The phoney FusionGPS dossier (which started the hysteria about Russian influence during the election) tracked down in Britain and given to FBI director Comey by...John McCain.
Grand strategic move to separate Russia from Iran and bring Russia more firmly into the West to oppose expansionist Islam foiled by....John McCain
Obamacare repeal foiled by....John McCain.
What will the Republicans do now? Will anyone upbraid John McCain they way they have consistently upbraided the President? Or will he continue to be able to stifle the President's agenda and for how long?
Everyone who follows American affairs should understand that the country is now in what amounts to a second, but non-violent civil war. There are still serious commentators who sagely counsel a return to bipartisanship, “reaching across the aisle,” as if anything of the kind were remotely possible. The Democrats and some of the Republicans smell blood and wish to see the Trump presidency destroyed and believe that to be possible. Some have been spooked by the malicious media carpet-bombing of the president; some actually think that there has been some impeachable offense committed, despite the absence of any evidence of one. But most have never seen such an immediate and no holds-barred battle between the Washington power structure and a new administration, because there has never been one, and want to see which way it moves before getting aboard one battle wagon or the other.
Because Donald Trump took control of the Republican Party by running against all factions of both parties, and the Washington media and lobbyists, Hollywood, Wall Street and the campaign financing system (and financed his own campaign for the nomination), and pitched his appeal to those dissatisfied with the system, he won an astonishing series of victories even unto the White House, and banished the Bush-Clinton-Obama triumvirate that had ruled post-Reagan America. But all the other elements of the political class he assaulted remain in place and are swarming Washington like assassins in the most unstable days of the Roman Republic and Empire. Every day, nonviolently, is the Ides of March.
Certainly, the opportunities for Trump’s opponents have been enhanced by some of the president’s inconsistencies and indiscretions, but almost all of these would have been overlooked or thought amiable in a normal presidential honeymoon, in which everyone settles in comfortably, a halcyon fairness is accorded by the media, and public curiosity about the new residents of the White House is benignly informed. None of it happened here, and even if the nature of the changeover: a righteous, raucous storming of Babylon by someone representing nearly half the people of a very dissatisfied and anxious country, assures the continuation of the war through Inauguration Day, the antics of Trump’s enemies have exceeded all modern American standards of systematic dishonesty. Jeff Sessions was the only Republican senator who supported him in the campaign. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would not appear in public with Trump, and then party chairman Reince Priebus ran for the tall grass several times. Neither of them expected him to win.
A Stumble and a Recovery
Trump has made a respectable effort to conciliate Republicans and place himself fairly gently at the head of that party. But it has been a delicate and incomplete act of union, and the congressional timetable has overtaken it.
The president failed to get right on top of the complicated health care issue, and was late to grasp how far Obama had succeeded in addicting many states and their congressional representatives to expanded aid for the low-income groups, Medicaid. Former president Obama incited a widespread desire for universal state-run health care, but which exposed the inherent corruption of many of the cross-arrangements of the large drug companies and private medical providers and hospital companies with influential members of the Congress. Paul Ryan’s biggest donor is Anthem, for example.
The president saved Ryan in getting the bill out of the House to the Senate, where senators who had shrieked for seven years they would repeal Obamacare and voted many times to do so, waffled and crumbled in a cowardly, shameful manner. They let the president down badly. It remains to be seen if anything of healthcare reform can be salvaged anytime soon, and Trump is not helping by oscillating between “letting Obamacare fail” and trying to pass something through a Senate with 48 disciplined Democrats, about 46 fairly purposeful Republicans, and five or six Republican hypocrites hiding under their desks and sheltering behind the anti-Trump media. The president’s efforts to shame and muscle his ostensible partisans into some consistency has some virtue, whatever happens.
The Republicans perhaps will make a better and successful effort at tax reform, already being denounced by the Democrats in Congress and the media, sight unseen, as the usual giveaway to the rich (who generally support the Democrats anyway with their odious fund-raising exactions in their splendid homes). Tax reform is also complicated and makes for better politics than health care; a bill is presumably being designed that would be difficult for the tin soldiers of Democratic Senate obstructionism to become too demonstrative about. This time, the president should be on top of the subject and lead from the front.
The arrival of Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director is a sharp upward ratchet in the Trump game, and demonstrates a couple of his more impressive traits. The president does seek high-quality collaborators, as he did when his business was in crisis, and in forming his cabinet. He is highly determined and almost impossible to discourage. It has been a fierce battle these six months and both sides are escalating, which makes talk of bipartisanship especially absurd.
I was one of those who thought that in engaging Robert Mueller as special counsel to take over an investigation in progress and run it within the designated parameters of subjects “relevant” to Russian intervention in the 2016 election, the administration would benefit from a man of integrity who would run a fair inquiry limited to its defined scope. The stupidity of Mueller in packing his staff with notorious Democrats, the scandalous leaks out of his operation, his charge into subjects far removed from his ostensible field, and his insolent tweet last week contradicting the president, do permit the inference that he is trying to run an assassination squad reminiscent of the worst days of Archibald Cox, Lawrence Walsh, and Kenneth Starr.
The problem is compounded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions probably having to recuse over his meetings with the Russians, innocuous though they were, and Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein showing no disposition to give Mueller reasonable and impartial guidance. The solution here is not to fire anyone. There is still no evidence of anything. (It would be instantly leaked and deafeningly hyped if there was.) Scaramucci presumably will run a comprehensive debriefing operation and the president’s legal team would consider legal challenges to an open-ended search and destroy mission through the entire lives of the president and his family if that is what Mueller is trying to conduct.
There will never be any evidence of Trump-Kremlin collusion, and the whole concept is just self-serving Clintonian myth-making, that has flourished in the hothouse of Democrats unable to accept the election result, echoed by a partisan press that is a prop of the failed ancien regime Trump assaulted. This episode should disabuse the entire political class of the temptation to criminalize policy differences, a cancerous constitutional deformation ignited by Watergate, and nurtured by Iran-Contra and the nonsense of President Clinton’s peccadilloes.
If Trump Fails. . .
Apart from the fact that this is war, what seems to escape notice is that if Trump fails, and however he fails, it will not bring a return to something good. It would be the return of those who gave America the initial under-reaction to terrorism, the housing bubble and world financial crisis, the elevation of Iran to preeminent influence in Iraq and much of the Middle East, then the North Korean crisis, the migrant humanitarian disaster, a flat-lined American economy hobbled with a back-breaking and under-funded welfare system, and the enthronement of political correctness to the point of official inability to utter the words “Islamist extremism.”
Not only should Trump win, he must win, to prevent the profound decline of America, and the rise to world leadership, as if on the other end of a teeter-totter, of China. That is what is at stake, not the president’s hairstyle, syntax, or tweeting habits.
Since the Kurdish Regional Government of Northern Iraq, backed by its local legislative assembly, decided to organize a referendum on self-determination, both positive and negative reactions were fielded in Iraq, the Middle East and internationally. Baghdad and the two main neighbors of Iraq — Iran and Turkey — expressed opposition to the Kurdish popular consultation, each one for different political reasons. Beyond the region, Western European governments expressed concerns yet not irreversible opposition. Europe’s major powers have at the same time opposed separatism within their own borders (as in Northern Ireland, Basque and Corsica) yet have supported it in the former Yugoslavia twice.
In the United States, many members of Congress support the Kurdish referendum and a few openly support the rise of a separate Kurdish state in northern Iraq for historic reasons. As during the presidential campaign, the Trump administration continues to commit to solidarity with the Kurds fighting ISIS, but has not yet developed a direct policy regarding the referendum or separation.
The most recent polls do show that a majority of Kurdish political parties in northern Iraq support the move while non-Kurdish communities are divided on the issue. These are the present geopolitical realities engulfing the projected vote in September. Such complex positioning is not unique. In every similar past ethnic territorial crises, all parties involved reacted to self-determination requests based on their own interests, the geopolitical context and negotiating abilities. And each case dealt with its own particular conditions within the country and region.
The right for self-determination has been consecrated in the founding charter of the United Nations, and since its founding in 1945, via several General Assembly resolutions recognizing that right for nations to decide their future. However, international law during the Cold War narrowed self-determination to decolonization for realpolitik reasons. Separatism, especially violent separatism, was not encouraged. Hence, long or catastrophic civil wars, such as seen in South Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea or Kashmir — or even in the case of the Kurdish uprising in Iraq — never ended happily with an emergence of a new state.
With the end of the Cold War, however, international relations allowed for wider acceptance of the principle of separatism, as long as they were peaceful or presented as a solution to human tragedies. Czechoslovakia split smoothly into two republics, both welcomed by the U.N., and later into NATO and the European Union. The disbanding of Yugoslavia into several independent countries was endorsed by the West, though criticized by Russia. South Sudan got its own state in 2011, and around the globe a number of national and ethnic communities have been striving to achieve statehood. Sovereign statehood is not illegal. Many countries we know, including ours in America, somehow separated from another power in order to exist. But in other cases, instead of separation, nations like Germany reconstituted their national identity by reuniting in 1989. Most countries want to maintain intact borders, and very understandably. Reconstructing frontiers is dangerous and could trigger chaos if not well organized and accepted by all parties concerned.
Separatism has traditionally been seen as a last resort, and thus the world has always demanded justification. The party seeking separation has always been asked to demonstrate that it is indeed different and seeking an identity of its own and that it is suppressed or has experienced tragic and cataclysmic events. But what has become a relatively new accepted procedure, a sine qua non condition, is the necessity of holding a referendum. Regardless of the outcome, a referendum is a license to claim statehood. The international community must see the will of the people before recognizing any outcome. Hence we’ve seen many referendums taking place and not always leading to new borders: Quebec in Canada, Scotland in the United Kingdom, East Timor, Southern Sudan — and requests for such exercises in other countries such as Belgium. In short, referendums are a form of a democratic expression. They are legal, legitimate, and a peaceful tool to help a people move forward or affirm the status quo.
