Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/30/2008

Black Racists Recruited to Guide the Jihad
CAIR Tries to Censor California Politicians
Islam Convert Gets 35 Years in Plot to Attack Mall
Local Muslim Scouts Celebrate Ramadan
Police: No Evidence of Hate Crime at Ohio Mosque
Prosecutors on Obama ‘Truth Squad’ Sound Retreat
Socialist “Bailout” Could Spark Collapse
US Publisher of Muslim Novel Closes Office as ‘Precautionary Action’
Europe and the EU
Birmingham Will See Rise in Political and Ethnic Clashes, Tories Warn
Danes to be Tested for Viking Ancestry
De Kerchove: ‘We Must Help the Americans Close Guantanamo’
Flight of White Britons From UK Leaps to 70,000 Per Year … But Population Still Rising as Eastern Europeans Come to Britain
Norway: Increasing Majority Opposed to EU Membership
Radical Islamic Clerics Warn of Further Attacks After Publisher is Firebombed
Israel and the Palestinians
Israel Leading Campaign to De-Legitimize West Bank Jews?
Middle East
Afghanistan: Govt Seeking to Take Forward Peace Talks With Taliban
Angry Iraqi Christians Rip Law Stripping Them of Seats in Parliament
Iran: an Arms Race We’re Sure to Lose
Expert: Denmark Beware of Russia
South Asia
Indonesia: Kids Uncover Idul Fitri Bomb Terror Plan in Palu
Pakistan Warns U.S. About Raids on Its Border
Police Face Huge Training Challenges in Afghanistan
Sub-Saharan Africa
Jihad on the High Seas
South Africa: Zuma’s Rise Puts Whites to Flight
South Africa: Between Staying and Going
4,000 Immigrants Flock to Britain Each Day
Culture Wars
Atheist Family Challenges Minute of Silence Law
New Al-Qaida Threat: Thermobaric Bombs
Sunni-Shiite Hacking War Disables 900 Websites
The Big One is Nigh!

Thanks to Fjordman, Holger Danske, JD, Srdja Trifkovic, Steen, TB, Tuan Jim, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
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Black Racists Recruited to Guide the Jihad

By John Perazzo

One of the most remarkable trends taking place at so-called “human rights,” “social justice,” and “peace” rallies in a host of venues-most notably university campuses all across the United States-is the delivery of vicious attacks by Islamic speakers against America, Israel, and the Jewish people. These speakers, many of whom are religious leaders known as Imams, unambiguously condemn the United States as the “Great Satan,” the principal wellspring of evil on earth. By extension, they depict America’s ally Israel as the “Little Satan,” a land whose Jewish inhabitants allegedly have conspired with the U.S. to mistreat Muslims in every part of the globe. The hatred upon which these views are founded finds its expression in clearly enunciated calls for the extermination of Jews, the torture and murder of whites, the destruction of America and Israel by any means necessary, the adulation of Osama bin Laden and Islamic suicide bombers, and the establishment of Islam as the universal faith of all mankind. An unremarked fact is that these imams are often black racists in the mold of Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor of more than twenty years.

One notable black racist who, like Rev. Wright, is also connected to Obama, is an orthodox Muslim named Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour, whose efforts to facilitate Obama’s 1988 admission to Harvard Law School have recently come to light. An attorney by profession, al-Mansour is a black nationalist and an outspoken hater of the United States, Israel, and white people generally. In recent years he has accused the U.S. of plotting a “genocide” designed “to remove 15 million black people, considered disposable, of no relevance, value or benefit to the American society.” He has told fellow blacks that “whatever you do to [white people], they deserve it, God wants you to do it and that’s when you cut out the nose, cut out the ears, take flesh out of their body, don’t worry because God wants you to do it.” Alleging further that Palestinians in Israel “are being brutalized like savages,” he accuses the Jews of “stealing the land the same way the Christians stole the land from the Indians in America.”

Formerly named Donald Warden, al-Mansour in the 1960s was a mentor to Black Panther Party founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. When Warden became a Muslim and took his new name, he seamlessly adapted the sadistic hatred that had animated his activities with the Panthers, to the religious bigotry for which his newfound Islamic extremism called.

Given the vital role that Saudi Arabia plays in orchestrating jihadi activities in North America, al-Mansour’s Saudi connections merit close scrutiny. In the 1980s al-Mansour served as an advisor helping a pair of Saudi billionaires secretly acquire a major stake in some valuable California oceanfront property, through what the Los Angeles Times described as “an elaborate network of corporate shells in California, the Caribbean and Europe.” Moreover, al-Mansour was an investment advisor to the multi-billionaire Saudi Prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, the man whose $10 million donation to help rebuild downtown Manhattan after 9/11 was rejected by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani when the Prince suggested that America’s flawed foreign policies had helped foment the rage that manifested itself in the attacks.

Another black racist who has become a prominent America-hating, Jew-hating orator is Imam Abdul Alim Musa, founder and director of the As-Sabiqun movement, which aims to “enable Islam to take complete control of … the lives of all human beings on Earth.” In 2004 the San Francisco Bay View described Musa as “one of the highest-ranking Islamic leaders in the Black community, nationwide and specifically in the Islamic movement.” Born in Arkansas as Clarence Reams, Musa was raised in Oakland, California during the 1960s, when he embraced the ideology of the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam. He went on to become a leading cocaine-exporter in Colombia, a crime for which he eventually was incarcerated. While in prison, he converted to Islam and took his present name. An avid supporter of Iran’s late Ayatollah Khomeini, Musa calls for Islam to “take over America.” He praises Muslim suicide bombers as “heroes” who courageously “strike at the heart of Zionism.” He predicts that “this way of life known as Islam will dominate all other ways of life.” He lauds those who seek to honor Allah by means of violence. He says that most white Americans hold values and attitudes consistent with those of the Ku Klux Klan. He has praised Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah, and Hamas. And he claims that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were orchestrated jointly by the U.S. and Israeli governments in order to provide a pretext for waging war against Islam…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

CAIR Tries to Censor California Politicians

by Steve Emerson

The Investigative Project on Terrorism is among those who are critical of new guidelines discouraging the use of terms like “Islamist” and “jihad” when discussing terrorism and extremism that were issued earlier this year by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center.

While the agencies argue that the words may boost the popularity of terrorists among Muslim radicals, it’s a bad idea to hide the motivations behind those who seek to attack the United States, or innocent people around the world. Another weakness was exposed last month, when the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) attacked California Congressman Ed Royce (R-Orange County) for using the term “Islamist terrorism.”

In an article posted on its website September 10th, CAIR engages in the kind of hyperbolic rationalization it routinely accuses others of using against it. The article describes a letter to Royce from 22 religious leaders of various faiths and community activists. The website article quotes Sharaf Mowjood, identified as CAIR-Los Angeles Government Relations Coordinator, claiming that the DHS language is meant to prevent future terrorist attacks. “So if Royce cares about preventing the next terrorist attack, maybe he should follow what the DHS says,” Mowjood said.

Even by CAIR’s standards, Mowjood’s comment is inane. Stop calling people names and they’ll stop attacking you? That might work on the third-grade playground, but hurt feelings aren’t driving Osama bin Laden or those attracted to his cause. When he declared war on the United States in 1998, our nomenclature wasn’t mentioned. Rather, he listed a series of grievances that he saw justifying his Jihad against America, including the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. He also provided religious justification for his fight…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Islam Convert Gets 35 Years in Plot to Attack Mall

CHICAGO (AP) — A 24-year-old convert to Islam has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for plotting to blow off hand grenades in a crowded shopping mall during the Christmas season.

Derrick Shareef must serve 30 of those years — with five off for good behavior — unless he can get an appeals court to reduce the sentence.

He was arrested in 2006 on charges of scheming to use weapons of mass destruction at the Cherryvale Mall in the northern Illinois city of Rockford.

Federal Judge David Coar said Tuesday he didn’t believe Shareef was evil. But he said people could have been severely hurt if federal agents hadn’t broken up the plot.

Shareef described himself as a devout Muslim who once admired Osama bin Laden but has now realized violence is wrong.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Local Muslim Scouts Celebrate Ramadan

Like many girls, 11-year-old Duha Mohamed, of Kirkland, feels proud when she puts on her Girl Scout uniform.

The pride goes beyond the badge on the green vest she’s worked so hard to earn. For her, the uniform “makes me feel like an American.”

Mohamed, a thoughtful sixth-grader who was born in Sudan, says she’s noticed that people stare when she wears her head scarf, long-sleeved shirt and pants to the park. But they stare less when she wears the Scout uniform in addition to her head scarf.

“When I put on my uniform,” she says, “I feel like I am part of the community.”

Mohamed is one of several dozen girls who have formed what are believed to be the state’s first all-Muslim Girl Scout troops, based on the Eastside. An all-Muslim Cub Scout pack also has started up — the first in this area in many years…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Muslims’ Observance of Ramadan Comes to a Close as New Moon Rises

As the sun sets over the Rocky Mountains, the fast ends and the feast begins.

So it goes each day of Ramadan for Colorado’s 35,000 Muslims, who observed a daily fast between sunup and sundown. The observance began with special evening prayers, Tarawih, on Aug. 31 this year and will continue until the slim crescent of the new moon is visible, tonight or tomorrow night.

Fasting, or sawm, requires that no food or water be taken during daylight, a practice that Muslims consider one of the five pillars of Islam.

Rafaat Ludin, former president of the Colorado Muslim Society, said a central message of this holy month is to feel how the poor feel when they are hungry and thirsty. The lesson, he says, is of deep appreciation for what you have.

A 12-year-old boy, experiencing the month-long fast for the first time this year says the experience of going without food and water “makes rich people equal to the poor; they see how it feels.”

Ludin said that community is strengthened during this month as family, friends and neighbors gather for evening meals to break the fast and to recite the prayers. Conversation often revolves around the personal changes that are taking place, the appreciation for life, and the deepening of faith through fasting…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Police: No Evidence of Hate Crime at Ohio Mosque

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Police say no hate crime was committed when a 10-year-old girl was sprayed in the face with an unknown substance, leading to the evacuation of an Islamic mosque in Dayton.

The girl was watching other children at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton as their parents celebrated Ramadan on Friday night. Police say she saw two men outside a basement window and that one of them sprayed her from a can. She told investigators the substance burned her face and made her sick to her stomach.

Hazardous materials team coordinator Denny Bristow says there was not enough of the spray to determine what it was and that all tests came back negative. He says no chemicals were found on the girl.

About 300 people were at the mosque at the time. A few were treated on site for eye irritation.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Prosecutors on Obama ‘Truth Squad’ Sound Retreat

No one involved ‘has any intention of prosecuting anybody’

Missouri law officials, including public prosecutors, who were reportedly planning to “respond immediately” to any misleading advertisements against Barack Obama if they “might violate Missouri ethics laws,” have now backed off the intimidating implications of that report, promising they have no intention of prosecuting anyone.

As WND reported, prosecuting attorneys Bob McCulloch and Jennifer Joyce originally announced on KMOV-TV in St. Louis their participation in Obama’s “Truth Squad,” pledging to defend the candidate from untruthful ads with an undefined “immediate” response.

“Whether it is directly attributable to the (McCain) campaign or to one of the soft money operations,” McCulloch told the station, “if they’re not going to tell the truth, somebody’s got to step up and say, ‘That’s not the truth. This is the truth.’“

The move prompted Missouri’s governor to object that the prosecutors were using “police state tactics” to squelch information hurtful to the Obama campaign.

“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words,” wrote Gov. Matt Blunt in a statement. “The party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.”

A spokeswoman for St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, however, told WND that the televised “Truth Squad” announcement was misunderstood.

“The only action they would take would be to provide truthful information to the public so they can make up their minds,” said Susan Ryan. “Neither (Joyce) nor anybody involved in this has any intention of prosecuting anybody.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Socialist “Bailout” Could Spark Collapse


Schiff, who labels the proposed government takeover of the financial sector as socialism and refers to the Federal Reserve Board chairman as “Comrade Bernanke,” told AIM, “The government doesn’t have the authority to do any of this stuff. This whole bailout bill is illegal. They don’t have the authority to buy up mortgages. Nothing in the Constitution says they can do this.”

“Who needs Bolsheviks when you have the Fed?” he has written.

The author of “Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse,” Schiff said that “The government doesn’t solve problems. It makes them bigger. So if we’re broke, which is the reality—that’s why these mortgages are not worth much because Americans can’t afford to pay the money back that they borrowed—the bottom line is we’ve borrowed and spent ourselves into bankruptcy following the government’s advice. They’re the ones that encouraged all this reckless borrowing and spending.”

Interviewed by AIM before the House of Representatives on Monday afternoon voted down the “bailout” scheme, at a time when it looked like the plan would actually pass, Schiff had shocking advice for ordinary Americans.

“The first thing you do if you have a mortgage is you stop making the payments,” he said. “That’s the number one thing for people who have mortgages based on this plan. And use that money to buy gold or stock up on food. You’re going to need it. Meanwhile, no one is going to kick you out of your house. You’re going to be able to live in your house for probably a year or two before the government calls you up to give you a lower mortgage because nobody is going to foreclose on you right now. Why would you foreclose? You sell the loan to the government. This plan is a huge moral hazard and it’s going to lead to a surge in mortgage delinquencies.”

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

US Publisher of Muslim Novel Closes Office as ‘Precautionary Action’

NEW YORK — The U.S. publisher of a controversial novel about the prophet Muhammad closed its offices as a “precautionary action,” but emphasized that no threats had been received and that “The Jewel of Medina” would be released as planned.

“We were out of the office for a meeting today, and we felt it was unfair for the employees to be back there without management,” Eric Kampmann, president of Beaufort Books, said Monday. The publisher took on Sherry Jones’ novel after it was dropped by Random House Inc. over security concerns.

In London, police said they arrested three men Saturday on suspicion of terror links, relating to a fire at the home and office of publisher Martin Rynja, whose Gibson Square announced earlier this month that it would issue “The Jewel of Medina,” a fictionalized version of Muhammad and his child bride, Aisha.

Beaufort, the publisher that issued O.J. Simpson’s reviled, once-rejected “If I Did It,” plans to release “Jewel of Medina” on Oct. 15, with a first printing of 50,000.

As of Monday afternoon, the book was No. 204 on Barnes & Noble Inc. and Borders Group Inc. will both stock the book in stores, according to spokeswomen for the superstore chains.

Kampmann said he has discussed possible security arrangements with the FBI and New York City police, but added that nothing was planned and that there were no immediate worries about safety.

Random House was supposed to publish Jones’ novel in August, but pulled it after determining that Muslims would be offended by its subject matter. The publisher acknowledged that it received no specific threats, saying in a statement that “credible and unrelated sources” had warned that the book “could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.”

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Birmingham Will See Rise in Political and Ethnic Clashes, Tories Warn

Birmingham City Council will increasingly be forced to deal with “cultural clashes” between people of different ethnic groups or religions, Conservatives have warned.

The possibility for conflict will increase as the city moves towards becoming a “plural city” in which white people are a minority, said Paul Goodman, Conservative Shadow Minister for Local Government and Community Cohesion. This is expected to happen by 2027, based on current trends.

Speaking at a fringe meeting during the Conservative conference, Mr Goodman warned that national governments could do little to deal with the tensions that might arise.

It would be down to local councils to resolve disputes and deal with competing claims of ethnic groups, he said.

He said: “We can see, looking ahead, that you have this picture of diversity and plurality, and cities are going to look very different.

“For policy-makers, in one sense this is all very exciting.

“In another sense, I think there are going to be cultural clashes in these plural cities, between different groups with different value systems, and different outlooks.

“The art of politics, local and national, is going to be managing the culture clashes.”

Tensions could be caused by racism, including racist attitudes from some ethnic minorities towards each other, he said.

“One issue is what you might call old-fashioned racism. Racism hasn’t gone away, and not just what you might call old-fashioned white on ethnic minority racism. There are also other forms of racism taking place.

“When there was great wave of people coming in seeking asylum five years ago, there were reports from channel ports about different recently-arrived groups having very tense relations with each other.”

However, religion would also be a factor, he said. Birmingham already has a population which is 14 per cent Muslim, Mr Goodman pointed out.

“Religion will be a very important factor in British cities, and it is going to be up to local and national politicians to manage this factor too.

“There is a positive side to his, but I think there will also be culture clashes.

“I think the attitude of Muslims in cities on licensing, even on the annual gay pride march, isn’t necessarily going to be the same in those areas as everyone else, just as the attitude of white fundamentalist Christians isn’t going to be the same as everyone else.”

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Danes to be Tested for Viking Ancestry

Researchers are to run genetic tests on Scandinavians to find a link to Viking descendants in England

A group of international researchers will carry out genetic tests on Danes, Norwegians and Swedes to trace the connection between Scandinavia and Viking descendants in northeast England.

The study, lead by Prof. Mark Jobling of the University of Leicester, is a continuation of a previous study carried out in Wirral, in the northeast of England.

The earlier study by Prof. Stephen Harding from the University of Nottingham found that half of the 150 test subjects from Wirral had Norwegian ancestry.

The continuation of the study will extend the test area to most of northeastern England.

Harding is part of the new research team and told The Copenhagen Post that the new study aims to create a larger Scandinavian database to compare the common Viking ancestry.

‘We would like to sample areas, such as Jutland and Zealand, where men can prove that their families have belonged to the area for hundreds of years.’

Harding explained that because of population migration it was necessary to create strict criteria for inclusion in the study.

‘For example, we had a list of names of people from the Wirral area that paid taxes during the time of Henry VIII. The test subjects had to have the same surname as one of these families.’

The researchers have run into some problems because of the different traditions in England and Scandinavia.

‘It has been the norm for the family surname to be passed from father to son for generations in England, whereas in many areas of Scandinavia this is quite a recent development,’ said Harding.

The researchers will also examine the genetic history of men from southern Sweden and from Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim in Norway.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

De Kerchove: ‘We Must Help the Americans Close Guantanamo’

The European Union has engaged in in-depth discussions with the United States over the last three years to harbour prisoners detained in the controversial US Guantanamo centre in Cuba, EU counter-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove revealed in an exclusive interview with EurActiv.

Gilles de Kerchove is a lawyer by training. He has recently been teaching law in several Belgian universities.

On 26 September, German police arrested two Islamist terrorist suspects on a KLM flight before take-off in Cologne. It was also revealed that they had left farewell letters. Despite the fact that no attack has been perpetrated in Europe for three years now, the terrorist threat is obviously still there. How would you assess the situation at the moment?

The fact that there hasn’t been a successful attack does not mean there is no threat. If you look at the different plots that have been foiled in the last year, in Spain, in Germany, in Denmark, the last one you mentioned in Cologne, possible plots such as one in Belgium, all this shows that terrorists are planning attacks, but they are being prevented from doing so by intelligence, security services and police. It also shows that security services are rather efficient.

As for the threat, in many member states it is often assessed as high or severe, depending on the national classification. In many countries it is considered to be rather high. This is the case in the Netherlands, France, the UK and Germany. The reason for this is the various plots mounted in recent months and years and also because the security services are witnessing movement between the [Islamist] community and Pakistan, a kind of relationship with Al Qaeda and the Islamic Maghreb, and now in some parts of the community we see the phenomenon of auto-radicalisation.

Essentially, the terrorist threat remains linked to Al Qaeda: either the Al Qaeda core between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Osama Bin Laden and his accomplices have a safe haven and where people from Europe are being trained and brainwashed, or Al Qaeda-related and inspired organisations like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and home-grown terrorism inspired by Al Qaeda, via the internet or other means.

Al Qaeda seems to be professing something similar to the franchise model in the business community…

That’s exactly what some analysts and experts say, and they also see other similarities. A few months ago I would have said the Al Qaeda core was seriously disorganised. But then they started very efficient media communication. If you look at Al Sakhab, which is the media branch of Al Qaeda, and the way it is issues statements (often with subtitles in German and English) to make sure that everyone can understand, you can see it is an organisation which relies heavily on the media. In recent months in tribal zones — in the Fatah region in Pakistan — they have found areas where they can build their strength. Many attacks have been mounted either by Afghan Taliban or Pakistani Taliban, inspired and financed by Al Qaeda’s core.

There is an unprecedented Western military presence in Afghanistan, including NATO, but this does not seem to be enough to stabilise the country, which apparently harbours Al Qaeda terrorists.

I’m not best-placed to access the strategy of the various missions there: NATO, ASAF and Enduring Freedom. What the EU tries to do through the police mission is to train the Afghan forces themselves — the police, the judiciary and the border guards — to gradually do most of the work themselves. That’s the challenge. We cannot do all of the work forever.

Another challenge is ‘winning hearts and minds’. If the local population doesn’t see the West as a friend and partner, then what can be done?

Indeed, we will not win — in Iraq and other places in the world — just by sending soldiers and police officers. The country needs to improve its governance, the democratic process, social welfare.

Let me take as an example poppy cultivation, the proceeds of which go partly to Al Qaeda. We follow a different approach to the Americans. We don’t think that aerial spraying of poppy cultivations will do the trick. We think that eradication will only be possible if it’s accompanied by alternative development assistance for farmers. But here again, security is a precondition to any economic development. If you don’t secure a zone and let the farmers develop alternative cultivation, it won’t work.

You’ve mentioned one difference in approach between Europe and the Americans. But there seem to be other significant variations in the EU and US approaches to fighting terror. During a recent speech in Israel, you called for torture to be prohibited, despite the fact that it seems to be applied in the US Guantanamo detention camp. What are the divisions between transatlantic partners?

Let me first say that we are pretty close to the Americans on fighting terrorism. We’ve been next to the Americans since the day after September 11 [2001]. I myself have been very much engaged with the Americans in negotiating an agreement on extradition and another on mutual assistance. By the way, the Senate gave its assent to this treaty a few days ago. It may appear a bit late after 9/11, but it would provide us with a very efficient tool for judicial cooperation.

We have negotiated agreements on data exchange between Eurojust, between Europol, between airline companies on PNR (passenger data records) and with banks on Swift. We discuss our respective strategies regularly.

We are pretty close to the Americans, we have the same goals, but we have slight disagreements. I would even delete the word ‘slight’: we have disagreements on some aspects. What you mentioned for example: we do not endorse the ‘war on terror’ paradigm. There is an EU approach to fighting terror which is based on the rule of law and which considers terrorism a crime to be handled by normal criminal law. That requires that we have adequate legislation, and I would like to mention that the European Parliament has just adopted texts, to be formally approved by the Council, making it illegal to publicly incite people to commit terrorist offences and outlawing terrorist recruitment and training.

We cannot accept torture in any way, that’s against all values of the European Union, as is any lapse in human rights, including methods like the ones used in Guantanamo. These are matters of utmost concern in the EU, not only because it;s against our values, but also because it is inefficient. Experience shows that torture is counterproductive. It contributes to radicalising the Muslim world, because it suggests there are double standards. A study revealed that one of the motivations of people committing suicide attacks is precisely the violation of human rights and double standards [by the Western community].

So, for all these reasons, I think we will have to help the Americans close Guantanamo as soon as possible. We have engaged these last three years in a very in-depth dialogue with the legal advisor of State Secretary Condoleezza Rice on the legal framework of this initiative, on the need to respect the Geneva Convention, because this is a sort of legal limbo into which they put enemy combatants, disregarding the Geneva Convention.

Guantanamo, secret flights and secret detention camps are completely unacceptable. Progressively we have started this dialogue and gradually it has led the Americans to revisit their approach. Now the President of the United States recognises that he has to close Guantanamo as soon as possible and he is trying to send the prisoners back to their native countries, provided they won’t be tortured there.

And the Americans are willing to cooperate with the EU?

They are asking for assistance. Because some of the prisoners vis-à-vis whom there is not enough evidence for a trial cannot be sent back to their home countries, because there they would be in trouble, like the Uighurs in China. So the question is — do we have member states ready to take Uighurs into our territories?

Do we?

So far, no.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Flight of White Britons From UK Leaps to 70,000 Per Year … But Population Still Rising as Eastern Europeans Come to Britain

Thousands of Britons leave our shores every year for a new life abroad, official figures show.

But although 75,000 ‘white British’ men and women are moving away, the population is still rising because of an influx of ethnic minority groups.

According to Government estimates, the established white population of England dropped by nearly 250,000 between 2002 and 2006.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

‘Fru Gårman’ Gets Ready to Cross Swedish Streets

The Swedish Road Administration (Vägverket) on Monday revealed the final design for its new, more gender-sensitive pedestrian crossing signs.

The signs, which feature a female figure dubbed Fru Gårman crossing over the street, will soon join the traditional crosswalk signs with her male counterpart Herr Gårman, a name that translates both as ‘Mr. Walkman’ and ‘This is where you walk’.

The decision to come up with an official sign featuring a female pedestrian came after two local municipalities decided to create signs of their own.

In Mariestad in central Sweden, city officials attempted to gain permission for a female pedestrian road sign to honour the late local artist Karl-Gustaf Gustafson, who designed the original Herr Gårman figure back in 1955.

And in Hässleholm in southern Sweden, town officials sought to erect their own ‘Fru Gårman’ signs in the name of gender equity.

Both towns had their proposed signs rejected and the government then tasked the Roads Administration to come up with an official design.

Assuming the new design meets with the government’s approval, signs featuring Fru Gårman will start appearing on Swedish city streets shortly after the turn of the year, reports the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Norway: Increasing Majority Opposed to EU Membership

A fresh poll shows that a large majority of Norwegians oppose membership of the EU. Of those asked, 53 per cent say no to Norway becoming a member of the union, while 36 per cent say yes.

The number of voters in favour is far lower than it was at the 1994 referendum.

At that time, 47.8 voted in favour, while 52.2 per cent were against.

The majority of the nation’s political parties are also against EU membership.

Both the Socialist Left Party (SV), the Christian Democrats (KrF), the Liberal Left (Venstre) and the Agrarians (SP) are opposed.

The Conservative (Hoeyre) and Labour (Arbeiderpartiet) want membership, while the right wing Progress Party (FrP) is undecided.

Those opposed to EU membership claim that the EU is becoming a closed club, showing no solidarity with the developing world, closing its borders to both people and goods.

Those who favour membership, on the other hand, say that Norwegian membership is important in order to show solidarity with the poorer nations of Europe.

Norway already contributes a large sum annually to the EU development fund, as part of the EEA agreement.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Radical Islamic Clerics Warn of Further Attacks After Publisher is Firebombed

Islamic extremists have warned of a wave of reprisals over a controversial book about the Prophet Mohammed after the home of its publisher was firebombed.

Hardline clerics said that further attacks would be “inevitable” if publication of the novel, The Jewel of Medina, goes ahead as planned next month.

Police moved in to arrest three men moments after a fire broke out at the London home and office of Martin Rynja in the early hours of Saturday.

The attack came days after Mr Rynja’s company, Gibson Square, bought the rights to the book by the American writer Sherry Jones, which has already been likened to Sir Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.

The novel, which focuses on the relationship between Mohammed and his child bride Aisha, was recently dropped from publication in the United States by the publishers Random House amid fears that it would anger Muslims.

Mr Rynja, who is described by friends as “taking on projects where others fear to tread” has published several books by controversial authors including Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy who was poisoned in London after becoming an outspoken critic of the country’s prime minister and former president Vladimir Putin.

Buying the British and Commonwealth rights to the Sherry Jones novel last week, Mr Rynja described it as a “moving love story”.

But the radical cleric Anjem Choudhary said the book was an insult to the Prophet Mohammed’s honour, something he said would warrant a “death penalty” under Sharia law.

The attack on Mr Rynja’s home in Lonsdale Square, Islington, north London, came in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Armed police accompanied by firemen broke down the door of the house after flames and smoke were seen.

It is believed officers had been expecting the attack and quickly moved in to arrest two men at the scene while a third was stopped at a nearby London Underground station.

The three men, aged 40, 30 and 22, were being questioned on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism last night.

The EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella whose 16-year-old brother Ben was stabbed to death earlier this year, lives in the square and was among those evacuated by police as part of the operation.

Other neighbours spoke of their terror at being awoken to see armed police in the square but praised the operation as professional.

But the radical cleric Anjem Choudhary, who lives in Ilford, east London, said he was “not surprised at all” by the attack and warned of possible further reprisals over the book

“It is clearly stipulated in Muslim law that any kind of attack on his honour carries the death penalty,” he said.

“People should be aware of the consequences they might face when producing material like this. They should know the depth of feeling it might provoke.”

He denied any involvement in the attack but said he “understood” the feelings of the perpetrators.

“If the publication goes ahead then I think, inevitably, there will be more attacks like this — this is the thin of the wedge,” he said.

Speaking from Lebanon, the radical cleric Omar Bakri, added: “If anybody attacks that man I cannot myself condemn it.”

Sir Salman, who was made the subject of a fatwa by the Iranian leader Ayatolla Khomeini ordering his death in 1989 for publishing a “blasphemous” book, has spoken out in defence of The Jewel of Medina and suggested Random House had allowed itself to be intimidated.

Police were granted a warrant to continue holding the three men until Saturday at a brief hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Sunday.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Israel Leading Campaign to De-Legitimize West Bank Jews?

Similar events led up to expulsion of Gaza’s Jewish community

JERUSALEM — Is the Israeli government leading a campaign to de-legitimize Jewish settlers who live in the West Bank — territory slated to become part of a Palestinian state if current negotiations are pushed through?

Just before Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, authorities blamed a series of extremist acts on the Jews of Gush Katif, the former Jewish communities of Gaza. The Israeli media and politicians here complained about “violent settlers,” but it turned out many of the acts in question actually were carried out by extremist elements with dubious connections to fringe Jewish organizations from outside Gaza, unconnected to and unsupported by Gush Katif or the larger settler movement.

A case in point was the extremism of protesters inside the Palm Beach Hotel, a rundown former Jewish beachside resort on the shores of Gaza that had been utilized as a staging grounds for a group of rowdy protesters who came to Gush Katif to oppose Israel’s Gaza evacuation. The Jews inside the hotel staged several events provoking Israeli forces, and even were involved with some run-ins with local Arabs, although it seemed the Arabs had started the confrontations.

The Jewish residents of Gaza, mostly peaceful farmers who put up passive resistance to Israel’s evacuation, distanced themselves from the extremist hotel protesters. And yet the Israeli and international media did not distinguish Gaza’s Jews from the outside provocateurs at the hotel, which was one of several examples of extremism blamed on the tree-lined communities of Gush Katif and used against them to argue for their expulsion.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Afghanistan: Govt Seeking to Take Forward Peace Talks With Taliban

Kabul, 30 Sept. (AKI) — Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday he has asked the king of Saudi Arabia to help facilitate peace talks with Taliban rebels in order to bring an end to the Afghan conflict.

“For the last two years, I’ve sent letters to the king of Saudi Arabia, and I’ve sent messages, and I requested from him as the leader of the Islamic world, for security and prosperity and reconciliation in Afghanistan… he should help us,” said Karzai (photo).

Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister, Ranghin Adfar Sepanta, answering questions from journalists on the status of talks with the Taliban, said he knew “nothing” about what was happening in Saudi Arabia.

But he added: “In principle I am in favour of negotiations with the Taliban. The government will always talk with any Afghan group, political or armed, which accepts the constitution and wants to end the war.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Angry Iraqi Christians Rip Law Stripping Them of Seats in Parliament

Iraq’s prime minister sought safeguards Sunday for small religious communities in this mainly Muslim country as Christians protested parliament’s decision to stop setting aside seats for minorities on provincial councils.

In Baghdad, a series of explosions struck mostly Shiite areas, killing at least 32 people and wounding nearly 100, police said.

The attacks appeared aimed at reviving sectarian tensions that once threatened to plunge the nation into civil war.

Parliament last week approved a new law mandating elections in most of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

But the law removed a system that reserved a few legislative seats for Christians and other religious minorities.

Lawmakers cited a lack of census data to determine what the quotas should be. But many Christians saw the move as an effort to marginalize their community.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Iran: an Arms Race We’re Sure to Lose

THE coverage of the latest bombastic tour of Manhattan by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran may have obscured the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency has released its latest report on Tehran’s nuclear program, and it contains some unpleasant news: By the time we inaugurate our next president, Iran is likely to achieve “virtual” nuclear weapon status. This means that it will be able to produce, within a few months of deciding to do so, enough weapon-grade uranium to fuel a bomb.

But how is that possible? After all, about the only thing the Bush administration and our European allies seem to agree on regarding Iran is that there is a lot more time for diplomacy and sanctions to work before the ayatollahs can cross the nuclear line. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the situation.

Since last December, Iran has been feeding uranium into its bank of rapidly spinning centrifuges at an increasing clip. Out has come a growing stockpile of what scientists call “low enriched” uranium, which is ideal for fueling a reactor. However, if you re-circulate this material through the centrifuges, it becomes highly enriched bomb fuel. By Aug. 30, according to the atomic agency’s Sept. 15 report, Iran’s stockpile had reached 1,060 pounds of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride, and it was producing a little more than 100 pounds a month.

At this rate, Iran will have produced at least 1,500 pounds by mid-January. Re-circulated, this could produce 35 pounds of weapon-grade uranium, enough for a bomb. (In fact, this was about the amount called for in the implosion device that Saddam Hussein’s scientists were trying to perfect in the 1980s; according to intelligence sources, the Iraqi design has circulated on the nuclear black market and could well be in Iranian hands.) It would take about two to three months to raise the enrichment level to weapon-grade — meaning Iran could potentially present the world with a bomb by Easter…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


Expert: Denmark Beware of Russia

Denmark should develop a security strategy focused on Russia and what should be done if, for example, Russia’s Gazprom buys Denmark’s DONG Energy, according to a Danish military expert.

Denmark should particularly raise a security debate after Russia’s incursion in Georgia.

“We haven’t sat down and re-evaluated the threat from Russia following Georgia, and that is something we should do,” says Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, head of the Danish Institute of Military Studies.


According to Vedby Rasmussen, Russia’s war in Georgia demonstrates a new and more active security policy in which Russia ‘plays on her energy and military might.”

Therefore, Vedby Rasmussen says that Denmark Denmark should think through the consequences if Gazprom buys DONG.

“It would undoubtedly be a security problem. Do we want to develop instruments to prevent it,” he says.

Understanding Russia

Professor Ole Wæver of Copenhagen University also calls for more focus on Russia, and stresses the need to spend more time on understanding Russians.

Otherwise, he says, the West is bound for major clashes with Russia in the future.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Indonesia: Kids Uncover Idul Fitri Bomb Terror Plan in Palu

Unsuspecting children playing among street vendors near Palu Plaza shopping center in Central Sulawesi found a bomb hidden under the seat of a vendor on early Tuesday before dawn, just a day away before the Idul Fitri holiday.

Local police said the bomb was found by two little boys who were accompanying their parents shopping. The street vendors are usually open until dawn and only available during the fasting month of Ramadan.

The children at first did not notice what they had found until they played with it and saw what seemed to be an electronic device with wires and flashing lights, attached to a mobile phone casing. Afraid, they threw away the thing and told their parents.

A witness, Rosida, told The Jakarta Post that one of the boys was her nephew.

“My nephew played with the thing as if playing baseball. That was when the packaging unfold, showing cables and small lights flickering,” she said.

Only after almost two hours from a phone call to the police, a local bomb squad came securing the scene by pulling a police line and put what the children had found on X-Ray.

An hour later the bomb squad told curious mob surrounding the scene to back away and then detonate the bomb in the open, right on the center of the road. Some witnesses refused to believe that it was a bomb as it was not detonated inside a container such as usually performed in a standard protocol.

Palu has a long history of conflicts between local Christians and Muslims, where the use of bomb had been found several times in past years.

Nevertheless, Palu Police Precinct chief Adj. Sr. Comr. A.B. Sitindjak clarified that the electronic device was a bomb, placed in the complex to terrorize the citizens on the eve of the Muslim holiday, which would fall on Tuesday night according to the lunar calendar.

           — Hat tip: Tuan Jim [Return to headlines]

Pakistan Warns U.S. About Raids on Its Border

Islamabad, Pakistan — Pakistan sought to reassure Washington on Friday that it remained an ally in fighting terrorism, but it also warned the United States to stay out of Pakistani territory while hunting down militants along the volatile border with Afghanistan.

Emphasizing that Pakistan doesn’t need American firepower, a Pakistani general said an offensive along the frontier has killed more than 1,000 militants and predicted the region would be “stabilized” within two months.

He also showed photos of militant tunnel systems and trenches in Bajur, suggesting more tough fighting lies ahead in an area that is considered a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.

Washington has launched a flurry of missiles and a ground assault on targets within Pakistan recently, infuriating ordinary Pakistanis and their leaders.

In the first serious exchange with Pakistani forces acknowledged by the United States, American helicopters and Pakistani ground troops briefly traded fire Thursday on the border. The aircraft were not hit and no one was hurt.

U.S. officials said the two choppers were inside Afghanistan when the troops opened fire. Pakistan insisted the aircraft had crossed the ill-defined and contested border.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Police Face Huge Training Challenges in Afghanistan

Norwegian police, who have been trying for the past five years to help Afghanistan build up its own police force, have issued a report that suggests they’re dealing with chaotic conditions involving sex, drugs, corruption and defectors to the Taliban.

Newly trained Afghan police photographed after a 10-day course in Kabul.

Newspaper Aftenposten obtained a copy of the Norwegian police’s own report on their efforts, and it reveals the challenges they face:

In July, while Norwegian police were training instructors for the border police unit, an Afghan officer took two police cars and nine colleagues and defected to the Taliban, signing on with a local Taliban leader.

Drug tests performed on Afghan police undergoing training showed that 95 percent of them tested positive for cannabis and amphetamines.

The police were supposed to have destroyed 50,000 hectares of opium production, but only 4,300 were destroyed during the season.

Female Afghan police officers are the targets of sexual attacks by their superiors.

Afghan police are believed to be setting free persons arrested on narcotics offenses, probably in return for bribes.

“This is all, of course, very unfortunate,” the section chief for international police cooperation in Norway’s police directorate, Torgrim Moseby, told newspaper Aftenposten. “But it’s not surprising.

He said that many of those recruited for police work in Afghanistan have ties to old field marshalls who support the Taliban. British police have said that police training camps function more like rehabilitation centers, and that drugs are a huge problem.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Jihad on the High Seas

By Stephen Brown

After years of battling al-Qaeda on land, Western forces now face a terrorist war at sea. In a recent communiqué, the Islamist organization claimed responsibility for this year’s surge in pirate attacks in the vital Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Dozens of vessels from different nations have been seized and held for ransom, shaking the world’s shipping industry. Al-Qaeda calls its maritime campaign “a new strategy which permits the mujahedeen” to hijack shipping, since “fighters who aspire to establish the caliphate must control the seas and the waterways.”

Counterterrorism consultant Olivier Guitta revealed the al-Qaeda connection in his Asia Times column, writing that the terrorist organization “intends to take control of the Gulf of Aden and the southern entrance of the Red Sea.” Guitta called the area “strategic” for the radical Islamic group.

Al-Qaeda’s goal is the removal of Western military bases from the Arabian Peninsula. It believes sea lanes “weakened by acts of piracy,” combined with mujahedeen attacks, will force concessions from Western powers. And while Al-Qaeda has not abandoned its more traditional tactics — it has a presence in both Somalia and Yemen and attacked the American embassy in Yemen this month, killing 16 — the organization is increasingly focusing its terror on the high seas.

Al-Qaeda’s sea war is already having an effect. Piracy attacks have increased so dramatically in the Horn of Africa that a London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) spokesman called the waters off Somalia, a Muslim country, the most dangerous in the world. A failed state, Somalia has possessed neither a navy nor a central government since 1991 — factors exploited by criminal organizations and al-Qaeda, sometimes working together. As a result, in the first two weeks of September alone, Somali pirates attacked 17 ships, four more than in all of 2007, and last week captured a Ukrainian ship carrying 33 T-70 tanks. “In my time here, I must say, this is the most concentrated period of destabilizing activity I have seen in the Gulf of Aden,” said Keith Winstanley, a British naval officer patrolling the gulf…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

South Africa: Zuma’s Rise Puts Whites to Flight

A wave of alarm swept through middle-class South Africa last week as President Thabo Mbeki was sacked by the ruling African National Congress and replaced by Kgalema Motlanthe, who has already presided over sweeping cabinet changes.

The new president is still remembered as a communist militant who urged that the country’s youth be “taught to hate capitalism”.

The real winner in the coup against Mbeki is Jacob Zuma. He will lead the ANC into next April’s election and is strongly backed by the powerful Communist party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions, both of which favour radical left-wing policies. Polls show that business confidence has slumped to a seven-year low.

There has long been considerable evidence of “white flight” to cities in Britain, Australia, America and New Zealand. It is estimated that up to 20% of South Africa’s whites have emigrated since the advent of democracy in 1994.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Zuma’s rise, coupled with nationwide power cuts and a continuing crime wave, has led to a further massive brain drain. Polls show that 63% of South Africans have “seriously considered” emigration.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

South Africa: Between Staying and Going

A decade-and-a-half after the end of apartheid, violent crime is pushing more and more whites out of South Africa. Exactly how many are leaving is impossible to say. Few admit that they are quitting for good, and the government does not collect the necessary statistics. But large white South African diasporas, both English- and Afrikaans-speaking, have sprouted in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and many cities of North America.

The South African Institute of Race Relations, a think-tank, guesses that 800,000 or more whites have emigrated since 1995, out of the 4m-plus who were there when apartheid formally ended the year before. Robert Crawford, a research fellow at King’s College in London, reckons that around 550,000 South Africans live in Britain alone. Not all of South Africa’s émigrés are white: skilled blacks from South Africa can be found in jobs and places as various as banking in New York and nursing in the Persian Gulf. But most are white—and thanks to the legacy of apartheid the remaining whites, though only about 9% of the population, are still South Africa’s richest and best-trained people.

Talk about “white flight” does not go down well. Officials are quick to claim that there is nothing white about it. A recent survey by FutureFact, a polling organisation, found that the desire to emigrate is pretty even across races: last year, 42% of Coloured (mixed-race) South Africans, 38% of blacks and 30% of those of Indian descent were thinking of leaving, compared with 41% of whites. This is a big leap from 2000, when the numbers were 12%, 18%, 26% and 22% respectively. But it is the whites, by and large, who have the money, skills, contacts and sometimes passports they need to start a life outside—and who leave the bigger skills and tax gap behind.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]


4,000 Immigrants Flock to Britain Each Day

ALMOST 4,000 temporary migrants arrive in Britain every day and those who stay to work have increased by more than a quarter, figures revealed yesterday.

The number of short-term migrants here at any one time has also shot up to nearly 300,000.

At the same time, far more Britons are leaving to work or visit overseas than foreigners arriving here.

The figures come two weeks after a former Archbishop of Canterbury warned spiralling immigration could spill over into violence on Britain’s streets if not addressed.

A total of 1,437,000 migrants arrived and stayed for less than a year in the 12 months to June 2006, the Office for National Statistics revealed

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Atheist Family Challenges Minute of Silence Law

2003 law mandates silent time in every Texas public school.

Every day in every Texas public school, students pledge allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags and sit through a moment of silence so they can pray, meditate, daydream or twiddle their thumbs.

The quiet time, mandated by the Legislature since 2003, has survived one federal court challenge, but a pending appeal seeks to scrap the practice as an improper religious exercise.

“It’s clear if you watch the video and read the transcripts of the legislative debates that the main purpose of this law is to create school-sponsored silent prayer, and that with a wink and a nod they’re just sort of calling it a moment of silence,” said David Croft, a suburban Dallas parent and atheist who seeks to overturn the law.

In 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed moments of silence in public schools when the practice is motivated by a secular purpose. In the years since, almost every lawsuit challenging the practice has failed.

The first challenge to the Texas law by David Croft and his wife, Shannon, failed in January when U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn found a nonreligious purpose for the quiet time, though she said that she had to hunt for it.

“The Texas Legislature was less than clear in articulating the secular purpose of the Texas moment of silence law,” Lynn ruled.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


New Al-Qaida Threat: Thermobaric Bombs

Packs power like a nuke, but easier to build, blow up

Investigators now believe the bombing on Sep. 21 that killed dozens and left massive damage at the Islamabad Marriott, including a gaping hole in the ground in front of the building, was a crude form of a device that intensifies and enhances an explosive — a thermobaric bomb, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The bomb was delivered in a truck that contained what investigators believe was aluminum powder in addition to grenades and artillery shells. The aluminum power is believed to have been responsible for the acceleration and expansion of the impact of the bomb.

While barriers around the hotel kept the truck bomb at some distance from the structure, the devastation indicated that there had to be something capable of raising the devastation level considerably.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Sunni-Shiite Hacking War Disables 900 Websites

In a tit-for-tat retaliatory attack, Shiite hackers infiltrated Sunni religious websites Monday in response to attack on prominent Shiite websites earlier this month.

The Shiite hackers posted a face painted with the Iranian flag with a logo resembling that of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a picture of the Israeli flag split in two by the Arabian Gulf embossed with words “The Persian Gulf.”

The hackers also posted a verse from the Quran reads “Assault those who assaulted you” in reference to the hacking by Sunnis of the Ahlulbayt Global Information Center, the largest Shiite website in the world, which is supervised by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

In the cyber-attack earlier this month Sunni hackers posted a religious chant and a video by American comedian Bill Maher in which he made fun of Sistani’s “sexual fatwas.”

Sunni Hackers infiltrated 300 Shiite websites, many related to Sistani

Among the websites devoted to Sunni teachings hit was Islam Net, a site supervised by Saudi preacher Dr. Aaidh al-Qarni, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat reported on Monday.

“The entire website is damaged and all its content is lost,” Qarmi told the paper, describing the hacking as “ugly and aggressive” as well as contradictory to Iran’s calls for bridge-building between Sunnis and Shiites.

Islamist scholar Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Qassem said that this exchange of hacking is a projection of the conflict in the Muslim world between Sunni and Shiite faiths, especially as far as missionary activities are concerned.

“These hackings were done by extremist Shiite youth,” Qassem told the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan on Monday. “They were infuriated by the statements of Sunni Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi in which he warned of the Shiite missionary infiltration of the Sunni world.”

Qarni suggested that hackers targeted his website in opposition to his support of Qaradawi.

Sheikh Faleh al-Sagheer, whose website Al-Burhan was hacked, described the attacks as “uncalled for” and said that preliminary estimates indicated that the number of hacked Sunni websites could reach 900.

The UAE-based Sunni hacker group Ghoroub X.P. had targeted about 300 Shiite websites for hacking, including Sistani’s Ahl al-Bayt, according to Iranian news agency Fares.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

The Big One is Nigh!

by Srdja Trifkovic

“The global economy is like the St. Andreas Fault: You know that a terminal disaster is inevitable, but you keep your fingers crossed and try not to think about it,” I wrote in the print issue of Chronicles seven months ago (“Waiting for the Big One,” March 2008). “When a tremor occurs, you often fear it could be the Big One and sometimes panic,” I went on, “but then, when the dust settles, you sigh with relief to find yourself alive and the Golden State still above the ocean.” Well, the Big One is nigh; and here’s the rest of that old column in which I argue that, in the end, the meltdown may be all for the best…

The fiscal imbalances caused by President Bush’s addiction to deficit spending, by the overindebtedness, by ordinary Americans’ negligible savings, by the huge and growing foreign debt, and by the falling dollar, are all still there.

For the time being, the United States is still able to issue and sell large quantities of low-cost debt, denominated in dollars, through Treasury bonds. Right now, they yield less than the inflation rate, but for as long as much of the world’s oil continues to be traded mainly in dollars, central banks around the world have to keep holding substantial dollar reserves. Furthermore, to the extent that the OPEC cartel raises oil prices to capture the dollar’s constantly falling purchasing power vis-à-vis the euro — rather than simply because of chronic excess demand for oil as it peaks out — it imposes on Europe the burden of sharing that part of the oil price hike that follows the falling dollar. This, paradoxically, creates additional built-in support for the dollar, without which its current sickkness could have been well nigh terminal. Other countries’ dollar reserves are still invested in American assets, creating an artificial capital-accounts boost for the US economy.

When the “petro-euro” becomes reality, the global demand for dollars will collapse. […] World trade will cease being a scheme in which Washington prints dollars and the rest of the world produces things that dollars can buy. The U.S. economy will no longer enjoy the benefits of a gigantic subsidy provided by the goods and services of countries holding their reserves in dollars — notably by Japan, whho imports four-fifths of its oil from the Middle East. The fewer dollars circulating outside the United States will then translate into fewer goods and services that this country can obtain from abroad on what amounts to interest-free credit. The current-account deficit — at present 800 billion dollars — will no longer be financed by foreign capital, because its influx would simply cease. Global demand for shares of U.S. companies and Treasury bonds will collapse. Without foreign investors, interest rates will zoom into double digits and the Fed will find inflationary pressures simply irresistible…

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]

Spain’s “Movement Against Intolerance”

Or, How the State Funds the Long March Through the Institutions

Because I spent much of last weekend in the fleshpots of our nation’s capital, I’m still catching up the backlog that accumulated while I was gone.

One must-read item is this article by AMDG, who has kindly permitted me to reproduce the entire text here (for the illustrations, visit his blog).

None of the ambitious plans mounted by Gramsci’s devotees over the last few decades could have matured without massive government subsidies. The account below tells how Spanish taxpayers’ money flows into projects designed by the Frankfurt School. I’m sure similar stories can be told about virtually any country in Europe.

Spain: Movimiento contra la Intolerancia (Movement against Intolerance), created and chaired since then by a radical communist

It is not what one would call recent news in Spain, but I am sure that it will be useful to translate this curious case into English. Furthermore, it adds another piece of evidence to the thesis that Fjordman mentions in Eastern Europe and the New Threats to Freedom: “Multiculturalism as the continuation of Communism by other means”.

Esteban Ibarra, Chairman of Movimiento contra la Intolerancia

The Embajador en el Infierno (Ambassador in Hell, but not of the Devil), a blogger friend of mine, made an investigation after a controversial Raxen Report on Spain was issued in 2008 ( INFORME RAXEN ESPECIAL 2008 ). I will translate some of his findings, together with relevant information published in Minuto Digital and Los Colaboracionistas. Minuto Digital is a conservative anti-immigration site, which has investigated the “Movimiento contra la Intolerancia” (“Movement against Intolerance”). Los Colaboracionistas is an anti-immigration blog edited by Rutger von Blum, a pseudonym that refers to the most famous of almogavers (I promise to write on those interesting Christian mercenaries).

Movimiento contra la Intolerancia is basically a network of former communists specialized in seizing public funds. We will later see the current calculation regarding the amount of public funds that they have received.

The political background of its leader is interesting and meaningful: Movimiento contra la Intolerancia (“Movement against Intolerance”) was previously called “Juventudes contra la Intolerancia” (Youths against Intolerance). It was set up between 1990 and 1991 after the failure of the radio station Onda Verde (Green Wave). Onda Verde was chaired by Esteban Ibarra, although the person who ran it was Ibarra’s wife.

Ibarra had been a member of the Spanish Communist Marxist-Leninist Party [PCE(ML)], which was dissolved into the Republican Convention of the Peoples of Spain. The PCE (ML) was formed in 1964 by a group of communist militants who rejected the policy of “national reconciliation” and “Euro communism” favoured by the Communist Party of Spain. At that time, the PCE (ML) followed the line of the Communist Party of China; until 1976, when the PC China entered the revisionist period. The PCE (ml) took then as a reference the Workers Party of Albania. That is, he has a far-far-left background.
– – – – – – – –
Moreover, in January 1971, at a congress held in Paris, the PCE (ML) decided to create the FRAP (Frente Revolucionario Antifascista y Patriota, Antifascist and Revolutionary Patriot Front) to carry out terrorist actions against the “fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco”. It is not known if Ibarra was part of the FRP; in any case, he has not participated in any armed action.

Ibarra reinvented himself and went through a “short march” from the radical left to cultural, Gramscian Marxism. He created the Movimiento contra la Intolerancia. The change has paid him off very well. In 1998 he received the Gold Medal of the Madrid Region and in 1999 the Cross of the Order of Isabel la Católica by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both by Spanish “conservatives”, the Partido Popular. The last one is the highest civil award by the Spanish Government, and an insult to the memory of the most successful Spanish ruler ever. And — I think I am correct — the first woman who ever actually ruled a country in human history.

Montserrat Moreno Lanza, Ibarra’s wife

Montserrat Moreno Lanza, Ibarra’s wife, in addition to being secretary general of the Movement Against Intolerance, is also president of the Centro de Iniciativas de Comunicación Onda Verde (Centre for Communication Initiatives Onda Verde). It is the old radio station Onda Verde, reconverted in an association dedicated to “sciences” — as I understand it could be social sciences — according to its registration form. It has also been officially called Centro de Estudios, Juventud y Comunicacion Onda Verde, and this is how it appears in the Register Citizen Entities of the council of Saragossa (BOPZ 47, 27/02/2003). Onda Verde has received in public funds €355,109.63 since 2002.

Montserrat Moreno also has a high-profile political affiliation. She was the number two on the list of the Greens-Ecopacifists (LV-E) in Madrid in local Spanish elections in 2003. And, in the General Elections 2004, she topped the list of the same party to the Congress. I translate her presentation by the party (only the cache page is now available):

  • Born in 1957
  • Participated actively when a high school student in the opposition movements against Franco.
  • Active activist for women rights (divorce, abortion), also supported the gay movement.
  • Joins ecological movement in l983; created eco-pacifist radio station Onda Verde; promoted the culture of Human Rights and the mobilization for peace, against racism and intolerance.
  • Involved in the creation of the Movement against Intolerance in 1993. She is currently the General Secretary, and coordinates awareness and information programs, especially the youth.
  • Activist for human rights, she has worked on citizen solidarity with the victims of dictatorships.

“Movimiento contra la Intolerancia” (“Movement against Intolerance”)

In the early ’90s several of Ibarra’s comrades from the PCE-ML, along with his wife, created “Jóvenes contra la Intolerancia” (“Youth against Intolerance”), setting its operational headquarters in the apartment in Lavapiés neighbourhood (Madrid) where the couple lives. A number of meetings to define the political strategy of the group were held at the former headquarters of PCE-ML. The association was initially dedicated exclusively to denounce violence from the extreme right. Yep, former terrorists dedicated to denounce extreme-right violence.

Jóvenes Contra la Intolerancia lacked real militancy. They focused on reports about the supposed existence of right-wing armed groups and began working as a lobby, supported by journalists with a similar political past. Despite having virtually no members they had a large presence in Spanish media.

When the Partido Popular came to power in 1996, Ibarra decided to change the name of the association, which then became the Movimiento. It had started to be funny having a person over 50 as the president of “Youths against Intolerance”. Most important, he almost totally abandons its focus on the “extreme right” and directs his speech against the terrorist group ETA. He also starts to include issues that had never been topical, such as gender violence. Nowadays, Ibarra has added to his portfolio homophobia, child abuse, rights of the Roma people, social integration of the disabled, etc. He also changed then his appearance, abandoning the traditional black Lacoste polo and using jackets (no tie, of course).

With the PSOE back in office after the 11-M terrorist attack, the chameleon Ibarra readapts. Extreme right-wing groups, religious intolerance towards Muslims and racism are now the main points in the agenda. He has even seen in some media with his famous black Lacoste polo.

More than 3 million euro since 1995 for an ONG without members

Why all those changes? The Movement against Intolerance is an empty shell, without militants, without any substantial structure or its own financial means; it can only live on subsidies by government.

An exhaustive analysis of the National and Regional Official Gazettes shows that Movement against Intolerance has received grants since 1995 for a total of EUR 3,042,601.83. This figure is a provisional calculation. Those interested in seeing the breakdown of this amount may download this PDF document (Spanish). The highest single payment received to date is EUR 220,000 from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the fourth quarter of 2007. Why an association without practically no members and no other deliverables than participation in debates and TV interviews is getting such a big a mount of taxpayers’ money?

In the list of members of the Foro Madrid de Diálogo y Convivencia depending on Madrid City Council (ruled by the Partido Popular), we can see that Ibarra is the representative and his wife the alternate. Who can deny the left has also strong family values? Please note also they are among Christian and immigrants’ associations.

The Movement against Intolerance publishes four times a year the Raxen report. This report is published in parallel in most European countries, and it is coordinated by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in Vienna. The INFORME RAXEN ESPECIAL 2008 was the subject a generalised outrage in the Spanish conservative blogosphere when it included as list of “racist” blogs. The report, which is a cut and paste job with very slight added value, had taken the list of blogs from this aggregator. After the outrage caused the MCI manipulated the report and issued a new version without announcing the change. The eliminated a blog which simply reproduced news on immigrant crimes from Spanish press from a list of “xenophobic” blogs.

The Movement Against Intolerance — that is Mr. Ibarra and his wife — deserves an audit to check how the public funds they have received are used, but they not been investigated. They know nevertheless that they are under the scrutiny of the conservative blogosphere. Unfortunately, this is all we can do.

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Sources (Spanish):

Fourteen Centuries of War Against European Civilization

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.

The following essay is an amalgam of my previous online essays, among them Who Are We, Who Are Our Enemies — The Cost of Historical Amnesia, Why We Should Oppose an Independent Kosovo, Refuting God’s Crucible and The Truth About Islam in Europe.

“The Jihad, the Islamic so-called Holy War, has been a fact of life in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East for more than 1300 years, but this is the first history of the Muslim wars in Europe ever to be published. Hundreds of books, however, have appeared on its Christian counterpart, the Crusades, to which the Jihad is often compared, although they lasted less than two hundred years and unlike the Jihad, which is universal, were largely but not completely confined to the Holy Land. Moreover, the Crusades have been over for more than 700 years, while a Jihad is still going on in the world. The Jihad has been the most unrecorded and disregarded major event of history. It has, in fact, been largely ignored. For instance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica gives the Crusades eighty times more space than the Jihad.”

The above quote is from Paul Fregosi’s book Jihad in the West from 1998. Mr. Fregosi found that his book about the history of Islamic Holy War in Europe from the 7th to the 20th centuries was difficult to get published in the mid-1990s, when publishers had the Salman Rushdie case in fresh memory.

The Legacy of Jihad by Andrew BostomA few years later, perhaps the most comprehensive and scholarly book on the subject to date, The Legacy of Jihad, was published by Andrew G. Bostom. He has written about what he calls “America’s First War on Terror.” Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, then serving as American ambassadors to France and Britain, respectively, met in 1786 in London with the Tripolitan Ambassador to Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja. These future American presidents were attempting to negotiate a peace treaty which would spare the United States the ravages of Jihad piracy — murder and enslavement emanating from the so-called Barbary States of North Africa, corresponding to modern Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

Bostom notes that “an aggressive jihad was already being waged against the United States almost 200 years prior to America becoming a dominant international power in the Middle East.” Israel has nothing to do with it. The Barbary Jihad piracy had been going on since the earliest Arab-Islamic expansion in the 7th and 8th centuries. Francisco Gabrieli states that:

According to present-day concepts of international relations, such activities amounted to piracy, but they correspond perfectly to jihad, an Islamic religious duty. The conquest of Crete, in the east, and a good portion of the corsair warfare along the Provencal and Italian coasts, in the West, are among the most conspicuous instances of such “private initiative” which contributed to Arab domination in the Mediterranean.

A proto-typical Muslim naval razzia occurred in 846 when a fleet of Arab Jihadists arrived at the mouth of the Tiber, made their way to Rome, sacked the city, and carried away from the basilica of St. Peter all of the gold and silver it contained. The creation of the Vatican as a walled “city within a city” was in response to the recurrent threat of Islamic Jihad raids.

Barbary PiratesBostom notes that “By June/July 1815 the ably commanded U.S. naval forces had dealt their Barbary jihadist adversaries a quick series of crushing defeats. This success ignited the imagination of the Old World powers to rise up against the Barbary pirates.”

Yet some Arabs seem to miss the good old days when they could extract jizya payments from the West. Libyan terrorist-sponsoring leader Muammar Gaddafi has stated that he thinks that European nations should pay 10 billion euros ($12.7 billion dollars) a year to Africa to help it stop migrants seeking a better life flooding northwards into Europe. He added without elaborating: “Earth belongs to everybody. Why they (young Africans) emigrated to Europe — this should be answered by Europeans.” Apart from being a clear-cut example of how migration, or rather population dumping, has become a tool for blackmail in the 21st century, this is a throwback to the age when Tripoli could extract payments from Europe.

Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, developed new methodical enumeration in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters which indicates that perhaps one and one-quarter million white European Christians were enslaved by Barbary Muslims just from 1530 through 1780 — a far greater number than had been estimated before:
– – – – – – – –

Christian Slaves, Muslim MastersEnslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland. Much of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had on Europe,” Davis said. “Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear.

Corsairs from cities in North Africa — Tunis, Algiers etc. — would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children. The impact was devastating — France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants.

At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior. The lives of European slaves were often no better than the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, which tapped into the pre-established Islamic slave-trade in Africa. “As far as daily living conditions, the Mediterranean slaves certainly didn’t have it better,” Davis says. While African slaves did grueling labor on sugar and cotton plantations in the Americas, European slaves were often worked just as hard and as lethally — in quarries, in heavy construction, and above all rowing the corsair galleys.

Throughout most of the seventeenth century, the English alone lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers. One American slave reported that 130 American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793 (which prompted the later military response from the Americans). In his book White Gold, Giles Milton describes how regular Jihad razzias in Europe extended as far north as Iceland. Even during the time of Queen Elizabeth I, while William Shakespeare was writing his plays and poems, young Englishmen risked being surprised by a fleet of Muslim pirates showing up at their village, or being kidnapped while fishing at sea:

By the end of the dreadful summer of 1625, the mayor of Plymouth reckoned that 1,000 skiffs had been destroyed, and a similar number of villagers carried off into slavery.” Such events took place across much of Europe, also in Wales and southern Ireland: “In 1631…200 Islamic soldiers…sailed to the village of Baltimore, storming ashore with swords drawn and catching the villagers totally by surprise. (They) carried off 237 men, women, and children and took them to Algiers…The French padre Pierre Dan was in the city (Algiers) at the time…He witnessed the sale of the captives in the slave auction. ‘It was a pitiful sight to see them exposed in the market…Women were separated from their husbands and the children from their fathers…on one side a husband was sold; on the other his wife; and her daughter was torn from her arms without the hope that they’d ever see each other again’.

The Englishman Thomas Pellow was enslaved in Morocco for twenty-three years after being captured by Barbary pirates as a cabin boy on a small English vessel in 1716. He was tortured until he accepted Islam. For weeks he was beaten and starved, and finally gave in after his torturer resorted to “burning my flesh off my bones by fire, which the tyrant did, by frequent repetitions, after a most cruel manner.”

God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 was written by David Levering Lewis, the American historian and two-time winner of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. He states that Muslims did not enslave their co-religionists, only infidels. Yes, but why is that better?

As Robert Spencer writes in his book Religion of Peace?: “The Qur’an says that the followers of Muhammad are ‘ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another’ (48:29), and that the unbelievers are the ‘worst of created beings’ (98:6). One may exercise the Golden Rule in relation to a fellow Muslim, but according to the laws of Islam, the same courtesy is not to be extended to unbelievers. That is one principal reason why the primary source of slaves in the Islamic world has been non-Muslims, whether Jews, Christians, Hindus, or pagans. Most slaves were non-Muslims who had been captured during jihad warfare.”

Slavery was taken for granted throughout Islamic history. When it was finally abolished this was due to Western pressure, especially the efforts of the British Empire. Spencer again: “Nor was there a Muslim abolitionist movement, no Clarkson, Wilberforce, or Garrison. When the slave trade ended, it was ended not through Muslim efforts but through British military force. Even so, there is evidence that slavery continues beneath the surface in some Muslim countries — notably Saudi Arabia, which only abolished slavery in 1962; Yemen and Oman, both of which ended legal slavery in 1970; and Niger, which didn’t abolish slavery until 2004. In Niger, the ban is widely ignored, and as many as one million people remain in bondage. Slaves are bred, often raped, and generally treated like animals. There are even slavery cases involving Muslims in the United States. A Saudi named Homaidan al-Turki was sentenced in September 2006 to twenty-seven years to life in prison for keeping a woman as a slave in his Colorado home. For his part, al-Turki claimed that he was a victim of anti-Muslim bias.”

Jihad slavery was widespread in Africa and in many regions of Asia. Indian historian K. S. Lal states that wherever Jihadists conquered a territory, “there developed a system of slavery peculiar to the clime, terrain, and populace of the place.” When Muslim armies invaded India, “its people began to be enslaved in droves to be sold in foreign lands or employed in various capacities on menial and not-so-menial jobs within the country.”

Briefly summed up, God’s Crucible laments the fact that Charles Martel, “the Hammer,” halted the advancing Islamic Jihad at the Battle of Tours or, Battle of Poitiers, in 732:

Had ‘Abd al-Rahman’s men prevailed that October day, the post-Roman Occident would probably have been incorporated into a cosmopolitan, Muslim regnum unobstructed by borders, as they hypothesize — one devoid of a priestly caste, animated by the dogma of equality of the faithful, and respectful of all religious faiths. Curiously, such speculation has a French pedigree. Forty years ago, two historians, Jean-Henri Roy and Jean Deviosse enumerated the benefits of a Muslim triumph at Poitiers: astronomy; trigonometry; Arabic numerals; the corpus of Greek philosophy. ‘We [Europe] would have gained 267 years,’ according to their calculations. ‘We might have been spared the wars of religion.’ To press the logic of this disconcerting analysis, the victory of Charles the Hammer must be seen as greatly contributing to the creation of an economically retarded, balkanized, fratricidal Europe that, in defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of religious persecution, cultural particularism, and hereditary aristocracy.

David Levering Lewis is clearly sympathetic towards this view, and writes that the Carolingian order, established Charles Martel (Carolus in Latin) and his grandson Charlemagne, was “religiously intolerant, intellectually impoverished, socially calcified, and economically primitive.” Curiously, he mentions in passing that there was continuous “out-migration to the Christian kingdoms” from al-Andalus. Why did they move to the Christian lands, whose economy was “little better than late Neolithic,” if life was so sweet in al-Andalus? Lewis states that: “At the end of the eighth century, Europe was militarily strong enough to defend itself from Islam, thanks in part to Charlemagne and his predecessors. The question was whether it was politically, economically, and culturally better off for being able to do so.”

EuroMed mapGod’s Crucible was published during a time when Spain and Portugal under Islamic occupation are being hailed as a model of coexistence with Islam. The European Union recently announced its intentions of expanding to include the Muslim Middle East and North Africa. There is a concerted effort going on to present Islam as something non-threatening, indeed benevolent. In May 2008, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Europe’s largest weekly magazine, hailed al-Andalus as a “Multicultural model“ for Europe: “For nearly 800 years, the inhabitants of al-Andalus, as the Arab dynasties called their empire on the Iberian Peninsula, allowed Jews, Christians and Muslims to coexist in a spirit of mutual respect — a situation that benefited all.” Never mind that Richard Fletcher states in his book Moorish Spain that “Moorish Spain was not a tolerant and enlightened society even in its most cultivated epoch.”

The European Union, the Council of Europe and numerous Islamic organizations are working hard to rewrite European school textbooks in order to promote Islam. In the European Parliament, the German Christian Democrat Hans-Gert Pöttering has stated that textbooks should be reviewed for intolerant depictions of Islam to ensure that they don’t propagate “prejudice.” He suggested that the EU should co-operate with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to create a textbook review committee. The OIC desires to rewrite textbooks around the world to remove anything critical of Islam, silence mentioning of the victims of 1400 years of Islamic Jihad and glorify the achievements of “Islamic civilization.”

Robert Spencer writes in Religion of Peace?: Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t: “Islamic apologist Karen Armstrong enunciates the common wisdom when she says that ‘until 1492, Jews and Christians lived peaceably and productively together in Muslim Spain — a coexistence that was impossible elsewhere in Europe.’ Even the U.S. State Department has proclaimed that ‘during the Islamic period in Spain, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together in peace and mutual respect, creating a diverse society in which vibrant exchanges of ideas took place.’“

Those who want a second opinion can start with reading the online essay Andalusian Myth, Eurabian Reality by Bat Ye’or and Andrew G. Bostom: “There were rarely periods of peace in the Amirate of Cordova (756-912), nor later. Al-Andalus represented the land of jihad par excellence. Every year, sometimes twice a year, raiding expeditions were sent to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or France and the Rhone valley, bringing back booty and slaves. Andalusian corsairs attacked and invaded along the Sicilian and Italian coasts, even as far as the Aegean Islands, looting and burning as they went. Thousands of people were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the caliph kept a militia of tens of thousand of Christian slaves brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women.”

David Levering Lewis mentions “a small group of Andalusian Christians” filled with “fanaticism” who engaged in “a senseless spike in religious provocation” where individual Christian priests and laypersons “publicly disrespected mosques, the Qur’an, and the Prophet’s name.” Because of this, Cordoba’s qadi (Islamic judge), poor thing, had no choice. The ruler Muhammad I “approved his qadi‘s death sentence in 851-52 for thirteen Christians for whom clemency was impolitic if not impossible under Malikite Sharia.”

Unfortunately, these “Christian militants,” as Mr. Lewis calls them, were still deaf to all pleas of behaving in a properly submissive manner to Muslims, and more death sentences ensued:

Twenty or so ‘Mozarab martyrs’ were dispatched in 853 or the year following, and a dozen more afterward. In another wave of Christian blasphemy in 859, thirteen more were executed, along with two daughters of a prominent Muslim family living in distant Huesca who defiantly disclosed their secret Christian conversion.

Lewis believes that: “A poll taken of Andalusians of all faiths would have shown an overwhelming disapproval of the ‘Mozarab martyrs.’ These Christian extremists were an aberration not because they acted outside history but because they were premature — three centuries ahead of the history whose intense cultural nationalism and religious intolerance were inculcated in the decades after the Battle of Clavijo.”

Afonso IIIThe “religious intolerance” he is referring to is not the Jihad waged against Christians and Jews in Spain and Portugal; it is the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. It is traditionally seen to have begun with Pelayo in 718. Although initially slow, it speeded up from the eleventh century onwards. The Portuguese had been liberated in 1249 under King Afonso III. The concept “Holy War” was originally alien to Christianity and was imported to Europe only after Europeans had been confronted with centuries of Islamic Jihad.

Lewis himself states (correctly) that people during this “golden age of tolerance” were executed for criticizing Islam. Isn’t that disturbing, given that al-Andalus is now supposed to serve as the blueprint for our coexistence with Islam, according to our authorities and media? “Blasphemy” against Islam and Muhammad is punishable by death in sharia law, which is why the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim in Amsterdam in 2004.

Even for those non-Muslims who accept Islamic rule life is harsh, with severe economic strains and the constant threat of violence in the back of your mind. Scholar Bat Ye’or is an expert on dhimmitude, the oppressive system for non-Muslims under Islamic rule, described in the book Islam and Dhimmitude. She writes this about the Jihad slave system:

When Amr conquered Tripoli (Libya) in 643, he forced the Jewish and Christian Berbers to give their wives and children as slaves to the Arab army as part of their jizya. From 652 until its conquest in 1276, Nubia was forced to send an annual contingent of slaves to Cairo. Treaties concluded with the towns of Transoxiana [Iranian central Asia], Sijistan [eastern Iran], Armenia, and Fezzan (Maghreb) under the Umayyads and Abbasids stipulated an annual dispatch of slaves from both sexes. However, the main sources for the supply of slaves remained the regular raids on villages within the dar-al-harb [non-Islamic regions] and the military expeditions which swept more deeply into the infidel lands, emptying towns and provinces of their inhabitants.

According to Robert Spencer, “Although the strictness with which the laws of dhimmitude (the subservient status of Jews and Christians) were enforced varied, they were never abolished, and during times of relaxation the subject populations always lived in fear that they would be enforced with new stringency. Muslim rulers did not forget that the Qur’an mandates that both Jews and Christians must ‘feel themselves subdued.’ One notable instance is recounted by Arab historian Philip Hitti: ‘The caliph al-Mutawakkil in 850 and 854 decreed that Christians and Jews should affix wooden images of devils to their houses, level their graves even with the ground, wear outer garments of honey color, i.e., yellow, put two honey-colored patches on the clothes of their slaves… and ride only on mules and asses with wooden saddles marked by two pomegranate-like balls on the cantle.’“

In 1888, a Tunisian Jew noted: “The Jew is prohibited in this country to wear the same clothes as a Muslim and may not wear a red tarbush. He can be seen to bow down with his whole body to a Muslim child and permit him the traditional privilege of striking him in the face, a gesture that can prove to be of the gravest consequence. Indeed, the present writer has received such blows. In such matters the offenders act with complete impunity, for this has been the custom from time immemorial.”

Maimonides, the renowned medieval Jewish philosopher and physician who had to flee Islamic-ruled Spain due to an aggressive Jihad, stated that “the Arabs have persecuted us severely, and passed baneful and discriminatory legislation against us… Never did a nation molest, degrade, debase, and hate us as much as they.” Jews could teach rabbinic law to Christians, but Muslims will interpret what they are taught “according to their erroneous principles and they will oppress us. [F]or this reason… they hate all [non-Muslims] who live among them.” Christians “admit that the text of the Torah, such as we have it, is intact.”

What about science and learning? Scholar Toby E. Huff, author of the book The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West, warns that if Islam had taken over Europe, later Western scientific achievements would have been impossible:

If Spain had persisted as an Islamic land into the later centuries — say, until the time of Napoleon — it would have retained all the ideological, legal, and institutional defects of Islamic civilization. A Spain dominated by Islamic law would have been unable to found new universities based on the European model of legally autonomous corporate governance, as corporations do not exist in Islamic law. Furthermore, the Islamic model of education rested on the absolute primacy of fiqh, of legal studies, and the standard of preserving the great traditions of the past. This was symbolically reflected in the ijaza, the personal authorization to transmit knowledge from the past given by a learned man, a tradition quite different from the West’s group-administered certification (through examination) of demonstrated learning. In the actual event, the founding of Spanish universities in the thirteenth century, first in Palencia (1208-9), Valladolid, Salamanca (1227-8), and so on, occurred in long-established Christian areas, and the universities were modeled after the constitutions of Paris and Bologna.

Bassam TibiGreek learning was never integrated into the regular curriculum at Islamic schools, as it was in European universities. The German-Syrian writer Bassam Tibi points out that “science” in the Islamic madrasa meant the study of the Koran, the hadith, Arab history etc.: “Some Islamic historians wrongly translate the term madrasa as university. This is plainly incorrect: If we understand a university as universitas litterarum, or consider, without the bias of Eurocentrism, the case of the universitas magistrorum of the thirteenth century in Paris, we are bound to recognise that the university as a seat for free and unrestrained enquiry based on reason, is a European innovation in the history of mankind.”

According to the leading scholar Edward Grant in Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus, Islam is a theocracy in which religion and state form a single entity. There is thus no secular state apparatus distinct from the Islamic religion:

[Islamic madrasas] had as their primary mission the teaching of the Islamic religion, and paid little attention to the foreign sciences, which, as we saw, were comprised of the science and natural philosophy derived ultimately from the Greeks. The analytical subjects derived from the Greeks certainly did not have equal status with religious and theological subjects. Indeed, the foreign sciences played a rather marginal role in the madrasas, which formed the core of Islamic higher education. Only those subjects that illuminated the Qur’an or the religious law were taught. One such subject was logic, which was found useful not only in semantics but was also regarded as helpful in avoiding simple errors of inference. The primary function of the madrasas, however, was ‘to preserve learning and defend orthodoxy’ (Mottahedeh 1985, 91). In Islam, most theologians did not regard natural philosophy as a subject helpful to a better understanding of religion. On the contrary, it was usually viewed as a subject capable of subverting the Islamic religion and, therefore, as potentially dangerous to the faith. Natural philosophy always remained a peripheral discipline in the lands of Islam and was never institutionalized within the educational system, as it was in Latin Christendom.

Fear and uncertainty afflicted all too many Islamic natural philosophers. As Grant states, “Without the separation of church and state, and the developments that proceeded as a consequence, the West would not have produced a deeply rooted natural philosophy that was disseminated through Europe by virtue of an extensive network of universities, which laid the foundation for the great scientific advances made in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, advances that have continued to the present day.”

The Age of Exploration during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was undertaken in order to get away from Muslims and re-establish contact with the civilizations of Asia without hostile Muslim middlemen. Norman Davies puts it this way in his monumental Europe: A History:

Islam’s conquests turned Europe into Christianity’s main base. At the same time the great swathe of Muslim territory cut the Christians off from virtually all direct contact with other religions and civilizations. The barrier of militant Islam turned the [European] Peninsula in on itself, severing or transforming many of the earlier lines of commercial, intellectual and political intercourse.

Jihad piracy, slavery and attacks on European countries were a constant menace from the Jihad in the seventh century until the so-called Barbary States in North Africa in the nineteenth century. Some would argue that it is resurfacing again now, for instance in the form of kidnapping of Western tourists which is becoming increasingly common as I write these words, encouraged by the ransom money often paid by European authorities.

Jihad continues to this day in the Balkans, a region which was for centuries under brutal Turkish rule. According to writer Ruth King, “When Serbia became independent of Byzantine rule in the 12th century, its economic, cultural, social and religious institutions were among the most advanced in Europe. Serbia functioned as a bridge between Greco-Byzantine civilization and the developing Western Renaissance. The center of the Serbian Orthodox Church was in Kosovo where churches, monasteries and monastic communities were established. A form of census in 1330, the ‘Decani Charter,’ detailed the list of chartered villages and households, of which only two percent were Albanian. The Ottomans invaded Serbia in 1389 and consolidated their rule in 1459, propelling major parts of the Balkan peninsula and adjacent southeast Europe into a Koran-dictated Dark Ages.”

Early in the twentieth century Serbian Christians comprised roughly two-thirds of the population of Kosovo. After WW2, Communist dictator Tito did not allow Serbs who fled from their homes to return and did not enforce border controls as thousands of Albanians moved into Kosovo. This later led to escalating violence against Christian Serbs.

As King says, “Initially, the media reported the situation in Kosovo fairly. For example, in July 1982 The New York Times noted: ‘Serbs have been harassed by Albanians and have packed up and left the region. The Albanian nationalists have a two-point platform, first to establish what they call an ethnically clean Albanian republic and then to merge with Albania for a greater Albania. Some 57,000 Serbs have left Kosovo in the last decade.’ Five years later, in 1987, the Times was still reporting the persecution of Serbs within Kosovo. ‘Slavic Orthodox churches have been attacked, wells poisoned, crops burned, Slavic boys knifed. Young Albanians have been told to rape Serbian girls… Officials in Belgrade view the ethnic Albanian challenge as imperiling the foundations of the multinational experiment called federal Yugoslavia… Ethnic Albanians already control almost every phase of life in the autonomous province of Kosovo, including the police, judiciary, civil service, schools, and factories.’“

Kosovo independenceIt was this situation that led to the rise of Serb nationalist leader Slobodan Milosevic. However, according to Ruth King, “While the brutality of the Milosevic regime was indeed a complicating factor, he is long gone, but the KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army] continues its assault on Serbs, on their churches, priests, homes, even on civilians sitting in cafes, this under the nose of the U.S. and UN troops.”

Bosnia’s wartime president Alija Izetbegovic died in 2003, hailed as a moderate Muslim leader. Little was said in Western media about his 1970 Islamic Declaration, where he advocated “a struggle for creating a great Islamic federation from Morocco to Indonesia, from the tropical Africa to the Central Asia,” and that “The Islamic movement should and must start taking over the power as soon as it is morally and numerically strong enough to not only overthrow the existing non-Islamic, but also to build up a new Islamic authority.”

According to Hugh Fitzgerald, “One must keep in mind both the way in which some atrocities ascribed to Serbs were exaggerated, while the atrocities inflicted on them were minimized or ignored altogether. But what was most disturbing was that there was no context to anything: nothing about the centuries of Muslim rule. Had such a history been discussed early on, Western governments might have understood and attempted to assuage the deep fears evoked by the Bosnian Muslim leader, Izetbegovic, when he wrote that he intended to create a Muslim state in Bosnia and impose the Sharia not merely there, but everywhere that Muslims had once ruled in the Balkans. Had the Western world shown the slightest intelligent sympathy or understanding of what that set off in the imagination of many Serbs (and elsewhere, among the Christians in the Balkans and in Greece), there might never have been such a violent Serbian reaction, and someone like Milosevic might never have obtained power.”

Skull Tower at NišIn 1809, after the battle on Cegar Hill, by order of Turkish pasha Hurshid the skulls of the killed Serbian soldiers were built in a tower, Skull Tower, on the way to Constantinople. 3 meters high, Skull Tower was built out of 952 skulls as a warning to the Serbian people not to oppose their Muslim rulers. Some years later, a chapel was built over the skulls.

Similar Jihad massacres were committed not only against the Serbs, but against the Greeks, the Bulgarians and other non-Muslims who slowly rebelled against the Ottoman Empire throughout the 19th century. Professor Vahakn Dadrian and others have clearly identified Jihad as a critical factor in the Armenian genocide in the early 20th century.

As Efraim Karsh notes, “The Ottomans embarked on an orgy of bloodletting in response to the nationalist aspirations of their European subjects. The Greek war of independence of the 1820’s, the Danubian uprisings of 1848 and the attendant Crimean war, the Balkan explosion of the 1870’s, the Greco-Ottoman war of 1897—all were painful reminders of the costs of resisting Islamic imperial rule.”

In his book Onward Muslim Soldiers, Robert Spencer quotes a letter from Bosnia, written in 1860 by the acting British Consul in Sarajevo, James Zohrab :

The hatred of the Christians toward the Bosniak Mussulmans is intense. During a period of nearly 300 years they were subjected to much oppression and cruelty. For them no other law but the caprice of their masters existed… Oppression cannot now be carried on as openly as formerly, but it must not be supposed that, because the Government employés do not generally appear as the oppressors, the Christians are well treated and protected.

The Islamic world is now using the Balkans as a launching pad for Jihad against the rest of Europe. “There are religious centres in Bulgaria that belong to Islamic groups financed mostly by Saudi Arabian groups,” the head of Bulgarian military intelligence has warned. According to him, the centres were in southern and southeastern Bulgaria, where the country’s Muslims, mainly of Turkish origin, are concentrated, and “had links with similar organisations in Kosovo, Bosnia and Macedonia. For them Bulgaria seems to be a transit point to Western Europe.” He said the steps were taken to prevent terrorist groups gaining a foothold in Bulgaria, which shares a border with Turkey. Bulgaria’s Muslim minority accounts for more than 10 percent of the country’s population.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia passed a law allowing ethnic Albanians to display the Albanian national flag in areas where they form the majority. The decision came as a result of seven months of heavy fighting in 2001 involving Albanian separatists, and following pressure from the European Union, always ready to please Muslims.

Ethnic Albanians make up about 25 per cent of Macedonia’s population. If the demographic trends are anything like in Kosovo, where the predominantly Muslim Albanians have been out-breeding their non-Muslim neighbors, Macedonians could be facing serious trouble in the future. In Kosovo, dozens of churches and monasteries have been destroyed or damaged following ethnic cleansing of Christian Serbs, all under the auspices of NATO soldiers.

Armenian GenocideMartti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and later Chief United Nations negotiator for Kosovo, caused anger in Serbia when he stated that “Serbs are guilty as a people,” implying that they would have to pay for it, possibly by losing the province of Kosovo. I disagree with Mr. Ahtisaari. It is one thing to criticize the brutality of the Milosevic regime. It is quite another thing to claim that “Serbs are guilty as a people.” If anybody in the Balkans can be called guilty as a people, it is the Turks, not the Serbs. The Turks have left a trail of blood across much of Europe and the Mediterranean for centuries, culminating in the Armenian genocide in the 20th century, which Turkey still refuses to acknowledge, let alone apologize for.

Dimitar Angelov elucidates the impact of the Ottoman Jihad on the vanquished Balkan populations:

…the conquest of the Balkan Peninsula accomplished by the Turks over the course of about two centuries caused the incalculable ruin of material goods, countless massacres, the enslavement and exile of a great part of the population — in a word, a general and protracted decline of productivity, as was the case with Asia Minor after it was occupied by the same invaders. This decline in productivity is all the more striking when one recalls that in the mid-fourteenth century, as the Ottomans were gaining a foothold on the peninsula, the States that existed there — Byzantium, Bulgaria and Serbia — had already reached a rather high level of economic and cultural development….The campaigns of Mourad II (1421-1451) and especially those of his successor, Mahomet II (1451-1481) in Serbia, Bosnia, Albania and in the Byzantine princedom of the Peloponnesus, were of a particularly devastating character.

This Ottoman Jihad tradition is still continued by “secular” Turkey to this day. Michael J. Totten visited Varosha, the Ghost City of Cyprus, in 2005. The city was deserted during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and is now fenced off and patrolled by the Turkish occupiers. The Turks carved up the island. Greek Cypriot citizens in Varosha expected to return to their homes within days. Instead, the Turks seized the empty city and wrapped it in fencing and wire.

In March 2006, Italian Luigi Geninazzi made a report from the same area. 180,000 persons live in the northern part of the island, 100,000 of whom are colonists originally from mainland Turkey. According to Geninazzi, the Islamization of the north of Cyprus has been concretized in the destruction of all that was Christian. Yannis Eliades, director of the Byzantine Museum of Nicosia, calculates that 25,000 icons have disappeared from the churches in the zone occupied by the Turks. Stupendous Byzantine and Romanesque churches, imposing monasteries, mosaics and frescoes have been sacked, violated, and destroyed. Many have been turned into restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Geninazzi confronted Huseyn Ozel, a government spokesman for the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, with this. Most of the mosques in Greek Cypriot territory have been restored. So why are churches still today being turned into mosques? The Turkish Cypriot functionary spreads his arms wide: “It is an Ottoman custom…”

Yosef Bodansky, director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Conventional Warfare in Washington in the USA, has stated that the Balkans was a “springboard for Islamic extremism” in Europe, with the Islamic Republic of Iran as the main driving force behind it. Iran and Saudi Arabia supplied funding, weapons and men to the Bosnians during the war in the 1990s, and terrorist organization Al-Qaeda gained a foothold in the Balkans. Saudi Arabia has invested more than $1 billion in the Sarajevo region alone, for projects that include the construction of 158 mosques. Sarajevo has by now become an almost entirely Muslim city.

Kosovo church burnsMiroljub Jevtic, professor at the Belgrade University and author of a number of books on the topic of Islam and politics, believes the Western world is in favor of detaching Kosovo from Christian Serbia by fiat and making it into an independent (Muslim) state. The main argument of those supporting this scenario, notably in the United States, is to improve their image in the eyes of the Islamic world and “co-opt the influence of Islamic ‘extremists.’“

Jevtic notes that “the fact that since the arrival of NATO to Kosovo over 150 Christian churches have been destroyed and some 400 mosques have been built, or are under construction, is for the Muslims a proof that if there is a faith which is supported by true God — it is Islam! Because, why would the Christian God, why would Jesus, permit the destruction of churches, where He, Jesus, is glorified? Why would He, at the same time, permit the construction of mosques, where His existence as God is denied? Why would He permit it, moreover, in the presence of men who bear arms and who claim to be Christians?”

Miroljub Jevtic warns that the European Union’s support for Albanian Muslim demands could backfire badly: “Granting the independence to Kosovo will be taken as proof of Europe’s own wish to cease to exist, as it not only allows the expansion of Islam but is actively promoting it by aiding those who are destroying churches, raping nuns, spitting on crosses and daubing with excrement holy images of Christ.”

In Kosovo, dozens of churches and monasteries have been destroyed following ethnic cleansing of Christian Serbs by the predominantly Muslim Albanians, all under the auspices of NATO soldiers, and Muslims are not ungrateful. Kosovo Albanians plan to honor their “savior,” former US President Bill Clinton, by erecting a statue of him. Yet in 2007, four Albanians from Kosovo along with other Muslims were arrested for conspiring to attack Fort Dix, a military base in New Jersey, the USA, in order “to kill as many soldiers as possible.”

Western governments are pushing for independence for a group of Jihadist thugs who recently wanted to create the Osama bin Laden mosque in Kosovo. This name was eventually changed for public relations reasons since the Albanians knew they needed American political support. In June 2007 the visiting US President George W. Bush was hailed as a hero by a group of Albanians, who allegedly also stole his watch. “Sooner rather than later you’ve got to say ‘Enough’s enough — Kosovo is independent,’“ Bush told cheering Albanians. As German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung later commented, “Why should the Albanians settle for autonomy when George W. Bush had already promised them their own state?”

President Bush declared a “war on terror” after the Jihadist attacks on the United States in 2001. Six years later, all he has achieved is bleeding American tax payers financially and American soldiers literally while overseeing the eradication of non-Muslim communities in Iraq. Now his administration supports independence for terrorist-sponsoring Muslims in the Balkans and in the Palestinian territories. George W. Bush risks being remembered as one of the worst presidents in American history.

In a commentary, “We bombed the wrong side?” former Canadian UNPROFOR Commander Lewis MacKenzie wrote, “The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius. We have subsidized and indirectly supported their violent campaign for an ethnically pure and independent Kosovo. We have never blamed them for being the perpetrators of the violence in the early ‘90s and we continue to portray them as the designated victim today in spite of evidence to the contrary. When they achieve independence with the help of our tax dollars combined with those of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, just consider the message of encouragement this sends to other terrorist-supported independence movements around the world.”

Patrick SookhdeoI once listened to a speech by Patrick Sookhdeo, a brave former Muslim who has published books such as Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam. Sookhdeo had done a lot of excellent — and frightening — research regarding the Islamization of Western Europe, especially Britain. He recalled having a conversation with a senior Western official regarding what would happen if Muslims in a region of, say, Britain or the Netherlands, should declare that they would no longer accept the laws of the central government and formed a breakaway Islamic Republic. This official then replied that they would probably have to quietly accept that. When witnessing Muslim riots in France and elsewhere, which more and more resemble a civil war, this question is no longer just hypothetical.

As writer Julia Gorin has warned, “An independent Kosovo will serve as a nod to secessionists worldwide,” and “history will show what no one cares to understand: the current world war began officially in Yugoslavia” in the 1990s.

Map of the Balkans

Granting Jihadist Muslims independence in Kosovo after they conducted ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims has established an extremely dangerous precedent. Not only is it immoral to sacrifice the freedom or perhaps existence of smaller nations, be that the Serbs or the Israelis, in order to save your own skin. As the example of Czechoslovakia demonstrated prior to WW2, it is also counterproductive. Supporting independence for Muslim Albanians in Kosovo will not lead to stabilization of the Balkans; it will rather lead to the Balkanization of the West. The new thug state will serve as a launching pad for Jihad activities against non-Muslims, just like an independent Palestinian state would do in the Middle East. In the case of Kosovo, the Russians are right and Western leaders, both in the European Union and the United States, are wrong. The Serbs have suffered enough, and don’t need to be stabbed in the back by the West as well.

Janos (John) Hunyadi, Hungarian warrior and captain-general, is today virtually unknown outside Hungary and the Balkans, but he probably did more than any other individual in stemming the Turkish invasion in the fifteenth century. His actions spanned all the countries of south-eastern Europe, leading international armies, negotiating with kings and popes. He died of plague after having destroyed an Ottoman fleet outside Belgrade in1456. His work slowed the Muslim advance, and may thus have saved Western Europe from falling to Islam. By extension, he may have helped save Western civilization in North America and Australia, too. Yet hardly anybody in West knows who he is. Our children don’t learn his name, they are only taught about the evils of Western colonialism and the dangers of Islamophobia.

Western Europe today is a strange and very dangerous mix of arrogance and self-loathing. Muslims are creating havoc and attacking their non-Muslim neighbors from Thailand to India. It is extremely arrogant to believe that the result will be any different in the Netherlands, Britain or Italy, or for that matter in the United States or Canada, than it has been everywhere else. It won’t. If we had the humility to listen to the advice of the Hindus of India or even our Christian cousins in south-eastern Europe, we wouldn’t be in as much trouble as we are now.

On the other hand, if we didn’t have such a culture of self-loathing, where our own cultural traditions are ridiculed in favor of a meaningless Multicultural cocktail, we probably wouldn’t have allowed massive Muslim immigration, either. There doesn’t have to be a contradiction between being proud of your own cultural heritage and knowing that there may still be lessons you can learn from others. A wise man can do both. Westerners of our age do neither.

Sun Tzu, a contemporary of the great Chinese thinker Confucius, wrote The Art of War, the extremely influential book on military strategy, 2500 years ago. It is a book that deserves to be read in full, but one of the most famous quotations is this one: “So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

The West has forgotten who our enemies are, but worse, we have also forgotten who we are. We are going to pay a heavy price for this historical amnesia.

A Quarrel Among Pirates

Remember the Somali pirates who inadvertently hijacked a shipload of tanks and weapons from Ukraine? Now that both the Russian and American navies have taken an interest in their activities, the chances that the pirates will return home with their skins intact grow slimmer with each passing day.

The hijacked ship is anchored in a Somali port, surrounded by vessels from the U.S. 5th Fleet. Recent reports indicate that the pirates are now quarreling among themselves, and that three of them have been killed.

According to Bloomberg:

Somali Pirates Are Said to Die in Fight on Ukrainian Ship

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) — Three Somali pirates died in a shootout as they argued over how to deal with a hijacked Ukrainian ship carrying a cargo of battle tanks, a maritime official said. Pirates contacted onboard the ship denied there had been a fight.

Pirates seized the Faina, a Belize-flagged vessel with a crew of 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and one Latvian, on Sept. 25. It is carrying at least 30 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to Kenya. U.S. warships have surrounded the boat, now anchored off the Somali port of Hobyo, to prevent the cargo being unloaded.

U.S. naval officers don’t have independent confirmation of a shootout, though they are aware of reports of one, Lieutenant Nate Christensen said by telephone from the U.S. 5th Fleet base in Bahrain.

“Misunderstanding between moderate and radical pirates on board increased last night until they opened fire between them, leaving three of them dead,” Andrew Mwangura, head of the Nairobi-based Seafarers Assistance Program, said by telephone.

“Moderate and radical pirates”??

What makes a pirate “moderate”? Does a radical want to cut the throats of captives, while a moderate wants to chain them in the bilge? Do moderates feed mouldy biscuits to their prisoners, while the radicals feed the prisoners to the fish?

The pirates, however, have denied that there’s any conflict among the buccaneer staff:
– – – – – – – –

A pirate on board, who gave his name as Da’ud Elmi Adde and who said he’s deputy spokesman, denied Mwangura’s claims. “We have only one commander and we take the orders from him,” Adde said. “There is not a little bit of difference between us.”

Adde said Sugale Ali Omar, who has been the pirates’ onboard spokesman so far, was unavailable.

So the pirates have both a spokesman and a deputy spokesman. Do they also have a Human Resources Department? And do they form focus groups to help them determine more effective pirating strategies? Recycle their bilge so as to promote more environmentally-friendly privateering?

One of the crew members being held hostage has succumbed, allegedly due to natural causes:

Omar yesterday confirmed that a crew member had died from hypertension. Russian state broadcaster Vesti-24 reported on its Web Site that it was the Russian captain, Vladimir Kolobkov.

The U.S. 5th Fleet says it has several ships in the vicinity of the Faina. The only one it has identified is the destroyer USS Howard.

“We will maintain a vigilant watch over the ship and remain on station while negotiations take place,” Rear Admiral Kendall Card, Task Force Commander, said in a statement. “Our goal is to ensure the safety of the crew, to not allow off- loading of dangerous cargo and to make certain Faina can return to legitimate shipping.”

The U.S. Navy is allowing small boats to bring food and other supplies from land.

I admit to a secret desire for the U.S. to withdraw its forces from the scene and let the Russians take over operations. When the Russians finish with the pirates, there won’t be enough left of them to interest the seagulls.

But with the Americans (or the Europeans) in charge, there will be lengthy negotiations, and even if ransom isn’t paid, when the pirates are captured they’ll end up in the charge of human rights lawyers and the race-grievance industry. They’ll be giving press conferences and talking to the TV cameras about the plight of the indigenous people of Somalia in the wake of predatory colonialism.

No, let the Russians deal with them.

The shipping companies, however, are criticizing the naval authorities:

A group of shipping associations and a seamen’s trade union yesterday released a joint statement criticizing Western navies for not protecting shipping.

“The pirates are now attacking ships on a daily basis with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, and are currently holding over 200 seafarers hostage,” the group said on the International Transport Workers’ Federation Web site. “The pirates are operating with impunity, and governments stand idly by. If civil aircraft were being hijacked on a daily basis, the response of governments would be very different.”

I don’t understand why commercial ships can’t equip themselves for their own defense. Surely a couple of modest-sized guns mounted on the deck fore and aft would be sufficient to take care of the problem…?

Or is there a logistical problem here that I’m missing?

Previous posts about the Somali pirates:

2005   Nov   5   Barbary Pirates Redux
        8   Update on the Somali Pirates
        14   The Mother Ship
2006   Mar   24   The Jamaica-Somalia Connection
    Apr   8   The Taliban, Somali-Style
    Jul   5   Pirates in the Strait
2007   Jun   5   Somali Pirates Take Danish Hostages
        6   The Territorial Waters of a Failed State
        8   Q-Ships for the Somali Coast?
        11   Pirates Demand Ransom for Danish Seamen
        13   Q-Ships, Pirates, and the Waters off Somalia
        25   The Danica White Runs Out of Food and Water
    Jul   11   Gossip-Mongers in Denmark
        21   The Danica White: Eight Weeks and Counting
    Aug   22   The Danica White Has Been Released
    Nov   24   Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Snaps
2008   Apr   21   A Spanish Danica White?
        29   Reputed $1.2 Million Paid to Free Spanish Hostages…
    May   2   A No-Pursuit Policy for Pirates
    Aug   23   Targeting the Somali Pirates
        23   More on Task Force 150
    Sep   8   Danish Ship Averts Pirate Attacks
        11   Those Undeterred Somali Pirates
        26   The Russians are Chasing the Somali Pirates

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/29/2008

Bankruptcy of US Banks: Can Islamic Banking Help?
Bosnian Immigrants Build Des Moines Mosque
Dear Hank: Here’s How to End the Credit Crisis at No Cost to Taxpayers
FBI Hunts American Citizens Trained Overseas for Terror
Meat Plant to Muslim Employees: Pray on Your Own Time
Mosque Fire Labeled Hate Crime by FBI
Muslims Grateful for Northland’s Only Mosque
Northern Minn.’s Only Mosque Marks Anniversary
Europe and the EU
Austria’s Right Hails Poll Result
Palin Biog Caught in Muslim Storm
North Africa
European Tourists Abducted in Egypt Released
Israel and the Palestinians
Olmert’s Bombshell
Middle East
Paul Newman: Big in Iran
Gorby to Form New Political Party
Sub-Saharan Africa
US Circles Hijacked Ship With Sudan-Bound Weapons
Latin America
Chavez Says Venezuela Will Develop Nuclear Power
A “Review” of Iranian Ex-Muslim Ali Sina’s Book
Cadbury Recalls Chinese-Made Candy in Chemical Scare
China Calls for End to ‘Force’ Against Iran
Islamic Perspective on Meltdown in American Markets
Mainstream US Islamic Websites — and Terror

Thanks to Conservative Swede, Fjordman, Holger Danske, JD, JEH, Natalie, Srdja Trifkovic, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
– – – – – – – –


Bankruptcy of US Banks: Can Islamic Banking Help?

By Syed Zahid Ahmad

The fall of giants in the world financial sector like Lehman Brothers in the aftermath of the US sub-prime mortgage crisis proves one thing certain: we need to be strict about credit rating system to restrain chances of any further bankruptcy.

Interestingly, since Islamic banking adheres to strict credit rating system and disallows indebted economic agents to avail more debt finance, it such a system could better save our financial and economic enterprises from bankruptcy.

Since interest is strictly prohibited in Islamic banking and principles of equity finance disallow financing the indebted enterprises, chances of bankruptcy are considerably low.

Under Islamic banking equity finance needs pre-rating analysis of projects after reviewing cost yield analysis. Islamic banking principles thus reduce the cut throat competition in financial sectors to get more credit shares and provides stability in the financial market.

Since the principles of Islamic equity finance allow banks to recover the assets by right of ownerships, it would be fairer on the part of financial institutions to recover assets in case of any bankruptcy or crisis, which may not be found in interest-based lending by SCBs and financial institutions because in later case the lender has no right over assets financed to debtors.

To strengthen the stability in financial sector and avoid chances of bankruptcy, the system of Islamic equity finance should be promoted through Islamic banking instead of raising scope for throat cut competition among banks and financial institutions by compromising lending rates to attract more credit shares.

It is high time for the financial sector to evaluate the credit rating system adopted by the conventional credit rating agencies and the practices adopted by Islamic bankers and financial institutions in the international financial market.

I feel this would certainly help improvise our rating system to prevent any bankruptcy in future.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Bosnian Immigrants Build Des Moines Mosque

DES MOINES, Iowa — In a tan building across the street from the Merle Hay Mall Younkers parking lot, the American dream is happening.

It looks like any other construction site in Des Moines: A stack of bricks sits on a trailer outside the front gate. Pails of spackle and paste sit inside the 3,700-square-foot structure. Scaffolding is assembled in a few locations, and drywall dust covers the floor.

What it all adds up to is a new spin on an old story: New immigrants to Des Moines, and the nation, are taking something old and making it new again.

A group of Bosnian immigrants is turning a former used-car dealership at 6206 Douglas Ave. into a mosque, the worship center of the Islamic faith.

Except for the electricity and plumbing, they’re doing most of the labor themselves — after work, on weekends and whenever schedules allow.

They escaped religious persecution and the bloody Bosnian-Serbian war to arrive in Des Moines, some more than a decade ago. Their community has grown and changed as they taught themselves to speak English, found work and built lives in a new place.

Now they’re putting their own landmark in the community — a worship center that will also serve as a cultural center where the organizers hope both immigrants and the community as a whole can learn about each other.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Christian Heritage a No-Show in New $600m Visitors Center

Chuck Norris asks Congress, ‘Can I help fix this problem?’

American taxpayers have spent more than $600 million on a new visitors’ center at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and it will have acres of marble floors and walls, photographs of Earth Day, information about an AIDS rally and details about the nation’s industrial sector. What it will not include is America’s Christian heritage, raising objections from members of Congress and drawing an inquiry from Chuck Norris about whether he can help fix it.

The new 580,000-square-foot center, mostly built underneath the grounds just east of the U.S. Capitol to protect the scenic views of the historic building, is about three-quarters the size of the Capitol itself, has exhibition galleries, theaters, a 550-seat cafeteria, gift shops and myriad other features.

The project, run by the office of the architect of the Capitol, has been delayed from its original opening date set several years ago and has cost hundreds of millions of dollars more than estimated, officials have confirmed.

But the finished product still, according to members of Congress, is seriously lacking. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., said 108 members of Congress have signed a letter to the architect’s office expressing their concerns that the historical content simply is inaccurate

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Dear Hank: Here’s How to End the Credit Crisis at No Cost to Taxpayers

By Shah Gilani

While it’s clear from the current credit crisis that our financial system is at a critical juncture, it’s just as clear that there’s no agreement over how we should fix the problems we face. The reality is that neither the plan put forth by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. “Hank” Paulson Jr. — nor any of the addendums offered up by Congress or the lobbyists — will resolve this crisis.

The key culprits are the structured financial products that reside on the balance sheets of banks, dead investment banks, insurance companies, hedge funds and all manner of other duped and unsuspecting investor entities worldwide, as well as the proliferation of the unregulated $62 trillion credit default swaps (CDS) market.

Because all these securities, and in the case of credit default swaps, bilateral contracts, are impossible to value and impossible to guarantee, no one trusts them. As a result, everyone is afraid of these securities and contracts.

Banks are currently not lending to one another because they are afraid that the next round of write-downs and losses may imperil some of their trading partner banks to which they formerly lent billions and billions of dollars to every night. If the answer were really as simple as adding liquidity, the Federal Reserve would have lowered the Fed Funds target. But that won’t work. It’s a vicious cycle that’s eroding banks’ faith in one another, and worse, our faith in our banks.

Unfortunately, I don’t see the Treasury Department’s much-needed rescue plan being effective without actually addressing the pricing of — indeed, the very existence of — credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations. As well intentioned as it is, the Treasury plan will create more problems than it solves and will eventually saddle taxpayers with so much debt that it will tank the dollar. It could even put the U.S. government’s AAA investment rating at risk. That would be calamitous.

I have a modest proposal that I’m calling the Money Morning Plan, because it potentially heralds a new dawn in the credit crisis, addressing the problems from the bottom up, and not from the top down.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

FBI Hunts American Citizens Trained Overseas for Terror

Feds launch dragnet to stop ‘October surprise’ attack

As Pakistani investigators hunt the terrorists behind the massive Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad, FBI agents in the U.S. have begun aggressively hunting for Americans who have recently returned from trips to Pakistan where they may have trained at al-Qaida camps, WND has learned.

A coast-to-coast dragnet has been launched partly in response to leads developed in the arrest of one of al-Qaida’s “fixers” in the U.S., say FBI officials. They report the bureau is in a race against time to identify Pakistan-trained sleeper cells and disrupt a possible pre-election “October surprise.”

For the first time since 9/11, counterterrorism field agents have been authorized to spy on young Muslim men and women — including American citizens — who have traveled to Pakistan without any specific evidence of wrongdoing.

Controversial new investigative guidelines approved by the Justice Department allow agents to monitor suspects and conduct undercover interviews even before opening formal investigations.

FBI headquarters has ordered its field offices to aggressively pursue anonymous tips and report back any suspicious activities in their Muslim communities. The intelligence will be immediately analyzed and shared in a threat matrix to avoid a repeat of the so-called “Phoenix memo” intelligence failure, officials say.

In the weeks prior to 9/11, an alert agent in the FBI’s Phoenix office noted that several radical Middle Eastern men were taking flying lessons. He drafted a memo and sent it to headquarters, which promptly buried it, missing an opportunity to act before the disastrous hijackings of 9/11.

The FBI’s new rules and current sense of urgency follow the recent interrogation of al-Qaida operative Aafia Siddiqui, an M.I.T.-educated scientist who fled to Pakistan after 9/11. She was arrested this summer in Afghanistan and brought back to the U.S. after sustaining injuries from a gun battle.

According to a federal indictment, Siddiqui was found with handwritten notes that referred to a “mass casualty attack” and listed various locations in the U.S. including Wall Street, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Plum Island and the Brooklyn Bridge. In addition, certain notes referred to the construction of “dirty bombs,” chemical and biological weapons and other explosives.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Islamic Society Baffled by Incident at Worship Service

DAYTON — The Muslim community gathered Sunday, Sept. 28, 48 hours after an unknown irritant disrupted worship at the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton.

“We were in the midst of the Fifth Prayer when people started coughing,” said Ismail Gula, the society’s secretary.

Gula said the building was evacuated and the service to break the daily fast of Ramadan continued at a nearby facility.

He said he had no idea what might have caused the incident. “It might be anything,” he said.

Gula said he had received many calls of support from Christians and Jews over the weekend.

When Dayton fire and emergency personnel arrived at 26 Josie St. on Friday night, they noticed an odor. HAZMAT workers checked the structure for pepper spray and other irritants, but found nothing.

Police said they were continuing their investigation.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Meat Plant to Muslim Employees: Pray on Your Own Time

A Colorado congressman says it isn’t the responsibility of private companies to bend over backwards to accommodate Islamic workers who want to take special breaks to pray.

Recently the JBS Swift & Company plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, decided to end break-time accommodations for Muslim employees because the agreement was not working. The plant had originally worked out an agreement with the union to allow Muslims time to pray at sunset, especially during Ramadan. However, non-Muslims at the plant complained that they were left to do all the work and walked off the job in protest, just as the Muslims had previously done.

Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) explains they had a similar problem with Muslim prayer-time accommodation at a plant in Greeley, Colorado.

“The fact is that, if you take a job that requires your attendance on an assembly line from a point certain to a point certain, and if your religious views do not allow you to do that, then don’t take the job,” Tancredo suggests. “There is nothing forcing anybody to take the job. No one has put a gun to their head[s] and said, ‘You must be on this line.’“

Swift eventually fired 86 employees for repeatedly leaving work without authorization at the Grand Island plant, and a company spokeswoman says not all of those fired were Muslims.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Mosque Fire Labeled Hate Crime by FBI

A four-state fire at an Islamic Mosque is labeled as a religious hate crime by federal agents in what they call an attack on religious freedom.

The Carl Junction fire department responded to this sign on fire early Thursday morning in south Joplin.

The sign reads Islamic Society of Joplin in both English and Arabic and belongs to an Islamic mosque.

The FBI has now taken over the investigation due to evidence which leads authorities to believe this was in fact a hate crime

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Muslims Grateful for Northland’s Only Mosque

As dusk settled over Duluth on Friday, a stream of people made their way into the Islamic Center of the Twin Ports to break their daylong fast during Ramadan, pray and share a feast.

More than 100 Muslims crowded into the center’s fellowship hall. They munched on figs (a traditional fruit for breaking the fast) and greeted each other warmly.

“This is like our second home,” Ahmed Maamoun of Superior, who is originally from Egypt, said about the Islamic Center.

Sunday marked one year since the Islamic community bought the former Unitarian Universalist church in Duluth’s Woodland neighborhood. It’s the only mosque in the Northland. Before buying the church, local Muslims rented space for gatherings on special occasions.

The Islamic Center now bustles with activity, including Friday prayers and discussions, potluck dinners and religious education classes for children. Muslims pray five times a day, and some Muslims go to the center daily to do some of those prayers.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Northern Minn.’s Only Mosque Marks Anniversary

The Islamic community in northeastern Minnesota is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the opening of the only mosque in the area.

Sunday marked one year since the Islamic community bought the former Unitarian Universalist church in Duluth’s Woodland neighborhood.

Before buying the church, local Muslims rented space for gatherings on special occasions.

The Islamic Center now bustles with activity, including Friday prayers and discussions, potluck dinners and religious education classes for children.

Muslims pray five times a day, and some Muslims go to the center daily to do some of those prayers.

Shahla Rahman of Duluth, who originally is from India, says more Muslims are settling in the Duluth area because it now has a mosque.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Austria’s Right Hails Poll Result

The leaders of Austria’s two far-right parties have hailed the results of snap general elections, which saw their support doubling since the 2006 polls.

The Freedom Party and the Alliance for the Future of Austria took nearly 29% of the vote, preliminary results show.

The Social Democrats won the polls with 30%. But they, and the conservative People’s Party, with 26%, suffered their worst results since 1945.

The shape of a possible coalition will now be hard to predict, experts say.

A total of 183 parliamentary seats were up for grabs in Sunday’s election.

The early polls were called after the grand coalition between the Social Democrats and the People’s Party collapsed this summer amid internal fights and personal feuds.

‘Difficult situation’

“Today, we are the winners of election night,” Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache said.

Mr Strache also suggested that he was interested in becoming the next chancellor, according to the Associated Press news agency

           — Hat tip: Natalie [Return to headlines]

Palin Biog Caught in Muslim Storm

Bad omens for the UK edition of Sarah Palin’s biography. Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment Upside Down, written by Alaskan journalist Kaylene Johnson, was due to be published next week by Gibson Square Books, the company behind Sherry Jones’s controversial novel, The Jewel of Medina — the cause of a firebomb attack on Gibson Square’s north London office on Friday.

Gibson’s owner, Martin Rynja, has now gone into hiding, which makes the scheduled publication of the book on October 7 highly problematic. It would have been a rushed affair even in less turbulent circumstances: the deal was completed on Tuesday last week, leaving just two weeks to bring the paperback out. The fact that it is a slim work — Johnson needed only 160 pages to chart Palin’s journey from high school basketball player to state governor — may help the publishing process along.

At the time, Rynja said the firm’s quick processing had clinched the deal. He said he had paid a “compelling amount” for the book, which had its original American title, Sarah: How a Small Town Girl Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment on its Ear, changed when Palin became John McCain’s Republican running-mate earlier this month. Gibson — and perhaps the Republicans — have another reason to be concerned about The Jewel of Medina furore. The publishers also have a book out by McCain himself, Hard Call, a selection of essays on great political leaders.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

North Africa

European Tourists Abducted in Egypt Released

A European tour group taken hostage by gunmen in southern Egypt 10 days ago has been released. As Derek Kilner reports from VOA’s East Africa bureau in Nairobi, the 11 European tourists, along with eight Egyptian drivers and guides, are thought to be in good health, and are being taken back to Cairo.

Rescued foreign and Egyptian hostages wave to journalists after arriving at a military airport in Cairo, Egypt, 29 Sept. 2008

The tourists, five Germans, five Italians, and one Romanian,¨were abducted on September 19, while on a trip to the Gelf el-Kebir region of southwest Egypt, near the border with Sudan. The hostages were taken into Sudan and later to Libya, though it remains unclear where they were finally released.

Egyptian state-owned television reported the release of the hostages, which was confirmed by Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini. Frattini referred to an operation to secure the tourists’ release, with the cooperation of Sudan and Egypt, but declined to offer details.

The announcement came a day after Sudanese troops killed six of the hostage-takers in a shootout. Sudanese Foreign Ministry official Ali Youssef says, two gunmen were also arrested.

“These eight people were driving a vehicle with Egyptian plates and were moving in the area and they were intercepted by the army and there was a fight,” he said. “Six of them were killed, and two were captured, and are now being interrogated. The two said that the hostages are kept in a hideout inside Chad, near the border, in preparation for the exchange of the hostages for a ransom.”

The attackers had demanded a ransom of nearly $9 million from the German government.

Other Sudanese officials have suggested that the gunmen involved in Sunday’s clash were linked to a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, a rebel group in the country’s western Darfur region. Rebels with the Sudan Liberation Army, as well as other Darfur rebel groups, have denied any involvement.

[Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Olmert’s Bombshell

by Srdja Trifkovic

Israel’s outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel will have to give up almost the entire occupied West Bank, including most settlements and east Jerusalem, as the price for peace with the Palestinians. “What I am saying to you now has not been said by any Israeli leader before me,” he declared — and he was right. His comments have caused a major controversy: Israel officially considers the whole of Jerusalem its “eternal, undivided” capital, of which Olmert had been a hawkish mayor for a decade (1993-2003) before becoming Prime Minister.

Olmert told told the Yediot Aharonot Hebrew-language daily that any parts of the West Bank retained by Israel would need to be compensated, in an eventual peace deal, by equal territory of pre-1967 Israel: “We have to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, the meaning of which is that in practice we will withdraw from almost all the territories, if not all the territories… We will leave a percentage of these territories in our hands, but will have to give the Palestinians a similar percentage, because without that there will be no peace.”

“Whoever wants to hold on to all of the city’s territory will have to bring 270,000 Arabs inside the fences of sovereign Israel. It won’t work,” the caretaker premier added with reference to Jerusalem. “A decision has to be made. This decision… contradicts our natural instincts, our innermost desires, our collective memories, the prayers of the Jewish people for 2,000 years.” Conceding that “for a large portion” of the past 35 years of political activity he was “unwilling to look at reality in all its depth,” Olmert now admits that he “erred in his foreign policy views and actions for decades.”

Olmert’s assessment goes well beyond any stated readiness for territorial concessions by a key national political figure, let alone a Prime Minister who is still holding office. Even if his words give a much needed boost to the Israeli Left, what would that do for the long-stalled “peace process”? It may well continue humming promisingly on the Syrian front, but what Bashir Assad does, says or thinks is of secondary importance. More worryingly, on the Palestinian side Mahmoud Abbas may be removed from power come January 9 — and his Islamist rivals do not accept the need for any major concessions to Israel, including the recognition of its legitimacy, its right to exist on any territory.

The suspicion that Arab promises are empty — unenforceable, or insincere, or both — is not confined to the Likud. The question is whether people on Israel’s left who agree with Olmert will be able to obtain prior meaningful commitments from the Palestinian side before contemplating a new episode in the never-ending “process” — the one that would not fizzle out like Bill Clinton’s push at Camp David eight years ago.

           — Hat tip: Srdja Trifkovic [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Paul Newman: Big in Iran

It seems Paul Newman, who died on Friday aged 83, was more popular than even his most ardent fans might have imagined. The screen legend, who starred in films such as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke,and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, has been mourned all around the world — including the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Despite the fact that there is a nationwide ban on Hollywood films in Iran, the government’s own newspaper IRAN led the charge with a front-page obituary for Newman. Iran’s biggest-selling daily Hamshahri followed suite with a full front page devoted to the actor, as did smaller independent papers Etemaad and Kargozaran who used huge photographs of the star on their covers. “The end of the last classic star”, was Etemaad’s headline. Kargozaran went with “The end of the blue-eyed kid”.

The decision to celebrate Newman’s life in the Iranian media is doubly surprising considering that only six months ago the country’s Cultural Ministry shut down nine cinemas and a handful of lifestyle magazines for their coverage of “corrupt” American film stars.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]


Gorby to Form New Political Party

The former president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev has announced that he’s planning to create a new political party in Russia. A prominent Russian banker and ex-deputy of the State Duma Alexander Lebedev is helping Gorbachev in this project.

Reportedly, the new organisation will be called “the Independent democratic party of Russia” Its founders want it to take part in 2011 parliamentary elections and challenge the ruling party United Russia.

Aleksandr Lebedev used to be on the Forbes list of the 500 world’s richest people, but the recent financial crisis has wiped out up to 60% of his fortune.

Mikhail Gorbachev was the Soviet leader when the Cold War between the Eastern bloc and U.S.-led NATO ended. Also during his presidency, the Soviet Union collapsed and broke up into 15 independent countries.

           — Hat tip: Conservative Swede [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

US Circles Hijacked Ship With Sudan-Bound Weapons

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — U.S. warships and helicopters on Monday surrounded a hijacked cargo ship loaded with Sudan-bound tanks and other arms to keep the weapons from falling “into the wrong hands,” an American Navy spokesman said.

Lt. Nathan Christensen, a deputy spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said the shipment of 33 Russian-designed tanks, rifles and ammunition on the Ukrainian-operated Faina was headed for Sudan — not Kenya as previously claimed by Kenyan officials.

The pirates who seized the ship are demanding a $20 million ransom.

The U.S. fears the armaments onboard the Ukrainian vessel may end up with al-Qaida-linked Islamic insurgents who have been fighting the shaky U.N.-backed Somali transitional government since late 2006.

“We maintain a vigilant watch over the ship and we will remain on station while negotiations between the pirates and the shipping company are going on,” Christensen told The Associated Press.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Latin America

Chavez Says Venezuela Will Develop Nuclear Power

CARACAS (Reuters) — President Hugo Chavez said on Sunday Venezuela will develop a nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes, in another challenge to Washington just days after Russia offered nuclear assistance to the socialist Latin American leader.

“In Venezuela we are interested in development of nuclear energy, of course for peaceful purposes, for medical purposes, for purposes of electricity generation,” Chavez said at a political rally.

“Brazil has various nuclear reactors, so does Argentina. We will have ours.”

Chavez noted that Venezuela, which is a member of the oil-producing cartel OPEC, developed a nuclear reactor decades ago but abandoned it under pressure from the United States.

He said Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had offered help with a reactor, adding that “we already have a commission working on this issue.”

Chavez did not offer details or say when a reactor could be ready, but the news could further strain relations with Washington, which views Chavez as autocratic and erratic.

He has repeatedly challenged Washington, notably by defending Iran’s nuclear activities despite strong condemnation by the United States and Europe.

This month Chavez expelled the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela and repeated his frequent threats to halt oil sales that make up around 10 percent of U.S. oil imports.

Venezuela has boosted cooperation with Moscow since Russia came under strong U.S. condemnation for fighting a war against Georgia last month, strengthening ties between two of the United States’ strongest critics.

Russia and Venezuela have also signed 12 arms contracts worth a total of $4.4 billion in the last two years, according to a Kremlin source.

           — Hat tip: JEH [Return to headlines]


A “Review” of Iranian Ex-Muslim Ali Sina’s Book

Customer Review of Understanding Muhammad by Amna Saleem

i believe Ali Sina is not a single person… it is a network of people who have been working against islam. I Ali Sina […] is crying and shouting for attention and are doing any damn thing to get it.

Who in this world has so much time to waste on writing articles and blogs from their own imagination. Ali Sina (if there is any) has no knowledge of Muslim history or islam.I don’t think anyone has ever bought this book. This book should be banned

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Cadbury Recalls Chinese-Made Candy in Chemical Scare

LONDON, England (CNN) — British confectioner Cadbury has recalled all of its Chinese-made candy products over fears they may be contaminated with the chemical melamine, a company statement said Monday.

A researcher in Wuhan, China, last week checks for melamine in milk samples collected from stores.

“The products that are affected by this withdrawal include a range of Cadbury chocolate products and Choclairs, all produced in our Beijing plant,” Cadbury said in a statement. Some or all of the products were exported to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, the Pacific island of Nauru and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, according to the company.

Cadbury said it is implementing new food safety and quality checks at its Beijing plant and fresh candies will be manufactured.

The candy maker is the latest company to get caught up in China’s tainted-milk scandal. Melamine was first found in powdered infant formula, but has since been traced to dozens of other products.

Nearly 53,000 children in China have been sickened by the formula or other products containing melamine. Four babies have died, and five Hong Kong children have suffered melamine-related illnesses. Dozens of countries have banned or recalled Chinese milk products.

[Return to headlines]

China Calls for End to ‘Force’ Against Iran

China has called for an end to the ‘use of force’ against Tehran in a move that will further complicate the push for new anti-Iran sanctions.

Days after the US failed to convince the United Nations Security Council permanent members plus Germany to impose further sanctions against Tehran, China has urged world powers not to resort to ‘force’ over Iran’s nuclear program.

“Major powers should pursue peaceful talks with Iran rather than resort to the willful use of force or the intimidation of force,” Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Sunday in his first interview with US media in five years.

World powers on Friday held a surprise meeting on the issue of sanctions over Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, following fierce Russian opposition to the idea of adopting new sanctions.

Although China and Russia oppose further sanctions, a draft resolution was prepared and passed unanimously on Saturday by the UN Security Council.

The resolution, which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has described as “very simple” urges Iran to comply with existing resolutions but does not include new sacntions.

“Russia does not intend to punish anyone,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the Friday meeting. “Our intention is to confirm all previous decisions.”

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Islamic Perspective on Meltdown in American Markets

By Liaquat Ali Khan

Call it the consequences of irresponsible American invasions, call it the irrational exuberance of short sellers, call it the catastrophe of subprime lending, call it the mismanagement of leveraged products, blame it as you may, American markets are facing unprecedented meltdown and doomsayers see little promise in the federal bailout package. Ironically, the Wall Street has noticed that Shariah-compliant investments—which avoid speculative risk and debt-ridden greed—have fared much better in these troubled markets. In the past few years, Shariah-compliant investments in Western markets have grown to more than half a trillion dollars.

Islamic financing is attracting huge academic curiosity. Many experts participating in the 8th Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance held this past April wondered if Islamic financing could have prevented the meltdown that American markets are facing primarily due to mortgage debt and mortgage-backed securities-now known as “toxic investments.” This legal commentary highlights the two fundamental principles of Islamic financing that I presented at the Forum.

High Risk Investments

The Quran prohibits al-Maysir or speculative risk, warning the faithful to avoid games of chance in which the probability of loss in is much higher than the probability of gain (2:219). Shariah-compliant investments, therefore, avoid speculative risk, including interest rate options, naked equity options, futures, derivative and numerous leveraged products purportedly designed to hedge investments. Many of these financial products attract speculators in hopes of making quick money. When trusted fund managers, under institutional pressures to show profit, resort to speculative risk, hedge investments turn into suicidal strategies for financial destruction.

In pursuit of greed and thrill, straightforward investments in companies engaged in socially useful activity has become unattractive, even boring, because of their presumably lower rate of return-frequently a self-fulfilling prophecy. Billions of dollars are dumped into companies that promise huge profits but produce nothing. While Islam would allow risking investments in socially beneficial research projects, it prohibits investments in companies peddling alcohol, tobacco, pornography, debt, and weapons-products that undermine our health and safety…

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Mainstream US Islamic Websites — and Terror

By Patrick Poole

In counterterrorism circles there is significant buzz about “Al-Qaeda 2.0”, warning of highly decentralized jihadist networks operating independently and driven by a highly toxic internet-inspired Islamic ideology. The sad reality is, however, that an increasing number of jihadist websites, especially those in the English language, are finding safe haven in the US — and the US government seems powerless, or unwilling, to stop them.

Other commentators have explored at length the “Al-Qaeda 2.0” phenomenon, but what has thus far gone unreported is how mainstream Islamic websites associated with some of the most visible Islamic organizations in the US are openly promoting extremist ideology and terrorism.

This is nothing new, of course. Before and shortly after 9/11, the Ohio State chapter of the Muslim Student Association ran an email service called MSANews, where virtually every Islamic terrorist organization in the world directly posted their public statements, including Al-Qaeda, HAMAS, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Armed Islamic Group and the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front. MSANews also published all of Osama bin Laden’s pre-9/11 statements, calling him “sheikh” and identifying him as a “Saudi dissident”, not a terrorist. According to an Associated Press article published just weeks after 9/11, MSANews was the subject of a federal investigation for promoting the sales of jihadist videos praising the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The MSANews list, which operated on the taxpayer-supported servers of The Ohio State University, shut down soon afterwards.

More recently, the media has focused on the case of Charlotte, North Carolina resident, Samir Khan. Fox News recently reported that Khan’s website, inshallahshahid, features videos of terrorists bombing US military vehicles, provides links to the writings of Al-Qaeda chiefs Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and praises “martyrdom bombers” who sacrifice their lives “for the sake of Islam”. Last October, the New York Times reported on Khan’s online efforts, observing that he is just one of many new faces of what Al-Qaeda calls the “Islamic jihadi media”. While Samir Khan lost his job last month after a 3-part investigative report was aired by Charlotte CBS affiliate WBTV, Khan continues to operate his website with impunity.

           — Hat tip: Holger Danske [Return to headlines]

Mr. Bodissey Goes to Washington

I had the privilege last Saturday of attending a little gathering in Washington D.C. in honor of the Dutch political leader and maker of Fitna, Geert Wilders. Unfortunately, Mr. Wilders was taken ill that evening and was unable to be there, but there were plenty of other guests in attendance.

Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer

Above are Andy Bostom and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch. I happened to take the photo at the exact moment that someone made a very funny joke, which served my purposes much better than “cheese”.

Tony Blankley

At the right is Tony Blankley, who is a well-known columnist for The Washington Times and Townhall, and who also worked on Capitol Hill for a number of years as a press secretary for Newt Gingrich. I spent some time talking with him and Paul Belien of The Brussels Journal about the political ascendancy of European socialists, particularly in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Lars Hedegaard

Europe was quite well represented at the party. In addition to Paul, Lars Hedegaard, the chairman and founder of Trykkefrihedsselskabet (the Free Press Society) was in attendance. Most of our readers already know his face, and he has appeared many times here in photos and videos.

– – – – – – – –
Martin Bosma

Geert Wilders couldn’t make it, but one of his associates was there. Like Mr. Wilders, Martin Bosma is a member of the Dutch Parliament for the Partij Voor Frijheit (PVV, Party for Freedom). He spent much of the evening discussing the Dutch political situation — especially the issue of Islamization — with both the American and European guests.

Brigitte Gabriel of the American Congress for Truth was one of the honored guests for the occasion. That’s her in the photo below with the ubiquitous Andy Bostom.

Brigitte Gabriel and Andy Bostom

It was an enjoyable and informative evening, and I’m grateful to Diana West for suggesting that I be included.

Suggestions for the Future

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.

This essay overlaps to some extent with the essay Recommendations for the West from 2006. How should we respond to the threats our civilization is facing? First of all, ordinary citizens should arm themselves immediately since crime and violence is spreading fast throughout the Western world. Second, we need to reclaim pride in our heritage, which has been systematically taken away from us in recent generations, and restore a proper teaching of this in our education system. We should assume that the mass media and our leaders are not telling us the full truth about the scale and consequences of Muslim immigration.

We are told that the ongoing mass immigration from alien cultures is “good for the economy.” This is demonstrably false and resembles the “Big Lie” technique employed by the Nazis. Even if it were true, I would still reject this argument. I am not willing to give up our existence as a people and the heritage entrusted upon me by my ancestors in the hypothetical hope that doing so will earn me a few chocolate bars or electronic toys, of which we already have plenty. The notion that man is homo economicus, the economic man, nothing more than the sum of his functions as a worker and consumer, is widely shared by both left-wingers and many right-wingers. It is one of the most destructive ideologies of our time and needs to be defeated while there is still something left of European civilization to preserve.

One “anti-Jihadist” in Scandinavia once indicated that it was OK with a Muslim majority in Europe as long as these Muslims respect “human rights.” They won’t, of course, but that’s not the point. The “debate” we have is thus between those who believe we should accept unlimited mass immigration and those who believe we should accept unlimited mass immigration as long as those who replace us believe in “human rights,” where the former groups views the latter as “racists.” At no point is there any debate of whether native Europeans have the right to preserve our cultures and historical identities.

Globalism is the enemy within which needs to be defeated. Globalism does not refer to the impersonal forces of technological globalization (although committed Globalists like to pretend that it does, because this makes their ideological program seem “inevitable”), but to a Utopian ideology stating that erasing all national cultures and states (especially Western ones) is a positive good which should be promoted and forced down people’s throats. Opposition to this undertaking should be banned as “discrimination,” “racism,” “extremism” and “nationalism” (the terms are used as synonyms).

I’ve engaged in long discussions as to whether or not our current weakness is caused by deeper-lying, structural flaws in our civilization or whether it is promoted by certain powerful groups with a dangerous agenda. My answer is that it is both. The ideology of Globalism is indeed promoted by certain elite groups much more than by the average citizen, and these ideas are enforced from above. This is happening all over the Western world, but it is particularly dangerous in Western Europe because of the legislative powers of the European Union and its non-elected oligarchy.

Although Leftists tend to be more aggressive, perhaps the dividing line in the internal struggle in the West is less between Left and Right and more between those who value national sovereignty and European culture and those who do not. Upholding national borders has become more important in the age of globalization, not less. We need to reclaim control over our borders and reject any organization, either the EU, the UN, various human rights groups or others who prevent us from doing this. We must remind our political leaders that we pay national taxes because they are supposed to uphold our national borders. If they can’t do so, the social contract is breached, and we should no longer be required to pay our taxes. National taxes, national borders could become a new rallying cry.

There are both left-wing and right-wing Globalists. They have different agendas, for instance with left-wing Globalists putting emphasis on silencing free speech and promoting “international law” through the United Nations and similar organizations, while right-wing Globalists concentrate more on the free flow of people across borders, just as they want free flow of goods and capital across borders. The Presidential election campaign in the USA in 2008 between Obama and McCain is a race between a left-wing and a right-wing Globalist. Both want open borders, if only for slightly different reasons, and tend to think of countries as ideas, not as entities populated by distinct peoples with shared values and a common history.

An ideological “war within the West” has paved the way for a physical “war against the West” waged by Islamic Jihadists, who correctly view our acceptance of Muslim immigration as a sign of weakness. Perhaps we will need to resolve the war within the West before we can win the war against the West. When Europeans such as Polish king Jan III Sobieski led their troops to victory over the Turks in the 1683 Battle of Vienna, they fought for a number of things: Their country, their culture and their religion. People don’t just need to live; they need something to live for, and fight for.

We are against Islam. What are we for? I would suggest that one thing we should fight for is national sovereignty and the right to preserve our culture and pass it on to future generations. We are fighting for the right to define our own laws and national policies, not to be held hostage by the United Nations, unaccountable NGOs, transnational progressives or self-appointed guardians of the truth.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the West is the sick man of the world. We provide our sworn enemies with the technology and medicine to multiply, give them the transportation and legal rights to move to our countries (after showing them through TV and movies how much better life is in our part of the world). On top of this, we pay them to colonize our countries and harass our children, while our leaders ban opposition to this as intolerance, discrimination and racism. When did the West stop thinking? Where did we go wrong? Here is the answer an American friend of mine gave:
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“Well, there’s Marxism of course, which was extremely damaging in all its forms. There were the two world wars which killed so many of our people and caused a lack of cultural confidence. Then there was the Pax Americana and the unprecedented safety and affluence it brought to the Western World. We have now had two generations of Westerners, almost three, who have never known real poverty, hunger, war, or ‘the knock on the door in the middle of the night.’ Without a need for survival skills, we had the time and the money to focus on ever-more insane political and cultural ideologies…I think I remember reading something about how the Indian Hindu empires became ripe for conquest by Islam — ‘They focused on becoming good, instead of remaining powerful.’ I can’t remember the source on that though. But that’s what we are now — obsessing about how to be good, not on being powerful. And our ‘goodness’ isn’t worth much if the rest of the world is focused on becoming powerful. Also, you have to remember, a lot of people are making money out of these insane ideologies. The ‘diversity’ industry in the U.S. is worth billions — people with little skills or ability are being given comfy well-paid jobs because of it.. And because of anti-discrimination laws, every organization, whether for profit or not, must have a ‘diversity’ plan to point to if they ever get sued for ‘discrimination.’ It’s literally a recession-proof captive industry. Anyways we’re sick and the whole world knows it. They are coming here to feed off our sickness.”

The West is rapidly declining as a percentage of world population and in danger of being overwhelmed by immigration from poorer countries with booming populations. People of European origins need to adjust our self-image correspondingly and ditch the current ideology of deranged altruism. We are not all-powerful and are not in a position to help everybody in developing countries out of poverty, certainly not by allowing them to move here. We need to develop a new mental paradigm dedicated to our own survival.

We should take a break from mass immigration in general. Any future immigration needs to be strictly controlled and exclusively non-Muslim. This break should be used to demonstrate clearly that the West will no longer serve as the dumping ground for excess population growth in other countries. We have cultures that we’d like to preserve, too, and cannot and should not be expected to accept unlimited number of migrants from other countries.

In my view, the best way to deal with the Islamic world is to have as little to do with it as possible. We should completely stop and if necessary ban Muslim immigration. This could be done in creative and indirect ways, such as banning immigration from nations with citizens known to be engaged in terrorist activities. We should remove all Muslim non-citizens currently in the West and change our laws to ensure that Muslim citizens who advocate sharia, preach Jihad, the inequality of “infidels” and of women should have their citizenship revoked and be deported back to their country of origin.

We need to create an environment where the practice of Islam is made difficult. Much of this can be done in non-discriminatory ways, by simply refusing to allow special pleading to Muslims. Do not allow the Islamic public call to prayer as it is offensive to other faiths. Boys and girls should take part in all sporting and social activities of the school and the community. The veil should be banned in all public institutions, thus contributing to breaking the traditional subjugation of women. Companies and public buildings should not be forced to build prayer rooms for Muslims. Enact laws to eliminate the abuse of family reunification laws. Do not permit major investments by Muslims in Western media or universities.

American columnist Diana West wants us to shift from a pro-democracy offensive to an anti-sharia defensive. Calling this a “War on Terror” as President George W. Bush did in 2001 was a mistake. Baron Bodissey of the Gates of Vienna blog has suggested the slogan “Take Back the Culture,” thus focusing on our internal struggle for traditional European culture.

People should be educated about the realities of Jihad and sharia. Educating non-Muslims about Islam is more important than educating Muslims, but we should do both. Groups of dedicated individuals should engage in efforts to explain the real nature of Islam, emphasizing the division that Islam teaches between Believer and Infidel, the permanent state of war between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb and the use of taqiyya and kitman, religious deception.

As Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch says, we should explain why Islam encourages despotism (because allegiance is owed the ruler as long as he is a Muslim), economic paralysis, intellectual failure (the cult of authority, the hostility to free and skeptical inquiry) in Islamic countries. Let Muslims themselves begin slowly to understand that all of their political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures are a result of Islamic teachings.

Fitzgerald also suggests exploiting the many fissures within the Islamic world: Divide and conquer. Divide and demoralize. Islam has universalist claims but it talks about Arabs as the “best of peoples,” and has been a vehicle for Arab supremacy, to promote Arab conquest of wealthier non-Arab populations. In addition to divisions between Arabs and non-Arab Muslims, we have the sectarian divide between Shias and Sunnis, and the economic division between the fabulously rich oil-and-natural-gas Arab states and the poor Muslim countries.

Both the sectarian and economic divisions within Islam are best exploited by infidels doing nothing. If the Western world stops giving Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, and the Palestinians “aid,” which has in reality become a disguised form of jizya, this will clear the psychological air. And it will force the poorer Arabs and other Muslims to go to the rich Arabs for support.

Right now, Muslims can enjoy the best of both worlds, and follow primitive religious laws while enjoying the fruits of 21st century civilization. We need to drive home the utter failure of the Islamic model by making sure that Muslims should no longer able to count on permanent Western or infidel aid in their overpopulated, self-primitivized states, whose very unviability they are prevented from recognizing by this constant infusion of aid.

We need to deprive Muslims as much as possible of Western jizya in other forms, which means ending foreign aid, but also institute a Manhattan Project for alternative sources of energy, in order to become independent of Arab oil.

As Mr. Fitzgerald asks : “What would the rich Arabs do if the Western world decided to seize their property in the West as the assets of enemy aliens, just as was done to the property owned not only by the German government, but by individual Germans, during World War II? And what would they do if they were to be permanently deprived of easy access to Western medical care?”

We must reject the “You turn into what you fight” argument. Those who fought the Nazis didn’t become Nazis during the Second World War. The truth is, we will become like Muslims if we don’t stand up to them and keep them out of our countries, otherwise they will subdue us and Islamize us by force. The West isn’t feared because we are “oppressors,” we are despised because we are perceived as weak and decadent. Jihadist websites have said that China is not the enemy at the moment. China, too, is an infidel enemy, but Muslims respect the Chinese more than Western nations. We can live with having enemies. The important thing is making sure that our enemies respect us, as Machiavelli indicated in The Prince.

We should implement a policy of containment of the Islamic world, but for this to work we will sometimes have to take military action to crush Muslim pretensions to grandeur. The Buddhists of Central Asia undoubtedly held the “moral high ground” in relations to Muslims. They are all dead now. At the very least, we must be prepared to back up our ideological defenses with force on certain occasions.

Several objections could be raised against the containment option. Some claim that it is too harsh and thus won’t be implemented; others say that it is insufficient and won’t work in the long run. It’s true that in the current political climate, expulsion of sharia-sponsoring Muslims isn’t going to happen, but the current ruling paradigm won’t last. It is likely that we will get civil wars in several Western countries because of the ongoing mass immigration. This will finally demonstrate how serious the situation is and force other Western nations to act.

I have heard comments that it isn’t practically doable to contain the Islamic world behind some artificial Maginot Line. When the Mongols could simply go around the Great Wall of China in the thirteenth century, it will be impossible to contain anybody in an age of modern communication technology. No, it won’t be easy, but we should at least try. Containment isn’t necessarily the only thing we need to do, just the very minimum that is acceptable. Perhaps the spread of nuclear technology will indeed trigger a large-scale war with the Islamic world at some point. The only way to prevent this is to take steps, including military ones, to deprive Muslims of dangerous technology. Jihad is waged by military, political, financial, demographic and diplomatic means. The defense against Jihad has to be equally diverse.

In the post What Can We Do?, Gates of Vienna republished an essay by reader Westerner which was originally posted at American writer Lawrence Auster’s website. Westerner argues that the separationist policy proposed by Auster and others of rolling back, containing, and using military force to quarantine Muslims would not be sufficient to make the non-Islamic world safe, because Islamic regimes would still exist and continue to seek ways to harm us. He therefore proposes a policy aimed at crushing Islam. Nevertheless, my general policy recommendation is to advocate separation and containment. The crucial point is to stress that Islam cannot be reformed and cannot be reconciled with our way of life.

According to blogger Conservative Swede, “In fact it is easier to argue for a stop of ALL immigration, to the general public, than a specific stop of Muslim immigration (maybe not in America, but surely in Sweden and the rest of Europe). People simply know very little about Islam. They need to be educated first, and already that is a big effort. So this is the first step. Before this has been achieved, before the awareness about the true face of Islam is firmly represented among the general public, it becomes pointless to push for deportation of all Muslims at the arenas directed at the general public. The first and current step is about educating people about Islam.” He puts emphasis on the need for breaking the spirit of our Jihadist enemies and finding ways of symbolically defeat them.

I have been criticized because my talk about containment and the need to limit even non-Muslim immigration smacks of the siege mentality of a friendless West. Advocating a policy of much stricter immigration control in general isn’t based on isolationism, it’s based on realism. We’re in the middle of the largest migration waves in human history. The simple fact is that far more people want to live in the West than we can possibly let in. Technology has made it easier for people to settle in other countries, and easier for them to stay in touch with their original homeland as if they never left. We have to deal with this fact by slowing the immigration rates to assimilation levels; otherwise our societies will eventually break down.

I’m advocating isolation of the Islamic world, not of the West. Even if we cannot allow all non-Muslims to freely settle in our lands, this does not mean that they have to be our enemies. Jihad is being waged against the entire non-Muslim world, not just the West. We should stop trying to “win the hearts and minds” of Muslims instead cooperate with other non-Muslims.

The United Nations is heavily infiltrated by Islamic groups. We should starve it for funds and ridicule it at any given opportunity. As an alternative to the UN, we could create an organization where only democratic states could become members. The most important principle at this point is to contain the Islamic world. We simply cannot allow our enemies to have influence over our policies, which they do through the UN.

Europeans need to totally dismantle the European Union and regain national control over our borders and legislation. The EU is so deeply flawed and infiltrated by pro-Islamic thinking that it simply cannot be reformed. No, the EU isn’t the only problem we have, but it is the worst, and we can’t fix our other problems as long as the EU is in charge. And let’s end the stupid support for the Palestinians that the Eurabians have encouraged and start supporting our cultural cousin, Israel. Europe’s first line of defense starts in Jerusalem.

Europeans should adopt legislation similar to the First and Second Amendments in the American Bill of Rights, securing the right to free speech and gun ownership. The reason why European authorities are becoming increasingly totalitarian in their censorship efforts is to conceal the fact that they are no longer willing or able to uphold even the most basic security of their citizenry, far less our national borders.

We need to ditch the welfare state, which is probably doomed anyway. The welfare state wasn’t all bad, but it cannot compete in a world of billions of capitalists in low-cost countries. It creates a false sense of security in a dog-eat-dog world and breeds a passivity that is very dangerous in our struggle for survival. We should use the money to strengthen our border controls and rebuild credible militaries.. Western Europeans have lived under Pax Americana for so long that we have forgotten how to defend ourselves. This needs to change, and soon.

I recently read the book The Shock Doctrine by the prominent left-wing intellectual Naomi Klein. That is, I made an attempt to read it. I gave up after a few chapters. Klein talks about how clean slate ideologies are dangerous, and mentions in passing some crimes committed by the Soviet regime and the criticism which followed its collapse. Then she says:

The process has sparked heated debate around the world about how many of these atrocities stemmed from the ideology invoked, as opposed to its distortion by adherents like Stalin, Ceausescu, Mao and Pol Pot. ‘It was flesh-and-blood Communism that imposed wholesale repression, culminating in a state-sponsored reign of terror,’ writes Stéphane Courtois, co-author of the contentious Black Book of Communism. ‘Is the ideology itself blameless?’ Of course it is not. It doesn’t follow that all forms of Communism are inherently genocidal, as some have gleefully claimed, but it was certainly an interpretation of Communist theory that was doctrinaire, authoritarian, and contemptuous of pluralism that led to Stalin’s purges and to Mao’s re-education camps. Authoritarian Communism is, and should be, forever tainted by those real-world laboratories. But what of the contemporary crusade to liberate world markets?

Klein claims that not all forms of market systems have to be inherently violent. They can leave room for free health care, too. She condemns “authoritarian interpretations” of Communism, but not necessarily Communism as such. Exactly where we can find examples of non-authoritarian Communism she doesn’t say. That’s as far as self-criticism has progressed in the political Left a generation after we “defeated” Socialism.

The economist Milton Friedman, along with F. Hayek, is one of the villains of Naomi Klein’s book. According to her, Friedman has stated that “only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.” Friedman believes that during a crisis, we only have a brief window of opportunity before society slips back into the “tyranny of the status quo,” and that we need to use this opportunity or lose it.

This is actually sound advice and in my view the strategy Western survivalists should follow. When I first started writing as Fjordman I focused on how to “fix the system.” I’ve gradually come to the conclusion that the system cannot be fixed. Not only does it have too many enemies; it also contains too many internal contradictions. If we define the “system” as mass immigration from alien cultures, Globalism, Multiculturalism and suppression of free speech in the name of “tolerance,” then this is going to collapse. It’s inevitable.

The goal of European and Western survivalists — and that’s what we are, it is our very survival that is at stake — should not be to “fix the system,” but to be mentally and physically prepared for its collapse, and to develop coherent answers to what went wrong and prepare to implement the necessary remedies when the time comes. We need to seize the window of opportunity, and in order to do so, we need to define clearly what we want to achieve. What went wrong with our civilization, and how can we survive and hopefully regenerate, despite being an increasingly vulnerable minority in an often hostile world?

I have suggested that we never won the Cold War as decisively as we should have done. The enemy has been regrouping and now largely controls our media and educational institutions less than a generation after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We did not have public trials against the supporters of Marxism just as we did against Nazism. This was a serious mistake which we should not repeat again. If or when the European Union collapses and Multiculturalism is defeated, we need to stage public trials against the creators of Eurabia and denounce the lies continuously told by our media and academia. Their ideology needs to be exposed as evil.

The political elites implement the agendas of our enemies and ignore the interests of their own people. They are collaborators and should be treated accordingly. The problem is that they currently feel quite comfortable and secure. They fear the reactions of Muslims, but despise their own people. They view us as sheep, existing only to provide them with champagne and nice cars and to be guinea pigs in their grandiose social experiments. Change will only come when they fear us, and the consequences of their own betrayal, more than they fear Muslims.

People of European origins can gain a future by reclaiming our past, and end the hostility to our civilization and heritage which is too often taught in our education system today. We need to reject those who demonize us simply because we desire self-determination. In order to achieve this, we need to regain control over our national borders and legislation, and we need to reclaim control over the media. Those who control the media, control society.

It is easy to blame others, but we have to accept responsibility for our situation. Yes, we have indeed been betrayed by our leaders, but that’s still only part of the problem. People tend to get the governments they deserve. Maybe we get weak leaders because we are weak, or because they can exploit weaknesses in our mentality to get us where they want to; above all anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, our excessive desire for consensus and suppression of dissent, the anti-individualistic legacy from Socialism and the passivity bred by welfare state bureaucracy. Muslims are stuck with their problems and corrupt leaders and blame everybody else for their own failures because they can never admit they are caused by deep flaws in their culture.. We shouldn’t make the same mistake. Europeans export wine; Arabs export whine. That’s the way it should be.

In his book The River War published in 1899, Winston Churchill wrote about the cursed effects of Mohammedanism (which is what Islam really is):

The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities — but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

This description remains right today. Nevertheless, bad as it is, Islam isn’t the cause of our current weakness; it is a secondary infection. In addition to plain decadence, there is a widespread feeling in much of Europe that nothing is worth fighting for, certainly not through armed struggle. There are no Great Truths, everything is equal. Maybe Europe’s faith in itself died in Auschwitz, but it was severely wounded in the trenches of the First World War. It was WW1 that radicalized Europe, triggered the Russian Revolution and the rise of Soviet Communism, and filled Germany, including a young corporal named Adolf Hitler, with a desire for vengeance and much of the ammunition they needed for their rise to power in the 1930s.

I have heard claims that European civilization will not survive the twenty-first century. A century is a very long time, we should remember that. Would anybody (except a Churchill) in the early twentieth century, when Europe was strong and powerful, have predicted that Europe would now be in the process of being overpowered by Algerians and Pakistanis? Things change. They can change for the worse, but they can also change for the better. Our ancestors, better men and women than we are, held the line against Islam for more than one thousand years, sacrificing their blood for the continent. By doing so, they not only preserved the European heartland and thus Western civilization itself, but quite possibly the world in general from unchallenged Islamic dominance. The stakes involved now are no less than they were then, possibly even greater.

Some people claim that Europe isn’t worth fighting for, and that many people here deserve what’s coming. Some of them probably do, yes. The problem is that the people who deserve most to be punished for the current mess are the ones who are least likely to pay the price. The creators of Eurabia will be the first to flee the continent when the going gets tough, leaving those who have hardly heard of Eurabia and never approved of its creation to fight.

Edmund Burke believed that if a society can be seen as a contract, we must recognize that most parties to the contract are either dead or not yet born. I like that idea, which means that when you fight for a country, you don’t just fight for the ones that are there now, but for those who lived there before and for those who will live there in the future. If we don’t want to fight for what Europe is today then let us fight for what it once was, and maybe, just maybe, for what it may become once more. There was real greatness in this continent once. It seems a long time ago now, but we can get there again. Meanwhile, let us work to ensure the survival of European civilization, which is now very much in question.

The Castle Doctrine at Work

This is one of those news stories that illustrates the difference between the USA and many other countries. Suppose this incident had occurred in the UK or Sweden — can you imagine what would have happened to the father if he had acted in the same way to protect his daughter?

According to The Chicago Sun-Times:

Sex Offender Dies During Home Invasion in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — A convicted sex offender died Sunday during a struggle with a father who found the naked man in or near his 17-year-old daughter’s bedroom, police said.

Police responding to a call from the city’s northwest side about 3:20 a.m. found 64-year-old Robert McNally on the hallway floor with his arm around the neck of 52-year-old David T. Meyers, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Mount said Meyers had a heart condition and may have had a heart attack. An autopsy was planned.

Police said Meyers was naked except for a mask and latex gloves and had entered the home through a window near the girl’s bedroom with rope, condoms and a knife. He was familiar with the home’s layout because it belonged to a relative, police said.

The girl awoke and screamed when she saw the man in her room, police said. The father responded and struggled with the intruder while the girl’s mother phoned 911.

Police did not anticipate any charges against McNally.

– – – – – – – –

“If a person breaks into your home, you are justified in using deadly force in defending your family,” said Mount. “In this situation, I don’t think he was trying to kill him, he was trying to hold him down.” [emphasis added]

There may be some liberal jurisdictions in the USA which the father would have been prosecuted. And sometimes a local state’s attorney will feel it necessary to go through the motion of a manslaughter charge, even when everyone knows there will be an acquittal.

I’d be interested to hear from our European readers: in which countries would this man have been prosecuted and (probably) convicted for what he did? Are there any countries which have the equivalent of our “Castle Doctrine” that would allow a householder to use deadly force to protect himself and his family against a home invasion?

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/28/2008

$700 Billion is Just a Drop in the Derivative Bucket.
Churches to Defy IRS on Sermons
Fannie Mae CEO Calling Obama and the Dems the “Family”…
Larry King, MSM Icon, Gave Ahmadinejad a Public Forum in the US
Rescuing ACORN
Saddest Thing About This Mess: Congress Had Chance to Stop It
Soviet-Style Collapse in America’s Future?
This is Lots of Fun! Oh, Uhhh, I Mean It’s a Serious Crisis!
Canada’s Fertility Rate at 10-Year High: Statscan
Police Charge Man, 19, in Early-Morning Ottawa Bus Stabbing
Europe and the EU
America as the Last Man Standing
Austria, in a First, Allows Children to Vote
Austria Swings to the Right in Snap Elections
Devout Muslim Sues Tesco for Religious Discrimination After He Was Made to Carry Crates of Alcohol
Extremist Cleric Omar Bakri’s Daughter Leaves Home After Pole Dancing Revelations
Ireland: Data Shows Economy is Officially in Recession
Syria-UK: Assad Visits London in Early 2009, Media
The End of Austrian-Israeli Relations?
The Final, Final Solution
North Africa
Muslim Brotherhood Hits Out at TV Show
Israel and the Palestinians
“Time is on My Side, Yes it is!”
Forward to the Past: the Fall and Rise of the ‘One-State Solution
Music: Paul McCartney Conciliates Israelis
Middle East
Expats Fed Up With Turkish Problems, Survey
Lebanon: Police Resume Patrolling of Hezbollah Stronghold
Turkey: Trial of Anti Militarist Transsexual Singer Begins
Turkey: 50% of Women Do Not Need Economic Indipendence, Poll
FSB and Its Patron Saint
South Asia
In India, Surrogacy Has Become a Global Business
Kandhamal (Orissa): Man Killed, Dozens of Christians’ Homes Burned
Pakistan: Taliban War Now Threatens to Reach Beyond Tribal Areas
Revealed: Secret Taliban Peace Bid
Australia — Pacific
One in Ten Aussies Racial Supremacists: Survey
Sub-Saharan Africa
US Destroyer Monitoring Hijacked Ship Off Somalia
Culture Wars
Abortion: Spain; Bishops, Catholics Oppose With All Means
BBC Investigated After Peer Says Climate Change Programme Was Biased ‘One-Sided Polemic’
Iran Escapes Further Sanctions in New UN Security Council Resolution
Re-Emergence of Fujian H5N1 in Southeastern Russia
The Muslim v. Christian Battle for the Mediterranean

Thanks to Abu Elvis, Amil Imani, Barry Rubin, C. Cantoni, Carl in Jerusalem, Dymphna, Insubria, JD, JEH, Larry Houle, Prairie Pundit, Queen, Rick, Steen, TB, turn, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
– – – – – – – –


$700 Billion is Just a Drop in the Derivative Bucket.

NO To The Paulson-Bernanke Derivatives Scam Bailout

by Wenster Tarpley

These derivatives now amount to a total worldwide notional value that can be estimated between 1 quadrillion and two quadrillion US dollars. This sum is so large that it dwarfs the total value of the entire planet earth and all those who live here. Compared to the cancerous, bloated, and fictitious mass of derivatives which is at the root of this crisis, the $700 billion demanded by politicians, large as this may seem, is nothing but a drop in the bucket. And a drop in the bailout bucket is what it will be. The mass of world derivatives between $1 and $2 quadrillion represents an insatiable black hole which is capable of putting an end, not just to civilization, but the human life itself. The moral choice could not be clearer: humanity will either destroy the derivatives bubble in our time, or the derivatives bubble will surely destroy humanity. Those are the stakes in the current exercise.

Paulson and Bernanke, both lawyers for the Wall Street jackals, lampreys, vultures and hyenas, argue that the public interest demands a bailout of their cronies at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America, Wachovia, and the other large money center institutions. Before the American public antes up $700 billion just for openers in the game of genocidal poker which run by the infernal croupiers Paulson and Bernanke, we would be very well advised to examine the veracity of this premise.


It is of course true that the healthy functioning of the United States economy requires a viable and flexible system of commercial banks. No one should doubt the necessity of commercial banks. Andrew Jackson was clinically insane on this point, and he still has not a few followers around today. But it ought to be clear that without the services of a well developed commercial banking system, it is impossible to organize business activities as essential as payments, deposits, checking, payrolls, and the discounting of short-term commercial paper, bills of exchange, bills of lading, and all the credit instruments that are intimately connected with real productive activity. Without a functioning commercial banking system, the economic heart of the United States would stop beating, as it briefly did at the end of the Hoover administration in March of 1933. Without commercial banks, no wheel of a factory or railroad can turn, and no commodities can move to show up in supermarkets.


But when we look at institutions like J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America, we become aware that these large money center institutions have become detached from any conceivable connection to the world of production, wages, transportation, and all other useful and productive activities. These institutions are not commercial banks any more in any meaningful sense of the term. Ten years ago, in the midst of the Asian financial crisis and the aftermath of the Russian GKO state bankruptcy collapse, the boss of JP Morgan Chase went on television to announce that his bank was specialized in the “risk business.” The risk business meant that JP Morgan Chase, had simply given up on the traditional activity of commercial banks, which was primarily to provide loans to corporations for productive investment in plant and equipment that would also create well-paid industrial jobs. J.P. Morgan Chase decided long ago that that activity was nowhere near profitable enough to be cont inued.

Instead, J.P. Morgan Chase devoted itself more and more to the issuance, sale, and purchase of derivatives. As early as 1992, the best definition of J.P. Morgan Chase was that it was no longer a commercial bank but rather a derivatives monster. In 2002, the J.P. Morgan Chase derivatives monster came very close to imploding, collapsing in on itself like the hopeless black hole that it still remains to the present day. According to the most recent report of the Comptroller of the Curreny of the US Treasury dated September 30, 2007, JP Morgan Chase today has between $90 trillion and $100 trillion of derivatives. In reality this is a very low-ball estimate, and the real derivatives exposure is some multiple of this figure ­ perhaps $300 or $400 trillion, especially now that Bear Stearns, a smaller black hole of derivatives has been absorbed. But even a mere $90 trillion is already six times the US GDP (currently estimated between $14 and $15 trillion).

[Return to headlines]

Churches to Defy IRS on Sermons

Thirty-three preachers across the country say they will defy tax laws Sunday by endorsing specific political candidates from the pulpit and preaching about their moral qualifications.

They are part of a campaign called Pulpit Freedom Sunday, organized by the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a group of Christian lawyers who work for socially conservative causes.

The Pulpit Freedom Campaign has amassed the pastors to cooperate in a mass violation of a 1954 law that bars religious organizations and nonprofit groups that accept tax-deductible contributions from endorsing specific candidates. The ADF thinks the law is unconstitutional and lined up churches earlier this year willing to commit civil disobedience for a test case headed for the Supreme Court.

“This is something we’ve committed the resources to,” said ADF senior legal counsel Erik Stanley. “What we want to do is have a reasonable constitutional addressing of the issues. For 54 years, the Internal Revenue Service has studiously avoided any court confrontation over their ability to regulate a pastor’s sermon.”

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said his organization will monitor who takes part.

“Taking part in this reckless stunt is a one-way ticket to loss of tax exemption,” he said “Pastors who violate the law can expect their churches to be reported to the IRS the first thing Monday morning.”

           — Hat tip: turn [Return to headlines]

Fannie Mae CEO Calling Obama and the Dems the “Family”…

…and “Conscience” of Fannie Mae


           — Hat tip: turn [Return to headlines]

Larry King, MSM Icon, Gave Ahmadinejad a Public Forum in the US

By Amil Imani for the American Thinker

…As the old saying goes, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” However, in the minds of many Iranians as well as many non-Iranians, there is such a thing, and Mr. King lost huge points with his line of questioning. Yet, valid questions remain about media performance and the role of public communication practitioners in shaping perception. The role of media is not to impose self-censorship and avoid critical questions.

It is hard to digest how the liberal media has single-handedly, in a matter of three short days, managed to make Ahmadinejad look statesmanlike. Mr. Ahmadinejad was given a forum to reiterate his deception, repeatedly. Larry King would not even say that he himself is Jewish and that he supports Israel. He looked very mesmerized by the presence of this evil man who is responsible for the death and misery that exists in Iran. He did not contradict Ahmadinejad, did not show him up. He allowed him to make points to undermine the existence of the friendship between Israel and the United States…

[for imbedded links, see original post]

From the comments:

“To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of men.” — Ella Wheeler Wilcox

           — Hat tip: Amil Imani [Return to headlines]

President Would Review ‘Hate Crimes’ Plan

Reports say legislation expected to be resurrected

The White House would have to review any “hate crimes” plan that would arrive on the president’s desk from Congress, a spokeswoman said today.

WND earlier reported on the expectation the plan, which was defeated a year ago when President Bush indicated it was not needed and he would veto it, would be returned to the agenda.

“Here’s ultimately what we expect,” Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of the Liberty University School of Law, told WND at the time. “The hate crimes plan is to be offered as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2009 Department of Defense reauthorization bill. That’s what the word is, that it’s going to be offered as an amendment.”

Pro-homosexual advocates long have sought such a law, but opponents fear it would be used to crack down on those who maintain a biblical perspective that condemns homosexuality as sin. Observers note it would criminalize speech and thought, since other criminal actions already are addressed with current statutes.

Canada already has an aggressive “hate crimes” law, and there authorities have gone so far as to tell a Christian pastor he must recant his faith because of the legislation that bans statements that can be “perceived” as condemning another person.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Raked Over Coal

Climate Change: Al Gore has rightly been scolded for encouraging civil disobedience to stop global warming. But his little-noticed follow-up statement might be even more foolish — and dangerous.

When it comes to sheer crackpottery on environmental issues, no national figure can measure up to the lofty standard set by the former Tennessee senator and vice president. This is a man who is leading a caravan of humming hybrid drivers to nowhere and is willing to criminalize those who disagree with him to get there.

While speaking Wednesday in New York at the Clinton Global Initiative, Gore told young people “looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now” that “it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration.”

After fomenting crimes against property and obstruction of commerce through “rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants,” a strategy he advocated last year, Gore encouraged law enforcement officials to investigate a group of energy companies that he has singled out for punishment.

“I believe for a carbon company to spend money convincing the stock-buying public that the risk from the global climate crisis is not that great represents a form of stock fraud because they are misrepresenting a material fact,” said Gore, who failed upward into a Nobel Prize.

“I hope these state attorneys general around the country will take some action on that.”

What kind of economy would we have if attorneys general investigated every company that Gore and the environmental movement believe contributes to a “global climate crisis,” the definition of which the eco-warriors are reserving for themselves? We would become sclerotic, as the flow of capital needed for energy development is choked off and energy supplies grow scarcer.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Rescuing ACORN

Election ‘08: Democrats want to use profits from the bailout as a slush fund for liberal activist groups, even those involved in vote fraud to help elect Barack Obama.

Prior financial bailouts, or “rescues,” such as those involving savings and loan failures, and Chrysler, have over time actually made money for the government. It may be the case here as well, as assets bought by the government at bargain prices return to marketable values and are auctioned off.

One of the sticking points in resolving the crisis was a poison pill in the Dodd/Paulson compromise that would move 20% of profits from the bailout into the Housing Trust Fund, a slush fund for political action groups such as ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) and the National Council of La Raza.

Sen. Lindsey Graham told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News that Democrats had other priorities than just solving this crisis: “And this deal that’s on the table now is not a very good deal. Twenty percent of the money that should go to retire debt that will be created to solve this problem winds up in a housing organization called ACORN that is an absolute ill-run enterprise, and I can’t believe we would take money away from debt retirement to put it in a housing program that doesn’t work.”

Groups such as ACORN and La Raza lobby to secure government-funded services for their members and seek to move them to the voting booth. The housing bill President Bush signed in July contained a similar funding mechanism for the HTF — a tax on mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The tax was designed to channel upwards of $600 million annually in grants for developing and restoring housing, mostly as low-income rentals, available to ACORN and other groups. ACORN gets 40% of its revenues from the American taxpayers and not all of it finds its way into housing.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Saddest Thing About This Mess: Congress Had Chance to Stop It

Could the crisis at Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac and the subprime meltdown have been avoided? The answer is yes.

As early as 1992, alarm bells were going off on the threat Fannie and Freddie posed to our financial system and our economy. Intervention at any point could have staved off today’s crisis. But Democrats in Congress stood in the way.

As the president recently said, Democrats have been “resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me . . . to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

No, it wasn’t President Bush who said that; it was President Clinton, Democrat, speaking just last week.

Interesting, because it was his administration’s relentless focus on multiculturalism that led to looser lending standards and regulatory pressure on banks to make mortgage loans to shaky borrowers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Soviet-Style Collapse in America’s Future?

By Henry Lamb

The meltdown in the financial markets has caused the finger of blame to spin like a weathervane in a hurricane. The underlying cause of the debacle, however, has been largely ignored. Driven by “progressive” Democrats and Republicans, the cause is the relentless shift from a free market economy to a socialist economy.

Until the Roosevelt era, the responsibility and privilege of having a home was left solely to the individual. Few people realize that Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) was created in 1938 by FDR, to provide a federal guarantee for home loans extended by local banks.

Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) was created in 1970, during Nixon’s reign. Both were designed to buy mortgages from local lenders as a way to insure an adequate supply of money for local lenders. These “secondary” mortgages were packaged into “bundles” of securities that were traded among an array of financial institutions.

During the 1960s, the United Nations produced the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Article V(e)(iii) proclaimed that all people had a “right” to housing. Both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations supported the treaty, but it was not ratified until the Clinton administration, Nov. 20, 1994. No one noticed or connected the dots to the emerging socialist, communitarian concept called “sustainable development.” Grass-roots organizations across the nation were deeply involved in preventing ratification of another U.N. treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was also under consideration at the time.

(Column continues below)

To meet its obligations under the U.N.’s Racial Discrimination Treaty, the Clinton administration instructed Fannie Mae to expand loans to low-income borrowers, according to Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae’s chairman. Thus, the “sub-prime” market was born, and government guaranteed-loans were extended to millions of families who could not qualify for a mortgage in a free market economy, but easily qualified under the new socialist scheme.

In 2005, Republican senators saw the danger and tried to reform these institutions with the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulator Reform Act (S.190), but Democrats blocked the bill.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

This is Lots of Fun! Oh, Uhhh, I Mean It’s a Serious Crisis!

The blogger, Cartago Delenda Est, shows before and after pictures from the New York Times as it cleans up behind itself. Wouldn’t do to let the truth get out, would it?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these two pictures are worth a Congressional bailout.

Tipster: Rick

           — Hat tip: Rick [Return to headlines]


Canada’s Fertility Rate at 10-Year High: Statscan

Quebec and Alberta accounted for 70 per cent of the total increase in births

Canada’s fertility rate reached a 10-year high in 2006, when women aged 30 to 34 had more babies than women aged 25 to 29 for the first time, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The total fertility rate — the average number of children per women — rose to 1.59 in 2006, up from 1.54 in 2005, the agency’s health statistic division said in its report on births.

The replacement level fertility, or the level of fertility the population needs to replace itself from one generation to the next, is 2.1 in Canada.

“The recent increase in births could be explained partly by the fact that many women from the echo generation had entered their childbearing years and their fertility rates edged up,” the report said.

Members of the echo generation were born between 1988 and 1995, when baby boomers gave birth in large numbers, according to the report. An earlier baby boom echo occurred in 1974 and 1975.

In 2006, 354,617 births were registered, an increase of 12,441 newborns from the year before. The number of births was up 3.6 per cent, the largest annual increase since 1989.

           — Hat tip: Queen [Return to headlines]

Police Charge Man, 19, in Early-Morning Ottawa Bus Stabbing

OTTAWA — A 19-year-old man faces multiple charges after a stabbing on an Ottawa city bus early Friday morning.

Police arrested two men after a man was stabbed in the chest during a fight aboard the bus involving the victim.

The two men fled the scene but police caught them a short distance away.

The male victim was taken to hospital.

Aden Ahmed will appear in court Saturday on charges of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and weapons dangerous.

Police say the other suspect has been released without charge.

           — Hat tip: JEH [Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

America as the Last Man Standing

“In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe?”

Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, chairman Party for Freedom, the Netherlands, at the Four Seasons, New York, introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem (which I hope to be attending).

The speech was sponsored by the Hudson Institute on September 25.

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for inviting me. Great to be at the Four Seasons. I come from a country that has one season only: a rainy season that starts January 1st and ends December 31st. When we have three sunny days in a row, the government declares a national emergency. So Four Seasons, that’s new to me.

It’s great to be in New York. When I see the skyscrapers and office buildings, I think of what Ayn Rand said: “The sky over New York and the will of man made visible.” Of course. Without the Dutch you would have been nowhere, still figuring out how to buy this island from the Indians. But we are glad we did it for you. And, frankly, you did a far better job than we possibly could have done.

I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West. The danger I see looming is the scenario of America as the last man standing. The United States as the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe. In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe? Patriots from around Europe risk their lives every day to prevent precisely this scenario form becoming a reality…

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

Austria, in a First, Allows Children to Vote

VIENNA: For her birthday, Nina Stanke gets 16 candles — and one vote.

Austria will make history in the European Union on Sunday by becoming the first member of the 27-nation bloc to give 16-year-olds a voice in national elections.

And Stanke, one of up to 200,000 eligible Austrian teenagers, is not about to pass up this opportunity.

“Yes, I’m going to vote,” Stanke, who turned 16 this week, said on a recent afternoon as she chatted with friends outside her school in central Vienna.

Stanke has a slew of choices.

Following the collapse in July of the governing coalition between the center-left Social Democrats and the center-right People’s Party, 10 parties have said they want to govern the Alpine republic. But only about half have a realistic chance of making it into Parliament, where 183 seats are up for grabs.

[Return to headlines]

Austria Swings to the Right in Snap Elections

VIENNA (AFP) — Austria’s two ruling parties, the Social Democrats and conservatives, received a severe drubbing in a snap general election here Sunday, which was marked by a resurgence of the far-right.

As of 7:00 pm (1700 GMT), two hours after the polls closed, the interior ministry calculated that the Social Democrat SPOe managed to hold on to first place, garnering 29.9 percent of votes.

But the reading represented a drop of 5.4 percentage points from the previous election in October 2006 and was the SPOe’s lowest score since the end of World War II.

The conservative OeVP’s losses were even more dramatic, plummeting 8.3 percentage points to 26.0 percent.

Both parties lost votes to the far-right FPOe and BZOe parties, with the Freedom Party (FPOe) under Heinz-Christian Strache seeing its vote-share surge by 7.1 percent to 18.1 percent while Joerg Haider’s Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZOe) saw its score more than double to 9.8 percent.

The Greens slipped slightly to 9.9 percent.

           — Hat tip: Queen [Return to headlines]

Devout Muslim Sues Tesco for Religious Discrimination After He Was Made to Carry Crates of Alcohol

A muslim is suing Tesco for religious discrimination after having to carry crates of alcohol as part of his job. Forklift truck driver Mohammed Ahmed, 32, worked in one of the supermarket giant’s warehouses for eight months before quitting ‘in protest’, an employment tribunal heard.

He claims he was forced to leave because handling beer, spirits and wine is against his strict Islamic beliefs and that he was victimised when he asked the company to give him another role.

Mr Ahmed, who was raised in Saudi Arabia, told the tribunal he had no idea his job entailed handling alcohol when he started work at the distribution depot in Lichfield, Staffordshire, last September. When he realised it did, he asked to be found different work but alleges that one of his supervisors told him: ‘You do the job or go home.’

Mr Ahmed also claimed his line manager was ‘aggressive’ towards him and another supervisor angrily told him: ‘Do not take the p***.’ […]

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Expert: Election Outcome Won’t Hurt Bavaria’s CSU

Bavaria’s ruling Christian Social Union has dropped in the polls ever since 2003.. But the party’s fear of losing political clout after Sunday’s election is unfounded, says a leading German political scientist.

Ahead of Sunday’s state elections in Bavaria that could have implications for the strength of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), DW-WORLD.DE spoke to Heinrich Oberreuter, a political scientist at the University of Passau and director of the Academy for Civic Education in Tutzing, who is close to the Christian Social Union (CSU).

DW-WORLD.DE: Bavaria is the wealthiest state in Germany, home to giants like BMW, Siemens and other high tech industries. Its school system is regarded as Germany’s best. Since the 1960s, the CSU has governed Bavaria by an absolute majority. In the last elections, the party got over 60 percent of the vote, but the polls indicate that state premier Guenther Beckstein is slightly below the 50 percent threshold required for his party to maintain sole leadership. What accounts for this drop?

Heinrich Oberreuter: First of all, the new leadership hasn’t succeeded in getting across the message to voters that they really do have it good. Voters take that for granted, they see it as normal that they have it so good.

Since the last elections, there was a turbulent period when the CSU lost some of its voter base, because of budget cuts or policies such as introducing university fees at public institutions or cutting the number of years devoted to secondary education (from 9 years to 8 years) without involving the public in a real public debate over the matter.

Those who felt short changed are distancing themselves from the party, which was also hurt by the crisis in confidence caused by the Edmund Stoiber affair (in which the former premier mishandled allegations that an aide had snooped into the private affairs of another CSU politician).

Stoiber however is a dynamic politician with magnetic appeal as was (late former Bavarian Premier Franz Josef) Strauss, a titan on the national and world stage. Their successors Beckstein and (CSU pary leader) Erwin Huber lack that kind of charisma and together they have not been able to excite voters or bring them together to support a fresh vision.

Under the CSU leadership, Bavaria has become very modern in the high-tech sense, but the party still struggles with an image problem. It is perceived as clinging to traditional social values and Catholic Church doctrine in a Europe that has become increasingly secular. […]

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Extremist Cleric Omar Bakri’s Daughter Leaves Home After Pole Dancing Revelations

The daughter of the radical Islamic cleric Omar Bakri has left her home in London amid fears for her safety after it was disclosed that she was a pole dancer.

Police were called to escort Yasmin Fostok, 27, away from her flat in the south of the capital to take her an undisclosed location on Saturday.

It emerged last week that Ms Fostok regularly performs in bars and nightclubs. There was also a report that her father — leader of the now outlawed al-Muhajiroun group — had paid for a £4,000 breast enlargement operation for her.

Ms Fostok, one of Bakri’s three daughter’s has dyed her hair blonde, changed her name from Youssra to Yasmin and separated from her Turkish-born husband.

Last week she admitted being was a dancer with a troupe called Ibiza Untouched and was quoted in The Sun as saying that she had been known to perform topless “if the venue is right”.

But the reports of her activities angered her father and led to fears that she could make her a target for extremists.

Police have refused to confirm or deny reports that she has received security advice.

           — Hat tip: Queen [Return to headlines]

Firebomb Attack on Home of Publisher Behind ‘Soft Porn’ Mohammed Novel

The boss of a publishing company that is to release a novel about the private life of the Prophet Mohammed was under police guard last night after a fire-bomb attack on his £4million London home.

The book, The Jewel Of Medina, is a fictional account of the Prophet’s relationship with his nine-year-old bride Aisha but has been described as ‘pornographic’.

The attack on Gibson Square Books’ boss Martin Rynja’s Islington home in the early hours of yesterday drew parallels with the threats on Salman Rushdie’s life after he wrote The Satanic Verses.

Three men dressed in black and from East London were seized by waiting, armed police after petrol was poured through 44-year-old Mr Rynja’s letter box and set alight. Two of the men were held at the scene. A third was arrested in a car outside the nearby Angel Tube station. The blaze was quickly controlled by the fire brigade.

Mr Rynja, who is thought to live alone, had apparently fled the house a few hours earlier after police tipped him off about a possible attack. A neighbour said: ‘We woke up and the square was full of unmarked police cars and a huge number of anti-terrorist police running around carrying sub-machine guns.’

Former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, whose teenage brother Ben was killed in a knife attack earlier this year, lives with her family near to Mr Rynja. His decision to publish The Jewel Of Medina was seen as a high-risk move by his friends and rivals in the publishing world.

The novel by US journalist Sherry Jones was scheduled for publication by Random House earlier this year but cancelled after an Islamic scholar attacked its contents. […]

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Ireland: Data Shows Economy is Officially in Recession

With less than three weeks until the Budget, the pressure on the Government increased today after data published by the Central Statistics Office showed the economy has technically entered recession.

Figures from the CSO showed that gross domestic product (GDP) — which measures the value of all the goods and services produced in the State — fell 0.8 per cent in the second three months of this year compared to the same quarter of 2007.

This is the second successive quarter of contraction and means the economy is technically in recession. Gross national product (GNP), which also includes profits earned by multi-nationals, fell by 2.1 per cent, compared to a 0.9 per cent rise in the first quarter.

According Davy economist Rossa White, if the measure of economic activity is based on GNP, Ireland was not yet in recession.

“[However] the question of whether Ireland was in recession or not in the second quarter is nitpicking and almost inconsequential because we are there now in the third quarter”, he said. White added that the data showed the domestic-owned economy was performing a lot worse than the multinational sector.

The main factors dragging the Republic into recession are the construction slump and weak consumer spending.


Earlier this month, the Economic and Social Research Institute predicted the economy would contract by 0.4 per cent this year after growing by 6 per cent last year. It is the first time Ireland has experienced recession since 1983…

[Return to headlines]

Islam: Wears Headscarf, Adores Queen, Sends Daughters to Nuns

(By Luciana Borsatti) (ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 26 — She wears a headscarf, adores Queen and sends her two daughters to study at the school of the Orsoline nuns. She is Sumaya Abdel Qader and is one of the “new Italian women” who are growing: that is she is member of the so called second generation of Muslims in Italy. Her story finds an effective summary on the very cover of the book she has just published with Sonzogno (‘Porto il velo, adoro i Queen’, ‘I Wear Headscarf, Adore Queen’), with the image of a smiling young woman who adjusts the headscarf on the background of the spires of the Duomo in Milan, her adoptive city. She was born 30 years ago in Perugia to Palestinian parents (her father, a doctor, is also imam in the city), and although she has not managed to obtain citizenship yet, she says she feels Italian from head to toe. To the point that she enrolled her two daughters to attend school at the Orsoline nuns, under agreement with her husband who is also a ‘second generation’ and one of the founders of the Young Italian Muslims. “Why the nuns? Because they give us security in education,” she explains. More than the state school, “the one with the crucifixes and the photos of the popes on the walls which do not bother me (like the majority of the Muslims), on the contrary, but they contradict a little to its secular declaration. “How many telling-offs I have put up with, but not by the Muslims, no!” she adds. The choice of the Catholic school is made also because the two parents hope there will be no room for “pagan rites or a commercial imposing” for religious holidays such as Christmas. But it is her two “little innocent creatures” who soon put their mother in crisis. Like when they make the sign of the cross before eating (“I pretend nothing has happened and continue with the dinner,” Sumaya narrates. “For us Muslims, Jesus is a simple prophet, God is not a man, that is why the cross cannot symbolize the divine. On the contrary, believing in the Holy Trinity is a sin for us.” And she decides to suggest to the teacher not to ask the girls to make the cross sign. “And it happened that way.” However, the most critical, and emblematic, moment comes when the girls go with their parents in the mosque for the end of the Ramadan and innocently asked her: “Why is it disgusting here, while the church is so beautiful?”. On the other hand, Sumaya also attended the nuns’ nursery school in Perugia. Calm years, she remembers: “We were children. No one saw anything different in me; among the nuns no one noticed the fact that my mother was veiled.” (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Politicians Warn of Increased Terror Threat in Germany

Politicians in Germany warned Saturday of the dangers posed by Islamists, following the arrest of two terrorist suspects and a police search for two others. The arrests took place in Cologne on Friday when a Somali [Abdirazak B.] and a German of Somali descent [Omar D].were escorted off a plane bound for the Dutch city Amsterdam.

German prosecutors on Saturday were granted arrest warrants for the two men by a local court. Chief prosecutor Fred Apostel said evidence provided by police showed the pair “were planning to carry out an attack in the near future.”

Security sources said the pair had been under observation for months and were planning to travel via the Netherlands to a training camp for militants on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

A search of their apartment had turned up letters in which the two men, who are in their 20s, had declared their readiness to die in a jihad or holy war, the sources said. Police apparently stepped in to prevent them from joining their comrades in the Islamic Jihad Union, (IJU), often described as a successor to the terrorist network al Qaeda.

Planning terrorist attacks?

German police are currently searching for two other militants who underwent training in the use of firearms and explosives at an IJU camp and are now believed to be back in Germany.

Police fear Eric Breininger, a 21-year-old German convert to Islam, and Houssain al-Malla, a 23-year-old Lebanese, might be planning terrorist attacks in Germany. Breininger [alias Abdul Gaffar El Almani], who is from Saarland state in the west of the country, is reported to have recorded an Internet video in which he spoke of carrying out a suicide attack and supported jihad.

The two men were also believed to have been in contact with one of the three IJU adherents who were arrested in the Sauerland region in September 2007 on suspicion of plotting attacks against US targets. […]

Some experts believe there are up to 100 home-grown militants who have attended training camps aboard and returned to Germany to recruit new adherents.. […]

Pop phenomenon?

Earlier this week, three teenagers of Turkish descent were arrested in Cologne after luring two police officers into an ambush and firing blanks at them. The trio told prosecutors they planned to steal the officers’ firearms and use them in attacks on Americans and other targets as part of a holy war for which they were prepared to die.

The group, aged 15-17, had apparently been watching Islamist hate videos before their assault on the police. “The jihad has now become a pop phenomenon,” the Tagesspiegel newspaper quoted one security source as saying. Dying as a martyr in the name of Allah could soon become the ultimate symbol of provocation for rebellious youth, he added. […]

—- Adding:

Terror attack planed in Bosnian Muslim town

Bosnian Muslim intelligence agency OSA has confirmed that it is on a hunt for two Islamic terrorists [Erik Brayninger and Hussein al Mali] after German security agency informed them that they are preparing a terror attack.

Erik Brayninger and Hussein al Mali have been seen in a Bosnian Muslim town of Zenica.. “We have certain knowledge that these two individuals have probably moved into Bosnia. We are checking these facts, trying to locate them and see if they are still in Bosnia,” said the statement by OSA.

German media has reported, based on police intelligence, that Erik Brayninger and Hussein al Mali have been trained in suicide attack strategies in Afghanistan and are planning a terror attack on Germany from a Bosnian town of Zenica.

“We have information that Brayninger and his friend Hussein al Mali and another individual are on the way to Germany,” said the spokesman for the German police as it issued an arrest warrant. […]

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Spain: Economic Crisis Lowers Divorce Fever

(by Paola Del Vecchio) (ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 22 — Where the bishops did not succeed, with the public demonstration against the ‘divorce express’, which blocked the reform approved in 2005 by Zapateròs government, now the economic crisis is succeeding. The latter, in fact, is reportedly at the base of the decrease by 5.6% of separations, divorces and annulment law suits in 2007, compared to the previous year, thus reversing for the first time the increasing trend which had been constant in the past few years, according to a study by the National Statistic Institute (INE). In the first quarter of 2008, the number of divorces decreased by 18.1% compared to the same period of 2007. Less divorces in times of crisis, because of the economic difficulties which have repercussions at different levels on the decision of couples; on one hand, the number of married couples which decide to divorce decreases, due to the inability to afford the costs, especially of the real estate market; on the other hand, increases the number of hostile separations and requests of revision of separation agreements or agreements subscribed in the past by the former spouses before the judge. In terms of type of marriage break, according to INE’s study, in 2007 a total 11,583 separations were registered, with a drop by 38.4% compared to the previous year; 125,777 divorces, with a 0.9% decrease from the previous year; 150 annulments, with a drop by 13.8% compared to 2006. The modification of the civil code, introduced by the law of ‘quick divorce’, which allows to divorce without the need for a previous separation, resulted in 2006, the first year of its implementation, in almost the totality of marriage dissolutions being sorted out through divorce. The decrease of the ‘divorce fever’ is confirmed by the associations of specialised lawyers, who registered a drop “by up to 30% of the clients who consult law firms to start the separation process”, compensated, however, by the growth of the requests of modification of previous agreements and divorce rulings, “due to the economic and real estate crisis”. This was confirmed by Esther Perez, from the Association Ronda, in statements to the media. “There are more and more couples, especially young or with low incomes, who cannot divorce because they cannot afford it financially. This phenomenon has become more visible since January. It is difficult that couples with children, who earn 2,500 euro per month and pay a mortgage of 1,000 euro can afford to separate”, Perez added. Another of the effects registered by the divorce lawyers is that “more and more men are asking for the joint custody of under age children, in order not to pay alimonies”. The higher number of breaks, according to INE’s study, is registered in the age group between 40 and 49, 41.2 years old for women and 43.8 for men. And despite the general decrease in the number of divorces, the Institute points out an increase by 15% in 2007, compared to 2006, of the number of divorces of short-lived marriages, lasting less than one year. Out of the total number of breaks in 2007, 59 concerned homosexual marriages, of which 42 between men and 17 between women. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Syria-UK: Assad Visits London in Early 2009, Media

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 26 — After being welcomed with state honours in Paris last July, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might go on an official visit to London at the beginning of next year, London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat said today. The newspaper specifies that the British government’s special representative for the Middle East, Michael Williams, said in London that “a meeting between British Foreign Minister David Miliband and his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallim will serve to decide the level of the visits that the two countries will exchange in the upcoming months”. Al-Hayat recalls that John Jenkins, director of the Middle East department of the British Foreign Office, visited Damascus last week, “in a first of a series of meetings that will come to a peak with the visit of Assad to London at the beginning of next year”. Bashar al-Assad’s visit to Paris and the following official visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Damascus earlier this month marked the end of the international isolation that Syria has experienced since 2004. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The End of Austrian-Israeli Relations?

There are elections being held in Austria on Sunday, and Austria’s relations with Israel hang in the balance. The polls indicate that the Orwellian-named ‘Freedom party’ could garner as much as 20% of the vote and be a part of the ruling coalition. If that were to happen, Israel would likely break diplomatic relations with Austria.

Heinz-Christian Strache, who leads the Freedom Party, took part in paramilitary activities with neo-Nazis in the late 1980s and has been known to use the Nazi salute.

In 2000, the inclusion of the Freedom Party in the Austrian government prompted Israel to recall its ambassador to Vienna.

Then-prime minister Ehud Barak said the party’s presence in the government “should outrage every inhabitant of the world.”

“The Jewish people, wherever it may be, led by the State of Israel, will never allow the world to conduct business as usual in light of the events in Austria and their possible implications,” Barak said at the time.

In a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post last week, Dan Ashbel, Israel’s ambassador in Vienna, said, “We are very concerned about the situation and parties who are xenophobic and base their policies on xenophobia. It is a danger and it is a very sad fact that this repeats itself.”

The Freedom Party is campaigning using anti-immigrant slogans, such as “Asylum fraud means a flight home,” and is exploiting anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments to win votes.

But like all modern-day anti-Semites, the ‘Freedom Party’ claims that it isn’t anti-Semitic — it ‘just’ opposes Israel. And it has a useful idiot named ‘rabbi’ Moshe Aryeh Friedman who serves as its token Jew.

“The rabbi is a good friend of mine… Why, we’ve even had him over to the house!” said John Gudenus, a Freedom Party politician who has been convicted of denying the Holocaust. In Austria, it is unlawful to cast doubt on the extermination of European Jewry as a historical fact.

On Tuesday, the Freedom Party held a press conference to announce a parliamentary inquiry into the expulsion of Friedman’s children from Vienna’s oldest Jewish school. Raimund Fastenbauer, general secretary of the [Jewish] community, told the Post “the Freedom Party is giving assistance to Mr. Friedman.”

Does the name Moshe Aryeh Friedman ring a bell for any of you? Recall this picture…

           — Hat tip: Carl in Jerusalem [Return to headlines]

The Final, Final Solution

by Larry Houle

Before there was Hitler, Mein Kampf, the SS, concentration camps, Nazism and Aryan, the Nazi God; there was Muhammad, the Koran, the SS Jihadists, slavery, Islam, Muhammad’s fictional Anti-God Allah and the first, final solution of the Jewish question—the murder and forced exile of Jews/Christians from Arabia.

The City of Cologne, Germany—which just allowed the building of one of Europe ‘s largest mosques complete with sky-touching minarets, and viciously suppressed a peaceful anti-Islamization rally—has a long history of Jewish oppression.

The first pogrom of the Jews in Cologne was in 1349. In 1424, they were evicted from the city and had to wait nearly four centuries to be allowed back in 1798.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Jewish population of Cologne was about 20,000. By 1939, some 40% of the Jews had emigrated. The vast majority of those who remained were deported to concentration camps by 1941. The Jewish population used to be herded together at the trade-fair grounds next to the Deutz Train Station for deportation to death-camps and for the disposal of their household goods by public auction. On Kristallnacht in 1938, Cologne ‘s synagogues were set on fire.

Mr Erdogan, the current Prime Minister of Turkey cited a poem with the following text: “The minarets of mosques are our bayonets, the domes our helmets, the mosques our barracks and the faithful our soldiers.”

In the 1990s, as the mayor of Istanbul , Erdogan expressed his opposition to secularism in no uncertain terms:

“You cannot be both secular and a Muslim! You will either be a Muslim, or secular!… It is not possible for a person who says ‘I am a Muslim’ to go on and say ‘I am secular too.’ And why is that? Because Allah, the creator of the Muslim, has absolute power and rule!”

The City of Cologne has set in motion the completion of Hitler’s mission—the final, final solution of the Jewish, and also Christian, question of modern Germany . They have set in motion the destruction of Western civilization in Germany…

           — Hat tip: Larry Houle [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Muslim Brotherhood Hits Out at TV Show

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s strongest but banned opposition force, has reacted angrily to a TV serial dramatising the life of Jamal Abdul Nasser, an icon of modern Arab nationalism.

Supporters of the group, which has been outlawed in Egypt since 1954, accuse Nasser — the TV series being shown on several Arab channels — of misrepresenting the Brotherhood.

“The aim of the series is to tarnish the image of the Brotherhood in a stark contrast to history” said Saif Al Islam Hassan Al Banna, the son of the group’s founder. “I will not keep silent on the harm done to the history of my father or any other person in the Brotherhood,” Saif Al Islam told Gulf News. He plans to file a lawsuit against the show makers.

‘A fallacy’

The controversial series, banned on Egyptian state TV, presents the Brotherhood as fawning on King Farouk, who was later overthrown by Nasser and his comrades.

“This is a fallacy,” said Al Banna. “The Brothers were not friends of the King. They used to attend national occasions, including the Coronation Day, like other politicians at the time.”

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

“Time is on My Side, Yes it is!”

by Barry Rubin

So sang the Rolling Stones. But which side has time working in its favor? That’s one of the Middle East’s most intriguing and controversial questions.

Recently, Israeli leaders and well-wishers—sincere and hypocritical alike—have spoken in panicky terms that time isn’t on Israel side and it’s either peace in a few months or the Biblical flood.

Even U.S. government policy claims that agreement can and must be reached right away or else. Presidential candidate Barrack Obama has stated that Israel desperately needs peace and must make lots of concessions to get it real fast.

Well, it’s nonsense. But first let’s ask why has this idea become so big?

First, peace is good. Second, on the left, peace is considered both good and reachable if Israel gives up enough.

Somehow, no serious analysis is ever made on what the other side, the Palestinians and Syria, are, want, think, or do.

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]

Forward to the Past: the Fall and Rise of the ‘One-State Solution

by Jonathan Spyer

Deeply embedded in Palestinian nationalism is the notion that Israeli Jewish identity is analogous to that of communities born of European colonialism, which are not seen as having legitimate claim to self-determination. No reconsidering of this characterization took place during the period of the peace process of the 1990s. Hence, the short period of acceptance of the “two-state solution,” was a departure by Palestinian nationalism from its more natural stance, and the current trend of return to the “one-state” option is a return to a position more in keeping with the deep view of the conflict held throughout by this trend…

           — Hat tip: Barry Rubin [Return to headlines]

Music: Paul McCartney Conciliates Israelis

(ANSAmed) — TEL AVIV, SEPTEMBER 26 — With a delay of almost two generations, Israel reconciled with a myth, the Beatles, of which 43 years ago it was probably not able to understand the far-ranging importance: the country hugged in a warm embrace Paul McCartney who in Yarkon park, the biggest in Tel Aviv, held last night a concert which will remain in the history of the Jewish state, which at the time of David Ben Gurion had prohibited the concert of the four boys from Liverpool, in fear that their songs might have a destabilising effect and lead the young people astray. To break the ice at the beginning of the concert, McCartney — holding his loyal bass guitar Hofner — greeted the audience with “Shalom”, followed by a sentence in Hebrew. The sentence actually was incomprehensible, not so much because of the foreign accent of the singer, but because of the roaring of the crowd, which overpowered also the hundreds of thousands watts of the loudspeakers. The former Beatle did not show off airs of being a living legend. Though strongly limited by the security, he joked and made fun of the well-known metropolitan legend according to which he is actually the lookalike of McCartney himself, victim of an accident in 1966 and immediately replaced, not to compromise the success of the band, which was rocketing at the time. “A newspaper here reminded me of that story but I want to reassure you, I really am Paul McCartney in the flesh”, he said in an interview. The boy Paul’, as somebody said, commenting his youthful appearance despite being 66 years of age, with disarming simplicity managed to respond to the Arab fundamentalists (including some Palestinian groups), which accused him of doing propaganda for Israel and warned him not to come. The first song selected by him was, meaningfully, Hello Goodbyé, one of the Beatles’ evergreens. Then he continued by alternating his own songs with others from the nostalgic times, a nostalgia which Israel was able to feel only through the records of the well-known quartet. Maybe a concert is not enough to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, even if on the stage there is Paul McCartney singing Give Peace a Chancé. The former Beatle, though, managed to perform a small miracle, in a country renowned also for its internal conflicts: he established unanimity among the Israelis, whom from now on, it will be possible to greet with a warm Hey Jews’. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East

Expats Fed Up With Turkish Problems, Survey

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 22 — Expats who are in search of a peaceful and tranquil life in Turkey are overwhelmed by a host of problems, including traffic jams, discrimination and bureaucracy, a comprehensive study on expats living in Turkey conducted by the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK) has found. The results of the study, titled ‘Integration of Expats in Turkish Society: Problems and Opportunities,’ were announced at a press conference in Ankara by ISRO/USAK head Sedat Laciner. The study, as Today’s Zaman reports, focused on a variety of issues, such as problems faced by expats, the problems they cause and the reasons they choose to live in Turkey. The problems of living in Turkey that expats cite most are traffic congestion, discrimination and bureaucracy. According to the study, expats have difficulty adapting themselves to the complexity of Turkish bureaucracy, as it is often quite different from what they face in their own countries. Most of them complain about the problems they encounter when purchasing real estate. Expatriates from European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Britain, Germany and Ireland say they have great difficulty settling in Turkey due to problems stemming from the Turkish bureaucracy. Another problem expats face in Turkey is traffic jams and a lack of enforcement of traffic regulations. They complain that even traffic police don’t respect the rules. (ANSAmed).

2008-09-22 14:25

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lebanon: Saudi Arabia Covers Public School Costs

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 22 — Saudi Arabia has offered an aid package worth USD 44 million to cover tuition fees and books for all students registered in public schools for the 2008-2009 academic year. The amount would be divided in three ways: USD 20 million would cover public school tuition fees from kindergarten to grade nine students; USD 20 million to purchase textbooks; and USD 4 million would be transferred to the National Committee to Support Public Schools. Premier Fuad Siniora said that Saudi support had intensified following the 2006 war with Israel, and that it had contributed in the subsequent reconstruction process. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Lebanon: Police Resume Patrolling of Hezbollah Stronghold

(ANSAmed) — BEIRUT, SEPTEMBER 26 — For the first time after 20 years, agents of the Lebanese police force resumed patrolling the southern suburbs of Beirut, traditional stronghold of Hezbollah, under a “security plan” decided by the local government in agreement with the Shiite movement, it was reported by the Lebanese news website ‘NowLebanon’. The online daily, quoting an anonymous source from the leadership of the Forces of Internal Security (police), specified that the “security plan has already entered into force with the activation of the first patrols in the district”, known also as Dahiye (suburbs), since the end of the ‘80 under the full control of the security system of the Party of God. The police source added that ‘‘the agreement between Hezbollah and the Interior Ministry was reached as part of the efforts, carried out in the entire country, towards the detente between the Shiite movement and the authorities of Beirut”, after the violent clashes which took place in May in the capital, between the supporters of the Party of God, backed by Syria and Iran, and the anti-Syrian Sunni followers. “The target of the security plan is to fight ordinary crime, on the rise in Dahiye, while police agents will not have authority over the armed men of Hezbollah, who will instead be able to facilitate the task of the police forces”, the source concluded. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Trial of Anti Militarist Transsexual Singer Begins

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 24 — The trial of popular Turkish transsexual singer Bulent Ersoy, who in the end of May was charged with trying to turn the public against military service following her comments made in a popular television talk show, started this morning in Istanbul. On that occasion Ersoy, referring to the increasing number of Turkish military dying in combats with Kurdish separatists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said that if she had a son she would never let him fight “the wars of other peoples”. In these words the investigating judge Ali Chakir saw an attempt at “dissuading people from military service”, a crime punished under article 318 of the Penal Code, and wrote on the indictment that the Turkish people attaches great importance to the military service so that it can even be said that “every Turk is born a soldier”. Military service is obligatory in Turkey — for a period of between six and 15 months according to the decree of education — at age 18 and the right to conscientious objection is not recognised. The singer, who is aged 56, did not turn up for the first hearing of the trial, on June 18, since she was on a tour and the judge threatened to have her brought to court in case she fails to appear today. Today in court Ersoy admitted she had made the statements in question and repeated her position while claiming her innocence. “I spoke in the name of humanity and even if I am condemned to death, I will repeat the same: we have to find a solution instead of killing each other,” she said. Bulent Ersoy risks three years in prison if found guilty. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: Retired General Tolon Hospitalized

(ANSAmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 24 — Retired Turkish General Hursit Tolon, who was placed in prison as part of the ‘Ergenekon’ case, has been hospitalized on Wednesday, Turkish Ntv said. No statement has been released on Tolon’s medical condition. Tolon is currently at the Kocaeli State Hospital where security measures are very high. An alleged criminal network that came to be known as ‘Ergenekon’ was revealed after police seized hand grenades, TNT explosives and fuses in a shanty house in Istanbul on June 12th, 2007. Several Turkish figures, including retired senior army officers, were detained and sent to prison within the scope of the investigation. The indictment regarding Operation Ergenekon’ was filed at an Istanbul court, indicting 86 people on charges of attempting to overthrow Turkish government. The 2,455-page indictment includes 86 suspects, most of whom are in prison. An Istanbul court will hold the first hearing of the case on October 20th. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Turkey: 50% of Women Do Not Need Economic Indipendence, Poll

(ANSmed) — ANKARA, SEPTEMBER 24 — Almost half of urban Turkish women believe economic independence is unnecessary and younger generations seem to share this view more than the older ones, as local press reports. Under the framework of a series of research into women and entrepreneurship in Turkey this first poll by the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey, Kagider, measures the attitude of women in Turkey toward entrepreneurship and their perceptions. The poll asked whether they would agree with the statement that women should have economic independence and 45% of them said they did not agree, while 45% said they agreed with the statement. Another significant finding from the research was that almost 50% of women between 15 and 19 believed the woman’s place was at home near the children. “The new generation is scared as they see the costs paid by those women who said business is first and they don’t want to experience the same difficulties”, psycologist Leyla Navaro, said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]


FSB and Its Patron Saint

A Russian religious group called Union of Russian Orthodox Citizens proposed promoting teh Saint Alexander Nevsky to the role of the patron saint of FSB — the Russian federal security service, the main successor of KGB. Here is Alexander:

When you stop laughing at the mere idea of a saint overlooking the essentially dirty business of the (not so) august organ, consider the following:

Alexander Nevsky is the person to whom the inspirational slogan “Whoever will come to us with a sword, from a sword will perish” is ascribed. This text inspired, between other things, the famous KGB shield and sword emblem. So the hereditary lines are easy to trace.

The second reason why the good folks of the Union proposed Alexander as a patron is to prevent implementation of another brilliant idea, offered by a member of the Duma (the Russian parliament): to return the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the bloody founder of the Bolshevik secret police, the Cheka, to its original location on Lubyanka Square. The historic haunts of the Cheka, NKVD, KGB and now FSB. It is not that the Union minds Derzhinsky’s blood thirst, it is rather that he was a raving atheist and invested quite an effort in elimination of the church and its clerics.

           — Hat tip: Abu Elvis [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Afghanistan: NATO Commander Calls for More to Fight Drug Trade

Kabul, 24 Sept. (AKI) — By Giovanni Del Re — Afghanistan’s drugs trade has become a key obstacle in international efforts to stabilise the country, according to NATO’s top European commander, General John Craddock.

“I requested additional authorisation to permit ISAF to directly go after drug bosses and drug traffic facilities,” Craddock told Adnkronos International (AKI).

Craddock was on a visit to the Afghan capital, Kabul, for meetings with commanders from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

“Afghanistan is gaining in capability and size but is it adequate to the task?” Craddock asked.

“The authorisations for ISAF in the operation plan are to provide assistance to Afghan anti-narcotics forces, but these authorisations are not enough,” Craddock added.

“The UN estimates a total of 60 to 100 million dollars go to the insurgency,” he said. “They buy the explosives (and) the bomb makers pay the soldiers who pull the triggers who kill our soldiers. We cannot let this go on, we must do this to reduce risks for ISAF soldiers.”

“The issue is still controversial. Some countries are dragging their feet. I am very engaged on the issue and will speak with every single ally until they understand what is at stake.”

Italy, France and Germany are reportedly among the main objectors to ISAF targeting the Afghan drug lords, according to unnamed AKI sources.

ISAF currently has 53,000 troops from 40 countries in Afghanistan, NATO’s largest ground operation outside Europe.

Around 100 million dollars from the drugs trade have been poured into the insurgency, especially the Taliban, strengthening them as a fighting force against the international troops.

The United Nations estimates that revenues from Afghanistan’s drugs trade amounted to 5 billion dollars in 2007, equivalent to half the country’s national income.

A massive 90 percent of the heroin that reaches Europe comes from Afghanistan.

One positive trend is that the number of provinces free from opium has increased from 13 to 18 out of 34, according a recent UN report on the drugs trade.

The head of the UN’s anti-drugs agency UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, has called on NATO to give more concrete assistance in eradicating opium cultivation in Afghanistan.

Costa suggested that ISAF consider expanding its anti-drug support to destroying heroin processing facilities and to intercepting drug convoys, as well as identifying and disrupting major traffickers.

He also said international forces in Afghanistan needed to regain military control of the provinces where opium is still being cultivated on a large scale.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

In India, Surrogacy Has Become a Global Business

They come from Europe, Asia and America. Couples unable to have their own children are finding a booming market for surrogate motherhood in India. But what happens when a baby is born that suddenly belongs to no one?

Manji has six mothers. She’s a healthy baby girl, weighing in at three kilograms (6 lbs. 10 oz.), with dark, downy hair on her head. She was brought into the world by Caesarean section at 2:41 p.m. on July 25, 2008. She is a pretty baby, with a perfectly round face and slightly protruding ears.

Manji’s first mother is a Japanese woman. Last fall, she and her husband traveled to India to make the arrangements for Manji at Kaival Hospital in Anand, a city in the state of Gujarat. Mothers two and three were waiting at the clinic, which specializes in the treatment of infertility. Manji’s second mother donated her egg cell, the father gave his sperm and her third mother provided the use of her womb. On Nov. 22, 2007, Manji, now an embryo, was transferred into the body of an Indian woman, where she began to grow. But just one month before her birth, the people who had planned her procreation got divorced. Suddenly Manji was motherless.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Kandhamal (Orissa): Man Killed, Dozens of Christians’ Homes Burned

The police have sent an additional 700 officers, but the violence continues. Interior minister: the attacks against the Christians are “systematic”. It is feared that the violence is also motivated by the upcoming elections, and could last until May of 2009.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) — A man was killed, and dozens of homes belonging to Christians were burned yesterday in a new flareup of violence against Christians in Orissa.

Various incidents took place in Raikia, Tikabati, and G. Udaygiri, in the district of Kandhamal, the epicenter of the attacks that began a month ago. Groups of Hindu radicals have blocked dozens of streets with felled trees, to make it harder for police to reach the area and to continue the pogrom against the Christians. Yesterday, in the village of Sirsipanga, Hindu fundamentalists set fire to dozens of homes belonging to Christians. One group of Christians reacted and there were clashes, without any intervention by the police. Two people were wounded, one seriously, who later died at the hospital. According to the newspaper The Hindu, the dead man was one of the fundamentalists, while the other man wounded was a Christian. But the Times of India reports the statement from a policeman according to whom the dead man was a Christian. Later in the day AsiaNews sources have confermed that the man killed was one of the Hindu mob who wanted to destroy the Christian village.

The Christians of India continue to hold demonstrations, calling for intervention by the authorities of Orissa and of the national government, to put an end to the destruction and killing (see photo). The government of Orissa (dominated by the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party) is suspected of complicity with the violence. The police sometimes seem to be supporting the attacks, or at least incapable of stopping them.

After yesterday’s destruction, the inspector general of the police in Orissa said that he has sent 700 more paramilitary troops to the district of Kandhamal, in addition to the 3,000 already deployed. But the violence continues.

M L Kumawat, a representative of the national interior ministry, says that the attacks against Christians in Orissa are “very systematic”, and describes the state as a place where “lawlessness” is rampant.

The All India Christian Council (AICC), which includes thousands of Christian groups and associations, in a statement released today, says that the Christians of India are “disillusioned” at seeing that a month after the violence began, there has been no “significant action” on the part of the central government and of Orissa. The AICC is afraid that “premeditated” violence could last until the general elections next year, which are supposed to be held by May of 2009.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Pakistan: Taliban War Now Threatens to Reach Beyond Tribal Areas

(AKI) — By Syed Saleem Shahzad — The Taliban rebellion which has gripped Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan is gaining strength and threatening to escalate in other parts of the country.

The tribal areas of the NWFP that border Afghanistan are steadily falling to a creeping Taliban-led militancy. Military operations have proved ineffective and the militants have rejected offers of any ceasefire while government offices, the Chief Minister’s house and military camps are now under attack in the area as well.

More than 100 Pakistani soldiers have been captured during operations to control militants in the Bajaur agency and the armed forces do not know about how to handle operations in the tribal areas. If security forces use jet fighters, militants slip into the thick forests of Kunar in Afghanistan through the maze of mountains on the border and if they advance overland, they immediately come under attack.

On Wednesday, all exit and entry routes leading to the Chief Minister’s House and the Governor’s House were closed, after the provincial capital of Peshawar came under intense attack this week,

Four rockets were fired on the airport on Monday and again Tuesday. The main oil depot of the city which provides the city’s fuel supplies and power generating stations, came under attack on Sunday but fortunately the target missed or the city would have been plunged into darkness for two weeks.

The Kohot Tunnel, the main trade route of the province has been closed for the last sixteen days due to military operations in the Dara Adam Khail.

On Tuesday, the impartial Taliban commander Abdul Wali declared war on the security forces in the adjacent Mohmand Agency, immediately to the south of Bajaur, and sent hundreds of new militants to attack security forces there.

The region around Peshawar, capital of the North-West Frontier Province, including Shabqadar, Charsada, Matni has been a battle ground between the security forces and the Taliban.

In the Swat Valley, the Taliban have once again reinforced their position by renewing attacks on security forces. In the strategic Khyber Agency which is a main NATO route for the supplies to Afghanistan, a jirga (or tribal council) announced the closure of offices belonging to all religious and social organisations in the tribal agency.

The Taliban seized four containers there this week and militants told Adnkronos International (AKI) that the containers were carrying food items and water for NATO troops.

“As our national defence strategy appears to have collapsed, our own proxies — the Taliban and the Jihadis — are now waging a war on Pakistan itself and have killed 10,267 Pakistanis in five years, which is 6,000 more deaths than the total number of Pakistani lives lost in the Pakistan-India War of 1965, “ wrote Farrukh Saleem, Executive Director of Center for Research and Security Studies, a regional security think tank recently. “It’s neither about religion nor about tribal traditions.

“Our national defence strategy has long been dependent on the use of the Taliban in the West and the Jihadis pinning down elements of India’s 9, 10, 14, 15 and 16 Corps in the north-east.” Saleem said.

After the devastating suicide attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad killed more than 80 people and injured 260 others on Saturday the sense of vulnerability to the militants has deepened in Pakistan.

“As a military officer who served for 40 years I can tell that we can defeat any army of the world but cannot motivate our men to fight against our own people,” said Retired Major General Jamshed Ayaz in a local TV talk show. Jamshed is the head of a national think-tank called the Institute of Regional Studies.

According to the senior government sources, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari talked to US officials about establishing a joint force comprising Americans, Afghans and Pakistanis to hunt down the Taliban.

The prime minister advisor on Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik tried to approach Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud, in South Wazirsitan and Tehreek-e-Taliban leader, Maulana Faqir Muhammed, in Bajaur to solicit a ceasefire agreement. But militant sources told AKI that the government offer was rejected by the militants.

“After 9/11, we have lost at least two legs of our national defence strategy. As if losing two legs wasn’t enough, our Jihadis and our Taliban, the very tools of our foreign policy, are on the loose,” said Saleem.

“Our ex-proxies are hitting back at the very soul of Pakistan. It’s neither about religion nor about tribal traditions. This is an active insurgency whereby our ex-proxies are struggling to suck the soul out of the nation-state called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and then hold physical terrain from where they can affect their agenda.

“Our one-time proxies have challenged the state for control of a portion of its territory. The outside world, meanwhile, is out to contain us and stop our violence from spreading. Our national defence strategy has long been due for a major makeover. But, we have long been in a state of denial. Pakistan is truly under siege; under siege because of the proxies we keep.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Revealed: Secret Taliban Peace Bid

Saudis are sponsoring a peace dialogue involving a former senior member of the hardline group The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging ‘peace process’ sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, The Observer can reveal.

The unprecedented negotiations involve a senior former member of the hardline Islamist movement travelling between Kabul, the bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and European capitals. Britain has provided logistic and diplomatic support for the talks — despite official statements that negotiations can be held only with Taliban who are ready to renounce, or have renounced, violence.

Sources in Afghanistan confirmed the controversial talks, though they said that in recent weeks they had ‘lost momentum’. According to Afghan government officials in Kabul, the intensity of the fighting this summer has been one factor. Another is the inconsistency of the Taliban’s demands.

‘They keep changing what they are asking for. One day it is one thing, the next another,’ one Afghan government adviser with knowledge of the negotiations said. One aim of the initiative is to drive a wedge between Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Last week the French Prime Minister, François Fillon, referred indirectly to the talks during a parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. ‘We must explore ways of separating the international jihadists from those who are acting more for nationalist or tribal motives. Efforts in this direction are being led by Sunni [Muslim] countries such as Saudi Arabia,’ he said..

This summer’s fighting season in Afghanistan has been the most violent since the invasion of 2001. The deterioration of the situation has provoked a major review of strategy among the 40-nation international coalition pitted against an increasingly confident and effective insurgency.

Although there have been low-level contacts with individual Taliban commanders at district level before, the Saudi initiative is the first attempt to talk to the Taliban leadership council based in or around the south-west Pakistan city of Quetta, known as the ‘Quetta Shura’.

The talks started in the summer and have been brokered by Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Afghan government. The go-between has spent weeks ferrying lists of demands and counter-demands between the Afghan capital, Riyadh and Quetta. He has also visited London to speak to Foreign Office and MI6 personnel. A delegation from Saudi intelligence has also visited Kabul..

The Taliban are understood to have submitted a list of 11 conditions for ending hostilities, which include demands to be allowed to run key ministries and a programmed withdrawal of western troops. […]

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Australia — Pacific

One in Ten Aussies Racial Supremacists: Survey

One in ten Australians believe some races are superior to others and Muslims are the most unpopular group in the country, the lead author of a new study said Sunday.

Professor Kevin Dunn from the University of Western Sydney said a 10-year study of 12,500 people found that Australians were generally tolerant, with more than 80 percent viewing cultural diversity as beneficial.

But about 10 percent of the population was racial supremacists.

“Only about one in ten people across the various states would hold those views nowadays,” Dunn told AFP.

“ There’s stronger levels of social distance or fear of Islam or concern about Islam than of any other group at the moment “

“It’s better than in many other parts of the world, certainly in parts of western Europe where three in ten people would hold those views,” he said.

“But one in ten is a lot. It means one person in every lunch room, one person in every locker room, five or ten people on a train,” Dunn added.

Dunn, a professor of human geography and urban studies, said

Muslims were most often seen as the group that did not “fit in” to Australian life.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

Sub-Saharan Africa

Pirates Die Strangely After Taking Iranian Ship

A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates. Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill “within days” of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died.

Andrew Mwangura, the director of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told the Sunday Times: “We don’t know exactly how many, but the information that I am getting is that some of them had died. There is something very wrong about that ship.”

The vessel’s declared cargo consists of “minerals” and “industrial products”. But officials involved in negotiations over the ship are convinced that it was sailing for Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia’s Islamist rebels.

The drama over the Iran Deyanat comes as speculation grew this week about whether the South African Navy would send a vessel to join the growing multinational force in the region.

A naval spokesman, Lieutenant-Commander Greyling van den Berg, told the Sunday Times that the navy had not been ordered by the government to become involved in “the Somali pirate issue”.

About 22000 ships a year pass through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden, where regional instability and “no-questions-asked” ransom payments have led to a dramatic rise in attacks on vessels by heavily armed Somali raiders in speedboats.

The Iran Deyanat was sailing in those waters on August 21, past the Horn of Africa and about 80 nautical miles southeast of Yemen, when it was boarded by about 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. They were alleged members of a crime syndicate said to be based at Eyl, a small fishing village in northern Somalia.

The ship is owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, or IRISL, a state-owned company run by the Iranian military.

According to the US Treasury Department, the IRISL regularly falsifies shipping documents to hide the identity of end users, uses generic terms to describe shipments and operates under various covers to circumvent United Nations sanctions.

The ship set sail from Nanjing, China, at the end of July. According to its manifest, it was heading for Rotterdam where it would unload 42500 tons of iron ore and “industrial products” purchased by a German client.

At Eyl, the ship was secured by more pirates — about 50 on board, and another 50 on shore. But within days those who had boarded the ship developed mysterious health trouble. This was also confirmed by Hassan Allore Osman, minister of minerals and oil in Puntland, an autonomous region of Somalia.

He headed a delegation sent to Eyl when news of the toxic cargo and illnesses surfaced.

He told one news publication, The Long War Journal, that during the six days he had negotiated with the pirates, a number of them had become sick and died. “That ship is unusual,” he was quoted as saying. “It is not carrying a normal shipment.” The pirates did reveal that they had tried to inspect the ship’s cargo containers when some of them fell sick — but the containers were locked.

Osman’s delegation spoke to the ship’s captain and its engineer by cellphone, demanding to know more about the cargo. Initially it was claimed the cargo contained “crude oil”; later it was said to be “minerals”.

And Mwangura has added: “Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals.” But IRISL has denied that — and threatened legal action against Mwangura. The company has reportedly paid the pirates 200000 — the first of several “ransom instalments”, but that, too, has been denied.

—- Caption: “Empire Strikes Back: The Russian frigate Neustrashimy, which was sent to the coast of Somalia this week after a Ukrainian ship carrying arms, including 33 T-72 tanks, was also hijacked by Somali pirates”

“Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals”

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

US Destroyer Monitoring Hijacked Ship Off Somalia

A heavily armed U.S. destroyer was stationed off the coast of Somalia on Sunday, making sure that pirates there don’t remove tanks, ammunition and other heavy weapons from a hijacked Ukrainian cargo ship.

A man claiming to be a spokesman for the pirates says they want US$35 million to free the cargo ship Faina and warned of dire consequences if any military action was taken to try to free the ship. […]

In a rare gesture of cooperation, the Americans appeared to be keeping an eye on the Faina until the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy, or Intrepid, reaches the area. The Russian ship was still somewhere in the Atlantic on Sunday, the Russian navy reported.

U.S. Navy Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the United States’ 5th Fleet, said the San Diego-based USS Howard had the Faina in sight Sunday but “cannot hear what is going on” aboard the hijacked ship. Christensen said the Navy has tried to communicate with the Faina’s crew but so far hasn’t gotten a response.

The Navy remains “deeply concerned” over the fate of 21-member crew and the ship’s cargo, he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “What’s on board is of concern to us as much as the criminal activity,” Christensen said, adding that the Navy does not want the tanks and other weapons to end up “in the wrong hands.”

Another U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Howard was within a few thousand yards of the Faina, which was anchored a few miles off the Somalia coast.

Pirate attacks worldwide have surged this year and Africa remains the world’s top piracy hotspot, with 24 reported attacks in Somalia and 18 in Nigeria this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center. […]

The USS Howard’s Web site says it has surface-to-air missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles, anti-submarine rockets, torpedoes, and a five-inch rapid-fire deck gun. […]

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]


Former Head of Canadian Immigration Service Tells Politicians Involved in This Election to Tell the Truth : Our Immigration Levels Are Too High

The bulletin is an OP-ED which was written by James Bissett, former Head of Canada’s Immigration Service, and published last week in The Ottawa Citizen and The Montreal Gazette. In The Globe and Mail today, September 22, Columnist Lawrence Martin elaborates on Mr. Bissett’s views and asks why such an important issue is not receiving the critical attention it deserves in this election.

In his OP-ED, Mr. Bissett criticizes what the leaders of all of Canada’s political parties are doing in this election campaign: “climbing over each other promising to increase the number of immigrants”. He says that immigration levels are already far too high and that all the parties have to acknowledge this now.

James Bissett is not just one more commentator on the immigration issue. He helped develop Canada’s point system in the 1960’s. For five years, he was the head of the entire Canadian immigration service. He has written much thoughtful and articulate criticism of Canada’s immigration policies.

He knows more about immigration than any of the current leaders of Canada’s political parties and their immigration critics. His expertise obviously far exceeds that of Canada’s immigration industry and the municipal, provincial and federal politicians who have cheerled high immigration levels—-and who have received so much attention in doing so.

Mr. Bissett has also been a Canadian ambassador for many years. He has considerable stature on the Canadian stage.


Truth and immigration

Rather than climbing over each other promising to increase the number of immigrants to Canada, party leaders should acknowledge that levels are already too high

James Bissett

The Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We sometimes complain about politicians who don’t do what they promise to do after they get elected. Ironically, it is sometimes much better for the country when some of these promises are broken.

Let’s hope, for example, that the promises made by our political leaders to raise immigration levels and provide more money for immigrant organizations are not kept.

Either our political leaders do not know that Canada is facing an immigration crisis or they care more about gaining a few more so-called “ethnic voters” than they do about telling the truth about immigration.

Canada is taking far too many immigrants and the leaders of all the parties are promising to take even more.

There are already close to a million immigrants waiting in the backlog to come here. They have all met the requirements and by law must be admitted. There is also a backlog of 62,000 asylum seekers before the refugee board and even if these are not found to be genuine refugees most will be allowed to stay. In addition, there are between 150,000 and 200,000 temporary workers now in the country and here again it is unlikely many of them will ever go home.

Despite these extraordinary numbers, the Harper government wants to raise the immigration intake next year to 265,000. The Liberals and the New Democrats have said they want even more, as much as one per cent of our population, or 333,000 each year.

These are enormous numbers and even in the best of times would place a serious burden on the economy and on the already strained infrastructure of the three major urban centres where most of them would end up.

Let’s face the facts — when there is a turndown in the world economy and dire predictions of serious recession or worse this is not the time to be bringing thousands of newcomers to Canada. In July of this year, Ontario alone lost 55,000 jobs — so what is the rationale for more immigration? The fact is there is no valid rationale. There is only one reason why our political parties push for high immigration intake and that is they see every new immigrant as a potential vote for their party. This is not only irresponsible; it borders on culpable negligence.

There are few economists today who argue that immigration helps the economy in any significant way. Studies in Canada since the mid-1980s have pointed out that immigration has little impact on the economic welfare of the receiving country and similar studies in the United States and Britain have reached the same conclusion. Comprehensive studies by George Borjas, the world’s most renowned immigration economist at Harvard have shown that immigration’s only significant impact is to reduce the wages of native workers.

Our politicians justify their desire for more immigrants by raising the spectre of an aging population and tell us immigration is the only answer to this dilemma, and yet there is not a shred of truth to this argument. Immigration does not provide the answer to population aging and there is a multiplicity of studies done in Canada and elsewhere that proves this.

Moreover, there is no evidence that a larger labour force necessarily leads to economic progress. Many countries whose labour forces are shrinking are still enjoying economic buoyancy. Finland, Switzerland and Japan are only a few examples of countries that do not rely on massive immigration to succeed.

Productivity is the answer to economic success, not a larger population.

Most Canadians assume that our immigrants are selected because they have skills, training and education that will enable them to enhance our labour force but only about 18 to 20 per cent of our immigrants are selected for economic factors. By far the bulk of the immigrants we receive come here because they are sponsored by relatives or because of so-called humanitarian reasons and none of these have to meet the “points system” of selection.

This is why over 50 per cent of recent immigrants are living below the poverty line and why they are not earning nearly the wages paid to equivalent Canadian workers.

It also explains why a study published this year by professor Herbert Grubel of Simon Fraser University revealed that the 2.5 million immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 received $18.3 billion more in government services and benefits in 2002 than they paid in taxes. As Prof. Grubel points out, this amount is more than the federal government spent on health care and twice what was spent on defence in the fiscal year of 2000/2001. Isn’t it time our party leaders were made aware of this study?

In the discussions about immigration we never hear from our political leaders about the serious environmental problems caused by the addition of over a quarter of a million immigrants each year. Most of our immigrants are coming from developing countries of Asia where their “ecological footprint” is tiny compared to the average Canadian but within months of arrival here the immigrant’s footprint has increased to our giant size.

We have already experienced the impact mass migration has had on the health, education, traffic, social services and crime rates of our three major urban centres. It may be that cutting the immigration flow in half would do more than any gas tax to help reduce our environmental pollution.

If immigration is to be an issue in the election campaign then let us insist that the real issues be discussed and that our politicians contribute more to the debate than promising higher levels and more money to immigrant groups. Canadians and immigrants deserve better.

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Abortion: Spain; Bishops, Catholics Oppose With All Means

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 24 — “The principle of respect for the right to live cannot be subjected to the opinion of majorities or minorities” because “it is beyond the public opinion”, the president of the Spanish Episcopal conference, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, said today in Madrid, referring to a new abortion bill announced by the government. At a meeting organised by Europa Press, the archbishop of Madrid said he would approve if Spanish Catholics, as well as other citizens, “use all instruments offered by the state of right to open an intellectual discussion”. Among these the president of the Spanish Episcopal conference cited the rights “to rallies, expression or meeting” in order to “support our vision of the right to live”. Asked whether the Church would be willing to take to the streets, like it did in the past when it rallied against same sex marriages and quick divorce procedures, Ruoco Varela said he “does not exclude” the possibility but insisted that “when the time comes for that secularists will do it”. As for the mandatory civic education, to which the ecclesiastic hierarchy has opposed, the archbishop of Madrid said that Spanish bishops still “hope and believe” that they would be able to reach an agreement with the government on the contents of the subject, underlining that “the normal thing” would be “to focus on the rights of the citizens, without referring to moral values”. He defended the right of parents to use “all legitimate means”, including conscientious objection, to make decisions about their children’s education. Finally, Rouco Varela defined as “unnecessary” the Historical Memory Law because it deals with “an issue which is reconciled, appeased and resolved”. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

BBC Investigated After Peer Says Climate Change Programme Was Biased ‘One-Sided Polemic’

The BBC is being investigated by television watchdogs after a leading climate change sceptic claimed his views were deliberately misrepresented.

Lord Monckton, a former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, says he was made to look like a ‘potty peer’ on a TV programme that ‘was a one-sided polemic for the new religion of global warming’.

Earth: The Climate Wars, which was broadcast on BBC 2, was billed as a definitive guide to the history of global warming, including arguments for and against.

During the series, Dr Iain Stewart, a geologist, interviewed leading climate change sceptics, including Lord Monckton. But the peer complained to Ofcom that the broadcast had been unfairly edited.

‘I very much hope Ofcom will do something about this,’ he said yesterday.

‘The BBC very gravely misrepresented me and several others, as well as the science behind our argument. It is a breach of its code of conduct.

‘I was interviewed for 90 minutes and all my views were backed up by sound scientific data, but this was all omitted. They made it sound as if these were just my personal views, as if I was some potty peer. It was caddish of them.’

Ofcom confirmed it was looking into a ‘fairness complaint’ about the documentary.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We stand by the programme.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]


Iran Escapes Further Sanctions in New UN Security Council Resolution

Iran will not face any new sanctions proposed by the United States and its allies, but must halt any nuclear enrichment work, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted on Saturday.

The new resolution calls for Iran to “comply fully and without delay” with previous motions to halt enrichment. The agreement was made on Friday by the five permanent Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and Germany on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

It also urges Iran to meet the requirements of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, which has said that Iran is not cooperating.

Iran, which insists that all nuclear work is for civilian purposes, denounced the move, saying: “Such moves are unwarranted and unconstructive.”

The statement by Iran’s UN mission added that all council moves on Tehran’s nuclear program “lack not only fairness and objectivity, but also relevance and lawfulness.”

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Re-Emergence of Fujian H5N1 in Southeastern Russia

The above translation [see translation at the URL] describes new bird flu outbreaks in southeastern Russia. The translations do not identify the infected birds or provide direct comments on the identity of the bird flu, but the comparison to outbreaks in southeast Asia and comments on the earlier outbreak in the spring, strongly suggest the Fujian strain of H5N1 has re-emerged in Russia at locations along the coast in areas adjacent to China and North Korea (see satellite map).

Full sequences from an isolate from the outbreak in the spring have been released. The HA is clade 2.3.2, while the remaining seven gene segments are clade 2.3.4. These sequences are virtually identical to multiple isolates from northern Japan from Akita, Hokkaido, and Aomori. Although South Korea has not released sequences, media reports indicate the H5N1 from the spring Korean outbreak are also closely related to the published sequences.

The spring outbreaks in the whooper swans in Japan were linked to migration to the north. Although Russia reported excessive poultry deaths in Kamchatka over the summer, H5N1 outbreaks were denied… [see original for the many links to maps and sequences]

           — Hat tip: Dymphna [Return to headlines]

The Muslim v. Christian Battle for the Mediterranean

Roger Crowley has written a fascinating account of the war for the Mediterranean that the Turks called the White Sea. Empires of the Sea, The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World is an important book that covers a roughly 50 year period from 1521 when Suleiman the “Magnificent” of the Ottoman Turk empire began his conquest of Rhodes.

It ends with the Christian naval victory at Lepanto in one of the largest sea battles in history. In between both sides attempted to control the sea and both had their pirates, but none were more brutal that the Muslims Barbarossa. Christians were kidnapped and turned into galley slaves whose conditions made the trans Atlantic slave trade look like a vacation cruise. The number of Christians taken as slaves far exceeded the African slave trade of the same period.

The slaves were chained to their oars and were never permitted to leave them until their death which was usually within two years of capture. They had to eat sleep and relieve themselves while chained to the oars. They were regularly beaten to get them to work harder in battles with Christian ships that were being attacked.

After the Christians were driven off the Island of Rhodes both sides drifted in to raiding strategies with the Muslims doing most of the damage. The Spanish used some of the wealth they took from the new world to build fleets to take on the Turk challenge but often these fleets incurred expensive disasters.

It was not until Don Juan, the illegitimate half brother of King Phillip of Spain, was given command of the Christian fleet and with the urging of a new Pope that the Christians had a credible threat. The Christians had just survived a brutal siege of Malta. BTW, the book discloses the story behind the Maltese Falcon.

           — Hat tip: Prairie Pundit [Return to headlines]

Did Prehistoric Europeans Invent Wheeled Vehicles?

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.

I have written before about the Indo-European languages, a fascinating window into European and Eurasian prehistory. Proto-Indo-European almost certainly existed as a living language by 3500 BC because it contains words related to wheeled vehicles, which were invented at about this time. The IE expansion began, most likely from the Black Sea region of Southeastern Europe, shortly after this. The PIE language soon started breaking up and was almost certainly dead by 2500 BC, at which point the beginnings of the various IE branches slowly began to emerge. The IE expansion had not yet reached far western, southern or northern Europe at this point. For instance, the people who built Stonehenge in England did not speak an Indo-European language. The Iron Age Celts appeared in the British Isles after Stonehenge had been completed.

There are no written records of the Proto-Indo-European language itself. It was spoken in the fourth millennium BC, when only Sumerian and eventually Egyptian existed as written languages. The first written records of Indo-European languages are of Hittite and Linear B (ancient Greek) from the second millennium BC, at which point PIE had definitely been dead for many centuries. But since comparative linguistics as a science has become quite sophisticated, we can reconstruct, through the later attested Indo-European languages, much of the vocabulary of the PIE language. One of the best books on the subject is The Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European and the Proto-Indo-European World by J. P. Mallory and D. Q. Adams, which I haven’t read yet. The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World by David W. Anthony, which I have read, is fascinating. According to Anthony:

Horse Wheel LanguageIndo-European linguists are improving their methods and making new discoveries. They have reconstructed the basic forms and meanings of thousands of words from the Proto-Indo-European vocabulary — itself an astonishing feat. Those words can be analyzed to describe the thoughts, values, concerns, family relations, and religious beliefs of the people who spoke them. But first we have to figure out where and when they lived. If we can combine the Proto-Indo-European vocabulary with a specific set of archaeological remains, it might be possible to move beyond the usual limitations of archaeological knowledge and achieve a much richer knowledge of these particular ancestors. I believe with many others that the Proto-Indo-European homeland was located in the steppes north of the Black and Caspian Seas in what is today southern Ukraine and Russia. The case for a steppe homeland is stronger today than in the past partly because of dramatic new archaeological discoveries in the steppes.

It is likely that peoples of the Eurasian steppes were the first to tame the horse, but the earliest wheeled vehicles were apparently ox-drawn carts. The faster horse-drawn war chariot was developed later and contributed to another phase of the Indo-European expansion. Between 1500-1200 BC you could find horse-drawn chariots in use throughout the entire landmass of Eurasia, from the border regions of Shang Dynasty China via Egypt and Anatolia to Sweden. This corresponds to the period of the ancient Vedas and the emergence of Vedic Sanskrit in India. Peoples speaking Indo-European languages have been attested throughout this area.

The Chinese imported the horse and wheeled vehicles, among other things, from the western regions of Eurasia during the second millennium BC. There were thus contacts across West, Central and East Asia at least a thousand years before what is generally seen as the beginning of the Silk Road. E. E. Kuzmina talks about this in The Prehistory of the Silk Road.
– – – – – – – –
In The Making of Bronze Age Eurasia, Philip L. Kohl writes about early clay models of disk wheels and remains of wooden wheels and wagons with wooden wheels:

Wheeled ChariotSuch vehicles are among the earliest known examples of wheeled transport found on the Eurasian steppes. They may be roughly contemporaneous with or perhaps a few hundred years later than the now earliest well-documented carts from moors in northwestern Germany and Denmark (Hayden 1989; 1991: ptc. 7; and Häusler 1981; 1994). On current evidence, the diffusion of the technology of wheeled transport may have just as plausibly spread north to south from northwestern Europe with its forests of useable hard woods to the more open steppes to the southeast and then farther south into Mesopotamia as the reverse (cf. Bakker et al. 1999). The important point is not where this revolutionary technology first originated but rather how quickly it diffused across western Asia, Eurasia, and Europe during the Early Bronze period, underscoring the interconnections among disparate cultures throughout this vast area.

It is true that the technology spread quickly, but the earliest evidence is in Europe. It is quite possible that wheeled vehicles, one of the most important technological innovations in human history, were invented by prehistoric Europeans and were associated with the Indo-European expansion. The PIE word for “wheel” relates to words for “to turn, spin” while the words for wheel in Sumerian and Semitic appear to be loanwords from Indo-European. Kohl again:

[I]t is roughly around the middle of the fourth millennium BC that wheeled transport fist appears, stretching across a vast interconnected region from northern Europe to southern Mesopotamia (Bakker et al. 1999). The precise determination of which area or which archaeological culture first developed wheeled vehicles may prove impossible to document archaeologically simply because the technology diffused as rapidly as it did across this vast contiguous area. The question of origins, however, is much less significant than this phenomenon of convergence, this almost simultaneous evidence for the early use of wheeled vehicles stretching from northern Germany and southern Poland south across Anatolia to southern Mesopotamia, beginning ca. 3500 BC or immediately after the collapse of the gigantic Tripol’ye settlements….It is shortly after the introduction of wheeled transport that evidence for its massive utilization on the western Eurasian steppes is documented in the excavation of scores of kurgans containing wheeled carts with tripartite wooden wheels. These were not the chariots of a military aristocracy but the heavy, ponderous carts and wagons of cowboys who were developing a form of mobile Bronze Age pastoral economy that fundamentally differed from the classic Eurasian nomadism that is later attested historically and ethnographically.

Andrew Bostom: “Confronting a Mendacious Bully”

As most of you know, for the past year Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs has been attacking many people in the right-wing Counterjihad, including Fjordman, Diana West, Dymphna, and me, accusing us of being “fascist-enablers” and other appropriately odious labels for being willing to associate with Vlaams Belang and other groups he considers “neo-Nazis”.

Late last year I swore off posting about the conflict, and mostly I’ve kept my pledge. From time to time, however, both Fjordman and I have brought the topic up whenever it was necessary.

Today is one such time, even if it’s just to write a coda to the whole sorry affair. Yesterday CJ attacked Andrew Bostom in the comments at LGF, and threatened to publish their email exchange.

I happened to attend an event last night at which both Andy Bostom and Robert Spencer were present (more about that later). Andy told us that this latest attack was a bridge too far, and that he was going to pre-empt Charles Johnson by publishing their email exchange himself.

Today he has done just that. Here’s how he begins his post:

Confronting a Mendacious Bully

Anna Julia Cooper (d. 1964, at age 105), the pioneering black American scholar and educator: “Bullies are always cowards at heart and may be credited with a pretty safe instinct in scenting their prey.”

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Charles Johnson doth protest too much. For months I have endured in silence his distressingly stupid and vicious calumnies and threats — private, as well as public — against colleagues and friends — brave, decent souls who, unlike Johnson, are serious scholars, authors, and journalists, investigating the burgeoning threat of violent and non-violent jihadism/ Islamization in Europe.

When Johnson put my dear friend — the perspicacious writer and journalist Diana West — in his crosshairs, I was compelled to break my silence. Following Johnson’s e-mail threat to another close friend — the brilliant scholar and author Robert Spencer — after Raymond Ibrahim (editor/translator of The Al Qaeda Reader) simply blogged a favorable discussion (subsequently removed by Spencer, pace Johnson’s threat!) of Diana West’s September 18, 2008 Town column at the Jihad Watch/Dhimmi Watch website — I noticed that National Review Online had a featured link (on 9/19/08) to the same West column.

As a rather gentle rebuke of Johnson’s bullying (not to mention months of his indiscriminate, irresponsible, and just plain idiotic spraying of charges of “Fascism”), I sent “CJ” an e-mail link to the NRO featured posting of West’s September 18, 2008 essay with the subject line heading, “Lookie!-NRO ‘Fascists’ have featured a link to Diana West’s ‘We are losing Europe to Islam.’“ A week later, when Diana’s follow-up column was also a featured link at NRO (9/26/08), I again forwarded the NRO link with a similar subject heading. And the next day (9/27/08) when social critic Roger Kimball (of The New Criterion, and Pajamas Media) had a lengthy, favorable discussion of West’s 9/26/08 column, I sent another e-mail with the subject line title, “Oh No! ‘Fascist’ Roger Kimball on Cologne and ‘Fascist’ Diana West.”

Johnson responded to this latter e-mail accusing me (on the basis of the three rather innocuous e-mails above, sent during a week) of “stalking” him!

– – – – – – – –

I wrote back in admittedly (albeit deservedly) caustic language highlighting the hypocrisy of Johnson’s attacks on those he perceived (see Anna Julia Cooper’s observation about a bully’s “pretty safe instinct in scenting their prey”) as vulnerable — independent writers and thinkers such as West and Spencer — while lacking the guts to similarly attack well-established conservative icons such as NRO, or Roger Kimball who had endorsed West’s writings (NRO twice, in successive weeks) on the Islamization of Europe.

Johnson then proceeded to blog the comments (below) at his website, which included a “threat” to publish my e-mails to him. Johnson’s warped characterization of my correspondence, and idle threats to “expose” those e-mails reveal his mendacity and prototypical bully cowardice. The e-mails are included below, preceded by Johnson’s public comments at his blog.

There follow the comments and the full email exchange between both parties. Pay a visit Andy’s blog to read the whole thing.

You’ll notice that one of the things Charles said was: “The only thing you’re achieving is to make yourself look like a fool.”

I’ll leave it to our readers (and for posterity) to examine the evidence for themselves and decide who is a fool and a cowardly bully, and who is a fine scholar and a man of integrity.

Your call.

Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/27/2008

Barack Obama as George Wallace
Prosecutors for Obama Hunting for ‘Lying Ads’
Europe and the EU
Four Arrests in North London Linked to Possible “Petrol Bomb” Attack on Jewel of Medina Publisher
Spain: Basque PM, Madrid Violates Human Rights Convention
Spain: Our Financial System is the Best, Zapatero
Spain: Investments Fall for First Time in 12 Years
Mediterranean Union
EU-Syria: Brussels Allots 110 Mln Euro to Support Reforms
Med: Syria; Three-Year 7.3 Mln Euro Innovation Project
North Africa
Algeria: Country Does Not Reject Foreign Capitals
Algeria: USD 29 Bln Trade Surplus Jan-Aug 2008
Morocco: Marriage at Nine, Website Shut Down
Israel and the Palestinians
Middle East: Amnesty Granted to Fatah Militants
Nasrallah: Palestine Belongs to Palestinians From Sea to River
South Asia
Catholic Priest Killed in Meerut Diocese (Agra)
Two Christians Killed in Orissa; Churches Destroyed in Madya Pradesh, Kerala; Missionaries Targeted
Italy: Charity Concert to Raise Awareness About Immigrants
Italy: Immigrants to Stage First Cricket Tournament in Sicily
When Europeans Were Slaves

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, JD, KGS, Larwyn, Paul Green, Steen, TB, VH, and all the other tipsters who sent these in. Details are below the fold.
– – – – – – – –


Barack Obama as George Wallace

Obama supporter and Hollywood mouthpiece Sarah Bernhard said that if VP candidate Sarah Palin comes to Manhattan, she will be gang-raped by Bernhard’s “big black brothers.” Wallace was good at this sick sexual demagoguery, too. During the 1970 race, an Alabama radio station in Anniston played a 30-second ad: “Suppose your wife is driving home at eleven o’clock at night. She is stopped by a highway patrolman. He turns out to be black. Think about it. Elect George C. Wallace.”

Obama is now accumulating and playing more race cards than Wallace could have ever dreamed of doing in 1970. Obama began turning up the heat against his fellow African-Americans during the primary when reports surfaced of “Obama operatives” threatening prominent African-Americans to switch their allegiance from Hillary to Obama.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said the “verbal bludgeoning” reminded him of racist “1950s-style Missouri politics.” Author Tavis Smiley was bombarded with the coordinated bullet-point mantra of “hater, sell-out, traitor” to the race.

Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Hillary’s co-chairwoman, was receiving the most hideous phone calls of her life, and each time she changed her phone number, “they” found her again and again. Five days before the Denver Convention, Jones suffered a massive brain aneurysm and died at Huron Hospital in Cleveland.

As the Hollywood porn-thug rapper P. Diddy would proclaim, “Obama or Die!” Literally.

During this six-month period of harassing black leaders, Obama never issued a statement condemning the actions of the grass-root “surrogates.” George Wallace never condemned the actions of the Klan in 1970.

[Return to headlines]

Devastating!… Dems Caught on Video Refusing to Reform Freddie & Fannie in 2004

The Ménage à trois among the Dems plus Freddie and Fannie

At this 2004 hearing [you can see] Democrat after Democrat, including Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Maxine Waters, cover[ing] up for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Democrats covered up and killed legislation that would reform their cash cows.

Obama has received $105,849 from troubled mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

[see post for list of donations and further revelations regarding the Dems and Freddie and Fannie. A real ménage à trois ]

           — Hat tip: Larwyn [Return to headlines]

Prosecutors for Obama Hunting for ‘Lying Ads’

‘Truth Squad’ using sheriffs, DAs to police bias against candidate

A team of Obama-supporting prosecutors and sheriffs in Missouri is preparing to pursue legal challenges to any presidential campaign ads deemed to be false or misleading.

KMOV-TV in St. Louis reports District Attorney Robert McCulloch, a past president of the National District Attorneys Association, said that whether the ads could be attributed to an opponent’s campaign itself, or another organization, “If they’re not going to tell the truth, somebody’s got to step up and say, ‘That’s not the truth. This is the truth.’“

The effort appeared to be part of a move by the Obama campaign to block advertisements to which it objects. The campaign also sent “threatening” letters to several news agencies in Pennsylvania and Ohio demanding they stop airing ads exposing Obama’s gun stance, according to the National Rifle Association.

[Return to headlines]

Europe and the EU

Election Threatens to Erode Bavarian Conservatives’ National Role

For decades, politics in Bavaria have been synonymous with the Christian Social Union, the state’s sister party to Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. When voters go to the polls on Sunday, the party could lose an absolute majority it has maintained for decades. Is this the end of Germany’s last bastion of old-fashioned conservatism? […]

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Four Arrests in North London Linked to Possible “Petrol Bomb” Attack on Jewel of Medina Publisher

The arrests are thought to be linked to a fire at a property in Islington, north London, which is used as the home and office of publisher Martin Rynja.

His company, Gibson Square, recently agreed to publish a controversial novel about the prophet Muhammad and his child bride, entitled The Jewel of Medina. The blaze, which led to people being evacuated from the house, may have been started by a petrol bomb pushed through the letter box.

Initially, three men, aged 22, 30 and 40, were detained at around 2.25 am this morning in the Islington area of north London after a fire at a property in Lonsdale Square.

Two were stopped by armed officers in Lonsdale Square, and the third was seized following an armed vehicle stop near Angel underground station.

Police are searching four addresses around north-east London — two in Walthamstow, one in Ilford and one in Forest Gate.

The men, who were arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, are being questioned at a central London police station.

Later a fourth person, a woman, was arrested at a property in Ilford for allegedly obstructing the police, a spokesman for Scotland Yard said.

The police confirmed that there has been small fire inside the property in Lonsdale Square, which had to be put out. “At this early stage it is being linked with the arrests,” the spokesman added.

Yard officials have refused to identify those arrested or give any information on the nature of the terrorist plot they are alleged to have been planning.

Residents in Lonsdale Square said armed police, assisted by fire-fighters, broke down the door of number 47 at around 2.30 this morning.

Francesca Liebowitz, 16, who lives five doors away with her parents, said: “The police couldn’t get the door open so the fire brigade battered it down.

“There was smoke coming from around the door, but I don’t know whether that was because of the door being broken down. They evacuated people from the house. It’s a bit scary to have this happen on your doorstep, nothing like this has ever happened round here before.”

A neighbour and friend of Mr Rynja said the company normally published books on current affairs, and said the publisher had never expressed concerns that his work might endanger his safety. A green hoarding covered the doorway to the four-storey town house this afternoon.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Peter Hitchens: China’s New Slave Empire

[…]These poor, hopeless, angry people exist by grubbing for scraps of cobalt and copper ore in the filth and dust of abandoned copper mines in Congo, sinking perilous 80ft shafts by hand, washing their finds in cholera-infected streams full of human filth, then pushing enormous two-hundredweight loads uphill on ancient bicycles to the nearby town of Likasi where middlemen buy them to sell on, mainly to Chinese businessmen hungry for these vital metals.

To see them, as they plod miserably past, is to be reminded of pictures of unemployed miners in Thirties Britain, stumbling home in the drizzle with sacks of coal scraps gleaned from spoil heaps.

Except that here the unsparing heat makes the labour five times as hard, and the conditions of work and life are worse by far than any known in England since the 18th Century.

Many perish as their primitive mines collapse on them, or are horribly injured without hope of medical treatment. Many are little more than children. On a good day they may earn $3, which just supports a meagre existence in diseased, malarial slums.

We had been earlier to this awful pit, which looked like a penal colony in an ancient slave empire.

Defeated, bowed figures toiled endlessly in dozens of hand-dug pits. Their faces, when visible, were blank and without hope.

We had been turned away by a fat, corrupt policeman who pretended our papers weren’t in order, but who was really taking instructions from a dead-eyed, one-eared gangmaster who sat next to him.

By the time we returned with more official permits, the gangmasters had readied the ambush.

The diggers feared — and their evil, sinister bosses had worked hard on that fear — that if people like me publicised their filthy way of life, then the mine might be closed and the $3 a day might be taken away.

I can give you no better explanation in miniature of the wicked thing that I believe is now happening in Africa.

Out of desperation, much of the continent is selling itself into a new era of corruption and virtual slavery as China seeks to buy up all the metals, minerals and oil she can lay her hands on: copper for electric and telephone cables, cobalt for mobile phones and jet engines — the basic raw materials of modern life.

It is crude rapacity, but to Africans and many of their leaders it is better than the alternative, which is slow starvation […]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Spain: Basque PM, Madrid Violates Human Rights Convention

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 26 — Basque region’s moderate nationalist president, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, today launched a harsh attack on the “centrist” parties in Madrid, the ruling PSOE and the oppositional Peoplés Party, after a recent ruling by the Spanish Constitutional Court which annulled a self-determination referendum planned by the Basque government to put an end to violence. In the Basque parliament Ibarretxe also accused Spain of “violating the European Convention on Human Rights” impeding the right of Basques to self-determination, and confirmed that “thousands of Basque citizens” will appeal the decision of the Spanish constitutional judges to the Strasbourg Court. According to the Basque Prime Minister the Spanish “centrist” parties through the Constitutional Court ruling “have carried out a frontal attack on the Basque self government” by putting limits with “barbed wire fence”. “PSOE and PP, using the Constitutional Court, have shown us clearly the limits of the barbed wire fence, confirming that there is only one nation, the Spanish, one people, the Spanish, and the Basque people does not exist and does not have the right to decide,” he said. “These arguments remind me of those of imperial Spain, “united, big and free”, which the Francoist regime expressed,” he said. Ibarretxe denounced the fact that the Spanish socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero launched talks, later failed, with Basque separatist group ETA, two years ago, also on the statute of the Basque Country. “The future of Euskadi (the Basque Country) cannot be decided in talks between the Spanish government and ETA,” he warned. ETA “will never decide the future of the Basque society” and “must stop killing and extorting, once and for all”, he said. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Our Financial System is the Best, Zapatero

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, SEPTEMBER 25 — The Spanish financial system “is probably the most solid in the international community”, Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero stated before some 30 managers of U.S. companies and financial institutions yesterday in New York, as reported today by the Spanish media. After outlining a spectacular picture of the economic growth in the past few years, Zapatero emphasised that the Spanish income per capita is of $35,000, higher than the Italian one, “a fact which depresses very much Prime Minister Berlusconi”, he assured. Before representatives of companies such as Microsoft, Alcoa, Dow Chemical, Pfizer, IBM, Google, Citigroup, Bank of America and Merryl Lynch, Zapatero assured that “our target now is to overtake France in three or four years in terms of income per capita, something which my friend Sarkozy does not want even to hear”. In the European Union, he remarked, “only Germany ranks before us”, but he recalled at the same time that Spain “is the leader in the sector of olive oil and wind power energy and six of the main companies which manage infrastructures in the world are Spanish”. In New York, shocked for the financial Tsunami, Zapatero however recognised as the only weaknesses of the Spanish economy the excesses of the real estate sector and the high foreign deficit. Because of the latter, Spain needs investments from the USA, the first foreign investor in the country. “We will give you good reasons to continue to increase your presence in Spain”, he said and listed the adopted measures, from the reduction of administrative offices to the partial privatisation of airports, along with the benefits coming from few social conflicts. As regards the recession signals sent by the Spanish economy, Zapatero assured that “Spain will soon recover in terms of growth, but in the meantime it will take advantage of the situation to carry out structural reforms to encourage investments and competition”, he concluded. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Spain: Investments Fall for First Time in 12 Years

(ANSAmed) — MADRID, AUGUST 28 — The slowdown of the Spanish gross domestic product (GDP), which went up by just 0.1% in the second quarter, and by 1.8% on the year, confirms that the end of the real estate speculative bubble has had a bad effect on the entire economy with negative results in the industrial sector. According to data by the National Statistics Institute (INE) reported today by the media, investments between March and June registered negative figures for the first time in 12 years with a 0.02% drop, chiefly due to the recession in the real estate sector. The economic crisis has forced the Spanish households to limit their consumption with a just slight increase of the spending in the quarter by 1.2%, the worst result since 1993. “It is not good news,” according to David Vergara, Secretary of State for Economy, who attributes the reasons for the slowdown to the real estate sector, whose sales dropped by 29.6% on the year in June, and to the global financial crisis. On the other hand, the state secretary emphasises the improvement in the foreign sector with exports up by 4.1% in the past year, against a 2.3% rise of imports. And the good situation of the employment rate, which increased by 0.4% year-on-year in the second quarter. The Government “is not working on a hypothesis of recession”, given the fact that 0.1% growth in the second quarter will be equal to the projected growth for the second half and “is in line with the expectations of the Government,” Vergara said. According to the governmental representative, Spain keeps growing “at a faster rate compared to the euro zone countries,” which is seen at 1.6% for the whole 2008, higher than that of the neighbours in the euro zone. The Spanish economy will book negative results in future, according to a report by Standard & Poor¿s, reported today by the media, which compared the situation of various European economies. “While Germany and to a lesser extent France are likely to show some resilience thanks to strong fundamentals, the Spanish economy is bound to experience at least two quarters of negative growth, which would qualify it as being in a technical recession,” S&P chief economist for Europe Jean-Michel Six said. According to the study, the euro zone GDP drop by 0.2% in the second quarter indicates a major slowdown in the second half of this year. “We consider the outlook for inflation in the next 12 months to be probably the most critical variable for Europés economies,” Six noted. The intensity of the real estate downturn and the scarce competitiveness of companies abroad are the reasons for which the Spanish economy will suffer the most among the euro zone countries in the next months, according to the analyst. However, for now it is the only one among the five big economies in the EU which is technically not in a recession. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Taboo on Moroccans Criminals Broken, Solutions Yet to Materialise

THE HAGUE, 27/09/08 — Although this would have been inconceivable a few years ago, almost all the parties in parliament have explicitly expressed their great concern and abhorrence for the crime committed by young Moroccans. In an unscheduled debate, a cross-party majority also admitted that it is not a question of incidents, but that the Netherlands is facing a structural problem.

