come to think of it, was already being offered to Hamas and similar groups even before his career as a "consultant" began) that they think the Saudis are "de-programming" terrorists successfully, and can help the Western world do the same.

Don't be ridiculous. All the Saudis do in their "de-programming" is bring in Al-Saud-financed clerics who tell the prisoners that the Al-Saud are loyal Muslims, that they are helping to spread Islam, that they are true to Islam, and any temporary assistance they get from the Americans or other Infidels is merely a case of using those Infidels for Muslim purposes, not of actually offering them real alliances or friendship.

And what the clerics say is, of course, true: the rulers of Saudi Arabia may be corrupt and many of them decadent beyond belief, but they are attempting (possibly even in a spirit of making up for that decadence) to spread Islam, to make Islam dominant. That kind of deprogramming has nothing that can be of assistance to real Infidels, who cannot possibly point to any Islamic texts that might lessen the hostility felt by captured Muslim terrorists for Infidels, always and everywhere.

Or perhaps the whole thing is merely blague, and MI6 is being blamed for what was a commercial decision. We want to make sales of planes and arms to Saudi Arabia, says BAE, and that's more important than that silly principle -- my god, get with the program -- that no one (including Saudi officials) should be above the law. In Great Britain, all kinds of members of the Al-Saud are seen to be above the law, this year, last year, five years ago, and five years hence: Above the Law.

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Posted on 01/31/2008 1:02 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Dutton's New Blog
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Denis Dutton of Arts & Letters Daily and Doug Campbell have created a new blog devoted soley to the climate change debate called Climate Debate Daily.  Interesting.
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Posted on 01/31/2008 12:52 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 31 January 2008
Another Disagreeable
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Suppose Yaser Bushnaq had obtained that citizenship in 1980, before certain laws were in place to deal with such matters. Would he then be an "American" or would he be, would he have always have been, someone who, while he had obtained American "citizenship"  remained resolutely hostile to the political and legal institutions of this country, and hostile as well to the American Constitution, which in so many ways flatly contradicts both the letter (the Shari'a) and the spirit of Islam.

Can those who subscribe to, whose lives are suffused by, Islam ever be loyal citizens to Infidel nation-states, such as the United States, or Great Britain? I need to have explained how this is possible. If you claim to believe in the Qur'an, immutable and uncreated, as the literal Word of God, if you furthermore claim that the Hadith and the Sira (the Biography of Muhammad) correctly represent that central figure in Islam, that Exemplary Figure for All Time (uswa hasana, al-insan al-kamil), Muhammad, and that both Hadith and Sira serve as glosses on, that Word of God in the Qur'an, then how is it possible to offer one's allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, or to the "unwritten Constitution" of  Great Britain, or to any state created of, by, and essentially for, Infidels? Not possible.

This circle cannot be squared. And that may explain why everyone stays far away from this subject. Too hot to handle. Too impossible to deal with. Too troubling. One of those Disagreeables that our Podsnaps put out of their minds. "I don't want to know about it, I don't choose to discuss it; I don't admit it."

And if that doesn't do the trick, then the final unanswerable insistence: "Nothing else To Be,-- anywhere!"

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Posted on 01/31/2008 12:18 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 January 2008
What Upsets The U. N. Human Rights Council, And What Doesn't (Ronan Seamus Farrow)
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Part of the frisson, and the unexpected pleasure,  comes from discovering the surprising background of the young author:  

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120156891659323879.html

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Posted on 01/30/2008 10:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Even worse pun interlude
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Well, I didn't take the Viagra as the emails urged me to, and I wasn't "good in bad". So, just as the emails predicted, my wife has gone. The question is: where?

My wife's gone to the West Indies
-Jamaica?
-No, she went of her own accord.

That's the original one, now prepare for a deluge of variations....

-My wife's gone to the Indian coast
-Goa?
-Phwoar! I'll say!

-My wife's gone to St Petersburg.
-Is she Russian?
-No, she's taking her time.

-My wife's gone to Northern Italy
-Genoa?
-I should think so, we've been married for 20 years.

-My wife's had an accident on a volcano
-Krakatoa? -No.
She broke her leg.

-My wife's gone mad in Venezuela
-Caracas
-Yes, absolutely loopy

-My wife's gone to the Welsh border.
-Wye?
-Search me.

-My wife's gone to the botanical gardens.
-Kew?
-Yes, it was rather busy.

-My wife's gone to Malawi
-Lilongwe?
-Yes, about 5000 miles

-My wife's got an upset tummy in Laos
-Inkhazi?
-Yes, constantly.

-My wife's gone on a singing tour of South Korea
-Seoul?
-No, R&B

-My wife caught a cold in the Gulf
-Qatar?
-Yes, she was coughing up greenies for weeks

-My wife went to a very bad concert in South East Asia
-Singapore?
-Terrible. And the rest of the band sucked too.