Iraqi Kurdistan has long presented many conditions justifying its right to hold a referendum, even if the results may not automatically lead to a state. The painful history of oppression under Saddam, and the most recent bloody campaign by ISIS against the Kurds and other minorities in northern Iraq since 2014, constitute the tragic elements of the equation. The Kurds of Iraq have already obtained, from their own co-citizens, Arab Sunnis and Shia, a right to form a federative entity in the north, demonstrating the country’s recognition of local self-determination for the Kurds. Iraqis have agreed that they are diverse in their constitution, and referendum is not an alien concept to them. In short, the Kurds have a perfect right to organize a referendum to consult their own population regarding their future. But that right is not theirs alone. The new norm of acceptance is to then engage in negotiations with Baghdad after the vote. Scotland and Quebec, for example, were ready for that international norm and prepared to negotiate with their central governments.
The U.S. and the international community know all too well that the Kurds have suffered and that they wish to move forward with their destiny. But four conditions should be met in order for the referendum to be accepted by the outside world:
(1)It must be peaceful and transparent.
(2)Non-Kurdish communities, such as Assyrians, Yazidis, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Turkomen, Shabak and Mandeans, should be granted full minorities rights within Iraqi Kurdistan.
(3)Should the outcome lead to full separation, the new entity should vow not to serve as a springboard for destabilizing neighboring countries by supporting guerillas in these countries, including (primarily) Turkey.
(4)Representatives of the northern
Iraqi entity should be prepared to engage in full-scale negotiations with the Iraqi government regarding what comes next. Any negotiated and agreed upon settlement between the two parties will be the real guarantee for future stability.
The results of this referendum could simply maintain the status quo, set up a modified and more advanced federal system in Iraq, develop a confederal system of two states within one Iraqi country, or may lead to a Czechoslovak-like peaceful model. What is important for the populations of Iraq and for the Kurds and other minorities is that any move be peaceful, democratic and civilized. After ISIS, Iraq needs calm and stability, secured against a new ISIS, and freed from Iranian domination. The referendum in northern Iraq will be one benchmark in Iraq’s evolution. It will demonstrate a political maturity in which ethnic communities can exercise their fundamental right to express themselves without endangering their partners in the state, the minorities among them, or their neighbors in the region. The Kurds of Iraq will exercise that right and the world will watch them move forward into a more tolerant 21st century.
After the conclusion of the Six Day War, on September 1,1967 the Khartoum Declaration was issued by eight Arab states with its "framework of the main principles by which the Arab states abide." It listed the combative three NOs: no peace with Israel, no recognition of it, no negotiations with it. Fifty years later, on July 25, 2017, the Palestinian Fatah movement, protesting against Israeli efforts to ensure security of its citizens by metal detectors and security cameras, issued a new three NOs: no to the occupation, no to the metal detectors, no to the cameras.
Once again, Palestinian leaders and organizations, and Muslim leaders in other countries have misused the religion of Islam as a political weapon to explain the unsatisfactory social and economic condition of their people, as well as their refusal to accept the legitimacy of the State of Israel Religious texts promote an extreme political agenda.
Prominent among these leaders is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, though preoccupied with arresting journalists in his country, animosity against the Kurds and plans to annex Northern Cyprus, nevertheless found time to comment on July 25, 2017 on the Jerusalem issue. He urged Muslim worshippers to "protect the holy sites in east Jeruslem, because Israel, using terrorism as an excuse, is trying to steal the al-Aqsa mosque from Muslims."
The Israeli stealing was not apparent in the events starting on July 14, 2017 when three Arab Palestinian terrorists smuggled handguns into the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and killed two Israeli Druze policemen at this site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Mosque. As a result Israel closed the site to Muslim men under the age of 50 during Friday prayers, an action which in turn caused a weekend of blooodshed. Israel then set up metal detectors and more cameras at the site, after which thousands of Palestinians protested on the excuse it was undermining the holiness of the shrine.
Two things are pertinent to the events. One is the call by Palestinian leaders to continue the violence. President Mahmoud Abbas, now approaching the 12th year of his four year term and seemingly converted into a democrat, called for Palestinians to "intensify the popular struggle" over the Temple Mount. He has encouraged religious authorities to "defend your land and your honor." The other matter is the curious silence and no "popular struggle" over the metal detectors providing security in the Vatican, in Mecca for the Hajj, in Egypt, in Bihar, India, and Lahore, Pakistan. Wherefore are they different from those in Jerusalem?
Administration over the disputed site is in the hands of the Waqf, the Jordanian controlled Islamic religious authority, which called on Muslims not to visit it until the cameras were removed. In any case, for many years only Muslims have been allowed to pray at the site. The meaningless response of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the metal devices was not to discuss a solution to the surveillance but to call for cutting all ties with Israel until the issue is resolved. The boycott of the shrine would continue.
Israel on July 25, 2017 did remove the metal devices from the entrance to the mosque, and attempted to put in less offensive surveillance methods such as cameras. For Muslim officials this was insufficient. Some appear to have undergone instant conversion to democracy. One spokesperson, Sheikh Raed Dana of the Waqf was equivocal on whether worshippers should end the protest and return to the shrine; " this movement is a movement of the street...we as the Waqf listen to the street ."
In this view the Wafd would act as the "people" decided. Inadvertently, he was agreeing to a conclusion that the whole supposed religious crisis was a political event, having little connection with religious principles. Moreover, the Muslim call is extreme. Jews should be banned not only on the Temple Mount, but also at the Western Wall, part of the Old City, which Palestinian leaders claim belongs to Muslims.
There is no secrecy about the misuse of Islam. President Abbas on July 23, 2017 praised Palestinian terrorists, asserting that each drop of their blood that was spilled in Jerusalem is "pure blood" as long as it is for the sake of Allah. The essential problem is that Palestinian authorities have made the Temple Mount a base for operations not simply for supposedly protecting the site but also as the place for the struggle against Israel and Jewish history in the area. It is distressing that Jewish archeological treasure have been destroyed. The Palestinian leadership inflamed its people by saying that the mosque is in danger. The diatribe by Abbas on September 20, 2015 is familiar: "al-Aqsa is ours and so is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre."
For those interested in policy in the area two matters are relevant. One is to emphasize the political misuse of the Islamic religion, and to base policy proposals on factors on the ground. The other matter, accompanying the first, is to become familiar with the analysis on this contentious Middle East area coming from impeccable sources.
Since 2002 a series of reports of Arab Human Development (AHDR) written by independent Arab scholars have provided an objective and accurate picture of the political, social, and economic trends that influence the Arab region. Among other things they comment on the role of Islam in hindering development. At that time in 2002 the GDP of the whole Arab League was less than that of Spain.
The first AHDR report indicated three areas of shortcoming: the Arab states lacked full respect for human rights and freedoms; they suffered from lack of empowerment of women; they lacked knowledge. Subsequent AHDR reports emphasised existing deficiencies - "the need for freedom of opinion, speech and assembly; high quality education; affirmative action for women; popular representation, lack of democracy; lack of scientific research and informational technology; high level of illiteracy, about 65 million, two thirds of whom are women.
The sixth, most recent, report in 2016 considers the situation of youth, a subject important for the whole Arab Middle East and directly pertinent to the riots and demonstrations of Palesinians. For a considerable time average population growth rates in the area have been among the highest in the world, and thus exert great pressure on existing institutions, though the growth has slowed somewhat in recent years.
The Arab population in 1970 was 124 million, in 2010, 350 million, and on current projections it will be 604 milion in 2050. To help understand the July 2017 events in Jerusalem, the crucial fact is that over 60% of the Arab population is under 30: young people between 15 and 29 account for one-third of the population, while those under 15 account for another one-third.
The lack of development stems not from Israeli alleged activity in the Temple Mount, but from poor education, lack of employment, poor health, lack of empowerment in economic, political, and social life, inadequate representation in public life, and conflicts. In 2002 five Arab countries were affected by conflicts; in 2016 11 Arab countries were involved and 250 million live in areas vulnerable to conflict.
For youth, there is a lack of suitable job opportunities, partly because of nepotism. Youth unemployment in the Arab area is twice the global average; it is 24% for young men, and 47% for young women. The area does not embrace the concept of equality, especially for women.
Yet, in spite of the reality and magnitude of all these problems, the cause of the Palestinians remains the largest and mose serious existential threat in the region according to the 2015 report of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. About 75% of respondents believe the Palestinian cause is not only a Palestinian issue but also an Arab one. Some 85% oppose diplomatic recognition of Israel by their countries.
Logically this is inexplicable in an area that accounts for 25% of global conflicts since 2010. The consequences of those wars are dire: in Syria, more than 250,000 deaths and one million injured, 4.8 million refugees and 7.6 million internally displaced; in Libya, fighting has led to over one million dead and wounded; in Iraq, more than five million are refugees, internal and external. The area is home to 47% of the world's internally displaced people and 58% of all world refugees.
A sane point of view would suggest that Arab countries would benefit by enhancing the capacities of their young people and pursuing development. It is a disgrace that the official communique of Fatah on July 21, 2017 is that everything that is happening is a toll for the blessed al Aqsa mosque. That is not the road for development.
My husband and I went to see this in Trafalgar Square this morning.
It's a statue of a WWI soldier, resting, sleeping on his kit, made to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendael, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres. It is only there for four days. Two young Dutch artists, sisters Damian Van Der Velden and Kilian Van Der Velden made him from mud, clay and sand taken from the site of the battlefield. Exposure to the elements (and some artificial rain if we had any uncharacteristic sunshine in London in July - it did happen two weeks ago) means that the statue has already started to melt away since it was erected yesterday.
