Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/31/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/31/2010I haven’t been able to open many news sites today, since we are trapped in Dialup Hell. However, thanks to tipsters who send the full text of articles by email, we have a reasonable number of items here tonight. All of the Gaza Flotilla stories are here (approximately 24 of them), including the complete versions of articles that were excerpted in today’s posts.

In other news, a jetliner en route from Paris to Mexico City was diverted to Montreal because a man on the no-fly list was on the passenger list, and the plane was denied access to U.S. airspace. When the plane landed, the man was taken into custody, and the rest of the passengers resumed their journey to Mexico after taking off their shoes and belts and getting scanned one more time.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, heroyalwhyness, Insubria, JD, KGS, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

[This post is a stub — nothing further here!]

Dueling Caliphates

Whenever the news media deign to mention violent jihad, their attention is generally focused on Hamas (in Gaza), Al Qaeda (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan), the Taliban (Afghanistan and Pakistan), and the terror masters of Iran.

However, the national power that is quietly aiming for Islamic pre-eminence is Turkey. Up until 1924 the Ottoman Sultan was also the Caliph of the entire Ummah — or at least the Sunni portion of it. Now that the relentless secularization instituted by Kemal Ataturk is finally crumbling, the emerging Islamic regime in Ankara is eyeing its traditional role as the supreme leader of the Islamic world. A Turk is the head of the OIC — which is setting itself to be the Caliphate reborn — and many of its most important meetings are held in Turkey. The Saudis bring the big money to the table, but the Turks supply the brains, organization, and military clout.

The Sunni-Shi’ite divide is the major obstacle to a united Ummah, and Turkey and Iran are both jostling for the position of leader. Iran’s nuclear program seemed to give it the upper hand in the game, but Turkey has just played a high card with its attempted probe through the Israeli blockade into Gaza.

The Turks and the Persians are now vying for control of the Islamic aftershocks that are rumbling throughout the Middle East and Asia. Each country wants to lead the charge for Islamic unity in the face of Zionist perfidy. The Turkish prime minister has set the stage for the total isolation of Israel and possible military action against what he hopes will become a pariah state. According to Hurriyet:

Turkish PM Calls Israeli Raid on Gaza Flotilla ‘State Terror’

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused Israel of committing “inhuman state terror” with its deadly raid on a fleet of aid ships bound for Gaza.

“It should be known that we will not stay silent and unresponsive in the face of this inhuman state terror,” Erdogan said in live televised remarks ahead of his departure from Chile to Turkey, cutting short a Latin American tour.

“International law has been trampled underfoot,” he added.

And here’s where he plays another high card:
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Erdogan also called for a meeting of NATO ambassadors, who will hold emergency talks Tuesday, spokesman James Appathurai said.

Mr. Erdogan is attempting something that no other Islamic country could ever manage: he wants to obtain the military support (or at least passive acquiescence) of his NATO allies, based on their treaty obligations to Turkey as a member state.

Prior to the coronation of Barack Hussein Obama, Turkey would have stood no chance of success in such an audacious endeavor. But the American administration has already made it quite clear that Israel’s security — not to mention its very existence — is of no great concern to it. A green light for Turkey under the current circumstances is not unthinkable.

For decades Israel maintained good relations with Turkey, both military and diplomatic, but that’s all over now.

Once again, from Hurriyet:

Raid on Flotilla Puts Final Nail in Coffin of Turkish Ties With Israel

As details slowly emerge in the wake of Israel’s deadly attack on a flotilla of aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip, leaders from Turkey’s ruling and opposition parties raise their voices to condemn the action. It is the latest and worst incident in a long line of troublesome encounters over the last year and a half between the two NATO allies and some say this could be the final act. ‘Our relations will never be the same,’ says a member of the ruling AKP

Israel’s deadly attack on a Palestinian aid convoy is likely to be the last straw in already fraught Turkish-Israeli relations, according to senior officials in Turkey’s ruling party.

Though the identities of the killed civilians were still unknown late Monday when the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to print, it is believed that many of the dead are Turkish citizens.

Yes, many of the dead and injured are undoubtedly Turks, because the Free Gaza Flotilla was a thinly-disguised Turkish military operation.

And Turkey is planning to cash in on what happened this morning by leading the Islamic charge against Israel:

On Monday, Turkey appeared to be taking the lead in gathering international support against the Israeli attack, with the government already pressing international organizations such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference, or OIC, the European Union and the Arab League to take action.

“The worst possible scenario has happened,” said the head of the Turkish Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis, or TÜRKSAM, Sinan Ogan.

“Israel has made a suicide commando move, and has committed suicide internationally, he said. “The Turkish-Israeli relationship is now open to every different scenario.”

He said, “The relationship between Turkey and Israel will face its biggest test in history, with the possibility of Turkey taking this issue to the European Union.”

[…]

Crisis desks were established at the Turkish Prime Ministry and the Foreign Ministry on Monday morning. Speaking to reporters after an emergency meeting, Arinç said 400 of the Mavi Marmara’s 581 passengers were Turks.

“I strongly condemn the use of force by Israeli military forces on an aid convoy composed of 32 countries, including Turkey,” he said. “This attack must not remain unanswered.”

And here comes the absurd cover story:

Arinç said the government was not involved in the organization of the flotilla, saying it was a pure civil society initiative.

Yes, of course. And if you believe that one, I’ve got a little bridge in Brooklyn that you might be interested in purchasing…

The threats have begun:

Turkey on Monday warned Israel of “irreparable consequences” to bilateral ties after more than 10 people died in an Israeli operation on aid-carrying ships bound for Gaza, among them Turkish vessels.

The Israeli envoy was summoned to the Foreign Ministry as hundreds gathered outside Israeli missions to protest the assault that came atop already badly worsened ties between the two former allies.

“By targeting civilians, Israel has once again shown its disregard for human life and peaceful initiatives. We strongly condemn these inhumane practices of Israel,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

[…]

“Israel will have to bear the consequences of this behavior, which constitutes a violation of international law,” it said.

[…]

[The Israeli ambassador] was told that “Turkey retains all its rights under international law concerning this assault,” a Turkish diplomat, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

“We are considering the actions that we may take under international law,” he said.

So far there is no official indication as to what “actions” Turkey might consider appropriate.

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Moving next door to Iran, are the Ayatollahs going to sit idly by while Turkey claims the mantle of worldwide Islamic leadership?

No, of course they aren’t. According to PressTV:

‘Israel Deserves Collective Punishment’

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has condemned Israel’s deadly attack on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip as an act of “maritime terrorism.”

“The regime’s attack on the ships and its passengers is reminiscent of the acts of ancient pirates,” a Foreign Ministry statement read Monday.

This is amusing, coming from a country that not too long ago boarded a British naval vessel and took its crew hostage, milking the occasion for its maximum propaganda value.

“Under the (1988) Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, this is a blatant example of maritime terrorism,” the statement added.

[…]

“This is the time for the international community to adopt a resolute stance against the recurring crimes of this belligerent and occupationist regime.”

Also from PressTV:

Iran: Muslims Must Unite Against Israel

The mullahs are not thinking of Muslim unity under Turkish leadership, however. The Islamic Republic — in its role as the leader of all Shi’ite Muslims, and with a mandate to usher in the reign of the Twelfth Imam by abetting the emergence of violent chaos in the world — is the obvious choice to lead the followers of the prophet against the aggressions of the Zionist Entity.

Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani has urged Muslim countries to adopt a united stance on condemning Israel’s raid on Gaza-bound aid ships.

“It is necessary for all Muslim states to assume a unified and common stance on condemning the latest crime committed by the Zionist regime,” Larijani was quoted as saying on Monday by IRNA.

“This tragic incident which reveals the true nature of Israel is a disgraceful stain on the reputation of this occupying regime,” he added.

[…]

Larijani also proposed that the issue be fully discussed in the upcoming Tehran summit of the Gaza Troika, a body formed by the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) to help the besieged people of Gaza.

The APA has tasked a troika of parliament speakers from Iran, Indonesia and Syria to tour the Middle East for finding initiatives to provide aid to the impoverished people of Gaza.

It’s important to remember that although the Hamas terrorists are Sunnis, they are also Iranian clients, as is the Sunni-Alawite Syrian dictatorship.

This is going to get ugly, but the Islamic assault on Israel is just one facet of the coming ugliness. Islam has its own longstanding intramural scores to settle, and the current crisis may well provide the opportunity for another round of traditional Islamic fratricide.



All hat tips: C. Cantoni.

The Milli Görüs Connection

“Democracy is a Western error.”

The world is aghast at what Israel did early this morning off the coast of Gaza. It is shocked — shocked! — at the indiscriminate slaughter of “unarmed civilians” in the Free Gaza Flotilla.

According to AKI, the Italian foreign minister is outraged:

“I strongly condemn the killing of civilians,” Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini said Monday in response to the incident. The Italian government asked the Israeli ambassador in Rome for an explanation about the attack. [emphasis added]

And the Turkish foreign ministry condemned Israel’s actions:

“Israel has once again clearly demonstrated that it does not value human lives and peaceful initiatives through targeting innocent civilians,” the statement said. [emphasis added]

Leaving aside for the moment the adjectives “innocent” and “unarmed” modifying the word “civilians” — how civilian were the operatives who attempted to run the blockade into Gaza?

The Israeli government insists that the organizers of the flotilla were no more “civilian” than terrorists are:

Deputy Israeli foreign minister Danny Ayalon on Monday sought to justify an attack on an aid flotilla bringing supplies to Gaza by saying the organisers of the blockade-breaking effort had ties to international terrorists…

“We couldn’t allow the opening of a corridor of smuggling arms and terrorists,” Ayalon said during a news conference at the foreign ministry.

But what were the specific connections between “Free Gaza” and Islamic terrorism?

Our Flemish correspondent VH has answered this question for us: the trail of breadcrumbs leads back to the militant Turkish Islamic organization Milli Görüs. Many thanks to VH for compiling the following report based on English-language articles and material translated from the Dutch:

First, from Trouw:

Turkish organization IHH linked to extremism

The Turkish organization IHH, also known as “Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief” [its German sister organization is “Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation”, and the Dutch branch is “Internationale Humanitaire Hulporganisatie”], is an international Turkish NGO operating in over a hundred countries and enjoying consultative membership status in the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which was present at one of the ships in “aid convoy” to Gaza, has two faces: a relief organization and friend of extremists. In Turkey the organization primarily enjoys support from “conservative” Muslims.

Founded in 1992, IHH was one of the largest aid agencies, active in Turkey and worldwide. Early this year they offered assistance to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. On the other hand, IHH is not secretive about its ties with the strict Islamic movement Hamas, which holds power in the Gaza Strip.

IHH supports Hamas financially. The support is further evidenced by, among other things, exhibitions, information briefings, and the publication of books on the situation in Gaza (and not the problems in other Palestinian areas). The ship that sailed in the convoy to Gaza departed last week from Antalya on the Turkey’s southern coast, brings both faces together.

In the late nineties there was a criminal investigation in Turkey against IHH. The organization was suspected of involvement in supplying arms to Muslim terrorists. That did not lead to a ban of the organization. During disaster relief in Turkey itself, such as earthquakes, the IHH has indeed been kept at a distance ever since.

Last year, the PVV [Party for Freedom] in the Netherlands, asked parliamentary questions [Dutch language, pdf] on financial aid by the Turkish Milli Görüs and IHH to Hamas. The Minister of integration, Van der Laan [PvdA, Labour Party, Socialists] replied that there was no evidence that Milli Görüs and the Dutch branch of IHH were involved in “support for Hamas in favor of facilitating terrorism.”[1]

And from Elsevier:
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Milli Görüs chairpersons involved in support of Hamas

by Robbert de Witt

Several chairpersons of the Turkish Islamic organization Milli Görüs work closely together with a German foundation that supported the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, as newspaper “De Telegraaf” writes.

The Turkish mosque association “Milli Görüs” was one of the organizers of the demonstration against Israel, in which SP MP Harry van Bommel and Gretta Duisenberg called together the Palestinians for an intifada against Israel.

As the newspaper states, two directors of Milli Görüs Amsterdam are also board members of the Foundation for International Humanitarian Aid, which works closely with the German Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation (IHH).

According to Israel, the IHH is part of a network of organizations that fund Hamas. The Israeli Defense Ministry has banned IHH for that reason. Also in America the network of organizations — the Union of Good [link to Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center: “The Union of Good: an umbrella organization comprised of more than 50 Islamic charitable funds and foundations worldwide. It in fact channels ‘charity’ money and provides other items for Hamas-affiliated institutions in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories, contributing to sustaining the support-system infrastructure of Palestinian terrorism through the so-called financial jihad,” and shows “Part of a Union of Good (UG) table of shahids, including suicide bombers in Israeli cities.”] — is placed on the list of terrorist organizations.

Leader of the Union of Good is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is the ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood, and also a source of inspiration to the Dutch PvdA [Labour Party, Socialists] candidate for Parliament, Ahmed Marcouch. In 2005 Marcouch and Milli Görüs tried to invite the controversial sheikh to the Netherlands [following the murder of Theo van Gogh, to help “build bridges”].

In De Telegraaf Milli Görüs denies[2] that it has any links with the German IHH. Also, the Dutch IHH would not transfer money to Hamas. In September 2008 an analysis of the Regional Intelligence Service showed that Milli Görüs has ties with financiers of terrorism and extremism. According to an intelligence report, the German director Ibrahim El-Zayat is a representative of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

Earlier on, the Dutch Milli Görüs Chairman Fatih Dag came into disrepute when he threatened riots by Muslims if the construction of the controversial Wester Mosque in Amsterdam failed to go through.

Notes:

[1] 2163

Questions from members Fritsma and Wilders (both PVV) to the Minister for Housing, Communities and Integration on the news that Milli Görüs financial supports the terrorist organization Hamas (Submitted January 15, 2009)

1.   Are you aware of the report “Milli Görüs indirectly supports Hamas?[2]
2.   What is your assessment of the fact that the directors of the very large (in the Netherlands) Islamic organization Milli Görüs are active in the “Internationale Humanitaire Hulporganisatie” [international humanitarian relief organization] (IHH), which (according to Israel and the U.S.) financially supports the Hamas terror organization?
3.   Do you agree that this is unacceptable, since it is clear that Hamas is bent on the destruction of Israel and has willfully murdered many innocent Israeli civilians? If not, why not?
4.   Are you prepared, just as Israel and the U.S. have done, to ban the foundation IHH, which is part of the dangerous “Union of Good”?
5.   What steps are being taken against the relevant directors of Milli Görüs, who are active in the foundation IHH?
6.   Are you prepared to cut all ties with Milli Görüs now that leaders of this organization (indirectly) support Islamic terrorists?
7.   Does Milli Görüs (still) receive a subsidy? If so, are you willing to put a hold on it? If not, why not?

Reply from Minister Van der Laan (Housing and Integration), also on behalf of the Ministers of Interior and Kingdom Relations and Justice (received April 1, 2009). See also Appendix to Proceedings, session 2008-2009, No 1522

1.   Yes.
2.   The AIVD [Dutch Intelligence Service] does not currently have any indication that Milli Görüs in the Netherlands is involved in serious radicalization and terrorism, nor that Milli Görüs or the IHH Foundation in the Netherlands is involved financial support for Hamas in favor of facilitating terrorism.
3.   See answer to question 2.
4.   There is no reason to, see answer to question 2.
5.   No, see answer to question 2.
6.   No, see answer to question 2.
7.   Under integration policy, Milli Görüs no longer receives subsidies. The organization previously received financial support for four subprojects to address integration-related problems. The two most recently funded sub-projects were completed in 2008.

[2] De Telegraaf, 9 January 2009.

Additional material on Milli Görüs:

At the beginning of the 1970’s, the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Council to outlaw Rafah, an Islamist political party directed by Necmettin Erbakan, encouraged a number of its members to create Milli Görüs, meaning “nationalist view” in Turkish (and named after the manifesto by Necmettin Erbakan of 1975, in which he promoted the political Islam and was opposed to rapprochement with Europe], which since 1995 has called itself “The Islamic Community of Milli Görüs [IGMG]”). One of the principal founders was the former Prime Minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan, who was forced out of power in 1997 by the Turkish military and found too radical by the Turkish constitutional court.

This organization was initially based in Germany and France, but soon spread over the whole of Europe via the Turkish diaspora. The article “Milli Görüs, wolves in sheep’s clothing,” states: “The Islamic Association of Milli Görüs is Europe’s largest ‘radical’ Islamic religious association, monitored [in Germany] by the Office of the Protection of the Constitution”. In Germany, for instance, they helped a Turkish immigrant family who did not want their children “to learn poems that describe Christian traditions” and refused to let them join swimming lessons and children’s birthday parties as a part of their battle against school authorities and their demand to enforce Islamic rules in school.

When the French branch decided to “place emphasis on the Europeanization” of their political identity, a schism on this issue caused the founding of the Milli Görüs offshoots COJEP (Coordination des jeunes patriotes) and from that LICEP (Cojep League of Popular Education), which both lobby for Turkey’s accession to the EU. That the “schism” and offshoots are cosmetic is not only shown by their cooperation and share of the cojep.com domain, but even more in their having a shared frontman of the “Federation LICEP-COJEP”, General President Muhammed Çavus.

On its website today, COJEP states it is “launching an urgent appeal to the world community, governments, solidarity organizations and NGOs working against anti-Semitism to voice their strongest condemnation against the barbaric attacks by Israeli commandoes on unarmed flotilla of boats going to Gaza with 700 passengers and ten thousands tons of relief supplies including food and medicine,” and threatens: “We also know that an unfortunate side effect of this cowardly action would be an increase in primitive anti-Semitic excesses throughout the world and especially in Europe.”

According to the German Protection of the Constitution office, the IGMG in its ideology states the “the Western social order, democracy, human rights, and rights of equality and freedom are worth nothing.”

An internal memo from Milli Görüs, discovered by the German Interior Ministry in 1999, reads: “The Community (i.e. the Turkish community) is a means working for an end — the end being to Islamize (German) society.” […] “Milli Görüs is a shield that protects our compatriots from European barbarity.” […] “Democracy is a Western error.” (source)



Hat tip for AKI: C. Cantoni.

The Flotilla of Doom

Demonstrators use violence against Israeli navy commandos attempting to board ship:



The news of the denouement in the saga of the “Free Gaza Flotilla” broke early this morning. Our access to information about the incident has been hampered by the fact that we are reduced to a dialup internet connection — a framstasis has failed in the tromulator unit on our satellite link, and no service technician will be available before tomorrow morning, thanks to the Memorial Day holiday. This post will be sent to the Blogger server by carrier pigeon or a 24K landline connection, whichever is faster.

It has been frustrating trying to learn more about what happened off the coast of Israel early today. Fortunately, our tireless tipster Insubria and our diligent Flemish correspondent VH have sent us a wealth of material on the topic, so the outlines of what happened are clear. Insubria’s material comes from ANSAmed, which has posted extensive coverage about the Flotilla and related stories. I can’t access the NYT or CNN to compare, but the articles he sent to us seems fairly comprehensive.

Before I launch into the actual details of what happened, it’s important to remember that this incident was a Turkish probe, designed to test the limits of what Israel will tolerate in terms of infringements on its sovereignty.

During the last six months or so the Islamic fundamentalist AKP party has quietly gutted the traditional leadership of the Turkish military by arresting a major portion of its senior officers and charging them with an attempted coup back in 2003. Ever since Ataturk founded the secular state of Turkey, the army has acted as a force for stability, and has functioned as a brake on any dangerous adventurism by the country’s political leaders. That moderating influence has now been neutralized, and Islamic zealots have all but complete control of Turkish foreign policy.

Turkey used to have a reasonably friendly and practical relationship with Israel — including military co-operation — but all that is the process of changing.

The flotilla was organized and backed by the Turks — operating through the convenient cover of a private NGO — with the assistance of useful idiots in the pro-Palestinian Left. It was a Turkish attempt to see how far Israel could be pushed, and Turkey seems to have received a somewhat surprising answer at the hands of Israeli commandos.

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First, an overview of what happened, as reported by ANSAmed:

The attack carried out last night by Israeli forces on a multi-national flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists heading for the Gaza Strip carrying humanitarian aid has ended in a bloodbath, with at least 19 people dead. There have been serious and immediate protests from Turkey, who has recalled its ambassador to Israel, while governments in European capitals have expressed their shock at the killings.

The activists, who were led by the NGO Free Gaza, wanted to force the blockade set up around the Gaza Strip when the Islamic group Hamas came into power in 2007. The clash occurred in international waters, a few dozen miles off the coast, on the vessel of a Turkish NGO that was leading the six-ship expedition.

Israeli commandos, who reached the ship using boats and helicopters, opened fire, killing 19 people, according to the latest reports from the Israeli television station Channel 10. An Israeli military spokesman has said that the chaos began when some activists attempted to resist the boarding of the marines using clubs, knives and at least one firearm, which is said to have been taken from an Israeli soldier. Twenty-six activists were injured, one of whom is in a critical condition. Among the injured is sheikh Raed Salah. Ten Israeli soldiers were also injured, two seriously.

- – - - – - – - -

Israel’s military spokesman has accused the organisers of the flotilla of organising a “violent provocation”. The first of the ships has already arrived at the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, which has been closed off to the media.

[…]

Israel has raised the level of alert on its northern border (with Lebanon) and also to the south, on the border with the Gaza Strip.

[…]

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, has said that he is “shocked” by Israel’s attack on the pro-Palestinian activist fleet, as has the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. Great concern and grief has also been expressed by the Vatican. The Arab League has called an urgent meeting of its Foreign Ministers in Cairo tomorrow. Turkey, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland have held talks with their respective ambassadors to Israel, and the European Union has called for the Jewish state to open an investigation.

[…]

There has been strong criticism from the governments of France and Germany, as well as from the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, who spoke of an “extremely serious incident” and said that he “deplores” the killing of civilians. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, currently on a visit to Canada, has been asked to return home.

Next comes a translation by VH of an article from HoeiBoei (Note: I am unable to check most of the links in this post, nor can I watch the videos. If readers find any broken links, please let me know):

Israeli commandos being attacked while boarding a ship in Free Gaza Fleet

In the night of 30 on May 31, Israeli commandos boarded the ships of the “Free Gaza” fleet on their way from Turkey to Israel.

Despite repeated requests to the captains of these ships to divert the course to Ashdod — the major port in southern Israel — the ships kept on sailing towards the coast of Gaza.

Organizers earlier had made clear that the purpose of the mission was to the break the naval blockade of Gaza (Hamas).

Video link

Israel has repeatedly stated that the Navy would not allow this action and had asked the leadership of the action to simply offload the humanitarian goods destined for Gaza in Ashdod. Also, an offer was rejected to give the Free Gaza organization supervision of the delivery of the goods into Gaza

With the departure of ships from Turkey repeatedly chants were raised like “Death to the Jews” (“Yitbakh Al Yahoed”)

From the start of the operation “Free Gaza” there was cooperation between Hamas and the organizers. (Source: Right Side News)

The boarding of five smaller ships of the Free Gaza fleet went smoothly without any significant violence. The largest boat “Mavi Marmara” contained the most activists, including many members of the IHH, a Turkish Islamist organization that collaborates with Hamas and Al Qaeda.