-My wife went on a sailing course in Poole
-In Dorset?
-Yes, she'd recommend it to anyone.

-My wife smoked a joint near Manchester
-In Hale?

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Posted on 01/30/2008 6:20 PM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Bad pun interlude
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Tommy Cooper, thou shouldst be living at this hour:

There was this man standing on a window ledge on a high building.
If he fell, it would be curtains.
If he fell the other way, he'd be dead.
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Cos it's strange, isn't it.  You stand in the middle of a library
and go 'Aaaaaaagghhhh!' and everyone just stares at you.
But you do the same thing on an aeroplane, and everyone joins in.
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He said, "I'm going to chop off the bottom of one of your trouser
legs and put it in a library."
I thought, "That's a turn-up for the books."
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And the back of his anorak was leaping up and down, and people were
chucking money to him.  I said, "Do you earn a living doing that?"
He said, "Yes, this is my livelihood."
--------------
So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me, "Can you give me a
lift?"  I said, "Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it."
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today.  They left
a little note on the windscreen, it said, "Parking Fine."  So that was nice.
--------------
So I went down my local ice-cream shop, and said, "I want to buy an
ice-cream". He said, "Hundreds & thousands?"  I said, "We'll start
with one." He said, "Knickerbocker glory?"  I said, "I do get a
certain amount of freedom in these trousers, yes."
--------------
I went to Millets and said, "I want to buy a tent."  He said, "To
camp?". I said [butchly], "Sorry, I want to buy a tent." 
I said, "I also want to buy a caravan."
He said, "Camper?"
I said [camply], "Make your mind up."
--------------
So I went to the dentist.  He said, "Say Aaah." I said, "Why?"
He said, "My dog's died."
--------------
Now, most dentist's chairs go up and down, don't they?  The one I
was in went back and forwards.  I thought, "This is unusual".  And
the dentist said to me, "Mr Cooper, get out of the filing cabinet."
--------------
So I got home, and the phone was ringing.  I picked it up, and said,
"Who's speaking please?"  And a voice said, "You are."
--------------
So I rang up my local swimming baths.  I said, "Is that the local
swimming baths?"  He said, "It depends where you're calling from."
--------------
So I rang up a local building firm, I said, "I want a skip outside
my house." He said, "I'm not stopping you."
--------------
Apparently, 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese.  And there are 5
people in my family, so it must be one of them.  It's either my mum
or my dad. Or my older brother Colin.  Or my younger brother
Ho-Cha-Chu.  But I think it's Colin.
--------------
So I was in my car, and I was driving along, and my boss rang up,
and he said, "You've been promoted."  And I swerved.  And then he
rang up a second time and said, "You've been promoted again."  And
I swerved again.  He rang up a third time and said, "You're managing
director." And I went into a tree.  And a policeman came up and
said, "What happened to you?"  And I said
"I careered off the road."
--------------
Guy goes into the doctor's.  "Doc, I've got a cricket ball stuck up
my arse" "How's that?"  "Don't you start"
--------------
A guy gets shipwrecked. When he wakes up, he's on a beach.
The sand is purple.  He can't believe it. The sky is purple. He
walks around a bit and sees  that  there is purple grass, purple
birds and purple fruit on the purple trees.  He's shocked when
he finds that his skin is starting to turn purple too.  "Oh no!" he
says, "I think I've been marooned!"
---------
"Doctor, I can't pronounce my F's, T's and H's."
"Well you can't say fairer than that then."
------------------
A woman in a supermarket sees a deal offering 5 boxes of tampax for
1 pound. She can't believe how good the deal is and asks the manager
"is this deal correct?" "Yes madam, 5 boxes for a pound, no strings
attached."
------------
"Doc, I can't stop singing the green green grass of home."
"That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome."  "Is it common?"
"It's not unusual."
-------------
Two cows standing next to each other in a field, Daisy said to Dolly
"I was artificially inseminated this morning."  "I don't believe
you," said Dolly "It's true, straight up, no bull!"
---------------
A guy walks into the psychiatrist wearing only clingfilm for shorts.
The shrink says, "Well, I can clearly see you're nuts."
--------
A man takes his Rottweiler to the vet.  "My dog's cross-eyed, is
there anything you can do for him?"  "Well," says the vet, "let's
have a look at him."  So he picks the dog up and examines his eyes,
then checks his teeth.  Finally, he says "I'm going to have to put
him down."  "What? Because he's cross-eyed?"
"No, because he's bloody heavy."   

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Posted on 01/30/2008 6:11 PM by Mary Jackson
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Wednesday, 30 January 2008
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Polvere Di Stelle (Alberto Sordi, Monica Vitti)
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Posted on 01/30/2008 5:29 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 30 January 2008
Musical Interlude: Terry Fell
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Posted on 01/30/2008 2:56 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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