Friday, 30 June 2017
The Sculpture Garden in Sunlight
by Evelyn Hooven (July 2017)
The Thinker in the Rodin Museum Garden, Paris, France
The setting is the Rodin Museum garden
during an extraordinary heat wave;
fatalities mount; the sculpture speaks: more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 4:13 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Charlie Faust: Grace's Version
by James Como (July 2017)
NOTE. This dramatic monologue is about what Grace claims: the dangerous intersection of passions, in this case passions for baseball, religion, and story-telling. If one is at that crossroad, as Grace seems to be, can lunacy be far behind? Of course much religious passion is displaced, dragging zealots down into deep water where dwell all sorts of monsters. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 4:01 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Spark by Hannah Senesh
Translated from the Hungarian & edited
by Thomas Ország-Land (July 2017)
Hannah Senesh, 1921-1944, (Hungarian spelling Hanna Szenes), poet, farmer, soldier, emigrated as a youth to Palestine to escape rising Fascism in Europe, and eventually joined the British Army there. She was parachuted into partisan-held territory in Croatia from where she trekked to her native Hungary with a mission to rescue downed Allied aircrews and assist the Zionist resistance to the mass murder of Jews. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 3:28 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
My "Americas’ Game" as an Audio Opera
The Awl, by Tommervik
Some years ago I composed a 60-minute audiotape of and about the sound of baseball as indigenous to the Americas. As it included passages in both Spanish and French-Canadian, I thought that my electro-acoustic composition, to recall a 20th-Century epithet, represented all of North America. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 2:36 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
The Nation-State: Our Best Guarantor of Democracy
by Lorna Salzman (July 2017)
by Lucas Simoes
In his book The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt discusses the tendency of humans to form into groups as dictated by evolution. The widespread existence of human groups testifies to its power and resilience in both primitive and technologically advanced countries. It may be taking different forms today. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 2:17 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
The Left Stifles Entrepreneurs and Small Business
By Kenneth Francis (July 2017)
Charles Sheeler, American Landscape, 1930
When Donald Trump last month put climate change on the backburner during the Paris Accord, many non-Green small business owners breathed a sigh of relief. (Remember, the Accord is not mandatory and final. It’s a pledge; and many pledges in the history of politics are broken if not ‘pragmatically’ altered.) more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 2:08 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Poetical Women in Shakespeare: A Response to Alison Findlay
by David P. Gontar (July 2017)
Margaret of Anjou, Jane Telford, 2013.
Come, wait upon him, lead him to my bower.
The moon, methinks, looks with a wat’ry eye,
And when she weeps, weeps every little flower,
Lamenting some enforcèd chastity.
Tie up my love’s tongue; bring him silently.
“Do you not know I am a woman? When I think,
I must speak.”
In a paper subtitled ‘The Poetry of Women in Shakespeare’s Dramatic Verse’,1 one might expect to find stanzas from his most lyrical ladies, among whom we would surely number Isabella, Titania, Tamora, Rosalind, the Weird Sisters, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Queen Katherine of Aragon, Juliet, Paulina and Hermione. Instead, we are presented with subalterns Margaret of Anjou, Princess Catherine of France in King Henry V, the Jailer’s Daughter, Ophelia, Lady Macbeth and other roles not customarily associated with Mt. Parnassus. The explanation lies in writer Alison Findlay’s conception of the poetical as a species of the political, e.g., “women in Shakespeare negotiate a space to speak within a poetic discourse that repeatedly defines them as objects.” more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 1:42 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Letter to America
by Robert Gear (July 2017)
I first became aware of the slow, insidious gains of creeping Sharia in 1995, sometime after I visited the public library of a large, provincial English City. The library itself was of an eye-wincing brutalist design fashionable in post-war Britain. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 1:34 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Wittgenstein and the Comforts of Obscurity
Ludwig Wittgenstein, artist unknown
A friend of mine, Professor Dominique Urvoy, a distinguished scholar and world authority on Islamic Philosophy and Averroes, was invited to a conference in Morocco a few years ago. At a coffee break, an Arab colleague rushed up to Urvoy and showed him several passages from the Koran (in Arabic, of course) which made no sense syntactically and semantically. Professor Urvoy agreed, whereupon, his Arab colleague exclaimed excitedly, “this shows it is from God”. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 1:29 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
The Islamic State of Al-Qaeda
With Iraqi forces now controlling most of Mosul and the siege of Raqqa underway, many are predicting the imminent demise of the Islamic State. ISIS propagandists argue that the caliphate can withstand the loss of territory, but without a “state” to fight for, many jihadis will look elsewhere for support and inspiration. A patient Ayman al-Zawahiri hopes they will return to Al-Qaeda, his organization since Osama bin Laden’s death. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 1:17 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Ratlines on the American Left
by G. Murphy Donovan (July 2017)
Once upon a time, ratlines were horizontal ropes in a ship’s rigging that allowed a sailor to scale the lines or climb a ship’s mast. On a sinking ship, rat lines were the last refuge for rodents and unlucky tars that couldn’t swim or didn’t make it into a lifeboat. Today, rat lines are thought to be euphemisms for any desperate avenue of escape or last ditch tactics. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 1:11 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
The Mirage of “National Self-Determination” (and its limits)—Montenegro and Palestine
by Norman Berdichevsky (July 2017)
Gavrilo Princip sparking the Great War, June 28, 1914
Unless you happened to catch the 30 second news item on May 22, 2006 on the more internationally-oriented networks such as the BBC or CNN, you probably don’t know or care that Podgorica is the capital of the newly independent (actually renewed independence after 90 years) state of Montenegro. The independence supporters gained a narrow 55% majority with the aid of many migrant voters returning from abroad and restored the map of the Balkans to more what it looked like in 1914. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 1:06 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
The Strange Death of Theo Van Gogh
Little Dutch Boy safeguarding the essential. (Artwork built on the work of Marguerite Scott)
Surveying the life's work of Theo Van Gogh it is difficult not to read into it metaphors of civilisational decline. A distant relative of the great Artist, he had built his modest acclaim slumming the lowest reaches of 21st-century Prolefeed and, by his late thirties, he had exhausted even this cheap line of scatological obsessions. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 1:02 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
The Cultification of the American Left: An Inquiry
By D.L. Adams (July 2017)
The purpose of this inquiry is to explain and support the contention that the American political Left is now a Utopian political cult.
