He also warned Islamic State will attempt a cyber-attack on nuclear power stations or air traffic control systems within five years, potentially by paying paying Russian hackers to break into vital computer systems.
Mr de Kerchove told Spain's El Mundo newspaper: “The United Kingdom has identified 20,000 to 35,000 radicals. Of these, 3,000 are worrying for MI5, and of those 500 are under constant and special attention.
“France has 17,000. Spain many less, but more than 5,000 I suppose. In Belgium almost 500 have been to Syria and there are around 2,000 radicals or more.
“I wouldn't like to put a concrete figure on it, but (in Europe) tens of thousands, more than 50,000. We must select those who are really worrying and the most dangerous, and they should be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Personally I would go further into the area of deportation as enemy aliens for those born abroad, internment for those born on British soil with parents ditto, escalating to the ultimate threat of capital puishment for treason or spying. But I'm old-fashioned like that.
As I wrote in a previous article about Sweden, I began studying Swedish while living in the Washington DC area in the 1990s. Why Swedish? It all started when I was a young US Army soldier stationed in Germany in the late 1960s. In 1968, a buddy and I took a vacation in Copenhagen and Stockholm. Already having learned German, I was so impressed by the two countries that I decided one day I would learn a Scandinavian language. It wasn't until the 1990s that I had the opportunity because there was a Swedish school in Northern Virginia that operated culture and language classes on Saturdays. While learning the language, I had the chance to go to Stockholm as part of a DEA drug training course for Scandinavian drug officers. Though not proficient, I tried to carry on conversations with the Swedish cops during social hours.
Unfortunately, my chances to use Swedish stopped when we moved to Southern California in 1998. My interest was dormant for several years until I was able to take private conversation lessons a year or so back.
Now that I am fully retired, I have decided to get serious about Swedish. I have become a devotee of Swedish crime series on TV. The most famous is the Wallender creation of Sweden's famed (and recently deceased) crime writer Henning Mankell. Kurt Wallender is the fiction detective in Ystad, a small town in southern Sweden. There are several varieties, two series in Swedish and one in English with British actors. The Swedish series, which began about 20 years ago has featured Rolf Lassgård and Krister Henricksson. playing the role of Wallender. The stories, which are quite entertaining, would make you think Ystad is the crime center of Europe or at least Sweden. (That distinction probably belongs to nearby Malmö.)
Having exhausted the Wallender episodes, I moved on to a series called Maria Wern, which involves a female police officer in Visby, a charming town on the island of Gotland off Sweden's eastern coast. Again, very entertaining. The series ran on Swedish TV from 2008 to 2016. I also finished watching a series called Talisman, with a rather improbable plot.
At this point, having finished Maria Wern and Talisman, I am watching a series called The Fjällbacka Murders This centers around a female crime writer married to a cop. One way or another, she manages to work the cases with her husband and help the police solve the crime.
They all have English sub-titles, which I still require to improve my comprehension. Finally, I have gotten involved with a Skype-based online program (Italki) where you can exchange conversation with people around the world who are learning English in exchange for conversation in their native tongue, in my case Swedish.
Be patient. I am getting to my point. It has nothing to do with language.
We hear a lot about Swedish crime these days. Rapes, riots, assaults, and even terror attacks. In one form or another, it is a daily occurrence in Sweden now. But who is committing these crimes? The answer is simple. It is the immigrants, mostly Muslims living in dangerous no-go zones in and around Malmö and Stockholm. Sweden is the rape capital of Europe-and it isn't because of Swedish men.
But in Swedish TV land, you don't see this. Political correctness rules. Conceding that the Wallender series may be outdated, but among all the murders and blood portrayed in these entertaining shows, the villains are almost always Swedes. But now that Sweden has become a multi-cultural country, one would ask how immigrants are represented in these series given the problems the country is suffering. I must admit that the above shows are centered in small provincial areas far from Stockholm. A few immigrants are shown occasionally, but only as victims or objects of unfair accusations.
Ah, but there are a few foreign-born immigrants who are villains. Guess where they are from.
Russia, former Yugoslavia, the Baltic countries, Moldova, Romania or Belarus.
You see, Sweden learned from Hollywood (or was it the other way around?) that the above groups can easily be portrayed as bad guys. White Eastern Europeans are all the rage these days when film producers concede that there are some immigrant bad hombres. We have seen more than our share in the US. Plane hijackers? Yugoslavians. People plotting to set off a bomb somewhere? Russians.
I am by no means done with exploring Swedish crime shows. If there is something out there centered in today's Stockholm and dealing with no-gone zones like Husby or the Rosengård section of Malmö, I will update and give due credit.
For some unfathomable reason, I would like to become fluent in Swedish. Will I ever go back there? It's doubtful. Frankly, while I am charmed by Sweden's natural beauty as in Stockholm and Visby, I am disgusted with the country. They have created a la-la land, fulfilling their wish to end their homogeneity. Like other Western European countries, they have blown immigration. They could have done it right, but instead they allowed in too many people who have no intention of assimilating. And like other Western European countries, they are prepared not only to deny the problem but make life miserable for those who speak out in opposition.
So enjoy your new country, Sweden-while it lasts. I can envision the day when Swedish becomes an endangered language. If I live to be old enough, I will endure the taunts of my friends who will ask (as they already do), "Why did you ever decide to learn Swedish?"
Did I mention I am also doing all this with Dutch too? That can be the topic of another article.
A few years after the Martin Luther King riots of 1968, I was driving through Harlem in upper Manhattan. At several traffic lights I was greeted by a corner chorus of “right on man, Chocolate City.” Perplexed at first, I soon realized that the raised fists and the shouts were for my District of Columbia license plates. The salutes were for DC, the nation’s capital, in those days a rare majority black town.
When you drive through the former riot corridors of DC today, the ironies of the once proud “Chocolate City” are overwhelming. The District of Columbia is no longer a brown town.
African Americans are no longer a voting majority, forced by gentrification to migrate to PG County in Maryland. On the DC side of the river, white flight has done a U turn on U Street. Blacks in DC are now displaced by white yuppies, gender benders, and Millennial camp followers. Still, the District remains a government plantation; a one-party, one-employer town where liberal political monoculture is the culture.
Faces on the street may have changed since the King assassination, but the face of politics is unaltered. DC is left, liberal, and Democrat. Indeed, the party of segregation and Jim Crow still rules. Liberals, still have leg irons on DC voters, good news for pink and white carpetbaggers, not so much for native folks of color.
The District has the most expensive, dysfunctional, self-segregated school system in the world; a black unemployment rate that is twice the national average; a disproportionate number of blacks on welfare; and a drug subculture that guarantees a black penal population that hovers close to 50% of the general population. Barrios, slums, and associated crime in black DC may not be as bad as Chicago, but such urban comparisons are redundant.
Withal, the nation’s capital, like most liberal urban sinecures, is still run by plantation elites; a Democrat Party nomenclatura where control, identity politics, and associated dependencies are the chains that bind.
Ironically, Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln, have never elected a mayor or city council in the District of Columbia. The Lincoln legacy deficit is not the only irony in the District. The face of political arson and public mayhem has changed dramatically too.
Black rage has been displaced by white riot.
If you see a hood, a mask, a Molotov cocktail, or a torch on the streets of DC these days, the punk behind that black balaclava is likely to be a left-wing white male.
The difference between black and white rioters is geography. Black arsonists in America do their worst in their own neighborhoods whilst white thugs travel far and wide. White men in black, white millennial punks for hire, are fixtures now at rallies, town halls, and street demonstrations nationwide. Recent riots at UC Berkeley and University of Virginia in Charlottesville are probative.
Yuppie/preppie riot in Virginia
The race of rioters or public agitators is seldom reported with candor in press coverage. In Baltimore or Ferguson, photos might speak for themselves. In places like the University of Virginia or the University of California, the white face of mayhem hides under a black hood – apparently with immunities.
Alas, the politics of rioters is more significant than race. Minorities riot for grievance, often legitimate. White liberals riot for ideology. Ironically, the face of campus riot is underwritten by subsidized students, tenured faculty, or unemployed graduate debtors. Campus is the hothouse for politicized left-wing louts.
As poetic justice would have it, the unemployed or unemployable college graduate is the new face of liberal irony.
Hard to believe that a pricey degree in hip hop, globalism, or gender studies is not fungible on main street or Wall Street. The irony of hobby scholars whining about college costs or student debt today is justice in deed and fact.
Alas, liberal angst has now turned to nihilistic iconoclasm. Art, culture, history, and statuary are in the crosshairs. Parallels between Islamic iconoclasm and the American variety are too obvious to ignore. The former seems to be a role model for the latter, tactics and uniforms included.
Radical Left and Islamist Right seek to obliterate history, by force if necessary.The American Left seeks to destroy the very icons that the Democrat Party created during Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and 300 years of apartheid.
The stench of liberal hypocrisy in America today might gag a maggot. Pictures are worth a million Instagrams. The collage below features Antifa and ISIS villainy side by side. The chap at upper right is Jihad John, the Brit executioner who did his worst with a butcher knife. The gal in the middle [Kathy Griffin] represents ISIS envy Hollywood style.
This collage was removed from the internet. (?!)
Fascism is distinguished from all other “isms” by the need for coercion. When violence is the instrument, foul winds usually blow from the Left. Communism, National Socialism, Jim Crow, and Islamism are all strains of the same coercive history. Battles against Nazis and Reds may have been won in the 20th Century only to have the war lost to “democratic socialism” and Islamic fascism in the 21st Century.
In the wake of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, the German government took the unprecedented step of shutting down the Internet hub for radical Antifa organizing in Germany: “the most influential vicious platform for far-left extremists.” Five hundred cops were wounded in the July riots.
The fake news industry is mute or agnostic on parallels between Islamic and leftist terror.
No surprise either that the fake news fakirs often sympathize with iconoclasts, religious and political. Social, broadcast, and televised media now spin similar narratives. Riot on campus, or in the streets, is attributed to kook cliques on the right – or Donald Trump.
Even internet cash cows like PayPal are getting into the act, attempting to silence on-line conservatives who dare criticize domestic terrorists or Islamists. When Daniel Schulman purges anti-Islamist conservatives from Internet commerce, what’s next; VISA cards for Hamas, Master Cards for the Taliban, and American Express cards for ISIS?
Hate, intolerance, and institutional violence on the Left is much more threatening than the occasional quack parade on the right.
The most vicious alt-left false flag organization with global reach is Antifa, a group that claims to be anti-fascist but openly identifies itself with violence, terror, and ISIS. The Antifa uniform of choice mimics the American KKK and ISIS, where black hoods are the new white.
The aging and largely flaccid American Klan is now only a curiosity compared to the tumescent Antifa, global nihilists afflicted with testosterone poisoning.
Organizations such as Black Lives Matter may be anti-cop, racist, or prone to arson; but at least they have the courage and common decency not to mimic Klan or ISIS uniforms.
Oddly enough, even the Cable News Network sees “anti-fascist” fascists for what they are. Advertised Antifa affiliates include ISIS, Hezb’allah, the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council, and Occupy Wall Street to name a few.
White washing Islamist atrocity from internet news is the latest obscenity sponsored by Silicon Valley crowd. By purging photos, videos, and Islamic critics, Internet thought police on the Left Coast seek to bury all electronic or video evidence of terror and war crimes in the Ummah. The idea that billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, or any Facebook clones, should police the global net for the Left is another sign that money and morons are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
The only censors that might be more partisan than Uncle Sam would be the Silicon Valley aristocracy. Social media, print journalists, broadcast shills, and gangsters like Antifa, unfortunately, share the same identity politics. For the Left, if you’re not a socialist at home and a globalist abroad, you must be a racist, supremacist, or nativist. Any idea that isn’t politically correct must now be beaten, literally beaten.
The most recent icons from the American Left are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders was undone by a rigged primary. Call it the desserts of self-hate.
Mrs. Clinton was then torpedoed by liberal dynasty fatigue. Ballot box failure is taken now to the streets. More ominous still is the toxic merge of the global left, Antifa for example, with the Islamist right.
If tactics are effective enough, they always have the potential through operational success to become strategy. To date, violence and terror has worked well for Islamic fascists. Now jihadists have found an ally in the infidel camp. Ironically, the revolutionary left in Europe and America, seem oblivious to the fact that most of the guns, and votes, are still on the right side of politics. The NRA might take a bow here.
Violence is like drugs. Junkies always need more; until one day, the big hit is the last. The suicide bomber, the ideological arsonist, and the political stoner are thus cut from the same cloth. Bad ends for all are often inevitable.
Tradition and civil discourse, if nothing else, represents stability. The American left seems to be oblivious to prudence and moderation. Bill Clinton’s wife provides the best example.
Hillary, like her Party, while admiring herself in the glass, is still incapable of reflection. For forensic details, read What Happened, a deer in the headlights autobiography, coming soon to a book stall near you. If the question in the title needs to be asked; Mrs. Clinton, Democrats, and the American Left still don’t have a clue.
G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.
On August 30, 2017 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited the Gaza Strip and expressed the need for humanitarian aid to the area. He did not point out that about three quarters of the Gaza population is dependent on international aid, and that UNRWA classifies that proportion of that population as “refugees,” 70 years after Arab armies invaded the newly created State of Israel and caused the refugee problem.
Appropriately, Gutteras met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to urge resumption of peace talks, but it was meaningful he did not meet with officials of the Hamas organization in Gaza. He must have been aware of the difficulty of the resumption for at least two reasons. One was that he was aware of the unending belligerence of Hamas after his visit to a tunnel it had dug into Israel. Hamas has been using humanitarian aid to build the tunnels that it regards as a strategic weapon for fighting and defeating Israel, to liberate al-Aqsa and the holy places.
The other factor were statements made by Yahya Sinwar, the hardline terrorist, who was elected in February 2017 as head of the Hamas organization in Gaza, and Ismail Haniyeh chosen on May 6, 2017 as the new head of the Hamas political bureau, in essence the head of the whole organization.
Haniyeh has been an extreme proponent of jihad and terrorism, of the need to liberate all of “Palestine,” and of refusal to recognize the State of Israel. He views jihad as a religious duty and armed resistance as a Palestinian right. Palestine will be liberated from “the river to the sea.” He explained that tunnels were a strategic weapon, and that Hamas had constructed twice as many tunnels as there were in Vietnam.
Haniyeh’s animosity is not confined to Israel; his expresses opposition to America’s “policy of oppression.” In response to the killing of Osama bin Laden “a Muslim Mujahid,” he hoped that Allah would declare war on the U.S.
The 55 year old Sinwar had been a prisoner for more than two decades in an Israeli prison for organizing the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers. He was one of the 1047 Palestinian prisoners released by Israel in 2011 in exchange for Gilad Schalit the Israeli soldier kidnapped in 2006. In 2015 Sinwar was added to the U.S. terrorism blacklist.
Sinwar who lives in Gaza replaced Ismail Haniyah who lives in exile in Qatar, in the rather confusing organizational structure of Hamas which has four constituencies: activists in Gaza, those in the West Bank, those in exile, and those imprisoned by Israel. Each unit chooses its own local leaders as well as delegates to the Hamas Shura Council. Founded in 1987, as an Islamic offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, during the first Intifada, Hamas had a dual purpose: social welfare and armed struggle against Israel.
A third function was added when the group in 2006 gained representation in the Palestinian Legislative Council, and then after considerable friction with Fatah, took control and governed the Gaza Strip in 2007. But there has always between a struggle between the armed and the political wings of the group, and between those who live in Gaza and those who do not.
From the start, Hamas has been involved in countless terrorist attacks on Israel, and in three wars with Israel, the latest in July 2014 when it lost 2189 people. The Hamas military wing was put on the EU terrorist blacklist in December 2001; the political wing was blacklisted in 2003. After a lower European court in December 2016 annulled this on procedural grounds the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled in July 2017 that Hamas should remain on the terrorism blacklist. Other countries, including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council have also called it a terrorist group.
Sinwar has a reputation as a tough individual, advocating action. He ordered the execution of a political rival. His first job on joining Hamas was to help found a security organization whose goal was to identify Palestinian collaborators working for Israel. At a press conference on August 28, 2017 Sinwar spoke of his policy and made strong statements, some of which were a challenge to the Gulf states and the U.S.. He said he was not interested in war with Israel and did not want a war, but Hamas was building its power, did not fear war, and was fully ready for it. He still advocates kidnapping of Israelis as a bargaining chip for Palestinian Prisoners. He demands Israel free 54 Palestinian prisoners released in the Schalit swap who were rearrested by Israel.
Sinwar boasted that relations with Iran were excellent, and that Iran was the largest supporter, financially and militarily, of the armed wing of Hamas, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades. Their aid helped in the making and supply of missiles, rebuilding of tunnels destroyed by Israel, and the training of scuba divers. The paradox is that Shia Iran is sponsor of Hamas which is part of the Sunni Muslim brotherhood. This is easier now that the Sunni countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are hostile to Iran.
For some years relations with Iran had cooled because Hamas did not support Syrian President Assad, and Iran reduced its aid. But Iran changed its position.
Sinwar said relations Egypt have improved drastically, and the two sides have begun to create a buffer zone along their southern Rafah border on tighten security. Egypt has been increasing the power supply to Gaza. Ironically this arrangement has been helped by Mohammed Dahlan, former Fatah leader in Gaza.
Relations between Hamas and Fatah are in flux. PA President Abbas stopped paying Gaza energy bills. In an unusual move, Abbas has been using Turkish President Erdogan as an intermediary, proposing Fatah-Hamas unity and a national unity government. Abbas formulated a 7 point plan, paying Gaza employees of the PA, allowing electricity and medicine to go to Gaza, and suggesting new elections. Whatever the outcome neither group has suggested a peace arrangement with Israel.
Curiously. Hamas on May 1, 2017 issued a political document which purports to be more politically flexible. It does express support for a Palestinian a state in temporary borders in pre-1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital. But the armed struggle to destroy Israel continues; it argues that the establishment of Israel is entirely illegitimate and that Zionism is an enemy of humanity. It does however say that the struggle against the Jews is not because they are Jewish, but because they are Zionists.
If UN Secretary-General Guterres believes this, he might also consider buying a bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale.
Robert Azzi has been touring towns in New Hampshire, offering these “Ask A Muslim-Anything” events to benighted Infidels. If you have a chance, go to one of these shindigs, but go prepared. Even better would be to go with a small group of the like-minded (two or three others), who will ask similar difficult questions so that you will not appear to be a lone and hostile crank, easily dismissed, but instead one of an inquiring group of genuinely interested Infidels, seeking enlightenment. If you have assembled two or three others, you could meet in advance, writing out questions on notecards, and preparing responses to Azzi’s likely answers, along with textual support — from the Qur’an and Hadith — for your position.
Here are some of those not-impossible questions:
1. “What are the duties of non-Muslims in a traditional Muslim society? In other words, what do dhimmis have to do to be allowed to both stay alive and to practice their religion?”
This will upset Robert Azzi, for he now knows he is dealing with someone who understands the dhimmi condition, and if he doesn’t answer more or less truthfully, he will be taken, rightly, to task.
He is likely to reply that dhimmis had mainly to pay the jizyah, which was only fair because they did not have to pay, as Muslims did, the zakat, and besides, they did receive protection from the Muslim government. Paying the jizyah, he may add, was a much better outcome for the Jews, who in medieval Christendom were often killed.
“Protection against whom?” you will ask. Robert Azzi, can only respond: “Against anyone, Christians, Muslims, other Jews.”
“Isn’t it really meant as protection against attacks by Muslims themselves?”
Azzi: “Some people say that. I think the picture is a bit more complicated.”
You will then ask Azzi what, besides payment of the Jizyah, were the other onerous conditions placed on non-Muslims. He will be forced — but only because he suspects, rightly, that you already know — to detail them: the requirement that dhimmis ride donkeys but not horses; that they move out of the way of Muslims on roads and pathways, that they not be allowed to testify against Muslims in court, and so on. You will thus have gotten him to acknowledge that there was more to being a dhimmi than the payment of Jizyah.
Most of his audience of unwary Infidels will until now not have have heard anything about the dhimmi condition in Muslim societies, or about the payment of the Jizyah. This new information will disturb their equanimity.
2. “Mr. Azzi, I found in reading the Qur’an, one verse — 98:6 — that describes Unbelievers as ‘the most vile of creatures.’ And another — 3:110 — about how Muslims are ‘the best of peoples.’ Can you tell me if Muslims really believe that, and if so, what can or should be done about it?”
Again, Azzi cannot deny the existence of these verses. He can only offer something along this line:
Well, I’m a Muslim, and I don’t think you are “the most vile of creatures.” [Laughter.] Do you have Muslim co-workers, Muslim friends? Do your kids perhaps have Muslim schoolfriends? Do you think, as the conspiratorial Islamophobes want you to believe, that all these Muslims are merely hiding a deep contempt for you, that they really consider all of you “vile”? Look, let’s be sensible. This is just the kind of verse the extremists like to focus on. They’ll quote it, but they won’t tell you that no one except people like them take it seriously. They’re in the business of distorting our religion for the sake of their own sense of power — they want to conquer the world, make no mistake about it, but it’s got nothing to do with Islam, except in the sense that they want to exploit Islam for their own, un-Islamic ends. They want to be celebrities, the way bin Laden was. It’s not a good idea to give them the publicity they want. Sure, ISIS wants you to get all hot and bothered about these verses, wants you to think that not just ISIS, but the vast majority of moderate Muslims think that way. It’s utter nonsense.
Let me repeat what we all know. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims, maybe millions, are desperate to move to Europe. Hundreds drown in the Mediterranean making the attempt. You’ve heard these stories. Well, for heaven’s sake, why would hundreds of thousands, even millions of Muslims, want to live among those very people whom they supposedly believe to be the “most vile of creatures”? [Laughter.] Why would they want their kids to go school with “the most vile of creatures”? [More laughter.] I rest my case.
You know, I always like to tell people that while we believe that the Qur’an is the literal Word of God, that it is not meant to be read literally. So don’t take that verse literally. What does it really mean? It’s a negative statement, greatly exaggerated for effect, against those — the “Unbelievers” — whom the Muslims were fighting at the time. It’s not meant to apply to all non-Muslims, but only those with whom Muhammad was then in a state of war. Do you know the kinds of things that were written in this country during World War II about the Germans and the Japanese? It was a lot worse than being called “vile.” And now Germany and Japan are two of our closest allies.
In trying to understand the Qur’an, remember it’s a very difficult text in places, written in a classical Arabic quite different from modern Arabic, and the meaning is not always crystal clear. That shouldn’t surprise anyone — the text is 1400 years old. I always tell myself that when a verse goes against what, in its totality, Islam stands for, then I just don’t bother with that verse. If that verse says that Unbelievers are “vile,” I just ignore it. I know it’s not meant to apply outside its 1400-year-old context. That’s got nothing to do with the Islam I converted to as a young man or that I’ve been happily practicing for a half-century, and I think if you ask any Muslims you meet, they’ll tell you the exact same thing. Next question.
3. “It says in the Qur’an that a man can beat his wife if she is disobedient. Could you comment on that?”
Yes, I’m glad you asked that question. It’s true that some 1400 years ago, and not just in the Middle East but in Europe, men had far more control over their wives than they do today. I’m not excusing it, just putting it in its proper historical perspective. So yes, if a wife was considered disobedient, a Muslim husband could first of all reprimand her. If that didn’t change her behavior, she would have to sleep in a separate bed. And if she still was disobedient, and only then, the husband could “beat” his wife but only very lightly, using an instrument as small as a “miswak” — a small natural toothbrush. It’s a symbolic, not a real beating. Try hurting someone with a toothbrush. I rest my case.
And remember all that Muhammad did for women’s rights. I’ve heard it said that “Muhammad was the greatest champion of women’s rights the world has ever seen.” He didn’t want to force women to stay at home. His first wife Khadijah, who had a great influence on him, was no shrinking violet, but a successful businesswoman. The Qur’an provided women with explicit rights to inheritance, to property, the obligation to testify in a court of law, and the right to divorce. It made explicit prohibitions on the use of violence against female children and women as well as on duress in marriage and community affairs. That isn’t gender equality in the modern sense, but it did give Muslim women greater rights than they had had in the pre-Islamic period. So I’d say that that verse about “beating a disobedient wife” should be seen in its proper context.
4. “Could you comment on Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha when she was nine years old?”
Azzi: “What makes you think Aisha was nine years old?”
Questioner: ”It says so, in the Hadith of Bukhari, 5,Book 58, number 234.” (A look of anguish passes quickly over Azzi’s face, as he realizes he’s now dealing with someone Who Knows Too Much.)
That may be, but there’s several things to consider. First, marriage had to be between consenting adults. Adulthood was defined for a girl as when she entered puberty. Some Muslim scholars believe, on the basis of all the evidence, that Bukhari miscalculated her age, and that she was, in fact, possibly as old as 19. I’m no scholar of the Hadith, but I think all of them, including even Bukhari, could make mistakes. I can only say that I would be the first to be disturbed if Muhammad had married a nine-year-old girl, but I find the work of modern Muslim scholars, who believe she was much older, to be pretty convincing. I think it’s one of those questions to which we’ll never get a final answer. The Islamophobes will keep saying “nine years old, nine years old,” while the scholars of Islam will carefully weigh all the evidence, as to the onset of puberty, which was how adulthood was defined in a woman, and arrive at a more nuanced and plausible answer. And let’s not forget that in Medieval Europe, girls could be married at the age of twelve. That might have some bearing on Aisha’s real age.
Yes, in the back.
5. “I’d like to ask you about the Verse of the Sword. It reads as follows: ‘When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.’ Of course, if they “repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy” means that they have become Muslims, saying the Five Daily Prayers and paying the Zakat. But what happens if they don’t?”
Well, I see you’ve chosen one of the seemingly most warlike verses in the Qur’an. I admit, the words, on the face of it, are deeply troubling. That’s why Qur’anic commentators are so important; they help us get beyond what seems to be the literal meaning. We need the context to understand those verses correctly. Read over that verse. You are supposed to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them.” Who are the “idolaters”? They’re the people who were fighting Muhammad at that time. Fight those idolaters, do what you can to defeat them. It’s a kind of war-cry, designed to whip up fervor among your own troops. But the Islamophobes want you to believe, without the slightest evidence, that “idolaters” is supposed to refer to non-Muslims today, right now, and also to refer to all those people who, over the past 1400 years, were non-Muslims, even if they were on the other side of the globe. Does this verse really mean Muslims should slay people who had never met a Muslim in their whole lives, much less tried to oppose them in any way? Doesn’t it make more sense to take this verse, as I and all mainstream Muslims do, as referring only to enemies whom the Muslims were fighting 1400 years ago? Or do you think it makes more sense to believe what the nut-jobs of ISIS and Al-Qaeda and their mirror images, the Islamophobes, maintain? Why should we take their word for it and assume that the word “idolaters’ means all non-Muslims, everywhere, for all time instead of the enemies they were fighting at that very moment? I regard that as sheer madness. If that were true, why wouldn’t the 57 Muslim-majority states be in a state of permanent war against all the non-Muslim countries? And why wouldn’t the millions of Muslims all over Europe and the United States be trying to “kill the idolaters” — the very non-Muslims with whom their kids go to school, with whom they work, with whom they play sports or collaborate with on community projects, who are their neighbors and, as I know from a lifetime of such experiences in New Hampshire, their friends?
Just look around and you can see that the verses you referred to, and the others like them, must refer to specific enemies in 7th century Arabia. That’s why it’s so important, as I say, that we not take the Qur’an literally. The Muslims who think those verses apply to non-Muslims today are the ISIS types. Nothing can be done to disabuse them of their view — they’re fanatics — so they just have to be fought. And we moderate Muslims are doing the fighting, inside and outside the Muslim community. Believe me, we are fighting, to consign the ISIS and Al-Qaeda madmen to the dustbin of history. And we are taking our case, too, to non-Muslims, so that they don’t lose faith in us or what we stand for — a tolerant, inclusive Islam, the kind that flourished in Islamic Spain where Christians, Jews, and Muslims got along so well, in what used to be called the “convivencia.” I hope that answers your question.
Any more? Remember, I want you to ask me anything.
6. “What do you think is the future of Islam in America?”
Oh, I’m very hopeful. Yes, I have my worries — I do recognize that there is a powerful campaign being waged against us. I once described myself, at a low moment, as feeling that I had a crescent on my front and a target on my back! You know as well as I do that people are deliberately being made fearful about this Sharia supposedly taking over from our Constitution, and instead of “the Russians are coming” of the Cold War, we now have “the Muslims are coming” of the War on Terror, a fear of fifty million Muslims suddenly appearing on our doorstep, and so on and so forth. It’s all ridiculous, of course, but the scary thing is that such fears can spread so easily. It’s that need to create “the Other” that has been the curse of Western civilization. And that’s the reason I’ve decided to devote so much of my time to holding these Muslim town halls, to encourage people to literally “ask me anything.” And just in case you’re wondering about that bogeyman, the Sharia, I would be the first to go out to defend the Constitution if anyone tried to touch a hair on its magnificent 230-year-old head. As for the Sharia, that can safely be left to Saudi Arabia and Iran and Pakistan. They’re welcome to it. But it’s not for America; American Muslims count themselves blessed to be ruled by the Constitution and will accept no substitutes.
I think we — Muslims and those who defend them from the Islamophobes — are starting to win the information war. All over this country we’ve seen a groundswell of support whenever there is an attack on Muslims. We’re especially pleased with how our Jewish and Christian brothers, and not just the progressive clergy, have been eager to stand with us against the haters. So have mayors and governors. And people are coming to these Ask-A-Muslim events and finding out what the mainstream Muslims think. And they’re starting to shut down the venues of the Islamophobes, who are not being permitted to spread their hate quite as easily as they did before. Twitter and Google and Facebook are doing their best to direct traffic away from the Islamophobes and other hate groups. I applaud them for it. And I’ve noticed — have you? — more and more of those signs, in English, Spanish, and Arabic, that people put on their front lawns, and that say “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” It’s nice to see them showing up all over.
Not only do I think the future is bright for Islam, that is the real, moderate Islam, that if we just keep on spreading the truth and pushing back against the lies, I admit I wouldn’t be surprised if some people found in Islam the same source of peace and strength that I find in it — a spiritual refuge from the frenetic pace of our so often too-worldly existence. Of course, other religions may provide that refuge. And I’m not about to be a missionary for Islam, but I am a witness as to the peace it has brought me. My task, even my responsibility, tonight, and on other nights, is to answer questions about the faith of Islam. That’s enough for me. You deserve answers about anything that’s been unclear about Islam or, on the face of it, disturbing. The Qur’an wisely says — it’s 2:256 for those of you who want to look it up — “there shall be no compulsion in religion.” I agree with that — religion is a very personal choice. And I want you to know as much about Islam as you can, so you can make an informed choice.
7: “Mr. Azzi, you are a convert to Islam, as I understand it.”
Azzi: “Yes. My parents were Lebanese Christians.”
Question #7A: “And in your younger days, in the early and mid-70s, didn’t you spend a lot of time in Saudi Arabia, and even published a ‘Saudi Arabian Portfolio’ with an introduction by his Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal, in 1978?
Azzi: “Yes. It’s a fascinating country, and I was privileged to be allowed to shoot almost everywhere. The Saudi royals I met were salt of the earth types. I was just amazed at how down-to-earth and hospitable they were. And I think they’ve done a good job in holding that country together, when you compare it to the upheavals all around it, in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt. The Saud family must be doing something right.
Question #7B: “Well, did your doing all this work in Saudi Arabia, and becoming friendly with members of the Saudi royal family, have anything to do with your converting to Islam? That would surely have pleased them.”
No, not at all, I converted to Islam for private reasons. It’s true, that the Saudi royals were wonderful to me, gracious hosts, and they extended to me every courtesy in making available parts of the country that no Westerner had seen — those are in my portfolio of Saudi photographs. I’m still in touch with some of the royals today. But I just thought Islam as I saw it practiced, and not just in Saudi Arabia, seemed to provide people with such inner peace, such a sense of security and community — there was one fellow in particular, a friend of mine, and a Muslim, whose example made me want to look into Islam, and the more I looked into it, the more I studied its teachings, the more I felt it was the right choice for me, and it certainly has been.
Question #7C: “Did you find that Islam as practiced in Saudi Arabia provided inner peace and a sense of security? Where apostates and homosexuals can be decapitated? Where the school textbooks preach hatred of Jews and Christians, where the Shi’a are denounced as Infidels? Where women can’t drive, or work alongside men, and are constantly under the thumb of a male relative?
Azzi (a sudden hard look of displeasure passes over his features, but swiftly disappears):
I was talking about Islam. You want me to talk about Saudi Arabia, and not even about Saudi Arabia, but about the most far-out of extremists in Saudi Arabia. Those extremists — you’ve heard of the “religious police” or mutawwa? — are a holdover from the past. They are not Saudi Arabia’s future. They do not even represent Saudi Arabia today, which is changing in ways you wouldn’t believe. Just look at the new heir-apparent, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He’s only 31, a sign of real changes to come, as he will replace the King, who is now 81. The Saudi royal family is moving ahead, becoming more open to the world — I mean, the Saudi princes and princesses have all studied abroad, and they are possibly the best-travelled royal family in the world — though well aware that it has to be careful about changing things so fast that an armed opposition might develop among the religious fanatics, especially if whipped up by certain clerics. They are determined to make progress. The foreign media like to beat up on Saudi Arabia — it’s easy to do, just stick with that narrative about “Wahhabism” and depict the Saudi royals as frozen in time, unable to change. But if you look just at Saudi women, they have been clamoring for the right to drive, even staging drive-ins. In the old days, they would have quietly accepted their fate. Not anymore. How long do you think it will be before they obtain that right to drive? I think it might take a year or two, not more. Before, women did not have the right to vote, but in 2015, Saudi women for the first time could vote both in local elections and be appointed to the Consultative Assembly that advises the royal family. That’s a big step forward. But you know — we hear practically nothing in our own media about how Saudi society is changing.
And as for the Saudis funding some conservative Muslim groups, it is true that in the past, the Saudis have supported some Salafi mosques and madrasas and imams, Salafism being the movement of Muslims who wish to return the practice of Islam to the traditions of the first Muslims, the forefathers (salaf). But ‘Salafism” is purely religious in nature; it does not imply any particular politics.
Salafism was and is primarily a movement about belief and practice, and not about political power. The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, is determined to infiltrate governments, schools, workplaces, in order to push for rule by the Brotherhood, in the hope ultimately of establishing a global Islamic state. Now that idea terrifies the Saudi ruling family. The Saudi royals have a lot to lose if Saudi Arabia were ever to become part of a “global Islamic state,” because they would then be sharing their oil wealth not with 20 million Saudis, but with 1.6 billion Muslims. And the Saudi royal family would no longer control its own territory in Arabia; that territory would now be part of that global Islamic state, to be run by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a mass Islamic movement.
So when you are told that Saudi Arabia is a supporter of dangerous Muslim groups, you can point out that the Saudis support, though with much less enthusiasm than before, Salafis whose aims are not political but a return to the Islam as practiced by the earliest Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood, the most widespread and powerful pan-Islamic group, is overtly political, working for a global Islamic state, and its popularity has made the Saudis realize how dangerous it is to their interests. What country is doing the most today to weaken the Muslim Brotherhood? It’s Saudi Arabia. They’re the ones who are leading the Gulf Cooperation Council to put pressure on Qatar, the main financial supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, to completely end that support. It’s the Saudis who insist that Qatar also close down Al Jazeera, which promotes the Muslim Brotherhood, and remains financially dependent on Qatar. Far from being its supporter, Saudi Arabia is the chief enemy of the Brotherhood, and always will be. And of course, Al-Qaeda and ISIS simply regard the Saudis as corrupt and too close to the Americans. Those are just a few of the convoluted alliances and enmities in the Muslim Arab world.
Voice from the audience: “That’s fascinating. I had no idea that the Saudis were against the Muslim Brotherhood. I’m so grateful to you, Dr. Azzi, for taking us through this labyrinth.”
Well, I’m not a doctor of anything. I’m just a proud Muslim and a proud citizen of New Hampshire. But I’m glad if I’ve been of some help. The politics of the Muslim Middle East, and especially in the Arab Gulf, can be quite confusing. It’s taken me quite a while to understand the complexities myself.
And as to that other matter raised by the previous questioner about the treatment of apostates and homosexuals, do I think apostates and homosexuals should be executed? Of course not. And neither do my Saudi friends, including some who are members of the Saudi royal family. I think if you look, you’ll see that the number of executions has gone way down in recent years. But the royals who want to do away with such executions altogether — and there are many — have to move slowly, because of the possible reaction of the clerical establishment. I’m sure you’ll see amazing changes in Saudi society in the next decade. All those Saudis, men and women, studying in the West, are returning home with ideas that are very different from those clerics. And under this next, very young king, I’m sure you will see more rapid changes. I’m very hopeful about the future of Saudi Arabia. I’ve been thinking about going out there and taking photographs of Saudi Arabia four decades after my first portfolio — what has changed, in the skyline of the cities of Riyadh and Jiddah, what the new universities look like, the building boom in hotels for pilgrims in Mecca, which architectural purists deplore, but which I’d like to see for myself and take some photographs. You know, if millions of people come on the hajj, you’ve got to have a place for them to stay. The Saudis are just being practical.
8. “Mr. Azzi, you have written, and I quote: ‘In the wake of 9/11, America had a choice: either demonize and attempt to disenfranchise from the global community one-sixth of humanity known as Muslims, or respond, engage, educate and forge partnerships with peace-loving peoples in order to isolate, delegitimize and destroy the criminals that executed such violent acts.’ And then you wrote: ‘The Bush administration chose the first path.’ Do you really think that America has been trying to ‘demonize and attempt to disenfranchise from the global community one-sixth of humanity’? We have, after all, endless statements, by President Bush himself, that do not demonize but celebrate Islam, time after time. I’d like to just read a handful of them, if you don’t mind.”
Azzi: “No, of course I don’t, it’s fine, go right ahead.”
Questioner 8: “Here are just a few:
“America treasures the relationship we have with our many Muslim friends, and we respect the vibrant faith of Islam which inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity, and morality. This year, may Eid also be a time in which we recognize the values of progress, pluralism, and acceptance that bind us together as a Nation and a global community. By working together to advance mutual understanding, we point the way to a brighter future for all.”
“Islam brings hope and comfort to millions of people in my country, and to more than a billion people worldwide. Ramadan is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind.”
“Some of the comments that have been uttered about Islam do not reflect the sentiments of my government or the sentiments of most Americans. Islam, as practiced by the vast majority of people, is a peaceful religion, a religion that respects others. Ours is a country based upon tolerance and we welcome people of all faiths in America.”
‘”We see in Islam a religion that traces its origins back to God’s call on Abraham. We share your belief in God’s justice, and your insistence on man’s moral responsibility. We thank the many Muslim nations who stand with us against terror. Nations that are often victims of terror, themselves.”
“Islam is a vibrant faith. Millions of our fellow citizens are Muslim. We respect the faith. We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn’t follow the great traditions of Islam. They’ve hijacked a great religion.”
“Islam is a faith that brings comfort to people. It inspires them to lead lives based on honesty, and justice, and compassion.”
Azzi: “Well, I can’t disagree with any of that. But I think you’ve been cherry-picking what George Bush said. He also said some pretty awful things about Islam.”
Questioner 8: “No, I don’t think so. I didn’t go looking for favorable statements about Islam from President Bush. I just googled ‘President Bush’ and ‘Islam’ and saved whatever turned up — mostly these were related to messages at Eid al-Fitr. But I couldn’t find a single statement by Bush, or anyone in the Bush administration that ‘demonized Islam.’ Or that even criticized any aspect of Islam. And as for the second part of your sentence, about the ‘attempt to disenfranchise one-sixth of humanity, the Muslims’ — I just don’t think that stands up to scrutiny. Wasn’t the whole point of the invasion of Afghanistan to get rid of both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban that were terrorizing that country, and the peaceful Muslims? And what about the Presidential election in Afghanistan in 2014, that was declared by international observers to be both free and fair? That led to a peaceful transfer of power for the first time in the history of Afghanistan? Wasn’t that the same goal in Iraq, to get rid of the despot Saddam Hussein, so that the people of Iraq, the Muslim people of Iraq, would no longer live in terror but could safely hold democratic elections? Remember all those people holding up their purple thumbs? What America wanted, and still wants, is to encourage the spread of democracy, of enfranchisement, all over the Muslim world. Do you disagree?”
Azzi: “I can’t get into details, obviously, at this point, as we’re winding down, that I think support my position — it’s been a long evening and I know that many of you must be tired — but I’d be glad to talk to you one-on-one about it, just send me an email at [email protected] and we’ll meet. And yes, I do think that ever since Bush we’ve seen American administrations generally quite hostile to Islam, unable to make distinctions between the vast majority of peaceful Muslims, and the handful of sociopaths who try to claim Islam as an excuse for their intolerable acts.”
Questioner 8: “I’ve learned a lot this evening. Real food for thought. And I’d like to mention how much I personally value both your candor and your kindness in coming out tonight to inform us of things we need to know, and that the mainstream media just won’t tell us. I won’t say it’s a conspiracy, exactly, but I do sometimes wonder why we have so much coverage of the Islamic ‘extremists’ who represent only themselves, and so little coverage of mainstream Muslims who in order to get their message out about the real Islam have had to set up these Ask-a-Muslim-Anything Events. It’s been a wonderful evening, and I think I speak for all of us when I say it’s been one of the most eye-opening meetings I’ve ever experienced.”
Azzi: “Thank you very much. And thank you all for coming. I hope you have learned something, as I always do, from these meetings. But before we break up, and since you’ve mentioned food for thought, I just wanted to let you know that, as my Lebanese grandmother always used to tell visitors, ‘it is not permissible for anyone to leave my house hungry. I have to feed you.’ So in the next room, I have some Lebanese specialties that you might want to try. Manakeesh, felafel, tabbouleh, fatoush, baba gannoush. And of course, baklava and mamoul with pistachios for dessert. The daughter of one of my Hezbollah friends — yes, I know, ‘Hezbollah,’ but please don’t believe everything you hear about that group, which from long experience I know is only trying to defend the Shi’a in Lebanon and now Syria from both Israel and ISIS — who is spending the summer here in New Hampshire, made the pastries. So they’re authentically Lebanese. Please stay a bit longer, and let’s break bread — or manakeesh — together.”
Barcelona attackers' suspected supplier arrested in Morocco
MADRID (Reuters) - Moroccan authorities have arrested a man suspected of supplying gas canisters to a jihadist cell that carried out a double attack in Catalonia earlier this month that killed 16 people, a source from the Spanish investigation said.
The cell accumulated around 120 canisters of butane gas at a house in a town south of Barcelona with which, police say, it planned to carry out a larger bomb attack. Police believe the cell accidentally ignited the explosives on Aug. 16, the eve of the Barcelona attack, triggering a blast that destroyed the house in the town of Alcanar.
The remaining attackers then decided to use hired vans to mow down crowds along Barcelona's most famous avenue and later mount an assault in the resort town of Cambrils.
Moroccan police arrested the man in the city of Casablanca, the source said, without giving further details. Spain's interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, said on Tuesday that Moroccan authorities had arrested two people linked to the attacks but declined to give details about them. Spanish news agency EFE said the second man was arrested in the city of Oujda and was a relative of one of the members of the Barcelona cell. The source did not confirm that.
Zoido, speaking after a meeting with the Moroccan interior minister in Morocco's capital Rabat, said Spanish and Moroccan authorities were working closely together in the investigation. Most of the suspected attackers were Moroccan and an imam suspected of radicalising the cell travelled there shortly before the attack took place.
Half of Britons think Islam is a threat to the West, according to 'worrying' new study
I'm more worried about the half who don't realise the danger; some will be Islamic, some like Hope not Hate will be facilitating Quislings, hopefully the rest will wake up soon. From Yahoo News
More than 40 per cent of Britons say that recent terror attacks have made them more suspicious of Muslims, according to a wide-ranging study into attitudes surrounding race and religion in Britain.
Hope not Hate, the advocacy group that campaigns to “counter racism and fascism”, revealed that 52 per cent of people think that Islam is a threat to the West in its annual Fear and Hope report.
It said that, since 2011, it has tracked a shift in public anxiety from race and racism to Islamophobia and religious discrimination. It noted that, while attitudes towards Muslims improved between 2011 and February 2016, recent attacks — such as the Manchester Arena bombing — have seen anxieties about Islam return to levels of six years ago. I don't wonder at it.
According to the report, the population as a whole is likely to overestimate the proportion of Muslims in Britain. It found that 39 per cent of people overemphasise the prevalence of Islam in British society, while just 13 per cent estimate the correct 5 per cent. Up from 0.01% when I was a child and rising annually.
Overall, 57 per cent of people disagree that Muslims in Britain should be associated with violence and terrorism, but the rate of people agreeing that Islam is a dangerous religion has increased since 2011.
Hope not Hate said that “the picture of attitudes towards Muslims in Britain is worrying. . . While attitudes to immigration have continued to moderate, albeit perhaps temporarily, the fear of Muslims and hostility to Islam is hardening amongst many.” Hope not Hate are probably worried about their funding from the Daily Mirror, the Labour party and other islamofan quislings
Read the comments. One begins "I do not believe this study, for sure it more like 90% who do not want them here. This study must have been carried out in Bradford..."
It is hard not to be a little morose when only phenomena of nature relieve the venomous atmosphere as political Washington prepares to return to the bitter tasks of government. The eclipse was a pleasant diversion, and Hurricane Harvey has filled the whole country with sympathy for the flooded Texans. There is also probably some unspoken relief that, unlike what happened in New Orleans twelve years ago, a quarter of Houston’s police have not fled in stolen police cars, while the president breezily told the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency that he was “doing a heck of a job.” (He wasn’t, and neither was the president.)
The basic problem in Washington is that attrition has stalled the Trump revolution. He gained sufficient support last November to take over the administration, but he didn’t run only against the Clintons, Bushes, and Obama. He debunked, with good reason, all factions of both parties, the D.C. media, Hollywood, Wall Street, and the lobbyists, and for all of them, the war goes on.
The Democrats never mentally accepted the results, pledged scorched-earth resistance, and on this point at least, they have delivered, their task made easier by the contemptible performance of the congressional Republicans, as well as by the president’s penchant for bluster and gratuitous combativeness. Trump’s own ostensible partisans in the Congress have been sitting on their hands. Almost none of them thought he would be nominated or elected and they are uncertain whether Trump can take hold as president and compel their adherence by his popularity and competence, or whether he will fail from political inexperience and temperamental instability.
A game of chicken has ensued, as the president has pretty well held his following in the country against the frenzied assault of his massed media enemies, while three-quarters of Americans despise the Congress as tainted and ineffectual windbags wallowing in the public trough. Congress has become a useless appendage, a hopeless, stupid, talking shop that, apart from tax cuts after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Obamacare, has done nothing significant since welfare reform in 1996. The mutual antipathy between the president and all of the congressional leaders is obvious and unseemly. Trump shouldn’t be tweeting about it, but it is nervy for McConnell and Ryan to criticize publicly almost everything the president does.
Nancy Pelosi, Democratic House leader, styles herself a “master legislator,” but she is generally regarded as incompetent, tedious, and politically shopworn. The Democratic Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, must rank as one of the most irritating figures in a crowded field of boring legislative hypocrites. From weeping over the partial travel ban from six countries President Obama had similarly singled out (and claiming that the Statue of Liberty was weeping also), to claiming that Justice Gorsuch was unfit to be confirmed for unspecified reasons, he has been little more than a common or garden obstructionist, as he and Pelosi leg it to the left, following Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. (The good news is the people aren’t there and aren’t going there.)
But in their way, the Democratic leaders have been doing their jobs. That cannot be said of Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. They have achieved nothing in seven months and have lost no opportunity to carp publicly at their president (who put McConnell’s talented wife, Elaine Chao, in his cabinet). Both were hostile prior to the election, and both have embraced every anti-Trump argument, including scandalous insinuations that Trump was giving comfort to Nazis and white supremacists. McConnell’s understudy, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, has even joined in the latest anti-Trump defamatory wheeze: that the president might be mentally unbalanced.
We seem to be at the turning point between two courses. Of the first of these, it is hard to escape the suspicion that most of the Washington establishment of both parties would be eminently consolable if Robert Mueller and his Clinton-packed team of legal helpers were able to terrorize someone into rolling over in the fascistic manner of the American plea-bargain system, with immunity against charges of perjury, and denounced Trump or someone close to him, unleashing a psychotic frenzy in the media and Congress. This scenario is consistent with Mueller’s 6 a.m., ten-hour ransack of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s home, though Manafort was cooperating entirely with Mueller. It is also consistent with his endless deluge of leaks of confidential information, such as from supposedly private grand-jury proceedings.
The alternative is that the game of chicken ends, the Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue craft together tax and infrastructure bills that pass, the system starts to work, and economic growth and job creation accelerate. The congressional Republicans have shown no disposition to work with the president, who has complicated his position by his insouciant belligerency at times. This makes it easy for his media enemies to portray him (unfairly) as a hypersensitive egotist lurching about in the dead of night tweeting from the White House. It is not clear how he can take hold of the government if his supposed partisans in the Congress won’t legislate. But if they recognize the debacle that faces them if they allow the game of chicken to go on, and cooperate with the administration, the Washington sky (if Al Sharpton hasn’t renamed the city) could brighten quickly.
Ryan and McConnell have misled the country about their ability or intention to pass bills. If they don’t become more purposeful, the Republicans will lose the House next year, Ryan will be thrown out as speaker and House Republican leader, and the Republicans will gain a few senators but McConnell will be dumped for his duplicity. They can’t really want to go out like that. Suggestions of Trump–Democratic cooperation in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere are moonshine. On this scenario, it will be hopeless gridlock right up to Election Day 2020. There is nothing to justify removing Trump from office even in the probably sordid Mueller process that is underway. In this jungle, a mockery of the American constitutional mythos as it is, Donald Trump, for all his foibles, is the greatest and strongest beast. He is the overwhelmingly preeminent political figure in the United States and will prevail eventually over the shabby retinue of Potomac insiders and cliquish snobs that besets him, as it clings to the official furniture and shrieks righteous epithets at him.
Parenthetically, it is easy to share the president’s disappointment in Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He either misled Congress or forgot his conversations with Russians, innocuous though they were, forcing his recusal in the whole nonsensical Russian collusion affair. James Comey, shortly after Trump fired him as FBI director, volunteered to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had leaked a self-addressed memo about a conversation with the president (possibly illegally, and the accuracy of the memo is contested) to ensure that a special counsel was appointed (who turned out to be his chum and mentor Mueller). Sessions’s promise to crack down on leakers has been a bust. The House Judiciary Committee’s request for a special counsel to look at the Clinton Foundation pay-to-play casino, Mrs. Clinton’s outrageous treatment of her e-mails, which Comey tried to whitewash, and the whole unsavory Obama “unmasking” episode has gone unanswered. It is not obvious what Sessions thinks he does for a living.
In his tumultuous career, Mr. Trump has seen off many nastier opponents than those whom he faces now.
In his tumultuous career, Mr. Trump has seen off many nastier opponents than these, and he is a man of demiurgic perseverance and energy. He can light the fire of 60 million Americans every time he speaks to a packed hall. He is the oldest, wealthiest, and altogether most improbable person ever elected president of the U.S. and he will not be got rid of easily.
There is a better way: Mr. McConnell and Mr. Ryan may return from their home states suffused with a desire to make the system work, lock arms with their national and party leader, and do what is best for the country and the Republicans. History is replete with more astonishing changes of course. Mr. Nixon went to Beijing; President Sadat went to Jerusalem. In the circumstances, it would be inappropriate to dwell overly on Joachim von Ribbentrop’s flight to Moscow 78 years ago this week. There are less earth-shaking precedents for returning clear-headed to Washington from Louisville and Milwaukee.
Crisis-ridden Tower Hamlets council in London had faced criticism after confidential local authority reports suggested one of the girl’s foster carers removed her Christian cross necklace and suggested she should learn Arabic.
Family court judge Khatun Sapnara reportedly said it was in the girl's best interests to live within a family which could meet her needs in relation to "ethnicity, culture and religion". She is expected to issue an order in relation to the case later.
Judge Khatun Sapnara, herself a Muslim, allowed a reporter to be admitted after security staff initially tried to remove the journalist from the building.
The judge said newspaper reports had raised "very concerning" matters of "legitimate public interest". The lawyer representing the local authority told the court that when the girl first became the responsibility of the council there had been no white British foster carers available.
Tower Hamlets Council said it disputed some of the claims in the case, including that the family spoke no English, and it said that the family was of mixed race, but was “legally restricted” from discussing them further.
In a statement on Tuesday, the local authority said: "Tower Hamlets Council has the welfare of children at the heart of what we do. The decision to choose foster carers for a child is based on a number of factors, including cultural background and proximity to promote contact with the child's family and the child's school in order to give them as much stability as possible. We have always been working towards the child being looked after by a family member and we continue to do so."
The imam hosted a workshop for would-be foster carers just months after the High Court ruled him an “extremist Islamic speaker ” who had “promoted and encouraged religious violence”. His mosque, the Lewisham Islamic Centre, was attended by the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby. . .
The event was organised on behalf of the London borough of Lewisham as part of a drive to find more Muslims willing to foster children.
The disclosure comes amid a growing furore over the decision by crisis-ridden Tower Hamlets, another London council, to place a five-year-old girl in the care of two Muslim households. A council source said the borough had a shortage of non-Muslim carers with whom to place Christian children. In contrast, most councils have a shortage of Muslim families to provide foster care for children of Islamic heritage.
Michael Nazir-Ali, former bishop of Rochester, said: “It is quite clear that birth parents retain the right to a child’s religious beliefs and, in any case, guidance to foster parents requires that they give attention to a child’s cultural and religious identity. “At the very least there’s been a violation of that requirement.”
Lewisham Islamic Centre was chosen as the venue for a workshop “on the importance and need of foster carers in the Muslim community” in March this year. A photograph from the event posted on the mosque’s website shows the gathering being addressed by Shakeel Begg, the imam.
Mr Begg had just a few months earlier lost a High Court libel case against the BBC which accused him of promoting extremism. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, ruling in the BBC’s favour, described Mr Begg as a “Jekyll and Hyde character” and “an extremist Islamic speaker who espouses extremist Islamic positions”.
Ricardo McFarlane, 30, allegedly breached an ASBO made in February 2014, which barred him from approaching members of the public 'in order to promote sharia law'.
McFarlane and a group of up to 20 other men are said to have set up a stall outside Topshop in Oxford Street on March 25 last year and called for strict Islamic laws to be imposed across the UK. . . He denies one count of breach of an ASBO and was due to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court today.
The bearded defendant, wearing a green and gold robe, told the court usher he would not stand for 'any man' before the hearing began.
Judge Martin Beddoe noticed that McFarlane, who is on conditional bail, did not stand up when he entered the courtroom. 'If Mr McFarlane isn't going to treat this court with respect then I might have to deal with him differently than to release him on bail,' he said before a break in proceedings.
Roy Hedlam, defending, said: 'Because of his religious belief he believes there is only one person who he should bow to.'
Judge Beddoe continued: 'That is as may be, but this isn't a court of religion, this is a secular court and it expects to be treated with respect. That isn't in breach of any religious principles I'm aware of.'
McFarlane stood up in the dock while Judge Beddoe was speaking, prompting him to say: 'He's very kindly standing up for me because I'm about to go.'
The defendant stood up in the dock during the rest of the hearing. His trial was adjourned until the week beginning 11 September because a witness was unable to attend court.
Politics in the United States has sunk to the lower depths. It's tribal warfare. You can't talk politics: everyone's angry and full of hate. It's impossible to debate the issues with flaming partisans. In Charlottesville VA on August 12th, warring clans marched into battle.
And the TV screen trembled with indignation! A woman was killed by a car rammer in Charlottesville VA and the president of the USA dared to condemn the violence "on both sides." Say what? Good came to fight Evil and he can't see the difference? Blind in both eyes, he finds excuses for the lowdown killers. The journalists, experts and guests at CNN Intl. are in heaven. Perched on the summit of an audiovisual Sinai, they throw the tablets of the new law down on the noggin of the detested president. Isn't he the one that called out President Obama for failing to say "radical Islamic terrorism?" And now he can't say "racist anti-Semitic white supremacist neo-Nazis"! They marched with Ku Klux Klan torches, carried crusader shields, swastika flags, and other such paraphernalia. They chanted "Jews will not replace us" [what an idea] and went in your face to remind Blacks of the good ol' days of free-for-all lynching. Granted, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and assorted champions of noble causes-also armed with helmets, clubs, and shields-traded blows with the bad guys. But you don't say "there was violence on both sides!" That's a feather in the cap of sleazy whitesuber alles chieftains, David Duke and Richard Spencer.
Well, for once, I agree with CNN & Cie. This is no time for wriggling. You denounce the guilty party now, and from now on, no matter what their causes or actions. And retrospectively! Back when Barack Obama was refusing to denounce Islamic terrorism, our friends at CNN poked every which way at his questionable indulgence for the racist anti-Semitic Islamists.
In fact, they didn't.
How about the recent Temple Mount crisis? The whole world and its brother didn't ask for both sides to reduce the temperature? Orders didn't come from the UN to CNN not to mention, hmmm, the US president, telling Israeli authorities to lower their damn guard so the Muslim rioters could cool their heads? There wasn't any shilly shallying about blaming the killers that stashed their weapons in the al Aqsa mosque? No one was deluded enough to equate the violence of the assassins with the violence of the metal detectors?
The truth is, they did.
North Korea is promising to send us their nuclear warheads as fast as an Amazon delivery, and this disgraceful president that doesn't dare to condemn those evil white supremacists (the Whitesakhbar) is threatening to rain down fire and fury on a North Korea known for its hypersensitivity to threats. For once he's right? We're not going to wait to be bombed to smithereens before defending ourselves?
Sorry to disappoint you. The Trump is accused of pouring oil on the fire.
At CNN Intl. they've discovered the golden moral compass and it leads them day and night. It's not only CNN, but that channel is my window on a world gone bats. Who started trouble in the quiet college town of Charlottesville with its balmy southern climate? Certainly not the city council that voted to evict the statue of General Robert E. Lee from his park, and rename it Emancipation Park. This iconoclasm is trendy in the United States. The Black Lives Matter dudes and fellow progressives are on the warpath against symbols of the pro-slavery Confederates. The Civil War is over, the North won, the Union is clinched, but suddenly the memory got revived and it's unbearable. In Durham North Carolina noble Progressives put a rope around the neck of the statue of the unknown Confederate soldier, brought it down, and stomped it to death. The scene was so "Saddam Hussein" that they forgot how anti-war Progressives accused our troops of staging the scene in liberated Baghdad.
And it's all the rage. We can't keep up with the series of statues crumpled and wrecked by furious mobs. Will nothing soothe the terrible pain of the descendants of slaves than the complete elimination of all historical evidence of the deplorable slaveholding ideology of those old time Southerners? Yes, replies Derreck Kayongo, CEO of the Virginia Center for Civil and Human Rights. Yes, we have to pull down those statues and tear down those Confederate flags to the last shred. Mister Kayongo, an American citizen born in Uganda, was one of the Top 10 Heroes honored by CNN in 2011. Which proves that America is still the land of opportunity.
And it goes on and it spreads in a molten orgy of morality. The spotlights are beamed on the white terrorists, placed at the top of the list of national security threats. Commentators get a thrill out of badmouthing Trump advisors Steve Bannon (kicked out soon afterward) and Sebastien Gorka, accused of coziness with the alt-Right. They guffaw over Gorka's recent statement about how the white man is blamed for this that and everything when the real danger is Islam breathing down our necks. The neo moralists have a fit! What's this Gorka talking about? The white supremacists are the ones that made the most casualties!
Does 9/11 ring a bell?
I agree. Questionable elements shouldn't be hanging around the White House! That's why you made a stink abut Huma Abedin, whose mother sits high in the Muslim Sisterhood? You put fifty and fifty together and questioned President Obama's connivance with the Brotherhood, didn't you? And when it came to that damned Mideast conflict, you knew how to make the moral distinctions at every turn in the road, right? You were so careful not to put the mass killer shahids on the same level as the massacred Jews?
The answer is no!
Breaking news: two or three guys set up a killing field on the terrace of the Istanbul restaurant in Ouaga. "Terrorists," said our friends at CNN Intl., without the Islam and without the radical. Ho hum. We've learned a bit more about that nasty James Alex Fields Jr, who rammed his car into counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and injuring several others. There's a picture of him with the Vanguard America contingent, wearing the white polo and brandishing the logo on his shield. That's him, a 20 year-old that French media won't ever call a "youth." At first his mother said she never asked him about his political activities. Then it was revealed that she'd called 911 several times. She was scared of her son. He hit her, threatened her with a knife. One time he grabbed the cell phone out of her hand and banged her on the head with it, but they're not saying he's mentally disturbed and I agree. He's a killer, like Kobili Traoré who beat Sarah Halimi with a telephone, a landline in this case, and punched and bashed her, breaking the bones in her face, tortured her, mutilated her, subjected her to unspeakable abuse and then threw her to her death from her third story balcony. Who cares how much shit he smoked that afternoon, he's a killer and he belongs in jail. He's a jihadi that shouted allahu akhbar, boasted "I killed the shietan," recited koranic verses so terrifying that armed policemen standing right in the building didn't dare intervene.
That Fields guy killed in the name of White supremacy and Traoré in the name of Islam akhbar. You took care, Ladies and Gentlemen, to condemn both murderers with the same force and without ambiguity? The CNN anchor that commented with a choked voice on the memorial service for Heather Heyer, killed in cold blood by James Alex Fields Jr. whose nasty face looks down on us, it's the same anchor that wept with the family of Sarah Halimi, and swore on his heart "never again?"
Well, no, not at all. Our media that have suddenly joined the school of the Moralist Philosophers didn't think to place the jihadist murder of Sarah Halimi as the measure of vice.
The tragedy of Charlottesville spreads like wildfire, leaps across the ocean, sits in the front row of all our media, tells its story down to the last detail and the trumpets of universal moralization blare in all the lands. And I agree. This President Trump is not up to par. Even if there's some truth to what he says. Here in France, we know the Antifa. We remember their antics last year when they hung out with the Nuit Debout crowd, beating up riot policemen, trapping cops in their torched patrol car, throwing firebombs at the huge plate glass windows of the Necker children's hospital... The antifa came to Charlottesville armed for the scuffle, but this isn't the time to split hairs. The president should just have named the Evil ones and left the subtleties for another day. I'm not going to defend him. I'm up on the holy mountain with public opinion. Give us at last our sorely needed integrity. Do what you want with the statues and other Confederate relics. I stand with the decent folk, the CNN journalists and their guests. They speak of what makes us Americans. Our values. What is lodged in a man's heart. His humanity...or its absence. They look like they're touched by divine grace.
This isn't the Soviet Union but there's something of the Stalinist purges floating in the air: a familiar CNN anchor wonders how a single Republican Congressman can hold his tongue when it's a question of Good and Evil. Are they crassly trying to hold onto their seats, their platforms, the voters' fidelity? Aren't they afraid of Judgement Day? They're sellouts! [Advertising break for Dubai, that will be followed in the coming hours by Doha, Turkey, Qatar Airlines, Middle East Marketplace (without Israel of course), the Kuwait Fund, and other orientalisms]. And they go on and on, their hearts pasted on their foreheads. And they invite Blacks ... excuse me, African Americans, top drawer professionals, to say the worst things about the United States, established on a foundation of genocide, slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination. The wounds are wide open and now this Charlottesville incident and this genocidal, slaveholding, racist president who doesn't have a shred of a moral conscience... he doesn't deserve to stay in office. Pulitzer Prize journalist and bestselling author Isabel Wilkerson tells us that America has never resolved this conflict; the Civil War is left hanging, waiting to be settled. In other wars, she says, making up world history as she goes, the losers are held accountable. Is she saying that the Southerners have never paid their dues? Maybe so. We know some wars like that: 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and more and better, where the defeated aggressor demands painful concessions from a miraculously victorious Israel.
We haven't made any progress? Civil rights, desegregation, black mayors, governors, Congressmen and even a president? High class black people march from one broadcast to the next, lower lip quivering, to tell us that nothing whatsoever has been settled, the pain never goes away, you can't imagine how much it hurts us to see in stone and in bronze these traitors to our country, these men who went to war to keep their damned slavery, it hurts right now as if it were happening today. And I do understand, you wouldn't believe to what extent I agree with you sista'. Get rid of those statues and don't give another penny to the Palestinian Authority that glorifies the Islamic supremacists that kill my people. Those Fatahs-lists flirt with Hamas, make junk-peace in English and vow in Arabic to exterminate us...don't have any more truck with them, draw a line and keep them on the far side of it. From now on we don't confuse the racists and those who defend themselves against them.
Rabbi Martin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre comes forth to say that he would have advised President Trump to make a frank clear declaration against the racist anti-Semitic neo-Nazis. No room for white supremacists, no equivalence with the Leftists. The anchor, a CNN Intl. star, is delighted to hear these words from a rabbi that pronounced a benediction at Donald J. Trump's inauguration. But Rabbi Hier doesn't stop there. This misunderstanding, he says, distracts from the good things the president doing elsewhere. He's confronting the North Korean dictator. It should have been done 15 years ago, we wouldn't be faced with the threat of ballistic missiles today. But, he warns, those fascist marches are dangerous. The Nazis started like that, an unruly marginal group. They're not the only ones, you know. The Iranians... the biggest revisionists. And we associate with them, we shmooze with them, we have tea with them, we give them billions. The very day when Khamenei once again denied the Holocaust, the pope received Rouhani. I would have advised the pope to tell him he won't see him again as long as he continues with this Holocaust denial. The anchor's face decomposes. And I send kisses to Rabbi Hier.
Once upon a time the question of Good and Evil was on the table. The detested president in those days was George W. Bush and his sin was saying that the discord with Saddam Hussein was a question of Good and Evil. Wouah! They accused Bush of making holy war against Iraq. Now CNN holds up the same guy as an example of the way a proper president should behave in time of crisis. They give us a replay of G.W. Bush's visit to a local mosque on the 17th of September 2001, where he stands flanked by imams and declares that the terror attack that has just wiped out some 3,000 civilians has nothing to do with Islam, because Islam is a religion of peace.
Let's admit, there might have lacked a smidgeon of discernment in that case but overall the message that radiates to the ends of the earth, this strong reaction to what might seem like presidential indulgence for a racist anti-Semitic fascist movement, is sane and healthy. The media didn't do it before? OK, let's not hold them to account for past mistakes. We're in the realm of current events, the time is always ripe. Personally, I'm relieved. The lucidity that I have been pleading for over the past 17 years is finally shining. We won't be told anymore that the women in pussyhats marching behind Linda Sarsour and her cronies in January were in the vast majority honest people defending noble values. Antizionist anti-Semitic soldier of totalitarian Islam, determined to subject us to sharia slavery, Ms. Sarsour is a traitor to our cherished values. What's more, she's alive and active today. She's not a monument to the glory of a Confederation defeated more than a century ago!
And we'll shake a finger at the General Secretary of the UN who declared "Racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia are ... poisons for our societies." Whaat? He can't see the difference between the Islamists that want to kill us and our fear of that Islam? Where's his moral compass?
According to the latest news, David Patterson, the driver who rammed into a pizzeria in the village of Sept Sorts, killing a teenage girl and injuring 13 people, is charged with murder and attempted murder, and under lock and key. The prosecutor had detected serious psychological problems, but the psychiatrist did not find an absence de discernment that could relieve him of responsibility for his act.
We still don't know if Kobili Traoré will be judged for his crime.
Propaganda wars by radicals often target their key opponents with smear campaigns with the goal of stripping the latter from their intellectual and political legitimacy and influence. Bolsheviks, Nazis, Fascists and Islamists have had one tactic in common over the decades: tarnishing the character of public figures, particularly writers and intellectuals, to a point where public confidence in these opponents would lessen, or be lost. Since 9/11, one of the most attacked public intellectuals in the US by the proponents of political Islamists, both by Muslim Brotherhood and Iran regime operatives, has been Professor Walid Phares.
Author, analyst, media personality and advisor to various branches of Government, Phares has a long track record of books, articles and media appearances stretching over two decades. But after his appointment as a national security advisor to Mitt Romney in 2011, a series of hit pieces by pro Iran regime and Brotherhood sympathizers have targeted him in an effort to smear his reputation.
One of the articles published by the far-left Mother Jones spread false accusations against the scholar was called by National Review, “Jihad Against Walid Phares.” It was a retribution against his decade long advising to the US Government on Middle Eastern affairs. The blitz campaign aimed at punishing him for rejecting Islamist and radical agendas. In 2016 after candidate Donald Trump also appointed him as a foreign policy advisor, the same gang came back to spread slander against the scholar. The goal then and now continues to be: cutting off Phares’ expertise from the Administration’s decision-making centers.
Back in November one of the media attackers, Politicounleashed a hit on Phares as a way - they thought- to block a potential appointment in the White House. The piece was misinformed and baseless.
This summer Politico, out of the blue, waged another wave of Jihad against Professor Phares, but going lower in their narrative. Phares, an expert in country conditions with Congress, agencies and media, was called upon to testify about Iraq’s conditions in the case of the deportation of a Christian Chaldean in Detroit. The case was a benchmark one, as it related to a situation where several Iraqis, Christians and Muslims have entered the US, decades ago as members of families admitted legally and provided with permanent residency. Few of these individuals missed the opportunity to apply for citizenship and some among them broke the law, were prosecuted, served in jail and were released later. However once non-citizens break the law, their green cards are withdrawn, but they can continue to reside under the auspices of immigration authorities. Hundreds of these individuals lived their lives since as law-abiding residents, until they were caught in the wide move by the Administration to deport the illegal criminals on US soil.
One of them, a Chaldean, Najah Konja, asked for Professor Phares to serve as an expert witness on country conditions in court to enlighten the judge and the Government on the situation inside Iraq. Phares testified as an expert as he did for many years and could present enough evidence for the court to release Konja and reinstate his status. The expert, who supports the Trump Administration, didn’t address its policies but facts on the ground. The judge, a liberal, only looked at circumstances, and the Government didn’t appeal. All went well, the family was elated and the community was relieved after the decision and valued Walid Phares’ contribution. In fact, the latter’s testimony may well become a “jurisprudence of facts” for other cases.
But instead of praising Phares, the opposite camp represented by Politico, i.e, the Islamist and far left radicals and the entities claiming advocacy for the Chaldeans and other communities in Detroit, raged against the scholar. The hit piece accused Phares of helping Chaldeans that Trump wanted to deport, while supporting the President on his policies. Phares crippled the argument when he replied by email that he “is not addressing immigration policies in court but country conditions in Iraq. It is up to the judge and Government to decide based on this assessment.” And they did positively.
The author of the smear piece, Nahal Toosi, who by the way had written in favor of the Iran Deal and of the Muslim Brotherhood, then reverted to sleazy questioning of the “expert’s fees,” which she describes as “high.” Calculated at federal per-hour price levels, they were not. Out of talking points, and angry at the positive response by the Chaldean and Middle Eastern community to Phares intelligent and hard work to resolve this benchmark case, Politico went back to resurrect the 2011 Hezbollah manipulated tract posted by Mother Jones. Yet the lameness of the attack didn’t impact reality. The man was free, the family was elated, the justice system worked and the politicization of court didn’t happen. Politico and his henchmen and mercenary bloggers lost one more time
Mohammed's Koran by Peter McLoughlin and Tommy Robinson
Regular readers will be aware of Peter McLoughlin’s previous book Easy Meat, the detailing of the many cases of rape, prostitution and abuse of English (and Sikh) girls by organised gangs of Muslim (mainly Pakistani or Bangladeshi) men, the years of cover up and the eventual prosecutions. It is published by New English Review Press.
Mr McLoughlin’s second book is published elsewhere in conjunction with Tommy Robinson. Regular readers don’t need me to explain who he is.
Even before the release date the book was receiving reviews on Amazon, one star reviews from men and women who couldn’t possibly have read it, but who knew that it was
“Load of bollocks from a 9-5 leasant”
That was the first review on 23rd July and the first replies to it said
Just like a good little Muslim you're spouting taqiyya, you have reviewed this book before it had even been released on 28/07/17! I hasten to add your review is also a load of rubbish and bollocks (words you use in your review) - what is 'leasant' ?
Why not read the book first and then leave a review? I would imagine your intent is to damage sales of this book rather than to offer an impartial opinion...... I wonder why!? Is this a prime example of how Muslims execute their religion of peace?
We demand that Amazon stop selling Tommy Robinson’s new book
The article by one Mariam Hakim calling for a boycott of Amazon if they continued to sell this book received some very informed comments from people showing her that they well understand the nature of Islam and that so far as the concept of taqiya is concerned, flee; the game is up!
I don’t know if this is the same Mariam Hakim who wrote in the Independent last year on the subject of the Koran and how it justifies sex slavery and concubinage. Apparently having sex with a slave is only acceptable if she consents. Yes, I’m sure that is a great comfort to the brutalised Yazidi girls who were tortured by ISIS and the brutalised little girl in Oxford who was branded with her master’s initial – M for Mohammed. Hearteningly the comments to that article show that her argument has not convinced her readers.
A few days later the Muslim Vibe also called for the book No Go Zones by Breitbart editor Raheem Kassam to be banned by Amazon. That prompted Breitbart to investigate who is behind the site.
The board “acts as a guiding body to make sure The Muslim Vibe stays in line with Islamic values and principles … and is made up of highly respected and learned individuals – who help us make certain editorial decisions”, according to its website.
Dawud Walid, Syed Abbas Ayleya, Zafar Bangash, and Sayed Asad Jafri are all hard-line figures, with links and sympathies to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Nation of Islam, and — perhaps most dangerously — the Islamic revolutionary theocracy which governs Iran.
Two formal demands to ban the book were also made to Amazon via the 'proper channels'; they considered both and decided in favour of continuing to stock Mohammed's Koran.
A fake version of the book with a near identical cover purporting to be by 'Tomy' Robinson is also for sale on Amazon which seems to be an attempt to sabotage sales by misleading readers into wasting money on the wrong book. I am told that certain problems in the administration/print/transport/distribution chain of the true book may not have a genuine accidental cause.
I’ll be honest now. As the New English Review publishes Easy Meat I have had occasion to meet Peter McLoughlin so I’m not an unbiased impartial reviewer. This is a very partisan personal recommendation here. Both his books, with and without Tommy Robinson are very good, very interesting, and of vital importance to anybody interested and concerned about the malign influence of Islam and its fellow-travellers. Buy them and read them. Give copies for Christmas and birthdays. Spread the word.
Mohammed’s Koran, sub headed Why Muslims Kill for Islam is important for this reason.
It explains the ordering of the Koran and how the ordering affects the Doctrine of Abrogation. In Islam, where one passage of the Koran contradicts another, the Doctrine of Abrogation decrees that the later verse is the one to be followed; the earlier one is cancelled out by those revelations that came later.
So it is vital to know the chronological order in which the verses were revealed to Mohammed over the eleven year period that Muslims believe he received them.
We don’t have the Doctrine of Abrogation in Christianity or Judaism. In the Bible if, for example, someone read the 10 Commandments, and looked at No. 6 “Thou Shalt not Kill” which is in Exodus, the second book of the Bible. And then read the later books of Samuel and Kings where various wars are fought, and battles described and wonder why the Israelites were allowed to break this commandment. The advice might be to first look at the passage in Ecclesiastes, Chap 3, which says
For everything it’s season, and every activity under heaven its time
a time to be born and a time to die
a time to plant and a time to uproot
a time to kill and a time to heal
And so on
Then to look at the advice of prophets and teachers, at the teaching of Christ Himself, to pray and seek God’s guidance, to use our God-given intelligence, but with humility and conscious of His will and to listen to our God-given conscience.
It is fairly obvious that the Bible is in chronological order. Some of the earliest history and stories were probably an oral tradition for many years until written down. Some of the Books of History cover different events in various parts of the Middle East that occurred around the same time, as do the four Gospels telling of Christ’s life and teaching. Acts is the book of what happened next and finally letters and meditations on Christ’s teaching in the decades after His ascension.
The Koran is arranged differently. The books are arranged in order of size. Therefore it takes a scholar who knows these things, not an ordinary reader, to know that the earliest revelation is Sura (Chapter) 96, The Clot, in which Allah created man from a clot of blood.
The earliest revelations came when Mohammed didn’t have many followers and was living in pagan, multi-faith Mecca. He wanted to attract more followers; those he had were few in number and needed to be on good terms with the other inhabitants of Mecca. The revelations at that period were peaceful and conciliatory. In 622AD Mohammed and his followers migrated to Medina and once there he discovered that the use of force gained him more followers. From a position of strength new warlike revelations cancelled out, or abrogated, the peaceful and conciliatory ones of the Meccan period. They culminated with the final two major suras, Sura 5 and Sura 9.
Sura 9 contains the ‘verse of the sword’
"Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful"
The Cambridge Companion to the Koran says that one verse alone abrogates 124 earlier verses of peace and goodwill.
What McLoughlin explores is not why Muslims study the Koran in the tradition they do, but why Western tradition and knowledge was quietly changed in the years after 1945 to the same encrypted form. Further during the late 18th century, the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century politicians, statesmen, clergymen and scholars of the English-speaking world (and in France and Germany) knew the warlike conquering nature of Islam. Men like Sir Winston Churchill and US President Thomas Jefferson were well aware of the flaws of Islam; in recent years men and women like George W Bush and every British Prime Minister since Tony Blair insist that Islam is a Religion Of Peace and they quote snippets constantly from the early Meccan verses to prove it.
He calls this The Grand Lie, and its proponents Quislings, which is apt for a lie that didn’t gain traction until the years immediately after WWII.
What particularly interested me was his chapter about the excellent 19th century translation (1876) by an English Anglican clergyman the Revd John Medows Rodwell, vicar of two City of London churches and friend of Charles Darwin. His translation, in chronological order, with clear and informative notes, and an introduction by the Revd G Margoliouth (a scholar from a family of converts from Judaism to the Church of England) was published as part of the mass-market Everyman series and reprinted almost annually from 1900 to 1937. Then sometime in the 1950s the publishers changed their favoured translation to that of the convert to Islam, Muhammed Pickthall (1930), and his order is that of the encrypted version used in the Arabic editions.
Pre-war second hand copies of the Everyman editions are scarce. However the text remains available on line. At the Gutenberg Project here, the Sacred text website here and as a print or kindle download of the Gutenberg website here. That has received criticism for being a translation at all, being the work of Anglicans, and the chronological order.
The final two thirds of Mohammed’s Koran is, as the name suggests the Koran in the chronological order that Mohamed conveyed it to his followers. To be accurate it is in reverse chronological order to bring home to the reader the violence of those last Suras, Sura 5 and Sura 9.
Amazon continues to sell it and sales are steadily despite the clamour from The Muslim Vibe and others. At time of writing the positive comments outnumber the negative. Let us hope this continues and scales fall from more eyes.
A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack
Former NSA experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. Patrick Lawrence writes in The Nation. [I am posting the entire article because I understand The Nation is under pressure to pull it.]
It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.
The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.
All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.
Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept—as the record shows many of them have done.
We come now to a moment of great gravity.
There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate.” This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:
There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.
This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. Before proceeding into this material, several points bear noting.
One, there are many other allegations implicating Russians in the 2016 political process. The work I will now report upon does not purport to prove or disprove any of them. Who delivered documents to WikiLeaks? Who was responsible for the “phishing” operation penetrating John Podesta’s e-mail in March 2016? We do not know the answers to such questions. It is entirely possible, indeed, that the answers we deserve and must demand could turn out to be multiple: One thing happened in one case, another thing in another. The new work done on the mid-June and July 5 events bears upon all else in only one respect. We are now on notice: Given that we now stand face to face with very considerable cases of duplicity, it is imperative that all official accounts of these many events be subject to rigorously skeptical questioning. Do we even know that John Podesta’s e-mail address was in fact “phished”? What evidence of this has been produced? Such rock-bottom questions as these must now be posed in all other cases.
Two, houses built on sand and made of cards are bound to collapse, and there can be no surprise that the one resting atop the “hack theory,” as we can call the prevailing wisdom on the DNC events, appears to be in the process of doing so. Neither is there anything far-fetched in a reversal of the truth of this magnitude. American history is replete with similar cases. The Spanish sank the Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. Iran’s Mossadegh was a Communist. Guatemala’s Árbenz represented a Communist threat to the United States. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh was a Soviet puppet. The Sandinistas were Communists. The truth of the Maine, a war and a revolution in between, took a century to find the light of day, whereupon the official story disintegrated. We can do better now. It is an odd sensation to live through one of these episodes, especially one as big as Russiagate. But its place atop a long line of precedents can no longer be disputed.
Three, regardless of what one may think about the investigations and conclusions I will now outline—and, as noted, these investigations continue—there is a bottom line attaching to them. We can even call it a red line. Under no circumstance can it be acceptable that the relevant authorities—the National Security Agency, the Justice Department (via the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the Central Intelligence Agency—leave these new findings without reply. Not credibly, in any case. Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in these very institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty. Silence now, should it ensue, cannot be written down as an admission of duplicity, but it will come very close to one.
It requires no elaboration to apply the above point to the corporate media, which have been flaccidly satisfied with official explanations of the DNC matter from the start.
Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. This article reflects numerous interviews with all of them conducted in person, via Skype, or by telephone.
The customary VIPS format is an open letter, typically addressed to the president. The group has written three such letters on the DNC incident, all of which were first published by Robert Parry at www.consortiumnews.com. Here is the latest, dated July 24; it blueprints the forensic work this article explores in detail. They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation. In a letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the group explained that the NSA’s known programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. “We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks,” the letter said. “If NSA cannot produce such evidence—and quickly—this would probably mean it does not have any.”
The day after Parry published this letter, Obama gave his last press conference as president, at which he delivered one of the great gems among the official statements on the DNC e-mail question. “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking,” the legacy-minded Obama said, “were not conclusive.” There is little to suggest the VIPS letter prompted this remark, but it is typical of the linguistic tap-dancing many officials connected to the case have indulged so as to avoid putting their names on the hack theory and all that derives from it.
Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any.
Donald Rumsfeld famously argued with regard to the WMD question in Iraq, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” In essence, Binney and others at VIPS say this logic turns upside down in the DNC case: Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said in an interview. “They’re playing the Wizard of Oz game.”
New findings indicate this is perfectly true, but until recently the VIPS experts could produce only “negative evidence,” as they put it: The absence of evidence supporting the hack theory demonstrates that it cannot be so. That is all VIPS had. They could allege and assert, but they could not conclude: They were stuck demanding evidence they did not have—if only to prove there was none.
Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.
By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. This bears brief explanation.
The Forensicator’s July 9 document indicates he lives in the Pacific Time Zone, which puts him on the West Coast. His notes describing his investigative procedures support this. But little else is known of him. Adam Carter, in turn, is located in England, but the name is a coy pseudonym: It derives from a character in a BBC espionage series called Spooks. It is protocol in this community, Elizabeth Vos told me in a telephone conversation this week, to respect this degree of anonymity. Kirk Wiebe, the former SIGINT analyst at the NSA, thinks Forensicator could be “someone very good with the FBI,” but there is no certainty. Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.
Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known—they were published last September—and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege,’ meaning a key.”
What has Forensicator proven since he turned his key? How? What has work done atop Forensicator’s findings proven? How?
Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.
These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.
What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second—half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.
“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”
Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between—but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads—conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like—degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.
In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting. “It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”
To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.
It is not yet clear whether documents now shown to have been leaked locally on July 5 were tainted to suggest Russian hacking in the same way the June 15 Guccifer release was. This is among several outstanding questions awaiting answers, and the forensic scientists active on the DNC case are now investigating it. In a note Adam Carter sent to Folden and McGovern last week and copied to me, he reconfirmed the corruption of the June 15 documents, while indicating that his initial work on the July 5 documents—of which much more is to be done—had not yet turned up evidence of doctoring.
In the meantime, VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:
On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.
It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent.”
By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment, the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.
Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers—an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.
“We continue to stand by our report,” CrowdStrike said, upon seeing the VIPS blueprint of the investigation. CrowdStrike argues that by July 5 all malware had been removed from the DNC’s computers. But the presence or absence of malware by that time is entirely immaterial, because the event of July 5 is proven to have been a leak and not a hack. Given that malware has nothing to do with leaks, CrowdStrike’s logic appears to be circular.
In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. The investigators deserve a response, the betrayed professionals who formed VIPS as the WMD scandal unfolded in 2003 deserve it, and so do the rest of us. The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.
I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.
All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden’s answer: impossible based on the data. “The laws of physics don’t lie,” Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. “It’s QED, theorem demonstrated,” William Binney said in response to my question. “There’s no evidence out there to get me to change my mind.” When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, “I’ve looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn’t do the work. That’s the 10 percent. I’m a scientist.