Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/4/2008

The GoV newsboy

Thanks to Diana West, Fjordman, Insubria, Miss Kelly, Steen, TB, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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The “Club” Model of Terrorism
by Diana West

What ho, Jeeves—Al Qaeda is just like the Drones Club!

So say, in effect, a pair of academics the Washington Post saw fit to showcase in today’s paper. It seems that there these two Poindexters have been pondering the big bad world from their particularly picturesqe ivory towers (Stanford and UC Santa Barbara, respectively) and An Idea has come to them (uh oh):

The generic problem is the question of why people having useful knowledge can’t be bribed to reveal it,” said David Laitin, a political scientist at Stanford University who has studied why terrorist groups that specialize in suicide attacks are so rarely undermined by defectors and turncoats.

Along with Eli Berman, a political scientist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Laitin has developed a theory to explain why the Hamdans of the world [i.e., the bin Laden drivers of the world] tend to stay loyal to the bin Ladens.

Hmmm. Does Islam or Allah or 72 virgins or “slay the infidel” have ANYTHING to do with it? Nope. Doesn’t even rate a mention in Academy-land. Instead:

Laitin and Berman argue that it is because a group such as al-Qaeda is really an exclusive club.

           — Hat tip: Diana West

Europe and the EU

Cohen: Aux Barricades! France and the Jews

PARIS: It’s not quite the Dreyfus Affair, at least not yet. But France is divided again over power and the Jews.

While the United States has been debating The New Yorker’s caricature of Barack Obama as a Muslim, France has gone off the deep end over a brief item in the country’s leading satirical magazine portraying the relationship between President Nicolas Sarkozy’s fast-rising son, Jean, and his Jewish fiancée.

The offending piece in Charlie Hebdo, long a reference for the left-libertarian media establishment, was penned last month by a 79-year-old columnist-cartoonist who goes by the name of “Bob” Siné. He described the plans — since denied — of Jean Sarkozy, 21, to convert to Judaism before marrying Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, an heiress to the fortune of the Darty electrical goods retailing chain…

           — Hat tip: TB

Soldiers Arrive in Italian Cities to Help Fight Crime

Public opinion on troops mixed

(ANSA) — Rome, August 4 — Italians and tourists on Monday had mixed reactions to the arrival of the first troops on city streets as the government’s scheme to use 3,000 soldiers to help police fight crime got under way. In Rome, around 400 of more than 1,000 troops expected in the capital arrived to patrol suburban metro stations, embassies, government buildings and an immigrant holding centre in the outskirts of the city. ‘‘It’s ridiculous. It’s like being under a military regime, as if Rome were in (the Pinochet regime’s) Chile,’’ said a bus driver looking at an army jeep parked a few metres away at the Mattia Battistini metro station in the Rome suburbs.

‘‘The use of the armed forces is a sign of weakness for a democracy. During the time of the Red Brigades urban terrorism (in the ‘70s and early ‘80s) it made sense to use the army, but now it’s useless and just spreads fear among the citizens,’’ he added.

But at another suburban metro station, Anagnina, commuters were celebrating the presence of the troops.

‘‘We saw them arriving and everyone broke out into applause,’’ said Rosa, who travels from Anagnina to the centre of Rome every day.

‘‘It was time. I feel safer; the gypsies won’t try to steal my bag or my purse,’’ she said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Homosexuality — Punishable by Death?

The Norwegian Islamic Council is still waiting for a reply from the European Fatwa Council before it decides whether or not it is in favour of the death penalty for homosexuality. “Unacceptable,” says lesbian Sara Asmeh Rasmussen.

Last November the Norwegian Islamic Council asked the European fatwa council what attitude it should have to homosexuals.

The fatwa council, which debates questions of Muslim faith and doctrine, had its annual meeting in Paris three weeks ago, but did not discuss the subject, according to daily newspaper Dagsavisen.

“It’s wrong of the Islamic Council to wait for the “verdict” from the fatwa council in such an important case. By not saying ‘no’ to death penalties for gays, it shows attitudes that conflict with both democratic and humanitarian values,” says Sara Azmeh Rasmussen. She is the only openly lesbian Muslim in Norway.

The head of the Norwegian Islamic Council, Senaid Kobilica, is not worried that the fatwa council will decide in favour of the death penalty. “I’m 100 percent certain that the fatwa council will not come out in favour something which conflicts with European law. The council wasn’t able to deal with the question of homosexuality this time, but it thinks that subject is quite relevant and wants to look at the matter more,” says Kobilica.

The Islamic Council, which represents 60,000 Muslims in Norway, is still not willing to say whether it is for or against the death penalty for homosexuals, until the fatwa council has spoken.