Because of its conversion into a cult, the Left viewpoint and its public and official organization, the Democratic party, are no longer politically viable. It will be shown that the cultification of the Democratic party, one of the two leading political parties in the United States, is one of the greatest disasters in American political and cultural history. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 12:52 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Our German Problem (Or Mine) - A Memory
By Samuel Hux (July 2017)
Defeated German soldier, burning Reichstag.
One of my dearest friends was a German actor and Wehrmacht veteran who died in 2008 at 96 years. An immeasurable absence in my life.
But, I get ahead of myself. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 12:47 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Holy Terror: an Interview with Ibn Warraq
Posted on 06/30/2017 12:37 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Everyone’s Inner Authoritarian
by Theodore Dalrymple (July 2017)
The Readers, by Joseph Larusso
All that is necessary for evil to triumph, wrote Edmund Burke (though no one seems to be quite sure where), is for good men to do nothing. This naturally raises the question as to where good men are to be found. Besides, there are many forms of goodness, not all of them useful in the struggle against evil. more>>>
Posted on 06/30/2017 12:32 PM by NER
Friday, 30 June 2017
Yes, Islamic Terrorism Really Is Islamic
Robert Spencer writes in PJMedia
It is a symptom of the denial and willful ignorance that blankets the present age that this book even had to be written, and that Ibn Warraq, a historian and social theorist of preeminent insight and wisdom, should have had to devote his considerable talents to it.
Nonetheless, we can be grateful that he has given us The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology, as this book is breathtakingly comprehensive despite its quite manageable length, and is, quite simply, irrefutable. If there remains in the world anyone who holds that Islam is a Religion of Peace and yet has sufficient intellectual honesty and acumen to consider these arguments on their merits, this is the book to give.
First there is the necessary work of clearing away the nonsense. Ibn Warraq takes up each of the major excuses that are commonly given for Islamic jihad violence -- that it is all about Israel, or all about U.S. foreign policy, or all about poverty and lack of opportunity -- and shows why each does not and cannot sufficiently explain the phenomenon at hand.
Then he treads ground that has been much-tilled before: the exhortations to jihad violence in the Qur’an and Sunnah. But here, even the most well-informed reader will find much that is new, especially the detailed description of the Islamic concept of al-walaa wal baraa, commanding the right and forbidding the wrong, and how it leads to jihad attacks against unbelievers.
Also highly rewarding is Warraq’s examination of a subject that receives insufficient attention: the goals of jihad. Authorities in Europe and North America continue to treat jihad attacks as discrete criminal acts that have no necessary connection to any wider movement or imperative. Ibn Warraq shows here, with copious references to Islamic scholars ancient and modern, that jihad is a means of spreading Islam, and that the “greater jihad” -- the spiritualized idea so beloved of Western apologists -- actually has quite slim foundation in the Islamic sources, and is given scant attention throughout Islamic history by the religion’s foremost theologians.
The most rewarding sections of this amply rewarding book are Ibn Warraq’s surveys of jihad in theory and practice from the death of Muhammad up to the present day.
This includes a look at the Kharijites, who are often invoked by contemporary Islamic apologists as the precursors of modern terrorists and the archetypal Islamic heretics. Ibn Warraq, by contrast, demonstrates that “the fundamental principle for the Kharijites was that the Islamic community must be based on the Koran.” Those who claim the Kharijites were twisting and hijacking Islam say the same thing about contemporary jihadis, with just as little justification.
The historical survey that makes up the balance of the book is its most illuminating and valuable material. While many informed readers will know that the Qur’an exhorts jihad and that Muhammad preached and practiced it, few will be familiar with the history of jihad violence in Ninth and Tenth Century Baghdad, or with the Qadizadeli movement in 17th Century Constantinople, or with the career of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (of Wahhabi fame) and his movement.
This is jihad doctrine as applied by Muslims throughout history. Readers will see immediately that Muslim obedience to the exhortations to jihad warfare in the Qur’an and Sunnah has been remarkably consistent in form since the beginnings of Islam.
Those who would peruse this material and then still insist that Ibn Warraq is “cherry picking” from both Islamic scripture and history, leaving out both the peaceful exhortations and the fabled eras of peace and tolerance, would be willfully and incurably blind. There are no such exhortations of any force, and no such eras, as any serious student of renowned al-Andalus will know.
The facts are, in the final analysis, quite simple: the Qur’an teaches jihad warfare. So does Muhammad. So do the mainstream Islamic theologians and jurists. And Muslims have consequently waged jihad warfare throughout history.
The Islam in Islamic Terrorism offers facts that ought to be taught in every high school and college history class; a saner age than ours would not find this book remotely controversial. It may indeed have mandated that it be put to exactly that kind of use in academic institutions.
As it is, this book will most likely not be used in schools, which will continue to purvey the half-truths and outright lies that pass for scholarly exposition of Islam these days. The students will not be the only ones who lose out. Among the losers also will be those whose lives will be taken when they otherwise could have been spared were it not for all the willful ignorance that prevents an honest evaluation of the threat we face.