Also the leader of the extremist Islamic Movement in Israel, Raed Salah, was aboard that ship.

At the time that the Israeli commandos boarded the vessel they were attacked by a group of activists with knives and iron bars. The soldiers were also shot at with guns, and one of the soldiers was robbed of his weapon.

(in the circles among others, an attack with knives can be seen)

In the firefight that subsequently arose, 10 of the attackers were killed and 10 commandos were wounded. The wounded were treated by Israeli army doctors and transported by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

The Israeli navy still has — at the time of publication of this report — no complete control over the ship Mavi Marmara, some activists have entrenched themselves in their huts.

The Israeli decision to conduct this action in international waters, was justified according to international law. According to the “San Remo Manual on International Law of conflict at sea” it is allowed to attack “neutral ships on the high seas when there is reason to believe that they are carrying contraband or intend a blockade. However, not until after they receive warnings, and willfully or intentionally refuse to stop or intentionally oppose a search, is of boarding and seizure of the ship allowed.

As had been indicated above and demonstrated with video images, the Israeli navy met these conditions. The organizers of the Free Gaza fleet had made known earlier that they intended to break through the Israeli sea blockade of Gaza (AFP, Greta Berlin May 27, 2010).

The leader of the IHH, Bulent Yildirim, gave several interviews in which he announced they would “resist” any Israeli attempt to search the ship.

The IHH secured the presence of some EU parliamentarians on board the Mavi Marmara, which they saw as an insurance policy in case of intervention by the Israeli navy.

One of the injured among the Free Gaza people was a Muslim activist leader from Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah:

The leader of the Northern Branch of Israel’s Muslim Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah, was among the seriously wounded during the assault by Israelis against the flotilla of activists carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, Cyprus news agency reports today quoting Khalid Najjar, the Head of the Palestinian Delegation in Cyprus, as saying.

Syria has reacted to the incident with saber-rattling:

In its first official statement on the Israeli attack on the humanitarian flotilla headed for Gaza, Syria called the operation a “barbaric” move. Quoted by Lebanese press agency Nna, President Bashar al Assad and Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri harshly condemned the “crime committed by Israel with this barbaric attack on defenceless civilians”. The joint statement quoted by Nna continues that Syria and Lebanon “invite the international community to take measures as soon as possible to end Israel’s crimes, which could lead to war in the Middle East with repercussions far beyond the regional borders”.

There are street protests in Turkey:

At least 5,000 people have taken to the streets over the past few hours in Istanbul between the Israeli consulate and the centrally-located Taksim square in protest against the Israeli Navy’s attack this morning against the flotilla of ships bringing humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip… The crowd began gathering before the Israeli consulate a few minutes after the radio and TV reported the attack on the humanitarian convoy. Many threw bottles of water and other objects at entrance to the building. Scenes of anger and protest have also been seen in Ankara in front of the residence of the Israeli ambassador to Turkey, Gaby Levi, where also this morning hundreds of people carrying Turkish and Palestinian flags shouted or prayed under the vigilant eyes of the police protecting the building.

And military co-operation between Israel and Turkey seems to be at an end, at least for the time being:

The Ankara government has today decided to cancel three joint military operations with Israel that have been scheduled for some time, following last night’s attack by Israeli marines on a six-ship convoy carrying passengers and humanitarian aid to Gaza… “The Turkish ambassador in Tel Aviv, Oguz Celikkol, has been recalled to Turkey and all military exercises due to be carried out with Israel have been cancelled. Turkey has also called for all international organisations to intervene in this situation. We want our citizens to be sent back to Turkey. We want true information from Israel that removes any doubt over the attack on the ships”.

Cruise tourism between Turkey and Israel has been suspended, and Turkey has decided to cancel a youth football match between the two countries.

The EU has reacted predictably, with its newly-minted foreign minister playing her appointed role:

The European Union has asked Israeli authorities to open an inquiry into the attack on ships bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza which resulted in a number of deaths. Reports were from EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, who also underscored that Israeli must ensure the unrestricted flow of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Ashton demanded that Israeli authorities respect the unobstructed transit of flotillas carrying humanitarian aid, asking for an “immediate and unconditional reopening of transit for the transport of goods and people from and to Gaza”.

Notice that Ms. Ashton is echoing the party line of the OIC, which in essence denies Israel any sovereign rights over its own territory.

Hamas is ready for a good fight:

In Gaza, Hamas has spoken out against the Israeli navy’s boarding of the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and pro-Palestinian activists, calling it “organised state terrorism”. Hamas also called for “an intifada (revolt) before Israeli embassies throughout the world” to protest against the attack, according to Ahmad Yusef, one of the representatives of the Palestinian radical faction in Gaza. Other spokesmen from the movement called the incident “an international crime”, calling on the UN and the international community to react and set in motion an inquiry so that “the culprits be punished”… Local sources do not rule out an immediate resurgence of attacks or rocket launching at Israel. Intervention by the Arab League was called for in a public speech by the head of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. Haniyeh also called on the entire Palestinian population to take to the streets to protest the Israeli operation and on the Palestinian Authority for it to halt proximity talks with Israel.

And the notorious “Palestinian street” has awoken:

Palestinian streets have today reached boiling point in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip following the Israeli attack on the “Free Gaza” flotilla, in which a number of activists were killed. In Gaza City, people waiting for the arrival of the convoy went from hope to rage. Steadily growing numbers of protesters began grouping in the centre of the city later, after the call to protest issued by the leaders of Hamas and the invitation by the head of the de facto government of Gaza, Ismail Hanyeh, to hold a “day of anger” against “Zionist crimes”… Hanyeh also put pressure on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) of the moderate President Mahmoud Abbas to immediately withdraw from proximity talks with Israel, which have been laboriously kicked off by the United States in the last few weeks, in an attempt to revive the Middle East peace process.

The cause of all this trouble was the alleged “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. But no such crisis exists — Gaza is the most aid-glutted piece of real estate in the world:

There was no humanitarian crisis and nobody is dying with hunger in the Gaza Strip, where the real problem is the fact that control of the territory is in the hands of a terrorist organisation (Hamas), said Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak today.

I see that more ANSAmed news stories have arrived in our email since I started writing this post. But this will have to do for now…

Why This Mosque? Why This Time?

El Cid writes to say that the New York Ground Zero mosque is to be completed on the anniversary of September 11th. I hadn’t realized that. Talk about salt in a wound…

He rhetorically asks why they want this “as close as you can get to ‘Ground Zero’?”

Then, as I knew he would, El Cid provides the answer:



What is shocking about the construction of a twelve-story “mega” mosque just two short blocks from Ground Zero, is not that one will be built; there are lots of mosques throughout America and many of them are in New York City. However, the erection of this one in such close proximity to what has become a sacred spot for countless people is an arrogant goad by Islam against America. And the people who will run this mosque are much the same as the hijacking killers of 9/11 in their beliefs.

Americans do not abide with religious discrimination; there is a place here for all religions willing to respect our constitution. But a political ideology posing as a religion and teaching that its shariah law must dominate our secular law has no place in our modern society.

The 9/11 hijackers were Muslims who believed that sharia trumped the constitution. They made war with us not only because we were Christian and Jews, but also because we did not submit to their law. From where they are, these mass murders must be looking up with approval to the building of this mosque.

Islam has always co-opted the civic and religious buildings and sites in those territories it managed to subdue. A well-known and recurring theme of Islam is to obliterate and then build over what was there before, using a symbol of Islam to replace a given culture’s own sacred symbols.

Here are just a few examples:
- – - - – - – - -

  • The great pagan temple in Mecca was destroyed by Mohammed. But the huge dark rock or Khab, venerated by pagans before Islam now forms the heart of the Muslim world and is Islam’s most scared object. Thus, Islam’s first building project was to establish a “ holiest spot” in Arabia by eradicating the history of what went before.
  • The Dome of the Rock Mosque, a site at the center of the Palestinian – Israeli conflict, stands athwart the ruins of Judaism’s most holy site, the place where the Great Jewish Temple once stood.
  • The main center of Eastern Christianity, the imposing Cathedral of Damascus, was, upon the capture of the city by Muslim armies, replaced by a great mosque. This once holy center of Byzantine Christian Syria now belongs to Islam. The persecuted remnant of that Christian culture persists, but it has no grand edifice in which to commemorate its holy days.
  • Further west, the great mosque of Cordoba (from which the World Trade Center Mosque deliberately derives it name) rises over Visigothic Spain’s greatest Cathedral. Once again, the first act of Muslims after conquering Spain was to take over the sacred heart of the conquered peoples’ religion. Now that the Christians have reconquered it and re-consecrated their cathedral, Islam still clamors to have it “returned”.

The list goes on and on, in every place that the sword of Islam has won over history’s long arc. What was there before has been erased as apart of Islam’s victories. If Hindus complain about losing their temples, Muslims reply, in essence, “we won”.

America’s secular culture, so tolerant of many different religious views, has never established a symbol or scared religious spot for all her people. We do, however, have important symbols of our open and free society.

We are a modern nation that thrives on commerce and enterprise. Thus, the World Trade Center stood facing the Statue of Liberty in the largest city of America. It was our Cathedral of Commerce and Enterprise and many of us still feel the horror of its obliteration.

This symbol of America’s ideal was smashed by Islamic Jihad. It was merely another wave of destruction against yet another place it plans to conquer, just as other Islamic triumphs have done in other countries throughout history.

So what about 9/11, was it a victory for Islam? The answer must be yes if the men who believe that their Sharia Law is superior to our constitution are allowed to built over one of our sacred sites.

Again, why this mosque at this time in this place?

The utterances of the mass murderers who waged Jihad on us on September 11th, 2001, and the history of the West’s struggle with Islam’s horrific obliteration of whatever it conquers, gives us the answer.

A symbol of Al Qaeda’s victory will now overshadow the graves of its victims and indelibly tarnish our sacred ground.

They are telling us they won.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/30/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/30/2010Reiss-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric, the spiritual leader of Muslims in Bosnia, says that politicians should refrain from public comments about alleged an war crime committed by Muslims during the Bosnian civil war in 1992. The incident in question involved the massacre of 42 Serbian soldiers who had been promised a safe passage out of Sarajevo by Bosnian Muslims.

In other news, a two-year-old boy in Indonesia has a nasty smoking habit. His puffing on 40 cigarettes a day has put his health in jeopardy, but his parents say they can’t stop supplying him with cigarettes, since he throws unbearable tantrums if he doesn’t get his nicotine fix.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to AP, C. Cantoni, heroyalwhyness, ICLA, Insubria, JD, Mary Abdelmassih, Reinhard, TB, Vlad Tepes, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

[This post is a stub — nothing further here!]

Back to the Stone Age

OstrichOr to the Phone Age, anyway.

For some reason our satellite connection has been off for most of the day. It doesn’t seem to be the weather, so perhaps the satellite was hit by space junk. Or maybe there are gremlins up there peeling back the cowling to have a look at the little blinking lights inside…

In any case, Dymphna and I have to take turns using the 26K dialup. This makes it impossible for us to view most websites, and prevents us from watching any videos whatsoever. It also makes posting slow and frustrating, and delays our email responses.

So be prepared for light posting this evening. I’ll do my best to get a news feed out, though.

[Agonizingly slow post ends here]

Keeping Everyone in Stitches

Cultural Enrichment News


The following interaction between “Asians” and native Britons is not all that unusual these days in culturally enriched regions of the UK. This sort of encounter is what passes for “community cohesion” under the regime of Multicultural Newspeak.

The most significant part of this news story is what the victim said afterwards: “I don’t understand why this happened.”

I believe that this is true. And as long as he relies on the mainstream media and his own government to explain the multicultural experiment to him, he will never understand. To learn what is being done to him he would have to attend an EDL demonstration or a BNP meeting, and that is a line that most ordinary people are not yet willing to cross. So, for the time being, there will be more and more perplexity — and more stitches.

Here’s the story from the Guardian (a local paper, not to be confused with the Grauniad):

UK: Barkingside: Man Needs 62 Stitches After Racist Attack

A FATHER-of-two needed 62 stitches to repair gaping wounds to his face after being slashed with a stanley knife during a racist attack.

The 28-year-old, who does not want to be identified, lost about two pints of blood after being assaulted by a gang of four Asian men opposite Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre in Barkingside High Street.

The man, who lives in Barkingside, said his confidence has been left shattered by the ordeal — which took place at around 1.30am on Sunday May 16.

He said: “I left the Fairlop Oak pub and went to a 24-hour shop nearby to get some cigarettes and a couple of lagers.

“On the way out I saw a friend of mine at the bus stop and went to chat with him. At the same time a car pulled up and a group of Asian lads got out and walked past me. They were looking at me funny.

“My friend eventually left and I was leaning against a wall looking at my mobile phone when one of (the gang) hit me over the head with a bottle.”

As the man turned around another gang member — described as having a skin head haircut and long beard — racially abused him before slashing him twice in the face, causing a two-inch cut to his cheek and a five-inch gash under his right eye.

The thugs, who were all aged between 25 and 30, ran off following the attack.

The injured man, who has been unable to return to his job as a digger driver on the Olympic site or go out alone at night since the attack, said: “I staggered into the 24-hour shop to ask for help. I was bleeding really badly.

“If I hadn’t been on the way down the guy could have slashed my neck.

- – - - – - – - -

“The ambulance took half-an-hour to get there. Luckily an old mate of mine from school arrived at the shop not long after to get something and saw me there bleeding. He helped stem the blood with a load of dusters from the shop.

“I passed out because of the blood loss but the ambulance crew gave me a shot of something which woke me up again.”

He was taken to King George Hospital in Goodmayes before being transferred to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel to have micro-stitches inserted in his lip.

He said: “This has really destroyed my confidence.

“I was already feeling low after splitting up from my wife in January, but this has made it even harder for me to meet someone new.

“I’m just lucky to have such good friends around me.

“I don’t understand why this happened. I didn’t say anything to these people and they just brutally attack me.”

The knife-wielding thug is thought to have been wearing a tracksuit at the time of the assault while the other three men wore dark clothing.

The car the gang arrived in was driven off before the attack. It is described as small and blue — possibly a Ford Fiesta.



For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.

Hat tip: TB.

Got Your Bloggers’ Insurance Paid Up?

It appears to be getting dangerous out there. In lovely, peaceful Canada, of all places.

Sheesh:

Ali Mallah, a member of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees), assaults intrepid blogger Blazingcatfur!

This Mallah dude is also a vice prez in the Canadian Arab Federation. As BCF notes, he’s infamous for his Israel-Hatred Derangement.

Here’s what happened: Blazing Cat Fur showed up at an anti-Netanyahu demonstration sponsored by what he calls “the Leftist Islamofascists alliance in Toronto”.

The protest was specifically aimed against Netanyahu’s participation in the annual Walk with Israel event.

Canada grows more dhimmified by the day:

…A blogger who films anti-Israel demonstrations – where Jews are often called the most obscene names – was assaulted this weekend by a leading member of the Canadian Arab Federation and CUPE. He wasn’t hurt but the attacker pushed him and tried to stop him using his camera. Surely this isn’t legal – at least not in countries where Sharia Law doesn’t apply. The bully then told the police that the awful man with the camera was a racist and the cop told the blogger to “keep things peaceful.” Surely this officer should be reminded of the law and that a man who crosses the road to insult and threaten another person is the one not keeping things peaceful.

Follow that link to Michael Coren and read the comment section in which BCF and Mr. Coren discuss whether or not pressing charges against this union bully/thug is a useful strategy, and if the police were remiss (yep, they sure were).

Five Feet of Fury is BCF’s wife. As my own spouse (who met her at a conference) has remarked, she chose her name well:

Arnie was unhurt.

This is the latest in a series of shameless public attacks by “peaceful” Muslims and their sympathizers against pro-Israeli Canadians.

If you object to “public employees” and taxpayer funded “community centers” intimidating ordinary citizens, please pass around this video, and contact your Member of Parliament.

FoF has links to further background on the Islamic goon who did this. Check out her site for those. See the video link she provides to Ali Mullah’s rant on Bush.

And here’s the video from that scuffle, which in American law would be considered assault:
- – - - – - – - -



Read the comments at Blazing Catfur also, because this has deeply shaken some people. One in particular feels like giving up any further fight. However, I think it’s actually a hopeful sign when the other side starts losing control.

I mentioned in my last post that fighting this thing is going to be long, and that we have to be prepared for the siege. As I said, time to get out Machiavelli and think strategically.

Fortunately, BCF wasn’t hurt. If the rule of law still prevails in Canada then he has the moral high ground here. I hope he runs with it.

Meanwhile, do you think bloggers’ life insurance premiums will go up? I’m not being dramatic; this a practical question which needs to addressed. Other considerations include whether or not to arm oneself (depending on where you live) , or if wearing a bullet proof vest – as one of the Christian news network’s reporters does – is the better part of valor.

I’m glad BCF is okay, but it may be just an opening salvo so I hope he comes down hard on his assailant. To let it go would be giving this bully permission for further assaults, not just of Blazing Cat Fur, but any videographer who showed up with a camera.

The Grand Jihad Has Arrived

Synchronicity.

The president’s “top counterterrorism adviser”, John Brennan, opines that we should “just say no to jihad”.

The Grand Jihad by Andrew McCarthyThis is excellent timing: just as Andrew McCarthy’s book, The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America is released, this Leftist government lackey tells us why we shouldn’t use the term (and why this Islamic administration won’t be using it, either):

“…because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.”

Sure it is, Mr. Brennan. By the way, may I have some of whatever it is you’re smoking?

Investor’s Business Daily and The History News Network both agree that this administration spokesperson is being willfully blind.

First, IBD:

We’ve seen the enemy and it’s not just the jihadists. It’s also our own government, which refuses to see this very real enemy. How can we fight and defeat what we refuse to see?

The editorial hits the high spots with the Fort Hood Massacre (they don’t mention the lame report that followed, though), and then AG Holder’s pathetically funny inability to say “radical Islam”, plus the underwear bomber and the wanna-be-bomber in Times Square. As IBD points out:

Brennan could benefit from talking to people who have actually been on the front lines fighting jihadists.

[…]

It’s plain that Brennan has been told by Muslim leaders what jihad does or doesn’t mean without finding out for himself.

Yes, and those “Muslim leaders” hold positions in our own government bureaucracy, determined to hollow us out using front men like Brennan.

Judith Apter Klinghoffer writes about the same issue and expands on the Leftism theme:

Anyone who needed added proof of the ongoing Leftist-Islamist alliance needs look no further than John Brennan, the terror Tsar who has repeatedly failed to keep us safe from Muslims trying to kill us in the name of Jihad.

I thought he was merely incompetent. After all, four security breaches in such a short period is a terrible record by any measure. I now realize that he is…a member of a leftist administration actively cooperating with Islamists in line with the old dictum that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, as Jean Bricmont recommended in 2006 when he suggested that the left put aside its scruples and join the Islamists’ anti-Western side.

[…]

Misleading Americans about al Qaeda’s Islamist ideology is a threat to US national security …John Brennan seeks to actively disarm America by downplaying the threats posed by Islamists openly waging war against her. [my emphasis here - D]

Which brings us to Mr. McCarthy’s new book, his second volume on jihad.
- – - - – - – - -
The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America fits Ms. Klinghoffer’s thesis, i.e., that the Left and Islam are cooperating to bring America to its knees. That is the American Left she means, not just the statists in Europe.

McCarthy’s publisher, Encounter Books (see previous post on their efforts), has a short review. Here is part of it:

The real threat to the United States is not terrorism. The real threat is the sophisticated forces of Islamism, which have collaborated with the American Left not only to undermine U.S. national security but to shred the fabric of American constitutional democracy-freedom and individual liberty.

[…]

McCarthy is the former federal prosecutor who convicted the notorious “Blind Sheikh” and other jihadists for waging a terrorist war that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In his national bestseller, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter 2008), he explored government’s conscious avoidance of the terrorist threat, which made the nation vulnerable to mass-murder attacks. In The Grand Jihad he exposes a more insidious peril: government’s active suppression of the Islamist ideology that unabashedly vows to “conquer America.”

Obviously, we haven’t read what Mr. McCarthy has to say. This new one has only been out since May 25th; besides our budget doesn’t include books anymore or I’d be devouring it right now!

However, the reviews at Amazon are informative (Even there, though, you can find one Lefty troll. The other reviewers take him apart for not really reading the book but simply panning it). One fellow, who leads off the customer reviews, seems to have read The Great Jihad. I am going to excerpt from his very long review because he is a Muslim and he gets it.

On the Review Page he says:

As one who was raised in a muslim country in a muslim family and society, I often find books by westerners trying to describe islam through western paradigms to fail to grasp the reality of islam. Finally someone breaks through all the political correctness and presents true islam as clearly compatible with Jihad…

This author rightly presents the reality that many wonderful muslim neighbors do not want sharia law! They are muslim culturally because their parents were muslims, but they want to be able to walk in public with members of opposite sex, play chess, play soccer, have a drink every now & then, have fun and live a happy life.

[…]

Under President Bush, even the muslims who succeeded in blowing up the towers on 9/11 were given muslim freedoms to continue to read the quran and live by the islamic sharia law while in prison.

[…]

Sadly, under hussein obama , we have accelerated our downfall as president obama has opened the door for muslim terrorists to believe they now have the strong upper hand and multiple terrorist attacks in America only failed because of The Grace of God. Shockingly hussein obama told the world that America is one of the largest muslim nations in the world and disavowed all Christian connections of the early founders of America.

[…]

This book will trouble the politically correct and western minded intellectuals who do not understand islam or those who are fooled by quotes of earlier quran revelations that were abrogated/overruled by the prophet of islam himself once he had the power to establish sharia law.

[…]

For us to win the battle against terror, we must first agree on the honest root cause well documented in this book, so we can finally address the tough needed solution for peace in our lands for all people! To have our troops die on the battlefield only to then establish sharia law and even open a center to promote sharia law where 9/11 muslims succeeded is utter foolishness that will lead to the deaths of hundreds of millions of innocent around the world.

NOTE: no opinions put into the comments section about this person practicing taqiyya will be left standing. That’s an easy lob, too easy; it’s also a dead end in terms of forwarding the discussion. In addition, dismissing his views as lies does a disservice to someone who obviously spent a long time thoughtfully and sincerely exposing Islam in his review.

Another reviewer, one of Amazon’s “Top Fifty” says:

The title of Andrew McCarthy’s new book isn’t something he made up, it is taken from a 1990s document from a “mainstream” “non-violent” Muslim organization describing their long term goal of hollowing out Western culture using its own values of tolerance and religious freedom. Note that Islamic countries do NOT allow tolerance and religious freedom in anything like the Western manner. And their two holiest cities are closed to us non-Muslims because we are unworthy to enter such holy places. Once they have hollowed out Europe, America, and other nations, they can fill the void with Sharia, which is the Muslim law and turn these nations into Islamic countries and their Grand Jihad will have achieved victory. Note that terror is not necessarily part of this strategy. [my emphasis -D]

Who needs terror when America has as its president a man whose parents combined both ideologies in one convenient family package, all the easier for metabolizing by their son. Obama’s father was a Muslim; his mother, a Leftist radical. They both hated America. Unfortunately, the offspring of their union seems to have the same perspective as his parents.

Those family antecedents wouldn’t be so bad if this man weren’t the President of the United States of America. But he is, and Obama is dismantling the work of many generations. Not that he hasn’t had help. George Bush’s proclamation that “Islam is a religion of peace” makes him our First Dhimmi President. Obama is not a dhimmi; he’s part of the Ummah – or, if you’re a Leftist, the Utopia – which is the ideology we’re stuck with for the moment. He’s been in office long enough now for us to discern his true allegiance. It ain’t us.

All we can do is limit his damage, expose his lies and deceptions, and not get side-tracked by his thuggish Chicago political mask. Would that he were merely a Chicago pol. But he’s much more than that and the fight against those he installs to help bring us down will have to be fought by all of us, in whatever ways we can. Agreed, no one reading this is part of the elitist ruling class. However, it is good to remember that we outnumber them.

It’s a matter of strategy and keeping your wits about you. Some people you simply have to write off as useless or harmful. But there are others, lots of them. I know this because they email us asking “what can I do?”

That is the question for all of us. It is good to have another book out there, reminding us of the danger we face. Mr. McCarthy’s in-depth experience with these killers in court gives him a good edge. Let us learn from what he has to say.

We’ve now had enough experience with our current president to know that he is no friend of liberty or of his own country. It is chilling to consider the depth of his disdain for the people he was elected to serve.

As best we can, we spread the word. Remember Peter Drucker’s dictum about dialogue: communication is the act of the recipient. Thus, you have to keep not just the truth in mind, but first and foremost keep your audience in mind. Doing that effectively is a difficult, arduous task.

Perhaps we ought to begin by going back to read Machiavelli. As good a place to start as any.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/29/2010

Gates of Vienna News Feed 5/29/2010An electronics factory run by the Foxconn company in the Chinese city of Shenzhen has experienced a highly unusual number of suicides among its employees — 11 successful attempts in 2010 alone. The victims are young workers from rural provinces, and their families say that the Taiwan-based company bears a responsibility for the deaths, thanks to the long hours and draconian working conditions imposed on employees who work on the factory floor. The families demand compensation from Foxconn, and have demonstrated outside the company’s headquarters in Taipei.

In other news, a public community college in California has established a scholarship fund for immigrant students, including illegal immigrants.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Gaia, Insubria, JD, JP, KGS, Takuan Seiyo, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

[This post is a stub — nothing further here!]

“If We Were Not in Austria, You Would Pay With Your Life”

Our Austrian correspondent ESW suggested the following article for translation. Here’s what she says about the newly-created group of Austrian ex-Muslims:

Following the creation of Councils of Ex-Muslims in the UK and Germany, Austria now has its own chapter. The Islamic Religious Association has so far kept quiet about the group, other than to say that any Muslim is free to leave Islam. Perhaps they are unaware of the numerous apostates from Islam who have been silenced. Rifqa Bary comes to mind.

Many thanks to JLH for the translation from Falter:

“I renounced!”

They were terrorized or despised. Austria’s ex-Muslims want to remove the condemnation of leaving the faith.

Perhaps Sibel Beyoglu would have to fear for her life if she told her story under her real name. But she would have to seek a new life. To the outside world Beyoglu is a wife, mother, and Muslim woman. Only her husband and her parents know her secret: Sibel Beyoglu doesn’t believe in Allah. Being an atheist, she doesn’t believe that women are less worthy than men, that they have to hide under a veil and that the can only enter heaven if they practice Islam actively — and also if their husbands approve. That is why she renounced Islam, as she had learned it, when she was young, and she raises her children as atheists. Under no circumstances are they allowed to talk about this outside the family.

Beyoglu does not live in Saudi Arabia or in Afghanistan, but in a village in the middle of the Austrian countryside. “As a foreigner you are segregated, and often there is only your community.” said the daughter of Turkish Immigrants. “ If they throw you out you are isolated completely.”

Silent renunciation

Cahit Kaya calls people like Sibel Beyoglu “Ex-Muslims”: people socialized as Muslims, but who don’t practice their faith or have renounced it. Meanwhile 516,000 Muslims are living in Austria, according to a recent study by the integration fund. There is no broad research regarding their religiousness. If we believe the Islamic community, which claims to represent all Muslims, they are all either faithful or very faithful. According to Cahit Kaya the majority consists of Ex-Muslims. Like himself.

“They don’t have the confidence to admit it. Therefore I will speak in their names in the future,” the 30-year-old Kaya said in his Vorarlberg dialect, sitting in the Cafe Korb in Vienna on a cloudy day in January. For five months he has been working on the painstaking organization of a Central Council for Ex-Muslims in Austria. Painstaking, because although it is easy to find sympathizers, as he says, only few admit this in public.

In the future, the Ex-Muslims want to join in the struggle in the first line of domestic debate about Islam. They call themselves laicist, humanistic and freethinkers. Ostensibly they are concerned with removing the censure of apostasy, of leaving the faith, which in their opinion is a widespread but undiscussed problem in Austria. With their provocative and polarizing positions, they could remove the taboo from criticism of Islam itself. For the first time this no longer comes from the political Right, but from former Muslims themselves.

“I am an insider and I know the everyday problems within a parallel society. But the public should get to know them as well,” Kaya said. The young long-haired man neither studied theology nor has he ever been a faithful Muslim. He read books written by the Islam critics-Henry M. Broder, Necla Kelek, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and he demonstrated against the theocratic regime with the anti-Iranian initiative “Stop the bomb”.

His discomfort with Islam is grounded on personal experiences with narrow-minded Muslims. Kaya was born in Eastern Turkey and grew up in Vorarlberg, and he tells us how he was insulted by his Turkish classmates whenever he ate Leberkäsesemmel [liver loaf = type of meat loaf popular in Austria — translator] and about the “psychological terrorism” by workers of a company in Vorarlberg with 90% Turkish workers whenever he drank beer at company get-togethers. “I was able to accomplish nothing talking with hundreds of faithful Muslims,”, Kaya said, “they seem indoctrinated and become aggressive quickly.” Between the possibilities of joining the “inner emigration” or avoiding Muslims and their society company, he decided to chose the latter. He moved to Vienna, started to study politics and kept looking for like-minded people, until last year he heard of Mina Ahadi.

Death Can be a Punishment

- – - - – - – - -

Three years ago the 53-year-old native of Iran founded the first Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany, whose offshoots are now active in England, Switzerland and Scandinavia (see column). As a student in Iran Ahadi had initially opposed the regime of the Shah and then fought against the mullahs. After her husband and five friends had been kidnapped from home and put to death, she fled to Europe. That home visit had been directed at her.

“I know Islam, and for me it means death and pain” is a slogan of this Communist, whose Central Council of Europe calls for a ban on veils and minarets and criticizes Islamic organizations for not representing the majority and for politicization. Their main concern, however, is apostasy.

Two years ago, a case from Afghanistan caused outrage in Europe. Abdul Rahman, a Muslim convert to Christianity, who had lived many years in Germany, was indicted in Afghanistan for apostasy and threatened with the death penalty. It was only after considerable international pressure that the trial was terminated by reason of insanity.

The asylum-seeker Majid Chavarie has a similar story, except that it does not attract so much attention, because it is the rule rather than the exception in Iran. He sits in the Viennese Café Schottenring and tells of how he grew up as an orphan with his devout brother and had to memorize the Koran sura by sura. During his youth, critical questions about Islam were met with public beatings. In a secret Bible study, he became acquainted with another god, as he says, “a God who speaks of love and not of battle.”

When the Bible study group was uncovered, he was hunted and his house was under surveillance. Apostasy in Iran is punished by death. Therefore Chavarie fled to Europe. For nearly seven years he has lived in Austria, where he is politically active against the (Iranian) regime, and is hoping for asylum here. “In Iran the death penalty awaits me” he says. Because he has nothing left to lose, he is one of the few apostates to tell his story publicly. They do not face the death penalty in Austria, but often a social death.

Friederike Dostal, who is responsible for baptizing adults in the archdiocese of Vienna knows the stories behind the taboo. By conservative estimate, about 150 people a year convert from Islam to Christianity in Austria. “Often baptized candidates conceal their conversion process or at least don’t spread the news,” says Dostal and tells anecdotes of her everyday work. For instance, a young Jordanian woman shortly before her ceremony decided against her baptism, after her family in Jordan was threatened. Another young convert, according to Dostal, had to hear the sentence: “If we were not in Austria, you would pay with your life.”

Tarafa Baghajati, on the other hand, speaks of a “virtual problem”. Baghajati’s wife Amina is known as the spokesperson of the Islamic Religious Community (IGGIÖ); he himself, as a committed Muslim is one of the most important string-pullers in the background. In the conversation taking place in the library of the Academy of Islamic Religious Pedagogy, he pleads for free choice: “No compulsion is the word in the Koran,” says Baghajati, a friendly man who likes to quote from the Koran to demonstrate parables with effective theatricality.

A new kind of criticizing Islam

“In countries where apostasy is punishable by law, the misunderstanding consists of making no distinction between the person changing his religion and high treason declared in a military sense,” says Baghajati who does not see himself as the advocate of theocratic states, but as a cultural interpreter. “Among Muslims, religion is enshrined in the heart. You not only turn your back on God, but on your entire family and society. “

One does not have to approve of that, Baghajati says between the lines, but must understand it, because that is the way it is. The social, psychological, and human crises of which Cahit Kaya, Sibel Beyoglu, and Friederike Dostal speak are not known to the faith community, Baghajati assures. Only 21 Muslims left the faith in 2009.

“If someone wants to change his religion, he should do that. But he should then solve his problems on his own,” Baghajati said. He refers to the Central Council of Ex-Muslims as “irrelevant”; the name was “a false choice”. Finally, someone who has never been a Muslim could not also fall from the faith.

The representatives of the faith community are now in a new situation. So far, criticism of Islam came mainly from the Right. Statements like that of FPÖ politician Susanne Winter, who has called the Prophet Muhammad a child molester, were not difficult to debunk as what they are: racist incitement. But of the ex-Muslims of Cahit Kaya, those who know the so-called parallel society, because they grew up in it, step forward to comment. Cahit Kaya does not agree with the language of Winter’s remark, but with its content. Religious representatives still pay no attention.

Ultimately, the involvement of ex-Muslims, raises an important question: Will they reach their target and launch an inner-Islamic discourse, or will they just harden the battle lines between Islamic representatives and critics of Islam?

In an online interview Kaya speaks of the need for an enlightenment movement within Islam. He condemns forced marriages, honor killings, stoning, and genital mutilation. Tarafa Baghajati would undoubtedly agree with Kaya on many of these points. However, the jubilant comments below the interview hint at who has been waiting for this criticism. There is talk of Islam as a “mental illness” and that it is “curable”, and that Austria is a “territory of colonization.”

When the press conference of the Central Council started last Friday, it was immediately clear why neither Muslims nor Islamic representatives were present to discuss with the new critics: they were not welcome here. The ex-Muslims are not looking for dialogue, but a fight. Sixty interested people gathered in the Republican Club in the first district, which was packed to the rafters. Above all, atheists, feminists and leftists came and commented on every remark made from the podium by Mina Ahadi and Cahit Kaya, with nods and applause.

Ahadi first tells the depressing story of her persecution, which did not stop even in Germany. After the founding of the Central Council she was under police protection for six months because of numerous death threats. In Austria too, she expects violence against the initiative, she says. When she speaks of her struggle against European Islamic organizations, she almost shouts, she is so outraged.

Mosques would advance the opposite of integration, Islamic groups would reject democracy, and the “Islamic lobby” simply uses Islamophobia as a defensive statement: these are the things that are said on the podium. Devout Muslims are portrayed as radical and fanatic, the critics described as “normal people.” Anyone who warns against generalization and Islamophobia is called multi-culti.

Islam is Dangerous for her

It is not that Ahadi implies “between the lines” that someone enters a mosque as a normal person and comes out as a supporter of terror. She says it straight out and earns thunderous applause, from people who want to finally be allowed to express their fear freely without being branded racist and Islamophobic, people who want to finally say that Islam is political and dangerous, is anti-feminine and indeed anti-human, and that they therefore want to see neither minarets nor headscarves. Mina Ahadi grants them this permission, because she is one of “those” and yet one of “these”.

“The danger is that, rather than being part of the solution, they remain part of the problem, and do not cause any self-critical debate on the Muslim side, but merely defensive reactions.” This sentence appeared one time in Sueddeutsche Zeitung about the Dutch Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her companions in the struggle. It could, however, relate equally well to the new Central Council. For, as its exponents are sitting at the Republican Club and raging against Islam, they do not give the impression that they would speak for 95 percent of the local Muslims who do not attend mosques, but rather for those 30 percent of Austrians, who according to surveys, do not want to live next door to Muslims.

A Muslim Poster-Boy for the Spanish Military

AMDG at La Yijad en Eurabia has noticed that the Spanish military has decided to celebrate Armed Forces Day by highlighting the contribution of a Muslim to a rescue operation. Go over to his post to see the official poster honoring the hero.

Since the number of Muslims in the Spanish military is vanishingly small, this poster is a slap in the face for all those “persons of Spanish background” who serve in the armed forces. As AMDG says, it demonstrates “the abject treason of our ruling elites”.

This sort of pro-Islamic propaganda serves several functions:

1.   It makes the elites feel good about themselves. They’re doing their part for Multiculturalism. They’re celebrating diversity. They’re promoting a dialogue of mutual understanding among various ethnic communities. Etc., etc.
 
2.   It sends a message to the hoi polloi that Muslims are OK; they’re just like us. For the most part, this aspect of the campaign is a failure. The vast majority of the populace isn’t fooled.

They know what the deal is with Muslims.
 

3.   It sends a signals to Muslims that our submission to them is already in progress. When Western cultural leaders bend over backwards to show how tolerant and benevolent they are towards Islam, it tells the Muslims that they have succeeded in gaining control over how the infidel treats them and their religion.

It says, “Yes, we are dhimmis who recognize that Islam is dominant in our territory. We are granting you control over what we do.”

This aspect of the campaign is very effective.

Here’s what AMDG has to say:

Muslim soldier, top feature of the poster for the celebration of the Armed Forces Day 2010

Tomorrow, Spain celebrates the Día de las Fuerzas Armadas. The Ministry has designed a poster (see image) whose main feature is the portrait of a Muslim soldier who saved the life of a colleague in a rescue operation at an oil rig.

Taking into account that the percentage of Muslims in Spanish armed forces is negligible — even if dangerously concentrated in the North-African cities of Ceuta and Melilla- this is once more another effort to promote multiculturalism and to destroy the identity of Spanish society. The initiative to promote the recruitment of Muslims is specially suicidal in the case of Spain, because Islam, and in particular the North of Africa, has been a historical enemy of the Spanish nation.

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You can also notice that the image of the armed forces portrayed in the poster is that of a NGO dedicated to humanitarian tasks.

In 1537, the Secretary of War (not “Defense”) of Felipe II created the first ever Navy Infantry. Its history is divided into five periods (see Wikipedia). In the first period, the most glorious, it fought mainly the Turk; in the second period it contained successfully the British Empire in South America. The third and fourth periods show it decadence; the fifth and current period show the abject treason of our ruling elites: it has participated in the so-called pacification of Yugoslavia, that is the reislamization of the region.

The Last Empire

Five hundred and fifty-seven years ago today the city of Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire, and the Byzantine Empire came to an end. The sack of Constantinople inaugurated centuries of brutal Islamic rule in southeastern Europe. Greece was finally liberated from the Ottomans in the 19th century, but to this day a small portion of Europe remains in Turkish hands, and the city of Istanbul — formerly Constantinople — remains a Turkish city.

Below is a guest-post about the fall of Constantinople by an author who writes under the pen name of Anestos Canelides. He has this to say about his essay:

I am half-Greek, and I wrote this as a memorial to those who fought in the epic battle against Islamic expansionism. I wrote it also as a memorial to the other Christians in the Balkans who lost so much to Islam. I have spent time in Istanbul, and I bear no hatred towards the modern Turks.


The Last Empire
1453: The Siege of Constantinople

by Anestos Canelides

On June 9th, 1453, three ships sailed into the harbor of Candia in Crete with a crew of mostly Cretan sailors. The sailors had arrived from Constantinople shortly after its fall to the Ottoman Turkish armies of Sultan Mehmet Bey. The Cretans had brought with them the tragic news about the fall of Constantinople to the armies of Islam, despite a heroic stand by the Greeks and their allies. The sudden news induced great anguish amongst the people of Crete and later the Christian west. The Ottoman conquest of the queen of cities had brought a tragic end to the Roman Empire, often referred to as the Byzantine Empire today. It was the final nail in the coffin of the center of the Byzantine world, but in turn it would bring about the rise of the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic state.

Constantinople was attacked from land and sea, but the land walls, known as the walls of Theodosius, had never been breached in their thousand-year history. In the same way that three hundred Spartans had defied the advancing armies of the Persian Empire, the citizens of Constantinople also stood heroically and defended their city against tyranny. It was both the Byzantine Greeks’ desire for freedom from enslavement, and the belief that God would miraculously save them from defeat, that led them to resist the Turks fiercely for almost two months.

Constantinople 1453


The Turks had sought to enter the city with a fanatic spirit because the Prophet, in the Qur’an, offered them a special place in paradise. Sultan Mehmet only mimicked the Prophet Muhammad when he said, “…even if some of us should die, as is natural in war, and meet our destined end, you know well from the Qur’an what the Prophet says, ‘that he who dies in battle shall dine whole in body with Mahomet, and drink with him in paradise and he shall take his rest in a green spot and fragrant with flowers, enjoying the company of women and lovely boys and virgins and he will bathe in gorgeous baths. All these things he will enjoy in that place by God’s favor.’” Despite facing such great odds, the Byzantines would defend their ancient Christian capital with great tenacity against the armies of Mehmet.1

Prophecy of the fall

The Romans believed that the fall of the city would occur under an Emperor with the name Constantine whose mother would be named Helen. Byzantine legend foretold that it would be during the reign of a Constantine, the son of a Helen, that the great city of Constantinople would be conquered. The name of the mother of Constantine the Great — who founded Constantinople as the new Rome — was Helen. Even though there had been numerous Emperors with the name Constantine between the rule of Constantine the Great, in the 4th century AD, and Constantine Palaeologus XI in the 15th century, only these two Emperors had mothers named Helen. It is also interesting to note the last official Byzantine Patriarch was named Metrophanes, and this was also the name of the Patriarch during the reign of Constantine the Great.2

According to another legend the siege would take place during the waning of the moon, and this sign was fulfilled on the eve of the final siege of the city. The signs became more prophetic to the defenders when a strange green mist covered the sacred Cathedral Agia Sophia, also called Church of the Holy Wisdom. This mysterious green mist enshrouded the base of the church and then slowly climbed up the sanctuary. Suddenly, the mist mysteriously shot up towards the heavens and vanished. This particular sign led the Byzantines to believe that the spirit of God had abandoned the city because of their sins. Regardless, of what the citizens believed, the Emperor would not abandon the city or its people to the armies of Hagar. Like all brave Hellenes, throughout their history, he would stand and fight till the Angel of the Lord claimed his soul. Other signs that further contributed to the fears of the defenders were two slight earthquakes, and torrential rains. These events were interpreted as evil omens, and they reminded the citizens of all the prophecies that foretold of the end of the Empire and the coming of the Anti-Christ; which they assumed was the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet.3

What further compounded their superstition was a widely held belief, amongst the Greeks, that the Byzantine Empire was the last empire on earth. “People remembered the ancient prophetic books from the time of the earlier Arab siege, their gnomic, oracular verses were widely recited; ‘misfortune to you, city of the seven hills, when the twentieth letter is proclaimed on your ramparts. Then the fall will be near and the destruction of your sovereigns.’ The Turks were seen as an apocalyptic people signifying the last judgment, a scourge sent by God as a punishment for Christian sins.”4

Conflict begins

Byzantium 1The conflict which would lead to the city’s fall began when Mehmet built a castle called Rumeli Hisari located — to this day — on a sea channel called the Bosporus. The site of the new castle was directly across the channel from a castle called Anadolu Hisar on the Asia Minor side, built by Mehmet’s late grandfather, the Sultan Bayezit. Mehmet had built this fortress to gain control of the channel and regulate the shipping between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea. At this spot the Bosporus was at its narrowest point, so locating it directly across from Anadolu Hisar gave Rumeli Hisari strategic control of the waterway. The new castle would be the perfect base of operations for the siege of Constantinople, but the only problem was that it was on Byzantine land.5

In the previous winter of 1451-52 the Sultan had collected the workforce needed to build his new fort, but in the process he demolished churches and monasteries to provide additional building material for the castle. Some Greeks dared to object, so they were rounded up and massacred. Later, some Greeks protested that the Turks had allowed their horses to forage amongst their crops, and these were also slaughtered, bringing on a state of war between the Byzantines and the Ottomans.6

This assault by the Turks upon Roman citizens brought out a negative response from the Emperor, and in vain Constantine sent an embassy to remind the Sultan that he was breaking a solemn treaty they had agreed upon for peaceful relations between their nations. He also reminded the Sultan that when his grandfather built Anadolu Hisar, on Byzantine lands, he gained permission from Emperor Manuel II.7 The Ambassadors the Emperor had dispatched to the Sultan entreated him to withdraw his army and welcome peace. In return the Emperor would pay as much annual tribute as the Sultan desired, even more than the Empire could really afford. The Sultan replied that it was not possible for him to withdraw: “Either I take the city or the city takes me alive! But, if you wish to withdraw from the city in peace I will give you the Peloponnese, and to your brothers I will grant other provinces and we shall be friends. If I am forced to take the city by siege then I will slay you and your nobles and allow my troops to pillage the surviving population. It is sufficient even if the city is empty of its people.”8

The Emperor did not trust Mehmet, and sent back his reply, “For it is not possible to take the city from the Romans and turn it over to the Turks. Were we to do this, along what road or in what place or Christian city could they settle where the inhabitants would not spit upon the Romans and revile them and mortify them? And not only Christians but also Turks and Jews would treat them with contempt.”9 The first Ambassadors were sent back unharmed. For a second time Constantine sent his ambassadors, laden with gifts, to request that Mehmet would leave the villages surrounding Rumeli Hisar unmolested. The ambassadors were sent away without audience. A week or two later when a third group of delegates was sent to get Mehmet’s word that building this castle would not herald an attack on the city, the Sultan had these ambassadors executed.10 This action was only the start of the violence to come.

Preparations: The Greeks
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Long before the attack the Byzantines had made preparations for the attack. Throughout the previous winter the Emperor had organized the citizens to prepare the city defenses by repairing and reinforcing the walls, clearing out the moats, and setting aside stores of food. They also increased their stocks of weapons such as arrows, tools, heavy rocks, Greek fire, and everything else they would need to deter the enemy.11

According to the Greek historian and eyewitness Doukas, “The city defenders were deployed in the following manner: the Emperor and Giovanni Giustiniani Longo were stationed by the land walls, with about 3,000 Latins and Romans.” Giovanni was the commander of the Genoese and a member of a leading Genoese family; he was an expert in siege warfare.12 Doukas also states that the Grand Duke Loukas Notaras was posted at the Imperial Gate with 500 troops. At the sea walls along the battlements, from Xyloporta Gate to the Horaia Gate, more than 500 crossbowmen and archers were arrayed.13

The men who constituted the majority of the city’s defense were inexperienced Greek civilians. Historian Ian Heath says, “these are described by Leonard of Chios as welding their arms ‘according to the light nature rather than with any skill’, and we know the town- dwelling Byzantine civilians were largely ignorant of warfare and invariably reluctant to fight; the fact that several thousand rallied to Constantinople’s defense in 1453 is actually exceptional.”14 The Byzantines were mostly armed with swords, spears, shields and smaller numbers were armed with bows, crossbows and slings.15

The majority of the western mercenaries were volunteers, mostly Venetian and Genoese, who assisted in the city’s defense. They were equipped with the following: handguns, crossbows, spears, and javelins. Most of them were seamen, so they were lightly armored; about 400 of the mercenaries were under the command of Giustiniani.16 Historians estimate that there were somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 defenders, including the allies. This number has been put as high as 7,000 by some Byzantine scholars, but it is still debated.

The Turks

The desire to subjugate this ancient Christian capital was not new amongst Muslims, and the Sultan went to great lengths to fulfill this age-old desire by the Islamic world. “Every Muslim believed that the Prophet himself would accord a special place in paradise to the first soldier who should force an entry into the ancient Christian capital, they shall conquer Qostantiniya. This tradition gave glory to the Prince who conquers the city.”17

According to Turkish sources, the estimated number of Turkish troops was about eighty thousand, which included twenty thousand irregular troops or Bashi bazouks. Included amongst the Ottoman’s regular troops there were twelve thousand of the Sultan’s elite force, known as the janissaries. The latter were forcibly taken from their Christian families, compelled to convert to Islam, and trained as the Sultan’s elite military troops. They were slaves and had no personal rights, but they were paid a salary and they were anything but submissive.18a

The Sultan planned to add a recent technological innovation to his arsenal that would alter the course of history and seal the city’s fate. Even though the walls of Constantinople stood unchallenged for centuries, siege warfare was to change with the use of the cannon. In 1452 a Hungarian weapons mercenary named Urban II offered to build an enormous cannon for Mehmet, “…Urban presented himself before the Sultan and offered to construct for him a cannon to blast the walls of Babylon itself.”18b Within a few months the largest cannon in the history of man was being created in the Sultan’s foundries. Urban’s cannon could hurl a 1,340-pound stone ball approximately one mile, and in addition he designed a second cannon which could hurl an 800-pound ball the same distance. This technology had changed the art of siege warfare for over a hundred years prior to this event, and the Sultan’s new cannons would smash the very walls of Constantinople, thus allowing the Turks to be the first to enter through the land walls. Urban II had first approached the Emperor in the summer of 1452 about building this cannon for him, but he was turned down because the Empire lacked the funds for such a project.

The Turks arrive

It was on March 23rd that Mehmet’s army began its march from Edirne, through the hilly plains of Thrace, to the walls of Constantinople. Steven Runciman reveals the fear Mehmet’s advancing army brought upon the Greeks, “With all his army, cavalry and infantry, traveling across the landscape, devastating and disturbing everything, creating fear and agony and the utmost horror wherever he went.”19

On April 2nd the Emperor closed the gates of the city and he ordered the large boom (chain) hauled across the Bosporus to keep the Ottoman fleet from entering the Gold Horn, a small sea channel. The iron chain stretched from a point near the Acropolis of the city to the tower of Galata.20 The Emperor knew that the Golden Horn was protected as long as the boom held. The current of the Bosporus was too strong to allow a successful attack on the walls, so most of the Troops were put on the land walls.21 “As an additional deterrent, the ships which happened to be in the harbor were positioned behind the boom, denying entrance by the enemy fleet.”21B

It was at the beginning of April that the Ottoman armies arrived at the walls of the Byzantine capital. The arrival of the Turks coincided with the most holy day amongst the Greek Orthodox, Easter. With a mixture of piety and fear the citizens gathered in the churches to celebrate the Easter celebration. In the following weeks the Greeks would offer up their prayers, and they beseeched God, asking Him that the city not be attacked during the Holy Week; they also sought spiritual strength from their icons.22

The main force of the Ottoman army had come within five miles of the city on April 2nd. Shortly after they arrived within sight of the city, their officers organized them into units and each regiment was assigned to a position.23 “The Turks set up a total of 69 guns forming 15 batteries which faced the city walls or were positioned to fire across the Golden Horn. One of these batteries was placed near the Sultan’s tent and faced opposite of the St. Romanus Gate. This battery included three large guns engineered by Urban.24

On April 6th Mehmet himself arrived to take up his position in the center of his troops and across from the most vulnerable section of the wall. Shortly after his arrival Mehmet ordered the orchards cleared from the land and had a large ditch be dug the length of the wall, about 250 yards. The ditch was created as a rampart to protect the cannons, and latticework was set around the cannons to give them further protection. Mehmet set up his army’s camp within a quarter mile of the city.25

According to author Roger Crowley, “Before the gaze of the defenders a tented city sprang up from the plains below. His army seemed as numberless as grains of sand, spreading across the land from shore to shore.”26 The Ottoman camp was well-organized, and at night their torches poured their light over the land and sea, seeming brighter than the sun as they illuminated the entire city, Galata, all the islands, ships and boats as far as Skutari. The entire surface of the water flashed so brightly that it appeared like fire. The defenders thought the fire ran to the breach of the walls, and they also witnessed the Turks dancing in an act of frenzy around their campfires. Upon seeing so many Turks the Greeks fell to their knees crying out to the Lord, “Spare us O Lord from Thy just wrath and deliver us from the hands of the enemy.”27

Truce

Prior to the initial attack Mehmet sent envoys to avoid war. According Doukas, “…Mehmet sent an envoy to the emperor with the following message: The preparations for the siege have been concluded. …do you wish to leave the city and go wherever you like with your officials and their possessions, leaving the populace behind unharmed? Or do you resist and risk losing your life and losing your possessions? Do you risk having the Turks take your citizens captive and scattered throughout the Earth?”27b

The Emperor Constantine replied, “If you wish to live, as your fathers did, peacefully, by the grace of God, you can live peacefully with us.” The Emperor refused to go down in history as the final Emperor who surrendered to the heathen. Just prior to the first assault the Emperor mounted his horse and made a circuit of the walls to rouse the sentries to be diligent and stay awake. Having checked that was all was well and the gates were securly locked, at first cockcrow they climbed the tower at the Caligaria gate with its good view to witness the enemy’s preperations.28

The start of war

The siege began on April 2nd, but it was on April 6th the artillery bombardment began with the cannons firing 100-120 times a day until the siege was over.29 The strategic places Mehmet set the cannons were: near the palace of the Emperor, the Pigi Gate, and the Cressu gate; and then he also set four more cannons by the gate of San Romano, the weakest point of the whole city.

It was not until April 18th that the first major assault took place on city. The Turkish fleet advanced towards the boom and came within a bowshot of the allied fleet. The Turks released a volley of cannon fire (small stones) and arrows with metal bolts, along with flaming arrows. After the initial salvo they approached the allied ships and attempted a standard boarding with grappling hooks and ladders. While the hooks were thrown up to scale the sides of the Venetian ships, attempts were made to slash the merchantmen’s anchor cable, but this attempt was thwarted by a hail of javelins, pikes, and spears hurled by ship’s defenders. Like sailors trying to storm a wall from below they faced a hail of missiles from the bow and stern platform above them, also from the crow’s nest. Volleys of gad — iron javelins with stabilizing fins — arrows and stones rained down on the enemy scrabbling at the sides of the ships, thus wounding and killing a great many of them and forcing the Turks into retreat.30 The failure of the first Ottoman assault brought great humiliation and anger to the Sultan, increasing his rage against its defenders.

The Sultan needed to get his fleet inside the Golden Horn, but both the Venetian ships and the chain across the channel prevented this. On the April 22nd the Sultan created an ingenious plan to haul his ships over land and into the Golden Horn using rollers greased with animal fat, to pull them into the bay of Pera. “But no one would even had thought it possible that dogs such as these should drag these ships over the hills, bringing across as many as seventy into the harbor of Constantinople.”30b Nicolo Barbaro blames the Genoese for assisting the Turks in this venture. All the defenders feared that the Turks were now able to attack their fleet at night; since the enemy was now on both sides of the boom. The defenders made a failed attempt to burn the Turkish fleet before they could attack their ships. “On the twenty-fourth of April, Jacomo Coco the master of the galley of Trebizond took two ships and attempted to set fire to the Turkish fleet but this attempt failed because the Turks were prepared for this night attack.” So he (Jacomo) began to row at full speed, and headed for the fleet and when he was near the Turks opened fire” Caught by surprise his ship was sunk straight to the bottom with few survivors. “So the Turks won this victory, and we Christians were weeping bitterly and sorrowing greatly for the unfortunates who had drowned.”30c The Venetians bitterly accused their ancient trading rivals, the Genoese, of informing the Sultan about their planned attack on the Turkish fleet.

Byzantium 3Following a heavy bombardment of the gates of St. Romanus and Egri, an infantry assault on these sections of the walls began, but the defenders quickly threw the Turks back. The Ottomans focused their cannon assault on the St. Romanus gate and its flanking wall. By April 21st the walls had largely crumbled, creating wide breaches.31 The continuous bombardment of the walls throughout the day pulverized large sections of masonry and brought down a tower. This inspired a general fear amongst the defenders, because it was believed that Turkish turbans would soon be seen inside the city. Much of the wall was lost and this brought about great discouragement and a fear and amongst the populace that if the Turks had made the attack with only 10,000 men, at that point, the city would have been lost.32 Against great odds the Greeks were able to refortify the walls and averted the city’s takeover for another day. The Byzantines believed wholeheartedly that it was through the compassion of the Lord Jesus that the capture of the city was once again delayed.

The bombardment continued throughout the month of April and on into May, and each attack was driven back by the defenders. The breaches in the walls made by cannon fire were refortified. On May 14th-15th the cannons, which had been firing over the Genoese colony of Galata, were moved to face the Imperial Palace, by the land walls. The bombardment continued with increasing intensity against the walls of St. Romano’s until the city was taken on May 29th. Between May 28th-29th one of the larger guns was advanced to a position closer to the stockade of rubble and wood, built across collapsed sections, to destroy these refortifications.33

On Monday the 28th of May, after the sound of trumpets was heard throughout the camp, the Sultan gave instructions under pain of death that all of his officers should be ready to man their posts for a final assault. After he gave this order his troops quickly manned their posts and did nothing but bring large ladders closer to the walls of the city. The evening sun began to sink towards the west and it shone into the faces of the defenders and blinded them. It was at this time the Turkish camp came alive and the Turks filled in the moat while others brought up the war machines and cannons. Shortly after sunset there was a heavy shower, but the determined Turks continued their work unheeding.34

When they were finished, with their preparations, the Ottomans began blowing trumpets throughout their camp, along with sounding the castanets and tambourines, to announce that the Sultan would make a proclamation to his soldiers. Mehmet said to his men, “Children of Mahomet, be of good cheer. Tomorrow we shall have so much wealth that we shall be all of gold, and from the beards of Greeks we shall make leashes to tie up our dogs, and their wives and their sons shall be our slaves; so be of good cheer children of Mahomet, and be ready to die with a stout heart for the love of our Mahomet.”35 That night so many fires were lit in the Turkish camp that it appeared to the defenders as if the very walls were on fire, thus causing more panic in the city.

The Sultan had already laid out his plans for the battle, which counted on the defenders becoming exhausted from the constant bombardment and skirmishes. Mehmet’s plans were to send three waves of soldiers, one after another, to exhaust the defenders, who had had little food or sleep.

According to historian Steven Runciman,

“The troops would attack in relays. When one division was exhausted, a second one would replace it. They would simply hurl wave after wave of fresh troops at the walls until the weary defenders cracked. It would take as long as it took and there would be no let up: They would attack the city from all points simultaneously in a coordinated onslaught, so that it was impossible for the defenders to move troops to relieve particular pressure points.”36

Exhausted and hungry, the defenders and their allies awaited the final assault, believing that God would save the city in the end. They had hopes that after the Turks broke through the walls an Angel of the Lord would appear by the column of Constantine and destroy the Turkish army, allowing the Greeks to chase them back to the borders of Persia.

The attack began with the first wave of troops, the Christian contingent, who had the task of carrying the ladders to the wall, and these men were killed immediately. The defenders threw big stones at them and few escaped; anyone who approached the wall was killed. When the Turkish guards who stood behind them saw them retreating, they cut them to pieces with their scimitars and forced them to turn back to the walls, only to be killed by the defenders. The first wave ended quickly, but second group immediately began its vigorous attack. Mehmet’s first wave had worked by tiring the defenders further, and, since the Sultan had no regard for the lives of Christians, he easily sacrificed them without conscience.

The second group was made up of Anatolian Turks, and they attacked the walls of San Romano’s like untrained animals. The second attack frightened the entire city, and every man cried out to the eternal God to show mercy on them against the Turks, so when the alarm was given it motivated the defenders to man their posts quickly against the onslaught. The Turks in the second group greatly wearied the defense. They also made the attempt to raise the ladders, as had the first group, but in the attempt many of them died at the hands of the defenders’ crossbows, arrows, and guns, which killed them en masse. After the second group failed to enter the city, the third wave began. This group was made up of janissaries, who were paid professional troops, and their officers and commanders were all brave men. They attacked the city not like Turks but like fierce lions with loud shouts, and the sound of their castanets was heard as far as Anatolia across the Bosporus, two miles from their camp.37

Each wave of attack brought the defenders closer to total exhaustion, but in turn the waves were beaten back by the Byzantines. The Turks rushed to the walls, carrying a great number of ladders which had been constructed in advance. Behind the lines stood the tyrant Mehmet brandishing an iron mace, forcing his archers to the walls by using both flattery and threats. The defenders fought back bravely with all the strength they could muster, and Giovanni and his men, supported by the Emperor together with all his troops, resisted courageously.38 According to Steven Runciman, “wave after of stoutly armored warriors rushed up the stockade to tear down the makeshift barricades the defenders had set up and after removing the barricades they quickly set up ladders. The Greeks were exhausted and had fought for hours without time for rest and soon the Turks would find entrance through a small little used gate.39

A mistake made by an ally would soon open up the city to entry by the Turks. Sorties or raids were launched through a small gate called the circus gate, a postern hidden in an angle of the walls. The day’s events would fulfill an ancient prophecy that entry would be made into the city through this gate. Italian soldiers returning from a raid failed to lock the postern securely behind them, and the Turks spotted the unsecured door and burst inside. Fifty Turks managed to get inside to access a flight of stairs up to a tower, and surprised the defenders on top. The intruders were isolated and surrounded before too much damage could be done, but the enemy managed to tear down the flag of St. Mark and the Emperor’s standard, replacing them with the Ottoman standard.40

A crucial turn in the battle took place when Giovanni Giustiniani was wounded at close range from a culverin (early gun), which pierced his breastplate. Giustiniani, exhausted from hours of fighting, lost courage and was carried from the city. The Emperor Constantine begged him not to leave, but he refused and was carried down to the harbor. The Venetian and Genoese allies began to abandon the battle and flee to their ships, leaving the Emperor and Greeks to fight alone.41

The Sultan noticed the panic and he started crying out, “the city is ours”, and he ordered his janissaries to charge again, led by a giant named Hasan. Hasan forced his way into the stockade with about thirty janissaries following him. The giant was brought to his knees, and was quickly dispatched by the Greeks along with seventeen of his comrades, but only after he had planted the Ottoman flag in full view. Many more Turks poured in, and even though the Greeks fiercely resisted, the weight of the enemy forced them back inside the inner wall.42

Like a vast flood, thousands of men poured into the enclosure and pushed back the defenders by the sheer weight of their numbers. In a short time the defenders were hemmed in toward the inner wall, where they were unable to get out and were slaughtered.43 Someone saw the Turkish flag flying from the tower of Kerkoporta and the cry went out that the city was taken. Because the defenders panicked while escaping, many were caught in the gate that Giustiniani and his men fled through, and most were slaughtered or captured. Constantine knew all was lost, so, according to legend, he threw himself into battle and died. “He flung off his imperial insignia and, with Don Francisco, Theophilus and John Dalmata by his side, he threw himself into battle. He was never seen again.”44 Throughout the streets of Constantinople the cry quickly went out that the city was lost. From the Golden Horn to the very shores of Constantinople both Christians and Turks could see the Turkish flag flying on the high towers of Blachernae. Where the imperial flag and the Lion of Saint Mark once flew, the banner of the Muslim conquerors stood.45

As soon as the Turks broke into the city they began to seize and enslave anyone who came their way. Anyone who resisted was slaughtered by the edge of the sword, and heaps of bodies covered the ground. “There were unprecedented events: all sorts of lamentations, countless rows of slaves consisting of noble ladies, virgins and nuns, who were being dragged by the Turks.46 In his zeal for Allah, Mehmet had ordered that the city, since it had resisted, be looted for the traditional three days according to Islamic law. But before the first day was up the Sultan brought in his police and put an end to the looting. The loss of the city for the Greeks meant not only an end of empire, but it also marked the start of almost four hundred years of captivity. For Mehmet it was the beginning of Ottoman rule, which would last until the 19th century. Under the rule of future Sultans the Ottoman Empire would continue conquering Christian lands, right up to the gates of Vienna in Austria.

Sadly, the fall of Constantinople not only brought an end to the Palaeologi dynasty, which had reigned for 194 years, but also to the Eastern Roman Empire. George Sphrantzes, the Emperor’s advisor, laments, “Our Empire was founded by Flavius Constantine and ended with Constantine Palaeologus. With our unfortunate city as its capital, the empire of the Romans (Greeks) lasted for 1,143 years, ten months and four days”.47

The Sultan, at the end of the conflict, while touring the Agia Sophia, was reported to have said the following. “The spider weaves the curtains in the palace of the Caesars; the owl calls the watches in the towers of Afrasiab.”48 From that point on the great city of Constantinople would be called Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic Caliphate.

Hagia Sophia


Anestos Canelides has a master’s degree in history from Eastern Washington University, and lives in Arizona.

Notes

1.   Sphrantzes, George. The Fall of the Byzantine Empire; a Chronicle by George Sphrantzes, University of Mass. Press, 1980, pg 36
2.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, pg 1
3.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, pg 79
4.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, 173
5.   Norwich Julius John. Byzantium; The Decline and Fall, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1996, 415
6.   Norwich Julius John. Byzantium; The Decline and Fall, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1996 415
7.   Norwich Julius John. Byzantium; The Decline and Fall, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1996, 415
8.   Dourkas, Decline and fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks – translated by Harry J. Magoulias – Wayne State University Press 1975 Detroit, 218
9.   Dourkas, Decline and fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks – translated by Harry J. Magoulias – Wayne State University Press 1975 Detroit, 218
10.   Norwich Julius John. Byzantium; The Decline and Fall, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1996, 415
11.   Norwich Julius John. Byzantium; The Decline and Fall, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1996, 420
12.   Norwich Julius John. Byzantium; The Decline and Fall, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1996, 421
13.   Dourkas, Decline and Fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks – translated by Harry J. Magoulias – Wayne State University Press 1975 Detroit, 223
14.   Ian Heath. Byzantine Armies; AD 1118-1461, Osprey Publishing LTD,, Oxford:1995, pg 46-47
15.   Ian Heath. Byzantine Armies; AD 1118-1461, Osprey Publishing LTD,, Oxford:1995, 47
16.   Ian Heath. Byzantine Armies; AD 1118-1461, Osprey Publishing LTD, Oxford:1995, 47
17.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, pg 79
18.   a-b Norwich Julius John. Byzantium; The Decline and Fall, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1996, 418
19.   Crowley, Roger. 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, 98
20.   Crowley, Roger. 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, 103
21.   Crowley, Roger. 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, 103
21b.   Sphrantzes, George. The Fall of the Byzantine Empire,The University of Mass Amherst 1980, 102
22.   Crowley, Roger. 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, 98
23.   Crowley, Roger. 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, pg 98-99
24.   Nicolle, David. Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774, Osprey Publishing LTD, Oxford: 2003, 29
25.   Nicolle, David. Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774, Osprey Publishing LTD, Oxford: 2003, 99
26.   Roger Crowley 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, 99
27.   Dourkas, Decline and fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks – translated by Harry J. Magoulias – Wayne State University Press 1975 Detroit, pg. 212
28.   Dourkas, Decline and fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks – translated by Harry J. Magoulias – Wayne State University Press 1975 Detroit, 201
29.   Nicolle, David. Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774, Osprey Publishing LTD, Oxford: 2003, 37
30.   Roger Crowley 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, 129
31.   Barbaro Nicolo. Diary of the siege of Constantinople. Exposition Press, NY 1969, 41-42
32.   Nicolle, David. Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774, Osprey Publishing LTD, Oxford: 2003,37
33.   Nicolle, David. Armies of the Ottoman Turks 1300-1774, Osprey Publishing LTD, Oxford: 2003, 30
34.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, 133
35.   Nicolo Barbaros — http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/sources/constantinople3.htm
36.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975,189
37.   Roger Crowley 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, 63
38.   Dourkas, Decline and fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks – translated by Harry J. Magoulias – Wayne State University Press 1975 Detroit, 223
39.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, 137
40.   Dourkas, Decline and fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks – translated by Harry J. Magoulias – Wayne State University Press 1975 Detroit, 223
41.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, pg 138
42.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, pg. 138-139
43.   Roger Crowley 1453; The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam, West Hyperion NY 2005, 214
44.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975,pgs, 140-141
45.   Runciman, Steven.The Fall of Constantinople 1453. Cambridge University Press 1975, 141
46.   Sphrantzes, George. The Fall of the Byzantine Empire, The University of Mass Amherst 1980, 130
47.   Sphrantzes, George. The Fall of the Byzantine Empire, The University of Mass Amherst 1980, 131
48.   Norwich Julius John. Byzantium; The Decline and Fall, Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1996, 437