Tuesday, 31 August 2021
Folk singer Fawad Andarabi dragged from home and shot after Taliban outlaw music

From The Times (of London) and the Hindustan Times

Taliban fighters have shot dead an Afghan folk singer after it outlawed music and women’s voices on television and radio in the bellwether province of Kandahar, laying the ground for a nationwide ban in an echo of the brutal Islamist regime of 20 years ago.

Fawad Andarabi's son Jawad Andarabi told the Associated Press that this was not the first time that the Taliban came to their house. The Taliban previously came out to Andarabi's home and searched it, even drinking tea with the musician, his son Jawad Andarabi told The Associated Press. The singer was shot in the head on the farm.

Fawad Andarabi was a folk singer who used to sing praises of Afghanistan and most of his songs were about Afghanistan and its people. As disclosed by Andarabi's son, the Taliban apparently did not have much 'ill-feeling' about Andarabi as some leaders of the group had visited the singer's house earlier. Andarabi was famed for playing the ghichak, a bowed lute, to accompany folk songs about the mountains that surrounded his home, which lies near the Panjshir Valley, the last bastion of resistance to the Taliban takeover.

Masoud Andarabi, the former interior minister, condemned the singer’s murder. “Taliban’s brutality continues in Andarab. Today they brutally killed folk singer, Fawad Andarabi who simply was bringing joy to this valley and its people,” he wrote on Twitter. “As he sang here ‘our beautiful valley . . . land of our forefathers’ will not submit to Taliban brutality.”

There is  video of him singing and playing attached to Masoud Anderabi's tweet. This is a screen shot, against the background of the beautiful hills of the valley.  Maybe Bob Dylan could write a song about him, or Stormzy a rap? The peaceful folk singer shot on his own farm for singing about his home. 

The order from Kandahar also confirms fears that women will be forced out of the media and off the airwaves, crushing a vital opportunity for educated, professional women that has flowered in the 20 years since the first Taliban regime was overthrown.

The ban on music was trailed last week by Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman who is now touted as the information minister for the new administration. He said that “music is not allowed in Islam,” though he claimed a decision on a ban would be delayed until the government was officially formed.

Posted on 08/31/2021 6:20 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 31 August 2021
Three Groups Seek to Ram Through Radical Agenda

by Conrad Black

A reader-friend of mine from the deep South who is an authentic intellectual and has earned his income as a doctor of research in physics with eminent employers including the Pentagon and high academia, and relates culturally to the popular contemporary South, and is without discernible ethnic or regional prejudices, recently wrote me the following fulmination: “The NY DC Press has got together via electronic communication, and is now executing a blame-Trump, praise-Biden strategy. What this actually demonstrates is that Red China could attack Taiwan, kill everyone, loot and occupy it, and Biden’s press kook would give a press conference on masks for kindergartners.

“Biden started his alleged statements to the press by rambling about socialist legislation, then imitating Detective Columbo by saying ‘Oh, just one more thing. I’m abandoning the hostages next Tuesday,’ demonstrating the gang rape of Lady Truth by the Democratic collective. It’s as though Afghanistan was a drought in California, or a brush fire outside of San Diego.

“We cannot coexist with the New York and California worldview. Infanticide, kinky/really kinky sex, deindustrialization, anti-white racism, brownouts, uncontrolled fires, crumbling infrastructure, junkies on every street corner, shoplifting normalized, public health tyranny, and world record physical/moral/political cowardice cannot be imposed on the non psychotic, non diabolical, parts of the country. It will not be tolerated.

“The Republicans have nothing to do with it. The Democrats can nurse off the Chamber of Commerce, military industrial complex, Chinese subornation, but their sick, greed-obsessed narcissism is wearing thin in the hinterlands. If more Americans are killed via Biden’s negligent homicide, a good third of the population is never going to forget it.

“[Those] waiting for their next Biden unemployment check, and the hoped for flood of 50 million third world peasants, are going to immolate on a funeral pyre of inflation well before George Soros, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg buy what’s left of the country for 5 cents on the dollar.”

A Coalition Rules

This screed has the distinct air of a “cri de Coeur” and can be slightly diluted in its fervor to allow for the heat of the moment of utterance. But it is a cogent and understandable outburst from a highly intelligent, experienced’ patriotic, and observant man.

The United States is now in the position, unprecedented in its history, of being led by a coalition of socialists, of evocators and spokespeople for a corrosive national guilt and shame over the original sin of slavery, and of fierce and unscrupulous partisans trying to alter the nature of federal elections and presidential election vote-counting.

Such vote rigging, coupled to simply opening the southern borders to whomever wishes to enter the United States and permitting them to vote by virtue of residency rather than citizenship, will, this coalition hopes, prevent the horrible aberration of a return to the White House of Donald Trump or anyone remotely like him (or any Republican for a long time).

None of these three distinct but somewhat overlapping groups, nor all of them together, remotely represent a majority of Americans. Yet each of the three groups is determined to take advantage of the fleeting moment when the Democrats’ control, albeit narrowly, of both houses of the Congress, and the White House, albeit with a rather inattentive president. The result is that the United States is careening towards the legislation of measures that the country disapproves and which will prove, if adopted, severely baneful to the national interest.

The Sanders-Ocasio Cortez left of the Democrats will never have an opportunity like this again to jam through high taxes, big spending, a full anti-capitalist agenda with a mighty turn to supposedly egalitarian financial redistribution.

The militant African-Americans and the significant but chronically minority number of conscientious white Americans who believe that their country has been inadequately punished and humiliated for the wickedness of the institution of slavery, its implicit preservation in the Constitution, and the terrible war provoked and conducted by the minority of Americans who approved of slaveholding. (Mr. Lincoln judged the Civil War a chastisement of the Almighty that was “true and righteous altogether”).

More representative is the mere entirety of Democrats, joined on this issue by a substantial number of Republicans, who were so horrified at Donald Trump, both as a public personality and as someone who successfully stormed the bipartisan post-Reagan Washington governing elite’s redoubt and frightened its occupants out of their wits with the blood-curdling cry of “Drain the swamp!”

Biden’s Restraint Needed

Even with these three groups standing on each other’s shoulders and barely squeaking through the House of Representatives and the Senate, nothing like as radical a program would require consideration were it not for the fact that the president, Joe Biden, with all goodwill, seems not entirely to grasp the radical significance of what is afoot.

To the extent that he does, he appears to be well satisfied to exceed those Democratic presidents he most admired, FDR, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and those whom he may slightly have resented while admiring them also: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; to surpass them all in moving the country toward the “progressive” left. That he soldiered nearly 40 years in Washington without feeling that he was being treated seriously by the Clintons or Obama’s furnishes a motive that any fair-minded person can respect.

But a president who addresses a press conference on the urgent subject of Hurricane Ida and on receiving a perfectly temperate and reasonable question about the contemporary crisis in Afghanistan, responds by saying that he doesn’t take questions on Afghanistan and stumps out of the room, is not really on top of his job.

It is difficult for any outsider to know exactly how well focused this president is on the heavy responsibilities of his office. I do not doubt his objectively good and patriotic intentions, and I wish anyone grappling with the ravages of age a prolonged success. There is no shortage of goodwill in the country or much of the world, for this president, but he is not going to be able to somnambulate through another 3 1/2 years.

The press has no constitutional right to interrogate the president but it has been customary starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. Some presidents haven’t been particularly good at it; Ronald Reagan was an outstandingly successful president who was not fast on his feet with the media. Media impertinences were the principal reason that press encounters with Presidents Nixon and Trump sometimes became excessively disputatious. But President Biden is going to have to do better than simply refusing to answer questions about great national emergencies.

And if he is going to be more than a footnote to presidential history, he will have to impose some restraint on the three principal groups now driving the Democratic agenda in the Congress. Otherwise, his party will implode and his presidency will be the unmitigated shambles that it is already starting to resemble.

First published in the Epoch Times.

Posted on 08/31/2021 6:01 AM by Conrad Black
Tuesday, 31 August 2021
Challenging the Delusion there is an Absence of Diversity

by Michael Curtis

Gypsie moth

It’s not easy being white, having to spend each day being clean and serene, when it could be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold, or something much more colorful.

Colors tend to convey different meaning and symbolism, illustrating emotion and reactions in different societies. In Western culture red may symbolize passion and courage, but also danger and aggression. Yellow may convey happy and optimistic, but also fear and depression. Blue may signal serene and trustworthy, but also aloofness. White has been associated with a variety of qualities, purity and neutrality but also coldness. However, it is rather startling that, according to a supposition of Cambridge University, England, white may exemplify the unholy trinity, imperialism, colonialism, and entrenched racism.

Oxford University, founded in 1263, according to Matthew Arnold, the 19th century poet who attended Balliol College, Oxford, was the home of “lost causes and forsaken beliefs, no popular names, and impossible loyalties.”  Its fellow comparable elite university, Cambridge University, founded in 1209, and home of 90 Nobel Prize winners, recently engaging  in correcting the reprehensible acts of history, has entered the fray of “causes and beliefs” in a new and novel fashion.

At Cambridge, Churchill College, established in 1958, held an academic panel on the “Racial Consequences of Mr. Churchill,” in which the former Prime Minister was  termed the “perfect embodiment of a white supremacy.” Churchill, who was involved in the exigencies of World War II , was accused of racism and complicity in the  Bengal famine of 1943 which killed three million Indians. 

One panelist even argued that the British Empire that Churchill led, was “far worse that the Nazis and lasted far longer.” For him, Churchill illustrated the problem of “lionizing dead white men.” One extravagant, even incomprehensible, criticism on the panel was that Churchill. in his history books, used the language of white supremacy, the veiled terms, “English speaking Peoples” and “Anglo-Saxon.”

From insects to historical figures purportedly connected with slavery. Gladstone, Robert Peel, Winston Churchill, and to institutions in academia and museums, such arguments are common, driven by allegations of ideological distortions or exaggerations, or biased readings of history.

This is being illustrated in Cambridge University. Its Archaeological Museum is planning to explain the whiteness of its sculpture plaster casts, as part of its anti-racist strategy. The plaster casts In the Museum and lecture rooms are said to give a misleading impression of the whiteness and absence of diversity of the ancient world. 

The Cambridge Classics faculty says it will draw attention to the diversity of those figured in the casts, to the ways in which color has been lost and can be restored, and to the role of classical sculpture in the history of racism. These plans have met with strong reaction. One of the finest departments of the humanities in the Western world is giving official credence to the allegation of more than 200 students, academics, alumni, and even some of the staff, who in an open letter to the Classics faculty board called for an acknowledgment of the existence of systemic racism within the Classics department.

The Classics faculty responded with a statement of plans to address the accusations of racism. It will erect signs to explain the whiteness of the plaster casts. Faculty will be encouraged to include content warnings in course material, lectures and readings. Tutors will receive training on how to discuss sensitive issues, even if they are uncomfortable. The present proposal is that all members of the Classics faculty should be given implicit bias training every three years, and their teaching should be monitored. Is Cambridge becoming biblical: “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow?”

White plaster casts are not the only cause of concern. Birds have it, insects have it, over educated moths in your rugs have it, what’s the use of moth balls? British and American scientists are beginning to change the common names, first given in the early 20th century, of plants, insects, and animal species, that perpetuate negative stereotypes, unnecessary cause of offense or provoke emotional reactions.  The Entomological Society of America says many of the names of insects are problematic, venerating questionable people or are unacceptable racist slurs. The Society gave the examples of the Gypsy moth, and Scott’s oriole, and has removed the word “gypsy,” which is often regarded as a pejorative term and may refer to negative stereotypes of the group.

The Entomological Society suggests that people use the scientific names, lymantria dispar, and aphenogaster araneoides, for these  two creatures until new common names has been chosen. Scott’s oriole is to be changed because Winfield  Scott, 19th century U.S. General, in 1838 led the military force that removed Native Americans, Cherokee Indians from their land to the West , in a  march, the Trail of Tears, that led to the death of thousands.  

Language is being chosen by the Entomological Society that reflects contemporary values. According to guide- lines of the Society the new names for insects should exclude words that unnecessarily incite offense or fear or promote emotional reactions, or are unacceptable depictions of cultures, populations, ethnicity, race, and industries, or perpetuate harm against people of various ethnicities and races.  The Society is  particularly concerned about the term “gypsy” which is the word in English to refer to the people, history, culture of the Romani people, Roma, the Indo-Aryan group,  the largest ethnic minority in Europe. For jazz lovers, that culture includes the virtuoso guitarist, Django Reinhardt, the Belgium born gypsy of Manouche Romani parentage, who made” gypsy jazz”, with its arpeggio, broken chords notes, fashionable.

The work of the Entomological Society has been preceded.  Some of the names given to species have already been changed.  The name “squawfish” was regarded as derogatory to women, and was changed in 1998 to “pikeminnow.” The name “jewfish” was felt to be culturally insensitive, and was renamed to be goliath grouper in 2001. The new name is not meant to refer to the Philistine Goliath killed by David, but to the fact that the fish with its flaky fillets can grow to 700 pounds. However, the Philistine lobby is unlikely to issue a claim of being persecuted or slighted.

 Yet, the issue of renaming controversial words remains.   There are at least nine islands or bodies of water, named for the jewfish, including jewfish Creek Bridge, near Key Largo, and Jewish Point in Los Angeles.   And what to do about other non-Jewish names, Spanish mackerel and Irish lord?

And then there are some who refuse to take yes for an answer.  An exhibition, “Our future planet,” is being held at the Science Museum in London, exploring the cutting-edge techniques being   developed that could help climate problems by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reducing greenhouse emissions that are said to cause the rise in global temperature.  

The exhibition has been criticized both by scientists and public activists,  for the same reason, the fact  that much of the funding has come from  Shell, the multinational oil and gas company. On opening day a group  of scientists, members of the “Extinction Rebellion,” protested inside the Museum.  The Extinction Rebellion is an international movement, using direct action and civil disobedience to push action on ecological issues, to halt biodiversity loss, and to reduce grandiose emissions.

Again, on August 28, 2021, environmental activists, including the irrepressible 18 year old   Swedish activist Greta Thunberg , demonstrated against the exhibition,  blocking roads, attaching themselves to railings, playing drums, blowing whistles, because the exhibition  has been  partly  funded by Shell. The activists call on the Museum to drop sponsorship by Shell, but they ignore reality. Shell and other companies have the resources, the people and the logistics, to be important players in the search to find solutions for the challenges of climate change.  The dilemma will remain: “Is Shell part of the solution or part of the problem?”

Those engaged in the struggle against racism are unwise to adhere to the view of “All or nothing at all.” They tend to see, as Winston  Churchill said on another issue, the difficulty  in every opportunity.


Posted on 08/31/2021 5:41 AM by Michael Curtis
Tuesday, 31 August 2021
What’s In A Name: Judea and Samaria

by Hugh Fitzgerald

In 1950, the government of Jordan, having seized that part of “Palestine” that had been known in the Western world for 3,000 years as “Judea” and “Samaria,” wanted to efface, as best it could, the Jewish connection to that land. It decided that those areas would from now on be known as “the West Bank.” In doing this, Jordan was emulating the Romans who, when they conquered the Jewish “Kingdom of Judea,” decided to rename it “Syria Palestina” — “Palestinian Syria” – which then became shortened to “Palestine.” The Romans also renamed Jerusalem “Aelia Capitolina,” but that toponym, fortunately, never caught on, and for the non-Muslim world, Jerusalem remained Jerusalem.

More on the significance of the widespread use of the toponym “the West Bank” is here: “Why Rename Judea and Samaria?,” by Dov Fischer, JNS.org, August 22, 2021:

There is good reason that the Arab world and the anti-Israel left insist on using the mendacious and geographically inaccurate term “West Bank” when they refer to Judea and Samaria.

It is not only the Arab world that now uses the term “West Bank,” but the entire world. It has been an astonishing propaganda success. It is as if, in 1950, the whole world suffered sudden amnesia, forgetting the millennial-old “Judea and Samaria” and immediately adopting instead the toponym “the West Bank.” In place names, the word “bank” ordinarily refers to a territory that is of a similar width all along the length of a river (cf. “the Left Bank” of the Seine, in Paris), but the “West Bank,” as a glance at the map shows, is a most irregular, ear-shaped area.

Think about it: Imagine a human-rights movement built around the slogan: Ban Arabs from Arabia! Such a slogan and movement would raise many questions. For instance, where else would Arabs have a right to be if not Arabia, and who could have a greater claim to Arabia than Arabs?

Although freedom-loving Americans have endless reasons to squirm when contemplating Saudi Arabia (as do freedom-hating Americans), we all tend to agree that Arabs who want to live there have an assumed right to do so. Arabia for Arabs.

India for Indians. Russia for Russians. Mongolia for Mongolians—some outer, some inner. Austria for Austrians. Guatemala for Guatemalans. Cuba for Cubans. Sounds right.

Somewhere along the litany it would make sense to say: Yehuda for Yehudim—i.e., Judea for Jews. Even antisemites would find it hard to get behind slogans such as “Ban Jews from Judea! Jews Never Lived in Judea!” The Jews (Yehudim in Hebrew) of the tribe of Judah (Yehudah) gave the land of Yehudah its name: Judea, as transliterated in the King James Version of the Bible.

It has “always been preposterous to call Judea and Samaria the “West Bank.” Think of the most famous locations in the Bible: Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Beth El, Jericho, Shiloh, Shechem (Nablus), Galilee, Tekoa—all the places where the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs, the kings and prophets walked and lived. Jesus and the Apostles, too. Their lives all centered in Judea and in Samaria. Those terms are all over the Bible, with more than 100 mentions just of “Samaria” in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and in the Christian Gospels.

All of these Biblical names of cities in Judea and Samaria – Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Galilee, and so on – have remained in use until today. The Jordanians did not attempt to rename these places so as to “de-Judaize” them, but were content to limit themselves to renaming the whole territory of Judea and Samaria as the “West Bank.”

In those days there was no Tel Aviv, no Herzliya, no Haifa, no Netanya. Sure, the Zionists occupied those lands, too. But it was in the cities of Judea and Samaria that the seeds of Western civilization were planted and took root.

Visit virtually any of the 140 Jewish communities where 800,000 Jews now reside in Judea and Samaria, and you will not see any river banks. It is not like Jersey City, New Jersey, which is on the west bank of the Hudson River. No one calls Jersey City “the West Bank.” Why not? Too much history there? Too many biblical memories of Moses and Aaron buying shoes at Journal Square or using the PATH trains at the Grove Street station?

The Arab world and their woke allies have no problem calling every other location in the Middle East by their biblical names: Beersheva, Galilee, Jordan River, Gaza, Damascus, Lebanon, Tyre, Sidon and of course Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nazareth. Even Americans comfortably employ biblical names for so many of their cities: Hebron, Maryland; the Jericho Turnpike, New York; Bethel, Indiana; the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee; Manassas (Menashe), Virginia.

Judea and Samaria—Yehuda and Shomron—should be called by their real names and not by the ersatz woke term that seeks to divest 800,000 Jews now living there of their heritage and of their land. When a newborn child is due to arrive, think of the hours, the contemplating, even the inter-family wrangling and negotiating that often precede naming the newcomer. Names have great power and meaning. That is why Israel’s enemies call Judea and Samaria “The West Bank.”

And why we should call it Judea and Samaria.

To emphasize the thousands of years of the Jewish connection to, and presence in, what we have absurdly been persuaded to call the “West Bank,” Israeli leaders and government spokesmen have to insist, in their every reference to the area, on using the terms “Judea” and “Samaria.” So should all those who, not necessarily pro-Israel, simply care for historical accuracy, and deplore the effacing, for propagandistic purposes, of those ancient toponyms. And the next time there is an anti-Israel resolution being considered for adoption by the UN General Assembly, the Israeli and American ambassadors should take the lead in insisting that the place names “Judea and Samaria” be employed, ideally instead of, but more likely alongside, as an alternative designation, the “West Bank.”

The battle to efface the “West Bank” could also be taken up in Congress, where a bill requiring the American government – especially important for the State Department’s communiques — to use the terms “Judea and Samaria” could be passed. Imagine the effect if President Biden and Secretary Blinken started to speak about “Judea and Samaria.” E.g.: “In our meetings with Prime Minister Bennett, we discussed the recent troubles in Judea and Samaria.” Or: “No matter what the final agreement for a two-state solution turns out to be, the Jewish cities in Judea and Samaria will undoubtedly remain as part of Israel.”

By dint of repetition, the Arab-invented “West Bank” took sinister root. By dint of repetition of the Biblical place names, the “West Bank” can fall into desuetude, and be replaced, as it should be, by the 3,000-year-old “Judea and Samaria.”

First published in Jihad Watch.

Posted on 08/31/2021 5:19 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 August 2021
A Kinder, Gentler Taliban?

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Khola Hasan, a female Sharia Council scholar living safely in the U.K., enjoying perfect legal equality with men – as she could not in any Muslim country — is hailing the victory of the Taliban, which she claims has “grown up,” by which she means it is today a kinder and gentler group, not the murderous Taliban of 20 years ago. And no one should worry about its future acts, she insists, as it has promised to guarantee women’s rights. A report on this is here, and a brief Jihad Watch report on it here.

A UK Islamic Sharia Council scholar has claimed that the Taliban have ‘grown up’ and British Muslims are ‘celebrating’ the return of the jihadi group to power.

Since taking over Afghanistan, the jihadi group has claimed it will not carry out violence against women, and will not ‘seek vengeance’ on those who stood against them during the brutal 20-year war in the region.

Unfortunately for Khola Hasan, the Taliban’s promise, designed to assuage critics, foreign and domestic, is not being observed inside Afghanistan. We have all seen the scenes of terrified women huddled at the Kabul Airport, desperate to escape from the prospect of Taliban rule. We have read about women being summarily executed for not wearing the burqa; all over Afghanistan women have been rushing to find burqas to wear, but some did not manage to do so in time. Women, speaking anonymously to Western reporters, have universally expressed their terror at a return of the Taliban – unlike Khola Hasan, sitting comfortably in the U..K., the women in Afghanistan have a much better sense of what the Taliban intends, and do not believe for a minute its promises to have changed its ways. They are certain that when the last Westerners are out of the country, the Taliban will revert completely to type, taking girls out of school, confining women who had been working in the outside world to return to their homes, severely punishing women who are not properly garbed, or who are found in the company, no matter how innocent, of men to whom they are not related. Who should we trust on the subject of the Taliban? The women of Afghanistan, most of whom have been living with the Taliban threat all their lives, or Ms. Khola Hasan of the U.K. ?

Sharia Council scholar Khola Hasan today told BBC Radio 4 that the Islamist group’s recent posturing on women’s rights was a ‘good start’, and ‘every single person that I know, as a Muslim’ was ‘celebrating’ their return.

She added: ‘They have been ruled by foreigners for 40 years, let the people of Afghanistan rule their own country and determine their own fate for a change.’

But the public opinion polls in Afghanistan show clearly that the Afghans do not consider rule by the Taliban as meaning “the people of Afghanistan rule their own country.” In the most recent poll, taken in 2019, only 13 percent of Afghans expressed any sympathy for the Taliban. The rest expressed support for the Afghan government that, according to Khola Hasan, constitutes “rule by foreigners.” Those “foreigners” have spent two trillion dollars in Afghanistan, with the aim of providing a competent government, and in a country where the rights of women and minorities to equal treatment are respected. Khola Hasan may think that “every Muslim” she knows is overjoyed at the Taliban victory; clearly she hasn’t been listening to the accounts of Afghans men and women, expressing their terror at the Taliban takeover, and detailing how they or others have already been mistreated, hunted down, some escaping while others were executed, even as the Taliban assures the outside world that this time things will be different.

Fears over reprisal attacks and a return to the brutal rule of the jihadis have brought about deep unrest, with Western nations struggling to cope with the thousands of foreign nationals and locals trying to leave the country in the week since the Taliban retook power.

When asked about reports of women and children being beaten and whipped as they pass through checkpoints in Afghanistan, Ms Hasan said Afghanistan is a ‘tribal society with tribal loyalties’, with ‘a lot of violence within the communities’ amid decades of ‘occupation’.

It’s not “tribal loyalties” that explain why the Taliban beat and whip women and children. It’s Islam that teaches members of the Taliban to treat women so roughly. After all, a Muslim husband is allowed to “beat” his wife should he merely suspect her of disobedience. A Muslim daughter’s inheritance is half that of her male sibling. Similarly, a Muslim woman’s testimony is worth half that of a male witness. It is Muhammad himself who in a famous hadith said such a rule was justified because of the “insufficiency of her [a woman’s] intelligence.” The Taliban, though Pashtuns predominate in its ranks, is not treating its own women any less severely than it does Tadzhik and Uzbek women. Khola Hassan is merely trying to deflect attention from Islam as the source of the Taliban’s horrific behavior.

Ms Hasan said: ‘We have to be very careful not to take small, minor incidents and make them into something huge.’

So cases of women and children being “beaten and whipped” – and in some cases murdered – for Khola Hasan are nothing but “small, minor incidents” that Islamophobes in the West have made “into something huge.” Will she continue to insist on this as the stories of women being executed for not wearing the burqa, or otherwise violating the Sharia, start to filter out, with ever-greater frequency, from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan? Will she bother to listen to the anguished Afghan women who manage to make it to the West and tell their tales of barbarous mistreatment by the Taliban, or will she instead try to protect Islam by undermining their credibility?

And what kind of “small, minor incidents” does Ms. Hasan think are being exaggerated? Are the Taliban, in setting up roadblocks everywhere to prevent its enemies – meaning all those who in any way helped the American effort to bring freedom and a modicum of prosperity to Afghanistan – from escaping, merely engaged in “small, minor incidents”? The knocks on the doors, as the Taliban seeks out those they intend to murder, and then indeed do murder them, do not strike me as “small, minor incidents”? Here’s one story among so many:

Najia was at home with her three young sons and daughter in a small village in northern Afghanistan when Taliban fighters knocked on their door.

Najia’s daughter Manizha, 25, knew they were coming — her mother had told her they’d done the same thing the previous three days, demanding that she cook food for up to 15 fighters.

My mother told them, ‘I am poor, how can I cook for you?'” said Manizha. “(The Taliban) started beating her. My mother collapsed, and they hit her with their guns — AK47s.”

Manizha said she yelled at the fighters to stop. They paused for a moment before throwing a grenade into the next room and fleeing as the flames spread, she said. The mother of four died from the beating.

There are many such stories – you need only search a bit to find them – about the Taliban’s murderous rampages, even against people who have done nothing more than been too poor to cook for them. One wonders how Khola Hasan would explain away the evidence of such widespread savagery.

She [Khola Hassan] added that ‘western media loves misrepresenting Muslims’, telling Sunday morning listeners: ‘The kind of language that came out from Western media when the Taliban took over – civil war, monsters, they’re going to slaughter people, it’s going to be awful, poor women, oh blah blah blah we’re going to cry our eyes out, poor women are going back into Medieval times, and all the rest of it.

In a matter of months, there will be many stories coming out of Afghanistan about the “slaughter of people” and “poor women…going back into Medieval times” but I don’t think such conclusive evidence will have the slightest effect on this despicable Defender of the Faith, Khola Hasan.

“It’s [the Taliban] been misrepresented for so long that I’ve got used to it, I don’t even blink an eyelid anymore.’

Ms Hasan was told the world had ‘seen this movie before’, referring to promises to be compassionate and merciful following the sack of Kabul 25 years ago.

She replied: ‘No we haven’t because the Taliban have grown up, they were not exposed to the modern world, so what they were saying 20 years ago this was a myopic, insulated, small organisation, living in the mountains, very illiterate, very uneducated, not just about the world but about Islam itself…

So apparently the “old” Taliban consisted of Muslims who didn’t really understand Islam. They were living in isolated areas (how then did they rule over most of Afghanistan?), uneducated, and “very[sic] illiterate.” This last is a strange claim, given that Taliban spokesmen were always quoting the Qur’an; the very word “Talib” means “student,” referring to students in the madrasas set up by Afghan refugees in Pakistan, whose main occupation was to read, memorize, recite, and study the Qur’an and hadith. Apparently the members of the Taliban 20 years ago were getting the faith all wrong; it’s today’s Taliban that has got its “kinder, gentler” message of Islam right.

It’s not an easy thing to do, to come from hundreds of years of one way practising your faith, and then suddenly exposed to different ways to think oh maybe we got it wrong. The problem is we don’t give them a chance.’…

Ms. Khola Hasan, the Taliban has now been given another chance to show how much it has changed – a very big chance. For it now controls an entire country with 40 million people. We’ll all be able to see how splendidly the new and improved Taliban, in which you claim to have such faith, behaves. The screams of terror and torment from Afghanistan should reach even to you, in your U.K. shelter, where perhaps they may serve to change your mind. But come to think of it, I don’t think there is anything that will pierce the veil of Khola Hasan’s deceit and self-deception.

First published in Jihad Watch.

Posted on 08/30/2021 7:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 30 August 2021
Suspect with 'Yorkshire accent' wanted over string of violent anti-Semitic attacks in London

From the Yorkshire Post

Police investigating multiple suspected anti-Semitic attacks say the suspect is possibly from Yorkshire.

The Metropolitan Police believes five unprovoked assaults on Jewish people occurred in the Hackney area on August 18 - including a 64-year-old man in Stamford Hill reportedly knocked unconscious while on his way to a synagogue at 8.30pm. The other incidents reported on August 18 included a 30-year-old Jewish man who was struck on the head with a bottle in Cavenove Road at around 6.41pm, while a 14-year-old Jewish boy was assaulted in Holmdale Terrace at around 7.10pm. 

Detectives have released images of the suspect who they believe could be from Yorkshire as he had a "northern accent".

“We have recovered some CCTV capturing an apparent interaction between the man and shop staff in Seven Sisters Road which appears to indicate that the man may speak with a northern accent – possibly Yorkshire," said Detective Chief Inspector Yasmin Lalani. “While this is a very new development, I am urging communities in those areas to look closely at the pictures we have released, which are of very good quality, and tell us immediately if they recognise the man. . .  All of the victims reported that the man approached without warning and assaulted them before quickly leaving. He is not reported to have said anything. We retain an open mind behind the motive but the reported incidents are being treated as hate crimes. Efforts to trace a fourth suspected victim continue amid news that there was a fifth victim, who is now believed to be out of the country. We are working to get in touch with them to obtain a statement.”

A Met Police spokesman added: "One new line of enquiry is that the suspect is not local to the area and may have been visiting. Feedback from Jewish and Muslim communities so far indicates that the man has not been seen locally before."

Posted on 08/30/2021 4:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 29 August 2021
Evicting Donald Trump was clearly a catastrophe

by Conrad Black

Seven months into the Biden regime, the truism that dare not speak its name is now almost too obvious to bear stating. It was a catastrophic error to evict Donald Trump. No one, and certainly not I, would try to whitewash the stylistic infelicities of Donald Trump. He said many things that were toe-curlingly embarrassing coming from the holder of so great an office. But he proved in government as he had in the private sector that he was capable and forceful, and although he had the terrible handicap of personalizing everything and escalating all disagreements, he had a clear conception of domestic and foreign national interests and pursued them very successfully.

Despite the frenzied, wall-to-wall, linked-armed international effort to present Trump as a brutal, crooked, moron, he almost eliminated unemployment and illegal immigration, did eliminate energy imports, and by identifying and incentivizing “enterprise zones,” he created conditions in which the lowest 20 per cent of American income earners were gaining income in percentage terms compared to the top 10 per cent on the income scale. President Trump, without demagogy or hyperbole, attracted American attention to the commercial and geopolitical threat from China. He incited NATO to stop sponging off America and raise the national defence commitments to figures much more closely approximating their long-standing promises to the United States. (Canada was one of the most delinquent countries and has been one of the most sluggish to respond-the Trudeau government dissented from and mocked virtually every position that President Trump took and now is probably the most egregious and ungrateful alliance freeloader. Trump was the first U.S. president since Herbert Hoover not to visit Canada while in office.)

Because Canada is so close to the United States and more than 90 per cent of Canadians live within 200 miles of the U.S. border, and because most English-speaking Canadians are culturally almost indistinguishable from Americans living in northern states, Canada knows the United States better than other foreigners and is most profoundly influenced by the mobile currents of American public opinion. For this reason, Donald Trump naturally appeared to us as the apogee of the Ugly American: a braggart, a bully, a know-nothing, and the personification of vulgar and avaricious American materialism: the ugly face of American capitalism and jingoism. This was a caricature, but like most recognizable caricatures, there was an element of truth in it, and it was a particularly easily embraced caricature because of the almost universal hostility to Trump among the American national political media, and because of the natural Canadian tendency to discredit even slightly conservative America and its leaders, (the better to sustain Canadian notions of national distinctiveness).

Virtually the entire Canadian media, and as far as could be discerned, the entire Canadian population, seized and swallowed whole the notion of President Trump’s venality, repugnance, and incompetence.

The bipartisan American political establishment was traumatized by the elevation in 2016 of a president determined to tear up root and branch the complacent post-Reagan Bushintons who squandered America’s great victory in the Cold War, produced the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, tore up the Middle East expanding Iran’s influence and causing an immense humanitarian tragedy, and were steadily suborned and outmaneuvered by China. In defeating, in their fashion, the president who frightened them, the Washington political establishment elevated a hollow and unfrightening candidate who has fronted a socialist agenda far to the left of the majority of the people he serves. The Biden administration is proposing to naturalize millions of illegal immigrants, which would be in the current governing party’s electoral interest. It is squandering trillions of dollars in socialist nostrums that have already torqued up inflation. The federal government has identified with and is largely propped up by the corrupt urban Democratic machines that have defunded the police and presided over an unprecedented rise in violent crime. Large parts of urban America are no-go areas, unpoliced shooting galleries. Biden has squandered America’s status as an energy self-sufficient country.

And in Afghanistan, inexplicably, President Biden and his entourage determined to leave Afghanistan practically as quickly as aircraft could remove American military personnel, without consultation with NATO allies who had three quarters of the international forces in Afghanistan, without a thought for the many thousands of American civilians in the country, and without any regard for the tens of thousands of Afghans who had worked with the Americans and are in mortal danger with the Taliban in power. As the operations swiftly degenerated into a cowardly fiasco and the American president was for the first time depicted by the British Parliament as a figure of shame, Biden and his principal colleagues lied to the public, contradicted each other, and magnified America’s monstrous humiliation at the hands of a bunch of primitive and barbarous, flea bitten, terrorists.

There is open discussion of trying to reconstruct the Western alliance without American leadership. Biden’s own partisans are silent as his standing in the eyes of his countrymen crumbles. Is there any sane person who in the dark and quiet of their bedroom in the dead, vast, and middle of the night would not prefer Trump with his gaucheries to this horrifying immolation of American national credibility and of the unbroken right of the West over 2500 years to be the preeminent influence in the world? Possibly, but they are no longer numerous or outspoken.

First published in the National Post.

Posted on 08/29/2021 11:44 AM by Conrad Black
Sunday, 29 August 2021
Team of Radical Feminists Rescues Thirty Afghan Feminists

by Phyllis Chesler

Mural by Afghan artist Shamsia Hassani

What feminists in the West easily take for granted—Afghan feminists have to die for. If they don’t want to wear a burqa, marry their first cousin, be battered for the rest of their lives; if they want a higher education, do not want to marry, are determined to help other women—they are endangered, targeted, tortured, and executed. Their own families might honor kill them. Now, they may be forced into sex slavery by the Taliban in order to breed a new generation of warriors.

These Afghan feminists are heroic, fearless, and are fighting for universal feminist values. Some are still in hiding in Afghanistan, others are at the airport in Kabul, some are in the air. The lucky ones are in overcrowded temporary camps in the Middle East, or dispersed throughout Europe. They rely on us because they have no one else left.

Will you help us save them?

I wrote about one such woman in these pages. In the midst of all the horror, “my” Woman in Kabul, “Aisha,” got out less than 24 hours before the suicide bombings. Escorted by her father, a former Afghan military man, accompanied by two younger siblings, and armed with specific instructions from a crucial member of our team, Aisha made her way through the heaving, surging, desperate crowds, past every single heart-stopping Taliban checkpoint, endured beating and cursing, and presented herself at a gate that belonged to a particular European country. They then had to wait for at least a day outside the airport. Tragically, en route, her mother became ill and was forced to turn back.

“Aisha” then spent two more days, sitting on the ground within the airport, followed by many hours in a military plane on the tarmac waiting to take off for the Middle East and then to Europe.

“We urgently need to raise funding for these women, for their food, plane tickets, cell phone access, changes of clothing, etc.”


How did “Aisha” even get the last minute paperwork? How did she know what gate to approach? How did she and about thirty other Afghan feminists (and counting) finally escape from Hell?

I am thrilled to share that answer. My team consists of radical feminists, anti-trafficking/anti-sex slavery activists and experts, honor killing experts, (myself included), a brilliant legal team—Europeans and Americans, mainly white girls, (who’ve lately been overly maligned): some Jews, some Christians, a Sikh, maybe some atheists—perhaps a Goddess worshiper or two. Who knows? It is my honor and my privilege to be among them.

Oddly, predictably, I got no help—not even a response—from any of the Muslim feminists whom I contacted. Maybe they were already on the front lines somewhere else. To her credit, one American feminist politician did respond and immediately sent me on to another, a “global ambassador” for women and girls from whom I never heard. Another former director of an American based American-Afghan women’s organization called and sent me some very complicated bureaucratic guidelines for a special visa which may take months, if not years to obtain and whose guidelines I absolutely failed to understand. She certainly meant well. Through others, I got the name of a smuggler who was ready to sell fake visas—and passed the information along.

Oh, but my band of sisters gathered together swiftly and began the work which has now lasted for five intense around-the-clock weeks and continues on.

I was also in touch with an Israel and American based humanitarian rescue organization, and with two Americans, both former Marines, whose buddies were hard at work rescuing others. Simply knowing of their existence and being able to pick their brains strengthened me. I nearly got Aisha to India but that opportunity fell through.

I had to approach, non-stop, thirty six people, one after the other, each of whom led me to someone else. Some promised funding. Others promised lodging. Some gave me invaluable military advice. No one offered to do the heavy lifting. Except for my team of radical feminist Amazon warriors—perhaps women right out of Monique Wittig’s fiction. Only we are all too real.

And then there is my heroic “Aisha,” a feminist with a degree in medical science, a researcher, and a journalist. Our readers already know a bit about her from my previous piece at 4W. She is now safely in a two room house in a village in a beautiful rural area of a European country, where it is “peaceful and calm.” She (and her mother, with whom I’ve also maintained contact), heap praises upon me and our team. Aisha writes:

“You are all angels. Because of you and your hard working team, I am safe and have my freedom. I have no words to say thank you since it has been a month both day and night that you’ve been trying to get me out of here and give me the freedom to live a different life.”

Aisha’s family plan to remain in Europe; she plans to continue on to the United States where we have obtained a scholarship for her and a paid research assistantship with the professor for whom she worked in Afghanistan. He came forward, wrote letters, applied for all the necessary paperwork, and has also kindly invited Aisha to live with him and his family “for as long as necessary.” (I will name him in a future piece).

Aisha has earned this with her own good work both as an interpreter doing interviews, a data analyst, and an expert in her own right on issues of women’s health. His kindness has earned him a lofty spot in Heaven. When I asked her what she wants to tell other Afghan women, Aisha tells me:

“Never give up on your dreams. Stay together and help other women like yourselves, work together as the team that has saved me have done. I want to help other women as others have helped me.”

This extraordinary team effort began many years ago when I first met Mandy Sanghera, a British Sikh humanitarian activist and award-winning philanthropist, with whom I worked on honor killing, child marriage, UN-enabled pederasty, and surrogacy.

Mandy spends a lot of time on social media—a lot of time!—and she began to meet Afghan women pleading for rescue in a chat room. Such pleas continue at this very moment. Mandy has been in touch with at least “146” such desperate Afghan women. She turned some of them over to me—and the rest is feminist history.

At this point, I must acknowledge the crucial role that the internet has played in our ability to remain in touch with each other. More about that elsewhere and perhaps in more capable hands.

But our team also began when I met, interviewed, befriended, and thereafter began publishing in Dr. Donna Hughes’s absolutely superb journal “Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence.”

A while back, Donna had connected me to a super-competent lawyer, Melanie Shapiro, who specializes in asylum and immigration work and for whom I’d submitted several affidavits for women who had escaped being honor killed. Now, Melanie and three members of her ten member staff spent three days applying for every kind of emergency humanitarian asylum/student visa/special visa for Aisha.

And, as Mandy continued to connect us to more and more Afghan women begging to be rescued, Melanie expanded what she was doing to include them.

Meanwhile, Donna had also connected me to Dr. M. a feminist psychologist in Germany and to R. a lawyer, and anti-trafficking activist. Both women have a long history of rescuing immigrant women and women trapped in prostitution. R. herself managed to heroically exit six years of prostitution.

A final member of our team cannot be named. Let me call her Ekaterina. She obtained vital paperwork, helped remotely guide our Afghan women through the streets to the airport, and was perhaps aided by some on-the-ground muscle. Of this I am not sure.

Dr. M. supervises clinical psychologists. She says:

“If a trauma therapist is too scared to work with people who are victims of human trafficking, Islamic fundamentalists, or psychopaths, it is better to allow others to do this work. Otherwise, the therapist’s fear will be part of the therapy. We need to give people hope and strength. I was in Bosnia during and after the war in 1994-2002. The land was bombed out and refugees were everywhere. People had been abandoned by the international community. By being with them, sharing their sorrow and talking to them, they felt witnessed, seen, and that gave them energy.”

Between Dr. M., R., Donna, and myself we were able to exclude some men who were only too eager to get their hands on as many Afghan girls as they could—and two such men put our Aisha into potential danger until I put a hard stop to it. They might have been sincere, altruistic, reckless, misguided—but they also could have been control freak misogynists or worse.

One of the other Afghan feminists whom we’ve helped rescue (together with four other activists in her party) wants to be named: Crystal Bayat—the leader who organized the very last public protest against the Taliban and who has given interviews about them. She is a high value target (as are many of the others). There is always a danger when such women are embedded with other Afghans or with fundamentalist Muslim refugees who view feminists as dangerous and disobedient. Crystal is well spoken. Here is a little of what she told me yesterday in a phone call.

“I’m a girl who was born in the midst of gunpowder and smoke explosions. I grew up as positive changes were happening. I would now like to fight to preserve these achievements. In the early days of the Taliban’s entrance into Kabul, I saw the death of these dreams. The death of peace, freedom, democracy, and safety for women. But, if we work together, the hope will remain alive and dreams can come true.”

Crystal is safely out of Kabul but she has not yet been able to get to Europe or to the United States. Both she and Mandy feel she is in special danger. Perhaps she is. Perhaps all our feminists are.

We urgently need to raise funding for these women, for their food, plane tickets, cell phone access, changes of clothing, etc. Please donate what you can to the Santander Bank. The account number is 9536340771, the routing number is 231372691. It is crucial that you email Melanie Shapiro, Esq. at [email protected] so she will know the amount and the name of the donor.

We Jews have an expression. “Saving one life is like saving a world.“ And here we are, a band of sisters, well on our way to having saved more than thirty worlds and counting.

If you wish to donate to help these Afghan women, you can use this paypal link.

First published in 4w.

Posted on 08/29/2021 7:11 AM by Phyllis Chesler
Sunday, 29 August 2021
In Afghanistan, the Triumph of Fanaticism

by Hugh Fitzgerald

In Afghanistan, the Taliban’s victory was not due to the the number of its recruits – the Afghan army was four times as large as the Taliban forces; nor to the superiority of its weapons, for the Afghan Army had tens of billions of dollars worth of advanced weapons given to it by the Americans, who also provided air cover for that army, while the Taliban recruits relied mainly on their rifles; nor to its battlefield tactics, but mainly, to the fanatical faith of its members. A report on that “victory of faith” is here: “The Taliban Victory as a Victory of Faith,” by Gershon Hacohen, Algemeiner, August 24, 2021:

To understand the last 40 years of the Islamic struggle in Afghanistan, it is worth looking at the legacy of Abdullah Azzam. Born in a small village near Jenin in 1941, he moved to Jordan after the reclamation of the West Bank during the Six-Day War. While there, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood and participated in activities of Palestinian terrorist organizations against Israel.

He eventually went to Afghanistan, where he was a major factor in helping the mujahideen repel the Soviets. An inspirational figure and a mentor of Osama bin Laden, Azzam would come to lead thousands of volunteers from across the Islamic world as they fought in Afghanistan, earning the title the “father of global jihad.” Azzam was assassinated with his two sons in Peshawar in November 1989.

The life of Abdullah Azzam offers one example of the ferocious commitment to Jihad of those determined souls who devote their lives to fighting the Infidels. When Israel won back Judea and Samaria in the Six-Day War, Azzam – unwilling to be governed by the hated Jews –moved from his native Jenin to Jordan, where he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, and engaged in planning terrorist attacks on Israel. Eventually, he felt the call to help his fellow Muslims in Afghanistan fight the Russian Infidels who had invaded that Muslim land. Once in Afghanistan, he helped to recruit Muslims from all over the world to fight the Russians, and to prepare themselves to return home to conduct jihad throughout the world. Azzam became known as the “father of global jihad.” Among those he inspired was Osama bin Laden, and Azzam was the reason that Afghanistan became the refuge for Al-Qaeda. Jihad was his life’s work; he lived only to kill the Infidels, and to create a worldwide caliphate. He sacrificed his life, and the lives of his two sons, willingly, to the cause.

Unlike the leaders of the pan-Arab movement, from Gamal Abdul Nasser to Hafez Assad to Saddam Hussein, who all failed to unite the “Arab nation” on behalf of a common struggle, Azzam managed to bring together large numbers of Muslims from different countries, clans, and tribes to participate in a “holy war” — a jihad.

Azzam was a pan-Islamist, who found the pan-Arabist impulse too limited; it was not a united Arab world he sought, whether under its various champions, from Gamal Abdel Nasser to Hafez Assad to Saddam Hussein – to his much more ambitious project, a worldwide caliphate.

Azzam explained his vision in simple terms:

We will fight and defeat our enemies and establish an Islamic state on a piece of land in Afghanistan … Jihad will spread and Islam will fight elsewhere. Islam will fight the Jews in Palestine and establish an Islamic state in Palestine and elsewhere. These countries will then be united into one Islamic State.

Echoing the prophet Muhammad’s key message in his farewell address (“I was ordered to fight all men until they say ‘There is no god but Allah’”), Azzam viewed the fighting in Afghanistan as the starting point for a global jihad, the ultimate goal of which was the establishment of a worldwide “Islamic Nation” (or umma).

When President Joe Biden expressed his confidence in the stability of the regime in Afghanistan by pointing out that “the Afghan army has 300,000 well-equipped soldiers … and they also have an air force. In contrast, the Taliban has only 75,000 soldiers,” he made clear that he has no understanding of this reality. Although those numbers are in dispute, the victory of the Taliban over the US in Afghanistan is a lesson for the world on the tremendous capacity of spiritual strength and faith to win protracted conflicts against far superior enemies.

Biden, a rational Western man with a limited imagination, thought only in terms of numbers – “the Afghan army has 300,000 well-equipped soldiers…and an air force,” while the Taliban has “only 75,000 soldiers.” He did not recognize the tremendous effect of the Taliban’s “spiritual strength” (which sounds almost admirable), that is, the fanatical desire of its members to fight against Infidels and any Muslims – the Afghan government and army – who were allied with the Infidels. And while the Afghan army consisted of recruits waiting for their next paychecks, the Taliban fanatics were prepared to give their lives. Thus when faced with certain defeat and likely death at the hands of the Taliban, the Afghan army melted away, its soldiers surrendering or fleeing in droves, while the Taliban were never afraid to die. It is this fanaticism of the Taliban that Biden, and so many others in Washington, seemed unable to comprehend. Homo islamicus remains a mystery to them.

In the first years of the war, the Americans had overwhelming superiority over the Taliban and inflicted many severe defeats upon it. But partly by virtue of their religious faith, the Taliban fighters were able to withstand those defeats. They believed in what is known in the Islamic faith as the “stage of weakness” (Rahlat al-Istidaf), which requires patiently biding one’s time in anticipation of opportunities. Their faith thus served as a strategy enabling them to cope with what might be a long wait

The Americans, on the other hand, could not bear the burden of a protracted struggle without a solution in the foreseeable future. On a deeper level, they discounted the religious roots of the conflict, which are expressed, among other things, in the rejection of the message of Western-American prosperity. As Mordechai Kedar put it, “August 15, 2021 will forever be remembered in the Islamic world as the victory of Islam over Christianity, the victory of faith over heresy, and the victory of tradition over permissiveness. … These events are pumping new blood into jihad arteries and the results are being seen around the world, including in Israel.”

The Taliban’s Islamic warriors are patient; for them what happened 1,400 years ago, when Muslims swept out of western Arabia to conquer vast territories from the Atlantic to the Gulf, is just as real as what happens today in Afghanistan. They are willing to wait out the foreign Infidels, Russian or American, taking the long view, and certain that in the end, beginning with Afghanistan, and then, by slow degrees, the entire Islamic world, will unite in a single caliphate and force the world’s Infidels to submit to the true Islam, the Islam of, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Taliban is committed to a struggle over the long haul. The Americans were willing to engage in an anti-Taliban campaign for 20 years – the U.S.’s longest war — but at a certain point, the cost-benefit analysis told them it was time to leave, for they finally realized that no matter when they left Afghanistan, the patient, stubborn, fanatical Taliban would take over.

Indeed, the American defeat will have a direct impact on Israel. Like the pseudo-government foisted by the Americans on Afghanistan, which, despite massive investment, turned out to be useless against the forces of jihad, the Palestinian Authority administration and its security forces will collapse in time against its Islamist adversaries, notably Hamas. Its overwhelming material and technological superiority notwithstanding, the IDF stands no chance of defeating Israel’s Islamist enemies unless its soldiers are driven by a relentless belief in their national cause.

The lesson of the Afghanistan debacle for Israel is twofold. First, the PA, which is full of corrupt time-servers who have no intention of sacrificing their Swiss bank accounts or luxury villas in Ramallah’s “Diplomat’s Compound,” much less their lives, in fighting the Zionists, offers a monitory example. The PA is now besieged from within by Palestinians who have had enough of the despotic and corrupt regime, headed by a man who will not let go. Those Palestinians have been protesting for two months over the killing, by PA barbouzes, of the human rights activist and harsh critic of the PA, Nizar Banat. The PA could collapse at any point, if the protests keep spreading and become too much for the PA to handle; many are predicting t PA’s territory will then be taken over by the Islamic fanatics of Hamas.

Second, Israel’s citizens need not become fanatics to match the fanaticism of their enemies; unlike so many in the demoralized West, Israelis are still “driven by a relentless belief in their national cause.” While Western countries have ended their military draft, Israeli males willingly accept the sacrifice of spending two years and eight months as IDF draftees; in addition, all Israeli males must serve as Reservists, giving 36 days a year to their army service until they reach the age of 40. Israeli females must serve for two years. This military burden – the heaviest one in the Western world – is assumed willingly by the Israelis, who know that their country’s very existence is at stake. They are constantly reminded of the malignant and murderous enemy they face. When Hamas launches rockets from Gaza into Israeli cities or sends incendiary balloons into Israel to set fire to farmland and forests, when Hezbollah adds to its armory of 150,000 rockets, when both Hamas and Hezbollah spend hundreds of millions of dollars on vast tunnel networks that the IDF has managed to unearth, when Iran’s Supreme Leader and IRGC generals vow to destroy the Jewish state, when Palestinian terrorists keep killing Israelis — yeshiva students, hitchhiking soldiers, a female police recruit, a Jewish family murdered while driving in the West Bank – the Israelis are reminded every day of the answer to “Why We Fight.” Despite differences among Israelis in political and religious matters, they are united in understanding that they must fight, unceasingly, for their state’s existence, as they have done in three major wars – in 1948, 1967, and 1973 – as well as in many smaller campaigns, including two wars against the PLO and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and four wars in Gaza against Hamas.

There is no end to this. But the Israelis, more than any other people in the advanced Western world, have repeatedly shown a steely determination to fight, against great odds (in 1948 and 1967), to absorb devastating blows, in 1973, and to fight on, always able to finally wreak havoc on their multifarious enemies. The Mossad has demonstrated endless creativity in acts of derring-do to delay Iran’s nuclear project. What the Israelis possess isn’t the fanaticism of the Taliban. It’s better than that, the esprit de corps of a citizen army, led by brilliant professionals, that knows it has no other choice.

First published in Jihad Watch.

Posted on 08/29/2021 7:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 29 August 2021
US special operations vets carry out daring mission to save Afghan allies

From ABC News yesterday

With the Taliban growing more violent and adding checkpoints near Kabul's airport, an all-volunteer group of American veterans of the Afghan war launched a final daring mission on Wednesday night dubbed the "Pineapple Express" to shepherd hundreds of at-risk Afghan elite forces and their families to safety, members of the group told ABC News.

Moving after nightfall in near-pitch black darkness and extremely dangerous conditions, the group said it worked unofficially in tandem with the United States military and U.S. embassy to move people, sometimes one person at a time, or in pairs, but rarely more than a small bunch, inside the wire of the U.S. military-controlled side of Hamid Karzai International Airport.

The Pineapple Express' mission was underway Thursday when the attack occurred in Kabul. There were wounded among the Pineapple Express travelers from the blast, and members of the group said they were assessing whether unaccounted-for Afghans they were helping had been killed.

As of Thursday morning, the group said it had brought as many as 500 Afghan special operators, assets and enablers and their families into the airport in Kabul overnight, handing them each over to the protective custody of the U.S. military. "Dozens of high-risk individuals, families with small children, orphans, and pregnant women, were secretly moved through the streets of Kabul throughout the night and up to just seconds before ISIS detonated a bomb into the huddled mass of Afghans seeking safety and freedom," Army Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a retired Green Beret commander who led the private rescue effort, told ABC News.

The week-long effort and Wednesday's operation were observed by ABC News under the agreement of secrecy while the heart-pounding movements unfolded.

The operation carried out Wednesday night was an element of "Task Force Pineapple," an informal group whose mission began as a frantic effort on Aug. 15 to get one former Afghan commando who had served with Mann into the Kabul airport as he was being hunted by the Taliban who were texting him death threats. They knew he had worked with U.S. Special Forces and the elite SEAL Team Six for a dozen years, targeting Taliban leadership, and was, therefore, a high-value target for them, sources told ABC News.

"This Herculean effort couldn't have been done without the unofficial heroes inside the airfield who defied their orders to not help beyond the airport perimeter, by wading into sewage canals and pulling in these targeted people who were flashing pineapples on their phones," Mann said.

With the uniformed U.S. military unable to venture outside the airport's perimeter to collect Americans and Afghans who've sought U.S. protection for their past joint service, they instead provided overwatch and awaited coordinated movements by an informal Pineapple Express ground team that included “conductors” led by former Green Beret Capt. Zac Lois, known as the underground railroad's “engineer.”

Once summoned, passengers would hold up their smartphones with a graphic of yellow pineapples on a pink field. . . Many of the Afghans arrived near Abbey Gate and waded through a sewage-choked canal toward a U.S. soldier wearing red sunglasses to identify himself. They waved their phones with the pineapples and were scooped up and brought inside the wire to safety. Others were brought in by an Army Ranger wearing a modified American flag patch with the Ranger Regiment emblem, sources told ABC News.

Looking back at an effort that saved at least, by their count, 630 Afghan lives, Jason Redman, a combat-wounded former Navy SEAL and author, who was shepherding Afghans he knew,  expressed deep frustration "that our own government didn't do this. We did what we should do, as Americans."

Dan O'Shea, a retired SEAL commander, said he successfully helped his own group, which included a U.S. citizen who served as an operative and his Afghan father and brother . . . "He was not willing to let his father and his brother behind; even it meant he would die. He refused to leave his family," O'Shea, a former counterinsurgency adviser in Afghanistan, told ABC News. "Leaving a man behind is not in our SEAL ethos. Many Afghans have a stronger vision of our democratic values than many Americans do." And many don't I'm afraid. Not abandoning allies is the right thing to do, but I do fear that amongst the families relieved to be free from persecution are some 'sleepers' or youngsters who will be corrupted later into terrorist attacks on UK/US/NZ/Australian soil. The murderous Abedi family were rescued by the RAF from a little boat in the Med off the coast of Libya and look how they ended up. Forgive my cynicism, which is worsening with age. 

Former deputy assistant secretary of defense and ABC News analyst Mick Mulroy is part of both Task Force Pineapple and Task Force Dunkirk, (which includes Royal Marines, Canadians and men of the Italian armed services) who are assisting former Afghan comrades. This is also of interest. 

"They never wavered. I and many of my friends are here today because of their bravery in battle. We owe them all effort to get them out and honor our word," Mulroy said. 

Posted on 08/29/2021 3:25 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 29 August 2021
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Joe Biden is deaf, dumb and blind to the chaos the US has unleashed

The administration is ignoring history by putting blind faith in the goodwill of the murderous Taliban. 

As the top comment (at time of writing) to this in the Telegraph says 

Joe Biden is certainly dumb ... incompetent, anti-American . . . a stain on America's reputation and already one of America's worst Presidents. But he doesn't tweet rude things, so his corrupted election must have been ok, right? Right?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes

The Taliban, and jihadis around the world, are celebrating that the American leadership has been rendered deaf, dumb, and blind. (As an aside there is a serious comment to the effect that this phrase is offensive and outdated and the terms hearing impaired, visually impaired and lacking in speech are the correct ones. That person seems oblivious to the responding sarcasm referencing the rock opera Tommy. But I digress)  So dumb are they that the Biden administration allegedly provided the Taliban with names and biometric details of Afghans who have worked for the US over the past two decades, in a show of blind faith that they would allow these at-risk Afghans through checkpoints for evacuation.

Q: “Just to follow up, do you – does the administration think that they need the Taliban agreement to extend beyond August 31?”

Mr Sullivan: “As I said, we are engaging with the Taliban, consulting with the Taliban on every aspect of what’s happening in Kabul right now – on what’s happening at the airport; on how we need to ensure that there is facilitated passage to the airport for American citizens, SIVs, third-country nationals, and so forth. We’ll continue those conversations with them.”

That exchange took place just a day before 13 US service personnel and close to 200 Afghans were killed in a terrorist attack. The Marines were there to help evacuate other US citizens, Afghans entitled to Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs), and third-country nationals.

Those of us who have been tuning in to these press conferences since the announcement of the over-hasty and chaotic US withdrawal have been treated to some bizarre stuff. But the exchange above was surreal. Those entitled to SIVs are Afghan men and women who worked with the occupying forces of the US government and its allies not only against the Taliban and al-Qaeda but also against other local Islamist groups. They took a huge risk but were reassured that America had their back. Even in the event of a full withdrawal, America would help them out of the country – that surely was why Congress created the SIV programme.

Now, they must all face the reality that an American administration has handed their identities to the Taliban.

In a desperate attempt to explain the terrorist attack that killed the 13 Marines, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that it was carried out by IS-K, not by the Taliban, whom the administration was “consulting with on every aspect of” the evacuation. Taliban, IS-K, al-Qaeda. These are the best-known jihadi brands operating inside Afghanistan. Alongside them are a myriad militant Islamist groups, often aligned with local tribes and clans. They are rivals as much as they are confederates. They have different priorities. But not one of them can be considered a reliable counterparty in the current situation.

Earlier this week, US secretary of state Antony Blinken stated that the Taliban “have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third-country nationals, and Afghans at risk going forward past August 31.” But we’ve already heard many reports to the contrary. Some wishful thinkers would like us to believe that this is a newer, modern version of the Taliban. However, this is not the Taliban 2.0. They are showing us who they are before we’ve even left. Soon after the collapse of the Afghan government, reports stated that they were “going door-to-door and screening names at Kabul checkpoints as they hunt for people who worked with US-led forces or the previous Afghan government”.

The recklessness of the Biden team continues to astound me. It really is as if they are deaf, dumb, and blind – ignoring not only what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan but also what has happened in multiple similar situations throughout history.

Posted on 08/29/2021 3:01 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 28 August 2021
Per the New York Times, Islamist Theocracy is Shriveling

by Lev Tsitrin

One can learn an awful lot by reading the New York Times. Who would have thought, when watching this week's mayhem in Afghanistan, that "This Is How Theocracy Shrivels"?

Yet, according to David Brooks, this is what we are witnessing. His apparent recipe, I kid you not, is letting the Islamists rule, and fail at that task, causing public's disillusionment and disapproval. He has a sure empirical proof that this approach works. "If extremists thought they could mobilize Muslim opinion through acts of clarifying violence, they have failed. Across 11 lands in which Pew surveyed Muslims in 2013, a median of only 13 percent had a favorable opinion of Al Qaeda." "Fewer than one in every 100,000 Muslims had become an Islamist terrorist in the years since 9/11." (This latter statistics is fascinating, but odd. At that rate, world's 1.2 billion Moslems would generate 12,000 terrorists. I checked Wikipedia's entry for "Hamas' military wing" to learn that apart from "a core of several hundred members who receive military style training, including training in Iran and in Syria" it has "an estimated 10,000–17,000 operatives." Thus, Hamas alone more than exhausts Mr. Brooks' statistics; apparently, Islamic Jihad, Hezbullah, Iran's Revolutionary Guards, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Yemeni Houthis, the Taliban and others are, in Mr. Brooks' and the New York Times' definition, not "terrorists." That is a very elegant way indeed to "shrivel" the theocracy -- just do not notice it! Paper it over, "the paper of record"!)

What a triumph! Only 13 percent of Moslems approve of Al Qaeda! (We are not given the number of the undecided; a better question would be, what percentage disapproves of it enough to want to crush it. From the fact that it has not been crushed, it appears that this number is rather low). Likewise, "Across the Arab world people are turning against religious political parties and the clerics who helped bring them to power. Many appear to be giving up on Islam, too.” Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah Yazdi of Iran noticed the trend in his own country: “Iranians are evading religious teachings and turning to secularism.”" Please quantify it, Mr.Brooks, and tell us at which point will the Iran Revolutionary Guards run out of conscripts because there won't be any Moslems left in the land, everyone becoming pacifist Baha'i?

So, why worry? "In The Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria notes that “most Islamist terrorism today tends to be local — the Taliban in Afghanistan, Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabab in the Horn of Africa. That’s a major reversal from the glory days of Al Qaeda, when its leaders insisted that the focus must be not on the ‘near enemy’ (the local regimes) but rather the ‘far enemy’ (the United States and the West more broadly).”"

So, Mr. Brooks tells us, let's let Islamism collapse under its own weight. If that weight increases -- as it now does in Afghanistan -- it is only for the better: the public disillusionment with be the greater, and the resulting implosion will be the surer.

There is, of course, a bit of a problem with Mr. Brooks' logic. The clerics don't care for the public opinion. Only God's is of importance, and they know what it demands with absolute certainty: that their rule be maintained. If God's rule is harsh, so be it. People must submit to God -- and must be made to submit if they got other ideas, and refuse to. This, Mr. Brooks, is why ayatollahs are still in power in Iran despite public discontent: God speaks through the brute force of his self-appointed enforcers. This is how Taliban maintained power, and will keep maintaining it. This is from where Hamas and Hezbullah derive their authority.

So dream on, Mr. Brooks. Keep publishing drivel, The New York Times. We live in harsh times, and your pious lies may the best consolation available on the market.   

Lev Tsitrin is the author of "The Pitfall of Truth: Holy War, its Rationale and Folly"


Posted on 08/28/2021 3:22 PM by Lev Tsitrin
Saturday, 28 August 2021
The Danger of Iran

by Michael Curtis

The powerful bomb blast attack by an ISIS affiliate, ISIS-K (Khorasan), a deadly terror group of jihadists from Syria and other areas, on American forces and Afghani civilians in Kabul on August 26, 2021, killed 13 U.S, troops and more than 90 Afghans. This was a dark day for the U.S., the deadliest day for U.S. military forces in Afghanistan since 2011. The event was tragic and ironic  for at least six reasons: the lamentable deaths of people trying to help others; the devastating refutation of President Joe Biden’s electoral campaign promise of competent decision making and understanding of foreign affairs; the chaotic nature of the actions for withdrawal of U.S. troops; the incongruity of 6,000 U.S. troops  being sent to help with the evacuation of the 2,5000 already there; the reliance of the U.S. troops and NATO members for their security on the Taliban, the group they were trying to kill a month earlier; the access of the Taliban to U.S. suppled military equipment, vehicles, planes, helicopters, arms, body armor and night vision goggles, and intelligence.

Moreover, the attack was a victory for a terrorist group whose elimination was purportedly the reason for the U.S. intervention in the first place after 9/11. That terrorist group, in slightly different form, instead of being eliminated, has been active over the last year including the brutal attack in June 2021,  and killing of ten mine cleaners on the Halo Trust,  a non-political and non-religious charity which removes debris, land mines, left by war. ISIS is now in a position to begin carrying out its objective, the establishment of a Caliphate in south and central Asia, governed by Sharia law.

Internal and international controversy will continue and mount over the debacle in Kabul and responsibility. President Biden has declared the “buck stops” with him.  But the mistakes of his administration are more compelling than the rhetoric: debate will continue on the hasty exit timetable  for U.S. from Afghanistan;  on the disagreements between U.S.  military leaders and the President on withdrawal; on Biden’s abrupt abandonment of Bagram Airbase  which could have been used for evacuation of Americans; alleged sharing of security arrangements; the giving a list to the Taliban of Afghans who aided the U.S.; the lack of success by a country with remarkable assets; 150 countries host U.S. troops ; 200,000 U.S. troops are located abroad; annual military spending is  $770 billion; the fleet has 11 aircraft carriers.

The world has been left uncertain about the acumen and practicality  of Biden’s policy in foreign affairs after the chaos to end what he called  the “for-ever war.” In view of his inability to secure the drawdown of U.S. troops in a secure and orderly way, the question arises, “Is Biden reliable as an American and world leader or is he detached from reality?”

Foreign countries are concerned: Ukraine, whether Biden can help deter Russia; can Taiwan rely on U.S. protection from China; should NATO  leaders now call for an independent European security operation from which the U.S, is excluded?  Most immediately, there is the problem of whether Biden is genuinely, as well as rhetorically, committed to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power.

The ISIS massacre occurred about an hour before a scheduled meeting was to take place in the White House between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett who was to be the first foreign visitor to the White House since the Biden decision of withdrawal from Afghanistan. Bennett, head of a diverse coaltion of right, center, and right parties,  doves and hardliners, of which Bennett is one, with a wafer thin majority of one, avoids issues that are  divisive.  He follows 12 years of leadership by Benjamin, Bibi, Netanyahu with whom he has little in common except they both speak perfect English. Bennett originally was an adherent of the Israeli right, a leader of a settler movement, lived for a time in a settlement, and even expressed an opinion for unilateral annexation of the West Bank. But he changed his views.

Bennett is anxious to make clear he is not Netanyahu, and is interested in bringing a “new spirit,” a spirit of hope, goodwill, and cooperation to Washington with which Israel shares values of democracy, and respects for human rights.  Netanyahu, after Biden took office, reduced the flow of information that Israeli security officials conveyed to the U.S. about contemplated operations, above all in Iran. One can suggest four reasons: Bibi believed the U.S. had leaked information about Israeli operations; intelligence sharing had declined during the Obama administration; Bibi believed that U.S. spy agencies kept him under surveillance: Biden seems determined on returning to the Iranian nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, 2015, from which the Trump administration pulled out in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.

There had been a change under the Trump administration.  The U.S., Trump and the then CIA director, Mike Pompeo, were the only foreign officials briefed before the Mossad attack on Iran’s nuclear archives in 2018.  Israel was made aware of Israeli bombing  attacks, of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and cooperation in the killing of former Islamic Revolution Guards  Corps commander, Qasem Soleimani, and another leader hiding in Tehran.

The close relationship cooled when Biden took office. He spoke of the “unalterable partnership” between the U.S.  and Israel, but he also spoke of returning to the Iranian nuclear deal. When Israel was involved in striking the Iran nuclear facility in April 2021, the Mossad gave the U.S. only two hours notice before the blast. Political differences emerged regarding Palestinians. Unlike Israel, Biden has mentioned the possibility of east Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state.

However, what is most important is the issue of the Iranian nuclear accord. Bennett has called an Iranian nuclear weapon a “nightmare for the whole world.”  The issue is stark. Biden appears to persist in pursuing a deal with Iran.  Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz holds that Iran is only two months away from acquiring the materials for  a nuclear weapon, and that its nuclear program could incite  an arms race in the region and the entire world. Iran, an important power, is a manifest danger in many ways. It could operate through proxies in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. It employs UAVs and guided missiles, it is able to disrupt maritime international trade as shown  by operations as in the  Mercer Street attack. It operates in cyberspace.

By the JCPOA, the nuclear, agreement, Iran was prohibited from transferring weapons to third countries. Yet, Iran which possesses more than 1,000 short and medium range  ballistic missiles, has sent weapons to the Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iraq. It has rockets that can reach Israeli territory, including the Khorramshahr 2, with a range of 1,243 miles, and the Shahab -3.

Bennett has made no secret that Iran is Israel’s top priority, that Iran is expediting its nuclear program, and that ties with the U.S. are essential on this issue to fend off and , as Antiny Blinken remarked, to curtail Iran’s attempt to dominate  the region.

Biden on taking office made known his  concerns; restoring millions in funding to Iran and providing relief from sanctions  after Trump had ended this aid, including funds to UNRWA,  repairing the U.S. relationship with the Palestine Authority and the PLO;  advancing a two state solution; providing humanitarian assistance programs to the Middle East; and reentering  the Iran nuclear deal in return for promises not to pursue  a nuclear weapon. But the reality is that Iran is accelerating its uraniun enrichment program and building of advanced centrifuges.

At the 50 minute one on one White House meeting on August 27, Biden again spoke of the “unshakeable partnership between our two nations,” and of establishing  a strong personal relationship with Bennett.  Agreement was reached on some issues: U.S. support for Israel’s Iron Dome system; progress on the U.S. Visa Waver program which would allow Israelis to visit the U.S, and vice versa, without a visa.

But differences remain: on a U.S. consulate to Palestinians in east Jerusalem; on the expansion of West Bank settlements, and above all on Iran. Iran is vital. On this the U.S. position is enigmatic. Biden has said, we’re putting diplomacy first and seeing where it takes us. “If diplomacy fails we’re ready to turn to other options.”  The essential problem is whether Biden, regarding those “options,” can carry a “big stick.”  Afghanistan has disposed of the cultivated image of Joe Biden as an experienced, wise and capable leader.

Posted on 08/28/2021 3:09 PM by Michael Curtis
Saturday, 28 August 2021
OUCH! - Joseph Heller

Literary Kicks in the Pants, Reported by Reg Green

Which is more important: money or health?

Here's a clue from Joseph Heller, "Health can't buy you money."

Posted on 08/28/2021 3:01 PM by Reg Green
Saturday, 28 August 2021
Who Blinded Mohammad Shaban?

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Agence France-Presse (AFP) carries the tugging-at-the-heartstrings tale of Mohammad Shaban, an eight-year-old Palestinian boy in Gaza who was blinded when a rocket exploded near him during the May hostilities. More on this story is here: “AFP Implies Gaza Youth Injured by Israeli Missile, Even Though Seemingly Caused by Terrorist Rocket,” by Charles Bybelezer, Algemeiner, August 23, 2021:

Eight-year-old Mohammed Shaban dreamed of returning to the classroom in Gaza for the start of the school year,” an article by Agence France-Presse (AFP) republished by numerous news outlets explains at its outset. “But after an exploded missile blinded him in May, he is staying home,” according to the piece.

Every life is precious. Every injury to a child is especially tragic. And every reader at this point is likely thinking that Shaban sustained his wounds because from May 10-21 “the Israeli army pummeled the Gaza Strip,” in the AFP’s approximation.

The article continues:

Mohammed said he was walking to a market to buy clothes during the conflict when a missile exploded. As a result of the blast, his father Hani said, “Mohammed was injured in the eyes, which led to the loss of his eyes, and Mohammed became completely blind.”

A truly terrible incident that deserves recounting. Perhaps more so, if the AFP had actually done a modicum of due diligence in order to provide conclusive facts about how the injury was sustained.

While the article notes that “the Shabans say Mohammed was injured by a missile fired by the Israelis,” immediately thereafter it contains the modifier, “although AFP could not independently verify it.”

While AFP says that Mohammed Shaban was blinded by a missile “fired by the Israelis,” it does add that “AFP could not independently confirm it”; its readers, however, are likely to focus on the blame placed on Israel by the parents of the boy and not on AFP’s admitted inability to “confirm” their claim.

Enter Human Rights Watch (HRW) — admittedly, no great promoter of Israeli military actions (see here and here) — whose August 12 report, titled “Palestinian Rockets in May Killed Civilians in Israel, Gaza,” began thus:

Palestinian armed groups’ rocket and mortar attacks during the May 2021 fighting in the Gaza Strip, which killed and injured civilians in Israel and Gaza, violated the laws of war and amount to war crimes.

HRW, headed by the obsessively anti-Israel Kenneth Roth, seldom misses a chance to blame Israel and absolve the Palestinians of “war crimes.” Yet here, HRW admits that the Palestinians’ rocket and mortar attacks not only hit Israel, but also “killed and injured civilians in Gaza.” That is because many of Hamas’ rockets misfired, falling short and landing back in Gaza.

The HRW report continues:

A local shop owner said:

“People were gathering [on the street] watching the rockets in the sky. I saw a rocket spinning in the air and then it came down and exploded, about 10 meters from where I was standing. There was smoke. I saw the dead and injured. I couldn’t stand what I saw. I broke down.… I saw a child, Mohammed Shaban, whose eyes were bleeding….” [emphasis added]

Charles Bybelezer comments at Algemeiner:

In fact, halfway through its profile, the AFP even cites HRW as saying that, “Palestinians fired indiscriminately at Israeli cities, with rockets that fell short killing at least seven Palestinians in Gaza and wounding others.”

Based on this quote, one of the AFP editors or authors was undoubtedly aware that HRW had compiled reports on casualties in Gaza, but nonetheless failed to include the findings about the cause of Shaban’s injury….

Why did AFP fail to report on the eyewitness testimony, included in the HRW report, of the shop owner who said he “saw a child, Mohammed Shaban, whose eyes were bleeding” just after a rocket was spinning in the air? A rocket that is out of control starts “spinning” soon after being launched, and not at the end of its flight. Thus the “spinning” rocket which the shop owner saw explode (and blind Mohammad Shaban), could only have been fired from Gaza, for any Israeli rockets that were out of control just after being launched would have fallen back inside Israel. Had AFP done so, it could have quoted that shop owner, and the blame for Mohammad Shaban’s blinding would have been placed squarely on Hamas itself. Why did AFP choose not to include that eyewitness account of the “spinning” rocket that exploded only thirty feet from the boy? We know the answer: AFP was determined to pin the blame on an Israeli rocket.

AFP, like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, and so many other members of the mainstream media, has its mind made up: Israel was guilty of “war crimes” in the Gaza war, and no eyewitness testimony that might in a particular case exculpate the IDF, and place the blame on Hamas, will be reported. Will the AFP now produce an amended version of its report, noting the evidence that a Hamas rocket “spinning” out of control was responsible for the blinding of Mohammad Shaban? You know the answer to that.

First published in Jihad Watch.

Posted on 08/28/2021 6:20 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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