Ibn Warraq has performed an immense service in The Islam in Islamic Terrorism. Anyone who wonders, and has the courage to brave the opprobrium of our self-appointed moral superiors to find out, will get the truth in this invaluable and deftly executed book.
Posted on 06/30/2017 4:22 AM by NER
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Art and Justice
by Michael Curtis
One of the great misfortunes of history is that a young, unemployed, mediocre realistic painter of buildings and landscapes named Adolf Hitler was denied admission to the Vienna Academy of Fine Art. If he had been admitted the world would have been saved from one of the greatest calamities of humankind and the murder of millions of innocent people.
It would also have been spared the experience of one of the largest, perhaps the largest, thefts throughout the whole of Europe, and organized official plunder by special military units as more than an estimated 650,000 art objects were stolen, many from Jewish owners, constituting what should be considered as one of the milder forms of the Holocaust. Hermann Goering, in control of the ERR (Institute for the Occupied Territories) gave orders to seize Jewish art collections, and they were housed for a time at the Museum Jeu de Paume in Paris.
Some of these objects, paintings and statues, were found by American and Allied military during and after World War II by groups such as the Monuments Men who saved them from destruction. This was urgent because of the “Nero Decree” of March 19, 1945, an order by Hitler to destroy the German infrastructure to prevent its use by the advancing Allied forces, as well the destruction of the stolen art works, the Eiffel Tower, and Paris as a whole.
But many of the art objects remain missing or are kept hidden, deliberately or otherwise, by major museums in the United States and Europe, and in university sites. Much of the stolen art, by one estimate 100,000 works, has never been returned to their owners or family members. The decent and moral act of returning stolen art to the descendants of persecuted or murdered Jews has not been fulfilled. A familiar episode makes this plain. Only after considerable effort and money was Ronald Lauder able to buy Gustav Klimt’s painting Adele Bloch-Bauer I, (Lady in Gold), that had been looted, displayed in Austria’s national museum, returned after a court battle to its former Jewish family owners in 2006, bought by Lauder, and now on view in his museum in New York.
A considerable amount of missing art taken by the Nazis was unveiled as the result of a chance encounter when an elderly man named Cornelius Gurlitt, a recluse who lived alone in an apartment in Munich, Germany, and owned a house in Salzburg, Austria, was stopped by police in September 2010 during a routine passenger check when returning from Zurich to Munich. An examination of his apartment in Munich, and later his house in Salzburg found 1,406 stolen works of art by many of the great painters, including Picasso, Matisse Cezanne, Manet, and Monet.
Gurlitt had no job, no income, but survived by occasionally selling one of the paintings. All he wanted to do he said “was to live with my pictures.” The problem is that they were not his pictures. They had been acquired by his father, Hildebrand Gurlitt, a German art historian and dealer, friendly to some of the Nazi leaders especially Goering, and who made ten trips during World War II to Paris and who stole or bought art at minimum prices. Hildebrand was also one of the only four people allowed to deal with “degenerate art,” the art that Hitler detested.
Hildebrand was put under house arrest after the war but deceived his American investigators by portraying himself as a harmless academic, whose art collection had been destroyed during the Anglo-American firebombing of Dresden on February 13-15 1945, and was thus released from custody.
Part of the extraordinary collection, 250 of the 1,400 works, is now to be seen publicly for the first time in November 2017 in an exhibition, Dossier Gurlitt: Nazi Art Theft and Its Consequences, in two museums, one in Bern, Switzerland, the designated heir of Cornelius who died in May 2014, and containing works taken from German museums in 1938, and the other in Bonn, Germany.
A number of problems exist pertinent to the art works. Their provenance is largely unknown at this point: the rightful owners of only five of them appear to have been identified; the decision of which were stolen from Jews and which were bought “legally” had to be determined; it is not clear how many of the stolen works were ever returned to their Jewish owners.
Interestingly, the focus of the exhibitions, Dossier Gurlitt will be on “Degenerate Art” which echoes the infamous Nazi Degenerate Art exhibition of July 1937 in Munich of modern, abstract, non-representational art, including works by Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Wassily Kandinsky and Max Beckmann. This show of 650 items, fulfilling Hitler’s hatred of his school of art, was deliberately hung badly, with graffiti on the walls insulting the art and the artists.
Whatever the fascination for viewers of the two exhibitions or more likely the painful reminder of the Holocaust, they provide the opportunity to focus on two relatively neglected and interrelated issues: the fact that prestigious art museums have still not evicted looted Jewish art from their holdings and display; and the slow return of art to their former rightful owners.
A just and fair solution of the threat of Jewish art holdings is necessary. This has been acknowledged by 46 states in the Terezin Declaration of June 30, 2009 which called for the restitution of art obtained in forced sales and sales under duress, as well as confiscated. The Declaration is even more compelling as Terezin was a Nazi concentration camp where thousands of Jews were killed or died from malnutrition, or were sent to death camps. Identification of Jewish owned works and restitution of them would be a befitting humanitarian response to evil words and deeds.
Posted on 06/29/2017 6:33 AM by Michael Curtis
Thursday, 29 June 2017
French Legislative Elections: Part 3, Conclusion
by Nidra Poller
The third and final cycle of the French elections has concluded with a smiley. President Emmanuel Macron did indeed obtain the parliamentary majority he needed and now stands alone in majestic elevation. The Socialist party is ground to dust; the Front National's pretention to be The Opposition amounts to 6 deputies, not even enough to form a parliamentary Group; FN Mayfly ally Nicolas Dupont-Aignan narrowly won re-election as deputy but his party Debout la France is flat out; Lider Maximo Jean-Luc Mélenchon's France Insoumise is already bellowing promises to take the struggle to the street while sitting pretty in the Assemblée; the Greens are nowhere to be seen; Bayrou's MoDem reaped the harvest of his devotion to candidate Macron before getting pushed aside (more below) ; and Les Républicains, having lost more than they should have and less than predicted, are further weakened by an internal split but remain the only credible Opposition...as things now stand.
Having won the presidency with the lowest score of the 5th République, Emmanuel Macron will govern with a majority of allegiance grasped by the skin of its teeth with an abstention of 57.36%. Still, the smiley punctuates every word and every phase of the new presidency. Some of this can be chalked up to the utter relief of deliverance from François Hollande whose absence shines upon us. After five years of a "normal president" who did a poor imitation of the Scandinavian model, we now have a slim trim elegant youthful très français head of state upgraded, in the first month of the presidency, from Bonaparte to Jupiter. What do the citizens want? Told that they were tired of the same old politicians from the same old Right and Left alternating power and getting nowhere fast, they chose, lo and behold, a new face without a party, just a movement, a Right Left and Center hybrid en marche on the go. Reminded that voters always give the newly elected president a legislative majority they managed by omission or commission to do just that. Leaving the predicted landslide to slide on its own, voters sat on their convictions and let it happen, though many key races were quite close. Le peuple de la droite, the Right wing nation, supposedly furious at being deprived of its rightful victory was diminished by individual lassitude and undermined by a split in the elected LR (Les Républicains) deputies into two distinct parliamentary groups, the "Constructives" and the others. The former are somehow committed to constructive cooperation with the ruling party, leaving the latter holding the Opposition bag. All of this is subject to change when the government starts passing measures.
Washed clean of their sins
Readers will remember that the LR candidate François Fillon, who started out with a huge lead over the other presidential candidates, was reduced to tatters by an indelible scandal. Accused of paying his wife Penelope a real salary for a fictitious job as his parliamentary assistant, he was further humiliated for accepting the gift of two very expensive bespoke suits from an old friend. This was the beginning of the current rift between elements that remained loyal to Fillon to the bitter end and those that argued for his replacement by Alain Juppé, the rival he had defeated hands down in the LR Primaries. It is not just a question of personalities: Fillon represents conservative values-free enterprise, frugal government spending, increased national sovereignty, and tough security-while Juppé the soft & lite Centrist leans toward compromise on all these issues. Many of his disciples hopped onto the Macron bandwagon. It didn't earn them cabinet posts but they maintain their Macron-friendly stance. Is it true that the charming young François Baroin did not put any starch into the legislative campaign? If so, it would be a reflection of the consensus that François Fillon was not only tainted but also too tough & mean. He scared citizens by telling them their welfare state was going bankrupt, he frightened them by promising to reduce the obese civil service, and he scared them by saying we have to fight Islamic totalitarianism.
The thing about democratic elections is they are over once the votes are counted. Replaying them with what might have been is worse than trying to recover the dropped stitches of an unraveled love story.
However, some questionable financial dealings by personalities in the now victorious camp had to be dealt with before the government reached cruising altitude. Emmanuel Macron's right hand man Richard Ferrand, who served as Minister of Territorial Cohesion in the interim cabinet, was dropped in this week's shuffle. And François Bayrou, short-term Justice Minister charged with drafting the political moralization law, was sent back to his day job as mayor of Pau, while his MoDem party partners Marielle de Sarnez and Sylvie Goulard were bumped from first class seats as, respectively, European Affairs Minister and Defense Minister, to serve as simple deputies.
Though the suspected financial irregularities that led to the downsizing of Ferrand and the three MoDem cabinet ministers had been amply exposed during the presidential race, they apparently had no sting. They did not jeopardize Macron's campaign, and all of the suspected culprits were duly elected as deputies (except for Bayrou who was not a candidate).
Moralizer-in-chief Bayrou is a one-man show. After giving journalists an offhand lecture on le mot juste ("I did not resign...it's just that I will not serve in the newly shuffled cabinet") he went on to claim-convincing no one- that he had already raised the possibility three weeks earlier of an eventual resignation. As for the misuse of EU Parliament salaries, that's easy: faced with a financial crunch, the MoDem hired many of its operatives as EU parliamentary assistants but there was no fictitious employment. Meaning? The employees really did work- for the party, not their Eurodeputies-and let the EU foot the bill. The Front National is accused of the same trick & treat to the tune of 5 million euros. This explains why François Fillon was not worthy of high office whereas François Bayrou was the perfect fellow to draft the Macron government's cornerstone political moralization law.
Richard Ferrand, who directed Macron's campaign and remains one of his closest advisors, is accused of using a mutualist health insurance company as a cash cow for himself, his soon to be ex-wife, his new companion, and his IT engineer son. It is alleged that Ferrand, then director of the Mutuelle de Brest, was instrumental in accepting a bid for a rental property that would house the Mutuelle's clinic. But the successful bidder, who happened to be Ferrand's lady friend, did not acquire the property until after her bid was accepted. She created a real estate holding firm, let the Mutuelle pay for the costly renovation, and has been collecting rent ever since. When monsieur Ferrand stepped down, he was replaced by a trusted friend. Ex-madame Ferrand was reportedly remunerated for consultant's work, their son for IT services, and Ferrand for numerous missions. A preliminary investigation is underway. It may well conclude, in agreement with Richard Ferrand, that all of this was normal, legal, and moral. No sooner was Ferrand bumped out of the cabinet than the Marcheurs unanimously chose him as their whip.
