The United States Senate and the Presumption of Innocence
by Michael Curtis
For what is a person profited if he or she shall gain the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and lose his/her own soul? The highly emotional day hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 27, 2018 listening to allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a California academic psychologist about a sexual assault on her by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in 1982 when she was 15 and he was 17 was more an occasion for cynical display of partisan politics than a genuine search for truth on the part of the members of the Committee. It was essentially a political charade, a turbid ebb and flow, aimed at delay by Democrats of a vote on the nomination of Kavanaugh to be a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. On the part of Republicans it included an effort to satisfy the demands of the #Me Too Movement while propelling their candidate to affirmation of Kavanaugh.
The starting problem is the divide and uncertainty about the validity of conflicting accounts by Ford and Kavanaugh of events 36 years ago. That uncertainty was understood by Republican leaders. President Donald Trump commented that Blasey Ford was a very credible witness, compelling, a very fine woman, and Kavanaugh's testimony was powerful, honest, and rivetting. Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell thought both testimonies were "heartfelt." There was no definitive outcome, and both sides remained convinced of their own views.
Perhaps the intended FBI investigation will provide further light relevant to the conflicting version of events.
Truth is elusive. We have been here before in fact and in fiction. The #Me Too Movement has focused on harrassment and attack on women, and on the fact that women in the past were reluctant to speak about their treatment. Now they are speaking out. At the same time there can be abuse of the truth. One fabricated case was the false charge of rape in March 2006 carried out by three members of the Duke University lacrosse team. The accuser was a student who worked as a dancer and stripper. She alleged the rape took place at a party in a house in Durhan, NC. Her story changed from time to time, at one time four players were involved in the rape, at another time only one. The three men were suspended, but a year later the charges were dropped. According to university officials, they had been victims of a "tragic rush to accuse." But support for the false accusations had been publicized in the local media, faculty and student groups, and the local community, and damage had been done.
In 1950 the powerful Japanese film Rashomon directed by Akira Kurosawa told the story of a murdered samurai whose body was discovered in a forest. At the murder investigation, four people and the ghost of the fifth, gave different accounts on what happened, and of possible motivation. In this case of murder and rape, contradictory depictions emerged, and there was no way of knowing the truth, which indeed may never be known, nor was there any solution presented out of the multiple realities suggested.
In similar way, in the American film, The Usual Suspects, of 1995, obviously influenced by Rashomon, a suspect being interviewed by a police official unveils a complicated story with multiple revelations, all false and all derived from his own character. What we see on scene, supposedly reflecting the truth about the legendary crime lord, Keyser Soze, does not corrspond to the reality as we find out. The mixed conclusion is to suspect what we have seen.
Different, contradictory versions of events were presented in the forum of the Judiciary Committee on September 27, 1982, and opinion about their accuracy was divided, largely if not wholly on political party lines. But there is more certainty about the political maneuvering and boorish behavior of some of the Senators. The hearing was more a theatrical spectacle of cynical games, a venue for display by competing possible Democratic presidential candidates, than a locale where truth was spoken to power.
There are legitimate differences on the validity of the presentations of Ford and Kavanaugh, but agreement is more likely on other factors. One is that the hearing was not one of the finest hours in Senate history and the conduct of a number of the Senators was questionable. The second factor is the virtual refusal to discuss the merits of the issue, since minds were already made up on a partisan basis. We are familiar with Alice; "sentence first, verdict afterwards...you're nothing but a pack of cards." An axiom of democratic politics is that decision making stems from listening to and adjudicating between conflicting sides of a dispute. This was not the case of some Senators who walked out of the hearing of the Committee, and others who refused to vote on a motion to proceed. This proclamation of absence must be one of the most bizarre interpretations of the Senate's role of "advice and consent."
In political argument, passion is to be expected, as is anger and emotion, as well as cool argument, especially on allegations that are disputed and unsubstantiated by other persons. Politics, as Max Weber wrote, takes both passion and perspective. But gladitorial displays, exemplified by Cory Booker, the would be Sparatus and presidential contender from New Jersey are more appropriate for the circus than the political arena.
In the present case, there remains behavior and statements that need scrutiny not only about the believability of allegations concerning Kavanaugh but also about the actions and non-actions of some of the Senators especially the curious and controversial behavior of Democratic ranking member of the Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein who had not revealed her knowledge of the allegations for several weeks and thus delayed Senate discussion of them, presumably for political partisan reasons. Democrats objected that Committee chair Senator Grassley was conducting the meeting in an autocratic way.
The third, and most important factor, is the lack of respect for the rules of the political game, such as prohibition of leaking of priviledged information, and, above all, disregard of crucial elements of the rule of law.
On July 9, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Twenty minutes later, Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer announced that he and his fellow Democrats would do everything possible to derail the nomination: "I will oppose him with everything I've got." It is appropriate for politicians to approve or disapprove of policy out of philosphical conviction. But it is not appropriate to rush to judgment without any examination of the alleged events or to ascribe guilt, even if expressed in cynical fashion, as Schumer did. Later in regard to the hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee when Kavanaugh faced allegations of sexual misconduct, he said that Kavanaugh received "no presumption of innocence or guilt as a nominee seeking conformation." The absurd excuse for the equivocal statement was that the event was not a criminal trial, but "a fact finding procedure."
Irrespecive of differing views of the allegations against Kavanaugh, what is most troubling is this disregard of or indifference toward a cardinal principle of the rule of law and presumption of innocence while in pursuit of political objectives, and, at an extreme, the politics of personal destruction. It is astonishing that Senators, perhaps lacking historical knowledge, need reminders of this basic principle. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, August 26, 1789, states Article 9, "everyone is presumed innocent until declared guilty." The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 1948, states in Article11, "Everyone charged with a personal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees for his defense."
There are similar assertions in the same language in the document of the Council of Europe, The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and FundamentalFreedoms, adopted in 1950 and entered into force in 1953 by the Council of Europe. The principle is also endorsed in the December 1993 Constitution of Russia, Article 49, "everyone charged with a crime should be considered not guilty until his or her guilt has been proven."
In the U.S. the Supreme Court in Coffin v. U.S.1895 held that the principle that that there is "a presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law." Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 68, warned of the "talents for low intrigue and the little arts of popularity" of some polticians. It might be more useful for the FBI to conduct an investigation into Senatorial understanding or lack of comprehension of the meaning of presumption of innocence as well as search for evidence of Kavanaugh's culpability or innocence.
Is it time for Jews to leave Europe? Cover stories in Atlantic and Commentary magazines have asked this question.
At the University of Texas, a visiting Israeli professor had to go about campus in disguise. At Oberlin College, progressive students dismissed the Holocaust as “white-on-white” crime. Such examples proliferate.
Israel is the only Western-style democracy in the greater Middle East, a world leader in medicine, science and technology, a first responder in international humanitarian relief efforts. Yet public opinion surveys find it ranked as a chief threat to world peace.
The post-1945 world of “Never again!” is gone. In Jews Make the Best Demons: “Palestine” and the Jewish Question, published October 22 by New English Review Press, Eric Rozenman examines the post-modern propagation of pre-modern beliefs and the danger not only for the Jewish state and Jews everywhere, but the entire liberal West.
Theodore Herzl expected Zionism’s Altneuland, the old-new Jewish state, to at long last normalize the status of the Jewish people. Instead, Rozenman shows antisemitism resurrected through anti-Zionism has made Israel the Neualtjude, the new-old Jew. In the process, today’s Israelis, today’s Jews have been indicted not as demonic Christ-killers but rather as demonic nation-killers of the Palestinian Arabs.
Jews Make the Best Demons illuminates how:
· “The Jewish question” has troubled Western intellectuals from the Enlightenment on;
· The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, despite early exposure as a forgery, became the mother of all anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, widely distributed by Henry Ford, Adolf Hitler and today across the Middle East;
· Kaiser Wilhelm II in World War I and Hitler in World War II successfully sponsored anti-British, anti-French and anti-Zionist Muslim extremists who would lead directly to today’s Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and Iranian leadership;
· The Soviet Union continued what the Kaiser and der Fuhrer had begun, ultimately recruiting the Arab League in support of Moscow’s infamous 1975 U.N. Zionism-is-racism resolution;
· As a result, the medieval blood libel against the Jews has been revived in “water-theft” and “organ-stealing” guises and repeatedly in its original form as part of the “Palestine narrative”; and
· Twentieth century Palestinian terrorism, tolerated when largely targeting Israelis and Jews, became the gateway drug for 21st century Islamist terrorism.
Western academics, in deconstructed hostility to objectivity and factual history, have enabled the return of Jew-hatred from the fringe to the mainstream. As French President Emmanuelle Macron, among others, has declared, anti-Zionism is antisemitism.
Rozenman, a former editor of Washington Jewish Week and B’nai B’rith’s International Jewish Monthly, argues that the anti-Zionism/antisemitism merger seeks to make of the Jewish state and people what the medieval Church, Marx and Hitler ultimately made of the stateless, oppressed “wandering Jew”—the Devil incarnate, humanity’s perpetual enemy. That it does so with early Bolshevik categories like “racist, imperialist and colonialist” amounts to newer bottles for a 2,000-year-old wine.
The renewed blood libel, cloaked in the “Palestinian narrative,” is as false as the original and no more likely to be defeated only with facts. Jews Makes the Best Demons concludes that what also is required is a psychological transformation, the one pointed to by psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. It is a rejection of George Orwell’s “streamlined men who think in slogans and talk in bullets” coupled with an embrace of Frankl’s “race” of the decent, shunning the indecent who still seek an answer to “the question of Palestine,” in reality the question of Israel, the age-old Jewish question.
Of Jews Make the Best Demons, historian Daniel Pipes, publisher of Middle East Quarterly, has written: “Rozenman’s cry from the heart establishes the clear connection between the old antisemitism and the new anti-Zionism. Only the blind or the wicked can deny his truth, proven by exemplary research: everyone else will learn from him.”
In Great Britain, Jeremy Corbyn and his willing collaborators in the Labour Party continue their ferocious attacks on anyone in the party who still supports Israel. In the first week of September, a vote of no-confidence against Joan Ryan, the head of Labour Friends of Israel, passed 94-92 among local party members. Frank Field, another long-serving MP and prominent supporter of Israel, resigned as whip to protest the Labour Party becoming a “force for antisemitism” and for allowing a “culture of nastiness, bullying and intimidation” to develop; he was informed that as result he was no longer a member of the Party.
As is well known, Jeremy Corbyn intensely dislikes Israel. He refers to members of Hamas and Hezbollah, on the other hand, as “friends.” They feel the same about him. In a Twitter post, Hamas wrote: “We salute Jeremy Corbyn’s supportive positions to the Palestinians.”
When first accused of having honored dead terrorists at a graveside ceremony in Tunisia in October 2014, Corbyn denied that he had been anywhere near the graves of any terrorists, and he certainly had “no memory” of any wreath laying. Then some photographs surfaced. One of them shows Corbyn holding — with others — a large wreath. And the grave they are standing over turns out to have been that of one of those who planned the murder of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Another photo of Jeremy Corbyn shows him posing in the same graveyard next to a convicted terrorist, Fatima Bernawi, who was given a life sentence for trying to blow up a Israeli cinema in 1967. While the attempted terror attack did not come off, Bernawi boasted that it was successful because it “generated fear.” Bernawi was later freed in a prisoner swap, and was thus able to attend the same terrorist-honoring graveside ceremony as Jeremy Corbyn.
Asked to explain what he was doing next to a convicted terrorist, Mr Corbyn’s spokesman said: “Jeremy has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people and engaging with actors in the conflict to support peace and justice in the Middle East.”
Notice that Corbyn, though his spokesman, did not claim that he did not know who Bernawi was, or what she had been convicted of. She was the only woman in the graveside group, and both that and her appearance (Bernawi was an Afro-Palestinian) would almost certainly have led Corbyn to ask who she was.
In the same group photo is another important terrorist, Maher al-Taher, the exiled head of a Palestinian terror group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It was his group that the very next month, November 2014, would murder seven rabbis at a synagogue in Jerusalem during morning prayers.
Both Corbyn and Al-Taher were invited by the official Palestinian Authority delegation to the cemetery in the Tunisian capital.
After attending a “peace conference” in a five-star hotel, they laid wreaths to the men buried there – including those who masterminded the 1972 Olympics massacre.
Nothing says “peace” like laying wreaths at the graves of terrorists, especially of those who planned the 1972 murders of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.
The Labour leader has since said he was “unaware” he was sharing a platform with a senior member of a terror group (as well as a convicted terrorist standing right next to him) and he told Channel 4 News that he laid his wreath “on the graves of all those that have died,” adding: “I’m not apologising for being there at all.” Even now he has yet to apologize for saying a prayer, and laying a wreath, at the graves of terrorists.
Then there is the controversy over a blatantly antisemitic mural on a London building. It shows a group of recognizably Jewish men — to judge by the dollars on the table, they are bankers — seated around a tabletop which is revealed to be a monopoly board, held up by the bent bodies of the oppressed poor. The local government in 2012 wanted the mural removed. Corbyn, in a Facebook comment, instead defended the mural; he, practically alone, could not see what was wrong with it. What was all the fuss about?, asked Corbyn dismissively. You can judge for yourself here.
The discovery of Corbin’s 2012 Facebook post in which he found the mural unobjectionable has added to the longstanding criticism of the Labour leader: he frequently turns a blind eye to antisemitism, whether it is his own (which he is incapable of recognizing), or that of others, especially if they are in his party. When Ken Livingstone compared Israeli soldiers to Nazi concentration camp guards, he was not expelled from the party, and even when he claimed that Hitler had supported Zionism in the 1930s, he was not expelled, but only temporarily suspended. When Livingstone, who has continued to be unapologetic about that remark, resigned from the party in May 2018, it was not due to any pressure from Corbyn. The Labour MP Margaret Hodge, a longtime member of Labour Friends of Israel, has described Corbyn as an “antisemite and racist.” Joan Ryan, the head of Labour Friends of Israel, has made the same charge, at greater length, in a series of open letters to Corbyn, as here and here. Ryan accuses Corbyn of peddling “grotesque” antisemitic conspiracy theories, including his claiming on Iranian state TV in 2012 that the “hand of Israel” was behind a jihad terror attack in Egypt that year. Ms. Ryan said: “Mr Corbyn’s claim is ludicrous, grotesque and entirely unfounded in fact. It evokes a sinister anti-Semitic conspiracy theory alleging Israeli origins in terrorism.”
Corbyn, of course, finds nothing wrong with his having helped lay a wreath at the grave of Black September members, the group that was behind the Munich murders. Those in the Tunisian graveyard may not have actually taken part in the murders — those killers were buried in Libya — but they certainly helped to plan the Munich attack. That is why, having first claimed that he had no idea who was being honored at the graveyard in Tunisia, Corbyn then said that he had not laid a wreath at the grave of anyone who “took part” in the Munich massacre, which was true only technically, but false in its essence. He not only laid a wreath at the grave of a Black September member, but in other pictures, he is seen standing close to where another terrorist, Atef Bseiso, the intelligence chief of the Palestine Liberation Organisation who has also been linked to the Munich massacre, is buried.
The photos, taken a year before he became leader of the party, clearly show him with his hands, palms up and properly cupped, taking part in an Islamic prayer at the burial site.
Corbyn still sees nothing wrong with his having invited his “friends” in Hamas and Hezbollah to address Parliament in 2009. He is especially fond of Hamas. Corbyn spoke at a conference in Doha in 2012 alongside Hamas terrorists and called their speeches “fascinating and electrifying.” And he enjoyed a takeaway dinner in 2010 with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, a remarkable choice of dining companion, considering that Mashal is on Britain’s terror sanctions list. He has dismissed the many accusations of antisemitism in the Labor Party’s ranks. The latest example is Peter Willsman, who is standing for re-election to the party’s National Executive Committee, and who blamed allegations of antisemitism on Jewish “Trump fanatics” in a recording released by the Jewish Chronicle. Luciana Berger, one of the Labour moderates who tried to oust Corbyn in 2016, called the recording “sickening.” Another of the former rebels, Wes Stressing, said in a tweet it was “depressing” that “the Party’s leadership have only ever been shamed into action on antisemitism.” Corbyn has done nothing to discipline Williamson. Nor has he taken issue with the campaign to have Israel labelled as a “racist endeavor.”
Dutch 'terror cell plotting major suicide attack had 220lbs of fertiliser for car bomb', prosecutors says after it was revealed ringleader was released early from prison for trying to join extremists in Syria
The suspects briefly appeared for the first time in the Rotterdam District court on Friday on terror-related charges, where their case was remanded until next week.
The men, who range from 21 to 34 years, were not named and will remain under maximum security conditions - which means they are only allowed to talk to their lawyers. The ringleader, named as Hardi N, was released early from prison after trying to join ISIS in Syria, it emerged today.
During Thursday's search 'police confiscated a substantial amount of raw materials to make bombs at the suspects' homes,' the Dutch public prosecution service said
Officers had previously placed a group of people under surveillance, including a 34-year-old Dutch man of Iraqi origin who was convicted in 2017 of attempting to reach territory controlled by the jihadist Islamic State group. . . Two others in the group also had convictions related to attempts to travel to Iraq or Syria. The men are suspected of wanting to attack civilians at a major event in the Netherlands, the Dutch secret service (AIVD) said, but a possible target was not named.
Hardi N, 34, who was born in Iraq but lived in Arnhem, was initially jailed for 16 months in 2016 for trying to join Al Qaeda in Syria, but was released after less than a year after claiming to have renounced his extremist views. As part of his probation, he agreed to seek religious counselling once a week. In February 2016 he was sentenced to 16 months in jail with eight on probation. Despite the sentence being below the legal minimum, he decided to appeal. The appeal was heard at The Hague in October 2017 when judges increased his sentence to 24 months, but agreed he could serve 21 months on probation.
Two other terror suspects also had previous convictions, including 21-year-old Waïl el-A. who had also attempted to travel to Syria, Dutch media reported.
Far-Right politician Geert Wilders, who has previously denounced the treatment of Hardi N as too soft, attacked the Dutch government for its soft-touch approach following his arrest.
ncluded in the arrest was Waïl el-A who was previously sentenced to two years in jail for attempting to travel to Syria . . . El-A is linked to N through a jihadi rapper known as Marouane B. All three lived in the town of Arnhem before B traveled to Syria to fight. In a letter sent to De Telegraaf last year, B threatened that either he or his friends would carry out a terrorist atrocity in the Netherlands after the government supported US attacks in Syria.
Officials said that the investigation sped up this month because of the suspects' 'advanced preparations'.
It is not yet known exactly what event they were planning to target. However, the Netherlands will host a number of high profile marathons including the Pinjnenburg BosMarathon in Soest on October 7, the Eindhoven Marathon on October 14 and the TCS Amsterdam Marathon on October 21.
The suspects are to be brought before an investigating judge on Friday at a behind-closed-doors hearing.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which wants to establish an Islamic state with Sharia law, has been holding a series of ‘roadshows’ across the country.
An undercover reporter who attended a number of the meetings was sold books suggesting suicide strikes are acceptable, and others saying jihad was ‘compulsory’ to spread the message of Islam.
The undercover reporter attended several of the group’s events in the past five months in locations ranging from East London to Bradford and Rochdale.They were sold five extremist booklets for £2 by a boy of around 13 running a stall at the Fairweather Event Hall in Bradford. . . .
Another book being peddled was called ‘Democracy is a System of Kufr’ – a derogatory term for non-believers. It said: ‘It is obligatory on the Muslims to completely discard democracy. It is filth.’ The book goes on to disparage homosexuality before claiming that ‘sex with all animals’ is increasing in the West.
Later Hizb ut-Tahrir follower Dr Mohammed Zahid, who has lectured at Newcastle and Durham universities, described the group’s continuing influence on campuses – despite being ‘no-platformed’ by the National Union of Students.
Dr Zahid said: ‘We are active on campuses, just not as much as we used to be.
Hizb ut-Tahrir wants to establish an Islamic state stretching from north Africa to the Philippines and has produced articles promoting martyrdom in Israel. When our reporter asked one member, Mazhar Khan, about the anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party, he defended Jeremy Corbyn.
He said: ‘When you say it how it is people just don’t like it. And he’s the only one saying it as it is. That’s why even his own party is turning against him.’
Seven men have been arrested in the Netherlands on suspicion of plotting a significant terror attack. The alleged attackers intended to carry out an assault using rifles, grenades and a car bomb.
Heavily armed police arrested the men on Thursday in the towns of Arnhem, about 62 miles (100km) south of Amsterdam, and Weert close to the borders of Belgium and Germany.
An investigation, which has run for several months, was launched into whether the alleged ringleader, a 34-year-old man of Iraqi heritage, wanted to carry out an attack using bomb vests and assault rifles,
An investigation of potential targets is continuing.
Prosecutors said three of the attackers, including the 34-year-old Iraqi, were previously convicted of attempting to travel overseas to join extremist networks.
They say the investigation had to be accelerated because of the suspects' "advanced preparations".
The plot was revealed as the Dutch government announced plans to register the race and religion of gun owners after a series of Islamist terrorist attacks across Europe such as the shootings and bombings in Paris three years ago.
Ferdinand Grapperhaus, the justice minister, said that police “required personal data including race or ethnic origin, political views and religious and philosophical convictions” for gun registration. “There are diverse risk factors for gun ownership,” he wrote in a ministerial memorandum to parliament.
However, MPs, including those in the governing coalition, and gun-owners’ associations criticised the measure as discriminatory in a country that prides itself on liberalism. The Royal Dutch Sports Rifling Association said that the proposal was unnecessary because “almost no shooting incidents” or terrorist attacks involved legal weapons.
The credibility of the anti-Kavanaugh forces has been diluted by the latest spate of uncorroborated stories.
by Conrad Black
It is likely that this week is the turn from a soft blue trend in the election campaign, which is turning into a referendum on the Trump presidency, in to a clear red confirmation. The patient strategy of Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee chairman Senator Chuck Grassley seems to be accommodating demands that Christine Blasey Ford get a fair hearing without giving away so much time that it is too late to confirm Judge Kavanaugh before the Senate rises for the election campaign. The appearance this week of the uncorroborated, much scorned, revenant vision of one Deborah Ramirez, who claims that Mr. Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while they were freshmen at Yale 34 years ago and both were drunk, and that she inadvertently touched the future judge’s tackle as she made her escape, was too much even for the New York Times, and it was handed off to The New Yorker. The immense literary history of the latter publication is besmirched by this taking of the Times’ leavings and inflicting an ancient bibulous phallic fantasy on its readers. Even worse for the Trump-haters was the rat scrambling against the traffic and running up the hawser of the sinking ship, as the egregious Michael Avenatti portentously announced that he had excavated another Kavanaugh victim whom he would unveil shortly.
Throwing this naughty fairy tale and the most obnoxious poltroon in America into the hopper, as Dr. Ford prepares finally to testify, simultaneously defangs the reasonable feminists who don’t want the Ford story to go unheard but don’t have a closed mind against Kavanaugh and dilutes the credibility of the anti-Kavanaugh forces to a point where the wobblers in the Republican ranks should be steady enough. Senators Collins, Corker, Flake, and Sasse seem to like Kavanaugh more than they dislike Trump, and on an issue where the Republican party is almost united, breaking ranks at this point, unless the Kavanaugh position is legitimately undermined, would be seen by everyone as malicious: acting out their hostility to the president at the expense of a distinguished judge fighting for his reputation against unworthy calumnies. Avenatti was a Rahm Emanuel political operative when a law student, went bankrupt as a lawyer, and appointed himself the counsel for Stormy Daniels. He was reduced to crowd-funding to try to pay for his self-publicizing tour as he tried to blackmail the president. There is no place for such a charlatan in the confirmation procedure of a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
As this has played out, there has also been the latest sequence of tremors under the once daunting façade and edifice of the U.S. Justice Department and FBI. It is not clear exactly what Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was doing and saying in the conversations with fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and former senior FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, in which there was a reference to wearing a microphone to record the president’s words in contemplation of invoking the 25th Amendment, by which a vote of the vice president, the cabinet, and two thirds of both houses of Congress could declare a president mentally or physically unfit for the exercise of that office. It has never been used, though it was considered when President Reagan was under anesthetic because of the assassination attempt on him in 1981, but he recovered so quickly, it was not necessary. Some Democratic unofficial spokespeople such as Watergate mythmaker Carl Bernstein have bandied it about as a remedy for the “constitutional crisis” of President Trump’s obvious mental imbalance, as if this were a reenactment of the Madness of George III. The whole concept is absurd, a non-starter of epic unfeasibility. This already surrealistic idiocy was amplified by Amnesty International’s calling for Kavanaugh’s withdrawal for violating human rights.
The president has said that he will consider Rosenstein’s position, and Rosenstein is reported to have said that this was a joke conversation, and obviously that that was all it was. The fact that the New York Times, which drew the line at the Ramirez idiocy has run with this story, makes it slightly more credible. But it does not overcome Rosenstein’s right to a presumption that he would not, with others, contemplate any such insane enterprise as invoking the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein recommended the firing of former FBI director James Comey, signed an improper FISA warrant renewal in respect of Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and has a great many unsustainable conflicts of interest in likely or pending litigation, including the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel, his own and Mueller’s role in the Uranium One–Clinton Foundation controversy now being examined by special counsel John Huber, and in anything to do with consideration of whether a case can be made against the president for obstruction of justice. (It can’t from anything that is public, but that does not entirely excuse Rosenstein.) He is under an impeachment motion from the House of Representatives, and his willful withholding of vital information from the Judiciary and Oversight committees of the Congress has been an outrage. It is difficult to see how Rosenstein can continue. He will only see the president on Thursday when the president returns to Washington from speaking to the United Nations and meeting many world leaders.
When his departure was floated as a trial balloon in Washington on Monday, it did not draw a very energetic reaction, even from Democratic radicals such as Adam Schiff, who could manage only a feeble reference to Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre of 1973. (The attorney general, the deputy attorney general, and the special prosecutor were all fired or resigned then in vastly different circumstances to these.) Whether Rosenstein goes or stays, the justice system is becoming steadily more accountable to the Congress and the president, not to stifle Mueller, but to facilitate the clean-up of the FBI and plumb the depths of the politicization of the Obama prosecution service and intelligence agencies, a form of misconduct for which 90 percent of Americans would have zero tolerance, if the facts could be deduced without partisan taint. While pursuing that Holy Grail, the pressure on the president should ease. The country is becoming accustomed to him as president, even if reluctantly, and it is obvious that he will only cease to be president when he or the voters or the two-term limit determine. As cant and emotionalism subside, his presidency can be seen as substantially successful, and we are a long way from the frenzy, disbelief, and scorched-earth obstruction of two years ago. The crisis is passing.
Some clarification from the court: Judge Hilliard is going to take submissions in writing on how to proceed with the case, whether there will be a "substantive hearing" and whether he or another judge will be hearing it. That is the decision he will be making at the next date - he is not making a decision on the issue of contempt as a whole.
Judge Hilliard says a prospective next date is 23 October, but that is not set in stone. He says he wants to continue with the case as soon as possible for everyone's benefit, including Robinson's.
Judge Hilliard says Robinson has been on bail under the condition that he does not approach Leeds Crown Court, which stands.
Photographs and eye witness reports to follow.
I'm told that about 1000 supporters (left) of Tommy were outside the Central Criminal Court Old Bailey. From the live feeds of two friends I can hear them chanting oh, Tommy, Tommy, and We want Tommy Out (yes, he is out on bail but we want him to stay out, and it's a good rhythm)
There were about 20 people from Stand Up To Racism - they were removed from the area very early on. The screen grab below is a bit blured but you can see how few they are.
The Police frightened the local pubs such that quite a few of them have closed voluntarily. They should know that it is the left who cause the trouble, while Tommy's supporters just want a drink, hot or cold, alcoholic or not, and maybe a bag of crisps and a packet of pork scratchings.
'He appears to be speaking to the cameras as the crowd chant "we love you" The crowd is too dense to get close'
It is indeed excellent is to see the numbers of people there today, in the middle of a working week. I know some people who used a day's holiday, others juggled their shifts so as to be there. Some are retired - there was a mix of young and old, men and women.
This level of support can only boost Tommy's morale, and it does the authorities no harm to be appraised of public opinion.
They'll be a change in the political weather, a change in the way of living. French life is changing. Bans on smoking in public places, cuts in the Grandes Vacances, the long school summer holidays, the virtual disappearance of the game of boules, the Paris plage along the Seine, free bicycles around town, fewer holiday tables under the trees in April. Not surprisingly French politics are changing, if less dramatically, with it. France is still haunted by the memory of things past, by the wounds of the past, its years under Vichy and the long colonial control of Algeria. The country has found the art of losing hard to master, but opinion is growing among the politically active that it is time to come to terms with its history and acknowledge the truth.
Reminders of and reevaluations of French colonial history have come to the fore with actions concerning a sensitive issue, the treatment of the Harkis. On September 25, 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron announced he would grant the Legion d'Honneur, the country's top honor, to six Harkis and the co-founder of an organization that has fought for their rights, and also give the Order of Merit to 19 other Harkis.
"Harki" is a term that is sometimes used pejoritatively but it denotes a significant group of people. The Harkis are native Muslim Algerians who served as auxillaries, professionals, volunteers, or officials in the French army during the Algerian war of independence, 1954-62. An estimated 450,000 Algerians worked for France in some capacity during that period. In that war of indepedence there were 1.5 million Algerian victims, according to Algerian sources. French figures suggest that both sides suffered a total of 400,000 causalties in a war characterized by atrocities committed by both sides, the use of napalm by one side, the recourse to torture by the other.
The figures are not clear or exact, but it is officially stated that 60,000 Harkis were allowed into France after Algerian independence in 1962, while 55,000-75,000 remained in Algeria. Were they brave patriots or traitors? Everybody has his own date. The Harkis acting for France have been unfairly equated with those who were collaborators with Vichy in World War II. Their decisions and actions were rarely, if ever, motived by ideological factors. Their activity has to be seen in the context of at least two factors. One was the poverty of the Algerian rural population, and therefore the choice of young Algerians to join the French forces to get a job to support their families. The other was that the very violence of some of the mujahideen of the National Liberation Army, in killing Algerians loyal to France in addition to attacking French military posts, led some to side with the French.
The war ended with the Evian Accords on March 18, 1962. About a million settlers, "pied-noirs" fled Algeria to live in France. But hostilities continued in Algeria and in France. Thousands of Harkis were assassinated by fellow Algerians after declaration of independence on July 3, 1962. In France, friction remained including the killing of a number of French police. In response, the prefect of Paris police, Maurice Papon imposed a curfew, 8 p.m. to 5.30 a.m. on the Algerian community in the Paris metropolitian area. On October 17, 1961, the Paris wing of the FLN, Algerian National Liberation Front, organized a peaceful demonstration at various places in Paris. The French police massacred many, perhaps 200, of the demonstrators, throwing many of the bodies into the Seine.
It is doubly interesting that the police prefect was Maurice Papon, the politically adaptable figure who had started his career as a socialist in 1936. During World War II he was pro-Vichy. and a senior official in the prefecture at Bordeaux. There he was responsible for authorizing the deportation of 1,690 Jews, including 22 children, to Drancy from where they were sent to death in Nazi camps. These activities remained unknown until 1981 when the LeCanard Enchaine made them public. He was arrested and after a long trial delay he was convicted in 1998 of "crimes against humanity" and sentenced to 10 years prison, from which he was released in 2002.
Papon had a successful career, civil servant, a member of the National Assembly, and Minister of the Budget. Ironically, President Charles de Gaulle awarded him the Legion of Honor in 1961, the year of the Paris massacre. Papon agreed many Algerians were killed in Paris, but falsely attributed it to fighting among rival Algerian factions. He disclaimed any responsibility for improper actions by the Paris police. In contrast, forty years later, Bertrand Delanoe, Socialist mayor of Paris, born in Tunisia, on October 17, 2001, unveiled a plaque near the Saint Michel bridge from which "many" Algerians were thrown into the river on October 17, 1961. It reads "to the memory of the Algerians, victims of the bloody repression of a peaceful demonstration."
There are, as Delanoe commented, parts of Paris's history that are painful, but which have to be discussed and accompanied by actions. France is gradually coming to terms with its painful past including the 132 years of colonial rule in Algeria. Changes were gradual. President Valery Giscard d'Estaing was the first French president to visit officially independent Algeria, and that was in 1975. On September 25, 2001, President Jacques Chirac who, at first refused to ackowledge French responsibity for its actions in Algeria, called for a day of national recognition for the Harkis.
President Nicholas Sarkozy in 2007 admitted the colonial system had misdeeds, sufferings, and injustices, but refused to apologize or express repentence. However, in April 2012 Sarkozy admitted that France had failed to do its duty and protect the Harkis. His successor Francois Hollande in 2012 went further, saying that for 132 years Algeria was subjected to a "deeply unjust and brutal" system.
In 2017 Emmanuel Macron, the first president born after the Algerian war, was even more extreme asserting that the coloniztion of Algeria was a crime against humanity, although crimes and atrocities were committed on both sides. he admitted that in 1956 the French parliament had given the army special powers to restore order, and to arrest and detain suspects. On September 13, 2018 he admitted that France had instituted a system that facilitated systematic torture in the 1950-60s. Forthrightly, Macron admitted the torture and execution by French soldiers of Mauric Audin, the 25 year old mathematician and anti-colonial activist abducted from his home on June 11, 1957 during the Battle of Algiers, and never seen again. Audin had since become a symbol of French brutality in Algeria. What is important is that this is the first time a French president broke with the attitude of denial and in a landmark way admitted France had used torture, a weapon considered legitimate at the time.
In the center of Algiers there is a Place Maurice-Audin. It is unlikely there will be a similar street name in Paris, but the logic of recent French actions suggest that the lessons of the past have been drawn, and that the admissions of the truth can help build a better future.
I used to wonder if the Dalai Lama was deliberately trying to pretend that the real Islam was all those nice things — peaceful, tolerant — he claimed, in the hope that if enough Muslims heard this repeated by enough Infidels, it would change their behavior; Muslims pleased to hear themselves described as such would then begin to behave so as to fit the description. Well, it didn’t happen, and Muslim violence, including terrorism, against non-Muslims has only increased pari passu with the descriptions of Islam in the West as peaceful and tolerant. There is nothing that the Dalai Lama, or Pope Francis, can say that will change Muslim beliefs and behavior. But their pronouncements do real damage to those in the West who are confused about Islam, have a need to know about it (their lives may depend on it), trust them as spiritual leaders, and accept on faith their wildly misleading characterizations of Islam.
The Dalai Lama has not given any evidence of having read the Qur’an and Hadith, for he has failed to grasp the essence of Islam as a text-centered faith. If he has not read those texts, that bespeaks one kind of unintelligence. If he has read those texts, but still failed to comprehend their meaning, and instead has taken at face value the assurances of taqiyya-masters as to what Islam teaches, then he demonstrates another kind of unintelligence. If he thinks it makes sense to ignore 1,400 years of Islamic history, that is still a third kind of unintelligence.
To sum up: the Dalai Lama continues to assert that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant faith, and that therefore, there is no such thing as a “Muslim terrorist,” because anyone who engages in terrorism cannot be a true Muslim.
In order to arrive at this bizarre view, the Dalai Lama has had to ignore a great deal, including:
1. 1,400 years of Islamic history, and of the Jihads waged in many different lands and against many different peoples, that took Islam from being the faith of a few dozen people in dusty 7th-century Mecca to becoming the faith of 1.6 billion people across the globe. In India alone, 70-80 million Hindus were killed in Jihads.
2. The more than 109 verses in the Qur’an that command Believers to wage violent Jihad against the Infidels. Among them are these: “And kill them [the Infidels] wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing” (2:191); “They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal. So take not Auliya’ (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah. But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya’ (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them” (4:89); “Then when the Sacred Months have passed, then kill the Mushrikun wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush.” (9:5). There are more than 100 other verses similar in their violence. How did the Dalai Lama manage to miss them all?
3. Verses in the Qur’an that call specifically for “striking terror” in the hearts of the enemy, such as “Your Lord inspired the angels: I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes…” (3:151) or that call for extreme violence, as “So, when you meet those who disbelieve, smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly.” (47:4)
4. Many passages in the Hadith, in which we learn that Muhammad took part in 27 military campaigns, helped in decapitating 600-900 prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, ordered the torture and killing of Kinana of Khaybar, and learned with satisfaction of the killing of several people who mocked him.
5. Muhammad declaring in the Hadith that “war is deceit.”
6. Muhammad declaring in one of his most famous Hadith that “I have been made victorious through terror.”
These are only a few of the passages that the Dalai Lama seemingly is unfamiliar with. Did he know of them before? What does he make of them now? And if he did know of them, why did he think it was right for him to ignore them? If he leaves out so much of significance that is found in the Islamic texts, why should anyone trust his version — sanitized beyond belief — of Islam? And how can he remain so ignorant of the history even of his own faith, Buddhism, and how it fared when the Muslims arrived and conquered India?
The Dalai Lama (Version Two):
The Dalai Lama has consistently been telling us that we have nothing to fear from the authentic, peaceful Islam. Yet at a conference in Malmö, Sweden this September, he struck a more somber and worried note. He took a much harder line on immigration. He declared that immigrants should receive appropriate training and then be sent back to their companies of origin instead of remaining in Europe. The exiled spiritual leader of Tibet said that while Europe can help refugees, “Europe belongs to the Europeans,” and migrants should rebuild their homelands.
Malmö, Sweden, where he made his comments, has struggled with an increase in rape and violent crimes correlating to an increase in refugees from Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries. The Dalai Lama argued that European countries were “morally responsible” for assisting “a refugee really facing danger against their life,” but that refugees should ultimately go back and rebuild their home countries.
“Receive them, help them, educate them … but ultimately they should develop their own country,” the Dalai Lama said, according to AFP.
“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans,” he added, saying “they ultimately should rebuild their own country.”…
“From a moral point of view, too, I think that the refugees should only be admitted temporarily.”
The Dalai Lama has clearly become much more aware of the demographic changes sweeping Europe, and he doesn’t like what he sees. He will not come out and criticize Islam, but he certainly does not want Muslim migrants remaining in Europe. He thinks that only bona fide refugees, those who are facing “danger against their life,” should be admitted. The 80-90% who are economic migrants, seeking to receive benefits — the more the better — from Europe’s generous welfare states, should not in the Dalai Lama’s new view be admitted at all, but should be promptly returned to their home countries. Not only that, but even the real refugees — those who have legitimate fears for their lives — “should only be admitted temporarily.” They might be sent back to their countries of origin, once the life-threatening violence has decreased, or possibly sent to other countries akin to their own, where the violence is less life-threatening. If “refugees” cannot return, say, to Libya, because of continued warfare, there are a dozen other Muslim Arab countries that might be a much better fit — with people identical to these “refugees” in language, customs, religion — than Sweden or Germany or France.
What explains this new attitude on immigration by the Dalai Lama? Though the word “Muslim” is not used, it must be understood as implicit in all that he says, for the migrants to Europe who have caused such trouble these last few years have overwhelmingly been Muslims. At a certain point, the Dalai Lama, tiring even of his own pollyannish pieties about Islam, looked around Europe, took note of the fact that nowhere were Muslim migrants integrating into their host societies successfully, saw the aggressive demands they made on the peoples among whom they have been allowed to settle, heard the demands they make on their host societies (everything from calling for single-sex pools and burqas, and time taken off for prayers in the middle of a work or school day, to changes in the school curricula to accommodate Muslim sensibilities), was made aware of the horrific rise in violent crime — rapes, murders — committed by these migrants, observed their hostile attitudes and behavior toward their hosts (as non-Muslims, according to the Qur’an they are “the most vile of creatures”), learned of their sky-high rates of unemployment that bespeak an unwillingness to work (and why should they work, with all the benefits lavished upon them by a generous welfare state?) — some or all of this has finally penetrated and become part of the Dalai Lama’s new understanding. He has finally grasped what this enormous Muslim migration has done, and is doing, to Europe. He has understood that the large-scale presence of Muslims in Europe has created a situation that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous for the non-Muslim indigenes, and for other, non-Muslim, migrants, too, than would be the case without that large-scale Muslim presence. Or, to put it more simply, what explains this new and improved version of the Dalai Lama is simple: he has finally been mugged by reality.
At the beginning of the Great War, say the German strategists, the Muslim world will be the decisive factor. They rely on jihad to bend the British, the French and the Russians in the East. This will leave traces.
"It is lawful to shed the blood of infidels - with the exception of those who are our friends. Grab infidels and kill them wherever you can. Whoever kills even one of the infidels who dominate us ... will be rewarded by God. Let every Muslim swear to kill at least three to four. A Daesh sermon against Christians or Yazidis? A manifesto to prepare for the massacre of Bataclan? A Hamas call against Israel? No. This text dates from the last weeks of 1914. Written in Arabic, it was printed in Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. And it will be distributed throughout the Muslim world by emissaries Turkish, but also German. In the name of Sultan Mehmed V, who is also the Caliph of the Sunnis...?
The ambassador of the United States to Constantinople, Henry Morgenthau, obtained a copy. Representative of a neutral power, he discusses with his German counterpart, Baron Konrad von Wagenheim. He confided: "In the war that has just begun, the Muslim world will be the decisive factor." Morgenthau notes in 1918: "Comfortably seated in his office overlooking the Bosporus, shooting at a big black cigar, Wagenheim revealed to me a plan to lift Muslim fanatical masses against Christians.”
In 1914, almost the entire Muslim world, with the exception of the Ottoman Empire (25 million, of which 20 million Muslims), Persia (10 million) and Afghanistan (5 million) passed under the control of European Christian powers. Some 70 million Muslims, mostly Sunni, live in British India, 40 million in the Dutch Indies, 15 million in British North-East Africa (Egypt and Sudan), 15 million in the Russian Empire, 10 million in French North Africa, about fifteen million in French, British, Belgian and German sub-Saharan Africa, 2 million in the Balkans. In total, nearly 170 million faithful, out of a little more than 200 million, are thus "captive". Wagenheim is right: for a religion that has long found its main justification in military conquest, this situation is unbearable. But can the Ottoman Sultan-Caliph really stir up a "holy war"? Or to put the question more precisely: is the Sultan a credible caliph?
Originally, the caliphs were the "successors" (khilafat in Arabic) of the Prophet, chosen from his relatives: companions in arms or parents. The fifth caliph, Muawiyah, transforms the caliphate into a hereditary monarchy. His dynasty, the Umayyad, reigns for nearly a century, from 661 to 750, conquers new lands, from Spain to India, and probably gives Islam its definitive form as a religion. Reversed in the Middle East by the Abbassids, the Umayyads are maintained in Spain. To these two rival families based on the same "tradition" (Sunnah) soon opposes a third dynasty, the Fatimids, which seizes Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and the Levant. The latter are "Shiites" (Shiatu Ali, "supporters of Ali"): unlike the "Sunnis", they believe that the supreme power can only return to the descendants of the Prophet, through his daughter Fatima and his son-in-law Ali, the fourth caliph.
The three dynasties compete magnificently for several centuries. In the 10th century, Cordoba, the Umayyad capital of Spain, has nearly 500,000 inhabitants, and Baghdad, the Abbasid capital, more than a million. Cairo, the Fatimid capital, reaches 300,000 inhabitants in the eleventh century. But little by little, power goes everywhere to "sultans", military leaders of Turkish, Kurdish or Berber origin: the Umayyad caliphate died in 1031, the Fatimid in 1171. As for the Abbasid caliphate, transferred to Cairo in 1261 it survived nominally until the early sixteenth century under the protection of the Mameluks. In 1517, the Ottoman Sultan Selim I conquered Egypt: Mohamed al-Mutakawil III, the last Abbasid caliph, abdicated in his favor and passed on his insignia, the Sword and the Coat of the Prophet. Selim I and his heirs accept title and honors, but intend to remain above all temporal rulers: they delegate religious authority to a cleric, Sheikh al-Islam.
Paradoxically, it is the double geopolitical decline of the Ottoman Empire and the Muslim world, from the eighteenth century, which restores its importance to the caliphate. For two reasons at least.
• Until 1800, the Ottoman Empire, straddling Europe and the East, has as many subjects or Christian vassals as Muslim subjects. But Muslims become majority in a weakened Empire, after the progressive loss of the European provinces. In this new context, the caliphate becomes a factor of unity, beyond the ethnic or linguistic differences between Turkish, Kurdish and Arab Muslims. And therefore of political legitimacy.
• By emphasizing his caliph dignity, the Ottoman sultan poses as "pope" of a Muslim world enslaved or vassalized. In terms of today, we would say that it has a significant "soft power", especially through the pious fraternities (tariqat) that structure the popular devotion. This allows it to negotiate unceasingly the survival of its states against the promise, more or less tacit, to contribute to the tranquility of colonial empires. Or conversely against the threat of a religious conflagration.
The "califal restoration" became a coherent policy, "pan-Islamism" only under the last true Ottoman ruler, Abd-ul-Hamid II (1876-1909). At the moment when William II, Emperor of Germany, offers him a kind of economic and military protectorate. The Sultan, who is considered disreputable in most European countries for covering the massacres of Armenians, can only accept. The most tangible sign of this alliance is the Berlin-Bagdad railway line, which began construction in 1903.
Abdul Hamid II was overthrown in 1909. But ultra-nationalist officers, trained by the Germans, seized power in Constantinople in 1913. At their head, the dashing Enver Pasha. When the Great War broke out in 1914, the junta aligned itself with the Central Empires. Berlin sends generals, officers and engineers to supervise the Turkish army, as well as weapons and equipment. This contributed to many successes: the Germano-Ottomans invaded Sinai in 1915, drove the Allies back to the Dardanelles in 1915, and drove the British back to Mesopotamia in 1916. But the card should be the holy war.
For the German strategists, it is above all to take the Allies on the back: to threaten the Russians from Asia, to drive Britain out of India and the Suez Canal, and to snatch the North Africa to the French. The Ottomans dream of founding a new universal Muslim empire, more powerful than that of Selim I. Enver Pasha has another dream: to reunite all Turkish peoples, from the Bosporus to the Gobi Desert, into one nation-state.
The plan is funded by Berlin, in gold marks. Constantinople activates the tarîqat. German adventurers - Max von Oppenheim, Wilhelm Wassmuss - go out into the field to coordinate operations. Knowing perfectly the local languages ??or cultures, impassive, indefatigable, they are the equivalents of Lawrence of Arabia. In addition to being successful, the British devote themselves to bestselling novels: John Buchan's Thirty-Nine Steps, published in 1915, and his sequel, published in 1916, Greenmantle. Does this grand design result in failure? Yes and no. Yes, because universal jihad does not break out in 1915 or 1916, as planned. Yes, because the Ottomans were finally defeated in 1918, just like their German protectors. Yes, because Mustafa Kemal, the general who saves Turkey in 1919, abolishes the sultanate in 1922 and the caliphate in 1923.
No, because the calls of Mehmed V contribute to the loyalty of Ottoman Muslims, including Arabs, until the last days of the conflict: the "Great Revolt" directed by Lawrence seduces in fact only the Sherif of Mecca and some Bedouins. No, more sinister, because anti-Christian propaganda leads to the massacre of Armenians first, then Greeks and Assyrians.
But the real impact of the German plan is measured in the longer term. The German-Turkish propaganda of 1914 prepares the minds for what will soon be called anti-colonialism. In the very heart of the Muslim world, the 1914 attempt modernized and cleared the notion of caliphate, beyond the decay of its Ottoman rulers. Tarikat preach throughout the twentieth century, the establishment or restoration of a theocracy. And they are reaching their goal more and more often.
In January 2014, almost a hundred years after the exhortation of Mehmed V's jihad, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed "Islamic State" in Raqqa in eastern Syria. Six months later, he claims the title of caliph. Is he dead in 2017, as we said? Is he on the run, having changed his name or face? All assumptions are allowed. But what is certain is that the caliphate did not fade with him.
I have known Bat Ye'or for almost 30 years. Our first meeting dates from the late 1980s, during a conference organized by the France-Israel Association and its then president, Michel Darmon.
She was then in the middle of her career as a historian and had not yet reached the international notoriety that earned her most famous book, whose name has now entered the contemporary political vocabulary: Eurabia. I interviewed her several times about her work and her various works (1). But the interview she gave me on the occasion of the publication of her political autobiography is different.
Bat Ye'or has indeed agreed to talk not only about the subjects of her books, all fascinating, but also about her intellectual and personal journey and her life alongside David Littman, her husband who died six years ago.
Bat Ye'or welcomes us to her house on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland, where she has lived for several decades. Our interview begins with the personality and action of the man who shared his life and his struggles, David Littman. A recent article by Jean Birnbaum in Le Monde des livres portrays Bat Ye'or in a caricatured manner, omitting entirely the name
David and Giselle Littman (Bat Ye'or)
Source: Jerusalem Post
David Littman, intellectual and adventurer
The collaboration between David and his wife was not only intellectual. Their love affair, reported with modesty in the autobiography of Bat Ye'or, is also a story of courage and adventure, because Littman was not a historian locked in libraries and archives, was a real globetrotter.
"We spent three months in Asia. David wanted to go from India to Afghanistan, but I was too sick and he gave up. Over the years and with a family, David gave up his adventurous side to live with me. "
David Littman, intellectual and adventurer
The collaboration between David and his wife was not only intellectual. Their love affair, reported with modesty in the autobiography of Bat Ye'or, is also a story of courage and adventure, because Littman was not a historian locked in libraries and archives, was a real globetrotter.
"We spent three months in Asia. David wanted to go from India to Afghanistan, but I was too sick and he gave up. Over the years and with a family, David gave up his adventurous side to live with me. "
"David was very generous to me. He had techniques acquired at the university. I was more impulsive in my writing. He controlled my sources. He did not let me write and publish without his control ... We did not always have the same opinions. He read my work and gave me books, articles that would interest me and that I did not have time to go for ".
of her husband. However, he played an important role in Bat Ye'or's work, as confirmed by this one.
Controversy with Bernard Lewis
We now approach the relationship between Littman and Bernard Lewis, the famous American orientalist, who recently died at the age of 102. Bat Ye'or takes a critical look at Lewis' work, notably because of his attitude towards the Armenian genocide (Lewis having contested the Armenian Genocide, adopting more or less the Turkish version of the history of the genocide).
"When I read Lewis's books, I found in some areas errors and generalizations, despite his immense knowledge and erudition."
Bat Ye'or emphasizes Lewis' rejection of the generic concept (of which she is the inventor) of dhimmitude - that is, a condition common to all peoples subjugated by jihad and ruled by Sharia. He had a very favorable opinion of this condition.
P.L. He replaced the taste of the physical adventure by that of the intellectual adventure?
B.Y. "He was a man of action, even more than an intellectual. I have always had the remorse of not having written a book on Operation Mural ". After this operation - during which David and Bat Ye'or organized the illegal departure of five hundred and thirty Jewish children from Morocco to Israel (1), Israel proposed a new mission to Djerba, but David, after careful reflection, had to refuse. We volunteered to help the Jewish children of Morocco, wanting to perform a mitzvah, but back we wanted to complete our studies.
I ask her how she explains such an attitude on the part of a world-famous scientist.
"There can be many reasons. The love we have for the civilization we are studying. Professional interests, political prudence. And especially the parallel with the Shoah, unparalleled monstrosity. Lewis only became interested in religious minorities late after me. He was rather a specialist in Ottoman civilization, a Turkologist. This is another area. As for me, I was lucky to be independent. I understand the scruples of those who fear losing their jobs. "
The talk is incisive, and the seeming indulgence barely conceals a very harsh criticism of Lewis and many other researchers, who have not had the intellectual audacity of Bat Ye'or.
We are now talking about the most controversial subject of his work, that of Eurabia, the theme of his most famous book, which is still very current.
In an interview in 2009, she defined Eurabia as follows: "It is a new continent that is emerging, a continent of hybrid culture, Arab-European. European culture, in its Judeo-Christian foundations, is gradually weakening, and disappearing to be replaced by a new symbiosis, Islamic-Christian ".
I ask her if she sees an evolution in this regard since 2009. "Governments fear (today) the rebellion of their peoples. Because now, these people are seeing the results of their decisions ... And they are against the policy of Eurabia. But one cannot easily change an ideology and its governmental structures established for four decades.
We also mention the news of Eurabia, about the recent lawsuit against the historian Georges Bensoussan, victim of the "judicial jihad" (he has just been released by the Court of Appeal of Paris). B.Y.: "Bensoussan was the ideal target. It is the man and his work that were targeted through this process ".
The sources of dhimmitude
Bat Ye'or comes to speak of dhimmitude, central theme of his work which was the subject of his first book, The Dhimmi, originally published in 1980 (and recently reissued in France). In a previous interview, she explained to me her discovery of the fundamental theme of dhimmitude:
My initial project was to write about the condition of the Jews of the Arab countries. I had met many who had been expelled from their home country and I interviewed them ... I was asked to be one of the founding members of WOJAC, the international association of Jews in Arab countries.
We had all lived the same story of persecutions, spoliations and expulsions ... It was during my research that I discovered the condition of the dhimmi, which was the subject of my book The Dhimmi, published in 1980. After its publication, Christians contacted me, and I began to take an interest in the Islamization of Christian countries, to which I devoted another book.
You have actually discovered an unexplored pan of world history.
- There were very good monographs dealing with the theme of Islamic conquest, but always from the point of view of the victor ... I placed myself from the point of view of the conquered populations, that is to say the dhimmis. That's why I was attacked, because I included Jews and Christians in the same concept. At that time no historian spoke of Jihad. It was an almost taboo term, because it contradicted the myth of peaceful coexistence in the land of Islam, which I named as the "Andalusian myth".
"The source of most discrimination of dhimmitude is found in the laws of the status of Jews and schismatically Christians under the canon law of the Church and Byzantine law. Orientalist Louis Gardet noted this similarity. However, even though some restrictions are identical, their theological justifications differ in Islam and Christianity and in some respects the status of the dhimmi is more severe than that of the Jew in some Christian countries. Thus it was never forbidden for European Jews to go out on foot or ride horses. The Lateran Council (1215) took over the Rouelle de Islam, which for centuries had been imposing infamous slanderous and other distinctive signs on Jews and Christians. In Islam, Jews and Christians have the same status.
Today we find this community of destiny in Eurabia, where terrorism (of which the Jews were the first victims) turns against Christians, and against the West in general, just like the dhimmitude imposed by the Church. went against the Christians.
To conclude our interview, I ask her if she thinks that a hope of reforming Islam exists. "It's not up to us to decide. It is up to us to say all this, to choose policies that take into account all of this ... (as Viktor Orban does in Hungary).
This will encourage the many Muslims to want to modernize Islam, to act in their country and among their people.
(1) See; inter alia, interview in Jerusalem Post, 2 January 2007, "From dhimmitude to Eurabia". "The Swiss referendum is a defeat of Eurabia", December 2, 2009. Interview about his book Europe and the Caliphate, November 2010. And more recently, "Bat Ye'or responds to his critics", February 2018.
(2) On Operation Mural, See our interview with David and Gisèle Littman for Israel Magazine, and the extract from the film Operation Mural on Danilette.com
Je connais Bat Ye’or depuis près de 30 ans. Notre première rencontre date de la fin des années 1980, à l’occasion d’une conférence organisée par l’Association France-Israël et son président d’alors, Michel Darmon.
Elle était alors au milieu de sa carrière d’historienne et n’avait pas encore atteint la notoriété internationale que lui valu son livre le plus fameux, dont le nom est désormais entré dans le vocabulaire politique contemporain: Eurabia. Je l’ai interviewée à plusieurs reprises sur ses travaux et sur ses différents ouvrages (1). Mais l’entretien qu’elle m’a accordé à l’occasion de la parution de son autobiographie politique, est différent. Bat Ye’or a en effet accepté de parler non seulement des sujets de ses livres, tous passionnants, mais aussi de son parcours intellectuel et personnel et de sa vie aux côtés de David Littman, son mari décédé il y a six ans.
Bat Ye’or nous reçoit dans sa maison sur les rives du lac de Genève, en Suisse, où elle vit depuis plusieurs décennies. Notre entretien porte tout d’abord sur la personnalité et l’action de celui qui a partagé sa vie et ses combats, David Littman. Un récent article de Jean Birnbaum dans le Monde des livres présentait Bat Ye’or de manière caricaturale, en omettant entièrement le nom de son mari. Or, celui-ci a joué un rôle important dans l’oeuvre de Bat Ye’or, comme me le confirme celle-ci.
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“David a été très généreux avec moi. Il disposait de techniques acquises à l’université. J’étais plus impulsive dans mon écriture. Il contrôlait mes sources. Il ne me laissait pas écrire et publier sans son contrôle… Nous n’avions pas toujours les mêmes opinions. Il lisait mon travail et me procurait des livres, des articles qui m’intéresseraient et que je n’avais pas le temps d’aller chercher”.
David Littman, intellectuel et aventurier
La collaboration entre David et son épouse n’était pas seulement intellectuelle. Leur histoire d’amour, relatée avec pudeur dans l’autobiographie de Bat Ye’or, est aussi une histoire de courage et d’aventure, car Littman n’était pas un historien enfermé dans les bibliothèques et les salles d’archives, c’était un véritable globe-trotter.
“Nous avons passé trois mois en Asie. David voulait poursuivre des Indes jusqu’en Afghanistan, mais j’étais trop malade et il y a renoncé. Au fil des ans et avec une famille, David a renoncé à son côté aventureux pour vivre avec moi”.
P.L. Il a remplacé le goût de l’aventure physique par celui de l’aventure intellectuelle?
B.Y. “C’était un homme d’action, plus encore qu’un intellectuel. J’ai toujours eu le remords de ne pas avoir écrit un livre sur l’opération Mural”. Après cette opération – au cours de laquelle David et Bat Ye’or ont organisé le départ clandestin de cinq cent trente enfants juifs du Maroc vers Israël (1), Israël lui a proposé une nouvelle mission à Djerba, mais David, après mûre réflexion, a dû refuser. Nous nous étions engagés bénévolement pour aider les enfants juifs du Maroc, voulant accomplir une mitsva, mais de retour, nous voulions achever nos études.
Controverse avec Bernard Lewis
Nous abordons à présent les rapports entre les Littman et Bernard Lewis, le célèbre orientaliste américain, récemment décédé à l’âge de 102 ans. Bat Ye’or porte un regard critique sur l’oeuvre de Lewis, notamment en raison de son attitude à l’égard du génocide arménien (Lewis ayant contesté le génocide arménien, en adoptant peu ou prou la version turque de l’histoire du génocide).
« Quand je lisais les livres de Lewis, j’y trouvais dans certains domaines des erreurs et des généralisations, malgré son immense savoir et son érudition”.
Bat Ye’or souligne le refus de Lewis du concept générique (dont elle est l’inventrice) de la dhimmitude – c’est-à-dire d’une condition commune à l’ensemble des peuples soumis par le djihad et gouvernés par la chariah. Il avait une opinion très favorable de cette condition.
Je lui demande comment elle explique une telle attitude de la part d’un savant mondialement connu.
“Il peut y avoir plusieurs raisons. L’amour que l’on porte à la civilisation que l’on étudie. Les intérêts professionnels, la prudence politique. Et surtout le parallèle avec la Shoah, monstruosité sans pareille. Lewis ne s’est intéressé aux minorités religieuses que tardivement, après moi. Il était plutôt un spécialiste de la civilisation ottomane, un turcologue. C’est un autre domaine. Quant à moi, j’avais la chance d’être indépendante. Je comprends les scrupules de ceux qui craignent de perdre leur poste. »
Le propos est incisif, et l’indulgence apparente masque à peine un reproche très dur envers Lewis et beaucoup d’autres chercheurs, qui n’ont pas eu l’audace intellectuelle de Bat Ye’or.
Nous parlons maintenant le sujet le plus controversé de ses travaux, celui d’Eurabia, thème de son livre le plus fameux et toujours très actuel.
Dans une interview réalisée en 2009, elle définissait ainsi Eurabia : “C’est un nouveau continent qui est en train d’émerger, un continent de culture hybride, arabo-européenne. La culture européenne, dans ses fondements judéo-chrétiens, est en train de s’affaiblir progressivement, et de disparaître pour être remplacée par une nouvelle symbiose, islamo-chrétienne”.
Je lui demande si elle voit une évolution à cet égard depuis 2009. “Les gouvernements craignent (aujourd’hui) la rébellion de leurs peuples. Car maintenant, ces populations constatent les résultats de leurs décisions.…Et elles s’opposent à la politique d’Eurabia. Mais on ne peut changer facilement une idéologie et ses structures gouvernementales implantées depuis quatre décennies.
Nous évoquons aussi l’actualité d’Eurabia, au sujet du récent procès contre l’historien Georges Bensoussan, victime du “djihad judiciaire” (il vient d’être relaxé par la Cour d’appel de Paris). B.Y. : “Bensoussan était la cible idéale. C’est l’homme et son oeuvre qui furent visés à travers ce procès”.
Les sources de la dhimmitude
Bat Ye’or en vient à parler de la dhimmitude, thème central de ses travaux qui a fait l’objet de son premier livre, Le dhimmi, paru initialement en 1980 (et récemment réédité en France). Dans une précédente interview, elle m’avait expliqué ainsi sa découverte du thème fondamentale de la dhimmitude :
Mon projet initial fut d’écrire sur la condition des Juifs des pays arabes. J’en avais rencontré un grand nombre qui avaient été expulsés de leur pays d’origine et je les avais interviewés… On me demanda d’être l’un des membres fondateurs du WOJAC, l’association internationale des Juifs des pays arabes.
Nous avions tous vécu la même histoire, de persécutions, de spoliations et d’expulsions… C’est au cours de mes recherches que j’ai découvert la condition du dhimmi, qui a fait l’objet de mon livre Le Dhimmi, paru en 1980. Après sa parution, des chrétiens me contactèrent, et je commençai à m’intéresser à l’islamisation des pays chrétiens, thème auquel j’ai consacré un autre livre.
– Vous avez en fait découvert un pan inexploré de l’histoire mondiale.
– Il existait de très bonnes monographies abordant le thème des conquêtes islamiques, mais toujours du point de vue du vainqueur… Je me suis placée du point de vue des populations conquises, c’est-à-dire des dhimmis. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai été attaquée, parce que j’englobais Juifs et chrétiens dans le même concept. A cette époque, aucun historien ne parlait encore de Djihad. C’était un terme presque tabou, parce qu’il contredisait le mythe de la coexistence pacifique en terre d’Islam, que j’ai désigné comme le « mythe andalou ».
“La source de la plupart des discriminations de la dhimmitude se trouve dans les lois du statut des juifs et des chrétiens schismatiques selon le droit canon de l’Eglise et du droit byzantin. L’orientaliste Louis Gardet avait noté cette similitude. Cependant même si certaines restrictions sont identiques, leurs justifications théologiques diffèrent dans l’islam et le christianisme et à certains égards le statut du dhimmi est plus sévère que celui du juif dans certains pays chrétiens. Ainsi il ne fut jamais interdit aux juifs européens de sortir chaussés ou de monter à cheval. Le Concile de Latran (1215) a repris la Rouelle de l’islam, qui imposait depuis des siècles déjà des signes distinctifs infamants vestimentaires et autres aux juifs et aux chrétiens. Dans l’islam, les juifs et les chrétiens ont un statut identique.
On retrouve aujourd’hui cette communauté de destin dans Eurabia, où le terrorisme (dont les Juifs ont été les premières victimes) se retourne contre les chrétiens, et contre l’Occident en général, tout comme la dhimmitude infligée par l’Eglise s’est retournée contre les chrétiens.
Pour conclure notre entretien, je lui demande si elle pense qu’un espoir de réformer l’islam existe. “Ce n’est pas à nous d’en décider. Il nous appartient de dire tout cela, de choisir des politiques qui tiennent compte de tout cela… (comme le fait Viktor Orban en Hongrie).
Cela encouragera les musulmans qui sont nombreux à vouloir moderniser l’islam, à agir dans leur pays et au sein de leur peuple.
(1) Voir notamment, interview au Jérusalem Post, 2 janvier 2007, “De la dhimmitude à l’Eurabie”. “Le référendum suisse est une défaite d’Eurabia”, 2 décembre 2009. Interview au sujet de son livre L’Europe et le Califat, novembre 2010. Et plus récemment, “Bat Ye’or répond à ses détracteurs”, février 2018.
(2) Sur l’opération Mural, Voir notre interview de David et Gisèle Littman pour Israël Magazine, et l’extrait du film Opération Mural sur le site Danilette.com
The first Slovak Islamist radical identified only as Dominik K., arrested last year in the Czech Republic, was actually planning a terror attack, Czech police chief Tomáš Tuhý told the Czech Television on September 23.
The radicalised Slovak who frequented mosques in Prague and operated under the adopted name of Abdul Rahman was not a member of any organised group and should rather be considered a “lone wolf”, Tuhý added, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “This person really was planning a terrorist attack,” Tuhý continued, as quoted by TASR. “Only excellent cooperation between the intelligence services and the Czech police prevented a possibly serious incident from taking place.”
The young man from Slovakia stated that his spiritual role model was a former Prague imam who was earlier charged with supporting terrorism but managed to flee. He is wanted for supporting his brother and sister-in-law who have joined jihadists in Syria.
The Slovak living in the Czech Republic converted to Islam three years ago. It was found that he posted disturbing messages on social network, including one with the slogan: “This country will be ours! And it won’t be for everyone!”
The man, who was found by the police to have suspicious chemicals and manuals for producing a bomb at his flat, claimed that he only intended to use the substances to make New Year’s Eve fireworks but the police found his explanation unconvincing.
“The chemicals were meant for producing weapons, not petards,” noted the Czech police’s anti-terrorist department. “As a Muslim, he shouldn’t even be celebrating New Year's Eve.”
Blocking Pashtun culture event: Students force IIUI to shut down
I hope these students keep their nerve in trying to celebrate their culture - they are up against the youth wing of the powerful Jamaat-e-Islami. From Pakistani English language newspaper the Express Tribune
ISLAMABAD: Dozens of students, angry at not being allowed to hold a cultural programme, brought all academic activities to a halt and forced the main campus of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) to shut down on Monday.
The university administration, though, has claimed that they could not allow un-Islamic events to be held on campus.
Students of the varsity had wished to hold a cultural programme to mark the International Pashtun Culture Day on Sunday. The programme was due to include a poetry recital (mushaira) and was allegedly due to be accompanied by a showcase of cultural music and dance that is part of the Pashtun culture.
The students claimed that the varsity had initially granted them permission to hold the event and that they had made all the necessary arrangements, including sending out invitations to guests. However, later, under alleged pressure from the IJT, (Islami Jamiat Talba, a student wing of the conservative religio-political party Jamaat-e-Islami) the varsity administration withdrew their support.
“The university hyped the issue as if it is a war between Islam and heterodoxy,” remarked Aimal Khan, a student. He added that instead of promoting cultural events, the varsity was promoting extremist values by siding with student wings which have radical ideologies.
Following a call from Pashtun students on Sunday, students hailing from all ethnic groups including Saraiki, Chitrali, Sindhi, Balochi protested against the varsity administration and held a strike on Monday.
The students locked entrances to classrooms and did not allow varsity’s bus service to pick up students. Roads in the varsity were blocked by placing tree trunks and other obstacles while doors of departments remained bolted.
Students also occupied roads leading to campus and chanted slogans of “Give respect to Pashtuns”.
The varsity administration finally called the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA) to disperse the students. After negotiations, the students agreed to reopen the campus. In return, the varsity administration agreed to reduce the degree fee, and resolve a host of issues faced by students including at the hostels and other administrative issues.
IIUI Rector Dr Masoom Yasinzai claimed that students, in the guise of a cultural event, were planning to play music and perform the Attan — a cultural dance of Pushtuns —which the administration could not allow. The university cannot allow any activity against Islamic principles, he said while explaining why permission for the cultural event had been withdrawn.
This is not the first time that such commotion has occurred during or before an event on campus. The varsity is considered to be a stronghold for the Islami Jamiat Talba, a student wing of the conservative religio-political party Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). It has often been in the headlines opposing musical or cultural events on campus with the IJT terming such functions as anti-Islamic. Unnecessary restrictions on female students have also prompted strikes and protests in the past.
I looked up the Attan. It is a very old dance traditional in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan; so old that it has its roots in Zororastrian customs, especially Nowroz, the New Year, going back to 2000 BC or even older. That alone would upset the fundamentalists. Two years ago the young men of College University Lahore were allowed to dance (above) and you can see and hear the music here.
I found a video of schoolgirls in colourful dresses dancing it for their school friends at a school in England - I won't post the link as the comments included criticism at this sharing of a good and joyful aspect of their culture, and this seems to have caused the girls some trouble and distress.
Such as "delete ur video... dont forget one day u will face ur Allah?"
BUT also "Nice to see Afghanistan kids having a good time,under radical Islam these children would never have joy."
Eventually I found a mixed sex performance at an American university.