Wednesday, 24 July 2019
Recep Tayyip Erdogan Spirals Downward
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been making trouble again for his supposed allies in Europe and America. Most important of these disagreements is the colossal contretemps over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia. Prior to that purchase, Turkey had contracted to buy 100 F-35 planes from the Americans, and as have other members of NATO, was even allowed to participate in their manufacture by supplying 900 parts for the plane. But when Erdogan subsequently decided to buy the S-400 missile defense system, the Pentagon became alarmed, fearing a likely security breach if the Russian technicians who would naturally be in Turkey to help to set up and run the defense system were able to study the capabilities of the F-35s in evading S-400 missiles. Defense officials worry that having an F-35 customer also operate the S-400 could reveal the stealth fighter’s vulnerabilities to Russia, which could then use the S-400 to figure out what the F-35 looks like in a radar picture. After all, the S-400 was designed specifically to shoot down the F-35s. Despite repeated entreaties from Washington for Turkey not to take delivery of the S-400, Erdogan ignored the Pentagon. The first delivery of an S-400 system has been completed; it is now at a base outside Ankara. And by way of response, no F-35s have been sent to Turkey.
Many American politicians and high-ranking officers made it clear in recent months that “Turkey can have the S-400 or it an have the F-35, but it can’t have both.” Erdogan did not heed that warning. He appears to have believed that the Americans wouldn’t dare to cut off F-35 sales to a NATO ally. He may also have assumed that the sale of 100 F-35s would go through because Lockheed Martin, with its lobbyists and powerful friends in Congress, would fight to keep a contract worth $16 billion over the 10-year life of the contract. But Lockheed Martin has many other potential customers for the F-35 waiting in the wings. Erdogan may also believe that the Americans wouldn’t in the end cancel the sale of F-35s because the Turks might close down Incirlik, the air base in Turkey used by the Americans. In fact, over the past year Turkish officials have suddenly, without warning, temporarily shut down the runways at Incirlik. One high-ranking Turkish official has warned that Incirlik itself might be permanently shut down to further Turkish policies, an attempt at blackmail that the Americans shrugged off.
The Turks overlook the fact that there are other possible airbases in the eastern Mediterranean that the Americans could use. In the northeastern Sinai, there is Eitam, the air base built by the Israelis when they controlled the Sinai. Both Israel and Egypt would welcome an American presence there, to help in the ongoing campaigns against the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood in the Sinai; Egypt would also welcome the rent the Americans would pay for use of the base. And Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates would see such an American base as a clear warning to Iran not to carry out further aggression against its neighbors.
It’s not possible for Erdogan to back down; no, having taken delivery of the S-400, he can’t send it back to the Russians. That would be an intolerable humiliation. And Erdogan wants to retain both the respect and the friendship of Vladimir Putin. So he won’t be getting the F-35s, just as the Americans has repeatedly warned. And if he tries one last tactic, to threaten to shut down Incirlik unless the F-35s are released for delivery, the Americans can promptly start letting it be known that they have an alternative base, Eitam, in the Sinai; that they’ve already been in negotiations with General El-Sisi, and it looks like a better alternative to Incirlik, one that — surrounded by desert — is easier to defend, and that puts American airpower closer both to Iran and to the terrorist encampments in the Sinai.
Not content with infuriating the Americans in his insistence on receiving the S-400 missile defense system, Erdogan has also infuriated the Europeans by his pressing forward with Turkish drilling for oil and natural gas in the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyrus. As is well known, the island of Cyprus is divided between the Greek-populated Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of northern Cyprus. Cyprus became divided after a coup d’état in 1974, performed as part of an attempt at “enosis” — that is, to annex the island to Greece — which prompted the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. This resulted in the eviction of much of the north’s Greek Cypriot population, the flight of Turkish Cypriots from the south, and the partitioning of the island, leading to a unilateral declaration of independence by the north in 1983. Due to its lack of recognition, Northern Cyprus is heavily dependent on Turkey for economic, political and military support.
The oil and gas bonanza in the Eastern Mediterranean was set off by the discovery, in Israeli waters, first of the huge Tamar natural gas field in 2009, and then in 2010, of the truly colossal natural gas field called Leviathan. Since then, there have been other offshore discoveries of natural gas fields, in Israeli, Egyptian, Greek, and Greek Cypriot waters. Turkey has interfered with the drilling by ENI, the Italian company, for natural gas in the waters off the Republic of Cyprus. Still worse, Turkey has illegally drilled in Greek Cypriot waters; when the E.U. threatened Turkey with sanctions, the Turks brushed off the complaints and instead started drilling at another site, also in the territorial waters belonging to the Republic of Cyprus.
As the New York Times reported, the E.U. has already started to impose financial and other sanctions in response to Turkey’s drilling:
Turkey’s relationship with the West suffered a fresh blow on Monday [July 18] when the European Union decided to suspend contacts between high-level officials, as well as to pull financial aid, in response to Turkey’s gas exploration in Cypriot national waters.
European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels said they would suspend about $164 million in aid to Turkey and shelve talks on an aviation accord. They also asked the European Investment Bank to review its lending to the country, which amounted to nearly $434 million in 2018.
Turkey has been benefiting from European Union funding as part of its now-stalled bid to join the bloc, while the aviation agreement that was under negotiation would have led to more passengers using Turkish airports, in particular the main international airport in Istanbul, as a transit hub.
The European Union measures came just days after the country’s relationship with the United States took a hit, with the first shipment of a Russian-made surface-to-air missile system to Turkey, a NATO member. Washington had warned that it would penalize Turkey for the purchase, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went ahead with it anyway.
The measures announced on Monday by European foreign ministers stopped short of all-out sanctions against Turkish companies involved in drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, one of the bloc’s most strategically sensitive corners and a flash point in relations between European and Middle Eastern powers.
But they come as Turkey’s economy is struggling and could face painful, protracted economic sanctions from the European Union and the United States.
Cyprus has been partitioned between the ethnically Greek south and ethnically Turkish north since Turkey invaded in 1974. The administration of northern Cyprus is recognized only by Ankara.
Turkey said that Cyprus, a European Union member, and the internationally recognized government that controls most of the island, does not have rights to unilaterally explore for gas.
Cyprus must follow a plan proposed by the Turkish Cypriot leader to share gas revenue, and it claims to have the right to carry out exploratory missions itself, without approval from the government in the capital, Nicosia.
As a matter of international law, Cyprus has an absolute right to explore for natural gas in its own territorial waters; it is other nations, including Turkey, that do not.
The Northern (Turkish) Republic of Cyprus has not been recognized by any state except Turkey itself. But even if it had been, the Turkish Cypriots still would have had no right to drill for gas in the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus. The E.U. has begun sanctions on Turkey. First, it has ended $164 million in aid money. Second, it has asked the European Investment Bank to review its lending to Turkey, which amounted to nearly $434 million in 2018, obviously with an eye to cutting that investment way back, or eliminating it altogether. Erdogan’s unstable ways, his sudden outbursts, his authoritarian personality, his regime’s mismanagement of the Turkish economy, should in any case scare potential investors, such as the European Investment Bank, away. With its economy now sputtering, Turkey can ill afford to see European investment in the country decrease.
And what if the Turkish drillers were to find deposits of natural gas in Cypriot national waters? How would they bring it to market? What other countries would be willing to help Turkey violate international law? And even if Turkey could on its own somehow lift the gas, how would it deliver the oil, with what pipelines, constructed to move the gas through Cypriot territorial waters to what would almost certainly be its only customer, that is, Turkey itself? Wouldn’t there be fury over Turkey essentially taking oil that belonged rightfully to Cyprus? Might not Greece, under its new conservative premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis (who happens to be very pro-Israel), make common cause with Israel to physically prevent that pipeline from ever being built? Turkey has no defenders of its illegal actions in the waters of Cyprus. Economic pressure would continue to ratchet up, with individual members of the E.U., and not just the E.U. itself, ending their aid to Turkey. Investment, too, could suffer, in an attempt to get Turkey to halt its drilling in the waters of the Republic of Cyprus. So far, Erdogan has been denying the gravity of his country’s economic problems; he still refuses to go to the I.M.F. But thanks to Turkish drilling in Cypriot waters, when he does finally approach the I.M.F., hat in hand, for aid, he may find that the I.M.F. will be in no mood to help, given Turkish misdeeds in Cypriot waters.
Erdogan recently has misjudged on every front. His acceptance of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia has infuriated the Americans and has led Washington to put the F-35 sale to Turkey on hold — in other words, to cancel it. He doesn’t seem to care that the Russians would be able, with their access to Turkish F-35s, to determine the weaknesses both of the F-35 and of the S-400 that the Russians designed specifically to defend against that plane. Other members of NATO, too, that have ordered the F-35, are angered that Erdogan chose to ignore the security problem arising from Russian knowledge of the effectiveness of the F-35 in evading S-400 missiles. He will not receive the F-35; what’s more, there are many articles now appearing in Europe and America urging that Turkey be booted out of NATO. It may come to pass.
Economically, Turkey has gone from bad to worse. The country now has a negative growth rate. Both aid to, and investment in, Turkey have been cut, a direct result of Erdogan’s disregard of international law in drilling for gas in Cyprus’s territorial waters. Even if the Turks were to discover a profitable field, they will be opposed every step of the way in their efforts to lift and transport such gas — in the first place, by the countries in the immediate neighborhood (the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, and Israel), and then by those many nations who have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and wish it to be upheld.
Erdogan’s party, the AKP, recently lost elections in the three largest cities in Turkey — Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. It was a tremendous loss, made even more humiliating in Istanbul because that was where Erdogan got his start, and had his base, as mayor. His authoritarian ways, his lust for power and wealth (he can count his $58 million dollar fortune in the 1,100 room palace, or Ak Saray, that he has had built for himself), have been abundantly manifest in his arrogance in dealing with Turkey’s American ally, whether demanding that Fethulleh Gulen be extradited from Pennsylvania, or imprisoning Pastor Andrew Brunson on trumped-up charges in order to use him in a possible swap for Gulen, or ignoring Washington’s entreaty not to take delivery of the S-400.
