Inside the Gates

Austrians leaving on the haj3,500 Austrian Muslims are departing for the haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Steve Decatur has a post with photos from the airport at Vienna, now busy with crowds of the traveling faithful.

If a Christian moves to Saudi Arabia, he may do one of the following:

1.   Convert to Islam;
2.   Keep absolutely silent about his faith; or
3.   Die.

The reverse is not true for Muslims who move to Austria, or any other Christian nation. It’s a fact worth remembering.

As Steve says:

[T]hey are a sign that Muslims are no longer on the Gates of Vienna but are rather inside the gates and their invasion is well under way.

A "Clarifying Moment" or Further Murk?

The US has detained some Iranians in Iraq. In fact, American forces both stopped an Iranian embassy car to take two of Iran’s diplomats into custody, and also entered al-Hakim‘s compound to remove several others Iranians.

According to the NYT’s report, the diplomats were released, but the others – including some Iraqis — are still being held:

The predawn raid on Mr. Hakim’s compound, on the east side of the Tigris, was perhaps the most startling part of the American operation. The arrests were made inside the house of Hadi al-Ameri, the chairman of the Iraqi Parliament’s security committee and leader of the Badr Organization, the armed wing of Mr. Hakim’s political party.

Many Shiite political groups are now suspected of having ties to Iran, and Sciri [al-Hakim’s group- ed. ] is no exception. Senior party leaders lived in exile in Iran for years plotting the overthrow of Mr. Hussein. Some married Iranians and raised their children there.

Mr. Hakim has emerged as the central Iraqi Shiite who is backing a new bloc made up of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds that would isolate more radical politicians. Americans back the new bloc, and Mr. Hakim traveled to Washington earlier this month to discuss its formation with Mr. Bush. It was not clear how the arrests, embarrassing to Mr. Hakim, would affect those political efforts.

It would appear that the Americans are attempting to hold the Shi’ite Iraqi government’s feet to the fire. There is on-going concern that the Sunnis will be particularly vulnerable in the coming era of Iraq’s theocratic democratic rule.

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That’s how it appears, but who knows for sure? An “unnamed” American claimed:

“It’s our position that the Iraqis have to seize this opportunity to sort out with the Iranians just what kind of behavior they are going to tolerate,” the official said, declining to speak on the record because the details of the raid and investigation were not yet public. “They are going to have to confront the evidence that the Iranians are deeply involved in some of the acts of violence.”

I think he means that Iraq is going to have to be public and up-front about the incursion of Iranian insurgents into the country, insurgents tasked with killing Iraq’s American “guests.” With the arrest of people it suspects of targeting Americans, the militarily has thrown down the gauntlet.

Let’s see if anyone picks it up. So far, Iran is uncharacteristically mum – considering these events started on Thursday, that silence in itself is interesting.

Thanks to Larwyn

Merry Something-or-Other

The Red-Nosed OneHappy… uh… Holidays. Merry… um… Saturnalia. Have a joyous… er… Winter Solstice.

Let’s celebrate… Yule. That’s it: Yule!

Let’s cut down the sacred spruce and hang candles on its boughs, representing the stars pivoting around Yggdrasil, the axle-tree of the cosmos!

Let’s participate in the ritual slaughter of the Corn God, and thereby destroy the old year to make way for the new!

Viscum albumJoin us at the Year’s Midnight as we cut the mistletoe from the oak with a golden sickle and then lower the Sperm of the Gods onto a silken sheet, recapitulating the death of Balder at the hands of Loki, and thus the birth of the new year!

Shout for joy as the Priestess of the Moon raises her silver blade!

But whatever you do, don’t mention the name of Jesus Christ…

The West Must Stop Tormenting Itself

Reader JDM has kindly translated parts of an article from last Friday’s Jyllands Posten. The full article requires a subscription; however, with the help of the Danish blog Uriaposten, JDM has been able to supply portions of the piece in English.

First, an explanatory note from the translator:

It seems that France is not the dhimmi monolith that we’ve been led to believe. The interview with Chahdorrt Djavann together with the following interview seem to indicate either a growing or a previously unknown side of French society. I will note for the thin-skinned that this interview displays a typically modern European perspective (i.e., fairly anti-religious). I think this perspective gives some good hints on the direction that Europe will follow in dealing with Islam. In some ways I wonder if our respect for religious feelings in the USA may make our same struggle more difficult.

And now the article itself:

The West Must Stop Tormenting Itself

MasochismRather than accuse itself of all sorts of ills, the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner encourages Europeans to be proud of the values that the rest of the world desires.

In his latest book, Pascal Bruckner accuses Europeans of being a bunch of masochists who, with guilty consciences because of the sins of their forefathers, have taken to self-loathing instead of standing up to our enemies, among them the Islamists.

“It is always the intolerant who demand tolerance. Or people with no respect for others who demand respect. My point is that people have to stop feeling guilty. We have done nothing for which we should be critical and we bear no responsibility for the crimes of our forefathers.

“We must not be ashamed of or values. We need to understand that our values are good and that they have aided in our survival under the worst totalitarian regimes that have ever existed — fascist, communist, and Stalinist. Our values are coveted by millions of people outside of Europe. We must not, therefore, in the name of tolerance back down when confronting enemies of tolerance,” says Pascal Bruckner.


Nowadays, Pascal Bruckner warns, the world is in the middle of an ideological war which deals with the integration of a great religion like Islam into the modern secular society. In this war, it is important to choose sides. And it is important not to be caught in traps like the word “Islamophobia”, which is used to discourage and silence critics of Islam.

“The word Islamophobia is a lie and a construct. One doesn’t find words like Christianophobia or Buddhophobia. Racism, however, exists against Arabs, blacks, whites, Jews, and Pakistanis. To criticize a religion has nothing to do with racism. Religions are ideas that are shared by millions of people and one has the right to criticize them and discuss them. This is not racist.”

– – – – – – – – – –


When a certain portion of the left talks about respect, it is in reality showing its contempt. It thinks that Muslims are so inferior that they will never be our equals; consequently, they cannot have the same rights as us. While freedom is good for us, Muslims have chosen the stoning of women, female circumcision, and forced marriages.”


“Everyone knows that the veil [scarf] is not neutral. It is an instrument used to make women feel shame if they show their hair. It implies that a woman’s face is a sexual organ, that her hair is satanic. The logical conclusion is that every woman who is unveiled is a whore. That was what happened in the [French] schools… until the prohibition of the veil.

It is important to not give even a millimeter of our principles. The law is the same for all, whether one is Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, or atheist. There cannot be special rules for Muslims. Muslim boys and girls must be educated in the same schools and treated in the same hospitals as all others. Public swimming pools must not be divided up for boys and girls. There must be no room for discrimination, neither positive nor negative. It is necessary that Muslims accept that God’s law is inferior to those of society. God does not rule society. This principle is not up for discussion.”


Western masochism is an overreaction to our spirit of critical inquiry that causes us to punish ourselves so much that the final result is a self-loathing.

“[People in Europe] are tired of being faulted, as well as threatened. They are tired of living in constant anxiety of [terrorist] attacks. Of course, I have been attacked for being a reactionary, but not by many. It is as if I am part of a movement that I am also instigating. People have had enough.

JDM also supplies us with this snippet from Chahdortt Djavann, the author whose interview we featured last week. It is from another Danish newspaper, Weekendavisen, and he apologizes for the lack of a link:

When the Cartoon Crisis was at its worst, she was asked by French TV to comment on the cartoons from Jyllands Posten. It happened on Antenne Plus, a live program so she could not be cut off. What did she think about the cartoons? They were wonderful except that they weren’t caricatures, but realities, updated realities, because obviously Mohammed should have a bomb in his turban instead of carrying a scimitar, that would be too old-fashioned. She stated this without blinking and straight into the living room of millions of French viewers. The show’s host was taken aback, but the show was live. Afterwards, the show’s producers said that further appearances by this shameless women would be perhaps limited.


Djavann maintains her duty to be blasphemous. Why? Because she has a religious opponent and experienced this opponent’s actions in the ten years she wore the veil. And because she feels that Europeans must wake up while there’s still time: you are not tolerant, you’re ignorant.


These days, she is a member of a government advisory council. There is also a French mullah on this council. “Why aren’t boys veiled?”, she asked with a smile. The mullah cleared his throat and answered that the truth of the Koran states that because girls are unclean from birth it is only natural that they be veiled. Against this level of stupidity, blasphemy is a duty.

France — the new Denmark?

Terror in the Chunnel

For the last few days British law enforcement sources have asserted the near-certainty of an attempted Islamist terror attack in Britain on Christmas. Now the reports are becoming more specific, according to today’s Guardian:

The Channel TunnelThe Channel tunnel has been targeted by a group of Islamic militant terrorists aiming to cause maximum carnage during the holiday season, according to French and American secret services.

The plan, which the French DGSE foreign intelligence service became aware of earlier this year, is revealed in a secret report to the French government on threat levels. The report, dated December 19, indicates that the tip-off came from the American CIA. British and French intelligence agencies have run a series of checks of the security system protecting the 31-mile tunnel but the threat level, the DGSE warns, remains high. British security services remain on high alert throughout the holiday period.

According to the French sources, the plan was put together in Pakistan and is being directed from there. The plotters are believed to be Western Europeans, possibly Britons of Pakistani descent. The DGSE say that levels of ‘chatter’, the constant communication that takes place between militants, has not been so high since 2001. Last week Sir Ian Blair, the head of the Metropolitan Police, described ‘the threat of another terrorist attempt’ as ‘ever present’ adding that ‘Christmas is a period when that might happen’.

‘It is a far graver threat in terms of civilians than either the Cold War or the Second World War,’ he said. ‘It’s a much graver threat than that posed by Irish Republican terrorism.’

American security sources told The Observer that the threat was ‘sky high’.

– – – – – – – – – –
Those Chunnel trains must be a tempting target right now, packed as they are with Christmas holiday travelers. Since the advent of the EU there have been no customs or immigration checks at either end. When we took the Chunnel train back in 2002, we had to pass through an X-ray machine under the watchful gaze of security officers, but the scrutiny was lighter than it was at the airports.

‘A successful attack on such an installation would be almost as spectacular as September 11’, said one terrorist expert. ‘Al-Qaeda and those they inspire are trying everything from low-level strikes to major attacks on critical infrastructure.’


The detail in which the attacks have been planned in Pakistan will worry British counter-terrorist services. The UK is in a particularly vulnerable position as a result of its close alliance with America, its physical accessibility compared with the US, and its large Muslim minority, many of whom have links with Pakistan.

Osama bin Laden and other key senior al-Qaeda leaders are thought to be based in the tribal territories along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. There is believed to be a steady stream of British militants making their way to the newly reconstituted al-Qaeda bases in the region. More than 400,000 British citizens travel to Pakistan every year. Though the vast majority are visiting family or friends, some have exploited the ease of travel for darker reasons: at least two of the 7/7 bombers spent time in the south-west Asian state.

That’s a startling statistic: 400,000 Britons traveling to Pakistan every year. Think how hard it must be to monitor the traffic — the plotters can count on a low probability of being watched by British intelligence as the move back and forth.

Last week news reports in America detailed a squad of a dozen English-speaking militants, nine of whom are said to be British who, having sought out the al-Qaeda bases, have now been trained to a high level in terrorist tactics. The group is known as the English Brothers because of their shared language. Apart from the nine Britons, the squad is made up of an Australian and two Norwegians. It was reported that Bin Laden and other militant leaders hope they will lead a new wave of terror attacks on the continent.

Eliza Manningham-Buller, director-general of MI5, recently disclosed that UK intelligence services are monitoring more than 200 networks and 1,600 individuals in Britain. She said that her investigators had identified nearly 30 plots ‘that often have links back to al-Qaeda in Pakistan, and through those links al-Qaeda gives guidance and training to its largely British foot soldiers here’.

How many personnel does MI5 assign to these tasks? Is it like a CPS caseload, with one harassed, demoralized, and overworked caseworker for every hundred “clients”?

One hopes the British intelligence services are doing some serious racial profiling right now…

Hat tip: LN.

Virgil Goode Threatened by ROP

Congressman Virgil Goode is getting treatment straight out of the CAIR playbook:

Step 1:   Official spokesman denounces the offender as a bigot and racist. Asserts that Muslims are just like other Americans, want to live in peace and enjoy the respect and tolerance that is their right etc blah yak.
Step 2:   Prominent non-Muslims fall over themselves to pile on the offending infidel along with CAIR.
Step 3:   If enough useful idiots don’t show up for step 2, twist some arms and call in favors until enough join the pile-on.
Step 4:   Saturate the airwaves with the CAIR message, as delivered by the usual reasonable-sounding talking heads.
Step 5:   Mau-mau the offender. This step includes veiled threats, overt threats, sabotage of the offender’s funding sources (if he’s in public office) or his employer (if he’s not), and any dirty tricks that might prove useful.
Step 6:   Repeat steps 1 through 5 until the victim is reduced to a smoking politically correct crater.

Virgil Goode Jr.We saw steps 1 through 4 in action yesterday and the day before. Today it’s time for Step 5. According to The Martinsville Bulletin:

Franklin County Sheriff Quint Overton said he had extra officers at the courthouse Thursday because Goode had received several threatening phone calls.

Asked at the press conference whether he had received any death threats, Goode responded, “No comment.”

So now it’s started.

Read the rest of the article — it’s an AP story, so you’ll find all the other steps highlighted, with the general MSM stance clearly laid out, in full Useful Idiot mode.
– – – – – – – – – –
Rep. Goode may not stand a chance, but we’re going to back him to the hilt here. The man has touched the new third rail of American politics: He dissed the Prophet.

Regular readers will guess that we don’t support the exact way that our congressman stated his opinion, but we wholeheartedly back the sentiment behind it. And if we get a chance to talk to him, we’ll offer him some advice about how to wage the Counterjihad effectively, without offering the enemy any gaps in the armor through which he can slip a blade.

I spoke to one of Rep. Goode’s staffers in a satellite office this morning, and he said the phones have been ringing constantly, and that’s he’s never seen anything like it before.

Don’t let CAIR force him to back down. If they succeed, no politician holding national office will be willing to stand up to them.

Snail-mail works best. Send a letter of support to The Hon. Virgil H. Goode Jr. at one of the addresses listed below. Tell him Gates of Vienna sent you. He calls us by our real names, but he’ll know who you mean…

DC Office   1520 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
District Office- Charlottesville   104 South First Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
District Office- Danville   437 Main Street
Danville, VA 24541
District Office- Farmville   515 South Main Street
Post Office Box 366
Farmville, VA 23901
District Office- Rocky Mount   70 East Court Street, Suite 215
Rocky Mount, VA 24151

UPDATE: Dymphna reminds me that you should not use the Washington D.C. address. Mail arriving at his Congressional office gets quarantined for three weeks.

Rep. Goode recommends that correspondents use the Rocky Mount address for the speediest delivery.

Reining in the CAIR Treatment

This story has been all over the place: Rep. Virgil Goode, Fifth District of Virginia, sent a letter to some voters in his district attacking Minnesota Representative Ellison’s plan to use the Koran as the scripture by which he will be sworn into office for the coming Congressional term. According to Goode, his letter was a response to his constituents expressing concern that Keith Ellison, the CAIR boy, is going to be serving in Congress at all. If you remember, back in October, Gates of Vienna posted on Mr. Ellison’s somewhat checkered past, including his extreme anti-Semitism and the fact that CAIR had underwritten his campaign.

Since this is a Virginia story, we’ll skip the usual big guys and go with the story in The Richmond Times Dispatch by staff writer, Rex Bowman. He links to the text of the letter, if you want to read the whole thing.

Mr. Bowman pulls quotes from Rep. Goode’s letter and then lists all the usual suspects up in arms about Rep. Goode’s straightforward objections to Elllison, and to the further immigration of Muslims into America. Among the chorus of complainers, there is The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Virginia Muslim Political Action Committee, and, of course, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute. All concerned picked up the predictable “Islamophobic” tar brush and began painting Rep. Goode in the usual CAIR colors.

Finally, Mr. Bowman ends with this:

The 5th Congressional District, largely rural, stretches from the North Carolina line between Henry and Brunswick counties north through Charlottesville to Greene County. It is home to few Muslims, but precise numbers are not available because the Census Bureau does not collect data based on religious adherence.

However, there is a small Muslims of America community in western Charlotte County. In recent weeks, members of an organization calling itself the Christian Action Network have sought to have changed the name of the main road, Sheikh Gilani Lane, that runs through the African-American community.

Up until those last two paragraphs, I could have lived with Mr. Bowman’s surface glide over the story. However, to describe a Jamaat al Fuqra compound as an “African-American community” is stretching things a bit. Someone should ask the residents if they consider themselves Americans.

Here is the letter (edited slightly for this post) that I sent to Mr. Bowman about his news report—

Mr. Bowan:

Your article on Rep. Goode’s letter had this quote:

“However, there is a small Muslims of America community in western Charlotte County. In recent weeks, members of an organization calling itself the Christian Action Network have sought to have changed the name of the main road, Sheikh Gilani Lane, that runs through the African-American community.”

Sir, with all respect, this group of people swear their allegiance to a Pakistani terrorist, Sheikh Gilani, who is not permitted in this country, and who is thought to be the mastermind of several assassinations in this country, not to mention the death of Daniel Pearl.

– – – – – – – – – –

Here is the first of several articles we researched and wrote on this group:

“Jamaat al Fuqra in Virginia”:

A snip:

“But first: some background on Jamaat ul-Fuqra. The group was founded in New York by Sheikh Gilani in New York in 1980. Its current headquarters is in Hancock, New York, and it has various compounds, or Jamaats, scattered throughout the United States and Canada, notably in Colorado, New York, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. Most of the adherents are reported to be American-born Black Muslims who follow a strict Islamist ideology.

Sheikh Gilani, you may remember, is the cleric with whom Daniel Pearl had arranged an interview back in January of 2002. Unfortunately, Mr. Pearl was betrayed by his sources, and then abducted and beheaded. Sheikh Gilani was arrested later that month and languishes in Pakistani custody.

So this is the kind of people we are dealing with here. They launder money, smuggle firearms, plan and carry out assassinations and bombings, and conduct intense Islamist indoctrination, including inside American prisons.”

The South Asia Terrorism Portal is a wealth of information on this group and its goals.

Also see The Politics of CP, whose research is extensive. Since he is harder to track down than we are, I insisted that my fellow-blogger pass any further information to this man, who has the most complete and current information on JF in America. I am concerned for our own safety if we do much more on the subject.

Before further stories and predictable quotes about Rep Goode’s “Islamophobia” are distributed, I think a look into Jamaat al Fuqra is warranted. It is this kind of group to which Goode is saying “enough.”

We live in rural Virginia, but I might add that Richmond is not exempt. It is thought that the Beltway Snipers went to ground (for rest and refuge) at several JF compounds about 45 minutes from Richmond, in “rural Virginia.” That kind of thing could happen again.

Make no mistake, Mr. Rowan, these people loathe us. They are heavily armed, their girl children do not go to school, and the compounds are run-down and unkempt. This is mainly because most of their welfare money goes to the guru in Pakistan — who lives like royalty, by the way. We have received emails from disaffected members about visiting Pakistan and becoming disillusioned at the great chasm between their lives and his.

It is ironic, but not unusual, that American taxpayers are indirectly supporting a known and dangerous terrorist. “Jamaat al Fuqra” means “Community of the Impoverished” and that name certainly describes the adherents of this cult in this country.

I’m glad Rep Goode spoke up. It’s time to turn back immigration, both from the Middle East and Mexico. I voted for him precisely because Goode sees that our culture, any culture, cannot assimilate people that quickly. And in the case of many Muslims and Mexicans, assimilation is not in their plans. You have only to listen to what they say or see what they do to know that this is the case.

I plan to work as hard as I can to prevent in the US the tipping point Europe has reached. This is not easy when one is fighting Saudi-financed mosques and groups like JF. The infiltration in our country continues apace. And one of the hotspots is our Commonwealth.

I realize this message is anathema in Charlottesville and environs. However, it wouldn’t be if Jamaat al Fuqra set up a compound in, say, the Belmont area. But, of course, it won’t. Stealth operations don’t work that way.

One wouldn’t expect a reporter to risk himself personally exploring this group. Believe me, it’s an unsettling experience. But I would ask that you do whatever research you can online. We have. People write us — from places like Georgia and Hancock, NY, and Tennessee who are really scared about what they see — including the heavy duty weapons.

If you do the research, sir, Rep Goode’s remarks won’t seem “Islamophobic.” In fact, I believe it was his sudden introduction to the problem by a Lynchburg group — who showed him a photo of the Sheikh Gilani Lane street sign, a state-named road — that may have been the catalyst for his response.

As for Rep. Ellison, you have only to look into his record to know he is bought and paid for by Saudi/CAIR money. Here’s my take on it:

“Will Minnesota Send the First CAIR Muslim to Congress?”

Personally, I don’t care if he swears on the Koran or on a James Joyce novel, or — as some office holders do — on nothing at all. I’m not interested in what he says, only in what he does. And what Ellison has done so far is pretty alarming. His cheap publicity stunt making sure everyone knew he was going to use the Koran to be sworn into office is just that: politician sleaze publicity.

Gates of Vienna

Note to readers: Strictly speaking, the Koran is the Constitution of Islam, so by placing his hand on this book, Mr. Ellison is implicitly repudiating the American Constitution. That’s what I mean by words versus deeds.

Stuck Inside of Philly with the Lynchburg Blues Again

I’m blogging from the Philadelphia airport, using Dymphna’s laptop and a pay-per-connect wifi network. When I was waiting at Pearson Airport in Toronto this afternoon, there were plenty of available power outlets, but no available wifi. Here in Philly they have the wifi, but no outlets anywhere near the seats.

Airports are perverse.

I scouted around here and found a power outlet on the wall behind the gate I’ll be departing from, right next to an airport wheelchair. Jackpot! Set up my laptop, use my suitcase tipped on its end for a mousepad, and I’m a happy camper.
– – – – – – – – – –
My flight plan included a four-hour layover here, so I went ahead and paid AT&T for twenty-four hours of connectivity to their erratic and plodding network — it was either that or the bar, which would have been more expensive. Cleared the email, skype-chatted with my better half, put up a post, and pretended I wasn’t sitting in a cold corner at the airport.

About half an hour before departure time, the airline announced a ninety minute delay for my flight. A moment after that an airport employee requested the wheelchair for someone who actually needed it (probably for a real blogger), and I was reduced to a butt-numbing position on the cold floor against the wall.

But a few minutes later an airline employee came back to the counter, saw my plight, and volunteered to fetch another wheelchair for me. The world is full of kind people!

Now I am simulating a crippled person again, whiling away the wait time by bloviating for no particular reason. In other good news, there’s no Jihad visible to speak of from my vantage point.

Fair is fair: now I must plug the airline.

Fly US Airways Express! They have nice employees.

The “Nuke Mecca” Meme

Christine, the Operations Manager of the 910 Group, sent the following message to Gates of Vienna and asked us to post it:

I agree that Islam is, structurally, a totalitarian, fatalistic and solipsistic belief system designed like some interlocking logical mosaic pattern.

System statements include:

  • Islam will prevail over all others regardless of historical, scientific, or cultural evidence to the contrary.
  • Anyone leaving Islam should die or return.
  • All who are not in Islam should die or convert.
  • Anyone in Islam who dies wins in paradise.
  • All statements criticizing Islam by non-Muslims.
  • Critical Muslims or apostates are false.
  • All statements by Islamists about Islam are true (even if they are contradictory).
  • All lies by Islamists about Islam are permitted in order to accomplish all enumerated goals listed above.

And therefore I understand the tendency to want to break that logical knot by attacking the first premise — the fatalism of Islam, the magical realism and fantasizing aspect of Islam.

But I don’t have much time for the “Nuke Mecca” meme, especially when used with ad hominem arguments that dismiss any other approach as lacking in rigor or realism or military experience or analytic depth or whatever. I think the idea is morally bankrupt, and basically nihilistic. Like all nihilism, it is the lazy fellow’s way out of actually engaging in the hard work of working politically and using the legal tools of information warfare. It’s a reversion to the Dresden or Hiroshima bombings — a third generation warfare solution to a fourth or fifth generation warfare problem.

– – – – – – – – – –

The Nuke Mecca meme itself is a prime example of “magical thinking,” a kind of solipsistic enjoyment of the fantasy of removing a great danger with a grand technological feat, dismissing all critics of the idea as appeasers or ameliorators. At the very least, were it actually to be done, the iron law of unintended, unforeseeable consequences would apply.

Having said that, the need addressed by the Nuke Mecca meme is real — each of us longs for a way to blast through the fatalism, the internally locked logical system of Islamic supremacism and intra-Muslim discourse.

I don’t have an answer, but I would challenge the readers of this blog to consider whether there are any other ways to break the knot — ones that don’t actually involve the deaths of tens of thousands and a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East.

OK, readers — rise to the bait!

Remember: she’s asking for solutions besides “nuke the ragheads”.

There’s a Hole in Sandy’s Pants Where All the Papers Go

You remember Sandy Berger’s pants, don’t you? The clown pants with the extra-deep pockets? The black hole for classified documents from the National Archives?

Well, the whole sordid story is out in the open now, and it’s even more appalling than it seemed at the time:

WASHINGTON — President Clinton’s national security adviser removed classified documents from the National Archives, hid them under a construction trailer and later tried to find the trash collector to retrieve them, the agency’s internal watchdog said Wednesday.

The report was issued more than a year after Sandy Berger pleaded guilty and received a criminal sentence for removing the documents.

A slap on the wrist is what he really received:

Berger pleaded guilty to unlawfully removing and retaining classified documents. He was fined $50,000, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and was barred from access to classified material for three years.

But never mind that for now. Here are the details of the Berger sleight-of-pocket:

– – – – – – – – – –

Berger took a break to go outside without an escort while it was dark. He had taken four documents in his pockets.

“He headed toward a construction area. … Mr. Berger looked up and down the street, up into the windows of the Archives and the DOJ (Department of Justice), and did not see anyone,” the interview notes said.

He then slid the documents under a construction trailer, according to the inspector general. Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.

“He was aware of the risk he was taking,” the inspector general’s notes said. Berger then returned to the Archives building without fearing the documents would slip out of his pockets or that staff would notice that his pockets were bulging.

The notes said Berger had not been aware that Archives staff had been tracking the documents he was provided because of earlier suspicions from previous visits that he was removing materials. Also, the employees had made copies of some documents.

In October 2003, the report said, an Archives official called Berger to discuss missing documents from his visit two days earlier. The investigator’s notes said, “Mr. Berger panicked because he realized he was caught.”

The notes said that Berger had “destroyed, cut into small pieces, three of the four documents. These were put in the trash.”

After the trash had been picked up, Berger “tried to find the trash collector but had no luck,” the notes said.

And there’s also this:

Inspector General Paul Brachfeld reported that National Archives employees spotted Berger bending down and fiddling with something white around his ankles.

The employees did not feel at the time there was enough information to confront someone of Berger’s stature, the report said.

Later, when Berger was confronted by Archives officials about the missing documents, he lied by saying he did not take them, the report said.

Berger claims that he returned all the documents. But not everyone is so certain.

Berger’s lawyer, Lanny Breuer, said in a statement that the contents of all the documents exist today and were made available to the commission.

But Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., outgoing chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, said he’s not convinced that the Archives can account for all the documents taken by Berger. Davis said working papers of National Security Council staff members are not inventoried by the Archives.

“There is absolutely no way to determine if Berger swiped any of these original documents. Consequently, there is no way to ever know if the 9/11 Commission received all required materials,” Davis said.

Rep. Davis is right. But it doesn’t make any difference. Sandy Berger has Paid His Debt to Society. It’s Time to Move On.

My capacity for outrage at what high-ranking government officials can get away with (provided they’re Democrats) reached a saturation point many years ago.

Still, this one made the high-dudgeon muscle in my face twitch just a little bit.

Perjury. Destruction of classified documents. Abuse of power. Obstruction of justice.

Why is this man walking the streets when there are poor schmoes out there doing fifteen years of hard time just for having a bag of weed in their pockets?

Just sayin’…

Shades of Rwanda, Only With More Factions

There are two parts to this post. The first, a kind of Prologue, was written in March, 2003.

The second, a Commentary on the failure of the war, was written in August, 2003.

None of this is new material. But a lot of us weren’t blogging or reading websites as much back then as we are now, so perhaps you didn’t see this account. And certainly we were playing catch-up regarding the factions in Iraq which would turn out to be the ingredients for a tar baby to which America found itself glued.

We are still stuck, and the recent Study Group proposals to melt that tar have all the vigor of limp spaghetti. And they have all the nuance of…of a Donald Duck cartoon. If their solutions tempt you in the slightest, perhaps these three year old documents will make you see why the report is worthless.

Even three years out, though, the points Ken Joseph makes are germane — especially given that new folks are in charge. Will the new amalgam on Capitol Hill do any better in its handling of Iraq? Will the new Secretary of Defense prove to be competent enough to pull off a change in observation, orientation, or direction?

These documents are epistles in the true sense of the word. They was written by Ken Joseph, a wannabe “human shield” volunteer in Iraq. An Assyrian Christian (the indigenous people of Iraq, who were there before the Arabs arrived), Mr. Joseph had been raised in Japan by his Christian missionary parents.

The “I Was Wrong” letter grew out of a personal culture clash: the protected missionary culture of democratic Japan in which Mr. Joseph was raised, and the reality of his fellow Christian Assyrians in Iraq. He arrived in a hubristic “Blessed are the peacemakers” mode to offer himself as a human shield. In short order, the hubris was eaten away by the acid reality of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

First the prologue, part of a Newsmax post dated March 28th, 2003:

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Iraq with supplies for our church and family. This was my first visit ever to the land of my forefathers. The first order of business was to attend church. During a simple meal for peace activists after the service, an older man sounded me out carefully.

Iraqi: ‘We Want the War’

Finally he felt free to talk: “There is something you should know — we didn’t want to be here tonight. When the priest asked us to gather for a peace service, we said we didn’t want to come because we don’t want peace. We want the war to come.”

“What in the world are you talking about?” I blurted.

Thus began a strange odyssey that shattered my convictions. At the same time, it gave me hope for my people and, in fact, hope for the world.

Because of my invitation as a “religious person” and family connections, I was spared the government snoops who ordinarily tail foreigners 24 hours a day.

This allowed me to see and hear amazing things as I stayed in the homes of several relatives. The head of our tribe urged me not to remain with my people during its time of trial but instead go out and tell the world about the nightmare ordinary Iraqis are going through.

‘We Live Like Animals’

I was to tell the world about the terror on the faces of my family when a stranger knocked at the door. “Look at our lives!” they said. “We live like animals: no food, no car, no telephone, no job, and, most of all, no hope.”

That’s why they wanted this war.

“You cannot imagine what it is to live like this for 20, 30 years. We have to keep up our routine lest we would lose our minds.”

But I realized in every household that someone had already lost his or her mind; in other societies such a person would be in a mental hospital. I also realized that there wasn’t a household that did not mourn at least one family member who had become a victim of this police state.

I wept with relatives whose son just screamed all day long. I cried with a relative who had lost his wife. Yet another left home every day for a “job” where he had nothing to do. Still another had lost a son to war and a husband to alcoholism.

As I observed the slow death of a people without hope, Saddam Hussein seemed omnipresent. There were his statues; posters showed him with his hand outstretched or firing his rifle, or wearing an Arab headdress. These images seemed to be on every wall, in the middle of the road, in homes.

“Everything will be all right when the war is over,” people told me. “No matter how bad it is, we will not all die. Twelve years ago, it went almost all the way but failed. We cannot wait anymore. We want the war, and we want it now.”

The People Don’t Want the U.N.

When I told members of my family that some sort of compromise with Iraq was being worked out at the United Nations, they reacted not with joy but anger: “Only war will get out of our present condition.”

This reminded me of the stories I heard from older Japanese who had welcomed the sight of American B-29 bombers in the skies over their country as a sign that the war was coming to an end. True, these planes brought destruction, but also hope.

‘I Felt Terrible About Having Demonstrated Against the War’

I felt terrible about having demonstrated against the war without bothering to ask what the Iraqis wanted. Tears streamed down my face as I lay in my bed in a tiny Baghdad house crowded in with 10 other people of my own flesh and blood, all exhausted, all without hope. I thought, “How dare I claim to speak for people I had not even asked what they wanted?”

Then I began a strange journey to let the world know of the true situation in Iraq, just as my tribe had begged me to. With great risk to myself and those who had told their stories and allowed my camera into their homes, I videotaped their plight.

But would I get that tape out of the country?

To make sure I was not simply getting the feelings of the oppressed Assyrian minority, I spoke to dozens of other people, all terrified. Over and over they told me, “We would be killed for speaking like this.” Yet they did speak, though only in private homes or when other Iraqis had assured them that no government minder was watching over me.

I spoke with a former army member, with someone working for the police, with taxi drivers, store owners, mothers and government officials. All had the same message: “Please bring on the war. We may lose our lives, but for our children’s sake, please, please end our misery.”

‘Soldiers Hated Their Work’

On my last day in Baghdad, I saw soldiers putting up sandbags. By their body language, these men made it clear that they dared not speak but hated their work; they were unmistakably on the side of the common people.

I wondered how my relatives felt about the United States and Britain. Their feelings were mixed. They have no love for the allies — but they trust them.

“We are not afraid of the American bombing. They will bomb carefully and not purposely target the people,” I was told. “What we are afraid of is Saddam and the Baath Party will do when the war begins.”

The final call for help came at the most unexpected place — the border, where crying members of my family sent me off.

The taxi fares from Baghdad to Amman had risen within one day from $100 to $300, to $500 and then to $1,000 by nightfall.

My driver looked on anxiously as a border guard patted me down. He found my videotapes, and I thought: It’s all over!

For once I experienced what my relatives were going through 365 days a year — sheer terror. Quietly, the officer laid the tapes on a desk, one by one. Then he looked at me — was it with sadness or with anger? Who knows?

He clinically shook his head and without a word handed all the tapes back to me. He didn’t have to say anything. He spoke the only language left to these imprisoned Iraqis, the silent language of human kindness.

That was his first taste of the real Iraq.

Then there is the commentary, from Mr. Joseph, on AssyrianChristians. com, five months later. In some ways it is outdated, in others, prescient. It gives his view, five months after the start of the war, on why it has been lost…lost three years ago.

It is well worth making your way through all of what he has to say. You will note where his hopes did not bear fruit, and you can tell, in hindsight, what he didn’t — couldn’t anticipate. Nonetheless, it is riveting to get a report from someone who is part of a vanishing minority: an Assyrian Christian, someone whose liturgical practices predate our American Christian theology and liturgy by more than a thousand years.
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I am putting up the whole commentary as it appears. However, I will note that a book he alludes to having written, or being in the process of writing, does not appear to be available. At least I couldn’t find it.

As the dust begins to settle around the dream that was Iraq, the finger pointing is beginning.

“Who lost Iraq?” is the simple, but profound question that many are beginning to ask.

As one who was in Iraq during the time of Saddam and has been their since as an Assyrian Christian, the indigenous people of Iraq the answer to that question is not just academic — it directly relates to the future of our people, the Assyrian Christians who are the original people of Iraq long before the Arabs came.

We are the people of Nineveh to whom Jonah came and comprise one of the last remaining major Christian communities in the Middle East.

First, is the question of Saddam. I was there. In an upcoming book entitled “I Was Wrong,” I describe what life was under Saddam. I was originally against the war, but when I saw the terror that was Saddam and the pain my family lived under I was quickly brought back to reality.

It was terrible under Saddam Hussein! The real Abu Ghraib prison was a place where my relatives were beaten every day — after Lunch and Dinner. Monday and Saturday were the days people were hanged.

My relatives reaction to the Abu Ghraib “scandal”? They were angry — angry at the fact that the Americans could not do anything to try and get the truth out of those who oppressed them!

Chemical weapons? I was there! The great fear of the residents of Baghdad in the days leading up to the war were not the Americans — they were afraid of Saddam and all the weapons they believed he had and how he would unleash them on them when cornered. Everybody believed he had every possible weapon to obtain and would unleash it all!

Second, the deep appreciation for the Liberation of their country from Saddam. I was there! Imagine for the first time in your life being able to use a cell phone, surf the internet, speak on the telephone without fear, talk to your neighbors without being afraid, watch ‘normal” TV, wake up in the morning without having to see Saddam everywhere! Happy? They were delirious to have him gone!

Third, though is the real question. Why has Iraq gone so badly? The answer is a bit complicated, but there is an answer and it is still not too late.

Simply put Iraq was lost by Americans. Essentially two types of Americans who ruled Iraq in the days and months following the fall of Saddam.

In my upcoming book, “I Was Wrong”, I detail the many experiences we had firsthand.

The first type was what I call the “good guys”! If Americans have one major fault it is that they are so positive and forward looking and good that they have a hard time understanding how evil Evil really is!

That was the lesson I learned under Saddam. Yes, he was really that evil and yes, in the 21st century there is such evil!

The good guys, were the “aw shucks” Americans that came into Iraq and did their best to organize, fix and restore Iraq. They could not imagine that anyone would purposely try to work against what clearly the Iraqis wanted.

I watched them, many times with tears in my eyes as they worked so hard, under such terrible conditions to make things better for Iraq.

“Why are you here?” I would ask over and over. The answer was always the same: “I just want the Iraqis to have what we have. Just doing my job!”

How simple, how naïve and yet how powerful.

A half century my own parents came to Japan following the end of the war with Japan and are still there. In talking to the men and women risking their lives to see Iraq restored I kept flashing back to my own parents.

A half century after he had first gone to Japan I asked my own father, “Why, Dad did you come to Japan?”

His answer? “Because Japan needed help!” DAD! That’s all? You have been here for 50 years now.

No matter how hard I push him that is all the answer I can get. “Because they need help”? How foolish! How naïve! How powerful!

The first group that “lost Iraq” are the “good guys” — the men and women who gave of their lives and their time to rebuild Iraq so the Iraqis could be free.

As my father, a half century after he first came they cannot understand or fathom how evil people can be that they would work against progress, blow up children, rape women and destroy oil fields.

They just don’t understand!

The second group? “The opportunists”. These were many of the people working in the CPA — Coalition Provisional Authority who were there not to see Iraq restored, but simply to get a good line on their resumes and to get a job in the new administration.

A year ago those who were hoping for a job in a Kerry Administration had every incentive to see Iraq fail. While it is very difficult to point to specific instances, put yourself in the position of a staffer desperate for a job in a Kerry administration in January.

The best way to insure it? For Iraq to fail! Did it happen? I am absolutely confident it did. I saw it every day!

I am putting out a call to all who were working at CPA headquarters and others to come forward with details of how the “opportunists” worked against success simply to insure they would have a job in January!

A “forgotten” poster which was supposed to be posed all over the country announcing the plans of the CPA. “Accidentally” delayed telephones, computer systems and a host of other supplies we saw daily.

A whole class of staffers working subconsciously and often consciously to in their own little small way have Iraq “fail” so they could get a job in a new administration which would be directly linked to the failure of Iraq.

The third group? The mostly British “moslem experts” dispatched to “guide” the CPA.

I met them everywhere. They were and continue to be evil personified . With beautiful British accents, though they always bowled over the Americans, enamored at the “class” that the Queen’s English always provides.

Outwardly liberal, democratic, free-loving, they were in actuality evil, promoters of the Islamic Republic of Iraq, always smiling and deceiving the “nice guys” who trusted the “advisors” as they interpreted, explained the “culture” and in as many ways as they could worked against any success that the CPA might attain by working in a calculated way to deliver Iraq to their paymasters in the evil empire which is radical islam.

Who betrayed Iraq? The “good guys” who naively believed, the “chasers” who desperately hoped Iraq would fail for their simple job needs and the “experts” who systematically dismantled all the good done for the Iraqi people.

In particular, who betrayed Iraq? In contrast to the no-nonsense Military Officer Jay Garner, I had the honor of meeting, I confronted Paul Bremer, his pathetic successor who personally betrayed the people of Iraq by turning it over before it was ready just to personally get out.


Is it too late? No!

We still have time to remedy the mistakes and deliver Iraq once again to is long suffering people.

The most important tool still remaining is the Constitution. Former Ambassador Paul Bremer betrayed the Iraqi people when in spite of the Iraqi Constitutional Committee voting that there “should be no mention of religion or ideology” in the new Iraqi Constitution, pushed on it article 7 which reads “slam is the religion of the state.”

Imagine, fighting a war, sacrificing so many to create “The Islamic Republic of Iraq.”

The United States and fellow donors in the EU and Japan must absolutely demand that the Iraqi Constitution be secular with no mention of religion or ideality as the Iraqi people who are throughout secular want.

Second, is realizing that Iraq is in fact four countries — “Shiastan” in the south, “Sunnistan” in the middle, “Kurdistan” in the Northeast and “Assyria” in the North.

The secret to success in Iraq? Providing maximum local autonomy and self government in the four “states” that constitute Iraq. The way to preserve the whole, as the United States has shown the rest of the world for over 200 years is to provide maximum autonomy to the states.

Can Iraq succeed? Yes it can!

It is succeeding fabulously! Internet service everywhere, freedom to speak, talk on the telephone, business is booming and the list goes on.

Over a half century ago when my parents first came to Japan America succeeded and an enemy — Japan — went on to become a friend and a partner.

Why? Because the US absolutely insisted on a secular and democratic constitution. The pressure was tremendous to compromise and give in, but the US prevailed and the results have “stuck” for 60 years!

We can do the same in Iraq. Follow the example of Japan and absolutely insist that 1800 brave young Americans did not give their lives for “The Islamic Republic of Iraq.” but for freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

An absolute insistence on a secular constitution and local autonomy for the distinct people groups in Iraq is the way forward.

A successful Iraq will “domino” thought the region and the world. After all, freedom is the cry of every man and woman.

If we fail, “The Islamic Republic of Iraq” — an Iranian clone, but with the second largest oil reserves in the world will be unleashed onto the face of the earth in a manner that will pale in comparison to Saddam and Iran.

Stay the course! Insist on freedom, democracy and the rule of law! There is still time before the October 15 vote on the constitution to not ask, not urge, but as America did in Japan 60 years ago insist that the Constitution be secular and democratic with a bill of rights and complete local autonomy to the states so the whole can be preserved by the maximum autonomy of the parts.

As the very simple question, whether you were for or against the war Did 1800 plus brave young men and women give their lives to create The Islamic Republic of Iraq?

The Answer is clear!

It’s been more than three years since Mr. Joseph wrote these words. I am studying the continuing plight of minority groups like the Assyrian Christians (regularly persecuted by the Kurds and other Sunnis), and the gypsies. When I have more to report, I’ll let you know.

Daily, the picture grows more complex. The Assyrians are fleeing to Syria. Some of them had run from Iran to Iraq only to be further persecuted there. Meanwhile, in the beginning flames of the Sunni – Shi’ite conflagration, Israel may be playing both sides against the middle in the hope of surviving these ancient hatreds. And the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq and Iran continue to push for their own sovereign nation.

Shades of Rwanda, only with more factions.

Gates of Vienna Goes to Toronto

Well, half of it does, anyway. I’m up here in the frozen north talking to a business owner about a possible programming job.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, because if this works out y’all won’t have to hit the tip jar so often.

Things may be fairly quiet at the Gates until I get back. I’ve been able to read and answer some of my email, but a lot of it may be delayed until I get home.

And by the way — it’s not really “frozen” here right now. A balmy 42ºF, and no snow…

The Federal Behemoth

A reader writes to take exception to my slighting of the federal government in Saturday’s post:

Baron — I think your indictment and snubbing of government employees is a tactical error. I was a federal employee for several decades and I was intimately involved in information research for high level decision makers in our government. Most of my co-workers were very liberal, and as with any big organization, some were time-servers, some were barely competent, and some made brown-nosing an art, but there were also a lot of very competent people with a massive amount of information, contacts, skills and resources that you, I am sure, could really use about now. So, I would not be too quick to write this whole group off.

Behemoth, from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal, 1863I wrote him back to assure him that it was not the individuals who work for the government who are a problem, but the collective nature of the federal behemoth. The government as an organization is an antiquated juggernaut lumbering through the lives of ordinary people and causing random havoc, even as it tosses out huge wads of cash in all directions.

Some of my best friends work for the federal government. They’re good, decent, intelligent people. Yet somehow the government they are part of has metastasized into a monstrous growth that sucks up ever-increasing amounts of our money without in return adequately protecting us, or advancing the general welfare.

Nothing is more emblematic of federal dysfunction than the Internal Revenue Service. Citizens live their lives in fear of the IRS — not just rich people, but average working stiffs, if they happen to own a home or have some savings. The IRS is the American equivalent of the KGB, the dread hand of the State that knocks on the door in the middle of the night.

In my case, the knock on the door is replaced by the plain white envelope bearing an IRS return address, the one that makes me break out in a cold sweat the moment it appears in our mailbox. I know that when the IRS comes calling, my assets can be hauled off on a whim to the Treasury Department gulag, never to be seen again.

You don’t have to be convicted of any crime to have your valuables sequestered by Internal Revenue. If those busy folks at Treasury decide that you’ve violated the tax code, they can withdraw your assets from your control until they decide it’s OK for you to have some of them back.

Unconstitutional, you say? You betcha. But it’s legal, and there’s nothing you can do except hire the best lawyer that money can buy, assuming the IRS leaves enough in your checking account for you to do so.

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Thirty years ago I left a lucrative job in computer programming to become a self-employed artist. I spent considerable time reading through the various IRS publications to learn the ins and outs of self-employment as it was viewed by the Treasury Department.
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One of my obligations as a Sole Proprietor was to file an estimated tax report every quarter — the 1040-ES. You calculate your income in the previous quarter, annualize it, adjust for expected changes to it, and pre-pay the appropriate tax. The government keeps the money for the rest of the year without paying you any interest, but if you underpay your estimated tax, you owe them interest on the difference. Funny about that.

As an official Starving Artist, I had no income — the tiny amount of money I made selling paintings was more than offset by the cost of paint, canvas, and other expenses. But in those days you had to file a 1040-ES every quarter even if you owed the IRS no money, and, being a dutiful citizen, I complied.

One quarter I made a mistake: I filed my 1040-ES two days late. I didn’t owe any penalties since I didn’t make any money, but I did file late.

Then I made a second mistake: I included a friendly note to the IRS along with my zero-filled form, apologizing for my late filing. Whoops!

Not long afterwards I received an alarming-looking notice from the IRS, stating that interest and penalties incurred by filing late could not be waived, and that I must pay them promptly to avoid further charges. The notice was computer-generated, and it very carefully calculated the interest and penalties on zero dollars, concluding that I must pay them the amount of zero no later than such-and-such date!

Then I made a third mistake: I wrote back to the IRS. I explained that they had made a mistake, that I didn’t owe them any money; I had just filed my 1040-ES a couple of days late.

Bad move. I got an even sterner note back from them, reiterating that no penalties could be waived, and adding that if I wanted to protest the ruling or file a grievance, form TA-98956XZ-R(31)a must be filled out and filed with the IRS no later than etc blah yak (yes, I made that form number up; I have no idea what it was).

At the bottom of the notice was a reiterated computer calculation: YOU MUST PAY ZERO DOLLARS BY THE DATE SHOWN OR FACE ADDITIONAL PENALTIES.

I made the only decision that a sane person could make at that point: I tore the notice up.

I had finally learned my lesson, which was this: Leave the IRS alone.

Don’t write to them. Don’t call them. File the forms required on the dates required, and write the checks when you have to. If they say you’re wrong, and owe them more money, pay it. If they say you paid too much, and send you a check, raise your eyes to heaven and thank the good Lord for His providence, but don’t write a thank-you note to the IRS.

And, when you make enough money, hire accountants and lawyers to do the work and file for you, thereby making the long arm of the Auditor marginally less likely to reach into your house and tighten up your sphincter for you.

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We don’t get bang for our buck from the monstrosity we know as “the federal government”. This is no one’s fault in particular. It’s not the fault of the federal employees who just want to do their jobs and live a quiet life until they collect their generous pensions. It’s not the fault of members of Congress who just want to get re-elected so that they can keep their paid staff and their franking privileges. It’s not even the fault of the average voter who votes his interests or votes by caprice, depending on how informed he is. None of them intended to create or maintain the behemoth.

Maybe Big Media are to blame, since they package and market the victim mentality to their audience, thus requiring the federal government to vacuum up an ever-increasing proportion of our wealth so that it can hand it out to ever-increasing numbers of official victims, keeping a little bit back to cover “administrative overhead”.

In any case, the behemoth is a sick and shaky monster, one which will someday have to topple, since the prosperity and productivity of the American populace are the only things keeping it standing.

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My correspondent is right about the good and competent people who inhabit the lower levels of the federal government. But I don’t think the same is true for people at the top of the pyramid.

The highest administrators in the government — both the political appointees and the permanent bureaucracy — didn’t get where they are by being high-minded and idealistic. They aren’t rewarded for creativity and risk-taking.

Getting that high requires ambition and ruthlessness. The rewards are great and the perks are generous for those who can stomach the struggle to get there.

These people — regardless of their political ideology — have the most to lose when the behemoth finally topples. Don’t expect them to let principle stand in the way of keeping their places.

We don’t need no stinkin’ Constitution.

Welcome to Middle East Hell

This isn’t, strictly speaking, jihad-related. But… here’s a new milestone in a bizarre ongoing story from the land of Muammar al-Qaddafi (the same fellow who bears a striking resemblance to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church) as reported today by the Associated Press:

TRIPOLI, Libya — Six foreign health workers jailed in Libya for years on charges of deliberately infecting children with the AIDS virus were convicted and sentenced to death in a case that has long sparked international outrage and did so again Tuesday.

The United States and Europe had called for the release of the five Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor, warning Libya that the ruling would affect relations. Already the long trial has held up efforts by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to repair his rogue image and rebuild ties with the West.

The nurses and doctor have been in jail since 1999 on charges that they spread the HIV virus to more than 400 children at a hospital in the Libyan city of Benghazi during a botched experiment to find a cure for the disease. Western nations blame the infections on unsanitary conditions at Libyan hospitals and accuse Tripoli of using the six health workers as scapegoats.

Bulgaria and the EU swiftly condemned the decision, and chief Bulgarian counsel Trayan Markovski said the defendants would appeal to the Libyan Supreme Court.

“Sentencing innocent people to death is an attempt to cover up the real culprits and the real reasons for the AIDS outbreak in Benghazi,” said Bulgarian parliamentary speaker Georgi Pirinski.

This is actually the nurses’ second trial; their first death sentence was overturned, and they were granted a retrial, after international outrage over their sentences. They’ve been in prison for seven years. Seven years! Can you imagine seven years in a Libyan prison?
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DNA analysis has confirmed that the virus that infected the children could not possibly have been spread by the accused nurses, since it was present before they arrived. But the Libyans aren’t about to let the facts stand in the way of a good infidel hanging.

An international legal observer, Francois Cantier of Lawyers Without Borders, promptly criticized the retrial as lacking scientific rigor. Research published this month said samples from the infected children showed their viruses were contracted before the six defendants started working at the hospital in question.

“We need scientific evidence. It is a medical issue, not only a judicial one,” Cantier said after the verdict. His colleague, Ivan Paneff, said Lawyers Without Borders had tried to persuade the judges to commission international experts to investigate conditions at the hospital but “they refused.”

Bulgaria’s Pirinski made the same point in Sofia, saying: “The court has not taken into account the unquestionable judicial and scientific evidences for the innocence of the medics.”


Luc Montagnier — the French doctor who co-discovered HIV — testified in the first trial that the virus was active in the hospital before the Bulgarian nurses began their contracts there in 1998.

More evidence for that argument surfaced on Dec. 6 — too late to be submitted in court — when Nature magazine published an analysis of HIV and hepatitis virus samples from the children.

Using changes in the genetic information of HIV over time as a “molecular clock,” the analysts concluded that the virus was contracted before the six defendants arrived at the hospital — perhaps even three years before.

Here’s a final fillip to the story:

Idriss Lagha, the president of a group representing the victims, rejected the Nature article, telling a news conference in London on Monday that the nurses had infected the children with a “genetically engineered” virus. He accused them as doing so for research on behalf of foreign intelligence agencies.

The Libyans seem to be drinking from the same moon-pool as African-Americans who believe that the AIDS virus was created by the CIA specifically to commit genocide against black people in the United States.

Is there a Central Rumor Agency that the supplies talking points for the Libyans as well as Al Sharpton? Or maybe there’s an Urban Legend listserv that they all subscribe to?

If you’re the praying type, say a quick prayer for those nurses stuck in Middle East Hell.