Damian Van Der Velden told CBS Canada "I was trying to get the emotional or exhausting feeling that the solider has to have at that moment . . . All his energy is gone". The Passchendaele mud, she said, is "the heart and the soul" of the statue, and collecting it was harrowing experience."If you walk on it, you know you are walking on a death field," she said. "It's strange. You cannot imagine."
From one side he looks like a young boy dozing peacefully. From the other side he looks older and in discomfort. I don't know if that is deliberate, or merely the effect of a night's rain.
I did start to speak to Damian Van Der Velden, asking her how she decided on the appearance of the subject, but as she was telling me about her source sketches she was interupted and I decided not to interfere with her subsequent conversation - the lady concerned was visibly moved.
The statue is being filmed and a time lapse video is intended. I wish he could be cast in bronze and erected permanently on the fourth plinth. Some of the modern art featured there has been good; some thought-provoking if not to my taste; too much has been rubbish.
The president has worked on repairing America’s relationship with Israel and articulating the radical Islamist threat. These gains may be rendered moot, however, if he endorses the ill-informed State Department report.
by Matthew M. Hausman
Ambassador Nikki Haley has been a breath of fresh air since taking up diplomatic residency at the United Nations. Unlike her immediate predecessors, Haley has been unapologetic in asserting the role of the United States as a global leader. Since beginning her tenure at the UN, she has helped lay to rest the Obama policy of “leading from behind” which for eight years served to compromise relationships with US allies and create a power vacuum that facilitated Russian and Chinese aggression, empowered Islamic radicalism, enabled the proliferation of terrorism, and assured the nuclearization of Iran. In addition, she has supported Israel without qualification and condemned the UN’s pervasive culture of anti-Semitism.
But is this restatement of priorities to be taken at face value, or does it signal a paradigm shift with respect to Mideast foreign policy?
Many hoped after the Six-Day War in 1967 that Israel could trade land for peace and achieve comity with her Arab neighbors. However, any overtures were preempted a few months later at the Arab League Summit at Khartoum, which resolved that there would be no peace, no negotiations, and no recognition of Israel. This consensus was fractured somewhat by the Camp David Treaty between Egypt and Israel, but most Arab-Muslim nations adhered to the “three no’s” until well into the 1990s. Egyptians, too, have never acknowledged Israel as the ancient Jewish homeland.
The paradigm shifted in 1993 with the Oslo Accords, which effectively validated Palestinian Arab national identity. Israel thereafter was expected to acknowledge the authenticity of a Palestinian narrative that denied Jewish history and promoted anti-Semitism. The advent of Oslo gave rise to the slogan “two states for two peoples,” though only one of those peoples had a documented existence and connection to the land since antiquity. Whereas Jewish nationhood goes back 3,500 years and is corroborated by the historical, archeological and scriptural records, the Palestinian narrative is only about fifty years old and has no similar foundation. It is a post-modern political designation predicated on revisionism and a repudiation of Jewish history. Nonetheless, proponents of Oslo sanctified the myth with the expectation that Israel would do the same.
Letter to US House Africa Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) on Including Sudan Sanctions Review in Omnibus Bill
July 25, 2017
Mr. Jeff Beck
c/o Rep. Chris Smith (R) - 4th CD-NJ
House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health & Global Human Rights
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2373
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Amending Omnibus Legislation before House to include Sudan Sanctions Review
Dear Mr. Beck:
On behalf of my colleagues and co-authors, Lt. Gen M. Abakar of Sudan United Movement (SUM), Ms. Deborah Martin, I want to thank Rep. Chris Smith for his leadership at the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Globe Health and Global Terrorism in holding the April 26, 2017 Hearing on Sudan Sanctions. You may recall we submitted testimonies for the record from several Sudan resistance commanders and humanitarian officials from Darfur and the Nuba Mountains:
1. Lt. Gen. (ret.) Abakar M. Abdullah, Chairman of the Sudan United Movement (SUM);
2. Gen. General Abdalaziz Adam AlhiluSPLA/N General commander/Chief of staff of SPLA/N and Deputy Chairman of the SPLM-N;
3. Mr. Sodi IbrahimExecutive Director of the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA-N); and,
4. Mr. Yunan MusaKunda, SSRA-N External Relationship Coordinator.
We also appreciated the June 30, 2017 bi-partisan letter sent to President Trump suggesting deferral of permanently lifting those 20-year sanctions in view of continual violations by the Bashir regime in Khartoum on the several tracks of Executive Order No. 13761 issued by former President Obama on January 13, 2017. The letter significantly contributed to the executive order issued by President Trump on July 11, 2017 deferring a decision on Sudan sanctions until October 31, 2017.
We are enclosing an advance copy of a report on current conditions in both Darfur, neighboring Chad and Libya that are indicative of the continuing violations of the Executive Order and sanctionsby the Sudan regime of President Bashir with the support of the emirate of Qatar and the Islamic Republic of Iran that will appear in the August 2017 edition of the New English Review, “Sudan regime rampages against Darfur while involved in overthrow of Chad and Libyan Governments.”In the wake of the Trump Administration Executive Order on July 11, deferring a decision to permanently lift the 20-year sanctions against the regime of ICC indicted war criminal, Sudan President Bashir, there was evidence of violations of two of the five tracks included in the original Obama Executive Order No. Executive Order No. 13761 of January 13, 2017.
First was the brutal ejection by the Rapid Support Forces/Janjaweed militia (RSF/Janjaweed) of Darfur university students on a protest march. Second, were actions by the RSF/Janjaweed against several communities across Darfur. Third, was further evidence of Sudan providing a base for the overthrow of the regimes of President Idriss Deby of Chad and the Libyan National Army (LNA) regime of Field Marshall Khalifa Hafter in Tripoli. The objective of the Bashir regime is to destabilize Northern and Central Africa creating a caliphate ruled under Islamic Shari’a law from Khartoum.
In view of today’s House deliberation on the pending Omnibus Russia, North Korea and Iran sanctions bill, we are seeking the Representive’s considerationof an opportunity to enter a floor amendment to add a provision with respect to Congressional review of any changes in Sudan sanctions proposed by the President. If that is feasible under House rules, we believe that might be consistent with the objectives expressed in the June 30, 2017 letter signed by 53 members, including Representative Smith.
We highly regard the exemplary efforts of Representative Smith and members of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Global Human Rights on concerns for the civil and human rights and freedom from oppression of the indigenous African people of Sudan.
My heart is full Gratitude and joy overtook me last night as I was crowned @missworldaustralia 2017 at @grandhyattmelbourne Last night re-affirmed that dreams really can become realities. We have all heard this and some of us have been fortunate to not only think it, but truly know it… though it has never prevented the doubt that creeps up on us… it is faith in the best outcome provides us with the strength and motivation to do our best and continue striving. So many people I would like to give a whole hearted thank you to- My family for your love and support. Miss World Australia team and @pageantqueenaus (Miss World Australia director) for your kindness, understanding, faith and trust in me. The judges who represented diverse and relevant elements and industries in Australia that I admire- from an organisation dedicated to helping those in need and giving women opportunity, comedy to keep us light hearted, fashion that keeps us feeling who we are, health and fitness which equips us with the energy to chase our dreams and send positive messages, and reality which showcases bravery to be who we are in front of a large audience. To @phuketpearls for the stunning crown inspired by the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge-it is so appreciated and considerate of you to have incorporated iconic Australian culture into your carefully handcrafted masterpiece, it is so beautiful and I love it dearly <3 The @hugthailand for your partnership and hospitality- I am so very excited to travel to the land of smiles once I have an extra big one to bring to your country @ozwearaustralia , @novoshoes and all our other sponsors for their generously donated gifts (products, thoughts, hospitality and love) . Each time I received something I felt so spoilt and meeting some of you has been a pleasure you are all so infectious and it really does translate in your products. Thank you for having myself as your ambassador. It has been a blessing to raise funds under #beautywithaprpose and for @varietyaustralia . Thank you Australia- for giving me a home and opportunity to do good #missworldaustralia2017
So far, so breathtakingly banal.
This crazed, cliche-filled stream of naively covetous consciousness, by this pretty and mindless girl, who is grateful to, and is full of love for, practically everyone, begins with her heartfelt thanks — in the manner of someone accepting an Oscar at too great a length — to her family, for their “love and support,” to the Miss World Australia team for their “kindness, understanding, faith, and trust in me,” to the judges “who represented diverse and relevant [?] elements [?] and industries in Australia that I admire,” “from an organisation dedicated to helping those in need” and “giving women opportunity, comedy to keep us light hearted” and “health and fitness which equips us…” — possible spokeswoman for gym equipment? — “with the energy to chase our dreams” and “send positive messages” [?] and “reality [?] which showcases our bravery [?] to be who we are.”
But there’s not just this blend of nonstop nonsense and banality. There’s also the shout-out to, product placement for, the sponsors, for all the gifts they’ve lavished upon her, from “ozwear” to phuketpearls for providing her with a $58,000 necklace, and to an entire country, Thailand, for its “partnership and hospitality,” which she hopes to visit (and of course she will, it’s all part of her deal) — would-be tourists, please take note of her endorsement — just as soon as she can learn to give a smile big enough for that “land of smiles.” And then a last little incoherent thrust: “you are all so infectious [!] and it really does translate [!] in your products [!]. Thank you for having myself [English is not her strong suit] as your ambassador.”
But that’s not the main reason to deplore Ms. Voloder’s newfound fame. She doesn’t just want to be a brand ambassador for pearls and ozwear and tourism in Thailand. She wants to be a brand ambassador for Islam, the faith she was born into and which, she assures us, has been getting a bad rap. Included in her acceptance speech was this:
“The Islam that I know, that is in the Qur’an, I don’t associate that with any acts that are occurring around the world. People tend to blame religion for the atrocities that are happening, but if we do that we take responsibility away from the individuals.”
“A lot of things have been misconstrued about Islam. I feel that a category has been created that is not really what the Qur’an actually promotes. I believe Islam is about peace, unity, prosperity and inclusion.”
The Islam that she knows may be in the Qur’an, but only in the most misleadingly abridged of versions. Shall we yet again, as we always must on such occasions, remind her of 9:5 and 9:29 and 8:12 and 3:151 and 47:4 and 98:6? Is it possible that her eyes glazed over when she came to those verses, or did she somehow manage to ignore them and more than a hundred others like them, that command Muslims to fulfill the duty of violent Jihad against the Infidels, until such time as they are everywhere subdued, and Muslims rule, everywhere?
She may not “associate” the Qur’an “with any acts that are occurring around the world” (by this she is demurely alluding to terrorist acts by Muslims, of which there have been more than 30,000 since 9/11/2001), but apparently many of those who commit these acts do not agree. Some of them chant Qur’anic verses on uploaded YouTube videos showing the decapitation of Infidels, or the blowing up of enemy vehicles. Others show the warriors of the Islamic State, marching through Mosul or Raqqa under the black flag of Islam, with the Shehada written on it, apparently associated by these warriors not with peace but war. And the two killers of Drummer Rigby, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, converts to Islam who after their attack proudly held up their copies of the Qur’an, even quoting passages about violence — is it they who have misunderstood Islam, or is it Esma Voloder? What was it that that vastly learned Shi’a theologian, Ayatollah Khomeini, did not understand about Islam when he issued his many calls for making war on the West and, especially, on the archenemies Zionists and Americans? Was his successor Ayatollah Khamenei calling for “peace” or “unity” or “inclusion” when, a few weeks ago, he called for a Jihad against the hated Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir? Was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State, showing an ignorance of the “real” Islam when he so often called for “jihad,” or for ‘more jihad” or for “tornadoes of jihad to erupt,” with not the slightest doubt that he meant endless war against the Infidels? Like the Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei, al-Baghdadi has had extensive theological training. He obtained a BA, MA, and PhD in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad. Is it possible that all three were misinformed by their teachers about the true peaceful Islam, the only kind of Islam that Esma Voloder recognizes?
Esma Voloder, of course, has plenty of distinguished company in her certitudes. Tony Blair, who claimed to never be without his copy of the Qur’an, once praised that book as “practical and way ahead of its time. The most remarkable thing about reading the Koran – in so far as it can be truly translated from the original Arabic – is to understand how progressive it is.” His successor David Cameron knew Islam, the real Islam, could do no wrong, so that after the killing of Drummer Rigby, he quickly denounced the attack, describing it as a “betrayal of Islam.” Theresa May has repeatedly called Islam “peaceful” after every terror attack — not just at home, but to an American audience in Philadelphia — and described the Muslim attack on Westminster Bridge as a “perversion of Islam.” Barack Obama has said, repeatedly, that “Islam is a religion that preaches peace.” His predecessor George Bush produced his own variations on the theme in a series of treacly Iftar messages: “Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.” And “Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion.” And “all Americans must recognize that the face of terror is not the true faith — face of Islam. Islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. It’s a faith that has made brothers and sisters of every race. It’s a faith based upon love, not hate.”
For Pope Francis, who has somehow managed to overlook 1400 years of war against Christians by Muslims, “all religions want peace” (this was uttered shortly after an 85-year-old priest had his throat slit) and “Islam is peaceful” and the “Qur’an is peaceful” and “Muslim terrorism does not exist.” How many times must he say it, in how many variations on the nonsensical theme, to make you believe it? Credo quia absurdum — this should be the motto repurposed for this Pope — “I believe because it is absurd.”
Just repeat the Pope’s prescription for World Peace and Interfaith Outreach ad libitum, and surely something good will eventually come of it. Or will it? Lots of people in the Western world have wagered not just their own reputations, but the survival of their own peoples, on some version of the ever-more doubtful notion that Islam is about “peace, unity, prosperity, and inclusion.”
Esma Voloder has her precious crown, her ozwear, her phuket jewels, her endorsement deals and brand ambassadorships locked in, with many more no doubt to come. But she wants to do something for the good of everyone. She wants to promote Islam. Pro bono, apparently. She claims, and she may even believe, that Islam is all about “peace, unity, prosperity, and inclusion.” Though Muslims have been purveyors of taqiyya since 680 A.D., I don’t think that’s necessarily the case here. She sounds like a political naif who is simply repeating a line she has been fed. But perhaps I am being too kind. Whether she is misinformed, or deliberately deceptive, given her new position as Miss World she will undoubtedly have many occasions to tell interviewers her understanding of Islam. As always, such an interview will make even a minimum of sense only if the interviewer has properly prepared to question her by reading the Qur’an, and some of the hadith and sira. It won’t be time wasted; as a central subject of the age, Islam is here to stay, and anyone who has actually learned something about it will find many occasions on which such knowledge will come in not just handy, but indispensable.
Such an interviewer ought first to allow Esma Voloder to have her pollyannish say, all about “peace, unity, prosperity, and inclusion.” She should then be asked what verses in the Qur’an she thinks support her view of peace, or unity, or inclusion? Could she recite a single such verse? If she offers 5:32, make sure to insist on reciting 5:33, and explain how it modifies 5:32. And if there are some verses (early, Meccan) she manages to recall, remind her of the doctrine of abrogation, which she undoubtedly will never have heard of. Then suggest that there are quite a few verses in the Qur’an that help explain the dozens of military campaigns Muhammad took part in, just in the last ten years of his life. What does Esma Voloder make of this verse (read out 9:5)? Or this (read out 9:29)? Or this (read out 47:4)? Read them slowly. Explain that there are more than a hundred such verses in the Qur’an, and that you’ve posted them at your website, to which you then provide a link. Piqued by Ms. Voloder’s display of confusion, which will be obvious as soon as she tries to explain away just those three verses quoted by the interviewer, others will want to check out these and other Qur’anic verses for themselves. And with that link,you’ve made it easy for them.
Ms.Voloder will have a hard time explaining away these verses, but make her task harder still. Even before she can offer the “these-verses-have-to-be-put-in-context” excuse, the interviewer should proleptically note that “the usual way” these verses are dealt with by Muslim apologists is not to forthrightly acknowledge them, but instead to “contextualize” them, to pretend they apply only to specific enemies from 1400 years ago. “But,” the interviewer can add, “both the glosses provided by the most eminent Qur’anic commentators, such as Ibn Kathir, and the behavior of Muslims themselves over the past 1400 years, show that these verses were meant to be prescriptive, applicable for all time, and not merely descriptive, applicable to a particular time and place and enemy.” And if that interviewer is in a take-no-prisoners mood, even with one so winsome and mentally helpless as Esma Voloder, then let Esma be asked yet again, by way of summary so far, to explain why Muhammad’s life is so full of war, assassinations, mass decapitations, and the Qur’an so full of commands about conducting violent Jihad against, striking terror in the hearts of, the [Infidel] enemies, if Islam is all about “peace, unity, cohesion”?
And then it may be time to demonstrate, in the most telling way possible, how little Esma Voloder knows about Islam. Leave the Qur’an — the point about its sinister contents has been made — and raise the issue of the Hadith. Ask Ms. Voloder if she has ever read them, if she knows why the Hadith are so important to Muslims. If she answers that she has “never’’ read because she didn’t think they were that important, or still worse, had never heard of them, that will make her look not just ignorant, but idiotic. If she answers “yes” or “well, some of them,” take this as the moment to recite the usual horrifying list of events in Muhammad’s life that Muslims would prefer you never find out about: Muhammad’s marriage to little Aisha, the murders of Asma bint Marwan, Abu Afak, and Ka’b bin al-Ashraf, the rape (as it must be called) of the Jewish girl, Saafiya, by Muhammad on the same day he had her father, husband, and brother killed, the torture and murder of Kinana of Khaybar, the killing of the 600-900 prisoners of the Banu Qurayza. Don’t spare Ms. Voloder; ask sweetly, but ask, if she is familiar with any or all of these events in the life of Muhammad, just as you had asked her earlier about those Jihad verses in the Qur’an. Either she will have to admit to knowing about them, and then have to explain them away (just how do you explain away Aisha? Asma bin Marwan? Saafiya? Kinana?) as best she can, which makes her look both sinister and foolish, or she will claim she was not aware of those particular hadith, which leaves her looking merely foolish. And then ask if she is aware that Muslims consider Muhammad, the man responsible for that list of atrocities that have just been recited, as “al-insan al-kamil,” the Perfect Man, and “uswa hasana,” the Model of Conduct. Given what you have just told her about Muhammad, would she describe him as the Perfect Man? What can she say?
And then, just one last question for beauty queen Ms. Voloder. Ask her to imagine herself walking down a street in Saudi Arabia or Iran or Afghanistan or Pakistan, her hair loosely flowing, as she wears it in Australia, her makeup and dress just the same as she had for her Miss World competition, with her shoulders bare, or dressed as she does for her work as a criminal profiler. Then ask her what she thinks would happen to her, wearing that sort of getup, in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. We all know she would at the very least be yelled at, perhaps beaten by the mutawwa (religious police), even possibly taken into custody to be charged by the state, or might well have to endure both curses and beatings administered by outraged Muslim vigilantes. And don’t even ask what would happen to her in those countries if she dressed as she would have had to for the swimsuit component of the Miss World competition). She cannot deny the likelihood of such mistreatment. Doesn’t that at least give Ms. Voloder a moment’s pause as Defender of the Faith? And shouldn’t that be enough, along with those 30,000 acts of Muslim terrorism since 9/11 for which she can find no convincing explanation in Islam, to create, among the handful still wanting to believe her, more than a little doubt?
The quality of justice is sometimes strained and sometimes delayed. On July 21, 2017 some form of justice occured when the heirs of a prominent German Jewish banking family, the Bleichroder family, recovered a 16th century painting that had been stolen 80 years earlier by the Nazi regime and bought by Hermann Goering who added it to his collection of more than 1,000 paintings. The painting was part of a considerable collection stolen from the family by Nazis and sold at auction in 1938.
"I belong to the race of those" wrote the Jewish literary critic Bernard Lazarre, the early advocate of the innocence of the falsely accused Alfred Dreyfus, "who were the first to introduce the idea of justice in the world." That idea has only partially been rendered to those people and their descendants whose property was illegally seized by the Nazi regime in countries that perpetrated or collaborated in the Holocaust, and who since the end of World War II have expressed little willingness to resolve injustice.
It was heartening to hear the remarks of Prince William after his visit to Poland with his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, on July 18, 2017 to the concentration camp of Stutthof with its gas chamber about 20 miles from Gdansk, formerly Danzig, and to the local museum with its forbidding pile of hundreds of shoes of victims. William, like his father Prince Charles before him, made the point that the lessons of the Holocaust are in danger of being forgotten. He repeated the message that all of us have an overwhelming responsiility to make sure that we learn the lessons of the Holocaust and that the horror of what happened is never forgtten and never repeated.
These remarks, made in Poland, are particularly telling because that country has failed to fulfill its responsibility to the Holocaust victims by not enacting legislation providing for restitution and setting up procedures to resolve claims by people whose property was stolen. According to an official report of January 2017, Poland is the only member of the EU not to have passed comprehensive private property restitution legislation in the post-Communist era.
The brutal truth is that there can never be full restoration of the losses suffered during the Holocaust or Shoah. At best, for psychological as much as for financial reasons, integral to the lessons to be learned, countries should be promoting the issue of restitution or compensation for the assets taken in the Shoah era. In reality, justice has been painfully slow. However, in recent years, there is a growing understanding that justice requires some form of restitution for the mainly Jewish victims. Restitution of property and possessions is a question of human rights, not simply a Jewish issue. Policy in modern democracies may not be based on international law but it is appropriate to consider it a moral responsibilty to rectify injustice.
It is shameful that only a small fraction of the vast amount of private and communal property belonging to individual Jews and Jewish organizations illegally seized by the German Nazi regime and collaborators has been returned to their rightful owners. The value of the stolen goods is incalculable. Stuart Eizenstat, Special Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State for Holocaust Issues, has estimated that the value of Jewish assets in Europe in 1939 was about $15 billion which today would probably be ten times larger.
Perhaps things are really changing. In 1998 the International Commission on Holocaust era insurance claims (ICHEIC) was set up. At the same time in June 1998 39 countries discussed the return of stolen art to their rightful owners, and the U.S. State Department hosted conferences on the subject. Most recently, in June 2017, 71 members of the European Parliament from more than 20 EU states issued a joint statement pledged to increase support for the return of stolen and looted property. This statement is a significant step in meeting the obligation of the Terezin Declaration, affirmed at the site of a former Nazi concentration camp.
This Declaration, although non binding, is crucial to the resolution of the restitution issue. It stemmed from the conference on Holocaust era assets held in Prague on June 26-30, 2009 attended by representatives from 47 countries. It recommended greater effort for the restitution of communal and individual property belonging to the victims of the Holocaust and other victims. The program includes wrongful property seizures, confiscations and sales under duress; a just and fair solution regarding restoration of cultural property, Jewish communal and religious property; or compensation. It recommended that the 47 states consider implementing national programs to address the issue of property confiscated by Nazis and Fascists.
The Declaration dealt with other issues in addition to property, especially acknowledging the importance of education and remembrance about the Shoah and other Nazi crimes. It pointed out that eye witnesses of the Shoah were dying out, and that commemoration ceremonies, research and remembrance, and discussion of Shoah in the curriculum of schools should be encoraged.
Already, following the Terezin Declaration, the European Shoah Legacy Institute based in Prague was established in January 2010 to monitor progress on and oversee the return of Jewish art and property, Judaica and Jewish cultural assets, taken by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. It is supposed to be a vehicle or catalyst for those groups already concerned with Holocaust issues. Ambitiously, it seeks international solutions to the restitution problem.
However, the practical response has been minimal. The Claims Conference on Jewish Material Claims announced on September 11, 2014 that the majority of the countries had done "little or nothing" to implement the agreements. Most states have failed to comply with the Terezin Declaration. The U.S. has played an important role in getting contributions from companies and countries paying the victims and their families. However, at least 12 states, especially Poland and Baltic states where most of the six million Jews were murdered, and logically have the largest proportion of heirless property, have not enacted suggested legislation. Even some Western European nations have only partly complied with the Terezin Declation.
Much of the discussion of restitution has focused on stolen art and the confiscation of hundreds of thousands of art objects owned by Jews. Logically, they can and should be traced because of the requirement of provenance and official deeds regarding them. Much of it is in private hands. But some of that stolen art is present in countless respectable places, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.
The restitution of stolen art presents a splendid opportunity for cooperation between President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin as well as on the restitution of other stolen property. Together, they might concentrate on social justice for the victims of the Shoah and share Elective Affinites, a more worthy endeavor than sinking in the swamp of alleged election manipulation.
Upset by Metal Detectors, "Palestinian" Breaks into Israeli Home and Stabs Three People to Death
I'm upset by the Mueller investigation, but my first thought is notto murder some random family having dinner, yet listen to how the killer's father calmly justifies this heinous act. The mind on Islam is a terrible thing.
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Israel sent more troops to the West Bank on Saturday, a day after a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family in their home and widespread Israeli-Palestinian clashes erupted over escalating tensions at the Holy Land's most contested shrine.
The father of the 20-year-old Palestinian assailant said he believes his son was upset over the loss of Palestinian lives and wanted to protect the "honor" of the Jerusalem holy site.
A senior Israeli government official blamed the latest round of violence on what he said was Palestinian incitement against Israel and called on Palestinian leaders to help restore calm.
Disputes over the shrine, revered by Muslims and Jews, have set off major rounds of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations in the past. They were also at the root of the current violence which began last week when Arab gunmen fired from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen.
In response, Israel installed metal detectors at the gates of the 37-acre (15-hectare) walled compound, portraying the devices as a needed security measure to prevent more attacks.
Muslims alleged Israel was trying to expand its control at the Muslim-administered site under the guise of security — a claim Israel denies — and launched mass prayer protests.
On Friday, anger boiled over and several thousand Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and in Jerusalem after noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week. Three Palestinians were killed and several dozen wounded by live rounds and bullets in some of the worst street clashes in two years.
On Friday evening, a Palestinian identified as Omar al-Abed jumped over the fence of the Israeli settlement of Halamish in the West Bank and entered a home, surprising a family during their Sabbath dinner.
The Israeli military said the assailant killed a man and two of his adult children, while a woman was wounded. A neighbor heard the screams, rushed to the home and opened fire, wounding al-Abed who was taken to an Israeli hospital, said the head of Israel's rescue service.
A photo released by the military showed a kitchen floor covered with blood.
Itai Orayon, a medic, said he found "blood everywhere" in the house. He told Israel Army Radio that three people were on the floor, unconscious "with deep stab wounds all over their bodies," and that the medical team was unable to save them.
Muslim mother takes legal action against school over face veil ban
A Muslim mother has launched legal action against her daughter’s school, after being told she could not wear a face veil on its premises.
Rachida Serroukh, 37, a single mother of three daughters, has begun a discrimination test case against the prestigious Holland Park school, dubbed the “socialist Eton”, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea after she was told she would not be allowed to wear a face veil at the school.
Serroukh, a devout Muslim who has worn a face veil for the past 14 years, was delighted when her 11-year-old daughter was offered a place at the school. Not only was it across the road from where they lived, Serroukh – who was born in Ladbroke Grove – had studied there, achieving good grades.
But when she attended an evening for parents of new pupils at the school on 13 June, she was shocked to be challenged over her decision to wear a face veil....She was taken into a room and told it was the school’s policy not to allow face veils on school premises.
She had already been surprised, she added, that at the welcome event for about 200 parents – including five or six who were identifiably Muslim – the head teacher said in his speech that the school was secular and did not offer prayer rooms “although it showed video footage of the school choir singing in a church”.
At first Serroukh thought that the teacher who raised the veil issue had misunderstood and thought her daughter would be attending school in a face veil. “I explained clearly that my daughter wears a headscarf and would not be coming to school in a face veil. Then I realised she was talking about me not my daughter.”
Serroukh asked several times to see the school policy banning visitors from wearing a face veil, as she was aware that a friend who also wore a similar veil had been attending school events for five years without encountering any problems.
“It has not been necessary to date for the school to have this requirement stated in written policy,” wrote Wilson. “Given the concerns you have raised, we are now considering a written amendment to our health and safety policy to include this specific requirement and will follow the normal protocol of seeking the approval of the governing body.”
Replying on 12 July, Serroukh wrote: “How are you able to justify banning the face veil for all which come onto school grounds? I had shown my face prior to coming onto school grounds therefore security cannot have been a cause for concern.”
The following day, Wilson said it was a health and safety issue to be able to identify all of those on the school site, adding: “We would wish to reiterate that no offence was intended when Mrs … met with you to discuss the situation on the evening of the welcome interviews and it was the school’s intention to provide clarity and transparency.”
Her solicitor, Attiq Malik of Liberty Law Solicitors, said the firm had drafted a letter to the school because it was a “straightforward” test case of discrimination on the grounds of religion. “The government constantly talks about British values. To me, those values include diversity and multiculturalism. If a school in London is doing this, what might be happening elsewhere?”
The school has not yet responded to repeated requests to comment; Kensington and Chelsea referred enquiries to the school. But in Wilson’s 13 July email, he referred to Serroukh’s account of the meeting with the teacher during the parents’ welcome evening, saying “we believe [it] to be factually inaccurate”.
Holland Park School is a flagship academy which has been dubbed both the 'socialist Eton' and the 'Eton of comprehensives'. Housed in a space-age steel and glass building, it is also known as Britain's most expensive comprehensive school after an £80million refurbishment.
Among (the facilities) are unisex lavatories with no main door fitted to deter bullying, (denying children, especially shy ones, privacy doesn't deter bullying. Discipline and moral teaching are more effective) a glass-clad open-plan library and the 25m (82ft) basement pool.
The 'socialist Eton' name came from when it attracted the local Labour elite who did not want to compromise their principles by using private education.
Tony Benn sent his children there (include MP Hilary Benn) and it used to be a mecca for the Left-wing, but it has been reborn as a leading academy - with decent academic results. Notable former pupils at Holland Park (are) Oscar-winning actress Anjelica Huston and comic Omid Djalili
Not even Europe's tumult can distract from what's happening in Trump's America
It is one of the profound ironies of modern times that the country chiefly responsible for the triumph of democracy is not now a well-functioning democracy.
by Conrad Black
Returning after nearly three weeks in Europe, I am astonished by the prevailing political currents in the countries historically closest to Canada. In the United Kingdom, the government went for an increased majority against an absurd opposition leader who admires Irish and some Islamic terrorists and whose political heroes are Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. As readers know, the result was a loss of the majority and the reconstitution of the government with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party. This was the arch-Protestant political movement of Northern Ireland, which has fortunately settled down a good deal since the piping days of its founder, the Rev. Ian Paisley, who generated severe riots for decades with his inflammatory aspersions of Catholicism. The author of the redundant, poorly fought, and unsuccessful British election, Prime Minister Theresa May, took her trip to the political woodshed with stoical British resolve, kicked off the new era with a one billion pound reward for Ulster, and handled questions in the House of Commons quite doughtily.
No leader of the British Conservative Party has left that post altogether voluntarily since Stanley Baldwin took a good look at the Nazis and retired to the Midlands in 1937. (When the German air force bombed his family iron business in 1942, Prime Minister Churchill said, “That was very ungrateful of them.”) Even the party’s greatest modern leaders, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, were effectively given the high jump. If there were an obvious successor (Boris Johnson, whose elevation I have long predicted, still unsettles many people), May would be out now, like Anthony Eden after Suez. But the party grandees and elders seem to have determined to allow May to continue, as long as she doesn’t drop the ball again, and to lead Britain through the Brexit negotiations.
There is plenty of precedent for British governments being led officially by people who do not really dominate their cabinets and caucuses, including the Duke of Portland (twice), the Earl of Aberdeen (1852-1855) overshadowed by Palmerston, Gladstone and Russell (who between them served eight terms as prime minister), and New Brunswicker Bonar Law (1922-1923). If May, whose regime, apart from Johnson, is not loaded with obvious talent like the governments just cited, can keep her head down and deal effectively with the European negotiations, she will at least serve four years. At the moment, as my friend Mark Steyn has pointed out, she may look more like Kim Campbell than Margaret Thatcher, but she could yet prove a semi-survivor.
As Britain readies for the humdrum, France has embarked on one of her periodic political bizarreries. The tottering downward movement in the presidency of the Fifth Republic from the august General de Gaulle to Pompidou, Giscard d’Estaing, Mitterrand, Chirac, Sarkozy, and the hapless Francois Hollande, caused the French to do the Americans one better. Not only did they elect someone who had never contested political office before, the 39-year old Emmanuel Macron, they smashed the traditional parties and delivered a parliamentary majority, albeit with a turn-out of only 35 per cent of eligible voters, to a party of rank amateurs that the new president only founded a few months ago. He promises sweeping changes, despite a clichéd straddle on most issues, including over-fervent enthusiasm for Euro-federalism and alarmist views of climate change.
The test will come in the autumn (all France goes on holiday in August), when France’s militant unions organize resistance to Macron’s labour market flexibility measures and deregulation. If Macron has the solidity and powers of leadership of de Gaulle during the general strike in 1968—when he threatened fairly explicitly to use the army to break illegal strikes and assure a free election—Macron may revive France’s drooping fortunes. If he waffles, a General Boulanger without a uniform or white horse, the steep decline of France will continue, perhaps into a terminal phase.
But the laurels for the most amazing political spectacles mounted by an important country are not to be wrested from the United States that easily. The debacle of health-care reform has shamed almost the whole political class and has opened up for all to see the stark dysfunctionalism of the American system. The president did not lead effectively, never showed a thorough grasp of the complex issues, and has been partially off balance throughout his term because of the obsessive mudslinging of the Democrats and most of the media, especially over the monstrous canard of collusion with the Russians in the last election. There is not a shred of evidence to support any of it, and the Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas have gone, but the rest of the swamp-life Trump assaulted abides. The desperate struggle with the Democratic and many of the Republican legislators and 80 per cent of the traditional national media continues.
The conduct of the Republican senators and congressmen, who screamed from the roof-tops for seven years that they would repeal Obamacare, is sickening. Obama vastly expanded Medicaid (medical care for people of modest means), and the Republicans choked in the clutch, having neither the political will to roll it back and properly reform the system, nor the courage to impose the revenue collection necessary to pay for it. The Democrats and their jackal media just continued to fabricate malicious bunk about Trump and the Russians (Obama caved everywhere to Russia: Ukraine, Syria, missile defence; Trump hasn’t). The United States is strung out between the single-payer health-care system Obama wanted, but which Americans don’t want, and an elusive alternative that improves health care for low income people, without strangling private medicine and making doctors de facto state employees. No one in the U.S. wants to emulate the Canadian system, which remains a sacred cow in this country, but most Americans are dissatisfied with the very uneven and expensive health-care system they have now, including Obamacare’s coercion and rigidity.
Obama pursued an America where, as Mitt Romney infamously said, the majority would receive social benefit of some sort from the state. Unskilled foreigners flowed in, food stamp use more than tripled, the average life expectancy in the U.S. declined (slightly), GDP per capita growth flat-lined at under one per cent, the numbers of idle, able-bodied people in the prime of their lives jumped by over ten million, and violent crime rates rose sharply. Obama never precisely defined the society he was seeking, and was fairly popular personally, but enough Americans dissented from the vision and disapproved of the Clintons to give Donald Trump a mandate to stop the advance of the Obama super-state, but without a clear ability to impose his enterprise state. The health-care debate has revealed the weakness of the congressional Republicans, caught between Obama and Trump, disliking (and despised by) both of them. Most Americans are worried at stalled and inept government, a long sequence of fiscal and foreign policy disasters, inadequate education and health care, and terrible abuse of civil rights by prosecutors. It is one of the profound ironies of modern times that the country chiefly responsible for the triumph of democracy in the world is not now a well-functioning democracy.
Trump has fought back on health-care reform, threatening defecting Republican senators with electoral defeat through primaries or splinter candidacies; and he appears to have the horses to put through major tax reform. Questions of personality and style, though sometimes grating, like the fantasies about collusion with the Kremlin, don’t really matter now. Serious observers should forgo snobbery and realize that the future of America is in the balance. Donald Trump may not be sprinting toward Mount Rushmore, but he is all that stands in the way of a precipitate decline of America from its recent summit as the world’s only superpower. Of course, it remains the world’s greatest country, and all countries have their ups and downs, but if America continues to flounder, with a free press and legislators that are largely a disgrace to the professed civic ideals of the country, and toward the flabby condition of a welfare state, the decay will become incorrigible. I still believe Trump will succeed, but if he doesn’t, the U.S will not be the later Roman Empire, but it could cease to be the great and ever-rising America we knew.
John Quincy Adams On Islam: “Old Man Eloquent” (Part II)
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Today, a side of Adams that was not made much of in his lifetime has for many of us become the most important, and much-needed, part of his legacy: his critical view of Islam and of Muhammad. He derived these views from experience — his own and his father’s — of Muslim behavior (both of the Barbary Pirates and of the Ottoman Turks), from his lifelong study of history, and from his intensive reading of the Qur’an. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were sent in 1786 to negotiate in London with the ambassador from Tripoli, Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, about the seizure of American ships. They reported back in a joint letter to John Jay (then a senior American diplomat), explaining that “We took the liberty to make some inquiries concerning the Grounds of their pretensions to make war upon a Nation who had done them no Injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our Friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation. THE AMBASSADOR ANSWERED US THAT IT WAS FOUNDED ON THE LAWS OF THEIR PROPHET, THAT IT WAS WRITTEN IN THEIR KORAN, THAT ALL NATIONS WHO SHOULD NOT HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED 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 MUSSELMAN WHO SHOULD BE SLAIN IN BATTLE WAS SURE TO GO TO PARADISE.”
John Quincy Adams would certainly have learned from his father about what the Tripolitanian ambassador had maintained in his discussions with Adams and Jefferson. He may even have been later shown a copy — he was then a junior at Harvard — of the letter that was sent to John Jay. He also had his own rich store of observations of Muslim behavior, for the Barbary Pirates continued, throughout the next thirty years, from 1786 to 1816, to attack American shipping and seize American seamen, who were then held for exorbitant ransom. For a while after the First Barbary War (1801-1805) with Tripoli, attacks decreased. But when the Americans became preoccupied with European matters, eventually fighting the British in the War of 1812, the Barbary states — Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers — resumed attacks on American and European shipping. Once the War of 1812 had ended, and the Treaty of Ghent (1814) signed, the Americans resumed a more aggressive policy in the Mediterranean. When America defeated Algiers in the Second Barbary War, that spelled the end of the last major campaign of the Barbary pirates. Western ships increasingly surpassed in speed and deadly force (better cannons) those of the Muslims, and the Barbary pirate threat to Christian shipping steadily decreased as a result.
It was clear to John Quincy Adams, that while force could change Muslim behavior, nothing would change the Muslim belief that they had “a right and a duty” to make war on the Infidels. This war was on continuous display in the Mediterranean against all who were too weak to withstand them, as was their making “slaves of all they could take as prisoners” — the Christian seaman they held as slaves in North Africa, some permanently enslaved, while others were to be ransomed for sums. American shipping initially proved to be a most vulnerable target, given the small size of the American navy. It was only the buildup of that navy, begun by Jefferson, and its deployment to the Mediterranean to take aggressive action against the Barbary pirates, that finally halted, after two wars a decade apart, the attacks by Muslim corsairs on American ships and seamen.
The other example John Quincy Adams had immediately before him of Muslim aggression against Christians was the suppression, by the Turks, of the Greeks when they began their war for independence. That war lasted from 1821 to 1832, and while the Greeks were ultimately successful, Adams, who during this period was Secretary of State (1817-1825), and then President (1825-1829), received direct accounts of the extreme brutality by the Muslim Turks against the Greek Christians.
But it was not just his contemporaneous experience of Muslim behavior toward Christians that formed John Quincy Adams’s view of Islam. He was a deep student of history all of his life. He knew how Islam had spread across the Middle East and North Africa, and how its advance was halted in the west by Charles Martel at Poitiers in 732, and in the east, much later, at the gates of Vienna in 1683. He knew about the 800 years it took the Christians to complete the Reconquista of Spain. He knew how, over 1200 years, Muslim armies had conquered many different lands, and subjugated many different peoples.
And he took a special interest in the Ottoman Turks, who were in a long but steady military decline that began with that defeat at Vienna in 1683. The Ottomans began to lose battles, small ones at first, to the increasingly more powerful Russian forces. Their first major defeat came in the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774, after which they were compelled to sue for peace. By the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (July 21, 1774), Russia’s right was recognized to intervene to protect Christians in the Ottoman Empire — a clear indication of Muslim brutality against subjugated Christians, for why else would such intervention be thought necessary? A series of Russo-Turkish wars, and Russian victories, continued to whittle away at Ottoman domains in the Caucasus. When Adams was the Minister to Russia (1809-1814), with direct and frequent contact with the Tsar, he would have heard about Russian clashes with, and victories against, the Ottoman Turks in the Caucasus.
After he left the Presidency in 1829, John Quincy Adams undertook almost immediately to write and publish his strong views on Islam and Muslims. This “Essay on Turks,” little noted at the time, has now become the best-known of all his contributions as an American statesman. The “Essay on Turks” is now more famous than the three treaties he negotiated (the Treaty of Ghent, the Treaty of 1818 with Great Britain, and the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819), more famous than his work on the Monroe Doctrine, more famous than his defense of Indian rights, or even than his argument at the Supreme Court that led to the setting free of African slaves in the Amistad case.
The “Essay on Turks” startles us now because we are not used to such a forthright and truthful account of Muhammad and of Islam. We live in a different time, sunk in a swamp of appeasement and interfaith outreach, when pusillanimity and evasion are the order of the day in public discussions of Islam. The most-quoted part of the “Essay on Turks” was put up at Jihad Watch just a few days ago, on July 11, the 250th anniversary of Adams’s birth, but it deserves to be reposted:
In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar, the Egyptian, combining the powers of transcendent genius, with the preternatural energy of a fanatic, and the fraudulent spirit of an impostor, proclaimed himself as a messenger from Heaven, and spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth. Adopting from the sublime conception of the Mosaic law, the doctrine of one omnipotent God; he connected indissolubly with it, the audacious falsehood, that he was himself his prophet and apostle. Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust, by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST: TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE.
Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men. The hand of Ishmael will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. It is, indeed, amongst the mysterious dealings of God, that this delusion should have been suffered for so many ages, and during so many generations of human kind, to prevail over the doctrines of the meek and peaceful and benevolent Jesus.
The precept of the Koran is perpetual war against all who deny that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.”
The natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels is in just accordance with the precepts of the Koran.
In writing his “Essay on Turks,” he was really writing an essay on all Muslims, even if what prompted him was the behavior, at the time of its writing, of the Ottoman Turks. In particular, Adams was concerned with the brutality of the methods used by the Turks in suppressing the Greeks who were fighting for their independence. For the Ottoman Turks could reasonably be taken to represent Islam and Muslims.They had for centuries possessed the caliphate; they were the leading Muslim power at the time; it was their brutal behavior toward Christians that was most in evidence. And indeed, he makes clear early on that while his essay is about the Turks, they were simply practicing the same Islam, with the same Qur’an, as the Arabs, the Afghans, the Muslims in India, in Central and East Asia.
John Quincy Adams had seen how both the Turks, and the North African pirates, from Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers, had behaved toward Christians. He had read the Qur’an, understood its contents, realized that the war against all Infidels was not an aberration: “The natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels is in just accordance with the precepts of the Koran.” He had first heard of this from his father’s account of the Tripolitanian ambassador, in 1786. Nothing he learned subsequently, through reading or observation, suggested another — kinder, gentler — view of Islam. Hatred, and perpetual war against the Infidels — these Qur’anic injunctions accorded with the dispatches he received from those reporting on the Barbary Pirates, and the Ottoman-ruled Greece and the Balkans. That war could never end, until the final defeat of one side or the other.
Adams had grasped the doctrine of Jihad, even if he never used that word: it signified the struggle, incumbent upon all Muslims, to defeat all Infidels, until Islam everywhere dominated, and Muslims ruled, everywhere: “The precept of the Koran is perpetual war against all who deny that Mahomet is the prophet of God.” He had seen how the Barbary Pirates and the Turks had behaved toward Christians. He had understood how the texts and teachings of Islam explained the behavior both of the Barbary Pirates in their attacks on Christian shipping, and the brutal behavior of the Turks in suppressing the Greeks. He knew, having seen it, about the “false and delusive promise of peace” that the Barbary Pirates would offer after defeats, and “submit to the imperious necessities of defeat,” but were required by their creed to renew warfare whenever it could be “made effective.” The Qur’an required perpetual war until the final victory of Muslims everywhere.
Adams called Islam a “merciless and dissolute dogma.” He understood the “mercilessness” of the actual Muslims, the Turks, then on the warpath against the Greeks. When he spent five years as Minister to Russia, he surely heard from the Russians directly about the brutal treatment of Christians in the Ottoman domains, which is why the Russians demanded, after their first major victory over the Turks in 1774, that they be allowed to act, when they deemed it necessary, as protectors of those Christian communities. He heard, too, of course, about the treatment of the American seaman seized and enslaved by the Barbary pirates. A student of history, he would have been aware of how Muslims, over 1200 years of conquest, had treated those they defeated, often killing their captives. He had read, in the Qur’an, the suggestions as to various ways that Infidels could be mutilated and killed: striking at their necks, cutting off their hands and feet, crucifying them, and so on. One can well imagine how Adams, who read the Christian Bible daily, must have reacted in horror when he first came across such examples of Qur’an-mandated cruelty, as in 5:33:
The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom.
As to what he called the “dissolute dogma” of Islam, by this Adams meant that Muhammad had “poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex.” The Muslim view of women as merely sexual objects, who existed to gratify the sexual passion of men, could be seen in Islam’s acceptance of polygamy, and of using female captives, those who were “slaves that the right hand possesses,” for sexual pleasure, and of conceiving of the Muslim Heaven only in terms of a sexual paradise, where the best Muslims were promised 72 black-eyed virgins, so very different a concept from the Heaven of Christianity. What could be more “dissolute” than the Muslim idea of Heaven as a kind of brothel with dozens of permanently accommodating females for each deserving man?
Adams also grasped the role of religiously-sanctioned deceit or “fraud” that Muslims were allowed to practice both to protect themselves, and to lure their enemies into traps, or even by the making of treaties that could be broken whenever the Muslim side felt strong enough to go to war, never mind what they had promised. The most important Qur’anic verse sanctioning deception of non-Muslims states: “Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah – unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions.” (Quran 3:28; see also 2:173; 2:185; 4:29; 22:78; 40:28.)
Al-Tabari’s (838-923 AD) Tafsir, or Quranic exegesis, is a standard reference. It glosses 3:28 as follows: “Under their [infidels’] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harboring inner animosity for them… Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels in place of believers – except when infidels are above them [in authority]. In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them.”
The Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373) wrote about 3:28: “Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels’] evil, may protect himself through outward show.”
In support of this, Ibn Kathir quotes two of Muhammad’s companions. Abu Darda said: “Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them.” Al-Hassan said: “Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the day of judgment [in perpetuity].”
Adams had almost certainly not read Ibn Kathir or Al-Tabari. But he had understood enough from the Qur’an itself, not just from 3:28 but also from other verses, such as 3:54, where Allah is praised as a master schemer, or deceiver: “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.” His “Essay on Turks” makes much of the role fraud played in the spread of Islam.
One can well imagine Adams’s surprise when he first read in the Qur’an that Allah was lauded, as “the best of schemers” — one more example of what, Adams realized, was a kind of Christianity in reverse. The praise in the Qur’an of deception and fraud, the command to wage Jihad, or perpetual warfare “in the path of Allah,” against the Infidels, the description of how to strike terror among Islam’s enemies, the practice of sating one’s lust with plural wives, and captive females used as sex slaves, the Muslim heaven which promised the sensual bliss of 72 dark-eyed virgins — all of this horrified him.
John Quincy Adams did not have to worry about a small army of Muslim apologists ready to attack him for stating home truths about Islam. In his day, there was no CAIR, no Linda Sarsour, no John Esposito to condemn him for “Islamophobia” and to try to lead his likely audience astray. There were no Muslims, and consequently no mosques, offering unwary Infidels the chance to participate in those Ask-A-Muslim exercises in cozy taqiyya and tu-quoque. Adams’s uncompromising description of Islam was confirmed by what Americans knew about Muslim behavior, both from their experience with the Barbary Pirates, and from observing how the Turks — the most powerful Muslims of the time, possessors of the caliphate, who ruled, directly or through suzerains, the Middle East, North Africa, Greece, the Balkans, and much of the Caucasus — treated their Christian subjects. His lifetime of study of history naturally included, among its subjects, how Islam spread, what its texts and teachings, as conveyed in the Qur’an, revealed about its essence, what was required of the non-Muslims subjugated by Muslim conquerors, what was revealed about Muhammad’s character from the reports of his words and deeds. Adams’s rereading of the Qur’an to understand the tenets of this faith and the character of its prophet Muhammad, who “by fraud or by force” had conquered so many lands, helped explain, made sense of, the behavior of “the Turks” as they put down, with their wonted brutality, the Greek Christians who had risen up to defy their Turkish Muslim masters.
There is one more thing about John Quincy Adams that deserves notice. He was, by all accounts, a brilliant orator, known as “Old Man Eloquent.” That oratorical skill was much in evidence when he argued on behalf of the Amistad prisoners before the Supreme Court. But he was also brilliant as a writer, and had he not been, his essay on “the Turks” (that is, on Islam) would not now be so often read, nor have had the impact it has had on those who — not least here, at this site — have been lucky enough to learn of it. From an early age Adams showed himself to be precociously adept at English composition. As with everything he deemed important, he worked and worked at it. Dip into any of the 14,000 pages of his diaries, even the entries he wrote in his early teens, and you will of course find some laconic jottings, but also the rounded periods of a fully formed prose style. In between diplomatic postings, and while he was simultaneously serving in the United States Senate, which would have been task enough for most men, Adams was appointed to the prestigious post of Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard in 1806; he immediately set to work on the lectures he would deliver to his students. We know that he read and studied many writers on rhetoric, including Quintilian, Cicero, Bacon, and George Campbell, all of whom he made use of in the thirty-six lectures he prepared for his Harvard students between 1806 and 1809. When his students heard that he would be leaving Harvard to become United States Minister to Russia, they asked that his lectures be published, and they were, as “Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory.” He understood the importance of studying rhetoric, that is the art of persuasion. This was not a mere flourish, but essential to winning and convincing an audience. He ranked it high among his accomplishments. In 1810, Adams wrote in his diary about his Lectures that “I shall never, unless by some special favor of Heaven, accomplish any work of higher elevation.”
Actually, he did “accomplish” one “work of higher elevation” even than his lectures on rhetoric and oratory. His most important written work, as we now realize, is the one on Islam, the “Essay on Turks,” which today amazes many at first reading, and then heartens those who realize they have finally found the American statesman they have been looking for in vain, the one we need most today. And it turns out to be John Quincy Adams who, alone among our presidents, senators, congressmen, cabinet ministers, diplomats (and Adams filled every one of those offices), so perceptively grasped the disturbing sinister essence of Islam.
That same “Essay on Turks” ought to be required reading in courses on American history. Ideally, it ought to be assigned along with both Adams’s furious denunciation of how the white settlers and their government were mistreating the Indians (with the case of the Creeks pushed forcibly westward offered in evidence), and with a description of his central role, including his closing argument before the Supreme Court, in the Amistad case. For Adams will then be understood as what, in fact, he always was — an implacable defender of human rights. And the chiefest offenders against human rights, then as now, in 1829 and in 2017, were Muslims. Should his “Essay on Turks” become part of the required reading in American history, and even were it to be assigned by a teacher hostile to its contents, Adams’s eloquent truth-telling will not be convincingly rebutted, and will, in any case, prove impossible to forget.
All visitors to London, young and old, want to see Buckinham Palace and the Changing of the Guard, symbols of the existence of the British Royal Familiy. The members of the Family have no political or executive role, are non-partisan and play no part in party politics. Yet, they have a valuable role in the system by embodying the unity of the country and political stability, and by carrying out functions suggested by the prime minister and government ministers.
By chance two different versions, past and present, of the royal role have been on view in one week in July 2017. The helpful and civilized one, in accordance with expected royal norms, is the behavior of Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, undertaking a five day good will tour of Poland and Germany, a recognition of British friendly relations with the two countries.
Most meaningfully, the visit began on July 18, 2017 with a tour of the concentration camp of Stutthof, about 20 miles from Gdansk, formerly Danzig, and of the local museum with its forbidding pile of thousands of shoes of victims murdered there.
Stutthof, less well known than Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen, was the first camp set up outside Germany, on September 2 ,1939, orginally as an internment camp under the Polish Danzig police chief, then a labor education camp by the German Security Police, and then in January 1942 a concentration camp run by the Nazi SS.
It was the last liberated camp, on May 9, 1945. By then 65,000 people, nearly a third of them Jews, had died as a result of typhus epidemics, lethal injection, and murder by gas. It was also notorious as the place where soap was made from human corpses.
Prince Charles, in a speech in London in January 2017, said the horrific lessons of the last war are in increasing danger of being forgotten. He had previously made a number of references about the lessons of the Holocaust. His son and daughter-in-law are uttering similar warnings. The younger couple signed the visitor’s book at Stutthof saying that they were intensely moved by their visit, and that “All of us have an overwhelming responsiility to make sure that we learn the lessons and that the horror of what happened is never forgotten and never repeated.
This would have been good advice to the former royal Duke of Windsor, former King Edward VIII who had no such understanding of or concern about the Nazi atrocities, horrors, or extermination of Jews. Compared to the two Cambridges, "O what a falling off was there" in the behavior and life of Windsor. Reminders of this have been reawakened by the opening on July 20 2017 of formerly top secret files at the British National Archives in Kew, London.
These files tell the story of the efforts of Prime Minister Winston Churchill to suppress information about the wartime behavior of the Duke of Windsor and of a Nazi plot offering him the British throne as a puppet king if Britain lost the war. This unusual uncharacteristic behavior by Churchill is only explicable by his love of the monarchy and his fear that revealation of the files, with intimations of bloody treason flourishing, might bring down the House of Windsor.
Churchill's action concerned the Nazi files, mostly written by Joachim von Ribbentrop in summer 1940 to German ambasssadors in Madrid and Lisbon. The new revelations show the extent to which Churchill went to prevent their dissemination. A memo of August 12, 1953 from Winston to his cabinet marked Top Secret, proposed that publication of the German correspondence, captured at the end of World War II and kept secret, be postponed for at least ten or twenty years. He held they would "give pain to the Duke of Windsor and leave an impression on the minds of those who read them entirely disproportionate to their historic value."
The correspondence resulted from the fact that the Duke of Windsor had left Paris when the Nazi offensive in France began, and went with his wife first to Spain for a month and then to Portugal. The Nazis saw an opportunity as Churchill realized.
Churchill urged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to block publication of the German telegrams on the subject because they showed a Nazi-German intrigue to entangle and compromise Windsor. The publication he thought might leave the impression that the Duke was in close touch with German agents and was listening to suggestions that were disloyal to Britain. A telegram on July 11, 1940 from Von Ribbentrop to Lisbon explained the Duke must be told that Germany wished for peace with the British people and "it would be a good thing if the Duke were to hold himself in readiness for futher developments." The implication was "accession to the British thone by the Duke and Duchess."
Churchll was aware of the danger. He made Windsor Governor of the Bahamas to get him out of Europe. The British government correctly thought Windsor, a kind of liaison in Paris between the British and French armies, was getting useful information and passing it on directly or indirectly to the Germans.
Controversy has raged over Windsor, even before his anger at pressure for his abdication as King on December 11, 1936 because of his determination, against all governmental advice, to marry Bessie, Wallis, Warfield Simpson, twice divorced American from Pennsylvania. The overiding problem was that Windsor, as Prince of Wales, had expressed sympathy for Nazi Germany. Even more, Mrs Simpson was regarded by the FBI as exceedingly pro-German in her sympathies and connections.
One of those connections was Ribbentrop, German ambassador in London, who apparently became her lover in 1936, and who continued to send her 17 carnations a day, supposely a reminder of the number of days they were togther, Before the outbreak of World War II , the Duke and Duchess often entertained Nazi sympathisers in France where they lived, as well as the British Fascist leader Oswald Mosley. Windsor saw Josef Goebbels, who thought the Duke "had made a complete fool of himself by abdicating."
Windsor even had in April 1936 sent a telegtram to Adolf Hitler wishing him "happiness and welfare" on his 47th birthday. After their marriage in France in June 1937, he and his wife spent their honeymoon in Germany and later visited Hitler at the dictator's lair at Berghof on October 22, 1937. He saw Hitler as "a very great man," Later, in an interview in Liberty Magazine, March 22, 1941, Windsor remarked that "Hitler was the right man at the right time."
However one assesses Windsor as naive, stupid, an intiguer, or as a traitor, Churchill was aware of both the danger of Windsor becoming a Nazi puppet, and the harm done to the British monarchy. What a contrast with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who went to Berlin after Poland and visited the undeground museum with materials of the Holocaust, the ghettoes, slave labor camps, concentration camps, and death marches. They saw the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the large sculpture designed by Peter Eiseman of 2711 concrete slabs or "stelae" in rows evoking a graveyard. Again, Prince Wiliam spoke, as he had done in Poland, "It is important to learn about what happened here and others like this." Unlike Windsor, the young royal couple upheld values of honor, decency, and loyalty.