US, Europe Must Convince Each Other To Pursue The Right Goals In Iran
by Walid Phares
French President Emmanuel Macron held talks with his American counterpart last week in Washington. He was followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the Europeans make a last ditch effort to convince President Trump to step back from his possible withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.
It’s not surprising that the world is closely watching this issue as that deadline, May 12, ticks closer. But we should all be deeply concerned if the spectacle of the nuclear issue distracts attention away from broader concerns regarding Iran’s conduct in the region and around the globe. This is something that both Macron and Trump have clearly been taking seriously throughout their respective tenures.
In other words, we should all hope that the Western leaders would address the Iranian activities that threaten the world not just five or ten years from now, but right at this moment.
Among European leaders, Macron has been bringing attention to the need for constraints on Iran’s ballistic missile program, which contributes to regional instability. Macron has also been decidedly vocal about the danger that the Iranian regime poses in Syria, where it is the most loyal and longstanding backer of Bashar al-Assad and his collective violence against the Syrian people.
It bears mentioning that Trump’s aversion to the nuclear deal and Macron’s commitment to countering Iranian influence in Syria are clearly based on the same correct understanding of the Islamic Republic. That is to say, both men seem to recognize that Iran’s behavior will not change in any meaningful way until it undergoes a change of government. So while nuclear negotiations might limit the current government’s ability to develop the most destructive weapons, the nuclear issue will never be fully resolved as long as that government continues to set policy for the nation.
Meanwhile, the persistence of Iran’s regional intransigence serves to safeguard the theocratic regime, complete with its belligerent, nuclear ambitions. By contrast, multilateral efforts to push Iran out of Syria and other regional conflict zones would weaken the regime and force it to face domestic problems, which include a restive population and a protest movement that quite possibly poses a greater challenge to the regime than it has ever faced before.
Iran’s domestic uprising is of particular significance to Macron in light of the fact that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called him on January 2 and urged the French government to crack down on the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), which has a presence in France and is reported to be a significant player in the proliferation of Iran’s anti-government protests in recent months.
A week after that call, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei delivered a speech in which he explicitly blamed the MEK, for planning and initiating the protests that spanned every major Iranian town and city in December and January, leading to explicit calls for regime change.
Macron naturally rebuffed Rouhani’s appeal, and this speaks to the common ground that the French and American presidents are establishing as they work together on charting the future course for Western policy toward Iran.
Multilateral sanctions are the first and most natural option for supporting and promoting those voices, especially as they continue to speak out loud on the streets of cities like Isfahan, Kazerun, and Ahvaz, where protesters recently clashed with security forces even three months after the violent suppression of the January uprising. With their collective tools of economic and diplomatic pressure, the US and Europe share a responsibility to keep international attention focused on the human rights abuses that often meet such protests, and to hold the perpetrators of those abuses to account.
And now more than ever, it is incumbent upon American and European leaders to establish a plan of action. Many experts on the Middle East have suggested that a resurgent uprising by the Iranian people may be just around the corner.
In March, on the occasion of the Iranian New Year celebration Nowruz, the Iranian opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi delivered a speech in which she urged the Iranian activist community to turn the year ahead into “a year full of uprisings.” The latest protests show that that progress is already being made toward that goal, which Rajavi predicted to lead to ultimate victory over the widely despised clerical regime.
When that victory comes to pass, and only then, the issue of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions will finally be resolved. This is something the Europeans must keep in mind as they fret over the future of the nuclear agreement. But at the same time, the Trump administration must be encouraged to recognize that complete disengagement from the Middle East in the face of the Iranian regime imperialism would only strengthen the regime and mitigate the threat it faces at this moment.
In this sense, it is clear that the Trump administration and its European counterparts have important lessons to learn from each other.
Dr. Walid Phares is a professor of international relations and served as a foreign policy advisor to Donald Trump in 2016. He is the author of many books including The Lost Spring: US Policy in the Middle East and Catastrophes to Avoid @walidphares
Chaos seems to be the concept du jour and our president its avatar. Of course, anti-Trumpsters think it all – his election, his utterances, his decisions – accidental: there is no “policy” behind what he does, no thought-out strategy, merely ganglia beyond the control of intellect and will, such as they are. Alas, Donald Trump is neither the fraudulent-but-savvy Obama nor the elegant and authentically unself-regarding Reagan, who never mugged it up and who did say, “there’s no telling what a man can achieve if he’s willing to forego credit.” Central casting has sent our fourth consecutive fun-loving adolescent president.
On his own he is incapable of deploying our customary presidential oratory. Obama tried but largely failed except when purveying epideictic (praise or blame) oratory, which was almost always his Plan A; yet even his many failed attempts at other types (programmatic, factual) were recognizably within a tradition. Trump’s efforts are literally trumpery. (There are exceptions, e.g. his European speech and the recent State of the Union address). But this doesn’t mean that DJT doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Identity is complex, each of us neither just this or that but a mix. Included in this president’s recipe is a genius for building with the understanding that, often, a building must be razed before something new and much better can replace it. In Spanish the useful phrase is romper el esquema, “break the pattern”; that is, violate expectations, unknot settled assumptions, discern that other patterns are possible. That’s where the chaos comes in.
“Turning over the apple cart” is one way of saying this, “drain the swamp” another, and so far with respect to this project the president – many say narcissistically, some say cluelessly, I say both and add fearlessly, unrelentingly and with unfathomable energy and focus – is succeeding, at least programmatically, which is what matters most. And notice: for all his self-referential gloating about the now, he has not once mentioned that which so obsessed the insufferable Obama, namely his legacy.
Rhetorical efficacy, though, is another story: diminished returns come early, so early, in fact, that a baseline of mockery, sarcasm, name-calling, exaggeration, bluster and sheer belligerence become style, and style is the man, inviting responses in kind: you get what you give (Como’s second law of communication). The sausage-making shows, credibility suffers, and ‘noise’ (rather than real information, that is, news of epoch-making achievements) takes up too much oxygen.
He simply does not understand that communication is like a song, having both words and music. The only tunes he can carry – and he is tone-deaf – are cacophonous ones, with too much base (so o speak). That’s at home. His domestic accomplishments are remarkable, from the number of judges confirmed, to tax cuts, a rising GDP, lower unemployment, and de-regularization; but the price of his rhetoric may be Republican control of Congress.
On the other hand, this new normal is easy to rise above in a statesmen-like manner, or close enough, and the president has done that. Even given his tone-deafness, he can flatter with the best of them. Moreover, abroad the impact of coercive tough-talk plays differently than at home: for all the news of diminished respect from the “international community” such talk works, like in the schoolyard – an infelicitous analogy, maybe, but human nature is what it is. Threaten sanctions, China blinks; talk war, North Korea comes to the table; float the possibility of leaving NATO, members start coughing up their 2%.
This scheme-breaking requires a big picture. Any given nation-state is an information system arranged like a pyramid with five strata, but often bloated and distended here and there. From the top down these are: Government (offices and functions are prescribed by some founding charter; functionaries come and go), State (bureaucracies, police power, the military; here, alas, functionaries abide like swamp-dwelling denizens: it is our bureaucrats that need term limits), Society (party politics, political debate, communication media, patterns of work and habitation, civil institutions that mediate among the various levels, and constellations of beliefs that regulate all of these), Nation (schooling, arts, letters, popular culture, manners, customs, mores, knowledge of history and geography; with Society, Nation describes quotidian life), and Culture (attitudes towards law, duty and morality, as well as language, religious beliefs and ritual, reverence for iconic people, places and things, folklore and myth). Culture is “a sodded place fit for tilling and providing for growth” – a teleological expression of seed and root.
Public figures attempt to wield influence at various levels, the best ones (Ronald Reagan, Pope St. John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher), after achieving some position at the top, proceed to influence from the bottom up. They take on ‘incorrigibles’ (embedded assumptions) and, especially, they alter figure-ground relationships. Obama, et al., thought to do this with bathroom use – it became a priority – and Isis – it was the “JV”. But he did not bother with that one function so beautifully accomplished by the great figures. He would not condescend to explanation. He failed to educate. So to this president I suggest: decide upon the level of the nation-state you wish to influence (do not confuse domains, even if you think some people will “get it” because you do: your base is only one audience), then sit, study, confer, learn, and explain. Sure, use the right words, but also make the right music.
And decide on the sort of rhetoric you will deploy. Your options are 1/ confirmational (keep smoking but change brands), 2/ utilitarian (stop smoking), and 3/ syntactical (stigmatize smoking). Each of these (think of the use of safety belts in a car, or the requirement that people clean up after their dogs, both unthinkable fifty years ago) requires a campaign; its own music, certainly, but not tunes so different from each other that they cannot occupy the same marquee: schizophrenia is not allowed. (See Nixon and LBJ.) Finally this: take up only that oxygen you need to do the job, not that extra oxygen you need to exhibit yourself or merely to . . . have fun. Less base, more treble.
Esmerelda points out that this is an old story - from 2016. Nevertheless, it's instructive. Jews News reports:
A HUGE stash of AK-47 weapons reportedly belonging to Islamist extremists have been found hidden near a mosque in Germany.
The weapons arsenal was discovered during a top secret raid by a SWAT team in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Local politician Ismail Tipi revealed details of the raid and warned of “the danger of fundamentalists”. The weapons were found in a cold room of a greengrocer near a mosque. Its the most populous state in Germany with nearly 18million people in the area, which includes Dusseldorf.
Mr Tipi, who is a member of the Hessian parliament, warned of the dangers of Salafi fundamentalists. He Says that The danger of fundamentalist Islamists who are ready to use violence arming themselves in Germany is very large. This secret raid finding this weapons cache makes this more than clear.
Mr Tipi, who is said to have received death threats for his comments against jihadis, raised concerns sleeper cells are gearing up for a terror attack on Germany.
He said: “The information about this is increasing. The fear is large that Salafist sleeper cells, jihadis, and ISIS terrorists in Germany get support from foreign intelligence services that are not friendly to us.
“Through the weapons arsenal, the sleeper cells and militant jihadis can be armed with weapons and prepare for their likely attack. This is exactly what I have always feared.”
A Manifesto On Islamic Antisemitism Shows the France That Has Come to Its Senses
by Hugh Fitzgerald
12th Century French Country Home
In France a letter, or rather manifesto, denouncing Islamic antisemitism and demanding that Muslims take action, has just been published in a French paper, Le Parisien. It was written by Philippe Val, a former editor of Charlie Hebdo. “‘Ethnic purging’: French stars and dignitaries condemn antisemitism,” AFP, April 21, 2018:
More than 300 French dignitaries and stars, including ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and actor Gérard Depardieu, have signed a manifesto denouncing a “new antisemitism” marked by “Islamist radicalisation”, following a string of killings of Jews.
France’s Jewish community of more than half a million is the largest in Europe but has been hit by a wave of emigration to Israel in the past two decades, partly due to the emergence of virulent antisemitism in predominantly immigrant neighbourhoods.
“We demand that the fight against this democratic failure that is antisemitism becomes a national cause before it’s too late. Before France is no longer France,” reads the manifesto, to be published in the county’s Le Figaro newspaper on Sunday.
The signatories condemn what they called a “quiet ethnic purging” driven by rising Islamist radicalism, particularly in working-class neighbourhoods. They also accuse the media of remaining silent on the matter.
“In our recent history, 11 Jews have been assassinated – and some tortured – by radical Islamists because they were Jewish,” the declaration reads.
It appears that France’s elite is coming to its senses on the subject of Islamic antisemitism. In this letter, several hundred French men and women, many of them well-known political figures, including a former president, three former prime ministers, a former mayor of Paris, prominent writers, singers, film stars, among them Christians, Jews, and five imams who have been outspoken “reformers,” and as a result, are under round-the-clock security.
The letter points out that the current antisemitism has cost the lives of 11 Jews, some of whom were tortured before being killed, the most recent being Mireille Knoll, an 84-year-old woman who had escaped the Holocaust, and who was killed by her Muslim neighbor, whom she had befriended and known for 20 years. Among the other victims have been Ilan Halimi, 24, kidnapped and held by a Muslim gang for three weeks, while he was continuously tortured, and finally died from the torture; a rabbi in Toulouse who, after his two young children and a third Jewish child were murdered in front of him, was then shot to death; 65-year-old Sarah Halimi, who was stabbed eleven times by a Muslim neighbor and then thrown out of a window, and four shoppers at the HyperCacher, a kosher supermarket in Paris.
This letter makes several important points: for all the absurd talk about Muslims “being the new Jews,” in France it is clear that the “new Jews” are still the Jews. Jews in France are 25 times more at risk of being attacked than are Muslims. And in the last few years, 50,000 Jews in the Parisian region have felt it necessary to move from neighborhoods with Muslim immigrants because of their fears for their own safety, and for the safety, too, of their children, who are bullied by Muslim classmates.
Finally, the manifesto calls for verses of the Koran calling for the “murder and punishment of Jews, Christians and disbelievers” to be removed on the grounds that they are “obsolete.” That’s a good many verses in the Qur’an that would have to be removed. The uncompromising division of the world between Believer and Unbeliever, Muslim and non-Muslim, is not tangential, but rather central, to Islam.
Muslims were quick to respond. Within a day, they had denounced the letter, claiming that it unfairly stigmatized Islam.
As reported by Agence France-Presse, the letter sparked anger from Muslims who said their religion was being unfairly “put on trial.”
Unsurprisingly, there was the usual display of victimhood. The signatories were “blaming a whole religion for the actions of an extremist minority.”
It wasn’t an “extremist minority” that drove 50,000 Jews out of their homes in the Parisian region because of physical threats to them and their children from Muslims. Large numbers of neighborhood Muslims had to have made threats or approved of the climate of fear to drive away 50,000 people. “French Muslim community blasts anti-Semitism letter as attack on Islam,” AFP, April 24, 2018:
“The only thing we can agree on is that we must all unite against anti-Semitism,” said Ahmet Ogras, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith umbrella group.
Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris (a man paid by the French state, and always held up as the very model of a moderate Muslim), said the manifesto “subjected French Muslims and French Islam to an unbelievable and unfair trial.”
“It creates a clear risk of pitching religious communities against one another,” he said in a statement.
Notice that Dalil Boubakeur does not take issue, because he can’t, with any of the claims made about the persecution and murder of Jews in France. There has not been, to date, any Muslim outcry over these 11 murders, nor any attempt to express solidarity with the 50,000 Jews who to date have been are being driven from their homes out of fear of Muslims. Why not? Why didn’t any Muslims think they had a responsibility to say something? And now that something has been said, but by the French themselves, how dare these prominent Muslims attack, not antisemitic Muslim murderers and neighborhood bullies, but the defenders of the Jews who have just stepped forward? Why is it that the lonely handful of imams who signed this manifesto, and who have expressed true solidarity with Jews and Christians, have for this been ostracized and threatened by other Muslims, so that they now require round-the-clock security?
But Tareq Oubrou, imam of the Grand Mosque of the southern city of the Bordeaux, pointed out that Islam was not the only religion whose ancient holy texts contain anachronistic passages.
“Any number of holy texts are violent, even the Gospel,” Oubrou said, adding that the signatories, who also included celebrities like actor Gerard Depardieu, had misinterpreted the Koran.
The Tu-Quoque is becoming comical. The Gospel’s “violent” texts describe behavior thousands of years ago, and do not prescribe such behavior for all time. The Qur’an’s verses commanding hatred of, and violence against, Infidels, on the other hand, are prescriptive, as valid now as they were 1400 years ago.
The writer Pascal Bruckner, among those who signed the letter, told France Inter radio it had not been intended “to stigmatise but to spur on the goodwill of reformist Muslims.”
Just how many “reformist Muslims” there are in France, beyond the five imams who signed the manifesto, will soon be apparent. I think Pascal Bruckner is going to be very disappointed.
The letter said that since 2006, “11 Jews have been assassinated — and some tortured — by radical Islamists because they were Jewish”.
The latest attack rocked France last month when two perpetrators stabbed an 85-year-old Jewish woman 11 times before setting her body on fire, in a crime treated as anti-Semitic.
Officially, the number of anti-Semitic crimes fell in France in 2017 for a third year running, according to the interior ministry, down seven percent.
But Jews are the target of about a third of France’s recorded hate crimes despite making up only about 0.7 percent of the population.
The half-a-million-plus Jewish community is the largest in Europe but has been hit by a wave of emigration to Israel in the past two decades, partly due to antisemitism.
This manifesto may represent a watershed. Truths have been told that cannot be un-told: that not the Muslims, but the Jews, are the “new Jews”; that Jews in France are 25 times as likely as Muslims to be the victims of attack; that Muslim antisemitism is virulent and is based on the clear meaning of many Qur’anic verses. Those verses, which preach hatred of Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims, have to be rendered “obsolete,” the manifesto declares, if France is to remain France. In France, the large-scale presence of Muslims has created a country that is now, for the French and for other, non-Muslim immigrants, much more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than it would be without that presence. Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls memorably said that “France without its Jews would be unthinkable.” But just how unthinkable would France be without its Muslims? Or, to put it more acceptably, at least without those Muslims — a great many, alas — who refuse to treat as “obsolete” the Qur’anic verses that preach murder and persecution “of Jews, Christians, and disbelievers”?
An inability to be a leader on pipelines will be the ruin of Justin Trudeau
Canada is a mockery for importing 700,000 barrels of oil a day in eastern Canada while being unable to move oil from Alberta to eastern markets
by Conrad Black
The issue of pipelines is a key in Canada’s latest crossroads of national seriousness. The country didn’t arise from an anti-colonial revolution, like others in the Americas, or from a unique cultural homogeneity like Norwegians, Finns, Israelis and Czechs. It was a group of British-settled or occupied territories strung along the American border and hastily put together when the U.S. emerged united at last and with the greatest army and generals in the world after its Civil War, and unencumbered with any affection for the British Empire.
John A. Macdonald, the great and racially tolerant founder of the country, and George-Étienne Cartier and George Brown, conceived the only transcontinental, bicultural, parliamentary confederation in the history of the world, and secured its approval by squabbling colonial legislators in what are now four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick), and by the British Parliament. Benjamin Disraeli was chancellor of the Exchequer, deputy prime minister and leader of the House of Commons in a government officially led by the Earl of Derby, who as colonial secretary had completely misjudged the issue of responsible government in Canada after the 1837 rebellion. Disraeli and William Ewart Gladstone, in the midst of their great rivalry of more than 35 years (during which they served as prime minister and chancellor a total of 13 times) had little knowledge of Canada, were skeptical about its survival, and Gladstone generally thought the Empire was nonsense anyway. They interrupted the intense debate over the Second Reform Bill, vastly expanding the British electorate, to put Macdonald’s British North America Act through. The colonial secretary, Lord Carnarvon, said they were creating what would eventually be one of the world’s great nations, and the governor general of Canada, Viscount Monck, spoke in the House of Lords in support of it with some eloquence.
Macdonald was nominated and elected the first prime minister but realized the new country needed a national purpose beyond not being American. He soon unveiled his “national policy,” which consisted of setting up more provinces, imposing a tariff that would facilitate the creation of a manufacturing industry, and most ambitiously, building a transcontinental railway that would connect the new country and be the spine of it. This was an immense undertaking: the Americans were pursuing the same objectives but they could lay track on farmland and gentle hills all the way to the Rocky Mountains and had a huge capital market to finance their railways. Canadian Pacific was largely built upon the rock of the Canadian Shield, and Canadian financial markets could finance only about a quarter of the costs. The financial centres of New York and London, where funds would have to be raised, were heavily influenced by forces connected to competing American railroads. Macdonald got his entire program through, and was followed by 15 years of Wilfrid Laurier extending rail service in the country and incentivizing immense waves of immigration.
Macdonald and Laurier, prime ministers for 34 of Canada’s first 44 years as a Dominion (there were five prime ministers in the other 10 years), built a credible country, able to play an important and distinguished part in the First World War.
Other prime ministers were more than placemen. Robert Borden took the country through the First World War (though he used the English majority to impose conscription on French Canada). Mackenzie King ran always as a figure of French-English conciliation, and got the country through the Second World War without a major split, running a very distinguished war effort, and even taking the lead in urging president Harry Truman and British prime minister Clement Attlee into the Cold War after the Igor Gouzenko affair broke in Canada in 1946. Louis St. Laurent presided over peace and prosperity in the Fifties, Lester Pearson was a wide-ranging reformer. The only reason Pierre Trudeau entered pubic life was to defeat the Quebec separatists, and he did it when no one else could. Brian Mulroney tried unsuccessfully to complete the constitutional process but did succeed in putting through free trade and in moving the basis of federal income from taxes on income to taxes on goods and services, both vital achievements. Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin eliminated the federal deficit and passed the Clarity Act, making provincial secession more complicated after almost losing the 1995 Quebec independence referendum. Stephen Harper tried to shrink the public sector durably by reducing HST. Other leaders governed too briefly to leave much of a mark.
Canada appears completely dysfunctional; a chump among the world’s nations we so tiresomely lecture on their moral duties
For two-and-a-half years, the Justin Trudeau government has been preoccupied with full-body immersion in politically correct pandering to native people, gender warriors, and eco-alarmists, in fiscal extravagance, collective apologies, and Peter Pan posturing in the world. In strategic terms, Canada is a mockery for importing 700,000 barrels of oil a day in eastern Canada while being unable to move oil from Alberta to eastern markets. The accomplished financier and philanthropist Seymour Schulich last week sent round a letter to a Vancouver newspaper from a man in Seattle thanking Canada for the gift of “$100 million a day” because of the low oil price forced on Alberta by British Columbia, by preventing Alberta from exporting oil to world markets. The failure to supply our eastern provinces and to access fully the trans-Pacific markets, squabbling and envious provinces, and the lack of any effective federal leadership are a disgrace that makes Canada appear completely dysfunctional; a chump among the world’s nations we so tiresomely lecture on their moral duties.
I like Justin Trudeau personally and urged readers to vote for him in 2015, because of the Harper autocracy and sclerosis (after a generally successful period as prime minister). While the financially and oratorically extravagant political correctness of the government is grating, there have not been disasters until recently. Failure to get some movement on pipelines will sink this government. The stalling of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would almost triple the flow of Alberta crude oil to the West Coast, to 890,000 barrels daily, and the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline in October of last year, which would have brought more than a million barrels a day east from Alberta and Saskatchewan for refinement and sale or export, are both traceable to the absence of federal leadership.
Underlying the travails of both projects is the moral incapacity to face down the nativist and ecological scaremongers. The natives are ambiguously divided on the Trans Mountain pipeline and do not play an important role in the eastern project. And the climatic debate is nonsense: alleged (completely implausible) danger to 76 orca whales on the southern British Columbia coast, and esoteric discussion about the impact on ability to meet the insane carbon-emission targets we foolishly committed to in the Paris climate agreement. (It doesn’t matter much because the entire fairy tale evaporated with the withdrawal of the United States, while the chief offenders, China and India, charge ahead making no commitment to do anything.) We will find out soon enough if climate is changing, if the world is warming, and if the conduct of man has anything to do with any of it. We need not amuse the world by pre-emptively punishing ourselves as we are.
What is required is a federal enunciation of a right of eminent domain that enables the federal government to fulfill its mandate to provide peace, order and good government. This could require the patient appointment of high court judges who will not be as easily gulled as they have been recently by woeful tales of the ubiquity and fragility of native religion and the susceptibility of nature to the safest of all energy transmission methods. And above all, it will require leadership. It’s showtime for Justin Trudeau; to take a phrase from the Quebec of Pierre Trudeau’s politically formative years: “Un chef ou pas un chef?” (a leader or no leader?).
I just finished reading James Comey's book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership. Given current events, I felt I had to. Comey's version of events surrounding the Clinton e-mail investigation, the Russian Collusion investigation, and the entire controversy surrounding the very character and personality of President Trump is an important part of the public record even if the book is self-serving (It is.) and even if certain parts of the book are open to question (They are.).
Looking at the book as a big picture, Comey comes across as one who considers himself the wisest and most ethical person in the room, if not all of Washington. Each chapter begins with a quotation from major figures in world history, from St. Francis, Mark Twain, Margaret Thatcher, and Thomas More among others. There are also quotes in the texts from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
There is no question that Comey has no respect for President Trump. At the end of the book, he states flat out that Trump is unethical. When Comey describes his personal encounters with Trump, he goes to great lengths to paint an uncomplimentary picture of Trump's personality, a man who doesn't listen to others and who dominates the conversation. Comey also stresses that Trump has no concept of the separation that the FBI and its director must maintain from the White House in order to maintain its integrity and independence. He, of course, describes the White House dinner when Trump demanded his personal loyalty.
More specifically, I wanted to check and see how Comey's words in the book matched up with events as we have learned over the past couple of years. One part that particularly caught my eye was in chapter 8 when Comey describes his policy of making sure every FBI trainee was educated about the abuses against Martin Luther King under J. Edgar Hoover. Comey writes:
"To drive that message home, I obtained a copy of the 1963 memo from J Edgar Hoover to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy seeking permission to conduct electronic surveillance of Dr King. At the bottom of the single page memo, which is only five sentences long and without meaningful facts, Kennedy's signature grants that authority, without limit as to time and place. I put the memo under the glass on the corner of the desk where every morning I reviewed applications by the FBI and the Department of Justice to conduct national security electronic surveillance in the United States. As Hoover did, I was required to personally sign an application. The difference was our applications went to a court and were often thicker than my arm. As I would explain to employees, it is a pain in the neck to get permission to conduct that kind of surveillance, and it should be."
And yet, Comey signed off on that infamous FISA application to obtain a wiretap against one time Trump campaign aide Carter Page, which was largely based on the equally infamous Russian Dossier, compiled by former British Intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, which told of Trump allegedly hiring Russian hookers to urinate on his Moscow hotel room bed because the Obamas had previously slept there. (There were four applications, the original and three re-authorizations. Comey signed off on three and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, signed off on the other one.) While Comey talks about the dossier and how he briefed Trump about it, there is no mention of how it was used in the FISA application. Nor does he mention that the dossier was partially paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign. Nor does he mention that now-disgraced ex FBI official Andrew McCabe testified before Congress in December 2017 that without the dossier, there would have been no FISA application against Page. Indeed, Carter Page is not mentioned in the book.
While Comey does mention McCabe a few times-and defends him as a man of integrity - the names of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page do not appear in the book. There is nothing in the book regarding the emails between Strzok and Page that talked about their hostility to Trump and their fervent desire to see Clinton elected. Not that agents are not entitled to their political preferences. They are not supposed to let it interfere with their job. Yet, they referred to the Trump-Russian collusion controversy as an insurance policy and indicated they knew that Clinton would not be indicted.
As to the Clinton email investigation, Comey goes to great lengths to show that he and the team of agents working the case acted properly in deciding not to recommend prosecution. In explaining his decision, Comey stressed two points in chapter 10:
1 "Our investigations required us to answer two questions. The first question was whether classified documents were moved outside of classified systems or whether classified topics were discussed outside of a classified system. If so, the second question was what the subject of the investigation was thinking when she mishandled that classified information.
In Secretary Clinton's case, the answer to the first question-was classified information mishandled?-was obviously, "yes".........
".........The heart of the case was, the, was the second question: What was she thinking when she did this? Was it sloppy or was there criminal intent? Could we prove that she knew she was doing something she shouldn't be doing?"
Not only does Comey ignore the actions of Clinton that would show knowledge of guilt in destroying the contents of her already subpoenaed emails using "Bleachbit" and actually destroying her communication device, he claims they could not show "intent" by Clinton to break the law. What Comey leaves out is that the principal federal law that would apply is 18 USC 793 (f), which did not require intent, rather that the accused mishandled classified information through "gross negligence". That is why Comey revised his exculpatory memo on Clinton to change "grossly negligent" (as originally worded) to "extremely careless"). The former term has legal implications. Comey claims in his book, that legal experts would recognize the difference. I sure cannot. In addition, it was Peter Strzok who helped Comey write that memo and reportedly was the one suggesting the change from "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless."
"Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both."
Comey then uses the David Petraeus case as an example. Petraeus lied to the FBI to cover up the fact that he had provided classified information to his biographer (and lover), so he knew what he was doing was wrong. In addition, Everybody on Clinton's email list had the clearances and need to know. (Except, as it later turned out, disgraced US Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was also the husband of Clinton's controversial advisor, Huma Abedin.)
Comey says more than once in the book that they could not prove that former Secretary of State Clinton "knew what she was doing was wrong". That is absurd. She received a security briefing before taking up her duties. To say that any secretary of state didn't know these actions were wrong is akin to saying that the head of DEA didn't know it was wrong to snort cocaine in his office during working hours (or at home after working hours as well).
Comey is more convincing when he describes the new information that was discovered from Anthony Weiner's laptop in October 2016-after the FBI had cleared Mrs. Clinton. Comey states that in his mind, it was better to advise the public that the case was being re-opened rather than conceal that fact and have it become public knowledge after a Clinton victory (which everyone presumed would happen). Thus came the announcement of a re-opening of the case followed by an announcement that the case was once again closed just days before the election.
"I don't leak"
Comey has been having a rough time in interviews making the case that he wasn't a leaker in spite of the hand-written memo he passed on to a Columbia University law professor and friend which was then passed on to the press. In his testimony before Congress, Comey admitted doing so in the hope that this would lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Trump. Comey so distrusted Trump that he began writing memos after his conversations with the President, a copy of which he shared with his FBI senior leadership team (no names given), and a copy of which he kept at home. (Chapter 13)
"As was my practice, I printed two copies of the memo. One I shared with the FBI senior leadership team and then had my chief of staff keep in his files. The other I locked up at home, for two reasons: I considered the memo my personal property, like a diary; and I was concerned that having accurate recollections of conversations with this president might be important someday, which sadly, turned out to be true."
Comey stresses in his interviews that the information was not classified-thus, he didn't leak classified information. One thing that was brought out in the Clinton email case was that a document is not just classified because someone puts a classification stamp on it. The information itself is what is classified. What we have here is an FBI director, so ill at ease in talking to the President, that he makes a hand-written memo of it and shares a copy to senior FBI leadership and his chief of staff for his own files. In one memo, Comey is addressing Trump's stated wish to him that he (Comey) could "let the Michael Flynn case go". Sorry, Mr Comey, but that document is sensitive on its face and belongs to the government. A conscientious civil servant would, in all probability, put a classification stamp on it simply given the players and the content.
Let me give a somewhat related example from my years as a federal agent. As a DEA agent (and this applies to the FBI and other federal agencies as well), we were required to keep our personal notes during an investigation for discovery purposes in the event of a trial. In other words, if an agent was conducting a surveillance, an interview, an interrogation, an undercover operation - you name it - it was not sufficient to merely submit an official report. Handwritten notes had to be preserved and made available to defense attorneys at time of trial. They were not our personal property. I would argue that nothing an FBI director produces as part of his duties is his personal property.
James Comey found himself in a unique situation in that his agency was investigating both of the 2016 presidential candidates at the same time. Few leaders could have navigated that mess well, and Comey was no exception. He talks a lot about leadership qualities in his book, and according to what I have heard was well-regarded by his agents. Yet, he does not dispel the notion that the fix was in on the Clinton investigation. All in all, Comey did not help his cause (vindication) by writing this book.
Security officials in Uganda say, police have shot dead two men ,arrested dozens and released about 100 women and children when a “radicalization centre” was discovered in a mosque in Kampala on Saturday. Police stumbled upon the centre on Friday as they pursued an individual suspected of kidnapping and murder this year, all the way to the Usafi Mosque in Kampala.
“Ugandan police force in a joint operation with sister security agencies conducted this operation at Usafi mosque in Kisenyi, Kampala, where 18 women and 94 children of various nationalities were all rescued unharmed. Two of the hostage takers were shot dead after violently and severely injuring one of the security officers”, said Ugandan police spokesman Emilian Kayima.
Speaking at a joint presser this morning at the Uganda Media Centre, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odongo stated that a joint security operation was carried out last night over incidents of crime that have occurred especially in areas of greater Masaka and Kampala, focusing on trying to establish the motive behind these heinous crimes. The justification for last night’ raid was after credible intelligence on one of the key suspects in the murder of Susan Magara, of a woman from an influential Ugandan family, whose body was discovered on February 27, 2018, three weeks after her abduction and a series of ransom demands.
General Jeje Odong who was saddened by the fact that the scuffle had to take place in a Mosque, a place of worship explained that it was not the intension of security operatives to raid the mosque, but the situation at hand left them with no options. “When you see a criminal running to a mosque, do you give up on chasing after him, because he has run into a place of worship,” he wondered. In the scuffle, two people from the mosque were shot dead as they tried to retaliate at our security personnel,” said Jeje.
Speaking at the same presser, Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima stated that the 36 suspects, whose statements will be taken to help in the investigations, are under police custody.
The kidnapped children included Ugandans, as well as some Burundians and Rwandans, added Kayima.
Over the past year, Uganda has been gripped by a string of kidnappings and killings, mostly involving young women and children, in which captors demanded ransom but, in some cases, still execute their captives.
A statement from local police also noted that the mosque had been utilized to facilitate the kidnapping. “Security forces take exception to the fact that such a place of worship could be used under the cover of sanctity and freedom of worship to plan and execute crime,” police said.
A teenager who posted rap lyrics on Instagram to pay tribute to a Liverpool boy who died in a road accident was found guilty of sending an offensive message. Sefton Magistrates heard that Chelsea Russell, 19 ... posted the lyrics on her Instagram account to pay tribute to Frankie Murphy.
Frankie, 13, died after he was hit by a car while riding a bike in the Page Moss area. The lyrics, said to have come from a song by US rap artist Snap Dogg, were ‘kill a snitch n**** and rob a rich n****.’' I'm not too sure how that is relevant to a tragic road traffic accident, but maybe the boy was known to like the song.
She was charged after Merseyside Police were anonymously sent a screenshot (which)was then passed to Constable Dominique Walker, who is based within a specialist police hate crime unit.
The court heard that Ms Walker was the sister of Anthony Walker, who was the victim of a notorious race hate murder on Merseyside.
PC Walker told the court that she found the words on Russell’s Instagram account grossly offensive.
She said: “As a black woman I found the words offensive and upsetting. The words are offensive to both black and white people.”
PC Walker also asked Carole Clarke, defending, not to use the word n**** in the court because she found it so offensive. Now that is absolute balderdash. 35 years ago when I was trained as a court clerk we were coached so that, when necessary as part of our duties, we could read aloud to the jury statements containing the most vile and foul swear words that we would never contemplate in our own home. It was part of the job, like a paramedic needing to deal with the sight of blood and gore. This policewoman isn't fit for her job if she can't handle evidence.
Ms Clarke argued that the meaning of the ‘n’ word had changed over time because it had been popularised by hugely successful and popular rap artists such as Jay-Z, Eminem and Kanye West. She said: “Jay-Z used these words in front of thousands of people at the Glastonbury festival.”
Russell told the court that she copied the lyrics from a friend’s Instagram account, which were used by thousands of people to pay tribute to Frankie Murphy. She said: “Young people across Liverpool use the word to greet each other. I listen to rap music and it’s in every single song.”
David James Rodway, who appeared as a defence witness, also said that the lyrics were used by young people all over Liverpool to pay tribute to Frankie Murphy on Instagram.
Russell, who was charged with sending a grossly offensive message by means of a public electronic communications network, was found guilty following a trial. Prosecutors said her sentence was increased from a fine to a community order "as it was a hate crime".
District Judge Jack McGarva ... ordered Russell to comply with a curfew order restricting her movements between 8pm and 8am for 8 weeks.
She was ordered to wear an electronic tag on her ankle during this period of time. Russell was also ordered to pay £500 toward costs and a £85 victim surcharge. (how much chocolate to sooth her inability to cope with evidence will that supply WPC Walker?). As Peter said this is a
"cranking up of state censorship and oppression of the indigenous people . . .
The song contained that word which blacks use to refer to themselves but around which white people must fear to tread. . . That's the precedent this has set.
... Thousands of rap songs contain that word. Any black can transcribe those lyrics. But a white girl is now a convicted racist because she transcribed the lyrics.
The context of her skin colour mattered. The context -- that she was quoting the word -- did not."
A large group of well-known right-wing political commentators, journalists and activists and politicians have shown their support for former English Defence League leader turned citizen journalist Tommy Robinson and his planned May 6th march to protest social media giant Twitter over free speech.
A video, (shown on linked page) which shows various right-wing personalities first with their mouths taped shut and then removing the tape, includes many who have been at the centre of the free speech debate in the United Kingdom in recent months…….
Other individuals expressing their support for the Day for Freedom included Breitbart London editor in chief Raheem Kassam, For Britain Movement leader Anne Marie Waters, UKIP leader Gerard Batten, Canadian conservative media personality Gavin McInnes, YouTuber Carl Benjamin also known as Sargon of Akkad, as well as Canadian philosopher and YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux.
According to the website for the march, which is to take place May 6th at Whitehall in London, “We will gather on Whitehall, at the heart of our government and demand that our legislators, MPs, police forces and social media giants stop their war on freedom of expression.”
This is a heartening development and it’s good to see a Canadian presence at the protest.
Speaking of Canada, here is a pretty good brief summary of The Great Replacement from Canadian Blog BLAZINGCATFUR, I include it because this is after all the main issue that has caused the clamp down on free speech:
The Political Debate Over Migrants Hasn’t Turned Ugly Yet – But It Could
All our political parties serve the same masters and it isn’t you and it isn’t me.
All believe in open door immigration and neither cares where that comes from so long as the “economy” read “a surplus of cheap labour” is maintained and ethnic vote whoring is built in to the election process.
We no longer need mass immigration and certainly not from backward nations with toxic ideologies.
The lies of multiculturalism and diversity shield and prevent politicians from honestly addressing the subject and the toll it takes on society in the form of contrived shortages in housing, suppressed wages, and the strain on public services.
The divide-and-conquer Balkinization of our nation is deliberate because you must be silenced.
Public dissent is demonized as racism or white supremacism or simply hate as the political class will stop at nothing to prevent lifting the veil on the great replacement.
Likewise, the political debate over free speech hasn’t turned ugly yet – but it could. Let’s hope our leaders and their minions see sense before it’s too late.
Say it over and over again, never stop saying that anti-semitism is a nauseating disease that must be eliminated. The things they're saying fill my heart with fear. Proposals for that elimination are not likely to be on the agenda of the meeting on April 27, 2018 in the White House between President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but recent events in Germany and other European countries should be of concern.
In contrast to the three day visit to Washington of French President Emmanuel Macron with its striking chemistry between the two presidents, in spite of frank policy differences, especially over the Frenchman's view's of a liberal world order instead of the illusion of nationalism, there are few signs of public affection but rather a more difficult personal relationship between Trump and Merkel. Apparently the two have not been speaking for several months. Besides the personal factor, Trump may well see Macron replacing Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe.
Clearly, there are a host of complex political and economic issues for Merkel who was accompanied by a large entourage of senior industrial managers, to discuss. Differences between the Chancellor and Trump exist on the fair share of the NATO burden not being carried by Germany, international and bilateral trade, free or fair trade, tariffs on whisky, motor bikes, steel, aluminium, and jeans, immigration, the Nord Stream two pipeline, under the Baltic between Russia and Germany that will increase European dependence on Russian gas, though Merkel argues that Russian gas makes up only one third of Germany's gas consumption. The Iran nuclear deal will be obviously be important.
Yet, perhaps some time may be found for an issue symbolically important for Merkel. Germany is a prosperous country and has benefited, politically and economically, from the creation of the European Union. To overcome its Nazi past, it has also tried to prevent the evil ethnic ideology from being resuscitated. It has responded in a variety of ways, with memorials and plaques, and with school education on the Holocaust.
Nevertheless, antisemitism has been on the rise in Germany as in other European countries. In 2017, there were 947 antisemitic incidents recorded in Berlin, an increase of 60% from 2016. and 1,453 incidents in the country. Chancellor Merkel has spoken strongly of the role in this of refugees or people who are of "Arab origin," who are bringing a different type of antisemitism into the country. Merkl said in April 2018 we must win the fight against antisemitic offenses. For the first time, a new Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany, Fritz Klein, has been appointed to fight anti-semitism, to help identify causes of discrimination and racism regarding Jews.
There are now 1. 4 million refugees in Germany. Jewish children for some time have been bullied in school by parents and children of Turkish or Arab origin. In addition, Israeli flags have been burned by pro-Palestinian protestors in Berlin. However, German police statistics attributed much of this to neo-Nazi groups. Clearly, some of this is due to the impact among the young in Germany as elsewhere who are much less knowledgable about concentration camps and of Auschwitz than their elders.
The issue in Germany has become more contentious in recent weeks as a result of two particular incidents. A 21 year old Israei-Arab deliberately wearing a kippa, yamulka, was attacked and flogged in the streets of Berlin by a man shouting in Arabic. What to do in response? The head of the Berlin Jewish community, Josef Schuster, said that Jews should not wear a yarmulka in public but rather baseball caps or something to cover their head. He was widely criticised for timidity, and a protest demonstration took place in Berlin of over 2,000 of various faiths wearing the Jewish skull cap. Berlin mayor Michael Mueller said "Today we are all wearing kippa. Today, Berlin is wearing kippa."
In April 2018 a second problem arose. A rap duo, Farid Bang and Kollegah who is a convert to Islam, a very popular group accused of antisemitic lyrics, was awarded an Echo, the German equivalent of Grammy, for the best hip hop album. Their lyrics contained lines: "My body is more defined than an Auschwitz inmate," and "Another Holocaust comes with a Molotov." In one of their tracks, in a London office, a banker wearing a Star of David ring is shown in charge of evil in the world. To aggravate the event, the award was given on Holocaust Remembrance day, April 12.
As a result of outrage at the award, some previously honored people gave back their Echos. They included Daniel Barenboim, Argentine-born Israeli conductor of Berlin State opera, and Staatskapelle Berlin, and Christian Thielemann, conductor of Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden. The organizers of the Echo award then changed their mind and decided not to give the Echo to the rap duo.
Another welcome gesture was by Hamburg officials who broke a large concrete swastika that was buried by Nazis under a sports field, and was once a foundation for a Nazi era monument that once stood at the site and was torn down. However, less welcome is the political party, Alternative for Germany, AfD. One of its leading members is Bjorn Hocke, member of Thuringia State parliament. He objected to the impressive memorial in Berlin to the murdered Jews of Europe, saying Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of their capital. His call is for no special weight to be given to Holocaust teaching.
His party, the AfD, wants to amend the Criminal Code to "protect Germans" from hate speech, though the law is meant to protect minorities.
Briefly attention can be paid to two other countries, the UK and Belgium.
The British Labour Party never ceases to be troubled by manifestations of antisemitism or equivalent antagonism to the Jewish State. The latest illustrations are cases concerning some prominent members of the Party, Marc Wadsworth and Mark Dearn. Wadsworth , a leftist activist was expelled from the Party for antisemitic behavior after he had reduced a Jewish woman Member of Parliament to tears and falsely accused her of colluding with the press.
It remains astonishing that Ken Livingstone, MP and former Mayor of London, is suspended from the Labour Party but has not been expelled for his remarks linking Adolf Hitler and Zionism. The irrespressible anti-Israeli Diane Abbott defended the two years delay in dealing with Livingstone. In somewhat cunning fashion, Livingstone argues that stressing antisemitism is bad political tactics because it undermines criticism of the State of Israel, and that it is a diversion from electoral campaigning.
The newest illustration is Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn's "strategy adviser" Mark Dearn, a senior official at War on Want, in effect a War on Israel, which, as does Dearn, supports BDS and helps fund and organize Apartheid Week. The War on Want organized in March 2010 a sit in at a London branch of the supermarket chain Waitrose because it stocked Israeli products from the settlements. Dearn criticized the UN for failing to criticize Israel in the same way it had criticized ISIS.
Some sanity is on display. Belgium Prime Minister, Charles Michel, on April 25, 2018 admonished his own university, Free University of Brussels, for honoring British film director Ken Loach who has won two awards for his films at the Cannes film festivals, with an honorary degree. Michel said no accommodation with antisemitism can be tolerated, whatever the form.
On this, Michel showed sound judgment. Among other things, Loach claims not to be antisemitic and has reaffirmed that the Holocaust is a real historical event. Yet, when asked if Holocaust denial was unacceptable he replied in less than candid and in questionable language that history is for all of us to discuss. He did profess that the founding of the State of Israel based on ethnic cleansing is there for us to discuss. Loach has for long supported BDS, and among other things called on the band Radiohead, a British rock band, not to perform in Israel. The band however rejected his opinion and did play in Tel Aviv.
Loach is a major problem because his very celebrity makes antisemitism and BDS, palatable to intellectual, cultured people. The Brussels Free University said it doesn't need the prime minister's permission to honor anyone and it is standing by its plan to honor Loach. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. By its action the University has disgraced itself. One hopes that this was mentioned in the conversation between Merkel and Trump.
This is Papua, the province of Indonesia, not Papua New Guinea the independent soverreign state with which it shares a border.
Yan Kossy has lived in Jayapura, the provincial capital of Papua, for many years without being disturbed by the influx of outsiders but he said he finds the recent accumulation of mosques in the surrounding area unsettling. For example, Muslims recently built an Islamic center and cemetery on a ground higher than where people have lived and sources of water for thousands of years. Some have taken it as a sign of disrespect and a bid to show the superiority of their religion while others fret about the environmental impact it could wreak.
"The cemetery could contaminate our drinking water," Kossy said.
Christians were further antagonized when the road to a popular Christian shrine was damaged during the construction of Islamic buildings in the area. Meanwhile, after the Islamic center was built another problem arose: the loud sound from nearby mosques as they made their calls to prayer.
Marianus Yaung, a resident of Jayapura District, said Muslims who have come to the region often fail to respect the rites or ways of local people. "They come and build whatever they want," Yaung told ucanews.com, citing the construction of the controversial Al Agshan mosque in Sentani. The mosque was built higher than church buildings in the surrounding area, causing Christians to protest.
Dominikus Surabut, a tribal leader in Papua, said everyone has the right to practice their faith and develop their religion. However the growing Muslim presence in the area, coupled with their recent behavior, is becoming problematic as it also provides room for the spread of radicalism, he added.
A number of radicalized Muslim groups have gained ground in Papua, he said, citing the existence and influence of Hizb ut-Tahrir, based in Keerom District in northern Papua . . . rumors about the presence of Jamaah Islamiah in Merauke, southern Papua “We are more concerned about the presence of Hizb ut-Tahrir [a pan-Islamic group] in Keerom because we know some of their members have received military training," he added.
The government banned the group last year but it remains active in the country with considerable influence.
Comprised of ninety-nine chapters, along with an Introduction, this latest book by Jewish feminist, academic and media commentator, Phyllis Chesler, A Family Conspiracy brings together material going back to 2004. The theme that binds all together is Chesler’s concern to bring into focus the phenomenon of “honor killing,” an extremely controversial term. For while it covers a variety of crimes against women perpetrated by families against their own mothers, wives and daughters with the spurious and vague rationalization of protecting or avenging the honor of the family, it is distinct from what is known as “domestic abuse” in westernized countries where such violence against women is against the law and not tolerated by the general public.
Domestic violence or the killing of wives, daughters and other women in the USA and Europe tends to occur randomly and usually against strangers. The more horrific the killing the less likely the perpetrator is to know his victim. When it is a matter of Muslim on Muslim, Sikh on Sikh or Hindu on Hindu murder, the crimes are well-planned out, carefully carried out by members of the family, and honored by the community. Honor killing is a form of social control overwomen and their bodies, a religious and customary or legal mode of punishment carried out on behalf of the whole community, and perceived as a necessary and virtuous act.
For those who have been reading Chesler’s books and essays over the years, this collection is a welcome chance to re-read many of her online op-ed pieces and to catch up on the essays we have not seen, especially in the scholarly and academic journals. Her arguments range from the objectively scientific to the engaged polemic and enraged call to action. They describe people and events she has witnessed with her own eyes, what she has learned from activists forced to flee their homelands for their outspokenness, cris de cœur from those trapped in untenable situations, careful perusal of surveys and meditation on the public documents and private papers held in police files and official storage cabinets.
Chesler collects, analyses and lists the evidence: who gets killed, where, by whom, under what circumstances; how families participate in, react against and deny what is going on; what police do and do not do, as well as social workers and teachers who see and do not see, make feeble attempts to protect the victims and stand back to let the criminals escape detection and punishment; how the judiciary overlooks, rationalizes away, and dismisses the perpetrators, thus failing the victims; and the reporters, editors and managers of the media record and then trivialize, print and then restrict the distribution of information, interviews and images. In the end, alas, no one does anything.
She has argued against the biases she sees in major media such as CNN and The New York Times. While the local press and small television stations do report on the torture, immolation and beheading of women, these cases seem to get lost soon after and do not flow throughout the USA or the rest of the world, as though each individual instance does not form part of a growing picture of very specific sort of violence against women, a Muslim-based cultural phenomenon, or an aspect of world-wide terrorism. Set against any efforts to open a public debate and raise the issue in judicial or legislative arenas, the immigrant elites and organizations such as CAIR confront the reporters and family whistle-blowers with an overwhelming barrage of threats and misinformation.
Chesler has to reiterate her basic arguments and point to the mounting number of instances that prove her points. Each new victim and family of perpetrators of honor killing discussed helps to fill out the picture of how the Islamic conspiracy works, not only openly in so-called Third World countries but in more subtle ways in advanced western nations as well. The profound similarity in method and attitude Chesler reveals makes it possible to capture the essence of the crime.
Then, as the same resistance and misunderstanding on the side of the European and North American courts and social systems expose the obtuse inability or unwillingness of “experts” to see what is clearly before their eyes, Chesler’s frustration and rage grow—and yet she never gives in or gives up. Her sympathy for the victims grows, her hatred for the criminals and their traditions increases, her anger at the failures of the host societies to take firm action to protect the women and prevent the horrible attacks becomes more focused and determined. She is erady to praise women, and men from within the migrant communities who stand up against the vicious behaviors, and she congratulates every police chief, reporter and social worker who finally “gets it.”
But the other side overwhelmingly remains unconvinced or in denial. They are organized, strong and dangerously so. The other side consists not only of the national and religious elites who prosper from the continuance of this war against women in their societies, but of ordinary people too frightened—or too ignorant—to stand up against the relentless propaganda and sermonizing.
Most frightening, though, are the liberal and feminist ideologues who refuse to see in complaints against the system anything but colonial rants, racist smears and imperial ambitions. For this reason, this collection of essays has other dimensions, those more personal to the author. Phyllis Chesler’s many iterations of J’accuse, the public denunciation and challenge Emile Zola published on behalf of Alfred Dreyfus in the late 1890s have not stirred up a national debate in America, and find little resonance in the mainstream media or anywhere outside the close circle of her supporters.
As Zola had to do, Chesler must fearlessly take on the media giants, the power of the pro-Islamic and anti-Zionist lobby groups, and the deep-seated and many times well-meaning and desirable attitudes of Political Correctness—its ideology of tolerance, secular distrust of all religions (except Islam), and its sense of guilt for the West’s past wrongs in Colonialism, Imperialism, Racism, Sexism, Slavery and on and on—but in this issue especially woefully self-deluded and spinelessly inarticulate.
In addition to hard evidence and the mounting of moral and judicial appeals to do something, there is a story of her own growing awareness of what honour killing is all about and what it implies for the status for all women in the world. Year by year, Chesler is still shocked and outraged, and brought to confess to having herself in the past missed one point or another, confused the roles of parents and siblings in the murder of rebellious girls and recalcitrant wives, or downplayed the role of females in organizing and carrying out the crimes, or not realizing the pressure brought to bear on families. Persistence and sheer doggedness, however, have led Chesler to write to people, make phone calls, call up favors and offer her services to keep the issues alive. The bloody accounts of murders and the collusion between family members to torture their own kin stir her to action. The stupidity and timidity of others only spur her on, and the cries for help are not allowed to go unanswered.
Chesler becomes increasingly aware of how many of her erstwhile comrades-in-arms during the struggle for women’s liberation have transmogrified into enemies, as they twist their feminist ideologies into the politically-correct demonization of western bourgeois values and ideals, and such Enlightenment notions as equality, tolerance, justice and rationality. Her own bona fides have been questioned to speak out on feminist issues, her own presence in rallies and conferences threatened by dis-invitation and violence, and her integrity as a Jewish woman mocked.
As her health declines it might seem a time to step back and let the next generation of feminist scholars and political activists take over. It isn’t. Her home and her mind remain hives of activity. She provides a venue for discussion and debate and she personally offers practical refuge to those fleeing oppression. This defence of Truth, Justice and Kindness is the core of her Judaism.
Thus one of most moving aspects to A Family Conspiracy is Chesler’s own wrestling with the doubts and depression that such constant opposition induces. It is not that she finds her enthusiasm flagging or overwhelmed by so much negativity and lack of empathy—even the forgetfulness by the next generations of young women of what Chesler stood up for and helped to bring into being—but whether she has the health and stamina to carry on. Not Phyllis. She remains an inspiration to us all, old as well as young, those in the thick of things or those of hidden away on the other side of the globe.
Norman Simms is a retired academic living in New Zealand. He continues to write books and articles and to edit the journal Mentalities/Mentalités.
Gambian migrant seized in Italy on suspicion of planning attack
ROME (Reuters) - Italian police have arrested an immigrant from Gambia suspected of planning an attack on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, a prosecutor said on Thursday.
Alagie Touray was arrested on April 20 as he was leaving a mosque in Licola, near the southern city of Naples, after local authorities received a tip off from Spanish intelligence.
Prosecutor Giovanni Melillo said investigators had found a video of Touray swearing allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
...police said, provided a transcript and image from the message where Touray said, "I swear allegiance to the Caliph of Muslims Abu Bakr Al Quaraishi Al Baghdadi, and to listen to him and obey him in difficult and easy times, on this 2nd day of Rajab and Allah is witness to what I say,”
Touray, 21, wrote on the Telegram messaging service that he was “on a mission” and asked others to pray for him, Melillo said. He told police that he had received a “request” from a fellow Gambian to drive a car into a crowd of people, but said he had no intention of doing so.
Touray arrived in Italy in March 2017 after being rescued in the Mediterranean from a boat packed with 638 other migrants. He was subsequently taken to a migrant centre in Licola and had applied for political asylum. His request is still pending.
“This is how this immigrant wanted to pay us back for asking for political asylum, poor fellow. Stop the invasion before it is too late,” League leader Matteo Salvini wrote on Twitter shortly after Touray’s arrest was announced.
People of Jewish ethnicity make up only about 0.7 percent of the population of France, but 0.7 percent is about half a million people, making this Jewish community the largest in Europe.
During the past few decades there has been a wave of Jewish emigration from France which is at least partly due to anti-Semitism emanating from the Islamic community.
Despite being such a small population in numbers, Jews are now the target of one-third of France’s recorded hate crime.
The latest attack, in which an 85-year old Jewish woman was stabbed 11 times before her body was set on fire, rocked France and has caused some reflection amongst the bien pensants.
Last Sunday an open letter was published in Le Figaro and Libération blaming “Islamist radicalization” for forcing Jewish families to flee and reviving “divisions in French society.”
The manifesto called for certain passages in the Koran which demand the “murder and punishment of Jews, Christians and disbelievers” to be removed both on the grounds of rising anti-Semitism and for being “obsolete”.
While Ahmet Ogras, head of the French Council of the Muslim Faith umbrella group, did intone, "The only thing we can agree on is that we must all unite against anti-Semitism," there was also some predictable anger from Muslims who said their religion was being unfairly "put on trial", and charges that the nearly 300 signatories, including ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, were “blaming a whole religion for the actions of an extremist minority.”
One Tareq Oubrou, imam of the Grand Mosque of the southern city of the Bordeaux, pointed out that Islam was not the only religion whose ancient holy texts contain anachronistic passages.
"Any number of holy texts are violent, even the Gospel," Oubrou said, adding that the signatories, who also included celebrities like actor Gerard Depardieu, had misinterpreted the Koran.
Ho hum. It must be a misinterpretation then.
But someone might point out to the good Imam that although there are passages in the Bible that could be interpreted as inciting violence we don’t act on them anymore.