Drinking smoothies on a hot summer day
Was it a glitch? A snitch? Or a proof of integrity? Welcoming the pompous Bayrou with open arms at a crucial moment in the presidential race after Emmanuel Macron, on a visit to Algeria, had accused France of committing "crimes against humanity," giving the overblown MoDem party the biggest boost in its pale career, appointing the warmed over Bayrou Minister of Justice of all things when his party's questionable use of EU Parliament funds was an open secret, and then dropping him from the cabinet like a mismatched sock once En Marche had won an absolute majority in the Parliament... without the MoDem votes...is that the brave new politics we were promised? Was it snidely cynical to appoint Richard Ferrand to the interim cabinet and let the voters of the Finistère, home of the Mutuelle de Brest, send him to Parliament? If they see nothing wrong with all that alleged nepotism, then it shouldn't be so hard to moralize political life.
Emmanuel Macron wanted to be president. He is. Wanted to fabricate a party out of a movement and a parliamentary majority out of disparate bundles of neophytes and he did it. As long as he doesn't have to use that power to accomplish any radical transformations of French society, it's just there, like delicious smoothies on a hot summer day. Everyone loved him at the Brussels conference. A few days later he was playing tennis at the facsimile Olympics set up in the center of Paris to show how much we want the 2024 Games. Journalists admire his mastery of communications. Nothing is left to chance and yet it's all so smooth and natural. The blonde first lady in powder blue visible in the background chatting with her Colombian counterpart, then sexy in black lace holding hands with her husband the President. Macron and Schwarzenegger doing a "make the planet great again" selfie. What could go wrong?
Hot rod on the Champs Elysées
A few days before a floating track was launched on the Seine and Place de l'Etoile was turned over to bicycle races, Adam Dzaziri set out to wreak havoc on les Champs Elysées. After an alert by Tunisian authorities in 2013, French services flagged Dzaziri as a security risk in 2015, assigned him to house arrest in 2016, observed with surprising indifference as he traveled three times to Turkey (notorious crossover point to the ranks of Daesh), granted him gun permits for sports shooting and renewed them in 2016, and waited patiently while he missed three appointments for an interview with law enforcement this summer. Neighbors had been complaining about suspicious activity at the home where Dzaziri lived with his parents, brother, sister-in-law, estranged wife and three children. Weapons and material for explosives were stored in the basement.
Having transmitted to several people his pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State, Dzaziri drove up the Champs Elysées in a car packed with gas canisters, handguns, an automatic Kalashnikov type rifle and 8,000 rounds of ammunition. The idea was to turn the car into a super weapon that would explode, sending shrapnel, flames, fumes, and bullets in all directions. He didn't get past the first step. He crashed into a van full of gendarmes. Yellow smoke poured out of the car. The gendarmes smashed a window, opened the door, pulled the brave jihadi out of the car, extinguished the fire, stripped the inert assailant to make sure he didn't have an explosive vest. He died of asphyxiation. President Macron, whose government is working on a new improved anti-terrorism bill is said to have remarked that gun permit files should be cross-checked with security risk files, but it was another smoothie, no one got hurt but the stupid jihadist. Family members were detained. And released. The Macron presidency is off to an impeccable start.
On the way back from a brief but fruitful meeting with documentary film maker Bo Persson ( the masterful Watching the moon at Night) I am drawn into conversation by a lovely young couple with an 8 month-old baby boy and a sister-in-law who asks if she can take a picture of me. I'm in a buoyant mood, back in Paris after 2 weeks in the United States, basking in a heat wave, no icy air conditioning beaming on me like a laser weapon. Why not? She snaps the photo, I think I can roughly situate their language. Where are you from? Georgia, the young man replies. His French is excellent. The conversation broadens and deepens.
Georgia. Tbilisi. As if I had been there myself, I knew Tbilisi from translating a fascinating memoir by the late Leon Chertok, the courageous résistant and pioneer of hypnoanalysis. He made inroads behind the Iron Curtain with scientific conferences in Tbilisi. And, more recently, I had written about how Russia bit off a chunk of Georgia without disturbing Europe's self-satisfied peace.
Are the Russians leaving you alone now? Not at all, he replied. The Russian mafia is all over the country. They steal, they kidnap people, kill people. We're an island of Christian civilization...trying to defend ourselves...without help...since the fall of Byzantium...
The wages of peace. In 2003, the French badge of honor was opposition to the "invasion" of Iraq. Peace was the precious achievement of European unity. Peace for decades while Central Europe lay crushed under the Soviet yoke and peace when Putin's Russia munched on Georgia and served itself a piece of Ukraine. And today, when Russia fills the gaps wherever the West fears to stray.
Suddenly the question coalesces in this sweet family, an island of civilization surrounded by barbaric conquest...
After meeting with Ukrainian president Petro Porochenko., Emmanuel Macron declares that France does not recognize the annexation of Crimea.
Ça alors! No smiley on that one.
First published in Family Security Matters
Posted on 06/29/2017 6:19 AM by Nidra Poller
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Trump's criticism of The Washington Post is warranted
by Walid Phares
President Trump's exposure of The Washington Post may be part of Washington's politics nowadays. The once mainstream and centrist daily has changed. It has shifted toward the radical side while maintaining the appearance of professionalism and journalistic style. The Post, though traditionally on the center left, has been publishing political attacks which in the 1990s would qualify as "militant" or toeing the party line. Trump is definitely changing the political landscape with his tweets, but the Post also changed from centrist journalism to "activist website" mode. The form and format of the paper and its stories may resemble how they are traditionally known to be, but the substance has been radicalized.
Last year The Washington Post opened its pages to hysterical smears against me after I was appointed as one of Donald Trump's advisors. The smearing parties, known for their support of the “Iran Deal” and their sympathy to Islamists, used the same exact material as was used by pro-Iranian regime propagandists in 2011 when I was appointed as presidential candidate Mitt Romney's national security advisor. But then it was Mother Jones, a far fringe radical weekly. Nothing from these 2011 attacks had any link to reality, and critics of Mother Jones, including individuals the publication wrongly quoted to attack me, decisively demolished the 2011 smear attempt. Stunningly, the "serious and prominent" Washington Post imported the exact same discredited Mother Jones piece and re-published it under a different name four years later after my new appointment. Unfortunately, the mainstream WaPo became a new Mother Jones in 2016. The paper has since, unsuccessfully, tried to obtain interviews and quotes from me. They lost access to significant analysis and assessments—even though they may not agree with the source—because they acted erratically and unprofessionally.
I understand the frustration of President Trump when he labels the "fake news." For I, even at my modest level, had to deal with their "fake news” hit piece last year. Unless the paper reforms and comes back to the serious and centrist positioning it was known for, they will be losing more and more access to real life assessment and diverse opinions. It should be beneath The Washington Post’s stature to cater to the Iranian regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, two fascist parties unworthy of partnership with a so-called US mainstream daily.
Posted on 06/29/2017 4:03 AM by Walid Phares
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Was there a failed coup attempt in Khartoum?
President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan
The National Congress Party (NCP) regime has been ruling Sudan through deception, intimidation of its opponents and releasing false propaganda through its controlled media. Since June 16, 2017, rumors have spread that General Taha Osman al Hussein, State Minister in the Presidency and the Director General of Presidential Palace, had been arrested in an failed attempted coup to overthrow the genocidal and indicted war criminal President Bashir of Sudan. The media also said that several other senior officers were arrested.
Six of these officers are believed to be from the police corps including the Director General of Sudan’s Police force, Hazim Abdelghadir. The Director of Gulf Bank, Omer Ali, and 12 senior members of the NCP were also said to have been arrested.
Saudi Passport of General Taha Osman al Husseini
Posted and circulated in media that he was arrested in Khartoum Airport trying to travel abroad
Taha, who is believed to have dual Sudan-Saudi Arabian nationality, was allegedly planning to stage a military coup against President Bashir of Sudan. It was widely circulated among Sudanese social media. It was stated that the coup failed after Taha was arrested at the Khartoum Airport when he was trying to travel aboard with his wife by the security forces who were secretly following his activities including phone calls. In addition to the failed coup, Taha was also accused of passing secret information about Sudan to foreign governments. The rumors also suggested that Taha had secured the support of some foreign leaders to overthrow President Bashir during the Riyadh Islamic conference where Taha was representing President Bashir, who declined to attend. Rumors also suggested that the NCP had split into two groups and President Bashir had been placed under house arrest. The rumors went on saying that the government imposed a curfew in Khartoum and ordered removal of all Rapid Support Force/Janjaweed militias from Khartoum and Kordofan sending them to Darfur.
General Hazim Abdelgadir, Director General of Sudan’s Police Force
This picture appeared in the social media that he has been arrested
According to various Sudanese and other social media, Taha was planning a coup with the support of General Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo (Hemetti) the Commander of the Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces to overthrow President Bashir. The information about Taha staging a coup in Khartoum, widely circulated in the social media, probably is not true because there is no apparent political tension creating a security situation. It is also evident that there is neither an expulsion of RSF/Janjaweed militias nor imposition of a curfew in the capital of Khartoum.
What is true is that, General Taha was relieved from his positions. All other information said on Taha failed coup are likely scenarios developed by Bashir’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) agents to draw public attention away from the Qatar-Saudi crisis. It is well-known that President Bashir’s regime needs the support of both Qatar and Saudi Arabia governments. Bashir and his regime cannot survive without their support. Bashir also could not take a position supporting either side and leaving the other. Both Qatar and Saudi governments need Bashir’s support especially Saudi Arabia because of Bashir’s Janjaweed militias supporting Saudis in Yemen war. Qatar is also using President Bashir to train and finance global terrorists such as the groups in Libya, Mali and elsewhere.
President Bashir’s regime is trying to play the role of mediator despite the fact that Saudi Arabia requested the Sudan regime to clearly chose its position. The issue of Taha’s failed coup attempt and arrest is more likely a staged event to draw public attention away from Arab countries’ recent crisis with the State of Qatar. Qatar is a major supplier of funding support for the RSF/Janjaweed genocide campaigns in the conflict zones of Darfur, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile South Kordofan regions.
However, General Taha was relieved from his positions. All failed coup scenarios were likely developed by Bashir’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) agents to draw public attention away from the Qatar-Saudi crisis. It is well-known that President Bashir’s regime needs the support of both Qatar and Saudi Arabia governments. Bashir and his regime cannot survive without their support. Bashir also could not take a position supporting either side and leaving the other. President Bashir’s regime is trying to play the role of mediator despite the fact that Saudi Arabia requested the Sudan regime to clearly chose its position. The issue of Taha’s failed coup attempt and arrest is more likely a staged event to draw public attention away from Arab countries’ recent crisis with the State of Qatar. Qatar is a major supplier of funding support for the RSF/Janjaweed genocide campaigns in the conflict zones of Darfur, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile South Kordofan regions .
 Lt. Gen. Abdallah is Chairman of the Sudan Unity Movement (SUM). He is a native of North Darfur who joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1984 and became active in the Nuba Hills and Darfurian resistance movements. In 1989 he joined the Patriotic Salvation Movement in neighboring Chad based in Darfur. He served as an officer in the Chadian army for 23 years. He held senior intelligence and counterterrorism posts including as Coordinator of the Multi-National Joint Task Force of Nigeria, Chad and Niger. He was Coordinator of Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI) Anti-Terrorism Unit of Chad and Commander of PSI Anti-Terrorism Battalion of Chad 2004. He is a December 2002 graduate of the Intelligence Officers’ Advanced and Combating Terrorism Courses, US Army Intelligence Center and Schools, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He was a Counter Terrorism Fellow and a Graduate of the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, Washington, DC, 2005. He was an International Fellow and Graduate of the US Army War College, Class of 2008. He was Graduate of Nigeria Armed Forces Command and Staff College Course 22, of the year 2000.
Posted on 06/28/2017 4:15 PM by Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Vladimir Putin: A Suitor Spurned
Justin Raimondo has two interesting articles on Oliver Stone's Putin Interviews. If you can't see those interviews on Showtime, read these articles instead. Mr. Raimondo brings out some key points.
Posted on 06/28/2017 12:22 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Obama’s Footprint Blocks Trump’s Success in Western Hemisphere
Uproot Personnel, Apply the Cuba Reversal to Guatemala
by Steve Hecht
On June 16 in Miami, President Trump reversed Obama’s Cuba policy with a new approach that emphasizes basic freedoms and personal opportunity.
On the same day, also in Miami, Vice President Mike Pence met with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales to speak about the need for security and prosperity in Central America.
Pence reiterated the US commitment to aid programs; he made special mention of Guatemala’s Justice Ministry, as well as the International Commission Against Impunity and Corruption (CICIG).
Trump and Pence have taken a giant step forward with Cuba. But for their hemispheric policy to succeed, they must first remove the footprint that Obama left in Guatemala.
In Morales, Pence encountered a political novice and surprise electoral winner. Guatemala’s president has now served for over a year without getting his hands on the reins of power.
On assuming the presidency in January 2016, Morales had made very few appointments to his government. He knew the people he wanted for the key Ministry of the Interior, which is in charge of police and law enforcement; but Morales’s candidates were not to the liking of the US embassy or the CICIG.
The CICIG’s mandate is to protect Guatemala from extra-legal organizations that threaten the liberties of its citizens. Tied to US aid and appointed by the United Nations, the CICIG is not supposed to involve itself in routine presidential appointments. As for the US embassy, its mission does not include meddling in a host country’s internal affairs.
Morales’s predecessor had said he saw “no problem” with a key Interior Ministry appointee: Oscar Platero, a retired army officer whose expertise is precisely in breaking up the kinds of clandestine organizations that the CICIG is charged with dismantling.
But Platero was suddenly out of a job. An official spokesman explained that the retired officer did not have a “constructive working relationship” with the CICIG.
Nómada, a progressive website, reported that Morales “opted to cede” the Interior Ministry to the coalition of the Justice Ministry, the CICIG, and the US embassy. Those parties, Nómada said with evident satisfaction, “can rest assured because they have a trusted counterpart” in the new interior minister.
Under Obama, the US embassy in Guatemala was an outpost of radical activism. That statement especially applies to the current ambassador, Todd Robinson, an Obama holdover who today acts as if he were representing the views of the Trump administration.
With help from Obama’s three US ambassadors and Guatemala’s Justice Ministry, guerrilla militias have taken the place of legitimate authorities and extended their rule across much of the countryside. Those militias descend directly from guerrilla groups trained and financed by Fidel Castro; their partisans have been working for decades to overthrow Guatemala’s constitutional republic.
The militias, whom we have personally encountered, are agents of impoverishment and destitution. Their rule is brutal, and unopposed. Local police, who take their orders from the Interior Ministry, say they are powerless to act against the militias or to protect the populace from them. According to the UN high commissioner for refugees, the US has seen a nearly five-fold increase in asylum seekers from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras since 2008, on account of “surging violence.”
The rule of the militias in rural Guatemala is an obvious barrier to the Trump-Pence program for greater security and development. Taking them out would reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs to the United States, but Ambassador Robinson protects the militias. After Trump’s accession, Robinson had the cheek to announce — clearly without Washington’s okay — that “nothing will change” in US policy.
In his meeting last week, the US vice president was not really talking to Guatemala’s president. The man on the other side of the table, in effect, was Trump and Pence’s own ambassador.
An opponent of the Obama policy in Cuba and Guatemala is Cristy López, whose Cuban parents fled Castro’s regime in the 1960s. Every Wednesday, López and other women of the protest group “Guatemala Immortal” flood into the spectator gallery at Congress, which under pressure from Robinson is now passing measures that will put the country’s judiciary into the hands of the country’s radicals.
“It is ironic and sad,” López said, “that we have needed to dress in white, like the Cuban Damas de Blanco to go to the Congress and openly oppose changes that leftist groups linked to Castro are trying to impose on Guatemala with the help of the United States.”
If Trump and Pence hope to have a positive impact in Central America, they must undo Obama’s legacy, a process that begins with recalling Ambassador Robinson. Otherwise, the insecurity in the hemisphere and lawlessness on the southern border will worsen rapidly.
David Landau contributed to this article.
First published in the Impunity Observer
Posted on 06/28/2017 4:43 AM by Steve Hecht
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
No Room at the Inn for an Iftar Dinner
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Muslim groups sit down outside Trump Tower (CNN)
The Washington Post has reported — drop a ready tear — that there will be no Iftar Dinner this year in the White House:
For the first time in nearly two decades, Ramadan has come and gone without the White House recognizing it with an iftar or Eid celebration, as had taken place each year under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.
And the article by Amy Wang attempts to suggest that the “tradition” of the Iftar Dinner goes all the way back to Thomas Jefferson who, as is well known, was asked by a visiting Muslim envoy of the Bey of Tunis, one Sidi Soliman Mellimelli, to postpone the dinner to which Jefferson had invited him, along with others, until after sundown, which Jefferson, as a matter of courtesy, did.
The Post continues:
Jefferson’s decision to change the time of the meal to accommodate Mellimelli’s [the envoy from the Bey of Tunis] observance of Ramadan has been seized on by both sides in the 21st-century debate over Islam more than 200 years later. Historians have cited the meal as the first time an iftar took place in the White House — and it has been referenced in recent White House celebrations of Ramadan as an embodiment of the Founding Father’s respect for religious freedom. Meanwhile, critics on the far right have taken issue with the characterization of Jefferson’s Dec. 9, 1805, dinner as an iftar.
Notice how in the Post article it is “historians” (disinterested, authoritative, not to be doubted) who cite that 1805 meal as the first Iftar dinner in the White House, while those who deny that the meal was an “Iftar dinner” are described as being on the “far right,” apparently for no other reason than that very denial.
What actually happened is clear for those without an insensate need to make Islam, as Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed it was, “always part of America’s story.” And you can be as left-wing as all get out, and still recognize that Jefferson was not putting on an Iftar dinner. A little history will help: Mellimelli came to Washington as the envoy of the Bey of Tunis. The Americans had blockaded the port of Tunis, in order to force the Bey to halt his attacks on American shipping. Mellimelli was sent to make an agreement that would end the blockade. Invited by Jefferson to a dinner at the White House set for 3:30 (dinners were earlier in those pre-Edison days of our existence), he requested that it be held after sundown, in accordance with his Muslim practice, and Jefferson, a courteous man, obliged him. There is no hint that the dinner had changed in any way; no one then called it, or thought of it, as an “Iftar dinner.” Mellimelli himself did not describe it as an “Iftar dinner.” There is no record of it being anything other than the exact same dinner, the same menu, with wine (no removal of alcohol as would be necessary were it a real Iftar dinner), the only change being that of the three-hour delay until sunset. Nothing Jefferson said or did at the time, or in his later writings, indicates that he thought of that delayed dinner as an “Iftar dinner”; nor did he think he was in any way honoring Islam.
In fact, Jefferson had a very dim view of Islam, which came out of his experience in dealing with the Barbary Pirates, that is, the North African Muslims (in Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli), who attacked Christian shipping and seized ships and Christian sailors, and then demanded ransom. The sums were not trivial; the American Republic found itself spending 20% of its national budget on such payments. These continued until Jefferson became President, stopped the practice of paying such tribute, and instead made war on the Barbary Pirates. And that worked.
In 1786, years before he became president, Jefferson, along with John Adams, met with the Tripolitanian envoy Sidi Haji Abdrahaman in London. Perhaps by then Jefferson had read the Qur’an he had purchased in 1765 out of curiosity (no one knows how much of that Qur’an Jefferson may have read, or when, though some Muslim apologists have baselessly claimed he must have bought his Qur’an out of sympathetic interest in Islam.) If he did read it, it would have helped him to understand the motivations of the North African Muslims. Certainly by the time he became President in 1801, he was determined not to negotiate with the Barbary Pirates, but to implacably oppose with force these Muslims whom, he knew from his encounter with Abdrahaman in London, were permanently hostile to all non-Muslims.
In London, Jefferson and Adams had queried the Tripolitanian ambassador “concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury” for the Americans had done nothing to deserve being attacked, and the ambassador replied, as Jefferson reported:
“It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.”
And later, Jefferson reported to Secretary of State John Jay and to Congress at greater length, with a nearly identical quote from the ambassador:
“The ambassador answered us that [the right] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
These reports do not sound as if they came from someone who thought well of Islam. The more dealings Jefferson had with the representatives of the Barbary states, and the more he learned from them directly of the tenets of the faith, the more he began to understand the aggressive nature of Islam, the centrality of Jihad, the inculcation of permanent hostility toward non-Muslims, and the heavenly reward for Jihadis slain in battle.
The Iftar dinner “tradition” begins not with Jefferson in 1805, and that three-hour delay in a meal that was otherwise unchanged, but with our latter-day interfaith outreach presidents — Clinton, Bush, Obama — each of whom, in his own way, has managed to ignore or misinterpret the texts and teachings of Islam.
That “tradition” of Iftar dinners in the White House is less than 20 years old, as compared with the other “tradition,” ten times as long, that is, the 200 years of Iftar-less presidencies. That short-lived “tradition” has been ended, for now, by an administration that, for all of its self-inflicted wounds and woes in other areas, continues to exhibit a better sense of what Islam, foreign and domestic, is all about, than its predecessors, and has no desire to obliquely honor it.
The interfaith outreach farce that the Iftar Dinner at the White house embodies, honoring Islam — while, all over the world, every day brings fresh news of Muslim atrocities against non-Muslims, more than 30,000 such attacks since 9/11/2001 alone, not to mention attacks as well against other Muslims deemed either of the wrong sect, or insufficient in the fervor of their faith — now comes to an end, if only for four years. That is certainly what Jefferson (and John Adams, and that most profound presidential student of Islam, John Quincy Adams), if not The Washington Post, would have wanted.
And since John Quincy Adams has been mentioned, why doesn’t The Washington Post take it upon itself to share with its readers what that most scholarly of our presidents wrote about Islam. It does not date. And it might prove most instructive.
Fist published in Jihad Watch.
Posted on 06/27/2017 7:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald