Saturday, 25 August 2018
Eid in Dagenham, East London: BACKYARD BUTCHERS Family filmed hacking up animal carcasses in their garden sparks hygiene probe by council
The Sun has picked this up after a concerned neighbour posted on a local community forum
A FAMILY filmed hacking up animal carcasses in their back yard are being investigated in a hygiene probe. Neighbours alerted environmental health officials after the raw meat was chopped up on a tarpaulin.
It is not known if the family — celebrating Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of sacrifice — slaughtered the animals at home or were simply butchering them.
A woman living at the property confirmed yesterday they had been butchering for Eid but denied any wrongdoing.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, insisted the family had done nothing wrong in practising their religion.
Barking and Dagenham Council said it was investigating.
Posted on 08/25/2018 4:36 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 24 August 2018
Litigating on Behalf of Humanity
by Theodore Dalrymple
Just as there is nothing so foolish that some philosopher has not said it, so there is no litigation so outrageous that some court has not entertained it. No lawyer wants to discourage litigation, after all, and it would be against human nature if courts had not developed vested interests of their own.
The European Court of Justice has recently ruled that ten private citizens, from Portugal, Germany, France, Italy, Romania, Kenya, Sweden and Fiji can sue the European Union for negligence in its inaction on climate change. The litigants claim that the objective of the Union – a lowering by 40 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030 by comparison with those of 1990 – is insufficient to guarantee their fundamental rights to life, health, and property.
The plaintiffs in the action say that they do not seek monetary compensation, and though in general I do not believe plaintiffs when they claim that it is not financial recompense that they are after but only justice and to teach the wrongdoer a lesson so that others after them do not suffer what they have suffered, in this case I think the plaintiffs are probably telling the truth. Rather, they are proving to themselves and others what fine selfless people they are, working for the benefit of the whole of humanity.
The plaintiffs are supported by various pressure groups, including Notre affaire à tous, in effect Everyone’s Business, whose president said ‘We hope that the judges hand down a decision that will force the European Union and its states to keep to their verbal promises.’
Of course, allowing the litigation to take place and coming to a judgement are two different things. The matter is not a foregone conclusion. The European Parliament and Council have two months to prepare their defence. But the scale of the judicial activism to which the court obviously thinks it is entitled not only dwarfs all previous judicial activism but makes the court in effect the ruler of Europe. Of course, many of the judges on the court come from countries in which neither democracy nor the rule of law has been the first characteristic of its past century of their political history and may not be juridically very distinguished. But who cares about the means when the end is so important?
One of the advocates for the plaintiffs, Roda Verheyen, managed in 2017 to get the German courts to examine the case of a Peruvian farmer and mountain guide, who claimed that a German energy company had damaged the Peruvian environment by its emissions (into the world atmosphere) of carbon dioxide. It is difficult to see why this company should have been selected of all the carbon dioxide emitters in the world, though presumably it had sufficient money to make it a lucrative target. The difficulties of proving causation are so obvious and manifold that one can only regard the German courts, in allowing such a case to be brought, as being engaged upon some surreptitious kind of employment scheme for lawyers.
It is not only in Europe that such cases are brought. A group of twenty-one Americans, some of them minors, are suing the American government for having disregarded their constitutional right to life, liberty, and property by permitting subsidised fossil fuel companies to operate, thereby contributing to global warming.
Of making many books there is no end, but the author of Ecclesiastes, whoever he was, might write instead, were he alive today, that in the making of much litigation there is no end, especially under the present legal dispensation (I almost said in the present legal climate). For if carbon dioxide emission in Germany can give rise to redressable wrongs committed in Peru, what limit could there possibly be to litigation? Why not sue local governments because they allow the passage of motor vehicles that pollute the air, lung, and other diseases having been shown to be statistically associated with such pollution? The possibilities are infinite. Samuel Johnson’s great poem, The Vanity of Human Wishes, begins:
Let observation, with extensive view,
Survey mankind from Chins to Peru…
If he returned to earth, he would now write:
Let lawyer, with extensive view,
Search victim from China to Peru…
What seems to me to unite the litigants and their advocates is a profound self-righteousness and assurance that that they know the causes of the ills of the world, which they have taken upon themselves to right by means of legal action. They entertain no doubt about effects that must, to put it mildly, be very remote from their supposed causes, if they exist at all. There is a religious fervour about the litigants that is quite dissociated from true religious feeling, for which perhaps it is a substitute.
They see everyone’s vested interest but their own. This, of course, is a normal human failing, and no doubt we are all often guilty of it. But in my time I have known a number of litigation lawyers who have made an excellent living, not to say fabulous sums, from their legal exertions on behalf of humanity, and who struck me as among the most conceited people I have ever encountered.
It is a reasonable assumption that ten citizens who are suing the European Union risk nothing of their own in doing so, except the expenditure of time (though their sense of purpose and of their own virtue will sustain them and more than compensate them for it). It will not have crossed their minds that they could be doing harm rather than good, or that the bill for their moral enthusiasm would be paid by others than themselves.
The European Union will prepare its defence, we are told. How much will it spend in doing so? It will have no incentive to be careful of the cost, because such entities rarely count cost and indeed all the incentives are to maximise it. The sum will not be very large when divided by the total number of taxpayers in the Union. But the waste of effort will not therefore be negligible. The exertions of the judges, the advocates on both sides, the experts, the other witnesses, and so forth, will add up to considerable sum-total of effort, intelligence, and no doubt ingenuity worthy of a better object. When you multiply this wastage by the number of times similar litigation will now take place, to the great benefit and advantage of an activist court without countervailing power, you glimpse how sclerosis increases and a form of soft authoritarianism comes to pervade our lives, all in the name of fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property.
First published in the Library of Law and Liberty.
Posted on 08/24/2018 6:51 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
Friday, 24 August 2018
Robert Spencer’s Indispensable Account of the 1400-Year War Islamic Jihadists Have Waged Against the West
by Hugh Fitzgerald
If the West manages to avoid doom from the forces of Jihad, it will be in large part due to books like this. Here is my review of Robert Spencer’s The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, as published in FrontPage:
Robert Spencer’s The History of Jihad tells, in magnificent measure, the story of how, over 1400 years, the votaries of Islam have observed the religious duty of holy war, or Jihad, warfare against the Unbelievers. Reviewers sometimes insist that “if you can only read one book on the subject, read this one.” Here such insistence is not hyperbole. Spencer tells in lively fashion a deadly story, of how what started with a few dozen followers in a dusty town in western Arabia became today’s ideological empire of 1.6 billion members of the Islamic community or umma, mostly to be found in 57 Muslim-majority countries, but now also including hundreds of millions of Muslims in Europe, North America, and India.
How did this happen? How did Muhammad manage to survive early setbacks in Mecca to become the ruler of Arabia? Spencer offers overwhelming evidence that along with brute force, deceit and terror were Muhammad’s chief weapons. “War is deceit,” he insisted. He told his followers that “I have been made victorious through terror.” These — brute force, deceit, and terror — have remained the chief weapons of Jihad throughout history.
Spencer takes us through the campaigns that allowed Muhammad to go from near-fatal weakness to strength. Muhammad’s victory over a much larger enemy at the Battle of Badr in 624 signaled a change in his fortunes; he never looked back. Muhammad relied until 628 only on force to defeat his enemies. But in that year, he agreed to the Treaty of Al Hudaibiyya, which would become the first example of victory through guile. Muhammad had signed a truce treaty (hudna), with the Quraysh tribe of Mecca. It was to last ten years. One of its provisions required Muhammad to return to the Quraysh any member of the tribe who came to him. When a woman of the Quraysh came over to the Muslims, Muhammad broke the treaty (after 18 months) by refusing to send her back, claiming — wrongly — that the treaty only required him to send back men, not women. Muhammad was willing to break the treaty because his forces had grown stronger; he was now prepared to take on the Quraysh. The violation of this treaty by Muhammad has been the model for Muslim treaty-making with Unbelievers ever since; it was even mentioned by Yasser Arafat, to signal to his Muslim followers that they need not worry; he had no intention of meeting his commitments under any agreement signed with Israel. It would be salutary if those who today pressure Israel to sign this or that treaty with the “Palestinians” were to learn about the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya and, for many Muslims, its enduring significance.
Muhammad was above all a warrior, who took part in nine battles (according to Muslim legend, Spencer tells us, he took part in 27). Once the enemy was conquered, Spencer explains, only three options were available for the Unbelievers: death, conversion to Islam, or permanent status as dhimmis, who were required to pay a special tax called the Jizyah, as well as to submit to many other onerous conditions. This Jizyah became the main source of revenue for the Islamic state. Those three options have not changed in 1400 years.
Spencer relies, for the first three centuries of his history, on Arab sources almost exclusively, from the biography of Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, to the historian of early Islam Al-Tabari, to Bukhari and Muslim, who are considered the most reliable of hadith scholars. He continues to quote often from Arab and Muslim historians and jurists (including Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Khaldun), which makes it difficult for those Islamic apologists who deplore his work to find a way to undermine his argument or challenge his facts. They have found their answer to this quandary in maintaining a studied silence: not a single Muslim has apparently yet dared to review this book.
Muhammad’s death in 632 did not halt the Muslim armies in their seemingly unstoppable Jihad, or rather, series of Jihads against the Infidels: first they took Syria, then Iraq and part of Sassanid Persia, then the rest of Persia, and Egypt. They carried Islam’s conquests forward in the West, across North Africa, and entered Spain, under the command of a freed Berber slave, Tariq ibn Ziyad. Ziyad was ultimately aided by a Christian, Julian of Ceuta, who wanted to take his own revenge against the last Visigothic ruler of Spain, Roderic, for taking sexual advantage of one of Julian’s daughters. This would not be the last time that Muslims were helped in their conquests by divisions among their enemies. There have been many such instances since, including the catastrophic effect of the deep divisions between the Catholics and the Orthodox, that prevented an alliance against the rampaging Turks.
Muhammad’s followers continued to fulfill their duty of Jihad in the West, carrying Islam’s conquests forward and up into France, where the Muslim army was halted by Charles Martel in the Battle of Tours in 732. Some apologists for Islam like to claim that Jihad is “defensive” in nature. But it was the rampaging Muslims who first attacked the inoffensive, and often largely defenseless, peoples of North Africa and Spain and France. Charles Martel was only fighting to stop the invaders.
Spencer gives special attention to Spain, quite understandably, for Islamic Spain has been the object in the West of much dreamy misinformation that never dies, but needs constantly to be refuted. A well-versed and deadly debunker, Spencer shows that Islamic Spain, Andalusia, was never the paradise of “convivencia” that many in the West, beginning with Washington Irving and continuing into the present, with Karen Armstrong and Maria Rosa Menocal, have so fondly believed. He details the Muslim attacks on Jews in Spain, including the killing of 4000 in Granada in 1066, and the attacks on Christians, too. After the battle of Sagrajas in 1086, the victorious Muslims prayed on top of heaped-up piles of Christian heads. That “happy coexistence” was, Spencer shows, a fable later constructed in the West. Their wretched condition under Islamic rule explains why the Christians fought so determinedly for nearly 800 years of the Reconquista to take back their country. There was, Spencer says, as every reviewer of the book has noted, no Muslim Age of Tolerance, no Muslim Era of Good Feelings, not in Spain, and not anywhere else.
The history of Jihad is bloody, and the pages of this study are replete with atrocities, but the onward current of Spencer’s vivid narrative pulls us forward. He draws whenever possible, especially in the early centuries, on such Muslim jurists and historians as Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Khaldun. He keeps reminding us, too, of the passages in the Qur’an and Hadith that explain why Muslims did what they did; every Muslim atrocity is justified by the Qur’anic commands and the example of Muhammad himself.
