In 1871 Karl Marx published a pamphlet, The Civil War in France, discussing the fight between the radical Commune radical group that had ruled Paris for a few months and the national government that resulted in more than 20,000 casualties. The Commune attempted to institute political and social reforms, particularly the separation of church and state, and better social conditions.
In summer 2016, a political and legal civil war has erupted in France on what is not simply a trivial issue of women’s swimsuits, but also raises important and controversial issues of Islamic identity within a secular society, adherence to French law and custom, and freedom of expression.
French society has been concerned for nearly 30 years with the problem of the clothes of Muslim women. Now it is divided over the wearing by them of burkinis, the swimsuits that cover the full body except the face, hands, sand feet, on the beaches of France, So far, we have not heard from Brigitte Bardot, the scantily clad movie goddess who popularized the bikini in the 1956 film And God created Woman. Her voice might be helpful in resolving the question of whether French administrators of beaches today should allow only the bikini clad equivalents of Bardot in her glory days, or should they permit Muslim women wearing the more substantial and controversial costume?
At this point, the burkini, or more precisely what French officials term “beachwear which ostentatiously displays religious affiliation,” had been banned by mayors in 30 towns on the basis of a threat to law and order, Some small fines had been imposed, particularly in Nice, where the city government fined 24 women for wearing the garment.
The highest administrative court in France, the Conseil d’Etat, has now entered the battle. The French Human Rights League and the Collective against Islamophobia in France had challenged the ban on the wearing of burkinis imposed by the mayor of Villeneuve-sur-Loubet, one of the 30 towns that had issued them. A local court in that town upheld the regulation.
On August 26, 2016 the three senior judges of the Conseil d’Etat held that the ban was “a serious and manifestly illegal infringement of fundamental liberties such as freedom of movement, freedom of conscience and personal liberty.” For the Court the burkini did not constitute a risk to public order.
The non-military civil war on the question involves political figures within the French political class as well as outside the government, and some dignitaries from other countries. According to one survey, 64 per cent of French people favor a ban, while only 6 per cent were opposed, and 30 per cent were indifferent.
Not surprisingly, Nicolas Sarkozy, former president and again a presidential candidate, a law and order candidate, demanded a nation wide ban of burkinis. The mayor of Nice, David Lisnard, referred to the burkini as like a uniform, a symbol of Islamist extremism, not simply an innocent religious symbol but also a militant emblem of radical Islam, consciously marking a separation of a group from the mainstream.
The Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in a visit to Paris, condemned the ban as impractical and illiberal. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, confined herself to condemning “hysteria “ on the Issue. Not unexpectedly, the responsible official of Amnesty International remarked that the bans did nothing to increase public safety but did a lot to promote public humiliation.
Within the socialist government there was a clash between Prime Minister Manuel Valls and the Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. Valls defended the existing short-term local regulations, though not any nation wide legislation. Valls argued on two grounds. One is on the fact that the bans were imposed in the name of public order, because only a few days earlier the massacre had occurred on July 14, 2016 of 86 civilians in Nice. As a result there was understandably considerable tension in the south of France as well as in the country as a whole. The other, more controversial, reason was hos argument that the burkini was a symbol of the enslavement of women. President Francois Hollande entered the discussion by declaring that wearing a burkini was a political act, a militant provocation.
In contrast, Vallaud-Belkacem, Moroccan born who describes herself as a non-practicing Muslim, said the ban “had let loose” verbal racism, was dangerous for national cohesion, and raised the issue of individual freedom. She wondered to what extent France should go to ensure an attire that is respectful of good morals? In what seems a curious statement when defending women who want to hide their bodies, she asserted that permitting women to wear the burkini would promote a society where women could be free and proud of their bodies. The government minister for women, Laurence Rossignol, more appropriately said that burkinis were designed to hide women’s bodies.
There re several questions to be considered. Is the “law and order” approach valid? It is true that a burkini cannot conceal a weapon. Though it is not an exact equivalent, an interesting precedent bolstering the argument of those advocating law and order was the event in London in July 2015 when a nine member gang wearing burkas who had engaged in ten robberies were arrested. Among the places robbed were Selfridges, Prada, and Jimmy Choo. The haul included Rolex watches worth half a million dollars.
More relevant is the issue of the nature of France, the place of Islam within French culture, and adherence to French behavior and custom. France is symbolized in different ways, but a starting point might be the allegorical image of the nation in the Delacroix painting Liberty leading the People, one of the prize works of art in the Louvre. The image, widely identified as a representation of France, is of a rather sensual Marianne, topless and holding the tricolor flag in one hand and a musket in the other.
Everyone recognizes that the image signifies France as a country of liberty and equality, but it also symbolizes three specific aspects of France, as a country that is secular, hedonistic, and a supporter of women’s liberation, to all of which the burkini poses a challenge.
A compromise solution might be to distinguish between the various form of Muslim women attire, from the mildest to the most extreme, the hijab, the chador, the niqab, and the burqa, but this would be avoiding the main issue. The issue of public order in France is ever present because of Islamist activity. Yet, the burkini is not a major factor on this issue, though it is unclear whether the decision of the Conseil d’Etat, removing the ban, will calm or heighten tensions and passions.
The real question is whether all Muslims living in France as in western democratic societies will accept western values. To what extent will they obey the national law instead of Sharia law, respect French accepted customs of behavior and dress, as well as adhere to rules of hygiene and safety in public, including bathing, areas?
The overriding issue is adherence of all people in the country to the principle of laicite, the secularist principle, on which French society rests. The issue goes back to the 1905 constitution in the attempt to separate church and state, with freedom of conscience, the principle of no official recognition of a religion and neutrality in religious affairs,. Secularism in education is ordained, while freedom of religion and freedom to exercise it is guaranteed. In 2016 president Hollande proposed a temporary ban on foreign funding for mosques, and closed 20 mosques preaching radical Islamist ideology.
With the entrance into France of large numbers of Muslims, mostly from North Africa, various additions to the law were made relevant to that immigration. In 2004 a law forbad “dissimulation of the face,” the wearing of conspicuous religious signs, religious emblems, Christian crosses and Jewish kippas as well as the Islamic hijab in public school and colleges. The question now is whether that law should be extended to all public spaces, and this would include beaches.
In 2010, France banned, the first European country to do so, full faced Islamic veils from public places. The government Minister for Women’s Rights at the time, Pascale Boistard, supported banning students from wearing veils at French universities. The ban was upheld in July 2014 by the European Court of Human Rights which held that the preservation of a certain idea of living together was a legitimate aim of French authorities.
There are two overriding issues. One is whether Muslim women attire signifies oppression rather than liberation of women. The other is whether the wearing of the burkini is a deliberate way of indicating religious identity in public places and therefore explicitly constitutes Islamic propaganda. For the sake of peace and stability and “living together” in France the better part of wisdom is to allow the ban on burkinis to continue.
ABC's 20/20 did a story on Kayla Mueller. One has to wonder about Doctors without Borders taking these women into Syria.
American hostage Kayla Mueller was tortured, verbally abused, forced into slave labor for ISIS commanders in Syria and raped by the group's top leader, but her fellow hostages say she never surrendered hope, she selflessly put the welfare of fellow captives above her own and she even stood up to executioner "Jihadi John" to defend her Christian faith.
Four former hostages who shared cells with Mueller, speaking publicly for the first time about their shared ordeal for ABC News' "20/20" broadcast, "The Girl Left Behind," airing Friday, say the Prescott, Arizona, humanitarian aid worker was a courageous 25-year-old who inspired them.
Their ISIS guards were overseen by the British tough Mohammed Emwazi, who would later be dubbed Jihadi John, as he carried out the beheadings and killings of 10 hostages. The Londoner led three other Britons who oversaw the hostage operation. Their prisoners called them "The Beatles."
In March 2014, Mueller was taken to a room next door several times where male hostages were being held. Former hostages said Emwazi paraded her in front of them to show prisoners about to be released who she was and to offer her own proof-of-life by removing her head scarf and briefly introducing herself.
Former hostage Daniel Rye Ottosen, a Danish freelance photographer, recalled how Mueller turned the tables on the men in black.
"One of the Beatles started to say, 'Oh, this is Kayla, and she has been held all by herself. And she is much stronger than you guys. And she's much smarter. She converted to Islam.' And then she was like, 'No, I didn't,'" Ottosen told ABC News.
He admits it surprised him a lot. He had once tried to strangle himself when ISIS guards strung his arms up by chains.
"I would not have had the guts to say that. I don't think so," he said. "It was very clear that all of us were impressed by the strength that she showed in front of us. That was very clear."