“It’s very important to have the European fatwa council with us in difficult matters like this. I am not in favour of the death penalty, but there are Islamic texts that various people understand differently. This is why we need to know the attitude of the authority before we make a decision,” says Kobilica.

           — Hat tip: Steen

Atheist Richard Dawkins Blames Muslims for ‘Importing Creationism’ Into Classrooms

Devout Muslims are importing creationist theories into science and are not being challenged because of political correctness, one of the country’s most famous scientists said tonight. Professor Richard Dawkins argued that as a result teachers were promoting the ‘mythology’ of creationism over the science of evolution.

Professor Dawkins, a geneticist and author of the best-selling book ‘The God Delusion,’ said: ‘Islam is importing creationism into this country. ‘Most devout Muslims are creationists — so when you go to schools, there are a large number of children of Islamic parents who trot out what they have been taught.

‘Teachers are bending over backwards to respect home prejudices that children have been brought up with. The Government could do more but it doesn’t want to because it is fanatical about multiculturalism and the need to respect the different traditions from which these children come.

‘The Government — particularly under Tony Blair — thinks it is wonderful to have children brought up with their traditional religions. I call it brainwashing.’ He added: ‘It seems as though teachers are terribly frightened of being thought racist. It’s almost impossible to say anything against Islam in this country because if you do you are accused of being racist or Islamophobic.’

           — Hat tip: VH

Anger As 350 Police Officers Taken Off the Beat for Sex-Swap Awareness Classes

Police officers in an area with a high crime rate are being taken off the beat for an awareness course on sex changes. The half-day training class is meant to help them deal with a colleague who is beginning a new life as a woman.

The ruling, which applies to 344 police and 166 civilian staff, has been deemed ‘political correctness gone mad’ by senior officers. It was announced in a letter from Humberside Police’s former Chief Superintendent Kevin Sharp to all staff within the force’s A division. This covers Grimsby and the surrounding area in North-East Lincolnshire — a region which last year had 41.5 crimes per 1,000 residents, compared with a national average of 28.

One unnamed senior officer from the division said the plan was ‘a scandal’. “This is yet another example of the lunatics running the asylum and it has offended me and many of my colleagues. It’s time spent away from duty at the public’s expense.

In 2004, Humberside Police was criticised by the Bichard Inquiry into the murders of the children Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman for deleting sex claims against the savage Ian Huntley [who became an Islam convert] which might have prevented his getting a job at their school.

           — Hat tip: VH

Poland’s Future Includes Fewer Poles, More Foreigners

Warsaw — Poland’s population will likely shrink by two million by 2035, but the country will have twice as many foreigners, reported the daily Dziennik on Monday. A report from the Central Statistical Office forecasts that Poland will become a more multi-cultural country owing to the influx of migrants from the former Soviet Union, Asia and Africa. The report details a number of reasons: Only 38 per cent of women will be of age for childbirth, the daily says, compared to 50 per cent today. Polish women also will not think of starting a family until their 30s. There will be some four million more senior citizens and life expectancy is expected to rise by six years for men and three years for women. Fewer Poles will also leave the country in search of work, the report predicts, as they are expected to have better opportunities and an improved quality of life in Poland

           — Hat tip: Fjordman

North Africa

Libya-Russia: Putin, Al Mahmudi Discuss Energy, Armament

(ANSAmed) — MOSCOW, JULY 31 — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met today in Moscow his Libyan counterpart al-Baghdadi al Mahmudi to discuss the bilateral cooperation in the fields of armament and energy, the Russian news agencies reported pointing out that the Libyan Prime Minister brought with him to Moscow, as a gesture of good will, a manager of private oil company Lukoil arrested in Tripoli for industrial espionage. According to speculations, Putin discussed with his Libyan counterpart the Russian project of a gas cartel modelled after OPEC, recently backed by President Dmitry Medvedev too. Al-Mahmudi said that the agenda included also a series of joint projects “in the oil and gas field, including in third countries, not only in my country”. The purchase of armament is another hot point in the agenda. Libya wants to buy anti-missile systems ‘Favorit’, ‘Tor M1’, Buk M1-2’, two jet fighters Mig-29 and Su-30 Mk, six Yak 130 aircrafts, several dozens of Mi17, Mi35, Ka52 helicopters, some 50 T-90C tanks, a diesel submarine from the 636 series, anti-missile systems Grad as well as other armament. However there is still no agreement on the payment methods. Tripoli would like to use the scheme already experimented with Algeria, or the cancelling of the debt in exchange for the purchase of weapons of equivalent value. Yet the expenses that Libya would want to make are twice as big as the debt or some 4.5 billion dollars. Al-Mahmudi handed over to Putin a personal invitation by Libyan head of state Muammar Gaddafi for a visit in late August on the occasion of the solemn ceremony for the launch of the construction of the railway between Sirte and Benghazi that will be built by Moscow. The project is estimated to USD 2.2 billion. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Cinema: First Egyptian Film on Jesus by Year-End

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, AUGUST 4 — Screenwriter and director Fayez Ghali will stat by the end of the year the filming of the first Egyptian film on Jesus Christ and the first six years of his life. “We have already defined the financing and the staff for the production of the film,” Ghali told Al Masry al Youm daily. “Wéll work with the private company Video Cairo,” the director said, specifying that the set will be mainly in Egypt, but with some concession in Syria and Jordan “because some places there remind of the Palestine”. “I’ll follow with absolute accuracy the dictates of Orthodox Christianity in order to avoid criticism from other churches, such as the Catholic one, which worships more actively Virgin Mary, or the Anglican church, which does not believe in the images of Jesus and the Cross,” Ghali said. To that end the director said he would submit the script to the Orthodox Church and to the government censorship. “I am ready to review any aspect of the screenplay, which wants to celebrate the glory of Jesus Christ, according to the Bible.” Referring to possible criticism which could come from the Islamic university-mosque Al Azhar “the highest Sunni theological authority,” Ghali said that “Al Azhar has nothing to do with this. I have written a film on the prophet of Christianity”. The main actor of the film has not been chosen yet: “a child who has to interpret the childhood of Christ must have unique and specific characteristics”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Ali El Din Helal Criticizes Muslim Brotherhood’s Vagueness

In the continuous feud between the ruling party [the National Democratic Party (NDP)] and the Muslim Brotherhood, Ali El-Din Helal [of the NDP] said the idea of a revolution over the constitution is rooted in the group’s ideology.

Ali El-Din Helal, of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and former minister, criticized the Muslim Brotherhood for the ambiguity surrounding the magnitude of its powers and number of members. “We are not talking about a political party like Al-Wafd or Al-Araby Al-Nassery; from the start there was intentional vagueness and intentional confusion between Islamic proselytizing and political activity, although there is a major contradiction between the two areas.”

“When I go to a sheikh, I ask for his opinion in Islamic affairs and this relation is based on obedience, unlike the political field which is based on diversity and disagreements,” Helal added. “Some of them kiss Sheikh Mahdy Akefs’s hand, so they see him as their sheikh not their political leader.”

The spokesman of the MB parliamentary bloc, Hamdy Hassan, said that Islam never separated between religion and any other field such as politics or economics. Despite the progress that was made by the Muslim Brotherhood in the last three years, Helal continued, “they [the MB] could have gained more if they used better strategies.” […]

           — Hat tip: VH

Israel and the Palestinians

Fatah: Guided by a Dolphin

(MEMRI video with subtitles)

Fatah Terrorists Who Participated in a 1978 Attack Commanded by Dalal Al-Maghrabi Claim They Were Guided by a Dolphin and Describe the Murder of US Journalist Gail Rubin

           — Hat tip: TB

Mideast: Israel, Al Fatah Fugitives From Gaza in West Bank

(ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, AUGUST 4 — Al Fatah activists, who escaped from Gaza on Saturday under pressure on the part of Hamas militants and were temporarily received by Israel for humanitarian reasons, will be transferred to the West Bank, in the area of Ramallah, the Israeli army said today. The decision was made with the aim to save human lives, after verifying that some 30 of the 180 activists who escaped to Israel and yesterday were returned to Gaza “have been arrested by Hamas and their lives are in immediate danger”, an Israeli military spokesman said. Their return to Gaza “was requested by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad who assumed the responsibility for their safety”, the spokesman said. After verifying that on their return to Gaza the Al Fatah activists were arrested by Hamas, the Israeli authorities immediately suspended the operation and established contacts “with the Palestinian authorities in Ramallah to convince them to allow the entrance of the refugees in the area of Ramallah”. On Saturday Palestinian President Abbas asked Israel to open its border to the Al Fatah refugees, after 11 people, almost all of them Al Fatah activists, were killed in a Gaza City district in clashes with Hamas agents seeking the persons responsible for an attack a week ago in which five Islamic militants and a girl were killed by a bomb. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Mideast: Gaza Risky, Israel Sends Fatah Refugees to Jericho

(by Giorgio Raccah) (ANSAmed) — JERUSALEM, AUGUST 4 — Some ninety Palestinian activists of Fatah, who had fled from Gaza in Israel during last Saturday’s clashes with Hamas, were transferred today in Jericho under agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Thus Israel changed a previous decision to send back to Gaza the refugees after yesterday some forty of them were immediately stopped by Hamas agents and underwent interrogations right after they returned to the Gaza Strip. A military spokesman said that Israel decided “to stop this process after having received information that they were being arrested by Hamas and that their lives were in immediate danger”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Middle East

Millions of Iranians Visit Porn Sites Daily: Report

Beat ban using advanced technologies

The National Youth Organization affiliated to the Iranian presidency has issued a report stating that some 12 million Iranian youth access porn websites on a daily basis.

The report stated that although these websites are blocked by the government, visitors find ways to breach the ban and access the websites using hi-tech computer systems, according to a report published by Saudi daily Al-Watan.

Head of the National Youth Organization Mohamed Akbari said that Western countries make pornographic material available as a weapon “to kill virtue in the souls of our youth after they failed at attacking us with real arms.”

           — Hat tip: TB

Pakistani Editor Hails Abdullah’s Gesture to Jews

ISLAMABAD: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s bold handshake with a Jewish participant at the Madrid’s Interfaith Conference was a turning point in the ongoing interfaith dialogue in the world, said Pakistan Observer’s Editor in Chief Zahid Malik here.

Speaking at the Leadership Conference on Dialogue for Peaceful Coexistence here on Friday, Malik described the handshake as an historic event, saying that it was a bold message to the followers of Judaism and Christianity that Muslims are ready to go the extra mile to extend the hand of friendship to the followers of Judaism and Christianity. “It was a Muslim world’s handshake with the Jewish world,” he said.

Commending Saudi Arabia’s role toward promoting interfaith harmony, Malik said that it was now incumbent on the Christian and Jewish leadership to come forward with a similar bold initiative. Malik also touched on the various initiatives taken by Pakistan and President Pervez Musharraf on the issues of extremism.

           — Hat tip: TB

UAE to Launch Nuclear Peaceful Program

UAE- Thorium Power, Ltd, the leading developer of non-proliferative nuclear fuel technology and provider of comprehensive advisory services for emerging nuclear programs, announced that it has entered into two new agreements for consulting and strategic advisory services.

The agreements are consistent with, and a result of, the UAE policy published in April 2008, for the evaluation and potential implementation of peaceful nuclear energy. Under one agreement, Thorium Power will provide strategic advice for the structuring and launch of Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), the vehicle of the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi that will develop and oversee nuclear energy development. Pursuant to the other agreement, Thorium Power will provide strategic advice for the development and launch of an independent nuclear regulatory agency in the UAE — Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR). The new agreements provide for pre-payment of $10 million USD upon signing by the government of Abu Dhabi with an additional pre-payment of $7 million USD to be paid upon formation of ENEC and FANR.

           — Hat tip: TB

UAE: Saudi Judge, Wife Held for Possessing, Using Drugs

(ANSAmed) — DUBAI, AUGUST 4 — A senior Saudi judge and his wife were arrested in Dubai for allegedly possessing and using drugs, according to a police source as reported by Khaleej Times online. He said that the accused was a judge who served as a head of Shariah court in Saudi Arabia. Currently in the custody of Bur Dubai police station, Hamad Salim bin Naif, the accused was arrested from a hotel in Bur Dubai. Some hashish was allegedly found in his possession at the time of his arrest, the source added. The police acted on a tip off that the suspect had arrived in the UAE recently on a visit had hashish in his possesion. The police CID officials tracked down the suspect and raided his room in the hotel on Friday night after seeking permission from the Dubai Public Prosecution, the source added. The police recovered 4 grammes of hashish from his bag. Both the accused and his wife were then referred to the Bur Dubai Police Station. During interrogation, the accused said that he had brought the hashish from Saudi Arabia. He confessed that he and his 42-year-old Moroccon wife used drugs and the confiscated hashish was for their personal use only. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Kuwait: State Budget Record Surplus Continues

(ANSAmed) — ROME, AUGUST 4 — At the end of the first four months of the 2008-2009 fiscal year Kuwait registered oil revenue of USD 35 billion, thanks to the crude oil price, the Italian Foreign Trade Institute (ICE) in Kuwait announced, adding that the forecast for the whole year stands at $106 billion, which added to the non-oil revenue of some $4 billion, should bring the total revenue to $110 billion. Total spending is seen at $72 billion. The surplus expected at the end of the year should stand at $38 billion. It will be the seventh year in a row ended with a surplus. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria

Expel Gay Expats, Says Bahraini MP

Homosexuality is illegal in Bahrain, otherwise one of the more liberal countries in the Gulf area. The Bahraini government has periodically deported expats living in the nation because of their sexual orientation.

Brotherhood MP Shaikh Mohammed Khalid Mohammed wants the government to begin a number of initiatives designed to rid the country of gay people, reports Pink News. In April the Bahraini parliament demanded that the Interior Ministry cease the issue of residence permits to foreign gays.

They also called for homosexuals to be ‘rooted out’ of hair salons and massage parlours and the proposals will see teachers on the look out for homosexual tendencies in children and “punishing them accordingly.” In 2002 the government deported 2,000 allegedly gay Filipino workers for homosexual activity and prostitution.

           — Hat tip: VH

South Asia

Aafia Siddiqui in Custody in Afghanistan

From Miss Kelly:

A former Bostonian who was on the FBI’s “Most Wanted List” and “People Wanted for Questioning” is being held in custody in Afghanistan. It’s not yet known who is holding her of where her three children are. People who follow the actions of Islamic radicals in Boston have heard of Aafia Siddiqui, a former MIT and Brandeis student, and mother of three. Siddiqui was the subject of a Vague magazine feature article in March 2005, written by Deborah Scroggins, who’s currently writing a book on women and the war on terrorism. More on Siddiqui at Wikipedia here. From today’s Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON — Five years after her disappearance, an MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist accused of belonging to an Al Qaeda cell based in Boston, is alive and in custody in Afghanistan, her family’s attorney said yesterday.

‘It has been confirmed by the FBI that Aafia Siddiqui is alive,’ said Elaine Whitfield Sharp, a lawyer for Siddiqui’s family, who said she spoke to an FBI official on Thursday. ‘She is injured but alive, and she is in Afghanistan.’

The news sheds some light on one of the most intriguing local mysteries in the war on terrorism.

Siddiqui, who lived in Roxbury and studied at Brandeis University as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, disappeared with her three children while visiting her parents’ home in Karachi, Pakistan, in March 2003, around the same time the FBI announced that it wanted to question her.

For five years, US and Pakistani authorities have denied knowing her whereabouts. But human rights groups and Siddiqui’s relatives have long suspected that she had been captured in Karachi and secretly taken into custody.

           — Hat tip: Miss Kelly

After Succes in the Northwest, Taliban Now Moves Into Punjab Province

After establishing their sway in Pakistan’s northwest, the Taliban have begun making forays in the politically crucial Punjab province [bordering India], calling for shutdown of internet cafes and cable TV networks and threatening to deface women who do not wear burqas.

Owners of internet cafes, TV cable networks and music and CD shops in Muzaffargarh city in southern Punjab have received threat letters and e-mails from the Taliban, who warned them to close down their “un-Islamic and immoral” businesses within 15 days or face the consequences. In the city of Kot Addu, Taliban warned women, who do not wear burqas, that their faces will be defaced with acid.

Some of the businessmen in Muzaffargarh contacted the police and informed them about the threat. But they were so frightened that they did not become complainants.

           — Hat tip: VH


U.S. Federal Officials Announce “Deport Yourself” Program

U.S. Federal officials announced on Sunday a “Deport Yourself” program where people already convicted of being in this nation illegally can avoid arrest by signing up to leave. Two cities in Southern California — Santa Ana and San Diego —are among the four cities chosen to test the program. Two other test cities are Phoenix, Arizona and Charlotte, North Carolina.

By some counts, as many as 572,000 people in the United States are considered “fugitive aliens” by ICE and face arrest and possible imprisonment if found by immigration agents, even if they are found while leaving the United States.

People who register for the program will be given 90 days to get their affairs in order and arrange to leave the United States. Those who request financial assistance for a ticket to a distant nation will receive it, and once they leave they are banned from returning to the United States, even legally, for 20 years

           — Hat tip: VH

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 8/4/2008

  1. Pakistani Editor Hails Abdullah’s Gesture to Jews

    Commending Saudi Arabia’s role toward promoting interfaith harmony, Malik said that it was now incumbent on the Christian and Jewish leadership to come forward with a similar bold initiative.

    I’d say the fact that Muslims still exist on this earth is a sufficiently bold gesture by “Christian and Jewish leadership” in terms of interfaith harmony.

    The only further “bold” gesture that Islam deserves is a rigid digit. Preferrably, one poked squarely in its eye.

  2. The “Club” Model of Terrorism

    There’s only one form of clubbing terrorists should experience and that’s what baby harp seals get.

    Sick joke:

    Q: What’s a baby harp seal’s favorite drink?

    A: Canadian Club on the rocks.

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