In the early eighth century the Jihad in India began, and as the Hindus and Buddhist were not People of the Book, they did not have the possibility of becoming dhimmis and paying the Jizyah; they had either to convert or be killed. Spencer describes the endless series of mass killings, by the tens of thousands, of Hindus, and the destruction, by the thousands, of their temples. When Tamerlane arrived centuries later, in 1398, he killed many thousands of Hindus, but was still left with 100,000 prisoners. He couldn’t take them with him, and he couldn’t let them free, so he ordered every Muslim under him to kill all the Hindu prisoners each of them held, and in a single day, those 100,000 Hindus were dutifully killed. These killings presage the period of Mughal rule, centuries later, when as many as 70-80 million Hindus, according to the historian K. S. Lal, may have been killed.
There are telling anecdotes throughout this history; they are not superfluous, but make a deep impression. They add to the narrative. One is about the daughters of the conquered Sindhi king Dahir, who were sent to the caliph Walid as part of his booty. When he took one of them to bed, she told him that she had already been raped by the Muslim general Muhammad ibn Qasim. Despite Muhammad’s success in waging Jihad, this was not enough to save him in the eyes of the Caliph. He ordered “that the victorious general, victories or no, be sewn up into a rawhide sack and shipped to his court. By the time the sack containing Muhammad ibn Qasim arrived, he was already dead.” With the loss of that general, the Jihad in India halted. And the reader remains riveted by such details.
Spencer ends his account of the Battle of Tours in 732, when the Muslim defeat halted their conquest of Europe, with a telling remark looking forward to the present Jihad, and our failure to adequately confront it: “The warriors of jihad would appear again in France, but they would not come close again to gaining control of the whole country until many centuries later, by vastly different means, when there was no longer a Charles Martel to stop them.” He then quotes two Europeans on what Europe might have looked like had the Muslims not been defeated. First, the 18th century historian Edward Gibbon, who imagined the Qur’an would have been taught in the schools of Oxford, “and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.” He shuddered at the thought. The second European, who regretted that Islam had not conquered Europe, for “Mohammedanism [is] that cult which glorifies heroism and which opens the seventh heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world. Christianity alone prevented them from doing so” was, Spencer informs us, Adolf Hitler.
Spencer has fun debunking the legend of Harun al-Rashid, the Abbasid caliph, always depicted in Western texts solely as an enlightened patron of the arts. That he may have been, but Spencer tells us that he had another side, putting to death defeated Christians and other non-Muslims, while condemning some to remain alive in conditions of “slavery and degradation.” In his repeated raids on Byzantium, this patron of the arts destroyed hundreds of ancient churches, with their icons, mosaics, and other artifacts, in southeastern Anatolia.
How many of us are aware that Muslim forces attacked Rome itself in 846, but could not penetrate its walls? Those forces retreated nearby, plundering and besieging smaller towns. Meanwhile, the Romans were shoring up their defenses, enough so that Rome remained impervious to Muslim attack. And since Rome is his subject, Spencer allows himself a monitory dose of fast-forward-to-Pope-Francis unreality: “The jihad forces were still in Italy, and the threat was urgent; it had not yet become customary for the Roman Pontiff to proclaim the peacefulness of Islam and benign character of the Qur’an, and decry the building of walls.”
Spencer moves back and forth geographically, as dictated by the chronology of different theaters of Jihad, at different stages of conquest, the main ones being in India, Byzantium, and Spain. Not a single jihad, no matter how larger or small, is overlooked — both those that succeeded, as the quick conquest of Georgia, and those that failed, such as the ill-fated attempt of Muslim forces to enter China, which was defeated, like Napoleon in Moscow, by General Winter.
Spencer has telling anecdotes, not always involving rivers of blood and piles of Infidel heads, that convey the bottomless cruelty of many of the Muslim leaders. Consider the casual savagery on display against Unbelievers in these stories about Abd al-Rahman, who ruled most of Islamic Spain in the ninth century: “he [Abd al-Rahman] threw himself upon her [one of his 6,300 sex slaves] face to kiss and bite her, and she got disgusted by this and turned her face away, raining on his parade; this so provoked his anger that he ordered the eunuchs to seize her and put a candle to her face, burning and destroying her beauty, until they destroyed her face, burning her badly, and finishing with her.” He [Abd al-Rahman] also came across “a thirteen-year-old Christian boy who had been taken hostage. Entranced by the boy’s beauty, the caliph made amorous advances upon him, only to be rejected; enraged, he had the boy tortured and then beheaded.” He was also cruel to his own men. After a defeat, he ordered the execution, by means of crucifixion, of 300 of his top officers.
In the 11th century, the two main sources of slaves for Muslims had dried up. Slavs had converted to Christianity and no longer sold their own people as slaves, and the Turks had converted to Islam, and thus were no longer to be enslaved by other Muslims. The slave market in Andalusia became the main source of slaves for Muslims elsewhere. One more nail in the coffin of “convivencia.”
In India, at the end of the 10th century, the long dormant Jihad was revived by Mahmud of Ghazni, who terrorized the Infidels in what is present-day northeast Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwest India. He led 17 major Jihad campaigns into the subcontinent. Everywhere he destroyed many thousands of Hindu temples, smashing tens of thousands of their idols. His men killed Hindus everywhere and pulled down the “idol temples.” At Thanessar, according to the Muslim historian Al-Utbi, “The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously that the stream was discolored, notwithstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it.” At Shrawa, “the Muslims paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshippers of sun and fire.” Vast amounts of gold and silver, rubies and pearls, were taken; wherever Mahmud of Ghazni went, he took treasure and slaves. There were so many slaves that their cost in the slave markets plummeted. Mahmud of Ghazni was also, like Harun al-Rashid, a patron of the arts, and it is this, rather than his bloodcurdling conquests, his cruelty and his greed that, Spender notes mildly but tellingly, “tends to be remembered in the contemporary West.”
The Jihad kept on, in the East and in the West. Always there were atrocities. In Armenia, the Seljuk Turks rampaged in the city of Ardzen. A Christian chronicler lamented “the sons taken into slavery, the infants smashed without mercy against the rocks, the venerable old men abased in public squares, the gentle-born virgins dishonored and carried off.”
We come then to the Crusades, where more debunking, and setting the historical record straight, is necessary. As Spencer shows, the Crusades were not an offensive war, as so often depicted, but a response to Jihad, including the takeover of the Holy Land by Muslims, who destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and prevented Christians from making pilgrimages. He does not hold back in describing the barbarism of the Christians, their attacks on Jews as they marched through Europe, and notes the cannibalism of the starving Christians who along the way ate “dead Turks and Saracens.” In Jerusalem the Crusaders behaved no better, burning Jews alive inside their synagogue and slaughtering tens of thousands of Muslims. That number has kept going up, from 20,000 in a 12th century history by a bishop, to 70,000 by a Muslim chronicler in the same century, to 100,000 claimed by a 15th century Muslim historian, to Bill Clinton, that eminent historian, who without any evidence claimed the Crusaders killed every Muslim man, woman, and child on the Temple Mount.
The reader has already been taken by Spencer through the 450 years of uninterrupted Jihad that occurred before the Crusades (which began in 1095), so is well-armed mentally with that history, which undermines the claim of such well-known apologists for Islam as John Esposito, who has written that there had been “five centuries of peaceful coexistence” before “an imperial-papal power play led to centuries-long series of so-called holy wars that pitted Christendom against Islam and left an enduring legacy of misunderstanding and distrust.” But as Spencer shows in such striking and disturbing detail, there never was “peaceful coexistence” between Muslims and Unbelievers, and the Crusades were not “an imperial-papal power play,” but rather, a reaction by Christians to centuries of Jihad, including the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 1009.
Spencer’s next exercise in myth-busting concerns Saladin, whom he describes as being “to individual Muslims what al-Andalus is to Muslim polities.” He became the exemplar of the “tolerant, magnanimous Muslim warrior,” embodying the nobility of the faith. Not quite. Having defeated the Crusaders at Hattin, he ordered that all the prisoners were to be beheaded. He allowed a motley crew of Muslims — scholars and Sufis and ascetics and other devout men — to each kill one Christian prisoner. Saladin is reported to have watched the spectacle, “his face joyful…while the unbelievers showed black despair.” Yet when he reconquered Jerusalem, Spencer tells us, he treated the Christians with magnanimity. Which side of Saladin should we acknowledge? How about both sides?
While the Holy Land was still being contested in the East, in 1258 the Mongols under Hulagu Khan conquered Baghdad and destroyed the Abbasid Caliphate. Hulagu, whose mother was a Nestorian Christian, was well-disposed toward Christianity. In 1260, a Christian Mongol leader, Kitbuka, took Aleppo and Damascus. Still another Mongol, Arghun, a Buddhist, who ruled in Persia, became interested in making common cause with Christians to drive the Muslims from the Holy Land “once and for all.” Arghun is one of many people in this capacious history who pique one’s curiosity. His closest friend was the chief prelate of the Nestorian Church, his vizier was a Jew. Talk about Convivencia! And Arghun wrote to Pope Honorius IV to suggest this alliance. But nothing came of it, because the Christians were too distracted at home, and possibly, Spencer suggests, too distrustful of the Mongols who, they feared, might eventually try to invade Europe. This Mongol-Christian alliance never came into being — an opportunity lost, which would not come again, as the Mongol ruler in Iraq converted to Islam, and eventually, so did the rest of the Mongols. One cannot help wondering what the world would now look like had Arghun’s proposed alliance come into being.
Meanwhile, in Spain, the Christian Reconquista continued, and the Muslims in Spain had all they could do to hold onto the territories they had. They were in no position to wage offensive Jihad. In 1492, with the Christian conquest of Granada, the Reconquista was complete. This was the most significant retaking of territory from Muslims until the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948.
In the East, the Jihad resumed in India in the late 12th century, under Muhammad Ghori. There was the same gruesome display as under Mahmud of Ghazni two centuries before: at Aligarh, the Muslims put down a Hindu uprising and raised “three bastions as high as heaven with their heads.” There was mass plundering of all the Hindu riches — gold, silver, gems — and mass destruction of the Hindu temples, pulled down by the thousands. In some places, every Hindu male over the age of eight was killed, the women all enslaved. Muslim warriors smashed Hindu idols everywhere they went, placing the broken pieces at the entrance of mosques, to be trodden upon by the faithful.
The Islamic State in India was triumphant. The Hindus were not People of the Book, so could not be dhimmis paying the Jizyah, but they became instead “payers of tribute” who were forced to tender whatever, at any time, was asked of them, and more. If asked for silver, they should offer gold to their Muslim masters. Even Hindus who converted to Islam were to be “treated with continued contempt.” This was “Happy Hindustan,” as a Muslim scholar called it without the slightest irony — where Islam triumphed, and the Hindus who were not killed lived lives of despair.
Spencer shifts the scene, as his Jihad timeline dictates, back to Europe, and the renewed Jihad against the Byzantine Empire. This was conducted by the Turks, first the Seljuks and then the Osmanlis, who had converted to Islam. Disunity among Christians helped the Jihadis. The attempt to heal the schism between the Catholics and the Orthodox came to nothing, with Pope Benedict insultingly addressing the Byzantine Emperor and the Eastern patriarchs. Spencer tellingly looks forward to today’s Pope, as he does several times in his history, and bitingly notes that “not until the days of Pope Francis would the See of Rome have an occupant more useful to the jihad force than Benedict XII.”
As he brings the story of Jihad up to the present, the history will be more familiar to readers. But we are not used to thinking of these attacks by Muslims on Infidels as Jihads, prompted by the Qur’an and the example of Muhammad; Spencer corrects this misunderstanding. The Armenian genocide was a classic Jihad: a war of Muslim Turks against Christian Armenians, 1.5 million entirely inoffensive victims of Islamic hate. Western textbooks describe these Armenian massacres as the result of “ethnic conflict.” Perhaps one salutary effect of Spencer’s history will be the more accurate identification of those massacres as what they were: “jihad for the sake of Allah.”
The war of Muslim Arabs against the Jews of Palestine, which began in the early years of the 20th century, decades before the Jewish state was declared, is another example of a classic Jihad, a holy war that was particularly important for several reasons. First, Palestine had once been under Muslim rule, and therefore it was higher on the To-Do List of Jihadis than territory that had never been under Muslim control. Spain, Greece, Sicily, the Balkans are also on this list, but Israel has pride of place. Second, Jews were not only hated, but were also despised, and the notion that the despised Jews could now be controlling what had been part of Dar al-Islam was especially maddening.
Spencer quite rightly dwells on this Jihad, because it is still going strong with no end in sight and has become the center of worldwide attention. The U.N. devotes more than half of its time to discussions of Israel and “Palestine”; the U.N. Commission on Human Rights spends much of its time passing resolutions denouncing the giant empire of malevolent Israel. Yet even Israel’s dedicated supporters almost never use the word “jihad” to describe the unending war of Arabs and other Muslims against the Jewish state. Perhaps, after reading this book, they will reconsider, and unapologetically use that word to describe the war against Israel, in a spirit of salutary candor.
In his discussion of the Jihad against Israel, Spencer offers facts likely to be unfamiliar to many. Among them, the most startling is surely the role of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and leader of the Arabs of Palestine. Al-Husseini consulted with Hitler, urging him not to let any Jews escape to Palestine, but to “burn” them. He raised an S.S. battalion among the Bosnian Muslims, a unit that took part in the Final Solution. From 1941 to 1945, al-Husseini lived in Berlin, where he “became close friends with Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler.” Spencer adds that Eichmann’s assistant, Dieter Wisliczeny, testified at the Nuremberg Trials “that the Grand Mufti” had repeatedly suggested to Hitler, von Ribbentrop, and Himmler “the extermination of European Jewry….The Mufti was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard him say that, accompanied by Eichmann, he had visited incognito the gas chambers of Auschwitz.” Those morally obtuse people who now, grotesquely, dare to compare the Israelis to Nazis should be reminded, whenever possible, of Haj Amin al-Husseini and his epigones in Hamas and Hezbollah.
The war against Israel was never, Spencer explains, a mere dispute over borders, but a Jihad that will continue forever, using whatever means prove most effective at a particular time. Israeli territorial concessions will only whet, not sate, Arab Muslim appetites. Fighting in the path of Allah, the “Palestinians” may even sign a “treaty of peace,” but for them all such peace treaties with Infidels are truce treaties, hudnas, intended to be broken whenever the Muslim side feels strong enough to restart hostilities, just as Muhammad did in 628 with the Quraysh tribe, despite the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya. The nature of this conflict needs to be thoroughly understood, for the Jihad against Israel is not different in kind from all the Jihads whose horrific history Spencer lays out in this, his most important book.
For 1400 years, Jihad has been conducted, virtually without interruption, somewhere on the globe. Its methods have varied. The Jihad of violent warfare, successful against the Byzantines, the Sassanid Persians, and the Hindus of India, has today been replaced in Europe by what Spencer was the first to call the “stealth Jihad.” This includes a steady chipping away at the institutions and values of the Unbelievers, including the establishment of No-Go areas where the writ of the Unbelievers does not run, the demand for accommodation to Muslim ways, from dress (opposing limits on hijabs, burqas, and niqabs), to the setting aside of both rooms and of times for daily Muslim prayers in schools and at work, to the rewriting of textbooks and curricula to depict Islam in a favorable light, to continuous efforts at Da’wa, the Call to Islam, especially among prisoners, leading in Europe to a steady inexorable rise in the percentage of Muslims in the population, and much, much more.
The last chapter of this surpassing study is devoted to Jihad in the 21st century. It bears a somber title: “The West Loses the Will to Live.” The title is deserved. For Spencer reminds us of the fantastical statements about Islam, beginning with the remarks made by President Bush on September 17, 2001 at the Islamic Center of Washington, where he said that “these acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith…The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” Similar remarks about Islam continued — and continue — to be made by Bush, by Obama, by John Brennan (former head of the C.I.A.), by Tony Blair, by Theresa May, by Angela Merkel, by — most harmfully — Pope Francis, and by a cast of unthinking collaborators, found among the political and media elites all over the Western world. They never give signs of having read the Qur’an or Hadith, as if these texts, that Muslims read, and recite, and endlessly study, and memorize, were unnecessary for them to know before they self-assuredly pronounce on such matters as what constitutes “authentic Islam.” Along comes Robert Spencer with his many books, and now with this history, and what shall the True Believers and Apologists do? Certainly they have learned not to enter the lists with Spencer. Better to simply deny him a platform by, for example, making it hard for him to be invited to, or to speak freely at, college campuses, without disruption. And why not persuade Google and Twitter and Facebook that he is a hate-monger — can the Southern Poverty Law Center possibly be wrong? — and therefore deserves to become harder to find on the Internet. It’s useful, too, to keep accusing him, endlessly, of “racism” (a preposterous charge, for the obvious reason) and of “Islamophobia,” a word intended only to shut down all criticism of Islam.
Before I end, let me mention the main criticism I have: the Index leaves much to be desired. Arghun, Saladin, John Esposito, Karen Armstrong are a few of those who should be, but are not, to be found in that index; Mahmud and Mahmud of Ghazni, the same person, receives two entries. As for our presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are to be found under the “B’s”; George Bush is found in the “G’s.” This book deserves better.
But to balance the deficiencies in the Index, let me also mention how much I enjoyed learning new words — logothete, iconodule — that were Greek to me, but that the author was unafraid to use. When he knows the exact word, he uses it. No dumbing down of the lexicon here.
If the West manages to avoid what Spencer gloomily foresees on his last page (371) as “almost certain doom” from the forces of Jihad, it will be in large part due to books like this. Or rather, since there really are no other books quite like this, it will be due in large part to this very book, which needs to find its readers, in the right places, capable of learning, and acting upon what they have learned, about the history of Jihad.
Posted on 08/24/2018 6:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 August 2018
Officials say knife attacker killed mother and sister and injured another before being shot dead by police in Paris
He shouted Allah Akbar. He was known for terror related alerts. ISIS praise him as one of their soldiers. But because two of the women attacked (the ones now dead) were family members the police are claiming 'domestic violence with mental health problems' From ITV News France 24 and The Telegraph
French officials say the two people killed in a knife attack on Thursday in Paris were the mother and sister of the attacker, who was subsequently shot by police.
The third victim, a passerby who was gravely injured in the attack, was also a woman, the official said. The attacker, 36, reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the rampage, and was shot dead by police after the assault in a residential street. Local media, citing police sources, said he was discovered to have been carrying several knives and a long-time friend of the attacker named him as Kamel Salhi, which was confirmed by a government official.
The attacker entered a house and shouted at police outside: "Allahu Akbar, if you come in I'll blow you away",
Jean-Jacques Brot, the top government administrator in the Yvelines region, tweeted that the attacker Thursday in the town of Trappes was "neutralized" and had died.
The attack took place in a suburb west of Paris, Trappes on Thursday morning.
Police officials said the man was flagged in a government database of suspected religious and political extremists.
"It appears the criminal had serious psychiatric problems," the French interior minister Gerard Collomb told reporters in Trappes. "He was known (to the police) for advocating terrorism but it seems he was a disturbed person rather than someone who could respond to calls for action from terrorist organisations like Daesh,"
Gerard Collomb said the attack in the town of Trappes on Thursday is not being treated as a terrorist case for the moment, despite a claim of responsibility by the Islamic State group.
Posted on 08/23/2018 8:07 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 August 2018
Wise Advice from Mordechai Kedar: "Only Deterrence Sustains Israel".
Mordechai Kedar, as described in this article that appeared in Israel National News on 31 July, enunciates something that our own 'Hugh Fitzgerald', of New English Review, has stated on many occasions: that, vis a vis the sea of Muslim enemies that surround it, Israel must *be* - AND - seem - inassailable. Darura. Necessity. The 'strong horse' principle. Kedar knows what it is, how it works. He well understands the bully mind of Islam, and also its infinite duplicity. If only all his fellow Israelis understood, as he does. And not only Israelis, but.. every leader, political, military, and religious, of every non-Islamic society currently assailed by the global Jihad, that does not stop. The principle enunciated by Kedar - that "In this area [that is: "in this region dominated, maddened, suffused with Islam" - CM] only if you are invincible, you get peace..." requires to be learned by heart by every country in the lands that Muslims view as dar al Harb, region of war. For there are few non-Islamic countries on earth, today, that are not in some way affected by Muslim aggression, Muslim threats, Muslim infiltration-and-subversion, and Muslim petrodollar bribes. Let all those countries listen and pay attention to Mordechai Kedar.
And so to the article.
"When People Take You Seriously, You Can Live in Peace".
'Middle East expert, Dr Mordechai Kedar, explains why Israel's friends (sic: 'frenemies' would be a more accurate term - CM) aren't necessarily 'good guys' (true dat - CM); says only deterrence sustains Israel'.
'Middle East expert Dr Mordechai Kedar, who lectures at Bar-Ilan University, explained at the Arutz Sheva conference that Israel's friends are not necessarily 'good guys', urging Israel to separate Hamas' "head from its shoulders".
'The conference, held at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, was organised by Dr Joseph Frager.
"Unfortunately, the Middle East (sic: not only 'the middle east' but the entire dar al Islam! - CM) is full of too many bad guys. Even those who look like "good guys"," he said. "For example, in Israel and abroad, we said that [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad is a 'good guy', because he keeps the agreement on the Golan very strictly... and is a man which.. you know, you can rely on him, and you can make business with him, and there is a state, and with a state... you can make business (I think by 'make business' he means, "do business" - CM).
"The problem is, that the same Assad, who is viewed as a nice man, both the father and the son, were actually in bed with the Iranians, with Hamas, with Hezbollah - Hezbollah, big time, with the Islamic Jihad, and every terror organisation (that is: Jihad outfit - CM) which worked against Israel day and night - Assad was behind it. So what do you mean by "good guy"? The fact that he keeps the agreement in the Golan - he has reasons. But he fought against us in every other possible arena. So to define him as a "good guy" only because he doesn't shoot at us, but he sponsors others which shoot at us - this is insane.'
"[Former Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak, in the south - he was a "good guy" because he was with us. But he allowed smuggling weapons, including missiles, from Sinai to Gaza. Why did he allow them? Because he wanted us to take care of Hamas. Because when they shoot us, we will shoot them, and kill them for him. And this is... [a] malicious kind of thinking.
"Even the Saudis... yesterday it was published that they are demanding to give Jerusalem to the Palestinians (sic: to the so-called 'Palestinian' Arab Muslims - CM). What do you mean by "good guys"??"
'Dr Kedar also discussed how Israel should relate to incoming rockets, whether accidental or intentional.
"I don't care if it's accidental or not", he said. "What we should keep forever is our deterrence. Let others (that is: the Muslim Ummah, the Mohammedan Mob, Arab and non-Arab - CM) be afraid of us. This is what deterrence means. And this is actually our condition to remain in this area. Peace agreement is nothing more than a piece of paper".
At that point Dr Kedar - who surely knows all about taqiyya, muruna, taysir, tawriyya, kitman and the entire slimy mess of sacralised Islamic duplicity and deceit - should have reminded all his hearers of the significance of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, and why it is that Infidels cannot and must not trust any agreement entered into with Muslims; why, indeed, it is better not to enter into any such agreements in the first place. - CM
"In this area, only if you are invincible, you get peace. Not because you have an agreement, but because they're afraid of you... This will actually give us peace forever, if we are forever invincible, and too dangerous to mess with. That's all."
Oh, for Mordechai Kedar to have a quiet conversation with President Trump. And with any number of others. Because the advice Kedar here gives his fellow Israelis is good advice for all infidel governments - and their generals - who must protect their people from the global Jihad. - CM
'Regarding the incendiary balloons, and rocket attacks, he said, "What's the difference between balloon and rocket? Only the velocity. But it can devastate you, and this can devastate you if it falls on you and burns you up, so what? Thank goodness it didn't happen, but it's the same thing... This flies faster... and a balloon flies slower, this is the whole difference."
"We should have made the rules of the game, and telling them since day 2 - "Guys, another ballooon, and we start to target the connection between the heads and the shoulders of the Hamas leaders."
"Because they are responsible; they took the Gaza Strip by force eleven years ago, they are responsible for everything which comes out of the Strip.
"And this is why we, Israel, should have held them responsible to the degree that whenever somebody sneezes towards Israel, and we don't like it, we target the connection between the heads and the shoulders of.. Hamas.
"You know, after the second one, the others would learn the lesson, and behave.
"And this is unfortunately how this Middle East (sic: this Muslim Middle East... and, indeed the entire Dar al Islam - CM) works. It is not Europe here, it's not America, it's not Canada, it's not... nowhere in the world. This region has its own culture".
This region (and a large chunk adjoining it, too, all the way across to Indonesia, and down into Africa) is the dar al Islam - the zone blighted by Islam, religion of blood and war. - CM
"When people take you seriously, you can live in peace".
Translation: "When Muslims know that the instant they attempt to attack you they will be squashed flat, then you can live in peace." - CM.
Thus Mordechai Kedar. The Comments to the article, at Israel National News, were interesting; they showed that at least some Israelis understand exactly what Kedar is talking about. "Sarah" remarked - "Mordechai Kedar understands the way of the Arab mind (sic: rather, the Muslim mind - CM) which may be an oxymoron. The Prime Minister and IDF should consult with him on strategies to stop Hamas' relentless attacks on Israel. They've already tried plenty of ideas that don't work. Separating the heads of Hamas is an idea worth trying."
"Avrumeleh" offered this: "It's very refreshing to hear logic, reason, and someone who uses his head for something more than a hat-rack. So many people have ignored the realities of the Middle East and [of] Israel's neighbours (Muslim neighbours - CM) who have already sacrificed their own children for generations already, to make-believe that if Israel were only a little nicer.. gave a little more... the Arabs (sic: the Muslims - CM) would finally accept them. Nonsense. That will NEVER happen. Only fear of Israel's strength and resolve will ever lead to some kind of peace. Even Israel's current leadership ought to pay more attention to Mordechai Kedar!"
And not only Israel's leadership, but the leaders of all other non-Islamic countries in the world. Darura, darura, darura. And it's time to dispense with all the futile peace processing', whether in Israel, or in South Asia (India and Pakistan) or Thailand (with the Muslims in the south) or the Philippines (again, with the Muslims in the south). Once one understands about Hudaybiyya, that should be it: no more agreements with Muslims, period. Only a plain statement, to the Ummah, to keep off, and keep out - and get out, and stay out - or be hammered into the ground. - CM
Posted on 08/23/2018 5:35 AM by Christina McIntosh
Thursday, 23 August 2018
What Comeuppance For Erdogan?
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Turkey wants to buy 100 F-35 joint fighter strike planes from the United States. The Administration, however, has discovered that not everyone in Washington thinks this is a good idea. There are many reasons to oppose this sale.
First, Turkey has also decided to buy S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia. The contract has been signed. The first missiles for Turkey have gone into production in Russia. Turkey is doing this despite American warnings that such a purchase could make the sale of the F-35 less likely. American officials worry that if the F-35 and S-400 are both being operated by Turkey, then the Russians would be able to gauge their system’s performance against the F-35, which was designed precisely to evade Russian defense systems. Russia would be able to obtain through the Turks data about how the American fighter jet can, or cannot, evade the Russian air defense system, and thus learn of the capabilities and vulnerabilities of both the fighter plane and the missile system.
Such concerns about the purchase were expressed last November by Heidi Grant, deputy undersecretary of the US Air Force for international affairs:
“It’s a significant concern, not only to the United States, because we need to protect this high-end technology, fifth-generation technology, but for all of our partners and allies that have already purchased the F-35,” she told Defense News.
The Administration had, as noted, previously warned Erdogan that if Turkey bought the S-400 surface-to-air missiles from the Russians, that might endanger the sale of F-35 planes. But Erdogan brushed aside the warning, and called what appears to have been a bluff, for he has not backed down from trying to acquire the S-400, and the Trump administration nonetheless is still in favor of the sale of F-35s.
That is the first objection to the sale — that the Russians will obtain data on the capabilities and vulnerabilities of the F-35. This threatens both American security, and that of those allies, such as the U.K., that have bought the F-35.
Second, Erdogan will use the sale of F-35s, if it goes through, as a vindication of his bullying diplomacy. He can point, rightly, to the fact that Turkey has opposed Russian interests in its support for Sunni Arab opponents of the Assad regime, and opposed American interests in its attacks on the Syrian Kurds, who have been America’s most reliable military allies in Syria. Yet Erdogan can crow, despite this, that the Russians have sold Turkey their most advanced technology in surface-to-air missile defenses, and the Americans have sold Turkey their most advanced fighter plane. Do we want to help Erdogan become the Ottoman Sultan he aspires to become, or do we want to teach him a lesson?
Third, Turkey has been a member of NATO, a military alliance of nations created to defend Western democracies against Communist dictatorships, since 1952. But Erdogan is no democrat, and his Turkey does not belong in NATO.
Ever since the attempted coup of July 15, 2016, he has become ever more dictatorial in his rule. He had 70,756 people arrested just after the attempted coup, with some being released later, and still other thousands arrested in the two years since. These include judges, prosecutors, lawyers, policemen, teachers, professors, military men, and, of course, journalists. The Turkish military has always been the guardian of and protector of Kemalism, and it is not surprising that Erdogan, the anti-Ataturk, came down hard on that military. By late 2016, 7,028 members of the Turkish armed forces had been arrested. Among them were 164 generals and admirals, 287 colonels, 222 lieutenant colonels, 351 majors, 471 captains, and 1,091 lieutenants.
As for the silencing of journalists opposed to Erdogan, Turkey now imprisons more journalists than any country in the world.
Erdogan does not try to hide or minimize these arrests of so many people. Rather, he trumpets them, as a sign both of the danger supposedly posed to the state by the “plotters” he claims are being directed from Pennsylvania by Fethulleh Gulen and, at the same time, to show the reassuring ability of Erdogan’s men to find and arrest all these traitors to the Turkish state.
By the latest vote in Turkey, the President — that is, Erdogan — has now been granted sweeping new powers that bring the country ever closer to one-man rule.
Now it is the president who will form the Cabinet. That authority used to belong to the prime minister. That post no longer exists. Erdogan alone has named his 16-member Cabinet and his vice president as well.
In the old system, a new Turkish government had to receive a vote of confidence from parliament to assume office. Lawmakers could also initiate censure motions against the government and individual ministers. These parliamentary checks on the executive have been abolished. The authority to appraise and remove ministers now rests exclusively with the president.
Budget-making is another key authority that has been partly transferred from parliament to the president. The president has obtained the power to spend 25% of the national income as he likes without consulting anyone.
The president is also entitled to legislative powers through his authority to issue decrees. These have the force of law, and cannot be undone by the parliament. The only limit on the decrees is that they cannot be used to restrict basic rights and freedoms. However, economic rights are exempted, so that the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike can be affected by presidential decree.
The president now has more control of the judiciary as well. He can now appoint, without any interference from anyone, half of the Constitutional Court, as well as the members of the Higher Board of Judges and Prosecutors, which is the backbone of the judiciary. An independent judiciary no longer exists in Turkey.
What checks and balances Turkey once had are now largely gone. The president can issue laws (called “decrees”), draw up the country’s budget and the programs of all ministries, appoint the members of the top courts, the heads of the intelligence service and the military, and even issue the press cards of journalists. The entire state system will be run from the presidential palace, with Erdogan wielding greatly enlarged powers.
This is not quite a dictatorship, but it is certainly not a democracy of the kind NATO was formed to defend. Should the sale of F-35s go through, Erdogan and the Turkish people will interpret it as a sign of American approval. He will become even more set in his authoritarian ways. Do we want that to be the message? Do we even want to allow Turkey to remain in NATO, when Erdogan has clearly shown that in the contest between Islam and the West, he is on the side of Islam? Do we want Turkish F-35s bombing Greek Cypriots, or Serbs, or Israelis?
Fourth, Erdogan has repeatedly denounced Israel, America’s chief military ally between Europe and India. This past March, an article in Yeni Safak, the paper regarded as Erdogan’s mouthpiece, appeared and — clearly indicating that it was expressing Erdogan’s views — called for an “army of Islam” consisting of the united militaries of the Muslim states, to simultaneously attack Israel “from all sides.” The article noted that the combined forces of the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) could form a joint army:
If the member states of the OIC unite militarily, they will form the world’s largest and most comprehensive army.
The number of active soldiers would be at least 5,206,100, while the defense budget would reach approximately $175 billion (£124 billion).
This was accompanied by an interactive map providing formation of military forces for a joint Muslim attack on Israel.
Do we want to supply our most advanced fighter planes to a man who calmly contemplates a future pan-Islamic war to destroy Israel?
Supplying F-35s to Turkey will
1) Threaten our own security by potentially alerting Russia, which has sold Turkey its S-400 missiles, and has now started to produce them, to the vulnerabilities and the capabilities of the plane. It will further threaten the security of those of our allies that have bought the F-35.
2) Strengthen Erdogan, who will have managed to be supplied with advanced weaponry by both Russia and America, despite Turkey opposing both Russian and American policies in Syria.
3) Be taken as a sign — if not of approval, then at least of non-disapproval — of Erdogan’s ever-more authoritarian rule, as he now has been endowed with vast new presidential powers.
4) Be taken as a sign that despite Erdogan’s threat of a future war between “the cross and the crescent,” America is still willing to appease Turkey by supplying it with its most advanced fighter. Shouldn’t Erdogan’s threat have been enough to cancel that sale?
5) Be taken as a sign the West remains unperturbed by the detailed plan set out by Erdogan’s men for an Islamic war to destroy the state of Israel. The failure to call off the F-35 sale following the publication of this plan semaphores the West’s seeming indifference to this threat, and does nothing to discourage Erdogan in planning a violent Jihad against Israel, a campaign that he appears to be itching to lead.
In conclusion, Erdogan should be made to feel, and fear, the displeasure of the American government. Even if it did not pose a security risk, the sale of F-35s should not go through. Erdogan should be given to understand that if he continues in his islamizing and dictatorial path, Turkey will be expelled from NATO, a move which by any reasonable calculation ought to have happened several years ago. After all, NATO is no longer most needed t to defend democracies from Red Army tanks rolling westward. The chief threat to the peoples of Europe and North America comes now from the forces of Islam, both those outside, and those already within, our countries, engaged in whatever forms of jihad — stealth jihad, diplomacy, demography, propaganda, economic warfare, conventional combat, terrorism — prove at a particular time and place to be most effective. And the would-be leader of the Islamic countries, that Ottoman sultan issuing his directives and threats from his 1,100 room presidential palace, needs to be given his comeuppance.
Denying him the F-35s he is counting on is a good place to start.
First published in Jihad Watch.
Posted on 08/23/2018 5:08 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 23 August 2018
Russian arrested in Berlin over 'planned bomb attack'
From the BBC, Reuters and the German edition of The Local
A 31-year-old Chechen man who is alleged to have stored large quantities of explosives in his Berlin apartment has been arrested on suspicion of plotting a terror attack. The state prosecutor's office confirmed the arrest on Wednesday of 31-year-old Islamist Magomed-Ali C. and a search of his apartment.
The arrest took place as part of a joint operation between Berlin criminal police, federal police and anti-terror special force GSG 9.
It is part of a wider investigation by French authorities into Clément B., who was arrested on suspicion of plotting a terror attack in France in April 2017. C. is alleged to have stored significant quantities of the explosive TATP in his Berlin apartment back in 2016, and to have plotted a terror attack on German soil with his accomplice.
Magomed-Ali C. will appear before a judge on Thursday when prosecutors said they will request he be kept in custody.
Frauke Koehler, senior public prosecutor and spokeswoman for the federal prosecutors office, told reporters Magomed-Ali C. had visited a mosque in Berlin that was also attended by Anis Amri, a Tunisian with Islamist militant ties who killed 12 people in the attack in Berlin in 2016, when he hijacked a truck and drove it into a crowded marketplace.
“So it’s obviously possible that the paths of Magomed-Ali C. and Anis Amri crossed there,” Koehler said, adding that Amri had been in contact with Clement B., who she said was also said to have visited the mosque. “We have no indications that Magomed-Ali C. or Clement B. were involved in the Berlin Christmas market attack,” she added.
The now closed mosque in Moabit was a hub for Chechen extremists, a number of whom went to fight with jihadists in Syria and Iraq, the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper reported.
Posted on 08/23/2018 4:43 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 23 August 2018
Interview with Phyllis Chesler, the Politically Incorrect Feminist
Listen to Phyllis Chesler's interview with Jerry Gordon below.
Posted on 08/23/2018 4:23 AM by NER
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Don’t Call Washington A Swamp Call It a Potemkin Village
by Marc Epstein
"Deep State Swamp" by Ben Garrison
“Drain the swamp” along with “Lock her up” were the two most memorable slogans of the Trump campaign. “Lock her up” vanished with Hillary Clinton’s defeat, but the ratcheting up of the ongoing investigation into Russian collusion with the members of the Trump campaign has put the Washington Swamp front and center.
When Special Counsel Robert Mueller staffed up his operation with a passel of high-powered DC scalp-hunters, many of whom were Clinton supporters, with the grant of an open-ended mandate and a budgetary blank check, the sense of foreboding among Trump supporters was palpable. Hence the swamp.
The image of a swamp infested by “Deep State” operatives slithering their way through a multiplicity of intelligence agencies, while they excrete venomous leaks, preoccupies the minds of Trump’s supporters who inhabit fly-over America. The swamp creatures’ intentions are barely cloaked, as they attempt to unhorse a duly elected sitting president.
But I’d argue that calling Washington DC a swamp does a disservice to swamps. According to National Geographic, the swamp between the Tigris and Euphrates, the birthplace of civilization, is named the “fertile crescent” because it is “so rich in biodiversity,” a diversity that made civilization possible. And Webster’s Second International notes that swamps are “characteristically dominated by trees and shrubs,” not venom.
That is why currently the federal government is in the midst of 30-year Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) that will cost close to $10 billion dollars when it’s completed. The project exists precisely because the Everglades were shrinking.
Who among us wants to see the Everglades disappear?
Since Russia occupies center stage, for my money a more accurate, and far more insidious description of Washington DC’s current condition isn’t the swamp, it’s the Potemkin village - in reverse. It fools the ruled not the rulers.
Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tavricheski, served Catherine the Great, variously as Major General of Cavalry, President of the War College, Governor General of the southern provinces, Field Marshall, lover, and according to Simon Sebag Montefiore, most probably her husband too.
But he is best remembered for the villages that bear his name. It was purported that he created movie set –like villages stocked with his extras posing as happy peasants inhabiting new façade houses to please Catherine when she undertook a grand tour of the newly acquired Crimea in 1787.
While it’s unlikely that such villages were ever constructed, the Potemkin village metaphor signifying a ruse that deludes those in power into thinking that everything is just hunky-dory throughout the land stuck.
Ever since grade school we’ve been taught the bureaucracy is staffed by means of a non-partisan merit based examination system. This bureaucracy executes policy regardless of which party occupies the White House, or holds the majority in the legislature.
Donald Trump’s ascension into the presidency and the consequent response to it has shattered those civics lessons and revealed them to be little more than Potemkinesque myths. I’d argue that Donald Trump’s most unlikely victory and the unprecedented response that seeks nothing less than his defenestration revealed that the administrative state is little more than a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrats.
The Congressional Republicans you watch on TV are little more than extras used as props to give the country the illusion that there is really a functioning two party system.
While much has been made of Republican dominance of state legislatures, county government and governorships, in contrast to the Democrat’s bi-coastal archipelago dominance, almost no one has commented on how little that means in light of the inexorable spread of federal power over the realm since the New Deal.
The most recent iteration of this power is Obamacare, a massive health care tax that controls at least 15% of the economy. As of 2015 the Republican House had passed no fewer than 56 repeals of the Affordable Care Act, which they knew would go nowhere as long as Democrats controlled the Senate and the White House.
But the cries of “just you just wait until we get the White House” have been exposed as little more than empty boasts. From what we’ve seen, the serial repealers have proven themselves to be diffident, inept, and downright frightened of governing. That’s because the script calls for them to be rhetorical contrarians and nothing more.
When Senator Chuck Schumer warned the new president that “You take on the intelligence community – they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” he wasn’t advising a friend how to stay out of trouble. It was a clear warning that the apparat is in our hands not yours. Michael Cohen’s contrived plea deal with language that clearly sought to paint Donald Trump as a co-conspirator along with the anvil dropped on Paul Manafort is proof that apparat is not a paranoid fantasy.
There have been eighteen Republican presidents since the founding of the party. Three out of four of our assassinated presidents have been Republicans. There have been five unsuccessful assassination attempts. Three out of five were Republicans. We’ve had five special counsels (or special prosecutors) investigating presidential administrations. Four of five of those being investigated were Republicans.
So if you’re a Republican president you might say you enter the White House with a pre-existing condition.
On June 17, 2017, a Saturday, the slowest of news days, the Wall Street Journal, published a 1200-word editorial titled “Robert Mueller’s Mission.” It deserves to be widely read and disseminated.
In their lengthy dissertation they offer about a dozen reasons by my count why Robert Mueller is perhaps the worst possible choice to conduct this “investigation.” When I came across the sentence that stated “Mr. Mueller is widely admired and no one questions his personal integrity, but…” I burst out laughing.
What you come away with is the sense that not only is the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover alive and well in the upper reaches of the FBI, it has actually gotten much worse. While Hoover might have held the goods on all sorts of politicians that he would use to his advantage, he wouldn’t recognize the perversion of police powers and the judiciary that we are witnessing today. If Alan Furst is looking for new material he might turn his attention away from Europe, where he has mastered the machinations of spies and the police state to back home. That’s because l’affaire Trump increasingly smacks of a one- party state that uses the national security apparatus to eliminate its enemies.
Posted on 08/22/2018 11:49 AM by Marc Epstein
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Leonard Bernstein: Music, Maestro Please
by Michael Curtis
I hear music when I think of you, a lovely strain inside of me. Somewhere, these words must delight the recipient being honored at the large number of events, musical, literary and cultural, commemorating the 100th anniversary of his birth on August 25, 1918. Louis Bernstein, who changed his name to Leonard at the age of 15, was the son of emigree Ukrainian Jewish parents. His father had a beauty supplies business, but "Lenny" preferred supplying music, the food of love.
The events honor the complex personality, a heavy chain smoker and imbiber of liquor, especially Rob Roys, who cannot be easily characterized because of the vast array of his gifts: composer of a wide variety of works, symphonic and orchestral, choral, opera, and musicals on Broadway, the first great American conductor, director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, musical TV host and star, educator and interpretor of music, skilled pianist, champion of other composers, political activist. The initiator of Young People's Concerts on TV was an elitist and the musician who was prominent in making the music of Gustav Mahler more well known. Appropriately, he is buried with a copy of the score of Mahler's 5th symphony.
The very public Bernstein, soon "Lenny," became an international celebrity in his early and middle age years because of the success of his Broadway shows, On The Town, West Side Story, Candide. Off Broadway, his oeuvre included three symphonies, the third being the Kaddish symphony in 1963 dedicated to the memory of the assassinated JFK, Chichester Psalms, and the Mass in 1971. The Mass: Theatre Piece for singers, players, and dancers was composed at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy, to be part of the program for the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 1971. Bernstein's most controversial work, it is a mixture of different styles, classical, jazz, blues, rock, uneven musically, and a mixture of sacred and secular texts, Latin. English, and Hebrew. It is a work of tension incorporating the loss and possible recovery of faith, a challenge to divine authority, and an anti-war declaration. It concludes, "The Mass is ended: go in peace." The Mass reflects Lenny's political and social concerns, the age of anxiety, the JFK assassination, the Vietnam War, the civil rights problems.
Lenny's political activism started while a Harvard student with his interest in the production of the agit play in music, The Cradle will Rock by Marxist Marc Blitzstein, first performed under the direction of Orson Welles in 1937, but considered dangerous by Washington. D.C. From the beginning Lenny was concerned with liberal and leftist causes, opposed to nuclear weapons. He admired some politicians, especially JFK, and had antipathy towards others such as Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. His first opera, Trouble in Tahiti, in 1952, was critical of American society. Lenny, who had written a college thesis on the absorption of race elements into American music was affected by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
That activism was displayed, and widely criticized, when he hosted a party in his large Park Avenue duplex apartment on January 14, 1970. Ninety guests were invited to raise funds for the Black Panthers. Earlier, 21 Panthers had been indicted, and 13 were still in jail, or on bail, on charges of conspiring to kill police and organizing a number of bomb plots around New York. The party was intended to pay legal fees and support the families of the Panthers in jail. Bernstein pledged to give the fee from his next concert. However, the party was ridiculed first in the New York Times in an article by Charlotte Curtis and then was mercilessly mocked by Tom Wolfe in an article in New York Magazine on June 8, 1970. In it, Wolfe coined the phrase "radical chic" to satirize the support for radical causes by celebrities and socialites who had a comfortable life style.
Lenny was a generous philanthropist as well as supporter of causes including a love of Israel. If not pious, Bernstein was proud of his Jewish heritage, Jewishness and Jewish jokes. Lenny wrote the music for the ballet Dybbuk with its Kabbalah rites. Yet, the Jewishness was nebulous. The family celebrated raucous seders, lighted Hanukah candles, but also had a Christmas tree, On Yom Kippur, Lenny and his son Alexander went "shul-hopping," listening to cantors in synagogues in Manhattan. One amusing incident was on the day of the Kennedy Center honors, which happened to fall on the first night of Hanukah. Lennie, who was being honored, asked President Jimmy Carter for a place in the White House where he could light the Menorah. Carter complied with the request. Culturally, rather than religiously, the Bernstein family was very Jewish. They used Yiddish expressions such as "Oy vey," and were involved in Jewish music, literature, and with Jewish theater people. Lenny was eager to have his son Alexander bar-mitzvahed. Bernstein's first large scale orchestral work, composed in 1943, was Symphony, No. 1, Jeremiah.
Lenny first performed in "Palestine" in 1947 before the State of Israel was created, then in September 1948 for the 5,000 soldiers in Beersheba and then gave 40 concerts in 60 days, in 1957 he performed at the inaugural concert at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, and in 1967 at Mt. Scopus to commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem.
Bernstein's public life and accomplishments are well known. We now know more about his private life and behavior from a new book Famous Father Girl by Jamie Bernstein, his oldest child, who loved her father. She struggled to become a professional musician, then became a writer and broadcaster. Jamie provides an absorbing account of a complex and troubled man, a combination of intellect, charm, energy, sexuality and seduction. It is a story of egotism, of a man who sadly declined in later years and became addicted to drugs and alcohol, but who was a caring and loving parent.
Lenny and Jamie shared a mutual love of the Beatles, especially John Lennon. Jamie was fascinated that Lenny on first hearing the Beatles song Norwegian Wood exclaimed it used a sitar, and that a C trumpet was used in Penny Lane. Lenny introduced Jamie to recordings of Leadbelly, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday.
Father and daughter also loved playing word games on the floor together. But she was hurt when Lenny preferred to attend the awarding of a Harvard honorary degree to Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich rather than attend her Harvard diploma ceremony.
Jamie tells of the affluent family life: Manhattan residences at the Osborne on West 57th Street, with its sooty grandeur, Park Avenue, the Dakota, and a summerhouse in Greenwich, and the many extraordinary parties attended by well known personalities Lauren (Betty) Bacall, Steve Sondheim, Mike Nichols, Betty Comden and Adolf Green, Lillian Hellman, Isaac Stern, and Jerome Robbins. Lenny had a colorful assortment of valets and chauffeurs. She tells of his habits, a heavy smoker, starting at breakfast, and consuming four packs a day.
Jamie tells of the uneven relations between her parents who married in 1951. Her mother, the beautiful and witty Felicia, had grown up in Chile and was an actress who performed once as Joan of Arc. Jamie never saw her parents fight, and the subject of money, that had troubled Lenny's father's marriage never came up. But underlying the marriage was the fact that he was gay or bisexual, though Lenny denied it to his daughter. Lenny, after a number of liaisons with men, left Felicia for a gay lover in 1976, though he did return when she was ill.
Surprisingly, a man who was always elegant in public, is recalled as clumsy, as in Yiddish lappes. He broke objects, had no visual sense, and bad taste in clothes. He was a poor driver, but with seeming automotive invulnerability, never got a ticket. In later years he declined, became more addicted to drugs and alcohol, had prostate problems, and was self-indulgent. He was disappointed by the failure of a musical 1600 Pennsylania which he had composed with Alan Jay Lerner. He was depressed, hated getting older, unhappy about his diminishing physicality. In contrast to the days when he was surrounded by people, in his last years Lenny disliked the lonely process of composing.
Lenny's public life was glitter and gay in the best of all possible worlds.
Privately, his life resembled the lines from Candide, we're neither pure, nor wise, nor good, we'll do the best we know and make our garden grow.
Posted on 08/22/2018 4:55 AM by Michael Curtis
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Indonesian Buddhist woman imprisoned for complaining mosque too loud
From Reuters and Sky News
JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian court sentenced a Buddhist woman to 18 months in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday, after she was accused of insulting Islam for complaining that neighbourhood mosque was too loud.
Meiliana, a 44-year old ethnic Chinese Buddhist had complained the Muslim call to prayer, repeated five times a day, was being played too loudly at the mosque near her house in North Sumatra.
Identified only as Meiliana, she called the mosque "noisy" and complained about the Islamic call to prayer from the mosque's speakers in the city of Medan.
The 44-year-old, an ethnic Chinese Buddhist, was crying and taken out of the court in handcuffs after being found guilty of insulting Islam.
At least 14 Buddhist temples were burned and ransacked by mobs in Tanjung Balai on the island of Sumatra when Meiliana made her remarks in 2016. Police arrested more than a dozen suspects but only two were charged.
Rantau Sibarani, Meiliana's lawyer, said there was no clear evidence of blasphemy. Meiliana will appeal against the verdict and Amnesty International has urged a higher court to quash the decision.
Indonesia's Islamic Community Forum, however, said that the sentence was too light.
Blasphemy cases have become more frequent in the country, which is also the most populous Muslim country in the world. Verdicts have come back overwhelmingly guilty. Political activists have said the country’s stringent blasphemy laws are being used to bully minorities and violate religious freedoms.
Posted on 08/22/2018 3:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Negative Exceptionalism: Why is the Founding Mythos of Israel Worse than Every Other Nation?
by Jonathan Ferguson
The notion that there is something ‘mythical’ and ‘mystifying’ about the foundation of Israel is common enough. Either it is insinuated that the promise of the land is untrue, or perhaps even unfalsifiable; or else, it is suggested that founding a secular state on such a mystical premise, is fundamentally hypocritical and disingenuous.
There are two ways to critique these allegations. One is to deny their truth or validity; another is to question how one-sided they may actually be, in relation to how other nations are discussed. In this article, I would like to suggest that the allegation of an ‘ideological’ origin or foundation of the state of Israel is deeply contentious, when you consider that there is hardly a single state on the face of the earth who could meet the unbearably high standards to which Israel is being held.
There are innumerable examples, both in ancient myths and in modern political discourse, of foundations of states or peoples that are ‘untrue’ at worst, or ‘half-truths’ at best. Whether flat-out lies or mystifying and illusory poetic conceits, human beings always like to justify the special status of their people or nation. Surely it must be recognized that to single out Israel is no less ‘exceptionalist’ of an attitude different than that held by those of us who truly love and honour Israel. This stance of ‘negative exceptionalism’ insults and degrades Israel, Israelis and (by means of typical antisemitic strategies of insinuation and conflation) all Jews.
There are actually plenty of examples of national narratives that people can find fault with. For example, Debito Arudou’s Embedded Racism: Japan’s Visible Minorities and Racial Discrimination (Lexington Books, 2015, p. 17) says:
Although an “outsider” could be anyone not from, say, one’s own family or village, the concept was expanded as Japan morphed into a nation-state to make all “Japanese” into “insiders.”
Clearly, this kind of insularism is an all too common phenomenon. And yet, it is all too easy for antisemites to sneeringly dismiss Jews as a ‘chosen people.’ Whether or not they accept the patient attempts of Jews to explain what ‘chosen’ means in the context of how Jews themselves have generally understood the term, they ought at least to not hold Jews to a higher standard than others. Is this not a fair suggestion?
And as for ethnocentrism, the scholar Frank Dikötter has written much about the history of racism in China; the purportedly Western and capitalistic construct of racism is more universal than it may appear. See his The Discourse of Race in Modern China (London, Hurst, 2015).
And here is yet another example of a contentious founding narrative from East Asia. The founder of modern China, Sun Zhongshan (Sun Yat-Sen) stated that his ‘Three Principles of the People’ san min zhu yi were designed for the ‘salvation’ of China.
To put this in context: in the late Qing and early Republican period of China (i.e., the final decades of imperial China, plus the Guomindang/Kuomintang period), the themes of ‘salvation’ and ‘deliverance’ were found in a number of writers. Among these were the radical Kang Youwei, who appears to have considered himself the new sage whose mission was to save China, if not the entire world as well, as expressed in his Utopian classic, Datong Shu
And yet, it is surely clear that the notion of ‘saving’ a nation is no less unfalsifiable or equivocal or semantically problematic than the purportedly mystifying or overly metaphysical rhetoric surrounding the foundation of Israel.
Has China been saved? Well, it still exists, certainly. But how would one know if it has really been saved? By what criteria would one judge this question?
Although, perhaps it is best not to be too literal. For perhaps, as Ludwig Wittgenstein might say, there is nothing to say… So this matter must be passed over in silence.
Or perhaps not!
Either way, who will have the evenhandedness, the equanimity and the generosity of spirit to do the same for Israel; and indeed, for anything in the foundational mythology and historiography of Israel that is not strictly a matter of literal fact?
But let us return to China for one more example. After the Communist revolution, Deng Xiaoping succeeded Chairman Mao, and then Jiang Zemin succeeded Deng. Jiang Zemin famously coined the ‘Three Represents’ (sic) san ge dai biao.
According to the notion of the Three Represents:
The party must always represent the requirements of the development of China’s advanced productive forces, the orientation of the development of China’s advanced culture, and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people in China.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can only ‘represent’ the Chinese people and their ideals to a limited degree. And it should be generally uncontroversial to say that the current leader, Xi Jinping, is taking the country backwards in terms of individual liberty, rather than forwards; however formidable the economic growth of the country may be, and however successful or unsuccessful his large-scale anti-corruption drive may prove.
It is certainly hard to see why a retrospective ‘rationalisation’ of the foundation of Israel need fare worse by critical and sceptical figures than the Three Represents. For even if one were to argue that the latter are not to be understood as ‘lies’ or ‘falsehoods’ in the strict sense, it is at least necessary to say that these three ideas are a very tall order to fulfil. And no doubt, they are especially hard to fulfil in a context where creeping authoritarianism steadily rots away at the heart of the nation.
And what of the USA as a ‘City Upon a Hill?’ The USA has often set an excellent example to the rest of the world; while at other times, Washington governments have acted appallingly; this includes (but is most certainly not limited to) the self-seeking adventurism of Vietnam, and the all-too-conveniently-monikered ‘War on Terror.’
In this context, it must be asked: How many left-wing critics of Israel are willing, for the sake of consistency, to abandon the Utopian idealism and American Exceptionalism of humanitarian interventionism?
The point of all this is not to engage in ‘whataboutery,’ an evocative term coined in our conflict situation back home in Northern Ireland; but merely to point out the double standards, and to counsel realism and imperfectionism. In keeping with the fairly modest aims of the article, none of the foregoing examples are intended as direct attempts to engage with the question of how far the ‘foundational mythology’ of Israel may or may not be valid: in what sense, by what criteria, or indeed, ‘who decides?’
Instead, I have been striving to demonstrate how the notion of ‘Israeli exceptionalism’ actually cuts both ways. It seems to me, and with good reason, that Israel is indeed held to a higher standard than other nations. And even though there may be some who criticize the origins of Israel and its founding myths as well as those of other nations, I am very far from convinced that this is universal.
Is Israel the only nation on earth not permitted to have a ‘problematic’ or ‘illusory’ foundational mythology?
I am also inclined to add that if contentious national origins or foundations really are so common, then the act of appealing to such a matter as justification for delegitimizing the state and nation of Israel today must appear intrinsically suspicious.
But perhaps that is a topic for another day.
An earlier version of this article was posted on my blog in the Times of Israel.
Posted on 08/21/2018 6:51 AM by Jonathan Ferguson
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Why John Dean Is a Rat
by Gary Fouse
With the revelation during the past few days that White House lawyer Don McGahn spent some 30 hours talking to the Robert Mueller team, President Trump came out with another one of his controversial tweets in which he invoked the name of President Nixon's disgraced White House counsel John Dean of Watergate fame using the term, "RAT".
Coincidentally or not, Dean is one of the "go-to experts" on CNN commenting regularly on the perceived misdeeds of the Trump administration. He also weighed in on the George W Bush presidency claiming Bush had committed an impeachable offense when he authorized NSA wiretaps without warrants. So now CNN is asking Dean how he feels being called a "rat" when he "told the truth."
Whether John Dean told the truth about Nixon when he was cooperating with prosecutors and the Senate investigators during Watergate is not the issue. What CNN will not spend much time delving into is that before he cooperated, Dean was one of the main masterminds of the coverup itself. Among other things, he supervised the payment of hush money to the Watergate burglars. Dean broke the law, was charged and pleaded guilty. That is when he began his cooperation with prosecutors and the Senate investigators. He also served a reduced sentence in exchange for his cooperation. One of Dean's transgressions was compromising then Acting FBI Director, L. Patrick Gray, with whom he reportedly discussed the FBI's investigation, and from whom Dean reportedly received FBI files. Dean also reportedly gave Gray evidence which Gray destroyed. Maybe CNN's talking heads like Brooke Baldwin or Jake Tapper might like to ask Dean if he sees any similarity to the compromising of James Comey by the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton crowd.
I am not going to feign outrage over people like Dean copping a plea and testifying in exchange for a reduced sentence. As a retired DEA agent, I saw plenty of that. I would also state that though it is the prosecutors who are authorized to make those deals, the lead investigating agents also often play a role in convincing defendants to cooperate. I myself did so on countless occasions. Therefore, I'm not going to call Dean a rat because he cooperated and testified.
I think Mr Dean is a rat because ever since those days of Watergate, he has allowed himself to be used by the liberal media to pass moral judgement on other presidents, currently the case with Trump. What makes Dean a moral voice for CNN to call on? John Dean is a hypocrite who should be spending his days in obscurity.
Posted on 08/21/2018 4:44 AM by Gary Fouse
Monday, 20 August 2018
Tommy Robinson and the Enduring Tragedy of Politics
Christopher DeGroot in The Unz Review (August 20, 2018):
Tommy Robinson and the Enduring Tragedy of Politics
Protest in support of freeing Tommy Robinson at Trafalgar Square. Credit C. Suthorn
Morality is the weakness of the brain. –Rimbaud
He’s no fool, Dominic Green. A Jazz musician, a lecturer in politics, and a lively and witty writer, Green is what used to be called a man of parts. It’s rather disappointing, then, that in “America, meet Tommy Robinson – if you must,” his August 1 column
in Spectator USA
, Green engages in facile moralizing and indulges his class snobbery toward Tommy Robinson where an exacting consideration of hard issues would be far more fruitful.
Those issues, in Green words, are “Europe’s crisis of Islam and immigration.” Tommy Robinson, says Green,
is a defender of free speech, and has contributed to the exposure of a scandal that the police, the BBC, and much of the mainstream media seemed unwilling to cover, the mass grooming and rape of underage white girls by gangs of men, almost all of them of South Asian Muslim extraction.
On August 1, Robinson was released from prison on appeal. Green gives the background of his imprisonment:
In 2017, Robinson was given a suspended sentence after broadcasting on Facebook Live the names and faces of four Muslim men during their trial on charges of raping an underage girl. That the men were found guilty does not alter the fact that Robinson broke the law. Broadcasting the names of people who are still legally innocent might prejudice a jury. It might even cause a prosecution to miscarry, and allow guilty suspects to escape conviction.
In May, Robinson repeated the offense during the trial of four Pakistani men in the northern English town of Leeds. By the end of the day, Robinson had been tried and sentenced to thirteen months’ imprisonment for contempt of court….
Lord Burnett, who freed Robinson on appeal today, called the haste with which Robinson had been arrested, sentenced and imprisoned at Leeds ‘a fundamentally flawed process’….
Robinson’s behavior, we are to take it from Green’s account, has been admirable in some respects but mixed on the whole. The man has been heroic where police and mainstream media were cowards, as indeed they remain, and he has suffered considerably for that. Yet he has also repeatedly broken the law, actions in which there were moral evils besides.
The full story is not so simple, however. “Broadcasting the names of people who are still legally innocent might prejudice a jury”—yes, very true—but a regular practice in British media, even so. When Robinson was charged with contempt of court, the BBC and the Daily Mail
were still broadcasting
the names and photographs of the accused in the case. In fact, it was from this list
on the BBC website that, during the second trial, Robinson recited
the names of the alleged rapists and sex traffickers on Facebook Live. Why no outrage toward the mainstream media? Probably because these are “respectable” sources—that is, politically correct—while Robinson is not. He was a vociferous agitator, too. No wonder he was subjected to a ‘a fundamentally flawed process’ and received only a four-minute hearing in court.
Given the manifest failure of British politicians and police to deal with “Europe’s crisis of Islam and immigration,” one may fairly ask, who if not the uncouth Robinson and his rabble of supporters should provide resistance to “the mass grooming and rape of underage white girls by gangs of men, almost all of them of South Asian Muslim extraction”? The madness of political correctness may be even worse in England than it is here in these States, where Green, a British export, now lives and writes, and with the usual fear of being thought “racist,” the police chose not to protect the most vulnerable among them. Lizzie Dearden
, in a February 23 article
in The Independent
Grooming gangs abused more than 700 women and girls around Newcastle with “arrogant persistence” after police appeared to punish victims while letting the perpetrators walk free, a case review has found.
After examining evidence on the abuse of hundreds of girls in the North-east, investigators concluded that local authorities claiming there is no grooming in their area “are not looking hard enough”.
Before 2014, police were responding to incidents on an ad hoc basis, with efforts by authorities trying to persuade victims to keep away from the abusers and change their behaviours.
The review found the approach led to “consideration of deterrent punishments of victims for being drunk and disorderly or for making false allegations when accounts were changed”.
“This sent an unhelpful message to perpetrators – they were unlikely to be prosecuted or prevented from continuing to abuse – encouraging an arrogant persistence,” it added.
“It also had a significant impact on victims who learnt that nothing would be done against perpetrators.”
The government received information detailing the extent of grooming gang activity in Rotherham as far back as 2002 but failed to properly act on it, a review has found. The National Crime Agency’s ongoing investigation has revealed that more than 1,500 girls and young women may have been abused in the Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013.
A report by Alexis Jay exposed “blatant” failures by police and the Labour-run local council, where officials feared racism accusations at the time. The independent inquiry said an unpublished Home Office research report from 2002 described the extent of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and a series of criticisms over the response “that should have raised concern”. The independent review of information passed to the Home Office in connection with allegations of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham between 1998 and 2005 was commissioned after Professor Alexis Jay’s independent inquiry suggested the department had been passed information about the scale of abuse in the Yorkshire town many years before anybody was convicted.
“Britain’s politicians and policemen,” Green observes,
are paralysed by fear of exacerbating tensions between British Muslims and non-Muslims. British governments have admitted Yusuf Qaradawi, an Islamist and anti-Semite, but have refused to admit the batty but less dangerous Pamela Geller. That’s just not cricket, and it shows how scared the politicians, civil servants and police are of a violent crisis—and how easily intimidated they are by the belligerence of the Islamists.
But for all that, Green does nothing to hold the British elite accountable for the policies that resulted in this parlous situation. “In a recent Sunday Times poll,” he writes, “24 per cent said they would support a new hard-right party that promised to halt all Muslim immigration.” Well, no wonder, one might respond, because however objectionable the new “hard right-party” may be, the mainstream right has been utterly incompetent in regard to “Muslim immigration;” and as Peter Hitchens has long documented, incompetent in general.
Green’s own response reveals much about how his character, and how little serious he is as a writer. “Who,” he asks, “would want to be associated with Tommy the free speech martyr?” “When a ‘Free Tommy’ rally marched on 10, Downing Street,” he goes on, “Robinson’s supporters were filmed giving fascist salutes, shouting ‘Sieg Heil’, and fighting the police.” Green’s general laziness and irresponsibility are well evidenced by this easy deflection and silly assumption of guilt by association, as if the characters of “Robinson’s supporters”—with whom he may or may not identify ideologically—proved anything about the man himself. Nice work, Mr. Green! Jacobin or The New Republic couldn’t have done it any better.
For all one can tell, Green is not troubled by the “‘blatant’ failures” of the British politicians, police and mainstream media. Nor does he explore what Lord Burnett, who freed Robinson on appeal, called ‘a fundamentally flawed process,’ or in other words, “the haste with which Robinson had been arrested, sentenced and imprisoned at Leeds.” Defending England, when those who are supposed to do so have evaded the most vital task—this is a project for which Green, so busy moralizing, shows no sympathy or appreciation. Though he doesn’t say so, the very difficult present situation in England—namely, the group conflict between Brits and Muslims—didn’t have to come to pass, because after all, it was never necessary for there to be any mass immigration of Muslims into England in the first place. Brits could have chosen to do what was best for themselves, a wise judgment that, before recent (read: exceedingly weak because so moralistic) times, would have gone without saying. Instead, they made the easy, the weak, the “moral” choice.
What certainly bothers Green, his column shows, are the unseemly elements in what he accurately describes as “the revolt of the majority.” Nor is that surprising, because like the “respectable” people who are culpable in this mess, Green himself is a politically correct empty suit. Thus, instead of assuming the hard work of substantive analysis of the issues—Islam and mass immigration—Green tells us that Robinson is
an ex-football hooligan, an ex-member of the racist British National Party, and the founder of the English Defense League, a motley of football hooligans and erstwhile BNP supporters who have turned from fighting each other and hating Jews and Blacks to fighting ‘anti-fascists’ and hating Muslims—the ‘counter-jihad’, as they call it.
Well, by his own account, Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, took on his pseudonym after a football hooligan of that name in order, as Green relates, “to spare himself retaliation from Islamists.” On July 25, 2011, the BBC reported
led Luton Town supporters and chanted ‘EDL till I die’, as they clashed with Newport County fans in Luton [on August 24, 2010]….
Lennon, from Luton, was found guilty of using threatening, abusive or insulting behavior….
District Judge Carolyn Mellanby told him: ‘I am entirely satisfied you were at the front of this group of angry Luton supporters looking for trouble when you were confronted by the group of Newport supporters who were also angry and fired up looking for trouble.’
Robinson, however, claimed that
I am being done for what I am saying rather than what I am doing….
In the last 12 months I’ve been banned from protesting, going to the football and my assets have been frozen. It is a police state…
It is because we are evaluating animals, it is well to observe here, that journalism, like the life of the mind generally and indeed life itself, is so very difficult. The sort of person we are—the result, to a significant extent, of our personal history and culture—inevitably determines our perceptions and therefore beliefs and moral judgments, usually unawares. Of this essential bias
—which, I have argued
, is intrinsic to reason itself—Green’s simplistic, moralizing perspective on Robinson is an instructive example. Get ready, America, he informs us, Robinson is “an ex-football hooligan”! Boston College, where Green is an adjunct lecturer in politics, may wish to have him do double duty, for as we see here, he would make a fine leader of bias response teams. With his profound sensitivity to racism and other evils, Green might plant himself at the university square during busy hours; there, at the sight of any microaggression, he could dispatch the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by blowing a hearty burst of his characteristic hot air into his saxophone.
I would not, of course, deny that Robinson is “an ex-football hooligan,” nor do I think his culpability in the football fight is implausible. But there is something pretty curious about Green’s account: Although he notices that “the police, the BBC, and much of the mainstream media seemed unwilling to cover…the mass grooming and rape of underage white girls by gangs of men, almost all of them of South Asian Muslim extraction,” he nevertheless does not allow for the possibility that Robinson, who was willing to cover this thorny issue, might have been a victim for precisely that reason. Green does not consider the possibility that, just as “the police, the BBC, and much of the mainstream media” had failed to do their actual duty, as it were, lest they should be “racist,” so the police who dealt with Robinson at the football match on August 24, 2010, as well as District Judge Carolyn Mellanby, herself an agent of the State, might have been biased in their treatment of him. After all, it is surely not unreasonable to believe that the same politically correct motivation which kept “the police, the BBC, and much of the mainstream media” from investigating and prosecuting the evils in question,” might have prompted these persons to treat Robinson unfairly, to suppress and punish the pesky fellow. I am not saying that this is necessarily what happened. It may or may not have happened. My main point is that the situation is mor complicated than Green gives us to understand. He is too confident in the truth of his assertions. He lacks rigor, a full sense of context, and most of all, a proper epistemic skepticism.
Contra Green, there is little connection between football players—or rather, “hooligans,” so offensive to his delicate nature—and the British National Party. There was a two-or-three-year period when the British National Party’s predecessor, the National Front, recruited at football games with some success, but that was in the late 1970s, before Robinson was born. Robinson did spend a year as a member of the British National Party, in 2004. About that time he has said
: “I was looking for a way out, I was looking [for] somebody to be addressing this Islamic extremist problem….I didn’t Nick Griffin was in the National Front, I didn’t know non-whites couldn’t join the organisation. I joined, I saw what it was about, it was not for me.”
Young men, God knows, have a knack for making big mistakes. Laudably brave as Robinson is, it is still prudent to be somewhat skeptical of his explanation. It is a safer bet, I think, that his efforts with the English Defense League (EDL), which he founded in 2009, reflect better intentions on his part. Although the British mainstream press misrepresents it as a matter of course—akin to how the liberal press misrepresents Trump supporters and the Tea Party here in the US—the avowed purpose of the EDL is to defend England against what Green inaccurately calls “Islamism” (more on that shortly). Nevertheless, Robinson left the EDL in October, 2013, having become concerned
about “the dangers of far-right extremism.” For by that time the EDL had been in a number of violent altercations with groups which the mainstream media tends to refer to as “counter protestors” or “anti-fascists.”
Here it is absolutely necessary to take a detached perspective and resist any quick and easy moral judgments. Only in this way can we grasp the immense complexity of the circumstances. First, we must be clear that these are group conflicts: Brits and other Europeans versus Muslims who, having immigrated to England, are abusing and sexually assaulting Europeans, mostly young women and girls. Further, Brits and Europeans themselves have protested against the EDL, thus providing another source of potential conflict, an in-group kind. We must also recognize that throughout history, for a group to abuse and sexually assault members of another group has always been a source of brutal violence in response, especially if the victims were women and children. Recall, moreover, the gross failure of the British police and politicians to endeavor to rectify this situation. Now, with all this in mind, I think the only reasonable conclusion is that engagement—violent, if necessary—by a group such as the EDL was necessary, and therefore, justified. This belief, I stress, should not be interpreted as “a rationale” for the “moral evils” of Robinson and his allies, because in the circumstances such a moral judgment is a categorical error. It does not apply. For again, group assertion was the only effective recourse; therefore, it would be irrational and self-destructive to refuse that recourse for “morality’s” sake. It is only too easy for Green to moralize concerning Robinson and the EDL, while not asking or answering the question, what is to be done? and doing nothing himself.
History, let us be clear, is constituted by group conflicts. Though today few of us may want to recognize it, people have always defined themselves and their interests by virtue of their opposition to other groups
, that is, their competitors. Nor has this agon
ceased, as our vexed time increasingly shows. And again, we know from the events that reliance on the law did not avail, the law’s agents having failed the citizens. The only alternative, then, to popular resistance, with people being willing to engage in violence if need be, would have been submission. And what an apt word that is in context, the word Islam itself denoting submission, and the religion itself aiming, by its very doctrine, to achieve world domination. For women, life under Islam is de facto sex slavery
. “The mass grooming and rape of underage…girls by gangs of men, almost all of them of South Asian Muslim extraction,” is by no means ideologically inconsistent with the general treatment of women under Islam. What is more, there is abundant historical evidence
that for centuries, Muslims have treated European women as an especial good to be acquired and enjoyed, first by means of the slave-trade, and now by sex grooming, which is obviously no different in kind from the former method. The sex trafficking and sexual assault epidemics are European-wide phenomena, and for England as for other European nations, it would be quite absurd and self-destructive to resist engagement and violence for the sake of not being “racist” toward your enemy
Besides, EDL members include blacks, Asians, and other non-whites. For such diversity Anders Brievik, a wicked mass murderer whom Robinson has expressly condemned, has called
the organization “naïve fools.” Robinson rejects
being labeled a racist and anti-Semite. He considers himself a Zionist, in fact, and counts
blacks and Muslims among his friends. Not to simplify or pardon the man in general, however: Robinson does have a history of crime independent of his activities with the EDL and the like nationalist movements. “I am a working class man from Luton,” he states
I have made mistakes….[But] what has got me on to this programme is what I am seeing. My violent offence was 10 years ago as a young man. I have done things I am not proud of. But I have been to jail and I have seen militant Islamism in jail. It is a threat not being tackled….We don’t have people doing Nazi salutes, the pictures are manipulated, Islamism and Nazism are the same coin, we oppose both.
It is obvious that Green did little research for his article on Robinson. Indeed, he appears to be more interested in affecting a moral superiority to him than digging into his complicated history. Robinson, Green writes, has “false front teeth because his real ones got punched out, a conviction for drunkenly assaulting an off-duty policeman, and another conviction for mortgage fraud.” Seeing as Robinson may relocate to America, where he has the support of vulgar men like Steve Bannon, Green asks himself, “Should I apologise preemptively for Tommy Robinson?” Ah, good team members should expect nothing else, but alas for Green, the question finds him nostalgic for the old, better days:
Once, the British would have sent Robinson to Australia in chains. Now, there is every chance that British officialdom will be happy if market forces export him to America. He’s already made some powerful friends, and he likes the camera. He’ll probably chance his way into media prominence in the US as a defender of free speech and Western values.
So let me apologise once more. I didn’t think it could get any worse after Piers Morgan, but it’s about to. America, meet the Cary Grant of the alt-right.
Green, one imagines, is very pleased with himself for writing that, and doubtless such work will keep him well liked among the faithful and invited to their cocktail parties. But Time is likely to render a very different judgment, for Green’s is nothing but genteel conservatism, an evasion of exacting thought: which is precisely why this sort of thing is ever in demand. After all, the big money and social distinction are not obtained by being intellectually rigorous and morally principled—quite the contrary. That is the way to end up persona non grata.
Green reduces complex cultural and political movements to sheer caricature. Like a millennial student in his cultural studies class, keen to impress big fancy wise professor—to say nothing of his monkey-like peers!—he signals his disapproval of “popular revulsion at Islamism” and “old fascists in anti-Islamist clothing.” He accepts the false distinction between Islam and so-called Islamism. And yet, as Ibn Warraq shows
in The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas, and Ideology
(2017), what is called “radical Islam” derives from Islam itself. Hence Gad Saad, an admirably principled intellectual, and other serious scholars refuse to use that inaccurate phrase. It is possible, for God’s sake, to be truthful about Islam without thereby implying that all Muslims are bad. And the plain truth is that Islam as such
is fundamentally incompatible with the modern world and with the liberal democratic West in particular. Europe, of course, is now learning that the hard way, having chosen, very like our own country in regard to the southern border, to act on blind pity and needless guilt where only sober, unflinching judgment regarding certain tragedy
can do. This is, ultimately, the price the West is now paying for having become so rich, for enjoying so much material progress. For it is this that allows for the rule of the weak and unthinking. Stupid moralistic sentiments become dominant over severe, tragic decisions.
Men and women having turned their eyes away from the grim truth, their politics now take a darker turn. The populist and nationalist uprisings that we are witnessing throughout the United States and Europe teach life’s deepest, most enduring lesson: willful blindness, from which disaster may issue. Although he despised democracy, for Thomas Carlyle, the French Revolution
, awful as it was, was only to be expected, the elite having exploited and betrayed the people, then as ever. So it is in our time
. “The fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years,” writes
are the frozen wages of U.S. workers, $12 trillion in U.S. trade deficits, 55,000 factories lost, 6 million manufacturing jobs gone, China surpassing the U.S. in manufacturing, all causing a backlash that pushed a political novice to the Republican nomination and into the presidency.
Whatever form government takes, selfishness and intractable delusion in the face of overwhelming complexity and one’s own evils are permanent aspects of our condition. Nationalist economics, and turning immigrants away for the sake of the common good—which is necessarily limited—are readily passed over for the sake of easier and less controversial gains, destructive though they shall prove in the end. From this grave background there arise men like Tommy Robinson, as necessary as they are unpalatable. Says
Those who have most of this coarse energy, — the ‘bruisers,’ who have run the gauntlet of caucus and tavern through the county or the state, have their own vices, but they have the good nature of strength and courage. Fierce and unscrupulous, they are usually frank and direct, and above falsehood.
In our time, ‘bruisers’ like Tommy Robinson find their antagonists in the politically correct, in effete types like Dominic Green who, in the rotting decadent post-Christian West, make an enemy of him who is a hero, though properly mixed to suit the tragic whole. Not to imply that Robinson and the people, in a moral sense, consist of such better stuff than the loathsome elite. For that, too, is a sentimental delusion. As I wrote in an essay
earlier this year for The Imaginative Conservative
to understand the truth about human motives is also to understand just how limited and temporary social progress and reform must be. For the final truth is that in politics we receive a reflection of the evil we already are. In this context our disenchantment is an hypocrisy by which we obscure the primary one, ourselves.
Like others, Dominic Green—who has no skin in this game
—will go on moralizing on the cheap. Meanwhile, the irony is that it falls to the very people to whom he blithely condescends—Deplorables such as Tommy Robinson and Steve Bannon—to strive to preserve their countries from the disastrous effects of short-sighted elite rule. Smug, genteel chatterers like Dominic Green will not stick their necks out for anyone.
Posted on 08/20/2018 8:25 AM by Christopher DeGroot
Monday, 20 August 2018
American Aid to the Lebanese Army Won’t Help Cut Hezbollah Down to Size
by Hugh Fitzgerald
In mid-May, it looked as if the $90 million in military aid that the Pentagon wanted to supply the Lebanese Army would, as it has since 2007, once again be approved. The money has been supplied, over more than a decade, to help the LAF disarm Hezbollah. But a lot has happened in Lebanon that should cause the Pentagon to rethink that aid. Hezbollah has not only not been disarmed, but has grown inexorably in military might; it is now the most powerful military force in Lebanon. According to Ron Prosor, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Hezbollah is “now more militarily powerful than most North Atlantic Treaty Organization members.”
Hezbollah is now “10 times as strong now as it was in 2006, and its military infrastructure permeates Lebanon.” It is much more powerful than the Lebanese Army. And not all the Shi’a soldiers in Lebanon join Hezbollah; others have joined the Lebanese army in sufficient numbers to make it an ally in fact, if not in name, rather than an enemy of, Hezbollah.
What this means is that American military aid that was first given on the assumption in the Pentagon that the Lebanese Army would use it to keep Hezbollah contained has nothing to show for it. The Lebanese army has received $1.7 billion in total aid from the American government since 2007, but has been unable either to disarm Hezbollah by so much as one rifle, or to get it to pull back from southern Lebanon, where it threatens Israel and hence, peace in the region.
The Israelis, for their part, are no longer being silent about the ineffectual Lebanese army and the power of Hezbollah. This May, at an Israeli conference which happened to follow the first Lebanese elections since 2009, Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Hezbollah – the Iran-backed militia, political party and terror group – had effectively taken control of the state. He said that Hezbollah was now “in complete control not just of the Lebanese [government], but also its army.”
Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon has steadily grown over the past decade. The May 9 elections consolidated its power, because the main bloc that opposed Iranian and Syrian influence — and hence Hezbollah, which is linked to both — underperformed.
Sometimes military aid helps to build useful ties to formerly hostile countries; such has been the case with American military aid to Egypt. In the case of Lebanon, the record of military assistance is less clear. U.S. military leaders have praised the relationship in recent years, assuring Congress, for example, that U.S. equipment has not ended up in the hands of Hezbollah. That’s not much of an endorsement. In February, the head of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, publicly acknowledged for the first time that American special operations forces have worked alongside the LAF in fighting against Sunni jihadis in the Islamic State. That’s fine, but it still misses the point: there has still not been a word from the Pentagon about the LAF efforts at disarming Hezbollah.
Congress has not been as optimistic as the Pentagon. Congressmen such as Ted Cruz note that the LAF was, according to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, supposed to disarm the militias. In the case of Hezbollah, that has not happened; its arsenal has only grown larger, and it now controls both the Lebanese government and that very army, the LAF, that was supposed to control it. In the past 11 years, the LAF has not managed to disarm a single soldier of Hezbollah. It long ago stopped trying.
Fed up with this state of affairs, this May Republican Senator Ted Cruz attached an amendment to the Senate defense authorization bill; it requires both the Pentagon and the State Department to assess how well the LAF is meeting the terms of Resolution 1701. For Cruz, who reportedly had wanted to end all American aid to the LAF without requiring such a review, this represented a compromise.
For more than a decade the Lebanese Army has received nearly two billion dollars from the Americans; “free money with no accountability” is what Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, has called it.
Any fair review by the Pentagon will show that the LAF has been completely unable to disarm Hezbollah. Not only that: Hezbollah is “now ten times” more powerful than it was in 2006, stronger than some NATO armies.
So it is now up to the Pentagon. Will it continue to behave as the public-relations agent of the LAF, pretending the Lebanese army has been effective in curbing Hezbollah, and therefore deserving of continued American aid, or will it admit that the LAF has failed to disarm a single Hezbollah soldier in more than ten years? Perhaps if Congress, tired of the excuses being made for the LAF, will at long last decide not to waste more American money on the Lebanese Armed Forces, but instead will redirect it to the only Western military that has shown itself both willing and able to take on Hezbollah — the Israel Defense Forces.
First published in Jihad Watch.
Posted on 08/20/2018 5:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald