Facebook is still withholding the contents of five accounts set up by Fusilier Lee Rigby's murderer Michael Adebowale, as the soldier's family said the social network had "blood on its hands" over his death. A report into the intelligence held on Adebowale and his accomplice Michael Adebolajo details 11 Facebook accounts set up by the killer, of which GCHQ has had sight of six.
One of the accounts which has not been handed over "was suspected by the company to have been associated with terrorist accounts before the attack" according to the report by Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee.
In December 2012 Adebowale used Facebook to chat to a Yemen-based Al Qaeda operative codenamed Foxtrot, discussing in "graphic" detail his desire to kill a soldier. Foxtrot encouraged him and suggested several potential methods, from a suicide attack to using a knife.
Facebook's automatic warning system did not pick up on the conversation - even though four other accounts had been disabled because of suspected terrorist links - and it was only brought to the attention of GCHQ on June 6, 2013, the month after the murder.
Facebook has been widely condemned for its failure to alert the authorities when it disables accounts because of suspected links to terrorism, and the ISC has said that if MI5 had known about the "kill a soldier" exchange it might have been able to prevent the murder.
Fusilier Rigby's sister Sarah has said Facebook has "blood on their hands", adding that she holds the company "partly responsible for Lee's murder".
GCHQ asked for all 11 Facebook accounts to be handed over, but, the ISC said, "over a year since the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby, GCHQ has not received all the information requested". The report adds: "Having not seen the content of the other five accounts, GCHQ cannot be certain that there is no evidence of attack planning in the rest of these accounts."Of the Facebook accounts that have not been seen by GCHQ, two were still open at the time of the murder and two were disabled by Facebook for reasons that "do not appear to be terrorism related".
Nor is Facebook alone in being criticised in the report.
Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, Google and BlackBerry were all contacted by the ISC, but: "None of the US companies we contacted accept the UK's jurisdiction on requests for Lawful Intercept (i.e. content) for intelligence investigations.For example, Twitter's 'Guidelines for Law Enforcement' clearly state that 'requests for the content of communications...require a valid US search warrant'. The companies will therefore only provide information on users under US - and not UK - legal processes."
David Cameron has told internet firms their platforms are being used by terrorists "to plot murder and mayhem" and called on companies to accept their "moral duty" to police their content and pass on suspicious material to the authorities.
Yet Facebook regularly suspends UK Patriot pages and walls. In particular the first EDL London Division page, which had reached over 100 thousand readers, was taken down and never reinstated, despite requests. I myself had the FB account I use for this work suspended as Esmerelda Weatherwax is 'not your real name'. I got it back by making a minor change but it was a nuisance.
Low back pain is a condition so common that, intermittently, I suffer from it myself. It comes and goes for no apparent reason, lasting a few days at a time. Nearly 40 years ago I realized that, though I had liked to think of myself as nearly immune from nervous tension, anxiety could cause it.
I was in a far distant country and I had a problem with my return air ticket. At the same time I suffered agonizing low back pain, which I did not connect with the problem of my ticket. When the problem was sorted out, however, my back pain disappeared within two hours.
In general, low back pain is poorly correlated with X-ray and MRI findings. Epidemiological research shows that the self-employed are much less prone to it than employees, and also that those higher in the hierarchy suffer it less than those lower – and not because they do less physical labor. Now comes evidence, in a recent paper from Australia published in the Lancet, that the recommended first treatment usually given for such pain, acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, is useless, or at least no better than placebo (which is not quite the same thing, of course).
The Australian authors designed a double-blind trial for people with low back pain. The first group was given the drug regularly, up to the maximum safe daily dose; the second group was given it to take as and when they felt it necessary, up to the maximum safe daily dose; and the third group was given a placebo, made to look exactly the same as the supposedly active drug, to take regularly. There were about 550 patients in each group, whose initial characteristics were very similar.
The end-point of the trial was seven successive pain-free days. It was supposed initially that the drug would be helpful because pain relief would promote the movement of the back muscles that is thought to promote recovery.
The results surprised me because in the past I had sometimes (though not always) had relief from the drug. It seems that I was mistaken and that, like the rest of mankind, I was susceptible to the placebo effect. The median time to recovery of the first group was 17 days; that of the second, 17 days; and that of the third, 16 days. In other words, the drug was of no use at all in shortening the duration of the pain.
But what about its severity and the consequent disturbance of function? When I have low back pain I am much slowed down in my daily life. Here again the drug was quite without beneficial effect compared with placebo. At no time in the treatment, and in no respect, was the active treatment better than placebo. The conclusion of the authors was categorical:
Paracetemol… had no effect on pain, disability, function, global symptom change, sleep, or quality of life.
But this conclusion was not quite justified; strictly speaking, it would have to be shown that the placebo effect did not improve low back pain, for only in this way could it be shown that the drug had no effect on low back pain. An experiment to demonstrate that a tablet given as a placebo had no placebo effect would be difficult to conduct, both for practical and ethical reasons.
I know that my low back pain is caused, at least in part, by anxiety. I know (now) that paracetamol (acetaminophen) has only a placebo if any effect at all. But I shall still take it whenever I have low back pain. So much for being a rational man.
When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the prevailing assumptions on broad geopolitical issues were that global warming would require radical reduction of carbon use to prevent the destruction of much of the world’s habitable environment; that China was inexorably going to become the world’s preeminent economy; that the United States would soon become a predominantly non-white country; that many of the principal European nationalities would dwindle into extinction like the carrier pigeon, because of cultural dyspepsia and narcissism that strangled the will to procreate; and that the Roman Catholic Church would finally disintegrate and largely vanish, even as Islam, vigorous if disconcerting, asserted itself. This was the collective conventional wisdom, and while there were certainly dissenters from some and all of it, these views were very widely embraced. All of these suppositions have either evolved almost unrecognizably or evaporated altogether, a fact that we would do well to remember as new truisms take hold and become the subject of abject reflexive and even genuflective adherence.
Global warming has metamorphosed into climate change, a more or less orderly retreat from the deafening fear-mongering of the Copenhagen Conference of 2009, an army retreating on a peninsula, like MacArthur on Bataan and in Korea before his Inchon counter-stroke, buffeted and battered but not encircled and routed. The environmentalists are fighting hard for every inch but they are a bedraggled and battle-weary force compared with their former status as occupants of the commanding heights of public opinion, warning of inundations, species extinctions, and richly deserved Old Testament plagues to punish ecological abuse. As it stands now, global warming (one centigrade degree in 75 years) is improbable, climate change is unclear, and there is no probable causal link between human activity and climate change. Every sane person in the world accepts that environmental pollution must be relentlessly reduced and that extreme vigilance is called for, but there is no majority anywhere now to charge into the Valley of Fiscal and Economic Death of Kyoto and cap and trade.
The bloom is also off the forces-of-history, wave-of-the future Sino-groupiness; China’s ostensible growth rate is only down (from 10 percent) to about 7 percent, but the spectacle of vast apartment blocks in new cities eerily unoccupied and the increasing revelations of corruption and of the proportions of the housing bubble that drove much of recent Chinese economic growth have taken the wind out of this platitude that for at least a decade was endlessly repeated by commentators, lesser social bores, and even passers-by. China is the greatest developing-economy story in the history of the world. But it is still about 40 percent a command economy, and it is facing chronic deficit problems as well as the deflation provoked by all large bubbles when pierced. It is a country with no working political institutions, except perhaps the army, and one in which the official statistics do not add up and not one utterance of the government of the People’s Republic, verbal or numerate, can be believed. Hundreds of millions of people still live essentially as they did 3,000 years ago. And, like other emergent great powers, in flexing its muscles and demanding increased respect from its neighbors, China has pushed them together: The Indians and Indonesians (both countries under capable new leadership), Japanese, South Koreans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Australians, and others have been driven into greater collective intimacy and the Chinese have managed to be expelled from Burma. Of course China is a great and important country, but taking the leadership of the world is not like falling off a log, as the leaders of the Third Reich, the Soviet Union, and Japan Inc. learned, but the rulers of Tiananmen Square didn’t notice. The Hong Kong unrest won’t just go away, though there is no reason to believe that unrest will spread around China as it did in the Arab world, but if the regime has to resort to repression again, it will be very damaging to China’s international economic relations.
It never particularly mattered what the skin color of most Americans was as long as the entire population subscribed to the American constitutional system, and strove, where necessary, to learn English, and the stresses between the component groups did not become intolerable; the melting pot had to go on simmering and creating committed Americans. This appears to be happening, but apart from that, the country has notoriously awakened to the immigration issue, even if the political system has fumbled and postured with as much cowardice and backbiting as ever. But in the affray over immigration, and the Mexican economic surge despite the drug violence along the border, the infiltration of unprocessed foreigners has been sharply reduced and the national demographic trends are unclear. Both U.S. political parties ignored the issue for decades, as they ignored abortion, income disparity, and other issues, and both share blame for the present impasse. Whatever anyone thinks of Obama’s half-measure of last week, it is only politics from a political leader who lost his last electoral battle, is revocable by a successor just by writing his (or her) name, and will not achieve anything. Obviously, the United States cannot expel 11 million people, any more than it can continue to allow unskilled peasants to flood into the country, but the trend that caused the confident predictions of the imminent end to the status of the United States as a Northern Hemisphere, Caucasian country has stalled.
These confident predictions of the takeover of the United States by a Latino and African-American coalition were uttered largely by Europeans, who did not notice that a much likelier event would be a Muslim demographic surge within the Western European countries that would be much less assimilable and more abrasive and dangerous to the host cultures than the continued increase in the Latin American population of the United States. The fact is that the conclusion that the Germans, Russians, Spanish, Italians, French, Dutch, and others were all headed for the demographic boneyard is and always was nonsense. They are rich cultures and – while they are still reeling from the blunders and atrocities that gave us two world wars, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, and the most heinous acts of genocide in history — they are not permanently possessed by a death wish. They will recover demographic stability and create conditions in which intelligent Muslims embrace the civilization to which they chose to emigrate while exercising normal religious freedom without infringing the rights of others. The Europeans, led in this by the French, will suppress the militants in their midst. The cradle of Western civilization, which, despite its torpor, is not seeking death with dignity (or otherwise), will not be strangled from within by an impoverished and ignorant minority of a minority, fanatically determined to destroy the venerable and distinguished nations where they reside. There will be turbulent times and many official acts of folly, mistaken appeasement, and implausible bravura, but the correlation of forces overwhelmingly favors the continuity of the West in all its principal states.
The process of containing the Islamist threat may accelerate the failure and abandonment of the last of the enumerated pillars of conventional wisdom: the demise of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis has struck from the hands of his church’s ancient and faddish foes the sword brandished for 60 years, that this was an anachronistic organization run by a claque of septuagenarian celibates and closet queens scolding the world about its sex life. The pope’s assertion that the raison d’être of the Roman Catholic Church was to be the ark of the Christian message, to assist and comfort souls (and that meant a gay person no less than a heterosexual or sexually abstinent one), disarmed the legions of ill-wishers without traumatizing the militant traditionalists within the Church. “Who am I to judge?” was a transformative assertion by this pope, its impact partly concealed by its simplicity. Religious attendance and vocations have moved generally up in many countries, sharply up in disparate places including South Korea (almost 100 percent), and Spain (40 percent); in Spain’s case the revival has been dramatized by one of the country’s most glamorous models and television personalities, Olalla Oliveros, abruptly joining a convent of the Order of St. Michael.
The spectacularly inadequate performance of the secular leaders in the main Western countries in this new millennium has highlighted the credibility, integrity, and effectiveness of Pope Francis. Despite the incumbency of atheism as the unofficial religion of almost all non-Islamic countries, the Western majority that believes in the existence of spiritual forces and some form of deity or quasi-deity will be fortified by the high expectations incited and dashed by the secularizers and materialists. Militants will devalue Islam; criminally diseased murderers cannot compete with a spirituality of saints and prophets. The Roman Catholic Church has been around this track many times. It has the problems inherent in any organization that espouses a heavenly kingdom through human spokesmen afflicted by human failings, but those failings are not as aggravated by exposed pretense as are those of the world’s political and commercial and cultural leadership, and in terms of ultimate legitimacy and proximity to truth as best it can be perceived, Rome remains the big brand, with the big market share, the most distinguished ethos, and the most compelling and humane chief. Rome isn’t going anywhere; people in numbers that will continue to scandalize and nonplus the New York Times and the BBC will continue to go to it.
UPDATE: Listen to 1330amWEBY Middle East Roundtable on Turkey “Bordering on Terrorism”
Listen to the latest in a series of international discussions on developments in the Middle East on 1330AMWEBY, Pensacola, Florida. This is the latest program in the periodic round table discussions led by “Your Turn” host Mike Bates and Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and author of The West Speaks.
Failure of the P5+1 negotiation with Iran over its nuclear program to achieve a final agreement.
Bi- partisan support in US Congress for stronger sanctions against Iran despite objections by the Administration.
Erdogan’s Turkey emerges as a NATO member with state sponsor of terrorism given its porous border allowing passage of ISIS recruits, providing Hamas a base for launching attacks against Israel, facilitating financing and oil sales for the Islamic State while curtailing support for Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS.
The row between Israel and Jordan over the Temple Mount riots and violence in Jerusalem led to meetings in Amman with Secretary of State Kerry, King Abdullah and Israeli PM Netanyahu.
PA President Abbas’ manipulation of the Arab nationalist riots in Jerusalem furthers his legacy, seeking recognition of a Palestinian State as the 194th Country in the UN.
The emerging partnership of convenience between Egypt and Israel with the former destroying hundreds of smuggling tunnels between Rafah and Gaza isolating Hamas from its Salafist ISIS allies in the Sinai.
The significance of Secretary of Defense Hagel’s ‘resignation’ under pressure by the Administration.
An article based on this broadcast will appear in the December 2014 edition of the New English Review.
A catalogue of blunders, errors and delays by MI5 and the police hampered the monitoring of the killers of Drummer Lee Rigby, a parliamentary investigation found. The Intelligence and Security Committee concluded the Security Service could not have prevented the gruesome, random killing by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale on May 22 last year.
Andrew Parker, the Director General of MI5, told the committee that his agency “threw the kitchen sink” at Adebolajo from an investigation point of view over the five years they monitored him but no clues as to his intentions came to light.
But the report highlighted a series of missed opportunities and mistakes, some of which may have resulted in one or both of the men being seen has a higher security risk or put under greater surveillance. It emerged that surveillance was cancelled on Adebolajo just weeks before the killing and a request for surveillance on Adebowale was submitted to the Home Office the day before the murder.
The ISC stressed that none of the errors, with the exception of the Facebook issue, would have prevented the killing of Fusilier Rigby. The report lists four key events that it concluded were missed opportunities during the various investigations of Adebolajo and Adebowale.
The most significant was the failure by an Internet company – now identified as Facebook – to flag up an online conversation between Adebowale and a mystery Yemen-based al-Qaeda fanatic – identified in the report only as Foxtrot.
In late 2012, Adebowale spoke of wanting to “kill a soldier” in a graphic and emotive manner" due to UK military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. He and Foxtrot discussed targeting someone in a less secure location, and possibly with a knife, in a chilling echo of the murder of Drummer Rigby who was killed on a public road as he returned to his barracks.
The Internet company was not aware of the message but it’s automated vetting system had previously closed down seven of Adebowale’s accounts, many for suspected terrorism-related reasons. But the pattern was never flagged up to MI5 or the British authorities.
Both MI5 and MI6 were criticised for “unsatisfactory” action on Adebolajo after he was caught in Kenya trying to cross the border to Somalia to join the terror group al-Shabaab. He was arrested by the Kenyans in November 2010 but despite the British authorities being alerted, MI6 made no effort to interview him or feed questions to be put to him, the report said.The agency took no further action and considered Adebolajo's own voluntary return from the country after his release without charge as a “sufficient solution”.
The report concluded that the Secret Intelligence Service’s (SIS) “apparent lack of interest in Adebolajo’s arrest deeply unsatisfactory”. “SIS’s role in countering ‘jihadi tourism’ does not appear to have extended to any practical action being taken.”
Meanwhile the Times reports that Adebolajo has been moved from HMP Belmarsh to HMP Frankland in County Durham to stop his radicalising other inmates. He is now in isolation.
Adebolajo wrote to Muslim Prisoners, a support group, saying: “The guards at Frankland are worse than Belmarsh for treatment of Muslims. This move is deliberate.” A spokesman for Muslim Prisoners said: “In their eyes, Muslims getting together is conspiracy, just talking to each other is seen as radicalisation.”
In light of the protests in Ferguson, MO, in Ferguson itself and throughout the U.S., a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) social media group has called upon ISIS supporters in the U.S. to use the protests as a cover to carry out lone-wolf attacks. Al-Nusra Al-Maqdisiyya, a prominent group of pro-ISIS activists on social media, wrote on its Twitter account: "O lone mujahid, you must use the breakdown of security in #Ferguson to increase the burning in America. They are squabbling over worldly [matters], so you send them to hell! #ISIS". Another tweet read: "O supporters of the Islamic State in America, what is happening in #Ferguson is a valuable opportunity that will not return. Rise up and engage them with themselves, away from the mujahideen. Spill their blood in the roads and in the neighborhoods." The group likewise urged ISIS supporters to distribute ISIS videos, especially ones in English, on the trending Twitter hashtags related to the events in Ferguson.
ISIS members and pro-ISIS supporters online are also spreading inciting tweets in reaction to the protests. Following are examples:
More than 30 people are dead after two female suicide bombers attacked a market in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri.
The bombers targeted the crowded market Tuesday. Witnesses said the first bomber set off her explosives, killing at least three people, and as people gathered at the blast site, the second bomb exploded.
A reporter for VOA in Maiduguri, Abdulkareem Haruna, reports 37 people were killed with many others wounded.
The French news agency (AFP) puts the death toll at more than 45.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion will likely fall on militant group Boko Haram.
The group is blamed for scores of deadly bombings and other attacks over the past five years, and has made increasing use of female suicide bombers.
Boko Haram is strongly suspected in two other brutal attacks over the past week that killed nearly 100 people.
The group has taken over territory in Borno and neighboring Adamawa state for what it calls a caliphate to be ruled under Islamic law.
Imran ibn Mansur, 24, also known as the self-styled Dawah Man who helps people be spiritual “superheroes”, was today banned from appearing at the University of East London. The university also banned this week’s event, advertised on Facebook by its Islamic Society, over fears — denied by organisers — that gender segregation could be enforced, after “brothers” and “sisters” were given separate contact points for tickets. It comes six months after another Islamic Society event was banned after being advertised as a “segregated event”.
Former rapper Mr Mansur, who has visited other campuses and given Muslim students a university “survival guide”, made the comments in apparently homemade online videos. Protest groups have welcomed the ban.
In one video posted in July last year Mr Mansur preaches to a “brother” seeking advice on his gay desires. The preacher blasts “filthy Western culture” and tells him to marry a woman to “protect” himself. He adds: “It’s not something you were born with, the same way a person who’s sick, we’re all born healthy but then you get an illness so you take the treatment to get rid of not only the symptoms, but the disease.”
He adds: “Homosexuality, sodomy, is an act that in the sharia… comes under the category of ‘obscene, filthy, shameless’ acts.”
In another video posted a month later he tells a young Asian man in the street to remove his “gay” earring. He says: “You like women not men? Take the earring off then bro. Know that an earring is something that a woman wears… don’t do that, it’s gay.” The man then takes it out.
Mr Mansur today said he was exercising his right to freedom of speech and did so “sensibly and with tolerance”.
Hope springs eternal, but so do financial crises in hospitals. Once, while researching the history of the hospital in which I was working at the time, I discovered that it had been so short of money in the 1840s that it had been forced to sell some land to a railway company that wanted to build a line near the hospital. The physicians were against the sale, for they feared the noise of the trains might kill the patients, “especially the brain cases.” They were overruled, and when the first train went by they observed the patients anxiously to monitor the adverse effect on them. There was none.
However, psychiatric hospitals seem often to be built near railway lines, which act as a magnet to the patients who are suicidal. Patients of such hospitals who commit suicide while on the premises usually do so by hanging, while those who do so outside usually jump from a tall building or throw themselves in front of trains.
A paper from Germany in a recent edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry analyzes the characteristics of 100 suicides of psychiatric patients who threw themselves in front of trains conveniently near to the hospitals in which they were resident at the time. It took the authors ten years to collect their sample, whom they compared with other patients of the same age, sex and psychiatric diagnosis who did not throw themselves in front of trains. The object of the exercise was to see whether such suicides could be predicted and therefore prevented. The authors rather laconically remark that when a man throws himself in front of a train — and nearly two-thirds of the cases were men — it is likely that he really means to die.
Most of the suicides were among schizophrenics. They had been ill either for a short or a very long time. Not surprisingly, they had tried suicide before. But by far the strongest association with suicide among such patients was a change in therapist – the person principally concerned in their care – shortly before. Distressed people want to think that there is a particular person who is concerned for their welfare, and change is probably experienced as further abandonment by those who already feel abandoned. This is an important finding as psychiatric practice around the world becomes more and more depersonalized.
But there was one association upon which the authors did not much remark: the fact that the suicides were more likely to be taking SSRI antidepressants than those with the same diagnosis who did not commit suicide.
This does not by itself prove causation, of course; but it was striking that those with the same diagnosis who were taking another type of antidepressant, the tricyclic, did not have an excess of suicides. This is important, because it has long been suspected that SSRIs increase the frequency of suicidal thoughts in those who take them. Indeed, ten years ago the FDA issued a warning that the drugs increase suicidal thoughts – though only in children and adolescents. In the case of the German suicides, the combination of benzodiazepine tranquilizing drugs such as Valium to SSRI drugs (which can cause agitation) was particularly associated with suicide.
The patients who committed suicide on railway lines were also more likely to be treated by polypharmacy, defined as the prescription of more than three different drugs at a time. This, however, may only have been an indication of the intractability of their symptoms.
The development of SSRI drugs was once heralded as a great advance. I was skeptical of this from the first: the older, cheaper drugs were better. Such is often the way.
Women in Islam, with the "portable seclusion" of the chador, the niqab, the abaya, the whatever-you-want to call it, have it just fine, because their inferiority is properly recognized, and allowance made for it. They are best at breeding, and breeding is their business, their metier, their vocation, their role, their calling. Why can't they understand that, Erdogan wonders.
But there's nothing wrong with this report from the academy in, fatidically, Poitiers. The outward and visible signs of taking Islam too much to heart -- the uncut beard without moustache, the prominent zebibah, and so on -- are properly identified. The "religious radicalism" that is being examined, after all, is the only one that now counts, which is Muslim "religious radicalism" or, to put it otherwise, the promotion of Islam among its adherents so that they will take it more to heart and act on their beliefs. And that means violence against non-Muslims. Muslims can do no other.
The Law Society has withdrawn controversial guidelines for solicitors on how to compile “Sharia compliant” wills amid complaints that they encouraged discrimination against women and non-Muslims. Andrew Caplen, president of the society, apologised and said the criticism had been taken on board.
It follows a storm of protest after The Telegraph disclosed in March that the society had issued a practice note to solicitors effectively enshrining aspects of Islamic law in the British legal system. The guidelines advised High Street solicitors on how to write Islamic wills in a way that would be recognised by courts in England and Wales.
They set out principles which meant that women could be denied an equal share of inheritances while unbelievers could be excluded altogether. The document also detailed how children born out of wedlock might not be counted as legitimate heirs.
Mr Caplen’s predecessor as president, Nicholas Fluck, strongly resisted criticism of the guidelines when details were published in March. But in a short statement the society said it now had decided to withdraw them in light of “feedback” from the public and lawyers themselves.
Sadikur Rahman, a leading member of the Lawyers’ Secular Society, who was among the first to raise concerns about the practice note, praised the Law Society as a rare example of a major organisation publicly changing its mind. “The language that they have chosen to use today is quite astonishing for an organisation that only a few months ago was resistant to change at all,” he said.
He added that it was a vindication for those who were accused of racism or being anti-Muslim for questioning the wisdom of original practice note.
“You should be able to criticise an ideology, that should not be taken as racism,” he said.
He added: “As far as the public is concerned the Law Society represents all lawyers in England and Wales.The practice notes might just be guidance but they tell us how our firms should practise, if you didn’t follow the guidance issued by the Law Society on a particular point you might be deemed to negligent.They carry a huge amount of weight and it would be seen as an endorsement.
“I certainly heard from Muslim lawyers congratulating the Law Society for having issued it, the way they saw it was that the Law Society had come on board with sharia law.”
From an article about the BBC correspondent(to which "Proud Kafir 7908", alerted me) -- the one who was always pro-Arab, the one who was "reluctant" to report from Cairo on all the gaiety following the 9/11 attacks, Mr. Frank Gardner, who after he had been shot famously called out "Help me, I'm a Musilm, help me, I'm a Muslim" because he knew, having studied Arabic and "falled in love" with the Arabs and so on, understood that the only chance he had for being helped by passersby was if he told them he was a Muslim. He has learned very little, it seems, from his ordeal, and perhaps in your house, as in mine, there will not be a wet eye upon reading his tale.
Here's the most revealing bit:
He was once a captain in the Royal Green Jackets, as an Army reservist, but is anxious to point out that he was “a Cold War warrior who ran around Germany” and had nothing to do with any conflict in the Gulf. “We came to Saudi Arabia as completely peaceful, objective journalists to report on what was going on there. And we paid for it. Totally unfairly.”
They had just finished filming when a car pulled up. “A young man gets out and says, ‘Salaam alaikum – Peace be upon you’. But as he is saying that, he is reaching into a specially-sewn pocket in his dishdasha and pulling out a pistol.” Gardner started to run but was shot in the shoulder.
“It went straight through. It hurt like hell. I kept running. The next thing, there was another shot and I was down on the ground.”
Simon Cumbers was already dead. “I remember looking up at these horrible, evil faces. They were almost like Hallowe’en joke shop masks.”
They left him for dead. As he lay with his body smashed and contorted, Gardner was outraged. He had loved the Middle East since he was a teenager, studied Islam and Arabic at university and worked for banks in Saudi Arabia before joining the BBC, where he regularly stressed that most Muslims were kind, peace-loving people and nothing like the terrorists.
“In the horrible aftermath and the couple of hours between being shot and being saved by a brilliant surgeon, I had time to think an awful lot of thoughts. One of them was, ‘This is so bloody unfair. I go to the effort to learn this language, to understand the people, to live with them in Jordan, Bahrain, Cairo, to have a lot of respect for their beliefs and customs, and what do I get? A bellyful of bullets.”
Dietrich Von Hildebrand's "Mein Kampf Gegen Hitler" Now In English
Born in Florence, raised in the grand former Minim priory of San Francesco di Paola, where his father Adolf von Hildebrand worked on his art, Dietrich von Hildebrand was publicly opposed to the National Socialists even before the Beer Hall Putsch. His life was full of drama. Toward the end of that life he wrote a memoir of what he called "Mein Kampf gegen Hitler" for hissecond, much younger wife Alice (who was born in the year of that Putsch); this memoir has at long last been translated into English and published in this country. You might want to read "My Battle Against Hitler."
Contemporary account of the Hanafi siege from 9News Now. Marion Barry appears around :51.
It’s a strange tale barely mentioned in the many articles about the former D.C. mayor since his death on Sunday: In 1977, Marion Barry was shot by a group of radical black Muslims. The New York Times gave the shooting two sentences. Even The Washington Post’s Bart Barnes, in his terrific obituary, didn’t devote many inches to Barry’s misfortune:
Charismatic, irrepressible and engaging, Mr. Barry always seemed to get up again. In 1977, while on the council, he was shot during the siege of the District Building (now the John A. Wilson Building) by Hanafi Muslims, who also had taken over the Islamic Center and B’nai B’rith offices.
Mr. Barry’s wound was superficial, but it nevertheless enhanced his mystique. After a brief hospitalization, he returned to the political arena and in less than two years was mayor of the District.
Record scratch. Say what? Why did 12 Hanafis coordinate a siege of three buildings, taking 150 hostages in the nation’s capital on March 9, 1977, and shoot the future mayor of our city? Was this 9/11 in miniature?
Not really. The Hanafi Muslims who took over the John A. Wilson building weren’t foreign nationals motivated by decades-long United States involvement in foreign wars. Instead, the violence stemmed from a bloody beef between African American Muslim groups.
“To the extent that any outsider could understand the anger behind this three-pronged attack,” The Post wrote in 1977, “it seemed to originate in a bitter sectarian feud between two groups that are both black and call themselves Muslim — the Hanafis, who consider themselves orthodox, and the nation of Islam, followers of the late Elijah Muhammed [sic], better known as the Black Muslims.”
Four years before the siege, on a winter day in 1973, gunmen linked to the Nation of Islam stormed a home on upper 16th street in Northwest Washington. Their target: Hanafi leader and former Nation of Islam national secretary Hamaas Abdul Khaalis.
Hamaas Abdul Khaalis in Washington on March 14, 1977. Khaalis was later taken to police headquarters for processing. (AP Photo/Charles Bennett)
Khaalis was not at home — but seven unlucky people, including five children, were. Three were shot. Four were drowned. All died — and seven men were later convicted in the slayings.
Khaalis wasn’t satisfied. More than four years later, he and 11 others took over the headquarters of B’nai B’rith, an international Jewish service organization, on Rhode Island Avenue NW, the Islamic Center of Washington on Massachusetts Avenue NW and the D.C. City Council chambers.
They demanded satisfaction — and wanted the men convicted of the 1973 killings turned over to them, “presumably for execution,” as WETA put it. Other demands included repayment of a $750 fine imposed on Khaalis for contempt of court during the trial of the 1973 killers, and an end to the release of the film “Mohammed, Messenger of God” (also called “The Message“), a movie the Hanafis deemed offensive.
“We have told this government to get busy and get the murderers that came into our house on Jan. 18 and murdered our babies,” Khaalis told The Post during the siege. “And our children. And shot up our women. … Tell them the payday is here. We gonna pull the cover off of them. No more games.”
At B’nai Brith, attackers wielded machetes.
“They had big huge swords,” Andrew S. Hoffman, a 20-year-old student from George Washington University, said after being released. “They kept saying they were gonna cut people’s heads off … They all said they were going to die, but they were going to die for a cause.”
Outside of D.C. Council chambers, the gunmen “blasted away,” as The Post wrote. Barry was hit by a ricochet shotgun pellet.
“Councilman Marion Barry staggered into the Council Chamber and fell into a chair, clutching his bloody chest,” according to the paper. “He, too, cried out: ‘I’ve been shot, I’ve been shot.’”
After almost 40 hours, the siege ended — partly thanks to the ambassadors from Egypt, Pakistan and Iran, who quoted the Koran to Khaalis.
“And let not the hatred of some people in once shutting you out of the sacred mosque lead you to transgression and hostility on your part,” one said. “Help ye one another in righteousness and piety, but help ye not one another in sin and rancor.”
Khaalis initially proved uninterested in talk.
“Don’t teach me the Koran,” he told the ambassadors over the phone. “I know it better than you. Do you know that there are occasions when blood calls for repayment by blood?”
Eventually, he relented. After in-person meetings with ambassadors, Khaalis and his group surrendered on March 11.
The Post marveled at the unexpected end to the unexpected hostage crisis.
“The strange circumstances that brought Moslem ambassadors — one of them from an Arab nation technically at war with Israel — into the B’nai B’rith headquarters to negotiate with an American black professing Islam have rarely been matched in the annals of either diplomacy or law enforcement,” the Post wrote.
Barry, who was not held hostage, was not the siege’s main victim — indeed, as Barnes wrote, the bullet, which just missed his heart, may have helped propel him to the mayor’s office. But at the District building, WHUR reporter Maurice Williams was killed.
“I believe this incident was one of the more traumatic incidents in the history of this city, and the fact that he was the only African American journalist ever killed in the line of duty … makes it a very special occasion,” Paul Brock, WHUR’s news director when Williams was a student intern, told The Post in 2007.
The siege took place a generation before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — and bore little resemblance to them. The siege was instigated by a domestic group with a specific, local grievance. But some said the attack presaged future events.
“This was an early wake-up call about violence and terrorism and the extent to which groups will go to engage in violence either for the sake of violence or to make a point,” Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, told The Post. “Little did we know 30 years ago that this kind of issue would be a daily concern for all of us, not only here in Washington but abroad as well.”
Though he emerged relatively unscathed, Barry told The Post the Hanafi siege made him think of his own mortality.
“That God’s in charge,” he said. “Life is not promised. You could be gone in a flash.”
In a village in South Wales, 34-year-old Matthew Williams was recently stunned by a taser discharged by a policewoman. He died soon afterward in police custody.
The reason the policewoman tasered Williams was that she had found him in the hotel in which he had been lodging, bent over the prostrate body of a 22-year-old woman whose face and eyeball he was eating. The policewoman told him to step away from the body but he refused; and, quite reasonably supposing that he was not to be reasoned with, she shot him with the taser. The woman whom he was cannibalizing died of the injuries he inflicted.
Unconfirmed reports say what is highly probable, that the author of this appalling crime was high at the time on drink and drugs, namely cocaine, cannabis, and injected “miaow-miaow,” the street name for mephedrone, an amphetamine-like substance. If so, this increased the likelihood that tasering could bring on fatal cardiac arrest.
He had been released two weeks earlier after having been sentenced to five years in prison for a serious assault upon a previous girlfriend, though he served only half that sentence—for it is now customary in Britain for judges knowingly to perpetrate a fraud on the public by sentencing criminals to a term of imprisonment that they know will be cut by half. Thus when a sentence of, say, three years, is handed down, the defendant knows perfectly well he will be released in 18 months as of routine and as of right. There is no protest against this charade, though if words should retain their meaning anywhere it is in the law.
The case, and the public commentary on it, revealed quite a lot about the state of our civilization. The commentary centered on two main questions: the dangers attached to the use of tasers; and why the culprit had not been properly supervised after his release from prison since he was known to be habitually violent and inclined to take drugs.
Certainly, the police in Britain, who have in general become more bullying as they have grown more ineffectual, seem to ignore warnings that tasers fired at the chest may result in a cardiac arrest. They are supposed to use a taser only as a last resort, in dangerous situations. It is not surprising, perhaps, that in the heat of the moment they aim at the part of the body that it is easiest to hit; it is also possible that they are insufficiently trained to do otherwise.
The purpose of tasers is to subdue a suspect deemed to be dangerous, without harm to him or to the police. About one person a year has died in Britain after the use of these weapons by the police since there were first introduced 10 years ago. Their use has grown rapidly, but at the same time the use of firearms by the police (in Britain the police are not armed, and any use of firearms by the police must be specially authorized) has declined almost as markedly. Last year, the police fired guns on only three occasions, though they were authorized to carry them 10,000 times. If in practice they had used guns rather than tasers, it is probable that more than one person would have been killed during these incidents, assuming it was truly necessary to use one or the other weapon.
The tasering discussion was an avoidance of the truly significant aspect of the case: the decision to release Matthew Williams in the first place.
Oddly enough, the probation service’s failure to monitor Williams adequately after his release also attracted more attention than did the initial decision to release him. But in the present legal climate in Britain, his assault on his former girlfriend must have been a serious one indeed for him to have been sentenced to five years. Probably (though I cannot swear to it) it was of a severity for which a sentence of 20 years or even life would have been both more just and more sensible. The fact that when he was released the police placed yet another woman, also a former lover of his, under their protection suggests that the assault for which he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment was not the result of a sudden rush of blood to the head, but a reflection of his habitual violent criminality. And I would stake quite a lot of money on a bet that the assault on the woman for which he was imprisoned was not his first conviction for violence, much less his first violent offence.
In other words, in these circumstances, what could monitoring by the probation service have been expected to achieve? At best, the service could have interviewed Matthew Williams intermittently and perhaps drug-tested him. But even this would have been of doubtful value, for two reasons. The first is that, thanks to targets that have been set by its political masters, the probation service is adjudged by the percentage of those under its surveillance who “complete” that surveillance without mishap, and therefore a return to prison for breach of the conditions of release would be regarded as failure. In effect the service has been given an incentive to look the other way.
Second, a man like Williams was never likely to be dissuaded from his coarse, impulsive pleasures by the threat of an appointment with a probation officer in a few days’ time. Almost certainly he was not one to “think ahead” but was rather more inclined to seize, not the day, but the second. He had no sense of restraint from within, and his experience of life and the criminal justice system had taught him that restraint from without was not a force much to be reckoned with.
Any monitoring by the probation service whose absence was so lamented by commentators would have been about as much use as a paper handkerchief in a monsoon. But just as the dog that did not bark was a clue for Sherlock Holmes in Silver Blaze, so in the commentary on the Williams case there was the non-barking dog that tells us about the state of our culture and civilization: namely the non-judgmentalism that was the precondition of his last victim’s appalling death.
The hotel in which he killed this young woman in so horrible a way was in effect a hostel for released prisoners. The village being a small one, this would have been known to everyone, including the victim. Photographs of the perpetrator do not suggest his high cultivation, to say the least. The victim, having met him in a bar, consented within a short lapse of time to go back to his room, from which she did not emerge alive.
Her previous boyfriend was serving three-and-a-half years in prison—meaning 21 months—for arson. He tried to burn his own house down after the victim ended her relationship with him. He had an earlier conviction for having assaulted her.
To have learned from that experience would have been to develop a prejudice; and there is nothing worse in the contemporary moral universe than to make a judgment based upon prejudice. By going to the monster’s room on the faintest of acquaintance with him, knowing or strongly suspecting him to be an ex-prisoner, she was demonstrating not foolishness but a virtue: that of being non-judgmental. Granted that going with him may not have been the most prudent of decisions, but at least she was not prejudiced.
Alas, life, or at least human life, is judgment. Yet this was not something that commentators were prepared to say out loud—they having done so much in the past to disguise and discredit this obvious consideration.
Britain is facing an ‘almost inevitable’ attack by fanatics who have been ‘militarised’ by Islamic State, according to police and security officials.
In speeches today, Theresa May and senior police will warn that the ‘diverse’ terrorist threat posed by jihadis returning from Syria and Iraq is one of the greatest this country has ever faced. Addressing a conference in London, Mrs May will unveil draconian new laws to try to protect the public and stem the flow of cash and recruits to Islamic State.
Potential attacks could range from a ‘lone wolf’ beheading in a crowded shopping centre or street, to a bomb plot using fertiliser stolen from British farms. One Whitehall official told the Mail: ‘It is almost inevitable that something is going to happen in the next few months.
According to Britain’s most senior officer, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, police and MI5 have already foiled five major plots this year. Chillingly, there is normally only one major plot disrupted every 12 months. Sir Bernard said the challenges faced by police and MI5 in monitoring jihadis returning from Syria were huge. He warned: ‘They’re going to be militarised, they will have a complex web of people that they know, and of course they will have learnt tactics that they may want to use here.’ Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Bernard said there was a ‘growing concern’ about the risk of a ‘lone wolf’ attack on British streets.
Soldier Lee Rigby was murdered by two Muslim converts who ambushed him as he walked back to his barracks in Woolwich, South East London, last year. ‘It doesn’t take an awful lot of organising, doesn’t take too many to conspire together, there’s no great complexity to it,’ Sir Bernard said. ‘So that means we have got a very short time to interdict, to actually intervene and make sure that these people don’t get away with it.’
Today assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the Met’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, will say the ‘danger posed by violent extremists has evolved’. Speaking alongside Mrs May at the Royal United Services Institute, he will say: ‘They are no longer a problem solely stemming from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, far away in the minds of the public. Now, they are home-grown, in our communities; radicalised by images and messages they read on social media and prepared to kill for their cause.’
BEIRUT – Teenagers carrying weapons stand at checkpoints and busy intersections in Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul. Patched onto the left arms of their black uniforms are the logos of the Islamic Police.
In Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital in Syria, boys attend training camp and religious courses before heading off to fight. Others serve as cooks or guards at the extremists' headquarters or as spies, informing on people in their neighborhoods.
Across the vast region under IS control, the group is actively conscripting children for battle and committing abuses against the most vulnerable at a young age, according to a growing body of evidence assembled from residents, activists, independent experts and human rights groups.
In the northern Syrian town of Kobani, where ethnic Kurds have been resisting an IS onslaught for weeks, several activists told The Associated Press they observed children fighting alongside the militants. Mustafa Bali, a Kobani-based activist, said he saw the bodies of four boys, two of them younger than 14. And at least one 18 year old is said to have carried out a suicide attack.
In Syria's Aleppo province, an activist affiliated with the rebel Free Syrian Army said its fighters encountered children in their late teens "fairly often" in battles against the rival Islamic State group.
It is difficult to determine just how widespread the exploitation of children is in the closed world of IS-controlled territory. There are no reliable figures on the number of minors the group employs.
But a United Nations panel investigating war crimes in the Syrian conflict concluded that in its enlistment of children for active combat roles, the Islamic State group is perpetrating abuses and war crimes on a massive scale "in a systematic and organized manner."
The group "prioritizes children as a vehicle for ensuring long-term loyalty, adherence to their ideology and a cadre of devoted fighters that will see violence as a way of life," it said in a recent report. The panel of experts, known as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, conducted more than 300 interviews with people who fled or are living in IS-controlled areas, and examined video and photographic evidence.