The only period in Mueller's 18 horrifying months as an ISIS hostage when she wasn't subjected to some form of torture, verbal abuse, prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation, stress positions, forced labor or sexual assault before she died in captivity was the six weeks she was held at an abandoned oil refinery in Syria, with other Western hostages in 2014.
Because many of the ISIS captives were being individually negotiated for ransom with their governments, employers or families, the women, at least, inside the makeshift prison south of ISIS stronghold Raqqa were not subjected to the kind of abuses that Mueller said she experienced in other ISIS prisons before and after her time there, according to the Mueller family and those held captive with her.
Three of the Westerners released by ISIS and a Yazidi teenager who escaped captivity provided eyewitness accounts to ABC News of Mueller's strength, selflessness and will to survive amid her considerable suffering, including details she gave them of her treatment when she was completely alone for most of her confinement by the terrorist group.
"They would scream at her, and they would, you know, blame her for everything that America has done in the world," Frida Saide, one of three women from Doctors Without Borders who shared a cell with Mueller at the oil refinery, told ABC News in an interview this month.
"They picked her apart," said Patricia Chavez, one of the other Doctors Without Borders aid workers held with Mueller.
In her seventh month of captivity, Mueller's frequent isolation and moves between makeshift prisons in Aleppo and Raqqa was interrupted by the arrival at the oil refinery of Saide, Chavez and a dozen other hostages, including Europeans in the process of being ransomed.
In March and April 2014, the women from Doctors Without Borders and a French journalist carried out three letters Mueller wrote by hand to friends and family, indicating it was finally her turn. The Doctors Without Borders women were made to memorize an ISIS email address, which the hostage takers instructed them to give to her parents.
That eventually led to extraordinary negotiations for her release, the former hostages and the Mueller family said in an ABC News investigation spanning more than two years.
Saide, 35, from Sweden and Chavez, 35, from Peru and Belgium, had not been publicly identified as ISIS hostages before agreeing to speak to ABC News this month about their friend, Mueller. At least six men held with them were eventually executed by the brutal "Beatles," and the experience has left the women traumatized.
"Fear. It's fear of the unknown. You don't know what's going to happen," Chavez recalled of the state of terror in which they lived.
What is now known of Mueller's 18 months of hell in ISIS hands has been drawn from the eyewitness accounts of a handful of fellow Western hostages like Saide and Chavez, who spent those six weeks with her in the spring of 2014 inside the oil refinery, as well as from the Yazidi teen who was imprisoned with Mueller in late 2014.
Towards the end of Mueller's life, after her parents Carl and Marsha Mueller say the FBI and Obama administration had blocked opportunities to help them ransom their daughter, her spirit had apparently dimmed, her parents concluded after recently meeting the Yazidi girl, now 15, for the first time.
Mueller was more optimistic about being freed when she briefly shared a cell with the Doctors Without Borders women in early 2014, the freed hostages said.
When the three women entered Mueller's cell and met her for the first time, they said they had to get over the initial shock of finding out that Mueller was an aid worker taken with her contractor friend and two Doctors Without Borders staffers from inside a Doctors Without Borders vehicle six months earlier. The women said their colleagues had failed to disclose the incident to them before their entry into Syria.
Mueller told them how she had helped her friend, Omar Alkhani, a Doctors Without Borders contractor, install satellite internet at an Aleppo Doctors Without Borders hospital, where they were invited to stay the night, and how they were then were abducted the next day from a Doctors Without Borders vehicle with two staffers as they left for a bus station on Aug. 4, 2013.
Mueller's cellmates in the Raqqa oil refinery — Saide, Chavez and the third Doctors Without Borders woman, whose identity remains confidential — entered Syria in November 2013. They said that in a safety briefing, a Doctors Without Borders official did not tell them that Mueller and three Doctors Without Borders workers had been abducted.
"He said that for Doctors Without Borders, that the risk of kidnapping was not considered very big. It wasn't something that I should worry about," Saide told ABC News. "Kayla had already been abducted from an Doctors Without Borders vehicle only a couple of months before that. But he failed to mention this."
Asked about the omission, Jason Cone, the executive director of Doctors Without Borders in the U.S., told ABC News this week that he wouldn't second-guess decisions by the group's security officers three years ago. He added that Mueller's kidnapping was kept quiet for her security.
"At that time, when they went into Syria, it was the express wishes that they — that this incident not be talked about. That was deemed to be the best possible recourse," he said.
He also said that the women were not traveling near Aleppo, where Mueller was kidnapped, and therefore their risk assessment was different. Saide and Chavez each dispute that claim, saying they were near Aleppo when they entered Syria from Turkey.
As Mueller's fellow female hostages described it for "20/20," ISIS held the four women in a 12-foot-by-12-foot room of brick whitewashed walls, in what the FBI later called the "pipeline desert prison," with a blacked-out window, a single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling and mattresses and blankets on the floor. They could only tell day from night through a ventilation fan near the ceiling.
"There was a little bit of light coming by this small vent, but that was it," Chavez said.
"It was cold, dirty. We didn't have that much to eat," Saide recalled. "They gave us black dresses and hijab, so to cover our heads and faces."
The women passed their time swapping stories of their families, their boyfriends and describing their respective homelands. They also whiled away the hours drawing, reading the Quran, writing and planning escapes that were all but impossible. Mueller sometimes cracked them up doing impressions of guards, including one brute they called "Edges."
And always in the background were ISIS nasheeds — chanting songs of martyrdom and death — blaring on speakers.
"They played on and on and on," Chavez said.
The relentless nasheeds underscored the real violence of the hostage takers, which the world would see later on Aug. 19, 2014, with the first beheading on video by ISIS of an American captive, journalist James Foley.
Death threats were common and credible since a Russian captive was the first to be shot to death.
"We realized that they were actually killers, that they would enjoy killing us," Saide said.
Mueller told the three Doctors Without Borders women in the cell about her previous six months of confinement, held mostly in isolation except for brief periods when she cared for a 14-year-old Shiite girl and another woman affiliated with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. All faced various forms of abuse by ISIS.
"She was amazing. She was a really strong girl," Chavez said of Mueller.
For Saide, the younger Mueller at 25 years old had a surprisingly positive personality and "a strong faith that gave her a lot of strength. As a person, she was a very good friend. She was smart. She was fun to be with. She was very kind, extremely generous."
"She was always considerate of others, even though she herself was in a very difficult situation," Saide added. "She was always concerned for other prisoners. She never stopped being concerned for the Syrian population living through just horrible things in this war and still are. She never stopped caring for others."
Sometimes they could hear male prisoners being severely beaten in other rooms, the women said. The Beatles would also take the Doctors Without Borders women to another room alone, shining a bright light in their faces and demanded sensitive personal information.
Saide cannot forgive her former jailers, who, she said, "caused so much pain to me and to others."
Emwazi was killed by a CIA armed drone in Syria last year, which vaporized his car.
And Daniel Rye Ottosen, the Danish freelance photographer, said Mueller and another American hostage, journalist Steven Sotloff, figured out a way to pass letters back and forth — leaving them concealed in the common toilet — creating a makeshift game of Trivial Pursuit.
One day, the Doctors Without Borders women were ordered to appear in a proof-of-life video as the medical aid group negotiated their and two male staffers' release. Mueller was told by ISIS captors to stay out of the picture, the women recalled.
"They used to tell her that nobody cares about her. Like, nobody's going to negotiate for her and, you know, trying to put ideas in her mind that she is different [from] us," Chavez said.
But in March 2014, Mueller was told by ISIS to pen two letters to her family stating the demands for her freedom: the release of convicted al-Qaeda operative Aafia Siddiqui from a U.S. federal prison or 5 million euros. She gave a third letter for her family to the Doctors Without Borders women to smuggle out. Though similarly worded, it included important personal contacts on the back, including her friend and college spiritual adviser, the Rev. Kathleen Day of Flagstaff's Northern Arizona University.
Her first letter was carried out by a French journalist upon his release. And then in March it came time for Saide, Chavez and the third Doctors Without Borders woman to leave, carrying Mueller's other letters.
"She was happy that things were moving for us," Chavez said.
Mueller buried any disappointment that no one had asked her in eight months for proof-of-life questions — an obvious sign of a negotiation effort. However, the Doctors Without Borders women were told by the Beatles to memorize an ISIS email address for the Mueller family to begin negotiations.
"It was a horrible feeling to be released, looking forward to being released but at the same time leaving someone behind," Saide recalled.
Saide and Chavez said they hid encouraging notes in Mueller's blankets and tried to make the best of parting. The women hugged their American friend as tears flowed. Saide told her to "stay strong," that it would end for her soon. But Mueller said nothing.
"I felt that I wouldn't be completely free until she was free," Saide said in her interview with "20/20."
Unbeknownst to Saide and Chavez, they said, Doctors Without Borders' Brussels office, which oversaw Syria operations, withheld the smuggled letter from Carl and Marsha Mueller until mid-April and kept secret the second, ISIS-directed letter — which included a ransom demand — and the ISIS email address until May 22.
Doctors Without Borders officials have attributed the delays to their desire not to interfere with their ongoing negotiations for the release of other staffers still held by ISIS at the time. On Wednesday, the aid group issued a long statement that included the claim that "Kayla herself asked the women not to pass along this other [ISIS-ordered] letter." But Saide told ABC News today that the statement by her former employer was "not true." Chavez agreed, saying, "There was no discussion where Kayla asked us not to pass it on."
An extraordinary negotiation began with 27 emails exchanged between ISIS and the Muellers, whose FBI team composed all of the couple's notes, the family has told ABC News and which U.S. officials have confirmed.
But the U.S. began airstrikes against ISIS positions in Iraq in early August 2014 during the negotiations for Mueller, and the terrorist group soon began beheading on video almost all the remaining Western hostages in stated retaliation soon after.
Once U.S. airstrikes expanded broadly across Iraq and into Syria on Sept. 22, 2014, ISIS stopped responding to the Muellers' negotiation pleas. It is believed that by then Kayla Mueller had been handed over to the oil and gas emir for ISIS, Abu Sayyaf, and his sadistic wife, Umm Sayyaf -- Tunisians who kept the American and a half-dozen Yazidi girls as sex slaves for ISIS "Caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Among several of the Yazidi girls enslaved alongside Mueller inside the Sayyaf household in the fall of 2014, none was closer to her than a then-13-year-old who has asked to be called "Julia" by ABC News. Yazidi males were subjected to mass murder by ISIS in Iraq, and thousands of Yazidi girls were forced to be sex slaves.
Julia revealed in a "20/20" interview how Mueller — who was frequently raped by al-Baghdadi — passed up a chance at an escape in order to increase the odds for the Yazidi teens, who were able to sneak out of the ISIS kingpin's house late one night in a flight to freedom.
"I told Kayla, 'We want to escape,' and I asked her to come with us. She told me, 'No, because I am American. If I escape with you, they will do everything to find us again,'" Julia said.
"It is better for you to escape alone. I will stay here," Mueller said, according to Julia.
In the Sayyaf household, Mueller went by "Kayla Carl," per the Muslim custom of referring to women with their father's name. All the girls, including Mueller, were beaten by the ISIS family — but Mueller also had to go to al-Baghdadi at night, as ABC News first reported last year.
"Baghdadi took her several times in the night for himself," Julia recounted, noting that Mueller would return later and try to not to cry, though at times she broke down.
She told the girls that part of surviving was being forced to pretend she had converted to Islam so the ISIS leader could sexually assault her, though she still clung secretly to her Christian faith.
"When she was with us, she wanted to encourage us because of also what happened with us," Julia said, noting the girls were taken in the night by ISIS men. "She was very tired every time. She was not crying every night, but she was very tired."
Under a full moon, the Yazidi girls finally made their escape, parting tearfully with their older protective "sister." They eventually made their way back to Irbil, in Kurdistan in northern Iraq, where Julia helped U.S. military intelligence officers find the Sayyaf houses. A Delta Force raid in May of last year resulted in Abu Sayyaf being shot to death and his wife being taken prisoner by the American operators.
Mueller "was praying for us to escape, to survive," said Julia, turning a bracelet on her wrist that she wears to honor Mueller. "I will never forget this sacrifice. She was very good to us. I will never forget."
In February 2015, ISIS claimed Mueller was killed in a Jordanian airstrike in Syria. The White House denied that an airstrike killed her but confirmed her death of unstated causes a few days after the ISIS claim.
At first, Julia refused to believe her friend Mueller could be dead.
Asked her reaction to the announcement on Feb. 6, 2015, Saide said simply, "I was devastated."
"The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies" - Hausman Memorial Speaker Series welcomed Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, MA on August 23, 2016.
Australia: Bob Katter, MP, Proposes Ban on Muslim Immigration from Mid-East, North Africa
As reported by the Australian; this in the wake of a very messy murder of a Eurasian British backpacker, by an Allahu-akbaring French-passport-holding ethnically Arab Muslim, in a country town in Australia.
'Bob Katter: Ban Muslim Middle East, North Africa Immigration'.
'Independent MP Bob Katter, the grandson of a Lebanese migrant (that is, of a Lebanese Christian who came to Australia in the late 19th or very early 20th century, during the period when what is now Lebanon was ruled by the Ottoman Turkish Muslims - CM), has urged the Coalition government to impose a ban on Muslim immigration from the Middle East and North Africa.
Yes! Yes! Yes! An excellent idea. I am glad that this enfant terrible of the Queensland - and Aussie - political scene has brought it right out into the open, and I will be communicating with him forthwith to tell him so; my only complaint is that he has not made it sweeping enough. I don't want any Muslims, from anywhere, let into Australia; the Malaysian and Indonesian and Afghan and Turkish Muslims and the much-ballyhooed "Rohingya" from Burma (those poor, poor 'Rohingya' on whom so many Useful Idiots are so much more inclined to lavish their sympathy than on, for example, the Copts or the desperately-imperilled Assyrian Christians or a myriad other non-Muslim victims of Muslim mistreatment), are just as potentially dangerous as any others. - CM
'The North Queensland MP last night said the "time has come" to block migrants from the volatile region, saying Australia should follow the "extremist" migration policy of Saudi Arabia.
'Mr Katter said Middle Eastern (that is, Muslim - CM) migrants' reliance on welfare benefits would drive Australia "bankrupt" while increasing the threat of terrorist attacks.
Both true. And the expense of trying to keep on top of the ever-multiplying number of jihad plots and plotters and potential plotters is both astronomical and ever-increasing. - CM
"The time has come now to stop people from those countries coming to Australia.
Yes. Yes. Yes!! - CM
"And if that is an extremist position, is it an extremist position for Saudi Arabia and Dubai; they won't let any of these people in", Mr Katter told Sky News last night.
'Mr Katter said the policy would not extend to persecuted Jews, Sikhs and Christians and should not affect Islamic populations outside the Middle East, such as Indonesia, he said.
I am fine with letting in the persecuted non-Muslims; their emigre communities already present here, and groups such as Barnabas Fund, are well equipped to help with the identification of candidates for reception into Australia, and with their processing and background checking, in order to make sure that they are indeed members of these persecuted and vulnerable minority groups, rather than Muslims pretending to be what they ain't. However... Mr Katter will be hearing from me, on the subject of that very foolish 'exemption' for Muslims from outside 'the Middle East and North Africa". He will be encouraged to read the report entitled "Easy Meat", to discover what ruin Muslims from Pakistan have wreaked in the UK; he will be reminded that the Muslim man who attempted to set off a car bomb in Times Square on May Day, some years ago, was a Muslim from Pakistan; he will be reminded that those who carried out the mass-murderous bombing in Bali in 2002, and the many, many men of the Lashkar Jihad who murdered, raped and drove into exile thousands upon thousands of Moluccan Christians in the 1990s, were Indonesian Muslims. And that the Muslim who murdered a woman only a few days ago, was in possession of a French passport. The ban on Muslim immigration requires to be total, or it will not be worth spit. - CM
"There comes a point where I'm worried about Australians, not worried about people over there", Mr Katter said.
'Mr Katter's grandfather, Carl Robert Katter, was born in Lebanon's Kadisha Valley, and migrated to Queensland early last century (that is, in the early 20th century - CM). He came from a Maronite Catholic family.
One wonders what stories his grandfather might have had to tell - passed on within the family - about life in Lebanon - as a Christian, under Ottoman Turkish Muslim domination - in the late 19th and early 20th century. I - CM
'Mr Katter entered federal parliament as a Nationals MP in 1993, having previously served as a minister in Queensland's Bjelke-Petersen government. He defected to the crossbench in 2001.
'His eponymous Katter's Australian Party holds two seats in the hung parliament of Queensland, both of which are situated within his vast federal electorate of Kennedy.
'Malcolm Turnbull [our current PM - CM] last month dismissed calls to impose a theological (sic - CM) test on immigration to Australia.
"Australia has a non-discriminatory immigration program and a non-discriminatory humanitarian program and has done for many, many years and that is not going to change", he said.
Turnbull is a fool. To let in Muslims en masse is to endanger everyone else inside the gates who is not a Muslim, and to incur a vast expense in homeland security and law enforcement that would otherwise not be incurred. Those non-Muslims of various sorts who, persecuted mercilessly by Muslims in Muslim lands, flee to Australia, hoping for peace and safety, are not best pleased to discover mobs of murderous, glowering Muslims proliferating here, whining and threatening and taking over suburb after suburb and building mosque after mosque after mosque, and engaging in all varieties of criminal activity, and every now and again sending young men and women off to join Islamic State, or hatching plots to murder Infidel Aussies, right here on Aussie soil. Got Muslims? - got Jihad. That is the long and the short of it, and Mr Malcolm Turnbull, PM, needs to be told a few home truths. Starting iwth the unpleasant reality that a Chinese-Australian police accountant called Curtis Cheng would still be alive if Muslims had not been allowed into Australia; and that a beautiful young Eurasian British girl called Mia Ayliffe-Chung would also still be alive, if an ethnically Arab Muslim with a French passport had never been let into this country on a temporary working visa.
I would encourage any Australians reading here, or who have already heard this story in other forums, at this time, to strike while the iron is hot. You must write to Mr Katter, MP, and express support for a ban on Muslim immigration (whether general or 'humanitarian'), whilst demanding that it cover Muslims from everywhere, not just those from 'the middle east and North Africa' (and give your reasons). Express support for humanitarian visas for non-Muslims fleeing from Muslim aggression and oppression (you may like to mention Barnabas Fund's "Operation Safe Havens" and commend it to his attention). And write, also, to Mr Malcolm Turnbull, PM, and put a flea in his ear. You may like to point out that every humanitarian place solicitously offered to a Muslim - Muslims who have many, many avowedly and ferociously Islamic countries to choose from - is a place denied to people, such as the Assyrian Christians of Iraq and Syria, who have nowhere to go, no country of their own, who are indigenous peoples facing complete extinction in their own homelands... because of Islam, Islam, Islam. State that in the present situation the insistence on non-discrimination between Muslims and non-Muslims in our immigration and humanitarian intake is as if, in 1915, one had insisted that for every Armenian Christian received into the country one must also take in a Turkish Muslim (or two, or three), or as if, in 1936 or 1937, one had insisted that if a Jew from Germany is to be admitted, a card-carrying Nazi party member must also be granted a visa.
I will add that the Australian permitted Comments upon this particular article, and there were a great many, most of them heartily in agreement with the idea of a ban on Muslims, and most of those in favour of extending the ban to cover Muslims of any sort, from anywhere, rather than merely excluding those from 'the middle east and north africa'. - CM
The new batch of emails showing that the State Department gave special access to top Clinton Foundation donors while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state brings to mind the case of a shady Miami businessman serving a 12-year prison sentence after scamming the government out of millions. His name is Claudio Osorio, a Clinton Foundation donor who got $10 million from the government after the Clinton State Department reportedly pulled some strings.
Osorio got the money from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a federal agency that operates under the guidance of the State Department, to build houses in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The OPIC supposedly promotes U.S. government investments abroad to foster the development and growth of free markets. Osorio’s “Haiti project” was supposed to build 500 homes for displaced families in the aftermath of the earthquake. The project never broke ground and Osorio used the money to finance his lavish lifestyle and fund his illicit business ventures. He also ran a fraudulent international company with facilities in the U.S., United Arab Emirates, Germany, Angola and Tanzania that stole millions from investors. Some of the OPIC Haiti money was used to repay investors of his fraudulent company (Innovida), according to federal prosecutors. In September 2013, Osorio was sentenced to 150 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release.
Not surprisingly, the Department of Justice (DOJ) never mentioned Osorio’s Clinton connections and seemed to downplay the $10 million scam of taxpayer funds by focusing on the “victims” that invested in his bogus company. Among them was a beloved professional basketball star. “Osorio offered and sold shareholder interests and joint-venture partnerships in Innovida to select individuals and groups, raising more than $40,000,000 from approximately ten (10) investors and investment groups in the United States and abroad,” a DOJ statement says. “Osorio solicited and recruited investors by making materially false representations and concealing and omitting material facts regarding, among other things, the profitability of the company, the rates of return on investment funds, the use of investors’ funds and the existence of a pending lucrative contract with a third-party entity. Osorio received moneys from investors based on these misrepresentations. Osorio used investor monies for his and his co-conspirators’ personal benefit and to maintain and further the fraud scheme.”
The bigger story is that, despite Osorio’s shady history, it appears that the Clinton State Department helped him get $10 million—which will never be repaid—because he was a Clinton Foundation donor. This connection was not made until years after Osorio got sentenced. After his 2013 sentencing in Miami, the area’s largest newspaper tied him to the Clintons and President Obama as a campaign donor who held fundraisers at his waterfront home, but the foundation was not mentioned. A Washington D.C. newspaper eventually connected the dots after obtaining a document that shows an OPIC official recommending funding for Osorio’s Haiti project. In the document, the OPIC official writes that Osorio’s company had “U.S. persons of political influence that are able to assist in advancing the company’s plans.” It continues: “For instance, former President Bill Clinton is personally in contact with the Company to organize its logistical and support needs,” the document states. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made available State Department resources to assist with logistical arrangements.” Additionally, the Clinton Global Initiative had “indicated that it would be willing to contract to purchase 6,500 homes in Haiti from InnoVida within the next year.”
Less than 24 hours after the OPIC official submitted the recommendation, the news report says, OPIC approved Osorio’s $10 million loan to build homes in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Not one was ever built and no one has been held accountable for giving the crooked businessman millions of taxpayer dollars.
A close associate of hate preacher Anjem Choudary who beat up a schoolboy for cuddling his girlfriend in a Muslim Patrol-style street attack is facing jail today. Details from the beginning of the trial here.
Judge Michael Gledhill QC said Coe was acting as a "self-appointed enforcer" of his Islamic values, and he had been involved in a "strikingly similar" incident in 2013. The judge added that Coe "poses a very high risk of committing further offences of violence" when free from prison, and will consider a lengthy prison term when sentencing Coe. He later claimed the attack was in self defence, but jurors rejected the hulking 16-and-a-half stone Muslim's story.
Coe has been in and out of prison since he was a teenager, including an eight-year sentence in 2006 for possession of a shotgun and trying to shot at police officers.
While behind bars, he was converted to Islam by al Qaeda terrorist Dhiren Barot and adopted the name Mikael Ibrahim. Following his release, Coe became associated with hate preacher Anjem Choudary's now notorious extremist group Al-Muhajiroun. The incident has echoes of the notorious Muslim Patrols by Choudary associates Jordan Horner, Ricardo McFarlane, and Royal Barnes. He has been photographed at a extremist demonstrations to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, against the banning of niqabs in France, and in support of Sharia Law, Southwark crown court heard. I think I caught him at that demonstration - the picture halfway down above the caption "the women and children were kept in the middle." I knew I knew his face.
Coe stood trial at the Old Bailey last June accused of trying to join ISIS, having been caught in the back of a lorry in Dover on its way out of the UK. He was cleared of the charge but received a 15-month prison sentence for possessing false identity documents.
The court heard he had convictions for wounding, burglary, assault, and possession of drugs as a youth. He was locked up for four years in 2001 for car jacking and received a 21-month sentence in 2002 for violent disorder. Coe received the eight-year sentence in 2006 at Leeds crown court, and was fined £160 for the religiously aggravated haranguing in the street in 2013
Judge Michael Gledhill QC remanded Coe, of Devenish Road, Greenwich, in custody until sentencing on September 21, ordering a report on his "dangerousness".
American University of Afghanistan in Kabul under attack
KABUL, Afghanistan - The American University of Afghanistan is under attack, according to multiple accounts.
CBS News’ Ahmad Mukhtar reports from Afghanistan that several American professors are inside, along with possibly hundreds of students. Many appear to have escaped through emergency doors.
Witnesses say they heard gunshots, then a blast, and many believe it was the gate blown open, letting the attackers inside. Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press photographer Massoud Hossaini has been tweeting that he is trapped inside along with others.
Two professors -- an American and an Australian -- were kidnapped recently from the university on the 8th of August. Five gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms abducted the pair at gunpoint.
The Democratic Party often warns us that mixing big money and politics will corrupt democracy. They must have nominated Hillary Clinton to prove it.
The Clinton Foundation was ostensibly set up to solve the world’s most pressing problems. Though it’s done some fine work, its most fruitful program has been leveraging Clinton’s position in the State Department to enrich her family, friends and cronies.
It’s against federal law for charities to act in the interests of private business or individuals. Yet the Clinton Foundation secured high-paying gigs for its namesakes and helped for-profit corporations with family ties set up lucrative deals.
As it turns out, that’s probably the least corrupt part of the story.
It is becoming clear the foundation was a center of influence peddling. Rock stars. Soccer players. Conglomerates. Crown princes. All of them paid in. All of them expected access to the US government.
Want a seat on a government intelligence-advisory board even though you have no relevant experience? The Clinton Foundation may be able to help.
Recently released e-mails prove the charity’s officials had sought access to State Department personnel while Hillary was in charge. Folks like the prince of Bahrain, who donated $32 million to the foundation, needed to get in touch.
An Associated Press investigation finds that more than half the private citizens who met or spoke with Clinton while she was secretary of state also happened to donate to her foundation. What are the odds?
It’s implausible that a majority of the 154 citizens — people who’d kicked in at least $156 million to her charity — would also happen to catch Clinton’s ear as she toiled away at State. It’s also worth remembering this list doesn’t even include officials from the 16 governments — many of them autocrats — who threw the foundation another $170 million.
Recently, the foundation announced it would ban donations from corporations and foreign countries if Hillary is elected president. The question is: If it’s a conflict of interest when Hillary will be president, why wasn’t it a problem when she was secretary of state?
Let’s also not forget that during Clinton’s tenure at State she failed to disclose that regimes across the world were giving her charity hundreds of millions. Because she needed to hide this, she ended up sending 110 e-mails containing classified information — eight of which had “top secret” information, according to the FBI.
Well, if they’re so irrelevant, why was she hiding them from the Justice Department? If it’s no big deal, why did it take four years and a lawsuit against the State Department to gain access to her planning schedules? Why did she lie to the American people? Erase tens of thousands of e-mails? Set up a private server in the first place?
Hillary claims running the State Department gave her the experience and temperament necessary to be president. But if anything, it reminds us of the Clintons’ propensity for scandal and dishonesty. And if Clinton wins this year, she’ll become the most ethically compromised president in contemporary times. Perhaps ever.
North Korea test fired a submarine-based ballistic missile from its east coast on Wednesday, South Korean authorities said.
The launch took place at 5:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement from the South Korean Foreign Ministry.
North Korea's launch took place in the waters, off Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, in the early morning, the South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
"If the North Korean regime continues to pursue its nuclear and missile capabilities and ignore severe economic difficulties of its people, it will bring about more severe sanctions and diplomatic isolation. It should also realize that it will hasten its self-destruction," the country's Foreign Ministry said.
"Our government is prepared with full readiness posture to protect our people and the safety of our country and will thoroughly respond to any North Korea's provocation."
Police say they are looking into whether a French man who allegedly said 'Allahu akbar" as he stabbed a 21-year-old British woman to death in a north Queensland backpackers' hostel has any links to extremist groups.
A dog from the hostel was also killed during the incident.
A 29-year-old Frenchman who was living with the victims at the hostel is in custody in hospital and is yet to be charged.
He used the Arabic phrase "Allahu akbar" both during the attack and his arrest, Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said.
"While this information will be factored into the investigation we are not ruling out any motivations at this stage, whether they be political or criminal," he said. "We're working closely with our partner agencies to make sure if there is any indication that it has an extremist slant, or this person had been radicalised, we can discover that. Investigators will also consider whether mental health or drug misuse factors are involved in this incident."
Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said there were no ties to Islamic State and theFrenchman had been in the country about a year on a temporary visa, and appears to have acted alone. "He is a visitor to Australia and has no known local connections, however investigations are ongoing."
Ms Ayliffe-Chung had been working at a Gold Coast nightclub before her adventures led her to a north Queensland cane farm for work. She was working there in the days before her death.
It is welcome news when perpetrators of real evil are brought to justice. The civilized world will delight in the fact that in the last month two Islamist terrorists, one repentant, the other defiant, have been prosecuted and convicted for their infamous deeds in courts, one in The Hague and the other in Britain.
The avowed, now repentant, terrorist, Ahmad al-Mahdi, made history on August 22, 2016 for a number of reasons. He was the first jihadist to appear before an international court. He was the first defendant to plead guilty at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and will be sentenced to a prison term of between nine to 11 years.
In an event that is momentous for history, Mahdi was the first person to be tried on a “war crimes” charge, the main charge, for attacking historic and cultural monuments. At the Nuremberg war crimes trials no charge of cultural destruction had been brought against the Nazis on trial. However, after World War II and in recognition that preservation of culture is important, international understandings were reached.
The 1954 Convention for Protection of Cultural Property was concerned to protect the culture heritage of countries in the event of armed conflict. The World Heritage Convention in 1972 called for the preservation of cultural properties and the protection of the national heritage.
Mahdi, like all jihadidts, took no heed of these international agreements, though he later apologized to his country and to the world for destroying religious monuments in the historic city of Timbuktu in Mali, a city of 333 saints founded in the 11th century by Tuareg tribes and which was honored as a world historic site by UNESCO in 1988.
Mahdi, a 40 year old former civil servant in the Department of Education in Mali, was responsible as head of Ansar Dine, a Tureg terrorist unit linked to all-Qaeda, for directing and participating in destroying tombs that were the embodiment of Mali history. Timbuktu was once an important cultural center, the home of a great civilization with a university that had 25,000 students and important libraries with precious 12-16th century manuscripts.
In 2012, rebels of the Tuareg tribe, allied with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghab, and armed with weapons looted from Libya, had attacked the city of Timbuktu. In the area of the city they captured, they imposed sharia law, banned music, forced women to wear burquas, forbad girls to go to school, and attacked shrines and monuments of Sufi society. They ruled until the French-led troops liberated the city in 2013.
When Mahdi and his extremist companions committed their acts in 2012 he declared he was in charge of fighting superstitions. In 2016 he admitted he had acted in the name of the extremists of al Qaeda and Ansar Dine. Mahdi admitted responsibility for destroying nine mausoleums and a door of a mosque dating to the 15th to16th centuries that had been closed for hundreds of years. The destruction was termed by UNESCO Director-General Irene Bokova “a genocidal project.” She offered wise words, “Our cultural heritage is not a luxury good, we must protect it from desecration and ravages.”
All of the destroyed artifacts had great religious and cultural importance, and embodied the common heritage of the people. Mahdi expressed deep regret and asked for forgiveness. In a message, that should be heard by all potential as well as actual jihadists, Mahdi said, “We need to speak justice even to ourselves. We have to be truthful, even if it burns our own hands.”
This case brings up an interesting problem. While the destruction of precious cultural artifacts is offensive, is it a “war crime?” Can the Allied destruction during World War II of Monte Cassino, or the Caravaggio paintings in the museum in Berlin be considered war crimes? Today, atrocities of this kind committed since the formulation of cultural international rules might be so regarded. Among them would be the Balkan warlord attacks on Dubrovnik, the famous bridge at Mostar, the national library at Sarajevo in the 1990s. The civilized world has been horrified by the destruction by the Taliban of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001, and by the ISIS barbarity against the Assyrian statues in Nineyeh, and the Roman ruins in Palmyra. The case is strong. Cultural destruction should now be treated as a war crime.
The other person receiving retribution by being convicted is Anjem Choudary, a 49 year old Muslim social and political activist. He had not been brought to justice for 20 years since he was, apparently, part of an MI5 investigation. Perhaps there was some valid reason for this, but his record of Islamist activism shows him the very model of a modern jihadist. He was linked to at least 500 British Muslims who had left Britain to fight for ISIS. He had praised the terrorists of 9/11 in the US, and 7/7 in Britain.
Choudary believes that his Muslim faith should dominate “the whole world.” He has been linked to at least 15 terror plots since 2000, to attacks in London and other places and to the murder of a British soldier. He delivered a series of talks on You Tube encouraging support for the terrorist group, an-Muhajiroun (ALM) Though he has stated he does not accept British law, however, in London on July 26, 2016 he was convicted of inciting support for ISIS.
By now everyone should be aware of the evil of Islamist terrorism, but some seem hesitant to accept reality. In August 2016 the judges of the British Special Immigration Appeals Commission deliberated on the case of six Algerian terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda who were living in Britain. Citing the Human Rights Act, the Commission allowed them the right to live in Britain on the irrelevant basis that it was “not inconceivable they would be subjected to ill treatment “ if deported to Algeria.
It is not dismaying news that British Theresa May is planning to double British efforts to defeat terrorism, especially since she believes an attack on Britain is highly likely. It is even more important for her to institute a ban on Islamist preachers spreading their evil message in mosques, universities, and community groups.
The State Department issued a warning on Monday urging U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Iran, which has made the detention of Americans a priority.
The latest travel advisory, which emphasizes Iran’s desire to capture U.S. citizens, comes on the heels of a growing scandal over the Obama administration’s decision to pay Iran $400 million in cash on the same day that it freed several U.S. hostages.
The payment has been cast by lawmakers and others as a ransom payment and prompted concern among U.S. officials that Iran is making arresting Americans a priority.
The State Department issued a warning on Monday urging U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Iran, which has made the detention of Americans a priority.
The travel warning is meant to “highlight the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans,” according to a State Department announcement on Monday. “Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and Western countries including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran.”
“U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel,” the warning adds. “U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country.”
Iran continues to imprison Americans, particularly those holding dual Iranian citizenship, according to the State Department.
“Iranian authorities have detained and harassed U.S. citizens, particularly those of Iranian origin,” the travel warning states. “Former Muslims who have converted to other religions, religious activists, and persons who encourage Muslims to convert are subject to arrest and prosecution.”
The Obama administration expressed particular concern about commercial airlines doing business with Iran. This warning comes as American companies such as Boeing continue to pursue million-dollar business deals with the Islamic Republic.
“The U.S. government is concerned about the risks to civil aircraft operating into, out of, within, or over Iran due to hazards from military activity associated with the conflicts in Iraq and Syria,” the warning states. “The FAA has advised U.S. civil aviation to exercise caution when flying into, out of, within, or over the airspace over Iran.”
The warning emphasizes that “the U.S. government’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Iran in the event of an emergency is extremely limited.”
Federal authorities are reportedly investigating a weekend stabbing in Virginia to see whether the attacker may have been trying to behead a victim and whether the attack was inspired by the Islamic State.
Wasil Farooqui, 20, was charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding in the stabbing attack Saturday that left two people wounded. ABC News reported Monday that the FBI have been aware of Farooqui and are familiar with the case.
According to ABC News, Farooqui had traveled to Turkey in the last year and may have tried to sneak into Syria to meet with ISIS militants.
Farooqui allegedly attack a man and woman at an apartment complex in Roanoke, according to WDBJ-7. Both victims were seriously injured in the attack. Witnesses told authorities that Farooqi was yelling “Allah Akbar.”
Authorities believe that Farooqui may have been trying to behead the male victim, according to ABC News. Investigators said that there was no connection between Farooqi and the victims.
"The FBI is working with the Police Department following the incident that occurred on Saturday evening," Special Agent In Charge Adam Lee, head of the FBI’s Richmond field office told ABC News in a statement. “While I cannot discuss details of the investigation at this time, I do want to reassure the community that we are working to determine the nature of the incident."
Farooqi was being held without bond at the Western Virginia Regional Jail.
A Muslim “bully” grabbed a schoolboy by the throat and threw him to the ground for hugging his girlfriend in the street, a court has heard.Michael Coe, 35, of Devenish Road, Greenwich, spotted the two 16-year-olds cuddling on the pavement in Wilson Road, Upton Park, while driving.
Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay told Southwark crown court the April 15 incident "started as unpleasant bullying with religious overtones" and swiftly became an assault.
Coe was driving along Wilson Road, East Ham, when he spotted the young couple standing together. "The victim was, and is, a schoolboy...They were standing on the pavement doing what some 16-year-olds do some of the time, cuddling each other in the street", said Mr Polnay.
Coe stopped his car and said: "Let that schoolgirl go." Mr Polnay said the boy objected, telling him they were both 16, and Coe told him: "How would you like it if your sister was cuddling?"
Coe allegedly asked if the couple were Muslims - which they are - but they denied it because they were "worried what this defendant would do if they said yes".
"At which point the defendant said: 'Why am I wasting my time with you if you are not Muslim?
There followed an exchange of words, during which this defendant said something insulting about his girlfriend, calling her a whore."
The boy replied: "don't call my girlfriend a whore", said Mr Polnay, at which time Coe allegedly "moved from unpleasant bullying to someone in the street to something that is quite simply an assault."
Coe, currently on trial accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and battery, was said to have grabbed the boy by the throat, causing him to black out, before he woke up bleeding on the floor. When passing schoolteacher Boutho Siwela tried help the couple, Coe allegedly attacked him too.
Coe denies the two charges, claiming he assaulted the 16-year-old boy in self-defence. The trial continues.
I thought he looked familiar; then I was reliably informed that Coe is an associate of Anjem Choudary. Say no more.
An Interview with Pastor Saeed Abedini, Former Hostage of Iran
by Rebecca Bynum (August 2016)
Photo credit: Christianity Today
Despite the danger, Saeed Abedini converted from Islam to Christianity and began working to spread the gospel through home churches (known as the underground church) while living in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where he was born. After his marriage to a US citizen, he himself became a naturalized citizen in 2010. more>>>
Fairy tales can come true, it could happen to those who are lucky and politically naïve at heart. Unfortunately, the Obama administration in its relations with Iran has gone to extremes with impossible schemes and tales that fly in the face of objective reality, and even disregard the law. With the eagerness of short-sighted detectives, President Barack Obama and his team have doggedly proclaimed they have found the benefits to the United States and to the world of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed on July 13, 2015 with Iran, a nuclear deal that had been opposed by 58 U.S. senators.
A year later, on July 14, 2016 Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of JCPOA that had succeeded in restraining Iran’s nuclear program in a way that guaranteed that it would not be pursuing a nuclear weapons program. He said that the agreement, the result of a multilateral, complicated negotiation, had made the world safer and less volatile. He explained it opened the door to give the US an opportunity to discuss with Iran continuing issues including Syria, Yemen, and terrorism.
Like the corrupt police chief in the film Casablanca, Kerry and his spokesperson John Kirby must have been “shocked” to learn of the continuation by Iran of its nuclear weapons program, as well as its enhancement of other issues. Both Kerry and Kirby had explained that the deal was about a nuclear track and nuclear weapons and that Iran “was meeting their commitments, and we are meeting ours.” Certainly the US, believing as Obama said, that Iran was in compliance with its nuclear obligations, was meeting its own obligations. Among other matters, sanctions on Iran were removed on January 16, 2016.
One can legitimately differ on the existing extent of development of centrifuges and uranium stockpiles presently in Iran and on its capacity to develop enriched uranium, if on a reduced scale.
However, this fairy tale of Iranian commitment to the deal has been dispelled by two informed sources: German officials, and the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei.
Intelligence reports from half of the 16 state governments in Federal Germany report that Iranian agents are attempting to obtain nuclear related material. The Iranians seek to obtain technology for atomic, biological, or chemical weapons. The German Federal domestic intelligence agency reported that Iran’s “illegal proliferation-sensitive procurement activities” in Germany had reached a quantitatively high level.
Unfortunately for the fairy tale of concilition, Khamenei had only a few days before the speech of Secretary Kerry attacked the U.S. asserting that its policy was the work of intelligence services, particularly the “dangerous hands of American, Zionist, and English,” that created terrorism in the world of Islam.
Perhaps President Obama was sincere if misguided in his belief that the nuclear deal would lead to better relations. Yet, the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. First, Iran is continuing its support for terrorist groups, especially for Hezbollah.
The Hezbollah Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah, has proudly announced that his entire budget came directly from Iran and not through Lebanese banks. This includes salaries, funds, food, drink, and weapons. As long as Iran has money, he said, Hezbollah has money.
Iran has interfered in Iraq, funding Shia terrorist groups such as Kata’ib Hexbollah, a group that killed 5 U.S. soldiers in Baghdad in 2011, the Houti rebels in Yemen, Taliban, Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda in South Asia. It has supported the Syrian Assad regime, proving arms, finance, and training. It has formed a “Liberation Army” to be deployed in Arab countries, especially in Syria headed by Qassem Soleimani, head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Secondly, Iran can and is developing, and also buying heavy long-distance missile delivery systems that, among other things, can carry nuclear weapons. German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself, on July 7, 2016, declared that Iran’s missile program continued “unabated,” and that Iran was developing its rocket program.
Thirdly, the nuclear deal has made Iran more politically powerful and self-assured, if not yet the dominating power of the Middle East. It has restored its oil production and exports. It has bank accounts with foreign banks, and foreign direct investment in Iran has increased. It has defied the US. In January 2016, when it detained US soldiers in international waters. It kidnapped US citizens and dual citizens.
Two events revealed in August 2016 cause concern. One was the acknowledgment of the US ransom deal with Iran: the other was the Russian use of Iranian space.
The ransom issue goes back to 1979 when the Shah of Iran paid for planes and military equipment, but he was deposed from power before the plane were delivered. Connected with the nuclear deal in July 2015, a financial agreement was reached in The Hague by which U.S. agreed to refund $1.7 billion, consisting of $400 million for the promised planes in 1979 plus $1.3 billion in interest. On January 16, 2016, Obama announced the intended delivery of the $1.7 billion. The same day Iran released the US hostages it held and the US released seven Iranians detained in the U.S. on financial charges.
However, Obama did not mention that $400 million was being shipped to Iran,
The members of the administration all denied this was a ransom payment. On August 4, 2016 Obama asserted, “We do not pay ransom. We didn’t here, and we won’t in the future.” But finally on August 18, 2016 Obama admitted that the deal was ransom. Obama delivered cash, giving an implausible reason that “we are so strict in maintaining sanctions, and we do not have a banking relation with Iran.”
The excuse was that the money was paid in foreign currency, not US dollars, because the law on sanctions dating back to 1995 prevents the government from dealing with Iran in dollars. Yet Obama’s action was defiance of law. The Code of Federal Regulations, Section 560.204 is explicit. It is worth quoting: “notwithstanding any contract entered into ..prior to May 7, 1995, the exportation, …sale or supply from the U.S. …of any goods, technology or services to Iran or the government of Iran is prohibited. The U.S. law forbids the supply of goods, services, or technology to terrorist countries: Iran was declared such in 1995.
In a surprising action on August 16, 2016 Russian planes flew 4 long range Tu 22 M3 bombers accompanied by Su-34 tactical bombers from a base near Hameda in Iran. They struck ISIS targets in north and east Syria, and returned to Russia. This event was not only surprising in itself, but also because the Iranian constitution bans any foreign bases on its soil, though it can allow foreign countries to use one of its air fields. For the Obama administration dreams must be put away for another day. Both the growing strength of Iran has been shown and also the signs of greater Russian involvement in the Syrian war and in the Middle East. The next President must deal with this.
Muslim prisoners to be removed from communal prayers for spreading anti-British values
This is from the Independent, a newspaper that is probably even more left-wing than the Guardian. However, unlike the Guardian the moderators do not block any comment that does repeat the party line. The comments to this story are quite forthright.
Prison governors will be told to remove Muslims from communal prayer in jails if they are deemed to be spreading ‘anti-British’ values.
The proposals will also see Muslim chaplains who offer guidance to a growing number of Islamic prisoners undergoing “tightened vetting” before being allowed near inmates.
The new measures aimed at clamping down on the spread of extremism come as the number of Muslims in British prisons has soared over the last ten years. It was also confirmed that governors will seek to isolate extremists acting as "self-styled emirs" to prevent them radicalising others.
The counter-extremism scheme comes after Anjem Choudary, one of Britain's most prominent Islamist clerics, was convicted of crimes that could see him face years in jail. New Justice Secretary Liz Truss said the measures were needed in order to stop the “spread of this poisonous ideology behind bars”, but critics questioned whether they were appropriate. Official figures show there are now more than 12,600 Muslims in prison in England and Wales, while the figure was just 8,200 a decade earlier.
The full report is classified but the Ministry of Justice has published a summary of the main findings.
It said the review found evidence that Islamist extremism is a "growing problem" in prisons, with "charismatic" prisoners acting as "self-styled emirs" that exert a "controlling and radicalising influence" on the wider Muslim prison population. It also found evidence of "aggressive encouragement" of conversions to Islam, unsupervised worship and intimidation of prison imams.
The document concluded that "cultural sensitivity" among staff towards Muslim prisoners has "extended beyond the basic requirements of faith observance and could inhibit the effective confrontation of extremist views".
As well as confirming new specialist units to hold extremists, governors have been instructed to ban extremist literature and remove anyone from Friday prayers who is "promoting beliefs that run counter to fundamental British values”.
...case for taking it out of the hands of lawyers by defining it as an act of war - where guys like Choudry are treated as the enemy- to be captured not arrested -and detained till the war ends.
...I feel it’s too little. The prison service is stillgoing to have to bend over backwords to cater for his religious beliefs. He will be given a Koran, halal meal and probably access to an Ima.
For too long the political orthodoxy has been for the death of the nation state and for internationalism at the expense of existing Citizens, it's going to be good to get a bit of Nationalism injected back into the business of our government.
It's a bit late for all this, years and years of warning the Lefties what an apocalypse they're creating for their children have been ignored.The only solution is to deport these hypocritical, parasitic dregs, something the Left would never support!
The tone of the comments may well change during the day as the SWJs emerge from their slumbers.
A Muslim landlord who attacked his Christian tenant with a metal pipe and broke her leg during a discussion about their religion, which had escalated into an argument, was remanded for sentencing after he was denied bail in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court last week.
Milton Lazarus, 28, of Red Hills in St Andrew also pleaded guilty to destroying the complainant’s flat-screen television and figurines.
Lazarus pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property and to aggravated assault last Wednesday when he appeared before Senior Parish Judge Judith Pusey, and a sentencing date was scheduled for September 21.
According to the police, on May 28 the complainant and Lazarus were at home have a discussion pertaining to Christianity and Islam when it turned into an argument. During the argument, Lazarus threw a metal pipe and hit the complainant in her head and on her leg, causing the leg to break. Lazarus also damaged a flat-screen television, valued at $45,000, and some figurines belonging to the complainant.
The matter was reported and he was arrested and charged. Last Wednesday when the matter was mentioned, Attorney Davorna Wilson tried to get bail for Lazarus.
But the prosecutor objected on the grounds that Lazarus has been involved in a number of violent incidents in his community. Wilson, however, persisted by asking the judge to offer him bail with conditions that would ensure that he refrains from getting in any further incident.
But the magistrate refused.
“What will I tell the complainant’s children if I grant bail to a man who is known to be violent and she turns up dead?” the judge asked. “This is not just an intellectual exercise,” Judge Pusey said, while pointing out that parish judges have to know what is happening in their parish and have to grant bail based on the circumstances.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Donald Trump, US Republican presidential candidate, claims in his new tweet that he has evidence that CIA officers helped in Turkey’s attempted coup. It is probably make a new turmoil amid the heated presidential race between him and the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In two consecutive tweets posted on his official Twitter page trump said he obtained evidence that will prove 13 high-ranking CIA officers helped in Turkey’s “Failed Coup” and that Obama’s “failed leadership” caused this “stupid mistake” witch put USA interest in Middle East at risk. He also repeated his adversarial word against his rival Hillary Clinton by comparing her possible presidency with Obama’s “third term” If he were supposed to stay one more term in the presidential seat, awdnews reported.
It includes a Politico screenshot even though they cut off the masthead):
Only problem? It’s completely made up.
The author of the piece has obviously denounced it:
There is no article on Politico with that title:
The quoted tweets from Donald Trump Are from 10:10 and 10:09 PM August 15, 2016 simply don’t exits. Check this search of Twitter (screenshot alongside) if you don’t believe me.
So Iran’s Fars “news agency” are making stuff up or spreading made up stuff. Remember the time they republished the Onion? No big surprise to some of the readership here, I’m sure, but to the rest of the world inclined to hate Trump, this link will float around causing mischief in the world.
ISTANBUL — The wedding had ended and the guests had started walking home when a suspected suicide bombing tore through the site of the ceremony in southeastern Turkey late Saturday, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 90, in the latest in a string of attacks to strike the restive region in the past week.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said in a statement that the Islamic State militant group was probably behind what appeared to be a suicide attack on Saturday in the city of Gaziantep, and that its aim was to sow divisions among ethnic groups in the country and “spread incitement along ethnic and religious lines.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
More than 200 people had packed into a narrow street in the district of Sahinbey, close to the Syrian border, for the Kurdish street wedding when the explosion occurred around 11 p.m., witnesses said.
“We had just walked past the wedding and offered our good wishes when we heard the blast,” said Ibrahim Ates, a local man. “Suddenly people started running past us. When we went back to see what had happened, everyone was on the floor, and there were body parts scattered everywhere and blood splattered on the walls.”
Mahmut Togrul, a lawmaker with the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party who visited the scene of the attack on Sunday, said the wedding had been a traditional Kurdish ceremony and had taken place in a predominantly Kurdish neighborhood.
“Besna and Nurettin Akdogan, the bride and groom, survived the attack and are in stable condition,” Mr. Togrul said. “Many of the victims that died were children,” he added.
Viorst has been the Middle East commentator of record for The New Yorker since the early 1980’s. He is not an admirer of Revisionist Zionist founder Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Moreover, he believes the 40 years, since the election of Likud government beginning with Menachem Begin culminating in the several governments of current Israeli PM Netanyahu, have suborned the original objectives of the historic figures of Zionism beginning with the founder of political Zionism, Theodore Herzl. In successive chapters Viorst opines on those involved with the establishment of the modern State of Israel: Chain Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and the tragic Yitzhak Rabin
The value of Isaac’s review is he reveals the historical inaccuracies and myopic delusions of Viorst. Viorst contends that only lotus eating peaceniks preaching accommodation of Palestinian demands are true Zionists. He even lambasts current Labor party leaders for reflecting the realities of peace processes that have failed to deliver security. If anything it has been Israeli diplomacy under successive Likud governments, backed by military, technological prowess and removal of state ownership of enterprises that enabled the Jewish nation to flourish in the 21st Century.
JP O’Malley in his Times of Israel review on July 7, 2016 gives us the tachlis (bottom line in Hebrew) of Viorst polemic: “the 40-year-old Jabotinsky resurgence is responsible for marginalizing peace talks, historian Milton Viorst claims in his newest book.” O’Malley notes:
“The main theme of my book,” Viorst explains, “is how we — and I say we, because I regard myself as a Zionist — have gone from Herzl, who thought of a Jewish homeland, a refuge for a beleaguered people, to gradually over the decades becoming a military power where peace and security was thought about exclusively within a military framework.”
“Israel has really gone off on the wrong direction,” says Viorst.
In recent years, Viorst argues, though Israel has grown stronger as a nation and prospered, Zionism has become increasingly defined by military power.
“Clearly,” Viorst explains, “peace has not in any scientific or biological way disappeared from the Jewish DNA. But peace sure as hell seems to have disappeared from [Jews’] cultural DNA.”
“This cultural shift to a more militant view of Zionism has not been as prominent with Jews in the United States,” Viorst maintains.
Isaac in his Washington Free Beacon review, parts company with Viorst’s myopic view of Zionism, Jewish sovereignty and Israeli history:
At the heart of this book is the assumption that Israel is wholly to blame for the conflict between Jews and Arabs.
Though himself a Jew, Viorst veers into racist-sounding rhetoric when he asks whether “the Jewish DNA contains immunity to peace.” Given Israel’s many attempts to achieve peace, the question isn’t whether Jews are immune to peace but whether they are immune to reality. Viorst clearly is. Otherwise he could not declare that Israel adheres to the “Begin doctrine,” a “diplomatic principle” that purportedly maintains that if a small state “offers concessions at a time of pressure, it only invites more pressure upon itself”
Isaac points out Viorst’s myopia:
Viorst examines the lives of eight Zionist leaders, from Herzl to Netanyahu, to answer his own question: “How did Zionism, over the course of a century, evolve from the idealism of providing refuge for beleaguered Jews to a rationalization for the army’s occupation of powerless Palestinians?” This question is based on a false premise. Israel’s purpose was and remains what Herzl set forth in The Jewish State: “We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes.” Zionism has not a glimmer of oppression in it, which explains the Jews’ many efforts to find a solution to the conflict. Those whom Viorst calls “powerless Palestinians” enjoy the support of all Muslim countries, as well as Europe, the U.N., and the world media. Many of them are determined to annihilate Israel, indoctrinating violence in their young people, who then go out and slaughter children in their sleep, gun down families on the road, and ax rabbis at prayer. Those who commit these crimes are hailed as martyrs, and their families are given stipends. When Palestinians hear of a successful attack against Israelis—or Americans for that matter, as on 9/11—they hand out candy to children. A far better question Viorst might have asked is: How is it that the Jews have managed to keep their humanity in the face of such inhumanity?
On the matter of clearing the misinformation on Jabotinsky’s legacy:
Viorst blames Zionism’s supposed moral descent to the rise of the Revisionist movement led by Vladimir Jabotinsky in the 1920s and ‘30s. “Revisionism thrives today, with an ideology that has grown only harsher since Jabotinsky’s time,” he writes. This is a bizarre statement: nobody is walking around Israel today calling himself a Revisionist. Revisionism was of a specific time and place, its name referring to the need to revise Zionist policy toward Britain during the period of the Mandate. The most one can say is that there are still followers of Jabotinsky, those who admire his highly original writings and warmth of character. Unlike David Ben-Gurion or Chaim Weizmann, Jabotinsky showed a sincere interest in the masses of Jewry.
Isaac points out Viorst’s historical errors:
The book is riddled with basic factual errors, large and small. In the latter category, Viorst describes Jabotinsky’s The Five as an “early novel” when in fact Jabotinsky wrote it five years before his death. Viorst repeats tales of old calumnies like that of Deir Yassin, an Arab village attacked by Irgun forces during the War of Independence. He describes it as a massacre of Arab women and children who put up little resistance, when in fact the Irgun suffered 41 casualties, as both residents and foreign fighters opened fire. He claims repeatedly that Betar, a youth group led by Jabotinsky, organized a demonstration at the Western Wall that provoked the 1929 Arab riots. Only it wasn’t a Betar protest. Even the British officer who negotiated with the protesters said they weren’t Betar members.
The list of errors goes on: Viorst states that the Haganah turned in members of the underground group Lehi to the British during the Saison, when in fact the Haganah turned in only Irgun members. (If Lehi members were captured, it was by accident.) He wrongly states that Jewish military units were formed too late to fight in World War II when, in fact, they fought the Germans in Italy. He asserts that America opened its arsenal to Israel in 1948 when it did the opposite, imposing an embargo on arms to the region. The embargo had no effect on the Arabs, who received weapons from the British, but had a profoundly detrimental effect on Israel.
Isaac concludes his review:
These exaggerations, errors, and smears grow out of Viorst’s seemingly pathological need to find fault with the Zionists for their every action, and indeed for the actions of others. This need goes so far that, when writing about Hamas bombardment of Israeli population centers with rockets, Viorst finds a way to point a finger at the Jews, saying that the rockets served “to remind Israel and the world that a million and a half Gazans could not tolerate living under the deplorable conditions that Israel imposed on them.”
Viorst dedicates his book to the late Rabbi Leonard Beerman (who also assailed Israel) “and the other peacemakers, the greatest of the Zionists.” Here one gets the sense that Viorst is paying tribute to himself. If you’re looking for a book riddled with errors written by a man whose assumptions are all wrong and who marinates in his own moral virtue, then Zionism by Milton Viorst should rise to the top of your summer reading list.
Kol hakavod to David Isaac for bringing a dose of reality to the dangerous myopia behind a bizarre history of Zionism interpreted by Milton Viorst
SIOUX FALLS, SD – The Sioux Falls man authorities say ran a sex trafficking “house of horror” will now call prison home for the rest of his life. On Monday, Federal Judge Karen Schreier sentenced 45-year-old Mohammed Alaboudi to four life terms behind bars. He will serve those concurrently. Alaboudi took in teen girls and young women, gave them drugs and forced them into prostitution out of his one-bedroom apartment near McKennan Park.
Schreier essentially said this is the worst case of human sex trafficking she has seen because it involved more, “force and coercion,” than others. Four of Alaboudi’s victims who were repeatedly raped and tortured told their former captor how his actions have impacted them.
“They were treated, as Judge Schreier said today, in many cases, worse than a person would treat their own dog,” U.S. Attorney for South Dakota Brendan Johnson said.
Federal prosecutors said Alaboudi preyed on, “vulnerable,” often homeless, young girls and women. He gave them a home, drugs and alcohol. Prosecutors said he often got them hooked on meth, and made them huff hairspray.
“He would bring in man after man after man into his home to have sex with these young girls and women. If they refused, they would be raped or they would be beaten,” Johnson said.
Victims called Alaboudi a “monster,” who would, “sit and laugh while the girls were raped.” One called their situation “hell.” Another victim hopes, “God decides to forgive him some day.”
Toward the end of the hearing, Alaboudi yelled at the judge and said he was innocent. He also called FBI agents and federal prosecutors liars.
“Mr. Alaboudi’s house of horror is closed. Our mission as law enforcement is to make sure another one does not open its doors in the future,” Johnson said.
Until the immigration pipeline from Muslim countries is closed, expect more rape jihad.