Erdogan appears to be in a downward spiral, politically and economically, from which he is unlikely to extricate himself. He will not be sadly missed.
First published in Jihad Watch.
Posted on 07/24/2019 7:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Wednesday, 24 July 2019
The Special Relationship Between the U.S. and the UK
by Michael Curtis
Just friends, lovers no more. Just friends, but not like before. Just two friends drifting apart. Is this to be the fate of the interaction between the United States and the UK?
The fall of France in June 1940, its surrender to Nazi Germany with which it signed an armistice on June 22 changed the balance of power in Europe. The Entente Cordiale begun in 1904 between France and Britain was ended and a more intense cooperation developed between Britain and the United States beginning with the creation of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in December 1941. The change was decisive, marked by remark on June 2, 1944 of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to General Charles de Gaulle, “Each time I have to choose between you (and France) and Roosevelt, I shall choose Roosevelt.”
The term “Special Relationship” (SR) between the U.S. and UK was devised, in slightly different forms, by the half-American Winston Churchill always conscious of the link between his two countries when he said on February 6, 1944 that it was his “deepest conviction that unless Britain and the United States are joined in a special relationship …another destructive war will come to pass.” In November 1945 he stated, “We should not abandon our special relationship with the United States and Canada about the atomic bomb.”
After World War II, Churchill spoke of the phrase a third time when in a majestic speech, his “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946, he asserted that the U.S. stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. Churchill declared that “Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organization will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples…a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States.”
Churchill was optimistic about the growing friendship between “our two vast but kindred systems of society”. Included in this were Intimate contacts with military advisors, possession of similar weapons, interchange of officers and cadets at technical colleges, continuation of present facilities for mutual security.
Crucial problems, past and present, are inherent in the relationship. The first was whether Churchill’s invention, the “special relationship,” was always use more useful for the UK than for the U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, a great believer in the value of the North Atlantic community, in a speech at West Point in December 1962 was candid, even brutal, in commenting on the declining power of Great Britain said it had “lost an empire but not yet found a role. That role was envisaged by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, “We are Greeks in this American empire, the new Rome.”
A second issue was the fluctuation in the warmth and meaningfulness of the SP. Much depended of the two individual leaders, seemingly friendly between Churchill and FDR, Harold Macmillan and JFK, Reagan and Thatcher, Tony Blair and George W. Bush. Less friendly was the interaction between President Barack Obama and the UK. Early in his presidency, Obama removed the bust of Churchill in the Oval Office, replacing it with one of Martin Luther King, Jr. At the end of his presidency, Obama remarked that it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who had been his closest international partner during his eight years in office.
President Trump, perhaps overcome by the events of his state visit to Britain and black-tie dinners in Buckingham Palace and Blenheim Palace, in July 2019 gave a toast to eternal friendship between the two countries and declared hyperbolically that the SP was the greatest alliance the world has ever known.
Naturally differences emerged between the two countries. President Dwight Eisenhower opposed the British, and French, attack on Egypt in 1956. Prime Minister Harold Wilson refused in 1965 to support President Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war in Vietnam. Ronald Reagan was crucial of Thatcher’s decision in 1982 to attack Argentina over the Falkland Islands.
The important question today is whether the SP still exists in reality, and is relevant, and whether it exists and is limited to certain areas such as defense, especially in light of the proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron for the EU to create a European army that will present problems for the UK, U.S. and NATO.
The link between the two countries today is still strong in defense and security and some economic issues; Trident nuclear missiles and nuclear reactors, and the F-35 fast jet program. The UK is somewhat closer to the U.S. than to Europe on certain issues; the Iran nuclear deal; sharing military intelligence; NATO; the Syrian civil war; trade policy, attitude toward Putin, and Russia, climate change policy. It is less close on issues like chlorinated chicken and pharmaceutical matters.
In a 2010 Atlantic Bridge survey, 57 per cent of U.S. thought SP was the world’s most important bilateral partnership. Only 2 per cent disagreed, while 60 percent thought UK was the only country most likely to support the U.S. in a crisis. Indeed, the UK was the only country to contribute troops to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. The two countries face the problem of Iran, and its aggressive behavior in seizing oil tankers as the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps did on July 19, 2019 when it seized the Stena Imperio, an oil tanker with a British flag and its 23 member crew, though Swedish owned, and shooting down a U.S. drone. The U.S. together with the UK has to prevent Iran from controlling the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait, 21 miles wide with two shipping lanes two miles wide, allows access to the Persian Gulf, and is vital since one-third of all global oil and one-third of the world’s liquified natural gas passes through it. Most of this goes to Asia, not the West, but it affects global energy supplies and prices.
Both the U.S. and UK are concerned by this aggressive behavior, by the realization that Iran is likely to restart its nuclear program, and that the nuclear deal was a mistake. It is impossible for UK to protect every ship in the Gulf from Iran forces since it has only Type 23 frigates in the region and four mine hunters. The U.S. has the 5thfleet in Bahrain, including one aircraft carrier, one missile cruiser, five destroyers, two amphibious vessels, and 2 submarines. Both the U.S. and UK are concerned to prevent any attempt by Iran to disrupt the flow of oil through the Gulf since the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.
The UK, like the Trump administration, wants to avoid military action against Iran, but both uphold the principle of freedom of navigation, and keeping the Strait of Hormuz open to all shipping. The extent of collaboration between the two countries on this and other issues has to be revaluated in view of the Conservative politician Boris Johnson, elected on July 23, 2019 to be leader of the Conservative party, by two to one majority, and in a few days to become prime minister.
By curious coincidence Boris, like Winston Churchill, was half American, since he was born in Manhattan in 1964, until he renounced his American citizenship in 2017, largely over capital gains taxation. Johnson had the comfortable family background, elite educational training, Eton, Balliol College Oxford, and after some years as a journalist, held political positions, M.P., Mayor of London, 2008-2016, Foreign Minister 2016-2018 and supporter of Brexit.
In some characteristics he resembles Trump, brash, entertaining, theatrical manner, somewhat unfocused, unconventional, unpredictable, problems with extra-marital affairs. Like Trump’s aversion from the media, Johnson terms the BBC the “Brexit Bashing Corporation.” Johnson is the life and soul of the party, but you would not want to drive him home. Charismatic, he is, as one friend said, the stardust of British politics.
When Donald Trump was a candidate Johnson made some unflattering remarks about him, and worried he might become president. Since then, he has praised Trump for various policies: critic of the European Union, attitude on migrant children, bombing of Syria, for its use of gas, talks with North Korea, pressure on NATO members to increase defense spending, capital allowances for business. Trump according to Boris has many, many, good qualities. It was noticeable that Trump tweeted his best wishes to Johnson within half an hour after Boris was elected , and hope to have good relations.
This promptness of congratulations augurs well for friendly relations and maintenance of the SR. Both Boris and Trump can join forces not only in dealing with Iran, but also with negotiations with the EU over Brexit. The UK can then continue to punch above its weight.
Posted on 07/24/2019 4:12 AM by Michael Curtis
Wednesday, 24 July 2019
IS-supporting terrorists get 22 years for firebombing Melbourne mosque
From the Sydney Morning Herald
Two men who firebombed a Melbourne mosque in the name of Islamic State have each been jailed for 22 years for terrorism offences.
Abdullah Chaarani and Ahmed Mohamed must serve at least 17 years in prison for their roles in destroying the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in Fawkner (Shia mosque - wrong sort of Muslims) by fire in the early hours on December 11, 2016, and for an unsuccessful attempt 16 days earlier. A third man, Hatim Moukhaiber, was jailed for 16 years for his role in the attack and must serve at least 12 years before he is eligible for parole.
Chaarani, 28, and Mohamed, 26, are still to be sentenced for their roles in a wider terrorism scheme, over a jihad-inspired plot to inflict mass casualties during attacks on Melbourne landmarks (infidels - the wrong sort of human beings altogether) around Christmas 2016.
Posted on 07/24/2019 3:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
America, Born of the Hebrew Bible
Liel Leibovitz writes in the Tablet about a new book which makes the case that the American worldview has always been rooted in the Five Books of Moses.
America, G.K. Chesterton once observed, was “a nation with the soul of a church.” Make that a shul: As Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land, a powerful new book, argues, “the American Republic was born to the music of the Hebrew Bible.”
Its editors—Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik, Matthew Holbreich, Jonathan Silver, and Stuart W. Halpern, of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University—make their case, in the fine tradition of our wise forefathers, by laying before us scroll after scroll of source material, showing us the Biblical thread that binds everything from the Mayflower Compact to Lincoln’s second inaugural address.
Clarified by the editors’ illuminating introductions, these historical documents make a strong case for just how firmly our republic was always rooted in the fertile theological soil of the Hebrew bible. Rather than the transactional spirit of John Locke, who they preceded, the pilgrims were moved by a deeper, wilder spirit. Here, we see them speaking not of social contracts—a shaky base, that, for something as unearthly as a nation—but of covenants, the newcomers to America understanding themselves to be the latest in a human chain that began with Noah and Abraham and that owes its existence to its Creator and His will.
