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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Real Nature of Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
As Far As The Eye Can See
by Moshe Dann
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
















Saturday, 31 January 2009
A Cinematic Musical Interlude: Vittorio De Sica
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Posted on 01/31/2009 8:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Age of Majority
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by Esmerelda Weatherwax (Feb. 2009)


In Scotland the age of majority, when a young person is no longer the responsibility of his or her parents is 16. But despite being able to own land, enter into contracts, enter into marriage without parental permission Scottish teenagers cannot vote for the government until they are aged 18, like the teenagers in the rest of the UK.


Every so often some focus group or the other puts forward the recommendation that the age of majority, or at the very least the age of franchise, i.e. voting, be lowered in England and Wales from 18 to 16. more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2009 6:11 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Arab Support for Zionism, 1917-1948
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A Book Review
by Norman Berdichevsky (Feb. 2009)

ARMY OF SHADOWS
Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948
by Hillel Cohen 

(translated into English by Haim Watzman University of California Press, Berkeley, 2008)

 
Army of Shadows’ is a remarkable book that adds new and significant insight to what is, without a doubt, the most exhausted topic in the modern political lexicon of nationalist disputes. Drawing on original sources in both Arabic documents of the “Higher Arab Committee” (the executive body of the Palestinian-Arab Nationalist movement), Supreme Muslim Council and the Arab press as well as numerous memoirs, and Hebrew (Central Zionist Archives, Haganah Archives, Hebrew press and personal memoirs), Hillel Cohen traces the heretofore largely unreported history of Palestinian/Arab collaboration with the Zionist movement during the period of the British Mandate. The collaboration took the form of facilitating the sale of land to Jewish settlers, the provision of vital security intelligence, political propaganda and even military assistance. more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2009 6:07 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Bill Clinton�s Bastard Army
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by Ares Demertzis (Feb. 2009)

I suspect that when historians analyze the successful revival of Islam in the twentieth century, they will without doubt harshly judge the enigmatic contribution of three recent Presidents of the United States who have emerged as unexpected supporters of a Muslim ideology dedicated to the annihilation of a despised Western civilization, thereby accommodating the consequent universal supremacy of Islam. The most respected and venerated Muslim political and religious leaders publicly express a Global Caliphate as their goal; Western governments and the accredited media paradoxically encourage their success. The twenty-first century may well evolve into the much dreaded, tyrannical “Muslim Century.” more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2009 5:54 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Spain and Israel � A Tale of Many Turns
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by Norman Berdichevsky (Feb. 2009)


On January 17th 1986, Spanish Prime Minister and Socialist Party Leader Felipe Gonzalez, announced to his cabinet the establishment of diplomatic negotiations to accord recognition to the State of Israel. Barely two months later, on April 14th, Spain’s newly appointed ambassador to Israel, Pedro Lopez Aguirrebengoa, presented his credential in Jerusalem and was welcomed by Israel’s president Itzhak Herzog with the greeting, “Welcome after 500 years.”  That same day, in a welcome to the diplomatic corps, King Juan Carlos declared that “Spain has overcome a situation that had not corresponded with our own history, nor with the present course of our country.”
  more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2009 5:49 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Fourteen Children, All For A Hoped-For Fast Buck
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The Times Online has this story about the single unemployed mother who, thanks to fertility treatments,  just gave birth to octuplets, while already having six children at home. The woman, Nadya Suleman, describes herself as a "professional student" and has contacted both Oprah Winfrey and Diane Sawyer, hoping, as she put it, to make several million dollars, for her feat, and thus solve all her problems.  Meanwhile, her father, an Iraqi who has gone bankrupt and with his wife moved in with his daughter Nadya, has decided to return to his native Iraq to work as an "iinterpreter and driver."

Shall those fourteen children, the last eight of whom were the result of fertility treatments and the insistence of the mother on carrying all eight embryos to term -- so as to make her killing -- now go on the American taxpayers' dole? Shall we all pitch in to support those fourteen children by a single unemployed mother, who had dreams of glory? 

No, they should not. No sentimentality must interfere here. She should be sent, with her fourteen children, to Iraq, to join her father and mother. In Iraq, fourteen children would not be noticed. In Iraq, fourteen children is par for the course. In Iraq, American taxpayers will in a sense still be paying for the fourteen children, but indirectly rather than directly, and the cost is lower in Iraq, and at least we will be able to save money. And what's more, make a point that needs to be made. And pronto.

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Posted on 01/31/2009 5:42 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
A Foundation Of Love
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by Rebecca Bynum (Feb. 2009)

 
Within the anti-jihad movement, there are many who argue that Islam need not be countered in its religious aspects, but only as a political system, because only by its politics are non-Muslims directly affected by it. In this view, the religious aspects of Islam are a private matter and should be of little concern. But as I have noted many times, a man’s belief, that is, his fundamental view of reality, determines his attitude toward and reaction to the world of reality and to other human beings. Thus, belief systems must be of utmost concern if one cares about the destiny of humanity. more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2009 5:46 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Michel Foucault
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by Ibn Warraq (Feb. 2009)

 
Michel Foucault's uncritical admiration of the Islamists in Iran, from 1978 onwards, revives memories of the great tradition of the intellectuals of the Left who, at first, denied Stalin's Reign of Terror, and then minimized the atrocities, and finally acknowledged them in private but refused to denounce them in public. Robert Conquest gives the example of Sartre, who thought the evidence for the Stalin's forced labor camps should be ignored or suppressed in order not to demoralize the French proletariat.[1] more>>>
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Posted on 01/31/2009 5:43 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Christian Apologists Of Islam
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by Ibn Warraq (Feb. 2009)


The first modern apologists of Islam - even in its fundamentalist mode - were Christian scholars who perceived a common danger in certain economic, philosophical, and social developments in the West: the rise of rationalism, scepticism, atheism, secularism; the Industrial Revolution; the Russian Revolution and the rise of communism and materialism. Sir Hamilton Gibb writes of Islam as a Christian "engaged in a common spiritual enterprise".
[1] But let us beware of skepticism: "Both Christianity and Islam suffer under the weight of worldly pressure, and the attack of scientific atheists and their like," laments Norman Daniel.[2]  more>>>

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Posted on 01/31/2009 5:39 PM by NER
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Venezuelan synagogue attacked as relations worsen
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There seems to be some rather nasty anti-semitism rearing its head over in Venezuela, as presided over by Ken Livingstone's bosom buddy Hugo Chavez.
From The International Herald Tribune and The Jerusalem Post
An armed group vandalized Caracas' oldest synagogue, shattering religious objects and spray-painting walls in what Jewish leaders called the worst attack ever on their community in Venezuela.
Two security guards were overpowered by about 15 people who ransacked the synagogue's sanctuary and offices late Friday, leaving graffiti such as: "We don't want murderers," and "Jews, get out."
Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro condemned the attack and promised it would be investigated, while reiterating his government's opposition to what he called Israel's "criminal" government.
"We respect the Jewish people, but we ask respect for the people of Palestine and their right to life," Maduro said in a ceremony called to welcome home two Venezuelan diplomats expelled from Israel this week.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry ordered the envoys to leave after Venezuela expelled all Israeli diplomats on Jan. 6, to protest Israel's offensive in the Gaza strip. President Hugo Chavez labeled Israeli leaders as "genocidal."
The incident forced the synagogue to cancel Saturday's worship service.
A Jewish human rights NGO on Friday called upon Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) to take action against the anti-Semitic campaign taking place in Venezuela, one of its member states.Under the presidency of Hugo Chavez, the Jewish community of Venezuela has suffered repeated attacks, which were, at least tolerated, if not incited or promoted by State officials," the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier wrote in a letter.
"This anti-Semitic campaign increased under the pretext of the recent war between Israel and Hamas."
In the letter, Heir said that an article entitled "How to Support Palestine Against the Artificial State of Israel?" published in a Venezuelan pro-government, digital newspaper Aporrea.org, which was disguised as a pretended "anti-Zionist" campaign, provided readers with a plan of action against the Venezuelan Jewish community.
The article gave examples such as confiscating the properties of Jews who support Israel and donating the proceeds to the Palestinians, publicly denouncing members of Jewish groups in Venezuela and boycotting their companies and businesses.
The Rabbi wrote that the article promoted the worldwide hacking of "pro-Zionist" websites as well as websites from governments or institutions which have favorable relations with Israel, and convening an international conference on the creation of the "Nazi" state of Israel as a genocidal European colony.
Picture 'Jew dog assassins' and 'terrorist' and a swastika-defaced Star of David appear in spray paint in Caracas, Venezuela, last week. Photo: Courtesy

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Posted on 01/31/2009 4:57 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Iran Says Obama's Offer to Talk Shows US Faliure
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Showing once again they will grab anything as a sign of weakness, Tehran responds to Obama:

US President Barack Obama's offer to talk to Iran shows that America's policy of "domination" has failed, the government spokesman said on Saturday.

"This request means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed," Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

"Negotiation is secondary, the main issue is that there is no way but for (the United States) to change," he added.

After nearly three decades of severed ties, Obama said shortly after taking office this month that he is willing to extend a diplomatic hand to Tehran if the Islamic republic is ready to "unclench its fist".

In response, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a fresh tirade against the United States, demanding an apology for its "crimes" against Iran and saying he expected "deep and fundamental" change from Obama.

Iranian politicians frequently refer to the US administration as the "global arrogance", "domineering power" and "Great Satan".

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Posted on 01/31/2009 4:43 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Women refuse refuge because of nearby mosque
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From Stuff of New Zealand
Muslim women are staying away from a domesitc violence crisis centre since a mosque opened next door.
The Auckland Shakti Asian Women's Centre in Onehunga helps women escape violent domestic situations but women are too scared to go because they may be recognised by their husbands or relatives attending the mosque.
The centre has an alternative premises but cannot move in because Auckland City Council has held back planning permission for more than a year.
Meanwhile, Housing New Zealand Corporation is paying $310 a week $4030 so far for security guards to keep vandals away from the empty building that the women could move into.
Centre spokesperson Shila Nair said victims were "really afraid" to go to the centre in Church St, Onehunga in case they were recognised by men worshipping at the Onehunga Islamic Mosque, which is over a boundary fence.
Women who visited the centre usually did so without telling their husbands, she said. "If their husbands, in-laws or any other family members or friends were to know that they have visited Shakti, life for them would be even more difficult. We have had instances of women who visited our Women's Centre later accessing our refuge."
The housing corporation renovated another building for the women to move to after the mosque bought a building next door from the Jehovah's Witness church.
The centre opened a decade ago and is the busiest of Shakti's five branches in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch, which together they help 6000 women a year escape domestic abuse.  

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Posted on 01/31/2009 4:07 PM by Esmerelda WEatherwax
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Kingsway International Christian Centre and the London Markaz
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Reader HerRoyalWhyness remarks on the continuing intention of Tablighi Jamaat to extend the Abbeymills Mosque they run (without benefit of up to date planning permission) on the site of the old RTZ Chemical works in West Ham into what they want to be one of the largest Mosques in Europe and in time to form a centrepiece of the London Olympics.
She makes the very valid point that the largest congregation of Christians in the UK are those who attend the Kingsway International Christian Centre and their building was demolished as part of the Olympic Park. They are currently in modest accommodation and their church would be a better use of the Abbeymills site.
Leaving aside the cost of clearing the site of pollution from its former use manufacturing sulphuric acid, Tablighi Jamaat have access to the wealth and all the perfumes of Arabia while the KICC congregation are from more modest means, the idea has merit.
Currently KICC are meeting in what used to be the Cameo Bingo Hall in Hoe Street Leyton, where I grew up. Not the bingo hall, although my mother’s friends went regularly, but one of the streets behind. I believe that they run services constantly throughout the day. As you can see from the photo below even as a bingo hall in the 60s it was small which is why it closed and remained disused for 25 years. It is wonderful to see it clean and repaired and bursting with vitality.

At the moment the elders are negotiating for planning permission to build a large enough church complex, including a cinema and workshops on land at Rainham Marshes Essex. Their congregation live mainly in Hackney, New Ham and Waltham Forest. To get to the site in Essex will mean bussing the congregation in and out every Sunday, a round trip of nearly 40 miles which is just not practical. A church needs to be near the congregation it serves.
I met some ladies of KICC doing evangelising in Walthamstow High Street (a street market about a half mile away from the church in Hoe Street) last year. Evangelising to certain elements of the population of Walthamstow is brave but vital work.
Meanwhile the Abbeymills website is down and they have not honoured their promise made last year to keep the interested people who attended the open day up to date, nor did they arrange the second open day expected last summer. All they have done is painted the mosque cream for Ramadan and built a mihrab facing the District line.

It may be quiet at the moment but I doubt we have heard the last of the scheme.

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Posted on 01/31/2009 3:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
A Musical Interlude: The Show Is Over (Ambrose Orch., voc. Sam Browne)
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Posted on 01/31/2009 2:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
String Theory, Or Everyone's Main Squeeze
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There are so many bad, and so many good, things about the Internet, that it would take a long time to tell them all. But one of the things which is both good and bad, as tens of millions of searchers have discovered, is that once you put a word into Google's search box, among the many links thrown up, one inevitably will consist merely of  a computer-generated string of unrelated words, with one of those words, highlighted, being the one you sought. Often the particular patch of words, or the if you prefer the one-dimensional, the snipped-off length of word-string, bores or dismays. But sometimes it possesses a poetry of its own. Not the hideous stuff that comes from word-chains generated by some human interested in Experimental Verse, but the honest nonsense that only a computer, in good non-conscience, can offer.

 
The other day I used the word “diplography.” I then worried that perhaps readers would not know what the word meant, or not know the particular meaning that I meant them to understand when I used the word. So I  decided to see what definitions of the word would turn up first for someone seeking that word's meaning, and found, to my dismay, that the first to come up was from the first -- 1913 -- edition of Webster's Unabridged, and only gave one meaning, and that one a technical one, not the one I had in mind. But in the course of that search, one of the links on the top of the first page caught my eye. It was a computer-generated string of words, and on that particular snippet could be found the sought-for "diplography":
 
"paroli beastily katabanian diplography superluxurious websterian unpeeled birdcall "
 
After "diplography" it was pre-fabricated poetry. All that was required was a change, not in sound, but in one letter, so that the "websterian unpeeled birdcall" could be made into  a "websterian unpealed birdcall," the birdcall never uttered by some mute inglorious Milton's Warbler, a fabled bird of bards that possed the words -- hence "websterian" from the celebrated dictionary -- but lacked, as birds will, the ability to utter those websterian words, and had to content itself with birdsong. Or, alternatively, with the mind insisting on retaining the spelling "peeled," one might consider a "websterian unpelled birdcall" one that reveals, piercingly, the skull-beneath-the-skin view that is identified not with Noah, but with John, Webster. The grammatical needs were adequately met by the last three, or even four, words, and all that was necessary was for the imagination to squeeze out some plausible meaning, and the fun was in the squeezing. 
 
So there is that bird, unpealed or unpeeled its birdcall. And if we go with the latter, we have allusiion to  dutchess-of-malfi undertones of that birdcall. If we go by the former, we hear the lament for the lack, in that bird's call, of both langue and parole, presumably needed to fully express its overabundant emotions, its superluxurious feelings, and even, it suddenly occured to me, its possibly katabanian longings. 
 
What, you ask, is  "katabanian"?
 
I wondered too. Wondered, and intermittently, internettingly wandered. Here's the string that came up: 
 
“peromyscus retainer peltately hydrocores satyrine katabanian anantherous fusarium.”
 
Not as fructifying for the imagination as what “diplography” had yielded. But the slim pickings prompted me, by way of consolation , to go back to the old google drawing-board, and find out something about "katabanian." On-line, from the Eleventh Edition of you-know-what, I read about Glaser’s expeditions to South Arabia, and the squeezes he brought back of Katabanian inscriptions, and the names of eighteen Katabanian kings, and… what’s that?
 
You don’t understand what the word “squeezes” means in that phrase, the one about the “squeezes he brought back”? Possibly something like brass rubbings, of Sir Hugh De Person, made elegiacally in some country churchyard? 
 
Yes, you're right. I thought right away of the phrase "my main squeeze." Your main squeeze could be a girl. Or it could be something else. It could be your own imagination.
 
Go ahead. Lift up your bed, and walk. That is, stay right here, and once you've read to the end, gto go google and find the meaning of “squeeze” as used in the description of Glaser's activities in South Arabia. Take a good look, in your imagination, at those goodly kingdoms he visited, before Islam arrived, full of myrrh and frankincense and gold, katabanian gold. Now, if your mind has been well-prepared, take that katabanian gold, and pocket it. There's plenty more where that came from.
 
As I started out by saying, there are so many good, and so many bad, things about the Internet, that it would take a long time to tell them all.
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Posted on 01/31/2009 8:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Cyprus to search suspected Hamas arms ship twice
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JERUSALEM, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Cypriot authorities have detained an Iranian ship en route to Syria with a cargo of weapons, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday.
Quoting a European Union diplomatic source, it said Cyprus had acted after Israel and the United States requested that the Cypriot-flagged vessel be stopped.
Authorities contacted the ship and demanded that it dock in Limassol for inspection. Customs officials had unloaded part of the cargo and a large amount of weaponry, including artillery rounds and rockets, the paper said.
Cypriot authorities declined comment.
Israel believes the weapons were destined for the Lebanese Islamist guerrilla group Hezbollah or for Islamist Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, Haaretz quoted Israeli sources as saying.
On Wednesday, U.S. military officials said personnel from the U.S. Navy vessel San Antonio last week boarded the Cypriot-flagged "Monchegorsk", a cargo vessel travelling from Iran to Syria, and found a weapons shipment but for legal reasons did not confiscate the cargo.
The officials declined to say what kind of weapons were found or how many. They also would not be specific about where or when the incident occurred.
According to AP a Cypriot official says authorities will conduct a second search of a ship suspected of carrying Iranian arms to Hamas militants in Gaza.

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Posted on 01/31/2009 9:10 AM by Esmerelda WEatherwax
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Meet Somalia's New President
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DJIBOUTI (Reuters) - Moderate Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was sworn in after winning Somalia's president [sic] on Saturday and vowed to end conflict in the Horn of Africa nation, make peace with neighbors and rule with honesty and justice.

Analysts say Ahmed has a real chance of reuniting Somalis, given his Islamist roots, the backing of parliament and his acceptability to the West. But reconciling 10 million people and stopping 18 years of bloodshed remain a daunting task.

Ahmed headed the sharia courts movement that brought some stability to Mogadishu and most of south Somalia in 2006, despite being accused in the West of Islamist extremism, before Ethiopian troops invaded and drove it out.

Now, the West is calling him a "moderate" Islamist because we figure he's about the best we can hope for.

"The conflict in Somalia will be resolved. We are urging our brothers in armed conflict to join us in peace-building," he told parliament. "We will govern the Somali people with honesty and justice, and give them back their rights."

Ahmed was sworn in at a hotel in Djibouti on Saturday morning after an election by legislators that stretched into the small hours.

His immediate task is to try to put together a unity government -- the 15th such attempt since Somalia descended into anarchy with the overthrow of the dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

His election was held in Djibouti due to the instability at home. But the legislators hope they have elected a man able to isolate or even possibly bring on board hardline insurgents, even if violence may spike in the short term.

Despite the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops this week, and the U.N.-brokered Djibouti peace process intended to reconcile the government and opposition, hardline Islamist insurgents led by al Shabaab have vowed to fight on.
(...)

"MISINTERPRETATION OF ISLAM"

Ahmed said those fighting to impose a strict version of Islamic law throughout the country had misinterpreted the religion and he would try to correct that.

As opposed to the easy, free-wheeling version Ahmed worked to impose with his ad hoc Sharia courts earlier.

(...)

In the past two years, more than 17,400 civilians and an unknown number of combatants have died during an Islamist-led insurgency against the government and its Ethiopian allies.

A third of the population relies on food aid...

Tens of thousands of "moderate Islamists" have been put on planes bound for America. They now reside in places like Minnesota and Tennessee. I'm sure we'll find away to understand their moderation when they set up Sharia courts here.

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Posted on 01/31/2009 8:09 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
City death: why so many moneymen kill themselves
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From The Spectator:

Among the many overused clichés that have been dusted off to describe the chaos in financial markets over the past few months is the observation that this is ‘a crisis like no other’. Yet in one rather dark respect, it is following convention to the letter. As losses pile up and billions evaporate, an increasing number of financiers have decided to take their own lives rather than face up to the scale of the catastrophe.

In Germany, the billionaire Adolf Merckle threw himself under a train as one of Europe’s greatest family fortunes unravelled. In this country, Kirk Stephenson took the same way out after his private equity firm ran into trouble. The French investment adviser Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, whom Taki described recently as ‘an aristocrat, a gentleman and an honest man’, but who had placed hundreds of millions of his clients’ money with the hedge-fund fraudster Bernard Madoff, locked himself in his office, took some sleeping tablets and slashed his wrists.

Christen Schnor, HSBC’s head of insurance, hanged himself in a suite at London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel, while Bear Stearns’ research supervisor Barry Fox took the most traditional way out by jumping from the 29th floor. Last week, Irish property tycoon Patrick Rocca, whose companies owned a number of prominent office buildings in London, shot himself while his wife was out on the school run.

When markets turn against them, it seems, financiers are swift to contemplate the ultimate closing out of their personal positions. Psychologists have even devised a word for them: ‘econocides’, people who take their own lives as a result of losing lots of money.

And yet when you pause to think about it, of all the possible responses to financial mayhem, suicide is one of the strangest. Killing yourself is not a normal way of dealing with professional failure. Football managers don’t opt for that ultimate early bath when their team gets relegated — although, it has to be said, Arsene Wenger looks increasingly swivel-eyed as Arsenal unravel. Political leaders don’t respond to by-election defeats or bad election results by taking a bottle of whisky and a revolver into the billiard room — although we’ve yet to see how Gordon Brown takes the Tory landslide of 2010: ‘doing the decent thing’, as it used to be called, may be preferable to facing a jeering crowd of old Etonians on the government benches.

True, the Japanese have always regarded ritual suicide as a traditional, even honourable, response to personal shame or disaster: the number of Japanese suicides has exceeded 30,000 a year for the past decade — including, in the aftermath of corruption scandals, numerous government officials. In the West, however, the only group of people who appear to think that taking your own life is a rational way of dealing with a really bad day at the office are bankers and fund managers.

In part, that might be historical. The abiding image of the worst ever Wall Street crash is of brokers jumping from windows. Actually, that’s a bit of a myth. As the economist J.K. Galbraith pointed out in The Great Crash, 1929, some enthusiastic journalists spotted a pair of window cleaners high up on a ledge, and decided they must be brokers since it made a better story. The myth was a good one, and has stuck ever since. >>>>more

One quibble - are there any underused clichés?

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Posted on 01/31/2009 7:54 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Pretentious? Moi?
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Near the beginning of his column in The Spectator, a general interest weekly magazine for the intelligent layman, Paul Johnson starts a sentence thus:

My recent essay on the origins of the universe ...

You'd think it only took a week. 

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Posted on 01/31/2009 7:39 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Oui
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Some good news doing the email rounds:

California  vintners in the Napa Valley area, which primarily produce Pinot  Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new  hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic . It is expected  to reduce the number of trips older people have to make to the  bathroom during the night. 

The new  wine will be marketed as 

PINO  MORE

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Posted on 01/31/2009 7:21 AM by Mary Jackson
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Infidels? - the e-mail wot I got
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from my friend Gloria the Goth that I mentioned here. From the phrases used I don't think this originated in the UK but has been topped and tailed for UK distribution. The message is valid for all western countries of course, some are further down that potential road than others. Word is getting out; this is one method.
Allah or the Lord Jesus Christ?
The Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion in the
UK .

Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my  prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who explained each of their beliefs.

I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video.

After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.

When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked: 'Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world and, that by killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?'

There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, 'Non-believers! '

I responded, 'So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can have a place in heaven. Is that correct?'

The expression on his face changed. 'Yes.'

I then stated, 'Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope  Benedict
  commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a place in heaven!' 

I continued, 'I also have problem with being your 'friend' when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me! Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill me in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and He wants you to be there with me?'

You could have heard a pin drop. Needless to say, the organisers and/or promoters of the 'Diversification' training seminar were
not happy with Rick's way of dealing with the Islamic Imam and exposing the truth about the Muslims' beliefs. 
 

In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.K. To elect a government of their choice, complete with sharia law 

I think everyone in the U.K. should be required to read this, but with the Liberal justice system, liberal media and the political correctness madness, there is no way this will be widely publicised.

Please pass this on to all your e-mail contacts.

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Posted on 01/31/2009 2:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Come Fly the Friendly Skies of Qatar
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Thankfully, this Islam-related news story does not contain graphic descriptions of beheadings.  It is merely a travelogue filled with the usual false assumptions of Islamic moral superiority, or failing that, equivalence. 

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Several Arab states have recently undertaken what may prove an impossible task: to persuade Americans and Europeans to see them as cultural destinations, rather than as outposts in a conflict zone.

The recent decimation of Gaza can only have made this process more difficult. [Ed.: What the...?!]But nearly a month before the attack began, the new Qatar Museums Authority, under the leadership of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, inaugurated the Museum of Islamic Art, a notable addition to the global landscape of art institutions.

In its modest way, San Francisco's Asian Art Museum continually pursues similar aims of rendering cultures distant in place, time and belief less foreign. It presents a small survey of "Arts of the Islamic World From Turkey to Indonesia" (through March 1). In part, the show celebrates the latest in the AAM's ongoing publications program, "Persian Ceramics: From the Collections of the Asian Art Museum." Excellent examples of ceramics from ancient Iran and of calligraphy from several parts of the Islamic world serve as tangents to the wonders found in the new Museum of Islamic Art.

[As you gaze in awe at the ceramics and calligraphy, won't that teach you much about the tenets and beliefs of Islam, and how much they have or have not changed over the centuries, and why they haven't?  Won't that render it less foreign, more friendly?  Won't that cause you to set aside your concerns about Islamic violence after watching the daily news, on any given day in the past decade or two?  After all, that is the museum's stated aim.]

[Here follows a luscious description of the new museum in Qatar, dripping with the finest accoutrements that any dish-dashed emirate awash in petrodollars earned from oil taken from the ground by foreign kufirs, using foreign kufir technology, transported by foreign kufirs, refined by foreign kufirs, and consumed by foreign kufirs, would demand in this museum designed and built by embarassingly-eager-to-be-bought foreign kufirs.]

Chinese American architect I.M. Pei designed the 382,000-square-foot complex, which includes two floors of galleries; a grand, domed central atrium; two outdoor courtyards; a conservation lab; and a library and education center. The building and its surround occupies a man-made peninsula stemming from the Doha Corniche that skirts the Arabian Gulf.

For the key material, Pei chose the white limestone that became his aesthetic signature with such major commissions as the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Miho Museum, outside Kyoto, Japan.

The region's bright, flat light creates sharp shadows that play upon the faceted geometry of the five-story central structure's stacked tiers. Pei researched the architecture of the Islamic world extensively before designing a building unmistakably his own. He claims to have taken design inspiration from the 13th century ablution fountain within a renowned ninth century Cairo mosque.

The project manager from Pei's office spoke to me of the difficulty of building under Doha's extreme climatic conditions. To pour the coffered concrete ceilings above the interior balconies without their cracking, the contractors had to work at night and mix the concrete with ice. All the customary standards governing museum climate control had to be enhanced to forfend against the region's extreme heat and invasive, wind-driven desert dust.

Parisian architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte also had to hew to extraordinary standards of insulation and durability in his design of the gallery interiors and casework. He ended up producing some of the most luxurious and aesthetically considered galleries to be found in any museum.

The walls alternate between metalized, stained Brazilian lacewood, which looks like vermiform mahogany, and slate-gray Argentine porphyry, bush-hammered and scored horizontally so that it seems to ripple under light raking from above.

Most of the cases take the form of glass vitrines resting on tables that offer a peripheral ledge on which the viewer can lean. Fiber-optic lighting runs beneath the vitrines to allow tiny fixtures to tilt upward, almost invisible to the spectator, and illuminate objects from the sides and below.

[With such a fabulous museum, who needs artwork?  All those men and accompanied-by-familial-men-or-else women will be able to gaze upon calligraphic samples from the Qur'an, and  calligraphic samples from the hadiths, and other calligraphic samples, and unobtrusive geometric tile mosaics, in the finest luxury that obscene amounts of money can buy.]

A portion of the exhibition is devoted to dispelling the idea that Islam forbade imagery in the arts. Another, of particular distinction, assembles an impressive survey of astrolabes and other instruments attesting to the Muslim world's pre-eminence in astronomy and mathematics during Europe's Dark Ages.

[All together now:  the astrolabe was invented by the Greeks almost a thousand years before the invention of Islam, let alone the invention hundreds of years later of the Islamic version of the astrolabe.  And unlike the Greeks who used the astrolabe for astronomical exploration, the Muslims used the astrolabe mainly for finding the qibla, or the direction of Mecca, in order to properly orient oneself for prayer.  The preceding bit about Islam not forbidding "imagery" is very intriguing, however.]

Calligraphy and illuminated manuscripts form another especially strong component of the museum's opening survey. Several of the world's most famous examples of ceramics, calligraphy and metalwork from the Islamic world find a place in "Beyond Boundaries," harbingers of the MIA's level of connoisseurship and ambition.

[Book your flight to Qatar quickly, before all flights fill up and you're forced to settle for a trip to Israel, that measely font of Judeo-Christian values and home to one or two historical sites, or something.]

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Posted on 01/31/2009 1:25 AM by Artemis Gordon Glidden
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Friday, 30 January 2009
A Musical Interlude: Mean To Me (Bert Ambrose Orch.)
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Posted on 01/30/2009 7:46 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 30 January 2009
Robert Redeker, R�sistant
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February 2009

Last October, the French author and philosophy teacher Robert Redeker, accompanied by two bodyguards, went to the office of his publisher in the charming fifth arrondissement of Paris. Redeker has been in hiding for more than two years, ever since he addressed the question of Islamic intimidation in a newspaper article in Le Figaro, which led to a string of death threats. He is France's Salman Rushdie, but his case has already been largely forgotten by his compatriots.  

When the staff left for lunch, Redeker encouraged his bodyguards to take a break too. He felt safe. In an interview with Standpoint he explained what happened next:

"At 1.30pm, a young man of North African origin came to deliver a package. ‘Monsieur Redeker,' he said, ‘I know who you are...' adding, ‘I won't kill you but someone else will.' 

"He lashed out at me for ten, maybe 15 minutes. The genocide of the Muslims, Arabs are Semites, Hitler was Christian... ‘You make a distinction between moderate, fanatical and Islamist Muslims. You're wrong. A person is Muslim or not Muslim, period.' Over and over, he accused me of insulting all Muslims by criticising Muhammad. ‘Muhammad is more than a father for Muslims,' he said. ‘What you did is serious!' He stormed out in a rage. I called my two RG [Renseignements Généraux, the domestic intelligence service] protectors, who rushed over. They whisked me away to the airport." 

It was in Paris 60 years ago that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed, on 10 December 1948. France has always claimed a special relationship with the Declaration, affirmed as a defining national quality, carried as a banner whenever and wherever human rights are threatened - more or less. In the words of René Samuel Cassin, recognised as its principal author, the Declaration "is the most vigorous, most necessary protest of humanity against the atrocities and oppressions endured by millions of human beings through the ages". Cassin, who refused to take his seat as a delegate to the League of Nations after publicly denouncing the Munich Agreement, maintained a lifelong association with the Alliance Israélite Universelle, under whose auspices he frequently visited Israel. 

Today in France, demonstrators equate the Star of David with the swastika, scream their hatred of Israel, burn its flag and chant promises of destruction. Schools that bear the name of René Cassin are vandalised. Cassin was a résistant, sentenced to death in absentia by the Vichy government. Where is the Resistance today? Is it the enraged crowd in keffieh, vowing allegiance to Hamas? Or courageous thinkers who dare to denounce the greatest totalitarian threat since Nazism and communism?

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Posted on 01/30/2009 6:12 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Friday, 30 January 2009
Three Forms Of The Disease
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1.  Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (Duke)  

 
“Instead, what have become visible are a variety of techniques of “bad faith” or creative mislabeling by which pessimistic heuristics of desire are tacitly yoked into the service of sanguine manipulative projects, or discouraging erotic formulas are powerfully reproduced with only the tiny modification of a single, secret exemption, always in the first person.”
 
From her essay “Proust and the Spectacle of the Closet”
 
 
2. Homi Bhabha (“Harvard’s Prize Catch”):
 
 
“If, for a while, the ruse of desire is calculable for the uses of discipline soon the repetition of guilt, justification, pseudo-scientific theories, superstition, spurious authorities and classifications can be seen as the desperate effort to ‘mormalize’ formally the disturbance of a discourse of splitting that violates the rational, enlightened claims of its enunciatory modality.”
 
 
3. Gayatri Spivak (Columbia):
 
“Suicide bombing-and the planes of 9/11 were living bombs-is a purposive self-annihilation, a confrontation between oneself and oneself, the extreme end of autoeroticism, killing oneself as other, in the process killing others....Suicidal resistance is a message inscribed on the body when no other means will get through. It is both execution and mourning...you die with me for the same cause, no matter which side you are on. Because no matter who you are there are no designated killees [sic] in suicide bombing...It is a response...to the state terrorism practiced outside of its own ambit by the United States and in the Palestinian case additionally to an absolute failure of hospitality."
 
 
 
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Posted on 01/30/2009 5:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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