Why the MPs seem to have abandoned political correctness concerning Moroccan criminals is a matter for conjecture. It may be a reaction to Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV), which is winning popular support with its tough tone. They may be influenced by the mainstream media, whose dominant sympathy for the Dutch doctrine of multiculturalism is slowly but surely giving way to a more critical attitude. Or it may be the seriousness of the crime problem itself that prompted the MPs to tumble over each other in the debate to express harsh opinions about Moroccan troublemakers.

The analysis of Labour (PvdA), which is often accused of having become a party for immigrants and Muslims, was typical of the atmosphere. “People have had enough,” said PvdA MP Attje Kuiken. “We should not be pampering them, but taking a hard line,” declared Christian Democrat (CDA) MP Coskun Coruz. “The water is up to our necks,” was the opinion of Ed Anker of the socialist Christian party ChristenUnie. And conservative (VVD) MP Letitia Griffith insisted that “The State must reconquer the street.”

The PVV was the instigator of the debate, sparked by a recent strike by bus drivers in the municipality of Gouda. The drivers claimed they were continually robbed by Moroccans. According to the PVV, many cities follow a policy of deliberately keeping police out of criminal neighbourhoods.

PVV MP Hero Brinkman showed the House an internal memo circulated by the Amsterdam police in 2006. This instructed policemen not to patrol the Overtoomse Veld neighbourhood, where Moroccans were causing unrest at that time. This proves that the police fail to take action from fear of generating bad news, said Brinkman, who was a policeman in Amsterdam himself for years.

Although the House spoke hard words, the solutions still have to be found. However, a majority emerged in favour of sending young Moroccans who continuously cause trouble to a reform school for re-education. Parliament instructed the cabinet to produce a proposal quickly.

The CDA-PvdA- ChristenUnie cabinet however wants to continue to give local authorities the freedom to decide how they feel problems should be tackled. Also, this should happen as much as possible in consultation with Islamic organisations, including mosques. The cabinet will meet shortly with such organisations to discuss solutions.

In a letter to the House, the government admitted prior to the debate that “Dutch-Moroccan youngsters in high-risk groups” cause problems in various towns and cities. The cabinet also reported that 19.8 percent of Dutch-Moroccan men aged between 18 and 25 (in 2005) had been charged with one or more crimes in that year.

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

The EU Blog Wars Have Begun

Achtung — blogs verboten!

England Expects, the leading Eurosceptic “insider’s blog”, is no more.

Blogger Gawain Towler was the subject of complaints for breaching the EU Parliament’s code of conduct and threatened with a loss of his livelihood (he is Press officer of the UK delegation to the Ind/Dem Group, the UK Independence Party, and as such an employee of the EU) if he continued to blog.

Gawain admits he was in breach of the code of conduct, though as Press Officer for an anti-EU party, “My job is to bring the institutions into disrepute, which I am doing, well if I am any good I should be doing.”

It does seem that bloggers outside EU offices are safe, for the time being. MEPs on Thursday rejected a call by Estonian MEP Marianne Mikko “for full clarification of the legal status of webblog authors, disclosure of bloggers’ interests and the voluntary labelling of blogs” — instead, they voted for what the EU Observer is calling “much softer language” — “an open discussion on all issues relating to the status of weblogs.”

The site reports that Ms Mikko’s recommendations had been supported by MEPs across the political spectrum when fed through committees. A recent European Commission report leaked earlier this month said that the EU was “losing the battle for hearts and minds” partly because of the activities of anti-EU bloggers. The recent defeat of the Lisbon Treaty in the Irish referendum led Eurocrats to study blog activity in the Republic; they concluded that Eurosceptic blogs, some by anonymous sources, outnumbered pro-treaty blogs. Of course the fact that the main Irish newspapers were overwhelmingly pro-Lisbon didn’t seem to worry them unduly.

“Blogging is also seen as an anti-establishment activity,” the report concluded, complaining that “the quality of debate has suffered” as a result of blog dissent attracting the attention of readers from TV and radio.

Bloggers anonymous and otherwise have good reason to be delighted to have proved a thorn in the EU’s side on this and other issues. The mainstream media on continental Europe is increasingly docile: Blogs offer the only real dissent in some countries. Even in Britain, where Eurosceptic newspapers enjoy a large market share, the reporting of EU issues is feeble: Dedicated Eurosceptic bloggers like Richard North spend almost as much effort correcting false Eurosceptic reporting as they do criticising the EU itself.

Journalists are increasingly stung by dissenting bloggers. Once, columnists and hacks could thunder their views from the comments pages, untroubled by the common herd. With the arrival of “have your say” boxes in online editions, the authority of official columnists has been fatally undermined.

The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee attracts a swarm of “pedants” (her description) who correct her basic economics after every column (Tim Worstall is one of the best offenders). George Monbiot and Seumas Milne are also eviscerated by their online critics. Right-wing columnists aren’t immune.

So, it should come as no surprise that a Guardian columnist should complain about the “lies and deceit” the web encourages: “We may soon have to consider devising controls on entry, though what form they’ll take is not easy to envisage. It is possible that we will find out, in five or 10 or 20 years, that, in the internet, we have created a monster we cannot tame…

           — Hat tip: Paul Green [Return to headlines]

The Populist and His Protégé

Jörg Haider used to be Austria’s far-right scourge, the populist who could win elections. Now Heinz-Christian Strache, his former protégé, has stepped into his shoes. The two men hate each other, but dissatisfaction among Austrian voters this Sunday could give them unprecedented power.

Outside, the late summer has brought one last bout of sweltering temperatures to the Austrian city of Klagenfurt. But inside the convention center, the state of Carinthia has thrown a party for itself. A trade show devoted to wood products has just opened. Industry officials are giving remarks. The economics minister has traveled to Klagenfurt from Vienna, and even the bishop is there.

Finally, the state’s governor steps up to the microphone, sporting a dark tan, smiling with his bright white teeth and wearing a traditional jacket he normally wears at such events. Jörg Haider reports that his state is home to “fantastic manufacturing companies” and that more than 12,000 new jobs have been created. Carinthia is pulling itself up from the bottom of the heap. It’s a model for Austria’s future. That, at least, is Haider’s message. […]

The pollsters predict that the winners will be the archetypes of boorish populism: the right-wing bloc, Haider’s BZÖ and, most of all, Heinz-Christian Strache’s Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) — the same party which once made Haider Austria’s second-most-powerful politician, and which he abandoned after a series of embarrassing caprices. […]

           — Hat tip: VH [Return to headlines]

Mediterranean Union

EU-Syria: Brussels Allots 110 Mln Euro to Support Reforms

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 24 — The 110 million euro European programme for support of the reforms in Syria received green light, the European Commission said in a statement. The aids, which will be allocated for the 2008-2009 period, will be distributed as follows: 30 million euro for the reform of public administration and the judicial system, 50 million euro for the economic reform and the reform of the private sector, and 40 million euro for social reforms. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Med: Syria; Three-Year 7.3 Mln Euro Innovation Project

(ANSAmed) — DAMASCUS, SEPTEMBER 25 — The executive director of the Med project European Innovation, John Yesh, presented the objectives of the project that started in 2006 and will end in 2009 at a news conference in Damascus, of which the Italian Foreign Trade Institute (ICE) informed. The value of the project is 7.3 million euro and is aimed at developing the innovative capacity of the companies and administrations of the involved countries. The project provides technical support, training and scientific missions to those who are interested. The project focuses on five points: technological incubators, assistance to support the capacity of innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises, development of the industrial sector and transfer of technology according to the needs of the local market, and in general the markets of the developing states. In detail, the innovation regards the boosting of the productivity of the production processes and the appearance of the products on the international markets. The goal of the project in Syria in particular is to develop technological incubators through the creation of a Database at the Ministry of Industry, the universities as well as the scientific research centres and to update the packaging practice of the public and private sectors. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: TB [Return to headlines]

North Africa

Algeria: Country Does Not Reject Foreign Capitals

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, SEPTEMBER 23 — Algeria “does not turn its back on foreign investments” and will “carry on with the economic reforms” launched in the past few years, Reda Hamiani, chairman of the Forum of company managers (FCE, the Algerian Confindustria) said in an interview with weekly Jeune Afrique, in the attempt to reassure foreign investors after the restrictive measures adopted by the Algerian government in the last month. On the basis of these rules, the state will have to own 51% in every investment project which involves foreign groups, which will have to pay a 15% tax on the capital transferred abroad, even to the parent company, and reinvest in the Maghreb country part of their profits. The new law which forbids to foreign investors to buy state-owned land has also caused harsh controversies: the land will be given on lease with a 33 year-long contract, renewable at the most for three times. “The head of the government (Ahmed Ouyahia) confirmed the willingness to carry on the economic reforms and not to go back to the socialist experiences of the 70s,” Hamiani explained. “Ouyahia believes in private investments,” he added, admitting, though, that “there is a big disappointment as regards direct foreign investments”. Algeria “wants to focus on an activity based on local companies”, but “does not turn its back on foreign investments, which are vital for the country”. “We cannot be satisfied with an exclusively Algerian development, without opening to the outside world,” FCE’s chairman concluded. “We need the technological contribution, the know-how and innovations”. In July President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had pointed out the need for “foreign production investments”. The head of state had criticised the transfers of capitals abroad, defining them “excessive” and often higher “than the volume of investments carried out in the country”. Algeria, with an economy almost exclusively based on hydrocarbons (gas and oil account for more than 97% of its exports), launched a huge programme of public works, with investments worth some 140 billion euro. The 2005-2009 development programme envisages the construction of the east-west motorway, over 1,200 km long, to which a second motorway which will run across the centre of the country will be added. The programme also envisages tens of dams, ports, sea water desalination plants, electric power stations and more than 1.0 million accommodations.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Algeria: USD 29 Bln Trade Surplus Jan-Aug 2008

(ANSAmed) — ALGIERS, SEPTEMBER 22 — Algeria posted $29.03 billion trade surplus for the first eight months of 2008, compared to $19.97 billion in the same period of 2007. According to data by the National Centre for Information and Statistics (CNIS), exports reached $54.44 billion in the first eight months of 2008, compared to $37.06 billion in the same period of 2007 (up 44.78%). Hydrocarbons accounted for more than 97% of the country’s exports. Imports stood at $25.4 billion (up 44.11%). A total $9.6 billion (up 51.26%) was spent on industrial equipment, followed by semi processed goods with $6.3 billion (up 33.57%), food products with $5.25 billion (up 76.23%) and consumer goods with $2.84 billion (up 16.02%). (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Morocco: Marriage at Nine, Website Shut Down

(ANSAmed) — RABAT, SEPTEMBER 26 — The Moroccan authorities have announced the closure of the website of theologian Mohamed Magraoui, author of a fatwa which authorises the marriage of nine-year-old girls after the closure of the seat of the association and of the Koranic schools, news agency MAP reported. At the beginning of September the theologian published on the ‘magrawi net’ website a fatwa according to which “the nine-year-old girls can marry the same way as the girls of twenty and more”. Moroccòs Supreme Ulema Council, the only religious instance authorised to issue pronouncements, pronounced itself against the fatwa, denouncing “the use of religion to legitimate the marriage of nine-year-old girls”. Defining Magraoui an “agitator” and a “hoaxer”, the Council, chaired by the king, reminded that “the legal age for marriage, 18 years, was approved by the Parliament and drafted with the participation of the ulema”. A lawyer from Rabat, Mourad Bekkouri, filed a report against Magraoui claiming that the fatwa is “an attack against the family code, against the children’s rights and can encourage sexual violence”. “The anarchic pronouncements published on the Internet also risk to create misinterpretation on the verses of the Koran,” he added. The king’s prosecutor announced the opening of “an in-depth judicial inquiry” into the fatwa and into Magraouìs legitimacy to pronounce it. (ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Israel and the Palestinians

Middle East: Amnesty Granted to Fatah Militants

Jerusalem, 26 Sept. (AKI) — Israel has granted amnesty to 10 members of Fatah’s military wing, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, according to a prominent Israeli daily.

According to a report by Yedioth Ahronoth, the 10 will be pardoned as part of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to mark the Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that ends Ramadan, the holy Muslim fasting month.

The pardon follows reports that Israel handed over a list of 49 wanted men to be granted amnesty after a three-month probationary period.

Twenty-two of them are currently in Palestinian Authority prisons, reported Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

The amnesty is being described as an act of goodwill to the PA to mark the end of Ramadan which occurs on 1 October in most of the Muslim world.

In October 2007, Israel and the PA endorsed an agreement that gave al-Aqsa Brigades militants amnesty if they were willing to lay down their arms.

The amnesty was offered to men who refrained from terrorist acts and abided by an agreement to disarm.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Nasrallah: Palestine Belongs to Palestinians From Sea to River

Speaking in Beirut in honor of al-Quds Day, Hizbullah secretary-general says, ‘No one has the authority to concede a grain of earth, wall or stone of the holy land’; adds his organization will continue resistance against Israel. ‘Today more can be done than ever before,’ he notes

No place for Israel in the Middle East? “Jerusalem and Palestine, from the sea to the river, belong to the Palestinian people, the Arabs and the Muslims, and no one has the authority to concede a grain of earth, wall or stone from the holy land,” Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said Friday evening.

Speaking in Beirut in honor of al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, an Iranian-declared observance, Nasrallah added, “Its stones, olives and figs are sacred, and no one has the right to give it up. This land must belong to its owners, and it will return, God willing.

“This day comes to stress a number of primary significations to the Muslims, so that the nation feels the intensity of the humiliation of past decades, when its holy places were occupied by racist Zionist hands.

“This is the greatest humiliation of this nation. The second message is to stress the historic, religious and legitimate responsibility of the Muslim nation towards Jerusalem, Palestine and the Palestinian people.”

He warned Israel not to attack Lebanon. “I have always said that the way of the resistance is not a classic war. We are ready to help the resistance of the Palestinian people. But those who attack Lebanon — we shall face them.

           — Hat tip: KGS [Return to headlines]

PNA:EU Supports Early Payments of Salaries Ahead Eid Al Fitr

(ANSAmed) — BRUSSELS, SEPTEMBER 25 — The European Union has provided 20 million euro through PEGASE, to help the Palestinian Authority pay September salaries and allowances for pensioners. The payment comes earlier than usual, in anticipation of the major feast of Eid al-Fitr that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The payment includes a specific contribution of 5 million euro from the Government of Sweden. A further 15 million euro is funded from the 400 million euro European Commission’s 2008 aid package. The EU’s PEGASE contribution will be added to this month’s payment of salaries and pensions by the Palestinian Ministry of Finance, reaching over 78,000 beneficiaries. The Palestinian Authority brought forward this payment, due to bank holidays and in order to allow Palestinians to receive their salaries prior the feast of Eid al-Fitr. Eid al-Fitr is one of the most important feasts during the Muslim calendar, and is a joyous occasion for families to gather in celebration after 40 days of fasting.(ANSAmed).

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Middle East

The Kidnappers of Five British Men Seized in Baghdad Have Offered to Hand Over the Body of One of the Hostages Who is Said to Have Committed Suicide.

In return the abductors have demanded the release of 10 Iraqi women held by the Americans and an unspecified number of elderly Iraqi detain-ees. An intermediary who relayed the proposal to The Sunday Times said that if the conditions were met, the body of the hostage — named only as Jason — would be delivered to Iraqi officials.

A video passed to this newspaper two months ago entitled Intihar (Arabic for suicide) and depicting Jason claimed he had killed himself on May 25, four days before the first anniversary of the abduction. The Foreign Office has received no corroboration of the claim.

Last week a source with knowledge of the kidnappers’ intentions said they were offering Jason’s body as a gesture of goodwill to mark the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month […]

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

South Asia

Catholic Priest Killed in Meerut Diocese (Agra)

The clergyman lived like an Indian ascetic in an ashram, preaching peace and promoting inter-faith dialogue. Nothing is known of the motive behind the deed; police will not exclude a botched robbery attempt as the possible cause. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — Another Catholic priest has been murdered in India. Fr Samuel Francis (in photo), better known as Swami Astheya (he who is without greed), was found dead this morning in the chapel of his ashram in the village of Chota Rampur. His hands were tied behind his back, his mouth gagged (with cloth) and injuries on his forehead. The 50-ear-old clergyman dressed like an Indian Sanyasin (Hindu monks who lead an ascetic life) and lived in an ashram (monastery) where he taught yoga and meditation.

Chota Rampur, the village where the catholic priest found a refuge, is located 27 kilometres from Dehradun, in the Suffragan diocese of Agra archdiocese, or some 400 kilometres from New Delhi.

How and why he was murdered is not yet clear, but police will not exclude the possibility that it might have been a robbery gone badly wrong. The ashram was in fact ransacked and a woman suffering from psychological problems was also found dead in the ashram’s warehouse.

Fr Davis Varayilan, professor at Samanvayan Theological College, said he knew the slain priest and had nothing but words of praise for his generosity, good heart and intelligence.

“This is a great tragedy for the Church in India,” he said. “We used to send our seminarians for an experience to his Ashram, and in the early 1980s he was in charge of the youth in Meerut Diocese.”

His ashram had become a beacon for inter-faith dialogue and harmony among people.

“He was much loved and respected by all: Hindus, inter-faith harmony and unity, He was a holy person and his spirituality was well respected by all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, the poor and the marginalised.”

Fr Francis embodied the India’s spirit, best exemplified by the Sanyasi lifestyle which calls for no meat and a rigid vegetarian diet.

“Killing so brutally such a man who worked for the betterment of society is a crime against humanity,” said Father Davis.

Swami Astheya’s funeral will be held tomorrow morning at 11 am local time in Chota Rampur village.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Two Christians Killed in Orissa; Churches Destroyed in Madya Pradesh, Kerala; Missionaries Targeted

The bodies of the two victims were cut into pieces and thrown into a pond. Some churches from the 1600’s and from the Middle Ages attacked. Sisters and priests forced to conceal their identity in order to escape persecution and reconversion to Hinduism. At a meeting in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), the government is being asked to outlaw radical Hindu groups.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) — No end to the attacks and violence against Christians. In Orissa, where for more than three weeks a pogrom against Catholics and Protestants has been underway, two more killings have been recorded. Iswar Digal and Purinder Pradhan were murdered and cut to pieces. Iswar Digal, was from the the village of Gatringia in the district of Kandhamal; he was stopped on September 20 by a group of Hindu extremists while he and his wife were trying to escape to a refugee camp. Their home was burned. The other victim was from Nilungia. His body was cut to pieces, put into a jute sack, and thrown into a pond.

The new wave of violence began last August 23, in the district of Kandhamal, after the killing of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati, a radical Hindu leader. Hindu fundamentalist organizations accuse the Christians of killing him, although the police of Orissa suspect that the authors of the assassination were Maoist militants. The pogrom to “kill all Christians and destroy their institutions” is motivated in part by the accusations according to which Christians are coercing tribals and Dalits to convert through force or bribery.

According to estimates from the All India Christian Council, 37 Christians have been killed in the state of Orissa alone, including 2 Protestant pastors; more than 4,000 homes belonging to Christians have been burned; and more than 50,000 faithful have been forced to flee. Of these, only 14,000 are believed to be in refugee camps provided by the government. Tens of thousands are hiding in the forest.

The primary targets of the Hindu radicals are the priests, the sisters, and their families. They are attacked, and often forced to convert to Hinduism. Even in the camps, the persecution is strong, and the police check to make sure “that there are no conversions”. Priests and sisters present in the camp must conceal their identity.

A sister at the camp in Raikia (district of Kandhamal) tells AsiaNews:

“I am here as part of the medical team; if the authorities find out we are nuns, we will be sent away. I am here dressed in ethnic clothes, wearing bangles, earrings and even the ‘tikka’, in this way we are disguised. The women are in severe trauma, unfortunately, we can only talk to them about their medical problems, we cannot even counsel them, we are continuously being watched, but there is such despair and fear among the women, they have lost every material possession and sadly even hope is lost”.

“This is my tenth day at the camp and even now, I cannot hold back my tears. I have never seen a sight like this before in my life. Yes, I have seen natural calamities like tsunamis, earthquakes and cyclones, but nothing as horrifying as this. The intent of the radicals to destroy humanity is so intense — brutality has no limit, the torture and devastation has stooped to levels beyond imagination”.

From Orissa, the pogrom has spread to other states: Chhattisghar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala.

Yesterday, the church of the Holy Name of Jesus in Bangalore was attack by vandals. Rocks were hurled at a statue of the Virgin Mary. The day before, on September 20, also in Bangalore, the church of St. James was ransacked. The vandals desecrated the Eucharistic species and destroyed the furniture and pews. The windows were damaged at a church in Siddapura (district of Kodagu).

In Kerala, two of the oldest churches in India were vandalized. Yesterday, a statue of Christ in the church of Protasius and Gervasius (17th century) was broken and thrown down from its pedestal. The church belongs to the faithful of the Syro-Malabar rite. The nearby cathedral of the Jacobites, the Mar Sabore Afroth Church, was damaged: its windows were broken, and some relics of St. Paulos Mar Athanasius were destroyed. The church of the Jacobites was built in 825.

On September 20 in Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), the All India Christian Council (AICC) held a meeting to condemn the violence against Christians. It was attended by more than 15,000 people from various faiths: Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, and even moderate Hindus.

Sam Paul of the AICC criticized the central government for its inability to stop the attacks, and called for a ban against all Hindu radical organizations, like Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal, and Sangh Parivar.

All of these extremist organizations take their political guidance from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Some experts note that the new wave of violence began after the national meeting of the BJP in Bangalore, which was intended to design the strategy for the upcoming national elections, which will be held next March.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]


Italy: Charity Concert to Raise Awareness About Immigrants

Lampedusa, 26 Sept. (AKI) — Italian pop star Claudio Baglioni and comic Fiorello are topping the bill at free concerts being held on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa at the weekend.

Two concerts were being held to raise awareness about the plight of illegal immigrants who land on the island almost daily, said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which is supporting the concerts.

Almost 20,000 illegal migrants have landed on Lampedusa so far this year — twice the number that arrived over the same period of 2007.

“The concerts can do that little extra bit to help the Italian public and institutions understand the problems these people face,” IOM press spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo told Adnkronos International (AKI).

“Most are fleeing war and political persecution and are likely to request political asylum,” Di Giacomo said.

The concerts, held on the island’s picturesque beach, have been an annual event since Baglioni began doing them in 2002 and are getting a lot of media coverage, Di Giacomo added.

Approximately 10,000 people are expected to gather at the concerts, called O’Scià which means ‘my soul’ in the local dialect on Lampedusa.

A new trend among the numbers of illegal immigrants arriving on the island is a surge in young Nigerian women, something the IOM has asked magistrates to investigate.

According to IOM staff, the number of women that have reached Lampedusa so far this year has increased from 600 in 2007 to almost 2,500. Nearly 1,130 came from Nigeria.

“We hope that in this particularly dramatic and challenging situation, the O’Scià concerts will once again raise attention to migration challenges and send a message of solidarity to Italy and other Mediterranean countries,” said IOM’s regional representative Peter Schatzer in a media statement.

Schatzer was due on Friday to take part in a discussion focused on migration, with speakers from the Italian Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Labour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Comunita di Sant’Egidio and Save the Children charities, the Municipality of Lampedusa and Baglioni.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Italy: Immigrants to Stage First Cricket Tournament in Sicily

Palermo, 26 Sept. (AKI) — Immigrants from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are introducing the gentlemanly game of cricket to Italy’s southern island of Sicily.

About 150 immigrants are expected to take part in the first cricket tournament to be held in the island’s capital, Palermo, on Sunday.

The tournament, dubbed City of Palermo-Mother Theresa of Calcutta, will take place on a converted baseball field and is sponsored by the municipality of Palermo.

“The tournament is part of a municipal initiative in order to foment a real and concrete integration of immigrants that have chosen to live in Sicily, between them and Sicilians,” said Palermo Councillor Giampiero Cannella.

“This is an opportunity not only to get to know this game, but also an instrument of entertainment for the immigrant community that is now able to practice the sport of their country of origin,” he said.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Young People ‘Think Immigrants Are a Threat to National Identity and Jobs’

Almost two-thirds (60%) of the young people surveyed in the poll by the British Council thought the presence of foreign immigrants was “diluting” their sense of national identity.

A quarter said immigrants posed a threat to British workers’ jobs and 12% said they thought the influx of people from abroad was a risk to security and public order.

Two thousand people aged between 18 and 35 were asked about their attitude towards immigration and their sense of national identity.

The survey comes as shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve warned that multiculturalism in the UK has left a “terrible” legacy, creating a vacuum that has been filled by extremists.

In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Grieve said: “We’ve actually done something terrible to ourselves in Britain. In the name of trying to prepare people for some new multicultural society we’ve encouraged people, particularly the sort of long-term inhabitants, to say ‘well your cultural background isn’t really very important’.”

He told the newspaper that long-term inhabitants have been left fearful, while second- and third-generation immigrants have felt alienated and unsure what British values stand for […]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Culture Wars

Credit Crunch Banker Leaps to His Death in Front of Express Train

The City was in shock last night after the apparent suicide of a millionaire financier haunted by the pressures of dealing with the credit crunch.

Kirk Stephenson, who was married with an eight-year-old son, died in the path of a 100mph express train at Taplow railway station, Berkshire.

Mr Stephenson is believed to have taken his own life after succumbing to mounting personal pressures as the world’s financial markets went into meltdown.

The death of the respected 47-year-old City figure evokes memories of the 1929 Wall Street crash in America …

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Muslim Gang Firebombs Publisher of Allah Novel, Martin Rynja

David Leppard

Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorist command yesterday foiled an alleged plot by Islamic extremists to kill the publisher of a forthcoming novel featuring sexual encounters between the Prophet Muhammad and his child bride.

Early yesterday armed undercover officers arrested three men after a petrol bomb was pushed through the door of the north London home of the book’s publisher.

The Metropolitan police said the target of the assassination plot, the Dutch publisher Martin Rynja, had not been injured.

The suspected terror gang was being followed by undercover police and the fire was quickly put out after the fire brigade smashed down the front door.

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]

‘There is Absolutely No Reason for Islamophobia’

Germany’s Muslims are pious and yet more tolerant than most assume, a new study has found. Its authors are urging authorities to draw the country’s Muslim children away from Koran schools by offering public religious instruction.

Dr. Martin Rieger of the Bertelman Stiftung thinks Muslim children should have their own religion classes. Rieger was the director of the study “Muslim Religiosity in Germany,” which was provided to SPIEGEL ONLINE ahead of its scheduled publication on Friday.

The study reveals that 90 percent of Muslims define themselves as religous. In contrast a separate survey by the nonprofit German think tank found that only 70 percent of the entire population admitted to being religous. “We need to get the younger Muslims out of the Koran schools,” Rieger urges, “and offer them professionally taught classes on Islam.”

Even Robert Zollitsch, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, the body responsible for the country’s Catholic Churches, backs the plan […]

           — Hat tip: Steen [Return to headlines]


Grandmother is Killed by Police’s 100mph Boy Racer — Delivering a Birthday Card to His Sister

A policeman has been suspended after knocking down and killing a grandmother during an appalling boy-racer trip to deliver a birthday card to his sister while he was on duty.

Sounding his siren and flashing his blue lights, the officer reached speeds of up to 100mph after being granted permission to leave his police station to hand over the card.

He then treated a relative to a high-speed ‘black run’ tour of the local area — again with blaring siren and emergency lights.

After dropping the relative back at their home, the officer sped back to his police station.

It was then, while doing nearly twice the speed limit with his blue lights flashing, that he ran over and killed married mother-of-three Sandy Simpson, 61.

Colleagues of the officer in the Metropolitan Police, a newly-qualified ‘standard response driver’, are disgusted by his conduct and failure to resign.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Pilots Coming in to Land at British Airports Have Been Forced to Hand Over the Controls to Colleagues After Being Temporarily Blinded by Laser Beams Deliberately Shone Into the Cockpit From the Ground.

The perpetrators are thought to be using high-intensity laser guns imported from China and Russia which can be bought over the internet for as little as £10.

Police are hunting for the attackers after a number of incidents in the past few months.

Dave Reynolds, flight safety officer of the British Air Line Pilots Association, said: ‘There have been dozens of incidents over the past year or so.

‘The first sign that the aircraft has been targeted is when a light-spot starts dotting around the flight deck. It is a serious distraction at a critical phase of the flight and it is something the authorities need to take very seriously indeed.

‘We have advised our members to shield their eyes from the light and hand over the controls to a colleague if there’s any doubt about their ability to see the instruments or the flightpath clearly.’

He added: ‘These incidents are an increasing nuisance. Luckily nothing has gone wrong to date but it’s only a matter of time before an accident occurs.

‘The pilot’s ability to see can be impaired by flash blindness and we suggest they go to hospital for a check-up to make sure they have suffered no lasting eye damage.’

Powerful laser devices without safety warnings can easily be bought from internet sites.

A Chinese website offers a high-intensity 200milliwatt laser — 200 times above the UK safety limit — for just £60.

Importing such devices has been banned in Australia after a number of similar aircraft incidents there.

A spokesman for the UK Civil Aviation Authority said: ‘We are investigating a report given to us by a pilot of a passenger aircraft that on August 13 this year a beam of light was shone on him at 4,000ft as he descended into Cardiff International Airport […]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

When Europeans Were Slaves

Research Suggests White Slavery Was Much More Common Than Previously Believed

A new study suggests that a million or more European Christians were enslaved by Muslims in North Africa between 1530 and 1780 — a far greater number than had ever been estimated before.

In a new book, Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, developed a unique methodology to calculate the number of white Christians who were enslaved along Africa’s Barbary Coast, arriving at much higher slave population estimates than any previous studies had found.

Most other accounts of slavery along the Barbary coast didn’t try to estimate the number of slaves, or only looked at the number of slaves in particular cities, Davis said. Most previously estimated slave counts have thus tended to be in the thousands, or at most in the tens of thousands. Davis, by contrast, has calculated that between 1 million and 1.25 million European Christians were captured and forced to work in North Africa from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Davis’s new estimates appear in the book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan).

“Much of what has been written gives the impression that there were not many slaves and minimizes the impact that slavery had on Europe,” Davis said. “Most accounts only look at slavery in one place, or only for a short period of time. But when you take a broader, longer view, the massive scope of this slavery and its powerful impact become clear.”

Davis said it is useful to compare this Mediterranean slavery to the Atlantic slave trade that brought black Africans to the Americas. Over the course of four centuries, the Atlantic slave trade was much larger — about 10 to 12 million black Africans were brought to the Americas. But from 1500 to 1650, when trans-Atlantic slaving was still in its infancy, more white Christian slaves were probably taken to Barbary than black African slaves to the Americas, according to Davis.

“One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature — that only blacks have been slaves. But that is not true,” Davis said. “We cannot think of slavery as something that only white people did to black people.”

During the time period Davis studied, it was religion and ethnicity, as much as race, that determined who became slaves.

“Enslavement was a very real possibility for anyone who traveled in the Mediterranean, or who lived along the shores in places like Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, and even as far north as England and Iceland,” he said.

Pirates (called corsairs) from cities along the Barbary Coast in north Africa — cities such as Tunis and Algiers — would raid ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic, as well as seaside villages to capture men, women and children. The impact of these attacks were devastating — France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of the Spanish and Italian coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. At its peak, the destruction and depopulation of some areas probably exceeded what European slavers would later inflict on the African interior.

Although hundreds of thousands of Christian slaves were taken from Mediterranean countries, Davis noted, the effects of Muslim slave raids was felt much further away: it appears, for example, that through most of the 17th century the English lost at least 400 sailors a year to the slavers.

Even Americans were not immune. For example, one American slave reported that 130 other American seamen had been enslaved by the Algerians in the Mediterranean and Atlantic just between 1785 and 1793.

Davis said the vast scope of slavery in North Africa has been ignored and minimized, in large part because it is on no one’s agenda to discuss what happened.

The enslavement of Europeans doesn’t fit the general theme of European world conquest and colonialism that is central to scholarship on the early modern era, he said. Many of the countries that were victims of slavery, such as France and Spain, would later conquer and colonize the areas of North Africa where their citizens were once held as slaves. Maybe because of this history, Western scholars have thought of the Europeans primarily as “evil colonialists” and not as the victims they sometimes were, Davis said.

Davis said another reason that Mediterranean slavery has been ignored or minimized has been that there have not been good estimates of the total number of people enslaved. People of the time — both Europeans and the Barbary Coast slave owners — did not keep detailed, trustworthy records of the number of slaves. In contrast, there are extensive records that document the number of Africans brought to the Americas as slaves.

So Davis developed a new methodology to come up with reasonable estimates of the number of slaves along the Barbary Coast. Davis found the best records available indicating how many slaves were at a particular location at a single time. He then estimated how many new slaves it would take to replace slaves as they died, escaped or were ransomed.

“The only way I could come up with hard numbers is to turn the whole problem upside down — figure out how many slaves they would have to capture to maintain a certain level,” he said. “It is not the best way to make population estimates, but it is the only way with the limited records available.”

Putting together such sources of attrition as deaths, escapes, ransomings, and conversions, Davis calculated that about one-fourth of slaves had to be replaced each year to keep the slave population stable, as it apparently was between 1580 and 1680. That meant about 8,500 new slaves had to be captured each year. Overall, this suggests nearly a million slaves would have been taken captive during this period. Using the same methodology, Davis has estimated as many as 475,000 additional slaves were taken in the previous and following centuries.

The result is that between 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly 1 million and quite possibly as many as 1.25 million white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Mullah Krekar Threatens Author With Death

Mullah Krekar is at it again. Norway’s baddest Muslim dude knows that for humanitarian reasons he can’t be deported, and that the Norwegian multicultural justice system is unlikely to bother him if he spouts off a bit here and there. So he’s started up again with the death threats.

According to VG Nett, as translated by The Observer:

Mullah KrekarMullah Krekar verbally attacks the controversial author in a podcast posted on the Kurdish internet site,

According to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, the author in question has been living in hiding in Norway for a year and a half, and has been granted political asylum. The Kurdish author was sentenced to jail in absentia in Iraq last year for writing that the prophet Mohammad was guilty of murder and rape.

He is spitting on us

According to Aftenposten and its interpreter, whose services are frequently requested by the Norwegian police, Mullah Krekar is comparing the author with Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Krekar claims that the author is ‘spitting on us’ and describes him as a dishonest human being.

“One needs to ask why this person should be killed and which laws should be applied to this particular case.”

Krekar also said that according to the principles of the Sharia law, the author would have the opportunity to defend himself against the accusations, and that he would have to show remorse in order to avoid getting the death sentence.

– – – – – – – –

Death threats

The author claims to have received several death threats, and insists that a fatwa has been issued, sentencing him to death if he fails to ask for forgiveness for his writings.

The Islamic Committee in Northern Iraq, accused the author of insulting the prophet Mohammad, and in the court case from December last year an arrest order was issued, instructing the local police to arrest the author as soon as he returns to northern Iraq.

Could be seen as an encouragement to kill

Mullah Krekar’s Norwegian attorney, Brynjar Meling, insist that the Norwegian translation is inaccurate because the broader context is missing. Krekar, however, still stands by his statements.

“Krekar claims that as a scholar, he only speaks about what the Koran say about these issues and that he himself didn’t suggest the fatwa,” Meling says.

Religion historian, Kari Vogt, does not see Krekar’s statements as death threats or justifications to kill.

“But if someone who’s mentally unstable wanted to attack the author, they could find justifications for doing so in these types of statements,” Vogt says

The secret service branch of the Norwegian police (PST) does not wish to make any comments on the matter.

Previous posts about Mullah Krekar:

2007   Oct   9   The Latest on Mullah Krekar
    Nov   13   Mullah Krekar: “Kill the Aussies!”
        29   More Mau-Mauing from Mullah Krekar
2008   Apr   17   Norway to Mullah Krekar: We Give Up!
    Jul   15   Free Speech in Norway Requires Police Approval
    Aug   5   A Mullah with Chutzpah