Thus thunders John Winthrop, in 1630, that “we are entered into covenant with Him for this work… The Lord will be our God and delight in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness, and truth than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies, when He shall make us a praise and glory, that men shall say of succeeding plantations, the Lord make it like that of New England.” It’s a model of a covenantal political community taken straight from the prophet Micah, who reminded us that “it hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord doth require of thee: Only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”
Covenant, however, is just one part of the theological trinity that America borrowed from the Jews at the moment of its creation; the other two elements are exodus and chosenness. We see the former at play on that most pregnant July 4th, the one in 1776, when, contemplating the newborn nation’s seal, Thomas Jefferson proposes “The Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by day, and Pillar of Fire by night,” and Benjamin Franklin, not to be outdone, counters by proposing Moses at the Red Sea, raising his staff. The journey from the house of bondage to the land of liberty spoke loudly to the Founders, who saw in Judaism’s foundational story something stronger than mere metaphor. The same is true of choseness: Winthrop, Cotton Mather said of his Puritan elder, had carried “a colony of chosen people into an American wilderness.”
This idea—that Americans, like the Israelites of old, have been singled out by God and instructed to erect a city on a hill that would shine its light unto the nations—is far from a historical side note. It is, arguably, the engine that drove America to grow from a string of struggling colonies to something much grander and more consequential. The language of divine election may sound too wild for us these days, too rich with perils and prejudice; but even if we no longer wrestle with this idea as our predecessors once had, this idea still, behind our backs, wrestles with us.
Which, again, makes Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land such a treasure. Far from a mere compendium of ancient curiosities, it could—and should—be read as a primer on how Americans think, and have always thought, about community and about government, about justice and about faith and about all other topics that move the hearts of women and men. It’s only right, then, that the book ends with Lincoln, a president whose understanding of America’s soul was, perhaps, peerlessly layered. “I recollect thinking then, boy even though I was, that there must have been something more than common that those men struggled for,” he said in an address to the New Jersey State Senate in 1861, “that something even more than National Independence; that something that held out a great promise to all the people of the world to all time to come; I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.”
Seven score and eighteen years later, we remain God’s almost chosen people. Now, at least, we’ve a marvelous book to help us understand our promises and predicaments, both bequeathed to us by the glory of the Hebrew Bible.
Posted on 07/23/2019 2:35 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
Peace TV: Islamic TV station that called gay people worse than pigs faces ban
From the Times and the Herald
An evangelical Islamic television channel which broadcast a programme calling homosexuality "insane" and gay people "worse than animals" has been found in breach of broadcasting regulations. Peace TV, based in Dubai, was found to have shown four programmes which breached Ofcom regulations on inciting crime, hate speech and abuse.
The channel said the programmes were based on Islamic teachings.
The regulator said one show - called 'Strengthening Your Family: The Valley of the Homosexuals' - made reference to homosexual people dying "from a disease they contracted because they are homosexual" and said homosexuality was "a very unnatural type of love that is energised by the influence of (Satan)
According to the Ofcom report, presenter Imam Qasim Khan said: "Then they make laws now, the newest and most brash and insane laws, laws that protect homosexuals and even make it legal for them to marry each other. Men marrying men. Being on television in front of our children, kissing each other in the mouth, walking down the street, hugging and kissing - this society has gone insane.
"Even an animal that is defiled by Islam, the pig - as nasty and corrupted and contaminated as a pig is - you never see two male pigs that are trying to have sex together. That's insanity. . . " The presenter asserted that LGB people contracted disease “because they are homosexual” — an apparent reference to HIV.
The channel also broadcast a programme in November 2017 with a scholar discussing execution for those who practice magic, or sahir.
"The correct reliable and majority opinion is that the punishment for a Sahir is that the person should be killed," said scholar Shaikh Ashfaque Salafi, according to the Ofcom report.
"I want to make it clear that the magician's art or the practice of magic cannot be forgiven by way of repentance. To save his life he may seek repentance and get away with it, but at the first opportunity when he has a dispute with someone he will use his magic skills.
"For that reason, for the benefit of all it is better to cut it out from its roots."
The producers said magic, or sahir, in this case was not about "Harry Houdini, Paul Daniels, David Blaine or other entertainers performing magic tricks for money or fun" but rather witchcraft and sorcery. “These statements amounted to an indirect call to action for the audience to kill those who practise magic,” the regulator concluded.
Ofcom also ruled against a Peace TV show in which Zakir Naik, the station’s founder, sanctioned the killing of apostates — Muslims who renounce their faith — in Islamic countries. “If someone leaves the religion and propagates the wrong faith, it is like treason and in Islam the punishment is death, but the death penalty cannot be given by a normal human being. It will have to be in the court of law and a [Sharia court judge] will have to be appointed . . . only he can give the death penalty.”
Dr Naik, a physician, was also responsible for the fourth breach identified by Ofcom. In a programme broadcast in November 2017 and titled Better Half or Bitter Half, the preacher said that it was “no problem at all” for women aged under 18 to get married, even if it was illegal in their country.
Responding to Ofcom, the channel defended its broadcasts on the grounds that there was “no current evidence of any non-Muslim viewing of Peace TV”. It asserted its right to free expression under the European Convention of Human Rights.
...the watchdog said that two breaches, relating to the language used against homosexuals and magicians, were serious enough to merit a statutory sanction. The regulator has the power to impose a £250,000 fine or revoke a station’s licence. Ofcom’s penalty is expected to be announced this year. Peace TV declined to comment.
Posted on 07/23/2019 6:33 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
The Squad: A New Culture In Town
by Nonie Darwish
A new political culture has arrived in Washington with the election of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. Ilhan Omar sounded exactly like Muslim leaders who historically threatened Israel by declaring they will be Israel’s nightmare, but in the case of Omar, she was referring the President of the United States. In perfect harmony with Arab culture of threats to Israel, Ilhan Omar declared she will be Trump’s nightmare.
These four members of congress burst into the political scene to revive the dismantled Obama dreams to fundamentally transform America from a capitalist Constitutional Republic Superpower to just another (nothing special) ‘Socialist Democrat State’.
They call themselves the squad and unabashedly embrace Socialism, anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and flaunt an especially radical kind of Islam that is pro-Hamas and that has been abandoned today by several moderate Muslim countries.
The squad has become the symbol of the merger of socialism/communism (Red) and Islam (Green) in American politics. Recently, Omar and Tlaib have added one more layer of outrage in support of the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement. These women carry themselves with an attitude of ‘you owe me’. They unapologetically blame and insult America and President Trump every chance they get. When Tlaib was asked about the M—-r F—-r public insult of the President she refused to apologize and said that is how she and her constituency speak; an interesting addition to the political dialogue in America.
Sadly, these women represent a good portion of the new generation of Americans who were brought up with distorted history of America, misguided values and indoctrination by leftist educational institutions. They are encouraged into viewing themselves as victim “women of color” which in the mind of Leftists entitles them to a special status to not be questioned and to expectations and power over others. In other words, being women of color means ‘we are above criticism and entitled to insult you and if you object then you are a racist.’
Such openly rebellious behavior by politicians against the political system of a country could only be tolerated in the Liberal culture of Western politics of today but would never be tolerated in socialist or Islamic countries, which is the national origin of some of the members of the squad.
Unlike free societies, oppressive socialist and Islamic cultures breed an atmosphere of fear and distrust where citizens get ahead by stepping on each other, through deception and playing the victim. That has penetrated the American political system where calling oneself “a person of color” could bring with it a lot of power.
Is it any wonder that some white Americans today try to get ahead by pretending they are minorities! Elizabeth Warren falsely claimed she was Indian, Rachel Dolezal pretended to be black and while Robert O’Rourke calls himself officially Beto to give the impression he is Latin. I personally knew a Muslim woman who never wore a hijab in Egypt but started wearing it in America. When I asked her why, she said: “The ethnic look is power in America.”
Those two seemingly unrelated ideologies, socialism and Islam, have proven their similarities throughout history and have produced totalitarian societies that share many similarities in how the individual view the state and work in a twisted way around the system to achieve power.
The most prominent Islamic jurist and philosopher of the twentieth century, Sheikh Abul A’la Maududi, unabashedly linked Islam to communism and fascism and added that Islam is not just a religion but, like communism, seeks to control every aspect of life and activity of the individual.
Both Socialism/Communism and Islam/Sharia are also similar in their rebellion and rejection of Biblical Values. There is a reason why both socialists and Muslims are anti-Semitic, anti Christian and anti good old American Biblical values. In a nutshell Biblical values are the number one obstacle in achieving their Socialist/Islamic utopia. And that is why socialist Ocasio-Cortez and Muslim Omar and Tlaib are joint in the hip in being anti-Semites and critical of the traditional Biblical values.
Societies that adopt Biblical values are the mirror opposite and in stark contrast to societies with socialist and/or Islamic values and that is why the God of the Bible is a threat to such totalitarian systems.
The Bible teaches its followers that they are not at war with ‘flesh and blood’ but with the Devil, in other words they are not at war with humans whether these humans are from another class, religion, national origin or race. Societies based on such a Biblical principle are blessed with diminishing the human urge to view fellow citizens as their enemy. On the other hand, Allah in Islam has declared war literally against ‘flesh and blood’ humans. The Koran is full of cursing of the human enemies of Allah, the ‘Kafir’ and Allah will punish and reward Muslims on the basis of how much they hate and their will to convert or kill them. On that basis the existence of the ‘evil other’ is essential in the totality of Islamic values. That is one of the reasons why Islamic societies are full of strife, blame and victimhood mentality.
That is why Islamic and socialist cultures, lacking in Biblical values, are cultures of envy, distrust and blame. In such a culture citizens learn the art of deception, anger, blaming others while claiming victimhood to empower themselves. That is the culture where I, the writer of this article, Rep. Omar and Tlaib have come from, but it took me a lifetime to fully remove this culture from my soul.
In a nutshell, America was founded by and for individuals who view themselves as not in a war with other citizens and that their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness was given to them from their creator (the Biblical God) and not placed in the hands of the state or other humans. America was built on self-reliance, and creation of wealth through hard work and innovation and was never built on values of ‘us against them’ or achieving wealth through seizing it from others.
Even at the international level, Islamic and Socialist countries lead the world in their constant grievance industry, blame of others, and demands for special treatment sacrifices from others to make amends. While demanding all of that they often insult, smear and fabricate stories against their opponent and are easily offended if they are criticized or their abuse is challenged, That pretty much summarizes the behavior of the squad in Congress.
Such strategy of blaming the outside world with fake victimhood status have worked wonders for over seventy years for Palestinian leadership who keep holding the world hostage while robbing their oppressed citizens before the whole world to see.
Dysfunctional Socialist and Islamist societies sacrifice individual rights for the sake of collective ‘good’. Under Islam, the Caliphate and Allah are one and must rule by Sharia. Sharia states that a Muslim Head of State (Khalifa) is immune from prosecution for crimes even as serious as murder and other sins prohibited by Islam and “must be obeyed even if he is unjust,” that of course as long as he rules by Sharia. In Islamic and socialist systems the head of State has no choice but to replace God and citizens have no choice but to live under his mercy.
The squad women in Congress have intensified the liberal assault on the American system and brought a new low to the political debate. They are, not just enabled, but also accepted, defended, pampered and covered up for by the Liberal political and social establishment. Their attitude is hostile and tyrannical and is cemented by a culture of victimhood and grievances for the purpose of achieving power through bends the rules for some and invents crimes for others. They are indeed the “Four Horsewomen Of The Apocalypse”
First published in the Geller Report.
Nonie Darwish is the author of Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values.
Posted on 07/23/2019 3:47 AM by Nonie Darwish
Monday, 22 July 2019
Boris Johnson Wrote Something Unflattering About Islam 12 Years Ago — Was He Right?
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Here is the story:
Boris Johnson has been accused of “promoting hatred” after penning an essay arguing Islam caused the Muslim world to be “literally centuries behind” the West.
“After penning an essay” sounds as if Johnson just wrote it. It is only at the very end of the third paragraph that we learn he wrote this essay nearly 13 years ago, in 2007.
The frontrunner for No 10 claimed there was something about Islam that held back development in parts of the world, creating a “Muslim grievance” fuelling virtually every conflict.
“The more bitterness and confusion there has been, to the point where virtually every global flashpoint you can think of – from Bosnia to Palestine to Iraq to Kashmir – involves some sense of Muslim grievance,” Mr Johnson wrote, in 2007.
Was Johnson wrong? In 2007, when he wrote that remark, weren’t the “global flashpoints” in Bosnia, “Palestine,” Iraq, Kashmir? Had he included one other “flashpoint” he forgot to mention — Afghanistan — that would only have made his point even more strongly. And in the last 13 years, what other “global flashpoints” could be added to Johnson’s list? Libya, with the overthrow of Qaddafi and then the violence among various armed factions that is still going on, with no end in sight. In Israel, the Fast Jihadis of Hamas in Gaza continue their violent attempts to breach Israel’s security fence, while the Slow Jihadis of the Palestinian Authority continue to wage a diplomatic and propaganda war against the Jewish State; Fast and Slow Jihadis both hate Jews, but they are also at each other’s throats. In Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohamed Morsi was toppled by force, the military’s suppression of the Brotherhood continues without letup. In Yemen, where a civil war started in 2015, and quickly became a proxy war between Shi’a Iran, which supports the Houthi rebels, and Sunni Saudi Arabia, which props up the government forces with an extensive bombing campaign. In Bahrain, the Sunni ruler has had to suppress with force the street protests of the largely Shi’a population.
Still another “global flashpoint” has been Syria, convulsed in a civil war since 2011, a war which led five million people to flee the country as refugees, while another six million have been internally displaced. Thus half the country, 11 million people out of a total Syrian population of 22 million, have had to leave their homes. In Iraq, the Sunnis have not acquiesced in their loss of power since Saddam Hussein was overthrown, and the much more numerous Shi’a are not about to relinquish any of the power that has devolved to them; the struggle over political and economic power continues. In both Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State emerged in 2015 and swiftly took control of a large territory, with a population of eight to twelve million people. In Afghanistan, the “longest war in American history” continues; the Taliban has reconquered half the country. In Tunisia, where the “Arab Spring” started in 2011, and popular protests toppled the corrupt regime of Ben Ali, there has for years been intermittent violence between the secularists, led by Beji Caid Essebsi, and the “moderate” Islamists led by Rachid Ghannouchi of the Ennahda Party. In Algeria, violent street protests in 2019 finally caused Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign after 20 years as President. In northern Nigeria, both the Muslim Hausa terrorists of Boko Haram, and the Muslim Fulani semi-nomadic herders have attacked churches, murdered Christian villagers, and kidnapped Christian girls.
Boris Johnson’s claim in 2007 that “virtually every global flashpoint you can think of – from Bosnia to Palestine to Iraq to Kashmir – involves some sense of Muslim grievance,” applies with even greater force today. Arabs against Jews in “Palestine,” Berbers against Arabs in Algeria, Muslims against Christians in Pakistan and Nigeria, Arabs against Kurds in Iraq, Alawites against Sunnis in Syria, Sunnis against Shia in Iraq, Shi’a Houthis against Sunnis in Yemen, militias from Tripoli fighting for power against militias from Benghazi, while both fight other militias from Zintan — not every conflict involves “some sense of Muslim grievance” (none is involved in the Ukraine where ethnic Russians fight to join Russia), but the vast majority of them do.
The comments [by Boris Johnson in his 2007 essay] were attacked by Tell Mama, an organization which monitors anti-Muslim hate, which said he had demonstrated a lack of understanding of the religion.
The reporter for The Independent is far too kind to Tell Mama. It is a Muslim group that, while claiming to monitor only “anti-Muslim hate,” manages to call into question, and attempts to punish and suppress, remarks critical of Islam and of Muslims that fall far short of “hate.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said people would want to know if the likely next prime minister still believed “Islam inherently inhibits the path to progress and freedom.”
Boris Johnson does indeed think that there is something about Islam that explains why Muslim countries have fallen behind the rest of the world. He posed it in his 2007 essay as a question to which he didn’t have the answer, but was throwing it out for discussion.
So let’s discuss it. Almost all Muslim states are family despotisms, like Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, and Syria, or military dictatorships, as in Egypt, or authoritarian regimes, as in Pakistan and Turkey. In Muslim lands, the legitimacy of the state depends on how well it reflects the will expressed by Allah in the Qur’an. A ruler may be a despot, but he must be a true Muslim. In Western democracies, the legitimacy of the government depends on how well it reflects the will of the people, as expressed, however imperfectly, in elections. Muslims ruled by despots, military dictators, or authoritarians, cannot rely on the state to fulfill their wishes. This makes for widespread discontent. And now, through the Internet, Muslims everywhere can learn about how Western democracies work, can observe electoral politics up close, and come to resent what, as subjects rather than as citizens, they must endure from retrograde regimes. There is not a single Western-style democracy anywhere in the Muslim world; Turkey, before Erdogan, came the closest, but the Turkish military were always ready if a coup was needed to keep Kemalism as the state religion.
In economics, even those Muslim OPEC states that have collectively received, since 1973 alone, more than twenty-five trillion dollars, have nowhere managed to create modern economies. These countries are still almost completely dependent on revenues from oil, though they keep talking, especially in Saudi Arabia, about the creation of “economic cities” where new industries will be created to help make their counties less dependent on oil. To date, from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it’s been all hat, and no cattle.
One reason for the lack of economic development is the inshallah-fatalism of Muslim societies. If the distribution of worldly rewards is in the end made by Allah, why knock yourself out trying to become rich? Inshallah-fatalism dampens the desire to exert oneself. Another reason is the inculcated suspicion of innovation, or bid’a. For Muslim clerics, new ways of thinking about things, or doing things, are disturbing. Might the eager embrace of the new lead to a desire for innovation in the faith itself? That would never do. Silicon Valley, the MIT Media Lab, the full-speed ahead delight Americans — even more than other Westerners — take in new ways of manufacturing and distributing goods, in new ways to collect data and connect people, in our societal deification of the innovators, such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, is foreign to the Muslim mindset. Inshallah-fatalism, and the distrust of the new, are aspects of Islam that have economic consequences; they are part of what holds Muslims back.
Education in Muslim countries tends to favor rote learning. This privileging of mere memorization likely has its roots in the much-lauded exercise of memorizing all 6,236 verses in the Qur’an. The person who manages this is given the honorific “hafiz.” And what’s more, those who memorize the Qur’an are then repeatedly tested on it in two ways. A snippet of verse may be recited by the examiner, out of its context, and the hafiz must then supply the complete verse. Or the hafiz may be asked to recite a verse that contains a certain word. Muslims are pleased and proud at this feat of memory.
Many people in the West take quite a different view, and are appalled at what they regard as a waste of brainpower. When education consists in great part of memorization, of repetition, of inculcation rather than discussion, this leaves its mark on the minds of pupils. Islam discourages the habit of skeptical inquiry, for fear that such a habit might lead to a questioning of some aspect of Islam itself. But that is the very habit — of questioning what has been critically accepted — that is essential to the enterprise of science. Surely this helps explain the paucity of Muslim contributions to the sciences. Only three Muslims — or possibly two, since one of the three is an Ahmadi, and thus forbidden in his own country, Pakistan, from identifying himself as a Muslim — have won Nobel Prizes in the sciences.
And Mohammed Amin, a former chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, said Mr Johnson’s analysis risked “actively promoting hatred of Muslims.”
Why would questioning the effect of Islam on its adherents “actively promote hatred of Muslims”? It might instead create sympathy for them, as the first victims of Islam, bound by the mind-forged manacles of the faith, a faith that they cannot safely leave. Mohammed Amin is merely determined to halt all Islamocriticism, which is what Boris Johnson offered in 2007 when he wrote this piece.
He wrote: “There must be something about Islam that indeed helps to explain why there was no rise of the bourgeoisie, no liberal capitalism and therefore no spread of democracy in the Muslim world.
Why was there no rise of the bourgeoisie, nor of what we call “liberal capitalism,” in the world of Islam? First, the absence of democracy helped prevent the emergence of this social class, able in the West through political action to push for policies favorable to it. Muslim societies were traditionally despotisms (and most still are today), with an absolute ruler at the top. Political power remained with the ruler’s family; the ruler maintained total control over the military that, in turn, kept the populace in line. People in Islamic societies were subjects, not citizens. The ruler, however despotic, was to be obeyed, as long as he was a good Muslim. The rise of the bourgeoisie in the West required that people be allowed to acquire some wealth through their own efforts, and to be secure in their property. In Muslim societies, wealth was regarded as due to the beneficence of Allah, an Oriental fatalism captured in the exclamation “inshallah.” Why work hard if in the end, the will of Allah will decide who becomes rich and who stays poor? If someone acquired too much wealth, he might be seen as a potential rival to the ruler, and his wealth could be stripped from him. Furthermore, the accumulation of property by ordinary subjects in traditional Islamic societies was difficult, given the absence of certain institutions, such as a Western-style banking system, because in Islam usury was forbidden.
Liberal capitalism required a functioning banking system, transparent mechanisms by which investments could be made and profits retained. Instead of inshallah-fatalism, there needed to be a willingness on the part of some to take economic risks, while possessing enough political power to ensure that rulers would respond to the needs of a nascent entrepreneurial class. There needed to be a developed law of property, which scarcely exists — save for inheritance law — in the Sharia. None of these desiderata are to be found in traditional Islamic societies.
“It is extraordinary to think that under the Roman/Byzantine empire, the city of Constantinople kept the candle of learning alight for a thousand years, and that under Ottoman rule, the first printing press was not seen in Istanbul until the middle of the nineteenth century. Something caused them to be literally centuries behind.”
The printing press came to the Islamic world — that of the Ottomans — nearly 390 years after Gutenberg, whose first printing press dates from 1439. That printing press technology was first brought to the Ottomans, that is, to Istanbul, Salonika, Edirne, and Izmir, not by Muslims, but by Sephardic Jews from Spain. This invention was at first used only by non-Muslims; between 1727 and 1839 only 142 books were printed in the entire Ottoman Empire. It was not until the mid-19th century that the use of the printing press became commonplace.
The late adoption of the printing press in the Islamic world certainly hindered the advancement of science, an undertaking that required the rapid and inexpensive dissemination of texts that the printing press permitted, and that had led to the explosion of knowledge and discovery and invention in Christian Europe from the Renaissance on.
Historians are not certain as to why the printing press was forbidden for so long in the Ottoman Empire. One possible explanation is that the scribes, fearing the loss of their livelihoods, were dead-set against the printing press. But even more important, I suspect, were the Muslim clerics, who were suspicious of all innovation, bid’a, of any kind, for fear that innovations in one area might result in calls for innovations in the area of faith. The printing press was, after all, an invention of the Infidels, which already made it suspect. Furthermore, the clerics feared losing control over what was no longer produced by pious scribes but by mechanical means, which might include texts calling some aspect of Islam, or of their own role, into question.
The MCB said: “Many of us would be interested to find out whether Mr Johnson still believes that Islam inherently inhibits the path to progress and freedom.”
Tell Mama said the essay portrayed Muslims as “a wave or horde of rampaging Muslims, who had little time for the intricacies and legacies of civilizations like that of Rome”.
Protesting that it suggested Muslims were somehow “mentally constrained by Islam”, it said. “That shows a lack of understanding of Islam, and there are many Muslims whom Islam has inspired to produce some of the most beautiful art forms in their love for life and beauty.”
Islam has in fact narrowed the possibilities of artistic expression by Muslims. It prohibits, for example, all musical instruments, and thus reduces music in the Muslim world to a cappella singing. Some Muslims do use instruments, but they do so in spite, and not because of, Islam. Think of all the instrumental music that was never composed, never played, never heard, by Muslims over the past 1,400 years.
Artistic expression through the fine arts is similarly limited, because images of living creatures are not permitted in Islam. This is because of the hadiths in which Muhammad declared that the angel Gabriel had told him that angels would not enter a house where there were dogs or pictures. Here are several of those hadiths:
“Once Gabriel promised the Prophet (saws) that he would visit him, but Gabriel did not come, and later on he said, “We, angels, do not enter a house which contains a picture, or a dog.”
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 7.834 Narrated by Muslim
“‘We were with Masruq at the house of Yasar bin Numair. Masruq saw pictures on his terrace and said, “I heard ‘Abdullah saying that he heard the Prophet (saws) saying, “The people who will receive the severest punishment from Allah will be the picture makers.’ “
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.448 Narrated by Abu Tasha
“‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (saws) saying; “Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal).'”
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.428 Narrated by Said bin Abu Al Hasan
So no portraiture was allowed, no paintings at all with human figures in them, no statues of living creatures. Muslim artistic expression was thus constrained, mainly devoted to geometric patterns in carpets, ceramics, and the tulip tiles of Iznik, to architecture, especially mosque architecture, and above all, to Qur’anic calligraphy. Visit any celebrated art museum in the West, and study what is on offer in the handful of rooms devoted to Islamic art, and you will at once see how limited the possibilities for Muslim artists have been.
The campaign behind Mr Johnson, who is almost certain to be declared the new Tory leader and prime minister next week, did not respond to a request for comment.
In the essay, he also wrote: “It is time to get deep down and dirty and examine the central charge made by everyone from Winston Churchill to the Pope, namely that the real problem with the Islamic world is Islam.
“We must be honest and accept that there is more than a grain of truth in Churchill’s analysis of the economic and social consequences of the religion.”
This last remark alludes to Churchill’s famous description of Islam’s effect on its adherents, which appeared in The River War, his book on the Sudan.
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.
This searing condemnation may be deplored by Muslims, who no doubt wish that these words by Churchill had never been unearthed, but the only legitimate demand to be made of this paragraph is this: Is it true? And you and I, and the outspoken Boris Johnson, all know the answer to that.
Posted on 07/22/2019 4:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 21 July 2019
Rochdale whistleblower Maggie Oliver on her new charity and how grooming gangs are still abusing girls today
From the Telegraph. Her book has been out about 2 weeks - it's not just about the Grooming gang abuse but it all sounds interesting. I'll buy and read it in due course. Meanwhile from her interview with Julie Bindle something which I had not seen before stands out.
She is telling her side of the story in a new book, Survivors, which zeroes-in on policing failures in bringing the perpetrators to justice. Oliver recounts, with justifiable outrage, how those failures came not from lack of resources or expertise, but prejudice towards the victims, many of whom were as young as 13.
“They were written off as slags,” she says. “Senior officers were far more concerned with keeping the lid on the shocking levels of child sexual abuse than they were about the girls.”
It was in 2004 that GMP (Greater Manchester Police) became aware of allegations about the grooming of predominantly white girls by gangs in the market town (Rochdale). Oliver had been recruited to Operation Augusta, an investigation in them, which began later that year.
Yet, despite the fact that a list of over 200 suspects had been compiled, it was abandoned. One suspect identified by a victim turned out to be a serving police officer. Oliver was told by another officer responsible for investigating corruption to “leave it to us”. “I never heard what, if anything, happened to him,” she says.
In the summer of 2005, Operation Augusta was completely shut down and Oliver discovered that the last entry in its files was on the evening of July 6 – the night before the 7/7 terrorist attack in London.
“I’m certain that an order was given at the very highest level,” she says, “that to reveal the extent of child grooming of white girls by Muslim men at that point would be akin to adding petrol to an already inflammatory situation.”
Shockingly, it was reported last month that at least two of the men convicted in 2012 have been released from prison and are back living in Rochdale - despite losing a Court of Appeal case last year to avoid being stripped of their UK citizenship. One woman who was abused as a teenager is said to have wet herself with fright on bumping into her perpetrator in the street. Another, according to Oliver, spat in his victim’s face.
“It was the police and the authorities that caused pain, more than the abusers. They should hang their heads in shame. If your 14-year-old daughter was being raped on a daily basis by a gang, would you say it was OK not to prosecute those men for rape?”
Posted on 07/21/2019 11:03 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 21 July 2019
Reports in British press gloating and alleging that Tommy Robinson was beaten up in the prison showers are fake news
TR News and Tommy's Telegram account, plus trusted people with whom he is allowed contact confirm that he is on an isolation wing and thus his contact with other prisoners is minimal. He certainly isn't "strutting around" or sharing the communal ablutions.
The Daily Star Sunday had the story first as an exclusive, repeated by the very left-leaning (used to be a great newspaper once - I learnt to read on it back in 1959) Hope not Hate bank-rolling Mirror/Sunday Mirror.
The Daily Star Sunday's front page is left - that doesn't look like a 70 year old age pension drawing 'ard man to me.
Sources have said that Robinson strutted into prison acting “like a celebrity” but was soon being abused by black, white and Asian inmates. . . Robinson, 36, was not punched because he was a far-right activist but was “decked” for trying to throw his weight around.
Robinson accused another inmate of “disrespecting” him when they bumped into each other in the shower block. He is said to have tried to intimidate the pensioner who responded by dropping him with a single punch.
A source said: “There was a bit of pushing then one prisoner, a 70-year-old, very hard pensioner, decked Robinson with a punch to the jaw. He didn’t have any idea who he had hit, but he wasn’t going to back down. Those are the rules in Belmarsh, you fight or back down."
This story has already been repeated in the Australian press and refuted by Avi Yemeni
Flash demos and banner protests have been held in locations all over the country - bigger ones are planning for the coming weeks. For example at the Manchester United v Leeds game last week, courtesy of the BBC
Posted on 07/21/2019 7:28 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 21 July 2019
Canada needs to compete — here's how we can win
The long-term consequences of Canada having higher tax rates in almost every bracket than the United States are easily predicted and potentially very damaging to this country
by Conrad Black
It is a well-known and almost uncontested economic aphorism that you will get more of whatever you officially incentivize. Welfare dependency, if made more attractive, becomes more popular, and as Nigel Lawson, then British chancellor of the exchequer in the Thatcher government said as he slashed income taxes in 1988: “The economics are simple. If you reward enterprise, you get more of it.” One of the great economic booms of British history was in progress.
The wisdom of this principle leads directly to the vexed discussion of social priorities. No one now disputes that the private sector creates more jobs with investment than the public sector and its so-called multiplier effect — the expansive consequential spending is higher in the private sector than the public sector. The issue becomes whether it is better public policy to reduce taxes, stimulate economic growth and place all bets on President Ronald Reagan’s famous assertion that “The only welfare system we ever had that worked is a job,” or whether, inefficient though it is in generating economic growth, we should vary the application of these economic lessons by increasing inefficient varieties of public welfare spending to alleviate the condition of comparatively disadvantaged people. In practice, almost all sophisticated democracies oscillate between the two poles.
In extreme terms, the pure capitalist model would reduce all taxes to the bare fiscal bones necessary to pay for essential state functions, such as constabulary and justice, national defence, education and basic services, and a safety net that is comparatively threadbare. At the other end of the policy spectrum, the democratic left (that is confiscatory socialists who support free elections and other freedoms and civil rights that authoritarian Marxists do not accept), want high taxes, and a massive government-directed reallocation of resources between people and activities. Doctors, for example, become effectively government employees, and in the peppier and more traditional circles, ”the commanding heights of the economy” are nationalized in state-owned companies. And private education is severely discouraged as inegalitarian. This can also lead to controversial issues such as the recent flare-up in the United States about the desirability or otherwise of compulsorily busing large numbers of schoolchildren out of their neighbourhoods and all around metropolitan areas in pursuit of racial balance in classes and equal standards in all schools.
In general, I have always been an advocate of leaving as much as can be done without unacceptable humanitarian shortfalls on the private sector, and leaving people free to dispose of their incomes and conduct themselves as freely as can be done while contributing adequately to maintain an orderly and progressive society, and as long as the exercise of personal liberties does not encroach on the ability of others to exercise their own liberties. I agree altogether with the founder or inspirer of much of the modern welfare and emergency relief concepts in advanced countries, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who regarded direct cash payments to the able-bodied unemployed of sound mind as “the pauperism of the dole.” Conservatives have made a terrible tactical as well as historical error by claiming Roosevelt was on the left. He saved a capitalist system that had collapsed when he entered office in 1933. The unemployment rate was over 30 per cent with no direct relief for them and the entire stock and commodity exchange and banking systems had closed their doors. He rebuilt it while conserving 95 per cent of it, guarantied bank deposits and low-rate mortgages, made the government a huge but temporary preferred shareholder in the banking system, and put millions of people into workfare conservation and infrastructure programs as the private sector gradually revived and recruited them back into the normal work force.
I have in past columns proposed various methods of self-reducing taxes on high-wealth people and corporations to alleviate poverty in schemes that the taxpayers would design and administer themselves, as they do with bona fide charities. The tax rate would fall as the level of defined poverty in the country fell. The interests of the rich and the poor would be exactly aligned and the greatest commercial talents in society would be giving some of their attention to our most intractable problem — poverty.
I do not accept the Biblical edict that “Ye have the poor always with you.” (Matthew 26; 11). But I think we have gone as far as we usefully can with well-worn methods of the public sector using tax-paid funds to employ large numbers of people to dollop out money in pursuit of an ever-shrinking return on society’s social investment. I’m not imputing discreditable motives or incompetence to any one or group; I just don’t think we can milk any more objective progress out of the system we have and we are long past the point of diminishing returns. The fetishistic official Canadian opposition to private medicine and insistence on the fraud of equal treatment for everyone regardless of means, and the reflex to tax more and spend more on socialized medicine on the theory that the national health service will improve thereby, is bunk.
Returning to the most immediate related question, tax policy, Canada is swimming against the international trend. Canada does have good unemployment numbers, though not as astonishing as those in the United States, where there are now 1.6 million more positions to fill than unemployed people, and closing off the influx of unskilled workers illegally entering the country will assure brisk income increases for relatively low-income jobs and continued full employment. To a large extent, though it is difficult to quantify exactly, our low unemployment numbers are caused by American economic growth because almost 40 per cent of Canadian economic activity is in the commercial relationship with the United States. But the long-term consequences of Canada having higher tax rates in almost every bracket than the United States are easily predicted and potentially very damaging to this country. The departure of international companies from Canada (i.e. Barrick Gold) and the decline in foreign investment in Canada are already evident and unless they are reversed, the results will be grievous and we won’t have long to wait for them.
Unless they are reversed, the results will be grievous and we won’t have long to wait for them
As mentioned, the recent trend has been to tax reduction in the principal economic countries. There is now an almost world-wide intensifying competition for capital, talent and business, and countries are showcasing tax reductions and simplifications and deregulation. Australia, perhaps the closest comparative economy and society and political system with Canada’s, and which has long had a higher standard of living than Canada, has just re-elected a government on a campaign platform to eliminate $200 billion (Canadian) from tax collections, flatten taxes, and leave 90 per cent of income-earners at the same reduced level. In 2001, Russia, admittedly not a pristine model of governance, imposed a flat income tax of 13 per cent, and tax revenue rose 50 per cent in two years. In Bulgaria (2008), Hungary (2012) and in the Baltic and some other Central European states, the same formula of lower and flatter taxes has been successfully implemented. Italy’s flamboyant populist government has announced plans for a 15 per cent tax on all families’ incomes up to 85 thousand dollars. Italy and Portugal are both enticing wealthy foreigners with minimal tax on their world-wide incomes. The recent American tax cuts ranked with those of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson in 1965, and President Reagan in 1981, as the greatest in American history, and cut the income taxes of 82 per cent of American taxpayers and of all businesses.
People who earn money have not been motivated to enrich anyone but themselves, though almost everyone acknowledges the need for an adequately funded state. The overbearing, unimaginative, confiscatory attitude of the present regime in Ottawa, in addition to its profligate spending in many areas and official cowardice in vital economic growth sectors such as pipelines, is creating a competitive disadvantage for Canada that will be onerous. The tax proposals of the government and official opposition should be scrutinized carefully before the country votes in October. (No such exercise is likely to be fruitful with the NDP or the Greens.) Four more years like the last four and another five countries will pass Canada in per capita income. No matter how hard we try to convert the social safety net into hammocks in exchange for the votes of their occupants, countries have to compete as people and corporations and sports teams do, and economically, we are not competing well now.
First published in the National Post.
Posted on 07/21/2019 7:34 AM by Conrad Black
Sunday, 21 July 2019
Memo to Erdogan: You can have the S-400, or you can have the F-35, but you can’t have both
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Turkey, a member of NATO and — some still believe — an American ally, has been in the news of late because of its purchase, and then its taking delivery, of the S-400 air-defense missile system from Russia. It did this in defiance of the wishes of the American government, and of every other member of NATO. The Trump Administration, backed up by members of Congress of both parties, had warned Erdogan not to go through with the purchase, insisting that Turkey would not be allowed to take delivery of the 100 F-35 stealth jets, the top-of-the-line American aircraft, that the Americans had been willing to sell them. “You can have the S-400, or you can have the F-35, but you can’t have both” was the repeated refrain from Washington
The Americans have several worries. First, there is the matter of interoperability. One NATO official told The Washington Post that the alliance was “concerned about the potential consequences of Turkey’s decision to acquire the S-400 system. Interoperability of our armed forces is fundamental to NATO for the conduct of our operations and missions.” None of the other members of NATO have air-defense systems compatible with the Russian S-400. Even within Turkey, there would be incompatibility — lack of interoperability — between the S-400 systems and the missile defense systems now in place, including the Patriot missiles the Americans have in Turkey to protect their air base at Incirlik. The Americans had offered to sell Patriot missiles to Turkey, but Erdogan claimed that Washington had not made an adequate offer. Erdogan may well have been determined all along to buy, for $2.5 billion, the advanced S-400 system from Russia, both to cement close ties with his new best friend forever, Vladimir Putin, and to demonstrate his willingness to defy the Americans, who clearly get on his nerves; after all, they supported the “terrorist” Kurds in Syria, and they’re in thrall to those terrible Israelis.
The second worry is even greater. U.S. officials fear that if Turkey has both the F-35 and Russia’s most advanced air defense system in its hands, then Russians may gain access to F-35 technology and later target its weaknesses. In late May, Kathryn Wheelbarger, U.S. acting assistant secretary of defense, said that the “S-400 is a Russian system designed to shoot down an aircraft like the F-35.” She said “it is inconceivable to imagine Russia not taking advantage of that [intelligence] collection opportunity.” The Russians might offer, as one more example of their desire to help Turkey, to make the S-400 system as effective as possible by studying the F-35’s current ability to evade the S-400 missiles, then coming up with counter-measures, which would be shared with their new Turkish friends.
Erdogan may believe that the Americans are bluffing, that they won’t in the end prevent Turkey from buying the 100 F-35s, which are to be delivered at the rate of ten a year for ten years. After all, the sale, once complete, could be worth about 15 billion dollars. But Lockheed has not had trouble finding customers — including the Pentagon — for the F-35. If Turkey doesn’t buy them, other potential customers are waiting.
Erdogan may also think that the Americans wouldn’t prohibit the F-35 sale because this might lead Turkey to close down Incirlik, an airbase that was useful during the Cold War as a listening post into the Soviet Union, and recently has been used by the American air force for missions in the Middle East. But the U.S. military has since early 2018 already curbed combat operations flying out of Incirlik, and permanent cutbacks are in the works. in January 2018, for instance, a squadron of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs were shifted from Incirlik to Afghanistan. U.S. Air Forces Central Command officially said that the move was for the purpose of shifting focus from fighting ISIS to fighting the Taliban. But it also showed the American willingness to relocate planes to other bases. Another reason why the use of Incirlik is being re-thought is that the Turks sometimes request, within giving any explanation, that the U.S. suspend operations on the runway. It’s a way for Erdogan to engage in petty harassment, to show the Americans who is boss. Furthermore, the Turks have already threatened to close Incirlik down: on February 11, 2018, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Fikri I??k announced that Ankara would not hesitate to close the airbase, if its long-term interests require it.
“If Turkey’s medium and long-term interests require [us]to take a step [to close the base] Turkey certainly would not refrain from taking this step,” I??k said during a press conference, according to the Türkiye newspaper.
When asked by journalists if Turkey is currently [in 2018] considering closing the Incirlik airbase, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister didn’t confirm or deny but he said that the decision-making mechanisms in Turkey “always hold each and ever.” [sic]
The Americans need an air base where they can operate freely, without the anxiety of never knowing when the runways might be closed at whim by a hostile host, or the whole air base might be closed, as Turkish officials have threatened to do with Incirlik.
Where might such a base be placed? One possibility is in the Sinai, in one of the already existing airbases built by the Israelis when they held the Sinai, and which could be upgraded to meet American needs. The Eitam airbase at El Goreh, in northeast Sinai, might fill the bill. Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates would all welcome such an American presence. To discourage the inevitable street protests by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian government could have its controlled media focus on the enormous rent, and additional American economic aid, the Egyptians would be receiving for use of the Eitam airbase.In Saudi Arabia (and the Emirates), the government-controlled media could truthfully depict this American airbase as providing greater security for the Saudis (and Emiratis), in facing the threat of Iran. Israel, of course, needs no convincing about the benefits of an American base in the Sinai. As for Erdogan, such a move out of Incirlik by the Americans, upending all his assumptions about who has the upper hand in Turkish-American relations, should provide a salutary lesson. One could even call it an “Ottoman slap.”
First published in Jihad Watch.
Posted on 07/21/2019 4:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 21 July 2019
Luton man and woman charged with terrorism offences after alleged plot on London Pride
I'm a couple of days late with this. From Luton Today, The Sun,The Telegraph and the BBC. Photograph from the Daily Mail
A Luton man and woman (brother and sister both of Kirkwood Road, Luton) charged with terrorism offences appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 16th July. The pair were arrested following a vehicle stop in Luton on Wednesday, July 3, as part of an investigation by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command. It followed an intelligence-led joint investigation by the Met’s SO15 anti-terror branch and MI5.
A source said : "They were taken out at an early stage of suspected plans to hit the Pride march.’’
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 28, appeared charged with one count of preparation of acts of terrorism, one count of dissemination of a terrorist publication, and one count of possession of terrorist information.
The preparing acts of terrorism charge relates to: carrying out weight, fitness and martial arts training; purchasing and training with bokkens (wooden training swords); booking a firearms training course; requesting and selecting a firearm; and researching and requesting that another person research potential attack targets.
He has been remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on Monday, July 29.
Sneha Chowdhury, 25 appeared charged with two counts of failing to disclose information regarding terrorist activity.
She has been bailed to appear at the Old Bailey on Monday, July 29.
Each newspaper report gives one or two items of information, no more, but not always the same piece, and thus it takes several reports ostensibly the same to build a slightly bigger picture. Despite their rejoicing at Tommy's imprisonment, and their mocking of his status as a journalist I think the MSM are all terrified of the Contempt of Court laws around press reporting of trials and thus they are erring on the side of such caution they won't even repeat an earlier report they themselves made.
Let us look at this report from the Mirror dated 19th December 2019
Uber driver caught with samurai sword at Buckingham Palace cleared of terrorism
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 27, of Luton, Bedfordshire, was unanimously acquitted by jurors at the Old Bailey of one allegation of preparing acts of terrorism after a retrial.
Chowdhury had driven his blue Toyota Prius at a marked police van before officers sprayed him with CS gas when they saw him sat in his car with the deadly weapon. He had set off from his home in Kirkwood Road, Luton, with the sword and a knife sharpener before he swerved in front of the police van at about 8.30pm on 25 August last year.
Chowdhury repeatedly shouted 'Allahu Akbar' during the incident outside the Royal residence at Constitution Hill.
Chowdhury said he had been feeling lonely and depressed and only wanted to get himself killed by brandishing the blade to police officers. Prosecutor Timothy Cray said Chowdhury planned to die as a martyr, fighting in the name of Allah, in the wake of the terror attacks at Westminster and London Bridge last year.
In a "suicide note" left on his sister's laptop Chowdhury urged his family to 'struggle against the enemies of Allah' which included the Queen and British soldiers. Chowdhury had conducted internet searches for beheadings and 'Prophet Mohammed crimes' and 'Mohammed sex slaves'.
His sister Sneha Chowdhury, 24, said her brother was 'not a trouble-maker, just a practical joker'
Chowdhury smiled and waved at the Old Bailey jury after they cleared him of preparing to commit an act of terrorism after a retrial.
Posted on 07/21/2019 3:42 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 20 July 2019
British Diplomats Criticize American Presidents
by Michael Curtis
Former British Ambassador to the US, Sir Kim Darroch
On July 17, 2019, the most astute political commentator in the United States, the 72 year old O.J. Simpson, announced he was afraid of what’s happening in America today. He attacked the Democratic party for its failure to agree to impeachment of President Donald Trump. The vote the same day to postpone the resolution calling for impeachment was passed 332-95 by Congress. 137 Democrats and one Independent voted with almost all the Republicans to adopt the resolution. The football star turned political pundit who now has 857,000 followers on Twitter, warned Trump, with whom he had been friendly before his trial June 1994- October 1995. for murder of his ex-wife and her friend, that he should stop hanging around with people like Roger Stone.
In democratic systems professional diplomats, especially Ambassadors, theoretically non-partisan, are more discreet, and are obliged by métier to be so, than O.J. in their public comments, but must give their true opinion on events and persons in private communications with their political leaders. Political ministers decide policy and make decisions, and those decisions will be sounder if they receive honest advice from their civil servants who are not muzzled and whose opinions stem from political impartiality.
This problem of advice given by British ambassadors in Washington, D.C. to their governments has given rise to political crises on two occasions in the last year, and, among other matters, it raises the question of whether the so-called special relationship between Britain and the U.S. has been affected or damaged by them.
The first case arises from the official newly released publication in July 2019 of the papers of Sir Robin Renwick, former Ambassador to South Africa, 1987-91, and to the U.S.,1991-5 The most intriguing and questionable papers are Renwick’s blunt assessment and candid remarks in May 1994 on the presidency of Bill Clinton, an individual he held was weak on foreign policy, though strong on economic and domestic issues, and who was excessively preoccupied with the views of the media on his presidency. In Renwick’s unflattering portrait he wrote that the White House under Clinton was chaotic, and a roller coast ride.
Renwick addressed the effect of the numerous scandals in Clinton’s administration, and the toll taken by personal stories of Clinton on his popularity. Clinton continued to have difficulty winning the approval of more than 50 per cent of the American people and that, Renwick believed, could be constant throughout his presidency. Clinton was concerned about the treatment he had been receiving in the British press where most of the coverage had been dominated by the Paula Jones sexual harassment charge, and by the Whitewater scandal, the failed property project in which Clinton had invested, and the real estate dealings of Hillary and Bill Clinton, and in which he was cleared of wrongdoing.
In November 1999, Clinton paid $850,000 to settle the Jones issue without apology or acknowledging culpability, in exchange for Jones dropping her charge and claim.
No one, Renwick wrote, believes the full Paula Jones story of his exposing himself to her in a hotel room when he was governor of the state of Arkansas, but he thought that the fact that Clinton might have to testify in court against Jones was troubling for the White House.
The more recent case is that of Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch, prominent in the British civil service since 1977, and a close advisor to various prime minsters, Labour Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and Conservative David Cameron to whom he was national security advisor. It is different from the Renwick case in a crucial way. Darroch’s statements were not officially published. Confidential messages of Darroch were leaked to a London Sunday newspaper by a still unknown person. They are even more stark and potentially more damaging than those of Renwick. In them Darroch describes Trump’s administration as “clumsy and inept.”
The leak has caused consternation for at least three reasons: by its strong criticism of Trump; by what appears its sustained attack against civil servants; and the unprecedented treatment of Darroch for possible lack of adhering to principles of objectivity and impartiality.
The most important aspect of the leaks is the damage that might be done to British relations with the Trump administration. But the more general aspect is whether leaks should be stopped and punished, because it may undermine the offering by civil servants of honest advice to ministers, or whether stopping the printing of leaks would represent infringement of press freedom and public debate. In this case, public policy is involved.
The leaker may be a believer in Brexit, and wants the successor of Darroch to be more Brexit. but other issues were revealed. One is Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal which President Barack Obama in 2015 thought was a “historic understanding,” when Iran agreed to reduce its uranium stockpile. In a telegram to then foreign secretary, and present contender to become prime minister Boris Johnson, Darroch wrote, “The U.S. is set on an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons.” Trump disagrees. Darroch reported that Britain tried but failed to stop Trump abandoning the Iran nuclear deal. Boris Johnson had flown to D.C. on May 7, 2018 to try to save the deal. Trump abandoned the Iran deal to spite Obama.
Darroch was critical of Trump’s decision to call off the retaliatory missile strikes against Iran after the country had shot down a U.S. drone, because it risked killing 150 Iranians. and then worried this might seem a reversal of his 2016 campaign promises, and hurt him in 2020. Darroch pointed out differences between the UK and Trump on a number of issues: climate change, media freedoms, death penalty.
He was pessimistic about Trump: he did not believe the President would become substantially more normal, less dysfunctional, less unpredictable, less diplomatically clumsy and inept. He spoke of bitter divisions in the White House. The Trump Presidency could crash and burn. Trump was insecure and incompetent. His opposition to global trade could wreck the system,
Darroch resigned on July 10, 2019 after Trump called him a pompous fool and very stupid, and Brexit leader Nigel Farage thought him totally unsuitable. Disconcerting tough the incident is, it is unlikely that relations between UK and U.S. will be damaged in any real way. More problematic is the issue and publication of leaks. So far, a suspect has been identified, and the possibility of a computer hack by a foreign state is possible. Scotland Yard warned media against publishing leaked government documents, advising the social and mainstream media not to do so. Yet the problem remains, the right of media to publish leaks if it judges them to be in the public interest. Who is to judge? It is doubtful that the communications by Renwick and Darroch could be considered to be in the public interest.
Posted on 07/20/2019 3:53 AM by Michael Curtis
Friday, 19 July 2019
Shame on Robert Mueller—Again
by Conrad Black
Nowhere is the collapse of the Democratic Party as a coherent political organization more evident than in the astounding metamorphosis of Robert Mueller. He returned to public notice as special counsel and was instantly heralded by the Democratic media as a virtual Douglas MacArthur of selfless national duty, precisely the sort of rigorous, incorruptible, no-nonsense public servant who would tear the Trump fraud of corruption and artificiality, dirty tricks, shady accounting, and outrageous misbehavior apart and expose the whole rotten mess that had, by nightmarish mischance, moved into the White House (where the Clinton pay-to-play casino should already have been installed).
Mueller looked the part: tall, slender, slab-faced, jut-jawed, and unsmiling, all business, and no soft bonhomous weakness for anything but a thorough plumbing of the depths of Trump’s unutterable hucksterism, skullduggery, and larceny. The commentariat, though well gone in the saddle after their long incumbency as the country’s political sages, dressed for the part again and took to the airwaves with the smug confidence of veterans and the zest of those addicted to tearing down administrations they found distasteful.
Disentombed from the obscurity that had long enshrouded him, Carl Bernstein resurfaced, speaking matter-of-factly of imminent impeachment and removal of the usurping miscreant. From Nate Silver to Charles Blow and even the once-professional David Gergen, like a phalanx of bobbleheads, they agreed that impeachment was coming and . . . coming and . . . just around the corner.
Bernstein became so exasperated waiting, he sanctimoniously called Trump a “grifter,” but tempered his judgment with an endlessly repeated theory that Trump’s brain had turned to mush and he was not physically and mentally fit to govern. “We have a constitutional crisis.” Not that anyone else noticed. On and on it has gone, without a thought to professionalism, balance, or anything but another partisan smear job on a non-conformist Republican.
The Bushes after all, were good old boys; you had to have a tame Republican on the top of the Democratic wedding cake from time to time, and at the start, practically all the Republicans in Congress were as appalled at the Trump imposture and intrusion as the Democrats. After all, he ran against them, too.
Mueller packed his investigative team with notorious Democratic partisans. Andrew Weissman, who had cooked his share of Republicans already, and attended Hillary Clinton’s victory party the night she lost to Trump, took over the actual work. He and many of those he recruited had just finished white-washing Clinton—on to the tarring-and-feathering of her opponent. Mueller, never a martyr to the work ethic, despite the Democratic media’s wall-to-wall effort to spin him as a war hero Republican, flawless FBI director, and a rail-splitting confessant to the chopping of the cherry tree, left the direction of the investigation to Weissman and his gang, all of them desperate to destroy the president. Perish the thought of any of this pusillanimous bourgeois rubbish about impartiality! Trump was an interloper and he had to be sent packing with such finality that no one would dare interrupt the self-enriching slumbers of the political class for at least another century.
Trump managed the considerable feat of tough-talking as he resisted the depredations of a partisan witch-hunt while completely cooperating and leaving the investigators no ground to allege obstruction. This was the tactically correct response to what instantly was a difficult position. Trump had erroneously promoted an apparently qualified U.S. senator and former prosecutor, Jeff Sessions, as attorney general. Sessions immediately recused himself on all Russian matters and sat like a great eunuch-toad leaving the president whom he served practically defenseless while this rampaging lynch mob ransacked his personal, corporate, campaign, and presidential records. The Strzok-Page text messages indicate that the Mueller team ascertained quite quickly that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and in fact, no nominee of any serious party to the presidency of the United States in its history would ever have partaken of such an evil and preposterous enterprise.
From early on, Mueller’s game was obstruction. He piled demands on the president, required sworn testimony over several days from the White House counsel (who should have immunity in respect of his chief client). The president’s tactic of talking tough while furnishing everything asked by the special counsel got him through the midterm elections.
Few commentators noticed that the big winner in those elections was not the Democrats but the president. When he started out in January 2017, there were demonstrations all around the world and though the Republicans were in nominal control of both houses of Congress, in fact they were both controlled by coalitions of Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans. They sand-bagged the president on health care reform, the Republicans strutting in their hypocrisy, having voted many times to repeal Obamacare while Obama was there to veto their votes. The only place Trump could get a consensus was in appointing conservative judges who would generally adhere to the Constitution and the relevant legislation, (a terrible inconvenience for the Democratic addicts to the authoritarian state). Then he cobbled together the necessary votes for his tax cut and reform package, which has proved an immense success.
The Republicans lost the House in the midterm elections, but Trump never had the majority anyway. His speaker, Paul Ryan, was a conflicted NeverTrumper and retired. But in the Senate, he added two senators as three NeverTrump Republicans—Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and John McCain—departed; in the case of McCain, by dying and causing his funeral to be a tasteless bipartisan Trump-bashing session. This shifted the balance in the Senate.
Trump then fired Sessions, appointed an unsurpassably competent and upright replacement, William Barr, who had held the position under George H. W. Bush. Barr ordered Mueller to wind down his investigation, which Mueller and his sponsors had apparently hoped to keep going through the next election. Trump’s enemies had thought it was their right to have an impeachment-launching special counsel lurking around the White House ready to pounce on anything the Trump-hating media could confect into a cause for removal.
Mueller, the lion of official redemption, failed again and again. He had to choose between keeping faith with his rabidly Trump-hating sponsors, or his claims to professional integrity. Having found no evidence of collusion by anyone, he tried to leave the door open to impeachment for obstruction. He went down with the ship, and stated his inability to “exonerate” on obstruction.
A special counsel finds adequate evidence of criminal wrongdoing, or not. No one wants or asks him to exonerate anyone. In his summary of the report, Barr said there was no conclusion on obstruction but that he and the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, Mueller’s old side-kick who had protected Mueller all through the phantom Sessions term, and the in-house counsel of the Justice Department, all agreed that the elements of obstruction: a corrupt act for a corrupt purpose in contemplation of a legal action, were all absent in this case.
The pitiful attempt by Mueller to leave Trump a live grenade with the pin pulled was made even more absurd by his attempt to run away and hide. He spoke to the press inarticulately from a printed text for less than 10 minutes, took no questions, and said he would have nothing more to say. Finally, the two egregious Democratic committee chairman who still claim to have evidence of impeachable offenses by the president but can’t cite any, Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), both seriously ill-favored men, called Mueller as a witness, and designed a timetable for his appearance clearly intended to prevent the Republican members from really getting at Mueller.
If his stumbling press statement was indicative of his forensic talents, Mueller will have a real sleigh-ride with a gang of Democrats angry because he couldn’t find anything on the president and Republicans who rightly consider his entire performance an unprofessional and morally corrupt operation.
Attorney General Barr has offered him support if he wishes not to appear. The Trump lynch mob has reached the last round-up. It only remains for Barr and his special prosecutor, John Durham, to indict those who politicized the intelligence agencies and the FBI, fraudulently sought FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, and lied to congressional committees and the FBI. Those who would use the wheels of justice to persecute the innocent, will be ground to powder by them. Mueller is unlikely to have committed any offenses, but his conduct has been contemptible at every stage.
First published in American Greatness.
Posted on 07/19/2019 3:19 PM by Conrad Black
Friday, 19 July 2019
Burnley and Accrington raids: 2 men arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences
From the Lancashire Telegraph
TWO men have been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences after police raided two properties in Burnley and another in Accrington. Early this morning, Thursday, Lancashire Police and Counter Terrorism Policing North West officers executed warrants at two addresses on Burns Street and Gordon Street in Burnley and an address on Manor Street in Accrington.
One man, aged 34, was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
The second man, aged 33, was arrested on suspicion of the dissemination of terrorist publications.
The men are now in custody and will be interviewed by detectives later.
Superintendent Stasia Osiowy, of Lancashire Police, said: “I recognise that events like this can cause people to worry and impact on wider public confidence. I want to reassure people that our information and intelligence lead us to believe that there is no immediate threat to local people. We will continue to engage with our local communities..."
Police stood guard at the front door of the raided property in Manor Street, Accrington, with detectives entering and leaving the house as inquiries continued. . . Neighbours said an Asian family of four have lived at the address for around four years - a husband, who is local and works for a local authority, his wife, who is of Bangladeshi heritage and from the south of England, and two children, a boy and a girl, both under five.
The property was bought with a mortgage arranged through elders at a local mosque, according to the neighbour. The neighbour added: "There are always lots of visitors at strange hours, coming and going late at night."
Cllr Shah Hussain, who represents the Daneshouse with Stoneyholme ward in which the Burnley properties are situated, said: “I am completely surprised and find it difficult to comprehend. ...
Posted on 07/19/2019 12:23 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax